Jewish businessman brings Kabbalah and quantum physics to children



Eduard Shyfrin, scientist, businessman, student of Jewish mysticism and author, is a man of many facets. He attributes his innate curiosity and thirst for knowledge to the 6,000 books that accompanied him as he grew up, crammed together in his parents’ small house in the Ukraine. “We didn’t have any money, but we had a lot of books,” he says with a smile. “My mother was crazy about books.”

Shyfrin was an excellent physics student and was doing a PhD. in metallurgy in 1991. As a successful businessman, he became active in the resurrected Russian-Jewish community after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 and promoted the construction of the Jewish education center in Kiev. Nevertheless, he says: “I was still a long way from Judaism.” In 2002, due to a difficult business situation and health problems, he decided to change his personal lifestyle. “I wasn’t who I was before. I realized that I had to answer certain questions about life and death and God himself. After a conversation with Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, the chief rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine, he decided to become an observer and began studying the Torah, which he continues to this day.

In early 2019, Shyfrin published his first book, From Infinity to Man: The Fundamental Ideas of Kabbalah Within the Framework of Information Theory and Quantum Physics, which introduces readers to the basic principles of Jewish mysticism and its relationship to quantum mechanics.
Later that year his literary career took off with the publication of Traveling with sushi in the land of the spirit, a children’s book that follows the adventures of young Aaron and Stella, siblings transported to the land of the spirit, a fantasy kingdom based on mathematical principles and quantum physics. Similar to several stories from the Bible, the story introduces children to positive values ​​such as hope and courage and helps them deal with fear, indifference, and pride. A mix of morals, physics, and the Bible seems like an unlikely candidate for literary success, but the children’s book has received positive reviews since its release, earning the Independent Press 2020 Distinguished Favorite. Jewish book reviewers enjoyed both the story and the presence of Jewish elements, and general children’s magazine reviewers gave it high marks.

National Geographic for Kids wrote, “This was a fascinating book, and I found a new puzzle on each page. I recommend it to older readers for its thrill and excitement, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. “The Financial Times added that” Shyfrin’s novel wormholes, suicide bombers, the Jewish diaspora, the wave-particle duality, the Nature of God and much more ”and called it a cross between Flatland and The Pilgrim’s Progress. The book is accompanied by pen drawings by Tomislav Tomic, a Croatian illustrator.

Why should Shyfrin write a children’s book? In the explanation of why, another part of Shyfrin is revealed – Grandfather.

“I have three grandchildren,” he says. “I tell them fairy tales because I believe that just teaching morality to children doesn’t work. They are bored, so I tell them fairy tales, and in the story I always hide a moral lesson. I make it myself and it works. ”Shyfrin decided to write his stories down for his grandchildren, but initially had no plans to publish them in book form. He published Traveling with sushi because it is important to get the lessons contained in the stories across to a larger audience.

Shyfrin says Judaism has always valued reading and studying. “Our cornerstones are education and knowledge,” he says. “We don’t know what will become of our children, but we have a duty to introduce them to the world – the world of God, the world of Torah, the world of Jewish history, the world of science and the world of art. Only then will they be able to choose what they will be. “

Real life, he adds, often brings surprises, and parents need to prepare their children to be strong and resilient. The fantasy world of Traveling with sushi in the land of the spirit, shows them how important adaptability and resilience are.

“The children are given the mission to save their country. You have to do your best to overcome difficulties and find inner strength in your soul. That’s what the book is about, ”explains Shyfrin.

Interestingly, he admits that writing a children’s book was far more difficult than writing the complex mysticism work From Infinity to Man. “I had never written novels before,” he says. “It was extremely difficult.”

In his view, the life lessons that children will learn from Traveling with sushi in the land of the spirit helps them to understand themselves and their lives better. To illustrate, he recalls one of his visits to students at a Chabad institution in Moscow.

“I gave a lecture,” he recalls, “and the response was very positive. Then a student asked me, ‘How does studying the Torah and Talmud help me choose a career?’ I replied that the Torah does not tell us whether to become engineers, economists or writers, but by studying the Torah we will develop the right attitude towards the world around us, think logically and develop the ability to make the right judgments and to correct elections. That is the point of my book. “

While the English version of Traveling with sushi has been available on Amazon in both electronic and print formats for some time, Yediot Aharonot Books recently published a Hebrew translation that is now available in Israel, and a Russian version is also in the works. Shyfrin hopes the Hebrew version will be successful in all sectors of Israeli youth – both the observant and the secular.

“This book is secular,” he says. “I am a secular Jew. God is in the book, but this is about our life. It’s for everyone, and I didn’t write it specifically for religious Jews. “

Shyfrin admits that children these days have less time to read – “because they spend a lot of time playing with gadgets, which is not good” – but he remains convinced that children will continue to read quality literature.

Eduard Shyfrin is working hard on a second children’s book as well as an expanded version of his book on Jewish mysticism, using its many different parts to expand people’s understanding and appreciation of science, religion, and the arts.

This article was written in collaboration with Eduard Shyfrin.



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