From Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul


Rabbi Scott Aaron is the Director of Education for the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California. Ordained by the Hebrew Union College— Jewish Institute of Religion, he is formally the rabbi of the Hillels at the Ohio State University and New York University. He is thankful every day that he is married to Rabbi Donni Aaron and is the proud father of their son, Meitav. Their second child was born in June 2001 and named after Grandma. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

Rabbi Harvey Abramowitz is a computer specialist in the graphic-arts industry and serves as associate rabbi at Kehillath Shalom Synagogue in Cold Spring Harbour, New York, a Reconstructionist Congregation. Growing up in Brooklyn, his parents taught him the love of Zionism and Israel. Educated in the Orthodox tradition, he has found his spiritual home in Reconstructionism.

Rabbi Mona Alfi was ordained in 1998 at HUC-JIR in New York. She is the Associate Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento, California, and is currently serving her second term as the chaplain for the California State Assembly. Mona and her husband, Glenn Hammel, make their home in Davis, California.

Marsha Arons is a writer and lecturer in Skokie, Illinois. She is thrilled to be associated with the Chicken Soup series, and her stories appear in Woman’s Soul, Mother’s Soul and A 5th Portion. She also contributes to national magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Reader’s Digest and Redbook. She has authored a book for young adults and is currently at work on a collection of short stories dealing with mother-daughter relationships. You can contact her via e-mail for speaking or other assignments at [email protected].

Bryan Aubrey is a former professor of English and is the author of two books, as well as numerous articles and reviews. He can be contacted at 1100 E. Madison Ave., Fairfield, IA 52556, or by phone at 515-472-2224.

Tanya Bank is a senior at Columbia University, majoring in anthropology and concentrating in psychology. She plans to pursue a career in education. Tanya tutors at the East Harlem Tutorial Program and sings with Pizmon, Columbia’s Jewish a capella group. Tanya can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

Rabbi Devora Bartnoff graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1984. She served the Jewish community as a pulpit rabbi, education director, chaplain and family educator. Devora was the mother of four children with her husband, Rabbi Mordechai Liebling. She died of breast cancer in 1997 at age forty-four.

Miriam Newell Biskin is a retired English teacher and hobbyist writer. The author of many children’s stories, a biography of Rebecca Gratz, Pattern for a Heroine, and an essay collection, My Life Among the Gentiles, she is inspired by her family.

Dr. Naomi Bluestone, now deceased, was a psychiatrist, accomplished writer and speaker. At her mother’s funeral, she spoke for over an hour to the tears and laughter of those present. “Mary the Maid” was one of the many tales she told during that afternoon.

Elayne Clift is an award-winning writer, author and journalist. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Sun Times and The Christian Science Monitor. She received the Award for Excellence in Journalism from the New Jersey Education Association. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Rabbi Kenneth L. Cohen is Executive Director of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Seaboard Region. He is a popular writer and lecturer. Ken lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, journalist Joanne L. Kenen, and their two boys, Zachary and Ilan. He enjoys bicycling and studying traditional Jewish texts. Please reach him at [email protected].

Jonathan Elkins is a TV news correspondent for Israel Television and currently resides in Tel Aviv. He translated a book of Hasidic sayings into English with his father, and is currently at work on a novel set on the backdrop of the Middle East peace process. Jonathan is also an avid Ultimate Frisbee player, and plays bass guitar in a rock and roll band. He can be reached at [email protected].

Benita Epstein is a cartoonist whose work appears in hundreds of publications such as The New Yorker, Reader’s Digest and Better Homes & Gardens. She has three cartoon collections: Suture Self, Interlibrary Loan Sharks and Seedy Roms, and Science of Little Round Things. She can be reached at [email protected] or on her Web site at

Arnold Fine is senior editor of The Jewish Press. His column, “I Remember When,” has been continually published in The Jewish Press for forty-nine years. His story, “The Wallet,” appeared in the 1998 edition of Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul. He was coordinator of special education at Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, teaching handicapped and brain-injured children. Since retiring, he has become an adjunct instructor in the Behavioral Science Department at Kingsborough College (CUNY). He has been honored by The National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education and The Jewish Teachers Association of New York State. He is married and has three sons and six grandchildren.

