Beneath the Surface – Chapter 26

October 28, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 26 of a new online serial novel, Beneath the Surface, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday. Click here for previous chapters.

“Yehudis and Tzippy! Sit down nicely! Baruch! I’m closing the window; you’re sticking your hand out!” The boy looked at Adina with interest. He asked her something, but she didn’t understand.

“What?” she asked.

“Say ‘yeladim’!” he said in an almost clear voice. She laughed.

Yeladim! Everyone sit down nicely!” She glanced out the window. The gray day was cold and windy; pieces of paper and dry leaves blew every which way.

“Children, look out the windows. There’s a big, big tree. It’s so big!” She stretched her arm towards the ceiling of the van. “And it’s so, so sad! So very sad! Why? Because all the leaves went so far away. The leaves are its sweater.  And now it’s cold because it doesn’t have a sweater. What should we say to make it happy?” She pretended to act chilly and shivered.

The children didn’t respond. They were riveted to her little performance and didn’t even consider looking out the window.

Adina continued in her pidgin Hebrew. “Let’s tell the tree: Don’t be sad, tree. Don’t be crying!” She covered her face with her eyes and pretended to weep. A few children tittered. The rest gaped at her in fascination.

The driver stopped the van. “What happened?” Adina panicked for a minute. “Everyone’s sitting so nicely!”

“They are sitting very nicely,” the driver said, leaning back in his seat. He took a crumpled newspaper out of his gray satchel and opened it up. “We’re at the Shlomowitzes’ house.” At that moment, Adina noticed a young boy running down the path.

“Sorry I’m late,” Baruch Shlomowitz’s brother apologized. “Is Baruch here?”

Adina nodded. She understood his question. “Bye, Baruch, have a good day!”

Baruch stopped at the van’s open door but didn’t get off.

“Do you need help?” Adina offered. Keep Reading…

In stores now! This Side Up!

October 12, 2011

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer, which means that he’s available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and any event where you want your guests to sit around and watch someone write.  He can also write speeches for said events, as well as various other copies for businesses, entertainment purposes, and personal use.    He spends a lot of his time standing in front of a classroom and trying to convince high school students to let him teach them to write.  Mordechai is also the author of the books, Don’t Yell “Challah!” in a Crowded Matzah Bakery,  A Clever Title Goes Here, and a brand new release, This Side Up! which can be purchased online by clicking here.

Here’s an excerpt to enhance your simachas Yom Tov:

Sukkos Gelt

 We are lucky to live in an age (29, if anyone asks) where we have tons of inventions to make Jewish life easier, such as shtenders and Havdalah candles and seedless watermelon.  We also have gefilte fish, which was created so that people could avoid picking out bones on Shabbos.  I think that’s amazing.  I mean, people didn’t like picking seeds out of the watermelons either, but no one decided to take them apart, pull out the seeds, grind up the rest and serve them in loaves with a piece of carrot on top.

Sukkos, in particular, has a lot of inventions associated with it, and they come out with ten new ones every year, kind of like they do on Pesach with Haggados.  Also chumros.

Take s’chach mats, for example.  This was something we didn’t even know we needed.  For years, everyone used bamboo for their sukkos, and everything was fine, except for the occasional pole coming through a window.  You bought the poles at a sukkah outlet, and you tied them to the roof of your car and drove home very carefully, with one hand on the roof, just in case.[1]  But poles were versatile, and it was easy to hang decorations from them, like fake fruit and bee traps.  (Bees love honey, so bee traps are another great invention, although they’re a lot more effective if you put them OUTSIDE your sukkah.  The same goes for bear traps.)  But then someone came up with the idea of s’chach mats, where you stand at one end of the sukkah and just roll the whole thing out like a tablecloth, and voila – it sags all over the place.  Especially when you try to hang heavy things, such as bee traps.  Also, if you don’t tie the mat down, it catches the wind like a sail and blows off down the street.    Keep Reading…

NEW! The Ben Ish Hai

October 11, 2011

There’s a whole lot more to the Sephardic legacy than some hot and spicy, Middle-Eastern recipes for s’chug and kibbeh!

It’s no secret that Sephardic Jewry has a rich and unique heritage all of their own, with the crown jewels being the towering Sephardic hachamim whose holiness and greatness in Torah were renowned throughout the entire Jewish world. Now, with the release of Ben Ish Hai, you can get a close-up view of the life and times of one of the most famous of these gedolim: the Ben Ish Hai, Rabbenu Yosef Haim.

Author Yehuda Azoulay has long been known for his beautiful books on the Sephardic hachamim. As the author of A Legacy of Leaders Volumes I and II, as well as founder of the Sephardic Legacy Series, he has made it his goal to make known to the Jewish world the greatness of our Sephardic Torah leaders. In Ben Ish Hai, Azoulay paints an accurate and vivid portrait of the Ben Ish Hai in a most compelling way.

