Recommended Reading

Faith Amid the Flames

Faith Amid the Flames, The Story of Reb Yosef Friedenson, by R’ Yosef C. Golding (Artscroll) is the just published story of the wartime experiences of Yosef Friedenson (1922-2013) z’l.  Friedenson survived the horrors of the Holocaust, along with his wife Gittel (Zylberman) a’h – whom he married in the Warsaw Ghetto – and he

The Eve of Destruction

The Eve of Destruction, by Howard Blum, is the riveting, tragic, shocking and detailed story of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  With first-time declassified information and documents available to the author, Blum takes us on a heart-stopping journey to the months and weeks leading up to – and through – the infamous war.  Despite mounting

By Faith Alone

By Faith Alone: The Story of Rabbi Yehuda Amital, by Elyashiv Reichner, is the biography of R’ Yehuda Amital zt’l (1924 – 2010).  R’ Amital was raised in pre-Holocaust Hungary, and in his youth, he was immersed in yeshiva study.  At the age of 19, he was deported to a Nazi labor camp, and ultimately,

Striking Back

Striking Back (2005), by Aaron J. Klein, begins with a detailed account of the horrific, tragic, and shocking massacre of the Israeli athletes, partaking in the 1972 Munich Olympics.  The book then moves on to document the Israeli response to the massacre, including Mossad activity, targeted assassinations, and covert operations deep behind enemy lines.  With

The Vale of Tears

The Vale of Tears is the Holocaust memoir of R’ Pinchas Hirschprung.  Unlike almost all other Holocaust memoirs, The Vale of Tears, was written in 1944, while the war still raged in Europe, and R’ Hirschprung did not yet know the fate of his family who were left behind.  The memoir was written in Yiddish

Rebbe, by Joseph Telushkin

Rebbe, by Joseph Telushkin, is the fascinating, detailed, inspiring, enlightening, larger-than-life story of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, R’ Menachem Mendel Schneerson zt’l and the Chabad movement he loved and led.  Admittedly, I did not know very much about Chabad until I read this book, and I was truly sorry when I read the last page and

The Sun Does Shine

The Sun Does Shine, by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin, is the story of Anthony Ray Hinton, a poor black man living in racially-charged Alabama.  In 1985, Hinton was wrongly arrested, accused and convicted for a crime which he did not commit.  He was sentenced to death and spent almost thirty years on

Clara’s War: One Girls’ Story of Survival

Clara’s War: One Girls’ Story of Survival, by Clara Kramer, is the riveting, heart-wrenching, triumphant, simply indescribable story of one young girl and her family during the hellish Holocaust years.  A Volksdeutsch (ethnically German family) living in Poland – Mr. Beck, his wife Julia and their daughter Ala – at great and constant risk to

The Jews of the Titanic

The Jews of the Titanic, by Eli Moskowitz, is a newly released (2018) book on a terrible and tragic disaster that has captivated minds for over one hundred years.  Thoroughly researched and documented, engaging and page-turning, as well as easy to read, this book sheds light on the saga of those Jews who sailed on

Rav Belsky

This masterful, in depth, riveting book, Rav Belsky, by R’ Shimon Finkelman (Artscroll), gives us but glimpse into an adam gadol, who was larger than life in all that he did.  While a life such as Rav Belsky’s cannot be contained within the pages of any book, this publication does a wonderful job of allowing

Helga’s Diary

Helga’s Diary, by Helga Weiss, is the diary of one teenage Jewish girl who was interred in the Terezin ghetto along with her mother and father during the Holocaust. Helga’s diary documents the experiences of life in Terezin, as well as her subsequent deportation from Terezin to concentration camps.  This diary is an important, impactful,

Forever My Jerusalem

Forever My Jerusalem, by Puah Shteiner (Feldheim, 1987), is the dramatic, riveting, powerful, tragic, timeless-yet-modern story of the siege of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem in 1948, the subsequent fall of the Jewish Quarter to the Jordanian army, and the terrifying exile of its poverty-stricken inhabitants.  In precise and descriptive detail,

The Bielski Brothers

The Bielski Brothers, by Peter Duffy, is one of the most riveting, almost unbelievable, and simply incredible books, which documents what is, perhaps, a little-known story of heroism and defiance during the terrible Holocaust years. Deep in the forests of Russia, three Bielski brothers, whose parents and a number of siblings were killed by the

