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Biographies & Memoirs

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  1. Kosher Investigator, How Rabbi Berel Levy Built the OK and Transformed the World of Kosher Supervision

    Kosher Investigator, How Rabbi Berel Levy Built the OK and Transformed the World of Kosher Supervision

    $24.75

    Kosher Investigator: How Rabbi Berel Levy Built the OK and Transformed the World of Kosher Supervision

    Even as a young child, Berel Levy was determined and fearless in the pursuit of his goals. From the home of his uncle, “the Malach,” to the Lubavitch yeshivah in Otwock, Poland, he followed his dream of studying Torah, despite his parents’ disapproval and the looming clouds of World War II. In the halls of Torah Umesorah and the clandestine Jewish schools of the Soviet Union, he bolstered Jewish education and observance in the face of political opposition and an oppressive Communist regime. Perhaps most remarkably, as the head of the Organized Kashrus Laboratories, he forever changed the world of kosher supervision. Rabbi Levy’s life story is told for the first time in these pages.

    “Kosher Investigator pays honor to a founding father of modern industrial kosher certification. Rabbi Berel Levy’s passionate commitment to yiddishkeit and his keen powers of investigation helped transform the American kosher certification system into a model of reliable private regulation.”

    – Professor Timothy D. Lytton, author of Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food

    “Kosher Investigator beautifully captures Rabbi Berel Levy’s remarkable contributions to kosher food – and, more generally, to Judaism. A skilled investigator himself, author Dovid Zaklikowski draws on oral interviews, obscure printed sources, and Rabbi Levy’s previously unknown personal papers to provide a revelatory account of his life. Written with great sympathy – and not shying away from controversial topics – this carefully researched book is a page-turner that readers will thoroughly enjoy.”

    – Dr. Roger Horowitz, author of Kosher USA: How Coke became kosher and other tales of modern food Learn More

  2. Miracles, Extraordinary Life of Frieda Bassman, 1 woman's inspiring account of courage, faith, & hope

    Miracles, Extraordinary Life of Frieda Bassman, 1 woman's inspiring account of courage, faith, & hope

    $23.75

    Frieda Bassman was a survivor of both the terrible Churban and a difficult life. Brought up in pre-war Europe in a small town high in the Carpathian Mountains, she skillfully wove the lessons that she had learned into her daily life and interactions with others. She didn't preach these lessons - she lived them. And if she felt a need to share the messages, she did so with a story, a wink, and a cup of coffee (with a slice of chocolate cake).

    Her Mameh's potatoes were a lesson in giving - and living to give. The "Dayan'ke" was also a lesson in giving - and receiving so much more. The lumpen glaizlach were her lesson in doing the right thing when it should be done; and Urtze's shidduch story was her favorite expression of hashgachah pratis. Her stories attracted people like a magnet, and as she told them, her fascinated listeners discovered that she was her story. Now the captivating account of her extraordinary life can continue to inspire many generations to come. Learn More

  3. Early Years

    Early Years

    $41.95

    The product of an exhaustive, years-long, worldwide research project, Early Years tells the riveting story of the early life of the man who, as much as anyone else, set the course of Jewish history in the twentieth century.

    What was his childhood like? What type of schooling did he receive? Who were his mentors and teachers? When did he first meet his father-in-law and predecessor, and what was the relationship between them like? At what point did the ideas that were to transform the landscape of post-Holocaust Jewry begin to take form in his mind?

    These questions and others about the Rebbe’s early life have never been answered comprehensively.

    Presenting newly-uncovered government documents, private journals, letters and diaries, Rabbis Boruch Oberlander and Elkanah Shmotkin have produced a highly-engaging account which offers an unimpeded view of the formative years of modern Judaism’s most recognized personality.

    Over 450 documents and photographs are beautifully reproduced in full color, illuminating and informing the text. Learn More

  4. A Star from Sanz, Rebuilding From the Ashes, The Story of Rav Yitzchok Sternhell

    A Star from Sanz, Rebuilding From the Ashes, The Story of Rav Yitzchok Sternhell

    $23.75

    Rabbi Yechiel Spero brings all his acclaimed storytelling talent to the inspiring life of Rav Yitzchok Sternhell, one of the unsung heroes of the resurgence of Torah in postwar America. In these pages, we meet the luminaries of "Itche Sanzer's" past - his ancestors, Rav Shmelke of Nikolsburg and Rav Mendel of Rimanov; the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, whose teachings molded him; and the Minchas Elazar of Munkatch, his beloved rebbi. We also encounter many gedolim, both pre and postwar Europe. And, of course, we meet - and learn to love and respect - Rav Yitzchok himself.

