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

SOME SPRING 2011 BOOK READINGS


March 21, 2011: Restoring Splendor: The Architecture of New York Synagogues, an illustrated lecture by Dr. Samuel D. Gruber. TempleEmanu-El NYC 6PM
March 22, 2011: Dan Savage and Terry Miller read from It Gets Better, The Book for the Trevor Project, featuring essays by famous and not so famous people. B&N TriBeCa NYC
March 23, 2011: To honor the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, join Katharine Weber, Author of Triangle: A Novel 6:30 PM, Temple Emanu-El, 1 East 65th Street
March 24, 2011: Dan Savage and Terry Miller read from It Gets Better, The Book for the Trevor Project, featuring essays by famous and not so famous people. Renberg Theater West Hollywood LA CA
March 24, 2011: Jewish Writers on the Promised Land, featuring readings and panel by Thane Rosenbaum, Derek Rubin, Dara Horn, Tova Mirvis, Lara Vapnyar, and Rachel Kadish. $29 to listen to them and maybe ask a question. NYC 92ST Y
March 24, 2011: Allegra Goodman reads from her work. Jewish Literature Live Seminar. Marvin Center. GW University, Washington DC
March 25, 2011: Dan Savage and Terry Miller read from It Gets Better, The Book for the Trevor Project, featuring essays by famous and not so famous people. SFSU Adams Hall 12 Noon San Francisco
March 29, 2011: Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks, chats about his life and memoir. 92STY, NYC

April 02, 2011: Howard Jacobson reads from the top UK prize winning novel, FINKLER QUESTION, B&N Princeton NJ
April 02, 2011: The Jewish Book: Past, Present, Future. NYC Center for Jewish History 1PM
April 03, 2011: Kim Severson read from SPOON FED, now in paperback. B&N Anchorage Alaska
April 04, 2011: Yivo in NYC hosts 2004 Nobel Laureate (Literature) Elfriede Jelinek in AN EXTREMELY RARE PUBLIC appearance on “Rechnitz: Austria's Dirty Little Secret.” Center for Jewish History. 7PM
April 06, 2011: Kosher Wine Tastings. 300 wines. Manhattan
April 07, 2011: Never Forgotten: The Search for Israel's Lost Submarine DAKAR, a lecture by David W. Jourdan. 7PM. Magen David Sephardic Congregation, Rockville, MD
April 11, 2011: The Sabbath: A Day of Rest or a Day of Rules. With Authors Judith Shulevitz, Nicholas Lemann, Bruce Feiler, Jeffrey Goldberg and Neil McFarquhar. $29. 92ST Y
April 10, 2011: Steve and Cokie Roberts discuss their Haggadah and provide samples of their fave Pesach foods (bean salad, eggs), Atlanta Georgia JCC
April 14, 2011: Deborah Lipstadt speaks in Revisiting Eichman. NYC Center for Jewish History
April 18, 2011: Passover begins Monday evening

May 2011: IsraelFilmFestival.com in NYC
May 23, 2011: Jewish Book Council Meeting for Jewish Book Fair leaders
May 24-26, 2011: Book Expo America in NYC
May 26, 2011: Catherine McKinley reads from INDIGO. At Amerindian, 31 Howard Street, NYC with a dyeing demo by ABoubakar Fofani 7PM
May 31, 2011: Book Awards, Center for Jewish History, NYC
June 09, 2011: Nora Ephron speaks on her latest books. 92StY NYC
June 13-22, 2011: The Montreal International Yiddish Theatre Festival. SegalCentRe.org
June 18, 2011: Catherine McKinley reads from INDIGO. Harlem Textile Works, 1677 Amsterdam, NYC
July 20, 2011: Catherine McKinley reads from INDIGO. Smithsonian Museum, African Art. Washington, DC. 6:30 PM











BEFORE WE START SPRING 2011, HERE ARE A FEW SELECTED WINTER 2010/2011 BOOKS


[book] In the Valley of the Shadow
On the Foundations of Religious Belief
BY James L. Kugel
February 2011, Free Press
TEN YEARS AGO, Harvard professor James Kugel was diagnosed with an aggressive, likely fatal, form of cancer. He was given 2 years to lives, and maybe an additional 2-3 more. “I was, of course, disturbed and worried. But the main change in my state of mind was that the background music had suddenly stopped—the music of daily life that’s constantly going, the music of infinite time and possibilities. Now suddenly it was gone, replaced by nothing, just silence. There you are, one little person, sitting in the late summer sun, with only a few things left to do.”
Despite his illness, Kugel was intrigued by this new state of mind and especially the uncanny feeling of human smallness that came with it. There seemed to be something overwhelmingly true about it—and its starkness reminded him of certain themes and motifs he had encountered in his years of studying ancient religions. “This, I remember thinking, was something I should really look into further—if ever I got the chance.”
In the Valley of the Shadow is the result of that search. In this wide-ranging exploration of different aspects of religion—interspersed with his personal reflections on the course of his own illness—Kugel seeks to uncover what he calls “the starting point of religious consciousness,” an ancient “sense of self” and a way of fitting into the world that is quite at odds with the usual one. He tracks these down in accounts written long ago of human meetings with gods and angels, anthropologists’ descriptions of the lives of hunter-gatherers, the role of witchcraft in African societies, first-person narratives of religious conversions, as well as the experimental data assembled by contemporary neuroscientists and evolutionary biologists.
Though this different sense of how we fit into the world has largely disappeared from our own societies, it can still come back to us as a fleeting state of mind, “when you are just sitting on some park bench somewhere; or at a wedding, while everyone else is dancing and jumping around; or else one day standing in your backyard, as the sun streams down through the trees . . . ” Experienced in its fullness, this different way of seeing opens onto a stark, new landscape ordinarily hidden from human eyes.
Kugel’s look at the whole phenomenon of religious beliefs is a rigorously honest, sometimes skeptical, but ultimately deeply moving affirmation of faith in God. One of our generation’s leading biblical scholars has created a powerful meditation on humanity’s place in the world and all that matters most in our lives. Believers and doubters alike will be struck by its combination of objective scholarship and poetic insight, which makes for a single, beautifully crafted consideration of life’s greatest mystery.
Kugel, the Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University, explores the history of religious doubts and the idea of SMALLNESS and so many interesting topics. It is a depply moving affirmation of faith in God. He will do readings in Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, SF, DC, and Philly.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] OSAMA BIN LADEN
BY MICHAEL SCHEUER
February 2011, Oxford University Press
PW writes: “This propulsive biography is not bin Laden for beginners, but its central point is clear. Scheuer (Imperial Hubris), chief of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, argues that the West chronically underestimates bin Laden's "piety, generosity, personal bravery, strategic ability, charisma and patience." In creating a cartoonish enemy, the U.S. has "mindlessly" played into bin Laden's plans to provoke a war on Muslim soil to catalyze a jihad to "obliterate America from within, by making it economically weak, until its markets collapse." The depiction of bin Laden's evolution from devout student to militant leader is deeply detailed and dense, and readers unable to keep up with a dissection of Islam's diverse creeds and doctrines will feel overwhelmed at times, but Scheuer's project is lucid and important. Bin Laden "anticipated a war of attrition that might last decades" and has planned ahead. He has cultivated a multigenerational cadre of between 5,000 and 7,000 loyal warriors, many from the educated upper classes. The conflict with al-Qaeda will, by bin Laden's design, likely be multigenerational, and Scheuer takes a crucial step in revealing how the West keeps itself vulnerable by persisting in demonizing rather than understanding its formidable opponent.”
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist
Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper
By Brant Pitre (Notre Dame) with a preface by Scott Hahn
February 2011, Doubleday
In Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist Brant Pitre pairs together the Jewish Scriptures and the Jewish tradition to frame the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper, and to provide a fresh look at the heart of Christian practice — the Eucharist. By taking the reader back to the Jewish roots of the christian faith, Pitre gives the reader a powerful lens through which to see anew the bread of the presence, the manna, the Last Supper, and ultimately the meaning of Christian Eucharist. Pitre’s mastery of Scripture and the Jewish traditions makes him the perfect guide for anyone seeking to understand the climax of Jesus’ ministry, the Last Supper and the first Eucharist.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE SACRED TABLE
CREATING A JEWISH FOOD ETHIC
Edited by Mary L.Zamore
Foreword by Rabbi Eric Yoffie
2011, CCAR
The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic serves up a rich dialogue about the intersection of Judaism and food. This anthology of essays explores the questions and challenges of navigating the personal and communal choices about eating. The historic Jewish approach to eating, traditionally termed Kashrut, is explored, broadened and, in some cases, challenged within this volume. Throughout The Sacred Table, Kashrut is viewed as a multifaceted Jewish relationship with food and its production, integrating values such as ethics, community, and spirituality into our dietary practice. The Sacred Table celebrates the ideology of educated choice. In exploring these complexities, this book includes topics such as food production, the environment,personal health, agricultural workers' rights,animal rights, the spirituality of eating and fasting, gratitude, caring for the hungry, the challenges of eating together, and more. These essays and the questions they pose present a diverse range of voices, opinions, and options that highlight Jewish values and provide ideas about how to navigate these complex choices. Whether for the individual, family, or community, The Sacred Table supplies the basic how-to's of creating a meaningful Jewish food ethic and incorporating these choices into your personal and communal religious practices. Picture a beautiful buffet of choices from which you can shape your unique Jewish food ethic. Read, educate yourself, build on those practices that you already follow, and eat well
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] YUVI'S CANDY TREE
BY LESLIE SIMPSON AND JANICE LEE PORTER
2011. Kar Ben
Ages 3 – 8 PreK – Grade 2
A story of an escape from Ethiopia. A five year old sites atop a donkey; she has no shoes. It is a scary trip as the family escapes Ethiopia. Yuvi Tashome's grandmother tells her that they are headed to Jerusalem. There are angels on the trip with them. There are no fears. But her fear continued and there were no angels to be seen. Yuvi dreamed of candy, candy trees, and orange trees. Everyone as hungry and dirty. Robbers abounded. Will they make it to Israel? Yuvi Tashome's escape from Ethiopia to Israel. The tale is so well done I could almost hear the voice of Yuvi as a very young child. This is a story of how a young girl escaped Ethiopia during Operation Moses.










A Jewish book? You can judge for yourself.
[book] A Place of Yes
10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life
By Bethenny Frankel with Eve Adamson
2011. Touchstone
Frankel, who attended NYU, and later a cultinary institute to become a chef specializing in whole and natural foods became a celebrity or celebutante when she appeared in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and a Housewives “reality TV” series. She has her own reality series. Frankel is the daughter of the late Robert Frankel, a well-known horse trainer. In her latest reality tv series, Bethany Ever After, she has her child baptized as a Catholic, since her current husband is Catholic. Bethany started a Skinnygirl line of branded liquors/spirits marketed to women. It was reportedly sold for over one hundred million dollars.
In her book she takes the reader on an empowering journey. She shares the obstacles she overcame and her failed relationships with men, women, money, careers, and family. She says you should figure out who you authentically are and not be someone you are not; she wirtes you don;t need a Master Plan, just do something; and treat every job, PERSON, and experience as if it could lead to your next big opportunity (how to use people to get ahead.. wink wink).









[book] The Jews of Capitol Hill
By Rabbi Kurt F. Stone
2011, Scarecrow
Since 1841, 200 Jewish men and women have served in the United States Congress. Their ranks have included Democrats and Republicans, Whigs and Socialists, radicals and reactionaries-a microcosm of the political diversity of the United States. Their influence in Congress has been significant, yet they have been largely overlooked in the history books. In The Jews of Capitol Hill: A Compendium of Jewish Congressional Members, Kurt F. Stone profiles all of the Jews who have served in the House or the Senate. This volume features entries on every Jewish member of Congress, from David Levy Yulee, who, in 1841, was elected to the 27th Congress as a Delegate from the Territory of Florida, to the Jewish senators and representatives of the 111th Congress. Arranged in chronological order, the members range from Bella Abzug to Edward Zorinsky and feature such historical figures as Barry Goldwater, Jacob Javits, Herbert Lehman, and Abraham Ribicoff, along with those still serving in Congress, such as Barney Frank, Dianne Feinstein, Joseph Lieberman, and Al Franken. Each entry identifies the member's political party and years of service, provides a biographical sketch, and includes references for further study. This is the most comprehensive and extensive resource on the legacy of Jewish representation and influence in the United States Congress
Click the book cover to read more.








SOME LATE MARCH 2011 BOOKS

[book] THE HADASSAH EVERYDAY COOKBOOK
DAILY MEALS FOR THE CONTEMPORARY JEWISH KITCHEN
BY LEAH KOENIG, with LUCY SCHAEFFER AND JOAN NATHAN
March 2011, Universe
The Jewish love of eating extends far beyond the Shabbat and holiday tables to the every day. And while cholent and challah sate our appetites on Shabbat, and classics from brisket to latkes grace our holiday menus, what do we make for dinner on Monday night? Or prepare for Sunday brunch, or snack on in front of a movie? Here, America’s leading Jewish women’s organization, Hadassah, answers those culinary questions, sharing over 160 delicious, simple, kosher recipes that are destined to become family favorites. The recipes in this book span the culinary globe, combining iconic American and Jewish tastes with Mexican, Italian, French, Asian and Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine. They also celebrate the growing availability of fresh, seasonal produce and gourmet kosher ingredients, from artisanal cheese and chocolate to organic meat and poultry. Vegetarians and omnivores alike will be delighted to find a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes (not to mention snacks and cocktails) that cater directly to them. Focusing on freshness, flavor and no-fuss technique, The Hadassah Every Day Cookbook brings the flavors of the world—and the farm—to the kitchen. BR> Click the book cover to read more.








[book] CAKES AND MIRACLES
A PURIM TALE
By Barbara Diamond Goldin and Jaime Zollars
Cavendish Shofar Books
Ages 5 – 8
Hershel was the only blind boy in his village. But his blindness did not keep him from going to school, or shaking pears from the neighbor's trees, or catching frogs in the river.” And, he is still able to help his mother by fetching, carrying, and cleaning. He wishes he could help her more, especially when she bakes three-corned cakes, called hamantashen to sell in the marketplace at Purim time. When an angel appears in his dream and encourages him to make what he sees when he closes his eyes, Hershel sneaks into the kitchen and forms his mother's cookie dough into beautiful shapes. His mother's hamantashen and his special cookies sell out quickly and Hershel earns the praise of the town baker. Edited significantly from the 1991 edition, the new text is more accessible to a younger audience and works better as a read-aloud. Rich, full-spread illustrations in collage and acrylic paint warmly depict the Eastern European shtetl setting with expression and dimension. Fans of the original will be thrilled to see this title back in print; the shortened text and new art will introduce this wonderful holiday story of courage and imagination to a new generation of readers.












[book] A PASSOVER HAGGADAH
GO FORTH AND LEARN
Edited By Rabbi David Silber
March 2011, JPS Jewish Publication Society
Rabbi Silber is the founder and dean of the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in innovative Jewish education. I cannot tell you how many lectures of his I tried to squeeze into, but they were much too crowded.
Rabbi Silber has given us two books in one: the Haggadah itself, in English and Hebrew, with his seder commentary and a collection of essays that provide close readings of the classic biblical and rabbinic texts that inform Seder-night ritual and narration. Both parts work beautifully together to illuminate the central themes of Passover: peoplehood, Covenant, our relationship to ritual, God's presence in history, and other important issues that resonate with us all.
Just as midrash attempts to bridge the gap between ancient text and contemporary meaning, Rabbi Silber's Haggadah provides new sources of insight that deepen the Passover experience for today's readers.
Ellen Frankel of JPS said, “Dr. Silber's genius is close reading of texts, bringing together a keen literary sensibility and a deep familiarity with biblical and rabbinic sources.”
"Silber's format engages people in the study of the Haggadah before and during the Passover holiday, at their leisure; and it provides a useful resource right at the seder table." --Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, Chair, Departments of Bible and Jewish Thought, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
"Silber's scholarship is solid and accessible, and will appeal to a range of Jewishly literate readers seeking to better understand and appreciate the richness of the Haggadah text." --Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, Worship Specialist, Union for Reform Judaism
Click the book cover to read more.












Next Year in Jerusalem,
But this year at our house…
Steven Roberts grew up Jewish in Bayoone NJ. His family was culturally and politically Jewish, but not religiously observant. His parents and grandparents never had bar mitzvah ceremonies nor were the married by rabbis. They were Bund members and socialist shopkeepers. They were more into the Workmen's Circle than the shul. His family never held a Passover seder. Steven Roberts (nee Rogowsky) had half a bar mitzvah (with his twin brother) and got active in JFTY. He took Myrna Goldblatt to his senior prom, and at Harvard most of his friends were Jewish, but Roberts never had a seder until after he married Cokie (Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Roberts (née Boggs), a devoutly Catholic graduate of Wellesley and the daughter Congressman and Majority Leader Hale Boggs and Ambassador (to the Vatican) Lindy Boggs.
After Steven and Cokie married (by Arthur Goldberg and a Jesuit), Cokie wanted a religious, deliberately Jewish household. Steven had no traditions to fall back upon, so they attended their first seder in Manhattan at the Waldorf=Astoria residence of Arthur Goldberg (as in Arthur Goldberg, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice and American Ambassador to the UN). The next year they started having their own seder (Steven’s mother and father pitched in; it was their first seder). All their guests had their own views of how a seder should proceed; that classic Maxwell House Coffee haggadah just did not work for everyone. So they typed out their own haggadah with prayers and lots of readings (minus wine stains). Cokie especially wanted to use the psalms that are also used in the Easter service. It was edited and expanded and edited through their decades in New York, Athens, DC and elsewhere. The people who attended their interfaith seders are a Who’s Who of journalists, media personalities, NPR reporters/hosts (Nina, Linda), and interfaith couples.
The first “L” (or “50”) pages are two essays by Cokie and Steven on how the seders came about. Great for readers who enjoy humor filled memoirs. The next twenty pages lay out instructions on how to prep for a seder and explain the symbols of the seder (matza, etc). The rest of the book is a Haggadah you can use for your seder. There are short readings for the leader, and explanations. The blessings for the four cups of wine, the four questions, and a few other prayers are in Hebrew, English transliteration, and English translation. There are ideas for the kids interspersed in the section. For example, one seder, Steve’s sister made masks (or finger-puppets) for the kids to use during the 10 plagues. (Did I mention that in their original photocopied haggadah, “Rabbi” Gamaliel was mistyped as “Rabbit.” And thus a tradition was started in their household). The Hallel is abridged in English and the Grace After Meals is a paragraph. The songs at the end of the book include We Shall Overcome and Had Gadya. The book closes with several recipes that the Roberts’ serve. It includes gefilte fish, chopped liver, egg lemon soup, leg of lamb with scallions and mint, dried bean salad, zucchini in a skillet, and an eggplant and green pepper kugel.
Is this a Hagaddah to use in your house and include issues of the Eucharist, etc? That is up to you. It is for households that are of mixed faiths, who want to see some of the Jewish roots to Christian rituals.
[book][book] Our Haggadah
Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families
By Cokie Roberts and Steven V. Roberts
Illustrated by Kristina Applegate Lutes
March 2011, Harper
New York Times bestselling authors and journalists Cokie and Steve Roberts share their Passover traditions in this engaging version of the Haggadah for couples and families of mixed faiths. When they met more than forty years ago, Cokie and Steve Roberts found common ground in their shared values, despite their different religious beliefs. Choosing to honor both of their faiths and traditions, they began hosting a Passover Seder that has evolved from a small family gathering to a veritable event celebrated with loved ones from all walks of life.
Based on the time-honored Haggadah — the text read throughout the evening that gives order to the ritual meal — Our Haggadah is a practical guide for interfaith families, whether they're celebrating their very first Passover or starting a new tradition. Originally composed on a typewriter and stapled together, Our Haggadah has been the Roberts family's handbook for each Seder and comes from years of adapting and expanding their Seders to welcome all who wish to take part in the celebration. From finding a Seder plate to preparing traditional and nontraditional foods, from the customary prayers to new ways for guests to participate, Cokie and Steve share their special approach to the holiday and the lessons they've learned over the years as an interfaith couple.
Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and a senior news analyst for National Public Radio. Steve Roberts is the author of From Every End of This Earth and My Fathers' Houses. He has worked as a journalist for more than forty years and appears regularly as a political analyst on the ABC radio network and National Public Radio. They are the parents of two children and grandparents of six children.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] AFIKOMEN MAMBO
BY RABBI JOE BLACK AND LINDA PRATER
March 2011, Kar-Ben
Ages 4 - 8
Popular children’s songster Rabbi Joe Black returns with a catchy rhyme to enliven the afikomen hunt at your seder! Afikomen Mambo, a story-and- song combo for the holiday of Passover, makes a great "afikomen finding" present and can entertain kids both at the family seder and leading up to the holiday. Includes a CD.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] THE SZYK HAGGADAH:
FREEDOM ILLUMINATED
By Arthur Szyk (1884-1951), Ivin Ungar and Bryon Sherwin
March 2011, Abams
Arthur Szyk (pronounced “Shick”) created his magnificent Haggadah in Lodz, on the eve of the Nazi occupation of his native Poland. There is no Haggadah like it, before or since, filled with sumptuous paintings of Jewish heroes and stunning calligraphy. This edition, the first since 1940 to be reproduced from Szyk’s original art, boasts a newly commissioned and extremely practical English text by Rabbi Byron L. Sherwin, ideal for use at any family Seder, and a special commentary section by Rabbi Sherwin and Irvin Ungar gives insight into both the rituals of the Seder and Szyk’s rich illustrations. Available in both hardcover and paperback editions, The Szyk Haggadah will transform the Seder, bringing the story of the Exodus from Egypt into a more contemporary light.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] Beginnings
Reflections on the Bible's Intriguing Firsts
Meir Shalev
March 2011, Doubleday Religion Harmony
The bestselling and prize-winning Israeli author Meir Shalev describes the many "firsts" of the Bible – the first love and the first death, to the first laugh and the first dream – providing a fresh, secular and surprising look at the stories we think we know.
The first kiss in the Bible is not a kiss of love. The first love in the Bible is not the love of a man and a woman. The first hatred in the Bible is the hatred of a man toward his wife. The first laugh in the Bible is also the last. In Beginnings, Meir Shalev reintroduces us to the heroes and heroines of the Old Testament, exploring these and many more of the Bible’s unexpected "firsts." Combining penetrating wit, deep empathy, and impressive knowledge of the Bible, he probes each episode to uncover nuances and implications that a lesser writer would overlook, and his nontraditional, nonreligious interpretations of the famous stories of the Bible take them beyond platitudes and assumptions to the love, fear, tragedy, and inspiration at their heart. Literary, inquisitive, and honest, Shalev makes these stories come alive in all their complicated beauty, and though these stories are ancient, their resonance remains intensely contemporary.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] IT GETS BETTER
Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying,
and Creating a Life Worth Living
Edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller
March 2011, Dutton Penguin
Last summer, each week, the news had a story about a young teenage student who was bullied for being gay or being perceived gay who committed suicide. Dan Savage, a Seattle based sex and relationships columnist was outraged. He asked his husband, Terry Miller, who shuns all publicity, if they could both make a youtube video which told teens that IT GETS BETTER. Terry immediately agreed, a friend shot and edited the video, and they uploaded the video on September 22, 2010. They expected 100 total videos.

