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

 

It’s Not As Tough As You Think: 15 Years of Inspiration

Fifteen years after its initial publication, Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski’s Classic It’s Not As Tough As You Think is as inspirational and relevant as ever. 

Arranged into short chapters, this iconic best-seller provides quick bursts of inspiration to help you tackle life’s challenges. It’s Not As Tough As You Think has lessons about perspective, relationships, attitude and more, making it ideal for anyone looking for motivation and encouragement in life’s journeys.

“Rabbi and psychiatrist Twerski draws upon his numerous years of counseling experience to offer advice and guidance on approaching the little and big annoyances of life with positive thinking. Interweaving biblical lessons, rabbinic teachings and psychotherapeutic coping techniques into 102 brief anecdotal meditations, Twerski teaches lessons on topics as diverse as how to “Avoid the Need for Regrets,” “Judge Favorably and Act Accordingly” and “Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.” [...] Twerski’s sparkling wit and animated prose will touch the hearts and souls of his readers.” -Publishers Weekly

If you haven’t yet read this timeless classic, here’s a sample chapter to give you a taste of the wit and wisdom of Rabbi Dr. Twerski:

May You Have Many Worries

(Excerpted from It’s Not As Tough As You Think by Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, published by ArtScroll Mesorah publications.)

Life is full of annoyances. You open your washing machine and discover that all your whites have a blue hue, because somehow a dark-blue sock was mixed in with the load. Or you rush downtown to take advantage of a spectacular sale, only to find that there are enormous bargains to be had — in every size but yours. Or you turn the key in the lock and it breaks off, and your husband, who has the other key, is away on a business trip. There are minor annoyances or major annoyances. Obviously you become irritated, but how much irritation is justifiable?

On one of my trips to Israel I visited a friend, and asked him to pray at the Western Wall for my brother, who was ill with cancer. As I was leaving, he said, “May you have many worries.”

I was taken aback by this remark. “What kind of blessing is that?” I asked.

My friend explained, “You see, it is impossible for there not to be any annoyances and irritations in life. Nothing ever goes completely smoothly . But if there is no single problem that is overwhelming, then we are bothered by a number of things that upset us. If there is one problem that is extremely grave, it obscures every other annoyance, and we are focused totally on that one major problem.

“Right now,” my friend continued, “you are so concerned about your brother’s illness, that nothing else bothers you. That is why having only one problem or one worry is not good, because it means that this one problem is terribly serious. If you have many worries, that means that nothing is so bad that it drives away all the rest, and that is about as good as life can be.”

So next time you are irritated — as, for example, it is late at night, say, 1 A.M., and your automobile alarm goes off, and you are simply beside yourself — just think. Aren’t there other things on your mind? Perhaps you just got the bill from the dentist for your son’s braces, or there was water in the basement from the heavy rains this week.  If you have any kind of normal life, you should be able to find a few other irritations. Then give thanks to God that you have many worries. God forbid you should have only one worry! The car alarm going off is not the end of the world by any means. It will shut off and resolve itself, just as the other worries — if there are many — will be resolved in one way or another.

Some psychologists may teach you how to relax by expelling an irritating thought from your mind. My friend suggests another method, one which is much easier to accomplish and at far lesser cost: Bring in a few more worries, and then feel relaxed precisely because you have so many.

Click here for book details, additional sample chapters, and exclusive online savings.

Click here for all titles by Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski.

Weekly Learning Download: Parashas Vayakhel

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

This week’s free learning download is excerpted from Torah for Your Table, by Rabbi Yisroel Jungreis and Rabbi Osher Anshel Jungreis with Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis. This warm volume centers around the Shabbos table and invites the exchange of ideas and discussion.

Whether you are a newcomer to Torah thought or have dedicated many years to its study, Torah for Your Table will enhance the flavor of your every meal.

Make sure to visit the blog every Thursday for the week’s free learning download!

Click here to view or print the FREE Weekly Torah Download -Parashas Vayakhel

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings.

Click here to additional titles by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.

