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Welcome to our pages of Sprin 2010 and Winter 2010 and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com

SOME SPRING 2010 BOOK READINGS


Mar 02, 2010: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi. Columbia Univ 6pm NYC
Mar 07, 2010: Songs We Much Sing and Little Understand. (Ma’oz Tsur, Adon Olam, Unetaneh Tokef, and other Middle Age piyyutim) with Rabbi Daniel Goldfarb. At Skirball Center NYC
Mar 07, 2010: Rabbi Marc Angel reads from Maimonides, Spinoza and Us. Congregation Shearith Israel, NYC UWS
Mar 07, 2010: Rabbi Hayyim Angel reads from Revealed Texts, Hidden meanings. Congregation Shearith Israel, NYC UWS
Mar 08, 2010: Jewish Book Council awards 2009 Jewish Book Awards. (JewishBooks.org) NYC
Mar 09, 2010: Jewish Book Council awards 2009 Jewish Book Awards. (JewishBooks.org) NYC
Mar 10, 2010: Book Party for The Royal Table by Rabbi Normal Lamm. The Jewish Center, NYC UWS
Mar 13, 2010; Book launch party for Yehuda Avner’s “The Prime Ministers” Jerusalem Great Synagogue, Jerusalem, Israel
Mar 14, 2010: The JOFA Conference,(Jewish Orthodox Feminists) Columbia University, NYC Jofa.Org
Mar 17, 2010: Rabbi David Aaron on the God Powered Life. B&N NYC UWS 7PM
Mar 21, 2010: Arnold Eisen (JTS) and Rabbi Harold Kushner discuss the pubication of Milton Steinberg’s “The Prophet’s Wife” Steinberg authored “As a Driven leaf.“ NYC Park Avenue Synagogue, 4PM
Mar 23, 2010: Lecture on Taverns and the Jewish Liquor Business in 19th C. Poland. Ctr for Jewish History, NYC 6 PM
Mar 24, 2010: Andre Aciman (Out of Egypt) reads from Eight White Nights. B&N NYC UWS 7PM
Mar 24, 2010: Jeff Garlin reads My FOOTPRINT. B&N Huntington Beach CA 7PM
Mar 31, 2010: The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, to be presented to Sarah Abrevaya Stein for PLUMES, and Kenneth B. Moss for JEWISH RENAISSANCE IN THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION. King David Hotel, Jerusalem

Apr 07, 2010: Jesse Kellerman reads from The Executor. B&N Farmers Market LA
Apr 09, 2010: Joel Chasnoff, author of the 188th Crybaby Brigade, speaks at JCY BBYO Conference in Easton, PA
Apr 12, 2010: NYU Law Tikvah Public Lectures features Professor James Kugel (Harvard, Bar Ilan, NYU) speaking on Judaism: An Odd Sort of Religion of Laws. 6PM
Apr 13, 2010: Alice Walker reads from Overcoming Speechlessness in which she decries what she thinks is the trauma inflicted on Gaza. 92nd St Y. NYC
Apr 14, 2010: Joel Chasnoff, author of the 188th Crybaby Brigade at 92nd St Y with AJ Jacobs. NYC
Apr 16-17, 2010: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks at Lincoln Sq Synagogue. NYC
Apr 20, 2010: Marilyn Berger reads from This is A Soul: Dr. Rick Hodes B&N UWS NYC
Apr 21, 2010: Jesse Kellerman reads from The Executor. B&N University / Seattle
Apr 26- May 02 2010: Pen American Center Voice of World Literature Festival will feature several Jewish and Israeli authors, NYC
Apr 28, 2010: Beth Greenfield reads from Ten Minutes From Home B&N UWS NYC

May 02-06, 2010: International Writers Conference. Jerusalem, Israel. Featuring Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Kraus, Yu Hua, Senel Paz, Hussein Serag, Amos Oz, A B Yehoshua, David Grossman, Amitav Ghosh, M Atwood, Daniel Mendelsohn, and more
May 03, 2010: Jerusalem cycle conserts and lecture. Lincoln Center NYC
May 05, 2010: Pearl Abraham reads from American Taliban, a novel. B&N NYC UWS 7PM
May 13, 2010: Frederick Reiken reads from DAY FOR NIGHT, a novel. B&N Livingston NJ
May 24, 2010: Kai Bird reads from Crossing Mendelbaum‘s Gate. Museum of Jewish Heritage NYC
May 24, 2010: Book Launch party for KEEP YOUR WIVES AWAY FROM THEM – Anthology of Orthodox Jewish Lesbians. JCC UWS NYC
May 25, 2010: DanI Shapiro and Judith Shulevitz on Rest and Restlessness. Congregation BJ, NYC UWS
May 26, 2010: Joshua Braff reads from Peep Show, a novel. B&N NYC UWS 7PM
May 26, 2010: Barbra Streisand and her memoirs. Keynote at BEA in NYC
May 27-28, 2010: BEA in NYC

June 5-12, 2010: Trip to Israel. Israel Behind the Headlines w/ Gary Rosenblatt, Editor and Publisher of The NY Jewish Week newspaper. GilTravel.com
June 10, 2010: YIVO reception for the Yivo Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe








Interested in a prayer book siddur in development for religious Jewish skeptical atheists? Visit http://www.religiousatheist.com/english_site.html for a download of the work in progress by Tzemieh Yoreh


[book] THE SABBATH WORLD
GLIMPSES OF A DIFFERENT ORDER OF TIME
BY JUDITH SHULEVITZ
March 2010, Random House
Perhaps not since Heschel's The Sabbath, has an author presented a simple deeply informative narrative on the meaning of rest and the Sabbath.
The book open with her recalling how she moved from Detroit, as a child, to Puerto Rico, from a large house to a small apartment, On Saturdays whe would curl up in a corner near the freezer that they had to store kosher meat that was flown in from the USA. This solitude and space was her Sabbath, this space in time and this space in the kitchen. Her mother, on the other hand, loved the conservative synagogue in San Juan. What about it mitigated her lonliness? Ten year‘s ago the author became obsessed with the Sabbath. She read Heschel fables, but slung to Eiatar Zerubavel‘s “The Seven Day Cycle“ more. She wanted to understand her week, its shape, its values. It was then that she wanted to write a book. This is it. She is no longer ambivalent towards the seventh day.
The Sabbath is not just the holy day of rest. It’s also a utopian idea about a less pressured, more sociable, purer world. Where did this notion come from? Is there value in withdrawing from the world one day in seven, despite its obvious inconvenience in an age of convenience? And what will be lost if the Sabbath goes away?
In this erudite, elegantly written book, critic Judith Shulevitz weaves together histories of the Jewish and Christian sabbaths, speculations on the nature of time, and a rueful account of her personal struggle with the day. Shulevitz has found insights into the Sabbath in both cultural and contemporary sources—the Torah, the Gospels, the Talmud, and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, as well as in the poetry of William Wordsworth, the life of Sigmund Freud, and the science of neuropsychology. She tells stories of martyrdom by Jews who died en masse rather than fight on the Sabbath and describes the feverish Sabbatarianism of the American Puritans. And she counterposes the tyranny of religious law with the equally oppressive tyranny of the clock. Can we really flourish under the yoke of communal  discipline, as preachers and rabbis like to tell us? What about being free to live as we please? Can we preserve what the Sabbath gives us—a time outside time—without following its rules?
Whatever our faith or lack thereof, this rich and resonant meditation on the day of rest will remind us of the danger of letting time drive us heedlessly forward without ever stopping to reflect. Shulevitz writes for Slate and the NYT, The New Yorker and New Republic. She is the spouse of Nicholas Lemann.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] RAPTURE READY
ADVENTURES IN THE PARALLEL UNIVERSE OF CHRISTIAN POP CULTURE
BY DANIEL RADOSH
March 2010, Soft Skull Press
Booklist writes, “Organized as a series of adventures,” Radosh’s entertaining, often enlightening guide to a $7 billion industry cruises through the complex, diverse world of Christian pop culture. It drops into a Christian retail show in Denver; the Holy Land Experience, a biblical theme park near Orlando, Florida; The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Thomas Nelson, one of the largest Christian publishers in the U.S.; the ostensible “granddaddy of the alternative fest,” Cornerstone Festival outside Peoria, Illinois; Christian comedy clubs and tours; and the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky. It also discusses, among other topics, Christian bookstores, the flourishing Christian children’s and teenage markets, and Christian music. The Jewish Radosh, who writes regularly for the New Yorker, the New York Times, and similarly secular publications, approaches the subject as if he were on an anthropological expedition, interviewing countless people, taking careful notes, and offering thoughtful observations. He takes his role of reporter in an unfamiliar land seriously, yet he isn’t afraid to use his well-honed wit to good advantage.”
"Funny, revealing, and descriptively titled."-- Esquire
"Goes beyond mockery to engage seriously with Christian believers who make, consume, and even criticize Christian pop culture."-- TheAtlantic.com
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] IN A DARK WOOD
A NOVEL
BY MARCEL MORING
Translated by Shaun Whiteside
2010, HaperCollins
Booklist: His family killed by the Nazis, young Jacob Noah survived by hiding in a peat bog for three years. Decades later, Jacob Noah the successful but emotionally charred businessman runs his car off the road and plunges into a preternatural twilight journey through his hometown, the Dutch town of Assen. With a spectral figure calling himself the “Jew of Assen” as his guide, Jacob observes the lives of his neighbors and family from a distance, contemplating the circumstances of his estrangement amid the pulsing morass of Assen on the beery, smoky evening before its annual TT motorcycle race. Among those observed is Marcus Kolpa, an intellectual whose ambivalence about his identity as a young European Jew may be as intense as his unpronounced love for Jacob’s free-spirited daughter, Chaja. Loosely, if self-consciously, playing upon Dante’s Inferno, Möring deploys a prodigious mélange of motifs and narrative styles (including concrete poetry and a brief comic-strip intermezzo), rendering this selection a virtuoso performance of sorts, at times as confounding as it is inspired
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] In the Land of Believers
An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church
BY Gina Welch
March 2010, Metropolitan Books
A secular Jew raised by a single mother in Berkeley, Welch became an outsider in a strange land when in 2002 she moved for graduate school to the heart of the Bible Belt near Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. She saw everything around her ironically, treated the South “as a joke” and her time there “as a kind of elaborate performance art project.” Then something miraculous happened. The jaded Californian began to like Virginia. She’d arrived to a Virginia on the verge of a demographic shift as a new, progressive population burgeoned. But she also grew to like the Old South—its manners, easygoing nature, and friendliness. She got serious, cast aside her cynicism, and sought to know her evangelical neighbors “as people.” Why did they think as they did? Why were they so determined “to convert non-Christian America?” She went “undercover” to attend Falwell’s church. The resultant portrayal of evangelicals as she sees them and of how she transcended the popular media caricatures of them constitute an insightful, frequently funny book.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] The Complete Milt Gross
Comic Books and Life Story
Edited by Braig Yoe
2010 IDW
Milt Gross was a cartooning genius who was championed by Art Spiegelman in "Raw" and Dan Nadel in "Art Out of Time." Gross wrote and drew what many consider to be the first graphic novel, "He Done Her Wrong," and was a popular comic stripper (with hilarious cartoon-style Yiddish-isms), animator, and screenplay writer (co-writer of films with Charlie Chaplin). This beautifully designed book collects the complete comic book stories of comic genius Milt Gross, culled from rare, impossible-to-track-down comic books of the 40s, which have been lovingly restored. In addition to exhuming every one of Gross' wild and crazy comic book stories, this tome shares rarephotos, sketches, and unpublished art, including the previously unknown cover to the Milt Gross Funnies #3
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] THE INVENTION OF ENTERPRISE
ENTREPRENEURSHIP FROM ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA TO MODERN TIMES
Edited by David S.Landes, Joel Mokyr, and William J. Baumol.
2010, Princeton University Press
Whether hailed as heroes or cast as threats to social order, entrepreneurs--and their innovations--have had an enormous influence on the growth and prosperity of nations. The Invention of Enterprise gathers together, for the first time, leading economic historians to explore the entrepreneur's role in society from antiquity to the present. Addressing social and institutional influences from a historical context, each chapter examines entrepreneurship during a particular period and in an important geographic location.
The book chronicles the sweeping history of enterprise in Mesopotamia and Neo-Babylon; carries the reader through the Islamic Middle East; offers insights into the entrepreneurial history of China, Japan, and Colonial India; and describes the crucial role of the entrepreneur in innovative activity in Europe and the United States, from the medieval period to today. In considering the critical contributions of entrepreneurship, the authors discuss why entrepreneurial activities are not always productive and may even sabotage prosperity. They examine the institutions and restrictions that have enabled or impeded innovation, and the incentives for the adoption and dissemination of inventions. They also describe the wide variations in global entrepreneurial activity during different historical periods and the similarities in development, as well as entrepreneurship's role in economic growth. The book is filled with past examples and events that provide lessons for promoting and successfully pursuing contemporary entrepreneurship as a means of contributing to the welfare of society.
Most fascinating chapters focus on Ancient businesses, Rome, Neo Babylonian Entrepreneurs, the inhibitive roles of Islamic institutions, then on to medieval Europe business enterprise, Tawney’s century of 1540-1640 (Richard Tawney taught at LSE and lived from 1880 to 1962 and was an economic historian who focused on 1540 - 1640 which preceded the advent of the modern Industrial Revolution. Tawney’s seminal scholarship was Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, (‘The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism’, Weber 1905).on how three elements of the Calvinists (from 1536), came to influence so deeply that Protestant Ethic and new ethos of modern capitalism: Predestination, the Calling, and ‘Worldly Asceticism’); the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic, Britain’s industrial revolution, Germany After 1815, France, and Antebellum post civil war America.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] LIFE IN THE YEAR ONE
WHAT THE WORLD WAS LIKE IN FIRST-CENTURY PALESTINE
BY SCOTT KORB
March 2010, Riverhead
Call me Ishmael.. I mean Call Me Todbit
For anyone who's ever pondered what everyday life was like during the time of Jesus comes a lively and illuminating portrait of the nearly unknown world of daily life in first-century Palestine. What was it like to live during the time of Jesus? Where did people live? Who did they marry? And what was family life like? How did people survive?
These are just some of the questions that Scott Korb answers in this engaging new book, which explores what everyday life entailed two thousand years ago in first-century Palestine, that tumultuous era when the Roman Empire was at its zenith and a new religion-Christianity-was born.
Culling information from primary sources, scholarly research, and his own travels and observations, Korb explores the nitty-gritty of real life back then-from how people fed, housed, and groomed themselves to how they kept themselves healthy. He guides the contemporary reader through the maze of customs and traditions that dictated life under the numerous groups, tribes, and peoples in the eastern Mediterranean that Rome governed two thousand years ago, and he illuminates the intriguing details of marriage, family life, health, baths, cleanliness, ritual, and a host of other aspects of first-century life. For the average Jew, taxes were very high, life was impoverished, crime was rampant, and hygiene was disgusting. I mean, Herod himself died from genital worms! Is it any wonder that new sects are popping up each month? The result is a book for everyone, from the armchair traveler to the amateur historian. With surprising revelations about politics and medicine, crime and personal hygiene, this book is smart and accessible popular history at its very best.
Scott Korb was raised Catholic in rural Wisconsin and graduated UW in Madison. In 1998, he moved to NYC to attend Union Theological. With Peter Bebergal, they wrote “The Faith Between Us: A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God.” With Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics), he studied Jewish ethics, and he has co written pieces with Skirball’s Rabbi Leon Morris. “Click the book cover to read more.












[book] THE TRIALS OF ZION
A NOVEL
BY ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
March 2010. Grand Central
When Harvard Law School Professor Dershowitz is not busy teaching, defending, parenting, defending rights, America, Israel or patrilineal descent, he has been hard at work on a thriller that may become as classic as Leon Uris' Mila 18 and Exodus. There has been a SHOCKING act of terrorism which focuses the world's attention and brings the Middle East to a point of conflagration. A young Jewish American lawyer takes a position on the defense team of a Palestinian who stands accused of terrorism. Her father is a famed criminal defense attorney, who must accept the case to save his family. In order to win the case for the accused Palestinian, he must take into the history of the Middle East and what is termed by many, the Holy Land. There is action on the streets as well as the courtroom in this book. Dershowitz adds a compelling, thrilling plot and unique, memorable characters against a panoramic backdrop that will cry out for a movie deal.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] RED CARPET READY
SECRETS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF ANY MOMENT IN THE SPOTLIGHT
BY MELISSA RIVERS with Tim Vandehey
March 2010. Harmony Books
From the book cover: “Be ready the next time the spotlight is on you! She’s interviewed “glamazons,” watched stars shine (Sharon Stone in a Gap T-shirt at the Oscars) and bomb (Jennifer Aniston in dreadlocks, Cher in an Egyptian headdress), and witnessed many a celebrity rise to the top only to come crashing down a mere year later. And she’s both reveled in kudos and despaired over criticism of herself. As the daughter of Joan Rivers and with years of face time with the Hollywood elite, Melissa has learned far more than your average person about what it takes to be a star—not just on the red carpet, but in life. For the first time, she shares the lessons she’s learned along the way and teaches you how to embrace your big moments, be it a graduation, a first date, a job interview, a prom, or a wedding. Pulling from inspirational and humorous tales from her probing chats with red-carpet royalty and episodes in her own life, she lays out nine essential rules to seize momentous times with graciousness, fun, preparedness, confidence—and, of course, drop-dead gorgeous style that flatters you. (Hint: It’s not always the top designer brand that’ll scream stardom.) The walk down the red carpet, as Rivers so colorfully relates, can teach us all some basic but essential lessons in fashion and in life. With miles of red carpet under her belt, Melissa Rivers has seen it all, from the biggest oops! moments to those unforgettable times when a star truly did shine. She knows exactly what it takes to be a star—both on the red carpet and in life. Based on her insider knowledge and her personal experience under Hollywood’s glare, Melissa shares tips and techniques for embracing your momentous times and being at your best when the focus is on you, including: The simple trick to being the hit of every party; How to escape from a date that’s become a train wreck; The celebrity secret to looking radiant, rain or shine; A success strategy that beats pure talent every time; The one rule about people even the superstars are afraid to break; How to apologize or run into your ex and keep your cool. Melissa was born in New York City and grew up in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in European history. She lives in Los Angeles with her son, Cooper.”
The best parts ( I jest, there are more best parts) are when she thanks her mother, ’because her mother expects to be thanked,‘ and when she writes, “…I am a spoiled rich kid. A Hollywood brat who fell into my job thanks to her famous mother. A raging party girl. A no-talent who, if not for a few family connections, would be flipping burgers. A neurotic who has the poor taste to take her turbulent relationship with her mom public in a 1994 TV movie. A snaky fashionista… . Actually the fashionista one is true.”
Click the book cover to read more.








From the author of THE READER and the past Professor at YU-Cardozo Law School
[book] GUILT ABOUT THE PAST
BY BERNHARD SCHLINK
March 2010. Anansi
The six essays that make up this compelling book view the long shadow of past guilt both as a uniquely German experience and as a global one. Bernhard Schlink explores the phenomenon of guilt and how it attaches to a whole society, not just to individual perpetrators. He considers how to use the lesson of history to motivate individual moral behavior, how to reconcile a guilt-laden past, how the role of law functions in this process, and how the theme of guilt influences his own fiction. Based on the Weidenfeld Lectures he delivered at Oxford University, Guilt About the Past is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand how events of the past can affect a nation's future. Written in Bernhard Schlink's eloquent but accessible style, it taps in to worldwide interest in the aftermath of war and how to forgive and reconcile the various legacies of the past.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE WOLF MAN
SPECIAL EDITION DVD
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains Director: George Waggner
Universal
In 1941, The Wolf Man introduced the world to a new Universal movie monster and the mythology of the werewolf was re-defined forever. Featuring a heartbreaking performance by Lon Chaney Jr. and groundbreaking make-up by Jack Pierce, this story of a cursed man who transforms into a deadly werewolf when the moon is full has not only become a masterpiece of the horror genre, but of all-time. Now, in this 2-Disc Special Edition, the classic film lives on with a digitally remastered picture and all-new bonus features
Why is this film here on this site?? Hans salter, a refugee from Austria wrote the music, But it is because the story was written by the German jewish refugee in Hollywood, Curt Siodmak. The extra added bonus is an interview with him from years ago. The Wolf Man struggles with is nature, while other monsters, such as Dracula, do not. “Here is a man that has not sinned, and is bitten by a wolf and has a horrible fate, and wants to ESCAPE THAT FATE.” A pentagram appears on his future victims. Is this a Jewish star appearing of the victims of Nazi victims? John Landis, a director, says that Siodmak knew full well the symbolism of a star marking people for future death. Some say that the Wolf Man changing is adolescence and hair growth and wildness. Others think differently.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] PAUL AND ME
53 YEARS OF ADVENTURES AND MISADVENTURES WITH my pal, PAUL NEWMAN
BY A. E. HOTCHNER
March 2010. Nan Talese
Booklist writes, “The author and Newman met in 1955, when the actor was starring in a television play written by Hotchner. They became friends and remained buddies until Newman’s death in 2008. Hotchner probably could have written a traditional biography of Newman, but instead he’s chosen—rightly—to write about episodes from their friendship, to show us Paul Newman as seen by someone close to him. We all have an image of Newman: talented actor, philanthropist, race-car driver, nice guy. But how many of us know that Newman, until shooting started, thought he was playing Sundance in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; that he turned down roles in All That Jazz and Jaws; that he was an incorrigible practical joker? Hotchner introduces us to the Newman we probably don’t know, and he turns out to be a man we wish we could have called our friend. Beautifully written (you can tell Hotchner loved and admired his friend) and probably more revealing of the actor’s private side than any traditional biography could hope to be.”
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE ASK
A NOVEL
BY SAM LIPSYTE
March 2010. Farrar, Straus and Giroux
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Lipsyte's pitch-black comedy takes aim at marriage, work, parenting, abject failure (the author's signature soapbox) and a host of subjects you haven't figured out how to feel bad about yet. This latest slice of mucked-up life follows Milo Burke, a washed-up painter living in Astoria, Queens, with his wife and three-year-old son, as he's jerked in and out of employment at a mediocre university where Milo and his equally jaded cohorts solicit funding from the Asks, or those who financially support the art program. Milo's latest target is Purdy Stuart, a former classmate turned nouveau aristocrat to whom Milo quickly becomes indentured. Purdy, it turns out, needs Milo to deliver payments to Purdy's illegitimate son, a veteran of the Iraq War whose titanium legs are fodder for a disgruntlement that makes the chip on Milo's shoulder a mere speck of dust by comparison. Submission is the order of the day, but where Home Land had a working-class trajectory, this takes its tone of lucid lament to the devastated white-collar sector; in its merciless assault on the duel between privilege and expectation, it arrives at a rare articulation of empire in decline.
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[book] IDENTITY ECONOMICS
By George A. Akerlof and Rachel E. Kranton
March 2010. Princeton
In 1995, economist Rachel Kranton wrote future Nobel Prize-winner George Akerlof a letter insisting that his most recent paper was wrong. Identity, she argued, was the missing element that would help to explain why people--facing the same economic circumstances--would make different choices. This was the beginning of a fourteen-year collaboration--and of Identity Economics. Identity economics is a new way to understand people's decisions--at work, at school, and at home. With it, we can better appreciate why incentives like stock options work or don't; why some schools succeed and others don't; why some cities and towns don't invest in their futures--and much, much more.
Identity Economics bridges a critical gap in the social sciences. It brings identity and norms to economics. People's notions of what is proper, and what is forbidden, and for whom, are fundamental to how hard they work, and how they learn, spend, and save. Thus people's identity--their conception of who they are, and of who they choose to be--may be the most important factor affecting their economic lives. And the limits placed by society on people's identity can also be crucial determinants of their economic well-being.
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[book] Knightley Academy
By Violet Haberdasher
March 2010.
Ages 9 – 12 grades 4 – 8
Henry Grim is an orphaned servant who studies in secret, hoping to rise above his station. He gets his chance when he is allowed to sit for the Knightley Academy entrance exam and becomes the first commoner admitted. This prestigious school once trained knights for combat, but combat was outlawed when the Longsword Treaty brought peace to the Britonian Isles. If Henry excels, Knightley could open its doors to commoners for good, but vicious sabotage threatens his triumph. On the hunt to identify his saboteurs, Henry discovers a plot to break the treaty and start a war. Haberdasher embraces the Harry Potter comparison with in-jokes, but this series debut doesn’t rise above the comparison. Knightley Academy has disappointingly little to do with actual knights-in-training; it is more like an elite boarding school, and what knights do in this alternate history is unclear. Yet Henry and his outcast friends are an appealing group with great chemistry, and it’s easy to enjoy their fast-paced adventures as they navigate classes and thwart bullies.
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1567923844 [book] GENIUS OF COMMON SENSE
JANE JACOBS AND THE STORT OF THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES
BY GLENNA LANG AND MARJORY WUNSCH
2009
Ages 9 – 12 grades 4 – 8
Three books, all written by women in the early 1960s, changed the way we looked at the world and ourselves: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, and Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities. All three books created revolutions in their respective spheres of influence, and nothing affected city planning and architecture or the way we think about how life is lived in densely packed urban centers more than Jane Jacobs's far-sighted polemic. This was an era when the urban renewal movement was at its most aggressive, and Jacobs correctly perceived that the new structures that were being built to replace the aging housing of our older cities were often far worse, in both their impact on society and their architectural sterility, than what urban planners identified as the problem. She was ridiculed and pilloried by the establishment, but her ideas quickly took hold, and no one ever looked at what made for livable and viable neighborhoods the same way again.
Here is the first book for young people about this heroine of common sense, a woman who never attended college but whose observations, determination, and independent spirit led her to far different conclusions than those of the academics who surrounded her. Illustrated with almost a hundred images, including a great number of photos never before published, this story of a remarkable woman will introduce her ideas and her life to young readers, many of whom have grown up in neighborhoods that were saved by her insights. It will inspire young people and readers of all ages and demonstrate that we learn vital life lessons from observing and thinking, and not just accepting what passes as conventional wisdom.
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[book] SURVIVING THE ANGEL OF DEATH
THE STORY OF A MENGELE TWIN AT AUSCHWITZ
BY EVA MOZES KOR AND LISA ROJANY BUCCIERI
2009
Young Adult
Eva Mozes Kor was 10 years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Mengele's twins were granted the privileges of keeping their own clothes and hair, but they were also subjected to sadistic medical experiments and forced to fight daily for their own survival, as most of the twins died as a result of the experiements or from the disease and hunger pervasive in the camp. In a narrative told with emotion and restraint, readers will learn of a child's endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil. The book also includes an epilogue on Eva's recovery from this experience and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she has dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.
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[book] SOMETHING RED
A NOVEL
BY JENNIFER GILMORE
March 2010. Scribner
When Jennifer Gilmore’s first novel, Golden Country, was published, The New York Times Book Review called it "an ingeniously plotted family yarn" and praised her as an author who "enlivens the myth of the American Dream." Gilmore’s particular gift for distilling history into a hugely satisfying, multigenerational family story is taken to new levels in her second novel. In Washington, D.C., life inside the Goldstein home is as tumultuous as the shifting landscape of the times. It is 1979, and Benjamin is heading off to college and sixteen-year-old Vanessa is in the throes of a rocky adolescence. Sharon, a caterer for the Washington elite, ventures into a cultlike organization. And Dennis, whose government job often takes him to Moscow, tries to live up to his father’s legacy as a union organizer and community leader. The rise of communism and the execution of the Rosenbergs is history. The Cold War is waning, the soldiers who fought in Vietnam have all come home, and Carter is president. The age of protest has come and gone and yet each of the Goldsteins is forced to confront the changes the new decade will bring and explore what it really means to be a radical. Something Red is at once a poignant story of husbands and wives, parents and children, activists and spies, and a masterfully built novel that unfurls with suspense and humor
Jennifer Gilmore's first novel, Golden Country, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2006, and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
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THE BOOK THAT IS CAUSING ANGINA AND AGITA IN THE CANADIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY
[book] The Shephard’s Granddaughter
A youth novel
By Anne Laurel Carter
2010. Groundswell
Grade 5–8
Amani, a Palestinian teenager, tends her extended Muslim family's sheep alongside her beloved grandfather, Sido, and helps tend their vineyards and olive groves. Their family has done this for generations.
Their quiet peaceful idyllic rural agrarian life is disturbed by Jewish settlers encroaching on their land
Amani's uncle reacts with anger, while her father tries to resist peacefully with the help of a sympathetic peace loving Jewish rabbi. After Sido dies, Amani has sole responsibility for the diminishing flock and experiences physical threat and gunfire from the settlers. Israeli soldiers prevent the family from harvesting their olives, grazing the sheep, or driving on the highways near their home. Israeli settlers poison the sheep’s water, bulldoze Amani’s house, and shoot and kill her dog. HER DOG! Those Israelis are vicious.
Amani’s father and uncle are beaten and thrown in jail; her father seeks justice and peace through negotiation, but her uncle believes in violent resistance.
Amani (I am the people?) befriends the son of a Jewish settler, Jonathan. He is visiting, and just wants to return to New York. He thinks the Jewish settlers are wrong and decides to leave the country. The Israelis are repeatedly compared to wolves stalking sheep.
Jonathan and Amani escape the craziness and they find a secret meadow in which they graze the sheep. The tension escalates until Amani's family compound is destroyed, and her father and uncle become militant and are imprisoned by the Israeli Army which administers the West Bank territories.
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Note to File: TABLET WROTE: When this book was nominated to the 2010 Forest of Reading list, an uproar began. Canadian Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded that the book be “made unavailable” to students. “The Simon Wiesenthal Center does not promote censorship,” said president Avi Benlolo, “but the issue is that this book is so skewed and so overtly against the State of Israel. … Any school child who reads the book will grow to hate the State of Israel and possibly the Jewish people.” The Jewish Tribune, a publication of B’nai Brith Canada, ran a story with the provocative headline: “Could this book turn your child against Israel?” The story’s opening sentence: “Reading this book made me want to go to Palestine and kill Israelis.” The quote was attributed to a girl named Madelaine on the book review site Goodreads.com……And in the same issue of the Tribune, Sheila Ward, a trustee of the Toronto District School Board, said, “I will move heaven and earth to have The Shepherd’s Granddaughter taken off the school library shelves.”… … …Anita Bromberg, national director of legal affairs at B’nai Brith Canada, told me in an interview that calling the book into question had nothing to do with its literary merit. “The book isn’t badly written,” she says. “I’ve read most of it. What we are questioning is the educational value. Anyone without a lot of background or experience who was reading it would accept that everything in there gives context to what goes on in the Middle East, but it is one-sided, biased, and more based on propaganda than truth. I think this book is inappropriate to be on the list or in the school setting.”






