NEW RELEASE! Diamonds from the Dubno Maggid

September 29, 2014

L691Once upon a time there was a family sitting at the Shabbos table.

All the children from age 2 to 22 were gathered round, munching on challah and sipping chicken soup.

Everyone was waiting for their father to say something…

Mommy was hoping to hear a light vort and then dash back to the kitchen to refill Shmuly’s bowl.

Reuven was hoping for a clever devar Torah with a dash of mussar to share with his vaad.

Chani was hoping to hear about the parshah, so she could tell it to her Bnos group girls in the afternoon.

But they were all outvoted because Shani, Avi, Yosef, Shmuly, Avigail and little Yocheved only wanted stories about really important, exciting topics such as robbers and kings.

Father took a deep breath, rose from his chair and went to fetch his handsome new sefer: Diamonds from the Dubno Maggid: Parables on the Weekly Parshah.

And they all lived happily ever after…

Guest Blogger

Sara Miriam Gross


Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! The Well-Spiced Life

September 28, 2014

L692It starts off innocently enough.

“Do you know how to make p’tcha?” Shalom asks Rena, his wife of two weeks. The starry-eyed newlyweds are in the midst of comprising their first Shabbos menu together.

“Uh…I’m sure I can! I’ll be happy to!” Rena answers confidently. Never mind that she doesn’t even know what p’tcha is. If her husband is requesting that she make it, she’ll find a good recipe for it, wonderful eishes chayil that she is, and she’ll make him the best p’tcha he’s ever tasted!

“Oh, good.” Shalom smiles. “My mother makes it, and it’s one of my best foods.”

It’s only a few days later, when Shalom goes grocery shopping for Rena, and she sees the calves feet staring at her in the face from the kitchen counter, that she realizes she has no idea what she’s gotten herself into.

“Shalom! What is this?!”

Shalom comes running, concern written all over his face; he’s nothing if not a faithful hubby. “What is what? What’s wrong, Rena?”

“This! This! This!” Rena wails, unable to bring herself to say the words “cow’s feet.”

“You mean the calves feet?” Shalom’s expression is the picture of innocence. “But you said you’d be happy to make p’tcha for me… How else can you make it if not with calves feet?”

And so Rena, American girl that she is, with a knowledge of Hungarian foods that’s limited to “rugelach” and maybe “babka,” is introduced to her husband’s idea of gastronomical pleasures; for him, p’tcha and gribenes and schav are normal fare…

It happens to the best of us. We marry, and then discover, sometimes to our surprise, sometimes to our dismay, that our spouse grew up on very different foods than we did…and oftentimes, said spouse actually expects us to make that kind of food in our own homes, too!

It happened to Barbara Bensoussan. As a young woman, this acclaimed author always thought she’d marry a nice Jewish boy from New York, just like her mother had. But her life took a distinctly different turn when entered the Orthodox world, and her nice Jewish boy turned out to hail from Casablanca! Suddenly she found herself the Sephardic version of the bride-who-knew-nothing, with a husband who thought the chicken soup she adored was little more than flavored water, and who’d grown up eating the head of a lamb—teeth showing—on Rosh Hashanah.

But Barbara did her best to absorb the culture and cuisine of the Sephardic world—and the literary result of this is The Well-Spiced Life, an authentic food memoir that combines the best of pleasure reading with excellent recipes. Packed with delightful anecdotes, culinary tips culled from her years spent cooking for a “mixed” (Ashkenazic/Sephardic) family, loads of exotic recipes, and an abundance of comic relief (a necessary ingredient in every culinary undertaking!), this is a book that belongs on the shelf of every respectable balabusta, Sephardic and Ashkenazic alike.

So I hope you’re reading this, Rena—because this is a book definitely for you!

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Guilty as Charged

September 24, 2014

L690When’s the last time someone took you to Beis Din or to court?

