Torah for your Toddler!

June 16, 2010

King Pharaoh was not nice; he was as mean as can be.

He said, “The Jews must stay in Mitzrayim, and work very hard for me.”

And so begins C. and Z. Blaivas’ latest board book for children—The Baby in the Basket. In adorable rhymes, The Baby in the Basket tells the story of Moshe Rabbeinu in a way that even the youngest readers can appreciate and enjoy. The board book is the perfect size for tiny hands, and your little ones will love looking through the thick, brightly-illustrated pages again and again.

So take your baby or your toddler on your lap, cuddle up on the couch, and begin reading to him The Baby in the Basket. He’ll enjoy it so much… and so will you!

Also in the C. and Z. Blaivas’ board book series: Our Beautiful World, which tells the story of the Six Days of Creation, and The Very First Rainbow, which is the story of Noach and the Mabul (Flood).

Meet the Author of The Map Seeker

June 14, 2010

In May 2010 Leah Kotkes, an Israel Bookshop author, celebrated the one year release of her first book, The Map Seeker: One Woman’s Quest, an extraordinary memoir for women. Over the last year, here at the Israel Bookshop head office in Lakewood, we have enjoyed a flow of abundant reviews from readers enthralled by The Map Seeker. We spoke to Leah about her writer’s life and the book’s promotion which has taken her from her home in Jerusalem to the USA, Canada, and England to meet readers.

Hi, Leah: When did you start writing for the reader?

I began my writing career in London, where I was born; my first freelance job was as an Arts Editor of a local newspaper, writing reviews of arts events in London—theater, ballet, opera, music, art galleries. I was in my early twenties at the time, and passionate about the Arts; it is easy to write about something that you love. In my mid-twenties I had a fortunate opportunity and was able to switch career paths; I began my work life at eighteen as a fashion publicist, but I’d always wanted to work full-time as a journalist. At 25, I started out as an assistant to a News Editor in a television news company and within six months I was promoted to trainee news journalist. Working in current affairs—non-fiction—was a new genre for me, but one that interested me very much; I had always been fascinated with world affairs and world history in the making.

After a turn of events, I left London and traveled the world on a spiritual quest. In October 1992, in London, I met my first Orthodox rabbi and soon after became shomer Shabbos. August 1993 saw me flying off to Israel to study in seminary; I was twenty-nine years old. During my year in seminary in Jerusalem it was a challenge for me to stop thinking about my professional life; the goal of the one year I had allocated to Jerusalem was to explore what it meant to be a Jewish woman and what my role would be as a wife and mother. It was not an easy task. Until then I hadn’t contemplated these roles, I had been too busy working and enjoying my single girl life, which included traveling—another great love of mine—and basically only thinking about my professional goals in life, I am sorry to say. It was not until five years later, when I was, in fact, a wife and mother, that I took up my pen again, in the form of diary-writing. And it was only after my second child was born in April 2000 that I returned to any sort of writing life; I began writing for the reader. I started my first book in the winter of the year 2000.

What gave you the idea to write a book about your life?


It was my rav, HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg shlit”a, who inspired me to do this, even though at the time, ironically, my rav had no idea that I had been a writer before he met me in the winter of 1993 and that being a writer—and a journalist and novelist—had been a childhood dream since I was about eight years of age. Rav Scheinberg was my spiritual mentor; the rav asked me to start writing for Klal Yisrael; to use my gift of language to inspire and give to others. But first, the Rav said, I must write my “story”—of how I came to this place and point in time—and to start it that very day.

“Call me tonight to let me know that you’ve completed chapter one,” Rav Scheinberg said. Keep Reading…

Divided Attention-Chapter 5

June 10, 2010

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 5 of a new online serial novel, Divided Attention, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday.    Click  here for previous chapters.

Copyright © 2010 by Israel Bookshop Publications

“Nava, what are you doing?”

“Homework. Ugh!”

Her father’s eyebrows rose. “Ugh? Am I hearing right? To the best of my recollection, the thing that you were most afraid of during summer vacation was the thought that you wouldn’t have homework this year. Hmm…”

Nava smiled. “You get used to good things very quickly, Abba,” she said, putting her pencil down on the open geometry book. The two triangles she was working on were congruent; that much was obvious, but how was she supposed to come to the conclusion that segment CD was equal to EF? They were nowhere near the triangles! “The truth is,” she continued, without looking up from the book, “groaning about homework and schoolwork is part of the fun of being in high school. I’m just enjoying the privilege.”

Nava’s father picked up the pencil and toyed with it. “Still, I would expect you to be a bit more respectful about school. It’s not a good idea for people to hear you talking like that, you know.”

Nava bit her lip and looked out the window. “I only make such comments at home, Abba,” she finally said quietly. “I think I’m considered a very serious student in school. Serious as far as effort, of course.”

