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[book] Judenstaat
by Simone Zelitch
June 21, 2016
Tor
An alternate history that makes sense
What if, in 1948, a Jewish state was created in Germany
The very place we faced our deaths is where we will build our lives
The flag is made from an Auscwitz striped uniform with a yellow Jewish star in the middle
What happens when you lose everything, but have to go on living, What will you become and do to live?

On April 4th, 1948 the sovereign state of Judenstaat was created in the territory of Saxony, bordering Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia .

Forty years later, Jewish historian Judit Klemmer is making a documentary portraying Judenstaat's history from the time of its founding to the present. She is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband, Hans, a Saxon, shot by a sniper as he conducted the National Symphony. With the grief always fresh, Judit lives a half-life, until confronted by a mysterious, flesh-and-blood ghost from her past who leaves her controversial footage on one of Judenstaat's founding fathers--and a note:
"They lied about the murder."

Judit's research into the footage, and what really happened to Hans, embroils her in controversy and conspiracy, collective memory and national amnesia, and answers far more horrific than she imagined.























[book] You'll Grow Out of It
by Jessi Klein
(head writer of Inside Amy Schumer)
July 2016
Grand Central Publishing
Does the Victoria's Secret catalog make you feel diqualified from being a woman in America? Does the store make you feel like you are walking into someone else's vagina? Do you obsess over your wedding dress and feel that as a owman you must know how to use the ballet barre
YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT hilariously, and candidly, explores the journey of the twenty-first century woman. As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian Jessi Klein (who wrote for SNL) grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of modern femininity.
In YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her "transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man," attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called "ma'am" and "miss" ("Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds").
Raw, relatable, and consistently hilarious, YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT is a one-of-a-kind book by a singular and irresistible comic voice.


























[book] The Angel
The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel
by Uri Bar-Joseph
(University of Haifa)
August 2016
Harper
A gripping feat of reportage that exposes—for the first time in English—the sensational life and mysterious death of Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian senior official who spied for Israel, offering new insight into the turbulent modern history of the Middle East.
As the son-in-law of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and a close advisor to his successor, Anwar Sadat, Ashraf Marwan had access to the deepest secrets of the country’s government. But Marwan himself had a secret: He was a spy for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. Under the codename “The Angel,” Marwan turned Egypt into an open book for the Israeli intelligence services—and, by ALERTING the Mossad in advance of the joint Egyptian-Syrian attack on Yom Kippur in 1973, saved Israel from a devastating defeat.

Drawing on meticulous research and interviews with many key participants, Uri Bar Joseph pieces together Marwan’s story. In the process, he sheds new light on this volatile time in modern Egyptian and Middle Eastern history, culminating in 2011’s Arab Spring.
Professor Bay-Joseph also chronicles the discord within the Israeli government that brought down Prime Minister Golda Meir.
However, this nail-biting narrative doesn’t end with Israel’s victory in the Yom Kippur War. Marwan eluded Egypt’s ruthless secret services for many years, but then somebody talked. Five years later, in 2007, his body was found in the garden of his London apartment building. Was it suicide in London? Did the people whom he swindled in business deals kill him? Was it Egyptian spies who killed him?
Scotland Yard suspected he had been thrown from his fifth-floor balcony, and thanks to explosive new evidence, Bar-Joseph can finally reveal who, how, and why (or does he?).




















