A Hasidic rabbi on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Rabbi Haskel Besser is a powerful and unique presence: a deeply religious man who is at home in the secular world. With an easy smile, Rabbi Besser spreads joy wherever he goes, enriching the lives of his many friends and congregants with his profound understanding of both Orthodox Judaism and human nature. Journalist Warren Kozak befriended Rabbi Besserin 1988 and writes with warmth and admiration about the rabbi's extraordinary life.
Growing up in a Poland rich with Hasidic culture and the music, art, and literature of a vibrant Europe, Haskel Besser and his family lived a charmed life. With the first hints of the growing wave of anti-Semitism that would destroy their world, the rabbi and his family miraculously escaped to Palestine. This engrossing narrative takes the reader through some of the most significant historical moments of the past eighty years as they were experienced by the rabbi and by his friends and family.
The Rabbi of 84th Street is also the story of Judaismin the twentieth century; of the importance of centuries-old traditions to the twenty-first century; and of the triumph of faith, kindness, and spirit. Readers will be inspired and uplifted by the rabbi's life and wisdom, which have made him such an important spiritual leader. This singular biography opens a rare window into the normally closed world of Hasidic Jews and introduces readers to an exceptional individual whose teachings and guidance have touched so many the world over.
Warren Kozak is a journalist who has written for top network news anchors over the past twenty-five years. Winner of the prestigious Benton Fellowship at the University of Chicago in 1993, he has appeared on PBS and NPR as well as in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and other newspapers and magazines. Warren Kozak was born and raised in Wisconsin.
“A moving portrait of a warm person.” — Elie Wiesel