ArtScroll’s “French Revolution” continues! The Edmond J. Safra French Edition Talmud

The Schottenstein Edition Talmud Bavli sparked an ongoing revolution in the Jewish world, opening the Talmud’s vast wisdom to hundreds of thousands. The Schottenstein Edition Hebrew Talmud continued bringing ArtScroll’s innovative features to tens of thousands more.

And then, about a decade ago, it was the turn for French speakers to rejoice, as the first volume of the Edmond J. Safra French Edition Talmud was published. In France, Switzerland, Belgium, Israel, and Canada, French speakers could now enjoy the many features of the Schottenstein Edition, beautifully adapted into French by a team of scholars, translators, and editors.

Just released is the 19th volume of the series, Maseches Chagigah, dedicated by Mrs. Safra in memory of her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. Maseches Sukkah, volume 2, will be released soon after Pesach, and more volumes are in the works.

Can you “parlez-vous francais?” Then you, too, can discover the wisdom of the Talmud.

Click here for the entire series (to date) of the Edmund J. Safra Edition French Talmud.

Click here for all French titles from ArtScroll.

Humble Beginnings and Lofty Legacies: A Talk with Rabbi Paysach Krohn

ArtScroll talks with internationally acclaimed speaker and best-selling author, Rabbi Paysach Krohn about the start of his illustrious career, the legacy he carries, and the family traditions he’s passing on.

They say that behind every great man is a woman, and that adage is true in the case of Rabbi Paysach Krohn –  his illustrious writing career started with his mother. “My mother was a marvelous writer. As I was growing up we used to sit together and read well-written newspaper articles, editorials, and op-ed pieces, all so I would learn to express myself with concise clarity.”

And thus began Rabbi Krohn’s lifetime of writing.

Before he was a bestselling author of the popular Maggid Series of books, Rabbi Krohn wrote for periodicals such as The Jewish Observer and Olomeinu. “In 1976, ArtScroll published its first book and I was so impressed with the quality of the work and the writing. I decided that I wanted to write for ArtScroll.”

“I called Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and asked about publishing with ArtScroll. At first, we discussed a book on Mishlei, but I realized that would be a major undertaking.” Shortly thereafter, ArtScroll began to publish books on various topics, in addition to Tanach commentaries, so Rabbi Krohn’s next idea seemed obvious. “As a mohel I knew exactly what would be needed in a book on Milah.”

Rabbi Krohn tells of the favorable impression ArtScroll made on him. “Rabbi Nosson Scherman took his little phone book out from his inner jacket pocket and wrote my name and phone number in it. He pocketed the book, saying, ‘Now you’re one of us.’ I’ll never forget that.”

After Rabbi Krohn submittedwrote some sample chapters, ArtScroll accepted the concept and a contract was signed. But instead of a deadline, Rabbi Krohn was given a goal. “They told me, ‘Write a book on bris milah that is so thorough and so good, nobody will even consider writing another one for at least ten years.’” Thirty months later, Rabbi Krohn felt he had achieved that goal, and Bris Milah/Circumcision, was published.

Ready for his next writing challenge, Rabbi Krohn was inspired by short stories. His personal connection with Rav Sholom Schwadron, the Maggid of Yerushalayim, gave him the idea for his second book. Rabbi Krohn approached Rav Sholom and asked for permission to trasncribe his stories in a book accessible to the English reader.

“I wrote up the stories, and my cousin translated them for Rav Sholom. Then the most amazing thing happened: Rav Sholom called me and said that he liked what I had done with the stories, but that in many of them I had gleaned a different lesson from the story than he had.

“That is why The Maggid Speaks uses a different typeface for the introduction and epilogue than it does for the story itself. The stories belong to Rav Sholom, but the lessons and introductions are mine. This format worked so well that I continued to use it for all of my subsequent books. A story is like manna; just as everyone tasted the manna according to what they enjoyed, everyone can read a story and enjoy it, but they can each learn different lessons from it.”

After The Maggid Speaks, Rabbi Krohn believed he had finished writing short stories, but Rabbi Scherman had other plans. “Rabbi Scherman said that he had just come from South Africa where he saw a rebbi teaching his class from my book. He told me, ‘If rebbeim are teaching from your book, you need to write more.’”