[book] The Book of Esther
A Novel
by Emily Barton
June 14, 2016
Tim Duggan Books
What if an empire of Jewish warriors that really existed in the Middle Ages had never fallen—and was the only thing standing between Hitler and his conquest of Russia?
Eastern Europe, August 1942. The Khazar kaganate, an isolated nation of Turkic warrior Jews, lies between the Pontus Euxinus (the Black Sea) and the Khazar Sea (the Caspian). It also happens to lie between a belligerent nation to the west that the Khazars call Germania—and a city the rest of the world calls Stalingrad.
After years of Jewish refugees streaming across the border from Europa, fleeing the war, Germania launches its siege of Khazaria. Only Esther, the daughter of the nation’s chief policy adviser, sees the ominous implications of Germania's disregard for Jewish lives. Only she realizes that this isn’t just another war but an existential threat. After witnessing the enemy warplanes’ first foray into sovereign Khazar territory, Esther knows she must fight for her country. But as the elder daughter in a traditional home, her urgent question is how.
Before daybreak one fateful morning, she embarks on a perilous journey across the open steppe. She seeks a fabled village of Kabbalists who may hold the key to her destiny: their rumored ability to change her into a man so that she may convince her entire nation to join in the fight for its very existence against an enemy like none Khazaria has ever faced before.
The Book of Esther is a profound saga of war, technology, mysticism, power, and faith. This novel—simultaneously a steampunk Joan of Arc and a genre-bending tale of a counterfactual Jewish state by a writer who invents worlds “out of Calvino or Borges” (The New Yorker)—is a stunning achievement. Reminiscent of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, The Book of Esther reaffirms Barton’s place as one of her generation’s most gifted storytellers.






















[book] SHYLOCK IS MY NAME
A Novel
By Howard Jacobson
February 2016
Hogarth
They say Jacobson is one of the greatest writers of our time. All I can tell you is that from the first paragraph, reading this book draws you in and the wave of language is overwhelmingly fabulous.
Man Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson brings his singular brilliance to this modern re-imagining of one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable characters: Shylock

Winter, a cemetery, Shylock. In this provocative and profound interpretation of “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock is juxtaposed against his present-day counterpart in the character of art dealer and conflicted father Simon Strulovitch. With characteristic irony, Jacobson presents Shylock as a man of incisive wit and passion, concerned still with questions of identity, parenthood, anti-Semitism and revenge. While Strulovich struggles to reconcile himself to his daughter Beatrice's “betrayal” of her family and heritage – as she is carried away by the excitement of Manchester high society, and into the arms of a footballer notorious for giving a Nazi salute on the field – Shylock alternates grief for his beloved wife with rage against his own daughter's rejection of her Jewish upbringing. Culminating in a shocking twist on Shylock’s demand for the infamous pound of flesh, Jacobson’s insightful retelling examines contemporary, acutely relevant questions of Jewish identity while maintaining a poignant sympathy for its characters and a genuine spiritual kinship with its antecedent—a drama which Jacobson himself considers to be “the most troubling of Shakespeare’s plays for anyone, but, for an English novelist who happens to be Jewish, also the most challenging.”




















[book] WHY BE JEWISH
A TESTAMENT
BY EDGAR M. BRONFMAN
Hachette / Twelve
March 2016
Edgar Bronfman's clarion call to a generation of secular, disaffected and unaffiliated Jews, WHY BE JEWISH? addresses the most critical question confronting Judaism worldwide. Completed in December 2013, just weeks before he passed away, WHY BE JEWISH? expresses Edgar Bronfman's awe, respect, and deep love for his faith and heritage. Bronfman walks readers through the major tenets and ideas in Jewish life, fleshing out their meaning and offering proof texts from the Jewish tradition gleaned over his many years of study with some of the greatest teachers in the Jewish world. In WHY BE JEWISH?, with honesty, poignancy, and passion, Bronfman shares insights gleaned from his own personal journey and makes a compelling case for the meaning and transcendence of a secular Judaism that is still steeped in deep moral values, authentic Jewish texts, and a focus on deed over creed or dogma.























[book] CASTING LOTS
Creating a Family in a
Beautiful Broken World
by Rabbi Susan Silverman
March 2016
Da Capo Press
On Purim, we recall the casting of lots to determine the date of destruction…
As a child, Susan Silverman was surrounded by a loving family in New Hampshire; although her parents weren't happily married, they were devoted to their kids. In a vibrant, funny, voice (think Anne Lamott meets Katrina Kenison), Rabbi Silverman tells of a family's evolution — from her parents' devastating loss of their infant son to raising bright and wildly unique daughters.
It's also the creation story of her own family — raising her own bright and wildly unique daughters and taking a journey to adopt two boys from Ethiopia.
It is a story of her road to the rabbinate (I mean how do you go to HUC in Jerusalem and not know Hebrew ?? hehe). It is meditation on identity, faith, and belonging, peppered with laugh-out-loud moments. It will make you laugh. It will make you mad at the Bet Din in DC. It will make you wonder about omens and plans (Was a child found in Adar on Purim?)
Casting Lots will resonate with anyone who has struggled to find their place in the world, to understand the significance of that place, and to sustain a family amid the world's chaos.
Note: You can see why her younger sister, Sarah Silverman, became a cutting edge comedian





















