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Welcome to our pages of Summer 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2011, Fall 2010, and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit


March 19, 2012: Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold reads from While America Sleeps A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era. B&N Madison Wisconsin West Towne Mall
March 21, 2012: The New Yiderati: Redefining the Jewish Experience in Literature. Housing Works Books Café, NYC SoHo 7PM
March 24-27, 2012: J Street Conference, Washington DC
March 27, 2012: Deborah Feldman reads from UNORTHODOX: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. B&N UES 86th and Lexington NYC (expect fireworks as people accuse her of being truth-challenged)
March 28, 2012: MOSHE KASHER reads from Kasher in the Rye The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16. B&N The Grove at the Farmer’s Market, Los Angeles

April 03-04, 2012: Gotham Writers Workshop. 42 Free classes in NYC for Write of Spring.
April 10, 2012: Carole King reads from CAROLE KING: A NATURAL WOMAN. B&N NYC Union Square
April 15, 2012: BBYO and JCC's and other groups sponsor screenings of @BULLYmovie around USA
April 19, 2012: Ricki Lake reads from NEVER SAY NEVER – FIND A LIFE THAT FITS. B&N UWS NYC
April 21-23, 2012: UCLA conference History Unlimited: Probing the Ethics of Holocaust Culture. See Featuring Daniel Mendelsohn (The Lost); Saul Friedlander; Omer Bartov; Yehuda Bauer; Peter Forgacs, Yael Hersonski; Todd Presner, Ann Rigney; Peter Eisenman; Stephen Smith; and more
April 23, 2012: Ricki Lake reads from NEVER SAY NEVER – FIND A LIFE THAT FITS. B&N The Grove at the Farmer’s Market, Los Angeles
April 23, 2012: World Books Night and World Book Night US – Distribution of 30 free titles in the USA. Anna Quindlen is Honorary Chair in the US. One of the thirty titles is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
April 26, 2012: Zach Wahls reads from MY TWO MOMS: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family. B&N UWS NYC

May 04, 2012: Singer Neil Sedaka reads from his children’s book, DINOSAUR PET. 3:30 PM, B&N NYC UWS
May 09, 2012: Actor Steve Guttenberg reads from THE GUTTENBERG BIBLE, A MEMOIR, B&N NYC UWS
May 17, 2012: Dr. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg speaks on Women and Redemption. Skirball NYC
May 19, 22012: Author Yossi Klein Halevi speaks at Ohab Zedek, NYC 11:30 AM
May 20, 2012: Rabbi David Ingber speaks on Kabbalah of Jerusalem. Skirball NYC
May 21, 2012: Dr. Aviivah Gottlieb Zornberg reads and speaks. Lincoln Square Synagogue, NYC UWS
May 23, 2012: Major General Sidney Shachnow (Ret.), highly decorated Vietnam Veteran and child survivor of the Kovno death camp (author of “Hope and Honor”) speaks on Memorial Day and Fleet Week, NYC. The Jewish Center, UWS NYC 7PM
May 26, 2012: Tikkun Leil Shavuot, Worldwide
May 27, 2012: Shavuot
May 29, 2012: Inside the Jewish Bakery: Taste and Talk at the NYC Museum. A discussion on this city's great Jewish bread traditions with proprietors of Streit's Matzo, The Bagel Hole, Chiffon Bakery, and the award-winning authors of Inside the Jewish Bakery.

June 02, 2012: Nora Rose Moosnick signs "Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky" at the Morris Book Shop, Lexington, KY
June 03, 2012: Celebrate Israel Parade, NYC
June 04-06, 2012: Book Expo America in NYC (for the trade only)
June 11, 2012: Author Elie Wiesel in conversation with “Write On For Israel” student writers. Park Avenue Synagogue, NYC 730PM


We have been waiting for this since 2007.. And now it has arrived
[book] New American Haggadah
In Hardcover
By Jonathan Safran Foer
With translations by Nathan Englander
March 2012, Little Brown
Several year’s ago, Foer said that most Haggadot out there lack the imaginative punch to inspire people toward a greater commitment for social change. He said, “We talk about slavery every year, we talk about the movement toward freedom every year. But when was the last time a Seder made you really feel those things in a deep way — when you said, ‘I want to become more active, … in stopping what’s going on in Darfur’? Because if that’s not an example of a situation that needs this movement toward freedom, nothing is. Or, ‘I need to work harder to make my life more energy independent,’ because we are slaves to energy right now. Passover is the jewel in the crown of Judaism arguing that we don’t hold “capital J” Jewish books like the Haggadah to the same literary standards as “lowercase j” books, like a Philip Roth novel, when we should.”

