Without a Trace – Chapter 25

December 27, 2012

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 25 of a new online serial novel, Without a Trace, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.

Two days later they were discharged by the department director in Tel Hashomer Hospital.

“Keep an eye on it,” he said, and picked up his pen to sign the form. “We took out all the glass that we found, but please keep an eye on it and be aware if any changes occur in the color or shape. Come back at the beginning of next week for a check-up in any case, even if you see an improvement in the burn.”

They went from there to the car that waited for them outside. Zevi’s head rested on Chanoch’s broad shoulder, and Shoshi gazed at the small, pale face. The last round of tears still twinkled on the edges of the little boy’s eyes. Shoshi couldn’t find a tissue, so she gently wiped the tears away with her hand. Abba waited for them in the car next to the entrance of the hospital, and they climbed in quietly. Chasida was sitting in the back, and she moved over a bit to allow Shoshi to climb in. Chanoch carefully passed Zevi inside.

“Zevi, darling, I brought you a candy!” the doting aunt crooned before greeting her sister and brother-in-law.

Zevi shrugged and turned his head to the other side, letting it droop onto his mother.

“He has no interest in anything,” Shoshi whispered and stroked the short, orange hair. “No candy, no nosh. All he ate today was a few spoonfuls of yogurt, and even that was difficult to get him to swallow.”

In the front, Abba and Chanoch were discussing the doctor’s orders and the rest of the treatment. Behind them, the two sisters sat and gazed silently at Zevi, who suddenly looked much smaller than he had two days ago. The two days that were the longest ones of Shoshi’s life.

“You’re coming home to us now, right?” Chasida asked.

“I think so. The truth is, we haven’t even thought about it at all.”

“Of course you’re coming to us. How will you take care of his foot yourselves?”

Shoshi didn’t reply. She continued stroking Zevi’s head as he looked quietly out the window, squinting every few seconds.

“Does your foot hurt, sweetheart?” she asked, touching his chin.

“Not now,” the three-year-old whispered, his eyes still on the window. “There’s Uncle Eliyahu,” he suddenly said, louder. “He has flowers for me. Yellow ones.” He closed his eyes and turned his head in the other direction. Keep Reading…

Recent Release – The Step-by-Step Reading Series

December 25, 2012

C334 C335“Hi, I’m calling about an idea for a new manuscript?”

“Okay,” says I, “what’s it about?”

“Well, it’s a new idea…a much-needed, new kind of thing in the frum world.”

Now I’m intrigued. What could this “much-needed, new kind of book” be?

“Well,” says the aspiring author, “you know how there are so many secular I-Can-Read books out there? You know the kind of books I’m talking about—where the book is simple enough for a beginning, first-grade reader to read to himself, but whose words become progressively longer and harder as the child’s reading improves? So, my idea was: why not create some Jewish I-Can-Read books? This way, when our kids will be using these books during their learning-to-read process, parents can be assured that they will be picking up kosher values at the same time.”

And I’m nodding my head and saying, “Sounds great! You’re in good company, you know!”

Because we’ve probably gotten this call—or a version of it—at least half a dozen times. Every parent and educator, it seems, wants frum I-Can-Read books for their primary and first grade kids.

The problem, however, was that no one had ever actually done anything about the idea at all, other than suggest it to us or send us a vague kind of manuscript. That is, until two very talented and ambitious reading specialists, Mrs. Esti Weiss and Mrs. Faigy Rosenberg, came along with their Step-by-Step Reading Series.

This series that they created is the answer to many a Jewish parent and educator’s wish. The books in this series are designed to parallel the standard curriculum goals set in place in the school system, while providing fun and culturally appropriate stories for your budding reader at the same time. The first two books in this series, Eli’s Bags and Is Dovid Big?, have just been released, and are sure to take parents and educators by storm with their delightful way of building and enhancing children’s reading skills.

Is six-year-old Shloimy begging you to read books with him? Give him these fun, skill-building reading books—and watch his eyes sparkle!

Click here to purchase online.

Without a Trace – Chapter 24

December 20, 2012

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 24 of a new online serial novel, Without a Trace, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.

Devorah Blum followed Ilana Auerbach into the room that served as her salon and sat down on the edge of the chair.

“Before we begin, Ilana,” she said heavily, “you remember that I have something very important to talk to you about. Nothing that relates to you, but you can help me with it.”

“With pleasure,” Ilana said and sat down on her swivel chair.

“You have a very sweet daughter-in-law,” Devorah said. “Is she…responsible like you?”

“Responsible? Certainly. Shevi’s very mature.”

Devorah didn’t look at her. “If so, I need you to speak to her, if it’s not too difficult for you. It’s still about her neighbor.” Ilana nodded with alacrity as she listened to her client’s singsong accent. “There’s a…certain point that I’m not sure the Dresnicks are aware of. Will your daughter-in-law be able to talk to her neighbor about this point?”

“I believe so.” Ilana felt a twinge of unease. The whole scenario seemed a bit odd—she on the round swivel stool and Devorah, her client, sitting ramrod-straight on the wide treatment chair, with new, deep creases on her forehead.

“I don’t know what they know and what they don’t, but people have spread some rumors about my son, and I thought it would be best if the Dresnicks knew the real story.”

Ilana nodded again, still silent.

“He donated a kidney to my Dini.” Keep Reading…

Without a Trace – Chapter 23

December 13, 2012

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 23 of a new online serial novel, Without a Trace, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.

It was very late by the time Chasida finally went to bed, sometime between two and three in the morning. She got into her bed, but not before she made sure all the shutters were closed and the door was locked. No, she wasn’t afraid to sleep alone on the ground floor; nevertheless, she was happy that this was her final night home alone. Tomorrow her parents would come back, and the house would return to normal.