[book] Groucho Marx
The Comedy of Existence
by Lee Siegel
Yale University Press
Jewish Lives series
January 2016
Born Julius Marx in 1890, the brilliant comic actor who would later be known as Groucho was the most verbal of the famed comedy team, the Marx Brothers, his broad slapstick portrayals elevated by ingenious wordplay and double entendre. In his spirited biography of this beloved American iconoclast, Lee Siegel views the life of Groucho through the lens of his work on stage, screen, and television. The author uncovers the roots of the performer’s outrageous intellectual acuity and hilarious insolence toward convention and authority in Groucho’s early upbringing and Marx family dynamics.

The first critical biography of Groucho Marx to approach his work analytically, this fascinating study draws unique connections between Groucho’s comedy and his life, concentrating primarily on the brothers’ classic films as a means of understanding and appreciating Julius the man. Unlike previous uncritical and mostly reverential biographies, Siegel’s “bio-commentary” makes a distinctive contribution to the field of Groucho studies by attempting to tell the story of his life in terms of his work, and vice versa.















[book] ZAHAV
A World of Israeli Cooking
by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook
October 2015
HMH
The James Beard Award–winning chef and co-owner of Philadelphia's Zahav restaurant reinterprets the glorious cuisine of Israel for American home kitchens.
Ever since he opened Zahav in 2008, chef Michael Solomonov has been turning heads with his original interpretations of modern Israeli cuisine, attracting notice from the New York Times, Bon Appétit, ("an utter and total revelation"), and Eater ("Zahav defines Israeli cooking in America").
Zahav showcases the melting-pot cooking of Israel, especially the influences of the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. Solomonov's food includes little dishes called mezze, such as the restaurant's insanely popular fried cauliflower; a hummus so ethereal that it put Zahav on the culinary map; and a pink lentil soup with lamb meatballs that one critic called "Jerusalem in a bowl." It also includes a majestic dome of Persian wedding rice and a whole roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate and chickpeas that's a celebration in itself. All Solomonov's dishes are brilliantly adapted to local and seasonal ingredients.
Zahav tells an authoritative and personal story of how Solomonov embraced the food of his birthplace. With its blend of technique and passion, this book shows readers how to make his food their own.

Highlights include “My Mom's Coffee-Braised Brisket” (unfortunately brisket is no longer cheap... my grandmother made her brisket with carrots, potatoes, and Heinz Chili Sauce... My mother added coffee – she doesnt remember wh, but she's pretty brilliant, actually. Unlike stock... that takes hours to make, coffee is ready in minutes. And its deep roasted flavors work really well with beef (coffee makes a great addition to bbq sauce, too.) I add cardamom to evole Turkish coffee. I've also replaced the sweetness of that chili sauce with dried apricots....); Israeli Salas with Mango, Cucumber, and Sumac Onions; Tehina (The Secret Sauce); and Hummus.
Chapters include (1) Tehina (The Secret Sauce); (2) Salatim; (3) Beyond Chicken Soup; (4) My Grandmoter's Borekas; (5) Mezze; (6) Live Fire; (7) Ben Gurion's Rice; (8)Mesibah (Party Time); (9) Milk and Honey.
f