From the Wilderness and Lebanon

From the Wilderness and Lebanon, by Asael Lubotzky, is the powerful, heartrending, inspiring and courageous story of one Israeli soldier and the men under his command.  Asael takes us from battle in the Gaza Strip to battle in Lebanon in 2006, during what became known as The Second Lebanon War.  During the conflict in the

Rywka’s Diary

In the spring of 1945, a Russian doctor with the liberating Red Army found a diary in the ruins of the crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  It was not until 2008 (!) that the then Holocaust Center of Northern California was contacted about the diary… “It was a breathtaking artifact – an unknown diary written in the

Angels in the Sky

Angels in the Sky, by Robert Gandt, is the fascinating, moving, compelling, astonishing, triumphant story of a band of volunteer air men from other countries (Britain, Canada, USA) – mostly Jewish, but some not – who saved the newly formed, and newly attacked State of Israel, when independence was declared in May 1948. Smuggling airplanes,

A Boy Named 68818

A Boy Named 68818, by Israel Starck (as told to Miriam [Starck] Miller), is the story of young Srulek Storch (renamed Israel Starck when he came to America after the war), and his experiences during the Holocaust years.  The story begins with Srulek’s idyllic and happy life in Podhoryan, a small Hungarian town.  Srulek’s life

When General Grant Expelled the Jews

In this fascinating, thoroughly researched, and enlightening book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Jonathan D. Sarna, takes us back in time to the American Civil War (1861-1865) when tensions ran high in a divided, war-ridden, America.  It was into this turbulent environment that General Ulysses S. Grant (somewhat shockingly) issued an edict of expulsion

The Heritage Haggadah, R’ Eliyahu KiTov

With Pesach upon us, I share with you one of my favorite Haggadot.  The Heritage Haggadah (Feldheim Publishers), with commentary and insights by R’ Eliyahu KiTov (b.1912, Poland – d.1976, J’lem), is a beautiful Haggadah.  With its clear font and easy to follow text, it is pleasant to read and easy on the eye.  In

Hunting Eichmann, by Neil Bascomb

Hunting Eichmann, by Neil Bascomb, is the story of the notorious Nazi, war criminal, despicable beyond all words, infamous Adolf Eichmann, the implementor of the “Final Solution.”  In the chaos of post war Europe, Eichmann manages to evades capture time and again.  Eventually settling in Argentina, he rebuilds what he believes will be an anonymous, quiet,

Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul

In this masterful biography, Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul, written by Daniel Gordis, we journey with Menachem Begin from his hometown and childhood in Brisk, to his life in the Holy Land, to his death and burial – at the age of 79 – on Har Ha’Zeitim (the Mt. of Olives). Gordis ends

The Boy On The Wooden Box

The Boy On The Wooden Box, by Leon Leyson, is the memoir of Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon), who survived – against all odds – the Holocaust.  He was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland, and he and his family were forced into the Krakow Ghetto. By miraculous intervention, Leyson survived the

Terror and Emunah in Har Nof

In this new book, Terror and Emunah in Har Nof (Artscroll), Mrs. Risa Rotman bravely, beautifully and openly takes us with on her journey of the turbulent year of her husband’s coma post the Har Nof massacre (Cheshvan 5775/Nov.2014).  Unlike the other five victims of the attack, who were immediately killed, R”L, R’ Chaim (Howie)

Lalechka, by Amira Keidar

Lalechka, by Amira Keidar, is another must-read.  This non-fiction book tells the story of one Jewish family – and their young daughter, Rachel – who were trapped in the town of Shedlitz, Poland, and later in the town’s ghetto, during the early years of the Holocaust, prior to the liquidation of the ghetto.  The book

Sacred Treasure – The Cairo Genizah

Sacred Treasure – The Cairo Genizah, by R’ Mark Glickman is a compelling, fascinating, riveting, page-turning, must-read.  The book takes us back in time, to the end of the 19th century, and the discovery of the Cairo Genizah.  With the discovery of the genizah, one thousand (plus) years of Jewish history came to light in

Living On – Messages, Memories and Miracles from the Har Nof Massacre

Living On, by R’ Daniel Y. Travis, is a compilation of hespedim (eulogies) and memories of the kedoshei elyon – the holy victims of the Har Nof massacre, whose third yarzheit was this past Tuesday, 25 Cheshvan 5778.  The memories, vignettes and anecdotes of these pure, special, elevated souls, are related by fellow rabbeim, talmidim,

