I Believe: The Story of One Jewish Life

5.00 out of 5
(3 customer reviews)



In the annals of Jewish literature, I BELIEVE by Leibel Zisman will find a unique place. For this is a most remarkable story – the story of ud mutzal m’aish, a burning ember which remains standing, smoldering, after a disastrous fire.
Leibel Zisman was a little sapling, flourishing in the Jewish paradise that was Kovno, Lita, nourished by a Torah-observant community famed for its acts of loving- kindness. In the blink of an eye it all changed, when World War II broke out. The Russians marched in and set up Communist rule in Kovno, followed by the Germans, who herded the Jews into a ghetto. After several years of depravations and horrors, during which he witnessed his father and little brother taken by the Nazis, little Leibel, just 13 years old, was shoved onto a cattle-train … for the long journey to Auschwitz. Yet he survived this, miraculously, all the while clinging to his roots and to his faith. From the ashes of the Holocaust, the little sapling emerged a living, breathing smoldering ember – scorched and darkened by unspeakable loss and pain, nearly dead, but still very much alive, full of hidden fire and passion, waiting for a bit of fresh air to fan the hidden sparks and bring his soul to life.
This is the story of Leibel Zisman’s life … how he grew up, how he survived, and how he never lost his faith … and how, once liberated, he made his way to America where, with the help of God, he succeeded in helping to rebuild New York.
This is a story like no other, a story of faith against the odds, a story of horrible suffering and indescribable joy, a story that will make you weep, laugh and rejoice at the gift of life.

Additional Information

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.25 in

3 reviews for I Believe: The Story of One Jewish Life

  1. 5 out of 5


    I would like to nominate Reb Leibel Zisman for Chevramahn of the Year.
    He is a Holocaust survivor, who at the age of 15 had only one brother left in the world– Berel, age 17.
    He is a chossid of the Frierdiker Rebbe, who upon his father’s insistence received a brachah to survive (the only other person in his family to receive that brachah was his brother Berel).
    And he is a businessman. Arriving in this country as a penniless orphan, he was determined to succeed. He constantly looked for ways to make money – and found them, even if it meant rejuvenating a steak that had been dumped in the trash. His business advice alone is worth the price of the book.
    He got married and raised a beautiful family, and became a generous baal tzedakah.
    And now, at last, with the help of Mendel Jacobson, he wrote his can’t-put-it-down life story in a book entitled I Believe.
    There are books that have made me cry. There are books that have made me laugh. I Believe by Reb Leibel Zisman did both – and also taught me the true meaning of the word chevramahn, a Yiddish word that defies translation.
    Mendel Jacobson, who transcribed Reb Leibel Zisman’s memoirs and helped make this book a reality, says, “Picture a vibrant gentleman in his late 70s and a naive writer in his early 20s, sitting across from each other in a wood-paneled study lined with holy books. This is how I spent my Wednesdays mornings for the better part of a year. It wasn’t a project, but a projection of what I could be. I wasn’t interviewing another person, but viewing myself through the prism of what it means to build the warmest fire out of the coldest ashes. From Leibel Zisman and his book, I Believe, I took so much more than I could ever give.”
    Thank you, Mendel. You gave us a book that is more precious than gold. I have bought it for my children and grandchildren, and for many friends. Even yeshivah bochurim have been known to read this book and love it.

  2. 5 out of 5


    I read an article about this book in a magazine. I was intrigued, ordered the book, and within days I had it and began reading it. I have to force myself to put it down and go to work. It is wonderfully written, and truly inspiring. It is wonderful.

  3. 5 out of 5


    I agree with every word the above reviewer wrote & could not have written it better myself. This is an amazing book, a must-read for every Jewish soul (and certainly for chabadniks), but I believe non-Jews would be inspired by it as well (though they may have to refer to the appendix for explanations of various Hebrew/Yiddish terms and religious concepts). I’m so glad Leibel Zisman shared his story prior to his passing. (As I know the family, I laughed at the old family photos, especially his brother Berel’s wedding photo in which I would never have recognized him!) As the above reviewer noted, this book will make you cry through the first half and laugh through the second! My compliments to Mendel Jacobson who transcribed this memoir, as he obviously did an outstanding job! Thank You!

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