December 18, 2010

And the next YU seforim sale will begin on . .

Yeshiva University has just released the dates for the next SOY Seforim Sale, one of the best Jewish book and music sales in America. The sale will take place beginning February 6th through the 27th. It's pretty much a really large room filled with books and seforim from all genres as well as music and DVD's, all at discounted prices. I'm really looking forward!!

August 27, 2010

Two New Books to Check Out

Some of you may have noticed that there have been a lot of new book releases in the past few weeks, and you can expect a couple more as Yomtov starts appearing around the corner. One book that I was very excited for and that I have begun reading is Rabbi Yechiel Spero's new book from Artscroll, "A Touch of Purity." I only jumped onto the "Touched by a Story" bandwagon a year ago but I've already become an enthusiastic fan of the stories. Rabbi Spero's latest book is about Elul and Tishrei and all the messages associated with those times (i.e. Teshuva, davening, etc.) As someone who learns better through stories then pure mussar seforim I really appreciate Rabbi Spero's books, especially those that are about certain times of year or other themes, like his book on Tisha B'av which has given me something meaningful to relate to on that day the past two years, as well as his books of Tefillah. I haven't gotten all the way through "A Touch of Purity" yet since I want it to last me through Yom Kippur, but I have finished the section of Elul and if the rest of the book is as powerful as the first section I would recommend this as inspirational and timely reading for those of you looking for a good book/sefer on the Yomim Noraim. Each story is followed by a short d'var Torah that gives the story an extra boost to help make its point. I'll admit that sometimes I skip the d'var Torah and go straight to the next story, but everything written in this book is worth reading.

The second book that I've been reading, which I picked up yesterday, is a book from Feldheim on Jewish medical ethics titled "The Value of Human Life." It is based on a series of lectures that were delivered at the first ever Jewish medical ethics conference that took place two years ago in Switzerland. I actually took a class on Jewish medical ethics a year ago which drew me to this book but its relevance is for all of us as it is fascinating and pertinent to the times we live in. In todays world we are constantly hearing about issues like stem cell research, organ donations, prolonging the life of people who are brain dead, and many other health related issues. "The Value of Human Life" has articles written by some of the biggest names in Jewish medical ethics, including Rabbi J. David Bleich, Professor Avraham Steinberg and Professor Abraham S. Abraham. I think that understanding the issues discussed in this book will help us to be more educated on these relevant issues and will give us a Torah perspective to maintain when reading about them in the newspapers. This book is reader friendly and truly fascinating for anyone interested in reading it.

Wishing you all a K'siva V'chasimah Tovah!

June 28, 2010

Emmanuel: Perspectives Then and Now

It is hard to form a conclusive opinion on the current affairs surrounding the school in Emmanuel. The Slonimer Chassidim claim that this issue is not about Sephardi/Ashkenazi segregation, rather the separation made between classes in the school was simply meant as a way to distinguish those from a less religious background to those who are more religious. The Chassidim do not want their daughters to be negatively influenced by families who may do things like watching movies or going to mixed dances. A good proof for the veracity of this position is that Sephardi fathers also joined their Ashkenazi counterparts in going to jail this past week as part of the penalty for violating the court order to integrate the schools. If Sephardim are studying with Ashkenazim then the issue is not all about segregation. It seems that among our frum camp this previous opinion is held by the majority.

However, Rav Yaakov Yosef, son of Rav Ovadia Yosef and Rav of the plaintiff, claims that there definitely was some amount misconduct from the Ashkenazim to the Sephardim and that the Ashkenazim have defamed the Sephardim, who he claims are good religious Jews, by claiming for the public media that they are non-religious Jews. Obviously, this issue is far from simple and it is constantly being portrayed with a certain amount of bias, proportional to the views of the author and paper the story is being published in. Thus it is hard to form a completely educated opinion.

Today, while I was reading "In Their Shadows," by Rav Shlomo Lorincz I came across the following story which has some semblance to the case before us today in Emmanuel. Obviously, if you hold like the Slonimer Chassidim and many other Gedolei Yisroel that there has been no mistreatment of Sephardim and that this issue is about
Kedushas HaTorah and Chinuch Habanim then the story below is not really relevant. However, if you hold by the other side then it surely is a relevant story, and either way it is a powerful lesson in a time when discrimination against Sephardim and others still exists. This is something that we can all learn from.

