NEW RELEASE! Life Unwrapped

December 5, 2017

A class of bright-eyed, sweet young women graduates high school. Standing there on stage, in their matching caps and gowns, their hair carefully blow-dried, and their faces shining with their dreams for their futures (and okay, maybe some make-up, too), it’s hard to think that those futures could be anything but a bed of roses.

But while we daven that no one be visited by tzaros, the fact is that no one has the perfect life.  Everyone has something to contend with—be it a difficult mother-in-law, an unusually colicky baby, financial stresses, or any other problem, whether major or minor. Our job, as believing Jews, is to see the challenges we face in life as opportunities for growth, and through them, to develop into the greatest people we can become.

And we have so many role models to look up to! In Life Unwrapped, a beautifully written book of true stories about real people who struggled with something, but ultimately grew from that struggle, we meet Penina, who was sailing smoothly through life until a terrible car crash, just one week before she was supposed to get engaged, ripped away her mobility and emotional memory; Chayala, who has waited twelve years to find her basherte—only to discover that the road to parenthood will be a long one, too; and many others. We follow each protagonist through her journey and watch as painful decisions are made and heroic deeds done.

And always, always, we emerge uplifted from the saga. Because every one of us has a limitless amount of shining potential. That potential just needs to be unwrapped and brought out—as happened in the amazing stories in Life Unwrapped!

An excellent gift for those who love inspirational true stories!

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NEW RELEASE! Indoor Fishing

November 20, 2017

You know how little kids are always trying to act big? Going to sleep late like their big sibs, using adult language even if they don’t quite understand what they’re saying, dressing up in their Mommy’s high heels and Tatty’s black hat… I even have a little guy who so badly wants to be seen as a grown-up that he forces himself to eat chopped liver like the adults at the Shabbos table—even though the poor kid can’t stand chopped liver! (Don’t worry, he spits it out when he thinks no one is looking!)

With reading books it’s no different. Every little kid who has seen his big sisters and brothers curled on the couch with a fat chapter book wishes that he, too, could do that. But what’s a first- or second-grader to do if the only books he/she can read are the “baby” books consisting of just one short story?

Now there’s a solution to that problem! M. Jakubowicz’s name has become synonymous with tween/teen short story books (in addition to novels and the many other books she’s written!)—and now, for the first time, she has written a book of short stories for the beginner reader!

In Indoor Fishing and Other Fun-to-Read Stories for Beginning Readers, young readers will meet the Green kids and find themselves part of the adventures of a most entertaining family. The ten “fun-to-read” stories in this book combine engaging plots, highlighted vocabulary words, and delightful illustrations to create a spectacular reading experience for your child!

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NEW RELEASE! Stargazing

November 14, 2017

One of my English teachers in high school would say that she could only give an A plus to an essay that either made her laugh or cry. I would definitely give the highest grade to Stargazing, a book that will have readers crying yet smiling at the same time. And I’m pretty sure Mrs. Polster would agree with me about this book, too!

Rochel Grunewald is a rising star in the writing field, and in Stargazing, her debuting novel, her talent and skills are quite apparent. Stargazing takes us into the lives of a “blended family”—or, at least, a family with members who are valiantly trying to blend themselves…and others who are trying just as hard to undo all that effort.

While Michal does her best to rise above her pain and make things work, Tali and Nina, her new step-sisters, seem determined to make her, and the rest of the family, miserable, destroying any chance of them ever becoming a real family. And throughout it all, we follow the thoughts and feelings of little Laylie, Michal’s younger sister, who can’t understand why her family can’t just be happy together.

Things come to a head when Tali makes a radical decision that sends everyone reeling in shock. That’s when Laylie decides that it’s up to her to do something about this…

Follow the intricate family and social dynamics in this compelling novel. This is a book whose story and message with linger with you long after you’ve finished reading it!

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NEW RELEASE! Shadchanus in Halachah

November 2, 2017

My mother has the biggest heart of anyone I know. Sending meals to neighbors who are feeling under the weather, making sheva brachos for anyone she might remotely know, visiting homebound elderly people—these are all part of her normal daily routine.

And then there are her shidduchim, of course.

Having been blessed with a knack for making shidduchim, my mother decided that she would like to specialize in the area of the “underdogs”—those singles who often have a harder time finding their bashert, whether because they are ba’alei teshuvah and not “well-connected,” or because they’ve been previously married, or have a medical condition, or any other kind of potential impediment. And baruch Hashembli ayin hara, she has seen much success in her matchmaking endeavors. In marrying these singles off, that is. Not in making financial gains from it.

Time and again, my siblings and I have watched my mother invest hours upon hours into a shidduch—which, with Hashem’s help, sometimes culminates in a happy engagement…and then get a $7.99 bottle of wine as remuneration.

Not that my mother complains about that—not at all! For her, the greatest gift she could receive is the knowledge that two lonely souls have found their mate and are embarking on building their own bayis ne’eman together.

But it does make me wonder: why don’t people know that there is a real inyan  to pay a shadchan for his or her work? It’s not simply a nicety—it’s actual halachah! Yet there are so many out there who are truly clueless about this.

