Book Review Articles

Bina’s Lobell’s Super-Secret Diary, by Ruchama Feuerman

bina lobel

This is an important book for children – as well as a great story. Bina’s Lobell’s Super-Secret Diary, a chapter-book by author Ruchama Feuerman, addresses an issue crossing all lines of secular schools and Jewish religious schools: bullying.

            Nine-year-old Bina attends a Jewish Montessori home-school with four other girls. A typical Torah-observant fourth-grader, she is a bit insecure, trying to work on her faults; asking why, if eating carrots can turn your skin orange, eating blueberries can’t turn your eyes blue; being careful about shmiras halashon; and pondering hair:

Read More:Bina’s Lobell’s Super-Secret Diary, by Ruchama Feuerman

The Queen You Thought You Knew A Book Review

the queen you thought you knew

We all know the Purim story. Year after year, we encounter its familiar cast of characters: the foolish King Achashverosh, the wicked Queen Vashti, the villain Haman, and, of course, the heroes: the beautiful Queen Esther and Mordechai the Tzadik. But, as Rabbi Dovid Fohrman explains in his book, The Queen You Thought You Knew: Unmasking Esther’s Hidden Story, the story is not as simple as it seemed to us when we were children. In his eye-opening account, he explores many questions that are obvious once he points them out but that never occurred to us. We have heard the story so many times that we have become blind to the nuances that give depth to the story. I can’t rewrite the book in this review, but I will bring up some of the questions. If they intrigue you, you can follow up by reading from the source.

Read More:The Queen You Thought You Knew A Book Review

Miriam Liebermann’s Gratitude Shines Bright in To Fill the Sky with Stars


Miriam Liebermann’s writing career started inadvertently, 22 years ago, when she devoured Sarah Shapiro’s anthology, Our Lives II.  “The introduction to this book changed my life,” recalls Miriam, author of the new book, To Fill the Sky with Stars, an anthology of stories by and for women in midlife and beyond.

“Sarah discusses the art of writing, which she claims is actually a form of hakaras hatov, a vehicle through which we can show appreciation for our daily lives. Why is that? Those who write are much more aware of all the nuances of their lives. Always on the lookout for material to write about, nothing escapes them. Their senses are keener. Their antennas are always on alert! The details take on more significance. And as a result, their lives become much richer, much fuller. I read this and thought, ‘Sarah’s talking to me!’ I wanted my life to be as rich as possible, as full, as meaningful. I began to write short vignettes revolving around my childhood, my family, and my hopes and dreams for the future, which were published in Targum’s Horizons magazine. I started to write, and, baruch Hashem, have never stopped.”

Read More:Miriam Liebermann’s Gratitude Shines Bright in To Fill the Sky with Stars

Book Review: Boy Oh Boy! By Beily Paluch

boy o'boy

Finally, a book for mothers of Jewish boys!  And not just a handbook, but an engaging, lively read that covers just about every topic that is Jewish and boy-related from bris to bar mitzvah.  From the first page to the last, Beily Paluch connects to you in her humorous yet down-to-earth style, presenting a seamless blend of information, tips, anecdotes and inspiration.

Can you help a baby with jaundice have his bris on time?  Which homework papers are Shaimos?  How can you keep track of learning hours over a Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed? What should you serve at the vachnacht? Bring along to the pidyon haben? What should a mom know if her son is a bechor? A Kohen? A Levi? A lefty? At what point is a pair of tzitzis no longer kosher?  What are the parameters of peyos? Can you save a yarmulke that’s been through the wash?

Read More:Book Review: Boy Oh Boy! By Beily Paluch