The Rabbi of 84th Street: The Extraordinary Life of Haskel Besser
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With warmth and admiration, journalist Warren Kozak writes about the rabbi's extraordinary life—from his family's escape to Palestine in the late s to his witnessing of Israel's rebirth in , to his move to New York City, where he lives today. A rare window into the normally closed world of Hasidic Jews, The Rabbi of 84th Street is also the story of Judaism in the twentieth century; of the importance of centuries-old traditions; and of the triumph of faith, kindness, and spirit.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published August 16th by Harper Perennial first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 9. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Rabbi of 84th Street , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Rabbi of 84th Street. Lists with This Book.
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More filters. Sort order. Feb 18, Kressel Housman rated it really liked it Shelves: history , holocaust , israel , jewish , non-fiction , torah , biography , nyc-history. The first chapter opens with a description of a typical morning in which he's giving a Talmud class in his shul. It's a beautiful picture of Jewish life at its best, but the chapter ends by saying, "This is home.
But it wasn't always. This part of the book deserves a 5; it had me on the edge of my seat. The descriptions of the Holy Land and how he met his wife are also excellent, but the chapters on how he settled on the Upper West Side of Manhattan are a little less interesting. Then comes another 5-star section - his activities in post-Communist Europe.
The Holocaust casts its shadow over this section, too; the stories of the Jewish children hidden in the Holocaust and how their descendants discovered the truth is just mind-boggling! I recommend this book especially to Jews who aren't all that educated about Torah and the Ultra-Orthodox approach to life. The major concepts are explained in beginners' terms. Non-beginners will probably find those explanations very skim-worthy, but I still recommend the book because Rabbi Besser is living the life we as frum Yidden should all aspire to.
Jan 09, Steven rated it it was amazing Shelves: read , favorites , biography , books-i-really-liked. An extraordinary story; I was in tears through most of it. The story is about the life of a learned man, tracing his boyhood in Europe, his escape from the holocaust; and then touches upon his years in Israel; his inspirational teaching of Talmud; his efforts in Jewish education in Europe where Jewish culture had almost been destroyed; the Rabbi's thoughts on why the Nazis targeted Jews who were of no threat and indeed were loyal German citizens at that time; and his efforts in locating gravesit An extraordinary story; I was in tears through most of it.
The story is about the life of a learned man, tracing his boyhood in Europe, his escape from the holocaust; and then touches upon his years in Israel; his inspirational teaching of Talmud; his efforts in Jewish education in Europe where Jewish culture had almost been destroyed; the Rabbi's thoughts on why the Nazis targeted Jews who were of no threat and indeed were loyal German citizens at that time; and his efforts in locating gravesite's of Jew's killed by the Nazi's; and some great vignettes, particularly one with Nikita Khrushchev, and how travel was really opened up for US citizens to Russia in the fifties.
I felt the beginning was in sufficient detail, but the ending could have gone into more detail and related more about the last 50 years of the rabbi's life, or perhaps I was just enjoying this so much, I wanted more. Really a great read, an incredible story. Nov 07, Chana rated it really liked it Shelves: memoirs-and-biographies , jewish. This is the biography of Rabbi Haskel Besser.
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Rabbi Haskel Besser is the epitome of what we want every Jew to be: righteous, kind, intelligent, hard-working and dedicated to the welfare of the Jewish people. He is also a person of dynamic personality who befriends and helps everyone he can, including people in very high government positions. His stories will make you laugh, some wi This is the biography of Rabbi Haskel Besser. His stories will make you laugh, some will make you cry and every bit of what we learn about Rabbi Besser shows his tremendous faith in Hashem. This Rabbi was a powerhouse and a very pious and humble man.
The Rabbi of 84th Street: The Extraordinary Life of Haskel Besser by Warren Kozak (Paperback)
Oct 15, Rebecca rated it liked it Shelves: jewish. Quick read perfect for a Shabbos evening or afternoon about a Chassidic rabbi living in Manhattan in the 20th century. Kozak protrays his subject with affection and insight, and there are many fascinating anecdotes in the book's pages.
You also have a wonderful experience of seeing how the experiences of a single person connect to greater, more historic circumstances. The one problem that I have with the book is the beginning, where he explains Chassidus and the Orthodox way of looking at the wo Quick read perfect for a Shabbos evening or afternoon about a Chassidic rabbi living in Manhattan in the 20th century. The one problem that I have with the book is the beginning, where he explains Chassidus and the Orthodox way of looking at the world. That section contains many inaccuracies - Kozak is himself not Orthodox even though Rabbi Besser is - and my suspicion is that the publisher didn't bother to fact check that section or get an expert opinion.
Many global statements are simply wrong; others fold many different approaches to Jewish life into a single approach, often at the cost of ignoring or even slighting non-Chassidim. Nonetheless, the remainder of the book is a delight. Apr 16, Laura Boudreau rated it really liked it.
Very interesting and enjoyable read about a truly extraordinary life. Jan 25, Deena rated it really liked it Shelves: auto-biography-memoir , judaica. Someday, Goodreads will provide for friends-only-viewable reviews, at which time I will rewrite this review.