Monday, May 27, 2013

Noa's Strength, An Emotional, Inspirational Read

Noa's Strength is a beautiful story written by Noa's husband, Boruch Sirisky. He brings the readers on Noa's journey through good time and hard times. The book is designed to show the struggle and bring out the inspiration.

Judging the Book by its Cover -  a first glance review:

The cover shows the turmoil of the storm with some shiny rays coming through the clouds. Throughout her life, Noa experiences a lot. Somethings are easier to see as clearly good, while others are cloudy and harder to handle. 

Some Details I Liked:

It was very inspiring for me to see a passuk and Hebrew phrases at the start of a chapter and scattered throughout the book. Each phrase reminds the reader that it is all from Above and although it is hard, G-d gives us the strength to endure whatever the challenge my be.
I also liked the chose of details that are included in the book. When a book covers a long period of time, it is not possible to include every episode. This book includes the details relevant to the story that help bring out the message in a powerful way. 

Who This Book is For:

This book is for someone that wants to read the positive in a negative situation, someone that can become stronger when reading about another's strength. 
It is also for someone who reads and understands or is at least familiar with Hebrew. The book can be understood without it, but it is not as powerful.

Who This Book Isn’t For:  

I have to say that it is quite an emotional read. It is also quite descriptive about Noa's physical condition. I personally didn't have a hard time reading it, but I can imagine that others might.
As I wrote earlier, the author uses quite a bit of passukim to convey the spiritual message and therefore limits the audience to a crowd that understands and appreciates the Hebrew text

What I Didn’t Like /Would Have Made it Better: 

In Conclusion:  
Noa's Strength is a powerful, serious read that can be quite emotional, as it is a true story. 


I received this book for the purpose of reviewing it, but that it no way changed the way I read it and reviewed it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

All for the Boss, A Classic Best-Seller

All for the Boss is my ultimate favorite book. There is something timeless about how Ruchama Shain, of blessed memory, describes her upbringing. I have read and re-read this book many times. Sometimes it was cover-to-cover, other times just flipping through and reading an anecdote that inspired or comforted me then.

All for the BossJudging the Book by its Cover -  a first glance review:

I may be wrong, but I don't think the cover below is the original. Growing up, my parents' copy was missing the dust-jacket and it was just a dark brown book. 
Regardless, the portrait of R' Herman gives off the intended impressiveness of a person who conducts himself for a higher purpose, The Boss.

Some Details I Liked:

If I would ever write a book, I would try to follow Mrs. Shain's style of telling over historical events in story form. There are also so many lessons that are easily taken from those historic events. With the high quality of the content of the book, you'd assume that it is an intense read, but it isn't. I use this book as a reference, a guide and a comfort. 

Who This Book is For:

They came out with a junior edition of this book for young children, but I really remember being quite young when I read the original. I might not have grasped all the important details involved, but I definitely enjoyed it then.
I feel strongly that almost any human can benefit from reading this book, as long as they understand that R' Herman zt"l was a greater man than they are. If you can appreciate greatness, you can appreciate this book.

Who This Book Isn’t For:  

This book is not for someone that is going to be picky or judgmental  It is also not for someone that is afraid of doing the right thing even though it is unpopular. R' Herman zt"l did a lot of things that were not the norm of the time, but they were good in the eyes of the Boss.

What I Didn’t Like/Would Have Made it Better: 

I would have enjoyed hearing more about Reb. Shain's adult life, but I guess that will have to be in another book.

In Conclusion:  

I highly recommend at least one copy per household.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

8, 9 & 10!

  • Rav Nosson Tzvi
  • All for the Boss
  • Noa's Strength
Any suggestions for 11-15?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Confessions of a Jewish Cultbuster, A Revised Version of an Old Best-Seller

Another great book that just came out is Confessions of a Jewish Cultbuster by Rabbi Shea Hecht. It is a revised reprint from the 1985 edition with many additions. It starts off discussing cults with various episodes of how R' Hecht or his father helped people break-free and towards the end of the book, R' Hecht ties in intermarriage. The underlying connection is the appreciation of our heritage or lack of it. Here are some preview pages, so you can gauge the style.

Confessions of a Jewish CultbusterJudging the Book by its Cover -  a first glance review:

The word that came to mind when seeing this cover is - enticing. The side profile of Rabbi Hecht with his trademark red yarmulke looking into the distance makes you wonder what he has to share. The title beginning with the word "confessions" follows that intrigue. 

Some Details I Liked:

This is a rich book. It contains a wealth of experience and knowledge. It is presented in a clear and interesting manner, with each chapter introducing a different case. 

The philosophical perspectives are easy to understand and absorb. Whether dealing with a brainwashed cult victim or an adult that is caught in a harmful relationship, R' Hecht and his team lays out the facts and helps the individuals get back on track towards a healthy lifestyle.

I also liked that this book has stories that prove points. Points that a lot of people miss. Like Intermarriage generally does not work, even if it seems to. Or bringing up a child without an appreciation of his Judaism or connection to G-d, will create a void that they will yearn to fill, in whichever way they can.

Who This Book is For:

Personally, I would say that this book is recommended reading for anyone that:
  1. has any sort of educational position, 
  2. has any community leadership positions, 
  3. is not sure why intermarriage is so bad, 
  4. thinks cults are an extinct phase, 
  5. is looking for an open-minded book that gives you a clear picture of what is happening to the Jewish nation.

Who This Book Isn’t For:  

If you want to remain sheltered or are in denial that cults exist, then don't read this book. R' Hecht goes through details of what members of cults do to prove their loyalty. Many of the examples are not pleasant, such as physically pushing limits or largely deviating from accepted social norms.
The book also doesn't beat around the bush. If a strategy of a specific cult is to lure potential members with attractive females, that is what it is. If the ideals of a cult are based on something non-ethical, it is also in there.

What I Didn’t Like Book/Would Have Made it Better: 

This is a true toughy. The only thing that I can think of, is that I would have enjoyed reading more after the last page. :)

In Conclusion:  

This is a serious book. One that is an important read on many levels and enjoyable at the same time. 


I received this book for the purpose of reviewing it, but that it no way changed the way I read it and reviewed it.