He continued, that “The Haggadah begs us to make it new… I’m doing it because I think it’s an incredible piece of art and [because] of all the issues in our world that can be seen through the lens of slavery and this movement toward freedom. The holiday is unimportant unless people end it thinking, ‘I need to bring the story into my life.’… Why would he harden his heart, especially when all the Egyptians are going to have to suffer for what the Pharaoh decides? Or, that we have a God that is so vengeful he kills all the firstborn Egyptians. All of the firstborn? Were there no good Egyptians? And do we really want to kill babies? You’re constantly coming up against these things that challenge your sense of what’s right and what’s wrong — but that’s good, having to talk about them, having to make sense of them.”

And so began Foer’s quest to create a new American Haggadah, “American” because Haggadot are usually named for the place they were published. Seders have been celebrated for over 100 generations, and perhaps there have been over 7000 known versions of the haggadah, whether it is from a religious movement, a kibbutz, Maxwell House, Mesorah, commune, Cokey Roberts, or your own family. As Foer writes, a new haggadah does not imply that earlier ones are failed, he just saw a need for one that looks at current issues in today’s idiom
This haggadah is an exciting new one and will prompt many seder table discussions for years to come; the “hyper-literal” translations into English will fascinate.
But first some information on the style. The Haggadah flows from right to left. On each page are illustrations or Hebrew with English translations. There are NO transliterations, not even for a Kiddush or Had Gadya. The Hebrew has vowels. It is a hardcover and delivered with a removable red paper wrapper (bellyband); when removed, you are left with a cover with Hebrew printing on a white background. The spine has the Haggadah’s title and editors’ names. The Hebrew printing on the front begins “B’chol dor v’dor (In every generation, a person is obligated to view her/himself as if s/he were the one who went out from Mitzrayim… interesting choice, no?). I am sure some enterprising young or old scholar at a seder can derive a drash on why the words with the largest fonts sizes are B’chol, Zeh, and M’Mitzrayim. There are a few blank pages at the end where you can write comments, thoughts, or record who was present at your seder over the years. I highly recommend using it, since decades later, you can open it and recall family members, friends, or guests who are still present, older, moved on, or passed on.
The paper stock makes the Haggadah feel a tiny itty bitty warped, but with use, it will probably flatten out. Across the top of each page is a progressing timeline (by Mia Sara Buch), flowing like wine, from 1250 BCE to 2007 CE. The timeline is in a smaller font and gives a running history: for 1387 CE, for example, the timeline mention Chaucer’s publication of “The Canterbury Tales,” and his story of a blood libel against the Jews, even though Jews were expelled England 100 years earlier. You can add to the timeline as years go by. I can imagine each participant adding their own to their copy each year, and seeing how attitudes and comments change over the decades. A keepsake.

