Monday, October 15, 2012

Celebrity Endorsement for Jewish Books

After finding out that Gwyneth Paltrow's great-great-grandfather, whose surname was "Paltrowicz," was a rabbi in Nowogród, Poland, I hasted to add it to the description of the books of his I had for sale. Sure enough, they sold within a few days
Her great-great-grandfather R. Simhah Paltrowitch was a direct descendant of R. Rabbi David ben Samuel Ha-Levi, the renowned 17th-century authority on Jewish law, served as rabbi in Buffalo, New York from l890 to 1914. His other works include Simhah Hegyon (1903), Keter Zevi (1906), and Simhah Avot (1927).

Simchat Higayon by R. Simhah Paltrowitch

There are other great celebrity endorsed books as well. Leonard Cohen's grandthfather, Rabbi Solomon Klinitsky-Klein authored several books. Rabbi Solomon Klinitsky-Klein, was known as Sar haDikdook, the prince of grammarians. He wrote a thesaurus of talmudic interpretations and a dictionary of synonyms and homonyms. He was a disciple of Yitzhak Elchanan. In fact, he closed his teacher's eyes when he died. He was the principal of a yeshiva in Kovno. He also had a very strong secular side to him. He was a confrontational teacher, especially when he got to New York. He became part of The Forward and that group of Yiddish writers.
Rabbi Solomon Klonitsky-Kline wrote a book called Otzar Taamei Hazal (New York 1939) which was a compilation of the various interpretations to biblical verses found in Talmudic literature, arranged according to the order of the Torah, with his own notes. The English title page says it "Contains all the interpretations of the Pentateuch as given in the Talmudim, Tosefta, Mechilta, Sifra, Sifre, Pesiktot, Midrash Rabba, Tanhuma and other Midrashim."

Interestingly, not only is the book dedicated to Leonard Cohen's father Nathan (and two others, one of whom is the author's son) but at the end of the introduction is a mention of Leonard himself, then just a few weeks shy of 5 years old (as well as his mother Masha, and the other members of the family):

And then you have Arlo Guthrie. Guthrie received religious training for his bar mitzvah from Rabbi Meir Kahane, who would go on to form the Jewish Defense League. "Rabbi Kahane was a really nice, patient teacher," Guthrie later recalled, "but shortly after he started giving me my lessons, he started going haywire. Maybe I was responsible."

There is more. Rena Sofer for one. Sofer is a descendant of Baal Shem Tov and of the Chasam Sofer through her father. That's some Yichus you got there, wait till the matchmakers find out about this one.

Not to mention Jackie Mason, who himself was/is an ordained Rabbi, as his three brothers, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had been. His father Rabbi Eliyahu Mordechai Maza, authored many books as well.
Sifte Reem by Jackie Mason's Father Rabbi Eliyahu Mordechai Maza

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