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UPCOMING JEWISH HOLIDAY A KEY DATE
FOR HOUSTON RABBI AND HER NEW BOOK

Rabbi Judith Abrams to be honored
as “Woman of Courage” on Oct. 16
by local Hadassah chapter

Newly-published Torah and Company is rabbi's 18th book

(Teaneck, NJ -- October 2, 2005) Just in time for Simchat Torah arrives Judith Z. Abrams’ latest book, Torah & Company.

“Simchat Torah?” you ask. Simchat Torah, literally “rejoicing of the law,” is the last in the cycle of Jewish fall holidays that begin this Monday evening with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It will be celebrated on Monday evening, October 24 in Reform Jewish congregations and Tuesday evening, October 25, in Conservative and Orthodox congregations.

On Simchat Torah, Jews the world over will read the final verses of Deuteronomy. Immediately, they will joyfully chant the first words of Genesis. And thus will begin a new cycle of reading and studying the sacred writings found in the Torah, the Five Books of Moses.
The joyous celebration – singing and dancing with the Torah scrolls – sets the stage for a yearlong feast of spiritual discussion centered around the weekly Torah portion. Torah & Company is designed to foster and enhance this conversation as it takes place around the Sabbath dinner table in Jewish homes, no matter what the affiliation or level of Judaic knowledge.

For each weekly Torah portion (as well as those for Simchat Torah and the other holidays on the Jewish calendar), Torah & Company provides a brief excerpt from the biblical text. Two Talmudic passages chosen by Abrams for being thematically related accompany the selection. On the facing page, Abrams provides both background to make the texts accessible and discussion questions to begin an open-ended, spiritual discussion on the issues raised by those texts. The book is “wonderfully conceived and wisely executed,” says Joseph Telushkin, author of the best-selling Jewish Literacy.

Author Abrams began her own journey toward the rabbinate at a Simchat Torah celebration in Leningrad in 1977 during the Soviet Union era when all religious life, including Judaism, was officially banned. A Russian major spending her college senior year abroad, she was astonished to see the Great Synagogue packed. Thousands of Soviet Jews sang and danced in the street outside in their annual gesture of defiance against the regime. Curiosity aroused, she determined to find out what about her religion was worthy of such a risky public stand.
Her enthusiasm for Torah study, sparked almost three decades ago, finds its way onto these pages, which Rabbi Burton Visotzky, professor and author, calls “a valuable guide for the Shabbat (Sabbath) table of every Jew.”

Torah and Company marks the 18th book for the prolific author – a significant milestone given the association between the number 18 and the Hebrew word chai, meaning “life.” Two more of her books are approaching publication, one dealing with Judaism and baseball and the other an introduction to Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah, for children.

On Sunday, October 16th, at the Westin Galleria Hotel, the Houston Chapter of Hadassah will host a luncheon and silent auction to honor cancer survivors and their families. Rabbi Judith Abrams will be one of this year's “Women of Courage” honorees.

For more information about Torah & Company, author Judith Z. Abrams, or the holiday of Simchat Torah, please contact Larry Yudelson, Editorial Director of Ben Yehuda Press, at 201-833-5145.

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