NEW RELEASE! Blood Brothers

September 24, 2015

L755Shifra and Leah were the most un-similar twins I’d ever met. They were a few grades older than me in high school, so I didn’t have much to do with them, but whenever I saw them, I couldn’t help but marvel at their differences. You would never guess the two girls were sisters—much less twins!

Shifra was tall and thin, with fiery red hair and hundreds of freckles sprinkled all over her face. Leah was short, heavyset, and brown-haired, with nary a freckle in sight.

It wasn’t just their appearances. Leah was the life of the party, always jolly and laughing. Shifra, on the other hand, was much quieter. (I know, you expected the redhead to be the loud one, right?)

The weird—or should I say, nice—thing about it was that Shifra and Leah were the closest of friends! You would have thought girls who were so different by nature would gravitate to totally diverse interests, but no, these two were an inseparable pair, always doing things together. They went to the same seminary, they worked in the same office afterward, and in fact, if I recall correctly, they even got engaged and married within a few weeks of each other! It was as if one couldn’t tie the knot without knowing that her twin sister was doing the same!

I hadn’t thought of Shifra and Leah in a while—I haven’t seen either of them in years—but when I read Blood Brothers, by popular author Esther Rapaport, the image of these two girls suddenly flashed in my mind. Here was a set of twins that was the exact opposite of Shifra and Leah. As identical twin boys, Alonso and Alejandro couldn’t have looked more similar, yet the two got on each other’s nerves like the worst of enemies.

Their poor mother, I couldn’t help but think. What a sorry state of affairs.

Then I read more…and more…and, like in every good novel, things began to get more complicated. No more was the greatest problem in the book the fact that Alonso and Alejandro couldn’t get along; now the two had more sinister issues to deal with… Like a life-threatening illness facing Alejandro. Like a high-ranking Communist on Alonso’s back. Like some unexpected perils as Alonso tried to pursue his forbidden Torah study…

For all of you readers familiar with Esther Rapaport, you’ll know without me even saying it: this is one great book. It’s got all the ingredients of a good suspense novel: an exotic setting, intrigue, character depth, some fascinating history thrown in, and an awesome plot.

If you’re looking for a novel that will bring you lots of Yom Tov reading pleasure, look no further: Blood Brothers is the book for you!

Click here to purchase online.


September 10, 2015

L757“Ah, those were the good old days!”

How many folks (usually those aged forty and up) have been guilty of uttering these words? And the truth is, there is truth to these words—so if you’ve been accused of saying them, there’s really no reason to feel any guilt.

Somehow, in the “old days” (which, by the way, is a relative term—something I’ve come to realize as I’ve gotten older), things were more simple, more sturdy, and of better quality. (Think: your Bubby’s old green sofa that you wish would fall apart so she’d get rid of it—but it just aint happening any time soon…)

The written word, too, was often like that. A few decades ago, there wasn’t that much by way of Jewish reading books and magazines, but what there was, was generally good, wholesome, quality reading material.

Take Light Magazine, for example. Mention the title to an avid reader of thirty or forty years ago, and chances are you’ll see an immediate smile break out on his or her face. The stories in Light were well-written, thought-provoking, and just plain fun to read—and people loved them.

And now, Israel Bookshop has captured some of that nostalgic past by publishing Light!–a collection of stories from those same favored magazines of yesteryear! And lest you think this book will only be liked by your Bubby and Zeidy, but not by you, young spring chicken that you are—well, at Israel Bookshop, we’ve come to learn the literature tastes of all age groups, and we can assure you that Light! is a book that will become a fast favorite among today’s teens and young adults, too.

(Though, yes, Bubby and Zeidy will probably also be hooked on this book, and if you’re thinking of buying a nice gift for them, Light! is a wonderful option. As you know, a little Light goes a long way in expelling the darkness…)

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Halachically Speaking Volume 4

September 9, 2015

L756Sori Goldbaum was a lovely girl of marriageable age. However, practically every time a boy was redt to her, the suggestion was nixed faster than anyone had a chance to ask for a resume. No, it wasn’t that Sori had an overprotective older brother who shot down every suggestion because he “knew the boy personally” and the boy “just wasn’t good enough” for his sister. The reason for what was happening lay in the fact that Sori’s family was super stringent when it came to names for shidduchim. According to Rav Yehuda Hachassid, a girl may not marry a boy with the same name as her father, nor may a girl marry a boy whose mother has the same name as her. Sori’s family also held that the mechutanim cannot have any of the same names as each other.

What made things just a wee bit complicated here was the fact that Sori’s father, Dovid Goldbaum, had four names: Dovid Yosef Yehuda Leib. That meant that if a prospective boy, or his father, had Dovid, Yosef, Yehuda, or Leib in their names—the shidduch could not get off the ground. And…well, that explains Sori’s predicament.

Now, before all you readers become up in arms, let me assure you that there are many different opinions on this subject, and I will not be paskening any of your sheilos for you. What I will tell you, though, is that the entire topic is discussed in detail in Halachically Speaking Volume 4, the latest book in Rav Moishe Dovid Lebovits’s bestselling halachah series. In addition to the many other fascinating subjects that he discusses, such as the halachos of hafrashas challah, of paying a shadchan, and of affixing a mezuzah to a doorpost, in this book Rabbi Lebovits devotes an entire chapter to the customs brought down by Rav Yehuda Hachassid—including the ins and outs of names as they relate to shidduchim.

As is classic Rabbi Lebovits, everything is explained in a clear and forthright manner, so that you can easily understand all the various opinions on a halachic issue—and thus be in a better position to ask your own sheilah to your local Orthodox rabbi.

