Review of Nefesh HaTzimtzum

December 1, 2015

By Rabbi Ari Enkin, NefeshHatzimtzumOne1

I am at a loss for words to describe how blown away I am by the magnitude of Avinoam Fraenkel’s Nefesh Hatzimtzum.
Nefesh Hatzimtzum is a translation and study guide to R’ Chaim Volozhin’s Nefesh Hachaim. For those unfamiliar, Nefesh Hachaim is the “Shulchan Aruch” of hashkafa and philosophy. The concepts presented by R. Chaim are a basic platform to give us knowledge of the closest that is humanly achievable in relating to God and by extension, our ability to serve Him.NefeshHatzimtzumTwo1

Nefesh Hatzimtzum is simply outstanding. It is a crisp and clear presentation of what has essentially been a closed book. Now Nefesh Hachaim is not only accessible, but in Fraenkel’s two volume set (over 1600 pages!), one also enjoys the benefits of a spoon fed education on the material.  Read the rest of this entry »


Review of The Jewish Dog

June 17, 2015

Review by Miriam Kates LockThe Jewish Dog9780983868538

The Jewish Dog tells the story of the Holocaust from a point of view that has presumably never before been explored. In this curiously original tale, Caleb, an intelligent and pensive pup, is born in the home of the Gottlieb family, a traditional Jewish family living in Germany in the 1930’s. From the very beginning Caleb is sensitively aware of his surroundings and tries to figure out the world around him. He is particularly interested in humans, their language and the role they play in his life. He loves the Gottliebs and is relieved when he is the only one of his mother’s litter who is not separated from her. Unfortunately, he ultimately does get separated from her and from the Gottliebs as well, as the events taking place in Germany begin to affect not only the lives of Jews but even the lives of dogs.

When a law is decreed that Jews can no longer own dogs, Caleb is taken in by a German family who mistreats him terribly. When this family passes him on to an SS officer whose young son is thrilled with him, at first he thinks he is lucky but later he runs away to look for  the Gottliebs. Eventually he is captured by Nazis who send him to be trained as a guard dog. Read the rest of this entry »

Kaytek the Wizard Receives Honorable Mention in the 2013 Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation Award!

August 28, 2013

Kaytek the WizardKaytek the Wizard (written by Janusz Korczak, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Avi Katz) received a Long Form Honorable Mention in the 2013 Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation Award!

Reviews from the award website:

Alexis Brooks de Vita found Kaytek the Wizard “sublimely poignant, as painful as it is raw, so obviously written by a man who loves childhood and children and uses fantasy to prepare them—and us—for fatality as well as mortality. Huckleberry Finn more than Tom Sawyer, reaching across a century-and-a-half to conjure Harry Potter, Kaytek’s loner protagonist finally becomes not only Frankenstein but his self-created monster, a childish Melmoth the Wanderer, made wise enough to have become capable of conveying the author’s historically heartbreaking final lines.”

Kathryn Morrow added, “This is a fresh, sophisticated, and psychologically authentic exemplar of the Bildungsroman type of fantasy. The author’s unique sensibility is well served by Lloyd-Jones’s lively translation.”

NEW: גרזן, the First Hebrew Translation of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet

May 20, 2013

by Gary Paulsen hatchet front high
translated into Hebrew by Didi Hanoch
Publisher: Urim Publications
Softcover, 157 pages

On his way to visit his recently divorced father in the Canadian mountains, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is the only survivor when the single-engine plane crashes. His body battered, his clothes in shreds, Brian must now stay alive in the boundless Canadian wilderness.

More than a survival story, Hatchet is a tale of tough decisions. When all is stripped down to the barest essentials, Brian discovers some stark and simple truths: Self-pity doesn’t work. Despair doesn’t work. And if Brian is to survive physically as well as mentally, he must discover courage.

Honors and Praise for the English edition of Hatchet: 

* A Newbery Honor Book
* An ALA Notable Book
* Booklist Editor’s Choice
* SLJ 100 Books that Shaped the Century

“Brian Robeson, 13, is the only passenger on a small plane flying him to Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a New Wizard in Town!

July 30, 2012

Kaytek the Wizard

First English Translation of Kaytek the Wizard – Janusz Korczak’s Timeless Tale

 “Who would you like to be when you grow up?” Janusz Korczak asked a class of boys. “A wizard,” one of them replied. The others started laughing, and the boy felt embarrassed, so he added: “I’m sure I’ll be a judge like my father, but you asked who we’d like to be.” That was in 1929, and four years later Kaytek the Wizard, the story of a wayward boy who develops extraordinary magical powers, was first published in Polish.

When Kaytek the Wizard was released in 1933, itoffered a new perspective on children, their dreams, complexities, and abilities. Korczak, a renowned pioneer of children’s rights, was one of the first modern writers to imagine a child as a full and complex wizard figure. As such, Kaytek the Wizard was a precursor to Harry Potter, and Korczak’s fiction has been described as having been as well-known as Peter Pan in his day.

Janusz Korczak (1879–1942) was the pen name of Dr. Henryk Goldszmit, a pediatrician and child psychologist who famously ran a central Warsaw orphanage on innovative educational principles. Korczak left behind a large written legacy, including books on education, plays, essays, letters, and of course, novels and stories for children, including King Matt the First.

Kaytek has previously been published in German, Spanish, Hebrew, and most recently French. This first English translation of Kaytek the Wizard coincides with the Polish Parliament’s declaration of 2012 as “The Year of Janusz Korczak.” This year contains two important anniversaries connected with Korczak: the 70th anniversary of his death – heroically accompanying the children of his orphanage – in the Treblinka concentration camp, and the 100th anniversary of the founding of his orphanage on Krochmalna Street in Warsaw.

The Magic of Kaytek

Kaytek, a schoolboy who wants to become a wizard, is surprised to discover that, Read the rest of this entry »