Rabbi Joan S. Friedman was ordained at HUC-JIR in New York in 1980. She serves as Jewish Chaplain and Instructor in Religion at Colgate University. She is a doctoral candidate in Jewish history at Columbia University and is completing a doctoral dissertation on Solomon Freehof and his influence on American Reform Judaism.

Rina Friedman is a wife, mother and educator. She enjoys writing stories about her Jewish life experiences. Rina also likes to write, cook, travel, play her guitar and teach children of all ages, especially her own! You can reach her at: Friedman, P.O. Box 2748, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510.

Irene Frisch was born Irene Bienstock in Drohobycz (Poland, now Ukraine). She survived the Holocaust in hiding, and after liberation she finished high school in Poland. Irene later emigrated to Israel where she served in the Israeli Army and attended law school. She arrived in the U.S. in 1960, and married Eugene Frisch. They had two children, and she is now the grandmother of two. She graduated from Columbia University School of Library Science and later worked as the head of the medical library. She resides with her husband in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Bronia Galmitz Gallon was born in Russia, grew up in Poland and pioneered in Israel. She married and moved to the United States in 1946, where she raised two children and taught special education. She has lectured for the Israeli Consulate and freelanced on Israel and the history of Islam.

Hanna Bandes Geshelin’s involvement in Jewish causes began when she collated Hadassah newsletters at age four, two years after Israel’s independence. She has taught, worked with the elderly, and been a professional storyteller. Many of her articles, essays, stories and books are on Jewish themes. Reach her at [email protected].

Rabbi Michael Gold is spiritual leader of Temple Beth Torah in Florida. He has written three books and lectured around the country on infertility and adoption, sexual ethics and family relationships. His book The Ten Journeys of Life was recently published. Rabbi Gold can be reached at

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, Ph.D. is executive editor of the Intermountain Jewish News, an independent scholar, and winner of the Academic Book of the Year award from Choice. A human-rights activist, he and his wife, Elaine, are the parents of six and grandparents. He can be reached at [email protected].

Miriam Goldbrenner is a married mother of two. Her writing has opened up many doors. “It is both therapeutic and thought-provoking, which I believe is a perfect combination.” She works part-time with a local magazine, does volunteer work and is president of the PTA in her son’s school.

Erica S. Goldman-Brodie was born in England and grew up in Australia. Her grandparents and ten of her parents’ siblings were killed during the Holocaust. She earned a B.A. from Yeshiva University and an M.S. from Hunter College. She is married to Rabbi Joseph A. Brodie and they are proud of their two granddaughters, Sophia Judith and Ariella Brodie-Weisberg. She teaches in New Jersey. Her e-mail address is [email protected] or [email protected]

Carole Goldstein lives in Florida with her husband, Rabbi Nason Goldstein, where she is a full-time rebbetzin. She considers her three adult children, Deena, Arnon and Hana, her and her husband’s greatest achievement in life.

Leah Golomb made aliyah twenty-three years ago. She is a mikve lady and swim teacher who also lectures widely on Chassidut. Leah is the mother of six and lives on Moshav Modi’in, which was established by Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach. She may be reached at [email protected].

Arielle Greenbaum participated in the March of the Living as a sophomore in high school in 1996, as a representative of the Metrowest New Jersey delegation. Since then, she has spent a great deal of time writing and speaking publicly about her experience in Poland and Israel. Arielle lives in Livingston, New Jersey, and is presently a history and political science major at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Her potential career plans include Jewish activism and communal work.

Blair P. Grubb, M.D., was born in Baltimore, received his B.A. from the University of Maryland-Baltimore and his M.D. from Universidad Central del Este San Pedro de Macoris, in the Dominican Republic. He specializes in cardiology and electrophysiology. He is married and the father of a son and daughter.

Rebecca Heisler, M.A., L.M.F.T., writes, conducts a private psychotherapy practice and has been a student of Judaism for the past nineteen years. In addition to her articles and short stories, she recently completed Moonlight, a Kabbalistic adventure novel. Rebecca gives presentations and conducts groups on psychospiritual development: finding renewed meaning in Judaism, as well as on coping with health challenges. Rebecca is available for public speaking, consultations and individual appointments. She resides in San Diego, California.

