My First Sing-Along Siddur

May 11, 2010

Here at the Israel Bookshop, we like to work with background music. No, really. Not “background music” in the figurative sense, as in ringing phones and noisy printers, but in the literal sense—as in real music. Somehow, there’s something about the strains of the latest Baruch Levine or Shloimy Gertner CD that really gets the energy pumping in the air and the creative juices flowing as we work on ads and back cover texts. I guess you have to be a music lover to understand it, and we have a few of those here…

But if you had walked into our office sometime last month, you may have been surprised to hear songs like “We Open One Eye, We Open Two,” “Hashem Gave Us a Present,” and “Don’t Walk in Front of Me” wafting in the air. Yes, I know we all (supposedly) grew up already, but…the CD that comes along with My First Sing-Along Siddur is so irresistible, we just had to slip it in the CD player and listen to it ourselves before bringing it home for our kids to listen to a thousand times each day. (And by now, it’s practically coming out of our ears, although our kids are still asking to hear it for their thousand-time daily dose!)

The nice part of it all is that the CD comes with the most adorable “siddur,” fully-illustrated and containing all the age-appropriate tefillos for kids to say each day. Those kids old enough to read can follow along with the words, while the really little ones can daven simply by singing along with the CD. It’s a win-win situation, and one of the cutest and most practical gifts you can get a child of any age.

Click here to purchase a copy for the kids in your life…


May 10, 2010

New online serial novel, by Esther Rapaport, author of “Diamond in the Rough”

Rafi Zimmer, neglected child of a dysfunctional family, is at his lowest ebb. Nava Cohen, a high school teenager, is feeling stifled and choked by her relationship with her parents. And Ronny Gelbart is looking for just one thing—a way to get even with the chareidim in his neighborhood.

What happens when Ronny, on the warpath, searching for revenge, decides to make use of the insidious weapon called blackmail? Can Rafi ever escape his past and put his horrible background behind him—or will he forever be entangled in Ronny’s tight clutches? And is it possible for Nava’s eyes to be opened to the bright rays of the sun in her life—or will she always remain blind to them?

Check back on Thursday for chapter one of this new and exciting novel…

Interview with Bracha Goykadosh

May 6, 2010

In today’s world of literature, where authors and books seem to abound a dime a dozen, and every other person you meet claims to be an “aspiring writer,” it takes a very talented author to actually bring a character to life. One such talent is Bracha Goykadosh.

There is nothing flat, typical, or two-dimensional about the characters that Bracha writes about. To the contrary; I find them so authentic, so true-to-life, so “real”—it almost feels like I’ve actually met them in person! After reading too many books with characters comprised of the former qualities, static and unoriginal, it’s so refreshing to see something totally different in Bracha’s writing.

Take her newest book, Shadows on the Moon. I mean, how could any modern-day teenager NOT relate to Ella Sender? She’s so sarcastic and biting—yet, her tough exterior is only a façade covering up so many layers underneath… As an adult, who already went through my teenage years, I still found myself moved by Ella’s depth and her feelings. And Ruti Reuben, the so-called “perfect” class queen—who doesn’t remember the girl exactly like that from their high school class?!

I think the reason why I, and so many readers whom I speak for, too, loved this book so much, is due to its frankness and realism, elements that unfortunately are not found in your typical teen or adult novel. This, of course, can only be a credit to the book’s gifted author, Bracha Goykadosh. We spoke with Bracha about her entry into the world of writing, and about her writing in general. Here’s what she has to say:

You’ve been writing for a long time, yet you seem to be a young person. How old are you and since when have you been a published author? Read more…

50% off With Help From Above

May 5, 2010

When I first met Jodi, I was floored by how normal she looks. After reading about all her colorful travels and experiences in With Help from Above, I’m not sure what I was expecting her to look like! But the truth is, I think it’s her normalcy and level-headedness that helped shape her experiences and turn them into real stepping stones for personal growth.

Jodi’s approach to life is—when the going gets tough, you can either fall apart, or you can grow. Why not choose the latter and become a better person? And that’s exactly what Jodi has done.

Reading about the difficulties Jodi and her family experienced upon their move to Eretz Yisrael, and about the various accidents and mishaps that befell them, I couldn’t believe how Jodi managed to get up each time she was struck down—and even stronger than before, too. When I mentioned this to her, she gave a little laugh and said, “You know, when people are inspired by my life, that helps me, too.”

I, for one, became inspired tremendously from her life by reading her book. There’s nothing like a real-life example to drive home the message of how we Jews are supposed to view the experiences that we go through…

The book is available here for special 50% discount until May 14th.  Here’s an excerpt…

Judge to the Merit

The international community will never be the same following the terror that has been unleashed against the world under the banner of Islamic Jihad.  Our family was living in Eretz Yisrael when the Twin Towers that once graced the skyline of Manhattan were destroyed.  That day in September shattered America’s sense of optimism and invincibility.  That same day has also become a day of personal loss to our family; it was the day that our son lost his unparalleled enthusiasm for learning.

At the time when the two planes were crashing into their targets, thousands of miles away, in a beis medrash in Ashdod, our oldest son, Chaim, was diligently plowing through pages of the Gemara on his own. Read more…

Great news for all of you Halachically Speaking fans out there!

May 4, 2010

Just in time for Shavuos, Halachically Speaking 2 is now in its printing stage and about to hit the bookstores!

Personally, I found Halachically Speaking to be an incredible sefer. It is extremely reader-friendly and easy to understand, and is chock-full of all those halachos that you heard about once upon a time, but then didn’t hear about again, and then sort of forgot about altogether… All the shoe-related halachos, such as sleeping with shoes on; putting in shoelaces on Shabbos; wearing the shoes of a deceased person; and removing your shoes for duchaning (if you’re a kohen)… Halachos relating to inyanei derech eretz, such as leaving over some food on your plate; not drinking from a cup in one shot; and not eating in the street… All the potato-related halachos you could think of, such as the brachah to recite on Pringles, instant mashed potatoes, and potato knishes; the status of a hot potato when it comes to Bishul (Cooking) on Shabbos; potatoes on Pesach; and  bishul akum regarding potatoes… The halachos of washing netilas yadayim in the bathroom, like when you’re on an airplane; the halachos regarding when to say and when not to say a brachah on water… and this is only a sampling of some of the topics covered in this book!

And, like I said, Halachically Speaking 2 will be in the bookstores in time for Shavuos, the day of Kabbalas HaTorah. Well, folks, what better way to show our dedication to the Torah than by studying the “manual” to it—namely, halachah? So, as you run to the grocery store to pick up another few tubs of cream cheese for your cheesecake, and stock up on jars of Nescafe coffee for your Shavuos all-nighter, and stand for hours at your local Shop-Rite’s floral stand, trying to pick out the nicest bouquet for Shavuos (and of course for your wife!)—don’t forget to make a stop at your local bookstore, too, to pick up your very own copy of Halachically Speaking 2. Trust me—you’ll be glad you did.