Aryeh Grossman works as Project Executive where he oversees long term projects at Koren Publishers, looking at the vision and plan for the company over the next few years. Although based in our Jerusalem office, he can regularly be found in cities across the Jewish world sharing our vision with communities leaders and Koren partners-look out for him in New York, Chicago, London, Los Angeles and who knows where else over the next few months. When not on a place, he lives in Modi’in with his wife and two children, listening to country music and watching and re-watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I remember the initial discussions about Rabbi Grumet’s book in the office-“it’s about sefer Bereshit but it’s not a parasha book”-and one of my favorite things about Genesis: from Covenant to Creation is that it is not a single parasha is mentioned in this book. This book provides the incredible and rare opportunity to look at Sefer Bereshit not week by week, but as a whole book and to follow the themes, messages and patterns that are woven into it. While Sefer Bereshit covers thousands of years of history it contains clear and very relevant messages which Rabbi Grumet unlocks in a masterful way.
2. The Sages, Vol.1: The Second Temple Period by Binyamin Lau
What more could one ask for from a book the to completely change the way you learn a core Jewish text? The Sages, Vol.1: The Second Temple Period gave me an entirely new appreciation and perspective on the first chapter of Pirkei Avot. I often took the opening words that describe the mesorah of Torah Sheba’al Peh for granted but they come alive on the pages of Rabbi Binyamin Lau’s first volume. I have found The Sages, Vol. 1: The Second Temple Period an amazing resource to not only learn, but to teach Pirkei Avot.
3. The Prime Ministers by Yehuda Avner
My copy of The Prime Ministers was given to me as a gift after a book launch event in London at which the author, Yehuda Avner z”l, spoke and signed copies. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down and even took it on holiday with me (which is saying something if you’ve seen the book!). This memoir from a senior advisor to some of Israel’s greatest Prime Ministers gives you the opportunity to be a fly on the wall at some of the most significant moments in Israel’s history and to feel knew those that were shaping it.
Rav Steinsaltz’s approach to Talmud is so iconic and established that it was almost hard to imagine how the same methodology could be applied to Tanakh but, having spent a year learning the weekly parasha using the Tanakh HaMevoar, I discovered that in the same way the peshat (simply meaning) of the text is made so much more accessible with the Noé Edition Koren Talmud Bavli, the same was now the case with the Humash-it made reading through the parasha a pleasure and added so many layers to my understanding of the pesukim.
Of course, all of the Koren Magerman Educational Siddurim are amazing, but I definitely have a soft spot for the Koren Youth Siddur. The text is clear, the illustrations are beautiful and full of meaning, and the quotes and stories provide new ways to connect to the tefillot. It sounds strange given that it is a siddur designed for 4th graders, but sometimes when I want a siddur for Minha that is going to encourage me to slow down and have real kavanah I pick up the Koren Youth Siddur and always find that I have a much more meaningful tefilla experience.
It’s incredible to live in an age where we have a mahzor of tefillot to celebrate the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland and I look forward every year to using this mahzor. However, that’s not why I love this mahzor so much. As if the tefillot presented in a beautiful way with the inspiring commentaries of Rabbi Moshe Taragin and Rabbi Binyamin Lau isn’t enough, the mahzor also includes a whole section of essays that truly are the classics of religious Zionist thought, the first and perhaps only place that these essential writings have been collected together. I cannot think of a better introduction to Torat Eretz Yisrael.