October 13, 2016

cod1In today’s day and age, it sometimes seems that anyone and his brother can write a novel. Think up a few good characters and their quirks, add some danger to the mix (a terrorist, car crash, or trip to the Emergency Room usually works well for that), throw in a shidduch or two (what’s a good Jewish novel without that?)—and voila! The next bestselling thriller, at your fingertips, with your very own name on the front cover! Easy as pie, nothing to it, right?

Um…not exactly. Chances are, a book like that would be exactly that: nothing to it! The plot would be clichéd, the characters stereotypical and two-dimensional, the writing style would be flat.

In short, nothing at all like the vibrant fiction writing of Yitzchak Goldman. Especially in his book Code One.

This, folks, is a book whose fine writing style fairly sings; whose intricate plot is so well-researched and authentic, you wonder if it is true (FYI, it is not, although all the historical background and details are accurate); whose characters are so sharply defined, you’re sure you must have met them somewhere before (FYI, you did not, as they are all fictional—though I bet you’re secretly wishing you could meet Gerald Moore; he’s definitely my favorite character in the book!).

Sometimes bloggers tends to exaggerate, but believe me, I’m not inflating anything here. Truly, if you’re looking for quality Jewish fiction at its best, you needn’t look any further than Goldman’s latest and greatest thriller, a book that spans continents, generations, and readership: Code One.

You’ve got the book in your hands? Good. And so we dim the lights, begin the music, and lift the curtains… And now, please sit back, relax, and enjoy, as a skilled novelist takes you on a most exhilarating and unforgettable reading experience…

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Dieting Is Tough, Losing Weight Is a Cinch

August 15, 2016

L802If the plethora of dieting books out there on the market is an indication of anything, dieting is tough. Tough enough to make people want to shell out good money to buy books on the topic. Even if all those books will do is lecture you on why you should not eat that fresh cinnamon bun in your hand. (What? You’re still holding it, even after the book told you to put it down?!)

But Dieting Is Tough, Losing Weight Is a Cinch is a whole different story. Here is a dieting expert who truly understands you. She knows how you’re salivating for that sticky cinnamon bun in your hand, whose warm vanilla glaze is dripping onto your fingers; in fact, she describes herself as “someone who always prefers cream cake to lettuce and whose best friend is chocolate”! She realizes that engaging in constant battle against an enemy called food is self-destructive, and she equally respects your desire to eat and your desire to lose weight. And—here’s the most amazing part—she will prove to you in this book that these two conflicting interests can coexist peacefully!

Yes, you read that right!

Weight-loss coach Rachel Lambersky has written a truly one-of-a-kind—and effective—dieting book that draws upon the foundations of life coaching and psychodrama and helps you lose weight without the aggravation that typically is part and parcel of every diet plan. Her secret? Listen to yourself.

This method, of course, is analyzed and explained in great detail in the book, but what you’ll also find in these pages is something that will really make you smile. Rachel understands that a serious topic such as weight-loss needs some comic relief, and boy, has she provided it for you! Take a look at these colorful and amusing comics found throughout the book, and tell me that you won’t find yourself giggling helplessly! At the oh-so-true scenarios; at Rachel’s humor; and yes, at yourself.

Now that you are on your way to losing weight—and maintaining that weight-loss—you really do have much to laugh about!

Oh, and hope you enjoy that well-deserved cinnamon bun!

Click here to purchase online.


August 10, 2016

L803It happened so many years ago. We’re generations away from the Jews who lived during the times of the Churban Beis Hamikdash. How are we, in 2016, supposed to feel the pain of the Churban on a personal level, the way we know we should?

It’s something we all need to work on, of course, and I’m not here to offer words of mussar on the topic. But what I can do is recommend one excellent way of connecting to the Churban: read Chains, an exquisite historical novel written by talented author Leah Gebber. Set in this exact time period, during the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdash, this is a book that pulls at your heart and brings you to tears just by virtue of the vivid descriptions of the times—all meticulously researched and accurate—and breathtakingly beautiful writing style.

You’ll immediately feel connected to the characters in the book: the brave Shulamit; her stoic cousin Mariam; Chanan, whose heart lies in one big state of confusion, and the rest of the cast. Your breath will catch in your throat as you follow their suspenseful saga. More importantly, you’ll receive an inkling of how the Jews felt as they were led, in chains, by their hated captors, to Rome, the city that was the antithesis of the kedushah of Eretz Yisrael…

Reading this book will change the way you recite the Kinnos on this year’s Tishah B’Av. It will put new understanding of the pain of the Churban and of galus into your heart. Your connection with Klal Yisrael’s glorious past will be strengthened—as will your prayers of Hashiveinu Hashem eilecha v’nashuvah…

Click here to purchase online.


NEW RELEASE! The Halachos when Tishah B’Av Occurs on Shabbos

August 9, 2016

L807This year, Tishah B’Av is a nidcheh—it falls out on Shabbos, and is therefore pushed off until the next day, Sunday. This makes for some unusual halachos which, in a regular year, would not necessarily apply.