[book] SURPRISINGLY HAPPY
AN ATYPICAL RELIGIOUS MEMOIR
BY RABBI SHEILA PELTZ WEINBERG
Spring 2010. White River
From one of the most influential women to come from Scranton PA since Jane Jacobs…
“Are you happy because you are getting older or because you’ve found spiritual peace?” Rabbi Sheila Weinberg, Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s co-founder and Director of Outreach and Community Development, offers intriguing answers to that question in her new memoir, Surprisingly Happy: an Atypical Religious Memoir. Snapshots of Rabbi Weinberg’s life, as told through poetry, prayers, and accounts of this Jewish Baby Boomer’s experiences, offer clues about her search to find God, and carves a path for others to learn from her journey. It addresses her spiritual quests through yoga and meditation, and provides a candid look at her struggle with addiction, her philosophy of feminism, and her life as a wife, mother and grandmother. The book incorporates the author's eye witness accounts of many iconic events of her generation: the 1968 student protests at Columbia University; the challenges of the Peace Corps in Chile in the late 60s; the outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur War; the influence of Eastern practice on Western religion; the breakthrough of women into religious leadership; and the Feb. 15th, 2003 massive movement to stop the war in Iraq.
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Or see http://ijs-online.org/resources_cdstudy.php for CD’s











APRIL 2010 BOOKS
[book] SPOON FED
HOW EIGHT COOKS CHANGED MY LIFE
By Kim Severson
April 2010, Riverhead
You know her writing from The New York Times Dining and Food sections. You know her charisma from the NBC Today Show and other media. Now, from the prominent New York Times food writer, a memoir recounting the tough life lessons she learned from a generation of female cooks - including Marion Cunningham, Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, Rachael Ray, and Marcella Hazan. Somewhere between the lessons her mother taught her as a child and the ones she is now trying to teach her own daughter, Kim Severson stumbled. She lost sight of what mattered, of who she was and who she wanted to be, and of how she wanted to live her life. It took a series of women cooks to reteach her the life lessons she forgot-and some she had never learned in the first place. Some as small as a spoonful, and others so big, bigger than a ladle, that they saved her life; the best lessons she found were delivered in the kitchen. Told in Severson's frank, often funny, always perceptive style, Spoon Fed weaves together the stories of eight important cooks with the lessons they taught her-lessons that seemed to come right when she needed them most. We follow Kim's journey from an awkward adolescent to an adult who channeled her passions into failing relationships, alcohol, and professional ambition, almost losing herself in the process. Finally as Severson finds sobriety and starts a family of her own, we see her mature into a strong, successful woman, as we learn alongside her. An emotionally rich, multilayered memoir and an inspirational, illuminating series of profiles of the most influential women in the world of food, Spoon Fed is Severson's story and the story of the women who came before her-and ultimately, a testament to the wisdom that can be found in the kitchen. Severson was previously a food writer and editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she won national awards for news and feature writing, including the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism in 2002.
PW writes, “In this frank confessional memoir, Severson, …attributes her culinary confidence to the tutelage of eight maternal figures, from the legendary to the not-so-famous. Moving from Alaska, where she wrote for the Anchorage Daily News, to San Francisco to be a food writer for the Chronicle, Severson quits her destructive habit of excessive drinking, and when she first interviews Marion Cunningham, the beloved California food writer, the two share their similar fears and vulnerabilities. Severson's refrain that "I was a fraud and an alcoholic and I was scared to death I would fail" runs through this narrative like a dirge, while her successive culinary acquaintances reflect her insecurities: Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters represents an admirable, however "ridiculously uncompromising" model of perseverance; Ruth Reichl, her intimidating predecessor at the New York Times, reminds her of the leader of the "popular girls" at school into whose realm she never fit; and Southern food writer Edna Lewis's unconventional living situation with the young gay cook Scott Peacock inspires Severson to recount her own difficult early years of coming out as a lesbian in the face of her family's disapproval and discomfort…. Severson's goal of finding "a connection" to her Italian mother dying of Parkinson's rings brave and sincere
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[book] THREE WISHES
OUR TRUE STORY OF GOOD FRIENDS, BAD ODDS, CRUSHING HEARTBREAK, AND ONE LITTLE THING THAT INSPIRED A LOT OF HAPPINESS
BY CAREY GOLDBERG, BETH JONES, AND PAMELA FERDINAND
April 2010, LittleBrown
When I started reading the first chapter, and the second and the third, I was introduced to Carey, then Beth, and next Pam. There stories were engrossing; the book was put down only because my subway rides were over. Each woman was nearing forty, single or soon to be single, and childless. Carey began the story. She was a successful journalist, a graduate of Yale and Harvard, a Moscow reporter and now the bureau chief for the New York Times. She was amazingly cute, smart, probably a fan of Israeli Ahava products, Jewish and outdoorsy. When her boyfriend accidentally called her on his cell and he heard him bad mouth her to his therapist, she knew their relationship was over. She purchased some sperm from a reputable sperm bank and thought she would just have a child as a single parent. But that was the same day she finally met a guy and started to date him on and off again. Beth was 35 when she came home from a vacation to Jamaica with her parents. Her husband was busy starting an internet firm. He met her at their doorway and announced that he wanted a divorce. All Beth’s plans were trashed. She would not be getting pregnant by 35 and starting a family. Pam, a successful reporter for the Washington Post was a pure romantic and believed in love and romance, and she, too, was single and not dating. As the story unfolds we learn more about these loving and successful women, and watch as Carey’s relationship develops and she decides to pass her purchased sperm onto Beth, who then, also, finds a new man to love, and she, too passes the semen to Pamela, who…
What a great read.
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[book] THE COMPLETE PSALMS
THE BOOK OF PRAYER SONGS IN A NEW TRANSLATION
Translated by Pamela Greenberg
April 2010, Bloomsbury
In her new, complete translation of the Book of Psalms, Pamela Greenberg "favors beauty before theology," in the words of Mary Karr, writing in the Washington Post of the unpublished manuscript of this book, "breathing new life into the ancient texts." It is precisely the honesty of these prayer songs, overflowing into wild jubilance or deeply wrenching despair, that Greenberg has captured in her new translations, making them touch us so deeply. Traditional translations?from those of the medieval Jewish commentator Rashi to early Christian commentators to the King James version?have downplayed anger at God and reinterpreted the Psalms in ways that would be doctrinally more palatable, but which flatten the richness and subtlety of the Hebrew verse. Greenberg's translation aims to restore the poetry and vibrancy of the Psalms as a prayerful act, replicating their emotional passion while both wrestling with the text as living liturgy and remaining as true as possible to the originals. Her desire in this new translation is to rekindle the relevance of the Psalms, to bring to life what makes their words cry and breathe and shout?a labor of yearning, necessity, and love.
Pamela Greenberg is a poet and writer. She has an M.F.A from Syracuse University and a Masters in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College, where she received an award in Hebrew Literature. She spent a year in rabbinical school before deciding to dedicate herself more fully to writing. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and young son
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[book] MEMORIES OF EDEN
A JOURNEY THROUGH JEWISH BAGHDAD
BY VIOLETTE SHAMASH (1912-2006)
April 2010, Northwestern University Press
Sir Martin Gilbert calls this fascinating and important
Ms, Shamash was born in Baghdad in 1912. In 1941, after the Farhud, she and her husband fled to India with their two children. The then moved to Palestine under the british, Cypruss, and Israel, and then on to London in 1964. These are her memoirs (see MemoriesofEden.com) Mira Rocca, her daughter, and Tony Rocca, her husband compiled the book.
"Memories of Eden" evokes a bygone era - when pre-WW2 Baghdad was one-third Jewish and interfaith relations were harmonious. When Violette was born, Mesopotamia had been Ottoman for some 600 years, until redrawn as Iraq by the British when Violette was eight years old. This bittersweet memoir tells of a childhood spent in the city of Caliphs, Scheherazade and the land of the Garden of Eden, of traditions passed down over the generations, and captures vividly the elusive quality of a scene totally at odds with our image of today's Iraq. As a privileged young woman growing up with her extended family in the city of The Thousand and One Nights, Violette re-lives the excitement of a vibrant society coming to terms with daily life, first under Ottoman, then British, and finally, pro-Nazi rule, which ended in disaster for the Jews of Iraq, who were brutally attacked in two days of slaughter in May 1941 while British troops stood by, under orders not to intervene.The pogrom, which sounded the death-knell for the oldest community in the Diaspora, has been sidelined in history. Now, in a final section in the memoir, the editors reveal the steps that led to the catastrophe and the British bungling that brought it about. Like Anne Frank's diary, "Memories of Eden" tells of an easy and happy childhood, of growing maturity and sophistication, and then shrinking circumstances, victimisation and, finally, flight
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[book] BEWARE OF SMALL STATES
LEBANON, BATTLEGROUND OF THE MIDDLE EAST
BY DAVID HIRST
April 2010, Nation Books
From Publishers Weekly: A former Middle Eastern correspondent for the Guardian, Hirst (The Gun and the Olive Branch) chronicles the travails of modern Lebanon in this provocative polemic that doubles as a history of the Arab-Israeli struggle. Given Lebanon's tiny size, sectarian polity, and strategic location in a volatile region, Hirst observes that it was almost designed to be the everlasting battleground for others' political, strategic and ideological conflicts. Lebanon's role in the struggle for Palestine, however, is the author's primary interest. Displaced Palestinians flooded into southern Lebanon following the first Arab-Israeli War (1948) and spawned a guerilla 'state-within-a-state' on Israel's northern border. Hirst is solidly in the Palestinians' corner throughout; he inveighs against Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing and blocking progress toward a settlement of the Palestinian issue. The author also faults the United States for its deference to all things Israeli; takes to task Israel and the Israeli lobby in the U.S. for provoking the 2003 invasion of Iraq; and anoints the Iranians as the only true victor of America's war in Iraq. Hirst's is a passionately partisan and eloquent recounting of the tragic fate of modern Lebanon and the Palestinian people
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[book] BEATRICE AND VIRGIL
A NOVEL
NY YANN MARTEL
April 2010, Spiegel and Grau
PW writes, “Megaselling Life of Pi author Martel addresses, in this clunky metanarrative, the violent legacy of the 20th century with an alter ego: Henry L'Hôte, an author with a very Martel-like CV who, after a massively successful first novel, gives up writing. Henry and his wife, Sarah, move to a big city (Perhaps it was New York. Perhaps it was Paris. Perhaps it was Berlin), where Henry finds satisfying work in a chocolatería and acting in an amateur theater troupe. All is well until he receives a package containing a short story by Flaubert and an excerpt from an unknown play. His curiosity about the sender leads him to a taxidermist named Henry who insists that Henry-the-author help him write a play about a monkey and a donkey. Henry-the-author is at first intrigued by sweet Beatrice, the donkey, and Virgil, her monkey companion, but the animals' increasing peril draws Henry into the taxidermist's brutally absurd world. Martel's aims are ambitious, but the prose is amateur and the characters thin, the coy self-referentiality grates, and the fable at the center of the novel is unbearably self-conscious. When Martel (rather energetically) tries to tug our heartstrings, we're likely to feel more manipulated than moved.“
The author wrote, “…I like to use animals because they help me tell my tale. People are cynical about people, but less so about wild animals. A rhinoceros dentist elicits less skepticism, in some ways, than a German dentist. I also use animals in my fiction because people rarely see animals as they truly are, biologically. Rather, they tend to project human traits onto them, seeing nobility in one species, cowardice in another, and so on. This is biological nonsense, of course; every species is and behaves as it needs to in order to survive. But this animal-as-canvas quality is useful for a storyteller. It means that an animal that people feel kindly towards becomes a character that readers feel kindly towards. Why did I choose to write a novel about the Holocaust? There’s nothing personal to this interest; I’m neither Jewish, nor of German or eastern European extraction. I’m a complete outsider who’s been staring at this monstrous massacre of innocents since I first learned about it as a child living in France. It’s as an artist that I’ve kept coming back to the subject. What can I do as an artist about the Holocaust? I believe that if history does not express itself as art, it will not survive in common human memory. And so I took what I knew of the Holocaust, the cumulative knowledge of my reading and viewing and visiting (both to camps in Poland and Germany and to Yad Vashem in Israel and to various museums), and I set it next to that part of me that wants to understand through the imagination. Then I sat down and wrote Beatrice and Virgil.”
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[book] The Bridge
The Life and Rise of Barack Obama
By David Remnick
April 2010, Knopf
A man of the center left, a deep pragmatist, a comprising person into conciliation… of course, this will not work with Iran, Will it? What is his mode of operation? Is he inspirational and does it matter? Can he advance policy? Is he too cool and reticent? Can this book teach you how he will act and react? Did you ever wonder why Obama never became the “rhetorical” leader of black America or discuss Race in the Senate or in his Presidency?
Should this be read by every Israeli and Jewish organizational leader?
No story has been more central to America’s history this century than the rise of Barack Obama, and until now, no journalist or historian has written a book that fully investigates the circumstances and experiences of Obama’s life or explores the ambition behind his rise. Those familiar with Obama’s own best-selling memoir or his campaign speeches know the touchstones and details that he chooses to emphasize, but now—from a writer whose gift for illuminating the historical significance of unfolding events is without peer—we have a portrait, at once masterly and fresh, nuanced and unexpected, of a young man in search of himself, and of a rising politician determined to become the first African-American president.
The Bridge offers the most complete account yet of Obama’s tragic father, a brilliant economist who abandoned his family and ended his life as a beaten man; of his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who had a child as a teenager and then built her career as an anthropologist living and studying in Indonesia; and of the succession of elite institutions that first exposed Obama to the social tensions and intellectual currents that would force him to imagine and fashion an identity for himself. Through extensive on-the-record interviews with friends and teachers, mentors and disparagers, family members and Obama himself, David Remnick allows us to see how a rootless, unaccomplished, and confused young man created himself first as a community organizer in Chicago, an experience that would not only shape his urge to work in politics but give him a home and a community, and that would propel him to Harvard Law School, where his sense of a greater mission emerged.
Deftly setting Obama’s political career against the galvanizing intersection of race and politics in Chicago’s history, Remnick shows us how that city’s complex racial legacy would make Obama’s forays into politics a source of controversy and bare-knuckle tactics: his clashes with older black politicians in the Illinois State Senate, his disastrous decision to challenge the former Black Panther Bobby Rush for Congress in 2000, the sex scandals that would decimate his more experienced opponents in the 2004 Senate race, and the story—from both sides—of his confrontation with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. By looking at Obama’s political rise through the prism of our racial history, Remnick gives us the conflicting agendas of black politicians: the dilemmas of men like Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, and Joseph Lowery, heroes of the civil rights movement, who are forced to reassess old loyalties and understand the priorities of a new generation of African-American leaders.
The Bridge revisits the American drama of race, from slavery to civil rights, and makes clear how Obama’s quest is not just his own but is emblematic of a nation where destiny is defined by individuals keen to imagine a future that is different from the reality of their current lives.
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[book] AMERICAN TALIBAN
A Novel
By Pearl Abraham
April 2010, Random House
From the author of The Seventh Beggar and The Romance Reader, and for readers of Dutch, “Een Sterke Vrouw, Wie Zal Haar Vinden? (A Strong Woman, Who Can Find Her; an anthology of Jewish heroines in literature),” comes a novel about an ordinary young American drawn to the edges of terror
How could a seemingly ordinary American end up fighting against America in the war of terror? John Jude Parish is 6 feet tall, 19, and an avid surfer and skateboarder. His greatest hero is Richard Burton. No, not the actor, but the famed explorer. He chats online and meets a young woman from Brooklyn, an Arab woman who sparks his interest in Arab culture and Islam. He defers his acceptance to Brown University, and travels to Brooklyn, where he studies Arabic and Islam. More than studying it, he submits himself to Islam. John, like his hero, Burton, embarks on an exploraton. Like the American Transcendentatlists, Emerson, and Walt Whitman, he is on an exploration of America, himself, and religion, and ends up with the current enemy. How does a typical kids from an Upper Middle Class household end up involved in violent terrorism? Abraham attempts to lay out a riveting fictional yet intellectual story of how.
I admit that reading the first chapters were quite maddening since it seemed the author was forcefully dropping in current pop cultural indicators about John who drives a Saab and likes Chickabiddy for their colors… (“John walked from tent to sponsored tent, from Quicksilver to Roxy to Hurley to Billabong…” ), but the novel gets better as the story proceeds.
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[book] THE RELUCTANT TERRORIST
A NOVEL OF THE AMERICAN HOLOCAUST (Volume 1)
BY HARVEY A. SCHWARTZ, ESQ
April 2010, CreateSpace
Round up all the Jews.
It has happened in Germany, Spain, England, and France.
It could happen in America.
An atomic bomb destroys Tel Aviv, severing Israel. Two ships carrying Jewish refugees limp into Boston harbor. As the ships are to be returned to the new nation of Palestine, Boston Jews free the refugees, killing ten members of the U.S. Coast Guard. Arrests of these new "enemy combatants" are met with marches and bombings as American Jews struggle to balance their loyalty to America with the realization that "never again" has become "not now, not here." The confrontation between America and her Jewish citizens escalates, driven, as with so many violent clashes, by forces seemingly beyond all parties' control. The author, a civil rights lawyer, paints a chilling picture of a future America in which leading citizens become enemy combatants subjected to detention, torture and worse. Could this happen in America? German Jews thought it could never happen to them, until it was too late.
Harvey A. Schwartz is a Boston civil rights attorney. He has tried hundreds of civil rights and free speech cases in the state and federal courts and before the United States Supreme Court, with clients including neo-Nazis, drug reform organizations, hundreds of wrongfully-terminated employees and two detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He has taught at Boston University School of Law and Syracuse University School of Journalism. He was a founding partner in the Boston law firm of Rodgers, Powers & Schwartz LLP.
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[book] Blows to the Head
How Boxing Changed My Mind
By Binnie Klein
2010, SUNY Press State University of New York Press
From the Back Cover: "I peered through the Venetian blinds in our den, with its view of the playground next door, and watched mournfully as the popular girls played softball. I wanted to run fast, hit hard, and wear a cute uniform. These girls seemed to know something about life that I didn't."
When Binnie Klein took up boxing in her midfifties, the reaction from friends and acquaintances was always the same: "You?" Why, after all, would a middle-aged Jewish psychotherapist with no previous history of athletics take up boxing? In Blows to the Head, Klein offers a provocative tale of an unlikely contender whose unexpected fascination with boxing takes her beyond the ring and leads her back to her roots and to a surprising chapter of the Jewish immigrant experience. With candor and wit, she reveals a series of memories and insights that would never have been possible if she hadn't been drawn toward a pair of boxing gloves during a physical therapy session. In a story that will captivate and inspire women and men, athletes and nonathletes, Klein shows us that if we turn over the "weird stones" on our path, the ones we usually ignore, we may find ourselves on an unexpected journey that will summon vitality back into our lives
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[book] DAY FOR NIGHT
A Novel
By Frederick Reiken
April 2010, Reagan
"If you look hard enough into the history of anything, you will discover things that seem to be connected but are not." So claims a character in Frederick Reiken's wonderful, surprising novel, which seems in fact to be determined to prove just the opposite. How else to explain the threads that link a middle-aged woman on vacation in Florida with a rock and roll singer visiting her comatose brother in Utah, where he's been transported after a motorcycle injury in Israel, where he works with a man whose long-lost mother, in a retirement community in New Jersey, recognizes him in a televised report about an Israeli-Palestinian skirmish? And that's not the half of it. In DAY FOR NIGHT, critically acclaimed writer Frederick Reiken spins an unlikely and yet utterly convincing story about people lost and found. They are all refugees from their own lives or history's cruelties, and yet they wind up linked to each other in compelling and unpredictable ways that will keep you guessing until the very end.
PW writes, “A novel with a sawbuck of narrators could easily devolve into an unreadable mess, but in Reiken's (The Lost Legends of New Jersey) able hands becomes a compelling tale in which one thread deftly connects 10 people. Beverly Rabinowitz, a middle-aged New Jersey doctor born in Poland during WWII, is taking a vacation trip to Florida with her cancer-stricken boyfriend, David. Beverly's musings while on her trip introduce four characters who will later become narrators: Jordan, David's son; Tim Birdsey, a tour guide/musician; Dee, the lead singer in Birdsey's band; and Jennifer, Beverly's oldest daughter. Characters continue to appear: FBI agent Leopold Sachs; Miriam, a childhood friend and an analyst; Vicki, a veterinarian; and Amnon Grossman, an Israeli soldier accused of murdering a Palestinian boy. The story moves dizzyingly through Florida, Utah, New Jersey, and Israel, among other places, and includes plot lines involving fugitives from justice, the Holocaust, and the Palestinian/Israeli conflicts—all illustrating that observations depend on the observer. An imaginative and exciting read.”
Click the book cover to read more.












