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Torah News U Can Use

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Torah News U Can Use: I Didn't Know That!
By Joe Bobker
Gefen Publishing House: Jerusalem and New York, (2007 / 5767)
www.israelbooks.com
ISBN: 978-965-229-398-5

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - July 6, 2007

Torah News U Can Use: I Didn't Know That! is an outstanding collection of questions and answers that you'll not only find edifying, but entertaining as well. This book was written by Joe Bobker, who studied at the Mercaz haRav Kook Yeshiva in Jerusalem and who served as the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Los Angeles Jewish Times. Torah News U Can Use serves as an introduction to Yiddishkeit (Jewishness) and as a reference guide that provides keen insights on a wealth of subjects from Torah and Talmud to Jewish History, Halacha (Law), and culture.

The text is written in a basic question and answer format, with the questions followed directly by their corresponding answers. Some of the questions are comical, others are more serious, and all are edifying. Bobker's answers are Torah-based, informative, and they will encourage you to study these subjects in greater depth. A sampling of the eclectic range of questions, to which your find answers in this book, include: These Q & A's are organized alphabetically, primarily by the main topic in each question. For example, the question "How do we know a minyan requires ten Jews?" is alphabetized under the term Minyan. In other cases, the questions (along with their corresponding answers) are alphabetized by a critical term or aspect found in the answer. For example, "We're expecting our first child. What obligations do we, as parents, have?" can be found under the term Growing Pains.

"Wait a minute, isn't that a confusing way to organizing this book?" In a way yes, but that is one of the joys of this book. Torah News U Can Use is not a book that is meant to be read from cover to cover. Rather it is a book to skim through, to jump around, and to flip through until something catches your eye and draws you in - to explore, to learn, and to widen your knowledge of all things Jewish! However, if you are looking for a specific topic, and don't want to explore the text to find your answer, just consult the book's index. It will help guide you directly to the Q & A you are looking for.

Bobker's answers are witty and his explanations are informative without being the least bit academic or condescending. This book will fascinate and educate readers of all ages who are just discovering their own Jewishness or who are seeking to learn something new, as well as those that already thought they knew it all!


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