Judita M. Hruza, M.D., is a retired pediatrician and psychiatrist. Her husband, both her children and their spouses are physicians. Dr. Hruza has published several stories about her Holocaust experiences. She speaks in schools and participated in a documentary film on the death marches. Her e-mail address is [email protected].

Beth Huppin enjoys teaching Judaics to children and adults. She currently teaches children at the Seattle Jewish Community School and adults at the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School. Beth is active in the Seattle Jewish community, where she lives with her husband and three daughters.

Rabbi Mordecai Kamenetzky is the scion of rabbinical dynasties and a student of some of the world’s most prestigious Yeshivos. Author of the three-volume Parsha Parables series, in which he explains difficult Torah passages through stories and historical anecdotes, Rabbi Kamenetzky is a noted lecturer on issues of Torah thoughts and concepts. He shares his keen insights via fax and e-mail with thousands of subscribers to FaxHomily, a weekly inspirational newsletter. Rabbi Kamenetzky is the Associate Dean of Yeshiva South Shore in Woodmere, Long Island, where he resides with his family. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

Bel Kaufman came from Russia at age twelve, received her B.A. degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Hunter College; her Master’s Degree, First Honors, from Columbia University, and earned Ph.D.s from Nasson College and Hunter College. She taught high-school English and was an assistant professor at City College of New York. She is the author of the #1 bestseller, Up the Down Staircase and Love, Etc., as well as numerous stories and articles. Winner of many awards for writing and public speaking, Bel Kaufman is the only surviving granddaughter of the famous Yiddish author, Sholom Aleicheim.

Gina Klonoff received a B.A. in English from the University of Washington, and an M.A. in linguistics from San Francisco State University. She taught English in California for twenty-five years and, after moving with her husband to Las Vegas, became chairperson of the Speakers Bureau of the Holocaust Survivors Group. A freelance writer, she is presently working on a novel. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Trish Krotowski is a freelance writer and novelist in Princeton, New Jersey. As president of Quantum Communications Group, she has written, edited and produced books, reports and articles on health care and technology. She recently completed a contemporary suspense novel.

Harold Kushner is a retired Conservative rabbi living in Natick, Massachusetts. He is the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People and five other bestselling books on religion as a resource for coping with life’s problems.

Amy Hirshberg Lederman is an attorney, freelance writer, professional Jewish educator and educational consultant. After practicing real-estate law for more than fourteen years, she served as the director of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School of Tucson and as the director of the Department of Jewish Education and Identity of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. She has presented at numerous conferences, board retreats and Jewish organizational events throughout the United States. Lederman is a member of the National Speaker’s Bureau for the United Jewish Communities and is available for consultation and presentations. She can be reached by phone at 520-747-8180, faxed at 520-571-7674 or via e-mail at [email protected]

Rabbi Benji Levene received his rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbi of Israel in 1973. Like his grandfather Reb Arye Levin, The Zaddik of Jerusalem, Benji has earned the love and respect of Jews throughout the world. He resides today in Jerusalem with his wife Edna and their ten children. You can contact Rabbi Levene at [email protected], or at his home address: 14 Chai-Taib St., Jerusalem, Israel 95405.

Michael Levy, author, poet, philosopher and inspirational speaker, has penned three books: What Is the Point?; Minds of Blue Souls of Gold; Enjoy Yourself: It’s Later Than You Think. After a very successful business career, Michael now lives in Florida. Retiring early gave him time to reflect on the meaning of life. Michael has now become an author, poet, philosopher and inspirational speaker on finance, health and happiness. His articles and poems now grace over a thousand Web sites, magazines and journals. He can be contacted at [email protected], and Point of Life, Inc., P.O. Box 3507, Boynton Beach, FL 33424.

Lisa Lipkin has been entertaining audiences for years with her lively storytelling performances. Combining her own personal experiences with her boundless imagination, her stories are unique. She has toured across America and internationally, appearing at festivals, theaters, museums and schools. She is the author of Bringing the Story Home: The Complete Guide to Storytelling for Parents (W. W. Norton, August 2000). Lisa‘s original performances, workshops and weekend residencies are geared for adults, children, families and teachers. She can be reached at [email protected].