Within 24 hours, someone uploaded a second video
In three days, there were several hundred videos
At the end of the week, there were 1000 uploaded videos
Within four weeks the U.S. White House called: Could President Obama submit a video to ItGetsBetter.org and the TrevorProject?
There are now more than 10,000 videos.

Dan Savage’s publisher and editor, Penguin and Dutton, decided to turn a selection of these transcribed videos and other expanded essays, about 110 in all, with additional resource information into a book. The theme of the essays are why gay or questioning or outsider or bullied or any youth should not kill themselves and be self destructive, since their lives will and do get better. It includes resources and suggestions.

The book features contributions by President Obama, David Sedaris, Kate Clinton, Murray Hill, Bishop Gene Robinson, Ellen Degeneres, Tim Gunn, UK PM David Cameron, Financial advisor Suze Orman, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Chaz Bono, Bruce Ortiz, PereZ Hilton, Alex Orue and many more. It also includes Jennifer Finney Boylan, a transgender woman who teaches at Colby in Maine, who writes about a post college incident where she drove to the literal edge of North America to end her life from a cliff; Gregory MaGuire, the author of “Wicked,” as well as Kevin Yee, an actor in the Broadway musical based on the book, “Wicked,” who in one of the funniest (and sad) essays, writes on his teen years in a boy band (Youth Asylum) in which the producers dyed his hair blond and tried to teach him to act more straight (like a Vanilla Ice, I suppose), by wearing baggy pants, mumbling, having idiotic interests, and even trained him to walk “straight” by taking his to a supermarket and making him walk the grocery aisles in a butch way.

Urvashi Vaid (partner of Kate Clinton) writes about taking action in teens’ lives; and Bishop Gene Robinson writes about god’s love, religion, true religion, and how it gets not only better but continues to get better. Brinae Lois Gaudet in Wisconsin, just one year out of high school, writes about finding a safe zone in his college dorm (in high school, a local citizen forced his high school to take down “safe zone” signs). Alez R. Orve of Mexico City and Vancouver writes in Spanish about life in Mexico and a new life in Canada; Mark Ramirez (Anchorage) submitted an essay in ASL sign language essay; and another submitted an essay in Arabic. Lance Corporal James Wharton in London writes of life in the British Army and how he was married to his partner in his military barracks and was recently the cover pic and story of the UK’s army magazine.

Award winning novelist, Michael Cunningham, author of A Home At The End of the World, about a gay teen’s crush on a straight friend, writes about confronting childhood friends and coming out on NPR; Alison Bechtel submits a cartoon, 22 Broadway actors tell snippets of their stories; while A. Y. Daring, a black lesbian and choreographer for Lada Gaga write about life in Ontario. David Sedaris tells readers that readers should keep journals. Plus people who are good to you make lousy stories. Jakes Shears (Jason Sellards) who with Scott Hoffman makes up the Scissor Sisters submits an essay on coming out at 15, being bullied badly, having the principal blame him for his abuse (it was so bad, he moved schools), but finding a great life after graduation.

There are also several Jews who were selected to include essays. They include Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, the senior rabbi at Congregation CBST in Manhattan; Jules Skloot, the Brooklyn based dancer and choreographer, graduate of Hampshire and Sarah Lawrence, and member of Jews with Tattoos; Dr. David Rosen in Ottawa writes with his partner, Sean B Lane; and six gay Orthodox Jewish young men have a group essay in which they discuss life growing up in Orthodox and Haredi and Hasidic homes and Jewish summer camps, their survival in these institutions, and their current, happy and productive lives.

Also, Barbara Gaines, 53, is currently the Executive Producer of the Late Show with David Letterman. She writes of growing up on Long Island, playing clarinet in the school band, and attempting suicide after college. But if she had died in 1979, she would have missed out on the rest of a fabulous life, her partner, their 4 year old, and her life at the CBST synagogue. Adam Roberts, a Jewish graduate of Emory and star of the Food Network and the Amateur gourmet flogger (food blogger) site writes a hilarious essay on cooking a Friday night meal for his parents, his partner, and his partner’s parents. In between recipes and tangential asides on food, he discusses being bullied in school, and finding how to express himself in a comedy troupe in college. As he says, high school is like a cold depressing tv dinner, but it gets better and you might end up as a plated dish of braised (braised!!) shirt ribs with polenta (*not kosher)

There are also essays by Michael Feinstein, a piano player (hehe); and Suze Orman, 60, a financial advisor and proud lesbian who says life is NOT EASY, but it is all worth the struggle! Andy Cohen, EVP of Bravo and head of original programming writes of growing up in St Louis and wondering if he would be Charles Nelson Reilly and Paul Lynde; finding himself during a year abroad at college; and being himself for the rest of his life. Jessica Leshnoff writes about growing up and thinking she was a bad person and a bad Jew, a spiral of self-loathing, that she overcame. Jake Kleinman, who is finishing Med school at Tulane, writes about moving from being scared to being proud. And the book closes with an essay by Sara Sperling on being a sorority leader and an essay by Kate Bornstein.
Not in the book are: Rabbi David Bauer (SF)
Rabbi Denise Eger (Kol Ami, West Hollywood)
Rabbi David Horowitz (Pflag)
Washington DC JCC and GLOE and Rabbi Shira Stutman (6th and I, DC)
CBST Equality channel
Bryan Mann, Philadelphia
Punk Rock Torah
Black Gay & Jewish
Just Another Gay In The Life
Broadway stars
Broadway Part 2
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[book] The Cardboard Valise
Ben Katchor
March 2011, Pantheon
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. In this winsomely haunting graphic novel from Katchor—whose weekly strips have been collected into The Jew of New York and Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, among others—an overstuffed suitcase becomes a ripe, comic metaphor for modern life. Set in a world tilted about 45 degrees away from reality, Katchor's story follows a number of characters through their quirky obsessions, each of which highlights a uniquely curious take on modernity. A hunt in the "Saccharine Mountains" turns a BLT into a tongue-in-cheek metaphor ("the lettuce symbolizes the cost of living"), while the citizens of "Outer Canthus" each undergo a symbolic funeral at the age of 47, after which they are "allowed to shed the burden of responsibility." In this slurry of sketchy and gray-tinged surrealism, the titular valise stands out with a certain haunting magic: a cheap and disposable thing (Katchor tracks its construction and sale with a curiously socioeconomic exactitude) that can contain multitudes. Once its contents are unleashed upon the hopelessly modernized island nation of Tensint (Katchor relentlessly skewers affected bourgeois quests for "authenticity"), things go downhill fast—it's the end of the world writ small. Rarely have books that made this little sense made so much sense.
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[book] SILENT MERCY
a novel
By Linda Fairstein
March 2011, Pantheon
In Fairstein's exciting 13th novel to feature New York ADA Alexandra Cooper (after Hell Gate), a middle of the night call brings Alex and NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace to Harlem, where the decapitated body of a young woman has been burning on the steps of the Mount Neboh Baptist Church, originally a synagogue until the neighborhood changed. Initially, the authorities suspect a hate crime until another dead woman turns up at a cathedral in Little Italy a few days later. A religious motive emerges, especially since both victims were considered "outcasts" because of their uncompromising demands about the role of women in organized religion. Meanwhile, Alex is prosecuting a defrocked Catholic priest accused of molesting boys, a high-profile trial that a politically connected bishop wants stopped. Fairstein excels at describing New York's complicated religious history as well as the vagaries of the city's legal and religious politics
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[book] Shut Up and Stay Married
By Yisroel Roll
March 2011, Leviathan
Psychotherapist Yisroel Roll helps people discover the secret of a successful marriage. The message is simple:It's not about your spouse or what you can do for your spouse. The secret lies with you. Presents easy to understand, hands-on strategies to breathe new life into relationships. Simple techniques one can use every day to- • Find happiness in marriage • Get along without hurting each other • Prevent small arguments from escalating into major blowups • Build an atmosphere of trust in your home • Rekindle the deep feelings spouses once had for one another • Feel good about yourself-and your spouse The same principles-though with different strategies-are presented for creating a happy family, empowering kids, and motivate them to thrive. Yisroel Roll, a psychotherapist in private practice, has inspired and helped improve thousands of marriages. A dynamic motivational speaker, he has presented marriage workshops around the world.
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[book] Solomon
The Lure of Wisdom
(Jewish Lives)
By Steven Weitzman
March 2011, Yale
Steve Weitzman turns the challenge of writing a biography of King Solomon into a meditation on the quest for unattainable knowledge, an enterprise equally embodied in the figure of Solomon in Scripture and in legend. There is something deeply human about this appealing book of intellectual distinction."--Robert Alter
Tradition has it that King Solomon knew everything there was to know—the mysteries of nature, of love, of God himself—but what do we know of him? Esteemed biblical scholar Steven Weitzman reintroduces readers to Solomon's story and its surprising influence in shaping Western culture, and he also examines what Solomon's life, wisdom, and writings have come to mean for Jews, Christians, and Muslims over the past two thousand years. Weitzman's Solomon is populated by a colorful cast of ambitious characters—Byzantine emperors, explorers, rabbis, saints, scientists, poets, archaeologists, trial judges, reggae singers, and moviemakers among them—whose common goal is to unearth the truth about Solomon's life and wisdom. Filled with the Solomonic texts of the Bible, along with lesser–known magical texts and other writings, this book challenges both religious and secular assumptions. Even as it seeks to tell the story of ancient Israel's greatest ruler, this insightful book is also a meditation on the Solomonic desire to know all of life's secrets, and on the role of this desire in world history.
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[book] Hank Greenberg
The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One
(Jewish Lives)
By Mark Kurlansky
March 2011, Yale University Press
Hymie Greenberg became Hank or Henry Greenberg. In the majors, he took his brother's name as his middle name and became Henry Benjamin (H.B.) Greenberg
The 1930s was the most anti-Semitic period in American history. In the 1930's, Greenberg, who played first base, close to the fans in the stands, was the most famous Jew in America and the target for racists. He would be called kike, pants presser, pork chop, and more from the opposing fans. The Detroit Tigers had a Jewish pitcher, and there were other Jewish players, but Greenberg was the superstar. He was strong, huge, athletic, 6foot4, powerful, and the opposite of the weak Jew stereotype. It attracted affection and hateful slurs. He was a symbol of Jews, yet he was trying to escape the Jewish life of his youth. In the minors, he would attack his foes. He once stared down the entire Yankees. But as he grew older, he ignored them. In 1947, he was traded to Pittsburgh and played the Brooklyn Dodgers, against Jackie Robinson. He noticed that the same people who shouted racists comments at the great Robinson were the same he shouted at Greenberg.
One of the reasons baseball fans so love the sport is that it involves certain physical acts of beauty. And one of the most beautiful sights in the history of baseball was Hank Greenberg's swing. His calmly poised body seemed to have some special set of springs with a trigger release that snapped his arms and swept the bat through the air with the clean speed and strength of a propeller. But what is even more extraordinary than his grace and his power is that in Detroit of 1934, his swing—or its absence—became entwined with American Jewish history. Though Hank Greenberg was one of the first players to challenge Babe Ruth's single-season record of sixty home runs, it was the game Greenberg did not play for which he is best remembered. With his decision to sit out a 1934 game between his Tigers and the New York Yankees because it fell on Yom Kippur (because the new york times asked his father in the bronx if he would play, and he said that his son would never play, so hank had to sit out to respect his father), Hank Greenberg became a hero to Jews throughout America. (He did play on Rosh Hashana. He won the game. The crack of his bat was likened to the sound of the shofar) Yet, as Kurlansky writes, he was the quintessential secular Jew, and to celebrate him for his loyalty to religious observance is to ignore who this man was (he did not like religion. He did not give his children a Jewish education). In Hank Greenberg, Mark Kurlansky explores the truth behind the slugger's legend: his Bronx boyhood, his spectacular discipline as an aspiring ballplayer, the complexity of his decision not to play on Yom Kippur, and the cultural context of virulent anti-Semitism in which his career played out.
What Kurlansky discovers is a man of immense dignity and restraint with a passion for sport who became a great reader — a man, too, who was an inspiration to the young Jackie Robinson, who said, "Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg."
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[book] You Are What You Speak
Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity Son
Robert Lane Greene
March 2011, Random Delacorte
Brooklynite Greene, a writer for The Economist, hear a lot of grammar mistakes, including axe instead of ask, and double negatives. And Americans and other judge people by their grammar and identify / group people by their speech. What is it about other people’s language that moves some of us to anxiety or even rage? For centuries, sticklers the world over have donned the cloak of authority to control the way people use words. Now this sensational new book strikes back to defend the fascinating, real-life diversity of this most basic human faculty. Greene illustrates with vivid anecdotes the role language beliefs play in shaping our identities, for good and ill. Beginning with literal myths, from the Tower of Babel to the bloody origins of the word “shibboleth,” Greene shows how language “experts” went from myth-making to rule-making and from building cohesive communities to building modern nations. From the notion of one language’s superiority to the common perception that phrases like “It’s me” are “bad English,” linguistic beliefs too often define “us” and distance “them,” supporting class, ethnic, or national prejudices. In short: What we hear about language is often really about the politics of identity. Governments foolishly try to police language development (the French Academy), nationalism leads to the violent suppression of minority languages (Kurdish and Basque), and even Americans fear that the most successful language in world history (English) may be threatened by increased immigration. These false language beliefs are often tied to harmful political ends and can lead to the violation of basic human rights. Conversely, political involvement in language can sometimes prove beneficial, as with the Zionist revival of Hebrew or our present-day efforts to provide education in foreign languages essential to business, diplomacy, and intelligence. And yes, standardized languages play a crucial role in uniting modern societies. As this fascinating book shows, everything we’ve been taught to think about language may not be wrong—but it is often about something more than language alone.
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[book] Everything Is Obvious
*Once You Know the Answer
Duncan J. Watts
March 2011, Crown
Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world? Why did Facebook succeed when other social networking sites failed? Did the surge in Iraq really lead to less violence? How much can CEO’s impact the performance of their companies? And does higher pay incentivize people to work hard?
If you think the answers to these questions are a matter of common sense, think again. As sociologist and network science pioneer Duncan Watts explains in this provocative and at times unsettling book, the explanations that we give for the outcomes that we observe in life—explanation that seem obvious once we know the answer—are less useful than they seem.
Drawing on the latest scientific research, along with a wealth of historical and contemporary examples, Watts shows how commonsense reasoning and history conspire to mislead us into thinking believing that we understand more about the world of human behavior than we do; and in turn, why attempts to predict, manage, or manipulate social and economic systems so often go awry.
It seems obvious, for example, that people respond to incentives; yet policy makers and managers alike frequently fail to anticipate how people will respond to the incentives they create. Social trends often seem to have been driven by certain influential people; yet marketers have been unable to identify these “influencers” in advance. And although successful products or companies always seem in retrospect to have succeeded because of their unique qualities, predicting the qualities of the next hit product or hot company is notoriously difficult even for experienced professionals. Only by understanding how and when common sense fails, Watts argues, can we improve how we plan for the future, as well as understand the present—an argument that has important implications in politics, business, and marketing, as well as in science and everyday life.
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Get it for your local shochet
[book] A CHICKEN IN EVERY YARD
The Urban Farm Store's Guide to Chicken Keeping
By Robert and Hannah Litt
March 2011, Ten Speed Press
For Jews who want to raise chickens and halve their own kibbutz in the USA
Got a little space and a hankering for fresh eggs? Robert and Hannah Litt have dispensed advice to hundreds of urban and suburban chicken-keepers from behind their perch at Portland’s Urban Farm Store, and now they’re ready to help you go local and sustainable with your own backyard birds. In this handy guide to breeds, feed, coops, and care, the Litts take you under their experienced wings and share the secrets to: Picking the breeds that are right for you • Building a sturdy coop in one weekend for $100 • Raising happy and hearty chicks • Feeding your flock for optimal health and egg nutrition • Preventing and treating common chicken diseases • Planning ahead for family, neighborhood, and legal considerations • Whipping up tasty egg recipes from flan to frittata
With everything that first-timers will need to get started—along with expert tips for more seasoned keepers—this colorful, nuts-and-bolts manual proves that keeping chickens is all it’s cracked up to be.
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The son of friend graduated college and could not find a job. He worked in a donut shop. I told him to buy the donuts each day, make special types, and sell them from a pink truck and call it PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESSERT. He said No, Thanks. Another friend was out of work. I suggested he run a pizza truck. He declined. I guess I should give them this book to inspire them:
[book] FOOD TRUCKS
Stories and Recipes from America's Best Kitchens On Wheels
By Heather Shouse
Spring 2011, Ten Speed Press
With food-truck fever sweeping the nation, intrepid journalist Heather Shouse launched a coast-to-coast exploration of street food. In Food Trucks, she gives readers a page-by-page compass for finding the best movable feasts in America. From decades-old pushcarts manned by tradition-towing immigrants to massive, gleaming mobile kitchens run by culinary prodigies, she identifies more than 100 chowhound pit-stops that are the very best of the best. Serving up everything from slow-smoked barbecue ribs to escargot puffs, with virtually every corner of the globe represented in brilliant detail for authentic eats, Food Trucks presents portable and affordable detour-worthy dishes and puts to rest the notion that memorable meals can only be experienced in lofty towers of haute cuisine. The secrets behind the vibrant flavors found in Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, Hungarian paprikash, lacy French crepes, and global mash-ups like Mex-Korean kimchi quesadillas are delivered via more than 45 recipes, contributed by the truck chefs themselves. Behind-the-scenes profiles paint a deeper portrait of the talent behind the trend, offering insight into just what spawned the current mobile-food concept and just what kind of cook chooses the taco-truck life over the traditional brick-and-mortar restauranteur route. Vivid photography delivers tantalizing vignettes of street food life, as it ebbs and flows with the changing demographics from city to city. Organized geographically, Food Trucks doubles as a road trip must-have, a travel companion for discovering memorable meals on minimal budgets and a snapshot of a culinary craze just waiting to be devoured.
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[book] QUANTUM MAN
RICHARD FEYNMAN'S LIFE IN SCIENCE
BY LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS
March 2011, WW Norton and Company, Inc.
The author of The Physics of Star Trek focuses in the genius of our times, the late physicist Dr. Richard Feynman. This is a gripping new scientific biography of the revered Nobel Prize–winning physicist (and curious character). Perhaps the greatest physicist of the second half of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman changed the way we think about quantum mechanics, the most perplexing of all physical theories. Here Lawrence M. Krauss, himself a theoretical physicist and best-selling author, offers a unique scientific biography: a rollicking narrative coupled with clear and novel expositions of science at the limits. An immensely colorful persona in and out of the office, Feynman revolutionized our understanding of nature amid a turbulent life. Krauss presents that life—from the death of Feynman’s childhood sweetheart during the Manhattan Project to his reluctant rise as a scientific icon—as seen through the science, providing a new understanding of the legacy of a man who has fascinated millions. An accessible reflection on the issues that drive physics today, Quantum Man captures the story of a man who was willing to break all the rules to tame a theory that broke all the rules.
So put some cream in your lemon tea... and
(Surely I was joking
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[book] THE JERSEY STING
A TRUE STORY OF CROOKED POLS
MONEY LAUNDERING RABBIS, BLACK MARKET
KIDNEYS, AND THE INFORMANT WHO BROUGHT
IT ALL DOWN
BY TED SHERMAN AND JOSH MARGOLIN (Newark NJ Star Ledger)
March 2011, St Martins Press
In the summer of 2009 the blog Gawker stated “Everybody in New Jersey Was Arrested Yesterday.” Now for the first time, the real story behind the biggest corruption bust in New Jersey’s notoriously corrupt history. Among the forty-four people arrested in July 2009 were three mayors, five Orthodox rabbis, two state legislators, and the flamboyant deputy mayor of Jersey City, Leona Beldini, once a stripper using the stage name “Hope Diamond.” At the center of it all was a dubious character named Solomon Dwek, who perpetrated a $50 million Ponzi scheme before copping a plea and wearing a wire as a secret FBI undercover informant, setting up friends, partners, rabbis, and dozens of politicians. Mr. Dwek played his role like an extra in a mob movie. On surveillance tape, he repeatedly referred to his fraudulent “schnookie deals,” which is Yiddish for, well, schnook.
Full of impossible-to-make-up detail and fresh revelations from the continuing trials and investigations, this book—the inside, untold account of a federal sting operation that moves from the streets of Brooklyn to the diners of Jersey City, and all the way to Israel—is a wonderful tour de force of investigative journalism by the reporting team that broke this amazing story.
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[book] THE MIGHTY WALZER
A NOVEL
BY HOWAR JACOBSON (Man Booker Prize winner)
Spring 2011, Bloomsbury
From the beginning Oliver Walzer is a natural--at ping-pong. Even with his improvised bat (the Collins Classic edition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde) he can chop, flick, half-volley like a champion. At sex he is not a natural, being shy and frightened of women, but with tuition from Sheeny Waxman, fellow member of the Akiva Social Club Table Tennis team, his game improves. And while the Akiva boys teach him everything he needs to know about ping-pong, his father, Joel Walzer, teaches him everything there is to know about "swag." Unabashedly autobiographical, this is an hilarious and heartbreaking story of one man's coming of age in 1950's Manchester.
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[book] YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE
A NOVEL
BY BEN DOLNICK
March 2011, Vintage Original
A gorgeous novel of family life, You Know Who You Are is the story of the Vine family, Arthur, Alice, and their three children. The eldest, Will, is well-mannered and academically driven. The youngest, Cara, is a sweet little charmer. Jacob, the middle child, is less sure of who he is. He’s funny, he’s impulsive, and he is often held hostage by his urges to make chaos. But when their mother, Alice, falls ill, Jacob begins to experiment--guiltily, nervously--with the special freedoms conferred on the motherless.
Following the Vines as Jacob moves through high school, college, and beyond, You Know Who You Are is a wise, funny, elegiac novel of moving on, pulling together, and answering that most complicated of questions: who will you decide to become? Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] THE EICHMANN TRIAL
By Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University
March 2011, Jewish Encounters Series
Award-winning historian Deborah Lipstadt gives us a compelling reassessment of the groundbreaking trial that has become a touchstone for judicial proceedings throughout the world in which victims of genocide confront its perpetrators.
The capture of SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann by Israeli agents in Argentina in May of 1960 and his subsequent trial in Tel Aviv by an Israeli court electrified the world. The public debate it sparked on where, how, and by whom Nazi war criminals should be brought to justice, and the international media coverage of the trial itself, is recognized as a watershed moment in how the civilized world in general and Holocaust survivors in particular found the means to deal with the legacy of genocide on a scale that had never been seen before.
In The Eichmann Trial, award-winning historian Deborah Lipstadt gives us an overview of the trial and analyzes the dramatic effect that the testimony of survivors in a court of law—which was itself not without controversy—had on a world that had until then regularly commemorated the Holocaust but never fully understood the millions who died and the hundreds of thousands who managed to survive.
As the world continues to confront the ongoing reality of genocide and ponder the fate of those who survive it, this “trial of the century” offers a legal, moral, and political framework for coming to terms with unfathomable evil and with those who perpetrate it. In The Eichmann Trial, Lipstadt infuses a gripping narrative with historical perspective and contemporary urgency.
DEBORAH E. LIPSTADT is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. She is the author of History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving (a National Jewish Book Award winner); Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory; and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933–1945.
Haaretz and The Forward add: “With her new book, “The Eichmann Trial,” historian Deborah Lipstadt attempts to refute Arendt’s main arguments. On the cover is an iconic image of Arendt — pearl-bedecked and pensive, a cigarette dangling from her fingers — and an entire chapter of the book discusses her arguments. Although other scholars have re-examined the Eichmann trial — most notably the Israeli historian Hannah Yablonka, in a book published in English in 2004 as “The State of Israel vs. Adolf Eichmann” — Lipstadt aims to reach a wider audience. Arendt bitterly criticized the Jewish Councils for helping the Nazis compile lists of Jews to be deported. This observation was the one that sparked the violent outrage in American Jewish circles because of her insinuation that the Nazi authorities and Jewish Councils were equally culpable. Lipstadt vehemently challenges Arendt’s argument, noting that the Einsatzgruppen murdered thousands of Jews in the Soviet territories, which had no Jewish Councils. In her mind, this proves that Arendt exaggerated the importance of the Jewish Councils.”
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[book] Iphigenia in Forest Hills
Anatomy of a Murder Trial
By Janet Malcolm
March 2011, Yale
"She couldn't have done it and she must have done it."
This is the enigma at the heart of Janet Malcolm's riveting new book about a murder trial in the insular Bukharan-Jewish community of Forest Hills, Queens, that captured national attention.
The defendant, Mazoltuv Borukhova, a beautiful young physician, was accused of hiring an assassin to kill her estranged husband, Daniel Malakov, a respected orthodontist, in the presence of their four-year old child.
The prosecutor called it an act of vengeance: just weeks before Malakov was killed in cold blood, he was given custody of Michelle for inexplicable reasons. It is the "Dickensian ordeal" of Borukhova's innocent child that drives Malcolm's inquiry. With the intellectual and emotional precision for which she is known, Malcolm looks at the trial--"a contest between competing narratives"--from every conceivable angle. It is the chasm between our ideals of justice and the human factors that influence every trial--from divergent lawyering abilities to the nature of jury selection, the malleability of evidence, and the disposition of the judge--that is perhaps most striking.
Surely one of the most keenly observed trial books ever written, Iphigenia in Forest Hills is ultimately about character and "reasonable doubt." As Jeffrey Rosen writes, it is "as suspenseful and exciting as a detective story, with all the moral and intellectual interest of a great novel."Click the cover to read more