A BULGE BABY TELLS HIS STORY
[book] SURVIVING THE REICH
THE WWII SAGA OF A JEWISH-AMERICAN SAGA
BY IVAN GOLDSTEIN
April 2010, Zenith Press
Ivan Goldstein is a 19-year-old green-as-grass soldier heading into his first battle: the Battle of the Bulge, World War II's fiercest engagement between the American army and Hitler's army. A bow gunner on a Sherman tank, Private Goldstein is only hours into his first battle when his tank is hit by an enemy shell, and he is almost killed. Goldstein escapes with his life . . . only to be captured by the Germans. This could be the story of many young men from what has rightly been called “the Greatest Generation,” but Goldstein is not any young man. He is an American Jew. And when a German officer learns this, the officer says, “In the morning, take the Jew out and shoot him.” What follows is an epic story of survival in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds that is sure to engage everyone interested in the war against the Third Reich.
"In the morning, take the Jew out and shoot him."
That was almost Pvt. Ivan Goldstein's fate, his captivity over before it had really begun, on the orders of the German major interrogating Goldstein and his Sherman tank crewmates. It was not the first time Goldstein narrowly escaped death at the hands of the Nazis in World War II, and it would not be the last. Entering the army, he was eventually assigned to Company B, 41st Tank Battalion, 11th Armored Division. Private Goldstein first faced a threat close to home: the anti-Semitism of his own company commander. Nevertheless, he got through training in the States and England, and late in 1944 he was on his way to what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest battle in U.S. history, with more than nineteen thousand American deaths over the course of a month. Goldstein and his fellow crewmates of the M4 Sherman named Barracuda would not see those weeks of brutal warfare through frozen fields and snow-covered towns, however. Barracuda was hit their first day in combat, caught fire, and became mired in a frozen pond. Lucky to escape the burning tank alive, Goldstein was captured and then interrogated by a German major who ordered his execution. Ivan was lucky again that in the face of an American attack the order was forgotten by the Germans. He was even luckier to still be alive in the stalag when the liberating Americans arrived in the spring. With faith, friends, and class-clown humor, Goldstein survived the ordeal. Decades later, through the efforts of French historians, and at the urging of his grandson, he would return to claim his piece of history alongside Barracuda, which proudly stands in McAuliffe Square, Bastogne, Belgium, to this day.
Ivan and his wife now reside in Jerusalem.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] The Bedwetter
Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee
By Sarah Silverman
Afterword by God
April 20, 2010, Harper
She reportedly got a 7 figure advance for this book. I hope she gives some to the UJA :)
Silverman says she convinced God to write her Afterword by trading it for sex.
Remember… bedwetting… they are just sheets. You can wash them, What is the big deal?
From Booklist: Comedian Sarah Silverman is an acquired taste. If you like orgasms, farts, and excrement, she is delicious. In her memoir, Silverman takes readers on a tour of the underground tunnel that is her mind, and believe me, it is as full of muck as the sewers of Paris. Only funnier. She comes by all this filth naturally. By the time she was three, her father had taught her every swearword known to man, and she quickly learned that spouting them on any occasion was adorable. (Also, yelling out statements like “I love tampons” in the grocery store was pretty cute, too.) But Silverman is not just writing this book to gross out her readers (though, honestly, that—and the money—is probably the main motivation). She is also writing to tell what it’s like to be an outsider: a Jewish girl growing up in New Hampshire; a woman comedian in a notoriously male profession; and a bed wetter of epic proportions. On the latter topic, she layers her outing with jokes and pathos, but it’s the e-mails between her and her editor that show the truth of the old adage that comedy is tragedy plus time. She wants the subtitle of this to be Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee. He insists on pee-pee. Like so much of this book, it’s an absurdist’s delight
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] IF YOU KNEW SUZY
A MOTHER, A DAUGHTER, A REPORTER‘S NOTEBOOK
BY KATHERINE ROSMAN
April 2010, Harper
Perhaps you recall the story in the WSJ about the author’s mother, in a hospital being treated for cancer, struggling to draw a breath, only to ask her daughters to make sure to safeguard her eBay bidding reputation (she would bid on Venetian, Steuben and Depression art glass, fragile but resilient)
Former freelancer and Brill’s Content writer, and current WSJ culture reporter, Katherine Barnett Rosman, longed to find answers to the questions that we all grapple with after losing someone we love. So she did what she does best: she opened her notebook and started asking questions. Faced with the loss of her mother, Suzanne Rosin (daughter of Leo Goldberg the Kitt Peak astronomer), to cancer at only 60 in June 2005, Rosman spent a year investigating the life of a woman she only knew as a parent. Along the way, Rosman discovered another side to her mother—a woman whose life was intricately connected to a host of characters her daughter hardly knew. Embarking on a cross-country odyssey that would take her into the heart of some quirky, colorful communities, Rosman interviewed friends and acquaintances of her mother, as well as people whose relationships were more complex though no less potent–a former golf caddie, a legendary Pilates instructor (her mother was Pilates instructor who would give free instruction to teenagers with scoliosis, overweight people who couldn't afford regular lessons or anyone else whose "energy" she liked), an eBay glass collector and an immigrant doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, among them. As Rosman attempted to fill in the blank spaces that might explain her mother’s motivations and philosophies in building a life and in facing death, she came to understand this woman as she never imagined she could. Blending humor, honesty and old-fashioned reporting, Rosman’s grapples with the bittersweet reality that sometimes we can’t truly know someone until after she is gone. At once comforting, candid and very funny, If You Knew Suzy is a heartfelt memoir against which readers can consider themselves and the lives of all those they love.
Click the book cover to read more.
PS: Sa (infinity) Ta (life) Na (death) Ma (rebirth)











[book] SOS!
The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue
Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families (Paperback)
By Aviva Goldfarb
April 2010, St Martin‘s Griffin
Goldfarb, a mother in Chevy Chase, MD, writes that dinner with kids shouldn’t be a battleground. And it shouldn’t make a martyr out of the parent whose job it is to get it on the table fast, fresh and hot every day at 6 PM. Aviva Goldfarb’s cheerful Scramble system takes the hassle and worry out of mealtime. Her users and readers rely on her grocery lists, weekly meal plans and recipes not just for the healthy dinners themselves but for taking the stress out of dinnertime. She wants families to actually enjoy their dinners together! Now, with SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue, Goldfarb is taking an extra of-the-moment stress away from meal planning for busy families: concern about the environment, about the cost of shipping out-of-season food halfway around the world, about packaging, about additives and preservatives.
In SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue, readers will get a full year of weekly meals that:
help readers eat seasonally without missing their favorite foods; move toward a slightly more vegetarian menu for health and a lighter environmental footprint; reveal when organic matters (and when it doesn’t); save money through easy, efficient planning, bulk buying, freezing and storing, and avoiding waste; and make grocery trips count. Goldfarb publishes The Six O’Clock Scramble, a subscription e-mail newsletter and she wrote The Six O’Clock Scramble, and with Lisa Flaxman wrote Peanut Butter Stew and Couscous, Too.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] CROSSING MENDELBAUM GATE
COMING OF AGE BETWEEN ARABS AND ISRAELIS
1956 - 1978
BY KAI BIRD
April 2010, Scribner
As Robert Oppenheimer used to toast people, “To The Confusion of Our Enemies!“ Well, this book on face value confused me. What does a guy who live in Kathmandu, Nepal know about the Middle East? Kai Bird is the co-author with Martin J. Sherwin (Is he a Naval navigator that I think I took a History class with at Penn?) of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2005). So atomic history is a natural, but the Middle East? Well… don’t be confused.
In this book, Bird recounts growing up in the Middle East. He spent most of his childhood in the Arab world, but prior to now, as a journalist and historian, he has avoided the topic, it was a black hole, the kind that sucks in your emotions where it disappears in gravitational forces. But in 1991, Bird wrote a personal Op-Ed in The Washington Post, trying to convey his feelings about the region as it plunged into yet another war. His wife, a Jewish American, thought it was the best piece of writing he had ever done (listen to Jewish wives). She encouraged him to think about writing this memoir, which is so so much more difficult than writing a biography.
Bird grew up on the seam between Israeli Jews and Arab non Jews. It was the Jerusalem border between Jordan and Israel prior to 1967. That world is now gone. In 1956, prior to the Suez War, Kai Bird arrived in Jerusalem. He was only 4 years old and arrived with his family and father, who was a FSO in the US State Department. To get to school, young Kai was chauffeured through the Mandelbaum Gate (named for the house of the Byelorussian Jewish family that used to own it, it was the site in 1929 where the Haganah defended Jewish majority West Jerusalem during the riots and killings) each schoolday, which separated East Jerusalem from the Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem. Little did he know that he would spend his youth and adulthood on borders in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. Of course he was only 4 during the Suez War, but he recalls the 67 War, the Black September hijackings in 1970, the Jordanian Civil War, and the 1973 War. He knew Nasser, Kings Faisal and Khalid, Salem bin Laden, and King Hussein. His parents were sympathetic to Palestinian independence, and his wife is the child of two survivors of the Nazi death camps. Armed with all this baggage, he relates a spellbinding and informative memoir.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] This Is a Soul
The Mission of Rick Hodes
By Marilyn Berger
April 2010, William Morrow
Whoever Saves a Life, It Is Considered as If He Saved an Entire World"
Maybe you have met or heard Dr Hodes at JCC’s around the country for the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Dr. Rick Hodes arrived in Africa more than two decades ago to help the victims of a famine, but he never expected to call this extremely poor continent his home. Twenty-eight years later, he is still there. This Is a Soul tells the remarkable story of Rick Hodes's journey from suburban America to Mother Teresa's clinic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As a boy, Rick was devoted to helping those in need, and eventually he determined that becoming a doctor would allow him to do the most good. When he heard about famine in Africa, that's where he went, and when genocide convulsed Rwanda, he went into the refugee camps to minister to the victims. When he was told that Ethiopia was allowing its Jews to emigrate to Israel, he went to help. While there, he was drawn to Mother Teresa's mission in Addis Ababa. It was there that Rick found his calling when he began caring for the sickest children in one of the world's poorest countries. But he did more than that—he began taking them into his home and officially adopted five of them.
This Is a Soul is also a book filled with great joy and triumph. When Rick's kids return from surgery or life-saving treatments, he is exultant. "Seeing these people after surgery is like going to heaven," he says. Marilyn Berger went to Africa to write about Dr. Hodes, but while there, she became involved with the story. When she came upon a small, deformed, and malnourished boy begging on the street, she recognized immediately that he had the exact disease Rick could cure. She took him to Rick, who eventually arranged for the boy to have a complicated and risky surgery, which turned out to be incredibly successful. The boy's story—intertwined with Rick's, and Marilyn's as well—is unforgettable in its pathos and subtle humor.
This Is a Soul is not just a story of the savior and the saved, it is a celebration of love and wisdom, and an exploration of how charity and devotion can actually change lives in an overcrowded, unjust, and often harsh world.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] The Council of Dads
My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me
By Bruce Feiler
April 2010, William Morrow
Feiler’s cancer diary is at: http://brucefeiler.com/c/bruces-cancer-diary/
Bestselling author Bruce Feiler (WALKING THE BIBLE; WHERE GOD WAS BORN) was a young father of twin girls in Brooklyn NYC when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had made a living writing books about walking the Middle East, the Bible, and the life of Abraham; and profiled Nashville, Japan, and other places. He was pitching a new ten year project to walk America and American historical sites. But now, after a routine blood test, he found out that he had osteogenic sarcoma (the same disease Teddy Kennedy had as a kid, to which the Senator’s son lost past of his leg) in his left femur. Within the next year he would have neuropathy in his fingertips and would go through surgeries, chemotherapies, and more. The cancer was in the same place he broke his leg as a child in a bike-car accident (as a child after that accident, the young Bruce had to stay in bed in a body cast, so the family seder that year was in Bruce’s bedroom; the Afikomen was hidden under Bruce’s pillow)
Would Feiler end up with a limp just as the biblical Jacob did after wrestling an angel? Feiler had to take a year off - his lost year - to recover and lay fallow, as if he were the holy land in the Jubilee Year.
Feiler instantly thought he would not survive the cancer, he worried what his twin daughters' lives would be like without him. He wondered, "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?"
(As you might recall from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, Feiler’s mother and father both had cancer.)
Three days later, after his diagnosis, he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give his daughters his voice should he succumb to cancer. He would reach out to six men from all the passages in his life, and ask them to be present in the passages in his daughters' lives should he not survive his battle with cancer and chemotherapies. And he would call this group "The Council of Dads."
"I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives," he wrote to these men. "They'll have loving families. They'll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?"
The chapters jump back and forth between his cancer journal entries, his search for the council of dads, and most excitingly, the story of his family, parents, and his paternal grandfather.
Cancer and illness, he finds, gives one the excuse or the mandate to be wholly honest, bare, and intimate and emotional.
I think most readers will find that although the book is COUNCIL OF DADS, the story is most engrossing when Feiler shares the course of his illness, and the lives of his wife, parents, in-laws, and grandfather.
Blurb: The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Feiler, a grad of Cambridge and Yale, introduces the men in his Council and captures the life lesson he wants each to convey to his daughters, Eden and Tybee,--how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream. Linda, his wife, their mother, was already entrepreneurial, so they did not need a business educator. He mixes these with an intimate, highly personal chronicle of his experience battling cancer while raising young children, along with vivid portraits of his father, his two grandfathers, and various father figures in his life that explore the changing role of fathers in America. This is the work of a master storyteller confronting the most difficult experience of his life and emerging with wisdom and hope. The Council of Dads is a touching, funny, and ultimately deeply moving book on how to live life, how the human spirit can respond to adversity, and how to deepen and cherish the friendships that enrich our lives.
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In the book above, Feiler‘s twin daughters are three. Children under seven don’t process deaths and losses as adults, obviously. Here is a groundbreaking book: Phyllis says you should not shield children from death and funerals and rituals, and they should be treated as mourners .
[book] A Parent's Guide to Raising Grieving Children
Rebuilding Your Family after the Death of a Loved One
By Phyllis R. Silverman and Madelyn Kelly
2009, Oxford University Press
When children lose someone they love, they lose part of their very identity. Life, as they knew it, will never be quite the same. The world that once felt dependable and safe may suddenly seem a frightening, uncertain place, where nobody understands what they're feeling. In this deeply sympathetic book, Phyllis R. Silverman and Madelyn Kelly offer wise guidance on virtually every aspect of childhood loss, from living with someone who's dying to preparing the funeral; from explaining death to a two year old to managing the moods of a grieving teenager; from dealing with people who don't understand to learning how and where to get help from friends, therapists, and bereavement groups; from developing a new sense of self to continuing a relationship with the person who died. Throughout, the authors advocate an open, honest approach, suggesting that our instinctive desire to "protect" children from the reality of death may be more harmful than helpful. "Children want you to acknowledge what is happening, to help them understand it," the authors suggest. "In this way, they learn to trust their own ability to make sense out of what they see." Drawing on groundbreaking research into what bereaved children are really experiencing, and quoting real conversations with parents and children who have walked that road, the book allows readers to see what others have learned from mourning and surviving the death of a loved one. In a culture where grief is so often invisible and misunderstood, the wisdom derived from such first-hand experience is invaluable. Filled with compassion and common sense, A Parent's Guide to Raising Grieving Children: Rebuilding Your Family after the Loss of a Loved One offers readers a wealth of solace and sound advice, and even--where one might least expect it--a measure of hope.
Click the book cover to read more.












ANOTHER BOOK OF LOSS
[book] TEN MINUTES FROM HOME
BY BETH GREENFIELD
April 2010, Harmony
www.BethGreenfield.com
Ten Minutes from Home is the poignant account of how a suburban New Jersey family struggles to come together after being shattered by tragedy. In this searing, sparely written, and surprisingly wry memoir, Beth Greenfield shares what happens in 1982 when, as a twelve-year-old, she survives a drunk-driving accident that kills her younger brother Adam and best friend Kristin. As the benign concerns of adolescence are replaced by crushing guilt and grief, Beth searches for hope and support in some likely and not-so-likely places (General Hospital, a kindly rabbi, the bottom of a keg), eventually discovering that while life is fragile, love doesn’t have to be. Ten Minutes from Home exquisitely captures both the heartache of lost innocence and the solace of strength and survival.
Click the book cover to read more.












AND ANOTHER BOOK OF LOSS

[book] IF YOU KNEW SUZY
A MOTHER, A DAUGHTER, A REPORTER‘S NOTEBOOK
BY KATHERINE ROSMAN
April 2010, Harper
Perhaps you recall the story in the WSJ about the author’s mother, in a hospital being treated for cancer, struggling to draw a breath, only to ask her daughters to make sure to safeguard her eBay bidding reputation (she would bid on Venetian, Steuben and Depression art glass, fragile but resilient)
Former freelancer and Brill’s Content writer, and current WSJ culture reporter, Katherine Barnett Rosman, longed to find answers to the questions that we all grapple with after losing someone we love. So she did what she does best: she opened her notebook and started asking questions. Faced with the loss of her mother, Suzanne Rosin (daughter of Leo Goldberg the Kitt Peak astronomer), to cancer at only 60 in June 2005, Rosman spent a year investigating the life of a woman she only knew as a parent. Along the way, Rosman discovered another side to her mother—a woman whose life was intricately connected to a host of characters her daughter hardly knew. Embarking on a cross-country odyssey that would take her into the heart of some quirky, colorful communities, Rosman interviewed friends and acquaintances of her mother, as well as people whose relationships were more complex though no less potent–a former golf caddie, a legendary Pilates instructor (her mother was Pilates instructor who would give free instruction to teenagers with scoliosis, overweight people who couldn't afford regular lessons or anyone else whose "energy" she liked), an eBay glass collector and an immigrant doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, among them. As Rosman attempted to fill in the blank spaces that might explain her mother’s motivations and philosophies in building a life and in facing death, she came to understand this woman as she never imagined she could. Blending humor, honesty and old-fashioned reporting, Rosman’s grapples with the bittersweet reality that sometimes we can’t truly know someone until after she is gone. At once comforting, candid and very funny, If You Knew Suzy is a heartfelt memoir against which readers can consider themselves and the lives of all those they love.
Click the book cover to read more.
PS: Sa (infinity) Ta (life) Na (death) Ma (rebirth)











[book][book] LEO AND HIS CIRCLE
THE LIFE OF LEO CASTELLI
BY ANNIE COHEN-SOLAL
March 2010, Alfred Knopf
Leo Castelli, born Leo Krauss, reigned for decades as America’s most influential art dealer. Leo and His Circle is the story of his astonishing life and career. Arriving in New York in 1941, Castelli would not open a gallery until fifteen years later, at the age of fifty. But being first to exhibit the unknown Jasper Johns, Castelli emerged a tastemaker overnight and fast came to champion a virtual Who’s Who of twentieth-century masters: Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Twombly, among them. The secret of Leo’s success? Personal devotion to his “heroes”: putting young talents on stipend and cultivating careers by finding the ideal collection for each work rather than the top bidder, he transformed the way business was done. But Castelli had another secret too: his life as an Italian Jew. Annie Cohen-Solal traces a family whose fortunes rose and fell for centuries before the Castellis fled European fascism. Never hidden but never expressed, this experience would form the core of a guarded but magnetic character possessed of unfailing old-world charm and a refusal to look backward—traits that ensured Castelli’s visionary precedence in every major new movement from Pop to Conceptual and by which he fostered the worldwide enthusiasm for American contemporary art that is his greatest legacy.
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[book] Systems Thinking for Curious Managers
With 40 New Management f-Laws
By the late Russell L. Ackoff, and Herbert J. Addison
With a foreword by Jamshid Gharajedaghi
March 2010, Triarchy
This gem of a book introduces the extraordinary world of Systems Thinking and its 'Dean', Russell Ackoff, to curious and enquiring managers, teachers, business people - anyone, anywhere who works in an organisation. Finished just before Professor Ackoff's death late in Fall 2009, "Systems Thinking for Curious Managers" opens the door to a joined up way of thinking about things that has profoundly influenced thinkers and doers in the fields of business, politics, economics, biology, psychology.
Although Systems Thinking was 'invented' early in the 20th century, even Peter Senge's best-selling "The Fifth Discipline" (Systems Thinking is the fifth discipline) failed to popularise the term. But now, in business and academia, in the public sector and in the search for solutions to the environmental problems we face, Systems Thinking is being talked about everywhere. In the same way, it's only since his death in 2009 that management thinker, writer and guru Russell Ackoff has achieved the reputation he deserves. This timely book presents 40 more of Russ Ackoff's famously witty and incisive f-Laws (or flaws) of business - following on from his 2007 collection "Management f-Laws". All those in this collection are new and previously unpublished. Andrew Carey's extended introduction ties these f-Laws into the rest of Ackoff's work and gives the reader new to Systems Thinking a practical guide to the implications of Systems Thinking for organisations and managers. The Foreword by Jamshid Gharajedaghi is a moving tribute from Ackoff's friend and business partner of many years.
Ackoff (Penn Architecture 41) of Haverford, PA, was the Anheuser Busch Professor Emeritus of Mgt Science at Wharton. He was honored with the creation of the Ackoff Center for Advancement of Systems Approaches at Penn. He is famous for his collection of business stories known as Ackoff’s Fables. He co-founded Adopt-a-Neighborhood for Development. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] KICK-ASS
CREATING THE COMIC MAKING THE MOVIE
By Mark Millar, Jane Goldman, and more
2010, Titan
Dave Lizewski is a super hero with no powers, well.. No super powers
. Is he Jewish?
Well,…. no.
He wants to right the world, but he is based on Millar’s own life, growing up in Scotland, losing his mother, eating the same dinner with his father for over 4 years. The lead character was named by the winner of a charity auction, his own name, Dave Lizewski.
Ever wondered what would happen if you tried to be a superhero? What would happen if an ordinary guy, with no powers or training, put on a suit and came face-to-face with the criminal underworld? Find out in Kick-Ass, the blockbuster movie from director Matthew Vaughn, based on the bestselling comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. Meet Dave Lizewski: high school student, comic book fan - and the self-styled superhero known as Kick-Ass. His profile really takes off when his exploits end up on YouTube, but then he meets "the real deal" in the shape of pint-sized lethal weapon Hit-Girl and her intimidating partner Big Daddy. Things start to get really serious. And very, very violent... With Mark Millar as your guide, Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie gives you the full inside story of how this superhero phenomenon went from his little lined pad to huge Hollywood movie in record time
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[book] MARKET DAY
A graphic novel
By James Sturm
March 2010, Drawn and Quarterly
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Cartoonist and educator Sturm turns in a tightly woven graphic novella about a shtetl craftsman whose life and livelihood shatter against the rising industrial behemoth of the early 20th century. Mendleman is a nervous rug weaver with a child on the way. His devotion to his craft brings him to the brink of art, but when he suddenly loses his major client to modernization, he finds himself, effectively, patronless. Suddenly a castaway amid economic forces that render his virtues meaningless, he collapses as his previously unnamable anxieties find specific and destructive form. Sturm's tale comprises a day's cycle, and the magnitude of Mendleman's radical descent must sometimes be stated or inferred. But most of the book's important details are effectively portrayed as part of the quotidian warp and woof of life's patterns and relationships. Sturm has infused his reliably disciplined storytelling style with slow pacing and spare graphics, but some bravura sequences give the story impact. Although the details of rural Eastern European Jewish life at the turn of the century ring true, the book is less rooted in a specifically explicated setting than some of Sturm's previous historical fictions, allowing Mendleman's dilemma to function as a broader metaphor for the perpetual struggle between independent creativity and impersonal market forces.
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See also: [book] [book]




















[book] READING MICHAEL CHABON
BY HELENE MYERS
March 2010
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon is considered one of the most distinguished contemporary American novelists. Reading Michael Chabon, the first full-length volume on the writer, views his career as bridging the gap between literary and popular culture. Designed for book club members and high school and college students, this reference guide will help readers keep track of ChabonÕs intricate plots and draw thematic connections between and among his major novels. It will also help them understand his fiction as cultural commentary on contemporary masculinity and Jewish identity. The book treats both Chabon's life and work, including film adaptations of his novels, his love affair with comics, and his forays into detective and adventure fiction. A chapter is dedicated to each of his major novels, including Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union.
Professor Myers is the McManis University Chair in the English Dept at Southwestern University in Texas.
Click the book cover to read more.














[book] our daily words
poems
by bernard horn
March 2010
Bernard Horn's Our Daily Words is the winner of The 2009 Old Seventy Creek Press Poetry Prize. Bernard Horn's poems and translations (of Yehuda Amichai's poetry) have appeared in The New Yorker, The Manhattan Review, The Mississippi Review, Moment Magazine, Outer Bridge, Dark Horse, Red Crow, and Mail. He is the author of Facing the Fires: Conversations with A. B. Yehoshua, the only book in English about Israel's pre-eminent novelist, and his articles on the Bible have appeared in Shofar and Essays in Literature. He is a professor of English at Framingham State College in Massachusetts. "Humane, affectionate and live-minded poems." (Robert Pinsky). "Bernard Horn's poetry holds the beating heart of everyday's apparently random trivialities.” (Lawrence Kushner) "These poems are images of a life at once familiar and provocative. I recommend them." (David Mamet) "In remarkable poems like 'Letter from Israel' and 'Art, Vienna,' Horn gracefully and honestly navigates the impossible border between a richly textured personal life and the intrusive cruelty of history." (A. B. Yehoshua)
Click the book cover to read more.