The Haggadah opens with the removal of Hametz and Prepping for the seder. It flows through the seder, the cups of wine, the Hallel and Nirtzah, and closes with Counting the Omer, and a few songs. There are also several discussion sections designed in a neo-Talmud style. The four sections are: Library, Nation, House of Study, and Playground. They are authored by Lemony Snicket, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Jeffrey Goldberg, and Nathaniel Deutsch. Deutsch, a Guggenheim Fellow and S An-sky specialist, is currently a professor at UC, Santa Cruz and Co-Director of the Center for Jewish Studies. Goldberg is a journalist at The Atlantic. Newberger Goldstein is a novelist, professor, and mother of two authors; and Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) is author of a books on quotations that are bitter like horseradish; on a latka that screamed a lot; and a series on unfortunate events (like slavery?)
The design is by Oded Ezer, a master of inventive Hebrew lettering (Beit Hillel), typography and design, who wrote that the notion behind this book’s design was to visually merge the history of the Jewish nation with the traditional Haggadah text. The letterforms on each page therefore “reflect” the timeline’s period at the top of the page. The book becomes a graphic record of Jewish history. Plus it seems to have ready-made wine stains, albeit of ink.
But now for the meal... the translation by Nathan Englander. This, the translation, is primarily what attracted me to this new American Haggadah. Englander thought this would be an easy translation, like it was going to be hip and sassy, but he soon realized the project’s scope and intensity, and entered a havruta style, multi-year process with Baruch Thaler to debate and decide on the translations. The authors call it a hyper-literal translation.
Nathan Englander was an interesting choice. An acclaimed novelist and short story author, he moved to Israel as a young man and he quickly gave up on organized religion. (He may not have a mezuzah on his door, but now he has dozens of Jewish Haggadot and texts.) For Pesach, Englander used the Hebrew side of the traditional Maxwell House coffee haggadah. He never really looked at the English pages. He found that the Hebrew is so moving yet the English translations he saw did not communicate this beauty well enough. The line that clinched it for him was “HaMavdil Bein Kodesh l’Kodesh.” In English, many Haggadot translated it as “to differentiate between the Sabbath and the holiday.” But in Hebrew what it says is, “to differentiate between holy and holy.” To him, the English was missing the poetry and the metaphysical space between “holy” and “holy.” This is his chance to convey meaning -- meaning that informs future action.
For example, in “Nishmas kol chai,” he translates it as “Were our mouths were filled with a singing like the sea, and our tongues awash with song, as waves-countless, and our lips to lauding, as the skies are wide, and our eyes illumined like the sun and the moon, and our hands spread out like the eagles of heaven, and our feet as fleet as fawns. Still, we would not suffice in thanking you, lord God of us and God of our fathers, in blessing your name for even one of a thousand, thousand, from the thousands of thousands and the ten thousands of ten thousands of times you did good turns for our fathers and for us”
While most haggadot translate blessings as “Blessed (Praised) art Thou, O Lord Our God, King of the Universe…”, Englander writes “You are blessed, Lord God-of-Us, King of the Cosmos …” His translations are unique and will wake the reader up, and make them really think about what they are reciting. He uses “God of us” instead of “our God” because It’s not “our God” like “our cellphone” or “our Lexus” that we own , rather it is “the God over us.” “Ha Lachma Anya” is not the Berad of Affliction, but becomes “This is the poor man’s bread that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt... Just as You lifted nation from the belly of nation, and piloted Your people through the deep, may it be desirous before You…” The translations are male, as in He, King, Father and Sons. The Four Sons are sons. The ten plagues are “Blood, frogs, lice, a maelstrom of beasts, pestilence, boils, and hail-full-of-fire, locusts, a C-L-O-T-T-E-D darkness -- too thick to pass. The killing of the firstborn.”

Need to know more?
I am turning to an interview Nathan Englander gave to Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air.
Nathan Englander said that as a young man, he moved to Israel, where he quickly gave up on organized religion, so he surprised himself that he has worked on a Haggadah for the past few years. When asked by Terry why we need a new haggadah, Englander replied that, “We need new Haggados and they’ll be endless. It’s sort of, I think out all the traditional Jewish documents, it’s the one that’s most living. People – there’s, you know, there’s an Armed Forces Haggadah and an Alcoholics Anonymous Haggadah and an LGBT Haggadah. There are Haggadahs for everything. Some families make them new every year. People, it’s a really wonderful living document. And, you know, even Jonathan’s choice of the New American Haggadah, they’re always have a place. A very legendary one is the Sarajevo Haggadah. They’re just constantly made throughout time and he felt it was time for a new one…, you know I’ve always used the Hebrew side of the Maxwell House, which is a really great liturgy, that is a very traditional great liturgy.
…The point is, I had never really looked at the English and, what committed me to it is that back to loving texts, which is, the Haggadah, you should literally read it and weep. It is so beautiful. It is just such a moving document to me…. it turned it from this what I thought would be a six-week project into me working with a study partner head-to-head. It’s called Havrusa style, face-to-face, we studied. I don’t even want, my girlfriend says we can’t have a Mezuzah on the door but I have to come home to you with the Talmuds and haggados piled to the ceiling arguing. You know, it was like living in a study hall for her.

