NEW RELEASE! Without a Trace

July 11, 2016

L795There’s a woman I know who was born missing one hand. She was fitted with a prosthetic, which I’m sure she wore, while she was single, whenever she was in public, and especially while dating. But now she is baruch Hashem happily married and the mother of a lively brood, and I suppose she feels no one is judging her anymore. Add the fact that she finds the prosthetic to be bothersome and uncomfortable (she has taught herself to do everything using just one hand)—and she decided to give up wearing it.

So if you’re walking past her on the street, you’ll see a regular frum lady pushing a baby carriage with one hand, while the sleeve of her other arm dangles loosely past the wrist, at her side. If you’re cringing while reading this, believe me when I tell you that, while talking to the woman, you hardly even notice her birth defect. She’s so normal and natural about it—you just end up focusing on her, as a person, rather than on her missing hand.

Zevi Bloch, on the other hand (pun unintended!), does not operate like that. Although his deformity is much less obvious than this woman’s, entailing missing toes rather than a missing hand, Zevi is so self-conscious about it that his roommates and friends can’t help but be suspicious. What major secret could Zevi be hiding beneath his socks and shoes, both of which seem to never come off his feet?

And it’s not just Zevi who is self-conscious about it. Shoshie, his mother, is consumed with shame about her son’s deformity…and no small amount of guilt, too. She is sure Zevi’s whole accident happened only because of her…

Interest piqued? It certainly should be, because this novel is not your typical story! It’s suspenseful and emotion-laden and humorous and well-written…everything you’re looking for in a great book! So go ahead and treat yourself to Without a Trace—a book that will provide you with a whole lot of reading pleasure!

Click here to purchase online.


July 8, 2016

L797Ever heard a little kid singing a song incorrectly? He’s trying to sing “V’zakeini,” but what’s coming from his vocal chords is sounding something suspiciously like, “U’miri esa oros, ba’Torah u’manisitim…”

Now, it might be cute hearing it this way from a little child, but once that kid gets older, well, somewhere along the way, you hope he learns the correct words to the beautiful song. Otherwise, when he sings it, it really isn’t so “cute” anymore…

And when it comes to facts that a person was misinformed about, back when he was a kid, and that he still remains misinformed about, even years since his kindergarten graduation…that’s a tad more “not so cute.” And when those facts are actual halachos that the person is attempting to keep and to do—well, the problem just becomes exponentially greater. Someone better enlighten that person soon about the correct way of doing things, or else!

That’s where But I Thought comes into the picture. But I Thought is an eye-opening breakthrough in the world of halachah books. In it, more than twenty topics in halachah and Jewish custom are thoroughly explored, with an emphasis on highlighting and clarifying the erroneous assumptions that numerous people have about many of these halachos and customs.

So if, for example, you’ve been saying the pesukim of “Reishis chachmah” and “Torah tzivah” every morning immediately after washing negel vasser…now you’ll see that it seems that should not be done.

And if you’ve always ended your Shemoneh Esrei by bouncing on your heels a few times (after taking your three steps forward)…now you’ll see that there’s no source for doing so.

Surprise yourself while reading this book—and, more importantly, enlighten yourself about many halachos and customs that you thought you knew well…but really, perhaps did not!

A must-have for every halachah-abiding household!

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! What’s the Brachah? Book & CD

July 7, 2016

C426Whoever thought up the concept of children’s books accompanied by read-along CD’s must have been a genius. As every battle-weary mother knows, once your kid finds a book she absolutely loves, she will ask you to read it to her 250 times. At the very least. With a read-along CD, your vocal chords are given a rest, as you can cheerfully let your finger do the work for you—by simply pressing “Play.” What an amazing idea!

The only thing more amazing than this would be…a read-along book and CD on the topic of brachos! Most good Jewish mothers begin teaching their kids to say brachos at a young age, and what better way to reinforce which brachah to say on which food than by having your kids read and hear about it over and over again, via a read-along book and CD?

If you’ve been nodding your head and following me until this point, then I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that there actually is such a wonderful product out on the market: What’s the Brachah?an adorable read-along book and CD that teaches kids which brachos to say on which foods.

Folks, this is not your ordinary book on brachos! For starters, the illustrations nearly jump off the pages of the book—they’re that vivid and imaginative! Your kids will be begging to turn the page, while you’ll still be busy ogling over the best of Racheli Edelstein’s drawings.

The text is snappy and fun, too, and you’ll watch this book become a fast family favorite in no time at all. So much so, that even with the CD, you may just find yourself reading the book to your kids 250 times anyway!

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! What Is This—Some Kind of Joke?

June 23, 2016

L800SLA rabbi, a priest, and a minster walk into a bar.  The bartender says, “What is this—some kind of joke?”

 No, the rabbi routinely hangs out with these guys.  In bars. 

I don’t know; maybe it’s a salad bar.

…and Mordechai Schmutter is off and running with his latest humor book: What Is This—Some Kind of Joke?

(Yes, the question mark is part of the title; as Schmutter points out, like you’re a teenager who ends every sentence with a question to let the other person know that the conversation isn’t over.)

