NEW RELEASE: The Ribnitzer Rebbe

September 26, 2019

The Ribnitzer Rebbe

Tammuz was a rainy, cloud-filled  month that year in Chicago. The Ribnitzer Rebbe, who had traveled to Chicago for a wedding, wanted to say Kiddush Levanah, but as the days passed, the sky remained cloudy, and the moon could not be seen. It was one of the last nights on which Kiddush Levanah could still be said for Tammuz. The Rebbe stood outside with a small group of men, trying to catch a glimpse of the moon—but it was simply not visible.

The Rebbe called over his gabbai. “Please take this towel and dip it into the mikveh,” he instructed.

When the gabbai returned with the wet towel, the Rebbe thanked him, took the towel, and flicked it several times toward the sky. Suddenly the clouds parted in the sky, and the moon appeared, shining brightly.

The Rebbe was able to recite Kiddush Levanah.

True story. I know, because that wedding in Chicago, for which the Ribnitzer Rebbe had traveled to the Windy (and cloudy) City, was that of my parents, and I’d heard this amazing story a few times from them.

Though you’d probably have believed the story even without this personal add-on—because, after all, we’re talking about the Ribnitzer Rebbe here, the tzaddik for whom mofsim and miracles were commonplace.

Now you can read an entire book about the Ribnitzer Rebbe’s greatness and the miracles he helped bring about! The Ribnitzer Rebbe was authored by a close chassid and confidant of the Rebbe, Rabbi Avraham (Romi) Cohn, who witnessed firsthand many of the eye-popping “miracle worker” stories that he relates.  In addition to the memories, anecdotes, and lessons written about in this book, it also  includes many photos, as well as a synopsis of the Rebbe’s early years in the USSR.

Prepare to be mesmerized by The Ribnitzer Rebbe. Prepare to be inspired.

Click here to purchase online.


NEW RELEASE: Supper 1,2,3

September 19, 2019

Supper 1,2,3

When I was growing up, “supper” meant a balanced meal of a protein, starch, and vegetable, sometimes with a soup, and sometimes even with a dessert, served at 6:00 p.m. in the dining room, with the entire family—my parents included—in attendance.

And really, I didn’t grow up that long ago! (My kids might disagree, but I’m not that old!)

Still, times change at a dizzying pace, especially with the explosion of technology that, instead of freeing up our schedules, actually makes our schedules even more frenetic. And as much as I would love to continue the tradition of a formal suppertime with my own children, I admit that the family-sitting-around-the-table-at-six-each-evening just doesn’t happen too often in my home.

But that’s no reason to give up on the balanced meal component, and so, on a typical weekday afternoon, when the kids come in “staaaarving!” I go racing around in the kitchen, frantically throwing frozen pizza (that counts for a protein and a starch, right?) into the toaster while cutting up veggies for a salad. (Come to think of it, maybe the tomato sauce could be considered a veggie, and then I could skip the salad?) And all the while I’m thinking, There’s gotta be a better way to do this…

Then I saw the new cookbook, Supper 1,2,3, and it was like a breath of fresh air. Wow, an ENTIRE cookbook dedicated to the proteins, starches, and vegetables of a good, balanced supper! When can I get my hands on this?!

No more wracking your brains, trying to think of different ideas for each day (assuming you don’t want to serve frozen pizza every day, that is). This cookbook has done all the work for you! It contains hundreds of recipes of delicious proteins, starches, and vegetables that you can serve for dinner each day, with the recipe pages actually cut into these 3 sections so you can easily flip back and forth and mix and match them up however you like. And the recipes are nearly all easy and quick, using common ingredients that you likely already have in your house—2 more  big pluses. All that’s left for you to do is the actual cooking! (Not that that’s easy, either, but still….)

I’m looking forward to upgrading my daily suppers with this cookbook—I really am!
How about you?

Click here to purchase online.

 

 


NEW RELEASE: Magnificent Messages

September 18, 2019

Magnificent Messages

Hashem, help me remember that nothing will happen to me today that You and I together can’t handle.

The quote is framed and hangs on a wall in my home, as it does in my parents’ home and many of my siblings’ and other relatives’ homes, as well. My parents had been visiting Eretz Yisrael when they came across this quote on a magnet in one of the many souvenir-type shops in Geulah. Thinking that my grandmother would like it, they bought the five-shekel magnet for her.