Keep Reading…

“Endless” Story – A Kick in the Jungle

June 9, 2010

by Kobi Levy

Avi Golan was your typical secular moshavnik, raised in the lap of luxury on an affluent moshav surrounded by verdant citrus orchards. Avi and his brother Moshe, one year his junior, were the only two children of their enterprising parents, whose business interests extended far beyond their farmstead on the moshav.

Avi was twenty-three years old. He had completed his army service two years earlier, and was now bored to tears with his life. He had already satiated his curiosity of Israel’s natural wonders by touring and hiking the entire length and breadth of Israel, and now he decided to set his sights abroad, like practically every other Israeli young adult. Avi wanted to travel to remote locations in Asia, Africa, or even South America—and he wanted to take his younger brother Moshe along, too. After consulting with professional hikers and tour guides from all over the world, Avi and Moshe settled on a trip to the jungles of Africa. This was going to be the trip of a lifetime!

Two days before the two brothers took off for Africa, Avi spent an evening out with some of his old army buddies. Yossi Pelach, from south Tel Aviv, who had been the army division’s cook, also joined. But he was no longer the same Yossi; now his face was framed by a neat beard, and a large knitted yarmulke, embroidered with “Na, Nach, Nachma, Nachman” in blue thread, adorned his head.

As the evening progressed, the conversation turned to the meaning of the mystical words embroidered on Yossi’s yarmulke, and, as could be expected, the “discussion” soon evolved into a bashing of the “brainwashing that the Chareidim and rabbanim do to innocent guys, who then become baalei teshuvah“. Yossi was left alone to contend with Yigal from Kfar Shmaryahu, Baruch from Ramat Gan, Itzik the kibbutznik, and Avi. Truth to be told, Yossi didn’t have much ammunition with which to return the others’ fire. He had only become a baal teshuvah half a year earlier, and his knowledge of Torah and mitzvos was still rather scant.

Then, at a certain point during the conversation, Avi suddenly launched into a diatribe against G-d and rabbanim, using language unfit to be printed on paper. Yossi felt like he would explode with fury and was on the verge of a most unseemly reaction. To preclude any physical confrontations, he picked himself up and bid his friends a good night. Keep Reading…


June 9, 2010



May the best man/woman/boy/girl win!

Here’s how it works:

1)      Log on every other week for a new short  story.

2)      Read through the story until you get to the “end”. Note that the story does not quite end….

3)      Tell us what YOU think the end of the story should be! Either tell us your idea in a few short lines or actually write out the entire ending of the story, as you would like it to appear.

4)      Be creative! All sorts of endings – whether humorous, serious, as close as possible to what you think the real ending is, or as far away as possible! – all will be read and considered by our panel of judges. (Please, no off-color or improper responses.)

5)      The best entry will be announced and will win a free book or books from our website, up to a $50 value! Oh, and we’ll show you the real ending of the story, as well….

Heroes of Spirit and Super Social Skills Now Back in Print!!

June 7, 2010

If you’re one of the many who have been searching the bookstores for a copy of Heroes of Spirit or Super Social Skills, only to be told that both have been completely sold out, you’ll be glad to know that these books are now back in print and are once again available for your reading pleasure!

With its dozens of Holocaust stories of our gedolim, each bringing out the strength and spirit of a Torah leader or great person during one of the darkest eras of our nation, Heroes of Spirit makes a great read during the Three Weeks and Tishah B’Av, or at any time.


Super Social Skills has made grand waves in the children’s literature market, as it entertains young readers while teaching them valuable social skills at the same time.

Now you can see for yourself why these books became instant bestsellers! We’ve restocked the bookstore shelves with them for you—go on and check them out before it’s too late!

Divided Attention – Chapter 4

June 3, 2010

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 4 of a new online serial novel, Divided Attention, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday.    Click  here for previous chapters.

Copyright © 2010 by Israel Bookshop Publications

It didn’t take too long to finish the two questions assigned for social studies homework; even sharpening the pencil had taken longer. Ariella closed her notebook and Nava Cohen stood up.

“Are you going now?” Ariella asked, gazing adoringly at the person she had come to think of as “Wednesday’s girl”. Every day since Ariella’s mother had contracted mono, high school girls came to straighten up the house, prepare supper, and help the children with their homework. Ariella liked all of them, but she especially loved Nava. Nava played with her and her siblings, washed the dishes with lightening speed, cut up a colorful vegetable salad, and dressed the younger children in pajamas.

“Yes, sweetie, I’m going,” Nava confirmed.

The other children gathered around them. “Can we make noise now that Ariella’s finished her homework?” Elazar asked. “Can I blow the whistle that Devoiry gave me yesterday?”

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” Nava said, smiling at the six-year-old. “Moishy might wake up.”

“And so might Ima!” Ariella said as she slid her notebook into her briefcase. “Abba said that whoever tries not to make noise gets a mitzvah! Right, Nava?” Keep reading…