Allen S. Maller has been the rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, California, since 1967. He is the author of God, Sex and Kabbalah, and the chief editor of The Tikkun Series of Inspirational High Holy Days prayer books.

Yitta Halberstam Mandelbaum is the great-great-granddaughter of the Sanzer Rebbe, a nineteenth-century Hasidic master whose teachings were brought to the American Jewish public and popularized by Shlomo Carlebach. She pursued graduate studies in American literature at New York University. She can be reached at [email protected].

Hanoch McCarty, Ed.D., is a highly sought-after motivational speaker whose corporate training programs focus on strategies that build employee and customer loyalty, as well as freeing creativity and maximizing personal productivity. His work uses the bottom-line power of kindness and integrity. He can be reached at Learning Resources, P.O. Box 66, Galt, CA 95632, via e-mail at [email protected], or by phone at 209-745-2212.

Cynthia Mercati is a playwright with over thirty published scripts. She has had productions of her plays in every state, and has won several playwriting awards. Cynthia also writes children’s books. She often writes about growing up in Chicago and baseball. As a White Sox fan, she’s learned to wait for next year! Cynthia can be reached at 696 18th St., #2, Des Moines, IA 50314.

Laurie B. Mintz, Ph.D., is amother, wife, practicing psychologist and college professor. She has published numerous academic works and is now focusing on creative and inspirational writing. She lives in Columbia, Missouri, with her loving and supportive husband, Glenn, and their two delightful daughters, Jennifer and Allison. Laurie continues to pass the knitted blanket to newborn family members, in hopes it will keep them warm and connected to their ancestors. She can be reached by phone at 573-882-4947 or via e-mail at [email protected].

Elizabeth Sussman Nassau, a freelance writer, lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children. “There is nothing like the unequivocal love of a Bubbe,” she says. “My children no longer have a grandmother, either. But their memories will bring them joy, as have mine.”

Rabbi Richard Plavin was ordained a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary and earned his Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. He is the rabbi of Temple Beth Sholom in Manchester, Connecticut. He is married and has three daughters and one granddaughter. He can be reached at [email protected].

Rabbi Henry Rabin is a graduate of Brown University and Hebrew Union College. For thirty-five years he was a Hillel counselor to hundreds of students in Southern California. He has coauthored four books of Dayenu cartoons and two counseling books, Don’t Salt the Peanuts: Sayings of the 5-Cent Psychiatrist and Simple Guides for the Perplexed. His favorite hobby is tennis.

Jack Riemer is the founder of the National Rabbinic Network and the editor of Torah Fax, both of which are support systems for rabbis across the lines. He is the coeditor of So That Your Values Live On, and editor of Wrestling with the Angel. Happily married to Susan, they are the proud grandparents of Nathan, Naomi and Sterling. He can be reached at [email protected].

Sara Levinsky Rigler is a writer who lives in the Old City of Jerusalem. After a year in India in the 1960s and her graduation magna cum laude from Brandeis University, she spent fifteen years living in an ashram where she practiced and taught meditation and Vedanta Philosophy. At the age of thirty-seven, she moved to Jersusalem and began practicing Torah Judaism. She is married with two children. Sara is a featured writer on, Aish HaTorah’s award-winning Web site on Jewish wisdom and inspiration. She is presently writing her autobiography.

Lottie Robins is a freelance writer who has authored over seven hundred columns, stories and articles. She has written for newspapers in Canada, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and her articles have appeared in The Writer, Writer’s Digest, The New York Times, Saturday Evening Post, Moment Magazine, Ort Reporter, Catholic Digest and many others. She was executive editor of Rodale Press’s Yiddish Lingo. In addition to teaching nonfiction, she has been conducting workshops in “Writing Your Memoirs” at Elderhostels and adult communities. She lives with her husband, Jack, a retired Ph.D. chemist, and her only claim to a degree is a Ph.T., Putting Hubby Through. Write to her at 223 Meryl Dr., West Palm Beach, FL 33411; e-mail: [email protected].