[book] A JEW MUST DIE
A NOVEL BASED ON A TRUE STORY
BY JACQUES CHESSEX
April 2010, Bitter Lemon Press
Winner of the Prix Goncourt
On April 16, 1942, a handful of Swiss Nazis in Payerne lure Arthur Bloch, a Jewish cattle merchant, into an empty stable and kill him with a crowbar. Europe is in flames, but this is Switzerland, and Payerne, a rural market town of butchers and bankers, is more worried about unemployment and local bankruptcies than the fate of nations across the border. Fernand Ischi, leader of the local Nazi cell, blames it all on the town’s Jewish population and wants to set an example, thinking the German embassy would be grateful. Ischi's dream of becoming the local gauLeiter is shattered, however, when the milk containers used to dissimulate Bloch's body parts is discovered floating in a lake nearby, leading to his arrest.
Jacques Chessex, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, WAS one of Switzerland’s greatest authors. He knew the murderers, went to school with their children, and has written a terse, implacable story that has awakened memories in a country that seems to endlessly rediscover dark areas of its past. Sadly, he passed away a week before I received a copy of the book, in early December 2009. Chessex, aged 75, was the first non-French citizen to win France's most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt. The precise, sometimes austere beauty of his prose often contrasted with the way he used it to delve into stories of hidden cruelty, crime or passion. His neighbours in the Swiss village of Ropraz were offended by his 2007 novel Le Vampire de Ropraz, published in Britain as The Vampire of Ropraz by Bitter Lemon Press in 2008, which examined a 1903 miscarriage of justice when a local stable boy caught violating animals was convicted of a series of brutal murders. His stories had an undercurrent of Swiss rural isolation, Calvinist repression, and intense social jealousy. His most recent novel, Un Juif Pour L'Exemple, investigated the 1942 killing of a Jewish cattle trader by Swiss Nazis in Chessex's home town of Payerne, and became a national cause celebre in a country still uncomfortable with the true character of its neutrality during the second world war. Chessex won the Goncourt in 1973 for his novel L'Ogre, published in English translation as A Father's Love in 1975. Chessex attended elementary school with the son of the Nazi at the centre of Un Juif pour L'Exemple, then studied at the Jesuit College St Michel in Fribourg, where, aged 17, he founded a poetry magazine, Pays du Lac (Lake Country). At Lausanne University he wrote his dissertation on Francis Ponge, the poet and essayist who might be described as a French William Carlos Williams. He wrote more than 80 books, including 31 novels or other fictions, 28 volumes of poetry, including Les Aveugles du Seul Regard, which won the Prix Mallarmé in 1994, and a number of children's books. He collapsed during a lecture at the Municipal Library in Yverdon les Bains, discussing a play adapted from his 1967 novel La Confession du Pasteur Burg. He had just been asked to comment on the arrest of the film director Roman Polanski.
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[book] JEWISH PASTORAL CARE
2nd EDITION
A Practical Handbook from Traditional & Contemporary Sources
Now in paperback
Edited By Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman
April 2010, Jewish Lights
The first comprehensive resource for pastoral care in the Jewish tradition—and a vital resource for counselors and caregivers of other faith traditions. The essential reference for rabbis, cantors, and laypeople who are called to spiritually accompany those encountering joy, sorrow, and change—now in paperback. This groundbreaking volume draws upon both Jewish tradition and the classical foundations of pastoral care to provide invaluable guidance. Offering insight on pastoral care technique, theory, and theological implications, the contributors to Jewish Pastoral Care are innovators in their fields, and represent all four contemporary Jewish movements. This comprehensive resource provides you with the latest theological perspectives and tools, along with basic theory and skills for assisting the ill and those who care for them, the aging and dying, those with dementia and other mental disorders, engaged couples, and others, and for responding to issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and disasters.
Contributors: Barbara Eve Breitman, MSW, LSW • Anne Brener, MAJCS, MA, LCSW • Rabbi Amy Eilberg, MSW • Rabbi Nancy Flam, MA • Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MAJCS, BCC • Gus Kaufman, Jr., PhD • Rabbi Myriam Klotz, MA • Rabbi Yaacov Kravitz, EdD • Rabbi Ellen Jay Lewis, NCPsyA • Wendy Lipshutz, LMSW • Rabbi Sheldon Marder • Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, DMin • Simcha Paull Raphael, PhD • Rabbi Stephen Roberts, BCC • Rabbi Rochelle Robins • Rabbi Drorah Setel, MTS • Rabbi Jeffery M. Silberman, DMin • Marcia Cohn Spiegel, MAJCS • Rabbi Karen Sussan • Rabbi Bonita E. Taylor, MA, BCC • Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, CSW • Rabbi David J. Zucker, PhD, BCC
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[book] PEN OF IRON
AMERICAN PRoSE AND THE KING JAMES BIBLE
BY ROBERT ALTER
April 2010, Princeton
In college, I was told that if you want to write prose, you need to read the New Testament and Bible to get a sense of rhythm and language and understand the references to it in American literature.
The simple yet grand language of the King James Bible has pervaded American culture from the beginning--and its powerful eloquence continues to be felt even today. In this book, acclaimed biblical translator and literary critic Robert Alter traces some of the fascinating ways that American novelists--from Melville, Hemingway, and Faulkner to Bellow, Marilynne Robinson, and Cormac McCarthy--have drawn on the rich stylistic resources of the canonical English Bible to fashion their own strongly resonant styles and distinctive visions of reality. Showing the radically different manners in which the words, idioms, syntax, and cadences of this Bible are woven into Moby-Dick, Absalom, Absalom!, The Sun Also Rises, Seize the Day, Gilead, and The Road, Alter reveals the wide variety of stylistic and imaginative possibilities that American novelists have found in Scripture. At the same time, Alter demonstrates the importance of looking closely at the style of literary works, making the case that style is not merely an aesthetic phenomenon but is the very medium through which writers conceive their worlds.
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[book] GOD IS NOT ONE
THE EIGHT RIVAL RELIGIONS THAT RUN THE WORLD
AND WHY THEIR DIFFERENCES MATTER
BY STePHEN PROTHERO, Boston University
April 2010, Harperone
Argues that the differences among the world religions are greater than anyone acknowledges. With intelligence, wit, wisdom, and humor, Prothero has written an important and informative book, which happens to also be a very entertaining read! Through discussion of the world’s great religions, the book makes a convincing argument about religious difference, a hopeful antidote both to the idea that religions are mutually exclusive and to the schmaltzy claim that ‘all religions are one.’ In God is Not One, Prothero gives us a way to religious literacy. Everyone will benefit from reading this book.”
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, dizzying scientific and technological advancements, interconnected globalized economies, and even the so-called New Atheists have done nothing to change one thing: our world remains furiously religious. For good and for evil, religion is the single greatest influence in the world. We accept as self-evident that competing economic systems (capitalist or communist) or clashing political parties (Republican or Democratic) propose very different solutions to our planet's problems. So why do we pretend that the world's religious traditions are different paths to the same God? We blur the sharp distinctions between religions at our own peril, argues religion scholar Stephen Prothero, and it is time to replace naÏve hopes of interreligious unity with deeper knowledge of religious differences.
In Religious Literacy, Prothero demonstrated how little Americans know about their own religious traditions and why the world's religions should be taught in public schools. Now, in God Is Not One, Prothero provides readers with this much-needed content about each of the eight great religions. To claim that all religions are the same is to misunderstand that each attempts to solve a different human problem. For example:
–Islam: the problem is pride / the solution is submission
–Christianity: the problem is sin / the solution is salvation
–Confucianism: the problem is chaos / the solution is social order
–Buddhism: the problem is suffering / the solution is awakening
–Judaism: the problem is exile / the solution is to return to God

Prothero reveals each of these traditions on its own terms to create an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to better understand the big questions human beings have asked for millennia—and the disparate paths we are taking to answer them today. A bold polemical response to a generation of misguided scholarship, God Is Not One creates a new context for understanding religion in the twenty-first century and disproves the assumptions most of us make about the way the world's religions work
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[book] KING OF THE JEWS
THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWISH NATION
BY NORMAN GELB
April 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
The incredible saga of Jewish history as seen through the eyes of its monarchs We all know about King David and King Solomon, but what about the kings Omri and Uzziah? Of the more than fifty monarchs who sat on the throne of the Jews for over 1000 years, most of us can recall only a few. What we do remember about them has been colored by legend and embellishment. In Kings of the Jews, Norman Gelb tells us the real stories of them all. And in doing so, he reveals how a remarkably resilient people survived divisions, discord, and conquest to forge a vibrant identity that has lasted to the present day.
Kings of the Jews explores some of the most dramatic periods in Jewish history: those of the united Israelite kingdom under David and Solomon, the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the Babylonian exile, and the destruction of the Second Temple and the Roman conquest of Jerusalem. How a resilient people survived division, conquest, and exile more than 2,000 years ago to forge a vibrant identity that has lasted to the present day. Kings of the Jews traces the evolution of the Jewish nation, forerunner of the modern state of Israel, through vivid accounts of the lives and times of the men and women who ruled it -- from Saul to Agrippa II -- in a Middle East even more turbulent than it is today.
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[book] WHERE HEAVEN AND EARTH MEET
Jerusalem's Sacred Esplanade
Edited by Oleg Grabar and Benjamin Z. Kedar
April 2010, University of Texas Press
One of the most extraordinary spaces on earth, Jerusalem's Esplanade has been regarded as sacred for about three millennia. For Judaism, it is the holiest space, where the Solomonic and Herodian Temples once stood and where, in the messianic age, the Temple is to be rebuilt at God's behest. For Christendom, it is the site of the Herodian Temple, which Jesus repeatedly visited, foretelling its destruction and announcing the advent of a new, spiritual worship of God. For Islam, it is the holy space to which the Prophet Muhammad traveled on his mystical Night-Journey and Ascension, and which holds the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa Mosque. Where Heaven and Earth Meet is an unprecedented endeavor. For the first time, an Israeli, a Palestinian, and a Dominican institute of higher learning, all located in Jerusalem, have jointly sponsored a volume dealing with Jerusalem's sacred Esplanade--not only with its monuments, but also with the conflicting emotions they have aroused over the ages and with the passions they ignite today. The book contains eleven articles written by leading experts on the various periods, which add up to an authoritative, up-to-date account of the site's history; as well as five thematic essays, ranging from the site considered as a work of art to its roles in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thought; a photographic dossier; and three personal views by the presidents of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Al-Quds University, as well as by Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini.
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[book] JEWISH JOURNEYS IN JERUSALEM
A TOURIST GUIDE
BY JAY LEVINSON, PhD., retired Israeli policeman
April 2010, Key
Jewish Journeys in Jerusalem: A Tourist's Guide is a travel guide designed to give tourists a Jewish experience when visiting the city. The book covers interesting background about popular sites and fascinating details about lesser-known places. How was the Talmudic era grave of Nicanor found? Which places give the best views of the Temple Mount? Where can you walk on the roof of the Old City? How did the Geula neighborhood get its name? Whether this is your first trip to Jerusalem or one of many, this book is bound to greatly enhance your understanding and appreciation of the city. Jay Levinson, after retiring from the Israel Police, has published many books and articles about his numerous travels. Levinson holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from New York University and is currently an adjunct professor at John Jay College.
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[book] WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU‘LL KNOW I‘M DEAD
USEFUL STORIES FROM A PERSUASIVE MAN
BY JERRY WEINTRAUB with RICH COHEN
April 2010, TWELVE
As a child, Weintraub learned about packaging. His father, a jeweler, bought the largest star sapphire in the world. He toured the country with it, and then sold his other pieces to the jewelers and consumers who came to see it. He then donated the sapphire to the Smithsonian. It was all about packaging. When Jerry was nine, his father and movie loving mother, took the family ona car trip to Beverly Hills and Hollywood. They stayed at the Roosevelt and toured Grauman‘s Chinese. Jerry‘s hand prints are now at Grauman‘s, six decades later.
Here is the story of Jerry Weintraub: the self-made, Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised impresario, Hollywood producer, legendary deal maker, and friend of politicians and stars. No matter where nature has placed him--the club rooms of Brooklyn, the Mafia dives of New York's Lower East Side, the wilds of Alaska (where he worked for the Air Force, but also had a full time job at Sachs clothing stores cuz he was Jewish, and also played craps for extra dough), or the hills of Hollywood--he has found a way to put on a show and sell tickets at the door. "All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage," he writes. "I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: 'Jerry Weintraub Presents.'"
In WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU'LL KNOW I'M DEAD, we follow Weintraub from his first great success at age twenty-six with Elvis Presley, whom he took on the road with the help of Colonel Tom Parker; to the immortal days with Sinatra and Rat Pack glory; to his crowning hits as a movie producer, starting with Robert Altman and Nashville, continuing with Oh, God!, The Karate Kid movies, and Diner, among others, and summiting with Steven Soderbergh and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.
Along the way, we'll watch as Jerry moves from the poker tables of Palm Springs (the games went on for days), (he has a house in Palm Desert that is 10,000 sqft) to the power rooms of Hollywood, to the halls of the White House, to Red Square in Moscow and the Great Palace in Beijing-all the while counseling potentates, poets, and kings, with clients and confidants like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, George H. W. Bush, Armand Hammer, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Denver, Bobby Fischer . . .well, the list goes on forever.
And of course, the story is not yet over . . .as the old-timers say, "The best is yet to come." As Weintraub says, "When I stop talking, you'll know I'm dead." With wit, wisdom, and the cool confidence that has colored his remarkable career, Jerry chronicles a quintessentially American journey, one marked by luck, love, and improvisation. The stories he tells and the lessons we learn are essential, not just for those who love movies and music, but for businessmen, entrepreneurs, artists . . . everyone.
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Still a best seller after half a year:

[book] HAVE A LITTLE FAITH
A True Story
By Mitch Albom
September 2009, Hyperion
First some background from the book. Mitch Albom was on track for Jewish scholarship. He studied Hebrew and Aramaic, Rashi and the RaMBaM. He knew Jewish texts and history. He went to Brandeis University and led Jewish youth groups. After graduation, his sports writing career began to blossom and he had a lack of need for Jewish study and practice. Then came marriage, and other events and he left his religious spirituality tucked away in a corner.
And now for the book
What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together? In “Have a Little Faith,” Mitch Albom offers a story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds--two men, two faiths, two communities. The book opens with an unusual request: an 82 year old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof. Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat. As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds--and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.
In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi's last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself. The book is about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story. Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.






[book] FUTURE TENSE
JEWS, JUDAISM, AND ISRAEL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTurY
BY RABBI JONATHAN SACKS
April 2010, Alfred Knopf Schocken
One of the most admired religious thinkers of our time issues a call for world Jewry to reject the self-fulfilling image of “a people alone in the world, surrounded by enemies” and to reclaim Judaism’s original sense of purpose: as a partner with God and with those of other faiths in the never-ending struggle for freedom and social justice for all. We are in danger, says Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of forgetting what Judaism’s place is within the global project of humankind. During the last two thousand years, Jews have lived through persecutions that would have spelled the end of most nations, but they did not see anti-Semitism written into the fabric of the universe. They knew they existed for a purpose, and it was not for themselves alone. Rabbi Sacks believes that the Jewish people have lost their way, that they need to recommit themselves to the task of creating a just world in which the divine presence can dwell among us. Without compromising one iota of Jewish faith, Rabbi Sacks declares, Jews must stand alongside their friends–Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and secular humanist–in defense of freedom against the enemies of freedom, in affirmation of life against those who desecrate life. And they should do this not to win friends or the admiration of others, but because it is what a people of God is supposed to do. Rabbi Sacks’s powerful message of tikkun olam–of using Judaism as a blueprint for repairing an imperfect world–will resonate with people of all faiths. Sir Jonathan Sacks is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
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[book] TANYA
The Masterpiece of Hasidic Wisdom
Selections Annotated and Explained by Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Foreword by Rabbi Zalman Schacter Shalomi
Spring 2010, Skylight Paths
The wisdom of Jewish spirituality and mysticism can be a companion for your own spiritual journey. Tanya, “It Was Taught,” is one of the most powerful and potentially transformative books of Jewish wisdom. Written in 1797 by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, Tanya sets forth the fundamentals of Jewish spirituality and mysticism. While a focus of daily study by tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews, Tanya is little known outside the world of Jewish mysticism. Until now, its kabbalistic terms and esoteric language have made this essential text of Jewish spirituality inaccessible to most readers. In this engaging volume, Rabbi Rami Shapiro offers a contemporary English translation of key selections of Tanya coupled with commentary designed to clarify and amplify the wisdom it contains. He also outlines the philosophical and spiritual framework on which Tanya is based—God’s nonduality; the five dimensions of reality and their corresponding intelligences (body, heart, mind, soul, and spirit); the purpose of mitzvot, the practices of Jewish life, as catalysts to God realization and the hallowing of all life through godliness—to help you understand the selected Tanya translations in a way that enhances your own spiritual development. Now you can benefit from the wisdom of Tanya even if you have no previous knowledge of Judaism or Hebrew terminology. This SkyLight Illuminations edition presents the core teachings of Tanya, with insightful yet unobtrusive commentary that will deepen your understanding of the soul and how it relates to and manifests the Divine Source from which all life comes, in which all life lives and to which all life returns.
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[book] REPENTANCE
The Meaning and Practice of Teshuva
By Dr. Louis E., Dr. Newman. Intro by Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar (Introduction). Foreword by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis
Spring 2010, Jewish Lights
An inspiring way to reclaim your integrity and renew your sense of moral purpose.
“Like water, teshuvah is both destructive and creative. It dissolves the person you were but simultaneously provides the moisture you need to grow anew. It erodes the hard edges of your willfulness but also refreshens your spirit. It can turn the tallest barriers of moral blindness into rubble while it also gently nourishes the hidden seeds of hope buried deep in your soul. Teshuvah, like water, has the power both to wash away past sin and to shower you with the blessing of a new future, if only you trust it and allow yourself to be carried along in its current.” —from Part VII
In this candid and comprehensive probe into the nature of moral transgression and spiritual healing, Dr. Louis E. Newman examines both the practical and philosophical dimensions of teshuvah, Judaism’s core religious-moral teaching on repentance, and its value for us—Jews and non-Jews alike—today. He exposes the inner logic of teshuvah as well as the beliefs about God and humankind that make it possible. He also charts the path of teshuvah, revealing to us how we can free ourselves from the burden of our own transgressions by: * Acknowledging our transgressions * Confessing * Feeling remorse * Apologizing * Making restitution * Soul reckoning * Avoiding sin when the next opportunity arises
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[book] Missing a Beat
The Rants and Regrets of Seymour Krim
(Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music and Art)
BY Mark Cohen
April 2010, Syracuse
In 1961, Beat writer Seymour Krim set Greenwich Village on its ear with a slim volume of essays that featured an unleashed voice, a brash title, and a foreword by Norman Mailer. James Baldwin called Views of a Nearsighted Cannoneer an extraordinary volume. Saul Bellow published an excerpt in his journal The Noble Savage, and Mailer saluted Krim s jazzy prose with its shifts and shatterings of mood. Despite such praise and critical attention, Krim s work is excluded from most Beat anthologies and is little known outside literary circles. With Missing a Beat, a collection of eighteen essays by Krim published between 1957 and 1989, Cohen introduces this influential writer to a new generation. In the Village Voice, New York Magazine, New York Times, and elsewhere, Krim pioneered a new style of subjective and personal reporting to write about the postwar American scene from a Jewish angle. Aggressively unacademic, Krim s journalism displays the rapid, nervous, breathless tempo that Irving Howe called a hallmark of Jewish literature. Krim outlived his early literary fame, but he produced an impressive body of work and was a tremendous prose stylist. Missing a Beat resurrects an American original, finding Krim a new literary home among such celebrated writers as Norman Mailer, David Mamet, and Saul Bellow.
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[book] DREYFUS
POLITICS, EMOTION, AND THE SCANDAL OF THE CENTURY
BY RUTH HARRIS
April 2010, Metropolitan Books
What might be the definitive history of the infamous scandal that shook a nation and stunned the world
In 1894, Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was wrongfully convicted of spying for Germany and imprisoned on Devil’s Island. Over the next few years, France was torn apart as attempts to correct the injustice broke up families, set off anti-Semitic riots, and came close to triggering a coup d’etat against France‘s ruling government.
Drawing upon thousands of previously unconsidered sources, Ruth Harris goes beyond the conventional narrative of truth-loving left-wing democrats mobilizing against right-wing proto-Fascists to explain how violently reactionary forces could overtake a country that viewed itself as the flagship of progressive enlightenment.
She shows how complex emotions and interlocking influences—the tension between the military and the intellectuals, the clashing demands of justice and nationalism, and a tangled web of personal connections—shaped both the coalitions working to free Dreyfus and the alliances seeking to protect the army that had convicted him. Sweeping and engaging, Dreyfus offers a new understanding of one of the most contested and consequential moments in modern history.
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[book] A JOURNEY INTO THE ZOHAR
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF RADIANCE
BY NATHAN WOLSKI, Monash University
Spring 2010, SUNY Press
The crowning work of medieval Kabbalah, the Zohar is unlike any other work in the Jewish canon. Written in Aramaic, the Zohar contains complex mystical exegesis as well as a delightful epic narrative about the Companions--a group of sages who wander through second-century Israel discussing the Torah while encountering children, donkey drivers, and other surprising figures who reveal profound mysteries to them. Nathan Wolski offers original translations of episodes involving this mystical fellowship and goes on to provide a sustained reading of each. With particular emphasis on the literary and performative dimensions of the composition, Wolski takes the reader on a journey through the central themes and motifs of the zoharic world: kabbalistic hermeneutics, the structure of divinity, the nature of the soul, and, above all, the experiential core of the Zohar--the desire to be saturated and intoxicated with the flowing fluids of divinity. A Journey into the Zohar opens the mysterious, wondrous, and at times bewildering universe of one of the masterpieces of world mystical literature to a wider community of scholars, students, and general readers alike.
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[book] Homesick
A novel
By Eshkol Nevo. Translated from Hebrew by Sondra Silverston
April 2010, SUNY Press
Moving from character to character, perspective to perspective, Homesick is a complex and moving portrait of parallel lives and failing love in a time of permanent war. This remarkable, kaleidoscopic novel tells the fragmented stories of a group of women and men brought together by chance in a small neighborhood in the hills of Israel. It is 1995, and Amir, a young man studying psychology in Jerusalem, and his girlfriend Noa, studying photography in Tel Aviv, decide to move in together, choosing a tiny apartment midway between their two cities—a village that was forcibly emptied of its Arab inhabitants in 1948. Although the two students are only looking for a convenient place to spend time together, they find their new home to be no less complex a web of relationships than urban life: their landlords live on the other side of a paper-thin wall; the next-door neighbors have just lost their eldest son in Lebanon; and further down the street, a Palestinian construction worker named Saddiq is keeping a close watch on the house where his own family used to live.
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Like a bottle of Heinz Ketchup, that is thick, and it just can‘t pour out of the bottle…
[book] NOTHING HAPPENED
AND THEN IT DID
BY JAKE SILVERSTEIN
April 2010, Norton
From Booklist: In his first book, Silverstein, editor of Texas Monthly, offers eight wry essays with one intriguing twist: half of them are fact and half of them are fiction. He has a great deal of fun tweaking boundaries and bending perceptions, for it is often the factual accounts that strain credulity. Silverstein took his first journalism job in Murfa, Texas, for the Big Bend Sentinel when he was 24. The barren land and wide-open skies of far-western Texas fire his imagination and his ambition, but finding the big story that will make his name proves arduous; in one hilarious running gag, he is forever being outmaneuvered by reporters from the New Yorker. Other chapters cover the most dangerous road race in the world, a search for pirate Jean Lafitte’s treasure in the Louisiana swamps, and a poetry contest in Reno, Nevada, in which Silverstein is forced to consider whether adding a dance routine to his recital of his poem would give him a competitive edge. A terrific combination of droll humor and fine writing makes this title one to savor.
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[book] STARTING TODAY
100 POEMS FOR OBAMA‘S FIRST 100 DAYS
Edited by Rachel Zucker and Arielle Greenberg
April 2010, University of Iowa Press
Starting Today contains 100 poems written during—and responding to—Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office. The poems included in this anthology, except for Elizabeth Alexander’s inauguration poem, were all written no more than a day before they appeared on the popular blog “Starting Today: Poems for the First 100 Days” . The result is a work that documents the political and personal events of those crucial days through a variety of contemporary poetic voices, from the ebullient to the admiring, from the pithy to the loquacious. Editors Rachel Zucker and Arielle Greenberg explain in their enthusiastic introduction: “In those jittery, pre-inaugural hours, it became clear to us that our exhilaration stemmed, in part, from the knowledge that we were not alone in our enthusiasm. We knew others felt called to action just as we were. That same afternoon we compiled an e-mail list of poets—friends, acquaintances, and folks we admire—from across the country and across generations. Could we get one hundred poets to commit to writing a new poem during the first one hundred carefully watched days of the new presidency? And could we get them to respond overnight, so that our project would coincide with Barack Obama beginning his job? Yes, we could! Poets wrote back immediately and with gusto.” Difficult to categorize but easy to enjoy, the poems in Starting Today offer something for every type of poetry reader, from the novice to the seasoned. This smart, timely collection offers a swirling portrait of the American Zeitgeist—a poetic reportage that demonstrates spontaneity, collaboration, immediacy, and accessibility.
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WI SEN HEI MER
[book][book] WISENHEIMER
A CHILDHOOD SUBJECT TO DEBATE
BY MARK OPPENHEIMER
April 2010, Free Press
Booklist – Starred Review: In this wise, witty shout-out to geek culture, Oppenheimer relays his evolution from problem child to world-class debater. Part of what makes this memoir so special is the author’s openness about the frustration and isolation he met with as a precocious kid, especially during third and fourth grades, when he had a teacher who literally despised him. Tension at school caused him to act out and to remain friendless until he joined debate club in middle school. There he finally met other kids who, like him, loved language and lived to talk. He was so gifted at debate that he was soon participating in international tournaments—and winning them. This outlet for his verbosity not only garnered him the esteem he was so desperate to attain but also exposed him to some world-class talkers, among them the wry English, gregarious Australians, and hot-dogging Scots, who possessed a “merry nihilism.” His deft running narratives of various competitions contain the same suspense and thrills as the best sports books, while his astute analyses of teammates, coaches, and competitors read like the best kind of psychology. Read it for its sheer entertainment value or for its exuberant celebration of language—just make sure you read it.”
Mark is the biweekly religion columnist for The New York Times. Ne is the author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture and Thirteen and a Day: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Across America. For the online magazine Slate, he wrote articles on evaluation of Christian sex manuals, a discussion of the Catholic utopian vision of Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, a suggestion for atonement not just on Yom Kippur, another piece on Scientology, and lots more.
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[book] Social Entrepreneurship
What Everyone Needs to Know
By David Bornstein and Susan Davis
April 2010 Oxford
In development circles, there is now widespread consensus that social entrepreneurs represent a far better mechanism to respond to needs than we have ever had before--a decentralized and emergent force that remains our best hope for solutions that can keep pace with our problems and create a more peaceful world. David Bornstein's previous book on social entrepreneurship, How to Change the World, was hailed by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times as "a bible in the field" and published in more than twenty countries. Now, Bornstein shifts the focus from the profiles of successful social innovators in that book--and teams with Susan Davis, a founding board member of the Grameen Foundation--to offer the first general overview of social entrepreneurship. In a Q & A format allowing readers to go directly to the information they need, the authors map out social entrepreneurship in its broadest terms as well as in its particulars. Bornstein and Davis explain what social entrepreneurs are, how their organizations function, and what challenges they face. The book will give readers an understanding of what differentiates social entrepreneurship from standard business ventures and how it differs from traditional grant-based non-profit work. Unlike the typical top-down, model-based approach to solving problems employed by the World Bank and other large institutions, social entrepreneurs work through a process of iterative learning--learning by doing--working with communities to find unique, local solutions to unique, local problems. Most importantly, the book shows readers exactly how they can get involved. Anyone inspired by Barack Obama's call to service and who wants to learn more about the essential features and enormous promise of this new method of social change, Social Entrepreneurship is the ideal first place to look
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[book] Overcoming Speechlessness
A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel
By Alice Walker
April 2010, Seven Stories Press
In reading this blurb, you will get an idea what this book is about and the thoughts of Walker… In 2006 Alice Walker, working with Women for Women International, visited Rwanda and the eastern Congo to witness the aftermath of the genocide in Kigali. Invited by Code Pink, an antiwar group working to end the Iraq War, Walker traveled to Palestine/Israel three years later to view the devastation on the Gaza Strip. Walker connected with the women of Gaza with a delegation of 60, crossing through at Rafah, with the help of the wife of Mubarak. Walker chose to go to Gaza because she wanted to be with the women who lost their homes and children, and be with them on International Womens Day. She traveled with Craig and Cindy Corrie, parents of the late Rachel Corrie. She was disturbed by the looks of the children who were traumatized by Israel and the crimes committed.. She writes that the genocide against the Palestinians is of a different nature from that in Rwanda. It isn't Palestinians in flesh and blood who are being eliminated, but Palestinian history and identity that's been systematically denied or, when it manages to emerge here and there, as systematically eliminated as the routine of Israeli martial law makes possible. The genocide is cultural, not literal, and even then, calling it such has the ironies of misnomers written all over it: it's Israel's relentless war on Palestinian identity that has defined and solidified Palestinian identity since 1948.
Alice Walker bears witness to the depravity and cruelty, she presents the stories of the individuals who crossed her path and shared their tales of suffering and courage. Part of what has happened to human beings over the last century, she believes, is that we have been rendered speechless by unusually barbaric behavior that devalues human life. We have no words to describe what we witness. Self-imposed silence has slowed our response to the plight of those who most need us, often women and children, but also men of conscience who resist evil but are outnumbered by those around them who have fallen victim to a belief in weapons, male or ethnic dominance, and greed.
Walker is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Alice Walker is the author of more than thirty books including The Color Purple and Sent by Earth. The late Howard Zinn said that perhaps it takes a poet such as Alice Walker to reach out to create a better world. On April 13, 2010, she will speak at the 92nd St Y. That should be interesting
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Scary.
Doesn’t it sound like America?
Financial problems that are blamed on Jews (Madoff, Greenspan, Summer, Levitt, Rubin), and a wartime defeat (Iraq, Afghanistan, Viet Nam)… all leading to culture wars:
[book] FOR THE SOUL OF FRANCE
CULTURE WARS IN THE AGE OF DREyFUS
BY FREDERICK BROWN
2010, Knopf
Frederick Brown, cultural historian, author of acclaimed biographies of Émile Zola and Flaubert now gives us an ambitious, far-reaching book—a perfect joining of subject and writer: a portrait of fin-de-siècle France. He writes about the forces that led up to the twilight years of the nineteenth century when France, defeated by Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, was forced to cede the border states of Alsace and Lorraine, and of the resulting civil war, waged without restraint, that toppled Napoléon III, crushed the Paris Commune, and provoked a dangerous nationalism that gripped the Republic.
The author describes how postwar France, a nation splintered in the face of humiliation by the foreigner—Prussia—dissolved into two cultural factions: moderates, proponents of a secular state (“Clericalism, there is the enemy!”), and reactionaries, who saw their ideal nation—militant, Catholic, royalist—embodied by Joan of Arc, with their message, that France had suffered its defeat in 1871 for having betrayed its true faith. A bitter debate took hold of the heart and soul of the country, framed by the vision of “science” and “technological advancement” versus “supernatural intervention.”
Brown shows us how Paris’s most iconic monuments that rose up during those years bear witness to the passionate decades-long quarrel. At one end of Paris was Gustave Eiffel’s tower, built in iron and more than a thousand feet tall, the beacon of a forward-looking nation; at Paris’ other end, at the highest point in the city, the basilica of the Sacré-Coeur, atonement for the country’s sins and moral laxity whose punishment was France’s defeat in the war . . .
Brown makes clear that the Dreyfus Affair—the cannonade of the 1890s—can only be understood in light of these converging forces. “The Affair” shaped the character of public debate and informed private life. At stake was the fate of a Republic born during the Franco-Prussian War and reared against bitter opposition. The losses that abounded during this time—the financial loss suffered by thousands in the crash of the Union Génerale, a bank founded in 1875 to promote Catholic interests with Catholic capital outside the Rothschilds’ sphere of influence, along with the failure of the Panama Canal Company—spurred the partisan press, which blamed both disasters on Jewry. The author writes how the roiling conflicts that began thirty years before Dreyfus did not end with his exoneration in 1900. Instead they became the festering point that led to France’s surrender to Hitler’s armies in 1940, when the Third Republic fell and the Vichy government replaced it, with Marshal Pétain heralded as the latest incarnation of Joan of Arc, France’s savior . . . Click the book cover to read more.