The great thing about this book is that it’s got the flavor of nearly every type of joke around, so you don’t have to fear that you’re being gypped out of even one little bit of humor. There’s a section of articles pertaining to dad jokes; chicken-crossing-the-road jokes; changing-a-light-bulb jokes; orange-you-glad-I-didn’t-say-banana jokes; what’s-black-and-white-and-red-all-over jokes; and many more.

And in case you’re still doubting just how many laughs you can get from a book like this, below is an excerpt from the book so you can see—or laugh—for yourself!

Click here to purchase online.

All the Amenities of Home

This summer, you should definitely take some time to go on a vacation; quick, before the kids get off from school. And since you don’t take vacations very often these days, you should definitely try to get as much as you can out of this one. For example, if you go to a hotel, you should try to get some soaps and shampoos. You can also get pens, stationery, shower caps (even though you have never used one and don’t understand why someone would wear a rain hat in the shower), and, if you’re willing to stay in a “smoking” room even though you don’t smoke, you can get matches.

Which brings us to the question: Keep Reading…


June 15, 2016

l784Weight is one of those heavy topics (pun intended), especially when it comes to shidduchim. But Yael Mermelstein is not one to shy away from topics like that. Indeed, in her latest book for adults, Petals, a collection of fiction and nonfiction works, she gives full treatment to the subject in her very first story.

The story speaks of a single gentleman who is grossly overweight. He finally meets the woman he perceives as his intended. Conversation flows, goals match, and everything falls into place—except, she isn’t willing to marry someone of his size. Our protagonist isn’t willing to lose this woman, and he is finally motivated to lose his extra weight. The reader certainly doesn’t expect the twist that comes next…

“I can’t help but wonder,” Yael recently mused, while discussing Petals with us. “I once met a slim woman married to an obese man. When I looked through her wedding album, she told me, ‘I didn’t even notice that he was heavy. I only saw his beautiful soul. I’m not kidding.’ Considering that she married him, I suppose I can take her words at face value. But is she an unprecedented exception to an unfortunate norm? Or do women like this abound?”

An interesting question to explore. And explore it Yael does, as she weaves a fascinating plot into this great story. Did our protagonist really have to lose all of that weight in order to get married? You’ll have to read the story to find out…

And once you’re at it, you’ll want to read the rest of the fabulous stories and articles in this book, too! Chock-full of humor, deep messages, and personal inspiration, Petals is certainly Yael Mermelstein at her best!

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! Kosher Classics

May 23, 2016

L788Move over, old cookbooks on the kitchen shelf! A handsome new member is about to enter the ranks—and it sure promises to be a winner! 

Kosher Classics, a stunning, full-size cookbook with 300+ recipes by nutritionist and’s popular recipe contributor Gitta Bixenspanner, is sure going to expand your repertoire of delicious dishes to serve up to your family! This is no ordinary cookbook, folks. In Kosher Classics, Gitta takes us through the complete Jewish year, offering recipes for each and every month, season, and holiday. You’ll find comforting and nourishing soups and easy crock-pot dinners for the cold month of December, along with new spins on Chanukah recipes, like Creamy Cauliflower Latkes, Savory Sweet Potato Latkes, and Spiced Sugar Donuts with a Twist; and great Sukkos and autumn recipes, like Yapchik, Quinoa-Olive Medley, and Versatile Shlishkes, for the months of October and November. And of course we’ve got you covered for all of your Shavuos seudos. Check out the May/Shavuos section, where you’ll find recipes from “Flower” Water Challah and Cool Cherry Apple Soup to Spring Oriental Slaw and Maple Salmon Fillet …and let’s not forget dessert: Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl Cheesecake, Scrumptious Amaretto Cheesecake, or Almond Butter Squares!

Gitta’s recipes are all practical and straightforward; you won’t need to run around buying any outlandish ingredients for them. And as a nutritionist, Gitta lends a healthful slant to many of the recipes, too. But the most amazing thing about this cookbook is how absolutely yummy these recipes are! 

Kosher Classics makes an impressive gift, whether for a hardworking wife after Shavuos (or before—if you want to gain off the deal during Yom Tov, too!) or for a dedicated teacher at the end of the school year. Of course you can also treat yourself, too. Then, you can assuage any guilt about that by whipping up a couple of nice dishes from the cookbook for your family. Like that, you know your splurge is benefitting the entire mishpachah!

Click here to purchase online.

NEW RELEASE! The Gratitude Game

April 18, 2016

c425“Rebbi told us about hakaras hatov today!” my son tells me enthusiastically. “He went around the room, and everyone had to say something that they thank Hashem for.”

“Really?” I say. “What did you thank Hashem for?”

Without missing a beat, he answers, “That we had franks for lunch today!”

Okaaay, if that’s what gives him pleasure, kol hakavod

The concept, though, is a great one. We know we’re supposed to thank Hashem for everything He gives us, and we know we want to teach our children to be thankful Jews, too—but how to do it?

A terrific way to start is by playing The Gratitude Game with them! Similar to the activity my son’s rebbi did with them, this game involves going around the table and having each participant list 5 things for which they are thankful to Hashem. Of course you can’t “double up” on someone else’s choices, and extra points go toward being creative with your listings! The point of all this is to make us aware of how many thousands of chassadim, both big and small, Hashem is doing for us on a constant basis. This, in turn, helps inculcate the feelings of gratitude and happiness within us.

Click here to purchase online.