[book] THE FREE WORLD
A Novel
By David Bezmozgis
March 2011, FS&G
PW writes: Bezmozgis follows his well-received Natasha and Other Stories with a meticulous study of the capricious spaces between historical certainties. First, there's the gap that allows the Krasnansky family to flee Soviet Latvia in the late 1970s for the edge of Rome, where a population of Jewish refugees contemplate their chances of emigrating to Canada, America, or Australia while awaiting news of Israel's peace with Egypt amid widespread anti-Zionism. Then there's the generational gap between the Krasnansky patriarch, unreconstructed Communist Samuil, who only reluctantly leaves the bloc he fought and sacrificed for, and his somewhat profligate sons, Alec and Karl, keen to snatch up the opportunities—sexual, financial, and criminal—that the West affords. And finally there is the growing distance between Alec and his wife, Polina, who is fleeing an ex-husband and a scandalous abortion. Bezmozgis displays an evenhanded verisimilitude in dealing with a wide variety of cold war attitudes, and though the unremitting seriousness of his tone makes for some slow patches, the book remains an assured, complex social novel whose relevance will be obvious to any reader genuinely curious about recent history, the limits of love, and the unexpected burdens that attend the arrival of freedom.

Daniel Schifrin said: “Extraordinary . . . [Recalls] the work of Babel, Roth, Saul Bellow and so many others. Yet Bezmozgis makes these characters, and the state or marginality itself, uniquely his own. His hysterical, merciless, yet open-hearted excavation of the Jewish family in the process of assimilating may give his literary predecessors a run for their money.”
Francine Prose said, “Dazzling, hilarious and hugely compassionate narratives [written with] freshness and precision. . . Readers will find themselves laughing out loud, then grasping as Bezmozgis brings these fictions to the searing, startling and perfectly pitched conclusion that remind us that, as the Russian writer Isaac Babel said,‘no iron can stab the heart so powerfully as a period put in exactly the right place.’ ”









[book] AN IMPROVISED LIFE
A MEMOIR
BY ALAN ARKIN
March 2011, De Capo Press
I am really loving this book. He is so interesting and honest. His life in the arts is so interesting and I am glad that he, and not I, lived it, since it was so filled with stress and doubt and mishigas
From Publishers Weekly: More a reflection on acting than a straightforward memoir, Academy Award–winner Arkin's musing on the creative process is a welcome window into the mind of an artist. After declaring to his father at age five that he wanted to be an actor, Arkin spent his Brooklyn childhood absorbing as much as he could from both everyday life and any opportunity he had to see films and plays. A move to L.A. in junior high cemented Arkin's performer dreams. As a student at Bennington's theater program, Arkin also performed with the earliest incarnation of Chicago's now famous Second City troupe, where he learned to appreciate the power of improvisation. Broadway and film roles followed, with Arkin integrating improvisation into his performances whenever possible, a skill he would hone over the years and later teach. The improv workshops—which Arkin taught and stresses were not "acting" workshops—began at Bennington and were also held at the Institute for American Indian Arts in New Mexico, where Arkin now lives. In this engaging and instructive book, he describes his own intuitive approach to acting and the ways in which he coaxed tentative workshop participants out of their shells.









[book] JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM
HOW THE ANCIENT CITY IGNITED OUR MODERN WORLD
BY JAMES CARROLL
March 2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
James Carroll’s urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem uncovers the ways in which the ancient city became, unlike any other in the world—reaching deep into our contemporary lives—an incendiary fantasy of a city. In Carroll’s provocative reading of the deep past, the Bible’s brutality responded to the violence that threatened Jerusalem from the start. Centuries later, the mounting European fixation on a heavenly Jerusalem sparked both anti-Semitism and racist colonial contempt. The holy wars of the Knights Templar burned apocalyptic mayhem into the Western mind. Carroll’s brilliant and original leap is to show how, as Christopher Columbus carried his own Jerusalem-centric worldview to the West, America too was powerfully shaped by the dream of the City on a Hill—from Governor Winthrop to Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan. The nuclear brinksmanship of the 1973 Yom Kippur War helps prove his point: religion and violence fuel each other, with Jerusalem the ground zero of the heat.
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[book] THE MORNING STAR
A NOVEL
BY ANDRE SCHWARZ-BART
March 2011, Overlook Duckworth
From Booklist: Acclaimed French novelist and Holocaust survivor Schwarz-Bart’s last novel, discovered after his death, begins in the year 3000, after the earth has been obliterated by a nuclear war. One survivor uncovers chests filled with manuscripts that document a human massacre occurring one thousand years earlier. The central narrative shifts to the Polish village of Podhoretz, and chronicles the life of Haim Shuster, descendent of the town’s fabled rabbi who is rumored to have hosted the prophet Elijah. Sensitive and inquisitive Haim possesses a gift that links him, in music and religion, to his lineage. When Nazi troops enter 1939 Poland, Haim’s family is cruelly separated, leaving him to care for his three young brothers. While Haim becomes increasingly disillusioned with God and humanity, he struggles to survive in the Warsaw Ghetto and, subsequently, Auschwitz. Years later, Haim, much older and expecting a child of his own, struggles to reconcile the horrors of the Holocaust with the weight of his oscillating spirit. Schwarz-Bart’s tale is a delicate, necessary portrait, wavering between faith and disbelief, reconciliation and doubt.
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[book] SINS OF THE HOUSE OF BORGIA
A novel
By Sarah Bower
March 2011, Sourcebooks
A young Jewish woman is drawn into the splendor and corruption surrounding the court of the Borgia pope, Alexander VI, in Bower's debut, a slick historical soap opera. After Esther Sarfati is baptized and becomes a lady-in-waiting to the widowed Lucrezia Borgia, the pope's illegitimate daughter, she is attracted to Lucrezia's seductive and cruel brother, Cesare. Esther becomes ensnared in a web of deceit and betrayal as Lucrezia is sent in a political marriage to the powerful Alfonso d'Este, heir to the dukedom of Ferrara. Determined to pursue a romance with the elusive Cesare, Esther is increasingly drawn into the schemes and passions of the Ferrara and Borgia families. While Esther's blind love for the careless and usually absent Cesare strains belief, the sheer grandeur of the papal and Ferrara courts, and the spectacle of the Borgia and Ferrara siblings' rivalries and revenges form a glittering take on one of the most notorious families of the Italian Renaissance.









[book] Local History, Transnational Memory in the Romanian Holocaust
(Studies in European Culture and History)
Edited by Valentina Glajar and Jeanine Teodorescu
March 2011, Macmillan
This book explores the memory of the Romanian Holocaust through transnational representations strongly rooted in a Romanian past of anti-Semitism, genocide, and violence. The essays in this volume discuss survivor testimonial accounts, letters, journals, and drawings, as well as literature and films in an effort to break the silence imposed by the Communist regime and debunk the denials of the Holocaust in Romania. What the survivors, writers (Paul Celan, Aharon Applefeld, Elie Wiesel, Norman Manea), artists, and film directors (Radu Mihaileanu, Radu Gabrea) present in this volume have in common is not just their Romanian heritage and their complicated relationship with Romania, but also an intense preoccupation with the memory of the Holocaust.









[book] The Speech
A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class
By Senator Bernie Sanders
2011, Nation Books
In the wake of President Obama’s deal with congressional Republicans to preserve Bush-era tax cuts—tax cuts that gave colossal breaks to the wealthiest Americans— Senator Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, publicly denounced the deal as an “absolute disaster” and decided to do something about it. On Friday, December 10, 2010, Senator Sanders galvanized millions of Americans with an eight-and-a-half-hour filibuster decrying the tax deal and all it symbolized: the bankrupting of the middle class, corporate greed, and the impotence and corruption of today’s Congress. As Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel noted, “The good Senator from Vermont spoke for millions of struggling working and middle class people who feel their voices aren’t being heard in a system dominated by well-funded lobbyists and corporate insiders.” Reprinted in its entirety and with a new introduction, The Speech is a People’s State of the Union address, an anatomy of working and middle-class America rarely heard in the rarefied walls of the Senate
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[book] THE ART OF THE THE TELL
TELL TO WIN
Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
IGNITE YOUR SUCCESS BY TELLING PURPOSEFUL STORIES
BY PETER GUBER
March 2011. Crown
Howard Peter Guber was born on March 1, 1942, 69 years ago, in Boston. His father, Samuel, owned a junk metal business. Peter grew up as the youngest of three boys, in the shadow of Charlie and Mike. A graduate of Syracuse, Guber married Lynda Gellis in 1965 (the daughter of Brooklyn kosher meats magnate Isaac Gellis). With a law degree and MBA, he headed to LA and worked his way up at Columbia for 8 years, until he was fired and started his own music group and then ran Polygram's film unit. In 1982, he set up Guber-Peters at Warner Brothers, where is exec produced Steven Spielberg's 1985 film The Color Purple. He was loved, he was hated, he was screwed up, he was powerful, he was the quintessential Hollywood Jewish leader.
He was Studio Chief at Columbia Pictures; Co-Chairman of Casablanca Records and Filmworks; CEO of Polygram Entertainment; Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures; and is Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group. He produced (or EP'd) “Midnight Express,” “The Color Purple,” “Gorillas in the Mist,” “Batman,” and “Rain Man.” He co-owns an NBA team. ( See TelltoWin.com )
What Guber understands is that to be successful, you must tell a story quickly. Today, everyone is in the emotional transportation business. More and more, success is won by creating compelling stories that have the power to move partners, shareholders, customers, and employees to action. Simply put, if you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it. And this book tells you how to do both.
I was once at a G.A., the General Assembly of Jewish federations, and a leader told how she went around her organization and asked employees what the mission of the group was and what their top priorities were. They couldn't. There was no single clear mission statement. She knew she had to change that in order to survive and grow and thrive. She should read this book to help her
Historically, stories have always been igniters of action, moving people to do things. But only recently has it become clear that purposeful stories – those created with a specific mission in mind – are absolutely essential in persuading others to support a vision, dream or cause.
Peter Guber, whose executive and entrepreneurial accomplishments have made him a success in multiple industries, has long relied on purposeful story telling to motivate, win over, shape, engage and sell. Indeed, what began as knack for telling stories as an entertainment industry executive has, through years of perspiration and inspiration, evolved into a set of principles that anyone can use to achieve their goals.
Guber shows how to move beyond soulless Power Point slides, facts, and figures to create purposeful stories that can serve as powerful calls to action. Among his techniques:
Capture your audience’s attention first, fast and foremost
Motivate your listeners by demonstrating “authenticity”
Build your tell around “what’s in it for them”
Change passive listeners into active participants
Use “state-of-the-HEART” technology online and offline to make sure audience commitment remains strong

To validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of “voices” – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Normal Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra. After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver -- and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.
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[book] GREAT SOUL
MAHATMA GHANDI AND HIS STRUGGLE WITH INDIA
BY JOSEPH LELYVELD
March 2011, Knopf
What is great about this book is that it is based on Ghandi's own collected papers (in 97 volumes) and not on dreamlike ideal of Ghandi. It is filled with many of Ghandi's failures, but Lelyveld is moved more by his failures and adherence to morals than by his successes.
From Publishers Weekly: In this rigorous biography of India's beloved political and spiritual leader, Lelyveld offers an unexpected perspective on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869–1948), one that focuses more on his failures and vexations than triumphs. Gandhi dreamed of Hindu-Muslim solidarity in a united, autonomous India (a hope dashed with the 1947 partition that split off Pakistan); acceptance of lower castes by upper-caste Hindus (still only partially accomplished); an economy built around cottage industries in self-sufficient villages (a quixotic fantasy). This program proved far more difficult than evicting the British, Lelyveld notes, and earned the Mahatma hatred—and, finally, assassination — in an India riven by sectarian animosity and caste prejudice. Lelyveld pairs a sympathetic but critical analysis of Gandhi's politics with a vivid portrait of the Mahatma's charismatic strangeness: his makeover from business-suited, English-educated upper-caste lawyer to loincloth-clad sage; his odd diet and abhorrence of sex; his strained family life. A stirring, evenhanded account that relates the failure of Gandhi's politics of saintliness while attesting to its enduring power.

What Lelyveld wants to point out is in the subtitle. It was Ghandi's struggle WITH India, not for India. India ignored Ghandi's central teachings. His four pillars for self rule CRUMBLED> Most of India did not believe in equality, cared nothing for untouchables, did not love Moslems, had no problem with ethnic cleansing, and did not pursue the elimination of rural poverty. Here he was, a leader, a master of non violence, but he must struggle with the way India is. He cannot stop the killing and Muslim-Hindu strife easily. Sure he can walk barefoot between villages, but people spread human excrement on the roads. He can meet calmly with Hindu youth, but they shout him down, Same with Muslim leaders. He will gladly sacrifice his life and the lives of those around him. But maybe non violence work in all instances.

The press focused on 12 pages in the book. Lelyveld made use of the recently released trove of letters between a young Ghandi and the German Jewish architect, Hermann Kallenbach. They were roommates in South Africa (or perhaps more). Kallenbach reportedly was jealous when Ghandi moved to India and became interested in his Jewish secretary, Sonja Schlesin. Was he homosexual or bisexual? Or was he homoerotic and celibate. He loved Hermann, as is apparent by the letters he sent this Jewish bodybuilder. But at the same time, Ghandi was likely to blamehimself for awful events due to his failure at celibacy.

By the way, Kallenbach moved to Palestine as a Zionist and then returned to South Africa where he became a wealthy developer. He went to India to get the support of Ghandi for a Jewish state prior to 1948 (and prior to Ghandi's asassination). Ghandi read the 25 page treatise sent by the Jewish yishuv, and replied to Chaim Weizman, saying that the Jews should NOT seek to create a state but should rely on the goodwill of the Arab governments, and wait for Arab opinion to ripen to the idea of granting the Jews a state. Ghandi went so far as offering his services as a mediator between the Arabs and Jews. (Ghandi was a naïve pacifist during WW2, and thought that Jewish passive resistance to Hitler would melt Hitler's heart. (Hitler once told a British minister that they should simply shoot and kill Ghandi than put up with his non violence)) Also, although Ghandi supported Hindu-Muslim relations, he was not supportive of Muslim political aspirations.
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[book] This Burning Land
Lessons from the Front Lines of the Transformed Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
By Greg Myre and Jennifer Griffin (husband and wife)
2011, Wiley
Greg Myre reported from Jerusalem for The New York Times. His wife, wh ogave birth to one of their children at Hadassah-Mount Scopus on the eve of the Iraq War, works for FoxNews from Israel. Here is their commentary on The Israel=Palestine issues and life after Oslo. Myre and Griffin look at the lives of individuals caught up in the conflict to reveal why some honor extremism and discredit moderation. They look at how propaganda becomes an important weapon, and perseverance an essential defense. While the Israelis and the Palestinians have failed to achieve their goals after years of fighting, people on both sides are prepared to make continued sacrifices in the belief that they will eventually emerge triumphant. They report on the mindset of suicide bombers and inside Israeli tanks. We hear from Palestinian informants who help the Israeli military track down and kill Palestinian militants. Israeli settlers in isolated outposts explain why they are there, and we hear the frustrations of a Palestinian farmer who has had his olive grove cut in half by Israel's security barrier. They shows the important lessons that can be learned by viewing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an example of modern, asymmetrical war; explains how the landscape of the conflict changed and why the traditional approach to peacemaking is no longer valid.
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[book] Commemorating Hell
The Public Memory of Mittelbau-Dora
By Gretchen E. Schafft and Gerhard Zeidler
2011, University of Illinois Press

This powerful, wide-ranging history of the Nazi concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora is the first book to analyze how memory of the Third Reich evolved throughout changes in the German regime from World War II to the present. Building on intimate knowledge of the history of the camp, where a third of the 60,000 prisoners did not survive the war, Gretchen Schafft and Gerhard Zeidler examine the political and cultural aspects of the camp's memorialization in East Germany and, after 1989, in unified Germany. Through the continuing story of Mittelbau-Dora, from its operation as a labor camp for the V-1 and V-2 rockets to its social construction as a monument, Schafft and Zeidler reflect an abiding interest in the memory and commemoration of notorious national events.








