Alfred J. Kolatch, a graduate of the Teachers Institute of Yeshiva University and its College of Liberal Arts, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, which subsequently awarded him the Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa. From 1941 to 1948 he served as rabbi of congregations in Columbia, South Carolina, and Kew Gardens, New York, and as a chaplain in the United States Army. In 1948 he founded Jonathan David Publishers, of which he has since been president and editor-in-chief.
Rabbi Kolatch has authored numerous books, the most popular of which are Great Jewish Quotations, How to Live a Jewish Life, What Jews Say About God, This Is the Torah, and the best-selling Jewish Book of Why and its sequel, The Second Jewish Book of Why. Several of his works deal with nomenclature, about which he is an acknowledged authority. The New Name Dictionary and The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names are his most recent works on the subject. Other books by the author include Our Religion: The Torah, The Jewish Heritage Quiz Book, The Jewish Mourner's Book of Why, Who's Who in the Talmud, and The Family Seder.
In addition to his scholarly work, Rabbi Kolatch is interested in the work of the military chaplaincy and has served as president of the Association of Jewish Chaplains of the Armed Forces and as vice-president of the interdenominational Military Chaplains Association of the United States. Born in Casablanca, Morocco, Harry Araten grew up, studied, and worked in New York City. Currently residing in Israel with his wife, Rachel, and their children, he is the illustrator of The Jewish Child's First Book of Why, Classic Bible Stories for Jewish Children, and Welcome, Baby!