Rav Shach fully displayed his forcefulness in a letter he wrote to Rav Shraga Grossbard, director of Chinuch Atzmai, in 5741 (1981).
At that point, the admissions policy of some Chinuch Atzmai schools discriminated against Sephardic children, in favor of children of Ashkenazi descent.
In his letter to Rav Grossbard, Rav Shach explains at length that there is no halachic basis for such discrimination, and he concludes:
Therefore, I ask you to pass a message to the principals [of the schools] that there are no excuses or justifications- they must accept Sephardic children. I write this as a halachic ruling that they may not transgress" (In Their Shadow, p. 400 by Rav Shlomo Lorincz).

June 12, 2010

The Next Page: Summer 2010

For those of you who bought this past weekends newspapers you probably saw the insert that was included courtesy of Israel Book Shop. Back at Winter time Israel Book Shop released a new magazine/catalog called The Next Page which had some interviews with the authors, segments from new releases, contests, and more. At the same time they also unveiled a new website, Now, with the second publication of their magazine they have also announced a new contest. Every week there will be a new short story published on the website with each story having an inconclusive or mystery ending. Readers are then encouraged to submit how they think the story ended and the author of the best ending will receive a prize. This actually sounds like a lot of fun and I'm curious to see how it will take off.

Besides for this new contest there has also been a new original serial story that is only being published on their website called Divided Attention. All of this can be viewed at the link above. If you didn't have a chance to see the magazine that was distributed as an insert this past weekend you can view it by clicking here. I think that this new PR campaign from Israel Book Shop is very impressive and as far as I'm aware it's first for a frum publishing house. Hopefully we'll continue to see more exciting things in the future.

June 08, 2010

Jewish Music on iTunes

As an avid Jewish music listener I have been occasionally disappointed by the lack of downloading availability for our CDs that many other genres of music get. Mostlymusic has actually been very wonderful about starting to have more and more CDs available for download at a cheaper price and there are even some older CDs the feature individual song downloads. I really like the latter kind since there are certain albums where you know beforehand you don't want the whole thing, you just want a couple of songs. iTunes really has a good system for non-Jewish music and I've wished more songs would be available through them, but I understand that there are financial reasons why that is not so practical for the JM business. However, I have tried to compile a list of JM albums and singers that are available on I-Tunes. Most of the albums are from Sameach with one surprising new one from Aderet (Shimon Craimer). Below is the list. If anybody wants to add anything else please comment below.

Shimon Craimer: Nashir Beyachad
Yosef Chaim (Shwekey): Lo Lefached
The Chevra 3
Yerachmiel and Aaron Razel: The Secret of Shabbos
Avraham Fried: You're Never Alone, No Jew Will Be Left Behind, The Time is Now, Goodbye Golus
Hasc: A Time for Music volumes 7, 18, 20
Yeshiva Boys Choir: YBC Live II, YBC 3 (Shabichi)
Shloime Dachs: Dachs Dance All Night
Kol Noar Boys Choir
Benny Friedman: Taamu
Aryeh Kuntsler: From the Depths
The Maccabeats
Ari Goldwag: Pure Soul
Yisroel Williger: Menuchas Shabbos
Gershon Veroba: Impressions, Second Impressions, Turn it Around, Reach Out
All of Six13, Moshav Band, 8th Day, Yaakov Chesed
Lots of Shlomo Carelbach music

Update (6/15/10): Aryeh Kuntslers new CD "Our Eyes Are On You" is also now available on iTunes

Update (8/26/10): Dovid Gabays new album, Eretz Yisroel, along with his two previous albums, are available on iTunes

Book Week at Feldheim

Bargain Sale at Targum Press

June 03, 2010


While I was in Israel earlier this year I picked up a wonderful book that had just been released called HaMasmidim. Written in Hebrew, this book is filled with stories about Gedolim and their dedication to the study of Torah. The stories are meant to be a source of inspiration and a guide to help boys in the perseverance of Torah study. The book appears to be geared towards children and young adults but I believe that the stories in it are appropriate for all ages. Beautifully bound, with clear type and side-bar pictures of the Gadol being spoken about, this book is something like I've never seen. It also has what I think is one of the best introductions to any book that I've ever seen before. The following is my attempt to translate the intro as best I could but the original Hebrew is really much better:

Dear reader! In the book before you are descriptions that enlighten the heart about the dedication to Torah of the Gedolei Yisroel, throughout every time period. The stories tell about how they (the Gedolim) clung to Torah like one who thirsts for water, and in only the Torah did they look all their lives. Likewise, the stories describe how they trembled from the idea of Bitul Torah and how they used sechel to overcome the Yetzer Hara in this area.