Not Jewish, but….
[book] The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything
By James Martin, SJ
2010,
Father James Martin, author, Wharton trained financial analyst, ex-GE accountant, editor and priest, writes on Jesuit ideas and its application to current life and spirituality. Ignatius of Loyola's "way of proceeding" as lived by the Jesuits, the community of men he started in 1540, forms the basis of this spiritual handbook. James Martin, S.J., encapsulates the uniquely Ignatian concept of spirituality. Translating the essence of the Jesuit philosophy into layman’s terms, he uses both traditional stories and personal anecdotes to vividly illustrate the Jesuit approach to God, friendship, social justice, decision-making, prayer, simplicity, obedience, and self-actualization. Martin’s engaging, intimate tone will appeal to anyone interested in understanding the history, the efficacy, and the universality of the Jesuit mission and way of life. Martin, the author of My Life with the Saints (2006), has a way of popularizing serious religious issues without trivializing their impact and significance.
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A BOOK ABOUT HAM… BY A JEWISH NEW YORKER
But then of course, for Hanukkah, growing up, his family in Bayside, Queens, NYC, would eat latkes with Chinese roast pork.
[book] HAM
An Obsession with the Hindquarter
By Bruce Weinstein
And Mark Scarbrough
and photographed by Marcus Nilsson
2010, Stewart Tabori Chang
A ham is (let us not mince words) a pig’s rear end. It’s a hefty hunk of flesh and bone, weighing in somewhere between 12 and 30 pounds. Fresh or cured, ham can be prepared in innumerable ways. In Ham: An Obsession with the Hindquarter, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough take readers on a globetrotting tour of the whole wide wonderful world of ham, from the Philippines to Spain, the Caribbean, the American South, and their own home corner of rural Connecticut (Colebrook CT) where they buy and help raise a hog of their own. Gifted raconteurs and talented cooks, the pair ham it up with a series of hilarious stories and pig out on a hundred recipes. They are contributing editors, columnists, or features writers in national publications, including Eating Well, Cooking Light, and the Washington Post.
Weinstein wrote, “…how did I, a Jewish kid from New York, come to co-write a book on ham, the most Christian of all meats? When I was growing up, my family shunned ham. Not all ham. We ate prosciutto crudo. We didn’t call it ham. (We didn’t call it crudo, either.) We probably didn’t even know it was ham. But we sure balked at the classic American take on ham: the ubiquitous, spiral-sliced, wet-cured, smoked ham that Mark grew up with as a Southern Baptist. Back in Texas, Mark says his Jewish friends ate ham. I suppose they had to assimilate or starve. The first time I met Mark’s parents, his mother was preparing shrimp for dinner — until she remembered that I was Jewish and might not eat shellfish. Mark reassured her that it was OK, but she said she didn’t want to cause any problems — so she might just fix a ham. My family wasn’t kosher by any means. We ate shrimp in lobster sauce, spare ribs, and sweet-and-sour pork every Sunday night at King’s Chinese in Bayside, Queens. And it gets worse: my mother’s traditional Hanukkah meal has always been latkes and pork loin.
But why was ham verboten — a German word used often by my mother, a woman who wouldn’t even ride in her friends’ new Mercedes? Not even an entire box of kosher salt could move this succulent cut of meat up to the status of bacon — which my grandmother from the shtetl in Belarus prepared with abandon, but always in a separate skillet bought just for the activity.
In short, a ham is the rear end, the hindquarter. And the back end of any animal, even a kosher one, is verboten.
But even that couldn’t keep me away. My first taste was in the 1970s, at my cousin Olga’s house on Long Island. In the center of the table sat a wet-cured, spiral-sliced, smoked ham, brown and crunchy on the outside and glazed with oranges and brown sugar. My mother and grandmother were horrified — and left hungry. I took a small piece — it might well have been a communion wafer in my grandmother’s eyes — and never turned back. What I didn’t know was that my first experience, like all first experiences, was not the whole thing. Unlike my first ham, American country hams are dry-cured, rubbed with salt and spices, and cured at an ambient temperature before being smoked (or not), then hung to dry for as long as two years... If this Jew had an epiphany back on Long Island decades earlier, he was now ready for the rapture….
“…It’s sad that my grandmother didn’t live long enough to see any of our 18 cookbooks get published and win awards. But I think that even my grandmother would approve of Ham: An Obsession With The Hindquarter as much as Mark’s family. She always kept a separate pan for the bacon, but we kept a separate book for the ham..”
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[book] Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself
A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace
By David Lipsky
April 2010, broadway
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In early 1996, journalist and author Lipsky (Absolutely American) joined then-34-year-old David Foster Wallace on the last leg of his tour for Infinite Jest (Wallace's breakout novel) for a Rolling Stone interview that would never be published. Here, he presents the transcript of that interview, a rollicking dialogue that Lipsky sets up with a few brief but revealing essays, one of which touches upon Wallace's 2008 suicide and the reaction of those close to him (including his sister and his good friend Jonathan Franzen). Over the course of their five day road trip, Wallace discusses everything from teaching to his stay in a mental hospital to television to modern poetry to love and, of course, writing. Ironically, given Wallace's repeated concern that Lipsky would end up with an incomplete or misleading portrait, the format produces the kind of tangible, immediate, honest sense of its subject that a formal biography might labor for. Even as they capture a very earthbound encounter, full of common road-trip detours, Wallace's voice and insight have an eerie impact not entirely related to his tragic death; as Lipsky notes, Wallace "was such a natural writer he could talk in prose." Among the repetitions, ellipses, and fumbling that make Wallace's patter so compellingly real are observations as elegant and insightful as his essays. Prescient, funny, earnest, and honest, this lost conversation is far from an opportunistic piece of literary ephemera, but a candid and fascinating glimpse into a uniquely brilliant and very troubled writer
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[book] THE TRUMP CARD
Playing To Win in Work and Life
By Ivanka Trump
April 2010, Touchstone
A book from Ivanka Trump, recently a new member to the Jewish faith
From Publishers Weekly: A child of privilege with one of the most familiar surnames in America, Trump has managed to avoid many of the pitfalls that routinely plague children of the rich and famous (reckless partying, drug abuse and other mindless self-indulgences) to become a focused, successful woman in her own right-a model, entrepreneur and vice president of the Trump Organization. Eager to share what she's learned at some of the best schools in the country, as well as from her driven, successful parents, Trump is straightforward and fully self-aware, realizing that readers will dismiss her achievements as simple nepotism; as such, she owns her privilege, acknowledges her advantages and then sets about disabusing readers of their presumptions with intelligent, well-conceived, positive advice; unbridled ambition; and a strong measure of graciousness and humility. Throughout this self-help memoir, Trump has sprinkled succinct, practical quotes from famous associates like Arianna Huffington and Tory Burch, bringing further weight to this young career woman's accomplished work.
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[book] Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium
By Rona Arato
April 2010, Tundra
Ages 8 – 11
Treat yourself to a visit to the wackiest restaurant ever!Ten-year-old Shoshi and her eight-year-old brother, Moshe, arrive in New York in 1898 from Russia with their mother and Snigger, the baby dragon that saved them from an attack by Cossack soldiers. Five years earlier, their father had also come to New York to make his fortune, but no one has heard from him since. Through a series of adventures and misadventures, Shoshi and Moshe use their wits to navigate through New York City's Lower East Side, making new friends and even a few foes: Salty, the seaman who helps the family smuggle Snigger through Ellis Island; Aloysius P. Thornswaddle, carnival barker extraordinaire; Dingle Hinglehoffer, pitcher for the Brooklyn Slobbers; and the mysterious Man in the Black Cape. With the help of Snigger, they set out to solve the mystery behind their father's disappearance, helping to free the Lower East Side from the tyrannical rule of gangster Nick the Stick along the way. Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium is a colorful tale that blends history and fantasy with a journey of discovery, adventure, and fun.
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[book] Little Red Hen and The Passover Matzah
By Leslie Kimmelman
2010, Holiday House
Ages 4 - 8
The Little Red Hen has gone through various versions and permutations, but surely this is the first time she has a Yiddish accent. Realizing it’s almost Passover, the Little Red Hen says, “Oy gevalt!” She needs matzah for her seder dinner, and that means growing wheat. Horse, Sheep, and Dog are not interested in helping. Harvesting? Again, nope. Milling? “We’re resting.” By now, the Little Red Hen realizes she’s dealing with a bunch of no-goodniks. She bakes the matzah (“according to Jewish law . . . in just eighteen minutes”) and then sets her seder table. Guess who arrives? “What chutzpah!” But then the Little Red Hen remembers the Haggadah’s words: “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” Children familiar with Passover will get a kick out of this, and the ink-and-watercolor art amusingly captures both the Little Red Hen’s aggravation and the animals’ turnaround. Those really in the know might wonder about a sheep at a holiday table where lamb’s blood plays a major role, but, hey, at least none of the guests are pigs.
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[book] The Year of Goodbyes
A true story of friendship, family and farewells
By Debbie Levy
2010, Hyperion
Ages 9 - 12
BOOKLIST writes, “Holocaust titles appear every season, prompting some to overlook the genre, but the best always approach the topic from a fresh perspective, making them worthy purchases. Levy shares excerpts from her mother Jutta Salzberg’s 1938 poetry album, in which friends and family express good wishes in poems and drawings. She includes reproductions of original pages, English translations, and free verse musings that reflect 11-year-old Jutta’s voice and feelings as she watches Jewish friends disappear from Hamburg while her own family waits for U.S. visas. Levy also includes a few entries from Jutta’s diary and oblaten (sticker) images from the original. Although entries are short, distinct characters and a strong sense of narrative emerge. Levy ends with the Salzbergs’ November 1938 arrival in New York; an afterword provides family and Holocaust background and traces what happened to the people introduced. Similar in scope to Karen Ackerman’s The Night Crossing (1994), this makes a good introduction to Holocaust literature, especially for those who aren’t quite ready for scenes of death camps.”
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[book] PARADISE BENEATH HER FEET
HOW WOMEN ARE TRANSFORMING THE MIDDLE EAST
BY ISOLBEL COLEMAN
April 2010, Random House
Over the centuries and throughout the world, women have struggled for equality and basic rights. Their challenge in the Middle East has been intensified by the rise of a political Islam that too often condemns women’s empowerment as Western cultural imperialism or, worse, anti-Islamic. In Paradise Beneath Her Feet, Isobel Coleman shows how Muslim women and men are fighting back with progressive interpretations of Islam to support women’s rights in a growing movement of Islamic feminism.
In this timely book, Coleman journeys through the strategic crescent of the greater Middle East—Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan—to reveal how activists are working within the tenets of Islam to create economic, political, and educational opportunities for women. Coleman argues that these efforts are critical to bridging the conflict between those championing reform and those seeking to oppress women in the name of religious tradition. Success will bring greater stability and prosperity to the Middle East and stands to transform the region. Coleman highlights a number of Muslim men and women who are among the most influential Islamic feminist thinkers, and brilliantly illuminates the on-the-ground experiences of women who are driving change: Sakena Yacoobi, an Afghan educator, runs more than forty women’s centers across Afghanistan, providing hundreds of thousands of women with literacy and health classes and teaching them about their rights within Islam. Madawi al-Hassoon, a successful businesswoman, is challenging conservative conventions to break new ground for Saudi professional women. Salama al-Khafaji, a devout dentist-turned-politician, relies on moderate interpretations of Islam to promote opportunities for women in Iraq’s religiously charged environment. These quiet revolutionaries are using Islamic feminism to change the terms of religious debate, to fight for women’s rights within Islam instead of against it. There is no mistaking that women and women’s issues are very much on the front lines of a war that is taking place between advocates of innovation, tolerance, and plurality and those who use violence to reject modernity in Muslim communities around the world. Ultimately, Paradise Beneath Her Feet offers a message of hope: Change is happening—and more often than not, it is being led by women.
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[book] Making Haste from Babylon
The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World
A New History
By Nick Bunker
April 2010, Knopf
This superb book secures for the Pilgrims their iconic perch among the earliest founders of colonial America. Bunker, a British investment banker turned journalist, has succeeded in writing a major history, unprecedented in its sweep, of the Plymouth Colony, a history centered on the 1620s but not exclusive to that decade. If short on interpretation and on the drama inherent in the settlers' enterprise, it is long on facts. Bunker takes his history in two directions, downward into some never before used archives (which allows him to add detail and texture), and outward into the entire world context of the Pilgrim settlements. Never before has such a comprehensive and thoroughly researched study of the subject appeared. If sometimes fatiguing by the volume of detail (e.g., in a disquisition on one settlement, directions to the site include turn left at the Dunkin' Donuts), it scoops up every relevant character and links all to the basic tale of indomitable courage, religious faith, commercial ambition, international rivalry, and domestic politics. The results are stunning. Certain to be the dominating work on the Pilgrims for decades.
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[book] When Money Was In Fashion
Henry Goldman, Goldman Sachs, and the Founding of Wall Street
By June Breton Fisher
April 2010, Palgrave Macmillan
This epic biography tells the story of the rise of Wall Street and the growth of Goldman Sachs from a small commercial paper company to the international banking business we know today. At its heart is the story of Henry Goldman, a man who spoke out passionately for his beliefs, understood the importance of the bottom line, and was known to chuckle, draw on his cigar, and remind his young protégés, "Just keep in mind . . . Money is always in fashion." Though you will rarely find a mention of him in the official history of Goldman Sachs, it was Henry who established many of the practices of modern investment banking. He devised the plan that made Sears, Roebuck Co. the first publicly owned retail operation in the world, helped convince Woodrow Wilson to pass the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and became a power player in the world of Wall Street finance at a time when Jews were considered outsiders. The book traces Henry Goldman's hard-fought and often frustrating career with Goldman Sachs, a company founded by his father Marcus and fraught with professional rivalries. The tensions between the Goldman and Sachs families extended outside of the boardroom and into the larger world as the United States went to war. Henry’s steadfast support for Germany during World War I would tarnish his reputation and drive him from the firm. But his involvement with finance would continue throughout his life, as would close friendships with luminaries like Albert Einstein, whom he would later join in outspoken denunciation of Hitler’s atrocities against European Jews.
Here, June Breton Fisher, Henry Goldman’s granddaughter, tells his whole story for the first time—a story that has shaped contemporary finance and continues to resonate with us today.
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[book] STEAK
ONE MAN’S SEARCH FOR THE WORLD’S TASTIEST PIECE OF STEAK
BY MARK SCHATZKER
April 2010, Penguin Viking
From Publishers Weekly: Slate columnist Schatzker's journey through more than 100 pounds of steak begins with a single, fondly remembered bite from his past and takes him, years later, to eight countries on four continents in pursuit of flavorful beef. Chapter by Dionysian chapter he probes the myths and minutiae of tasty beef. Does marbling (the small white dots and curls of fat spread throughout a steak's red flesh) matter more than breed? Is a stressed animal less tasty? Can words accurately describe the flavor of beef? In Texas, Schatzker compares corn-fed to grass-fed rib-eyes; Scotland is mostly about the Angus bulls, while Japan provides the lure of its famed kobe and Wagyu beef. Lessons from each new location build upon those from the last, underscoring his major concern: do modern practices of commercial breeding and production sacrifice quality for quantity? Schatzker writes with a discerning eye, an inquisitive mind, and a comedic sense of timing that keeps both shop talk (reading cow pies), and the esoteric (the mysteries of umami) from numbing readers' minds. On the way to a unifying theory of steak, Schatzker even raises his own cows for slaughter, leading him to the Zen-like revelation that the secret to great steak is great steak. No matter. Steak is easily one of the most entertaining and informative noncookbooks about beef.
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[book] FINDING CHANDRA
A TRUE WASHINGTON MURDER MYSTERY
By Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz
April 2010, Scribner
PW writes: “The 2001 disappearance of Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy, and the discovery of her remains a year later in a remote area of D.C.'s Rock Creek Park, made headlines, especially when her affair with Congressman Gary Condit became known. Pulitzer Prize–winning reporters Higham and Horwitz expand on their 13-part Washington Post investigation that in 2008 identified Levy's likely killer, delivering a meticulous study of the case and the media circus surrounding it. The police immediately focused on Condit in Levy's disappearance. Though the California Democrat eventually admitted to the liaison, he denied involvement in her death. Higham and Horwitz draw attention to the critical mistakes of law enforcement and the media's dogged pursuit of Condit despite the lack of evidence linking him to Levy's murder. In their Post reporting, the authors pointed instead to Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique, already convicted of two similar assaults on women committed in the same park around the time Levy disappeared. Guandique is now facing trial on first-degree murder charges; he has pleaded not guilty. Higham and Horwitz's compelling story brings hope that justice may finally come for Levy.”
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[book] Rhyming Life and Death
Paperback
By Amos Oz. Translated by Nicholas de Lange
April 2010, Mariner reprint
In this work of precision satire, Oz, one of Israel’s most prominent writers, portrays a prominent Israeli writer, The Author, and cannily mocks the celebrity status writers acquire. What does a writer know? Why trust him? Stories, after all, possess strange, even dangerous powers. This particular Author is enthralled by his rogue imagination. He’s late to his reading at the “refurbished Shunia Shor and the Seven Victims of the Quarry Attack Cultural Center” because a waitress’ derriere sparks his storytelling impulse, and soon the reader becomes wholly engrossed in her disastrous love affair. Finally onstage, The Author begins to make up stories about people in the audience, all the while wondering about the fate of the revered poet everyone insists on quoting. Hilarious and profound, Oz’s tale of a mischievous tale-teller ponders the eroticism of stories and the mysterious ways language and literature bridge the divide between inner and outer worlds; and it helps us make some sense, however gossamer, of life and death. A slyly philosophical novel.
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[book] A JEW GROWS IN BROOKLYN
THE CURIOUS REFLECTIONS OF A FIRST-GENERATION AMERICAN
BY JAKE EHRENREICH
April 2010, HCI
From Publishers Weekly: In this print adaptation of his successful one-man show, featured on Broadway, playwright and performer Ehrenreich tells his story of growing up in Brooklyn as the first-born son of Holocaust survivors in the years following WWII. Desperate to acquire the "all American" identity he feels denied as part of a foreign, Jewish family of war survivors, Ehrenreich plied his love of rock music into an adolescent romance with the drums; during his teens and twenties, Ehrenreich became involved in a number of musical projects, performing for vacationers in the Catskills and playing clubs around the country, eventually finding himself among famous musicians like Richie Havens and glam-rock band KISS. Along the way, the married-with-children Ehrenreich divulges entertaining details of his wilder years, including a string of romantic conquests and a struggle with drug abuse. Ehrenreich also devotes a chapter to each member of his family, recounting fond memories as well as tragic details of the early-onset Alzheimers that claimed his mother and two sisters. His style and timing perfected over years of performance, Ehrenreich proves inspirational and entertaining throughout, showing readers how he weathered troubled times to discover an unconditional love for life.
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[book] TOURS THAT BIND
DISASPORA, PILGRIMAGE, AND ISRAELI BRITHRIGHT TOURISM
BY SHAUL KELNER
April 2010, New York University Press NYU
Since 1999 hundreds of thousands of young American Jews have visited Israel on an all-expense-paid 10-day pilgrimage-tour known as Birthright Israel. The most elaborate of the state-supported homeland tours that are cropping up all over the world, this tour seeks to foster in the American Jewish diaspora a lifelong sense of attachment to Israel based on ethnic and political solidarity. Over a half-billion dollars (and counting) has been spent cultivating this attachment, and despite 9/11 and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict the tours are still going strong. Based on over seven years of first-hand observation in modern day Israel, Shaul Kelner provides an on-the-ground look at this hotly debated and widely emulated use of tourism to forge transnational ties. We ride the bus, attend speeches with the Prime Minister, hang out in the hotel bar, and get a fresh feel for young American Jewish identity and contemporary Israel. We see how tourism's dynamism coupled with the vibrant human agency of the individual tourists inevitably complicate tour leaders' efforts to rein tourism in and bring it under control. By looking at the broader meaning of tourism, Kelner brings to light the contradictions inherent in the tours and the ways that people understandtheir relationship to place both materially and symbolically. Rich in detail, engagingly written, and sensitive to the complexities of modern travel and modern diaspora Jewishness, Tours that Bind offers a new way of thinking about tourism as a way through which people develop understandings of place, society, and self.
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MAY 2010 BOOKS

