NEW RELEASE! Between Teens

March 31, 2015

L718Are you one of those lucky Pesach-makers who actually has a teenage daughter helping you with the work? Okay, okay, so she’s not too keen on the cleaning part–she’d rather do the shopping for you, bake Pesach cakes, help with things like that…but hey, let’s not be picky. Any help is a big help, especially at this time of year, right?

So, this hardworking daughter of yours…she deserves some kind of recognition for what she’s doing, don’t you think? Nothing too pricey–you are making Pesach, after all–but some token of your appreciation for her efforts… (Spoken like a real teen, I know, but listen, I’ve been there, done that, too! Haven’t we all, as teenagers who helped our mothers before Pesach, craved some recognition for that help?)

Well, we’ve got just the thing for her! Between Teens, a book for real teens, about real teens…it’s the perfect gift for any teenage girl. With nearly 40 short stories and experiences of teens, each one inspiring and entertaining, this book has “Winner for Teens” written all over it!

So make your daughter’s day–and Yom Tov. Buy her this great book, and write her a nice note to go with it… Believe me, you’ll be the one reaping the rewards for this when you see how much more she suddenly starts doing for you afterward…

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! West of the Nile

March 27, 2015

C397Give your kids a whole lot more than an ordinary book for their Afikoman present this year! Give them an authentic taste of what life was like in Mitzrayim at the time of the Jewish People’s slavery!

West of the Nile is an exciting historical novel for all your adventure-loving teens and tweens. It’ll take them–along with Yitzy, the main character in the book–to Egypt of long ago, on a quest to find a desperately needed medicine that is hidden somewhere in the land, among ruthless Egyptian priests and other powerful–and cruel–officers…

This  is a book that will transform your hyper, need-to-be-doing-something child into a sudden bookworm. Yes, the story is that spellbinding! And the best part is, the book is so wholesome–even educational; your child will be picking up loads of mefarshim on the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim, along with the adventurous story that he’s reading.

Just one little piece of advice, parent to parent: Don’t give the book to your kid when he’s supposed to be taking a nap for the next night’s Seder, or chances are that that nap will never happen…

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Ready to Fly

March 24, 2015

L721Did you ever wonder where a writer gets his or her ideas from? How often do you scratch your head and think, Now how did they come up with that? Authors are accosted by readers at weddings and bar mitzvahs, or in the supermarket, and are interrogated more thoroughly than the CIA about their plots and characters–to the extent that you’d think they were involved in espionage or something!

“Great story, loved your characters… Who is Tante Grizabella based on? Do you have a relative who behaves like that?”

“Are your stories real? If so, can you write one about me?”

“I’d love to write a story, too, but I can’t come up with any ideas. My head’s filled with air.”

Hmm…now there’s a starter already. “My head’s filled with air…” Where does that lead you?

That’s all it takes…five small words…to stimulate a story.

In her compilation of short stories, renowned Hamodia and Binah author Batya Ruddell takes readers on a personal tour behind the stage, to meet the props and learn what inspired and motivated her to write about them. Each story has an anecdote at the end of it, telling what went on behind the scenes.

This concept is unique; it’s never been done before in any anthology. Ready to Fly provides an insight into an author’s mind, how she sees the world from the perspective of her pen that takes everyday events, develops them into words, and puts them down on paper. It is fascinating to see how she gets from one place to the next, how a single thought or observation can suddenly inspire an entire story or send her off in a completely different direction from where she started. The anecdotes will bring you closer to the author, so you’ll almost feel like you know her.

The stories in this anthology have all previously appeared in either Hamodia or Binah magazine, so many of you will be familiar with some of them. In this inspiring volume, you’ll find stories that you once read and wanted to keep, but somehow the magazine got lost or used as wrapping paper for your kids’ lunches. Now, after the Shabbos meal is over and the children are safely tucked in bed, Batya gives you the opportunity to curl up with your favorites. Beware–you may still be on the couch the next morning!