APRIL 2011 BOOKS


[book] The Wizard of Lies
BY Diana B. Henriques
April 2011, Times Books
The inside story of Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme, with surprising and shocking new details from Madoff himself. Who is Bernie Madoff, and how did he pull off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history?
These questions have fascinated people ever since the news broke about the respected New York financier who swindled his friends, relatives, and other investors out of $65 billion through a fraud that lasted for decades. Many have speculated about what might have happened or what must have happened, but no reporter has been able to get the full story--until now.
In The Wizard of Lies, Diana B. Henriques of The New York Times--who has led the paper's coverage of the Madoff scandal since the day the story broke--has written the definitive book on the man and his scheme, drawing on unprecedented access and more than one hundred interviews with people at all levels and on all sides of the crime, including Madoff's first interviews for publication since his arrest. Henriques also provides vivid details from the various lawsuits, government investigations, and court filings that will explode the myths that have come to surround the story.
A true-life financial thriller, The Wizard of Lies contrasts Madoff's remarkable rise on Wall Street, where he became one of the country’s most trusted and respected traders, with dramatic scenes from his accelerating slide toward self-destruction. It is also the most complete account of the heartbreaking personal disasters and landmark legal battles triggered by Madoff’s downfall--the suicides, business failures, fractured families, shuttered charities--and the clear lessons this timeless scandal offers to Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street.
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[book] GOOD NIGHT ISRAEL
A BOARD BOOK
BY Mark Jasper and Anne Rosen
April 2011, For children
First it starts as Good morning... and then as day is done.. we move to Good night
Celebrating the unique cultural heritage of Israel, this boardbook is designed to soothe children before bedtime while instilling an early appreciation for the country’s natural and cultural wonders. Rhythmic language guides children through Israel during the passage of both a single day and the four seasons of the year while visiting iconic places across the country, including the Western Wall, the Israeli Museum, Haifa, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, and Masada. Many holidays and traditions that are unique to the Jewish community are also covered, such as making hamantaschen for Purim.
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[book] Rubber Balls and Liquor
By Gilbert Gottfried
April 2011, St. Martins Press
This is sort of a memoir, but it really isn’t since there are items that are not true. For example, his father was not a Nazi, especially since Gottfriend is Jewish and has a Yiddish middle name.. And the family store was not called “Gilbert’s Father’s.” But the true parts tell about how Gottfriend made it as a comedian, survived the worst season in Saturday Night Live’s history, and survived lots of missteps by going too far with his comedy. Yes, he was undermined by his recent AFLAC problems, but the book shows how he has survived worse. The problem with comedy is comedians just go over the edge many times. Plus, for anyone who has seen his part in the Aristocrats, you know that he is the funniest and raunchiest of all current comedians.
PW writes: Comedian Gottfried goes for the jugular in his first humor book. As in George Carlin's Brain Droppings, the author loves to goof on language, and he is equally outrageous, as is evident when one deciphers the transsexual pun disguised in the book's title and the suggestive cover image. Gottfried free-associates, riffing in print with an improvisatory flair as wild as his standup routines. Blowjob and masturbation jokes punctuate a mix of memoir, angst-ridden anecdotes, and observational humor. Turning to self-mockery ("I have a face for voice-overs"), he tells how he landed the one-word role as the voice of the animated Aflac duck, and his fans will eagerly skip ahead to a chapter titled "Too Soon" about his now famous Friars Club performance two weeks after 9/11. Gottfried's basic tactic is to deliver a dynamite line and top it with several surprises before reaching the end of each paragraph, building to guffaw-inducing jokes on almost every page.
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Speaking of ignorance…
[book] Holy Ignorance
When Religion and Culture Part Ways
By Olivier Roy
2011, Columbia University Press
Lots of interesting ideas... but difficult to read. I am not sure if it is just too academic in its language, or the writer/editor is awful at English sentence structures. Nevertheless..
Olivier Roy, one of the world's most distinguished analysts of political Islam (European Univ in Florence), finds in the modern disconnection between faith communities and sociocultural identities a fertile space for fundamentalism to grow. Max Weber, 100 years ago, taught that Secularism would free people from religion and cause them to feel a disconnection; the would be “disenchanted,” but it was the price we would pay for modernity. But Roy writes, instead of freeing the world from religion, secularization has encouraged a kind of holy ignorance to take root, an anti-intellectualism that promises immediate access to the sacred and positions itself in direct opposition to contemporary pagan culture. “Faith communities” form and shut out other groups.
Individuals, perhaps due to secularization, are converting en masse to such fundamentalist faiths as Protestant evangelicalism, Islamic Salafism, and Haredi Judaism. These religions either reconnect adherents to their culture through casual referents, like halal fast food, or "deculturate" through "purification" rituals, such as speaking in tongues, which allows believers to utter a language entirely their own.
Instead of a return to traditional religious worship, Roy argues we are witnessing the individualization of faith and the disassociation of faith communities from ethnic and national identities. The disconnect from the broader culture. He deplores holy ignorance. Religions, according to Roy, risk losing their souls when they become just another “therapeutic” instrument, or when they try programs, the internet, (or the art of l’chaim’s?) to sell themselves like a hot product. This has placed culturally integrated religions, such as Catholicism and eastern orthodox Christianity, on the defensive, and presents new challenges to state and society. Roy explores the options available to powers that hope to integrate or control these groups, and he considers whether marginalization or homogenization will further divide believers from their culture.
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[book] MALCOLM X
A Life of Reinvention
By Manning Marable (Columbia University)
April 2011, Viking
Professor Marable has spent YEAR on this book. Its publication date is/was April 4, 2011. Unfortunately, Dr. Marable, who had a double lung transplant and heart disease, died unexpectedly on April 1, days before publication and his appearance on The Today Show. This book will definitely be controversial and now Professor Marable has passed away and will not be able to defend it. The most controversial statements will be about Malcolm X's gay homosexual affair, and the accusation that police authorities wanted Malcolm X to be assassinated and did not warn of him of certain threats or protect him from them.
Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.
Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.
Manning Marable was the M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African American Studies and professor of history and public affairs at Columbia University. He was founding director of African American Studies at Columbia from 1993 to 2003. Since 2002 until his death in April 2011, he directed Columbia's Center for Contemporary Black History.
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[book] ANGELS AT THE TABLE
A Practical Guide to Celebrating Shabbat
By Yvette Alt Miller
Spring 2011, Continuum
An introduction to all aspects of a traditional Jewish Shabbat, providing both an inspirational call to observe this weekly holiday and a comprehensive resource.
Yvette Alt Miller is a full-time mother, a Sunday School teacher at various synagogues in the Chicago metropolitan area and a contributing author to the popular Jewish websites www.aish.com and www.chabad.org. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Northwestern and other universities, and was Director of Public Affairs for the Washington, DC, office of the United Jewish Communities The 15 chapters include Greeting the angels; Rules and Laws; blessings at the Shabbat dinner table; An evening of holiness: dinner and after; songs, lashon hara; torah questions for the shabbat table; recipes;blessings after the meal;shabbat afternoon; welcoming guests; and more.








[book] SACRED TRASH
The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza
By Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole
April 2011, Schocken Jewish Encounters
A story of buried scholarly treasure that rivals in drama, scope, and importance the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and sheds profound light on nine hundred years of Jewish life. One May day in 1896, at a dining room table in Cambridge, England, a meeting took place between a Romanian-born maverick Jewish intellectual and twin learned Presbyterian Scotswomen, who had assembled to inspect several pieces of rag-paper and parchment. It was the unlikely start to what would prove a remarkable, continent-hopping, century-crossing saga, one that in many ways has revolutionized our sense of what it means to lead a Jewish life. In Sacred Trash, acclaimed essayist Adina Hoffman and MacArthur-winning poet and translator Peter Cole tell the story of the recovery from a Cairo geniza (a repository for worn-out texts) of the most vital cache of Hebrew manuscripts ever discovered. Weaving together unforgettable portraits of Solomon Schechter and the other scholar-heroes of this drama with explorations of the medieval documents themselves—letters and poems, wills and marriage contracts, prescriptions, prayers, trousseau lists, bibles, money orders, children’s primers, rabbinic responsa, amulets, and receipts—Hoffman and Cole present a panoramic view of a vibrant Mediterranean Judaism. Part biography and part meditation on the supreme value the Jewish people has long placed on the written word, Sacred Trash is above all a gripping tale of adventure and redemption
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I forgot to add this book to the list
Does memory make you smart?
If you remember 1000 numerals in order, does that mean you can solve a problem?
Are Jews memory specialists, since they are always remembering events?
How many Foer brothers can you remember and memorize while eating felafel spaghetti? Franklin, Jonathan Safran, Joshua… ?
[book] Moonwalking with Einstein
The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
By Joshua Foer
April 2011, Penguin
Amazon says: “Moonwalking with Einstein follows Joshua Foer's compelling journey as a participant in the U.S. Memory Championship. As a science journalist covering the competition, Foer became captivated by the secrets of the competitors, like how the current world memory champion, Ben Pridmore, could memorize the exact order of 1,528 digits in an hour. He met with individuals whose memories are truly unique—from one man whose memory only extends back to his most recent thought, to another who can memorize complex mathematical formulas without knowing any math. Brains remember visual imagery but have a harder time with other information, like lists, and so with the help of experts, Foer learned how to transform the kinds of memories he forgot into the kind his brain remembered naturally. The techniques he mastered made it easier to remember information, and Foer's story demonstrates that the tricks of the masters are accessible to anyone.”
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[book] Our Jewish Robot Future
A Novel About the Garden of Eden and the
Cyborgian Transformation of the Human Race
by Leonard S. Borman
Scarletta
Leonard Borman has woven an instant classic with venues ranging from the Garden of Eden to the fields of modern fertility science, says Neal Karlen, author of The Story of Yiddish. Not ony has Borman written a brilliantly entertaining, smart, and mindful allegory of faith and existence, he has found that eleventh commandment most of us didn't know was missing; Thou shall not nosh thy brother. With clever bibical subtext and glossary of terms, this book is a must read for anyone curious for an alternative, humorous take on human survival and Jewish family traditions.









[book] Yaakov the Pirate Hunter
By Nathaniel Wyckoff
Ages 9-12
Los Angeles, 2025. Yaakov and Yosef Peretz discover a treasure map hidden in their family’s robot; soon, their family embarks on an adventure that takes them halfway around the world to save a valuable and revered religious artifact. In the Mojave Desert, the Peretz family unearths a mysterious treasure chest stolen from a Santa Barbara billionaire named Aharon Sapir. Yaakov and family manage to return the treasure and to outwit the pirates who stole it, but soon learn of a greater danger to the Sapir family fortune. On the Tunisian island of Djerba rests the Sapirs’ most sacred heirloom: the world’s oldest Torah scroll, an artifact worth a fortune. Another pirate is after the ancient scroll, and the Peretzes’ trusted robot dealer may be involved. Yaakov and family journey to the other side of the globe to track down a ruthless pirate and to thwart his wicked plan. To succeed, Yaakov must decide between saving his prized robot, built with his very hands, and protecting a greater good. Also see Yakov the Pirate Hunter










[book] BDS
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions
The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights
By Omar Barghouti
April 2011, Haymarket
Haymarket, that lover of Israel, published this book. Omar Barghouti applied for a visa to visit the USA for a book tour in April and was denied a visa to visit the USA as of February 22, 2011. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. He holds BS and MS degrees in engineering from Columbia University and an MA in philosophy and ethics from Tel Aviv University.
International boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts helped topple South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime. In this book, Omar Barghouti sets forth his case for a BDS campaign against Israel, which he views as an occupier, colonizer, and creator of apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. He writes that Israel violates international law and he desires a united global civil society movement for freedom, justice, self-determination, and equality for all inhabits of Earth.
Haymarket publicity director Sarah Macaraeg says Barghouti is scheduled to make stops in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, as well as at Brown, Yale, and other universities, on the first leg of the tour. Ten events are scheduled to date. His first stop is an appearance, co-sponsored with Verso and Nation Books, in New York City April 9, and his last an appearance at Busboys & Poets in Washington, DC April 15. But no visa was obtained
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[book] Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto
By Susan Goldman Rubin and Bill Farnsworth
April 2011, Holiday House
Ages 6 – 10
Starred review from Publisher Weekly
Irena Sendler was a diminutive Polish social worker who helped spirit more than four hundred children out of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Using toolboxes, ambulances, and other ingenious measures, Irena Sendler defied the Nazis and risked her own life by saving and then hiding Jewish children. Her secret list of the children s real identities was kept safe, buried in two jars under a tree in war-torn Warsaw. An inspiring story of courage and compassion, this biography includes a list of resources, source notes, and an index.
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[book] Subject to Change
Renee Rodin
Talon Books
Composed of stories that sketch the resonant heights and depths of an auto- biography, Subject to Change is a series of portraits along the road of a life well lived. Each story is an articulate, intelligent, passionate record of how an encounter with a significant “other,” be it a parent, a lover, a neighbour, a child, a grandchild, a politician or a friend, has changed and shaped the humanity, character and community—the “subject”—of the writer.
These are masterfully crafted stories: attentive to detail; conscious of the fact that our eccentricities often mask precisely what is authentic in our lives; and aware that a finely honed empathy is as likely to cause exhilaration as to cause pain. It is precisely this uncompromising empathy of Rodin’s voice that lends a sense of profound drama to the lives of the “ordinary characters” she reveals in these stories—a voice that knows how to take a measure of those characters on their own terms, to let them speak for themselves and to report on what both shakes us to the core and transports us to a place where we seem larger than ourselves.
Renee Rodin has said that: “Throughout my life I’ve had the privilege of peace and have never seen, unless in the media, the ravages of war, what people have had to live with, or die because of.” Subject to Change reminds us that the most vital moments of recognition in our lives come from those with whom we share our hopes and dreams.
It is Rodin’s masterful ability to show the reader that things we usually think of as too ordinary to talk about or too extraordinary to be able to communicate to others are often the most formative elements of our social lives that make this book such a great read.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








This is about Modigliani the artist, not the Economist
[book] MODIGLIANI
A LIFE
By Meryl Secrest
March 2011, Knopf
From Publishers Weekly: Secrest, respected biographer of art world personalities (Being Bernard Berenson), musicians such as Leonard Bernstein, and others, sets out in this volume to resurrect the reputation of the modernist painter Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920). Long the stuff of myth and sensationalism, Modigliani's life was fictionalized in book and film while his lifelong battle with tuberculosis was ignored and his art marginalized. Up until recently the literature has portrayed Modigliani as a ranting, drunken, stoned womanizer—"the archetypal accursed artist," as Secrest puts it. Rather, she says, he suffered throughout his life from various illnesses that he attempted to conceal. But the misperception contributed to Modigliani's status as a minor artist. The "separation of truth from fiction" is the author's cause. In her revisionist account, Secrest delves into numerous primary sources to weave together a comprehensive and well-rounded biography of the artist and to bring to life bohemian society in early 20th-century Paris. Additionally, the author surveys the history of Modigliani scholarship, the ongoing problem of forgeries of the artist's work, and the "chaotic field" of authentication. The result is an enjoyable read for all, and a most welcome contribution to Modigliani scholarship
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] MY PARENTS WERE AWESOME
BEFORE FANNY PACKS, AND MINIVANS
THEY WERE PEOPLE, TOO
Edited by Eliot Glazer
April 2011, Villard
They bathed you. They fed you. They raised you to become the person you are today. Your parents are an integral part of your story. But guess what? They have a story too—one that started long before you entered the picture. Before embarrassing fanny packs and Lite FM, there was a time when Mom and Dad were young and carefree—just like you. They were also fun and flirty, full of hope and desire and effortlessly cool.
Based on the wildly popular website, My Parents Were Awesome shares heartwarming and hilarious essays by sons and daughters—including Jamie Deen, Christian Lander, Dave Itzkoff, Katherine Center, Laurie Notaro, and Holly Peterson—who’ tell tales of their folks before babies, mortgages, and receding hairlines: the mom and dad who traveled by VW bus to see Led Zeppelin for $1, the grandmother whose halter top and shorts belied her perfect demeanor, the father whose wanderlust passed down to his equally nomadic daughter. Accompanied by treasured vintage photographs, these stories will make you laugh, melt your heart, and spark your own reflections of Mom and Dad.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] IT'S TOT SHABBAT
BY NAOMI DAVID
PHOTOS BY TOD COHEN
Spring 2011, KAR BEN
An addition to the It's Time series
For Ages 1 – 4 m the preschooler learns about habbat activities
While the adults pray, the kids play. The kids read about Noah's Ark (they pretend to be animals), they build a Tower of Babel, they enjoy a snack, and near the end, the kids get to join the adults in the sanctuary











[book] AROUND THE WORLD IN ONE SHABBAT
JEWISH PEOPLE CELEBRATE THE SABBATH TOGETHER
By DURGA YAEL BERNHARD
Spring 2011, Jewish Lights
Ages 4 – 8
“In a world that is often in a hurry, Durga Yael Bernhard gives us a glimpse of a world that has learned to stop, to catch its breath and celebrate Shabbat. Beautiful illustrations invite the reader to travel around the globe, to sit with their brothers and sisters and taste the magic spice of Sabbath rest.” —Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, author, God’s Paintbrush and In God’s Name “A beautiful introduction to the commonality and diversity of the Jewish people. The different stories add up to one very special Shabbat.” —Emily Sper,
“By the time we have circumnavigated the world with Bernhard, not only have we learned about the rich depth and variety of Sabbath observance, we understand also about the ubiquity of Jews and the love that continues to nurture and hold them together.” —Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
“A delightful journey to Jewish homes around the world as they celebrate Shabbat with joy and meaning. Beautiful illustrations teach the diversity of the Jewish people as they gather for the holiday. You and your children will love this book! Highly recommended.” —Dr. Ron Wolfson
Beginning in an old Jerusalem market Friday morning, shopping for foods to make Shabbat meals special; Lighting Shabbat candles with a family in Turkey; Singing zemirot with relatives at Shabbat dinner in Russia; Making Kiddush as a congregation in the United States; Parading the Torah scrolls at Shabbat morning services in a synagogue in Germany.... From Israel to Thailand, from Australia to Canada, and from Ethiopia to Argentina, you and your children are invited to share the diverse Sabbath traditions that come alive in Jewish homes and synagogues around the world each week--and celebrate life with Jewish people everywhere.











[book] No Biking in the House Without a Helmet
By Melissa Fay Greene
April 2011, FSG
From the author of “The Temple Bombing” and “There is no Me Without You.”
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. With four children of their own, Atlanta journalist Greene (There Is No Me Without You) and her husband, a criminal defense attorney, gradually adopted five more—one from Bulgaria and four from Ethiopia—to create a roiling, largehearted family unit. In her whimsical, hilarious account, she pokes fun at her own initial cluelessness regarding the adoption process, which the couple began after Greene suffered a miscarriage in her mid-40s; they procured an "adoption doctor" to advise them on the risks of adopting institutionalized babies from Russian and Bulgarian orphanages (e.g., the baby's head measurements and appearance in videos might indicate developmental problems). After several trips to a rural Bulgarian orphanage, they brought home a four-year-old Roma boy they renamed Jesse; Greene writes frankly about her own moments of "post-adoption panic" and doubts about attachment. Subsequently, as her older children headed out to college, new ones arrived: the humanitarian HIV/AIDS crisis in Ethiopia resolved the couple to adopt healthy, five-year-old Helen, orphaned when her family was decimated by the disease; then nine-year-old Fisseha, and two brothers, Daniel and Yosef, whom Greene's older biological son Lee befriended while working at another Ethiopian orphanage. The family often felt like a "group home," as Greene depicts engagingly, yet despite periods of tension and strife, such as the discovery of living parents and sibling rivalry, Greene captures the family's triumphant shared delight in one another's differences.











[book] THE DRUGGIST OF AUSCHWITZ
A DOCUMENTARY NOVEL
BY DIETER SCHLESAK
Translated from German by John Hargraves
April 2011, FS&G
For those who don’t mind novels of the Holocaust:
A unique and haunting novel about the Holocaust and the nature of evil
In Dieter Schlesak’s novel The Druggist of Auschwitz, Adam—known as “the Last Jew of Schässburg”—recounts with disturbing clarity his imprisonment at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. Through Adam’s testimony at the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial of 1963–65, we come to learn of the true-life story of Dr. Victor Capesius, who, despite strong friendships with Jews before the war, quickly aided in and profited from their tragedy once the Nazis came to power. Interspersed with historical research and actual face-to-face interviews with survivors, the novel follows Capesius from his assignment as the “sorter” of new arrivals at Auschwitz—deciding who will go directly to the gas chamber and who will be used as labor—through his life of lavish wealth after the war to his arrest and eventual trial.
The Druggist of Auschwitz—beautifully translated from the German by John Hargraves—is a frighteningly vivid portrayal of the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of criminal and victim alike. Schlesak’s use of factual data and testimony—woven into Adam’s dreamlike remembrance of a world turned upside down—makes The Druggist of Auschwitz an essential addition to our understanding of the Holocaust.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] Levant
Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean
By Dr. Philip Mansel
April 2011, Yale University Press
Levant is a book of cities. It describes three former centers of great wealth, pleasure, and freedom—Smyrna, Alexandria, and Beirut—cities of the Levant region along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. In these key ports at the crossroads of East and West, against all expectations, cosmopolitanism and nationalism flourished simultaneously. People freely switched identities and languages, released from the prisons of religion and nationality. Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived and worshipped as neighbors. Distinguished historian Philip Mansel is the first to recount the colorful, contradictory histories of Smyrna, Alexandria, and Beirut in the modern age. He begins in the early days of the French alliance with the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century and continues through the cities' mid-twentieth-century fates: Smyrna burned; Alexandria Egyptianized; Beirut lacerated by civil war. Mansel looks back to discern what these remarkable Levantine cities were like, how they differed from other cities, why they shone forth as cultural beacons. He also embarks on a quest: to discover whether, as often claimed, these cities were truly cosmopolitan, possessing the elixir of coexistence between Muslims, Christians, and Jews for which the world yearns. Or, below the glittering surface, were they volcanoes waiting to erupt, as the catastrophes of the twentieth century suggest? In the pages of the past, Mansel finds important messages for the fractured world of today.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Nice Girls Just Don't Get It
99 Ways to Win the Respect You Deserve,
the Success You've Earned, and the Life You Want
By Lois P. Frankel and Carol Frohlinger
April 2011, Crown
Offering the same brand of practical, no-holds-barred, expert advice that made Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office an international million-copy bestseller, Nice Girls Just Don't Get It teaches us the skills we need to turn from a nice girl into a winning woman, not just in our careers but in our relationships, families, and everyday lives. Have you ever felt invisible? Taken advantage of? Reluctant (or unable) to articulate what you really want? If so, join the club. The nice girls club. Nice girls—that's right, girls—are those more concerned with pleasing others than with addressing their own needs and haven't yet learned how to overcome the childhood messages cultural stereotypes keeping them from getting their voices heard, their needs met, and the lives they want.
This book will turn those nice girls into winning women. That is, women who factor their own needs in with those of others, confront those who treat them disrespectfully, maintain healthy and mutually beneficial relationships with appropriate boundaries— and as a result, are happier and more successful in every area of their life.
In 2004, Lois Frankel blew the lid off so many of our long-held ideas about gender and success with her bestselling Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, which went on to become such a huge phenomenon, the term "nice girls" has secured a place in our cultural lexicon. Here, Frankel teams up with negotiation expert Carol Frohlinger to bring this bestselling advice out of the workplace and provide a broader set of skills that any woman—whether a CEO or stay-at-home mom—can use to win anywhere, with anyone.
By the time you've finished reading this book, you'll be able to:
Get your husband to do his half of the household chores—without being made to feel like a nag, even if you are an Iranian Jewish female professional
Stop overextending yourself by taking on all the unpleasant tasks no one on your volunteer board, even if it is a UJA campaign, or your team at work will go near.
Win an argument with your mother in law about who will be hosting a holiday dinner or upcoming seder (or Xmas dinner).
Have the courage to send back a meal that isn’t prepared the way you’d ordered it.
And so much more.











