Reviews of Aleph Shin

Book Review: THE JEWISH PRESS
Aleph Shin by Sender Zeyv

Perhaps we are all familiar with Jewish fiction that, though uplifting or edifying or enlightening or satisfying, is not as well written as we might wish. Some of us may have encountered fiction that was exciting, engaging, but quite devoid of meaningful content, and perhaps of such content that the work's appropriateness even merely as entertainment was surely questionable. So, though I do try not to make a negative judgment too quickly, I really must admit that when I sat down to review Sender Zeyv's new novel Aleph Shin,I had scant expectation of finding both gripping entertainment and an intellectually and spiritually uplifting experience.

To put it simply, this is far and away the best Jewish suspense novel I have encountered. The time is our time, and the action involves the development of Israel and its relations with its Arab neighbors, the United States and the rest of the world, and most importantly, with itself. Through four connected subplots, in Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan and the U.S., we follow what is at one level a brilliant espionage scheme, at another level, something else. The subplots are skillfully brought together and there will be scarcely a reader, I expect, who does not complete the final section, taking place in Israel, at one sitting.

This is a well-organized and well-written book. Sender Zeyv unusually gifted writer and has produced a thriller whose suspense and excitement is quite on the level of, say, a Robert Ludlum novel (although the overall execution of the book is not on that level, due to the author's inexperience). The author is a powerful political analyst and religious thinker, and his conception is quite compelling. His incorporation of images and thoughts from Tanach and Shas into his work is graceful. The technical aspects of the plot are developed on a sophisticated but clear level, and the author consulted experts in computer science, geology, epidemiology and other areas to ensure accuracy. And furthermore, the author shows an admirably sensitive touch in evoking emotion, as in the reunion scene.

In conclusion, let me say that I found this book both exciting and uplifting. I certainly was on the edge of my seat! Aleph Shin is among the most gripping page-turners I have read in recent years, and also the most thought- provoking and intelligently conceived novel I have recently encountered. I recommend it without reservation.

Etan Savir The reviewer is a resident of Baltimore, received his A.B. summa cum laude in Classics from Princeton University in 1983, his M.A. in Classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1986, and his M.A. in Mathematics from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas in 1994. He is Mathematics Department Chair at Garrison Forest School, a college preparatory school in Owings Mills, Maryland.


January 16, 2001

I hereby offer my enthusiastic recommendation to have "Aleph Shin" included amongst the novels to be read in a Yeshiva high school program.

Our 10th grade used it this past year and it proved to be exciting, informative, well written and a wonderful opportunity to explore an era of our history that has great implications for all of us.

The author was kind enough to spend several hours with our students in dialogue and explanation of the literary techniques and contents of his book.
We intend to continue using "Aleph Shin" as a part of our literature curriculum.

Rabbi Sholom Salfer Principal, Bais Hamedrash and Mesivta of Baltimore


Kudos for Sender Zeyv’s debut as a fiction novelist. It is an auspicious event to all those hungering for a wholesome and engaging thriller. He presents an intricate and plausible vision of the restoration of the supremacy of Yisroel in the World Order as he masterfully weaves multiple story lines into a complex plot development for a stimulating read and a satisfying conclusion. Along the way he shares valuable insights and considerable erudition that will enlighten and enrich as well as entertain.

Rabbi Simcha Baer,
Shalheves High School, Baltimore


In this intriguing narrative, Sender Zeyv dramatizes the subtle interplay between the forces of personal initiative and Providence as they reach a dynamic equilibrium. By tracing the spiritual impact on his characters of the choices they make in facing some of life’s greatest challenges, he develops an innovative strategy for resolving the world’s most daunting political issues into an inspiring redemption for all mankind.

Rabbi Dovid Shapero,
Executive Director Ohr Somayach, Detroit


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