Just as Rabbi Krohn worried that he didn’t have enough material for another book of stories, another amazing thing happened. “Rabbi Boruch Grossman called and asked me to speak at the graduation of his high school for Russian boys. That was my first public-speaking engagement. Following that, Mrs. Shanni Perr asked me to come to Camp Bnos to speak on Shabbos.” After those events, Rabbi Krohn received calls from other camps, and it wasn’t long before he had speaking engagements every Shabbos. Next, Rabbi Hillel David’s rebbitzen  invited him to speak to a ladies’ group, and things snowballed from there.

Along with the speaking invitations came another benefit. “People began to realize that if I was writing stories, I probably wanted to hear stories as well. Acquaintances and strangers approached me to tell their stories – on a plane, while crossing the street, anywhere. And they still do.” Rabbi Krohn collected stories for his next book, Around the Maggid’s Table. “It was called Around the Maggid’s Table, because that’s how stories are gathered. Rav Sholom would tell some stories, and others around his table would tell others.

The third book no longer contained stories from Rav Sholom, but rather – stories that Rabbi Krohn himself had collected and compiled. The book is therefore called In the Footsteps of The Maggid.

The format of Rabbi Krohn’s latest release differs from that of his previous books. “When Zman magazine originally began publishing, the editor-in-chief, Rabbi Yaakov Astor, asked if I would be willing to have my speeches transcribed to create articles for the magazine. I agreed, and ever since the first issue, one of my speeches has been the leading article.” After 25-30 issues had been published, Rabbi Gedaliah Zlotowitz thought of publishing these articles in book form. They worked it out with Zman, and published Perspectives of the Maggid.

His latest book, The Maggid at the Podium, is the second compilation of his speeches. “I knew that books of stories sell well, but I was amazed by the reception to this book.” Rabbi Krohn commented. The Maggid at the Podium sold over 5000 copies in its first couple of weeks, and “The feedback from readers has been wonderful, Boruch Hashem. People enjoy stories, but with this book, they get the lecture structure as well. There’s a buildup, development of the theme and a whole chapter for each topic.”

When asked if he prefers writing or speaking, Rabbi Krohn insists that he loves both, as each is uniquely rewarding. “But Bris Milah will always be first for me. It’s my main parnassah and a family tradition.” Both Rabbi Krohn’s father and grandfather were mohelim, and his son and son-in-law now continue the tradition.

Rabbi Krohn proudly recounts that his children are also continuing other family traditions. “My daughter Chaviva continued the writing tradition, first with stories from the Maggid books that she adapted for children.” Her newest children’s book, Making Hashem Proud is due out soon from ArtScroll. Rabbi Krohn’s daughter-in-law Genendel is achildren’s book author as well.” Speaking has also become a family tradition; Rabbi Krohn’s son Eliezer is a seminary teacher and popular speaker.

So much harbotzas Torah, such lofty legacies and traditions, one could wonder where they all comes from. But Rabbi Krohn sums it up simply. “Being a mohel is from my father, the writing is from my mother, and the speaking is from Rav Sholom Schwadron.”

Click here for exclusive online savings on Rabbi Krohn’s latest release: The Maggid at the Podium 

Click here for all titles by Rabbi Paysach Krohn

Kids Cooking Made Easy + Sample Recipes

Your kids will never be bored – or hungry! – again! Introducing Kids Cooking Made Easy – the latest in the popular Made Easy Cookbook series from the dynamic duo of Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek.

Aimed at teaching children how to cook, the book is chock full of recipes that your kids will love – whether you cook it for them, or your kids cook it themselves! Kids Cooking Made Easy features 60 brand new recipes, each with a beautiful color photo, suggestions, and helpful tips. The innovative page layout of this book ensures that with each page, your children will become better cooks.

sample pages - Kids Cooking Made Easy

(Click here for larger images.)

To get you started, we are sharing two delicious recipes from Kids Cooking Made Easy. First, an easy weeknight supper that kids of all ages (and their parents too!) will enjoy.

bbq nuggets chicken nuggets - Kids Cooking Made Easy

Honey BBQ Chicken Nuggets:

Excerpted from Kids Cooking Made Easy, By Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. Published by Artscroll.