[book] The Catskills:
Its History and How It Changed America
by Stephen M. Silverman and Raphael D. Silver
Knopf
October 2015
The Catskills (“Cat Creek” in Dutch), America’s original frontier, northwest of New York City, with its seven hundred thousand acres of forest land preserve and its five counties—Delaware, Greene, Sullivan, Ulster, Schoharie; America’s first great vacationland; the subject of the nineteenth-century Hudson River School paintings that captured the almost godlike majesty of the mountains and landscapes, the skies, waterfalls, pastures, cliffs . . . refuge and home to poets and gangsters, tycoons and politicians, preachers and outlaws, musicians and spiritualists, outcasts and rebels . . .
Stephen Silverman and Raphael Silver tell of the turning points that made the Catskills so vital to the development of America: Henry Hudson’s first spotting the distant blue mountains in 1609; the New York State constitutional convention, resulting in New York’s own Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and its own constitution, causing the ire of the invading British army . . . the Catskills as a popular attraction in the 1800s, with the construction of the Catskill Mountain House and its rugged imitators that offered WASP guests “one-hundred percent restricted” accommodations (“Hebrews will knock vainly for admission”), a policy that remained until the Catskills became the curative for tubercular patients, sending real-estate prices plummeting and the WASP enclave on to richer pastures . . .
Here are the gangsters (Jack “Legs” Diamond and Dutch Schultz, among them) who sought refuge in the Catskill Mountains, and the resorts that after World War II catered to upwardly mobile Jewish families, giving rise to hundreds of hotels inspired by Grossinger’s, the original “Disneyland with knishes”—the Concord, Brown’s Hotel, Kutsher’s Hotel, and others—in what became known as the Borscht Belt and Sour Cream Alps, with their headliners from movies and radio (Phil Silvers, Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle, et al.), and others who learned their trade there, among them Moss Hart (who got his start organizing summer theatricals), Sid Caesar, Lenny Bruce, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and Joan Rivers.
Here is a nineteenth-century America turning away from England for its literary and artistic inspiration, finding it instead in Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and his childhood recollections (set in the Catskills) . . . in James Fenimore Cooper’s adventure-romances, which provided a pastoral history, describing the shift from a colonial to a nationalist mentality . . . and in the canvases of Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Frederick Church, and others that caught the grandeur of the wilderness and that gave texture, color, and form to Irving’s and Cooper’s imaginings.
Here are the entrepreneurs and financiers who saw the Catskills as a way to strike it rich, plundering the resources that had been likened to “creation,” the Catskills’ tanneries that supplied the boots and saddles for Union troops in the Civil War . . . and the bluestone quarries whose excavated rock became the curbs and streets of the fast-growing Eastern Seaboard.
Here are the Catskills brought fully to life in all of their intensity, beauty, vastness, and lunacy.








We mourn the loss of Richard Lakin, who succumbed to wounds inflicted in Jerusalem after a terror attack on a public bus in October. He was the author of TEACHING AS AN ACT OF LOVE. Thoughts and Recollections of a Former Teacher, Principal and Kid.





Mazal Tov to the winners of the Jewish Book Council's Jewish Book Awards Click Here to See The Winners and the Finalists






The deli... a place where uncouth could be uncouth, and waiters could treat customers with complete disdain and arrogance. Made Jewish people feel at home :-)
[book] PASTRAMI ON RYE
An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli
by Ted Merwin
Associate Professor of Religion
and Judaic Studies at Dickinson College
September 2015
NYU Press
For much of the twentieth century, the New York Jewish deli was an iconic institution in both Jewish and American life. As a social space it rivaled—and in some ways surpassed—the synagogue as the primary gathering place for the Jewish community. In popular culture it has been the setting for classics like When Harry Met Sally. And today, after a long period languishing in the trenches of the hopelessly old-fashioned, it is experiencing a nostalgic resurgence.

Pastrami on Rye is the first full-length history of the New York Jewish deli. The deli, argues Ted Merwin, reached its full flowering not in the immigrant period, as some might assume, but in the interwar era, when the children of Jewish immigrants celebrated the first flush of their success in America by downing sandwiches and cheesecake in theater district delis. But it was the kosher deli that followed Jews as they settled in the outer boroughs of the city, and that became the most tangible symbol of their continuing desire to maintain a connection to their heritage. Ultimately, upwardly mobile American Jews discarded the deli as they transitioned from outsider to insider status in the middle of the century. Now contemporary Jews are returning the deli to cult status as they seek to reclaim their cultural identities.

Richly researched and compellingly told, Pastrami on Rye gives us the surprising story of a quintessential New York institution..












