Beneath the Surface – Chapter 35

December 30, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 35 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.

After pausing hesitantly one more time, Menuchi picked up the phone that she had just hung up and dialed reluctantly.

Simi picked up.

“Um, hi, Simi. How are you?”

“Hi,” Simi replied cheerfully—as always, come to think of it. “I’m good, baruch Hashem. How are you?” Her voice was warm, much like her mother’s. It was the same voice that she had been using to speak to Menuchi for an entire week already.

Come on, Simi’s waiting for an answer! Baruch Hashem, fine…” Ribono Shel Olam, what are you supposed to make small talk to a sister-in-law about when you have a favor to ask her? School? Shidduchim? The pages we worked on together? Whatever came to mind seemed trite and tasteless to Menuchi. Simi waited.

“Um…” Menuchi despaired of finding a topic for small talk. She would just state her request directly. “Tell me, maybe you have an idea of what I can give, I mean buy, for the seminary girls I teach?” The girls I teach. How presumptuous. One would think that I spend twenty hours a week with them. “I mean, for a good-bye present. My lessons there are stopping for now because the girls are starting vacation in two weeks. Less, even.”

“What vacation?” Simi asked, puzzled.

“They’re being sent home early for Pesach vacation. There are serious money problems there, and it looks like the school might even close down permanently.”

“Oh, no, that’s too bad. So you’re stopping to work there?” Keep Reading…

Beneath the Surface – Chapter 34

December 23, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 34 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.

“The bottom line is that you have to prepare the questions at home. You can’t just come to class, call a girl’s name, and then begin to quickly scan the Chumash or Navi. Precious time is wasted, important details are omitted, and the test becomes ineffective.” As Mrs. Deutsch, the didactics teacher for limudei kodesh studies, completed her sentence, the bell rang—if its hoarse buzz could be called a ring. She put her spiral notebook back into her briefcase.

“That bell has got to get fixed,” Simi remarked to Rachel as she hurried to the door.

“Hey, where are you going? Aren’t you washing?” Rachel asked in surprise when she saw Simi turning right.

“Not now.”

“So when will you eat?”


Rachel shrugged and joined the stream of girls heading toward the sinks. Simi must be hurrying to the Bnos leaders’ room again. She liked her friend very much and it never entered her mind to envy her, but Simi being a leader meant that she, Rachel, was sometimes left out in the cold, and such moments generated a bitter, unexplained taste in her mouth. Or maybe it was explainable. It was only natural to feel this way, wasn’t it?

“Running there again, isn’t she?”

Rachel whirled around in annoyance. She found it strange that some girls still behaved so babyishly despite being in seminary. But that’s the way things are. Childishness doesn’t always disappear as people grow older. On the contrary, it often becomes more pronounced.

“Who’s running?” she asked, as though not understanding Lakey, the girl standing right behind her, who had made the comment. Keep Reading…


December 20, 2011

Looking for a great Chanukah gift for that special ‘tween’ in your life? No need to look any further—we’ve got you covered!

Long-time popular author Sukey Gross has enchanted kids for years with her gifted writing. Her latest ‘tween’ series, The Adventures of the Levy Family, a historical novel series, has spellbound its readers with tales of life on the Lower East Side at the end of the nineteenth century. Herschel’s Battle completes this exciting series.

Read about Herschel’s “followers,” a group of young boys Herschel mentors, and the dangerous mess some of them find themselves in… Discover the source for Herschel’s mother’s mysterious headaches… With policemen, detectives, and a fiery explosion happening, this book is just PACKED with suspense and animation!

If you have ‘tweens’ who love reading as much as they love excitement and adventure, then Herschel’s Battle is the book you need to get them!

Click here to purchase online.

In Stores This Week! Run After (the right) Kavod

December 18, 2011

Here’s a riddle:

What is something that the more you give of it to others, the more you get of it yourself?

Did you answer “respect”? (No? That’s okay; we know that’s what you meant to say…) Because “kavod,” honor or respect, is that incredible, intangible “something” that only increases within us when we give it to others.

If you’re big on the concept of self-esteem and showing proper respect to others; if you’re trying to instill these qualities into your children; or if you just wish you had more of these qualities yourself, you’ll love our latest offering, Run After (the right) Kavod!

Rabbi Moshe Don Kestenbaum is a popular columnist, author, and mechanech. In Run After (the right) Kavod, he takes us on a journey into the world of kavod to demonstrate both the positive aspects and the pitfalls of this commonly misunderstood term. You’ll read about self kavod, or self-esteem, as well as kavod in marriage, kavod between parents and children, and kavod between teachers and students. Written in an engaging and often humorous style, this book is sure to become a fast favorite for both adults and teenagers.

