Boy Oh Boy! by Beily Paluch

Boy Oh Boy!‘s subtitle is A mother’s guide to the wonderful world of boys from bris to bar mitzvah.

Boy Oh Boy! by Beily Paluch

Moms of boys, this is the book you’ve been waiting. Okay, if you grew up the only girl in a horde of 12 brothers, you might be one step ahead of the game. But if you’re from an all-girl family, this book is going to be a lifesaver!   

If like most people, you fall somewhere between those two examples, you are still going to find a trove of useful, interesting and unusual information between the covers of this work that will help you be a better mother to your sons.

As the author wryly notes in her preface, while most mothers will find much in their daughters that reminds them of their own childhood, “it’s an undisputable fact that no mother has ever been a boy.”

In her lively, humorous way, Mrs. Paluch presents a trove of valuable information. The book covers the Torah perspective on raising a son, practical, health and spiritual advice for the week before a bris, handy checklists for events from vachtnacht (What’s that? Read the book and find out!) to bar mitzvah, creative ideas for the upsherin.  It covers minhagim and segulos. There are answers to things like “everything you always wanted to know about the kibbudim at a bris were too embarrassed to ask.”

The author also tackles questions such as boys’ clothing, tznius, how to choose a yeshivah and shaylos that arise from hiring a maid. There is a “Consumer’s Guide to Tzitzis” — written for moms. Chapters to help mothers understand boys’ play and chores.  What should you know if your son’s a lefty? Even instructions for knitting a gartel!

And of course, and most importantly, there is a whole appendix full of tefillos for mothers and fathers to daven for their sons on all occasions.

If you’ve got boys or grandsons, (or even if you’d just like to understand a bit more about the world in which your husband grew up!) you need this book. Keep it somewhere handy, because you will turn to Boy Oh Boy! time and time again.

Buy now from Amazon.com

Published by Jerusalem Publications.

We received a free review copy of this book.

Beily Paluch’s articles and stories have appeared in Binah, Family First, Inyan, Mishpacha Junion and Baby & Me, among other publications.  You can follow the author on her blog: http://www.boyohboyblog.com

She is also the author of two lovely board books:

Braid the Challah by Beily Paluch I Am a Torah b Beily Paluch

A Doula’s Journey by Sarah Goldstein

A Doula’s Journey, Into the World of Birth, by Sarah Goldstein is a memoir.

A Doula's Journey cover

It is the story of a woman caught between raising her six children, caring for her ailing mother and also practicing a challenging vocation: that of helping other mothers bring new life into the world.

From the back cover:

Often torn between her life’s calling and her family, Sarah is further challenged by being in a “sandwich generation.” She is raising six children while caring for her degenerating Alzheimer’s mother. Yet with family support at the most trying of times, she experiences both the trials and triumphs of facilitating mothers in bringing their newborns into the world.

Self-published.

Buy now from Amazon.

Sarah Goldstein is also the author of Special Delivery (Targum) and More Special Deliveries.

 

Take It Easy! Gluten-Free Recipes for Passover

Take It Easy! Gluten-Free Recipes for Passover and Year Round by Mindy Rafalowitz  is a cookbook of delicious, simple recipes that I’d recommend to new and experienced cooks alike – regardless of whether they eat gluten or not.

Take It Easy! Gluten-Free Passover by Mindy RafalowitzIt is the most exciting recent addition to my collection of cookbooks.

Given that I have several hundred cookbooks, this actually is very high praise.

This is the English translation of the best-selling Israeli cookbook Mitbashel Poh Mashehu, which is already in its fourth printing.

It’s easy to see why it was so popular.

This book is packed with recipes chosen because they are tasty, healthy, easy to make and relatively inexpensive.

But what I love most about it is the whole underlying philosophy. Mrs. Rafalowitz is here to remind cooks that they don’t need to work themselves to the bone or break the bank to provide delicious, nourishing, even impressive meals to family and guests.

The recipes are made with simple, easy to find natural ingredients.  They’re also peppered with comments and tips on how to make things easier for the cook (hence the title). There are variations to some of the dishes, suggested substitutions, and tips on how to wow your family and guests with simple but effective presentation tricks.

I admit that I’m as easily enticed as anyone by beautiful photographs in cookbooks. This book has none. That makes it cheaper to buy and given the tone of the book, I suspect this was an intentional decision.

