Upwards: Learning Appreciation

If you’re looking for reading material for Pesach, look no further than Upwards,  by Shami Reinman - the personal account of a woman’s battle with Parkinson’s that will give you a whole new level of appreciate for everything you have in life.

You would think that reading the personal account of a woman in her 50′s struggle with Parkinson’s disease would be down, depressing, sad. You might be right in most cases, but not so with Upwards.

Upwards is the first-person account of Shami Reinman, a vibrant and energetic woman in her 50′s – a bubby, teacher, wife and mother. She’s fun, funny and full of life – just the kind of person everyone wants as a friend. Then the unthinkable happens, and Mrs. Reinman’s world is turned upside down.  As the author takes us through her journey from Diagnosis, to acceptance, to struggling with her own body - the overwhelming feeling is appreciation.

Yes. Appreciation.

When did I last appreciate my ability to wake up in the morning and get dressed – by myself? When was the last time that I stopped and thought about the gift of being able to speak loudly and clearly, and be understood by those around me? How often to I think about the blessing of being able to drive a car, climb a flight of stairs? Did I ever feel appreciation for my ability to chew, swallow and eat? Who really takes the time to appreciate that their body is not their own worst enemy?

Reading about Shami Reinman and her struggles, reading about how she faces her challenges with optimism, it carries through to the reader. In her words:

“I accept whatever Hashem sends me, and I am grateful for every day that I have. I’ll take each day as it comes.”

-Shami Reinman, Upwards (page 276)

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings. 

Weekly Learning Download: Haggadah And The Answer Is

The Question: How Do You Make Your Seder Dynamic, Lively, and Spirited? The Answer Is… The Pesach Haggadah: The Answer Is…

Haih-download

Interactive: To have participants ask good questions. And get great answers.

This Pesach, we’ve got more than 300 questions – and over 1,000 answers! – for Seder night, guaranteed to make your Seder table a particularly lively and dynamic place. They’re all here, in The Pesach Haggadah: The Answer Is…

The Pesach Haggadah: The Answer Is… was a major bestseller in its original Hebrew, and for good reason. This engrossing and unusual Haggadah takes us through every facet of the Seder and the Pesach story by asking questions and offering answers from more than two hundred commentators

For our weekly learning download, we are sharing a sample chapter from this popular new Haggadah.

Click here to view and download a sample chapter from The Pesach Haggadah: The Answer is.

Click here to purchase this Haggadah with an exclusive online discount.

Readers Write: My Father, My Mother and Me + Giveaway!

Readers from all over the world have been raving about our new book, My Father, My Mother and MeBelow are some of their comments. If you would like to share your thoughts on this book, or any ArtScroll title that has made an impression on you, email blog@artscroll.com and it might be featured on The Official ArtScroll Blog!

Scroll to the end of the post for a giveaway!

Giveaway is over! The winner is: Sarah W!

my father my mother

 

A reader from Israel shares:

“I would like to describe my experience with My Father, My Mother and Me. because I want more people to buy it. I did not buy this book to improve my relationship with my mother or with my mother in law. In fact, I didn’t buy it at all. Someone bought it for me, because she knew I was having real serious issues with my in-laws. You know—things that typically just go on without resolution.

Amazingly, as I read, something shifted in my attitude. It wasn’t because a particular story inspired me. It was just the whole idea of this book. l these years, I was looking at how I was right and how my in-laws were wrong. Even though I saw certain areas where I realized they were right and I was wrong, I had a hard time acting respectfully about them.

So what happened?

After reading the book, I realized that even if they are wrong and I am right, I should be focusing on my responsibilities, on how I could become better. I realized that I should daven more to be able to honor my in-laws, my parents, and to respect them and their needs.

My mindset changed a lot, in a lot of ways. I realized that because of my new attitude, I am talking to my in-laws—and talking to my husband about them—in a different way. I thought, “Wow! What a little book can do!”

