17 08, 2022

This book is better than Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer

By |2022-08-17T10:47:23-07:00August 17th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    Although virtually all readers of Tom Sawyer did not live or think as Tom, they enjoyed and still enjoy his adventures, Mark Twain's sterling writing, his humor, and insights. The same applies to Levi Welton's magnificent memoir, “Be Like the Moon.” Welton's book does this and more. In 1989, the US Army called [...]

2 08, 2022

Obscure Items in the Bible

By |2022-08-02T11:40:16-07:00August 2nd, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  I enjoyed "The Old Testament and the Truth" by S. Seth Haas. His book deserves five stars. I did not agree with all of Haas's conclusions from his study of the Five Books of Moses.  But this did not detract from my enjoyment. I found, as his readers will, that whether I agreed or [...]

1 08, 2022

May we condemn God?

By |2022-08-01T04:41:17-07:00August 1st, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

I enjoyed the poetry book "Brought Down" by Simon Constam. It is both delightful to read and thought-provoking. The phrase “brought down” is a literal translation of Yiddish, Hebrew, and Aramaic terms suggesting an ancient Jewish idea or teaching being recalled. The thirty poems are easy to read. The images created by the poetry are [...]

19 07, 2022

A Brilliant Story

By |2022-07-19T12:48:21-07:00July 19th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

     I am convinced that people could learn much from non-religious writings, even some, but not all, crime novels. Thus, my desire to increase my knowledge is why I still read more than a hundred fictional non-religious books annually, in addition to my studies of biblical commentaries. I will give an example of one [...]

20 06, 2022

The Plot to Save America

By |2022-06-20T06:23:56-07:00June 20th, 2022|Book Reviews|

  "The Plot to Save America" by Avraham Azrieli, a lawyer, is another brilliant novel by an author who wrote other suspenseful, interesting, and very enjoyable novels. The book contains two main plots. Most startling and fascinating is the idea that followers of President Trump were able to turn the 2020 election results so that [...]

18 05, 2022

An Orthodox Jewish female professor explains the New Testament

By |2022-05-18T07:38:56-07:00May 18th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  Amy-Jill Levine tells us why Jesus's teachings in the New Testament, can be seen to be sensible and acceptable to people of all religions, even Orthodox Jews, even Jewish women like her who attends an Orthodox synagogue and sits behind a segregated mechitza, separation, for women. She does so for teachings she considers authentic, [...]

12 05, 2022

Halachic advice for women

By |2022-05-12T08:20:50-07:00May 12th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Yoatzot Halacha, an organization that is Advisors of the Law, has published this 376 page book Nishmat Habayit, The Soul of the Home, by Maggid Books, Nishmat, and OU Press. It contains a collection of 63 common questions that Yoatzot Halacha have been asked. The goal of the book "on taharat ha-mishpahah [is] fortifying the [...]

28 04, 2022

Centuries of Despicable Behavior against Jews

By |2022-04-28T07:32:44-07:00April 28th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    Dr. Emily Michelson, senior lecturer in history at the University of St. Andrews, describes the over two and a half centuries when the Roman Catholic Church in Rome, Italy, forced Rome’s Jews to attend weekly hostile sermons. The Church’s aim was to convert the Jews to the Catholic faith. In the easy to [...]

14 04, 2022

Are Jesus’ parables Jewish?

By |2022-04-14T08:22:41-07:00April 14th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  The renowned Jewish scholar Dr. Amy-Jill Levine tells us the truth about the parables associated with Jesus in her “Short Stories by Jesus.” It is an excellent, eye-opening, and thought-provoking easy to read book. She is a University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Department of Jewish Studies.   [...]

10 04, 2022

A new traditional Haggadah with photogrphs

By |2022-04-10T10:05:18-07:00April 10th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Passover, coming in the Spring with the reopening and budding of nature, not only recalls the beginning of the Jewish people when they left Egyptian slavery and went to the desert to learn laws and then to Israel and final freedom. It is also a time when Jewish law tells Jews to think about the [...]

8 04, 2022

Narrative of the Life of an American Slave

By |2022-04-08T11:36:57-07:00April 8th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

“Narrative of the Life of an American Slave” by Frederick Douglas, written in 1845 with a preface by Wendell Phillips is a brilliant book by a brilliant former slave in Maryland that everyone should read. It is a short, easy to read report of Douglas' early life, something we should know. In addition to much [...]

4 04, 2022

To whom was the promised land promised?

By |2022-04-04T07:12:03-07:00April 4th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

      Professor Abraham A. Sion, the author of “To whom was the Promised Land Promised?” this interesting, significant, and eye-opening book, knows the subject of the Israeli and Arab claims to the land of Israel better than most people. He served as Deputy State’s Attorney for Israel. He is Professor Emeritus at Ariel [...]

7 03, 2022

The Hidden Saint

By |2022-03-07T14:22:31-07:00March 7th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

           The popular best-selling author Jonathan Kellerman is right to call “The Hidden Saint,” “ingenious” and “compelling.” Many ancient Jews and non-Jews, as well as many modern people are convinced that the world is filled with evil-producing demons of many types. The most acclaimed Bible and Talmud commentator, whose commentaries on [...]

2 03, 2022

A scholarly rabbi comments on the book of Esther and more

By |2022-03-02T15:32:43-07:00March 2nd, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

      Urim Publications in Jerusalem and New York has just published “Faith Fulfilled, Megillat Esther and The Maariv Evening Service for Purim with Commentary from the Writings of Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits.” It is compiled and edited by Rabbi Dr. Reuven Mohl. The book is excellent. Rabbi Berkovits’s comments are very thoughtful, well-worth reading and [...]