So what are you waiting for? The sprint is starting today! Run After (the right) Kavod…and you’ll never look back…

Click here to purchase online.

Beneath the Surface – Chapter 33

December 15, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 33 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.

Ten minutes after the Orchos Tzaddikim lesson ended and Menuchi left, Mrs. Deutschlander, the principal, appeared at the apartment. The girls crowded around her.

“How are you girls?” she asked warmly, casting glances around her. “I haven’t visited you here in quite some time. I think the last time was…”

“On the first day of school?” Millie filled in for her.

“Right. On the first day of school. Are you managing?”

Adina perused the older woman’s face closely. Was that a fresh crease in her forehead? Perhaps.

“Will you join us for supper?” Chasya Ehrentreau asked, suddenly emerging from the kitchen. “And how are you? You don’t look so good.”

“Oh, I’m fine,” the guest replied, entering the large kitchen. “I didn’t come to eat. I came to speak to you, girls.”

The girls all took their places, chattering as they usually did, not worried in the least. Adina scanned their faces in surprise. How could they maintain such a calm demeanor in such a strange situation? Or perhaps it wasn’t so strange that the principal had suddenly shown up to speak to them, and she was the only tense one because of the snatches of conversation she had overhead.

The aroma of omelets wafted through the kitchen. “It smells delicious, Chasya,” Mrs. Deutschlander said. “Come, girls, let’s get to the point. Unfortunately, I don’t have especially good news for you.” Keep Reading…

Now in stores! Through Music and Song

December 15, 2011

Walk into a wedding hall—circles of people are dancing to Shwekey’s latest hora. Shop at your local sefarim store—and enjoy the music being piped in. Enter your teenager’s room (or maybe don’t; it’s not worth the risk, and anyway, standing outside the door will suffice, too…)—MBD is pounding away.

There’s no question about it: living in 2011, we are surrounded with music wherever we turn. It’s a wonderful thing, of course—that is, if one is able to appreciate music properly.

What’s that you’re asking? What’s there to appreciate about music?

Well, take one look at Rabbi Elysha Sandler’s book, Through Music and Song, and you will see exactly what I mean.

Did you ever wonder about the power of music? Why does it have such a pull on the human heart? How can it simultaneously evoke joy, dispel worry, spur one’s memory, and even bring one to teshuvah? Yet at the same time, we know that music also has the capacity to numb one’s clarity of mind and distract a person from his/her true goals in life!

It cannot be that music is a simple thing, just another form of mindless entertainment. There has to be more to it, and indeed, in Through Music and Song, Rabbi Sandler leads us on a journey through the secrets of music, explaining why and how we can tap into its awesome spiritual power and avoid its dangerous pitfalls.

Whether you are a major music fan, or someone who is content to simply tap your feet to the beat, you will be pulled by the melody that resonates from this book…

Click here to purchase online.

New Release! A Treasure of Letters

December 14, 2011

I don’t know about you, but for me, gift-giving is hardest when it comes to the men-folk. Girls are easy: some trinkets, jewelry, or the latest novel, and they’re set. But gifts for boys… What do you get for that yeshiva bachur who, baruch Hashem, happily spends his days shteiging away (short of a few hundred batches of homemade cookies, which he’ll go through in just a few days anyway)?

You’ll be relieved to hear, then, that Israel Bookshop has solved your men-folk-gift-giving dilemma—at least for this year’s Chanukah! A Treasure of Letters is the book to get for your husband/son/brother/father (or better yet, all of the above!). This truly one-of-a-kind book is a compilation of letters written by a yeshiva bachur to his parents in the early 1950’s. In the letters, he describes the world of Torah and Chassidus in Eretz Yisrael as he saw it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these original letters are worth hundreds of pages of description, as they give a fascinatingly authentic snapshot of Eretz Yisrael in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the gedolei roshei yeshivah and admorim of that era.

If you are looking for a gift that your yeshivah bachur or “yeshivah bachur at heart” will really treasure, your search is over; A Treasure of Letters is all you need to say when you walk into your local bookstore…

Click here to purchase online.

Enjoy these sample letters…

4 September 1953

…Yesterday I went to see the Tchebiner Rav [R’ Dov Berish Weidenfeld] shlit”a. He asked me where I came from and my name. When I said Manchester and Reich he immediately asked me if my name was Elozor! It is either ruach hakodesh or another possibility I can think of. I asked him a few she’eilos, all of which he answered immediately. He then asked me if I knew a few of his talmidim, e.g. R’ Avrohom Rand [my rebbi in Staines Yeshivah], and abruptly wished me kesivah v’chasimah tovah, which doubtlessly meant that the interview was at an end.