Oh, and about Sori…don’t worry about her. Thankfully, she got engaged recently, to a really nice boy…named Aharon Tzvi Hirsch.

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Visions of Virtue

September 8, 2015

L753I have a relative who, though an avid reader, refuses to touch fiction books. “Why do I need to read about some imaginary person and her issues?” she says. “There are enough issues going on in real life for me to think about!”

To which I reply, “To each his own.” I personally love a good novel—I find it’s the best way to distract myself from thinking about my own, real-life “issues,” and in my opinion, a good distraction from life’s problems is sometimes a very healthy thing—but I can certainly hear her side of the coin, too.

In any case, she’s got no reason to fear a dearth of reading material in the Jewish non-fiction market. These days, there are so many true story books, non-fictional memoirs, and biographies out there in the Jewish bookstores…and, of course, now she can add another fantastic non-fiction book to her pile, as well: Visions of Virtue, by masterful storyteller Rabbi Yosef Weiss.

Rabbi Weiss and his writing really need no introduction. As the author of the wildly popular Visions of Greatness series (CIS Publishers), Rabbi Weiss knows how to tell a good—and true—story.

In the pages of this new, soon-to-become-a-bestseller, short story book, you will read many fascinating accounts of real people and their very real lives. You’ll read about an unlikely car mechanic who saves the day—or rather, the night—for an askan in need…and about a Hatzolah member who was “accidentally” called instead of a hotel’s front desk—thereby enabling him to save the life of a young boy…and dozens of more inspirational stories. And they are all 100% true!

So whether you are like my non-fiction-biased relative, or you are an indiscriminate bookworm who will read just about anything you can get your hands on, here’s a book you won’t want to pass up. Visions of ViruteA collection of elevating stories… It’s sure to elevate any reader’s day.

Click here to purchase online.


September 4, 2015

L729The very real dangers of blogging are quite self-evident—and I say this with full sincerity, even as I write this blog piece myself. But never before had I seen an example of the havoc that could be wreaked by a blogger’s “innocent” review about a person or subject—a.k.a. authentic lashon hara—until I read the riveting novel, Sundays @ Ten.

This is a book for our times. It is suspenseful and oh-so-realistic, and it paints a very frightening picture of a life nearly ruined by another person’s unfortunate weakness with regard to his yetzer hara. 

There’s lots more going on in this book, too, of course. I mean, with Needs-No-Introduction Dov Haller as its author, how could the book not be chock-full with relatable and well-rounded characters, exciting twists and sub-plots, and thought-provoking lessons smattered throughout?

You’ll meet Rabbi Wohlberg, an exceptional, if “old-styled,” school principal…a young and dynamic assistant principal, who, at first glance, seems to be Rabbi Wohlberg’s polar opposite…a polished and professional chairman of the school board who wants nothing but to enhance the school’s image in the eyes of the public…and many more characters. But we’ll let you decide who the good ones—and the bad guys—are…

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Sefer Chofetz Chaim – English Translation

September 3, 2015

L746From high school teens to busy fathers and mothers…from kollel yungeleit to venerated talmidei chachamim—everyone has heard of the famous idea of learning 2 halachos from Sefer Chofetz Chaim daily. Each year finds many, many individuals committing to this special undertaking, which, as the Manchester Rosh Yeshivah zt”l said, will always result in the individual meriting some kind of yeshuah in his or her life.

While nowadays, there is no shortage of English adaptations or explanations of Sefer Chofetz Chaim, never has there been a straight English translation of this pivotal work…until now. With the release of Sefer Chofetz Chaim in English, English-speaking readers now have access to the actual words of the holy sage on the all-important topic of shemiras halashon.

If you think about it, this really is a tremendous breakthrough for the general frum public. The Chofetz Chaim was undisputedly one of the greatest gedolim in recent history. It’s understandable that every Torah Jew would want to hear exactly what the Chofetz Chaim said and wrote in his classical sefer, and not simply rely on the explanations and summations of others, due to one’s limited comprehension of the Hebrew language. 

Now this can be done! With this beautiful book, which is divided into the daily learning schedule, you too can join the myriads of others who are internalizing the holy Chofetz Chaim’s message, halachah by halachah.

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Kitzur Halachos Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed

September 2, 2015

L747It’s come up so many times in my home. I’ll be preparing a salad on Yom Tov, and reach for a knife to peel the cucumber…and then think to myself, Hey, it’s Yom Tov, not Shabbos. Maybe I can use a peeler? But because Yom Tov doesn’t come around nearly as often as Shabbos, even if I’ve found out the correct halachah during the previous Yom Tov, chances are that by now I’ve forgotten it. And, Yom Tov being hectic as it is, I don’t usually have the time to go and ask the sheilah right then and there. So, more often than not, I just end up shrugging and using a knife, all the while wondering if I could have made my life easier by actually finding out if I could use a peeler, after all…

That’s why I, for one, am so excited about the release of Kitzur Halachos Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed. Written in easy English and with a comprehensive index included, this halachah sefer, which is based on the Mishnah Berurah, is exactly what you need when you’re trying to find out a Yom Tov-related halachah as quickly and painlessly as possible. It covers all the bases in terms of hilchos Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed: melachos for ochel nefesh (food preparation on Yom Tov); eiruv tavshilin; Kiddush, tefillah, birkas hamazon, and Havdalah; writing and doing other melachos on Chol Hamoed; and lots more.   

For the housewife who’s trying to make a salad for the seudah… For the man of the house who needs to know whether or not he can repair his air conditioner on Chol Hamoed… For the sweating individual who wants to know if and how he can take a shower on Yom Tov…

Click here to purchase online.


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