But it is very important to stress that many of the Gedolei Yisroel and Talmidei Chachamim that lived during all the time periods as well as today, were not born with special characteristics- they had regular character traits. The truth is that even in you- dear reader- are the same characteristics that they had! And if you ask, how did they merit to grow into Gedolei Yisroel. . .?

The answer is simple- they succeeded in strengthening their determination that from them would emerge a Talmid Chacham along with the knowledge that with the study of every word of Torah they were fulfilling a Mitzvas Asei D'Oraisa and they were giving nachas ruach to the Creator of the world. Therefore, they were always careful to arrive to learning on time and with the time between sedarim they did not engage in frivolous activities, and they succeeded to use each moment to review what they already learned. Thus, with consistency and patience, with tefillah and supplication, they completed and knew another chapter and another masechta, until they became, with the help of Hashem, Gedolei Torah.

Therefore dear reader- you too with the help of Hashem, if you will be determined and set your mind to it, nothing will stop you from becoming a true Talmid Chacham!

We hope, that these real life examples that are filled with with pictures (of the life of these Gedolim) will encourage you to go in their footsteps and you will want throughout your life to be a Talmid Chacham, and with Siyata D'shmaya you will be!

There was just something about that introduction that struck a cord with me. As someone who loves to hear Gedolim stories, it is often possible to come to a point where you just think that the Gedolim were born this way and what they do is not possible for any of us to achieve. Their actions are beyond our capabilities so why even try. Of course this is not true and this introduction emphasizes that message; the message that many of the Gedolei Yisroel started off with the same characteristics as the rest of us and through their effort they became who they became. The stories that follow in this book are incredible. Each chapter has the theme of a particular attribute necessary in the success of Torah study and the stories that are told are really one of a kind. As I mentioned, I am particular to Gedolim stories and having heard many of them I believe that the stories in this book are wonderful. If you are looking for a source of inspiration in limud haTorah and ahavas haTorah along with a good story then this is the book for you.

[HaMasmidim is being distributed by Feldheim in the United States]

April 26, 2010

Coming Tomorrow: A New Book by Chaim Walder

As an experienced educational counselor and prolific author, Rabbi Chaim Walder has dealt extensively with relationships between children and parents, students and teachers - as well as a person's relationship with himself. Drawn from the author's vast knowledge and flavored with his engaging literary style, this book bursts with a wealth of information, ideas and advice, along with practical suggestions for applying them. Culled from more than a thousand articles written during the author's almost two decades as a Yated Ne'eman columnist, Rabbi Walder tackles the issues that are foremost on people's minds. Also included are the author's opinions on a variety of topics, from mental health issues to money matters - all easily referenced in a convenient, concise index.

I always associate Chaim Walder with his great story books, namely the true life stories in "People Speak" and "Kids Speak." Another favorite of mine is his novel "That's Me, Tzviki Green. So I guess this is going to be a bit of a break in a tradition of story books from Rabbi Walder, with what appears to me to be his first English book on Parenting. I'm curious whether there will be any more stories in this new release. To find out I guess we'll just have to check out the book when it comes out. Feldheim lists it for release tomorrow, April 27th. If you happen to take a look give me an update on how it compares to the older Chaim Walder books and the style of the book format.

April 22, 2010

I'm not gone. . .

It's probably obvious by now that I've been a bit sidetracked from The Jewish Book World lately. Between a lot of assignments that need to get done and just living life there hasn't been much time for me to sit down a write. In terms of books lately I just finished a great book, Deep Blue, by Meir Uri Gottesman. It's not a new book and I knew we owned it for a while. My attention was turned to it when someone who I respect started gushing about how much she loved this book. While I usually choose non-fiction over novels I had to pick this one up and see what it was all about. The final result? This book is great. The thing that sticks out the most is that this is a well written Jewish novel, both in plot and word choice. One complaint that I have heard from others who regularly read Jewish novels is that they are not exactly up to par with their non-Jewish equivalents. Deep Blue is the exception to the rule. The basic plot focuses around the will of Captain Elijah, who bequeaths the majority of his fortune to two of his grandsons, both of whom are already successful businessmen, leaving a set of shas and some worthless stock to his third and favorite grandson, Uri, who is a father, a Rebbi, and very much in need of some extra parnasa. What happens afterwards is an adventure that leads Uri on a mission to fulfill his grandfather's last instructions. This book keeps you hooked until the end which is something I really appreciated. There is something annoying about being hooked by a lot of build up only to find out after a couple hundred pages that the climax just isn't anything special. Meir Uri Gottesman is also the author a couple of other novels, including The Harp, The Wing, and The Morning Star, and I hope to get a chance to read them as well.

