A Hasidic rabbi on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Rabbi Haskel Besser is a powerful and unique presence: a deeply religious man who is at home in the secular world. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. I confess that in some ways this was a much more thought provoking book than I had anticipated when I bought it - and that's a good thing. Dust jacket quality is not guaranteed. Rabbi Besser is a living artifact, which I mean in the most positive way.
He is an important and well-known figure in American Judaism. In the private notes available now, I'll write the things I really think, or thought about as I read this book - but I have no desire to discuss them with people I don't know, so those thoughts aren't going to be public. I recommend this book especially to Jews who aren't all that educated about Torah and the Ultra-Orthodox approach to life. One story that highlights the optimistic quality of the book comes at the beginning. 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. You also have a wonderful experience of seeing how the experiences of a single person connect to greater, more historic circumstances. The book, like Rabbi Besser, simply overwhelms you with optimism that is more powerful than philosophical or exegetical quests for answers.
Rabbi Besser passed away in 2010, three days before his 87th birthday, and even though I disagree with him on many levels about many things, his life still makes me think of this story by I. For now, I'll say that I found this book very interesting and that it gave me a lot to think about. A remarkable story of a man who, through a series of coincidences, or acts of Providence, depending on your perspective, manages to barely escape the Holocaust, finds his way to British Palestine, and spends a life rekindling a nearly lost faith. But it is not just the rabbi's vast spiritual and secular knowledge that has won him the respect of presidents, business leaders and even assimilated Jewish children; it is a tangible loyalty and commitment to his fellow human beings. For me the primary value of the book was to hear firsthand accounts of a world largely lost to the fires of genocide.
But we get a rare treat in The Rabbi of 84th Street, a look into the life of a person whose experiences and stories would normally be off limits. 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 the Hasidism of pre-war Europe still alive and shuckling. Always wearing an easy smile, Hasidic rabbi Haskel Besser spreads joy wherever he goes, enriching the lives of his many friends and congregants with his profound understanding of both Orthodox Judaism and humannature. With warmth and admiration, journalist Warren Kozak writes about the rabbi's extraordinary life—from his family's escape to Palestine in the late 1930s to his witnessing of Israel's rebirth in 1948, to his move to New York City, where he lives today. Journalist Warren Kozak befriended Rabbi Besserin 1988 and writes with warmth and admiration about the rabbi's extraordinary life.
This has proved a source of solace to him and amazement to others; he can identify any classical piece on the radio in seconds. It's more of a testimonial than a traditional biography, but that's ok. Very inspirational, even for t A remarkable story of a man who, through a series of coincidences, or acts of Providence, depending on your perspective, manages to barely escape the Holocaust, finds his way to British Palestine, and spends a life rekindling a nearly lost faith. The major concepts are explained in beginners' terms. You also have a wonderful experience of seeing how the experiences of a single person connect to greater, more historic circumstances. Disclaimer:A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. 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.
He is also a person of dynamic personality who befriends and helps everyone he can, including people in very high government positions. Quick read perfect for a Shabbos evening or afternoon about a Chassidic rabbi living in Manhattan in the 20th century. The good rabbi suddenly got up from the table to open a window. Hasidic Jews emphasize joy, kabbalah, and a Judaism for the ordinary person, not just the scholar. This engrossing narrative takes the reader through some of the most significant historical moments of the past eighty years as they were experienced by the rabbi and by his friends and family.
Really a great read, an incredible story. This is the biography of Rabbi Haskel Besser. Growing up in a Poland rich with Hasidic culture and the music, art, and literature of a vibrant Europe, Haskel Besser and his family lived a charmed life. Rabbi Besser knew personally, for example, the Radomsker Rebbe, a man he regarded as being very close to God. Very inspirational, even for those who aren't Jewish. It should be obvious that a friendship between a Conservative Jew who forgot most of what he learned in Hebrew School and a brilliant Hasidic rabbi is unusual at the outset. Rabbi Besser knows of the world that existed before the Holocaust and of the Hasidic world today which is only a shadow of that era.
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. While I still participate in their Christmas celebration with the full blessing of my rabbi it warms my heart to receive Jewish themed gifts from them my brother bought me a Star of David charm. The history of Hasidic Judaism is fascinating, both for it's depth and joy. Bookseller: , Washington, United States. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text.