Gross asked why Englander used the king of the cosmos instead of the king of the universe. Englander replied, “…Those choices were the most wrestled over… it’s maybe that one and also God of us for “Elokeinu.”… So it’s always this idea, I think back to language, the things we don’t hear anymore… it’s something like “friendly fire”.., these things that are very loaded and they have meaning and you know the meaning, that’s how we get through life in a speedy fashion. …words have meanings and we already have them at the ready and we move through them. And I thought people say these things in English and I think they’re forgetting what they’re saying and it, you know, it means the world to me that you asked that question because that’s the point. Because you say, you read past it. But that’s what it’s saying, “of the cosmos” and it makes you think and that’s it. And that was really it. I think maybe the most dangerous choice in the whole book was “God of us” instead of “our God”… means “the God over us” and I really thought about that a ton, and I think that’s, …, I’ll see how people respond. But to me, I wanted people to be thinking about what they’re saying.
… I thought we were going to be ironical and sassy, you know, sassy guys. But the point is we ended up taking it so deeply seriously and I, you know, and I just felt people are going to be – because I speak the Hebrew I just always assumed have people the same knowledge base as me. I suddenly thought my God, people are going to be praying from this sincerely and I owe, you know, I owe them a debt. I better think.
…I can’t even tell you how many hours of arguing for things like [cosmos or universe]… But again, I think because it did make you think, …And I think because to me just really looking at the Hebrew and thinking about what that word means and just thinking it encompassed the cosmos. And also even that, the biggest point of translation is choice. Every word you’re choosing rhythm, clarity, communication, meaning, intent. And I think maybe, even that one can be feel of king of the cosmos does it justice.”
Gross asked, “Now one of the times you used “king of the cosmos.” I’m going to do the larger reading there. Like “you are blessed, lord God of us, king of the cosmos, God, our father, our kind, our majesty, our creator, our redeemer, our shepherd, shepherd of Israel, the good king who makes good for all.” You know, when you read something like that – when I read something like that, part of me wonders does God need to be praised that much? Like, why is there so much praise for God? Is it just a kind of thanksgiving for life, thanksgiving for, you know, whatever it is, that animating force that we call God? Or is God like this egotist and we need to say, hey, man, you’re number one. You are great. You are the God of all – do you know what I mean?”
ENGLANDER replied, “Yes. I was going to say I am going to answer that question for you now but I’m sure you’ll get a bunch of emails answering it for you. But I guess this is the point of doing a translation of what you hear in Hebrew, exactly that it’s not cloying – that’s the point of wanting to make it sound the way it sounds in my head which to me is very beautiful. Right? There can be over-cloying thanks. Nobody wants that. Nobody even enjoys it when they get it. It’s often just acknowledging a power structure. I know what you’re saying where someone gives you a job. Oh, thank you. You saved my life. This is the best. You know, it’s over the top and trust me, I’m an over the top thanker. So I know what you’re saying. But I guess I find this – you know what? This is about freedom from slavery. This is about being redeemed. This is about getting your homeland that was promised to you. This is about return. It’s actually – it is a deeply sincere text. I think it is truly thanking God for the food that we are eating, for the freedom that we have, for the family around us. You know what I can tell you? This is so personal and will, you know, probably make my family cry but, I remember – my brother-in-law – as I said, I’m like fourth or fifth generation and sitting there with my sister’s husband, his father is an Auschwitz survivor. And, he is sitting there with him, I remember one Seder with his family. I don’t know if they’ll remember it but this is when we all became one family. But all of us sitting together and just seeing this guy. That’s what makes it a living document. He sat there and he looked at the table and he started to cry. And he said I have been a slave. And I thought about it. I said this man was in Auschwitz. I don’t know if I’ve ever met – he literally had been a slave and that freedom, there’s a lot of thanks for survival and freedom that goes into that.

Englander added, “I was – Jonathan and I were joking about this. We’re like if we don’t find our Haggados at the Seder people are going to be in trouble. But, you know, at least our families can use them. But, yeah, I have to say of all the holidays, I really don’t do anything. I really do go to – if I can get to my family I get there or I’ve been going to a friend’s the last few years. But, yeah, I do the Seder every year. I really – I was going to say I don’t know if I’m softening or finding comfort or some different – my point is, it’s OK to live in conflict with yourself. That’s a nice thing that I’ve discovered. It’s OK for me to be really secular. That’s the idea, you know, people can just, you know, I’m trying to calm down. The point is I really enjoy that holiday and, yes, I go to a Seder every year and I, you know, drive there and a keep a house full of bread and all that stuff. But I really do enjoy that meal and this book.

NOTE: I WILL REPEAT.. This is not New American as in Egalitarian… is is American because it was published in America. The language and translations are male centric. If you need a Haggadah that is going to have Four Children instead of Sons, and gender neutral, then you should use this only as a reference.

[book] Through the Door of Life
A Jewish Journey between Genders
(Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiography)
By Professor Joy Ladin
(Yeshiva Univ Stern College)
March 2012, Univ of Wisconsin Press
Professor Jay Ladin made headlines around the world when, after years of teaching literature at Yeshiva University, he returned to the Orthodox Jewish campus as a woman—Joy Ladin. In Through the Door of Life, Joy Ladin takes readers inside her transition as she changed genders and, in the process, created a new self. With unsparing honesty and surprising humor, Ladin wrestles with both the practical problems of gender transition and the larger moral, spiritual, and philosophical questions that arise. Ladin recounts her struggle to reconcile the pain of her experience living as the “wrong” gender with the pain of her children in losing the father they love. We eavesdrop on her lifelong conversations with the God whom she sees both as the source of her agony and as her hope for transcending it. We look over her shoulder as she learns to walk and talk as a woman after forty-plus years of walking and talking as a man. We stare with her into the mirror as she asks herself how the new self she is creating will ever become real. Ladin’s poignant memoir takes us from the death of living as the man she knew she wasn’t, to the shattering of family and career that accompanied her transition, to the new self, relationships, and love she finds when she opens the door of life. .

