3/28/2010

Reviews and Recommendations in Brief

I would like to take this opportunity to briefly review a few interesting new things that have crossed my path:

1) The Royal Table by Rabbi Norman Lamm. I have not read this haggadah cover-to-cover, but the parts that I've read offer well-articulated essay or sermon-type insights into the haggadah. Themes that recur are the sense of Jewish majesty and the tenuous nature of Jewish history in general. As can be expected, Rabbi Lamm's soaring rhetoric evidences an affinity for employing alliteration (for example, on p. 136, in a single paragraph, you have 'Persian potentate points' and people, perhaps paranoid'; on p. 73, the manna is a 'greater gift', a 'heavenly handout', a 'prettily packaged present', and a 'divine dole'). I did not find his insights to be particularly novel, but they are certainly edifying, stimulating, and eminently readable.

2) An interesting new site (full disclosure - I was involved in the Hebrew editing and translating of the site): Mikvah Calendar. Although I'm not a 'consumer' of the service that this site provides, having seen what they do in detail I find that it provides something unique and useful. It's utility is not merely for the mathematically impaired - the service sends out regular reminders about bedikot etc., can be tailored to various minhagim, and takes geography into account. Worth checking out.

3) Long-time reader Isaac recently launched a new website, mi.yodeya.com, which is a sort of Jewish answers.com. It's interesting and has great potential to be both informative and 'talmudic' in its discussion format.

Enjoy and Chag Sameach!
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