The yeshivah here has an exceptionally large library which is only open a few hours a day and quite a few people come in to use it. Amongst them is one regular whom if I had not seen and heard myself I could never have believed. He is not a big lamdan but is reputed to be the biggest baki in all of Eretz Yisrael, in fact in the world. Without the slightest trace of guzma, I have seen it myself. You can ask him how many machlokes R’ Yochanan and Resh Lakish there are in Yerushalmi Maasros and he will give you the answer without the slightest hesitation. The same applies to all Bavli and Yerushalmi, all the Rishonim and all the popular Acharonim such as the Nosei Keilim of the Shulchan Aruch and the Nesivos, Ketzos, Tumim, Minchas Chinuch, Or Someiach etc. For fun I asked him to tell me all the machlokes of the Teshuvos Chemdas Shlomo and R’ Akiva Eiger. I had to listen for a quarter of an hour whilst he reckoned them out. This is not an exaggeration; it is unbelievable until one sees it. As he does nothing but learn and has no official position, he is a pauper. Such Yidden one meets in Yerushalayim! Keep Reading…

Just Released! The Secrets of the Stars

December 14, 2011

Were you one of those kids who begged your parents for a telescope for your birthday present? Were you the student who was simply fascinated by the unit in science on planets and constellations? If yes, you’ve probably already bought this book—though it’s just been released a few days ago—but even if not, this is a book that will spellbind you to no end, and soon you, too, will be craving for it to grace your bookshelf.

The influence that mazalos have on Klal Yisrael’s destiny… The significance of the shevatim’s correlation to the zodiac…the monumental events in the Jewish timeline that are depicted through the constellation, and the lessons that can be learned from them… There is an entire cosmos concealed above ours – encompassing our past, present, and future—and you will find out all about it in The Secrets of the Stars.

View the celestial phenomena through the eyes of Chazal! With The Secrets of the Stars, your mind will become boggled in fascination with a subject many don’t ever think twice about!

Click here to purchase online.

Beneath the Surface – Chapter 32

December 9, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 32 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.

The door to Mrs. Deutschlander’s office was only partially closed. Adina Baumel put her gray bag down on the old counter in the kitchen and switched on the kettle.

Mrs. Deutschlander’s voice wafted out of the office; she sounded tense, and it was no wonder that her high-pitched tone came through the rather flimsy door. “So what should I do, fire the teachers? Reduce the hours that the girls learn?”

Adina took out a glass cup from the cabinet along with a small saucer. She opened the sugar container and rummaged around for a clean spoon. She didn’t really intend to eavesdrop on the conversation, but it didn’t sound by their tones like anyone was trying to keep matters a secret.

It was quiet in the rest of the apartment cum school building. The girls had already left. Only she was still there, making coffee for the principal, something that had become a habit after spending her long afternoons in conversation with her as the principal tried finding a suitable job for Adina. This was the third or fourth cup for the day.

“I’m afraid we’re going to have to take much more drastic steps,” Adina heard Rabbi Fogel, the seminary administrator, reply. His voice was lower, but also reached Adina’s trying-not-to-listen ears. Keep Reading…

Beneath the Surface – Chapter 31

December 2, 2011

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 30 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.

At the top of the stairs sat a young woman, looking at her with a smile-cum-grimace of pain. “I had hoped it was you,” she said in Flemish (!), “but really didn’t believe that this would be the way our meeting would occur.”

Chani gaped at her. The face was so familiar! But the tone of voice, the lilt… No, it couldn’t be her; she had nothing to look for here. So who was it?

“Could you please bring me a broom?” the girl asked as she struggled to stand up. “It was supposed to be a gift for you, but the trash can will obviously be the new recipient.”

“A gift?” Chani echoed. “For what?” Suddenly the picture came into focus. This girl—whose identity she was not sure of yet—had obviously come to see her. Apparently she had fallen and something broke. Perhaps she had been injured?

One thing was clear: the girl needed help, urgently, and instead of doing so, she, Chani, was standing and gaping at the scene and asking questions.

“First things first,” she said briskly. “Come inside.”

“Oh, so you’re not throwing me out,” the girl said with relief, limping slightly as she crossed the threshold.

“Throwing you out? Why?”

The girl turned. “If you would do so, it really wouldn’t be fair of you. After all, I did what you wanted. But then, when we spoke, you were so hostile and cold, so it’s only natural that I would be afraid of such a thing.”

“Very natural,” Chani echoed, sensing her last doubts falling away slowly. It was her; it was her voice, and she had come here, obviously as a gesture of good will of some sort.

And perhaps not? Perhaps it was all a show?

She would have to be careful.

She led her unexpected guest into the living room. What now? Should she serve some refreshments? Wait, she had to sweep up the glass in the stairwell. Someone else could fall and get hurt.

But could she leave this gentile girl here herself? Who knew what she could do in the interim? Keep Reading…