March 13, 2010

Pesach with Mishpacha Magazine: Featuring a New CD

Mishpacha magazine has done it again! Every year their Yom Tov editions are packed to the brim with even more interesting articles, Divrei Torah and stories. This year, besides for anticipating all that, you can also start anticipating the release of a new CD. From TeeM Productions comes brand new songs composed by Yossi Green and Pinky Weber. The arrangments are from Mona Rosenblum, Moshe Laufer, and Leib Yaacov Rigler. The singers are Avraham Fried, Shlomie Gertner, Shlomie Taussig, Yisroel Werdyger, Shragy Gestetner, Motty Ilowitz, and Chilu Posen. For those of you who remember, this is not the first year that Mishpacha has been so nice as to include a new CD with the magazine. The Sukkos edition 2007 premiered the release of a CD featuring Lipa Schmeltzer called Eloka D'meir Aneini which can be found currently in certain Judaica stores. I always look forward to Mishpacha and their special Yom Tov editions and I look forward to seeing what interesting reads this year has to offer.

To see the cover art and the advertisment for the CD go to the Jewish Music Report

HT: Jewish Music Report

Be Your Own Library

A couple of weeks ago I had the experience to spend Shabbos with a Chassidishe Rav and his family in Boro Park. It was absolutely wonderful and I look forward to going back again. One thing that stuck out for me was that the Rebbetzin runs a library out of her home. It's not a huge, professional library but it's a great selection of some older classics and more recent publications organized neatly on around five bookshelves in an upstairs room. The Rebbetzin explained that she does this as a service for the community, allowing them to come and borrow books whenever they want. An interesting observation is that right across the street from the home is a big Brooklyn public library, but of course most people in the Chassidishe Boro Park community do not utilize this library due to their content of secular books. I am sure that many of the families on the Rebbetzin's street appreciate her smaller library too the much bigger library that they feel uncomfortable using.

I was reflecting on this small library and the chessed it provides recently and it occurred to me how much there is a need for many more such libraries in our communities wherever they may be. Unfortunately there are not really any big professional libraries that are dedicated to loaning out books appropriate for the frum world. Sometimes you do come across a couple such libraries or gemachs but they can be scarce, leaving many without access to good reading material. I am fortunate in that when I was in high school we had a fantastic library that received good funding and was able to provide us with hundreds of books, including all the new releases and other books and seforim that appealed to myself and others. Where I am now also has a very decent library but it is lacking in certain areas as well as not being available to the non-student body. In my temporary apartment I keep around 30 books that I keep on a shelf and I am try to let others know that they are able to borrow them. Back at home between every member of my family we must have a couple hundred frum books, definitely a good size library. This shouldn't be a surprise, as Jews are known for their large collections of books and I think that many of us have the resources to create miniature "libraries" as the Rebbetzin that I stayed with created.

All if takes is to let people know that you have books available to borrow, write your name and phone number on the inside cover, and keep track of who has what. This is such a great chessed on many levels. First off, books are a wonderful source of good, healthy entertainment. Your loaning out books helps contribute a good education to young children or a restful afternoon to an overworked parent or student. Depending on the type of book you loan out you could also be assisting someone in their Torah learning. Any way you look at it, it's all good. So give it some thought and see if you too can help your friends or community by creating your own Jewish library.

March 04, 2010

New Haggadahs for Pesach

With Purim over and Pesach fast approaching here are a list of some of the new Haggadahs that have recently been released. The last one is my personal favorite since it's so out of the box and combines my too favorite things, books and music.

