NEW RELEASE! Hachi Garsinan

November 12, 2018

At a recent kiddush for a baby girl, who had been named Liba, I overheard an interesting conversation.

A middle-aged man turned to someone and said, “Liba. Doesn’t that mean heart? As in, v’sein b’libeinu binah…?”

When the other fellow nodded, the man shook his head ruefully and said, “You know, as a newcomer to Judaism, I can’t take my understanding of any Hebrew or Aramaic word for granted. Just to know what I’m saying when I daven, I need to spend hours reviewing the basic words that make up the prayers in the siddur.”

Well, I had a whole new appreciation for ba’alei teshuvah after that! Imagine plugging away for hours, reviewing root words, prefixes, and suffixes, just to be able to daven properly! The fact that I, an FFB, can understand, more or less, the tefillos that I say, without having to spend hours studying and reviewing them,  is something that I shouldn’t take for granted!

But the truth is, it’s not just BTs who may have trouble understanding the language of the siddur and of the Gemara. Not everyone is a “language person,” and especially when it comes to learning, trying to understand a difficult concept while simultaneously trying to understand the language in which the concept is written, can be very, very challenging.

The book Hachi Garsinan was written for this reason.

Hachi Garsinanwhich literally means “This is how we say it,” is a one-of-a-kind work which aims to assist those who are learning Gemara but aren’t necessarily familiar with Aramaic, the language of the Gemara. The book explains the origin and meaning of many of the Aramaic words commonly used in the Gemara. In a nutshell, it teaches the non-Aramaic speaker how to understand the Talmud.

Even seasoned Gemara learners, who are fine with Aramaic, have reported being helped by Hachi Garsinan, as the book sheds light on so many nuances of each word.

As the esteemed author of this book writes: “Learning Hachi Garsinan from beginning to end will make you intimately familiar with the Aramaic language, so that when attempting to master a sugya, you will find yourself in ‘familiar territory.’”

There you have it—your “cheat sheet” to help you learn the daf properly.

So whether you’re a BT or an FFB, if you are attempting to understand “Gemara language,” or to delve deeper into your learning, Hachi Garsinan is there for you, ready to empower you on your journey through the Gemara.

Click here to purchase online.


Night Flower – Chapter 46

November 12, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 46 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Adi’s parents were not happy, to put it mildly, about the change that had come over their daughter and son-in-law. The change hadn’t yet become firm by the time Adi’s husband passed away, but if they hoped that because he was the leader, without his influence Adi would go back to her “normal” ways, they were mistaken. It infuriated them so much that the ties between them and Adi became very chilly. Adi would call only once a week, before Shabbos.

But this morning, she called. “Ima,” she said, “can Abba come and install a new door for me today? He’ll be paid, of course.”

“A door?” her mother asked. “What happened? Your old door was broken into?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, you poor thing. Where were you? Out shopping or something?”

“No.” A chill slithered up Adi’s spine. “I was home.” Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 45

November 5, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 45 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Chaiky leaned her head on the headrest of the seat in front of her, reveling in these last few moments of being so far from it all. Yisrael Meir was resting on her lap, and she held his little hands, gazing at his tranquil, smooth forehead. Something about Reva Margulies’s warmth, natural demeanor, and pampering care still lingered, perhaps hiding among the containers of food she had prepared for their trip. Chaiky saw how caringly the sandwiches were wrapped in foil and the vegetables cut, and Reva had added two chocolate bars.

Just a few hours ago, they were still standing together, and Reva had spoken to her.

“Remember, Chaiky,” she said, and Chaiky had devoured her words as though Reva was twenty years her senior. In actuality, the age gap was only two years, as they’d discovered this past Shabbos when they had been sitting in the afternoon and reminiscing about their respective high school years. “Remember, Chaiky, that you can call me as often as you want. I’ll literally be waiting for your calls, and if you don’t call—I’m going to call you.” She smiled. “And there’s something else I want to suggest that you do sometimes.” She wrapped the food in Saran wrap and continued speaking, without looking directly at Chaiky. “Today, with all the nice words that people give everything, it sounds almost trite to say this, but it’s such an important thing: talk to Hashem. That’s what I do when the going gets rough for me.” She paused for a minute as she put everything she had prepared into an insulated tote bag. “It’s amazing how a few sentences—but real, sincere sentences—can help.”

If her tone had been the slightest bit schoolmarmish, Chaiky would have been annoyed. But Reva spoke with such candor, and made her feel so cared-for and close to her, that Chaiky had just nodded quietly.

Then they’d had to attend to the last few details before leaving the house, followed by their farewell at the airport and takeoff, during which time Chaiky hadn’t had time to think. When the plane finally reached cruising altitude, Yisrael Meir had begun to wail and fuss, exhausting his mother. When he finally fell asleep, she was so drained that within a few moments, she also fell into a deep sleep.

But now, she had twenty-five minutes left until landing, and if she didn’t want to land back into her life with a big boom, she had better look things in the eye and be prepared. Not too prepared, of course, because not much was left of all those nice, organized plans she had once had. But still, something. She felt a sudden urge to turn to Hashem, but she didn’t know where to start. Yisrael Meir gazed at her with his large eyes, and she hugged him.

