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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. Miracles in Switzerland, A Hidden Child of the Holocaust Tells Her Story

    Miracles in Switzerland, A Hidden Child of the Holocaust Tells Her Story

    $24.75

    War and Holocaust were raging all around little Jutta Zehner, but this young Jewish child, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of a Swiss village, was safe.

    Or was she?

    Jutta had been sent to the Swiss Alps as her only hope of recovery from tuber-culosis. In Miracles in Switzerland, Jutta (Zehner) Luksenberg shares the riveting and largely unknown story of a group of Jewish children who survived the Holocaust years in sanitariums in Switzerland. With their parents lost in the ruins of Nazi Europe, these children were being raised as Christians - until a group of dedicated and compassionate Jews declared that they would not let these hidden children be lost to their eternal heritage.

     
    Learn More
  4. My Story, 41 inspirational true stories of the Rebbe from the My Encounter with the Rebbe

    My Story, 41 inspirational true stories of the Rebbe from the My Encounter with the Rebbe

    $31.50

    From the first-time mother to the commander in Israel’s Air Force; the struggling dentist to the community rabbi, My Story features 41 inspirational true stories of the Rebbe from the My Encounter with the Rebbe oral history project, complemented by family photos and documents, as well as a stunning selection of portraits of the Rebbe from the Living Archive picture collection, printed on beautiful glossy paper on over 400 full color pages.

    Many of these stories are published here for the first time, while others are more complete versions of the popular weekly Here’s My Story publication.

    With incredible insight and sensitivity, the Rebbe’s wisdom and sensitivity shine an unexpected ray of hope in the face of challenge and adversity. The outcomes have a transformational impact on the lives of the storytellers, and are sure to do the same for you.

    My Story is the perfect gift item for your mekurovim, your children and yourself! Learn More

  5. The Boy Who Never Gave Up

    The Boy Who Never Gave Up

    $21.95

    When Shmuli Shepherd was diagnosed with a rare, virulent form of cancer right after his bar mitzvah, the universe trembled.

    That's because Shmuli was no ordinary boy. His family knew it, his friends knew it, and even his community knew it. Shmuli's thirst for Torah and concern for others were truly remarkable for his young age.

    When the news hit, the effect it had on his family was understandable. What was astonishing was the way it affected his entire Gateshead community. As Shmuli -- now Chaim Shmuli -- grew ever stronger in his trust of Hashem and his simchas hachaim, his entire community -- as well as people on other continents -- grew with him.

    Read about Chaim Shmuli's incredible spiritual journey, and discover the unstoppable potential each of us has to affect the world around us ... Learn More

  6. Don't Look Back, The harrowing account of a young family's escape from Iran

    Don't Look Back, The harrowing account of a young family's escape from Iran

    $21.95

    The border patrol took a close look at our passport. “Something’s wrong,” he said.

    “What could be wrong?” I could tell we were about to be shattered once again. My heart was pounding. I was holding my four-year-old daughter, who was burning up with fever from the long wait and the freezing temperature.

    A young family makes the courageous decision to flee the religious persecution of Jews in Iran. After bidding tearful good-byes to their relatives and friends, they try to keep suspicious neighbors from guessing their true intents. Piled into an old truck with other refugees, they start their perilous journey through harsh winds and desert sand into the pitch-black night. Filled with tension and fear, they run for their lives, with only their fervent hope and faith to keep them going throughout their horrifying ordeal.

    Don’t Look Back is the true, harrowing account of a young woman’s quest to save her family from danger and bring them to freedom. Readers will be inspired by Nahid’s inner journey, and renew their own appreciation of the freedom we often take for granted. Learn More

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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
  10. 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

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