That thrifty, easy attitude permeates the book in a very refreshing way. It’s good to be reminded that while delicious food it an important part of Shabbos and Yom Tov, it shouldn’t come at the expense of an akeret habayis being able to spend time with family and enjoy Yom Tov.

It shows, too, in the book’s design. Each recipe is set out clearly, with the steps numbered and widely spaced. There are a minimum number of steps, too, and most recipes cover only one page. I couldn’t believe how much easier it was to glance back at the instructions while making something than it is with many other cookbooks.

Those thoughtful details make a big difference when you’re working under pressure.

Gluten-Free Recipes All Year Around

I do want to debunk a misconception caused by the book’s cover: This is not only a Pesach cookbook. It’s a collection of gluten-free, non-gebrokts and no potato starch recipes. So it’s understandable that the publisher chose to market it as a Pesach cookbook.  Included at the beginning of the book is a useful section of Pesach preparations. At the end of the book is an entire chapter entitled “Pesach Basics” that covers homemade mayonnaise, charoses, chrein, sauces and jams.

But all the recipes in between the first and last chapter are perfect for anyone on gluten-free or paleo diets.  Some recipes do use sugar, but elsewhere, there is an emphasis on healthy options. Where a rare recipe uses margarine, the author points that out and recommends making it only for occasional special occasions like Sheva Brachos. In other words, she encourages readers to make healthy choices but isn’t militant or dogmatic about it.

I appreciate an author who respects her readers enough to let them make their own, informed, choices.

I’d recommend this book to young and experienced cooks alike.

Published by Mosaica Press.

We received a review copy of this book.

Buy now from Amazon.

About the Author: Mindy Rafalowitz

Mindy Rafalowitz has been a cooking columnist for the Hebrew Hamodia for twenty years. However, she doesn’t just write about food. She runs food demonstrations and healthy cooking workshops in Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. She also sends out a phenomenal free weekly recipe and cooking tips e-mail newsletter.

To subscribe to Mindy Rafalowitz’s free newsletter or learn more about her workshops, please contact us.

 

Take It Easy by Mindy Rafalowitz

 

 

 

Buy now from Amazon.

 

 

 

 

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Everyday Wholeness by D.B. Estrin

Everday Wholeness, self-coaching for the Jewish family by D.B. Estrin is here to help you.

Everyday Wholeness by DB EstrinEveryday life just got even better!

From the back cover:

Wouldn’t it be great to have your very own life coach, devoted to helping you reach higher levels of personal fulfillment, cheering you on, encouraging you not to give up on your sincerest dreams
and ideals?

Someone who could help you set realistic yet exciting
goals, make them accessible in daily doses, ushering you into a life with greater self-development and personal success?

Everyday Wholeness is like sitting down with your own private life coach for a warm cup of coffee each day. Step by step, topics such as mindful eating, effective communicating, expert home organizing, and improved family life are tackled from their practical, emotional, and spiritual planes.

Experienced life coach Dena B. Estrin leads us through the new and wondrous world of coaching, introducing us to practical insights and techniques to uplift and transform our lives, one day at a time. Everyday life will never be the same again!

The book comes with a haskamah from Harav Zev Leff:

“I recommend this book to those who want to improve their life skills in order to lead better Torah lives.”

It also received an endorsement from Gila Manolson, author of The Magic Touch and Outside In:

“Humorous, engaging, and utterly delightful, this book
presents down-to-earth, compelling wisdom for living — a
true guidebook for well-being.”

Buy now from Amazon.

Published by Menucha Publishers.

 

 

It’s Time for The JWWS Writing Seminar!

JWWS, the Jerusalem Women’s Writers Seminar is the main frum writers’ event in Israel.  Each year, it attracts hundreds of writers who meet to network, meet their favorite authors, publishers and acquisitions editors, and attend workshops to help them hone their skills.

If you’re attending and have a book you’d like to have us review, please bring a copy and find me at the conference. I’ll be wearing my name tag!

JWWS Jerusalem writers conference poster

This year, I’ll also be presenting a JWWS workshop:

What Writers and Editors Need to Know About Copyright

Do you own the rights to that article you wrote? Do you know what you are giving up when you sign that publishing contract for your first novel? What’s a “work for hire”? Do you need to register your copyright? Answers to these questions and more…

Knowledge of copyright is critical for novelists, freelancers, editors, and publishers. Whether you’re an established author, a magazine editor or just starting out in self-publishing, this workshop is an opportunity to update your copyright IQ.