“I’m afraid…” Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 44

October 29, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 44 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Adi?” Noa stood on the balcony of the cheap hotel room, the phone pressed to her ear. Even if someone had tapped Adi’s phone wires, which did not seem to have happened, he would not be able to obtain Noa’s new phone number. She had purchased the telephone from her personal and secret account, without even bothering to check if her grandfather’s credit card was still active. First, it was likely that it had already been frozen, and second, even if it was still active, she had no interest in her grandfather receiving information about her purchase, with all its details.

“Yes, Noa?” Adi’s voice trembled a bit.

“What’s doing?”

“Two people knocked here before.” Adi’s voice shook even more. “I didn’t open the door, but they broke it down. You saw it, right? It’s a pretty rickety door. You have no idea how they screamed and howled that they have to speak to you. They didn’t touch my things and didn’t take anything, but…” The tremor turned into a little sob that lasted a second and a half and then stopped. “It was very, very unpleasant. I know that ‘not pleasant’ is just ‘not pleasant’ and not more than that, but…”

“But it’s terrible,” Noa said forcefully. “You and your daughter should not have to suffer from the fact that you hosted me for a night. You just wait and see how they are going to regret scaring you like that.” She didn’t know why she was trying to sound so eager to help, perhaps because when they’d parted, Adi had looked so forlorn and frightened. “I’m going to call them in a minute. But tell me, who lives opposite you? The neighbors didn’t see anything? Hear anything? They didn’t try to help you?”

“I have no connection to the neighbors,” Adi whispered.

“I see. And tell me, do you think they are still on the street, downstairs?” Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 43

October 22, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 43 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Community and Culture Foundation. For the administration, please press one. For accounting, press two. For coordinators, press three. For the secretary, press zero or hold the line.”

Elka pressed three.

“For Yael, please press one. For Chanita, please press two.”

Hmmm… If there was any chance of extracting some information, it was only from Chanita. Elka pressed two and sat down on her rocking chair as she quickly reviewed in her mind what she planned to ask. She couldn’t reveal that Margalit had told her something regarding the expected grant, but on the other hand, she also couldn’t just start asking questions out of the blue.

“Good morning, Chanita speaking.”

“Hello, Chanita. This is Elka Cohen, from Yokne’am.”

“Oh, Elka, how are you? We received your most recent reports. Seems like you’re doing a very good job at your place.”

“You mean the reports from before Pesach?” Elka relaxed a bit. Chanita herself had opened up an avenue for her to ask questions.

“Yes. Your winter activities were quite impressive.”

Chanita, an older, traditional woman, admired and somewhat understood the Chareidi lifestyle, and had always been very friendly with Elka. Still, Elka had to be careful. “Yes, the winter was quite successful, baruch Hashem. Noa contributed a lot toward that.”

“Noa? Which Noa?” Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 42

October 15, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 42 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

The two sisters met at the vort of one of their nephews.

“Margalit! What’s doing? What’s with the grant? Have you heard anything?”

“Heard? Where should I have heard from?”

“From wherever you heard then.” Uh-oh, she was being evasive!

“You realize that I am not usually a partner to what is going on at the Culture and Community Foundation. Those were two one-time incidents. It’s true that the grants are entered into the list of figures that I receive, as their accountant, but first of all, I don’t always get the figures; sometimes another worker in the office does that work. And besides, it’s a report that is generated only once in several months. So I’m not constantly being updated. Tell me, does this cake look like it has peanut butter?”

Elka took a little coffee mousse cup off the sweet table, and then regretted it and put back in its place. “What did you hear?”

“About the kallah?”

“We’ll talk about the kallah another time. I’m sure she’s lovely and wonderful. Do you think Yaakov would do any other kind of shidduch for his Shloimy? I’m talking about the Foundation’s grant, and don’t change the subject.” Elka was usually pleasant and amicable. But there were times when she just couldn’t muster up much of that pleasant demeanor; it happened when something was bothering her very much and didn’t let her focus on anything else but that.

Margalit leaned against the wall. “The last time, the material did not go through me.”

“Margalit, would you stop playing games with me and tell me exactly what you know?” Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 41

September 30, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 41 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Noa double locked the door and ran to the window. It was a large window with a brown translucent windowpane, which she pushed aside as she pulled the yellowing shutters downward. The street was silent, but her sharp eyes discerned a figure walking down the sidewalk, growing more distant by the moment. Perhaps it was even the same figure that had been walking near her when she had arrived. Noa’s anger at herself mounted. How had she not taken into account that her grandfather would send someone to see where she was going after leaving the Haifa apartment?

She returned to the sheet-covered sofa and sat down. She felt a pang of hunger; the cookies had hardly satiated her. And after all this, she still hadn’t had that drink she had wanted.

She got up again and walked to the kitchen, passing the door, the peephole, the picture, and the note. Who were the “strong flasks”? Which cult did Adi belong to? Too bad that Racheli, who had written that she was available twenty-four hours a day, hadn’t left a phone number. Adi must have it written down elsewhere, or she knew it by heart. Maybe it was possible to call this Racheli right now to ask her a few questions.

The thought suddenly flashed through Noa’s mind that perhaps the note hanging outside was not even meant for her; maybe it was for Adi. She looked around. Where had she put it? On the sofa? On the small table?

After a few minutes of searching, she found it on the floor near the large window. It must have fallen out of her hand when she’d run to see what was going on in the street. She picked it up and smoothed out the wrinkles that had formed when she had clutched it tightly a short time earlier.

You’re not a baby, so please, no games. Deal with it now and we’ll finish nicely.

There was no salutation or signature. Perhaps it was for Adi and not her at all. Keep Reading…