I wanted to share this because I feel that everyone should read My Father, My Mother and Me. “

Gitty writes about how much she enjoyed this book:

“I highly recommend the book My Father, My Mother and Me. It has opened up my eyes (pokeach ivrim) to the halachos of Kibud Av V’Eim. It gave me a whole new perspective on the way that I view my relationship with my parents. Baruch Hashem, I have already been able to put the halachas I’ve learned from this book into practice. Aside from being inspirational and educational, this is a highly entertaining book that I had fun reading – I don’t know any time that I ever said that about a halacha sefer.

Yasher Koach!”

Reader Chani writes about how this book impacted her life:

“I picked up a copy of My Father, My Mother and Me over shabbos, and I spent some time reading it. I found it to be life changing.

My father has never forgiven me for becoming a Baalas Teshuva. Every time that I see him he makes fun of my “lifestyle” and puts down Kollel. He makes sure to let me know that if I didn’t have the extra expenses of being a frum Jew, I could live the “good” life (cruises, restaurants, etc).

After spending a few hours with him, the only thing I usually want to do is run out the door. This week, as I was visiting him, I started thinking about the stories that I had read in the book. I took a look around me and realized that his apartment was in terrible shape. The mitzvah of Kibbud Av includes cleaning and feeding my father, not just visiting him. Despite my tremendous desire to leave, I spent a long time cleaning his bathroom and kitchen and taking out numerous bags of garbage. Because of the many stories that I read about ways of taking care of parents, I realized that this is something that I should want to do, not look for excuses to get out of it.

The most remarkable thing is not that I did it, but how I felt about doing it. In the past when I helped him I was full of resentment for the way that he treats me. This time I left feeling good and empowered.  This was not about helping my father; it was about doing what Hashem wants.

Click here to purchase the book with exclusive online savings

GIVEAWAY!

 For your chance to win a copy of My Father, My Mother and Me  just comment below and tell us which ArtScroll titles have greatly impacted your life. (You can also email your thoughts to blog@artscroll.com and it may be featured here. All entries must be via comment on this post.)

**Giveaway ends on Thursday, March 27th at 11:59 eastern time. Prize can be shipped within the USA. Winner will be notified via email. Valid email address must be provided to claim prize. Limit one entry per person. 

Weekly Learning Download: Parashas Shemini

This week’s free learning download is about this week’s Torah portion, Parashas Shemini. Excerpted from Living The Parashah (Volume 3) by Rabbi Shimon Finkelman, this excerpt gives us a deeper understanding of what it means to “be with Hashem.”

There is nothing quite like a good story with a timely message. And there is nothing that enhances the Shabbos table more than an inspiring insight on the weekly Torah reading. This hard-to-put-down book offers a combination of both; an inspiring insight into the parashah illustrated by a great story.

Click here to view, download or print: Weekly Learning Download – Parashas Shemini

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings.

Click here for Volume 1(Bereishis) of the series.

Click here for Volume 2 (Shmos) of the series.

 

Weekly Learning Download: Purim

This week’s free download is about the upcoming Holiday of Purim, excerpted from Days of Joy.

Days of Joy features ideas and insights of the Sfas Emes on Chanukah and Purim.

For nearly a century, Sfas Emes has been the challenging and provocative fare of outstanding scholars. Rabbi Yosef Stern showed that the “impossible” can be done. The profound, scintillating, pithy, incredibly rich discourses of the great Sfas Emes, Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Alter of Ger, can be distilled into enlightening and inspiring English essays. The author opens a window to one of Chassidic literature’s stellar achievements.

Click here for a free download – Purim: The Permanent Yom Tov.

 

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings.

Make sure to join us every Thursday on The Official ArtScroll blog for a free download on the Parashah and other timely topics. 

New Releases from ArtScroll

Here at ArtScroll we have a whole bunch of new titles that have recently been released, or are coming in shortly. Here’s a sampling of some of our newest titles:

New from ArtScroll

 

Rav Chaim Kanievsky Haggadah: Though obviously we cannot attend his Seder, we can share Rav Chaim’s thoughts and wisdom on the Haggadah and discover some of the practices he follows. In a sense, we can participate in Rav Chaim’s seder – as we avidly read through the Rav Chaim Kanievsky Haggadah.