There is something here for everyone, from a disease-ravaged village in Africa, to a lonely raincloud that doesn’t have any water, to an engaging relationship between a frum, female doctor and her young Russian patient, a famous pianist who lost her hand in an accident. Whichever stories you like best, there’s one thing that’s certain: just like the title of the book, you’ll be lifted up high, carried on wings–ready to fly!

Click here to purchase online.


NEW RELEASE! The Time is Now!

March 23, 2015

C400You know the kid who just doesn’t know the definition of the word “rush”; who just doesn’t know how to move fast? He’s the kid who loves to dawdle and krotz around, while you’re, more often than not, gritting your teeth while trying to keep your cool and saying, “Hurry up, you’re going to miss the bus!” and other such sentiments.

What if you could read that child a story about a boy who was just like that, too–but who actually was motivated to learn how to act with zrizus? Wouldn’t you race (speaking of zrizus, you know…)to get your hands on such a book?

Well, be careful as you run, now–because we do have a book just like that! It’s called The Time is Now! and it’s an adorable story about a boy named Ben, who didn’t know the meaning of the word “when”… I won’t give away any other lines, but I will tell you that this book is a real winner, perfect for reading to any child, especially one who could use a good lesson in the middah of zrizus!

So pull out this book and cozy up on the couch with your child…and let the magic of the story work its wonders on the listeners… Hey, your child may make his bus to school, after all–miracles do happen, you know!

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Kitzur Halachos Pesach

March 22, 2015

L713The following true story is NOT for the faint of heart. But, as I said, it is true, and it teaches a really good lesson–one that unfortunately I had to learn the hard way. You, on the other hand, can learn from my mistake, and always ASK before you take matters into your own hands.

It was Erev Pesach. I and two of my siblings, who shall remain unnamed for obvious reasons, were working in the kitchen and schmoozing.

“You know,” I mused aloud, “anything that touches food has to be kashered before Pesach…but what about our retainers? Food touches them all the time; why don’t we have to kasher them?”

[Author’s note: All three of us wore orthodontic retainers, after having worn braces for several years. All three of us.]

“Maybe we do have to kasher them!” said my sister.

“How?” asked my brother.

The three of us, all in our early teens, discussed it, until we came up with the obvious solution: we needed to immerse the retainers in boiling water.

And so, without stopping to ask a sheilah, without even asking our parents, we set up a pot of boiling water and proceeded to kasher those retainers.

Except that when they finally emerged from their scalding bath, they didn’t really look like retainers anymore. The plastic part had become misshapen and deformed, and suffice it to say, they did not fit in our mouths anymore.

Oh, and did I mention that each set of retainers, being custom-made, cost nearly $1,000? And all three of us wore them.

I don’t think I need to tell you how very displeased our parents were with us on that day…

But we had such good intentions! I remember thinking to myself in consternation. We were only trying to do what’s right; to follow the halachah like good Torah Jews. How could we have flopped so badly?

The answer, of course, is that it’s not enough to have good intentions and to want to follow the halachah; you need to ask and find out what the correct halachah is, in each and every case! (In this case, by the way, we were told that it would be enough to simply clean the retainers very well for Pesach, although each person should ask his rav for his own psak.)

And that is why I so strongly endorse investing in a clear and easy-to-understand sefer on hilchos Pesach, such as Kitzur Halachos Pesach, by Rabbi Zev Hofstedter, before attempting to go through this holiday on your own. Like this, you never have to guess about a halachah–everything is clearly explained, so that you know exactly what halachah requires you to do, each step of the way.

As I said, I learned the hard way about the importance of asking sheilos and checking up halachos in a sefer. But you can take the easier route. With the purchase of Kitzur Halachos Pesach, you can be sure that you won’t be making the kind of mistakes I did…

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! MiddosMan Puzzles

March 20, 2015

C398 C399If you’re like most moms at this time of year, you’re probably feeling frazzled and harried as you try your hardest to clean the house for Pesach, shop, cook, do laundry, and take care of all the other million things a mother must take care of, Pesach time or not. And all this, of course, while entertaining the kids and trying to keep them from undoing whatever work you did manage to get done…

Feeling the pressure, huh?