[book] my father's daughter
a cookbook
by gwyneth paltrow
foreword by mario batali
April 2011, grand central
from the award winning actress, cook, and future magazine editor; paltrow is a descendant of a long line of Lithuanian rabbis
As an actress, author, trendsetter, creator of goop.com, and host of the popular PBS series, Spain: On the Road Again, Gwyneth Paltrow is an icon of style and good taste around the world. She is the daughter of the late Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner
From Publishers Weekly: Award-winning actress and mother of two, Paltrow pays posthumous tribute to her much-adored father who passed along to her a deep love and appreciation for good food. From an early age, she was his eager eating companion and developed a diverse palate that relished everything from egg creams to oysters to blue cheese. Their dining ventures morphed into joint cooking get-togethers where dad instilled the notion that a meal made for one's family is an expression of love. This is evident in the simple and mostly healthy recipes she shares, as prepared for family and friends, in this warm and inviting collection. Paltrow showcases a wealth of dishes, from soups to pastas to main courses and more. Highlights include fried rice with kale and scallions, sole à la grenobloise, and her mother's blueberry muffins. A helpful pantry section includes recipes for basics such as slow-roasted tomatoes and numerous types of stocks. While many recipes are vegetarian, Paltrow does include meat dishes, including cheesy stuffed burgers and cassoulet. Her chapter on side dishes is superb and appealing enough to take center stage, especially her sautéed greens with onions and soy sauce, maple-Dijon roasted winter vegetables, and crispy potato and garlic cakes. Filled with charming personal anecdotes, this book convinces that healthy food can be delicious as well as good for you—and that a father's passion can endure.
She balances healthy food with homemade treats. And, for the first time, Paltrow offers a glimpse into her life as daughter, mother and wife, sharing her thoughts on the importance of family and togetherness. Contains 150 ideas for breakfast, sandwiches and burgers, soups, salads, main dishes, sides, and desserts

An excerpt: “I always feel closest to my father, who was the love of my life until his death in 2002, when I am n the kitchen, I can still hear him over the shoulder, heckling me, telling me to be careful with my knife, moaning with pleasure over a bite of something in only the way a Jew from Long Island can, his shoulders doing most of the talking...”








[book] The Synagogue in America
A Short History
By Marc Raphael, College of Wm and Mary
April 2011, NYU Press
In 1789, when George Washington was elected the first president of the United States, laymen from all six Jewish congregations in the new nation sent him congratulatory letters. He replied to all six. Thus, after more than a century of Jewish life in colonial America the small communities of Jews present at the birth of the nation proudly announced their religious institutions to the country and were recognized by its new leader. By this time, the synagogue had become the most significant institution of American Jewish life, a dominance that was not challenged until the twentieth century, when other institutions such as Jewish community centers or Jewish philanthropic organizations claimed to be the hearts of their Jewish communities.
Concise yet comprehensive, The Synagogue in America is the first history of this all-important structure, illuminating its changing role within the American Jewish community over the course of three centuries. From Atlanta and Des Moines to Los Angeles and New Orleans, Marc Lee Raphael moves beyond the New York metropolitan area to examine Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, and Reconstuctionist synagogue life everywhere. Using the records of approximately 125 Jewish congregations, he traces the emergence of the synagogue in the United States from its first instances in the colonial period, when each of the half dozen initial Jewish communities had just one synagogue each, to its proliferation as the nation and the American Jewish community grew and diversified.
Encompassing architecture, forms of worship, rabbinic life, fundraising, creative liturgies, and feminism, The Synagogue in America is the go-to history for understanding the synagogue's significance in American Jewish life.









[book] TRIESTE
A novel
By Dasa Drndic. Translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac
April 2011, MacLehose
Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, north-eastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after 62 years with her son, fathered by an S.S. officer and stolen from her by the German authorities during the War as part of Himmler's clandestine 'Lebensborn' project, which strove for a 'racially pure' Germany.
Haya's reflection on her Catholicized Jewish family's experiences deals unsparingly with the massacre of Italian Jews in the concentration camps of Trieste. Her obsessive search for her son leads her to photographs, maps and fragments of verse, to testimonies from the Nuremberg trials and interviews with second-generation Jews, as well as witness accounts of atrocities that took place on her doorstep. A broad collage of material is assembled, and the lesser-known horror of Nazi occupation in northern Italy is gradually unveiled. Written in immensely powerful language, and employing a range of astonishing conceptual devices, Trieste is a novel like no other. Dasa Drndic has produced a shattering contribution to the literature of our twentieth-century history.
Dasa Drndic is a distinguished Croatian novelist and playwright. She also translates and teaches at the Faculty of Philosophy in Rijeka.










[book] THE GOD WHO HATES LIES
CONFRONTING AND RETHINKING JEWISH TRADITION
By Rabbi Dr. David Hartman with Charlie Buckholtz
April 2011, Jewish Lights
What is the weight of tradition when it conflicts with your own deep moral sense? The world’s leading Modern Orthodox Jewish theologian probes the deepest questions at the heart of what it means to be a human being and a Jew. This is a deeply personal look, by one of the founders of Shalom Hartman Institute, at the struggle between commitment to Jewish religious tradition and personal morality. Renowned Jewish philosopher Dr. David Hartman, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, draws on a lifetime of learning, teaching and experience to present an intellectual framework for examining covenantal theology as it is applied to religious life. Tracking his own intellectual and spiritual development as an Orthodox Jew and spiritual thinker, he probes some of the most profound questions of inner religious conflict:
How does a person justify commitment to Jewish law when it conflicts with a person’s deep moral sense?
Does personal intuition have a place in Jewish tradition?
Is making choices that favor moral convictions equivalent to stepping out of the tradition?
What is lost personally, communally and religiously when a person squelches his or her ethical impulse in adherence to religious tradition?
As much an expression of his impassioned commitment to Jewish law as it is testament to a lifetime of intellectual questioning and courage, this bold examination of the halakhic system offers fresh insights into Judaism and the quest for spiritual nourishment. translates and teaches at the Faculty of Philosophy in Rijeka.










[book] Sage Tales
Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud
Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky
Spring 2011, Jewish Lights
The classic tales of the Jewish sages in the Talmud defined Judaism then and help us find our way even today. In this highly accessible collection of funny, wise and poignant narratives, master teacher Burt Visotzky leads the reader through stories of the Rabbis who lived in the first generations following the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE. Opening up these sage tales to the modern reader, Visotzky illustrates how these ancient stories illuminate modern life's most pressing issues:
What is the good way to choose in life?
How a family copes with death
How a people copes with tragedy (the destruction of Jerusalem, but think 9/11)
How we experience God
How we find joy
For people of all faiths and all backgrounds, this book guides readers through the accumulated wisdom of a millennium of wise narrative. Organized in 22 engaging chapters--one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet-- the book also includes a detailed glossary, a guide to the rabbis and other characters in the stories, the complete texts, the original sources, and suggestions for further reading.










[book] OUR WAY To FIGHT
Peace-Work Under Siege in Israel-Palestine
By Michael Riordan
Spring 2011, Lawrence Hill Press
Canadian Riordan writes portraits of peace activists. Draft refuseniks in Israel. Palestinian who protest the security/separation wall. Arab citizens of Israel who are involved in peace related activities. Traveling to olive groves, villages, refugee camps, checkpoints, and barracks, Michael Riordon talks with people on both sides of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict who fight are known as creative resisters. The author uncovers the crises that stirred them to act, the risks they face in working for peace, and the small victories that sustain them. These stories of Israelis who refuse to see Palestinians as enemies and Palestinians who practice nonviolent resistance (but note that they do not see Israelis as their non-enemies) break many stereotypes. In the face of deepening conflict, this portrait of grassroots action provides hope for a better future.









[book] Make, Take, Murder
A Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery
By Joanna Campbell Slan
Spring 2011, Midnight Ink
Dumpster diving for her lost paycheck is definitely the low point of Kiki Lowenstein's day—that is, until she finds a severed leg thrown in with the trash. Who'd toss a body part in the garbage outside the scrapbook crafts store where Kiki works? Accompanying the grisly "gift" is a creepy computerized voice message, a warning to the store's "rich and snotty" female shoppers. Kiki soon discovers that the leg belonged to Cindy Gambrowski, a customer with a tyrannical and violent husband—who's now harassing Kiki. Combing through Cindy's scrapbook projects for hidden clues, Kiki tries to find the killer. Was it a crime of marital malice, or did someone else beat Cindy's husband to the punch? Includes holiday-themed projects and recipes for xmas an Hanukkah (Kiki juggles both holidays)








[book] The God Upgrade
Finding Your 21st-Century Spirituality in
Judaism's 5,000-Year-Old Tradition
By Rabbi Jamie Korngold (The Adventure Rabbi)
Spring 2011, Jewish Lights
The biggest stumbling block when it comes to religion is God, even for an ordained rabbi who admits her rational mind "just can't buy into a God in the sky who writes down our deeds and rewards and punishes us accordingly." But not being sold on an intervening God shouldn't bar you from living a vibrant and fulfilling Jewish life. The God concept has seen many upgrades over the centuries and it is these reinterpretations that have kept Judaism relevant.
In this provocative look at the many faces of God, Adventure Rabbi Jamie Korngold examines how our concept of God has changed over the centuries, and how these changes have shaped every aspect of Judaism. She shows that by upgrading our God concept to one that is aligned with our modern sensibilities, the result is a Judaism that is both meaningful and accessible.
In an exploration energized with enthusiasm and humor, Rabbi Korngold looks at God concepts ranging from the earliest perspectives to some of the most influential modern theologies. Ultimately she introduces a concept of God that speaks to the issues of the twenty-first century:
God 1.0 When the World Was Flat, God Had It Easy
God 1.1 Therapist with Super Powers
God 1.2 God Goes into Farming
God 1.3 Discovery of the Afterlife
God 1.4 The Tradition of Questioning God: Job
God 1.5 Maimonides' Moderation between Reason and Intuition
God 1. 6 Spinoza's Spin on God
God 1.7-1.9 Rabbis Buber, Heschel, Kushner and Schulweis
God 2.0 The Upgrade











[book] The Bridge to Forgiveness
Stories and Prayers for Finding God and Restoring Wholeness
By Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar
Spring 2011, Jewish Lights
orgiveness is a spiritual path that you embark on with intention and vision, purposefully seeking to bridge the gap between your hurt and suffering and your sense of wholeness and resilient inner light--the light of God. This inspiring guide for healing and wholeness supplies you with a map to help you along your forgiveness journey. Deeply personal stories, comforting prayers and intimate meditations gently lead you through the steps that allow for the evolution of forgiving--loss, anger, acceptance, learning, forgiveness and restoration. Tapping both ancient and contemporary sources for the nourishment and strength needed as you seek to rekindle inner peace, this book tenderly whispers encouragement as you are brought to--and realize you are able to cross--your own bridge to forgiveness.












NOT A JEWISH BOOK… but since her father wrote SOPHIE’S CHOICE, many reader may be interested in this memoir.
[book] READING MY FATHER
A MEMOIR
BY ALEXANDRA STYRON
April 2011, Scribner
The youngest daughter of the late novelist William Styron fashions a conflicted, guarded, ultimately reverential portrait of a deeply troubled artist. Dogged all his life by depression—which was not diagnosed properly until the devastating 1985 episode that later prompted Darkness Visible—the Virginia-born Styron was a difficult man to live with. Novelist Alexandra Styron (All the Finest Girls) delved into her father's papers at Duke University, his alma mater, to uncover the life and work of a man she never knew growing up in their Roxbury, Conn., home, along with her mother, Rose, and three older siblings. Styron was an only child whose mother died of cancer when he was 13, a Marine in World War II who never saw combat, and an abysmal student; though he was also a charming ladies' man and published his first novel, Lie Down in Darkness, in 1952 at the age of 26, to great critical acclaim. The author was born just before her father finished his third novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner, in 1967, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; the anticipation of his next work—"like a constant drumbeat under everything we did"—gripped her childhood, until Sophie's Choice was published in 1979. In this intimate portrait, William Styron emerges through his daughter's eyes as a towering talent who proves all too human.











[book] ONE HUNDRED NAMES FOR LOVE
A MEMOIR
BY DIANE ACKERMAN
April 2011, Norton
From Booklist: *Starred Review* Two wordsmiths enthralled by the glimmering pleasures of the life of the mind have lived together in literary camaraderie for decades. So when novelist, memoirist, and critic Paul West was hit with a stroke in 2005 that left his brain scorched and his body battered, both he and his wife, Diane Ackerman, a poet and the lushly original author of such seismic books as The Zookeeper’s Wife (2007), had a lot to lose. But West never succumbed to his impaired vision, frozen right hand, or, most remarkably, bewildering and silencing global aphasia; and Ackerman, who by fortuitous prescience had conducted extensive neurological research for her book An Alchemy of Mind (2004), proved to be an ideal caregiver. Writing with her signature empathy, curiosity, brilliance, and mirth, Ackerman chronicles West’s heroic battle to reclaim words and mobility and her tailoring of West’s speech therapy to match his spectacular vocabulary and unique intelligence. A master of vivid metaphors and multifaceted narratives, Ackerman candidly addresses the profound demands facing caregivers while explaining the cruel consequences of aphasia, charting West’s against-all-odds return to conversing and writing (The Shadow Factory, 2008) and marveling over the healing powers of language and intimacy. A gorgeously engrossing, affecting, sweetly funny, and mind-opening love story of crisis, determination, creativity, and repair.










[book] Holy Beggars
A Journey from Haight Street to Jerusalem
By Aryae Coopersmith
With Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
April 2011, One World Lights
The 1960s San Francisco spiritual revolution – a view from inside. A memoir about a spiritual teacher and a student in 1960s San Francisco, a colorful cast – including Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Allen Ginsburg, Murshid Samuel Lewis ("Sufi Sam"), Swami Satchidananda, Ajari Warwick, Rabbi Zalman Shalomi Schachter, and many more – and lives that were changed forever. Aryae Coopersmith, a 22-year old college student in 1960s San Francisco, meets the charismatic rabbi and folk singer Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and decides to start a community for him. He rents a house and moves in with his best friends. Before long they find themselves – and their house – at the center of the San Francisco spiritual revolution as thousands of young people – Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Sufis, and followers of countless gurus – flood in through their doors.
Giving concerts to packed halls all over the world, Shlomo is recognized as Judaism’s most influential musician, and one of its greatest spiritual leaders, of the late 20th century. Their house – the House of Love and Prayer – becomes an historic part of the legend of 1960s San Francisco.
Aryae and his fellow students who are running other spiritual communities bring their teachers and gurus together to create a big San Francisco event – the Meeting of the Ways – to celebrate the oneness of the world's spiritual traditions and all the world's people.
Aryae's best friends Efraim and Leah leave San Francisco and head to Jerusalem, where they become ultra-Orthodox Hasidim. Many others from the "House" follow. Aryae stays behind and settles into a secular life as a Silicon Valley business owner. After Shlomo dies, Aryae feels compelled to tell the story. To try to understand the lives of his old friends and pull together the scattered fragments of his own, he travels to Jerusalem.
This profoundly moving memoir tells a story of grace, loss, redemption, and ultimately of acceptance. It invites us to reflect on how the 1960s spiritual revolution – with its vision of the oneness of us all – has impacted each of our lives.









[book] MONEY AND POWER
How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World
By William D. Cohan
May 2011, Doubleday
From the bestselling, prize-winning author of THE LAST TYCOONS and HOUSE OF CARDS, a revelatory history of Goldman Sachs, the most dominant, feared, and controversial investment bank in the world
For much of its storied 142-year history, Goldman Sachs has projected an image of being better than its competitors--smarter, more collegial, more ethical, and far more profitable. The firm--buttressed by the most aggressive and sophisticated p.r. machine in the financial industry--often boasts of "The Goldman Way," a business model predicated on hiring the most talented people, indoctrinating them in a corporate culture where partners stifle their egos for the greater good, and honoring the "14 Principles," the first of which is "Our clients' interests always come first."
But there is another way of viewing Goldman--a secretive money-making machine that has straddled the line between conflict-of-interest and legitimate deal-making for decades; a firm that has exerted undue influence over government since the early part of the 20th century; a company composed of "cyborgs" who are kept in line by an internal "reputational risk department" staffed by former CIA operatives and private investigators; a workplace rife with brutal power struggles; a Wall Street titan whose clever bet against the mortgage market in 2007--a bet not revealed to its clients--may have made the financial ruin of the Great Recession worse.
As William D. Cohan shows in his riveting chronicle of Goldman's rise to the summit of world capitalism, the firm has shown a remarkable ability to weather financial crises, congressional, federal and SEC investigations, and numerous lawsuits, all with its reputation and its enormous profits intact. By reading thousands of pages of government documents, court cases, SEC filings, Freedom of Information Act papers and other sources, and conducting over 100 interviews, including interviews with clients, competitors, regulators, current and former Goldman employees (including the six living men who have run Goldman), Cohan has constructed a vivid narrative that looks behind the veil of secrecy to reveal how Goldman has become so profitable, and so powerful. Part of the answer is the firm's assiduous cultivation of people in power--dating back to 1913, when Henry Goldman advised the government on how the new Federal Reserve, designed to oversee Wall Street, should be constituted. Sidney Weinberg, who ran the firm for four decades, advised presidents from Roosevelt to Kennedy and was nicknamed "The Politician" for his behind-the-scenes friendships with government officials. Goldman executives ran fundraising efforts for Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush. The firm showered lucrative consulting or speaking fees on figures like Henry Kissinger and Lawrence Summers. Famously, and fatefully, two Goldman leaders-- Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson--became Secretaries of the Treasury, where their actions both before and during the financial crisis of 2008 became the stuff of controversy and conspiracy theories.
Another major strand in the firm's DNA is its eagerness to deal on both sides of a transaction, eliding questions of conflict of interest by the mere assertion of their innate honesty and nobility, a refrain repeated many times in its history, most notoriously by current Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein's jesting assertion that he was doing "God's work." In MONEY & POWER, Cohan has marshaled all these gifts in a powerful and definitive account of an institution whose public claims of virtue look very much like ruthlessness when exposed to the light of day.










[book] The House on Crash Corner
By Mindy Greenstein
April 2011
THE HOUSE ON CRASH CORNER and Other Unavoidable Calamities is about the sad, hilarious and meaningful ways we deal with the crises in our lives. You can't spell joy without the oy. True stories range from growing up in Brooklyn as the Yiddish speaking daughter of Holocaust survivors, to my work with cancer patients, to life as a mom of two young boys, to becoming a cancer patient myself.















[book] THE END OF THE HOLOCAUST
BY ALVIN ROSENFELD
May 2011, Indiana University Press
In this provocative work, Alvin H. Rosenfeld contends that the proliferation of books, films, television programs, museums, and public commemorations related to the Holocaust has, perversely, brought about a diminution of its meaning and a denigration of its memory. Investigating a wide range of events and cultural phenomena, such as Ronald Reagan's 1985 visit to the German cemetery at Bitburg, the distortions of Anne Frank's story, and the ways in which the Holocaust has been depicted by such artists and filmmakers as Judy Chicago and Steven Spielberg, Rosenfeld charts the cultural forces that have minimized the Holocaust in popular perceptions. He contrasts these with sobering representations by Holocaust witnesses such as Jean Améry, Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, and Imre Kertész. The book concludes with a powerful warning about the possible consequences of "the end of the Holocaust" in public consciousness.
Alvin H. Rosenfeld holds the Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies and is Professor of English at Indiana University Bloomington.










[book] FARM 54
By GALIT SELIKTAR AND GILAD SELIKTAR
May 2011
Brother and sister team write this graphic novel illustrated story
Farm 54 is a collection of three semi-autobiographical stories addressing three important periods in the life of the protagonist, Noga, born at the start of the 1970's and growing up in Israel's rural periphery. Substitute Lifeguard (1981) finds her towards the end of her childhood as she experiences a family trauma, a blessing and a birthday. Spanish Perfume (1983) brings her to teenage in the wake of the First Lebanon War whilst Houses (1989) portrays her passage to adulthood and hence military service in the occupied territories.These stories present the disturbing underground dimensions of adolescence and the dangers and traumas that subvert the superficial tranquillity of youth in the countryside. While these Israeli childhood stories take place in the shadow of war and occupation, they eventually also reflect universal feelings, passions and experiences. Galit was born in Israel in 1970 and has published poetry, stories and comics in many prominent cultural magazines in Israel, Europe and US. She is the author of Farm 54 and sister to Gilad who was born in '77









[book] THE ABLEST NAVIGATOR
Lieutenant Paul N. Shulman, USN, Israel's Volunteer Admiral
By J. Wandres
Naval Institute Press
This action-packed biography focuses on a 1944 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who was one of only fifty Jewish midshipmen commissioned in his class during World War II. In the Pacific, Lt. Shulman's destroyer survived both a typhoon and a Japanese kamikaze aircraft attack. After leaving the U.S. Navy and returning to civilian life, he volunteered to help the Haganah, the paramilitary force of the Jewish Agency for Palestine headed by David Ben-Gurion. Shulman had been introduced to Ben-Gurion by his mother, who was an executive with Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. Working in New York City, he helped to buy surplus warships for the Haganah's "clandestine" sealift that brought Holocaust survivors from Europe to Palestine.
In early 1948 Ben-Gurion called the 25-year-old Shulman to Israel to set up an academy to train officers and NCOs to man ships of Israel's fledgling navy, which at that point only had the refugee vessels. Beginning with almost no assets, within three months, now-Kvarnit (Commander) Shulman took the Israeli squadron into action against enemy ships, and even against one vessel fighting with Israeli forces. After Israel won its independence most of the 1,200 American and Canadian volunteers went home. Shulman, with his wife and infant son, remained in Israel, settling in Haifa, which would be their home for the next forty years. After Shulman died in 1994, a stained glass window was dedicated in his memory at the U.S. Naval Academy's new Uriah P. Levy Chapel.
Wandres' book fully documents Shulman's role in helping to launch the navy of new Israeli nation. Based on interviews and correspondence with former U.S. Navy shipmates and Machal volunteers, Israeli and American archives, and declassified secret U.S. Department of State documents, The Ablest Navigator provides a unique window into Israel's history and on one of the key Americans who helped to establish and protect the new nation.
The author, J. Wandres is a retired U.S. Navy public affairs specialist. A resident of Aberdeen, NJ, he is a great resource for book events.









