The Rabbis’ Suitcase

(10 customer reviews)


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A dusty, ancient suitcase remained largely unopened for generations. Its contents were precious letters and documents, from the greatest Gedolim of the nineteenth century. They were the collected correspondence of two Lithuanian sages who had emigrated from Russia to become dayanim in the London Beis Din. Join Eli Friedwald as he reveals the contents of this suitcase, after 130 years of obscurity, together with the remarkable and tragic picture that they paint of Jewish life in the late nineteenth century.

10 reviews for The Rabbis’ Suitcase

  1. David Fishel

    An excellently written book. A real insight into the workings and day to day life of the religious Jewish community of the time.

  2. Anthony & Sarah Manning

    We both read Eli’s excellent book – it was engaging and interesting. Unlike other historical/biographical works, The Rabbi’s Suitcase is a real page-turner, as the reader moves smoothly through the lives of these extraordinary figures. The book gave us fascinating insights into the many and timeless challenges of being a community Rabbi, and also into the history of the British Jewish community and the historical roots of many of the tensions that exist until today.

  3. robert a wolff

    The subtitle, ”Letters from a turbulent age”, should whet your appetite immediately. You will be enthralled how the author has recreated an era of turbulent Jewish history based on letters and responsa of a generation of rabbinic scholars who immigrated to England. The reader will find it difficult to put this book down after sampling the opening chapters and understanding the challenges facing both British and European Jewry in the late 19th century.
    We’ve given the book as gift to many people- all thanked us profusely!

  4. Eliezer Lifshuts

    This book is a one of a kind fascinating read. It literally transports the reader back in time and brings you face to face with the great personalities of the past as they struggle through the tumultuous events of their era. The author has also done a fabulous job at providing a concise historical background of each event, in a very clear and simple manner, which allows even someone with no previous knowledge of these subjects to grasp the depths of the content. Truly a must-read!

  5. Joan Freudenberger

    The mastery with which Eli Friedwald has related and organized this amazing story will leave you with a mixture of pride and awe. It is a book not to be missed.

  6. Eliezer Ralbag

    I was fascinated by the historical content of this book. I read through it cover to cover the day I received it. I discovered unknown to me Torah novella written by my ancestors from Yerushalaim to England. This book will surely still be a great contribution and a catalyst for the dissenting of Torah works written over 100 years ago.

  7. Maurice Brodie

    What a fascinating insight into the workings of the Dayanim and Chief Rabbi in the UK at the turn of the nineteenth century.
    The clarity of writing and the references in the book make it an informative and easy read.

  8. Rabbi Dr J Shindler

    The Rabbi’s Suitcase gives a fascinating insight into the work of the London Beth Din including important sh’eilot with which it dealt dating back to the nineteenth century. Interestingly, many of the issues that arose during that period resonate with contemporary times. The account has been thoroughly researched by Eli Friedwald from original hand-written correspondence, providing the reader with an authoritative, yet accessible account of the work of one of Anglo-Jewry’s key institutions. He is to be commended for bringing this important material to light. Rabbi Dr J Shindler , Office of the Chief Rabbi, London

  9. Michael Gillis

    Michael and Roz Gillis

    We both read Eli Friedwald’s book and were enthralled by it. ‘The Rabbi’s Suitcase’ allowed us to share in the author’s breathless excitement at discovering a treasure trove of hitherto unknown letters and documents. The sheer scale of the
    work that was required to complete this book is obvious as you turn the pages. Gem after gem from the writings of the great Halachic decisors of the 19th and 20th century come into view. We could not put it down and have given the book to numerous family and friends.

  10. Michael Nemeth

    Informative, very interesting content and excellent presentation of Anglo-Jewish life in the 19th century, enhanced by fascinating halachic questions and answers posed to the Dayonim. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

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