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Jewish Thought

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  • Reading the Torah

    Heinrich W. Guggenheimer

    This book is written for the modern Jewish reader conversant with the text of the Pentateuch and Rashi’s commentary, exploring text and meaning using modern linguistic and historical tools to understand the Torah as a uniform composition by Moses, the Lawgiver. The origin of the book are weekly commentaries to the Torah readings in the Sephardic (originally Moroccan) Minyan of Congregation Anshe Shalom in West Hempstead NY. The encouragement of the rabbinic listeners for the ideas of a nonprofessional Jewish student was most welcome. This book was written on the request of a Yeshiva-educated grandson to see the weekly Notes turned into a book, showing points of view of which he never heard in the Yeshiva.

    About the Author

    Heinrich W. Guggenheimer is a German born (1924), Swiss educated, American mathematician, since 1989 Professor Emeritus of Polytechnic University (today Polytechnic Institute of New York University.) He received his advanced Jewish education at the Bet Midrash of Basel, Switzerland. After retirement following a successful career as research scientist, he turned his interests to Jewish subjects, writing with his wife Eva nee Horovics, “Jewish Family Names, an etymological dictionary” (1992, 2 nd ed. 2017; German version 1996), and as sole author “The Scholar’s Haggadah” (1995), “Seder Olam, the rabbinic view of Biblical chronology” (1998), a seventeen volume edition, translation, and commentary of the Jerusalem Talmud (2000-2014), and “The Songs of Psalms” (2017).

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  • Encyclopedia of Jewish Values

    Nachum Amsel

    3 Review(s)

    A continuation to his widely praised Encyclopedia of Jewish Values, Rabbi Nachum Amsel presents as organized compendium of Jewish values and ethics that deal with human interaction. The topics addressed in this work include Jewish attitudes to leadership, business ethics, modesty with dress, self-defense, peer pressure, family, friendships, and more. Gleaning from the Bible and classic Jewish texts, as well as later authorities such as Maimonides, Nachmanides, Rashi, and the Code of Jewish Law, this work is accessible to readers of many backgrounds.


    About the Author:

    Rabbi Dr. Nachum Amsel is the director of education at the Destiny Foundation and the author of The Jewish Encyclopedia of Moral and Ethical Issues and The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values.

    Topics Include:

    • Animals - How Jews Should Relate
    • Antisemitism and Amalek
    • Business Ethics
    • Civil Disobedience
    • Climate Change - Is It a Jewish Issue? (Ecology)
    • Drugs, Alcohol & Marijuana - Are They Ever Permitted in Judaism?
    • Ethics of Torture in Judaism
    • Family - the Key to Jewish and World Redemption
    • Friendship
    • Freedom in Judaism
    • Getting Old, Being Old and Senility
    • Going Beyond What is Required: Good Idea or Obligatory?
    • Honesty and Cheating
    • Human Dignity, Human Embarrassment, and Humiliating Oneself
    • Individuality and Conformity
    • Jewish Happiness
    • Jewish Hospitality - Hachnasat Orchim
    • Jewish Leadership - What is It?
    • Learning and Teaching in Judaism
    • Mentally Handicapped Jews
    • Modesty - Tzniut: More than Dress
    • Money, Wealth and Tzedaka - More than Jewish Charity
    • Jews Living in a Non-Jewish Society & General Attitude to Non-Jews
    • Obligation to Help Other Jews, Especially Those Less Observant
    • Parents and Little Children, Parents and Teens
    • Peace - at What Cost?
    • Peer Pressure
    • Physical Beauty and Ugliness
    • Privacy vs. Community Obligations
    • Refusing an Immoral Military Order - Siruv Pekudah
    • Returning Found Objects
    • Self-Control
    • Self Defense
    • Sex
    • Snitching and Telling Secrets
    • Speech in Judaism
    • Triage: Priorities in Allocating Resources
    • Universal Healthcare (Obamacare) from the Jewish Perspective
    • War
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  • The Jewish Spiritual Path

    Rabbi Dr. Joshua Golding

    1 Review(s)
    Kabbalah teaches that the Tetragrammaton, the four lettered Hebrew name of God, serves as a model for the ideal of spiritual living. Each letter of the Name corresponds to a certain aspect of God and a specific phase of spiritual growth. At the same time, the four letters correspond to the four stages of the traditional Jewish morning prayer. This prayer serves as a spiritual exercise through which a person may cultivate the spiritual virtues associated with each of the four letters of God's Name.
    Joshua Golding combines a theoretical presentation of Kabbalistic concepts with practical guidance rooted in prayer to cultivate a deep spirituality based on the moral and mystical teachings of Judaism. The Jewish Spiritual Path provides both an extended commentary on prayer and an intellectually rigorous spiritual self-help book.
    About the Author:
    Joshua Golding is a Professor of Philosophy specializing in Philosophy of Religion and Jewish Philosophy at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. He has held research positions at the Hebrew University, University of Haifa, and the University of Notre Dame and is the author of The Conversation and Rationality and Religious Theism. Dr. Golding has published articles in Religious Studies, Faith and Philosophy, Modern Schoolman, Tradition, and Torah U-Maddah Journal, as well as a number of book reviews and encyclopedia entries. He has semicha from Yeshivat Sulam Yaakov, in Jerusalem, Israel. He also served as a spiritual leader of Congregation Anshei Sfard, in Louisville, Kentucky. 
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  • Was Yosef on the Spectrum?

