November 23, 2020

LA193The Chief

Reb Chaim received a call one evening.

“Hello, is this Rabbi Goldzweig?” asked the man on the line.

“Yes, it is.”

 “I am visiting from Toronto for business and staying in a hotel downtown. I was told to call you for information about where I can get kosher food,” the caller explained.

Rabbi Goldzweig told the man that the kosher stores and restaurants were all located on the north side of Chicago, but that they would probably be closing within the hour. The man sounded disappointed that he would not be able to make it in time to get something to eat.

Reb Chaim told the man, “You know what? Let me stop off at the store and get you some sandwiches and I’ll bring them down to you. I should be there in about an hour.”

The man protested that Reb Chaim shouldn’t bother, but Reb Chaim told him not to worry about anything.

An hour later, Rabbi Goldzweig reached the hotel and saw a distinguished-looking Orthodox Jew in the lobby. He introduced himself and handed him a bag of sandwiches and other food.

“I can’t believe you came all the way downtown just for me!” the man said. “How much do I owe you?” He pulled out his wallet.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s my pleasure,” Reb Chaim reassured the man.

The man smiled and shook Reb Chaim’s hand. “My name is Moshe Reichmann and, thank G-d, I can afford to pay for it. I refuse to take the food without paying. Please tell me how much I owe you.”

Rabbi Goldzweig had never heard of the famous Canadian philanthropist. He smiled back and said, “Well, my name is Chaim Goldzweig, and have you ever heard of something called chessed? I refuse to take money for a chessed.

Mr. Reichmann looked at Rabbi Goldzweig incredulously. “Have you ever heard of me? My company is Olympia and York.”

“Hmm.” Rabbi Goldzweig thought for a moment. “I know where Olympia is and I know where York is, but they are nowhere near each other! But listen, if you want, you can take the money and give it to tzedakah instead.”

A little while later, Rabbi Goldzweig received a call from one of the rabbis at the OU.

“Chaim, you know you brought food to a man staying downtown?”

“Yeah,” Rabbi Goldzweig said. “He said his name is Reichmann or something like that. Why do you ask?”

“Chaim, that was Moishe Reichmann, one of the richest people in the world. You asked him if he knows what chessed is? He is one of the biggest ba’alei tzedakah around. He just called me to see if we have people from the moon working for the OU!”

But Reb Chaim wasn’t impressed. He would have done the same thing had the man not had a penny to his name.

Meet Reb Chaim Goldzweig. If you hadn’t heard of him until now, the above anecdote illustrates exactly the kind of person he was. A larger-than-life figure, he was the one on whose shoulders rested much of the kashrus industry of the world. But that was in the public eye.

In the privacy of his home, Reb Chaim was a ba’al tzedakah who supported countless individuals and institutions—even though he was not a rich man. He was the man who ran an open house that was literally just that: a house where random guests and homeless people felt comfortable opening the fridge, answering the phones, and changing the temperature of the thermostat, as if they were all bona-fide family members. He was the scion of chassidic Rebbes, whose bitachon in Hashem was genuine and absolute. And, of course, he was a beloved husband, father, and zeidy, who enjoyed nothing more than pampering his loved ones.

The Chief, written by a son-in-law, Rabbi Ephraim Nisenbaum, offers a peek into the life and legacy of Reb Chaim Goldzweig. In this book, you will read the fascinating history of the kashrus movement in America, and the enormous role that Reb Chaim played in it. You will also read many of the sometimes-scary-sometimes-hilarious-but always-entertaining stories that Reb Chaim experienced along his colorful journey as a globe-trotting mashgiach. As well, you will gain immeasurable chizuk and inspiration from the actions of this humble, self-effacing giant in chessed.

Click here to purchase online.

The Black Sheep – Chapter 6

November 23, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 6 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Nosson’s parents called me the other day,” Ariella told her mother, when they both sat down after licht bentching.

“They called?” Her mother started. “What did they want?”

“To invite me for Shabbos.”

Shoshi, seated a short distance away and studying from her Navi, raised her eyes. There was quiet in the large room.

Nu?” her mother finally said.

“I didn’t want to, of course,” Ariella said lightly. “Last time I was there, last year, his mother tried to suggest a shidduch for me… But that’s not why I declined this time.”

“So what was the reason?”

“I need to rest,” her daughter replied. “I was very tense all week. Thinking about Osher, starting work again…I just wasn’t up to going away for Shabbos.”

“You wouldn’t have been able to rest there?” Shoshi dared to interject. “They probably don’t let you lift a finger when you’re there. Or do you mean that you’d have to bring them a cake or something?”

“If I would have gone, I would have asked you to bake something for me,” her oldest sister said with a smile. “No, it’s not the cake or the kugel that bothered me. When I’m there, Shoshi, I work the whole time.”

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 5

November 16, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 5 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Sarah, mazel tov!” The kallah’s mother shook her hand warmly. “It’s so lovely to see you. Come, sit down; it’s fine that you didn’t get here for the chuppah. Look, my sister-in-law Zahava saved you a place.”

Sarah smiled and nodded and walked over to the corner table.

“Hello,” she said to the women seated there, some of whom she recognized and some whom she did not. “Mazel tov.”

“Sarah, mazel tov; how are you?” Elazar’s cousin began passing her bowls of dips one after the other. “You look tired. What time did you work until today?”

“Until six. Thanks.” Sarah took a bit of coleslaw but ignored the other dips.

“It’s no wonder you look like this, with those black circles under your eyes. With children or adults?”


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The Black Sheep – Chapter 4

November 9, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 4 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

A few yards past the entry to the Reiness family’s apartment was another steel door, and beyond that was Sarah Reiness’s world. This was where their private home was located; none of her husband’s youths came in there, and she conducted her life there in a tranquil setting: she spoke on the phone to her married children, arranged her meeting calendar, fried tuna patties for lunch for the boys, or painted the sea.

She had already completed seven oil paintings that she’d named “The Sea,” all in the two years since they’d come from Haifa to Acco. They were all painted from the same angle, and were of similar style, but the hues, the boats, and the people on the sandy beach all changed, as if they were chapters in a serial story.

The paintings hung on the walls of the small living room, side by side, and anyone who looked at them could see that the paintbrush had been wielded by an amateur. But Sarah loved them anyway—and so did her husband, Elazar.

The latest painting was the most beautiful of them all.

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The Black Sheep – Chapter 3

November 2, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 3 of a new online serial novel, The Black Sheep, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

“Ariella?” Mindy Kagan lifted her pencil off her paper. “I don’t understand where the x of this equation goes.”

“Here,” her private tutor replied, pointing to a spot on the page.

“This? This is the second question, and I’m still on the first question.”

Oy, you’re right,” Ariella said. “So what did you ask me?”

Mindy looked at her, baffled. “Where is the x?”

“In which question?”

Mindy took a deep breath. “The first one.”

“Oh.” Ariella lowered her eyes to the page. Zichron Yaakov. Hadera. Haifa. Tzefas. Teveriah. Acco. Rosh Pinah. Nahariyah. Which part of the “north” had Osher gone to? She drummed the blue eraser on the table and pictured a map of Israel in her mind. Assuming that Osher had not crossed the border into Syria, where had he been speaking from? He didn’t sound carefree and calm. The sudden silence, the cut-off conversation… She’d need to sit with Abba, Ima, Shoshi, and Lakey and ask them for every shred of information that might shed some light on this very bewildering darkness. Which yeshivah could he have gone to that let him be so cut off from home, and supported keeping his family completely out of the loop?

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