For example, one is not supposed to learn Torah after chatzos on Erev Tishah B’Av. But since Erev Tishah B’Av this year comes out to be Shabbos—well, can one learn Torah on Shabbos afternoon? How about if one always takes a “tzom kal“ pill before a fast day—is he allowed to do so on Shabbos, since that is the day before the fast, or would that be considered hachanah l’chol?

You get the idea. You also get why the book The Halachos when Tishah B’Av Occurs on Shabbos or Sunday, by Rabbi Yisroel Dov Webster, is such a necessity for this year. In this book, all of the halachos you need to know in order to navigate the do’s and don’t’s of this year’s Shabbos/Tishah B’Av situation are clearly laid out for you. Using this book as your guide, you’ll know exactly what should and should not be done with regard to Tishah B’Av and the weeks leading up to it.

Of course, we all hope for Mashiach to come before Tishah B’Av, and for this book to never need to be used on a practical level… May Hashem answer our prayers, and may we merit to see the fulfillment of His promise to rebuild Yerushalayim, speedily and in our days!

Click here to purchase online.


August 8, 2016

L804I’d heard the name thrown around numerous times: Heleni Hamalkah. Between the Gemara learners in my life (read: father, brothers, husband), and whatever I managed to pick up during Jewish history class in high school (hey, not everyone sleeps during those classes; there are some of us who actually enjoy learning about our past!), her name was certainly not unfamiliar to me. Yet I never knew that this Heleni Hamalkah from the Gemara—or, in the English vernacular, Queen Helene—actually had an incredibly fascinating background and story to her.

Until I read Nezirah. That’s when the name blossomed, took off, became a colorful entity rather than a black-and-white, two-dimensional thing. For Queen Helene of Adiabene was an extraordinary character, and a very real one at that. She was a righteous convert who left the pagan country in which she had reigned, to settle in the Holy Land during the tumultuous days before the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdash. And…she became a nazir, or rather, a nezirah, for many years. Not your typical woman, huh?

This meticulously researched and beautifully written book brings Queen Helene’s captivating story to life, as well as providing readers with a vivid picture of Jewish day-to-day existence in Eretz Yisrael under Roman rule. It’s a book that will enthrall, enlighten, and inspire you. Yes, even if you were one of those students who snored their way through Historiah class!

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! I Promise You

August 4, 2016

L808While working on Yael Mermelstein’s latest book, I Promise You, we received an interesting email from her. The book tells the riches-to-rags story of unfathomable tragedy and redemption, as experienced by Yael’s grandmother, Mrs. Miriam (Manusia) Adler, with whom Yael is very close.

I feel that I lost my objectivity with this book, because I’m seriously petrified to publish it, she writes. And I’m never like this with my writing, btw—I’m usually very chilled. But this is personal to me and especially to my Safta, who I am in touch with about every word :). 

And just for the record, Yael has had 9 books published previously, and the articles she writes for numerous Jewish magazines and websites number in the thousands by now. So she’s certainly no stranger to the relationship an author has with her writing.

If you’re wondering exactly why Yael feels so connected to this book (well, other than because the book happens to be about her Safta!), you’ll need to read the book yourself. I can try to describe it to you, how exquisite the writing is, what a potent story it tells, but in order to truly understand the power of this book, you need to get the chills from reading a few pages of it yourself.

Written in the present tense, through the eyes of a teenager, this extraordinary true narrative will give you an achingly personal glimpse into the Holocaust experience of young Manusia Adler. If you’ve ever wondered about the roots of acclaimed author Yael Mermelstein, you need to meet her Safta. Read I Promise You—and you’ll feel connected to her, and to the Holocaust itself, in a strong and special way.

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! What Are We Waiting For?

August 3, 2016

C430It was a rainy Sunday afternoon, during the Three Weeks.

“Can we go bike-riding?” my kids begged.

No, it’s raining.

“Can we go to the park?”

No, it’s raining.

“Can we do sidewalk chalk?”

Not if you want what you’re drawing to last more than two seconds. Kids, it’s raining!!

Then my daughter jumped up. “I know what we can do! Let’s listen to my camp CD!”

Once again I shook my head. “I’m sorry, sweetie, but we can’t do that either.”

“Why not?” my daughter pouted. “That’s an indoor activity!”

“Because it’s during the Three Weeks now, and we’re not allowed to listen to music.”

That’s when I realized I had the perfect “teaching moment” on my hands. I got down the book What Are We Waiting For? and had the kids sit next to me on the couch.

“Kids,” I told them. “Do you want to know why we’re not allowed to listen to music or go to a chasunah during the Three Weeks? And soon the Nine Days will be starting, and we won’t be allowed to go swimming, either—and then it will be Tishah B’Av, which is the saddest day of the whole year. Do you want to know why we’re so sad at this time? Listen to this story and you’ll understand…”

As I began to read this beautiful new book to my kids, you could hear a pin drop. The vivid and imaginative storyline, the dramatic illustrations, the powerful message…it all combined to form an exquisite picture in their little heads, one that I could almost see developing. And while chinuch is never a quick-fix thing, when I finished reading that book, I could tell that the lesson brought out in it—what Klal Yisrael mourns for on Tishah B’Av, and why we yearn for Mashiach to come—definitely made an impression on my children.

And really, wasn’t that the whole point?

Click here to purchase online.