    Samuel J. Levine

    9 Review(s)
    Yosef's behaviors, interpersonal relationships, and personal development are often difficult to understand, and at times seem to defy explanation. This book offers a coherent and cohesive reading of the well-known Bible story, presenting a portrait of Yosef as an individual on the autism spectrum. Viewed through this lens, Yosef emerges as a more familiar and less enigmatic individual, exhibiting both strengths and weaknesses commonly associated with autism spectrum disorder.
    About the Author:
    Samuel J. Levine is a Professor of Law and Director of the Jewish Law Institute at Touro Law Center. He has served as the Beznos Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University College of Law, and he has taught at the law schools of Bar-Ilan, Fordham, Pepperdine, and St. John's Universities.
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  • Walking the Exodus

    Margaret Malka Rawicz

    Leading biblical scholars and archaeologists have argued for decades about the actual route of the biblical Exodus from Egypt. Join Rawicz as she follows the route that Moses and the Israelites took as they fled Egypt three and a half millennia ago. Margaret Malka Rawicz treks through treacherous deserts and terrain with her Bedouin guides, in order to rediscover and identify the sites of the first fifteen known Israelite encampments. She then explores another eighteen encampments in Eastern Sinai, along the Israeli/Sinai border and in the Negev Desert, and the final nine in Jordan. 
    Including photographs and personal stories, Walking the Exodus is not only one individual's discovery, but also a personal and spiritual transformation of one's life. 

    About the Author

    Margaret Malka Rawicz has developed and refined lectures on the Exodus for many years after extensively traveling through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Southern Africa, North and South America, Eastern Europe, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Antarctica. As an environmental management consultant, she has received numerous awards on groundbreaking national work. Rawicz has delivered many presentations on the Exodus, and her extensive trip through the Sinai desert has been adapted into a TV documentary, Forty Years to Freedom. She acknowledges the support of her late husband during all this time.  
    Margaret Rawicz can arrange trips to take people on tours of the Exodus route. If you are interested in going on a tour, please visit to register. To arrange visual presentations and lectures, please contact the author at

    Praise for Walking the Exodus

    “When, in one individual, an intrepid spirit meets an insatiable appetite for discovery, some delightful odyssey is bound to be the outcome. Malka (Margaret) Rawicz has pioneered creative ways of discovering and presenting facets of Torah that would daunt other students and seasoned educators. She also has a knack for blithely embarking on jaw-dropping journeys, from the African bush to the Antarctic. In this book, which reads like a cross between a camel-back adventure story and a piece of meticulous research, the author shares with the reader both these fascinating facets of herself. It is particularly refreshing that the research takes the biblical account of the Exodus and the subsequent journeys of the Israelites at its word. It seeks to verify that account by geographical, physical, and linguistic evidence.”
    – Rabbi Levy Wineberg
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  • All Day It Is my Conversation

    Rabbi Zalman Aryeh Leib Schames & Shaul Joshua Lent

    With power, pathos, and poignancy Shaul Lent portrays the world of traditional Lithuanian Jewry during its darkest hours as reflected in the life of his grandfather, Rabbi Zalman Aryeh Leib Schames. These volumes constitute a loving tribute to a remarkable man, reflecting both Rabbi Schames’ inspirational personal courage as well as his formidable rabbinic scholarship. Reading these books affords one a stimulating educational experience as well as a deeply personal moving one. We are indebted to Shaul Lent for this precious literary gift that he has provided to us. In reality, these books constitute a love letter from a grandson to his Zeide that we are privileged to read. Rabbi Dr. Elijah J. Schochet, Professor of Talmud, Academy for Jewish Religion An amazing story of survival against all odds! At a time when Holocaust denial is rampant, Rabbi Schames’ eyewitness account is undeniable. His nekama, his revenge, is the beautiful family that Esther and Leib created – children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who are committed to Torah, Am Yisrael, and Medinat Yisrael. Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, West Coast Director of the Orthodox Union All Day It Is My Conversation is an inspiring and riveting array of writings and memories that reminds us of a rich and beautiful world that was… and the incalculable pain and suffering visited upon innocent Jews by the Nazis. Rabbi Meyer H. May, Executive Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center Learn More
  • The Minhagim

    Abraham Chill

    To live Jewishly is to weave an elaborate and intricate fabric fashioned from the divine commandments, the mitzvot. This pattern of Jewish life is embellished by a fascinating network of minhagim, customs which have evolved in the course of centuries, often varying from place to place, inspired by faith and devotion to the fulfillment of God's will. By means of minhag the spiritual leaders of old aimed to preserve the folk-thinking, conscience and character of their communities.

