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The Secret of Carlos Romanus

Esther Kosofsky’s first book based on story told by her father

By Stacey Dresner

LONGMEADOW – Rabbi Dovid Edelman, z”l, dedicated more than 65 years of his life to the Western Massachusetts Jewish community.

The longtime dean of Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy (LYA), Rabbi Edelman took special pride in the education of his students, says his daughter, Esther Kosofsky.

Now Kosofsky, a longtime Springfield educator, has written a book based on a story her father used to tell Esther and her siblings around the Passover table when they were children.

The Secret of Carlos Romanus, published this spring by Hachai Publishing, is Kosofsky’s first book.

“The Passover season was an especially busy time in our household,” said Kosofsky. “In addition to the holiday preparations, my father would travel all over Western Massachusetts delivering shmura matzo to families for their Passover seder.

“Now thinking back it is so meaningful to me that my father took the time to share this amazing story with my siblings and me, while he dedicated the same time to communal life.”

Set in the 17th century, The Secret of Carlos Romanus tells the story of Moshe Levi, a young Jew from Amsterdam who must support his mother and two younger siblings. He sets sail on his first business trip and finds himself in Spain, a country from which Jews have either been expelled, converted to Christianity, or practiced Judaism in hiding. As it nears Passover, the boy, who must keep the fact that he is Jewish a secret, wonders if he will find a seder in his travels in Spain. He meets the wealthiest landowner in town, Carlos Romanus, who has a secret of his own.

Esther Kosofsky and her father, Rabbi Dovid Edelman, z”l, the inspiration for her book, The Secret of Carlos Romanus.

“On his adventure Moshe Levi is able to instill Jewish values of kindness and concern to all that he meets,” Kosofsky said. “This is also how my father lived his life.”

Esther Edelman Kosofsky is a native of Western Massachusetts and is a graduate of Beth Rivkah High School and Teachers Seminary in Brooklyn, N.Y. A lifelong Chabad emissary in Western Mass., she was a teacher at LYA for more than 15 years and now holds a position in the school’s administration.

She is the past director of the Resource Center for Jewish Education, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. She is a writer for Chabad.org, and an adult educator. She is co-director of Chabad Women’s Circle in Western Mass., and gives weekly classes for women. She and her husband, Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, are the parents of nine children and are very much enjoying being grandparents, she said.

Her book, illustrated by Chana Min Harar, is geared toward children ages 7 to 10 in grades 2 through 4.

Esther’s dream was to put this story on paper as a legacy to her father and a way to inspire the young generation about Judaism.

“As an educator, I believe that we must reach our students through many different models,” remarked Esther. “In writing this book based on a story my father told me, I have combined my love of teaching, my father’s values and an education tool.”

CAP: Esther Kosofsky with her book The Secret of Carlos Romanus written as a legacy to her father Rabbi Dovid Edelman of blessed memory.

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