[book] FLOTILLA 13
Israeli Naval Commandos in the Red Sea, 1967-1973
By Rear Admiral Ze'ev Almog, Israeli Navy
Naval Institute Press
Flotilla 13 is the elite naval commando unit of the Israeli Defense Forces that specializes in maritime-related combat and counter-terrorist missions. To maintain secrecy, few of its missions have, until now, been made public. With this book, the unit s commander, Rear Adm. Ze ev Almog, unveils the amazing story of Flotilla 13. For the first time he offers details of many of the unit s operations during the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War (1968 1973), including the raids on the Adabiya coastal post and the Green Island fortress that resulted in heavy casualties to the enemy and a strategic change in Israel s combat arena. He candidly discusses his unit s despair following failed operations prior to this period and describes how Flotilla 13 was transformed into a unit of high morale and performance. First published in Hebrew in 2007, this revealing account of what went on is now available in English.
Rear Adm. Ze ev Almog, born in Tel Aviv, served in the Israeli navy for 33 years, participating in five wars and hundreds of combat operations and rising through the ranks to become commander in chief of the Israeli navy in 1979. He is now retired. Among his many awards is the Legion of Merit, presented in 1981 by U.S. Secretary of Defense.









[book] The Jews' Secret Fleet
The Untold Story of North American Volunteers who Smashed the British Blockade
Murray S. Greenfield and Joseph M. Hochstein
Gefen
The Jews' Secret Fleet includes an introduction by Sir Martin Gilbert. The Jews' Secret Fleet covers the participation of 240 volunteers from North America in Israel’s foundation. These men sailed from the USA to Palestine on ten ships, bringing some 35,000 survivors of the Holocaust to pre-State Israel. The book describes their journey, and names the volunteers. The Jews' Secret Fleet documents in words and pictures the story so dramatically told in Leon Uris's 'The Exodus.' It tells the real story of the actual people some of whom were represented by Uris's fictionalized characters. The Jews' Secret Fleet includes a wealth of information about this dramatic chapter in the history of the Jewish people and of modern Israel, including the names and aliases of the ships involved. Chapter include ones on The Blockade-Runners; 'Illegal Immigration': An Overview; Creating the Fleet in America; Josiah Wedgewood (Beauharnois); Haganah (Norsyd/Baboa) and the Biryah (Akbel II); Haim Arlosofoff (Ulua); Ben Hecht (Abril); Hatikvah (Tradewinds); Exodus (President Warfield); Geula (Paducah) and the Jewish State (Northland); Atzmaut and Kibbutz Galuyot (Pan Cresent and Pan York); and What the British Knew (and Didn't Know)









[book] Creating Space Between Peshat & Derash
A Collection of Studies on Tanakh
By Hayyim Angel
April 2011, Ktav
If you work through these studies, you will see not only his conclusions, but also how he reaches them. That is the difference between interpretation, even brilliant interpretation, and genuine analysis. The former may be valuable in itself and excite your admiration; the latter helps you to think and study on your own. It is the quality of his analysis and the transparency of his exposition that has made Hayyim Angel a remarkably popular and influential teacher at Yeshiva College for over a decade. --Rabbi Shalom Carmy, Chair of Bible and Jewish Philosophy, Yeshiva College and Editor of Tradition (from his foreword to Hayyim Angel s Revealed Texts, Hidden Meanings)
Rabbi Drazin writes: “This very informative, easy to read book contains twenty essays that introduce readers to the truth about quite a few biblical matters, as well as many facts about Jewish history and famous Bible commentators. Rabbi Hayyim Angel, the author, is a Bible professor at Yeshiva University, the rabbi of the prestigious New York Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, and the author of three books and over seventy very good articles. He has the ability to raise interesting questions and answer them with fascinating, informative, and thought-provoking information. The word “peshat” in his title means the plain meaning of the biblical text, while “derash” denotes the various sermonic meanings that rabbis derived from the text, frequently to teach moral lessons or highlight rabbinic laws, even if they are not the plain sense of the text. The essays address peshat and derash, along with other subjects.”








[book] RIGHTeous IndigNATION
Excuse Me While I Save the World!
By Andrew Breitbart
April 2011, Grand Central Publishing
Andrew Breitbart is a right wing pundit. He went to prep schools. He grew up as a liberal surrounded by Jewish liberals in West LA. He went to school in the South, and got a job as a waiter after graduation from Tulane. It was his first job. It started him on his way to the right wing. A friend who went to Harvard called him. He said, “the internet.” Breitbart was looking for a religious conversion, and an epiphany. He yearned for something at his Bar Mitzvah but it left him empty. He hid his ADD and was not prescribed drugs for it until he was an adult. Then he met Matt Drudge.
Breitbart is known for network of conservative websites that draws millions of readers everyday, Andrew Breitbart has one main goal: to make sure the "liberally biased" major news outlets in this country cover all aspects of a story fairly. Breitbart is convinced that too many national stories are slanted by the news media in an unfair way. In RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION, Breitbart talks about the key issues that Americans face, how he has aligned himself with the Tea Party, and how one needs to deal with the liberal news world head on. Along the way, he details his early years, working with Matt Drudge, the Huffington Post, and so on, and how Breitbart developed his unique style of launching key websites to help get the word out to conservatives all over. I don't understand or agree with his ideas and fight, but maybe you will.
Breitbart said, “I would say that the traditional media, those at ABC, CBS, NBC and The New York Times, are not happy that I exist, and don’t like what I do… Let’s just be honest about where we’re heading in this country, and I think it’s blissful. And that is we’re moving toward a more adult, realistic, British newspaper model. We know which newspapers lean right. We know which newspapers lean left. And it doesn’t mean that either position or the different newspapers are less trustworthy because they admit where they’re coming from ideologically. The press in this country has existed under a false notion that there is objective journalism and that journalists in New York City and Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., liberal enclaves, are equally fair to conservatives and that is laughable to the consumer.”









[book] Bonhoeffer
Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
By Eric Metaxas with a foreword by Timothy J. Keller
April 2011, Thomas Nelson
PW writes: In this weighty, riveting analysis of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Metaxas (Amazing Grace) offers a comprehensive review of one of history's darkest eras, along with a fascinating exploration of the familial, cultural and religious influences that formed one of the world's greatest contemporary theologians. A passionate narrative voice combines with meticulous research to unpack the confluence of circumstances and personalities that led Germany from the defeat of WWI to the atrocities of WWII. Abundant source documentation (sermons, letters, journal entries, lectures, the Barman Declaration) brings to life the personalities and experiences that shaped Bonhoeffer: his highly intellectual, musical family; theologically liberal professors, pastoral colleagues and students; his extensive study, work, and travel abroad. Tracing Bonhoeffer's developing call to be a Jeremiah-like prophet in his own time and a growing understanding that the church was called "to speak for those who could not speak," Metaxas details Bonhoeffer's role in religious resistance to Nazism, and provides a compelling account of the faith journey that eventually involved the Lutheran pastor in unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Hitler. Insightful and illuminating, this tome makes a powerful contribution to biography, history and theology.










[book] PITCHING IN THE PROMISED LAND
A Story of the First and Only Season in the Israel Baseball League
By Aaron Pribble
April 2011. University of NEBRASKA Press
It was the first (and last) season of professional baseball in Israel. Aaron Pribble, twenty-seven, had been out of Minor League Baseball for three years while he pursued a career in education when, at his coach’s suggestion, he tried out for the newly formed Israel Baseball League (IBL). Of Jewish descent (not a requirement, but definitely a plus) and former pro, Pribble was the ideal candidate for the upstart league. In many ways the league resembled the ultimate baseball fantasy camp with its unforgettable cast of characters: the DJ/street artist third baseman from the Bronx, the wildman catcher from Australia, the journeymen Dominicans who were much older than they claimed to be, and, of course, seventy-one-year-old Sandy Koufax, drafted in a symbolic gesture as the last player. After falling in love with a beautiful Yemenite Jew, enduring an alleged terrorist attack on opening day, witnessing a career-ending brain injury caused by improper field equipment, participating in a strike, and venturing into the West Bank despite being strongly advised against it, Pribble must decide whether to forgo a teaching career in order to become the first player from the IBL to sign a pro contract in the United States. His is a story of coming of age spiritually and athletically in one short season in the throes of romance, Middle Eastern politics, and the dreams of America’s pastime far, far afield from home. Learn more with Holy Land Hardball, a documentary on the Israel Baseball League.
Click the cover to read more or to purchase the book on Amazon







[book] The Price of Escape
By David Unger
April 2011. Akashic
From Publishers Weekly: A Jewish man flees 1938 Germany only to find a new and unexpected nightmare waiting for him in the sweltering heat of Guatemala in Unger's uneven latest (after Life in the Damn Tropics). WWI vet Samuel Berkow flees Hamburg, washes up in the Guatemalan port town of Puerto Barrios, and gets stuck there before he can make his way to the capital, where he'd intended to meet his cousin. Samuel is overwhelmed by the oddities of the local customs and by those who take advantage of foreigners. Unger's sharp prose deftly conveys Samuel's frustrations and confusions as he encounters characters like a troublesome dwarf, a volatile American fruit company manager, a crazed ex-priest, and a friendly telegraph operator who all offer help with one hand but uncertainty with the other. His departure repeatedly stymied, Samuel becomes increasingly desperate until he nonsensically commits a crime that both threatens to ruin him and sets the book on the path toward a disappointing denouement. But Unger does a great job with fish-out-of-water situations, as Samuel's travails—sometimes Kafkaesque, sometimes Laurel and Hardy—nicely pit his timidity against his growing desperation
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[book] FAR TO GO
A NOVEL
By Alison Pick
April 2011. Harper Perennial
From Publishers Weekly: In her second novel (after The Sweet Edge), Pick tackles the Holocaust with the story of a young Jewish family struggling to survive as the Nazis invade Czechoslovakia. Throughout 1938 and 1939, Pavel and Anneliese Bauer endure increasingly terrifying attacks on their dignity, freedom, and lives, clinging to a hope that the madness will soon end. Meanwhile, a present-day Holocaust historian (who remains awkwardly unidentified for some time), specializing in the Kindertransport and the many children it helped to escape from Czechoslovakia, takes a personal interest in the Bauers. Letters culled from the historian's files, written by people who were close to the Bauers, effectively punctuate the novel, but Pick's shuffling gamble with point-of-view produces mixed results. For instance, Marta, who both propels the tale and plays a significant role in it, is sometimes so naïve as to be unconvincing. But period details are authentic and well presented, as are the family's suffering and grief.
Click the cover to read more or to purchase the book on Amazon







[book] Skinny
A Novel
by Diana Spechler
April 2011. Harper Perennial
After her father’s death, twenty-six-year-old Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating. Desperate to stop bingeing, she abandons her life in New York City for a job at a southern weight-loss camp. There, caught among the warring egos of her devious co-counselor, Sheena; the self-aggrandizing camp director, Lewis; his attractive assistant, Bennett; and a throng of combative teenage campers, she is confronted by a captivating mystery: her teenage half-sister, Eden, whom Gray never knew existed. Now, while unraveling her father’s lies, Gray must tackle her own self-deceptions and take control of her body and her life.
Visceral, poignant, and often wickedly funny, Skinny illuminates a young woman’s struggle to make sense of the link between hunger and emotion, and to make peace with her demons, her body, and herself.
Click the cover to read more or to purchase the book on Amazon







[book] The Crimean War
A History
By Orlando Figes
May 2011. Metropolitan
From "the great storyteller of modern Russian historians," (Financial Times) the definitive account of the forgotten war that shaped the modern age
The Charge of the Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale—these are the enduring icons of the Crimean War. Less well-known is that this savage war (1853-1856) killed almost a million soldiers and countless civilians; that it enmeshed four great empires — the British, French, Ottoman Turkish, and Russian — in a battle over religion as well as territory; that it fixed the fault lines between Russia and the West; that it set in motion the conflicts that would dominate the century to come.
Yes.. it was religion. People forget that the beginning of the war was in Ottoman Palestine, and concerned a uqestion over whether the Russian Orthodox would control the Christian holy sites
In this masterly history, Orlando Figes reconstructs the first full conflagration of modernity, a global industrialized struggle fought with unusual ferocity and incompetence. Drawing on untapped Russian and Ottoman as well as European sources, Figes vividly depicts the world at war, from the palaces of St. Petersburg to the holy sites of Jerusalem; from the young Tolstoy reporting in Sevastopol to Tsar Nicolas, haunted by dreams of religious salvation; from the ordinary soldiers and nurses on the battlefields to the women and children in towns under siege..
Original, magisterial, alive with voices of the time, The Crimean War is a historical tour de force whose depiction of ethnic cleansing and the West's relations with the Muslim world resonates with contemporary overtones. At once a rigorous, original study and a sweeping, panoramic narrative, The Crimean War is the definitive account of the war that mapped the terrain for today's world.
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MAY 2011 BOOKS

[book] Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance
Edited by Judith Brin Ingber
May 2011 Wayne State University Press
In Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance, choreographer, dancer, and dance scholar Judith Brin Ingber collects wide-ranging essays and many remarkable photographs to explore the evolution of Jewish dance through two thousand years of Diaspora, in communities of amazing variety and amid changing traditions. Ingber and other eminent scholars consider dancers individually and in community, defining Jewish dance broadly to encompass religious ritual, community folk dance, and choreographed performance. Taken together, this wide range of expression illustrates the vitality, necessity, and continuity of dance in Judaism.
This volume combines dancers’ own views of their art with scholarly examinations of Jewish dance conducted in Europe, Israel, other Middle East areas, Africa, and the Americas. In seven parts, Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance considers Jewish dance artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; the dance of different Jewish communities, including Hasidic, Yemenite, Kurdish, Ethiopian, and European Jews in many epochs; historical and current Israeli folk dance; and the contrast between Israeli and American modern and post-modern theater dance. Along the way, contributors see dance in ancient texts like the Song of Songs, the Talmud, and Renaissance-era illuminated manuscripts, and plumb oral histories, Holocaust sources, and their own unique views of the subject. A selection of 182 illustrations, including photos, paintings, and film stills, round out this lively volume. Many of the illustrations come from private collections and have never before been published, and they represent such varied sources as a program booklet from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and archival photos from the Israel Government Press Office.
Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance threads together unique source material and scholarly examinations by authors from Europe, Israel, and America trained in sociology, anthropology, history, cultural studies, Jewish studies, dance studies, as well as art, theater, and dance criticism. Enthusiasts of dance and performance art and a wide range of university students will enjoy this significant volume.
Contributors include:
Gaby Aldor,
Felix Fibich,
Zvi Friedhaber,
Jill Gellerman,
Ayalah Goren-Kadman,
Yehuda Hyman (Hey, he is the celebrated writer and choreographer of THE MAD 7 that was performed nationwide!),
Judith Brin Ingber,
Naomi M. Jackson, Elke Kaschl, Sara Levi-Tanai,
Dawn Lille, Giora Manor, Josh Perelman,
Dina Roginsky, Janice Ross, Barbara Sparti,
Nina S. Spiegel,
And Shalom Staub (Hey, I think I sat next to him in Arabic 1 class with Professor Roger Allen at Penn)










[book] The Convert
A Tale of Exile and Extremism
By Deborah Baker
May 2011, Graywolf
From Publishers Weekly: “Starred Review. Pulitzer finalist Baker (A Blue Hand) unravels the often contradictory life of an American woman who became one of the pre-eminent voices of Islamic revivalism, in this stellar biography that doubles as a meditation on the fraught relationship between America and the Muslim world. Margaret Marcus was a secular Jew in Mamaroneck, N.Y., before she became fascinated with Islam and moved to Pakistan in 1962 and took the name Maryam Jameelah. Baker, who discovered the archive of Marcus's papers in the New York Public Library, carefully reconstructs her movements after her arrival in Lahore, Pakistan, using letters Marcus sent to her parents and articles she published in various Islamic magazines. Jameelah's criticism of the West is unwavering: she denounces American foreign policy, particularly its support of Israel, and secularism in general, insisting that law be derived from the Qur'an. As Baker digs deeper into her subject's difficult life — Jameelah's time in Pakistan grew increasingly strained — she ponders the effect Jameelah's writings on global jihad may have on today's al-Qaeda and Taliban. This is a cogent, thought-provoking look at a radical life and its rippling consequences.”

Deborah Baker sought to see if she could create a biography based on the letters of Maryam Jameelah. After researching and reading, she thought she had a pretty good idea of the woman. But when she met her in Pakistan, cloistered in a room, surrounded by books, she saw that her perception was not reality. This is a spellbinding story of renunciation, conversion, and radicalism. Why did Marcus, a young woman raised in a postwar New York City suburb to convert to Islam, abandon her country and Jewish faith, and embrace a life of exile in Pakistan? How did WW2 and the pictures of death camps affect the young Marcus? The Convert tells the story of how Margaret Marcus of Larchmont and Mamaroneck become Maryam Jameelah of Lahore, one of the most trenchant and celebrated voices of Islam’s argument with the West. (I wonder if she grew up with Joan Rivers??) What drove Margaret Marcus to renounce Western civilization and scorn her family’s Judaism? How did the book, "The Road to Mecca," by a Jewish convert to Islam, affect Marcus after she found it in her local library and read and re-read it? Who was the mysterious figure of Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi, both Maryam’s “adoptive” Pakistani father and the man who laid the intellectual foundations for militant Islam. Why did she start to correspond with him and why did he invite her to Pakistan? Why did she move to his house at 27? Is Maryam’s story just another chapter in a so-called clash of civilizations? Or does it signify something else entirely? And then there’s this: Is the life depicted in Maryam’s letters home and in her books an honest reflection of the one she lived? Was she a problem child and adult? Why was she considered a misfit and expelled from the University of Rochester and NYU? Did she suffer from mental breakdowns because of her attraction to absolutes, or was there an underlying medical condition? How did Maryam react after arriving in Pakistan, expecting to play a valuable role in Islamic society, yet be treated like a woman in a conservative society abd seen as too outspoken. She became a 2nd junior wife and the mother of children she never wanted. Like many compelling and true tales, The Convert is stranger than fiction. It is a gripping account of a life lived on the radical edge and a profound meditation on the cultural conflicts that frustrate mutual understanding.
Read an excerpt here: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/Story/165/The-Convert-.html
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] Jihad Joe
Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam
J. M. Berger
May 2011 Potomac Books
They are Americans, and they are mujahideen.
Some are Jihadists, some are Jihobbyists
Hundreds of men from every imaginable background have walked away from the traditional American dream to volunteer for battle in the name of Islam. Some have taken part in foreign wars that aligned with U.S. interests, while others have carried out violence against Westerners abroad, fought against the U.S. military, and even plotted terrorist attacks on American soil. This story plays out over decades and continents: from the Americans who took part in the siege of Mecca in 1979 through conflicts in Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, and continuing today in Afghanistan and Somalia. Investigative journalist J. M. Berger profiles numerous fighters, including some who joined al Qaeda and others who chose a different path. In these pages he portrays, among others, Abdullah Rashid, who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan; Mohammed Loay Bayazid, who was present at the founding of al Qaeda; Ismail Royer, who fought in Bosnia and Kashmir, then returned to run training camps in the United States; Adam Gadahn, a Jewish Californian who is now al Qaeda’s chief spokesman; and Anwar Awlaki, the Yemeni-American imam with links to 9/11 who is (at the time of this writing) considered one of the biggest threats to America’s security










[book] A Singular Woman
The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother
By Janny Scott
May 2011, Riverhead
A major publishing event: an unprecedented look into the life of the woman who most singularly shaped Barack Obama-his mother. Barack Obama has written extensively about his father, but little is known about Stanley Ann Dunham, the fiercely independent woman who raised him, the person he credits for, as he says, "what is best in me." Here is the missing piece of the story. Award-winning reporter Janny Scott interviewed nearly two hundred of Dunham's friends, colleagues, and relatives (including both her children), and combed through boxes of personal and professional papers, letters to friends, and photo albums, to uncover the full breadth of this woman's inspiring and untraditional life, and to show the remarkable extent to which she shaped the man Obama is today. Dunham's story moves from Kansas and Washington state to Hawaii and Indonesia. It begins in a time when interracial marriage was still a felony in much of the United States, and culminates in the present, with her son as our president- something she never got to see. It is a poignant look at how character is passed from parent to child, and offers insight into how Obama's destiny was created early, by his mother's extraordinary faith in his gifts, and by her unconventional mothering. Finally, it is a heartbreaking story of a woman who died at age fifty-two, before her son would go on to his greatest accomplishments and reflections of what she taught him.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








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[book] SEAL Team Six
Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper
By Howard E. Wasdin with Stephen Templin
May 2011 St Martin’s Press
Talk about timing. The book was being published just as this SEAL team made international news.
SEAL Team Six is a “secret unit” tasked with counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and counterinsurgency. In this dramatic, behind-the-scenes chronicle, Howard Wasdin takes readers deep inside the world of Navy SEALS and Special Forces snipers, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S)—the toughest and longest military training in the world. After graduating, Wasdin faced new challenges. First there was combat in Operation Desert Storm as a member of SEAL Team Two. Then the Green Course: the selection process to join the legendary SEAL Team Six, with a curriculum that included practiced land warfare to unarmed combat. More than learning how to pick a lock, they learned how to blow the door off its hinges. Finally as a member of SEAL Team Six he graduated from the most storied and challenging sniper program in the country: The Marine’s Scout Sniper School. Eventually, of the 18 snipers in SEAL Team Six, Wasdin became the best—which meant one of the best snipers on the planet. Less than half a year after sniper school, he was fighting for his life. The mission: capture or kill Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. From rooftops, helicopters and alleys, Wasdin hunted Aidid and killed his men whenever possible. But everything went quickly to hell when his small band of soldiers found themselves fighting for their lives, cut off from help, and desperately trying to rescue downed comrades during a routine mission. The Battle of Mogadishu, as it become known, left 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded. Howard Wasdin had both of his legs nearly blown off while engaging the enemy. His dramatic combat tales combined with inside details of becoming one of the world’s deadliest snipers make this one of the most explosive military memoirs in years.