A heavy silence hung in the air as she lay her head down on the pillow. She had a full day ahead of her tomorrow. She had to clean the house before her parents returned, help them unpack, and then prepare for the annual visit of the Blochs, who came every summer. Whenever her brother-in-law Chanoch returned to Eretz Yisrael, he liked to come to Bnei Brak, to breathe in the atmosphere he loved and to feel a bit of what he called “authentic Eretz Yisrael” in his bones. So they would be arriving tomorrow for Shabbos and would stay for a few days afterward, until Shoshi would decide that their mother looked exhausted, and the kids would announce that they were bored. At that point, the Blochs would pack up and return to Yerucham.

Chasida closed her eyes. She had so much to do the next day—she had to get up in less than five hours! So why wasn’t she asleep now?

But although her eyes were closed, she still saw things very clearly. Figures flitted through her mind, laughing and talking, arguing and fuming about those endless arguments that had been spawned by Eliyahu’s illogical proposal.

He had stood in the dining room, pale with fury. “Aren’t you ashamed?” he had asked Yitzchak and her. “What are you trying to say, that Kobi will pay me for this?” Keep Reading…

New Release! A Mashal and a Message

December 11, 2012

C337You know how, back when you were in school, the teachers used meshalim left and right to explain different concepts to the class? I know that my Chumash and Navi notes were always full of the terms “mashal” and “nimshal,” both the ones that Chazal teach us and the ones the teachers came up with on their own in order to clarify whatever point they were trying to make. Of course I can only speak for myself, but those lessons taught via these meshalim were usually the ones I understood—and remembered—best.

There’s definitely something about the mashal that makes it such a powerful tool in the hands of teachers and storytellers—and this power of the mashal becomes even more apparent when it comes to children. Fables, especially, with foxes that are hungry, frogs that are jealous, and clever chickens and birds, are extremely popular with youngsters. When a child hears a story about a weak chick who comes up with a plan and outsmarts a wily (and of course hungry) fox, that truly drives home the message that intelligence and forethought are superior to physical strength. And the downfall of the traitorous bat, who turned against his friends in order to ensure that he remain on the winning side, speaks louder than words about the importance of loyalty.

If you’re in agreement with me as of this far, then you will absolutely love the newest kids book we have just released out on the market, a book called A Mashal and a Message. This beautifully-illustrated, extra-large-sized book is a collection of eleven of the meshalim of Rav Berachya ben Rav Natronai Hanakdan, a master of meshalim who lived during the Middle Ages and authored the sefer Mishlei Shualim (“Fox Fables”). In this book, Rabbi Avrohom Ochayon presents these meshalim to young readers in an age-appropriate way that they can comprehend and enjoy.

Who says learning important lessons for life can’t be fun? Sit back and read this book to your child—and let the magic of the mashal overtake you…

Without a Trace – Chapter 22

December 6, 2012

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 22 of a new online serial novel, Without a Trace, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.

Although it was Thursday, the yellow drops of ices that dribbled onto the floor did not bother Shoshi. She would just run a mop over the floor before they left for Bnei Brak tomorrow. Zevi stood in one corner of the dining room, observing his family. Something in his expression made it clear that his thoughts were very far away, but she had no idea where they were. Since coming home a few days ago, he seemed a bit preoccupied.


He lowered his eyes toward his mother, who was seated on the sofa. His father sat at the head of the table as Shloimy proudly showed him his alef-beis cards. Shloimy sucked the end of the soggy popsicle stick and turned to look at Zevi.

“You didn’t get an ices!” he said, understanding dawning on him. “Do you want one, too?”

Zevi smiled at him, and his mother tried again. “What are you dreaming about, Zevi’le?”

“Nothing special.” Only about strange people who have taken an interest in me lately, and Abba might know who they are but doesn’t want to tell me. “I think I’ll go to shul to learn a bit.”

As he headed for the door, the telephone in the hallway rang. Zevi answered it. An unfamiliar man’s voice asked if this was the Bloch residence, and then asked to speak to his mother. Then the man changed his mind and asked for his father.

Zevi raised an eyebrow and turned toward the dining room. “Abba?”

Chanoch stood up.

“Someone wants you on the phone.”

Chanoch waved as Zevi left the house, and picked up the receiver that Zevi had put on the wooden shelf.

“Hello?” he said into the phone, smiling at Shloimy, who had followed him into the hall, unwilling to give up a single minute of precious Abba-time.

“Hello,” the anonymous voice said. “Chanoch?”


“It’s Eliyahu. Eliyahu Katz.” Keep Reading…

New Release – Avrohom Ben Avrohom

December 6, 2012

L579For those craving an excellent historical novel, a book that provides a breathtaking glimpse into another era, even as it entertains you with its goosebump-raising tale…well, well, have we got the book of the season for you…!

This is a classic that has been out of print for way too long. Now, finally, it has come back in print, complete with a new look and updated front cover. Avrohom Ben Avrohom is the spellbinding, heart-wrenching story of the legendary ger tzedek of Vilna, who lived during the upheavals that were so much a part of Jewish life in the Ashkenazic communities of mid-eighteenth-century Europe. Amidst the heart-stopping tale of the young cardinal-to-be who discovers Judaism and converts at a risk to his life, though never dreaming what the outcome of his decision would eventually turn out to be, readers are introduced to the Torah giants of that generation, including Rav Yechezkel Landau, Rav Yonasan Eibschutz, Rav Yaakov Emden, and the Vilna Gaon, in a fascinating way.

You will love the twists and turns Avrohom Ben Avrohom will take you on. For years and years, many readers have been riveted by this emotion-laden and suspenseful book. Now it’s your turn to sink your teeth into it. Just be prepared to give yourself a big chunk of reading time for the book, as this is one read you will not be putting down until the very last page!

Click here to purchase online.