The Swordsman

What if ... buried deep inside your brain were eyewitness memories of events that changed history?

Memories of what your own great, great - too many to write - grandfather or grandmother saw and did when they were young.

Of how a prankster, a hothead, and a smart, tough girl were swept up in one of history's great clashes: the first war between the ruthless Roman Empire and underdog Judea.

Are you the descendant of heroes? Or of cowards? Would you want to know? And what of those Judeans whose ideas, not swords, would one day conquer the world? It's too late for them. But it's not too late for you.

This series debut is fun, thought-provoking, and historically accurate. But what's with the goat?

The Torchbearer

It is the eve of the First Crusade. Young David lives in the land once called Israel, now ruled by Muslims. From his shackled destiny, David rebels and seeks adventure and freedom. But at what cost? Brilliant Rebecca and Rabbi Elazar have found a haven in the idyllic German lands, where Judaism blossoms. Then comes the fateful November cry for revenge... With love and laughter, courage and betrayal, together - and apart - they step into war.

Fast-paced but profound, as much comic as tragic, The Torchbearer captures Jewish history's harrowing glory.

What People Think

The Swordsman

"A wonderfully engaging and easy way for young teens to enter the tumultuous Jewish world of the first century C.E. Readers get to know in a very personal way the issues faced by the people who shaped what Judaism came to be. This book reminds me of ... As a Driven Leaf, ... by far ... the favorite among my students of Judaism in antiquity ... No wonder it has been republished many times ... I fully hope and expect that this book will have the same memorable impact on its young - and older - readers for an equally long ... time." 
Elliot Dorff, Rabbi Ph.D. Rector, American Jewish University

"What a fun ... way to learn about Jewish history! Jump in with these lovable characters as you go back in time ... This book is extremely well researched, using primary sources as a springboard for compelling historical fiction. Teachers of Jewish history, texts, and culture, this book is your new go-to resource!"
Dr. Rachel Lerner, Dean, Graduate Center for Jewish Education, American Jewish University

"Window to Yesterday is brilliant! I will offer it to students as a model for bringing antiquity alive. It is both lively and deeply informative, which is a hard balance."                                                                                                                                      

Dr. Alexandra R. Brown, Professor, Department of Religion Washington and Lee University.

"Finally, a Jewish book that is both educational and fun to read! [It] seamlessly weaves together fact and fiction, and its use of clever and engaging stories to teach important life lessons reminds me of a more mature, Jewish version of the Wayside School series. I can't wait to share this book with all my students and their families                                          

Rabbi Feivel Rubinstein, Owner/Educator, FreelanceJudaism  

"If you like wit, humor, action and history, then you have to read this book."     
Colin Dixon, 8th grader at St. Catherine's Montessori School          


"It's amazing when a book can make you think about what you value. This book did that                  
for me."   
Ariel Pratt, senior at Texas A&M University 

"While I have long passed the early teenage brain years, I greatly enjoyed this easy to read and short book. I quickly found myself engrossed in the action confronting Jason, Matti and Safira. I wondered what decisions I would have made, facing similar trying situations, if I had been alive at the same time. The chapters entitled "What to Do? What to Do? What to Do?" and another, "Safira Argues With a Brick Wall", were particularly engaging. I am hopeful that the author brings Tyler and Dr. Macklin back together again for another time travel experience."
Amazon Customer

"A very captivating read. An entertaining way to catch a glimpse of the past which is both educational and adventurous. A clever way for all ages to connect to Jewish history."
B. E., Amazon Customer

"Do you like history, reading, and adventure? If you answered yes for any of these categories then this is the book for you. Lefkowitz has managed to create an amazing tale that is both thought provoking and exciting. I can't wait to see where the next journey will take place!"
Debbie Lorfing, Amazon Customer

"Excellent story. Well written. Riveting from start to finish. If you like history, you'll love this book."
Brian Carter, Amazon Customer

"Exciting page turner that combines action and history. Looking forward to the next one!"
Thomas McCaffrey, Amazon Customer

"I love to read a good history book and have my entire life. I had the good fortune of traveling to Israel with good friends and getting to see and touch a lot of that region's history. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it brought back vivid memories of our trip and the stories and history of Israel. While it's tailored toward young adults, as an older fella I loved it."
Blaine Bull, Amazon Customer

"Window to Yesterday : The Swordsman is a must read. Jeff Lefkowitz has expertly managed to integrate historical research with an engaging storyline. This was a very enjoyable way for me to learn more about aspects of ancient Judea. I think this would benefit all readers both young and old. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to Jeff Lefkowitz's future writing endeavors!"
Amazon Customer

"I'm proof that you don't have to be a young adult or Jewish to love this book. It is exciting, thoughtful, respectful and well researched. Engaging characters and storyline that left me wanting a next installment of adventure. Window to Yesterday is a little time travel/historical fiction/action/adventure all in one. A quick satisfying read for anyone. I would especially recommend this if you have a kid who says they hate to read - this is the book that will get them hooked."
Amazon Customer

The Torchbearer

"Ever wonder what life was like for a Jewish kid during the First Crusade? Well, now you can find out! Weaving in a tremendous amount of research, Jeff Lefkowitz has created a living world that spans both the Muslim and Ashkenazi lands ... What a fabulous addition to the Jewish educational landscape."
Dr. Rachel Lerner, Dean, Graduate Center for Jewish Education, American Jewish University

"The Torchbearer is a beautiful entrĂ©e into the fascinating and often astonishing world of Jewish life during the Middle Ages. Jews traveled more than most other communities, spoke many languages, and served invaluable roles in both the Christian and Muslim worlds. This book brings this universe to life in all its complexity through an engaging narrative with adventure, surprise and intrigue." 
Dr. Reuven Firestone, Regenstein Professor in Medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College and Affiliate Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California

"Once again, Jeff Lefkowitz lights the way for teens toward a deeper understanding of Jewish life and history. The Torchbearer, his latest addition to the Window to Yesterday series, is a well-researched, relevant, and marvelous journey. Truly fun to read."
Dr. Bruce Powell, Head Emeritus, de Toledo High School and co-author of Raising A+ Human Beings

"I definitely recommend this book! Teenagers and adults alike will enjoy David's journey. The story unfolds through the eyes of young characters; teenagers will cheer for them and truly connect with them."
Carolyn Kessler, senior at The Emery/Weiner School, Houston, Texas

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