Note: The name of the Haggadah is followed by the publishers name

  • Seif Edition Transliterated Linear Haggadah - Artscroll
  • The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Haggadah- Artscroll
  • The Yetzias Mitzrayim Hagaddah: Bringing the Pesach Story to Life through the Haggadah- Artscroll
  • The Family Hagaddah: Spanish Edition- Artscroll
  • Hagaddah with Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: Illustrated and for kids- Greenfelds
  • The Royal Table: A Passover Hagaddah- OU Press
  • The Lipa Schmeltzer Hagaddah- Aderet Music

March 02, 2010

Week in Books

New Releases:

-Seek Peace and Pursue It, by Dovid Lieberman Ph.D
-Purim and Persia: A Historical and Archaeological Perspective, by Rabbi Yehuda Landy
-It Could Have Been You: Real Stories about Real People, by Nachman Seltzer
-Nefesh Shimshon: Gates of Emunah, by Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus ZT"L
-Emunat Yisrael: Developing Faith and Trust in G-d in Our Turbulent Times, by Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Lugassi
-The Yetzias Mitzrayim Hagaddah, by Samson Raphael Grunfeld
-The World That Was: The Legacy of German Jewry 843-1945, Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum
-Hidden Gems: Our Special Children, by Ruchi Eisenbach
-Aleinu L'Shabei'ach: Vayikra, by Rabbi Yitzchok Zilberstein
-Starving Souls, by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser
-The Mishkan Illuminated, by Rabbi Dovid Meyers

Upcoming Releases:

-A Unique Perspective: Rav Breur's Essays 1914-1973, by Rav Dr. Joseph Breur
-Dawn to Destiny: Jewish History and its Hidden Wisdom, by Rabbi Yonason Goldson

February 25, 2010

Insights for Mothers: A New Book with New Perspectives

Sent in by the author, Julie Hauser:

This book speaks to women of all ages and stages of motherhood. As the reader grows, the book grows with her.
Women in our generation arrive daily to motherhood with varying backgrounds, personalities, and levels of preparation. The most warm and capable mothers can sometimes feel conflicted, isolated, or depleted. They long for validation from peers and support systems, perspective from mentors that are ahead of them, and inspiration that comes from Judaism’s appreciation of a mother’s challenges and goals.
That is just what they will find in Mothers to Mothers.
First-time author and occupational therapist Julie Hauser, (having her own “lab experience” in motherhood for the past 10 years), personally interviewed thirty mothers across the globe, ranging in age from 22 to 65, and who were chosen for their colorful personalities, depth, and honesty. Excerpts from the interviews, arranged by topic, are blended with advice and positive Torah-based outlooks from respected prominent educators, Jewish leaders, and parenting experts.
Mothers to Mothers invites the reader to listen in on some fascinating, lively, and always straightforward talk from an introspective, open and engaging group of women.
Adjusting to first-time motherhood (or grandmotherhood!), resisting the urge to compare, refining one’s character, linking with generations, making a new start, and using one’s unique gifts brought to motherhood are just some of the topics addressed herein. From learning to take care of the ‘captain’ while navigating the “ordinary” daily ups-and-downs, transitioning to new stages of motherhood and even overcoming post-partum depression -Mothers to Mothers touches on many of the concerns of contemporary Jewish motherhood, with an inspirational spin packaged in a delicate mixture of "reality” and positivity.
To view table of contents:

Feldheim Clearance Sale

Feldheim is having another one of their clearance sales. If you're looking for the best deal on books out there, this is it. Obviously it's not going to be the latest releases but it's still a great opportunity to stock up. During a previous sale I actually was able to buy 7 books for a grand total of 40 dollars! So go and take a look and see what you find.

February 04, 2010

Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer: Questions Need to Be Welcomed, Not Disparaged

Opinion Piece in the Jewish Press from the author of "Search Judaism":

I was apprised of the fact that a renowned rav and posek in Flatbush dedicated his Shabbos morning drasha to the plight of a young lady who was recently dismissed from her Brooklyn Bais Yaakov. It seems she vexed the administration because she asked her teacher incisive questions about the nature of Gan Eden. Thankfully, due to the intervention of this prominent rav, she was reinstated to her school.

Thousands of frum individuals grow up with gnawing questions about the fundamentals of Yiddishkeit. Their questions may be trite and simplistic (i.e., Why do we keep Shabbos?) or profound and weighty (i.e., How do I know there is a God? or Hashem knows everything, including every move I make; yet I have free will. How can the two co-exist?).

It’s not the particular question that is germane - every sincere and thoughtful question is relevant and important. Rather, it’s the way the question is received and handled. Sadly, most often the questions are either rebuffed or repudiated by parents and teachers. Some adolescents are even slapped or labeled with the pejorative “apikores.” The outcome is that in some cases the seeker despondently resolves to trudge through life with lingering and unresolved doubts in ikrei emunah, and in other cases, tragically, they throw in the towel, religiously.