We’ll cover the basics of copyright laws, print versus the web, the public domain, what to cover in writers’ contracts, what freelancers need to know, and the major pitfalls editors need to watch out for when accepting work for publication.

To register for JWWS, click here.

Looking forward to meeting many of you there!

Culture Shock by C. Rosenberg

Culture Shock by C. Rosenberg is the tale of two friends, Yemima and Gittel who meet in Eretz Yisrael, after each flees the country of her birth.

FCulture shock by C Rosenberg coverrom the book’s publisher:

When the very heartbeat of life turns unfamiliarly hazy and gray, how does one distinguish between what is right, what is wrong, and what is simply “different”?  In the seething political cauldron of Eretz Yisrael post-1948, religious individuals struggle against the winds of the time and culture shocks they are not prepared for. …

Gittel: The daughter of a staunch Yerushalmi family who already suffered the loss of two sons – one to death and the other to patriotism – searches for acceptance among her peers in a setting where modern customs seem to have penetrated even the most guarded of enclaves. …

Tzachi: Having broken off contact with his family years ago, he’s overcome by pangs of homesickness and longing for his old home. Will he forever remain trapped in the shadows of his slain brother? …

Ezra: Interned in a transit camp in Yemen and then airlifted with his family to Eretz Yisrael during Operation Magic Carpet, he’s caught in the storm blowing across the land he has waited so long to call home. …

Yemima: An unusually bright, sensitive, and perceptive girl, she’s endured much suffering in her young life. Will she ever be given the chance to spread her own wings and begin anew in Eretz Yisrael, or does the instability of the times dictate a different reality?

Sounds like a heartwarming novel about a fascinating, turbulent era in our history.

From Israel Bookshop Publications.

Buy now from Amazon.com

Midnight Music by Menucha Chana Levin

Midnight Music is the new teen novel by Menucha Chana Levin.

This is her fifth novel and she’s been published in Hamodia, Chabad.org, Aish.com and other Jewish media outlets.

Midnight Music cover by Menucha Chana LevinMidnight Music first appeared as a serialized story in Binah Bunch Magazine.

From the back cover:

Tehilla Sherman was perfectly happy living in her comfortable old house in a small New Jersey town, attending the school run by her parents. Then, to everyone’s shock, the school has to close down due to lack of funds and her parents need to find new jobs.

At the end of the summer, Tehilla has to adjust to a very different lifestyle in a high-rise apartment in Brighton Beach, New York. There, she meets Galia, a girl originally from Russia, who is just starting to discover her Jewish heritage. Both Tehilla and Galia find themselves being challenged by new experiences. Can their mutual love of music help them to build a true friendship?

Published by Israel Bookshop Publications.

Purchase now from Amazon.com

Menucha Chana Levin is also the author of:

the castle builders by menucha chana levin the youngest bride by menucha chana levin A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana Levin

Beyond Nut Cake: Pesach Desserts by Ronit Peskin

Beyond Nut Cake: Delectable and Different Pesach  Desserts for Chassidishe Minhagim by Ronit Peskin is an e-book determined to put to rest the misconception that the only possible non-gebrokts Pesach dessert is nut cake.

Beyond Nut Cake Pesach Desserts by Ronit Peskin coverArmed with only peel-able fruit and vegetables, nuts that can be shelled at home (including coconut), salt, eggs, wine, and sugar syrup, Ronit Peskin concocted over twenty-five desserts, ranging from flans to ice creams, from banana fritters to crepes, and even a recipe for how to make your own marzipan.

The recipes are all non-dairy, gluten-free, and suitable for people who have all kinds of dietary restrictions.

For those who don’t know Ronit, she’s the force behind Penniless Parenting, a frugal parenting blog taglined: “A Rich Life on a Minimum Wage.”

She’s undaunted at the prospect of making almost anything at home, and this shows in this short e-book, where she starts off with the basics.  How to make sugar syrup is pretty self-explanatory.  But had I ever even considered making my own potato starch? Not. Somehow, she makes it seem likely that I actually might try one day.

Instructions for nut milks and nut butters follow, before we get to the desserts.  I don’t believe a meal – any meal – qualifies for the term unless it includes dessert, so of course this was one book that spoke to my heart… or at least my stomach.

