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Ordinary Greatness

The subject of this volume is ordinary lives lived with dignity, for such lives are often the most meaningful and instructive.

Middlemarch: “The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts, and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs.”



In the Author’s Preface, Jonathan Rosenblum, describes these one hundred pieces, written over three decades, as forming a sort of ethical will to his descendants, both those now living and those yet unborn. The message: Look for the good in every person, learn from that good, and use the wisdom thus attained to improve your own life and the lives of everyone with whom you come into contact.


The verse in Proverbs (27:21) reads ish l’fi m’halalo. Those words are generally understood to mean that a person is judged according to the praises that others say of him. But Rabbeinu Yonah offers another understanding: A person is defined by what he praises.


These pieces, writes Rosenblum, “are my songs of praise.”



I am frequently asked: "How do I know what my mission in life is?" The answer is: Hashem sends each person opportunities to their doorstep. Usually we don't respond because the task does not seem glamorous enough, or it is too hard, or for any number of other reasons.
Yonoson Rosenblum has an incredible eye for searching out exceptional people disguised as ordinary ones. These people do not seek fame or glory; they simply respond to the tasks that Hashem sets before them.
It takes Yonoson's sharp eye to spot these people, and his beautiful pen to convey their extraordinary accomplishments, while maintaining the guise of their ordinariness.
May he inspire readers to seize the opportunities presented to each of us to be great in his or her own fashion.

Rav Ahron Shraga Lopiansky, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva of Greater Washington


If the wise man is one who learns something from each individual he encounters, Jonathan Rosenblum is wise indeed. In these incisive portraits, he masterfully captures the most exceptional and admirable qualities of a wide range of men and women, both renowned and "ordinary.” In doing so, he challenges each of us to cultivate these exemplary qualities within ourselves.

Professor Moshe Koppel, Department of Computer Science, Bar Ilan University and author of Judaism Straight Up


About the author:

Jonathan (Yonoson) Rosenblum has been called “arguably the most widely read and influential chareidi writer in English” (Dr. Yoel Finkelman, Strictly Kosher Reading). Over the past thirty years, he has published approximately 2,500 columns and longer essays in a wide range of venues, both secular and religious. During his twenty year stint as columnist with the Jerusalem Post, he was the only chareidi columnist writing regularly in any mainstream Israeli paper. (He also wrote for the Hebrew-language Maariv.)

His writings have been published in Commentary, Moment, the Sapir Journal, the Jewish Week, and in virtually every Orthodox weekly or monthly publication, including a weekly column in Mishpacha Magazine for the past 20 years.

In addition, he has written seven biographies of major Torah leaders and co-authored a memoir with Lieutenant Meyer Birnbaum; translated biographies of the Vilna Gaon and Rav Chaim of Volozhin; and has adapted into print Rabbi Yitzchak Kirzner’s classes on making sense of suffering and Rabbi Uri Zohar’s guidance on dealing with struggling teenagers.

Jonathan Rosenblum came to Israel with his wife Judith, a psychotherapist, on their honeymoon over 44 years ago, and remained. They live in Jerusalem, where they raised their eight children.

He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School, and practiced law in Chicago, followed by more than a decade of full-time yeshiva and kollel learning. He uses his secular and religious training and background to make the two poles of the Jewish world more comprehensible to one another.

Ordinary Greatness

SKU: 8507
  • Ordinary Greatness

    100 Songs of Praise

    Jonathan Rosenblum
    Dimensions    6X9
    ISBN    9781988022673
    Author    Jonathan Rosenblum
    Publisher    Adir Press
    Number of pages    649
    Item #    8507
    Binding type    Hard Cover
    Weight    2.331000 lbs.

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