Editor’s Preface: So, you are wondering, are these stories true, or are they made up and fiction. Well, as no one reads the author’s preface, and definitely no one reads the editor’s preface, it doesn’t really make a difference what I write here. But as you obviously are reading this, either because you have immensely enjoyed the stories and are very curious and frantically trying to find out, or because you flipped open the book and landed on this page (or because you are totally bored out of your mind, and therefore feel compelled to read this), I will relate to you the following story: Many years ago while I was studying in Rabbi Katz’s Machon Torah Umesorah class, I went over to him after the class and asked him whether The Maggid, which was just published in the Where, What, When, was true. “I never say”, was the reply, which he repeated the following week when I asked again. Fine. I waited two more weeks, and then once again came over to him after class and asked him, <warning: spoiler alert> “So what ever happened to Yerucham? Did he end up becoming a gadol?” “He followed the Maggid and remained a full Torah Yhid, but he didn’t end up becoming a well known gadol, or anyone like that.” Aha, so the story was true. A few years later, Rabbi Katz asked me if I can help him edit his stories and prepare them for publishing them into a book. While I started working on them I kept on asking him whether the stories were historical, which he always empathetically answered, “No, they are not, they are historical fiction”. And yet there was this story that needed to be redone because some of the facts were off, and there was that story which he needed a quick look into Wikipedia just to double check its accuracy. Over time during the many years that we spent together editing and re-editing the stories, I started to understand why Rabbi Katz insisted that they were not historical. To historians, historical books are based on pure history, with every sentence footnoted and sourced, governed by the rules that sanctimonious historians encumber themselves with. If a story is not one hundred percent factual, if an ant sneezed two feet away from where the story said it did, then no genuine historian can lay claim that the story is historical. If it is not exact, then it must be historical fiction. Yet in these stories, Rabbi Katz surpassed the nitty bitty minds of historians. Instead of confining himself to only that which could be factual, he built each story, bringing each one alive through the historical nature of its perspective time. Like an artist, he painted the background, transporting the reader back into history. Whether to the port city of seventeenth century Hamburg or to Jerusalem under the Turkish Sultan, the author uses his expansive knowledge of history to open the eyes and mind of the reader to an era of Judaism, a slice and snapshot of our family in their exotic travels through the chain of events which have created their lives as well as our own. We too can now smell the smells, see the sights and feel the awe that Rodrigo felt in Hamburg, and at the same time feel the despair that is running through Leibl’s mind in Lithuania. We can walk with Moses Montefiore on his travels to better the lives of the entire Klal Yisroel, or live in the cruel Russian barracks with Ephraim Fischel. Through his pen we can peek into the lives of those living in the streets of Pressberg during the struggles between the frum and the secular, and we can feel the pride and strength of standing strong in our beliefs through the harsh winters and governments of Russia. And the stories themselves. Some have been created by the quill while some have been re-transcribed from others. Yet many were built from the research of reading through old obscure history books, and diaries and journals of others that history has long forgotten. Volume by volume, page by page, the author has poured over the annals of history and time. And then piece by piece, from that that labor he has constructed stories that were once whispered in the legends, bringing the past to bear into the future, culminating into the masterpieces that lay before you. <warning: spoiler alert> The heart of The Millionaires came from the reading of a will of an Austrian Jewish millionaire, and yet from there the author filled in and built the drama that seeped out of the wordings of the will, which must have taken place behind the closed curtains. The Eiruv was constructed by reading the diaries of Joseph Hirsch and the memoirs of Rabbiner Hildesheimer. While each one was only aware of that half of the story that occurred to them, the author himself wove the plot together, bringing to light the beauty of how the selfless actions of one Jewish leader can affect the outcome of another, years to come. And even after building the story he continued, as with all of his stories, with each stroke of his paintbrush to fill in all the details and openings, until, like a rainbow, every subplot sparkled and every color in its entirety was in its proper place. Painted, framed, packaged and prepared, with the only purpose and direction for us to take pleasure in and enjoy.