Rabbi Jack Segal has Bachelor’s degrees from New York University and the University of Pittsburgh, two Master’s degrees from Oregon State University, a doctorate from Hebrew Union College and a doctorate (in Counseling) from the University of Houston. For thirty-two years, he was rabbi of Beth Yeshurun Congregation in Houston. He is the author of the book, When Man Closes Doors, God Opens Windows. He speaks throughout the country as an inspirational speaker and on Jewish subjects. Rabbi Segal can be reached for speaking engagements at 4039 Falkirk, Houston, TX 77025, via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 713-664-9989.

Benjamin Sendrow is a Conservative rabbi serving Temple Judea in Fort Myers, Florida. He and his wife, Arlene, have three children: Evan, Sammy and Rachel. Rabbi Sendrow grew up outside of Philadelphia in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. After almost ten years as a Floridian, Rabbi Sendrow still loves his hometown Philadelphia Phillies. He can be reached at [email protected].

Rabbi Hillel E. Silverman received his B.A. from Yale University in 1945 and was ordained a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1949. He received his Ph.D. in 1952. He is rabbi emeritus of Temple Sholom in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was a naval chaplain and is the coauthor of five books.

Barbara Sofer is a Connecticut-born journalist, novelist and lecturer, who lives in Jerusalem with her husband scientist/writer Gerald Schroeder and their five children. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Barbara is always learning and seeking the transcendence that elevates our ordinary lives. She can be reached at [email protected].

Linda Spiegler lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she writes and makes art. She also works at the University of Colorado School of Law and is affiliated with the Jewish renewal community in Boulder. Linda is interested in writing/ editing projects that focus on spirituality, women, art and related topics. Her e-mail address is [email protected].

Corinne Stavish of Southfield, Michigan, has been a professional storyteller and workshop leader for almost twenty years, who was featured at the National Storytelling Festival in 1999 and co-chairs the Storytelling Network for CAJE. She has produced three highly acclaimed audiocassette tapes and edited a book of Jewish folktales, Seeds from Our Past: Planting for the Future. She teaches full-time in the Department of Humanities, Social Science and Communication at Lawrence Technological University.

Roy Tanenbaum is rabbi of Congregation Beth Tzedec in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of Prisoner 88: The Man in Stripes, and Rinat Dodim—A Commentary on the Prayerbook. He and his wife, Loretta, have five children and eleven grandchildren. He can be contacted at [email protected].

Abraham J. Twerski is a psychiatrist, rabbi and medical director emeritus of Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Twerksi has written thirty-two books on self-esteem, spirituality and chemical dependency. He collaborated with the late Charles Schulz to produce four books utilizing the Peanuts characters to illustrate his points.

Tom Veres was asked by Raoul Wallenberg to document how two Swedes made an extraordinary rescue of thousands of Hungarian Jews from Adolph Eichmann’s Einsatzkommando in 1944. Tom did so, often at the risk of his own life. Two of his photos form the basis of the 1997 U.S. stamp honoring Wallenberg. He works as a commercial photographer in New York City. More of his story is told in the young adult biography Raoul Wallenberg: The Man Who Stopped Death, which can be ordered from JPS at 800-234-3151. Veres is currently working on his own autobiography.

Mike Williams was born in Liverpool, England. He trained as an illustrator and became a cartoonist in 1968. His works have been included in Playboy, Punch, Private Eye Spectator, TV animation advertising and greeting cards. He has been a cartoon editor for Punch magazine and has produced three books and a large series of greeting cards/interest-sponsored inertia.

Rabbi Gerald I. Wolpe is a native of Boston, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Elaine, have four sons: Stephen, Paul, David and Daniel. Two sons are doctors and two are rabbis. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from New York University, Master’s in Hebrew Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has served congregations in Charleston, South Carolina; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and at Har Zion Temple since 1969, where he is now Rabbi Emeritus. He is director of Finkelstein Institute at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he is on the Chancellor’s Council. Rabbi Wolpe is on the Administrative Council of the Rabbinical Assembly of America where he also serves on the Executive Committee, and as Chairman of the Committee on Caregiving. He is currently Chairman of the Advisory Committee, Center to Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, and is a member of the National Coordinating Group on Bioethics and the Law, American Bar Association.

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