Even if the answer is “Never” many of us are still on trial all the time…

The vitamins and exercise classes we were supposed to make time for…

The chesed we really meant to do…

The tefillahs that never left the world of our good intentions…

The weight we’re supposed to lose…

The aching gap between who we are and who we think we need to become…

Sometimes our goals are as noble as our intentions, yet other times we are wildly off course. How do we know when our self-accusations are on the mark or when they are igniting personal destruction?

Former IDF Corporal turned lawyer Yoel Stein blames himself for surviving while Benny Tal, the courageous medic who saved him, did not. Yoel is culpable for Benny’s death – for making Benny’s wife a widow and his son Avner an orphan. The guilt eats at him constantly and Yoel is desperate to somehow pay back the debt. When wily Avner Tal offers Yoel the opportunity to do just that, will Yoel take him up on it? And will it be an act of redress and justice, or an injustice if he does?

Helpful, talented teen Michal Bergman is also desperate. No one will leave her alone. So what if she skipped dinner? So what if lunch was an apple and breakfast was a few glasses of water? It’s healthy to cut down on calories and to take long walks. A good long walk in the rain can help her earn a whole bowl of soup. What is all this talk of Anorexia about? Anyone with a brain in their head can see that a husky girl like Michal still has to lose more weight.

Two things are likely to happen when you read Guilty as Charged by popular author Ruth Arieli Rapaport: You’ll be happy your own accusing voices are quieter than those of Yoel and Michal. You’ll enjoy a powerful book that leads the reader into the murky waters of self distortion and ultimately emerges with piercing clarity.

Hopefully our own journeys will bring us to clarity and well-being in a faster, easier way. Tehillim and aerobics anyone?

Guest Blogger

Sara Miriam Gross

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASES! Story Solution Series 1-3

September 23, 2014

C376 C375 C374Ever feel like you’re living out a scene in a book?

I came into the living room and a burst of frustrated shouts greeted me. I had entered the room, at the absolute wrong time. Why was it the wrong time? Because, unbeknownst to me, my young son was busy cleaning up the living room to surprise me. And now the surprise was ruined. Mommy had ruined it. Now instead of enjoying a tidy room featuring a couch with no books, magazines or snack bowls on it, I was unsuccessfully comforting my child, and wishing I had the phone number of a good defense lawyer handy!

Then I remembered a cute book whose main character went through almost the same thing, and after some of the steam dissipated, I read it to my son. The expression on his face was one of surprise. Really? Someone knows what we kids go through? Yes, somebody really does…

The Story Solutions series was written and illustrated by Esti Hess, a talented artist who is a also a student of Bibliotherapy – a fancy way of saying how to heal hearts using stories. The first three books in the series are about nighttime fears, teasing, and handling disappointment. (FYI: In the real story, a boy wants to put on his pj’s all by himself and his plan is discovered and (temporarily) ruined.)

Although parents will always need a good measure of spontaneous wisdom to find the right words to ease their children’s hearts, it’s also nice to have a backup on the bookshelf – colorful stories that touch on basic childhood challenges and that really understand children.

Guest Blogger

Sara Miriam Gross

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Yehoshua Undercover

September 22, 2014

C373My boys were back from the library and urging me to call the police.

“Someone broke into the library,” my older son informed me with a grave expression.

“Yeah,” his younger brother nodded vigorously. “The doors were locked and the lights were off but we looked inside and everything was upside down in there. Toys and books on the floor that are never there. Tables and chairs turned upside down. It was very suspicious.”

“Hmmn,” I murmured, buying time. “Maybe they’re just closed? Or maybe they had some big event and it made a mess? The library is in the community center and lots of people go in and out of there all the time. I really think if anyone tried to break in, they would be caught right away. Besides, what is there to steal in the library? Old books and the little bit of money the librarian collects (primarily from our family (!)) for late fees?”