[book] The Marriage of Opposites
A Novel
by Alice Hoffman
Simon and Schuster
August 2015
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro—the Father of Impressionism.
Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel’s salvation is their maid Adelle’s belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle’s daughter. But Rachel’s life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father’s business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.
Building on the triumphs of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, set in a world of almost unimaginable beauty, The Marriage of Opposites showcases the beloved, bestselling Alice Hoffman at the height of her considerable powers. Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Frédérick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.















[book] IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT
A NOVEL
BY JUDY BLUME
KNOPF
June 2015
In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. It was 1951-1952 when three plane crashes ended in deaths.

Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, Judy Blume imagines and weaves together a haunting story of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by these disasters. She paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.
We learn of the events from several perspectives. Miri. Her single mother Rusty. Her uncle. Her grandmother. Her best friend Natalie. Christina, a Greek girl in a secret dating relationship with an Irish boy. Passengers on a plane.
In the Unlikely Event is a gripping novel with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume’s unparalleled storytelling.















ON THE ROAD? You mean like the BEATS?
No, ON THE MOVE
Definitely my most favorite greatest read in MAY
[book][book] ON THE MOVE
A Life
by Oliver Sacks, MD, OBE
Knopf
Spring 2015
Is this Oliver Sacks on the cover?
Our favorite writer of narrative medicine?
The guy on the motorcycle?
The guy who used heroin is the same guy who wrote The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat; Mr. Tungsten; A Leg To Stand On; and Hallucinations?

Sadly, Dr. Sacks has terminal cancer. Sacks, 81, wrote an essay in February 2015 in The New York Times that it makes life easier, since you don’t have to worry about world affairs. With limited time on Earth, one focuses on other issues.

“All sorts of generalization are made possible by dealing with population, but one needs the concrete, the particular, the personal, too.”
When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a schoolmaster wrote in his report: “Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far.”
It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going. From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. He recounts his experiences as a wartime youth in England, the victim of beatings from a sadistic headmaster, a homosexual teen in the days when gays like Alan Turing were imprisoned, castrated, or hounded to death, a young neurologist in the early 1960s, a kibbutznik in the 1950s, his travels in Canada, his internship at Zion in San Francisco, his motorcycles, his drug addiction, his travels across the USA, truck drivers, more motorcycles, muscle beach weight lifting, his parents, his brother's psychosis and schizoid outbursts, and his arrival in New York City, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back hospital wards. He also explores his sex and love affairs, his lack of sex and love affairs, his time at the YMCA in SF (knock knock), his sexless midlife, his mother who wished he had not been born when he said he was gay in the 1950s, Yosemite, and the heart he broke. Along the way we see how his engagement, attachment, and detachment with patients and his inabilities to believe, belong and bond with friends have come to define his life.

With unbridled honesty and humor, Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions — weight lifting and swimming — also drives his cerebral passions. I KEPT A PIECE OF PAPER TO WRITE DOWN THE GREAT WORDS HE USES. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual; his guilt over leaving his family to come to America; his bond with his schizophrenic brother; and the writers and scientists — Thom Gunn, A. R. Luria, W. H. Auden, Gerald M. Edelman, Francis Crick — who influenced him.
On the Move is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer — one who is loved for his portrayals of patients, as well as hated and vilified by others who find them exploitative and insensitive - and of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.
Oh, did I mention that his cousin is the late Abba Eban?
















[book] THE SOUND OF OUR STEPS
A NOVEL
By Ronit Matalon,
Translated by Dalya Bilu
April 2015
Metropolitan Books