    For the individual Jew the minhag was, and is, the vehicle through which he demonstrated his devotion to God in a manner wholly spontaneous and embracing something of his own personality. The word minhag, generally translated as ''custom'', denotes a time-hallowed religious practice superimposed on a mitzvah of Biblical or Rabbinic origin. There are various types of minhagim, some even reflecting the influence of the non-Jewish environment. Most minhagim have in the course of time attained the status of law. According to Talmudic maxim ''minhag supersedes halakhah''. A vast body of literature has been produced in Hebrew dealing with all aspects of minhag.

    This is the first book in the English language to present the whole range of the minhagim as observed by the Jew every day of his life, on his festivals and fast days, in his days of happiness and of sorrow from the cradle to the grave. In his aim to present the origin and rationale of each minhag, the author draws on the entire range of our traditional literature from Pentateuch and the Talmud, the Kabbalah and Hassidic masters, as well as numerous works of the minhag literature.

    ''Rabbi Abraham Chill has done a great service to all who seek an introduction to the range and richness of minhagim… His work is valuable for the important practical guidance that it offers to sincere Jews who would like to include in their ceremonial life not only the spare purity of the law, but also the beautiful poetry and art of ancestral Jewish custom''
    ~From the forward of Prof. Marvin Fox  

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  • Beyond Routine

    Rabbi Yehoshua C. Grunstein

    Beyond Routine cleverly addresses the routine commandments and rituals in Judaism and explain show they can become more meaningful. Judaism is filled with many customs, such as shaking the four species on Sukkot or lighting candles to welcome the Sabbath. Rabbi Grunstein noticed that while many Jews know the ''how'' of performing these mitzvot, they do not understand how these mitzvot can elevate their own level of holiness. Looking at these rituals in this light, Beyond Routine: Turning Ritual into Meaningful Jewish Practice addresses questions such as: How is each custom significant? What emotions should one have while and after performing the commandment? How can a technical observance actually influence a person? It is the goal and hope that the reader will gain an understanding of the mitzvot themselves, and perform them with greater appreciation and personal meaning.

    About the author:

    Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein received rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and holds a BA in Education from Herzog College. Formerly the Rabbi of the Beth Israel Synagogue in Halifax, Canada, he serves as Director of Training and Placement at the Straus-Amiel and Beren-Amiel Institute of Ohr Torah Stone, which trains, places, and offers ongoing support to a vibrant cadre of spiritual leaders who serve the Jewish world around the globe, to promote a Judaism based on Halacha, loving-kindness, professionalism and unity. Rabbi Grunstein also serves as an administrator of the rabbinical court for conversions, located in Gush Etzion, and is part of the founding faculty of the English speaking Kollel of Efrat. An experienced rabbi, writer, and popular lecturer in Israel and around the world, he is the author of Daven Your Age - An Adult Journey through the Daily Prayer Service (Gefen, 2013), and has over 1,000 recorded classes online in both Hebrew and English.

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  • Pearls from the Torah

    Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

    2 Review(s)

    With a clear-eyed awareness and appreciation for the benefits and challenges of our modern world and culture, Rabbi Eliyahu Safran has written a commentary of the weekly Torah portions that makes clear his abiding love for Jewish teaching and knowledge. In these pages, Rabbi Safran brings to bear the power and grace of Jewish wisdom on the issues and concerns of our time, devoting important and compelling insights to the ways the modern world impacts our young people and how our tradition gives us the tools to nurture, guide and mentor them with intelligence and sanctity. Rabbi Safran's short, easy to grasp thoughts demonstrate anew that eternal truths speak powerfully and sensitively to each and every generation.


    Review by Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, Orthodox Union Click here

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  • Rabbinic Authority Vol.4

    Volume 4

    A. Yehuda Warburg

    In this fourth volume of his groundbreaking series on rabbinic authority in English, Rabbi Warburg discusses the ramifications of the family and the child's welfare, as well as the case of the modern day agunah, a wife who is unable to get divorced due to her husband's recalcitrance.

    By JLNJ Staff, Jewish Link of New Jersey

    About the Author
    Since 1999, Rabbi A. Yehuda Warburg has served as a dayan on various battei din panels in the Hassidic, Modern Orthodox, Sephardic, and Yeshiva communities in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. He is a former research fellow at the Institute of Jewish Law at Boston University School of Law. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Tradition and served on the editorial board of Th­e Jewish Law Annual. For over two decades, Rabbi Warburg delivered classes in Hoshen Mishpat (business law) and Even ha-Ezer (family law) to rabbinical students at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, an affiliate of Yeshiva University. Rabbi Warburg received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and earned his doctorate of jurisprudence at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law. The author resides in Teaneck, New Jersey.

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