This week we meet Arthur Rothstein of Scottsdale, AZ in the U.S. Do you have a story you want published on the Koren Publishers blog? Write us in the comments section below!
Koren Publishers: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Arthur: I am a 36 year old Nurse Practitioner, I live in Scottsdale with my wife and our 3 children — 2 boys; ages 5 and 3 and a little 7 month girl. Our family and our community are all baal teshuva [became more religiously observant]. Growing up, my wife’s family belonged to a reform temple with mostly holiday attendance. I was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where my only exposure to Judaism was Anti-Semitism. I was 13 years old when my mom and I fled from Uzbekistan as political asylums. By the time I was 23 I had never even been inside of a synagogue.
Koren Publishers: Can you describe your family’s journey towards a more religiously observant life?
Arthur: In our search for more meaning in life, my wife Amy and I got connected to a campus kiruv rabbi, Jordan Brumer, who heads Jewish Arizonans on Campus. With his guidance we found our way back to our people’s story. Over several years gradually we became shomer Shabbat/kashrut/mitzvot, moved into our small religious community in Scottsdale. We now live a fully orthodox lifestyle; our kids attend an Orthodox day school, while my wife and I are involved in a number of local, national and international Jewish and Zionist organizations.
Koren Publishers: How did your relationship with Koren Publishers begin?
Arthur: Our home library is full of Jewish books. With time we discovered Koren, and being a huge fan of Rabbi Sacks, I fell in love with the Rabbi Sacks siddur, mahzorim and his haggadda. I also love the Mizrahi Yom Haatzmaut Mahzor among many other titles. A few years ago we dedicated a library in loving memory of my father at a local shul [synagogue]; we filled it with Koren titles. This year, we added the Koren Talmud Bavli to the shul library. The Talmud started being used the day we unpacked the boxes. We chose the Koren Talmud specifically because the Koren Talmud seemed more modern, visually appealing and I happen to think very highly of Rabbi Steinsaltz
Koren Publishers: Why do you feel so connected to the publications of Koren?
Arthur: There have been a number of publishers that have sustained Orthodox Jewry through our exile. Koren, in my opinion, is a reflection of the return of the people and Torah to Eretz Yisrael. Ki Mitzion Teitze Torah Udvar Hashem Yirushalaim [For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem]. Koren books seem to uniquely capture the three dimensional Judaism that exists only in the land of Israel, where Judaism is not only a religion, but a nation and a way of life.