Tracing Our Roots – Telling Our Story is our society’s Twenty-fifth Anniversary project. It is an anthology of over 45 compelling and entertaining contributions, written by members of the Jewish Genealogical Society.
The themes include tales of research and discovery, escape, struggle, family reunion, growing up, lives led. Some will make you laugh, some will have you reminisce and a few may even make you weep.
If you wish to purchase the book, please contact Israel’s Judaica: 416-2561-1010/905-881-1010
“Hillel: if not now, when” by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Shocken, 2010
Can a book about the life and teachings of Hillel, now having his 2000th yahrzteit commemorated, be subversive, bitterly critical, and even fiercely polemical? Hillel, the mild-tempered and patient teacher whose students and progeny (a whole lot of the Talmudic leaders) lead the debates in the Talmud? The man who was the inspiration for some of the best teachings of Jesus?
You better believe it! Not so very hidden in this book is quite an attack on some of today’s practices.
Every educated Jew can recite the striking aphorisms Hillel offered – he is quoted the most in Pirke Avot – and all know the stories about how he summarized Jewish thought while standing on one foot. Rabbi Telushkin does an admirable job of taking the bits known or rumoured about Hillel and creating a picture of a living person. Interestingly, he is at pains to show that Shammai was not an irrelevant “straw man” and foil the wiser HIllel nor that Hillel was always the “good guy” and liberal in his teachings.
Yet the most profound value of this short, well-written book lies in contrasting the world-views of Hillel with the constipated and ill-liberal practices of today. No where are these practices more deficient than in our closedness to promoting membership in the Jewish faith. Today, we are exactly at the opposite pole from the welcoming attitude that House of Hillel – and Jewish practice world-wide in the Roman Empire – espoused and we are so much the worse for it.
Let me end by mentioning a simple “proof” of our present departure from earlier rabbinic thought that Rabbi Telushkin poses. When someone is asked, “Is David religious?” – what do we mean? Do we mean is he a decent person who treats others well and is honest in business and careful in personal relations? As Rabbi Telushkin points out, we really mean nothing other than “Does he practice the rituals of Judaism?”.
Jews & Money: A Story of a Stereotype by Abraham H. Foxman
Jewish Money: the story of a stereotype by Abraham H. Foxman. 089824174296
As many know, Abe Foxman is the redoubtable leader of the Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith in the US. Today, many of us are fuzzy about the impact of anti-semitism on our lives and the significance of fighting it. Should we smile appreciatively when we hear praise for “Jewish accountants”?
Or should we object to that kind of favourable stereotype? Do we want to take credit for a Jewish (and Greek) idea like “tikun olam” but not feel guilty about the Jewish community that cozied-up to Bernie Madoff?
I certainly found my own concepts greatly sharpened by considering his well-written presentation of ideas. Do I feel the ADL is always wise in harassing “friends” because of some well-meant but stereotype-derived phrase they uttered in passing? Do I hold stereotypes of other peoples and their culture?
Renew your understanding of these issues by reading the thoughts so nicely developed in Foxman’s book.
If you haven’t already started reading Michael Wex’s Yiddish-inflected books, “The Frumkiss Family Business” is a hilarious place to start.
In the guise of a family saga over four generations, Wex has creatively woven the most engaging, entertaining, and even surprising comedy. It stretches from life in the shtetls of Europe to the landmarks of today’s Toronto… including Caplansky’s deli on College Street. For sure, you’ll be trying to see which fictional characters and which elements of the plot seem to be kind of like people you know and things you recall from reading the newspapers.
The patriarch, Faktor, is a multi-talented actor, comic, and writer, with an urge to confound everybody. The family secret is slowly revealed and how Wex unravels, re-ravels, and twists and turns the secret is a joy to read. And you bet you won’t hear how he does it from me.
Don’t miss this book. Very amusing, full of historical reminiscences, a tour-de-force of Jewish life here and in the most fervent corners of Jerusalem – not always complimentary, fun with Yiddish, and lots more.
Rosh Hashanah is right around the corner. No sooner than we drop off the kids at the school door, The High Holy Days are upon us. Rosh Hashanah is early this year, September 8th. That’s when we’ll be sitting around the table with family and friends, enjoying a great meal and welcoming the Sweet New Year with freshly picked Ontario apples and honey from the Jerusalem Mountains.
The Jewish New Year ushers in a time of reflection and meditation. No dance parties to ring out the old and bring in the new. The majority of us will be standing in shuls across the world listening to the shofar and in our minds wondering what Hashem has in store for us.
As we usher in the New Year someone very dear to us at Israel’s Judaica is missing . He was a tireless worker for Israel and was a kind soul and inspiration to all of us. He was known to all of us both near and far as Izzy Kaplan Z”L. We’re thankful that he passed this way.
To all our customers, readers, authors, book publishers and friends:
Sweet New Year. Shanah Tovah. May you be inscribed for a good life for another year.
Take a step beyond the traditional.
Give your family the gift of Asian cuisine.
In this first of its kind cookbook, Asian cooking goes kosher–in a marvelously simple way! Featuring a spectacular showcase of delectable dishes from a variety of Asian countries, including China, Japan, India, Thailand, and the Philippines, this beautifully designed collection shows how all-time Asian favorites can be transformed into easy-to-make household foods, from the spicy to the subtle, the savory to the sweet.
The Complete Asian Kosher Cookbook brings you:
• Authentic, mouthwatering dishes for every day, holidays, and special occasions
• A wide selection of user-friendly recipes
• Exotic choices to spice up your menus
• Ingredients you can find at your supermarket
• Stunning, full-color photos on every spread
Author: Shifrah Devorah Witt and Zipporah Malka Heller
SundayJune 6, 2010 Israel’s Judaica presents a one-day only sale with great bargains on books, cds and dvds.
You can also stock up on suede kippot 99 cents- while supplies last. Great buy for the student in your family. It’s a bit early to be thinking about Sukkot. However, all of our sukkah tents will be discounted by 30%. Now is the time to pick up that special giftware discounted at 35%. Doorcrashers will include menorahs and more at deeply reduced prices.
To remember Izzy Kaplan z”l we’ve deeply discounted his favourite books. A portion of the sales will be donated to charities.
Date: Monday, May3, 2010
Place: 1035 Eglinton Ave. West
Cost: $10 includes refreshments
Directions( Three blocks east of Eglinton West subway station at Westover Hill Road). Street parking is available.
What are the characteristics of the soul? What are diseases of the soul? How can we cure our souls? The great Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, believe that “the improvement of moral qualities is brought about by the healing of the soul and its activities.” Exploring essential insights from the psychological works of Maimonides will enlighten your understanding of the soul, its diseases and its cure. Dr. Weiss will also discuss some parallels between Maimonides and Freud, noting that may distinctive features of the Maimonides cure of souls are shared by Freud’s original formulation of psychoanalysis. Indeed, the major points of convergence suggest Freud’s direct or indirect contact with Maimonides psychological legacy.
Dr. David Weiss is the president and CEO of Weiss International Ltd. He also is an affiliate professor of the Rotman School of Management and a Senior Research Fellow of Queen’s University. He has a ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, Rabbinical Ordination from Yeshiva University, and Masters degrees in Jesih Philosophy from Yeshiva University and Counseling Psychology from Columbia University.