IN TIME FOR FATHER’S DAY
Crap! The guy moves home, tweets his father’s comments, and gets a pilot contract from CBS Television.
We should start Shit My Jewish Mother Says. Drek My Bubbe Says, or Stuff My Damn Rabbi Says… but probably no pilot contract.
Please note.. although the book seems very Jewish, the religion of the family is not actually discussed until near the end of the book. Justin’s paternal Halpern grandfather was a tobacco farm sharecropper in Burlington/Boone Kentucky. Justin’s father, Sam, grew up quite poor; his father bought the farm; and Sam proceeded to go to college in Kentucky and received his medical degree. For our Jewish readers, … Justin, who gerw up without any organized religion, discusses Xmas gifts, and the class his mother sent him to for kids of mixed religion families. Justin lasted in that class for just 3 sessions. Justin’s mother grew up poor and Italian and was orphaned as a young teen. So what can I say? The book feels very Jewish, Sam’s comment are very realistic and forthright and has no pretentions or passive aggressiveness. Justin’s father imparts these words of wisdom on him when he has to select a doctor from his new insurance plan: ‘choose a doctor with a Jewish sounding last name.’
[book] [book] SH*T MY DAD SAYS
BY JUSTIN HALPERN
May 2010
Halpern, a star on Twitter.com, posts crazy things he says that his father, Samuel, says. Are the true? Edited? Who knows? Whatever they are, they are compiled in this book. At 28, Justin moved from LA back home with his parents home in San Diego. Once a day, Halpern, started to post a memorable quote that his dad, Samuel, had said the day before. More than 200,000 users subscribe to get their daily dose of Sam.Many of them are quite profane. Sam, 73, is frustrated by his three sons‘ lives. Sam did not know he was an internet star. Growing up, Justin and his two brothers were pretty scared of Sam. They're still scared of him. He worked in nuclear med for UCSD and is good at keeping secrets and keeping mum. CBS is developing a pilot based on the tweets of an angry old man. William Shatner is set to play the well-intentioned curmudgeon in the production based on Justin Halpern's Twitter account called "Stuff My Dad Says." Justin Halpern, who's co-penning the show about his cranky dad with long-time writing partner Patrick Schumacker, says he hopes the network lands on a name like "S#&% My Dad Says" -- bleeping the first word during spoken-word promotions. “Will and Grace's" Max Mutchnik and David Kohan are producing the show.
"I lost 20 pounds...How? I drank bear piss and took up fencing. How the fuck you think, son? I exercised."
"A parent's only as good as their dumbest kid. If one wins a Nobel Prize but the other gets robbed by a hooker, you failed."
"Nah, we don't celebrate it. Don't know who St. Valentine was, don't give a shit, and doubt he wants people screwing in his memory."
"STOP apologizing. You're sorry, he gets it, Jesus. You spilled a glass of wine, not fucked his wife."
"Sprain, huh? Did you go to medical school?... Well I did, so spare me your dog-shit diagnosis and lemme look at your ankle."
"No, I'm not a pessimist. At some point the world shits on everybody. Pretending it ain't shit makes you an idiot, not an optimist."
"Can we talk later? The news is on... Well, if you have tuberculosis it's not gonna get any worse in the next 30 minutes, jesus."
“Yes I got him a gift. He had a kidney stone. You piss a rock through your pecker, you deserve more than just a pat on the fucking back."
"You can watch the house while I'm gone. Just don't call me unless something's on fire, and don't screw in my bed."
When Justin got to the final round of the Disney Screenwriting Fellowship and didn’t get it. His friends said, “You must be crushed!” His dad said, “You’re gonna fail much more than you succeed. It’s only when you’re not getting closer to your goal that you worry about.”
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[book] Keep Your Wives Away from Them
Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires
Edited by Miryam Kabakov
May 11, 2010, North Atlantic Mifflin
Reconciling queerness with religion has always been an enormous challenge. When the religion is Orthodox Judaism, the task is even more daunting. This anthology takes on that challenge by giving voice to gender queer Jewish women who were once silenced—and effectively rendered invisible—by their faith. Keep Your Wives Away from Them tells the story of those who have come out, who are still closeted, living double lives, or struggling to maintain an integrated "single life" in relationship to traditional Judaism—personal stories that are both enlightening and edifying. While a number of films and books have explored the lives of queer people in Orthodox and observant Judaism, only this one explores in depth what happens after the struggle, when the real work of building integrated lives begins. The candor of these insightful stories in Keep Your Wives Away from Them makes the book appealing to a general audience and students of women’s, gender, and LGBTQ studies, as well as for anyone struggling personally with the same issue.
Contributors include musician and writer Temim Fruchter, Professor Joy Ladin, writer Leah Lax, nurse Tamar Prager, and the pseudonymous Ex-Yeshiva Girl.
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[book] The Men Who Would Be King
An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks
By Nicole LaPorte
May 4, 2010, Houghton Mifflin
LaPorte's lengthy narrative is the definitive history of the studio --L.A. Times
"A thrilling ride... The bumbling and infighting are just too good, and sad, to resis… Every time Geffen has a meltdown or A-list stars like Russell Crowe throw trantrums, LaPorte is there to capture it." --Boston Globe
K, G, and S were all known for creating distinctive works, not formulaic ones, yet LaPorte oversimplifies their ambition by imputing domineering, if not dictatorial motives to them. In her portrayals, Geffen is a shady, hot-tempered Goldfather type; Katzenberg furiously battles against changes in the digital-animation revolution while waging a breach-of-contract suit against Disney; and Speilberg, stretched thin, balances his own commitments but also presides of the work of other filmmakers. - Armond White, chairman of the NY Film Critics Circle, writing in the NYT
Kirkus reviews writes, "Daily Beast contributor and former Variety reporter LaPorte penetrates the mysterious inner workings of DreamWorks. . . . LaPorte marshals an awesome body of research to vividly depict DreamWorks’ confused identity, the personality conflicts and ego clashes that raged behind the company’s friendly, low-key exterior . . . Behind-the-scenes glimpses at the productions of such signature DreamWorks films as American Beauty and Gladiator are wonderfully diverting Hollywood dirt, but the heart of the story is simple human ambition. Stories of Katzenberg’s toxic and litigious relationship with former boss and Disney honcho Michael Eisner, Geffen’s mission to destroy agent Michael Ovitz and the rivalry between DreamWorks Animation and Disney’s Pixar are fascinating for their insights into the ways petty personal issues are expressed in multibillion-dollar transactions. In Hollywood, it seems, business is always personal. A gripping account of money, ambition and the movies . . . same as it ever was."
"Nicole LaPorte has found a big story—this is the great part—that is even bigger than first appears, the story of DreamWorks being the story of modern Hollywood, which is the dream life of the world. She has climbed into the engine room with pen and notebook and been careful to record the details and dirt, then turned all that into music, the result being a gutsy saga filled with larger than life characters and incident. Read this book only if you want to know what makes our country, as Leonard Cohen sang, the cradle of the best and the worst." —Rich Cohen, expert on tough Jews, sugar substitutes, and father issues
"Power, grandiosity, arrogance, and incomprehensible ego. It’s Hollywood, of course, and Nicole LaPorte’s exhaustive non-fiction narrative of DreamWorks and the bizarre triumvirate of Spielberg, Geffen, and Katzenberg is stunning. —Buzz Bissinger, coproducer of NYPD Blue
“…Spielberg had always had surrogate parents, such as the late Lew Wasserman and Sid Sheinberg, the legends of Universal. Amblin, meanwhile, was overseen by the husband-and-wife team of Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, who tended to Steven’s day-to-day affairs and were referred to as the “parents.” Kennedy, a scrubbed, athletic type whose style was forceful diplomacy, understood that working for Spielberg wasn’t just about execution; it was about cushioning him from the harsher truths. When her husband left Amblin to set up a production company elsewhere, the idea was that Kennedy would follow. The couple wanted lives of their own. But Spielberg was so upset over the prospect of her leaving—considering it a kind of desertion—that in retaliation he forced her to delay her departure. At Amblin, the situation was labeled “the divorce.” At DreamWorks, Spielberg replaced the aging, disempowered Wasserman and Sheinberg with guardians just as tough: Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. Assuming the Kennedy/Marshall roles were another husband-and-wife team, Walter (nee Wally Fishman) Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, who ran DreamWorks’ live-action studio. Hollywood was shocked when that job did not go to Katzenberg, who had nearly 20 years of studio experience… …No one could miss the Freudian implications of the relationship between the nerdy boy-man, who, growing up in unkind suburbia, had wanted “to be a gentile with the same intensity that I wanted to be a filmmaker” and this chiseled golden boy
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[book] Crown of Aleppo
The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible Codex
BY Hayim Tawil and Bernard Schneider
May 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
In "Crown of Aleppo", Hayim Tawil and Bernard Schneider tell the incredible story of the survival, against all odds, of the Aleppo Codex - one of the most authoritative and accurate traditional Masoretic texts of the Bible. Completed circa 939 in Tiberias, the "Crown" was created by exacting Tiberian scribes who copied the entire Bible into book form, adding annotations, vowel and cantillation marks, and precise commentary. Praised by Torah scholars for centuries after its writing, the "Crown" passed through history until the 15th century when it was housed in the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, Syria. When the synagogue was burned in the 1947 pogrom, the codex was thought to be destroyed, lost forever. That is where its great mystery begins. Miraculously, a significant portion of the Crown of Aleppo survived the fire and was smuggled from the synagogue ruins to an unknown location-presumably within the Aleppan Jewish community. Ten years later, the surviving pages of the codex were secretly brought to Israel and finally moved to their current location in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. This wonderfully rich book contains over 50 rare photographs and maps, some in full color, including those of the Aleppo Codex, the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, and of the people who played a part in its rescue. The history and dramatic rescue of the oldest Hebrew Bible in book form.
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[book] JEWISH CHOICES, JEWISH VOICES
SEX AND INTIMACY
EDITDE BY ELIOTT DORFF AND DANYA RUTTENBERG
May 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
This JPS ethics series confronts some of the most critical moral issues of our time. In the newest addition to the Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices series, co-editors Elliot Dorff and Danya Ruttenberg have brought together a diverse group of Jews to comment on how Judaism affects their views and actions regarding sex. Contributors range from adult movie actor Ron Jeremy, to renowned feminist scholar Martha Ackelsberg, to noted writer and blogger Esther Kustanowitz, as well as rabbis, doctors, social workers, and activists. They discuss issues of monogamy, honesty, and communication in dating and marriage; testing for and disclosure of STDs; abortion, sex education, sex work, and sexuality.
In the fourth volume of this acclaimed Jewish Voices, Jewish Choices series, Jews of various ages and backgrounds examine sensitive issues such as monogamy, honesty, and communication in dating and marriage; testing for and disclosure of STDs; abortion, sex education, sex work, and sexuality. The opinions are as diverse as the contributors: from adult movie actor Ron Jeremy, to renowned feminist scholar Martha Ackelsberg, to noted writer and blogger Esther Kustanowitz, as well as rabbis, doctors, social workers and activists. Hypothetical case studies and Jewish source texts provide additional insights into personal, yet thought-provoking topics as they are considered in a whole new light.
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[book] TRAVELS IN THE REICH
1933-1945
Foreign Authors Report from Germany
Edited by Oliver Lubrich
Translated by Kenneth J. Northcott, Sonia Wichmann, Krouk Dean
May 2010. University of Chicago Press
'Even now', wrote Christopher Isherwood in his Berlin Diary of 1933, 'I can't altogether believe that any of this has really happened'. Three years later, W. E. B. DuBois described Germany as 'silent, nervous, suppressed; it speaks in whispers'. In contrast, a young John F. Kennedy, in the journal he kept on a German tour in 1937, wrote, 'The Germans really are too good-it makes people gang against them for protection'. Drawing on such published and unpublished accounts from writers and public figures visiting Germany, "Travels in the Reich" creates a chilling composite portrait of the reality of life under Hitler. Composed in the moment by writers such as Virginia Woolf, Isak Dinesen, Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, William Shirer, Georges Simenon, and Albert Camus, the essays, letters, and articles gathered here offer fascinating insight into the range of responses to Nazi Germany. While some accounts betray a distressing naivete, overall what is striking is just how clearly many of the travelers understood the true situation-and the terrors to come. Through the eyes of these visitors, "Travels in the Reich" offers a new perspective on the quotidian - yet so often horrifying - details of life in Nazi Germany, in accounts as compelling as a good novel, but bearing all the weight of historical witness.
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[book] FAITH AND POWER
RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
BY BERNARD LEWIS, Princeton
May 2010, Oxford
Bernard Lewis is recognized around the globe as one of the leading authorities on Islam. Hailed as "the world's foremost Islamic scholar" (Wall Street Journal), as "a towering figure among experts on the culture and religion of the Muslim world" (Baltimore Sun ), and as "the doyen of Middle Eastern studies" (New York Times ), Lewis is nothing less than a national treasure, a trusted voice that politicians, journalists, historians, and the general public have all turned to for insight into the Middle East. Now, Lewis has brought together writings on religion and government in the Middle East, so different than in the Western world. The collection includes previously unpublished writings, English originals of articles published before only in foreign languages, and an introduction to the book by Lewis.
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[book] HUMOR ME
An Anthology of Funny Contemporary Writing
Plus Some Old Great Stuff, Too
Edited by Ian Frazier
May 2010, ecco
Humor Me is a literary cavalcade of contemporary American funnymen—and funnywomen—of the page. Selected by the renowned humor-ist Ian Frazier and featuring more than fifty pieces of the greatest comic writing of our time, the book includes such masters of the form as Roy Blount, Jr., Bruce Jay Friedman, Veronica Geng, Jack Handey, Garrison Keillor, Steve Martin, and Calvin Trillin, as well as work by newer comic stars like Andy Borowitz, Larry Doyle, Simon Rich, George Saunders, and David Sedaris. The pieces were published in the past thirty years in such popular magazines as The New Yorker, McSweeney's, The Atlantic, National Lampoon, and Outside. But the book also includes a handful of older comic masterpieces that nobody in need of a laugh should ever be without, among them classics by Bret Harte, Elizabeth Bishop, Donald Barthelme, and Mark Twain.
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[book] TRIALS OF THE DIASPORA
A HISTORY OF ANTI SEMITISM IN ENGLAND
BY ANTHONY JULIUS
May 2010. Oxford
At nearly 900 pages, and it is not just about Fagin
Trials of the Diaspora is a ground-breaking book that reveals the full history of anti-Semitism in England. Anthony Julius focuses on four distinct versions of English anti-Semitism. He begins with the medieval persecution of Jews, which included defamation, expropriation, and murder, and which culminated in 1290 when King Edward I expelled all the Jews from England. Turning to literary anti-Semitism, Julius shows that negative portrayals of Jews have been continuously present in English literature from the anonymous medieval ballad "Sir Hugh, or the Jew's Daughter," through Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, to T. S. Eliot and beyond. The book then moves to a depiction of modern anti-Semitism--a pervasive but contained prejudice of insult and exclusion that was experienced by Jews during their "readmission" to England in the mid-17th century through the late 20th century. The final chapters detail the contemporary anti-Semitism that emerged in the late 1960s and the 1970s and continues to be present today. It treats Zionism and the State of Israel as illegitimate Jewish enterprises, and, in Julius's opinion, now constitutes the greatest threat to Anglo-Jewish security and morale. A penetrating and original work, Trials of the Diaspora is sure to provoke much comment and debate
Writing in The New York Times Book Review (May 9, 2010), Harold Bloom (Yale, the foremost critic of his generation) called it a “strong, somber look on an appalling subject: the long squalor of Jew-hatred in a supposedly enlightened, humane, liberal society.” Bloom added, “… My first, personal, reflection is to give thanks to my own father, who migrated from Odessa… to London… had the sense, after sojourning there, to continue on to New York City.” (Bloom, who has taught at Yale for 55 years, the son of Orthodox Jewish parents, had Yiddish books of poetry as the first books he collected.) Click the book cover to read more.