Gorgeously observed and emotionally powerful, The Sound of Our Steps is an inventive novel of immigration and exile from Ronit Matalon, a major voice in contemporary Israeli fiction
In the beginning there was Lucette, who is the mother to three children—Sammy, a gentle giant, almost blind, but a genius with locks; Corinne, a flighty beauty who cannot keep a job; and "the child," an afterthought, who strives to make sense of her fractured Egyptian-Jewish immigrant family. Lucette's children would like a kinder, warmer home, but what they have is a government-issued concrete box, out in the thorns and sand on the outskirts of Tel Aviv; and their mother, hard-worn and hardscrabble, who cleans homes by night and makes school lunches by day. Lucette quarrels with everybody, speaks only Arabic and French, is scared only of snakes, and is as likely to lock her children out as to take in a stray dog.
The child recounts her years in Lucette's house, where Israel's wars do not intrude and hold no interest. She puzzles at the mysteries of her home, why Maurice, her father, a bitter revolutionary, makes only rare appearances. And why her mother rebuffs the kind rabbi whose home she cleans in his desire to adopt her. Always watching, the child comes to fill the holes with conjecture and story.
In a masterful accumulation of short, dense scenes, by turns sensual, violent, and darkly humorous, The Sound of Our Steps questions the virtue of a family bound only by necessity, and suggests that displacement may not lead to a better life, but perhaps to art.













[book] THE BOSTON GIRL
A Novel
by Anita Diamant
December 09, 2014
Scribner
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes an unforgettable novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century.
Addie Baum is The Boston Girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine—a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love.
Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her “How did you get to be the woman you are today.” She begins in 1915, the year she found her voice and made friends who would help shape the course of her life. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naïve girl she was and a wicked sense of humor.
Written with the same attention to historical detail and emotional resonance that made Anita Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.
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[book] TEL AVIV NOIR
A Collection of stories
Edited by Etgar Keret and Assaf Gavron
October 2014
Akashic
Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched with the summer 2004 award-winning best seller Brooklyn Noir.
Each book is comprised of all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city. For Tel Aviv Noir, Etgar Keret and Assaf Gavron have masterfully assembled some of Israel's top contemporary writers into a compulsively readable collection.

From the introduction by Etgar Keret:
"In spite of its outwardly warm and polite exterior, Tel Aviv has quite a bit to hide. At any club, most of the people dancing around you to the sounds of a deep-house hit dedicated to peace and love have undergone extensive automatic-weapons training and a hand-grenade tutorial...The workers washing the dishes in the fluorescent-lit kitchen of that same club are Eritrean refugees who have crossed the Egyptian border illegally, along with a group of bedouins smuggling some high-quality hash, which the deejay will soon be smoking on his little podium, right by the busy dance floor filled with drunks, coked-up lawyers, and Ukrainian call girls whose pimp keeps their passports in a safe two streets away. Don't get me wrong--Tel Aviv is a lovely, safe city. Most of the time, for most of its inhabitants. But the stories in this collection describe what happens the rest of the time, to the rest of its inhabitants. From one last cup of coffee at a café targeted by a suicide bomber, through repeat visits from a Yiddish-speaking ghost, to an organized tour of mythological crime scenes that goes terribly wrong, the stories of Tel Aviv Noir reveal the concealed, scarred face of this city that we love so much."
Featuring brand-new stories by:
Etgar Keret,
Gadi Taub,
Lavie Tidhar,
Deakla Keydar,
Matan Hermoni,
Julia Fermentto,
Gon Ben Ari,
Shimon Adaf,
Alex Epstein,
Antonio Ungar,
Gai Ad,
Assaf Gavron,
Silje Bekeng, and
Yoav Katz.
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SPEAKING OF ASSAF GAVRON!

