November 23, 2020

LA193The Chief

Reb Chaim received a call one evening.

“Hello, is this Rabbi Goldzweig?” asked the man on the line.

“Yes, it is.”

 “I am visiting from Toronto for business and staying in a hotel downtown. I was told to call you for information about where I can get kosher food,” the caller explained.

Rabbi Goldzweig told the man that the kosher stores and restaurants were all located on the north side of Chicago, but that they would probably be closing within the hour. The man sounded disappointed that he would not be able to make it in time to get something to eat.

Reb Chaim told the man, “You know what? Let me stop off at the store and get you some sandwiches and I’ll bring them down to you. I should be there in about an hour.”

The man protested that Reb Chaim shouldn’t bother, but Reb Chaim told him not to worry about anything.

An hour later, Rabbi Goldzweig reached the hotel and saw a distinguished-looking Orthodox Jew in the lobby. He introduced himself and handed him a bag of sandwiches and other food.

“I can’t believe you came all the way downtown just for me!” the man said. “How much do I owe you?” He pulled out his wallet.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s my pleasure,” Reb Chaim reassured the man.

The man smiled and shook Reb Chaim’s hand. “My name is Moshe Reichmann and, thank G-d, I can afford to pay for it. I refuse to take the food without paying. Please tell me how much I owe you.”

Rabbi Goldzweig had never heard of the famous Canadian philanthropist. He smiled back and said, “Well, my name is Chaim Goldzweig, and have you ever heard of something called chessed? I refuse to take money for a chessed.

Mr. Reichmann looked at Rabbi Goldzweig incredulously. “Have you ever heard of me? My company is Olympia and York.”

“Hmm.” Rabbi Goldzweig thought for a moment. “I know where Olympia is and I know where York is, but they are nowhere near each other! But listen, if you want, you can take the money and give it to tzedakah instead.”

A little while later, Rabbi Goldzweig received a call from one of the rabbis at the OU.

“Chaim, you know you brought food to a man staying downtown?”

“Yeah,” Rabbi Goldzweig said. “He said his name is Reichmann or something like that. Why do you ask?”

“Chaim, that was Moishe Reichmann, one of the richest people in the world. You asked him if he knows what chessed is? He is one of the biggest ba’alei tzedakah around. He just called me to see if we have people from the moon working for the OU!”

But Reb Chaim wasn’t impressed. He would have done the same thing had the man not had a penny to his name.

Meet Reb Chaim Goldzweig. If you hadn’t heard of him until now, the above anecdote illustrates exactly the kind of person he was. A larger-than-life figure, he was the one on whose shoulders rested much of the kashrus industry of the world. But that was in the public eye.

In the privacy of his home, Reb Chaim was a ba’al tzedakah who supported countless individuals and institutions—even though he was not a rich man. He was the man who ran an open house that was literally just that: a house where random guests and homeless people felt comfortable opening the fridge, answering the phones, and changing the temperature of the thermostat, as if they were all bona-fide family members. He was the scion of chassidic Rebbes, whose bitachon in Hashem was genuine and absolute. And, of course, he was a beloved husband, father, and zeidy, who enjoyed nothing more than pampering his loved ones.

The Chief, written by a son-in-law, Rabbi Ephraim Nisenbaum, offers a peek into the life and legacy of Reb Chaim Goldzweig. In this book, you will read the fascinating history of the kashrus movement in America, and the enormous role that Reb Chaim played in it. You will also read many of the sometimes-scary-sometimes-hilarious-but always-entertaining stories that Reb Chaim experienced along his colorful journey as a globe-trotting mashgiach. As well, you will gain immeasurable chizuk and inspiration from the actions of this humble, self-effacing giant in chessed.

Click here to purchase online.

The Black Sheep – Chapter 6

November 23, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 6 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Nosson’s parents called me the other day,” Ariella told her mother, when they both sat down after licht bentching.

“They called?” Her mother started. “What did they want?”

“To invite me for Shabbos.”

Shoshi, seated a short distance away and studying from her Navi, raised her eyes. There was quiet in the large room.

Nu?” her mother finally said.

“I didn’t want to, of course,” Ariella said lightly. “Last time I was there, last year, his mother tried to suggest a shidduch for me… But that’s not why I declined this time.”

“So what was the reason?”

“I need to rest,” her daughter replied. “I was very tense all week. Thinking about Osher, starting work again…I just wasn’t up to going away for Shabbos.”

“You wouldn’t have been able to rest there?” Shoshi dared to interject. “They probably don’t let you lift a finger when you’re there. Or do you mean that you’d have to bring them a cake or something?”