Touched by Their Faith: In this remarkable collection, Rabbi Spero focuses on faith, the belief in Hashem and His Torah that has accompanied the Jewish People on our unbelievable journey through time – and also the belief in each other, and in ourselves, that is so necessary today.

Upwards: This is the story of a woman who, with pure emunah and bitachon, accepts her fate even as she struggles against it. She rebuilds her life by seeking out the islands of joy in the sea of her suffering and living on those islands to the fullest. And she feels blessed.

The Protocols: is a riveting combination of fact and fiction that will keep you at the edge of your seat from the first page to the last. It’s also a heartwarming tale about remaining staunch in the face of adversity and appreciating the mysterious workings of Divine Providence.

My Father, My Mother and Me: Do we know how the Torah expects us, grownup children, to treat our parents? What about stepparents or in-laws? This book is a must-read book for everyone. Because everyone is someone’s child

Kol Dodi on Haftaros: In this masterpiece, the Rosh Yeshivah introduces each Haftarah, explains its historical context where necessary, shows its relationship to the Parashah, and offers an enlightening commentary in his own unique, original manner.

We’re planning our next giveaway here on The Official ArtScroll blog – which of these titles would you like us to give away next? Comment and let us know!

Making Hashem Proud: Author Interview + GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway is over! 

Congratulations to our winner – Gila! Stay tuned for our next giveaway coming up soon!

 

ArtScroll’s new children’s release, Making Hashem Proud features stories that teach children about the importance of behaving properly and making a Kiddush Hashem.

ArtScroll talked with the author, Mrs. Chaviva Pfeiffer, about this exciting new book.

Scroll down past the interview for a chance to WIN a copy of this book!

ArtScroll: Can you tell us how you got started writing?

Chaviva Pfeiffer: The Maggid Series, written by my father, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, is extremely popular. Adults would read the stories and often repeat them to their children. However, the children needed the stories explained. The idea was born to have the stories written especially for children.

Back then, my husband was a 6th grade Rebbe, and each week he would give his students a story that related to the weekly Parshah. The stories were taken from my father’s Maggid books, and I would rewrite them to make them easier for the boys to read. My father liked the way I wrote them, and told me about his idea to write a children’s book featuring his stories. We approached ArtScroll with the idea, and they liked it. Since then, I’ve published three books of Maggid Stories for Children.

ArtScroll: Your latest book, Making Hashem Proud, just came out, is different. Can you tell us more about it?

Chaviva Pfeiffer: Unlike my previous books, where I wrote over the Maggid stories in a kid-friendly manner, Making Hashem Proud contains stories that I researched for my topic, Kiddush Hashem.

ArtScroll: How did you choose this topic?

CP: I was approached by Rabbi Shragie Freedman, who has dedicated his life to researching and teaching about Kiddush Hashem. He asked me to write a book of stories on a children’s level. He started me off with some stories, and then I began to look for more stories on my own.

ArtScroll: Was it hard to find the stories?

Chaviva Pfeiffer: You would be surprised by how many people were involved in or witnessed a story about Kiddush Hashem. Once I put the word out that I was looking for stories on this topic, they started to come in.

The hard part is actually verifying the stories! My father is always very careful to meticulously research the origins of a story, and talk to the people involved to make sure it’s completely true. That’s what I did with these stories as well; it’s the Krohn way.

I feel that if a story isn’t true, the inspirational lesson you might learn from it just isn’t that strong. One of the stories in the book involves a class of 2nd graders who acted in a manner that was so impressive, a business owner decided to close on Shabbos because of them! It’s a beautiful story, and one to aspire to, because it’s true. If it weren’t true, would you feel as inspired?

ArtScroll:  Your book features illustrations along with the stories. Can you tell us more about that?

Chaviva Pfeiffer: The illustrations are done by Chani Stern. At first, she showed us some basic sketches in pencil only. I came into the ArtScroll office and sat with Reb Avrohom Biderman to decide if the sketches fit the story. Once we approved them, they were finished and created in color.