Well, we can help you out with this! If there’s something little kids love, it’s doing puzzles. And if there’s a much beloved character that kids just can’t get enough of (besides for Uncle Moishy, of course), it’s MiddosMan. Yes, that fun, outgoing, red-haired fellow who knows just when to show up and show kids how to fight their yetzer hara and have good middos.

So, what do you get when you put MiddosMan together with a children’s puzzle? A MiddosMan puzzle, of course! Or, rather, make that two MiddosMan puzzles–because that’s exactly what we have to offer you! Two absolutely adorable, good quality, 24-piece jigsaw puzzles, each depicting a brightly colored scene from one of the MiddosMan books, each guaranteeing hours of fun for your little ones…which, as you know, translates into hours of productive housework-tackling time for you…

It’s really a no-brainer. Settle your kids with these puzzles, and maybe pop one of the MiddosMan CDs into the CD player to really round out the experience–and then go tackle that freezer! (Just don’t blame us if you find yourself working to the beat of “I run, I run, as fast as I can” instead of Avadim Hayinu or Chad Gadya or something….)

Click here to purchase Middos Man Middos Puzzle-Mobile online.

Click here to purchase Middos Man Middos Puzzle-Copter online.

NEW RELEASE! Operation KT and Other Stories

March 19, 2015

C396One of my fondest memories of visiting my grandparents’ home as a kid was burrowing in their “book room.” This was a room at the back of their house whose walls were lined with shelves upon shelves, all of them groaning under the weight of literally hundreds of sefarim and books. Immediately upon entering my grandparents’ house, I’d greet Bubby and Zaidy (gotta be mindful of derech eretz, of course) and then go check out their nosh pantry (nothing doing before that!). Next step was usually the book room. And once there, well, there was no telling when I’d emerge from its depths…

There was just so much to read in that room! Magazines, novels, comics books, mysteries… For a bookworm like me, the place was akin to something like Gan Eden.

Without question, the stack of Olomeinu’s in the corner of the room beckoned to me most enticingly, and that’s usually where my devouring began. I’d pore over the pen-pal pages, tickled pink when I’d find the names of adults that I knew. Were those adults once kids, too, who enjoyed writing to other kids about their hobbies, siblings, and favorite teachers? And the “Mommy’s Favorite Stories” column–that was a big hit, too, with its adorable stories to tease the imagination.

And always, always, there were Rabbi Zevulun Weisberger’s stories.

Even as a young kid, I loved those stories. There was something so charming and so real about the way Rabbi Weisberger wrote. The story could be about a secret Pesach Seder during the Spanish Inquisition, or it could be about a color-war contest in a boys’ overnight camp; no matter what the subject matter, you knew that a Rabbi Zevulun Weisberger story would be a great one. And now that I’ve become a grown-up (though always a kid at heart!), I find myself marveling at those stories, at the way Rabbi Weisberger understood the minds and hearts of the children he wrote for, even more.

You can understand, then, why I was so excited to learn that Israel Bookshop would be publishing an entire book of Rabbi Weisberger’s short stories. What better gift to give my own children than the stories I myself–and my parents, too, for that matter–grew up on! And when I heard that the book would also include a mini biography of this beloved author, well, that sweetened the deal even more!

Called Operation KT and Other Stories, this is a book every parent and grandparent would want to grace their bookshelf–whether or not they have a “book room” of their own in their homes. I can just see it becoming the next classic for kids…flying out of the bookstores as fast as they are restocked…becoming “required reading” for school…

Yes, dear readers, this is a book you’ll want to go out and purchase a copy of today.

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Have an Olomeinu Pesach

March 18, 2015

C395When you hear someone mention “Olomeinu,” does a nostalgic smile appear on your face? Does your mind begin to conjure up colorful, glossy pages, exciting covers, and some of the most terrific stories and articles that you’ve ever read?

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, face it: you are an Olomeinu fan.