“If I would have gone, I would have asked you to bake something for me,” her oldest sister said with a smile. “No, it’s not the cake or the kugel that bothered me. When I’m there, Shoshi, I work the whole time.”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 5

November 16, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 5 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Sarah, mazel tov!” The kallah’s mother shook her hand warmly. “It’s so lovely to see you. Come, sit down; it’s fine that you didn’t get here for the chuppah. Look, my sister-in-law Zahava saved you a place.”

Sarah smiled and nodded and walked over to the corner table.

“Hello,” she said to the women seated there, some of whom she recognized and some whom she did not. “Mazel tov.”

“Sarah, mazel tov; how are you?” Elazar’s cousin began passing her bowls of dips one after the other. “You look tired. What time did you work until today?”

“Until six. Thanks.” Sarah took a bit of coleslaw but ignored the other dips.

“It’s no wonder you look like this, with those black circles under your eyes. With children or adults?”


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The Black Sheep – Chapter 4

November 9, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 4 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

A few yards past the entry to the Reiness family’s apartment was another steel door, and beyond that was Sarah Reiness’s world. This was where their private home was located; none of her husband’s youths came in there, and she conducted her life there in a tranquil setting: she spoke on the phone to her married children, arranged her meeting calendar, fried tuna patties for lunch for the boys, or painted the sea.

She had already completed seven oil paintings that she’d named “The Sea,” all in the two years since they’d come from Haifa to Acco. They were all painted from the same angle, and were of similar style, but the hues, the boats, and the people on the sandy beach all changed, as if they were chapters in a serial story.

The paintings hung on the walls of the small living room, side by side, and anyone who looked at them could see that the paintbrush had been wielded by an amateur. But Sarah loved them anyway—and so did her husband, Elazar.

The latest painting was the most beautiful of them all.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 3

November 2, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 3 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Ariella?” Mindy Kagan lifted her pencil off her paper. “I don’t understand where the x of this equation goes.”

“Here,” her private tutor replied, pointing to a spot on the page.

“This? This is the second question, and I’m still on the first question.”

Oy, you’re right,” Ariella said. “So what did you ask me?”

Mindy looked at her, baffled. “Where is the x?”

“In which question?”

Mindy took a deep breath. “The first one.”

“Oh.” Ariella lowered her eyes to the page. Zichron Yaakov. Hadera. Haifa. Tzefas. Teveriah. Acco. Rosh Pinah. Nahariyah. Which part of the “north” had Osher gone to? She drummed the blue eraser on the table and pictured a map of Israel in her mind. Assuming that Osher had not crossed the border into Syria, where had he been speaking from? He didn’t sound carefree and calm. The sudden silence, the cut-off conversation… She’d need to sit with Abba, Ima, Shoshi, and Lakey and ask them for every shred of information that might shed some light on this very bewildering darkness. Which yeshivah could he have gone to that let him be so cut off from home, and supported keeping his family completely out of the loop?

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 2

October 26, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 2 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Osher’s disappeared?”

Ariella gripped the note that she’d pulled off the magnet board. Osher’s handwriting danced in front of her eyes.

“This time, he didn’t really disappear,” her mother said heavily. Her voice sounded weary.


“He left us a message.”

Me, too, Ariella wanted to say.

“The mashgiach called to say that Osher came to tell him thank you and good bye, and that he was transferring to a different yeshivah. Then we saw the note. He wrote that he…” She fell silent for a moment. “That he loves us, and that we shouldn’t worry about him, because he’s going to a better place.”

“Last time, two summers ago, he didn’t leave a note, right?”

“That’s right.”

“At least he learned something since then.” Ariella’s lips curled into a ghost of a smile. “Let’s hope it’s a good sign.” She was quiet for a moment. “He told the mashgiach he was switching yeshivos?”


“And he didn’t write anything to you about the new yeshivah?”

“No. Just that it’s ‘a better place.’”

“What kind of paper did he write the note on?” Ariella whispered.


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The Black Sheep – Chapter 1

October 19, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 1 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Nestled among Arab houses, both new and old, on the corner of the alley near the sea, was a house surrounded by an opaque fence. The gate was open, and a two-story structure with winding stone stairs around the side came into view.

The visitor, Gad Shimoni, crossed the neglected yard to the metal door on the ground floor. He set his black case down on the ground and knocked lightly. Aside for the echo of his knocks, there wasn’t a sound to be heard. He turned right toward the stairs, beneath which rested a pile of broken boards, bent out of shape due to the rains and humid, salty sea air. The smell of the sea blended with the faint smell of sawdust.