I’ve never tried flan with coconut cream, nor lemon curd with oranges instead, so our Pesach desserts are going to have some delectable new twists this year!

Ronit Peskin also leads foraging hikes, on which she teaches which plants in the greater Yerushalayim area can be used for food, which have first aid and medicinal properties, and which ones are poisonous. (A fascinating and  educational family Chol Hamoed outing, by the way!)   For more, check out foragingisrael.com.

Self-published.

We received a review copy.

Buy now on Amazon.com

 

 

How Free Will Works by Dovid Lieberman

The quality of our lives comes down to the quality of our choices. That’s the bottom line that prompted How Free Will Works: The Blueprints to Take Charge of Your Life, Health and Happiness, by Dovid Lieberman.

How Free Will Works by David LiebermanDr. Lieberman is a psychologist, with many other books to his belt.

This is not just a philosophical work. The book doesn’t try to prove the existence of free will – it assumes that, within certain parameters, there is always a responsible choice to be made, and goes from there.

As the subtitle indicates, this is what many would probably call a self-help book. Dr. Lieberman takes readers through practical steps to help them actualize their potential.

From the back cover:

Drawn from classic sources, How Free Will Works explores the elegant relationship between Divine providence and free will — and illuminates the connections among themes such as: miracles, mazal, happiness, cause and effect, Heavenly decree, nature, success, tikun, self-esteem, destiny, teshuvah, prayer, mental illness, anxiety, mitzvos, emunah and bitachon, suffering, fear, pleasure, anger, and will power.

How Free Will Works sheds fascinating light on the cosmic network of interlacing forces that operate in creation — such as Divine providence, mazal, and prayer — and reveals the power and parameters assigned to each.

More valuable still, this groundbreaking achievement explains how free will intersects with, and impacts on, these forces — which give us the practical and near-magical ability to maximize opportunities,sidestep unnecessary hardship and heartache, and transform our emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

As the dazzling design and sweeping influence of free will emerges, we move in a world that offers us a different experience. and it will become increasingly difficult — if not inconceivable — for us to ignore the one truth that will become so patently obvious: we control the quality of our lives.

This is a book that has enormous potential to improve people’s lives in a very meaningful way. It shows readers ways to find fulfillment, to engage in life, to reignite their purpose, no at matter what stage in life they may find themselves, by reconnecting with their neshamah.

Dr. Lieberman was interviewed about his sefer on the OU’s Savitsky Talks podcasts. You can listen to it here.

Published by Feldheim.

Purchase now from Amazon.com

Dr. Lieberman is also the author of 10 previous books, which have been translated into 26 languages and include two New York Times bestsellers. Among them:

Real Power by David Lieberman

 

 

 

 

 

Get anyone to do anything book cover by David Lieberman

Searching by Rochel Istrin

Searching by Rochel Istrin is a beautiful novel that deserves a second life. This gripping tale follows the story of a young mother and that of the family from which she is cruelly torn apart.

Searching by Rochel IstrinHere’s an excerpt from from the back cover copy:

Young and feisty Zelda must escape to far-off America when anti-Semitic villagers accuse her of espionage. She must leave behind her two small children, Yosseleh and Ruchka, her violinist husband Leizer – and life as she’s known it.

Dramatic enough right there, but then World War II intervenes and makes it impossible for Zelda’s family to join her in America.

After surviving in the forest with the partisans, Leizer finds himself on a freight train bound for Siberia – alone.

When the war ends, Zelda goes back to Europe, determine to find out what happened to her husband and children.

Will the family ever be whole again? Will Zelda ever be able to rebuild the tattered relationship with the child she left behind so young? Will Zelda and Leizer find each other once more?

This isn’t a long book, but is a suspenseful one. It’s also clearly well researched. Many Holocaust novels strive for some hope through contrived happy endings that are oh, so predictable. This isn’t one them. There’s hope here, and happiness, too, to be found among the tears, but they don’t come easy nor the way one would expect them.

Searching was Rochel Istrin’s first novel. Unfortunately for her, it was released just as her first publisher was closing and it never got the distribution and publicity this book deserved. So let’s try to make up for that now by giving this one a second shot and spreading the word. It’s a short book that’s worth the read.

Published by Targum.

We received a review copy of this book.

Purchase here now from Amazon.com.

Rochel Istrin is also the author of:

Hidden by Rochel Istrin