Well, she certainly did like the quote—enough to propel her to have the quote typed up on a beautiful background, make copies of it, frame each one, and finally distribute them all to her children and grandchildren. I guess that’s the power of a quote—if it speaks to you, it really speaks to you.

Magnificent Messages has this fantastic advantage too. Written by Rabbi Naftoli Hexter, a well-known principal in Baltimore, this gift-type book has a beautiful dvar Torah on each parshah, in addition to a true story that relates to the lesson being highlighted. But it’s the stunning, full-color, graphically designed quote on the facing page, one for each parshah, connecting to that parshah, which really sets this book apart.

It’s the kind of thing that you have to see for yourself to fully appreciate. Walk into a bookstore and pick up a copy of this book. Immediately your eyes will be drawn to these pithy yet poignant quotes; they jump out at you, strike a chord within you.

If you’re looking to buy a gift for a loved one, or for someone hosting you for Yom Tov, or for yourself—Magnificent Messages makes for a top-notch choice. In both its aesthetics and its contents, it’s a book that will be read, pondered over, and cherished for years.

 

 

 

 

Click here to purchase online.

 

 

 

 

 


NEW RELEASE: The Light from America

September 10, 2019

The Light from America

I recently heard the most beautiful story on Torah Anytime, related by Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro shlit”a. It won’t do justice to the tears-springing-to-your-eyes story to just give you a brief summary here, but I guess that’s what I’ll have to do:

Some teenage boys weren’t holding in the greatest of places, and one day they decided to have some fun by making prank calls. One bachur, whom we’ll call Yaakov, decided that he would make a prank call on…none other than Reb Moshe Feinstein zt”l himself. At 11:00 p.m.

“I have an urgent halachic question that can’t wait until the morning,” Yaakov told the Rebbetzin, who had answered the call.

Reb Moshe, who had been sleeping, washed negel vasser and came to the phone. After hearing the phony question, he immediately understood what was going on here. “Tell me,” he said to the young prankster, “what is your name? Where do you learn?”

Yaakov was, understandably, reluctant to reveal his identity, but when the gadol hador assured him that he wouldn’t get him in trouble, he told Reb Moshe his name and the name of his yeshivah.

“And what masechta are you learning?” Reb Moshe questioned further.

Upon hearing the masechta and sugya being learned in the boy’s yeshivah, Reb Moshe proceeded to explain a very difficult kasha on that sugya to Yaakov. But since Yaakov had not been “into” his learning for quite some time now, he did not understand Reb Moshe’s kasha or teretz at all. And so Reb Moshe explained it to him again…and again…and then again. Finally, after an entire hour of this, the boy “got” it.

“Now I want you to tell your rebbi this kasha and teretz tomorrow in yeshivah,” Reb Moshe instructed him.

Yaakov did just that, and his rebbi was amazed. He praised the boy, and actually had the shiur focus on this kasha and teretz for that entire week. Yaakov, in turn, responded to this unexpected but huge compliment by buckling down and putting more effort into his learning.

Yaakov eventually grew to become a well-known marbitz Torah, and he credits all of his spiritual success to Reb Moshe Feinstein. “Reb Moshe believed in me,” he would say. “So how could I not believe in myself?!”

This story is so typical of Reb Moshe Feinstein. It really personifies who this gadol hador was and what he meant to every individual in Klal Yisrael.

If you, like me, were touched by this story, you will love the newest book in our gedolim series: The Light from America, which is about Reb Moshe Feinstein. Like the above account, each of the twenty-five true stories in this book highlights the Torah, middos, brilliance, and sensitivity of Reb Moshe Feintstein—who was, indeed, the “light from America.”

 

Click here to purchase online.

 

 


NEW RELEASE: Highways and Byways

July 2, 2019

Highways and Byways

 The phenomenon isn’t a new thing: an elderly person retires, and that’s when he starts to deteriorate. His health declines; he becomes withdrawn; his energy seems to wane… As much as waking up early and running to your job each day can be stressful and exhausting, it’s no secret that the sense of purpose and accomplishment that hard work perpetrates is what helps keep many people young and energetic.

But it’s not always the person who retires himself. So often it’s the employer or company who wants young blood, which ultimately results in the old zeidy finding himself summarily fired from the position he’d held for decades…

That’s what made me so overawed when I read the story “Bubby at Work,” in C. Rosenberg’s newest book, Highways and BywaysThis is a book of true short stories, so I knew that the account that I’d read really DID occur.