Yields: 4-6 servings

1½ lb    chicken cutlets, cut into nuggets

2 Tbsp    oil

6 Tbsp    honey

6 Tbsp    ketchup

1 tsp    yellow mustard

½ tsp    chili powder (optional)

1½-2 cups  panko crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine oil, honey, ketchup, mustard, and chili powder (optional). Use a spoon to stir the mixture until smooth. Pour half the sauce into a separate bowl to use as the dipping sauce; set aside.

3. Place panko crumbs into another bowl.

4. Dip chicken nuggets into the honey mixture and coat completely. Then, press into panko crumbs until chicken is fully coated on all sides.

5. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Spray the top of the nuggets with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes. For extra-crispy nuggets, turn the chicken halfway through the cooking time, baking for 12-13 minutes per side.

6. Serve with dipping sauce that you set aside in step 2.

Next, every kid’s favorite food – now in soup form!

pizza soup - Kids Cooking Made EasyPizza Soup:

Excerpted from Kids Cooking Made Easy, By Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. Published by Artscroll.

Yield: 4-6 servings

2 Tbsp   oil or butter

1   small onion, diced

1   garlic clove, minced

1   (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp   sugar

1 tsp   salt

1 tsp   dried basil

1 tsp   garlic powder

2 cups   milk

¼ cup   water

½ cup   shredded cheese, plus more for garnish, optional

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Using a wooden spoon, sauté until onion is soft, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add sugar, salt, basil, garlic powder, milk, and water and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Ladle soup into bowls to serve.
  4. Garnish with additional shredded cheese (optional).­­

Click here for book details, additional sample pages, and exclusive online savings.

Click here for other books in the Made Easy cookbook series.

Introducing: The Schottenstein Edition Mishnah Elucidated

Over the years, here at the ArtScroll office, we have learned a lot about Torah publishing. And a lot about people.

One of the truths we’ve learned is that different people have different needs, backgrounds and abilities. As part of our mission of bringing the eternal words of Torah to the English-speaking public, we realize the importance of providing Torah classics in various formats and levels, so that every individual can achieve the most when learning.  Thus, a quick glance at our catalog will show five different types of Siddurim, available in more than thirty different formats! That’s because we know that people have many needs – and we are determined to be there for everyone.

It is for this reason that we warmly welcome ArtScroll’s newest major project:

The Schottenstein Edition of the Mishnah Elucidated and its inaugural volume, containing mesechtos Taanis, Megillah, Beitzah,  Chagigah, Moed Katan, and Rosh Hashanah.

The Schottenstein Edition of The Mishnah Elucidated will do for the Mishnah what the universally acclaimed Schottenstein Edition of the Talmud does for the Gemara.

The new, elucidated Translation, based on the classic interpretation of Rabbeinu Ovadiah of Bertenoro (“the Rav”), adds words and phrases to make the Mishnah text read smoothly and clearly, without reference to the notes. This is ideal for those looking for a basic approach to the Mishnah – for example, people studying for a yahrtzeit or sheloshim and young people or adults who do not have extensive experience in Mishnah study. The Notes clarify the Mishnah further and draw, where necessary, on the Gemara or other classic Mishnah commentaries.

Just as people can choose which ArtScroll siddur best meets their needs, so too, now there is a choice in Mishnah study. The widely acclaimed 44-volume Mishnah Series with the Yad Avraham commentary, dedicated by Mr. and Mrs. Louis Glick, in memory of their son Avraham Yosef a”h is an encyclopedic, in-depth commentary that presents many explanations, explores nuances and complexities,  and cites a wide variety of works on the Mishnah, enabling students of Mishnah to  delve more deeply and explore a wider range of comments.

With the introduction of the Schottenstein Edition Elucidated Mishnayos and the recently completed Yad Avraham Mishnah Series, the Mishnah — the basis of Torah she’baal peh, the place where the Oral Law begins – is now accessible to everyone.

For concise Mishnah study, click here for exclusive online savings on the Schottenstein Edition of the Mishnah Elucidated.

For in-depth Mishnah study, click here for the entire Yad Avraham Mishna Series.