    When the Holocaust came to an end, Rav Yitzchok Sternhell had almost nothing. No, that's not accurate: Though most of his family had perished, though he had no belongings or money, he possessed a wealth of Torah learning, a treasure of faith and trust in Hashem. Still more assets: He had with him his illustrious ancestry, his matchless teachers, and his uncompromising determination to rebuild Torah life as he'd experienced it in Europe.

    And rebuild he did - first, immediately after the war, in Salzburg, Austria, and then, in what was the fledgling Torah community, in Baltimore, Maryland.

    For decades, Rav Sternhell was the rav of a Baltimore kehillah initially composed mainly of survivors. He founded Shearis Hapleita, a boys' school that aimed to replicate the chadarim of prewar Europe. He brought the first chalav Yisrael milk to Baltimore, and was instrumental in raising the standards of kashrus in the city. He was a man of contrasts: fearless and outspoken and uncompromising when it came to issues of Torah, sensitive and loving and warm to every Jew. Be prepared to be amazed and inspired by the story of this unassuming, modest man, a world class talmid chacham, a revered leader, and, always, a builder of Torah. Learn More

  5. To Rise Above, The Life of R" Dov Cohen, A Journey to Greatness Against All Odds

    To Rise Above, The Life of R" Dov Cohen, A Journey to Greatness Against All Odds

    $31.50

    To Rise Above is the incredible, true story of a young thirteen-year-old American boy brought by his mother surreptitiously to Eretz Yisrael in the 1920s to fulfill a dream - that he become a Talmid Chacham. Alone, little Benny faces the daunting challenge of growing in Torah in an environment far different from his native home. In the telling, history comes alive: the shtetls of southern Lithuania; Seattle, Washington in the 1920s; Chevron Yeshiva, the Alter of Slabodka, Rav Yechezkel Sarna, and Rav Leib Chasman. Step by step, Rav Dov Cohen rises in greatness to become a Gadol b'Yisrael and an influential builder of Yiddishkeit in the nascent Jewish state. Based on personal interviews and writings, extensively indexed, and with over 600 rare photographs and documents, here is a unique, fascinating and inspiring tale of spiritual triumph in the face of adversity. Learn More
  6. The Rabbi from the Lower East Side

    The Rabbi from the Lower East Side

    $23.75

    RABBI YAAKOV YITZCHAK SPIEGEL’S STORY - AN INSPIRING NARRATIVE OF A HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOOD

    HE GREW UP in Brownsville in the 1940s, a tumultuous time for American religious Jewry. Named after his saintly ancestor, the Chozeh of Lublin, and born into a distinguished rabbinical family, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Spiegel forged his own greatness as a Torah leader. After studying under Rav Aharon Kotler and Rav Moshe Feinstein, his esteemed rabbinical positions culminated in his appointment as the Rabbi of the famed Romanisher shul, which flourished under his leadership.

    Whether it was financial assistance, spiritual guidance, or just someone down on his luck who needed a smile, Rabbi Spiegel was always there for anyone in need. With over sixty inspiring short stories, ¬the Rabbi from the Lower East Side provides a glimpse into the life of an incredible man. Included is the fascinating history of the Jewish Lower East Side of Manhattan, the neighborhood where Rabbi Spiegel served as Rav: the first Sephardic settlers in 1654, escaping the Inquisition in Brazil; Chaim Solomon and the Revolutionary War; the hope and despair of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the first Chief Rabbi; the pushcart, the melting pot, and much more.