[book] The Palestine Papers
The End of the Road?
By Clayton E. Swisher with an introduction by Dr. Ghada Karmi
May 2011 Hesperus Press
Documents from the classified papers leaked to Al-Jazeera in January give the clearest account yet of what really goes on in Middle East peace talks, including revealing off-the-record remarks made by Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair, Mahmoud Abbas, and other key players. In January 2011, Al-Jazeera television published 1,600 pages of confidential papers and memoranda from the last five years of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. This book presents complete texts of a number of the most important papers, along with an analysis that reveals a complex, tortuous, and so far unproductive Palestine-Israeli peace process, in a rare, unfiltered look at a current topic as it unfolds. Issues discussed include the Israeli illegal settlements, the Hamas rockets, the Israeli Wall, the invasion of Gaza, the right
Clayton E. Swisher is the head of the Al-Jazeera Transparency Unit.
Haaretz writes: After creating a storm in January, the Palestinian Papers are back. In his latest book, Al Jazeera TV's Clayton Swisher releases the collection of leaked papers that document the peace-negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority between 1999 and 2010. The January release of the papers caused a media storm with details of past negotiations, including information showing that the Palestinians had previously agreed to serious concessions, such as secret compromises over core issues like Jerusalem and refugees. Swisher heads the Al Jazeera Transparency Unit, which operates in a similar style to WikiLeaks by inviting people to submit revealing documents. When he got his hands on the Palestine Papers he convinced his bosses to support him – together with a team of several other reporters – to embark on a research project that involved translating, analyzing and providing the context for the leaked documents... "The Palestinian Authority has questionable legitimacy among its people," said Swisher. Though the former Chief Palestinian negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat or Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas may be confident they represent their peoples' views, the refugees at Gaza's Beach refugee camp or Lebanon's Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp would not agree, he said. “If the Arab public was offered today a free and fair vote to either make peace with Israel or unite as Arabs and commit to fully liberating all of historic Palestine, I am confident they would chose the latter,” Swisher continues. “It is Western-backed puppet governments that ensure what security Israelis experience today. But as we see, the sands are constantly shifting," he said.... As for what he had to say about Israel, Swisher asserted that "all sides" had experienced a backslide. According to his analysis, Israelis adamantly rejected compromise, demanding more and more concessions, and the Americans behaved nothing like fair brokers, with a lack of substantial difference between the Bush and Obama administrations.'The Palestine Papers – The End of the Road?,' published by Hesperus Press, includes the actual Palestinian Papers as well as an analysis of the 1,600 leaked documents and the parties involved in the negotiations.










[book] KABBALAH IN ITALY 1280-1510
BY MOSHE IDEL
May 2011 Yale University Press
This sweeping survey of the history of Kabbalah in Italy represents a major contribution from one of the world's foremost Kabbalah scholars. The first to focus attention on a specific center of Kabbalah, Moshe Idel charts the ways that Kabbalistic thought and literature developed in Italy and how its unique geographical situation facilitated the arrival of both Spanish and Byzantine Kabbalah. Idel analyzes the work of three major Kabbalists—
Abraham Abulafia,
Menahem Recanati, and
Yohanan Alemanno —
who represent diverse schools of thought: the ecstatic, the theosophical-theurgical, and the astromagical. Directing special attention to the interactions and tensions among these forms of Jewish Kabbalah and the nascent Christian Kabbalah, Idel brings to light the rich history of Kabbalah in Italy and the powerful influence of this important center on the emergence of Christian Kabbalah and European occultism in general.
Moshe Idel is Max Cooper Professor in the Department of Jewish Thought, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and senior researcher at the Shalom Hartman Institute. He has received many awards, including the National Jewish Book Award, for his previous books on Kabbalah. He lives in Jerusalem










[book] 2030
The Real Story of What Happens to America
By Albert Brooks
May 2011,
Is this what’s in store for us in 2030? Comedian Albert Brooks (aka Albert Einstein and brother of Super Dave) thinks so. June 12, 2030 started out like any other day in memory—and by then, memories were long. Since cancer had been cured fifteen years before, America’s population was aging rapidly. That sounds like good news, but consider this: millions of baby boomers, with a big natural predator picked off, were sucking dry benefits and resources that were never meant to hold them into their eighties and beyond. Young people around the country simmered with resentment toward “the olds” and anger at the treadmill they could never get off of just to maintain their parents’ entitlement programs. But on that June 12th, everything changed: a massive earthquake devastated Los Angeles, and the government, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, was unable to respond.
The fallout from the earthquake sets in motion a sweeping novel of ideas that pits national hope for the future against assurances from the past and is peopled by a memorable cast of refugees and billionaires, presidents and revolutionaries, all struggling to find their way. In 2030, the author’s all-too-believable imagining of where today’s challenges could lead us tomorrow makes gripping and thought-provoking reading.
Did I mention that the US President is Jewish ?
Would you believe that China offers to rebuild LA if it can own half of So Cal?
Albert Brooks is a writer, actor, and director. He has written and directed several classic American comedies that are considered prescient and incisive commentaries on contemporary life, including Lost In America, Modern Romance and Defending Your Life. Brooks has also acted in over twenty motion pictures for other directors, including Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, Pixar’s Finding Nemo, and James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News, for which he received an Academy Award nomination Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] Unfinished Business
One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things
By Lee Kravitz with Gail Sheehy
May 2011, Bloomsbury paperback edition
Parade editor-in-chief Lee Kravitz lost his job and took account of the many things he let slip in his quest to get to the top of the publishing world. He skipped a condolence shiva call. He disregarded the extended family. He wished a person dead. He decides to take the next year to pursue all he's let pass: he reconciles in the Midwest with a long-lost aunt; he explores spirituality; he pays a 30-year-old debt. Kravitz learns a great deal about patience, humility, love, and family and reminds readers that the best time to do the things you say you're going to do is now.
Click the cover to read more








[book] A MOST DANGEROUS BOOK
TACITUS'S GERMANIA FROM THE ROMAN EMPIRE TO THE THID REICH
By CHRISTOPHER KREB
May 2011 WW Norton
The riveting story of the Germania and its incarnations and exploitations through the ages. The pope wanted it, Montesquieu used it, and the Nazis pilfered an Italian noble's villa to get it: the Germania, by the Roman historian Tacitus, took on a life of its own as both an object and an ideology. When Tacitus wrote a not-very-flattering little book about the ancient Germans in 98 CE, at the height of the Roman Empire, he could not have foreseen that the Nazis would extol it as "a bible," nor that Heinrich Himmler, the engineer of the Holocaust, would vow to resurrect Germany on its grounds. But the Germania inspired—and polarized—readers long before the rise of the Third Reich. In this elegant and captivating history, Christopher B. Krebs, a professor of classics at Harvard University, traces the wide-ranging influence of the Germania over a five-hundred-year span, showing us how an ancient text rose to take its place among the most dangerous books in the world. 14 black-and-white illustrations
Christopher Kreb is a classics professor at Harvard University









[book] You Are My Heart and Other Stories
A paperback
By Jay Neugeboren
May 2011 Consortium
Jay Neugeboren is an award-winning short story writer who has been applauded as one of the most distinguished writers of our time. With this, his fourth collection of short stories, he returns to the form that earned him the reputation as a "master storyteller." From the secluded villages in the south of France, to the cattle crawl in the Valley of a Thousand Hills in South Africa, to the hard-knock adolescent streets of Brooklyn, Neugeboren examines the great mysteries and complexities that unsettle and comprise human relationships. In the title story, a Jewish teen in Brooklyn falls for the sister of a black friend, and the families are none too pleased. In “State of Israel,” an American physician in France undergoes EYE surgery by a doctor of Middle Eastern origin and then must listen to the doctor's views on Israel. There is also a story based in Lakewood NJ. In works that are as memorable, engrossing, and exciting as they are gorgeously crafted, Neugeboren delivers on his reputation as one of our pre-eminent American writers.
Click the book cover above to read more on the stories












[book] JERUSALEM MAIDEN
A NOVEL
BY TALIA CARNER
May 31, 2011. Harper
Esther Kaminsky knows that her duty is to marry young and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah’s arrival: that is what expected of young ultra-Orthodox women in Jerusalem at the end of the Ottoman Empire’s rule. But when her French teacher catches Esther's extraordinary doodling and gives her colored pencils and art lessons, Esther wonders if God has a special destiny for her: maybe she is meant to be an artist, not a mother; maybe she is meant to travel to Paris, not stay in Jerusalem. However, when tragedy strikes her family, Esther takes it as His warning. Sacrificing her yearning for painting, she devotes herself instead to following God’s path as an obedient “Jerusalem maiden.”
In the coming years, Esther struggles between comfort and repression in God’s decrees, trusting the rituals of faith while suppressing her desires—until a surprising opportunity forces itself into her pre-ordained path. As her beliefs clash with the passions she has staved off her entire life, Esther must confront the hard questions: What is faith? Is there such thing as destiny? And to whom must she be true, to God or to herself?
Talia Carner is formerly the publisher of Savvy Woman magazine and a lecturer at international women economic forums. Carner’s addictions include chocolate, ballet, hats—and social justice.







[book] KING'S COUNSEL
A MEMOIR OF WAR, ESPIONAGE, AND DIPLOMACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
BY JACK O'CONNELL
May 31, 2011. Harper
A CIA station chief, later Jordan's lawyer in Washington, reveals the secret history of a lost peace. Jack O'Connell possessed an uncanny ability to be at the center of things. On his arrival in Jordan in 1958, he unraveled a coup aimed at the young King Hussein, who would become America's most reliable Middle East ally. Over time, their bond of trust and friendship deepened. His narrative contains secrets that will revise our understanding of the Middle East. In 1967, O'Connell tipped off Hussein that Israel would invade Egypt the next morning. Later, as Hussein's Washington counselor, O'Connell learned of Henry Kissinger's surprising role in the Yom Kippur War. The book's leitmotif is betrayal. Hussein, the Middle East's only bona fide peacemaker, wanted simply the return of the West Bank, seized in the Six-Day War. Despite American promises, the clear directive of UN Resolution 242, and the years of secret negotiations with Israel, that never happened. Hussein's dying wish was that O'Connell tell the unknown story in this book. Jack O'Connell (1921-2010) served as CIA station chief in Amman, Jordan, from 1963 to 1971 and was King Hussein's most trusted American adviser. He then became the king's attorney and diplomatic counselor in Washington for three decades.







[book] AfterImage
A Brokenhearted Memoir of a Charmed Life
By Carla Malden
May 2011. Skirt
In this fiercely personal account of her battling the before, and surviving the after, of losing her husband to cancer, Carla Malden (Starkman) takes us on a journey through grief to gratitude that alerts the entire forever-young generation: this is not your mother’s widowhood. AfterImage is a story of love more than loss, memory more than sorrow, life more than death.
Carla Malden has been a screenwriter and published author for over twenty years. With her father, Academy Award–winning actor Karl Malden, she coauthored his critically acclaimed memoir, When Do I Start?








[book] Nina Here Nor There
My Journey Beyond Gender
By Nick Krieger
May 2011. Beacon
The next-generation Stone Butch Blues--a contemporary memoir of gender awakening and a classic tale of first love and self-discovery. Ambitious, sporty, feminine “capital-L lesbians” had been Nina Krieger’s type, for friends that is. She hadn’t dated in seven years, a period of non-stop traveling—searching for what, or avoiding what, she didn’t know. When she lands in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, her roommates introduce her to a whole new world, full of people who identify as queer, who modify their bodies and blur the line between woman and man, who defy everything Nina thought she knew about gender and identity. Despite herself, Nina is drawn to the people she once considered freaks, and before long, she is forging a path that is neither man nor woman, here nor there. This candid and humorous memoir of gender awakening brings readers into the world of the next generation of transgender warriors and tells a classic tale of first love and self-discovery.
Hey, Nick, say hello to “Isaac” for us
Read chapter one here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/51250304/Nina-Here-Nor-There-an-excerpt








[book] For the Love of Physics
From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge Of Time
A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics
By Walter Lewin with Warren Goldstein
May 2011. Free Press
“YOU HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE” is a common refrain in the emails Walter Lewin receives daily from fans who have been enthralled by his world-famous video lectures about the wonders of physics. “I walk with a new spring in my step and I look at life through physics-colored eyes,” wrote one such fan. When Lewin’s lectures were made available online, he became an instant YouTube celebrity, and The New York Times declared, “Walter Lewin delivers his lectures with the panache of Julia Child bringing French cooking to amateurs and the zany theatricality of YouTube’s greatest hits.”
Born in 1936 to a Jewish father, he survived WWII in the Netherlands and fell for Physics.
For more than thirty years as a beloved professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lewin honed his singular craft of making physics not only accessible but truly fun, whether putting his head in the path of a wrecking ball, supercharging himself with 300,000 volts of electricity, or demonstrating why the sky is blue and why clouds are white. Now, as Carl Sagan did for astronomy and Brian Green did for cosmology, Lewin takes readers on a marvelous journey in For the Love of Physics, opening our eyes as never before to the amazing beauty and power with which physics can reveal the hidden workings of the world all around us. “I introduce people to their own world,” writes Lewin, “the world they live in and are familiar with but don’t approach like a physicist—yet.”
Could it be true that we are shorter standing up than lying down? Why can we snorkel no deeper than about one foot below the surface? Why are the colors of a rainbow always in the same order, and would it be possible to put our hand out and touch one? Whether introducing why the air smells so fresh after a lightning storm, why we briefly lose (and gain) weight when we ride in an elevator, or what the big bang would have sounded like had anyone existed to hear it, Lewin never ceases to surprise and delight with the extraordinary ability of physics to answer even the most elusive questions.
Recounting his own exciting discoveries as a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy—arriving at MIT right at the start of an astonishing revolution in astronomy—he also brings to life the power of physics to reach into the vastness of space and unveil exotic uncharted territories, from the marvels of a supernova explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud to the unseeable depths of black holes. “For me,” Lewin writes, “physics is a way of seeing—the spectacular and the mundane, the immense and the minute—as a beautiful, thrillingly interwoven whole.” His wonderfully inventive and vivid ways of introducing us to the revelations of physics impart to us a new appreciation of the remarkable beauty and intricate harmonies of the forces that govern our lives.







[book] INDIGO
In Search of the Color That Seduced the World
By Catherine E. McKinley
May 2011, Bloomsbury
For almost five millennia, in every culture and in every major religion, indigo-a blue pigment obtained from the small green leaf of a parasitic shrub through a complex process that even scientists still regard as mysterious-has been at the center of turbulent human encounters. Indigo is the story of this precious dye and its ancient heritage: its relationship to slavery as the "hidden half" of the transatlantic slave trade, its profound influence on fashion, and its spiritual significance, which is little recognized but no less alive today. It is an untold story, brimming with rich, electrifying tales of those who shaped the course of colonial history and a world economy.
But Indigo is also the story of a personal quest: Catherine McKinley is the descendant of a clan of Scots who wore indigo tartan as their virile armor; the kin of several generations of JEWISH "rag traders"; the maternal granddaughter of a Massachusetts textile factory owner; and the paternal granddaughter of African slaves-her ancestors were traded along the same Saharan routes as indigo, where a length of blue cotton could purchase human life. McKinley's journey in search of beauty and her own history ultimately leads her to a new and satisfying path, to finally "taste life." With its four-color photo insert and sumptuous design, Indigo will be as irresistible to look at as it is to read.









[book] The Clamorgans
One Family's History of Race in America
By Julie Winch
May 2011, Hill and Wang
The historian Julie Winch uses her sweeping, multigenerational history of the unforgettable Clamorgans to chronicle how one family navigated race in America from the 1780s through the 1950s. What she discovers overturns decades of received academic wisdom. Far from an impermeable wall fixed by whites, race opened up a moral gray zone that enterprising blacks manipulated to whatever advantage they could obtain. The Clamorgan clan traces to the family patriarch Jacques Clamorgan, a French adventurer of questionable ethics who bought up, or at least claimed to have bought up, huge tracts of land around St. Louis. On his death, he bequeathed his holdings to his mixedrace, illegitimate heirs, setting off nearly two centuries of litigation. The result is a window on a remarkable family that by the early twentieth century variously claimed to be black, Creole, French, Spanish, Brazilian, Jewish, and white. The Clamorgans is a remarkable counterpoint to the central claim of whiteness studies, namely that race as a social construct was manipulated by whites to justify discrimination. Winch finds in the Clamorgans generations upon generations of men and women who studiously negotiated the very fluid notion of race to further their own interests. Winch’s remarkable achievement is to capture in the vivid lives of this unforgettable family the degree to which race was open to manipulation by Americans on both sides of the racial divide.










[book] In the Garden of Beasts
Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
By Erik Larson
May 2011. Crown
Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power. The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. FDR asked several others to be the diplomat to Berlin. They declined the offer. Dodd, a Chicago professorr, accepted. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha.
At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels.
But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. Dodd, a Jeffersonian liberal, URGE HITLER to stop the Jew hatred. It would be better if he ADOPTED mild anti-Semitism, similar to America's version of discrimination
As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.








[book] WHEN WE DANCED ON WATER
A NOVEL
By EVAN FALLENBERG
May 2011. Harper Perennial
At eighty-five, Teo is ready to retire from the bombast and romance of life as one of the world’s most influential choreographers. But when he meets Vivi, a fortyish waitress at a Tel Aviv bistro, the fires of his youth flare back to life—his passion for a woman’s touch, his long-buried anguish at his wartime experiences, and his complex engagement with dance. Vivi’s life will change, too, as the warmth of Teo’s affection counterbalances her harrowing time as an Israeli soldier in an illicit relationship. For both, their investment in art, and indeed in life itself, will reawaken as the ghosts of their suppressed pasts—from Warsaw to Copenhagen, Berlin to Tel Aviv—cry out for forgiveness and healing. With lustrous prose capturing the grit and fury of history and the breathtaking power of passion, When We Danced on Water is a compelling novel of intimacy and identity, art and ambition, and how love can truly transcend tragedy.
Click on the cover for more info








[book] SHORTER, FASTER, FUNNIER
COMICS PLAYS AND MONLOGUES
EDITED BY ERIC LANE AND NINA SHENGOLD
May 2011, Vintage
This cornucopia of comedy showcases works by major playwrights and emerging young writers, with casts of all sizes and diverse and challenging roles for actors of every age and type. You’ll discover such colorful characters as a businessman free-falling from a plane, an embittered sword swallower, a punkish girl skateboarder, and retirees in post-apocalyptic Siberia, alongside plays that unleash the humor in high school reunions, alien invasions, office cubicle farms, and even post-Katrina New Orleans. In Mikhail Horowitz's MERE VESSELS, a 4 person short play, two ventriloquists and their dummies meet backstage at an event. The Jewish New York ventriloquist was not told by his agent that the event is for evangelical Christians and his partner and his dummy preach the gospel. Comedy erupts when his puppet gets the spirit of the Lord. Amen. Young actors will love the 2 person BAR MITZVAH BOY by SAMARA SiSKIND and MICHAEL MITNICK's LIFE WITHOUT SUBTEXT. Although there is a play titled THREE GUYS AND A BRENDA, they don;t have my short play, THREE MEN AND A BAGEL :-( Just kidding.
Perfect for actors, students, theater lovers, and comedy fans, Shorter, Faster, Funnier covers the spectrum of humor, from slyly witty to over-the-top outrageous. Contributers include Rob Ackerman ? Billy Aronson ? John Augustine ? Pete Barry ? Dan Berkowitz ? Adam Bock ? Eric Coble ? Philip Dawkins ? Anton Dudley ? Christopher DURANG ? Liz Ellison ? Halley FEIFFER ? Peter Handy ? Jeffrey Hatcher ? Amy Herzog ? Mikhail HOROWITZ ? David Ives ? Caleen Sinnette Jennings ? Ean Miles Kessler ? Dan Kois ? Eric Lane ? Drew Larimore ? Warren Leight ? Mark Harvey Levine ? Elizabeth Meriwether ? Michael Mitnick ? Megan Mostyn-Brown ? Mark O’DONNELL ? Nicole Quinn ? Wayne Rawley ? Theresa Rebeck ? Jacqueline Reingold ? Laura Shaine ? Nina Shengold ? Jane Shepard ? Edwin Sanchez ? Samara Siskind ? Daryl Watson ? Barbara Wiechmann ? Mary Louise Wilson ? Garth Wingfield ? Gary Winter ? Elizabeth Wong ? Dana Yeaton
PS – Thank you to Nina Shengold, Eric Lane, Mark O'Donnell, Christopher Durang, Samara Siskind, Ean Miles, John Augustine, Dana Yeaton, and the other's who signed my copy









[book] TRANSPARENT
Don Lemon
May 2011. Farah Gray Foundation Press
In this memoir, Primetime CNN anchor Don Lemon takes readers behind the scenes of journalism, detailing his struggle to become one of the most prominent African American men in television news in the United States media market. Don Lemon digs deeply, exposing his own history with wealth and lack of wealth, with family secrets and painful revelations. Maybe it was the years of sexual abuse at the hands of a teenage neighbor; or how everyone knew who his biological father was, except him; or overcoming the racist disdain he received from old white LSU professors; or his perseverance to get his college degree even if it took nearly a decade, but all these painful early experiences shaped his ambitions and gave him the tools of empathy and fearlessness that he brings to his work as a news anchor.
Then Lemon turns the same searing honesty on the news industry itself, taking the reader behind the scenes of September 11, 2001, the DC Snipers, the epidemic of AIDS in Africa, Hurricane Katrina, the election of Barack Obama, and the death of Michael Jackson among other events.
With his clear and compelling storytelling and the rich detail of an Emmy-winning journalist, Lemon reveals his own painful journey from a little boy who dreamed of broadcasting in segregated Baton Rouge in the early 70s, to his current perch at CNN in a fascinating and compelling look at the world of television news and his own experiences reporting in it.
Oh, and he also discusses his homosexuality and his decision to be a gay, out broadcaster on national television (As James Baldwin wrote, living a secret life usually is just a secret to yourself, while everyone around you already knows the secret)
A Jewish book? Well, his boyfriend/partner is white, Jewish, and from Scarsdale. And Lemon spent Rosh Hashana with Ben’s family in 2010, so I think we can count this as a Jewishy book.
So Don… when you going to visit Israel on a UJA Mission? Click on the cover for more info








I think you will find this book very interesting. Just the part on funding TB eradication in Russian jails is worth the price of the book
[book] The Philanthropy of George Soros
Building Open Societies
By Chuck Sudetic with an intro by George Soros
May 2011. PublicAffairs
George Soros is one of the world’s leading philanthropists. Over the past 30 years, he has provided more than $8 billion to his worldwide network of foundations: the Open Society Foundations, which have applied the concept of the open society, the cornerstone of Soros’s thinking on democracy, freedom, and human rights, in the United States and abroad. This book, written by former New York Times journalist Chuck Sudetic, marks the first exploration of George Soros’s innovative philanthropic strategies and unmatched commitment to building open societies in places where dictatorship and violent repression have been the rule for too long. Soros is widely lauded for his brilliant financial and economic insights and investment strategies. But his philosophy-driven philanthropy and its impact are unprecedented for a private individual, and have produced remarkable results. Soros’s visionary efforts include: helping to topple communism in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and attempting to foster civil society in China; initiating and nurturing global and local organizations fighting to overcome the driver of war, repression, and corruption in oil- and blood-diamond states; helping Sarajevo’s people endure three years of siege during the Bosnian War; fighting resistant strains of TB in Russia’s jails and Lesotho’s mountains before the disease can devastate the world’s great cities; undertaking the first attempt in history to help Europe’s most downtrodden people lift themselves from poverty and segregation; supporting democratic resistance in Burma and building communities in Haiti’s roughest slums; and applying new methods for fighting poverty and drug addiction and reforming dysfunctional justice systems in Baltimore, New Orleans, and other U.S. cities.
The Philanthropy of George Soros reveals the thought and practice behind a lesser-known dimension of this remarkable man’s life, his goals for society, and his underlying vision for the future.
Click on the cover for more info
SEE ALSO: MASQUERADE, BY SOROS' FATHER on how he survived during WW2 [book]















[book] A TIMELESS PEOPLE
PHOTO ALBUMS OF AMERICAN JEWISH LIFE
PHOTO ALBUMS OF NORTH AMERICAN JEWISH LIFE
BY SAUL H. LANDA
May 2011. Gefen
In August of 1654, a few Ashkenazic Jews arrived in the Dutch colonial settlement of New Amsterdam (later renamed New York), and thus began the astonishing phenomenon of American Jewry. In this stunning book of narrative and photographs, Dr. Saul Landa gives us a glimpse of its beauty. This book is the culmination of a four-year odyssey, visiting eighteen communities, traveling tens of thousands of miles, taking thousands of photographs, reviewing thousands of archival images, and surviving the trauma of one car accident and one traffic violation.















