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David Block’s Guide to the 613 Mitzvot Will Be Displayed at the 2023 L.A. Times Festival of Books

Despite his blindness, David Yehuda Block has done extensive work as a freelance journalist and documentary producer. At the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books 2023, he’ll be showcasing something a bit more personal. His new book, “Understanding the 613 Mitzvot,” is his 11-year labor of love in creating a study guide for the Torah.

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“David Block has shown through his own persistence what a love of learning can produce and has given us a document which will help others to follow in that path. The language is tight and well organized, directly to the point, and hitting the essentials of each Commandment. David Block has made a real contribution to the world of Jewish learning.” - Rabbi Gary Charlestein

The L.A. Times’ Festival of Books, which will take place on April 22-23, 2023, at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, is all about being an inclusive opportunity for authors from a wide range of backgrounds, including the disabled. Among them is David Yehuda Block, author of “Understanding the 613 Mitzvot.

Despite being blind since birth, Block has spent 30 successful years as a documentary producer and freelance journalist. He has written articles for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Runner’s Gazette, just to name a few. Much of his work had even landed him interviews with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Lee Majors, David Sanborn, and more.

But for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, however, Block will be sharing something a little more personal that also took him over a decade to complete.

“Understanding the 613 Mitzvot” is Block’s own attempt at a Torah study companion. Because alongside his time studying at Temple University, Block was also a student at Aish HaTorah Yeshiva based in Jerusalem. During that time, however, he struggled with the traditional mitzvot readings. The experience inspired him to create a study tool to ensure future generations of Torah scholars won’t be discouraged by the same challenges.

The book covers all 613 mitvot derived from the Torah and presents each one in a manner that is easily readable. As with any study of ancient religious texts, the biggest challenge is reading them through numerous lenses, such as those of culture, history, tradition, ethics, spirituality, and more. Block hopes to save time on the task by outlining the essentials of each mitzvah.

Visitors to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will find David Y. Block’s “Understanding the 613 Mitzvot” displayed at self-publishing and book marketing company ReadersMagnet’s exhibit at booth #225. It is also available on Amazon. Make sure to visit the exhibit and purchase a copy on Amazon.

To learn more about David Y. Block, please visit his website:

“Understanding the 613 Mitzvot”
Author | David Y. Block
Published date | October 29, 2021
Publisher | Independently published
Genre | Judaism

Author Bio
For over 30 years, David Block has worked as a documentary producer/director and a freelance journalist. He is also legally blind and has been that way since birth.

As a freelance journalist, he has over 1500 articles published in a variety of publications such as, The New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jazz Journal International, Runner’s World, Running Times, Runner’s Gazette, and dozens of local magazines, newspapers and websites. During his extensive career, he has interviewed high profile athletes, celebrities, government agents, and musicians such as Kobe Bryant, Bill Cosby, Joe Frazier, Florence Henderson, Bruce Jenner, Lee Majors, Sarah Palin’s parents – Charles & Sally Heath-, David Sanborn, McCoy Tyner, and Grover Washington, Jr. He has never shied away from difficult assignments and never missed a deadline. To date, he has made eight documentaries, many of which have been televised and screened at film festivals; some have won film festival awards.

In December 2017, David Block earned his Masters’ Degree in Journalism at Temple University, Philadelphia. In April 2016, the Journalism department at Temple University awarded him David the Lori Schipper Scholarship for Distinguished Achievement in journalism.

In 2020, David Block began teaching journalism to night school students at Main Line School Night.

In 2021, David Block’s first book, “Understanding The 613 Mitzvot,” was published. It took him 11 years to write and complete this challenging book.

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