Shimoni climbed the stairs. The higher he went, the more he could see parts of the boardwalk across from him. The tiny area that separated the top step from the door of the apartment was covered in some type of cheap, synthetic grass, and the heavy door bore a modern-looking nameplate that said “Reiness.” Here, too, his knocks did not draw a live soul to the door.

He retraced his steps and had reached the bottom when he heard the gate open. He put on his most official and professional smile. Were the man and his boys coming back?

They met at the bottom of the stairs, but this was certainly not Elazar Reiness. “Oh, good evening!” the new arrival exclaimed when he noticed Shimoni. He stuck his hand out in a friendly gesture. “Did you also come to meet Reiness?”

Mr. Shimoni politely shook the man’s hand. He was clearly Arabic, and his face was familiar. “Yes, I did come for Rabbi Reiness,” Shimoni replied. “Do you know him?”

“A bit. Not much,” the Arab replied. “But I know you, Mr. Shimoni. Truant officer, aren’t you?”

“Yes, indeed, and you?”

“I’m Hussein Abu Abed Al-Alami, the principal of Abu Usmia. You’ve visited us in regard to a number of our students…”

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NEW RELEASE: Falsely Accused

October 13, 2020

The 39 Melachos with Rabbi Juravel –C573 Falsely Accused

There’s a family on my block that has a bunch of super-inquisitive, constantly-needing-to-be-entertained children. Not the kind of crew where you give them some books and some Clics and you don’t hear from them until supper.

Anyway, the mother recently told me that she discovered a gold mine for her kids: Rabbi Juravel CDs, and especially his exciting hilchos Shabbos ones. These are 3 CDs, each one containing a suspenseful, action-packed story which incorporates the Lamed-Tes Melachos and weaves them into the storyline, thus successfully teaching kids many important hilchos Shabbos.

“My kids are glued to these CDs,” she told me. “And would you believe it, they actually tell me all the time what I am and what I’m not allowed to do on Shabbos, based on the halachos they learn from the stories! I’m loving it!”

To this mom, and to all parents out there who have had similarly gratifying experiences with the phenomenal Rabbi Juravel Hilchos Shabbos CDs, here’s a happy piece of news: It gets even better! Because CD #1 of this series—Falsely Accused—is now available in comics book form for kids!

Yes, you read that right. If your kids love comics books, and they love thrilling and suspenseful stories, they can get their fix straight from Rabbi Juravel himself, and learn loads of hilchos Shabbos in the process, as well!

A one-of-a-kind reading experience that is guaranteed to delight and entertain kids of all ages…and their parents too!

Click here to purchase online.

The Black Sheep – Teaser

October 12, 2020

A dejected, misunderstood teenager whose diagnosis of ADHD follows him wherever he goes, like a depressing black cloud…

His older, widowed sister who feels she can’t get her act together enough to give her future another shot…

What happens when these two siblings find themselves in the remote port city of Akko, away from the rest of their family but still apart from each other?

And what is the mystery surrounding the yeshivah building in Akko, which is suddenly so high in demand by some local Arabs?

Read all about it in The Black Sheep, a new exciting serial by bestselling novelist Esther Rappaport!

The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 73

October 5, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 73 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

A new door appeared just a bit further down the hall from the Potolskys’ front door. Elisheva had deliberated what to write on the nameplate, and finally, her excitement over the name “Ludmir” tipped the scale.

The carved wooden nameplate that she had ordered was a nice accent. The children loved dropping in to their grandfather “for just a few minutes.” They enjoyed walking out the front door and going down the hall to knock at his door officially, even though they could have easily crossed the hall inside the house and knocked at the inner door that connected them to Saba’s new apartment unit. He had bid farewell to the senior citizens’ home and had moved in with his family permanently.

Yisrael returned from Minchah together with his grandson Meir, and found his daughter standing at the door, scraping at the remnants of the glue from the nameplate. “Is everything alright?” he asked.

She turned. “Everything is fine, baruch Hashem. Just…”

“Are you expecting guests?” He looked at her, and when she blushed, he smiled and opened the door. Meir walked inside with him, and helped his grandfather hang his jacket on the hook. Elisheva turned around and walked back into her own home.

A few minutes later, she appeared in the room again, through the other door. “I brought you a cup of tea and your pill that you take before eating.”

“Tell me, Elisheva. Is Gustav coming to Israel?” he asked directly.

She blushed again. “Yes. You know me well, Abba.”


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