[book] STRANGER FROM ABROAD
Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness
By Daniel Maier-Katkin
2010.Norton
From Booklist *Starred Review* Richard Wolin argued in Heidegger’s Children (2001) that when Jewish writer Hannah Arendt forgave her former professor—and lover—Martin Heidegger for supporting the Nazis, she succumbed to misgivings about her own Jewishness and to resurgent amorous passions. But after carefully investigating the Arendt-Heidegger friendship, Maier-Katkin reaches a different conclusion. In Arendt’s eventual reconciliation with her grievously erring mentor, he sees the culmination of a career of bravely independent thinking. Personal correspondence reveals the depth and persistence of Arendt’s emotional attachment to Heidegger. But in her emergence as a public intellectual, she advances perspectives far from Heidegger’s, as evidenced in her landmark study The Origins of Totalitarianism, where she dissects the phenomenon that absorbed her former teacher. But Maier-Katkin also recognizes her intellectual autonomy in her critique of Jewish Zionism as a dangerously ethnocentric movement and in her controversial characterization of Nazi Adolf Eichmann’s crimes as “the banality of evil.” It is indeed in the Eichmann epiphany that Arendt finds the surprising motivation to reconsider her ruptured relationship with Heidegger and consequently to extend to him the kind of world-embracing love that makes new beginnings possible. Readers welcoming diverse perspectives will benefit from this inquiry into a relationship uniquely freighted with historical meaning
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[book] BY FIRE, BY WATER
By Mitchell James Kaplan
May 2010, Other Press
Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor General Tomás de Torquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands. But he is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santángel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christopher Columbus has plans to discover a route to paradise, and only Luis de Santángel can help him.
Within the dramatic story lies a subtle, insightful examination of the crisis of faith at the heart of the Spanish Inquisition. Irresolvable conflict rages within the conversos in By Fire, By Water, torn between the religion they left behind and the conversion meant to ensure their safety. In this story of love, God, faith, and torture, fifteenth-century Spain comes to dazzling, engrossing life.
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In moments of national panic, civil conduct and civic standards get thrown away….
[book] WHY THE DREYFUS AFFAIR MATTERS
BY LOUIS BEGLEY
September 2009, Yale University Press
In December 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a brilliant French artillery officer and a Jew of Alsatian descent, was court-martialed for selling secrets to the German military attaché in Paris based on perjured testimony and trumped-up evidence. The sentence was military degradation and life imprisonment on Devil’s Island, a hellhole off the coast of French Guiana. Five years later, the case was overturned, and eventually Dreyfus was completely exonerated. Meanwhile, the Dreyfus Affair tore France apart, pitting Dreyfusards—committed to restoring freedom and honor to an innocent man convicted of a crime committed by another—against nationalists, anti-Semites, and militarists who preferred having an innocent man rot to exposing the crimes committed by ministers of war and the army’s top brass in order to secure Dreyfus’s conviction. Was the Dreyfus Affair merely another instance of the rise in France of a virulent form of anti-Semitism? In Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters, the acclaimed novelist draws upon his legal expertise to create a riveting account of the famously complex case, and to remind us of the interest each one of us has in the faithful execution of laws as the safeguard of our liberties and honor.
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[book] UNFINISHED BUSINESS
ONE MAN’S EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THINGS
BY LEE KRAVITZ
May 2010, Bloomsbury
After losing his job as the editor of Parade Magazine (the insert in some Sunday newspapers), Lee Kravitz, a workaholic in his midfifties, took stock of his life and realized just how disconnected he had become from the people who mattered most to him. He committed an entire year to reconnecting with them and making amends.
Kravitz takes readers on ten transformational journeys, among them repaying a thirty-year-old debt, making a long-overdue condolence call, finding an abandoned relative, and fulfilling a forgotten promise. Along the way, we meet a cast of wonderful characters and travel the globe to a refugee camp in Kenya, a monastery in California, the desert of southern Iran, a Little League game in upstate New York, and a bar in Kravitz's native Cleveland. In each instance, the act of reaching out opens new paths for both personal and spiritual growth.
All of us have unfinished business-the things we should have done but just let slip. Kravitz's story reveals that the things we've avoided are exactly those that have the power to transform, enrich, enlarge, and even complete us. The lesson of the book is one applicable to us all: Be mindful of what is most important, and act on it. The rewards will be immediate and lasting.
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[book] PALESTINE BETRAYED
BY EFRAIM KARSH, King College London
April 2010, Yale
One of the foremost academic thinkers on Middle Eastern history and politics, Professor Karsh writes a searing account of the UN resolution to partittion Paalestine and its bloody aftermath. The 1947 UN resolution to partition Palestine irrevocably changed the political landscape of the Middle East, giving rise to six full-fledged wars between Arabs and Jews, countless armed clashes, blockades, and terrorism, as well as a profound shattering of Palestinian Arab society. Its origins, and that of the wider Arab-Israeli conflict, are deeply rooted in Jewish-Arab confrontation and appropriation in Palestine. But the isolated occasions of violence during the British Mandate era (1920–48) suggest that the majority of Palestinian Arabs yearned to live and thrive under peaceful coexistence with the evolving Jewish national enterprise. So what was the real cause of the breakdown in relations between the two communities?
In this brave and groundbreaking book, Efraim Karsh tells the story from both the Arab and Jewish perspectives. He argues that from the early 1920s onward, a corrupt and extremist leadership worked toward eliminating the Jewish national revival and protecting its own interests. Karsh has mined many of the Western, Soviet, UN, and Israeli documents declassified over the past decade, as well as unfamiliar Arab sources, to reveal what happened behind the scenes on both Palestinian and Jewish sides. It is an arresting story of delicate political and diplomatic maneuvering by leading figures—Ben Gurion, Hajj Amin Husseini, Abdel Rahman Azzam, King Abdullah, Bevin, and Truman —over the years leading up to partition, through the slide to war and its enduring consequences. Palestine Betrayed is vital reading for understanding the origin of disputes that remain crucial today.
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[book] RABBI HARVEY VS. THE WISDOM KID
BY STEVE SHEINKIN
Spring 2010, Jewish Lights
Rabbi Harvey’s First Book-Length Adventure and Toughest Challenge. In his colorful career on the Rocky Mountain frontier, Rabbi Harvey has matched wits with a variety of villains—most notably the sweet-faced “Bad Bubbe” Bloom, and the self-proclaimed genius “Big Milt” Wasserman. In this exciting new volume, these two formidable foes team up to try to rid the West of Rabbi Harvey once and for all. The key to their evil scheme: Bad Bubbe’s darling son, Rabbi “Wisdom Kid” Rubin, newly arrived from back East. He’s young. He’s clever. He’s eager to take Harvey’s place. But is he fast enough on the draw—the wisdom draw, that is—to take the town from Rabbi Harvey? The hilarious, action-packed plot draws on classic Jewish folktales, Talmudic teachings and the timeless wisdom of the wise men of Chelm. As always, Rabbi Harvey protects his town and delivers justice, wielding only the weapons of wisdom, wit and a bit of trickery. He also gets a bit of help from Abigail, the town’s quick-thinking school teacher—a woman, it appears, who just may have captured his heart.
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[book] THE JEWS OF NORTH AFRICA
FROM DIDO TO DE GAULLE
BY SARAH TALEB-CARLEN
May 2010
This book explores the history of North African Jews, detailing the Islamic conquest of 698 and life under French colonization from 1830 to 1962, and explaining the effects of these rules on the Jewish population
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[book] FACING ILLNESS, FINDING GOD
How Judaism Can Help You and Caregivers Cope When Body or Spirit Fails
By Rabbi Joseph Meszler
Spring 2010, Jewish Lights
Find spiritual strength for healing in the wisdom of Jewish tradition.
Whether you are facing illness yourself, serving as a caregiver, providing pastoral care, or simply wondering where God is when we get sick, the teachings and wisdom of Jewish tradition can help you cope with the difficulties of illness and infirmity. With a format designed to accommodate the stressful life of people dealing with illness, Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler helps you focus on spiritual well-being as an essential aspect of physical healing and wholeness. He provides comfort and inspiration to help you maintain personal balance and family harmony amid the fear, pain, and chaos of illness. Combining the stories of real people with insights from Jewish sources, he offers practical advice and spiritual guidance for:
* Reaching inward to the soul when the body fails
* Reaching outward to provide strength, comfort, and compassion to the ill or infirm
* Reaching upward to God through prayer and daily gratitude
From the Inside Flap:
Jewish wisdom can help you cope with the burden of illness. "When all strength is gone, from where do we find the fortitude to continue on?.... How do moments of transcendence come to be when we are in the worst of circumstances? I believe God is the power that gives us courage, love, and meaning when all else fails." --from the Introduction
With a gentle, compassionate voice, Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler considers the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of all who are affected by illness: the ill or frail person; family members; clergy, caregivers, and physicians; and the community. Drawing from his own experience personally and as a rabbi, and from Jewish tradition, he will help you work through the challenges of illness and infirmity. His approach will also inspire compassion and empathy. Rabbi Meszler provides Jewish ways to address issues related to illness, including:
* Coping with the realization of mortality
* Accepting a new idea of "normal"
* Maintaining a positive outlook and being grateful for the gift of life
* Easing family tensions related to illness or care giving
* Paying attention to your own needs while caring for someone else
* Finding God's presence in illness, yours or that of someone you're caring for
"Deeply personal and professionally inspiring.... Moving and yet practical ... helps us reach into our unique inner resources, out to our friends and community, and up to the ultimate Source of Healing and Wholeness." --Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, LCSW, JBFCS/National Center for Jewish Healing; editor, Healing of Soul, Healing of Body: Spiritual Leaders Unfold the Strength & Solace in Psalms
"Reach out to others. Reach out to God. Reach inside yourself. Then reach for this book. In it, you will find healing and hope." --Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, author, Jewish Paths toward Healing and Wholeness: A Personal Guide to Dealing with Suffering
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[book] HERE IN OUR AUSCHWITZ By Tadeusz Borowski
Translated by Madeline G. Levine
April 2010, Yale
Tadeusz Borowski was a talented young poet when he was arrested and deported to Auschwitz in 1943. He emerged at the end of the Second World War to become one of the most influential writer-witnesses to the Nazi concentration camp system. This book offers the first authoritative translation of Borowski’s prose fiction, including numerous stories that have never appeared in English before. These are the chilling writings of a man who has experienced horrifying brutality and sees no possibility for human redemption. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] FAITH AND POWER
RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
BY BERNARD LEWIS
April 2010, Oxford
Bernard Lewis is recognized around the globe as one of the leading authorities on Islam. Hailed as "the world's foremost Islamic scholar" (Wall Street Journal ), as "a towering figure among experts on the culture and religion of the Muslim world" (Baltimore Sun ), and as "the doyen of Middle Eastern studies" (New York Times ), Lewis is nothing less than a national treasure, a trusted voice that politicians, journalists, historians, and the general public have all turned to for insight into the Middle East. Now, Lewis has brought together writings on religion and government in the Middle East, so different than in the Western world. The collection includes previously unpublished writings, English originals of articles published before only in foreign languages, and an introduction to the book by Lewis.
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According to Speaker Pelosi, PARTISANSHIP is one of five pillars, or 5 ekys, to productive government today. “Partisanship, fundraising, organization, technology, and diversity.” sustain the New American politics
Pelosi thrives on these 5.
She can play the old personal politics of loyalty and partisan commitment with the new politics of technology, fundraising, and mastering media relations. She is the prototype of the new era and we can learn a lot from her.
[book] SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI AND THE NEW AMERICAN POLITICS
BY Ronald M. Peters Jr. and Cindy Simon Rosenthal
April 2010, Oxford
When the Democrats retook control of the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2007 after twelve years in the wilderness, Nancy Pelosi became the first woman speaker in American history. In Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics, Ron Peters, one of America's leading scholars of Congress, and Cindy Simon Rosenthal, one of America's leading scholars on women and political leadership, provide a comprehensive account of how Pelosi became speaker and what this tells us about Congress in the twenty-first century. They consider the key issues that Pelosi's rise presents for American politics, highlight the core themes that have shaped, and continue to shape, her remarkable career, and discuss the challenges that women face in the male-dominated world of American politics, particularly at its highest levels. The authors also shed light on Pelosi's political background: first as the scion of a powerful Baltimore political family whose power base lay in East Coast urban ethnic politics, and later as a successful politician in what is probably the most liberal city in the country, San Francisco. Peters and Rosenthal trace how she built her base within the House Democratic Caucus and ultimately consolidated enough power to win the Speakership. They show how twelve years out of power allowed her to fashion a new image for House Democrats, and they conclude with an analysis of her institutional leadership style. The only full-length portrait of Nancy Pelosi in print, this superb volume offers a vivid and insightful analysis of one of America's most remarkable politicians.
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[book] THE EXECUTOR
A Mystery Suspense Novel
By Jesse Kellerman
April 2010, Putnam
Mr. Kellerman, who reads a page of Talmud (daf yomi) each day, is the son of mystery writers Jonathan and Faye Kellerman. A celebrated author of books and plays, this is a novel filled with intelligence and suspense. It was inspired by a friend of the author who had a brief job of living with an elderly couple in exchange for walking and talking with them about the old days.
Perpetual graduate student Joseph Geist is at his wit's end. He is a man of Inaction. Nothing really spurs him to action. Recently kicked out of their shared apartment by his girlfriend, he's left with little more than a half bust of Nietzsche's head and the realization that he's homeless and unemployed. He's hit a dead end on his dissertation; his funding has been cut off. He doesn't even have a phone. Desperate for some source of income, he searches the local newspaper and finds a curious ad:
CONVERSATIONALIST SOUGHT.
SERIOUS APPLICANTS ONLY.
PLEASE CALL 617-XXX-XXXX
BETWEEN SEVEN A.M. AND TWO P.M.
NO SOLICITORS.
And so Joseph meets Alma Spielman: a woman who, with her old-world ways and razor-sharp mind, is his intellectual soul mate. How is he to know that what seems to be the best decision of his life is the one that seals his fate?
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If you like mysteries or crimes… something from last Fall
[book] TOKYO VICE
AN AMERICAN REPORTER ON THE POLICE BEAT IN JAPAN
By JAKE ADELSTEIN
2009, Pantheon
Of course he is a Jewish American police beat report. With a name like JAKE, what else can you do?
In high school, Adelstein had issues with anger, so he studied Zen, and decided to go to Japan to reinvent himself.He lived in a Soto Zen Buddhist temple for 3 years. He worked teaching English, ate ramen noodles, and did massage therapy for money. A fortune telling machine told him he should be a journalist. He studied Japanese, spoken AND WRITTEN, passed a test, and became a reporter. As an outsider, it was natural to become a crime reporter, since both he and criminals and cops are outsiders. . The author writes that readers of his book will take away something different from his book. .. how the police work, and how the yakuza work, an understanding of some of the things he really likes about Japan and the Japanese, things like reciprocity, honor, loyalty, and stoic suffering. He writes that in Japan, he learned how important it is to keep your word, to never forget your debts--and not just the financial ones--and to make repayment in due course. Honor. There’s a word in Japanese, hanmen kyoshi, which means, more or less, “the teacher who teaches by his bad example.” At times, he thinks he is an excellent hanmen kyoshi in the book.
Once he discovered that one of the mob bosses, a guy named Goto Tadamasa, had made a deal with the FBI to go to the US and get a liver transplant at UCLA — an embarrassing scandal that Goto didn't want anyone to know about. When Goto found out that Adelstein was investigating, he figured he should just kill Adelstein. Fortunately for Adelstein, he found himself still breathing when Goto lost power in October of 2008. Today, Adelstein walks the streets of Tokyo with a titanium core umbrella ("a baseball bat would probably make people uneasy") and that keeps him safe... at least for now.
PW writes: A young Japanese-schooled Jewish-American who worked as a journalist at Tokyo newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun during the 1990s, debut author Adelstein began with a routine, but never dull, police beat; before long, he was notorious worldwide for engaging the dirtiest, top-most villains of Japan's organized criminal underworld, the yakuza. A pragmatic but sensitive character, Adelstein's worldview takes quite a beating during his tour of duty; thanks to his immersive reporting, readers suffer with him through the choice between personal safety and a chance to confront the evil inhabiting his city. He learns that "what matters is the purity of the information, not the person providing it," considers personal and societal theories behind Tokyo's illicit and semi-illicit pastimes like "host and hostess clubs," where citizens pay for the illusion of intimacy: "The rates are not unreasonable, but the cost in human terms are incredibly high." Adelstein also examines the investigative reporter's tendency to withdraw into cynicism ("when a reporter starts to cool down, it's very hard... ever to warm up again") but faithfully sidesteps that urge, producing a deeply thought-provoking book: equal parts cultural exposé, true crime, and hard-boiled noir.
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[book] SECRETS OF A JEWISH MOTHER
REAL STORIES, REAL ADVICE, REAL LOVE
BY JiLL ZARIN , Gloria Kamen and Lisa Wexler
April 2010, Dutton
Zarin, who appeared on “Real Housewives,” and who helps to run a popular family run interior design and furnishings retailer on Manhattan Lower East Side, offers advice. Born and raised in Woodmere, New York, Jill graduated from Simmons College School of Retail Management. She began her career as Assistant Buyer at Filene's and also held positions as Vice President of Sales at Royce Hosiery and National Sales Manager/Vice President of Great American Knitting Mills Jockey division. Jill joined her husband Bobby Zarin, owner of Zarin Fabrics and Home Furnishings, in managing the company after they got married. Jill serves as a senior executive at Zarin Fabrics and focuses on Sales and Marketing while her husband concentrates on their real estate businesses in New York, Las Vegas and Florida. When approached to star in the reality show "Real Housewives of New York City," Jill saw it as a great opportunity to expand the Zarin Fabrics brand. Through her expertise in textiles, Jill is also busy developing products for the Home market. Jill is also the Brand Spokesperson for Kodak.
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[book] WILDFLOWERS OF TEREZIN
A NOVEL
BY ROBERT ELMER
April 2010, Abingdon
When nurse Hanne Abrahamsen impulsively shields Steffen Petersen from a nosy Gestapo agent, she’s convinced the Lutheran pastor is involved in the Danish Underground. Nothing could be further from the truth. But truth is hard to come by in the fall of 1943, when Copenhagen is placed under Martial Law and Denmark’s Jews—including Hanne—suddenly face deportation to the Nazi prison camp at Terezin, Czechoslovakia. Days darken and danger mounts. Steffen’s faith deepens as he takes greater risks to protect Hanne. But are either of them willing to pay the ultimate price for their love?
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NOW IN PAPERBACK
[book] A MAD DESIRE TO DANCE
A NOVEL
BY ELIE WIESEL
April 13, 2010, Schocken
Now in paperback, Wiesel’s novel “reminds us, with force, that his writing is alive and strong. The master has once again found a startling freshness.”—Le Monde des Livres
 A European expatriate living in New York, Doriel suffers from a profound sense of desperation and loss. His mother, a member of the Resistance, survived World War II only to die soon after in France in an accident, together with his father. Doriel was a hidden child during the war, and his knowledge of the Holocaust is largely limited to what he finds in movies, newsreels, and books. Doriel’s parents and their secrets haunt him, leaving him filled with longing but unable to experience the most basic joys in life. He plunges into an intense study of Judaism, but instead of finding solace, he comes to believe that he is possessed by a dybbuk. Surrounded by ghosts, spurred on by demons, Doriel finally turns to Dr. Thérèse Goldschmidt, a psychoanalyst who finds herself particularly intrigued by her patient. The two enter into an uneasy relationship based on exchange: of dreams, histories, and secrets. And despite Doriel’s initial resistance, Dr. Goldschmidt helps bring him to a crossroads—and to a shocking denouement.
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[book] ALMOST DEAD
A NOVEL
BY ASSAF GAVRON
April 2010,
Israeli author Gavron offers an unusual perspective on Palestinian suicide bombings in this offbeat, often satirical political thriller. While riding a bus one morning, Eitan Croc Einoch, who works for a Tel Aviv consulting company that helps clients save money by teaching them ways to shave seconds off customer-service calls, tries to reassure fellow passengers that a suspicious-looking man isn't a terrorist. Soon after Croc gets off the bus, the man explodes a bomb. When Croc survives two more terror attacks, he becomes a celebrity, a nationalist symbol of defiant survival. While Croc looks into why one of the victims was on the bombed bus, a Palestinian bomber hospitalized in Jerusalem, Fahmi Sabich, plots his revenge. Without resorting to moral relativism, Gavron (Hydromania) sheds light on the region's intractable conflict by allowing readers to relate to Fahmi as well as Croc.
“Assaf Gavron has done the impossible: written a darkly funny novel about suicide bombing. . . . This is a virtuoso work; a pitch-perfect rendering of real Israeli life in all its chaos, energy, humor and terror. I couldn’t put it down.” (Geraldine Brooks )
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[book] VIENNA SECRETS
A MAX LIEBERMANN MYSTERY
BY FRANK TALLIS
April 2010, Random House
In Freud’s dangerous, dazzling Vienna of 1903, an ingenious doctor and an intrepid detective again challenge psychotic criminals across a landscape teetering between the sophisticated and the savage, the thrilling future and the primitive past. On opposite sides of the city, two men are found beheaded on church grounds. Detective Inspector Oskar Reinhardt is baffled. Could the killer be mentally ill, someone the victims came into contact with? Some are even blaming the murders on the devil. But when psychoanalyst Dr. Max Liebermann learns that both victims were vocal members of a shadowy anti-Semitic group, he turns his gaze to the city’s close-knit Hasidic community. The doctor is drawn into an urban underworld that hosts and hides virulent racists on one side and followers of kabbalah on the other. And as the evidence—and bodies—pile up, Liebermann must reconsider his own path, the one that led him away from the miraculous and toward a life of the mind.
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[book] The Unspoken Alliance
Israel's Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa
BY Sasha Polakow-Suransky
May 2010, Pantheon
COVER BLURB: An account of Israel’s military cooperation with apartheid South Africa. Prior to the Six-Day War, Israel was the darling of the international Left. But after its occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel found itself isolated from former allies and threatened anew by old enemies.
Sasha Polakow-Suransky tells the full story of how Israel’s booming arms industry and South Africa’s isolation led to a hidden military alliance that grew deeper after the Likud Party came to power in 1977 and continued even after Israel passed sanctions against South Africa in the late 1980s.
At the time of Israel’s independence in 1948, the two countries couldn’t have been more different: Israel was a nation of Holocaust survivors; South Africa was ruled by Nazi sympathizers. But as their covert military relationship blossomed, they exchanged billions of dollars of extremely sensitive material, including nuclear technology, which boosted Israel’s sagging economy and strengthened the beleaguered apartheid regime. Polakow-Suransky has uncovered previously classified details of countless arms deals conducted behind the backs of Israel’s diplomatic corps and in violation of the United Nations arms embargo.
Based on extensive archival research and interviews with former generals and high-level government officials in both countries, The Unspoken Alliance tells a troubling story of Cold War paranoia, moral compromises, and Israel’s estrangement from the Left. It is essential reading for anyone interested in Israel’s history and its future.
Sasha Polakow-Suransky is a Senior Editor at Foreign Affairs and holds a doctorate in Modern History from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar from 2003-2006. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] The Arabs and the Holocaust
The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives
By Gilbert Achcar
May 2010, Metropolitan Books
This is about National Narratives, and the war of narratives
For example, a narrative might be that a remnant of European Jewry survived the Nazi death camps and made there way to what is now Israel to create a new nation, and pioneers drained the swamps and built a sabra nation.. Another narrative is that Palestinians were driven out in the nakhba
The Blurb: An unprecedented and judicious examination of what the Holocaust means—and doesn't mean—in the Arab world, one of the most explosive subjects of our time There is no more inflammatory topic than the Arabs and the Holocaust—the phrase alone can occasion outrage. The terrain is dense with ugly claims and counterclaims: one side is charged with Holocaust denial, the other with exploiting a tragedy while denying the tragedies of others.
In this pathbreaking book, political scientist Gilbert Achcar explores these conflicting narratives and considers their role in today's Middle East dispute. He analyzes the various Arab responses to Nazism, from the earliest intimations of the genocide, through the creation of Israel and the destruction of Palestine and up to our own time, critically assessing the political and historical context for these responses. Finally, he challenges distortions of the historical record, while making no concessions to anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial. Valid criticism of the other, Achcar insists, must go hand in hand with criticism of oneself.
Drawing on previously unseen sources in multiple languages, Achcar offers a unique mapping of the Arab world, in the process defusing an international propaganda war that has become a major stumbling block in the path of Arab-Western understanding.
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[book] HITLER‘S HOLY RELICS
A TRUE STORY OF NAZI PLUNDER
AND THE RACE TO RECOVER THE CROWN JEWELS OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
BY SIDNEY S. KIRKPATICK
May 2010, Simon and Schuster
Hiter stole the jewels from Austria to help give mystical legitimacy to his reign and regime and support his race theories of the Third Reich. They disappeared after WW2. Patton and Eisenhower then ordered Lt Walter Horn to find them. This is the story.
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[book] WITZ
The Story of the Last Jew on Earth
A NOVEL
BY JOSHUA COHEN
May 2010, Dalkey
One of the great comic epics of our time: the Last Jewish Novel about the Last Jew in the World. On Christmas Eve 1999, all the Jews in the world die in a strange, millennial plague, with the exception of the firstborn males, who are soon adopted by a cabal of powerful people in the American government. By the following Passover, however, only one is still alive: Benjamin Israelien; a kindly, innocent, ignorant man-child. As he finds himself transformed into an international superstar, Jewishness becomes all the rage: matzo-ball soup is in every bowl, sidelocks are hip; and the only truly Jewish Jew left is increasingly stigmatized for not being religious. Since his very existence exposes the illegitimacy of the newly converted, Israelien becomes the object of a worldwide hunt . . .
Meanwhile, in the not-too-distant future of our own, “real” world, another last Jew—the last living Holocaust survivor—sits alone in a snowbound Manhattan, providing a final melancholy witness to his experiences in the form of the punch lines to half-remembered jokes.
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Now in Paperback
[book] THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES
THE FOUNDING OF FACEBOOK
A TALE OF SEX, MONEY, GENIUS, AND BETRAYAL
By BEN MEZRICH
May 2010, Random House
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, "THE SOCIAL NETWORK" starring Kevin Spacey and Jesse Eisenberg. Exuberant and revealing, The Accidental Billionaires is a fast-paced, inside look at a story of fortune gained and innocence lost, and how a company that was created to bring people together ultimately tore two friends apart. In 2003, Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were Harvard undergrads and best friends looking for a way to stand out among the university’s elite and competitive student body. Then one lonely night, Zuckerberg hacked into the campus computer system to pull off a prank that crashed Harvard’s network. This stunt almost got him expelled, but it also inspired Zuckerberg to create Facebook, the social networking site that has since revolutionized how people around the world communicate. With Saverin’s funding their small start-up quickly went from their college dorm room to Silicon Valley. But different ideas about Facebook’s future tested Zuckerberg and Saverin’s relationship, which then spiraled into out-and-out warfare. Soon, the collegiate exuberance that marked their collaboration fell prey to the adult world of venture capitalists, lawyers, and big money.
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[book] SURRENDER
APPEASING ISLAM, SACRIFICING FREEDOM
BY BRUCE BAWER
May 2010, Random House Anchor
PW: Bawer (While Europe Slept) argues that, in the name of tolerance and multiculturalism, critics of radical Islam are being silenced by left-leaning academics, politicians and journalists. He argues that self-censorship has become widespread in the Western press, referring to outcry following the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten's 2005 publication of cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammad, when many international news outlets debated whether the paper had the right to print them in the first place—an attack on freedom of the press coming from within its own ranks. While Bawer does an admirable job of rooting out hypocritical statements made by pundits and politicians, readers might wince at his pronounced anti-Muslim bias—he claims that Muslim immigrants to the West are in a war to snuff out free speech and equal rights. Bawer's thought-provoking arguments are overshadowed by his shrill condemnations and a cranky attack on those who paint him as a polarizing figure. The book would have been helped had the author remembered his own statement, made early in the book: Free speech doesn't mean immunity from criticism
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[book] THE FROZEN RABBI
A NOVEL
BY STEVE STERN
May 2010, Algonquin
And what happens when Bernie Karp, the impressionable fifteen-year-old son of the couple in whose home the rabbi lies frozen, inadvertently thaws out the ancient man? Such are the questions raised in this wickedly funny and ingenious novel by author Steve Stern, who, according to the Washington Post Book World, belongs in the company of such writers as Stanley Elkin, Cynthia Ozick, Michael Chabon, Mark Helprin, and Philip Roth, all of them "innovative and restless practitioners of contemporary American-Jewish fantasy." When the rabbi comes fully and mischievously to life, Bernie finds himself on an unexpected odyssey to understand his heritage (Jewish), his role in life (nebbish hero), and his destiny (to ensure the rabbi’s future). and the reader enters the lives of the people who struggled to transport the holy man’s block of ice, surviving pogroms, a transatlantic journey (in steerage, of course), an ice-house fire in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and finally, a train trip to the city on the Mississippi.
An epic novel in the spirit of Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Steve Stern's The Frozen Rabbi is a wildly entertaining yet deeply thoughtful look at the burdens inherent in handing down traditions from one generation to the next.
Steve Stern, winner of the National Jewish Book award, is the author of several previous novels and novellas. He teaches at Skidmore College in upstate New York.
NOTE: THIS IS BEING SERIALIZED online IN TABLET MAGAZINE
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[book] THE REBBE
THE LIFE AND AFTERLIFE
OF MENACHEM MENDEL SCHNEERSON
BY SAMUEL HEILMAN AND MENACHEM FRIEDMAN
May 2010, Princeton
Jonathan Sarna calls it, “Brilliant, well-researched, and sure to be controversial….”
From the 1950s until his death in 1994, Menachem Mendel Schneerson--revered by his followers worldwide simply as the Rebbe--built the Lubavitcher movement from a relatively small sect within Hasidic Judaism into the powerful force in Jewish life that it is today. Swept away by his expectation that the Messiah was coming, he came to believe that he could deny death and change history. Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman paint an unforgettable portrait of Schneerson, showing how he reinvented himself from an aspiring French-trained electrical engineer into a charismatic leader who believed that he and his Lubavitcher Hasidic emissaries could transform the world. They reveal how his messianic convictions ripened and how he attempted to bring the ancient idea of a day of redemption onto the modern world's agenda. Heilman and Friedman also trace what happened after the Rebbe's death, by which time many of his followers had come to think of him as the Messiah himself. The Rebbe tracks Schneerson's remarkable life from his birth in Russia, to his student days in Berlin and Paris, to his rise to global renown in New York, where he developed and preached his powerful spiritual message from the group's gothic mansion in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. This compelling book demonstrates how Schneerson's embrace of traditionalism and American-style modernity made him uniquely suited to his messianic mission
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[book] MIDRASH AND MEDICINE
Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition
By William Cutter
May 2010, Jewish Lights
How can the Jewish tradition offer new insights for healing?
This groundbreaking volume examines the spiritual deficits of our current healing environment—issues from too much medical intervention to not enough personal and spiritual care—and explores how Midrash can help you see beyond the physical aspects of healing to tune in to your spiritual source.
Pushing the boundaries of Jewish knowledge, physicians, rabbis, social workers, psychologists and philosophers investigate the role of midrashic thinking in addressing seemingly intractable social and personal issues, and present Jewish responses to burnout within the medical community. Topics discussed include:
* The role of metaphors and parables in the world of Jewish healing; * How religious tradition can speak to the modern clinical scientist; * Seeking out the hidden causes of our behavior; * The role of reality and our understanding of human experience in addressing such questions as genetics, end of life and medical practice
Drawing from literature, personal experience, and the foundational texts of Judaism, these celebrated thinkers encourage us to listen with a midrashic ear and see with a midrashic eye as we face the challenge of cultivating a spiritual community within the medical arena.
Contributors include: Rabbi Richard F. Address, DMin • Ronald Andiman, MD • Rabbi Lewis Barth, PhD • Aryeh Cohen, PhD • Jonathan Cohen, PhD • Rabbi Norman J. Cohen, PhD • Thomas R. Cole, PhD • Philip Cushman, PhD • Rabbi William Cutter, PhD • Eitan Fishbane, PhD • Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MAJCS, BCC • Rabbi Sheldon Marder • Michele F. Prince, LCSW, MAJCS • Linda Raphael, PhD • Stuart Schoffman • Rabbi Leonard Sharzer, MD • Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, CSW • Rabbi Eric Weiss • Ruchama Weiss, PhD
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[book] SWEET DATES IN BASRA
A NOVEL
BY JESSICA JiJi
May 2010, Avon
PW writes, “Jiji (Diamonds Take Forever) explores the ties that bind and break family, friendship, and love in 1941 Iraq. Heartbroken that her family won't allow her to marry at 13 and be ushered to the protection of a new home under the guard of a stern husband in the dewy marshlands north of Basra, Kathmiya Mahmoud is sent to work as a maid in the city of Basra, where her frequent visits to marriage brokers turn up no prospective husbands. Kathmiya begins fantasizing about Shafiq, her mistress's younger brother, and though the attraction is mutual, there's a massive cultural divide between his Iraqi Jewish family and her identity as a Marsh Arab. This chaste historical romance is densely populated and has trouble finding its way through a thicket of subplots, but the cultural perspective and setting are a nice break from the wartime norm, as is the unexpected ending
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[book] HOLOCAUST
THE NAZI PERSECUTION AND MURDER OF THE JEWS
BY PETER LONGERICH
May 2010, Oxford
In 1998, Peter Longerich published Politik der Vernichtung (Politics of Destruction), a stunning re-examination of the Holocaust. The book received universal acclaim, and is now generally recognized by historians as the standard account of this horrific chapter in human history. Now finally available in English, this masterful history uses an unrivalled range of sources to lay out in clear detail the steps taken by the Nazis that would lead ultimately to the Final Solution. Focusing closely on the perpetrators and exploring the process of decision making, Longerich convincingly shows that anti-Semitism was not a mere by-product of the Nazis' political mobilization or an attempt to deflect the attention of the masses. Rather, from 1933 anti-Jewish policy was a central tenet of the Nazi movement's attempts to implement, disseminate, and secure National Socialist rule--and one which crucially shaped Nazi policy decisions. Holocaust is perhaps most remarkable for its extensive use of the 1930s archives of the Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith, which re-emerged in the 1990s after years languishing in Moscow. The letters and reports from this archive document in detail the attacks suffered by ordinary Jewish people from their German neighbors. They show how, contrary to what has been believed in the past, the German populace responded relatively enthusiastically to Nazi anti-Semitism. This long-awaited English edition has been fully updated by Longerich himself. It features revised appendices with notes and further reading, as well as a new preface by the author. In addition, Longerich has added new material on the Jewish victims and on the camps and the ghettos, and has extended the story from the end of the war right up to the present day. In all, it is the most complete treatment ever published on the history of this monumental tragedy.
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[book] RUNNING COMMENTARY
THE CONTENTIOUS MAGAZINE THAT TRANSFORMED THE JEWISH LEFT INTO THE NEOCONSERVATIVE RIGHT
BY BENJAMIN BALINT
May 2010, PublicAffairs
In the years of cultural and political ferment following World War II, a new generation of Jewish- American writers and thinkers arose to make an indelible mark on American culture. Commentary was their magazine; the place where they and other politically sympathetic intellectuals—Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow, Lionel Trilling, Alfred Kazin, James Baldwin, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick and many others—shared new work, explored ideas, and argued with each other. Founded by the offspring of immigrants, Commentary began life as a voice for the marginalized and a feisty advocate for civil rights and economic justice. But just as American culture moved in its direction, it began—inexplicably to some—to veer right, becoming the voice of neoconservativism and defender of the powerful. This lively history, based on unprecedented access to the magazine’s archives and dozens of original interviews, provocatively explains that shift while recreating the atmosphere of some of the most exciting decades in American intellectual life.
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[book] SECRET LANGUAGE
Codes, Tricks, Spies, Thieves, and Symbols
By Barry Blake
May 2010, Oxford
From the chat codes "PAW" or "Code 9" that teens use to let their friends know that parents are eavesdropping, to the high-powered, computer-driven encryptions used by governments to prevent foreign powers from stealing classified information, covert language is ubiquitous in our society. Now, in Secret Language, Barry Blake takes the reader on a fascinating excursion down this mysterious trail of words, ranging across time and culture. With revelations on every page, and sample codes and puzzles for the reader to crack, it will entertain everyone with an urge to know more about the most arcane and curious uses of language. From backmasking to the Enigma Machine, from magic words to literary symbols, here is a lively, engaging tour of languages that hide their meanings from all but a chosen few. Blake explains the difference between ciphers and codes (Morse code, oddly enough, is not a code but a cipher) and shows how secret messages have been written--and broken--for almost two thousand years. He explores the history and uses of the slang and argot of schools and trades, tracing the stories of centuries-old cants such as those used by sailors and criminals--among them polari, the mix of Italian, YIDDISH (Gelt, basket, mushugene) and slang once spoken among strolling players and circus folk and most recently adopted by the gay community. He examines the sacred languages of ancient cults and religions, uncovers the workings of onomancy, spells, and gematria, considers the obliqueness of allusion and parody, and celebrates the absurdities of euphemism and jargon. Anyone who enjoys word games and riddles, who loves finding out the hidden meanings of slang or argot, or who delights in spy novels or real-life tales of espionage, will find this volume an endless source of fascination
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[book] TO SERVE GOD AND WAL-MART
THE MAKING OF CHRISTIAN FREE ENTERPRISE
BY BETHANY MORETON
May 2010, Harvard University Press
Moreton, an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia, writes that Wal-Mart was able to spring out of the work ethics of the Bible Belt, and it could never have grown from the “northeast.” REALLY??
What is she saying when she says the “Northeast?”
She writes that while the industrial America was built in the Northeast and urban North, it was SunBelt rural Southerners that comprised the postwar service sector. Industrial culture has been urban, modernist, CATHOLIC AND JEWISH, and international. Post industrial service work spoke with a Southern drawl and of Jeses, sand country music, and looked with contempt at unions. This book looks at how pro-business, Christian thought built Wal-mart and the service economy.
PW writes, “The world's largest corporation has grown to prominence in America's Sun Belt—the relatively recent seat of American radical agrarian populism—and amid a feverish antagonism to corporate monopoly. In the spirit of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? historian Moreton unearths the roots of the seeming anomaly of corporate populism, in a timely and penetrating analysis that situates the rise of Wal-Mart in a postwar confluence of forces, from federal redistribution of capital favoring the rural South and West to the FAMILY VALUES symbolized by Sam Walton's largely white, rural, female workforce (the basis of a new economic and ideological niche), the New Christian Right's powerful pro-business and countercultural movement of the 1970s and '80s and its harnessing of electoral power. Giving Max Weber's Protestant ethic something of a late-20th-century update, Moreton shows how this confluence wedded Christianity to the free market. Moreton's erudition and clear prose elucidate much in the area of recent labor and political history, while capturing the centrality of movement cultures in the evolving face of American populism.
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[book] EARLY MODERN JEWRY
A NEW CULTURAL HISTORY
BY DAVID B. RUDERMAN
May 2010, Princeton
Early Modern Jewry boldly offers a new history of the early modern Jewish experience. From Krakow and Venice to Amsterdam and Smyrna, David Ruderman examines the historical and cultural factors unique to Jewish communities throughout Europe, and how these distinctions played out amidst the rest of society. Looking at how Jewish settlements in the early modern period were linked to one another in fascinating ways, he shows how Jews were communicating with each other and were more aware of their economic, social, and religious connections than ever before. Ruderman explores five crucial and powerful characteristics uniting Jewish communities: a mobility leading to enhanced contacts between Jews of differing backgrounds, traditions, and languages, as well as between Jews and non-Jews; a heightened sense of communal cohesion throughout all Jewish settlements that revealed the rising power of lay oligarchies; a knowledge explosion brought about by the printing press, the growing interest in Jewish books by Christian readers, an expanded curriculum of Jewish learning, and the entrance of Jewish elites into universities; a crisis of rabbinic authority expressed through active messianism, mystical prophecy, radical enthusiasm, and heresy; and the blurring of religious identities, impacting such groups as conversos, Sabbateans, individual converts to Christianity, and Christian Hebraists. In describing an early modern Jewish culture, Early Modern Jewry reconstructs a distinct epoch in history and provides essential background for understanding the modern Jewish experience
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[book] WHO BY FIRE, WHO BY WATER
UN’TANEE TOKEF
Edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD
May 2010, Jewish Lights
The most controversial prayer of the Jewish New Year—what it means, who wrote it, why we say it. Over forty contributors who span three continents and all major Jewish denominations examine Un’taneh Tokef’s theology, authorship, and poetry through a set of lively commentaries. Men and women, scholars and rabbis, artists and poets trace the history of Un’taneh Tokef and connect the prayer to its biblical and rabbinic roots. They wrestle with the personal and community impact of its deeply moving imagery, probe its haunting message of human mortality, and reflect on its call for sanctity, transformation and renewal.
First in the new Prayers of Awe series, a multi-volume series designed to explore the High Holy Day liturgy and enrich the praying experience for everyone—whether experienced worshipers or guests who encounter Jewish prayer for the very first time.
Contributors: Merri Lovinger Arian • Rabbi Tony Bayfield, DD • Rabbi Sharon Brous • Dr. Marc Brettler • Dr. Erica Brown • Rabbi Ruth Durchslag, PsyD • Rabbi Edward Feinstein • Rabbi Elyse D. Frishman • Rabbi Andrew Goldstein, PhD • Dr. Joel M. Hoffman • Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur • Rabbi Elie Kaunfer • Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar • Dr. Reuven Kimelman • Rabbi Lawrence Kushner • Rabbi Noa Kushner • Rabbi Daniel Landes • Rabbi Ruth Langer, PhD • Liz Lerman • Rabbi Asher Lopatin • Catherine Madsen • Rabbi Jonathan Magonet, PhD • Rabbi Dalia Marx, PhD • Ruth Messinger • Rabbi Charles H. Middleburgh, PhD • Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum • Rabbi Aaron Panken, PhD • Rabbi Or N. Rose • Rabbi Marc Saperstein, PhD • Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso • Rabbi Jonathan P. Slater, DMin • Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek • Rabbi David Stern • Rabbi David A. Teutsch, PhD • Rabbi Gordon Tucker, PhD • Dr. Ellen M. Umansky • Rabbi Avraham Weiss • Rabbi Margaret Moers Wenig, DD • Dr. Ron Wolfson • Rabbi David J. Wolpe • Rabbi Daniel G. Zemel • Dr. Wendy Zierler
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A SHORT HISTORY OF THE JEWS is not A HISTORY OF THE SHORT JEWS
[book] A SHORT HISTORY OF THE JEWS
BY MICHAEL BRENNER
Translated by Jeremiah Riemer
May 2010, Princeton
A Short History of the Jews is the story of the Jewish people told in a sweeping and powerful historical narrative. Michael Brenner chronicles the Jewish experience from Biblical times to today, tracing what is at heart a drama of migration and change, yet one that is also deeply rooted in tradition. He surveys the latest scholarly perspectives in Jewish history, making this short history the most learned yet broadly accessible book available on the subject. Brenner takes readers from the mythic wanderings of Moses to the unspeakable atrocities of the Holocaust; from the Babylonian exile to the founding of the modern state of Israel; and from the Sephardic communities under medieval Islam to the shtetls of eastern Europe and the Hasidic enclaves of modern-day Brooklyn. This richly illustrated book is full of fascinating and often personal stories of exodus and return, from that told about Abraham, who brought his newfound faith into the land of Canaan, to that of Holocaust survivor Esther Barkai, who lived on a kibbutz established on a German estate seized from the Nazi Julius Streicher as she awaited resettlement in Israel. Brenner traces the major events, developments, and personalities that have shaped Jewish history down through the centuries, and highlights the important contributions Jews have made to the arts, politics, religion, and science. Breathtaking in scope, A Short History of the Jews is a compelling blend of storytelling and scholarship that brings the history of the Jewish people marvelously to life.
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[book] THE LIFE OF IRENE NEMIROVSKY
1903 - 1942
By OLIVIER PHILIPPONNAT AND PATRICK LIENHARDT
May 2010, Knopf
The first major biography of the author of Suite Française. The posthumous publication of Suite Française won Irène Némirovsky international acclaim and brought millions of readers to her work. But the story of her own life was no less dramatic and moving than her most powerful fiction. With her family, she escaped Russia in 1919 and settled in Paris, where she met and married fellow Jewish émigré Michel Epstein. In 1929 she published her highly acclaimed and controversial novel David Golder, the first of many successful books that established her stellar reputation. But when France fell to the Nazis, her renown did her little good: without French citizenship, she was forced to seek refuge in a small Burgundy village with her husband and their two young daughters. And in July 1942 Némirovsky was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where she died the following month.
Drawing on Némirovsky’s diaries, previously untapped archival material, and interviews, her biographers give us at once an intimate picture of her life and turbulent times and an illuminating examination of the ways in which she used the details of her remarkable life to create “some of the greatest, most humane, and incisive fiction [World War II] has produced” (The New York Times Book Review).
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Maybe the Jewish people can learn from Ants
[book] ADVENTURES AMONG ANTS
A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions
By Mark W. Moffett
May 2010, California
Intrepid international explorer, biologist, and photographer Mark W. Moffett, "the Indiana Jones of entomology," takes us around the globe on a strange and colorful journey in search of the hidden world of ants. In tales from Nigeria, Indonesia, the Amazon, Australia, California, and elsewhere, Moffett recounts his entomological exploits and provides fascinating details on how ants live and how they dominate their ecosystems through strikingly human behaviors, yet at a different scale and a faster tempo. Moffett's spectacular close-up photographs shrink us down to size, so that we can observe ants in familiar roles; warriors, builders, big-game hunters, and slave owners. We find them creating marketplaces and assembly lines and dealing with issues we think of as uniquely human--including hygiene, recycling, and warfare. Adventures among Ants introduces some of the world's most awe-inspiring species and offers a startling new perspective on the limits of our own perception. Ants are world-class road builders, handling traffic problems on thoroughfares that dwarf our highway systems in their complexity. Ants with the largest societies often deploy complicated military tactics. Some ants have evolved from hunter-gatherers into farmers, domesticating other insects and growing crops for food.
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[book] IN THE HAMPTONS
My FIFTY YEARS WITH FARMERS, FISHERMEN, ARTISTS, BILLIONAIRES, AND CELEBRITIES
BY DAN RATTINER
May 2010, Three Rivers Press
As publisher of the Montauk Pioneer in the early 1960s, which branched into the longtime Hampton free newspaper, Dan's Papers, Rattiner knows his territory and shares a collection of charming early memories of the people among whom he lived and worked. Most of the recollections are from the 1960s, when the author, a Harvard graduate student in his 20s, having been introduced to Montauk when his father moved the family there to take over White's Pharmacy in 1956, runs the press largely by himself, borrowing a thousand dollars from local banker Merton Tyndall. While knocking door-to-door to sell ad pages and drum up stories, he meets the remarkable seasonal denizens of the Hamptons, such as the lovely daughter of Harrison Tweed III, Babette; the drinkers at Jungle Pete's, tightlipped about their dead crony Jackson Pollock; artist Balcomb Greene; the sun-bathing lady proprietors of the Memory Motel; reclusive John Steinbeck; and the real-life shark hunter Frank Mundus. As the Hamptons change from sleepy beaches to celebrity enclaves, the likable Rattiner boasts (modestly) about refusing an interview with then nobody Richard Nixon and playing baseball with notables such as George Plimpton and Bill Clinton.
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What I enjoyed most about this is the chapter on how and why Britain selected the clans to take over Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states in an effort to destroy the Ottoman Empire and Sultan
[book] EDEN TO AMAGEDDON
WORLD WAR I IN THE MIDDLE EAST
BY ROGER FORD
May 2010. Pegasus
From Publishers Weekly: Often forgotten except for the legend of Lawrence of Arabia, the critical Middle Eastern theater of WWI is thoroughly chronicled in this meticulous military history. Ford (The Grim Reaper) surveys all the major campaigns in the Allied—mainly British—war against the Ottoman Empire, from the invasion of Mesopotamia (Eden) to the climactic battle of Megiddo (the biblical Armageddon) in Palestine. A microcosm of the larger war, the story includes a seesaw struggle between the Turks and Russians in the Caucasus, bloody trench warfare on the Gallipoli peninsula, a rare successful British cavalry charge near Gaza, and a pervasive air of futility as best-laid plans go tragically awry. Ford pens a lucid operational history from the orders of commanders to the movements of units as they contend with terrain, weather, and the enemy. He also pulls back to examine the political context and the personalities of leaders like the vain, over-reaching Turkish generalissimo Enver Pasha and the abrasive yet competent Winston Churchill. The result is a stylishly written, fine-grained narrative history that should become the standard for historians and buffs alike. 48 pages of b&w photos; maps.
The definitive and epic account of World War I in the Middle East. The Great War in the Middle East began with an invasion of the Garden of Eden, and ended with a momentous victory on the site of the biblical Armageddon. For the first time, the complete story of this epic, bloody war is now presented in a single, definitive volume. In this inspired new work of history, Roger Ford describes the conflict in its entirety: the war in Mesopotamia, which would end with the creation of the countries of Iran and Iraq; the desperate struggle in the Caucasus, where the Turks had long-standing territorial ambitions; the doomed attacks on the Gallipoli Peninsula that would lead to ignominious defeat; and the final act in Palestine, where the Ottoman Empire finally crumbled. Ford ends with a detailed description of the messy aftermath of the war, and the new conflicts that arose in a reshaped Middle East that would play such a huge part in shaping world affairs for generations to come.
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N O W I N P A P E R B A C K
[book] PAUL NEWMAN
A LIFE
BY SHAWN LEVY (The Oregonian)
May 2010. Three Rivers Press
One of my only and best acting lessons was from Paul Newman, or demonstrated how he could feign interest in another person with his eyes. It seemed so so real, yet it was all acting.
A great beach read for Summer 2010
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Film critic and biographer Levy (Rat Pack Confidential) embarks on a respectful, thoroughgoing survey of Newman's long life (1925–2008) and massive film career without lingering on emotional and psychological factors. A kind of accidental hero, Newman recognized that his blue-eyed good looks would open doors for him, but by sheer determination and work ethic he muscled his way to the Olympian heights of America's finest actors. Born to middle-class Jewish parents in Shaker Heights, Ohio, he eventually enlisted in the navy then attended Kenyon College on the GI Bill; his early first marriage and dabbling in theater seemed to be a way to avoid having to return home and take over his father's sporting-goods store. He enrolled in Yale's drama department, then in 1952 gave himself a year in New York to prove himself: he hustled small, paying parts and gradually became a part of the Actors Studio, where he claimed to have learned everything he knew about acting. From then on, using his connections shrewdly, he moved from success on Broadway (Picnic, where he met Joanne Woodward, whom he married in 1958) to TV (Our Town) and Hollywood (Somebody Up There Likes Me). From there, the professional accolades began piling up, while Levy also chronicles Newman's stunning success as a race-car driver, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Levy doesn't shy from discussing Newman's shortcomings as a father and husband, yet he leaves a glowing assessment of this legend's career.”
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[book] MUHAMMED AND THE BELIEVERS
AT THE ORIGINS OF ISLAND
BY FRED M. DONNER, University of Chicago
May 2010. Harvard / Belknap
An eminent University of Chicago professor in Near Eastern history, Donner (Narratives of Islamic Origins) presents the intriguing and lucid view that the early Islamic movement, as presided over by Muhammad, actively included Jews and Christians in the flock as part of a general monotheistic community. It was a BELIEVERS movements and included many people interested in religious REFORM, righteous behavior, strict monotheism, and conformity to laws.
It was only a century later, after Muhammad's death, that a new generation of Muslims began ritualizing Islam with its own distinctive practices, such as the hajj (pilgrimage) and the five daily prayers. It was only then that they saw themselves as an utterly distinct religious movement, different from Judaism and Christianity. Though Donner isn't entirely persuasive, he raises many original points, gleaning evidence from everything from coinage to original source documents. Questioning longstanding stereotypes, he argues (and proves) that Muslims are not, by nature, anti-Jewish and also that, based on archeological evidence, Muslims did not routinely tear down churches. The early Muslims, though brutal in war, created a sophisticated and organized civil system. For those curious about Islam's beginnings, no book is as original and as evenhanded as this succinct read
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[book] BARNEY‘S VERSION
A NOVEL BY MORDECHAI RICHLER
May 2010. Vintage International reprint paperback
Library Journal writes, ,“You have to like a narrator who can ask about libel after being accused "in print, of being a wife-abuser, an intellectual fraud, a purveyor of pap, a drunk with a penchant for violence, and probably a murderer as well" only to have his lawyer answer "Sounds like [the writer] got things just about right." Richler is in top form with this first-person voice of Barney Panovsky, 67-year-old TV producer at Totally Useless Productions, thrice-married (the third being the one that matters, and she's gone; the second, after being found in bed with Barney's best friend, Boogie, is the catalyst for the putative murder), fretting over liver spots and mental slippage. The book is always hilarious, but the humor is sharpened by the psychological accuracy/honesty and the richness of detail; in short, this is one well-written book. There are even footnotes to help out when Barney gets something wrong. Absolutely for all collections, this is what Barney calls his third wife: "a keeper."?”
Ebullient, manic, over the top - Los Angeles Times
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[book] BEAUTIFUL YETTA
THE YIDDISH CHICKEN
BY DANIEL PINKWATER AND JILL PINKWATER
May 2010. FeiWel and Friends
Ages 4 - 8
Yetta, beautiful Yetta, manages to escape from a kosher butcher’s shop. But now she is lost in Brooklyn—a strange place filled with rude rats and dangerous buses. geVAHLT! Oh, dear! But then, brave and clever Yetta saves a small green bird from a sneaky cat, (gey ahvek, du FahrShtunkehneh Kahtz) and his friends, the wild parrots of Brooklyn, are very grateful.
¡Muchas gracias, gallina hermosa! ¡mooCHAS grahSEEas, gahYEEna ehrMOsa! Thank you very much, beautiful chicken! Por favor, quedate con nosotros, gallina Hermosa (please stay with us, pretty chicken) Has beautiful Yetta found her new home? Inspired by REAL events (?really?), this multilingual story is a witty, warm, and wonderful read-aloud for any age.
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[book] APARTMENT THERAPY‘S BIG BOOK OF SMALL, COOL SPACES
BY MAXWELL GILLINGHAM-RYAN
May 2010. ClarkSon Potter
Lots of Jewish adults live in small NYC and urban apartments. They are space challenged. Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, co-founder of the most popular interior design website, Apartment Therapy, will help you transform tiny into totally fabulous. According to Maxwell, size constraints can actually unlock your design creativity and allow you to focus on what’s essential. In this vibrant book, he shares forty small, cool spaces that will change your thinking forever. These apartments and houses demonstrate hundreds of inventive solutions for creating more space in your home, and for making it more comfortable. Leading us through entrances, living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms, bedrooms, home offices, and kids’ rooms, Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces is brimming with ingenious tips and ideas, such as: Shifting the sense of scale through contrasting colors / Adding airiness by using transparent collections / Utilizing the area under a loft bed for a kitchen and mini-bar / Tucking an office with chic vintage doors into an unused bedroom corner.
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[book] ELLIOT ALLAGASH
A NOVEL
BY SIMON RICH
May 2010. Random House
From Publishers Weekly, “Saturday Night Live writer Rich's first novel (after two humorous collections) is a hit and miss riff on Pygmalion in which genial high school loser Seymour gets a life-changing makeover after meeting Elliot, a fabulously wealthy malcontent who has transferred to Seymour's Manhattan private school. Elliot's lessons on the power of money and the fine art of popularity are given in exchange for chubby Seymour's agreement to do whatever Elliot tells him to do, and, sure enough, Seymour transforms from consummate outsider to a Harvard-bound, straight-A class president. But as the book constantly reminds readers, there are things money can't buy, even for the Allagash family, whose astronomical wealth comes, believe it or not, from an ancestor's invention of paper. Elliot knew the functions of all his father's companies... [but] never seemed to know what I was thinking or feeling, opines Seymour, who grows increasingly complacent in Elliot's schemes and alienated from his dimensionless, doting parents. While Rich is undoubtedly funny and quick-witted, his novelistic chops are underdeveloped, and the narrative's inevitability and the lack of character development detract from the book's finer, funnier points.”
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[book] HUNTING EVIL
THE NAZI WAR CRIMINALS WHO ESCAPED AND THE QUEST TO BRING THEM TO JUSTICE
BY GUY WALTERS
May 2010. Broadway Books
Already acclaimed in England as "first-rate" (The Sunday Times); “a model of meticulous, courageous and path-breaking scholarship"(Literary Review); and "absorbing and thoroughly gripping… deserves a lasting place among histories of the war.” (The Sunday Telegraph), Hunting Evil is the first complete and definitive account of how the Nazis escaped and were pursued and captured -- or managed to live long lives as fugitives.
At the end of the Second World War, an estimated 30,000 Nazi war criminals fled from justice, including some of the highest ranking members of the Nazi Party. Many of them have names that resonate deeply in twentieth-century history -- Eichmann, Mengele, Martin Bormann, and Klaus Barbie -- not just for the monstrosity of their crimes, but also because of the shadowy nature of their post-war existence, holed up in the depths of Latin America, always one step ahead of their pursuers. Aided and abetted by prominent people throughout Europe, they hid in foreboding castles high in the Austrian alps, and were taken in by shady Argentine secret agents. The attempts to bring them to justice are no less dramatic, featuring vengeful Holocaust survivors, inept politicians, and daring plots to kidnap or assassinate the fugitives. In this exhaustively researched and compellingly written work of World War II history and investigative reporting, journalist and novelist Guy Walters gives a comprehensive account of one of the most shocking and important aspects of the war: how the most notorious Nazi war criminals escaped justice, how they were pursued, captured or able to remain free until their natural deaths and how the Nazis were assisted while they were on the run by "helpers" ranging from a Vatican bishop to a British camel doctor, and even members of Western intelligence services. Based on all new interviews with Nazi hunters and former Nazis and intelligence agents, travels along the actual escape routes, and archival research in Germany, Britain, the United States, Austria, and Italy, Hunting Evil authoritatively debunks much of what has previously been understood about Nazis and Nazi hunters in the post war era, including myths about the alleged “Spider” and “Odessa” escape networks and the surprising truth about the world's most legendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.
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[book] DRAWING IN THE DUST
A NOVEL
BY ZOE KLEIN
NOW IN PAPERBACK - May 2010 – Gallery
Insight into the world of biblical excavation in Israel raises Rabbi Klein's debut novel from a Jewish Da Vinci Code to an emotionally rich story of personal and historical discovery. After a dozen years digging in Megiddo, American archeologist Page Brookstone longs for something new. When an Arab couple propose that Page investigate the haunted ruins under their home, she ignores colleagues' misgivings and heads to Anatot, just outside Jerusalem. There, the couple, along with Page and her team, uncover murals, artifacts and remains suggesting they have come upon the grave of the prophet Jeremiah, buried with the woman he loved, Anatiya, who also has left a manuscript that parallels the Book of Jeremiah. The discovery ignites an international uproar and violent attacks while Page, affected by the ancient spirits, is attracted to Orthodox Israeli Mortichai Master, despite his connections to an organization opposing her efforts. Rabbi Klein's most vivid passages depict the meditative tedium of digging, the exultation of discovery and the intricate processes of authentication and preservation, while love stories past and present—and a balanced, compassionate view of both Israeli and Arab traditions—add to the book's pleasures.
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[book] BROKEN BIRDS
THE STORY OF MY MOMILA
BY JEANETTE KATZIR
2010
There is a truth in war: Every survivor has a story to tell. Sadly, it is very true. They have remembrances of evil too horrible to talk about, but anable to be forgotten. But, what of their children, the second and third generations? They too have stories to tell. Fortunately, their tales are not of prison guards and ovens, but of parents, who because of the war, were badly broken.