Gertruda’s Oath, by Ram Oren

Gertruda’s Oath tells the story of a wealthy Jewish family – Jacob, Lydia and their young son, Michael – and their Polish Catholic nanny, Gertruda, caught in the death web of Nazi occupied Europe. The book, filled with page turning suspense, takes us on a painful, tragic, heroic, moving and inspiring journey – from Poland

Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World

This fascinating book, written by Seth M. Siegel, sheds light onto the very miracle of Israel’s continued survival in what was once a desert wasteland.  From an arid, dry, and sandy land, Israel has, quite literally, made the desert bloom.  With innovation, science, hard work, dedication to the Land, belief in the miracle that is

Machzor Masores Ha’Rav

As we approach the Yomim Noraim, with the focus of the days on our tefillos and bakashos, as we daven for Divine mercy for us, the nation, and our Land, we turn to our machzorim, allowing the words – along with the passion of our hearts and minds – to carry us to higher heights. 

50 Children, by Steven Pressman

In 1939, as terrified Jews trapped inside of Nazi Germany tried desperately to flee their country, a Jewish American couple journeyed into the lions den, in a quest to save Jewish children, and bring them to America – to safe shores.  This little-known story of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, an American Jewish couple who saved

Irena’s Children, By: Tilar J. Mazzeo

The story of Irena Sendler – a voice of humanity, reason, and immense courage, in a time when the world was filled with evil and hate – is beautifully, powerfully, poignantly and movingly documented in this outstanding book.  Irena, a young Polish woman, led the underground movement in Warsaw during the Holocaust.  She heroically and

Deep in the Heart: The Groom Who Went to War, Aharon Karov, By: Rabbi Zeev Karov

This short and riveting book details the selflessness, bravery, courage and heroism of Aharon Karov, who headed into battle shortly after he married his beloved.  From chuppah to warfare, this young chattan (bride-groom) sustained serious and critical injuries on the battlefield. This is his story – and the story of survival of the Jewish people. 

Against All Odds, by Barbara Blum (Menucha Publishers)

The moving, courageous, passionate, heart-wrenching, and brave story of Moshe Blum a’h, and his family.  Moshe was critically injured in a field accident, while serving in the Israeli Air Force, and he lived for 13 years post injury.  This is his story of triumph, survival, hope and faith – and the story of his dedicated

Faith Amid the Flames

Faith Amid the Flames, The Story of Reb Yosef Friedenson, by R’ Yosef C. Golding (Artscroll) is the just published story of the wartime experiences of Yosef Friedenson (1922-2013) z’l.  Friedenson survived the horrors of the Holocaust, along with his wife Gittel (Zylberman) a’h – whom he married in the Warsaw Ghetto – and he

The Eve of Destruction

The Eve of Destruction, by Howard Blum, is the riveting, tragic, shocking and detailed story of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  With first-time declassified information and documents available to the author, Blum takes us on a heart-stopping journey to the months and weeks leading up to – and through – the infamous war.  Despite mounting

By Faith Alone

By Faith Alone: The Story of Rabbi Yehuda Amital, by Elyashiv Reichner, is the biography of R’ Yehuda Amital zt’l (1924 – 2010).  R’ Amital was raised in pre-Holocaust Hungary, and in his youth, he was immersed in yeshiva study.  At the age of 19, he was deported to a Nazi labor camp, and ultimately,

Striking Back

Striking Back (2005), by Aaron J. Klein, begins with a detailed account of the horrific, tragic, and shocking massacre of the Israeli athletes, partaking in the 1972 Munich Olympics.  The book then moves on to document the Israeli response to the massacre, including Mossad activity, targeted assassinations, and covert operations deep behind enemy lines.  With

The Vale of Tears

The Vale of Tears is the Holocaust memoir of R’ Pinchas Hirschprung.  Unlike almost all other Holocaust memoirs, The Vale of Tears, was written in 1944, while the war still raged in Europe, and R’ Hirschprung did not yet know the fate of his family who were left behind.  The memoir was written in Yiddish

Rebbe, by Joseph Telushkin

Rebbe, by Joseph Telushkin, is the fascinating, detailed, inspiring, enlightening, larger-than-life story of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, R’ Menachem Mendel Schneerson zt’l and the Chabad movement he loved and led.  Admittedly, I did not know very much about Chabad until I read this book, and I was truly sorry when I read the last page and

The Sun Does Shine

The Sun Does Shine, by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin, is the story of Anthony Ray Hinton, a poor black man living in racially-charged Alabama.  In 1985, Hinton was wrongly arrested, accused and convicted for a crime which he did not commit.  He was sentenced to death and spent almost thirty years on