[book] THE FIRE AND THE CLOUD
CONTEMPORARY REFLECTIONS ON THE WEEKLY TORAH READING
BY RABBI DAVID BIGMAN
Gefen
In this beautiful and lucid translation of the popular Hebrew edition, Yoducha Rayonai, Rabbi David Bigman, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, gives us a glimpse of his personal encounters with Tanach. These essays on the weekly Torah portions are based on Rabbi Bigman's Shabbat shiurim and were transcribed and adapted by a talented group of his students. Rabbi Bigman offers powerful, original insights into the parshiyot, inviting readers to participate with him in his creative involvement and interaction with the Torah. He inspires us to join him on a journey of discovering and uncovering the truths concealed in the revelations of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings and in so doing, to uncover the truths hidden in ourselves.















[book] Recipes Remembered
A Celebration of Survival
By June Feiss Hersh
2011, Museum of Jewish Heritage
Former NYC Mayor, Ed Koch, likes it. Dr. Ruth Westheimer does also. Maybe you will also?
Suzie Fishbein writes that June Hersh offers us a rare gift in this cookbook. It is a testament to the Jewish human condition and its ability to transcend the past and move forward without forgetting. The survivors’ stories of deep love and great loss moved me. The understanding that for many, these recipes are all that remains of large, close, precious families takes my breath away. The juxtaposition of their brave stories with recipes only makes what they endured even more unimaginable. May the food of their memories nourish our spirits.
Recipes remembered gives voice to the remarkable stories and cherished recipes of the Holocaust community. The first professionally written cookbook of its kind is a moving compilation of food memories, stories about food and families, and recipes from Holocaust survivors from Poland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Greece.
For many of the survivors who contributed to the book, this book is now a permanent tribute to their families. For those who could not remember specific recipes, June Feiss Hersh brought in 26 celebrity chefs, cookbook authors, and restaurateurs including Daniel Bolud, Arthur Schwartz, Ina Garten, Mark Bittman, Sara Moulton, Jonathan Waxman, Michelle Bernstein, and Joan Nathan, to create a recipe in the spirit of the memory that reflects their region’s cuisine. The over 170 recipes run the gamut from traditional Ashkenazi Jewish comfort food like potato dumplings, brisket, and blintzes, to the more exotic Sephardic dishes such as robust lentil soup, sweet honey glazed donuts, semolina gnocchi, fried plantains, and Romanian eggplant. Regardless of the ingredients, the recipes reflect Jewish life before the war, the resilience of the Jewish people during the war years, and Jewish renewal in all the years following. The book also features cooking and baking tips, a Yiddish glossary, and hints for stocking a pantry. June Hersh graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She recently completed her second book, The Kosher Carnivore (St. Martin’s Press, 2011).
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] AFTER WEEGEE
Essays on Contemporary Jewish American Photographers
(Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, and Art)
By Daniel Morris
2011, Syracuse University Press
Examining a range of styles from the gritty vernacular sensibility of Weegee (Arthur Fellig) to the glitzy theatricality of Annie Leibovitz, Morris takes a thoughtful look at ten American photographers, exploring the artists’ often ambivalent relationships to their Jewish backgrounds. Going against the grain of most criticism on the subject, Morris argues that it is difficult to label Jewish American photographers as unequivocal "outsiders" or "insiders" with respect to mainstream American culture. He shows it is equally difficult to assign a characteristic style to such a varied group whose backgrounds range from self-taught photographers to those trained in art school. In eclectic ways, however, the contemporary photographers highlighted in After Weegee carry on the social justice and documentary tradition associated with Sid Grossman, Aaron Siskind, and the primarily Jewish Photo League of the 1930s by chronicling the downside of the Reagan revolution of the 1980s.
Rather than record movements or trends in current Jewish American photography, Morris focuses in-depth on the work of Bruce Davidson, Jim Goldberg, Mel Rosenthal, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Allen Ginsberg, Annie Leibovitz, Tyagan Miller, Aaron Siskind, and Marc Asnin. These photographers share a tendency toward socially informed expression and an interest in self-expression via the operations of photography, inevitably shaped by histories of socially conscious or documentary imaging. Moving between photo history, cultural history, and close readings of the images, Morris traces a common thread among contemporary secular Jewish American photographers, artists who link the construction of personal identity to the representation of history. After Weegee broadens our understanding of the relationship between Jewishness and contemporary photography, challenging us to take a fresh look at much of what has come to be canonized as modern, postwar, and art photography.
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[book] Chasing Shadows
A Special Agent's Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice
By Fred Burton and John Bruning
Spring 2011,
On a warm Saturday night in July 1, 1973 in Bethesda Maryland (3 months before the Yom Kippur War; many months after the 1972 killings at the Munich Olympics), a gunman stepped out from behind a tree and fired five point-blank shots into Joe Alon, an unassuming Israeli Air Force pilot and family man. Alon's sixteen-year-old neighbor, Fred Burton, was deeply shocked by this crime that rocked his sleepy suburban neighborhood. As it turned out, Alon wasn't just a pilot—he was a high-ranking military official and with intelligence ties. The assassin was never found and the case was closed.
To this day, the story of his death has remained an unsolved puzzle. It was to be expected that in the wake of the murder of an official representative of Israel, a wide-ranging investigation would be conducted until the killer was found and brought to trial. Surprisingly, however, U.S. officials involved in the investigation did not make a great effort to solve the case. In violation of accepted procedures, the FBI destroyed some of the evidence it had collected from the crime scene. In Israel as well, not much effort was made to discover who murdered Alon. Not only did no one interrogate his widow, Dvora Alon, but when she tried to find out details of the investigation from her friends and acquaintances at the highest levels of the security forces, she encountered thunderous silence.
Was there a romance that led to the killings?
Was it Black September, whose leaders were being assassinated in Europe in response to the Munich killings? Was Alon a Mossad agent who was killed in the line of duty?
Was Alon killed by an American or Israeli entity because he knew too much? Is it true that Alon discovered an alleged plan by U.S. and Israeli officials to engineer a war between Israel and Egypt in 1973 that would give Egypt a partial victory, restore Egypt’s honor, and lead to a diplomatic breakthrough?
Who knows? Maybe Fred Burton does.
In 2007, Fred Burton — who had since become a State Department counterterrorism special agent — reopened the case. Here, Burton spins a gripping tale of the secret agents, double dealings, terrorists and heroes he encounters he chases leads around the globe in an effort to solve this decades-old murder. From swirling dogfights over Egypt and Hanoi to gun battles on the streets of Beirut, this action-packed thriller looks in the dark heart of the Cold War to show power is uses, misused, and sold to the most convenient bidder.
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JUNE 2011 BOOKS



[book] JOURNEY TO HEAVEN
Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife
By Leila Leah Bronner
June 2011 URIM
I am always happy when URIM publishes a new title. Of the Jewish publishers I follow, I find the Urim management creative, friendly, professional and helpful. More than the others... that is for sure
Leila Leah Bronner has taught in South Africa, at Harvard, Bar Ilan, and elsewhere. It is easier to understand than other books, (Neil Gillman, hint hint) that I have read on a similar theme.
What is the idea of the afterlife in Judaism? Is there bodily resurrection? Immortality? Has the modern Holocaust affected Jewish thought on the issue? Is there reincarnation ? or transmigration?
Journey to Heaven invites readers to rediscover some of the basic tenets of Jewish belief concerning the hereafter: resurrection, immortality, judgment, messianism, and the World to Come. Starting with the Bible's references to Sheol and allusions to resurrection, this comprehensive survey explores immortality and bodily resurrection in Second Temple literature; the Mishnah's discussions of olam ha-ba, the World to Come, and how to merit entering it; and the Talmud's depictions of Gan Eden (paradise), Gehinnom (hell), and the soul's journey through these metaphysical landscapes. Bronner also explores the views of medieval scholars such as Maimonides and Nahmanides, Jewish mystical teachings about reincarnation, and modern views of faith and belief. A separate chapter is devoted to views of the Messiah over the course of Jewish history. Bronner demonstrates that the afterlife is indeed a vital part of Judaism, as she reveals how generations of Jews, from biblical times to the present, have grappled with its core ideas and beliefs about the hereafter.






[book] THE FROZEN RABBI
a novel by Steve Stern
June 2011 Algonquin paperback
From Booklist. *Starred Review* Stern’s uproarious and trouncing romp through the anguish and ironies of the Jewish diaspora matches mysticism with mayhem, beatitude with organized crime, creativity with crassness. The madcap, at times, surreal action revolves around Rabbi Eliezer ben Zephyr, whose out-of-body journeys to the realm of the divine result in his being frozen in a block of ice in the Jewish Pale in 1889, a frigid relic that becomes one family’s problematic inheritance. In scenes of vivid drama and burlesque comedy on the same epic scale as Stern’s Angel of Forgetfulness (2005), the rabbi-on-ice is transported through a pogrom and across the Atlantic under the guardianship of a raven-haired woman protectively disguised as a man, who finds sanctuary with the sweet-natured, hunchbacked inventor Shmerl Karp in the roiling Lower East Side. Finally, in 1999, the “great thaw” brings the reanimated rabbi and misfit teen Bernie Karp together in a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, where the holy man, enthralled by America’s TV-stoked capitalism, opens his profitable and controversial House of Enlightenment. Stern elevates his virtuoso storytelling and whirling magical satire to cosmic heights in this lovingly irreverent and revelatory novel of the timeless conflict between the sacred and the profane, and the perpetual search for home and meaning







A Must read for any Penn grad of the Food and Folkways Department.
[book] From the Jewish Heartland
Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways
(Heartland Foodways)
By Ellen F. Steinberg, Jack H. Prost (A
June 2011 University of Illinois Press
JOAN NATHAN writes that this is “a fascinating overview of historic Jewish foodways throughout the Midwest, with many examples of recipes brought to the Midwest by Jewish immigrants. I know of no other work on Jewish American food with this concentration and breadth."

Listen to the author on WBEZ RADIO in CHICAGO at http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-19/exploring-200-years-jewish-food-midwest-85381

Ginger? Ginger is Jewish cooking?? Yes!
Have you been to Kaufman's bakery in Skokie?
Foodways is like Folkways. It isnt just the food, but the way you eat it, prepare it, store it, buy it, personal interactions, etc.
The German Jews and others tried to domesticate and Americanize the Eastern European Jews who arrived in the late Nineteenth century in the Midwest. They tried to change everything about the new Jews, change their spices, change their kashrut, assimilate them. But most of the new Jews did not change. Although the environment changed, they adapted to the Midwestern foods that were available.
Professor Steinberg scored a Midwestern Jewish cookbook on eBay. It was from St. Louis is 1910, from the B'nai Emunah shul. So begins this story
From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways reveals the distinctive flavor of Jewish foods in the Midwest and tracks regional culinary changes through time. Exploring Jewish culinary innovation in America's heartland, Ellen F. Steinberg and Jack H. Prost examine recipes from numerous midwestern sources, both kosher and non-kosher, including Jewish homemakers' handwritten manuscripts and notebooks, published journals and newspaper columns, and interviews with Jewish cooks, bakers, and delicatessen owners. Settling into the cities, towns, and farm communities of Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota, Jewish immigrants incorporated local fruits, vegetables, and other comestibles into traditional recipes. Such incomparable gustatory delights include TZIZEL BAGELS and rye breads coated in Midwestern cornmeal, baklava studded with locally grown cranberries, tangy ketchup concocted from wild sour grapes, rich Chicago cheesecakes, and savory gefilte fish from Minnesota northern pike. Steinberg and Prost also consider the effect of improved preservation and transportation on rural and urban Jewish foodways and the efforts of social and culinary reformers to modify traditional Jewish food preparation and ingredients.
Includes dozens of sample recipes. The authors have a busy spring planned with interviews scheduled on WGN-TV (May 31, 2011), WGN radio (June 8, 2011), a presentation at the Chicago Printers Row Lit Fest (June 4-5, 2011), and more.
NOTE: This Professor and author Ellen F. Steinberg is not the same person as sex educator Annie Sprinkle (nee Ellen F Steinberg)
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[book] Waltzing With the Enemy
A Mother and Daughter Confront the Aftermath of the Holocaust
Displacement and the Search for the Psychological Home
By Rasia Kliot and Helen Mitsios
June 2011 Peninah Press
This memoir, an intimate recounting of two very different lives and times, is one of the most honest and life-affirming books I've ever read. It teaches us how the past informs the present and helps explain the world around us today. --Howard C. Cutler, M.D.

PW: Mitsios and her mother, Kliot, deliver a dual memoir documenting how past tragedies reverberate through the years to affect children of Holocaust survivors ... In the book's second half, Helen writes about seeking her own identity and learning of her mother's, while struggling to change her mother's fear that being Jewish would make them ''outcasts.'' These mirrored memories provide an intimate portrait, compelling and compassionate.
Filled with insight and humor, this dual memoir by Rasia, born in Vilnius, Lithuania (who survived the Holocaust on a false identity), and her daughter Helen, born in Montreal, Canada, examines the long-term implications of being a survivor of the Holocaust and the unique pressures and anxieties the children of survivors inherit from their parents. Rasia, determined to protect Helen from anti-Semitism, continues to pose as a Christian and raises her daughter in the Catholic faith, forbidding her from mentioning her Jewish identity. This compassionate memoir addresses the unspoken tension that complicated a mother-daughter relationship, follows Helen on her journey to embrace Judaism, and is a heart-stopping story of escape and survival from Nazi terror.
The title refers to the time, when in hiding, Rasia danced with a Nazi
Helen says she never experienced anti-Semitism until she was an adult and moved to Manhattan for an MFA at Columbia. She met a man who invited her to a party, but no blacks or Jews were allowed to the party
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[book] EINSTEIN BEFORE ISRAEL
ZIONIST ICON OR ICONOCLAST?
BY Ze'ev Rosenkranz
June 2011 Princeton
Einstein appears on Israeli currency.
Einstein's name adorns hospital and Jewish institutions
But what is the possible backstory?
According to Rosenkranz, the senior editor for Einstein's papers and the former curator of Einstein's archives at Hebrew University, Albert Einstein was initially skeptical and even disdainful of the Zionist movement, yet he affiliated himself with what he aw as a controversial political ideology and today is widely seen as an outspoken advocate for a modern Jewish homeland in Palestine.
What enticed this renowned scientist and humanitarian, who repeatedly condemned nationalism of all forms, to radically change his views?
Was he a Zionist?
Einstein Before Israel traces Einstein's involvement with Zionism from his initial contacts with the movement at the end of World War I to his emigration from Germany in 1933 in the wake of Hitler's rise to power. Drawing on a wealth of rare archival evidence--much of it never before published--this book offers the most nuanced picture yet of Einstein's complex and sometimes stormy relationship with Jewish nationalism.
Ze'ev Rosenkranz sheds new light on Einstein's encounters with prominent Zionist leaders, and reveals exactly what Einstein did and didn't like about Zionist beliefs, objectives, and methods. He looks at the personal, cultural, and political factors that led Einstein to support certain goals of Jewish nationalism; his role in the birth of the Hebrew University; his impressions of the emerging Jewish settlements in Palestine; and his reaction to mounting violence in the Arab-Jewish conflict. Rosenkranz explores a host of fascinating questions, such as whether Zionists sought to silence Einstein's criticism of their movement, whether Einstein was the real manipulator, and whether this Zionist icon was indeed a committed believer in Zionism or an iconoclast beholden to no one.

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You may not agree with a thing he says as he walks in the city, but his skills with words is pleasurable and something from which we can
[book] ALFRED KAZIN'S JOURNALS
Selected and Edited by Richard M.Cook
June 2011. Yale
At the time of his death in 1998, Alfred Kazin was considered one of the most influential intellectuals of postwar America. What is less well known is that Kazin had been contributing almost daily to an extensive private journal, which arguably contains some of his best writing. These journals collectively tell the story of his journey from Brooklyn's Brownsville neighborhood to his position as a dominant figure in twentieth-century cultural life. To Kazin, the daily entry was a psychological and spiritual act. To read through these entries is to reexperience history as a series of daily discoveries by an alert, adventurous, if often mercurial intelligence. It is also to encounter an array of interesting and notable personalities. Sketches of friends, mistresses, family figures, and other intellectuals are woven in with commentary on Kazin's childhood, early religious interests, problems with parents, bouts of loneliness, dealings with publishers, and thoughts on the Holocaust. The journals also highlight his engagement with the political and cultural debates of the decades through which he lived. He wrestles with communism, cultural nationalism, liberalism, existentialism, Israel, modernism, and much more.
Judiciously selected and edited by acclaimed Kazin biographer Richard Cook, this collection provides the public with access to these previously unavailable writings and, in doing so, offers a fascinating social, historical, literary, and cultural record.
So... what did I do when reading his journals? Remember that this is MyJewishBooks.com? I turned to May of 1948:
paraphrasing:
“March 25, 1948: On my way home about 5:30 stopped into Emanu-El on a sudden whim, and on even more of a whim found myself enduring an evening service in the chapel. If there is anything more depressing, unctuous, and insincere than this kind of high-church Reform Jewish service, I have never seen it. The 'reader,' a fat and oily looking business man or Ethical Culture type, read out the words with such deliberation that whenever he would come to GOD, he would stop, prepare himself for the ordeal, and pronounce the word as if he [had] taken on new dignity merely by being in its neighborhood....”
“...The trance-like amiability if weak-chinned people. The shallow kindness and expectancy imposed on certain face by the lack of harmony in the bony structure...”

“May 15, 1948: Eretz Israel is the “State of Israel.” I have always been against the idea of a Jewish state, and now that it is here, I find myself as moved by it and as eager to defend it as if I had been a Zionist. Unable to read any of the newspaper articles without bursting into tears. Yet I keep thinking a) that history is made by acts, and the consequences follow often from the facts of particular people; b)that nothing shows up so clearly the nature of our time, for this new nationalism is the greatest possible proof that for millions of Jews throughout the world the promise of “modern histroy” in the Dispersion is over. What it will do to Jews outside of Palestine is a muddled and possible tragic business...”

May 16, 1948: Hannah Arendt's remark on the Palestine Situation refreshed me morally...” (To Save The Jewish Homeland There is Still Time, Commentary magazine)

June 25, 1967: Drove with Papa to the cemetery. Almost eight years since that Saturday night in Octobers when I saw Mama, already skeletal, heaving her last breaths. I was there. And now, in the Workman's Circle Plot, the graves so thick around hers. That day in 1959, the gashed earth for her grave stood out in the new cemetery fields. Yet it gives me some comfort to walk in the cemetery to see all those familiar, touchingly comic, made-up Jewish names. Everyday since the Israeli victory early in June, I go to bed thinking: we are not as fit for killing as we were – we can be proud...... Khazak Khazak, we have endured.... her immigrant generation, with all that feebleness and misery, have somehow been redeemed, blessed, RECOGNIZED, in this mighty persistence of the Jewish people. They won't kill us as easily as the once did.....”
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[book] SEASON TO TASTE
HOW I LOST MY SENSE OF SMELL AND FOUND MY WAY
BY MOLLY BIRNBAUM
June 2011 Ecco Harper
In college, Molly Birnbaum found that she enjoyed cookbooks, baking, and cooking more than other coursework. She prepared to become a chef. After graduation, Molly Birnbaum spent her nights savoring cookbooks and her days working at a Boston bistro. But shortly before starting at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), she was hit by a car, an accident that fractured her skull, broke her pelvis, tore her knee to shreds, and destroyed her ability to smell — a sense essential to cooking... a sense essential to taste. Devastated, Birnbaum dropped her cooking school plans, quit her restaurant job, and sank into depression.
Season to Taste is the heartwarming story of what came next: how she picked herself up and set off on a grand quest to understand and overcome her condition. With irresistible charm and good cheer, Birnbaum explores the science of olfaction, pheromones, and Proust’s madeleine. She meets leading experts, including writer Oliver Sacks, scientist Stuart Firestein, and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. And she visits a pioneering New Jersey flavor lab, eats at the legendary Chicago restaurant Alinea, and enrolls at a renowned perfume school in the South of France. Through Birnbaum we rediscover the joy of smell — from the pungency of cinnamon and cedarwood to the subtle beauty of fresh bagels and lavender — fall in love, and recapture a dream.
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