    Unique, engrossing, and uplifting, and enhanced with a special picture section, here is a book to enjoy until the very last page. Learn More

  7. Emunah With Love and Chicken Soup, Henny Machlis,The Brooklyn-born girl who became a Jerusalem legend

    Emunah With Love and Chicken Soup, Henny Machlis,The Brooklyn-born girl who became a Jerusalem legend

    $26.75

    The Machlis family hospitality is legendary. Every Shabbos they fit 150 or more people in their small Jerusalem living room, preparing for their guests over 40 chickens, three different kugels, countless salads, four desserts, and, of course, gefilte fish, chicken soup, and cholent-- both traditional and vegetarian.

    Brooklyn-born Henny Machlis was at the heart of this amazing weekly adventure. But, as author Sara Yoheved Rigler, bestselling author of Holy Woman and a friend of Henny's, discovered as she interviewed Henny's fourteen children, relatives, students, and friends, the Shabbos hospitality was just one glowing facet of the multi-faceted diamond that was Rebbetzin Henny Machlis.

    A master of prayer, a virtuoso in chesed, an adept in childrearing, a wise Torah teacher, an expert at working on middos, and a successful shadchanit, Henny Machlis regarded a life of Torah and mitzvos as a great treasure that she was eager to share with everyone.

    And her emunah, her faith in G-d's love and providence? That was where her light shone the most brightly. She lived on the Planet of Emunah, a place where miracles were everyday occurrences, because she knew, really knew, that only Hashem is in charge and He can do anything. And, for Henny, He often did.

    Like a steaming bowl of chicken soup, this book will satisfy you. Comfort you. And heal you -- in a way that only Rebbetzin Henny Machlis could. Sip it. Savor it. And be inspired and transformed. Learn More

  8. Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi - The Alter Rebbe

    Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi - The Alter Rebbe

    $19.00

    This book tells the story of the life of the Alter Rebbe, as originally described in the Chabad Heritage Series tapes by Rabbi Shloma Majeski. It is the only comprehensive and authoritative history of the Alter Rebbe in English. Explanatory footnotes, references, a glossary, chronology, maps and more are added to enrich the reader’s experience of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe. From the Rebbe's birth, to his bar mitzvah and marriage, through his arrest, liberation, and finally his histalkus the reader will gain an invaluable view into the fascinating life of the founder of Chabad Chassidus. This book will serve as an invaluable reference as well as an entertaining biography for anyone who has a connection to Lubavitch Chabad, whether expert or novice. Learn More
  9. The Life of the Arizal

    The Life of the Arizal

    $17.50

    True Stories from Tzefas’s Golden Age

    Take an awe-inspiring step back in time…

    The life of the Arizal, Rav Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi, is cloaked in awe and mystery. His impact on the sixteenth century Tzefas mystics left a profound impact that spread throughout the world. These magnificent stories, culled from the ancient and revered sefer Shivchei HaAri and other authentic sources, give us a small glimpse of his greatness.

    We are transported back in time to the Arizal’s childhood hardships, his spiritual ascent in Egypt, and wondrous stories of his contemporaries such as Rav Chaim Vital, Rav Moshe Cordovero, and Rav Yosef Karo, culminating in the miracles and teachings that enveloped his scant two-year sojourn in Tzefas. Take a step back from today’s noisy and distracting world and enter a sacred time and space where great scholars saw with their own eyes the marvels of the Arizal. Learn More

  10. Rebel with a Cause, One Woman's Desparate Search for Meaning and Truth

    Rebel with a Cause, One Woman's Desparate Search for Meaning and Truth

    $21.95

    I stood alone on the pavement, suitcase in hand, staring at the closed door of my house. As far I was concerned, my home was gone forever.

    So begins Shira Yehudit Djalilmand’s riveting story of her life, a story which begins in a small, dusty manufacturing town in the West Midlands of England and takes us on a tumultuous journey through her rebellious teenhood to her wanderings in Morocco, across the Spanish countryside, and eventually to a kibbutz in the Negev. Searching desperately for some meaning to her existence, this Christian-born young woman wrestles with the deepest questions of mankind and nearly despairs of finding the answers that would bring peace to her tortured soul. When she finally finds that peace, her questions fall away in the face of the enormity of the gift she’d been given…the gift of Torah and Judaism.

    Rebel with a Cause, by talented and popular Mishpacha writer Shira Yehudit Djalilmand, is an eye-opening, gut-wrenching memoir, amazing in its honesty and in its author’s quest for truth. Learn More

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