The boys looked at me with furrowed brows and wrinkled noses. But seeing that I wasn’t running to call in the cops, they eventually dropped the topic and went to play. The next day I brought the as-of-yet unreturned books to the library. As I approached I saw that the door was slightly ajar and most of the lights were off. Hmmn. Maybe the boys were right? I slowly stepped close, peeked inside and found two librarians, hard at work, reinforcing the binding of stacks of worn books. It wasn’t an open-to-the-public day, but thankfully they took back my overdue books anyway. And thankfully (or was I actually disappointed?) everything in the room was right side up and as normal as could be. My would-be detective sons would have to find a different mystery to solve…

Yehoshua, like most boys his age, also wants to solve mysteries. In his case, however, he actually has a real one to tackle! With his devoted friend Yonason at his side, Yehoshua manages to unravel a complicated web of deception that threatens to hurt a sweet elderly widowed carpenter and possibly cost him his life and his home! Along the way, we get to know Yehoshua well and feel for his own  challenges, as he struggles to lose weight and to cope with a ringleader bully who tries to make his life unbearable. Yehoshua learns a lot about the power of self-restraint and the power of true friendship. Yehoshua Undercover by Yehudit Golan has all the action and adventure that tweens and teens love, and important yet subtle messages that parents will appreciate. Now, if only we lived near a carpenter like that…

- Guest Blogger

Sara Miriam Gros

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Gems from the Nesivos Sholom

August 26, 2014

L685As the days of the summer slowly slink away, and the month of Elul heralds its presence with the first tremor-filled blast of the shofar, an air of introspection seems to fill the air. Jews everywhere are turning inward, attempting to work on their ruchniyus, polish up on their service of Hashem, gain some more merits for themselves before the Day of Judgment.

For those looking for a sefer to provide guidance and inspiration at this spiritually charged time, an excellent and highly acclaimed book has just hit the market: Gems from the Nesivos Sholom. In this magnificent work, Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg, a talmid of the famed Nesivos Sholom, Reb Sholom Noach Berezovsky zt”l of Slonim, elucidates some of the Rebbe’s essays on the topic of the Yamim Nora’im, in English. That’s right—for the first time ever, English-only speakers can now enjoy the beautiful and rich ma’amarim of the Nesivos Sholom, too!

You’ll be awed at the Nesivos Sholom’s masterful blend of Chassidic thought and scholarly analysis; mystical concepts and illustrative narratives. Inspiration simply seeps out of each and every page in this sefer. With Gems from the Nesivos Sholom at your side during these Yamim Nora’im, you can be sure that, b’ezras Hashem, you’ll go far!

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! The Royal Mission

August 25, 2014

C372You know those important lessons that you would love to somehow transmit to your kids, but you have no idea how to do it without the lesson sailing right over their heads? (I’m not referring to the lessons on “Why It’s Important To Clean Your Room” or “Why You Should Not Pull Your Sister’s Ponytail”— those you’ll have to figure out on your own how to teach to your kids…) Take, for example, teaching children the importance of creating a kiddush Hashem in every situation they are in. That’s not something that is always easy for a child to grasp.

Sometimes, a simple mashal is the best way to teach something to a child. And when the story of the mashal is spun by talented author Rachel Stein, and the characters and setting are brought to life by children’s illustrator Racheli David—well, it’s pretty hard for a kid to ignore such a story and its lesson!

That is why we feel The Royal Mission is such a crucial contribution to the world of children’s literature. It takes the all-important lesson of how and why we must constantly bring honor to Hashem’s Name—and really brings the lesson down to a child’s level of understanding. In this story, readers are introduced to Fluffy and Cottontail, two servants of King Arnevet, who are sent by the king to enjoy a wonderful vacation…but with the caveat that they always remember who they represent, even while away from the royal palace.

Children will follow the two lovable bunnies as they encounter different scenarios and make decisions on how to act. As one bunny emerges as the hero and the other as the one who needs to brush up on his behavior, your child will grow in his understanding and appreciation of the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem.

This is a book every child, bunny rabbit-lover or not, will enjoy!

Click here to purchase online.


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