Articles by Elaine Berkowitz

A Ziplock Bag Full of Letters : In Memory of Laure Gutman, a”h


At the levaya, people spilled from the chapel into the lobby and out onto the sidewalk. At the shiva house, the door opened and shut, opened and shut, as the community came to share the family’s grief. The mailbox overflowed with cards and letters, and the emails poured in.

Soon enough, shiva was over. The mourners and the visitors went home. The door remained shut at the house-with-the-cow-in-front, and the cards and letters were packed into an oversized ziplock bag and put away.

These are the sorrowful postscripts to the life of Mrs. Laure Gutman, a”h. Yet it was just as Pirkei Avos attests: “Aizeh hu mechubad? Who is honored? Hamechaved es habrios. One who honors others.”


Read More:A Ziplock Bag Full of Letters : In Memory of Laure Gutman, a”h

An Interview with Rabbi Karmi Gross


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We hold Eretz Yisrael in our hearts as our own special place – our home, even when we don’t reside there. We visit, if we can, to soak up the atmosphere of kedusha (holiness), and some of us actually transfer our selves and our belongings – to live there in reality and not just in our dreams.

One thing that everyone can agree on is that Eretz Yisrael is nothing like our sedate Baltimore. From the blazing sunlight to the passionate people, from the politics to the religion, things are more intense. Everything matters, and everyone cares. Besides being a land steeped in kedusha – perhaps because of it – Eretz Yisrael is embroiled in conflict. Ancient and modern, holy and mundane, beautiful and repulsive, great love and poisonous hatred – they all travel the same buses.


Read More:An Interview with Rabbi Karmi Gross

Heart Speak: An Interview with Rabbi Chaim Walder (from the WWW archives)


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Once upon a time, not so long ago – in 1990, in fact – Chaim Walder was puzzled. The fourth-grade rebbe had tried everything to get his talmid (pupil) to stop hitting the other children: He talked to the boy, docked his recess, put him in the corner, and sent him to the principal. Nothing worked. Finally, he asked the child why he was acting that way. At first, the child offered all kinds of excuses: “This one hit me; that one laughed at me.” When he finally understood that his rebbe was not interested in justifications, but wanted instead to know what he was feeling in his heart, he was quiet. “Because,” as Rabbi Walder was to say much later, “children don’t speak about themselves.”

That’s how the story begins. And since this is a Where What When article, not fiction, we’ll skip right to the happy ending: In trying to get to the bottom of his student’s misbehavior, Rabbi Walder wrote a story. And through the story he stumbled upon a second career as a famous author. More important, he found a way to help children and adults heal where it hurts the most, in the heart.

Rabbi Walder, of Bnai Brak, has published ten books. His Kids Speak children’s books are bestsellers in the religious market. Written in Hebrew (Yeladim Mesaprim al Atzmam, Children Speak About Themselves), they were picked up by Feldheim Publishers and published in English; they have also been translated into French, German, and Spanish.


Read More:Heart Speak: An Interview with Rabbi Chaim Walder (from the WWW archives)

In Memory of Mr. Jacob Boehm- From our Archives 1992


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Survivors of the Holocaust

Mr. Jacob Boehm

Anyone who has lived in Baltimore for a while remembers the familiar figure of Mr. Jacob Boehm in his white apron, hacking at the lettuces or working the deli in his store, the famous, Jack’s. The store, which the Boehms started not long after their arrival in Baltimore in 1948, was one of the only kosher groceries for a long time, and became a forerunner of Seven Mile Market. It was Mr. Boehm who first brought chalav Yisrael and other kosher products to Baltimore. Mr. Boehm was also very active in community endeavors, especially the establishment of Yeshivas Kochav Yitzchok which was known then as Shearis Hapleita. Here is his personal and very moving story.


Read More:In Memory of Mr. Jacob Boehm- From our Archives 1992

An Interview with Rabbi Yosef Rottenberg


Baltimore has a low-key treasure. He is an enthusiastic teacher, a brilliant posek, and a refreshingly comfortable and friendly human being. Rabbi Yosef Rottenberg will be honored on May 20 for 33 years of service as 12th grade rebbe and Rosh Hayeshiva of Talmudical Academy’s high school. Rabbi Rottenberg is a man who loves Torah, loves people, and loves to teach—a combination that led him easily to his chosen profession. He could have done many things in life that would have made him richer, but he chose to use his talents to inspire hundreds


Read More:An Interview with Rabbi Yosef Rottenberg

An Interview with Dr. Elie Krakowski


As the cold winds pierce their woolen robes, the tribesmen are grateful for the thick turbans wound around their heads and the beards that cover their frigid faces. These rugged herdsmen and farmers crouch in caves and mountain ravines, resting after a surprise raid on the enemy camped below. They are few in number, and their weapons are primitive against those of the formidable foe. But the mountainous terrain they know so well is helping these warriors drive out the powerful forces that have swept down from the north. They will not be dominated, for they are fiercely


Read More:An Interview with Dr. Elie Krakowski