Don’t think you’re alone, either: to date, there are thousands upon thousands of Olomeinu fans out there. Three generations of Jewish children across North America and beyond were nurtured on the beautifully-presented information that filled the pages of Olomeinu. No matter what other reading material might have been around, Olomeinu was always so full of wholesome goodness, kids just seemed to gravitate to it. With writers like Rabbi Zevulun Weisberger, Rabbi Eliezer Gevirtz, Leah Dolinger, Leah Herskowitz, and Rena Kaplan, among many others, Olomeinu was a lot more than a magazine; over the years, it evolved into a real educational tool and became a mainstay of chinuch in the frum world.  

In Have an Olomeinu Pesach, readers of all ages will delight to find classic Olomeinu material on the topic of Pesach–stories, divrei Torah, and lots more–compiled together, along with the full text of the Haggadah, too! The result is a stunning volume that can be used at the Seder table itself and for casual reading throughout the Yom Tov.

Guaranteed to provide you and your children, and all Olomeinu fans out there in the world, with hundreds of hours of pleasure and informative Pesach reading!

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Living Lessons Haggadah

March 16, 2015

C393The first thing that hits you when you look at Haggadah Shel Pesach – Living Lessons is its unique size. How many long and narrow Haggadahs are there on the market? The truth is, as any veteran Seder-goer will attest, really all Haggadahs should be this size. When everyone is finally seated, shoulder-to-shoulder, at the Seder table, elbows and knees arranged just so, being mindful not to breathe lest they knock over Great-Uncle Shaya’s cup of wine on their right or Cousin Levi’s Haggadah on their left…well, then they can really appreciate a Haggadah that’s long and narrow versus w-i-d-e!

But size is only one amazing feature of this Youth Haggadah. What really makes this Haggadah different from all other Haggadahs is its unique, blended translation-explanation of the text. Each line of the Haggadah has a corresponding line of definition that contains a loose translation in bold type, and the basic meaning of the text in regular type. In simple English, this means that your child can read what the Haggdah is saying, in simple English! How’s that for an innovative approach toward getting your child involved in the Seder?

Of course we can’t overlook the stunning, life-like illustrations that grace the pages of this Haggadah. Flip through the pages and you’ll see what we mean–this Haggadah is truly a work of art.

So for all those looking to enhance their children’s Seder experience, look no further. Haggadah Shel Pesach – Living Lessons is the only youth Haggadah you will need.

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Moving Targets

March 15, 2015

L717Unless you happen to have cloned yourself several thousand times, chances are that the people you share your city, street and even your own home with – are slightly different or perhaps even dramatically different from you.

Where does “me” stop and “other” begin? Where do we draw our invisible lines? That kind of person vs. my type? Religious vs. secular? Mainstream vs. special needs? And most importantly, can we enjoy a peaceful coexistence despite it all?

Moving Targets is a suspense novel that swings wide as it tackles these issues from several directions. At the center of the action is Motke Shechory, the kibbutz old-timer who was purportedly abandoned by his religious parents and abandoned yiddishkeit in return. After WWII ends, Motke’s parents and siblings seeks refuge in the United States, only to encounter bias and struggles as they trip over America’s ‘invisible lines.’

Motke is ready to fight to the bitter end to stop the Chareidim from invading and building a new housing development in his neck of the woods. Yet, he’s also ready to battle on behalf of his precious granddaughter Keren who has Down’s Syndrome and is rejected by the kibbutz leaders as unworthy of kibbutz membership. Why does he fight for Keren but against the anonymous black-hatters? Because Keren, whose name means sunbeam, melts his heart. She’s a part of him and his future, whereas the Chareidim are the past, “other” and the enemy.

With Alon, an evil-hearted rabble-rouser at their helm and Zohar, a mentally-unstable young man as their lackey, the kibbutznikim and the environmental activists seem to have the upper hand – until Rav Erlicher wisely sends a group of frum families led by avreich-Project Manager Zev Litwein to settle in the old, secular neighborhood of Talmei-Charish while the new frum one is being built. What could more powerful than Torah, friendship and chesed to soothe regional wounds? Unless an arsonist or a criminal with a cache of weapons gets to them first…

Guest Blogger: Sara Miriam Gross

Click here to purchase online.