Thankfully, there is now a sefer out on the market that can help remedy this disturbing phenomenon. Shadchanus in Halachahby noted author Rabbi Shlomie Dickman and shadchan Rabbi Tzadok Katz, clearly explains the exact parameters of the halachos of paying a shadchan for his or her work. It addresses all the common questions and scenarios: How much money should be given? When must shadchanus be paid—when the shidduch is finalized or at the wedding? When there are multiple shadchanim involved in a shidduch, how is the shadchanus divided?

In addition to outlining the halachos and minhagim of giving shadchanus, this book also presents a series of fifteen fascinating, real-life she’eilos and teshuvos on the topic. An important work to read, Shadchanus in Halachah will educate and entertain as it makes an enigmatic topic in halachah clear to all.

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NEW RELEASE! Right, Left, Right

September 28, 2017

It never fails to amaze me. When a kid puts on his shoes, statistically speaking, he should have a 50% chance of putting them on the right feet, no? Of course there’s an equal chance that he’ll get it wrong, but at least half of the times he should be getting it right, right? (Ooh, that’s a good tongue twister!) So why is it that when my little ones try to dress themselves, their shoes nearly always end up on the wrong feet?

Go figure.

Left and right is a hard concept for kids to understand. Hard or easy, though, it’s something we parents try to explain to our children (even if only to make sure they look presentable when they dress themselves!). In that case, wouldn’t it be nice if we could somehow slip in some ruchniyus while teaching and repeating to our kids, “The left hand makes an L…”?

You certainly can! When it comes to mitzvos, so many of them are done with either the left hand or the right hand (or both). Right, Left, Right, a delightful children’s book that recently hit the market, can tell your little ones all about that!

Each brightly illustrated, laminated page in this book features a mitzvah, and tells which hand the mitzvah is done with. Shaking lulav and esrog, blowing shofar, laying tefillin, and more…your kids will be drawn like a magnet to this entertaining yet educational book!

And who knows? This book may be just the thing to teach them to put their shoes on the right feet—at long last! :)

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NEW RELEASE! What’s the Halachah

September 27, 2017

New year resolutions. That’s high on everyone’s list of priorities these days. As Yom Kippur approaches and we feverishly search for more mitzvos to do, more merits to accrue, more ways to show Hashem we’ll be better this year, we make kabbalos—pledges to grow in certain areas of our lives. For some, the kabbalah will be not to speak lashon hara for a specific two-hour slot daily; for others it may be to bentch from a bentcher; still others may choose to learn something extra each day.

If you’ve chosen that third option, you may be faced with another dilemma: what exactly should you learn? Of course the choices are endless, but here’s a new and excellent idea you might want to consider: What’s the Halachah? by Rav Zev Smith and Rabbi Dovid Kaiser.

Rav Zev Smith is well-known as a popular maggid shiur and speaker on halachic issues. He has thousands of recorded shiurim in circulation on a wide range of interesting and relevant, day-to-day topics. Now, for the first time, some of the best of these shiurim have been adapted into written format, in a way that’s easy to learn.

Covering topics relevant to each month of the year, What’s the Halachah? explores dozens of intriguing questions in halachah, such as: May an ebay seller set his auction to conclude on Shabbos? Should a person worry against ayin hara? May one listen to krias haTorah or Megillas Esther being read over the telephone?

As Torah Jews, we know that halachah dictates our every action in life. Let’s resolve to grow in our halachic observance this year. By using What’s the Halachah? as a guide, we can take real steps toward understanding the vastness and the beauty of the world of halachah!

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NEW RELEASE! Courtyard of Dreams

September 19, 2017

The Heavenly City… those books are incredible! You have to read them…”

As a kid, I’d heard this sentiment expressed by many adults, and as a dedicated bookworm, I made it my business to track down these “incredible” books so I could read them for myself. Young as I was, though, I didn’t appreciate what I was reading. The era spoken of in these books in such glowing tones kind of went over my immature head as I chugged through the stories, searching for the action, the adventure, the excitement.

Now, as an adult, I finally see what all those people were enthusing over when they described The Heavenly City books. The time period the books describe—Eretz Yisrael during the early 1900s, when the Old Yishuv had just been established, and Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld was rav—is so beautiful, and written about so well, you can’t help but be moved by it.

Popular author and educator Rebbetzin Sarah Feldbrand was also taken by all she had read about the holiness of this era, and it was this fascination that eventually led her to writing Courtyard of Dreams, a historical novel for teens set in Yerushalayim during the days of the Old Yishuv.

And what a detailed depiction of life at that time this book gives us! Although the main characters are fictitious, numerous famous historical figures, such as Rav Shmuel Salant, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, the Lelover Rebbe, and Dr. Moshe Wallach, are woven into the plot, complete with many of the true stories told about them. Readers will be enthralled both by the exciting storyline of the book and by the real challenges and triumphs of this special time period. And as this book was written with teens in mind, it can really be appreciated by the younger generation—although trust us, this is a book adults will be drawn to, as well!

For an inspirational and particularly enjoyable read, you’ll want to pick up a copy of Courtyard of Dreams today!

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