There’s a lot that goes into choosing illustrations. For example, we like to show emotion in the characters. While a picture might look better from the back, I prefer to show the person’s face so you can see how he feels. You also have to make sure a picture doesn’t give away too much. Originally, one of the stories in Making Hashem Proud had a picture right in the beginning which gave away the end of the story, so we moved the illustration to the end instead.

ArtScroll: Who is this book intended for?

Chaviva Pfeiffer: The book is geared to children about 7-10 years old to read on their own, but you can read it to children as young as 3-4. My goal is to teach children that they have the ability to make a Kiddush Hashem, whether public or private, no matter how old they are!

GIVEAWAY!

 For your chance to win a copy of Making Hashem Proud  just comment below and tell us which child(ren) you would like to give or read this book to! (Your own count too!)

**Giveaway ends on Thursday, March 13th at 11:59 eastern time. Prize can be shipped within the USA. Winner will be notified via email. Valid email address must be provided to claim prize. Limit one entry per person.  

Weekly Learning Download: Parashas Vayikra

frphThis week’s Parashah download comes from a popular ArtScroll classic, Rabbi Frand on the Parashah.

One of the world’s most popular speakers, Rabbi Frand delivers lessons on the week’s parashah and carries them into our daily lives.The weekly Torah readings will be immeasurably enriched by Rabbi Frand’s well-reasoned, solidly constructed presentations. This book is a pleasure to read — and its many messages will remain with the reader long after it is put down.

Click here to view or download – Weekly Learning Download – Parashas Vayikra

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings.

Prepare for Purim: Let My Nation Live

It’s that time of year! Jewish folks around the world are busy preparing for Purim. There are costumes to arrange, Hamantaschen to bake, shalach manos to pack…but what about learning?

Megillas Esther, read on Purim eve and again the next morning, tells the story of Mordechai, Esther, and the Jewish triumph over evil Haman. Sometimes we get so caught up in the excitement over the costumes, the parties, all the fun, that the deep history and the incredible story behind the megillah can get lost. It’s time to include the Purim story in your preparations.

Concisely written, Megillas Esther tells the basics of the Purim story. Pulling details from the midrash, Let My Nation Live teaches about Purim in richly detailed story form. The inner workings of Persian politics, the back-story behind the hatred that Haman had for Mordechai…these are issues that are hard to fully understand until reading this book.

Let My Nation Live reads like a novel, but it’s all true. It’s the story of Purim as described by the medrash and our sages, giving you a deeper understanding of the significance of every detail of the story. This book explains the significance of the Bigsan and Seresh angle. It describes, in harrowing detail, Haman’s decent from the top of the world to the lowly figure begging Esther for his life. It provides a deeper understanding of the party that started the chain of events leading to Vashti’s demise and Esther’s ultimate position in the Palace.

If you haven’t yet read this remarkable classic, pick up a copy. Prepare for Purim properly this year.

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings.

Click here to read a sample chapter from this book: The Throne Room.

Click here to shop all Purim titles.

Weekly Learning Download: Kol Dodi on the Haftaros

Every week, the Official ArtScroll Blog features a free learning download to enhance your shabbos and your learning. This week: Parashas Shekalim.

This shabbos we read Parashas Shekalim, the first of the four special Torah readings between now and Pesach. For our weekly learning download, we’ve chosen to present the Haftara for Parashas Shekalim, excerpted from a brand new title, Kol Dodi on the Haftaros, by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein

In this masterpiece, the Rosh Yeshivah introduces each Haftarah, explains its historical context where necessary, shows its relationship to the Parashah, and offers an enlightening commentary in his own unique, original manner. The reader marvels at the clarity and the depth of the insights. At the same time, the content is easily accessible to everyone, regardless of background. This volume will be welcomed wherever there is a thirst for knowledge. It adds an important new dimension to the Shabbos and Yom Tov Torah readings. And it is an unusual opportunity to be welcomed into the mind of one of the great men of our time and “join him” as he explores the teachings of the Nevi’im in the light of Chazal

Click here to view, download or print: Weekly Torah Download – Parashas Shekalim

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings

Click here for all titles by Rabbi David Feinstein