To continue reading click here


January 28, 2010

New Sefer from the Mevaser Tov of Biala

A new volume of the English translation of the seforim of the Biala Rebbe of Lugano, also known as the Mevaser Tov, has just been released. This new sefer is called Mevaser Tov: Sefer Hachaim, and is being distributed by Feldheim. I first saw the new volume when I was in Israel a week ago and I very quickly decided to buy a copy. The only reason that I even debated whether or not to buy it then was because I have not yet completed another sefer of his which I own, "The Merit of the Righteous Women." However, that sefer has been so phenomenal that even though I have been reading it slowly I have gotten an appreciation for the uniquness of the writing of the Biala Rebbe. Credit also goes to the translators of his works, Daniel Worenklein and Reuven Methieson. The writing is articulate and scholarly and it exudes this feeling of love for the reader and the topic being discussed, something that I have not consistently found in hashkafah based books. So now I have this new volume, Sefer Hachaim, sitting on my book shelf and I hope to be able to get to it soon. In addition to the two previously mentioned books, there are an additional two volumes of the Mevaser Tov that are translated into English and can be bought on Feldheim's website, as well as a large collection of Hebrew seforim by the Rebbe that can probably be found in larger Judaica stores.

You can read more about the Biala Rebbe of Lugano, Rabbi Benzion Rabinowitz on Wikipedia's Hebrew site here. This also includes a complete list of the Rebbe's writings.

January 23, 2010

SOY Seforim Sale: Schedule of Events

I was just checking out the schedule of events for the YU SOY seforim sale, which begins tomorrow, and it looks like there are going to be a great variety of programs and events to attend. During the next three weeks there will be shiurim, book signings, concerts, family events and even a stand up comedy show. The schedule in full can be seen at the seforim sale website by clicking here, but I just wanted to list a few of the events that seemed of particular interest to myself:

  • Rabbi Gil Student will be hosting a book signing Monday night, 1/25, at 7 PM
  • Yaakov Chesed Live, at 8 PM Thursday night, 1/28
  • YU Maccabeats Live, 6:30 PM 2/1 (see a video of one of their impressive acapella performances here)
  • Proffesor Daniel Rynhold will be giving a lecture on "Why Does Medieval Jewish Philosophy Matter?" at 12:30 PM, Sunday 2/7
  • Joel Chasnoff presents College Comedy Night at 7:30 PM on 2/10
In addition to those particular events the list of Rabbinim who will be giving shiurim is quite a compelling one and I guess the only thing that may keep me from attending all of them will be the other requirements that I must attend to as part of daily life. Here is a list of the shiurim that will be given:

  • 1/24- Rabbi Norman Lamm (in conjunction with his new Haggadah) at 12 PM
  • 1/25- Rabbi Mordechai Willig at 8 PM
  • 1/27- Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky at 8 PM
  • 2/8 -Rabbi Eytan Feiner at 8 PM
  • 2/14-Rabbi Yonoson Sacks at 2 PM
See you there!

Week in Books

New Releases:

-Copyright in Jewish Law, by Rabbi Nachum Menashe Weisfish
-Checkmate, by Ester Toker
-Pure Money Vol. II: A Straightforward Guide to Jewish Monetary Law, by Dayan Shlomo Cohen
-The Life and Times of Rabbi Yonason Steif: Living in the Illuminated Shadow, by Esther Shulamis (Stief) Bleier
-Chofetz Chaim: The Family Lesson a Day, by Rabbi Shimon Finkelman
-Reb Boruch Ber: The Life and Times of Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, by Rabbi Chaim Shlomo Rosenthal
-Yoreh Binah: Concepts of Kashrus, by Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis
-Candles in My Window, by Beth Firestone
-Terra Incognita: A Novel, by Libi Astaire
-Meant to Be: An Abrams Family Legacy, by Azriela Jaffe

Upcoming Releases:

-Seek Peace and Pursue It, by Dovid Lieberman Ph.D
-Purim and Persia: A Historical and Archaeological Perspective, by Rabbi Yehuda Landy
-The People Files, by Nachman Seltzer

January 18, 2010

When Was It Released?