Channa, a Partisan Fighter during World War II, prepares Katzir and her four siblings to survive a war that ended before they were born. Channa's rules are unbreakable: Failure means Death. Strangers mean Danger. Anyone who is not blood is a Stranger. When Channa suddenly dies, the unexpected contents of her will force her adult children to recognize the affects her guidance has had on their relationships with one another, with their created families, and with her. What was once a close-knit family is now led down the road to emotional destruction.
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[book] THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE
A NOVEL
BY JULIE ORRINGER
2010, Knopf
From Booklist: *Starred Review* Andras Lévi wants to study architecture, but since opportunities for Jews are limited in Hungary, he goes to Paris instead. There he lives among other students at the Ecole Spéciale, makes ends meet by working in the theater, and falls in love with Klara, a fellow Hungarian with a dark secret in her past. With war looming, Andras is forced to return to Budapest, and Klara follows him. Soon, their lives are swamped by history. Andras is conscripted into the labor service, and in an act of defiance, he and a friend produce a series of subversive newspapers. As a result, just when the Lévi clan is about to immigrate to Palestine, he and his whole batallion are loaded on a train and shipped to the Ukraine. Back in Budapest in 1944, Andras reflects that the Jews of Hungary had been relatively lucky. Then the Nazis invade. Orringer’s first novel (her short story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, won several awards) is a hugely ambitious undertaking, but she has every detail under control, from the architectural currents in Europe in the 1930s to the day-to-day struggle to survive in a work camp. The early sections set in Paris, in particular, are completely absorbing, and if sometimes the emotional force of this long, long book gets lost in the march of events, it is still an astonishing achievement
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[book] Light of My Eye
A novel
By Paula Jacques
Translated by Susan Cohen-Nicole
2010, Holmes and Meier
In Light of My Eye, Paula Jacques, born in Egypt, recreates the vanished world of cosmopolitan Cairo with remembered affection and amusing dialogue. Her novel depicts the turbulent waning days of its once thriving Jewish community, during the strange and ominous time between the collapse of the Egyptian monarchy and Nasser's rise to power. At its center are the pre-adolescent Mona Castro and her family, whose lives and destinies the author evokes in a series of scenes that veer between poignancy and wit. Mona's coming of age is marked by her youthful rebellion against her domineering mother, Becky; the illness of the beloved family patriarch, Joucky; and her half-innocent dalliance with an older man, a refugee from eastern Europe. The surrounding ensemble of relatives, whose family gatherings attempt to cope with a history that will overwhelm them, shifts the focus from Mona' s tale to a chronicle of a proud, doomed family.
Paula and her family was expelled from Egypt in 1958, Paula Jacques lived briefly in Israel and later moved to France. She was a founder of a theatrical repertory company, and has been active as a woman of leters and a journalist since 1975. She hosts a popular Sunday cultural radio program, Cosmopolitaine. Several of her novels have won prizes for fiction, including the prestigious Prix Femina
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SOME JUNE 2010 BOOKS

[book] AN AMERICAN TYPE
A NOVEL
BY HENRY ROTH
June 2010, Norton
Henry Roth wrote CALL IT SLEEP, one of the great American novels in 1934. He died in 1995. Among his papers, there were nearly 2000 unpublished items, was found this novel. Set in 1938, An American Type reintroduces us to Roth’s alter ego, Ira, who abandons his controlling lover, Edith, in favor of a blond, aristocratic pianist at Yaddo, the retreat for writers. The ensuing conflict between his Jewish ghetto roots and his high-flown, writerly aspirations forces Ira, temporarily, to abandon his family for the sun-soaked promise of the American West. Fast-paced but wrenching, set against a backdrop of crumbling piers, bedbug-infested SROs, and skyscrapers in glimmering Manhattan and seedy L.A., An American Type is not only, perhaps, the last firsthand testament of the Depression but also a universal statement about the constant reinvention of American identity and, with its lyrical ending, the transcendence of love. This posthumous work was edited by Willing Davidson, a former fiction editor at The New Yorker.
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[book] EVERY HOUSE NEEDS A BALCONY
BY RINA FRANK
TRANSLATED FROM HEBREW BY ORA CUMMINGS
June 2010, HArPER
Hailed as the "Israeli Kite Runner" (The Bookseller), this international bestseller and publishing phenomenon is the bittersweet story of one family, one home, and the surprising arc of one woman's life, from the poverty of her youth to the glowing love and painful losses of her adult years. Braiding together past and present, Every House Needs a Balcony tells the story of a young Jewish girl—a child of Romanian immigrants—who lives with her family in the poverty-stricken heart of 1950s Haifa, Israel. Eight-year-old Rina, her older sister, and their parents inhabit a cramped apartment with a narrow balcony that becomes an intimate shared stage on which the joys and dramas of the building's daily life are played out. It is also a vantage point from which Rina witnesses the emergence of a strange new country, born from the ashes of World War II. Later, after years of living abroad with her wealthy Spanish husband in Barcelona, Rina, longing for the simple life she has missed, returns to the Haifa of her boisterous youth, a move that soothes her soul but ultimately endangers her marriage.
Beautifully told, rich with questions of identity, love, and survival, Every House Needs a Balcony is an unforgettable social and historical portrait of a neighborhood and a nation. Steeped in the colors and smells, laughter and tears, of Rina Frank's own childhood memories, it is a heartbreaking tale about the deepest meanings of home.
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[book] PEEP SHOW
A NOVEL
BY JOSHUA BRAFF
June 2010, Algonquin
Joshua Braff, brother of actor Zach Braff, wrote THE UNTHINKABLE THOUGHTS OF JACOB GREEN, a few years ago, which I thought was one of the best and funniest Jewish novels of the decade. Now he has prepared a second novel for us.
A kid who likes photos… is it any wonder that his name is Arbus?
David Arbus will be graduating from high school in the spring of 1975. His divorced parents offer two options: embrace his mother’s Hasidic sect or go into his father’s line of work, running a porn theater in the heart of New York’s Times Square. He joins the family business. What else would a healthy seventeen-year-old with an interest in photography do? But he didn’t think it would mean giving up his mother and sister altogether. Peep Show is the bittersweet story of a young man torn between a mother trying to erase her past and a father struggling to maintain his dignity in a less-than-savory business. As David peeps through the spaces in the screen that divides the men and the women in Hasidic homes, we can’t help but think of his father’s Imperial Theatre, where other men are looking at other women through the peepholes. As entertaining as it is moving, Peep Show looks at the elaborate ensembles, rituals, assumed names, and fierce loyalties of two secret worlds, stripping away the curtains of both.
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