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Jr. gives you an update on four of today’s best-selling nonfiction stories

Monday, October 02, 2017

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M iracle Ride

Written by: Tzipi Caton (a pseudonym)

Numbers sold: Over 15,000

First published: 2008

Tzipi, in quotes

“[When I was first diagnosed] I made a decision to never lose sight of the good Hashem was doing for me.”

“Cancer didn’t mean I had to stop laughing, or living.”

“Happily Ever After is not some future date… the perfect moment is happening right now.”

About the Book

Miracle Ride is the diary of a 16-year-old Jewish girl diagnosed with cancer. It describes her sometimes painful, often humorous, but always miraculous journey to recovery.

Tzipi Caton writes:

Miracle Ride, my book about being a teen with cancer, was a best seller ten years ago. It provided many writing opportunities, launched a public speaking career, and changed my life completely.

It may sound surprising coming from someone whose claim to fame began with a book about her personal life, but I was never the type to write about myself. When my friends wrote mushy diary entries about their days in high school, I remember finding them silly.

Until one day, something made me change my mind.

Sequel to the Story

Rhona Lewis

Emunah with Love and Chicken Soup

Written by: Sara Yoheved Rigler

Numbers sold: Tens of thousands

First published: 2016

Rebbetzin Machlis in quotes:

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“Ivdu es Hashem b’simchah — serve Hashem with joy.”

“That miskein (unfortunate person) could have been me.”

About the Book

Emunah with Love and Chicken Soup is the story of Rebbetzin Henny Machlis, a regular Brooklyn-born girl who became a Jerusalem legend. Anybody and everybody was welcome in the Machlis home and she showed tremendous chesed to all.

After their marriage, the Machlises moved to Israel. A few years later, in 1979, the Machlises were hosting 20–30 guests at every Shabbos meal. The numbers grew until 100–150 guests were crowding into their apartment for Shabbos meals every week of the year, except for the week of Pesach. Rebbetzin Machlis would sometimes wake up between 2 and 4 a.m. to serve an entire Shabbos meal to one particular woman who didn’t like crowds.

Hosting guests wasn’t limited to Shabbos only; many people lived in Rebbetzin Machlis’s house for a little while that sometimes turned into a long while, with some guests sleeping in the family minivan when there was no more room in the house.

Rebbetzin Machlis did much more than host people. She loved Torah and whenever she met someone, she would ask for a Torah thought. She also taught Torah in a seminary and to private groups. Sprinkled throughout the book are the Torah teachings of Rebbetzin Machlis and practical suggestions on how we can work to improve ourselves.

Sequel to the Story

Shira Yehudit Djalilmand 

Ahrele 1, Ahrele 2, Ahrele 3

Written by: Hadas Irenstein, based on the book, Ethaleich/As Long as I Live

Numbers of Ethaleich/As Long as I Live sold: Hundreds of thousands

First published: 2011

Rabbi Aharon Margalit, in quotes:

“No child needs to look at himself as a miskein, a poor thing. If you’re sick, don’t look at yourself as a sick kid; look at yourself as healthy kid with an illness.”

“We have no control over the ocean waves, but we can control the paddles of the boat.”

About the Book

Rabbi Aharon Margalit’s book, Ethaleich in Hebrew, As Long as I Live in English, took the Orthodox Jewish world by storm. The book tells the true story of Rabbi Margalit’s very difficult life. At two, a traumatic shock rendered him mute, and at seven he contracted polio, which left him paralyzed in an institution far from home. He would lie in bed, a little boy unable to move, yearning for his mother’s monthly visit. As a teenager he stuttered badly, and as an adult he battled cancer three times, and his son passed away.

Rabbi Margalit’s steadfast Emunah and upbeat, optimistic attitude in every situation inspired his readers and, as many of them assert, changed their lives.

The book has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and has been published in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, Spanish, and French. Ahrele 1, 2, and 3 are the wildly popular, three-volume comic books based on Rabbi Margalit’s story.

Jr. spoke to Rabbi Aharon Margalit:

What are you doing with yourself these days?

I’m busy giving lectures and writing. I give at least two to three lectures a day on all kinds of topics. I give over my life story of course, and I also talk about kibud horim, limud chaf zechus, and other mitzvos bein adam l’chaveiro. I put a lot of my energy into the project I manage, Mifal Chofetz Chaim, which teaches people, and tests them on mitzvos bein adam l’chaveiro. We have special kollelim where the avreichim learn hilchos mitzvos bein adam l’chaveiro, and we have rabbis with semichah who answer halachic sh’eilos on this topic. Oh, and I’m also busy running a family: children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren!

Sequel to the Story

Shira Yehudit Djalilmand


Written by: Rabbi Nachman Seltzer

Numbers sold: Over 25,000

First published: 2016

Rabbi Wallis, in quotes:

“Yosher v’emes” — honesty and truth are above everything. Always do what you believe to be right. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed by anyone and don’t give in to pressure from anyone.”

“Act now. Of course there will be obstacles — there always are — but you can overcome them. Just get up and do it!”

“Arachim helps people do teshuvah.”

About the Book

Rabbi Nachman Seltzer’s Incredible! has been described by everyone who reads it as, well, incredible! Rabbi Seltzer relates how Rabbi Yossi Wallis, from the streets of the Bronx, ended up heading Arachim, one of the Jewish world’s biggest kiruv organizations. “Rabbi Wallis,” then “Joe,” led the Bronx’s first Jewish street gang, which led him into dangerous encounters with the Mafia. His journey back to Torah took him through a stint in the Israeli Air Force and his surprise discovery of Torah while waiting in a restaurant for his treif sandwich.

Incredible! is much more than an amazing story of teshuvah. It relates the dramatic story of Rabbi Wallis’s ancestor Rafael Vallis, who was one of the last Jews burned alive in an auto-da-fé by the Inquisition in 15th-century Spain. And if that’s not enough drama, Incredible! also tells the moving story of Rabbi Wallis’s father, Yeedle, who against all odds survived the Holocaust and made it to Eretz Yisrael.

Everyone is talking about Incredible! and how incredible it is. In fact, Incredible! has sold so many copies that, according to Jewish Books Updates, it’s the bestselling Jewish book of 2016.J

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