You’ll be amazed at the life of this holy tzaddik; the brilliance of his halachic responsa, his prolific writings, his humility, yiras Shamayim, and ruah hakodesh. You’ll be awed by the stories you’ll read which depict the high level of holiness on which the Ben Ish Hai led his life. You’ll be enlightened, inspired…and proud to be part of the nation of this great man.

Keep the spiritual high of the Yamim Noraim aflame. Invest in a book that will inspire you to no end—Ben Ish Hai.

Click here to purchase online.

New Release – A Time to Laugh, A Time to Listen Vol. III

October 10, 2011

All those A Time to Laugh, A Time to Listen fans out there, take note! The third book in your favorite series has just been released!

Following the much-loved style of his previous two books,A Time to Laugh, A Time to Listen Volumes 1 and 2, author Rabbi Yehoshua Kurland has once again written a book of essays on various aspects of Jewish life, each beginning with a great joke and then leading into a thought-provoking article brimming with Torah-true hashkafah and life lessons.

In true Rabbi Kurland fashion, A Time to Laugh, A Time to Listen Volume 3 will make you laugh, learn…and come away inspired.

Click here to purchase online.

Enjoy a sample l’kavod Sukkos:

Sukkos – No More Questions

A man walked into a lawyer’s office and inquired about the lawyer’s rates.

 “One hundred dollars for three questions,” replied the lawyer.

 “Isn’t that awfully steep?” asked the man.

 “Yes,” the lawyer replied, “and what was your third question?”

Too many questions can be quite costly. Some people spend a lifetime searching, with their queries never answered. Others aren’t really interested in answers, as the absence of resolutions can serve as a solid rationalization for complacency and stagnation, and camouflage the need for change and reassessment. Keep Reading…

Beneath the Surface – Chapter 25

October 6, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 25 of a new online serial novel, Beneath the Surface, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday. Click here for previous chapters.

A young woman entered quietly. “Shoshana, are our cards ready?” she asked.

Shoshana shook her head in the negative and motioned for her to wait as she continued conversing with the technician on the phone.

“They’re urgent for Naomi. She asked for them right now,” the woman said, walking over to the lamination machine on a side table, near Adina’s chair.

“Hello,” she said pleasantly as she caught Adina’s eye. Adina smiled in response, trying to understand the Hebrew words flying over her head.

Shoshana finished her phone conversation and turned to the young woman. “It’s not such a big deal to take care of,” she said. “But yesterday, when I was peeling potatoes, I cut my finger and it’s hard for me to work the machine. So I guess you can do it yourself, if you know how and you have a few minutes, or Naomi will have to use the cards the way they are…”

“I…can do it…the lamination,” Adina said quickly, and even before the young woman had a chance to react, she switched on the machine.

“That would be a great help! Who are you?” Keep Reading…

In Stores Now!!! – Don’t Judge By What You See

October 6, 2011

“Mommy, look! That girl is in a wheelchair!”

As parents, few comments of our kids make us cringe the way announcements such as the above do. Of course, such comments are usually accompanied by loud stage-whispers and lots of finger-pointing at the handicapped child, as our kids struggle to comprehend such a different-looking human being.

But what if our children understood that “different-looking” doesn’t necessarily mean “different”? What if they could accept the fact that those with handicaps can be just as fun, friendly, and on-the-ball as any of them?

That is the aim of our newest kids’ book, Don’t Judge By What You See. An adorable story told in rhymes, Don’t Judge By What You See clearly conveys to children the important lesson of not judging those whom they see—especially those with physical handicaps—by their externals, but rather seeing people for who they truly are inside. Written by Ashira Greenberg, who herself has cerebral palsy, and stunningly illustrated by artist Racheli Edelstein, this book is one that all responsible, thinking parents will want to buy for their children.

Click here to purchase online.

NOW AVAILABLE!!! New Novel – The Freedom to Be

October 2, 2011

It’s rare when a manuscript is so gut-wrenching yet simultaneously heartwarming, that it causes editors, proofreaders, and typesetters alike to cry while working on it. Rare—but it does occasionally occur, as it did with The Freedom to Be.
At nearly 700 pages long, The Freedom to Be is a whopper of a novel, but we guarantee that while reading it, you won’t ever feel the book’s true length. You will become so engrossed in it, so intertwined with the lives, thoughts, and feelings of Efraim, Shoshana, Hadassah, Duvid’l, and all the other characters, so involved in every nuance of the beautifully-written plot—that time will cease to exist for you as you read, and the pages will just slip by…
Trust me—I speak from experience, having made the (unwise) decision to read this book at night. Suffice it to say that it was a very tired me who showed up at work the next day!
But it was worth it—as you will see for yourself. The Freedom to Be is not your typical novel. It is a tear-jerker, an exhilarating pleasure for your mind, and a literary delight all at once. It takes “reading a novel” to a new level, making it into an actual experience, one that you will relish and savor for a long time afterward…
This Sukkos, treat yourself to THE novel of the season…of the year…of our times. The Freedom to Be: not your ordinary novel.

Click here to purchase online.