[book] THE HILLTOP
A Novel
By Assaf Gavron
October 28, 2014
Scribner
Hailed as “The Great Israeli Novel” (Time Out Tel Aviv) and winner of the prestigious Bernstein Prize, The Hilltop is a monumental and daring work about life in a West Bank settlement from one of Israel’s most acclaimed young novelists.
On a rocky, beautiful hilltop stands Ma’aleh Hermesh C, a fledgling community flying under the radar. According to the government it doesn’t exist; according to the military it must be defended.
On this contested land, Othniel Assis—under the wary gaze of the neighboring Palestinian village—plants asparagus, arugula, and cherry tomatoes, and he installs goats—and his ever-expanding family. As Othniel cheerfully manipulates government agencies, more settlers arrive, and, amid a hodge-podge of shipping containers and mobile homes, the outpost takes root.
One of the settlement’s steadfast residents is Gabi Kupper, a one-time free spirit and kibbutz-dweller, who undergoes a religious awakening. The delicate routines of Gabi’s new life are thrown into turmoil with the sudden arrival of Roni, his prodigal brother, who, years after venturing to America in search of fortune, arrives at Gabi’s door, penniless. To the settlement’s dismay, Roni soon hatches a plan to sell the “artisanal” olive oil from the Palestinian village to Tel Aviv yuppies. When a curious Washington Post correspondent stumbles into their midst, Ma’aleh Hermesh C becomes the focus of an international diplomatic scandal and faces its greatest test yet.
By turns serious and satirical, The Hilltop brilliantly skewers the complex, often absurd reality of life in Israel, the West Bank settlers, and the nation's relationship to the United States, and makes a startling parallel between today’s settlements and the kibbutz movement of Gabi and Roni’s youth. Rich with humor and insight, Assaf Gavron’s novel is the first fiction to grapple with one of the most charged geo-political issues of our time, and he has written a masterpiece.
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[book] Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?
A Memoir Hardcover
In Graphic Form
by Roz Chast
May 2014
Bloomsbury USA
In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of her aging Jewish parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.
When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”—with predictable results—the tools that had served Roz well through her parents’ seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.
While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies—an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades—the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.
An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller..
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[book] KHIRBET KHIZEH
A Novel (paperback) by S. Yizhar
Pen name for Yizhar Smilansky (passed away in 2008)
Translated from Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange and Yaacob Dweck
Afterword by David Shulman
FS&G
Considered a modern Hebrew masterpiece, Khirbet Khizeh is an extraordinary and heartbreaking book that is destined to be a classic of world literature. Now, years after its 1949 post-War of Independence publication, it is available in English (published ni the UK in 2011, and now in the USA).

"Exhilarating . . . How often can you say about a harrowing, unquiet book that it makes you wrestle with your soul?" —Neel Mukherjee, The Times (London)

It’s 1948 and the Arab villagers of Khirbet Khizeh (a fictitious village) are about to be violently expelled from their homes (the author was an intelligence office whose group carried out a similar expulsion).
A young Israeli soldier who is on duty that day finds himself battling on two fronts: with the villagers and, ultimately, with his own conscience (ambivalence, revulsion, complacency, resignation). The ‘operation’ leaves a ‘scar.’
The novella was published just months after the founding of the State of Israel and the end of the 1948 war, the novella Khirbet Khizeh was an immediate sensation when it first appeared. Since then, the book has continued to challenge and disturb, even finding its way onto the school curriculum in Israel. The various debates it has prompted would themselves make Khirbet Khizeh worth reading, but the novella is much more than a vital historical document: it is also a great work of art. Yizhar’s haunting, lyrical style and charged view of the landscape are in many ways as startling as his wrenchingly honest view of modern Israel’s primal scene.
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[book] THE NEW PASSOVER MENU
BY PAULA SHOYER
February 3, 2015
Sterling Epicure
Chef Paula Shoyer is the author of the popular THE HOLIDAY KOSHER BAKER and KOSHER BAKER cookbooks. She resides in the DC area with her husband and four children. The fans of her baking books would ask her about Passover recipes even in the Summer, all around the country, so she decided to write book to answer their recipe questions. She organizes the recipes and stories into eight menus: one for each of the eight nights of Passover. Lunch ideas are also given for each day of the Chag - with page numbers of the mixed and matched recipes provided for your ease.

The eight menus are (1) The Updated Ashkenazic Seder Menu (9 recipes); (2) The International Seder Menu (8 recipes); (3) Shabbat Menu for Passover (5 recipes); (4) Yomtov Menu (8 recipes); (5) French Dairy Menu (4 recipes); (6) Italian Vegetarian Menu (4 recipes); (7) BBQ Dinner Menu (4 recipes); (8) Easy Chicken Menu (4 recipes) – but there is no complementary Hard Chicken Menu; (9) The Passover Breakfast (5 recipes); and (10) DESSERTS, of course (with 15 recipes).

In the Introduction, Shoyer discusses what many see as the Passover Food Oppression, and her mission to provide delicious, inspired, and elegant holiday meals within the dietary and culinary framework or spiritual restrictions of Passover.