Do books get released in Israel before they are released in America? That question jumped out at me as I was exploring the world of Israeli seforim stores during my current visit to Israel. When I was in Manny's in Meah Shearim the other day I happened to see what would be considered a new, big, release considering it's predecessor's great success. The book? It was the new Feldheim English translation of Nefesh Shimshon. I believe that the topic of the new release is Emunah but since I have yet to find it online I am just relying on memory. As some of you may recall, the first Nefesh Shimshon translation was on Shabbos Kodesh and it jumped to the top of Feldheim's best seller list. Feldheim even had an advertisement for a while that if you bought the book and didn't enjoy it you could return it for a refund. That was how sure they were that it would go over well with the readers, and the consensus seems to be that they were right. So why was I surprised to see it in the Israeli seforim stores? The main reason is that such a big follow up release could be assumed to garner a lot of ad time on Feldheim's website and in the various Jewish publications. However, the book has not even made it into the Feldheim "future release" section as of yet, implying that it still has a while before it is released, and needless to say there has been no news announcing the publication of this volume. Since the new Nefesh Shimshon has been released in Israel the release dates must be in regards to other countries, including America. There are other books that I know of that were also released first in Israel before the rest of the world, again highlighting the variation in release dates that a book may have. In the meantime I am curious to see when the first advertisements will take place in America for Nefesh Shimshon on Emunah (?) as well as to see the reception it gets. R' Shimshon Pincus's works in general are as good as gold and can be found on bookshelves in homes all over the world so this new addition can probably be assured to be another bestseller. We'll see soon.

On a side note, another observation I made while making my way through Yerushalayim book stores is that book release dates can work in the reverse as well. So far I have yet to see the new Artscroll release, The Family Lesson A Day, which is their new edition to the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation publications and can currently be found in American book stores. So maybe the way these things work is that all the book publishers get together and decide that to be fair some books get released first in Israel while the rest of us get to have the other new releases. If I could have some input in all of this I would recommend that everybody use the "Harry Potter release method" which is that all new books are held under lock and key until they are released simultaneously around the world. Then again, for that to work, bookstores would have to stay open until the wee hours of the morning and trampling could ensue, so maybe we should just keep things the way they are.

January 07, 2010

Book Review Recap for 2009

Here is a recap of all the book reviews featured on the Jewish Book World this past year. With Hashem's help this coming year will bring you many more book reviews, including a couple coming soon on some of the latest books.

Starting from oldest review to newest:

Reb Shlomo: The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld, by Yisroel Besser

Don't Yell Challah in a Crowded Matzah Bakery, by Mordechai Schmutter

The Rav Thinking Aloud, by David Holzer

It's Never Too Little, It's Never Too Late, It's Never Enough, by Rabbi Yissocher Frand

Search Judaism, by Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer

Miracle Ride, by Tzipi Caton

Salomon Says, by Rabbi Yaakov Salomon

Rabbi Sherer, by Yonoson Rosenblum

YU News: Seforim Sale is Almost Here

Updates on the upcoming seforim sale from the YU News website:

The students of Yeshiva University (YU) will hold their annual SOY Seforim Sale from January 24 through February 15 in Belfer Hall, 2495 Amsterdam Ave. on YU’s Wilf Campus in Manhattan. The sale, North America’s largest Jewish book sale, is organized entirely by YU students who run the entire operation from ordering to setting up the premises, marketing and all the technology the project entails. Proceeds support a myriad of initiatives, including student activities on campus and student-lead outreach programs in the Jewish community.

Last year the acclaimed Judaica book sale drew over 15,000 people from the tri-state area and raised more than $1 million in sales. The annual event provides discounted prices on the latest of over 10,000 titles in rabbinic and academic literature, cookbooks, children’s books, music and lecture CDs, and educational software.

“We expect to draw close to 20,000 people this year,” said Eliezer Barany, CEO of the SOY Seforim Sale. “We will be offering a wider array of seforim and have many exciting events planned, including multiple book signings and lectures, musical performances, and for the first time ever, a stand-up comedy routine by one of the authors.”

The Seforim Sale has become a highlight for the Yeshiva University community, as students and alumni congregate to visit their alma mater, see old friends, and add books to their personal libraries.

Those who can not attend the sale can still take advantage of the great prices and vast catalog selection by ordering online on the Seforim Sale’s upgraded Web site. For a complete listing of dates and times, to purchase gift certificates or to view the online catalog, visit
(HT: Vos Iz Neias)