28 02, 2022

Forged

By |2022-02-28T06:18:32-07:00February 28th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  Bart C. Ehrman is a highly respected historian who was once a protestant clergyman who became an agnostic when he saw what biblical scholars consider the numerous errors, inconsistencies, forgeries, and deceits in the New Testament. He offers readers in “Forged” a view of the conclusion of biblical scholars that none of the New [...]

22 02, 2022

Israel’s First Ethiopian Rabbi Speaks to Us

By |2022-02-22T10:11:42-07:00February 22nd, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    Rabbi Dr. Sharon Zewde Shalom, the author of the very thoughtful book Dialogues of Love and Fear is without doubt what the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks wrote about him, “a shining light of not only Ethiopian Jewry but of the Jewish people as a whole.” He is an Orthodox rabbi, trained at [...]

15 02, 2022

Different Sephardic practices from Ashkenazic ones

By |2022-02-15T07:12:22-07:00February 15th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    Haim Jachter, the rabbi of a Sephardic synagogue for more than twenty years who is of Ashkenazic descent and trained in Ashkenazic yeshivot tells readers about more than 100 differences in the religious practices between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Ashkenazim are Jews of eastern European descent. Sephardic Jews are from lands around the Mediterranean [...]

10 02, 2022

The unexpected successes of Satmar Hasidim

By |2022-02-10T06:32:06-07:00February 10th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    “American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, A Hasidic Village in Upstate New York” is a brilliant, eye-opening, thought provoking, easy to read and enjoyable book by two university scholars, Nomi M. Stolzenberg of the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law who has written widely on law and religion, and David [...]

4 02, 2022

Dr. Bart Ehrman lists many inconsistencies in the New Testament

By |2022-02-04T09:55:59-07:00February 4th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  Many Christians are convinced that God dictated the New Testament, that it has no errors and no contradiction, and that it contains the true facts concerning Jesus and the beginning of Christianity. In contrast, many scholars in America and Europe for at least several hundred years are certain that the New Testament is the [...]

31 01, 2022

Why is there suffering in the world?

By |2022-01-31T10:28:41-07:00January 31st, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  Bart Denton Ehrman, born on 10/5/55, a PhD American New Testament scholar and author or editor of several dozen very popular, fascinating, and informative books, began life as a fundamentalist Christian, became a minister, and preached in churches. But he gave up Christianity and became an agnostic because of his disgust over the inexplicable [...]

24 01, 2022

Did the prophet Elijah act properly?

By |2022-01-24T07:15:40-07:00January 24th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    The biblical story of the prophet Elijah is interesting, but it is subject to radically different interpretations. A literal reading of scripture, without imagining acts that are not explicit in the verses, yield a negative interpretation of Elijah's behavior with God being dissatisfied with him, criticizing him, and even killing him. In contrast, [...]

11 01, 2022

Addressing why good people suffer

By |2022-01-11T13:40:01-07:00January 11th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Rabbi Dovid Sapirman, the author of Tranquility and Travail, is a Haredi rabbi. Many Haredi Jews are very conservative and have more fundamental ideas than other Jews. One of Rabbi Sapirman’s views, which many non-Haredi Jews do accept is that God is involved with matters here on earth, and that God knows the details of [...]

10 01, 2022

How Jesus Became God

By |2022-01-11T13:42:20-07:00January 10th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  How Jesus became God by Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is an excellent, comprehensive, easy to read history about the begining of Christianity by a man who was once a very conservative Christian, who is now an agnostic, but who offers readers a non-dogmatic, respectful, historical examination of early Christianity. His ultimate goal in this [...]

30 11, 2021

The Cain v. Abel Trial

By |2021-11-30T10:01:38-07:00November 30th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Rabbi Dr. Dan Ornstein has just written an easy to read Jewish courtroom drama “Cain v. Abel” that is interesting, thoughtful, eye-opening, and thought-provoking based on the rather short close to two dozen biblical sentences in Genesis 4 that report the fraternal murder of Abel by his brother Cain. He includes the rather exiting imaginative [...]

18 10, 2021

The Life and Times of Rabbi Judah the Prince

By |2021-10-18T05:20:06-07:00October 18th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    Using many sources, including hundreds of anecdotes, former US Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (1985-1987) and Under Secretary of Defense (2001-2004) Rabbi Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, author of Nehemiah: Statesman and Sage (Maggid Books, 2016), gives us a very informative and riveting, easy to read biography of one of the most important figures [...]

13 10, 2021

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ Legacy

By |2021-10-13T06:10:57-07:00October 13th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    One of the most lamentable recent event was the death of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who was born in 1948 and died on November 7, 2020. He was a British Orthodox rabbi, philosopher, theologian, award-winning author, an international religious leader, respected moral voice, and public figure. He served as the Chief Rabbi of [...]

12 10, 2021

Aldous Huxley’s idea of a utopia

By |2021-10-12T13:40:53-07:00October 12th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  After reading Aldous Huxley’s dystopian classic “Brave New World,” a book that described a nation which adopted behaviors that destroyed the freedom of its inhabitants by placing them under multiple controls and which hindered their opportunity to develop by engineering their births, and reading Huxley’s follow-up book “Brave New World Revisited” where he described [...]

8 10, 2021

Maimonides’ Hidden Torah Commentary to Deuteronomy

By |2021-10-08T07:12:14-07:00October 8th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

                                               Rabbi Dr, Michael Leo Samuel is one of the top world experts on Maimonides and Philo. His books on both philosophers are filled with easy to read information that will open the eyes and minds of readers. Maimonides’ Hidden Torah Commentary to Deuteronomy is the final book of Rabbi Samuel’s series on Maimonides’ [...]