Some of the standout recipes for me were:
Banana Haroset, which is gluten free and makes enough for 25 portions. It uses 3 bananas, ground walnuts, apples, wine and more; and Shoyer's gefilte fish gets ge'filled with salmon and served with a slaw of ginger, orange, mango, arugula, and avocado. Shoyer tried so many times to boil gefilte fish from scratch, and once it turned into a fish soup. So she writes, we should save time and stress and use a frozen fish loaf/roll and just enhance it with salmon filets. Her chicken soup adds in chicken meatballs and zucchini spaghetti, while her matzoh balls use ginger and cilantro.
The Peruvian Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde is based on a Peruvian recipe by her friend Betty Supo. She also has a recipe for Brisket Osso Buco (as in the style of veal that one finds in Italian cuisine) She recommends using 2nd cut of brisket, not first cut. Inspired by NYC's kosher Tevere84 restaurant, she adds garlic gremolata to the brisket as a last step. Did I mention that her kugel is of asparagus and zucchini.
The International Seder Menu makes a Middle Eastern Haroset of dates, figs, ginger, zest, wine, fruit, nutmeg and more a la Limor Dector. There are recipes for Sephardic Poached Fish in Pepper Sauce; a Whole Chicken Stuffed with Dried Fruit; Moroccan Spiced Short Ribs; and Gingered Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Two of the four Shabbat Menu rcipes are for Caramelized Onion and Sweet Potato Soup and Smothered Chicken and Sage and Basil.
For Yomtov, Shoyer recommends a Zucchini based soup; Beet and Butternut Squash Salad; Lamb Stew with Mint, Apricots, and Pears; and Coconut Chicken Schnitzel which makes use of matzo cake meal.
Kale leads the French inspired menu with a Kale Caesar Salad. Shoyer lived in Geneva for three Passovers. She includes recipes for Southeastern French-style Gratin Dauphinois with Kosher for Passover Cheese; Ratatouille; and Seared Tuna with Olives and Capers.
The Italian menu pays tribute to her father, Reuben Marcus, who served in Italy during WWII, and her brother who loves eggplant. It includes recipes for a vegetable antipasti; Eggplant Parm; and Pan Seared Zucchini with Garlic. The BBQ menu leads with a Garlic Marinated Steak with Onion Jam. The Easy Chicken Menu highlights a recipe for Chicken Scaloppini with Mushrooms. Very easy.
Some of the Breakfast items are Passover Rolls; Waffles; and Crumb Cake Muffins. The Dessert items – many of which are gluten free - include torts (three of them); two pistachio based rolls; orange tea cake cupcakes; candy; cookies; biscotti; and a Passover Opera Cake (insert a Verdi Nabucco opera joke here?)










[book] PER LA VITA
A CD IN GERMANY BY
von Bejarano & Microphone Mafia (Künstler)
Featuring Esther Bejarano
2010
Esther Béjarano joins MICROPHONE MAFIA to spread the message of tolerance in Germany and Europe through hip-hop. Born in 1924, she is among the last survivors of the Girl orchestra of Auschwitz. Béjarano was born as Esther Loewy as a daughter of the Head Cantor of a Jewish municipality. The father encouraged his daughter to get interested in music and Esther learned to play the piano. At age 15 she had to separate from her parents, in order to prepare for emigration to Palestine. This emigration was thrwarted by the Nazis. She carried out two years of hard labour in Neuendorf Labour Camp close to Fürstenwalde/Spree. On April 20, 1943 all members of the labour camp were deported to Auschwitz. There she had to drag stones until she joined the Girl orchestra of Auschwitz. In the orchestra, she played the accordion. The orchestra had the task of playing for the daily march of the gangs by the camp gate. She survived Auschwitz after escaping in March, 1945. She emigrated to Palestine and returned later to Germany. At the beginning of the 1980s, with her daughter Edna and son Joram, she created the musical group Coincidence. They sing songs from the ghetto and Jewish as well as anti-fascist songs. Béjarano lives today in Hamburg. She is a co-founder and chairman of the Auschwitz Committee and was awarded the Carl-von-Ossietzky medal. She holds the Cross of Merit, First class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
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Not all readers are Leaders. But all Leaders are Readers (Winston Churchill)






























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