Clara’s War: One Girls’ Story of Survival

Clara’s War: One Girls’ Story of Survival, by Clara Kramer, is the riveting, heart-wrenching, triumphant, simply indescribable story of one young girl and her family during the hellish Holocaust years.  A Volksdeutsch (ethnically German family) living in Poland – Mr. Beck, his wife Julia and their daughter Ala – at great and constant risk to

The Jews of the Titanic

The Jews of the Titanic, by Eli Moskowitz, is a newly released (2018) book on a terrible and tragic disaster that has captivated minds for over one hundred years.  Thoroughly researched and documented, engaging and page-turning, as well as easy to read, this book sheds light on the saga of those Jews who sailed on

Rav Belsky

This masterful, in depth, riveting book, Rav Belsky, by R’ Shimon Finkelman (Artscroll), gives us but glimpse into an adam gadol, who was larger than life in all that he did.  While a life such as Rav Belsky’s cannot be contained within the pages of any book, this publication does a wonderful job of allowing

Helga’s Diary

Helga’s Diary, by Helga Weiss, is the diary of one teenage Jewish girl who was interred in the Terezin ghetto along with her mother and father during the Holocaust. Helga’s diary documents the experiences of life in Terezin, as well as her subsequent deportation from Terezin to concentration camps.  This diary is an important, impactful,

Forever My Jerusalem

Forever My Jerusalem, by Puah Shteiner (Feldheim, 1987), is the dramatic, riveting, powerful, tragic, timeless-yet-modern story of the siege of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem in 1948, the subsequent fall of the Jewish Quarter to the Jordanian army, and the terrifying exile of its poverty-stricken inhabitants.  In precise and descriptive detail,

The Bielski Brothers

The Bielski Brothers, by Peter Duffy, is one of the most riveting, almost unbelievable, and simply incredible books, which documents what is, perhaps, a little-known story of heroism and defiance during the terrible Holocaust years. Deep in the forests of Russia, three Bielski brothers, whose parents and a number of siblings were killed by the

From the Wilderness and Lebanon

From the Wilderness and Lebanon, by Asael Lubotzky, is the powerful, heartrending, inspiring and courageous story of one Israeli soldier and the men under his command.  Asael takes us from battle in the Gaza Strip to battle in Lebanon in 2006, during what became known as The Second Lebanon War.  During the conflict in the

Rywka’s Diary

In the spring of 1945, a Russian doctor with the liberating Red Army found a diary in the ruins of the crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  It was not until 2008 (!) that the then Holocaust Center of Northern California was contacted about the diary… “It was a breathtaking artifact – an unknown diary written in the

Angels in the Sky

Angels in the Sky, by Robert Gandt, is the fascinating, moving, compelling, astonishing, triumphant story of a band of volunteer air men from other countries (Britain, Canada, USA) – mostly Jewish, but some not – who saved the newly formed, and newly attacked State of Israel, when independence was declared in May 1948. Smuggling airplanes,

A Boy Named 68818

A Boy Named 68818, by Israel Starck (as told to Miriam [Starck] Miller), is the story of young Srulek Storch (renamed Israel Starck when he came to America after the war), and his experiences during the Holocaust years.  The story begins with Srulek’s idyllic and happy life in Podhoryan, a small Hungarian town.  Srulek’s life

When General Grant Expelled the Jews

In this fascinating, thoroughly researched, and enlightening book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Jonathan D. Sarna, takes us back in time to the American Civil War (1861-1865) when tensions ran high in a divided, war-ridden, America.  It was into this turbulent environment that General Ulysses S. Grant (somewhat shockingly) issued an edict of expulsion

The Heritage Haggadah, R’ Eliyahu KiTov

With Pesach upon us, I share with you one of my favorite Haggadot.  The Heritage Haggadah (Feldheim Publishers), with commentary and insights by R’ Eliyahu KiTov (b.1912, Poland – d.1976, J’lem), is a beautiful Haggadah.  With its clear font and easy to follow text, it is pleasant to read and easy on the eye.  In

Hunting Eichmann, by Neil Bascomb

Hunting Eichmann, by Neil Bascomb, is the story of the notorious Nazi, war criminal, despicable beyond all words, infamous Adolf Eichmann, the implementor of the “Final Solution.”  In the chaos of post war Europe, Eichmann manages to evades capture time and again.  Eventually settling in Argentina, he rebuilds what he believes will be an anonymous, quiet,

Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul

In this masterful biography, Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul, written by Daniel Gordis, we journey with Menachem Begin from his hometown and childhood in Brisk, to his life in the Holy Land, to his death and burial – at the age of 79 – on Har Ha’Zeitim (the Mt. of Olives). Gordis ends

The Boy On The Wooden Box

The Boy On The Wooden Box, by Leon Leyson, is the memoir of Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon), who survived – against all odds – the Holocaust.  He was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland, and he and his family were forced into the Krakow Ghetto. By miraculous intervention, Leyson survived the

Terror and Emunah in Har Nof

In this new book, Terror and Emunah in Har Nof (Artscroll), Mrs. Risa Rotman bravely, beautifully and openly takes us with on her journey of the turbulent year of her husband’s coma post the Har Nof massacre (Cheshvan 5775/Nov.2014).  Unlike the other five victims of the attack, who were immediately killed, R”L, R’ Chaim (Howie)

Lalechka, by Amira Keidar

Lalechka, by Amira Keidar, is another must-read.  This non-fiction book tells the story of one Jewish family – and their young daughter, Rachel – who were trapped in the town of Shedlitz, Poland, and later in the town’s ghetto, during the early years of the Holocaust, prior to the liquidation of the ghetto.  The book

Sacred Treasure – The Cairo Genizah

Sacred Treasure – The Cairo Genizah, by R’ Mark Glickman is a compelling, fascinating, riveting, page-turning, must-read.  The book takes us back in time, to the end of the 19th century, and the discovery of the Cairo Genizah.  With the discovery of the genizah, one thousand (plus) years of Jewish history came to light in

Living On – Messages, Memories and Miracles from the Har Nof Massacre

Living On, by R’ Daniel Y. Travis, is a compilation of hespedim (eulogies) and memories of the kedoshei elyon – the holy victims of the Har Nof massacre, whose third yarzheit was this past Tuesday, 25 Cheshvan 5778.  The memories, vignettes and anecdotes of these pure, special, elevated souls, are related by fellow rabbeim, talmidim,

Gertruda’s Oath, by Ram Oren

Gertruda’s Oath tells the story of a wealthy Jewish family – Jacob, Lydia and their young son, Michael – and their Polish Catholic nanny, Gertruda, caught in the death web of Nazi occupied Europe. The book, filled with page turning suspense, takes us on a painful, tragic, heroic, moving and inspiring journey – from Poland

Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World

This fascinating book, written by Seth M. Siegel, sheds light onto the very miracle of Israel’s continued survival in what was once a desert wasteland.  From an arid, dry, and sandy land, Israel has, quite literally, made the desert bloom.  With innovation, science, hard work, dedication to the Land, belief in the miracle that is

Machzor Masores Ha’Rav

As we approach the Yomim Noraim, with the focus of the days on our tefillos and bakashos, as we daven for Divine mercy for us, the nation, and our Land, we turn to our machzorim, allowing the words – along with the passion of our hearts and minds – to carry us to higher heights. 

50 Children, by Steven Pressman

In 1939, as terrified Jews trapped inside of Nazi Germany tried desperately to flee their country, a Jewish American couple journeyed into the lions den, in a quest to save Jewish children, and bring them to America – to safe shores.  This little-known story of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, an American Jewish couple who saved

Irena’s Children, By: Tilar J. Mazzeo

The story of Irena Sendler – a voice of humanity, reason, and immense courage, in a time when the world was filled with evil and hate – is beautifully, powerfully, poignantly and movingly documented in this outstanding book.  Irena, a young Polish woman, led the underground movement in Warsaw during the Holocaust.  She heroically and

Deep in the Heart: The Groom Who Went to War, Aharon Karov, By: Rabbi Zeev Karov

This short and riveting book details the selflessness, bravery, courage and heroism of Aharon Karov, who headed into battle shortly after he married his beloved.  From chuppah to warfare, this young chattan (bride-groom) sustained serious and critical injuries on the battlefield. This is his story – and the story of survival of the Jewish people. 

Against All Odds, by Barbara Blum (Menucha Publishers)

The moving, courageous, passionate, heart-wrenching, and brave story of Moshe Blum a’h, and his family.  Moshe was critically injured in a field accident, while serving in the Israeli Air Force, and he lived for 13 years post injury.  This is his story of triumph, survival, hope and faith – and the story of his dedicated