Yaakov was an administrator of a busy institution, whose elderly mother worked for him. As his mother entered her eighties, she developed dementia and began to make many mistakes at work, but Yaakov nevertheless kept her at her job, no matter what those mistakes cost him. And this setup continued for years. Yes, it entailed endless damage control on Yaakov’s part, but his sense of kibbud eim would not allow him to have it any other way.

In Yaakov’s own words (excerpted from the book):

 I cannot, and will not, hire someone to take over Ma’s duties. That will be a slap in her face. However delicately it is done, Ma will know that someone is stepping on her toes. Even I, who have taken to checking in on Ma’s work, run circles to make sure that she doesn’t catch on that I am looking over her shoulder. When she is at her desk, I go to the kitchen; when she is in the kitchen, I speak with vendors.

My workload has doubled—perhaps even tripled. I have my own work, Ma’s work, and damage control in areas where Ma’s dementia messes up… But there is no way to convince Ma to retire; she refuses to take even one day off.

So faithfully, I continue bringing Ma into work every day. Day in, day out. So that she can continue doing what she loves most—feeling useful.

Reading this story, all I could think was—Wow! What a kiddush Hashem. What a paradigm of how to show proper respect to one’s parents.

And then I turned the page and read the next story—“Stranded.” This one was about a chassan and kallah who couldn’t make it to their out-of-town Shabbos sheva brachos in time due to terrible traffic on the highway, and had to stop in a random city for Shabbos. The family they stayed at turned out a magnificent Shabbos sheva brachos for them, even on such short notice. The chassan and kallah were truly made to feel like the celebrities they were, even without having their parents, families, and friends in attendance there.

Another mi k’amcha Yisrael story!

The more stories I read in Highways and Byways, the more inspired I became. Again, because these are all true stories, some of them thought-provoking, some of them incredibly uplifting; but all of them good, high-quality reading.

If you’re looking for a good book to read during these long, lazy summer days, Highways and Byways is an excellent choice!

 

Click here to purchase online.

 


NEW RELEASE: Mommy I’m Bored on Shabbos

June 20, 2019

“Mommy, I’m Bored” on Shabbos

 Are you an Uncle Izzy fan?

I guess you’d had to have read Rochel Scheller’s first book, Mommy, I’m Bored,” in order to know who he is… But my guess is that enough of you do own that popular book, so you’re already familiar with Uncle Izzy and his great ideas of activities for kids.

Well, guess what? Uncle Izzy is back, with another slew of ideas to keep kids as far from boredom as possible—on Shabbos!

If you’re at a loss as to how your kids can entertain themselves during these long Shabbos afternoons, you’ll want to invite Uncle Izzy back to your home, this time for a Shabbos visit. Listen to his boredom-bashing ideas, and pretty soon you’ll find that you won’t be hearing those dreaded words—“Mommy, I’m Bored”—on Shabbos anymore!

Click here to purchase online.


NEW RELEASE: WISEcracks

June 5, 2019

There’s a certain word used by lots of yeshivah kids—especially boys—these days: “Booshed.”

Ah, I see lots of you are smiling…guess you’ve heard it bandied around, too! Yeah, it’s one of those words that the kids come home from school with and you’re not sure whether to discourage its usage or just to laugh.

For the unaware, “booshed” basically means to be put in your place. As in: “All the guys wanted to win the Slurpee raffle, and Greenblatt (who loves Slurpees just like the next kid) kept saying he doesn’t care about winning, because he doesn’t like Slurpees anyway…and then he wins the raffle!! Boy, was he BOOSHED!”

Anyway, when I saw this new comics book, Wisecracks, and read what it’s about, I had to smile. Boy, are today’s kids gonna love this one… Here is an entire book of stories about gedolei Yisrael who used their Torah wisdom to put sonei Yisrael in their place! Indeed, “booshed” at its very best, and for the very greatest reason possible!

In this book you’ll read about Rav Shimon Sofer and how he outwitted the anti-Semite who disparaged the Jews to the king; about the wise rav who neatly got his congregation out of a dangerous blood libel; and about Rav Yonasan Eibshitz who outsmarted the priest at a debate he was forced to attend.

The stories are brilliant as they are witty, and they’ll keep you and your kids on your toes and seriously laughing out loud! Kosher humor, a terrific read, and a comics book, no less…what more could you ask for?!

Click here to purchase online.