“In this eloquent, bittersweet memoir, professor and poet Ladin leavens with literary artistry the often incredibly painful story of her gender transition from male to female. . . Readers will be rewarded not only with an expanded understanding of a complicated choice but also a compelling and moving story of a person transitioning, not only from male to female but from a numb, suicidal ‘nonexistence’ to opening the ‘door of life.’” Publishers Weekly

FRESH FROM HER SEMINAR at JEWLICIOUS FEST 8.0 and the set of BIG BANG, Dr. Mayim Bialik has some advice on parenting and attachment theories
[book] Beyond the Sling
A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way
By Mayim Bialik, PhD
March 2012, Touchstone
Mayim Bialik was the child star of the popular 1990s TV sitcom Blossom, but she definitely didn’t follow the typical child-star trajectory. Instead, Mayim got her PhD in neuroscience from UCLA, married her college sweetheart, and had two kids. She currently appears on BIG BANG, and had a reality show on her apparel.
Mayim did what many new moms do — she read a lot of books, talked with other parents, and she soon started questioning a lot of the conventional wisdom she heard about the “right” way to raise a child.
That’s when she turned to attachment parenting, a philosophy and lifestyle popularized by well-known physicians like Dr. William Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon. To Mayim, attachment parenting’s natural, child-led approach not only felt right emotionally, it made sense intellectually and instinctually. She found that when she followed her intuition and relaxed into her role as a mother instead of following some rigid parenting script, both she and her children thrived. Drawing on both her experience as a mother and her scientific background, Mayim presents the major tenets of attachment parenting, including:
CO-SLEEPING - How to avoid “sleep training” and get a great night’s sleep for the whole family.
BREASTFEEDING - Learn how to listen to your baby’s cues rather than sticking to a rigid schedule—and why people on airplanes love a nursing mother.
BABY WEARING - How to “wear” your baby in a sling or a wrap to develop a closer bond with your child—it’s possible even for mamas with bad backs (and with big babies)!
GENTLE DISCIPLINE How to get your child to behave without yelling, threats, or time-outs—it really can be done.

Mayim doesn’t preach.
Sure unschools her kids (different from home schooling). Like her husband, her oldest son did not talk for many years. But she did not freak out. Her oldest son might be hard for those not in her house or synagogue to understand, but she doesn’t hire a speech or occupational therapist. Her son will progress naturally. She nursed her kids longer than others. She works and her husband stays home with the kids. She did not teach her kids shapes and colours until they were ready to learn it (HORRORS!). It turns out one child is color blind, so trying to teach him would have been frustrating or frightening.
Mayim describes the beauty, simplicity, and purposefulness of attachment parenting, and how it has become the guiding principle for her family. Much more than a simple how-to parenting guide, Beyond the Sling shows us that the core principles underlying attachment parenting are universal and can be appreciated no matter how you decide to raise your child.

[book] Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls
A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood
By Gary Buslik (Univ of Illinois)
March 2012, Salas House
Iranian president Akhmed teams up with the leaders of Venezuela and Cuba and their American intelligence agents to smuggle radioactive matzo balls into Miami Beach. But intelligence being as slippery a concept to these nincompoops as chicken fat on linoleum, when each member of the gang decides to ladle out his own personal nuke soup, holy terror Akhmed is left steaming. Will his plan to destroy America float like a fly or sink like a lead dumpling? Star-crossed lovers, conniving academics, and blustery social climbers collide with ravenous termites, international do-badders, and multi-level marketing in a plot as fast-paced and hilarious as a runaway mountain bus. Radioactivity has never been so much fun.

March 2012, Crown
How much better would your life be if you had an army of Nobel Laureates, MacArthur ‘geniuses’ and National Medal of Science winners whispering tips in your ear about your body language, or how to resist that impulse purchase you’ll regret tomorrow, or when to sell your car—or even helping you trick your spouse into doing the dishes?
With this mighty little tome, you can have the next best thing--because Brain Trust is packed with bite-sized scientific wisdom on our everyday challenges, hand-delivered to you direct from the galaxy’s biggest brains. Based entirely on interviews with an incredible lineup of luminaries from the fields of neuroscience, economics, anthropology, music, mathematics, and more, Brain Trust is full of cutting-edge science that’ll help you see the real world better—and smarter. Discover:
--what advanced math can teach you about getting all your chores done today
--how creating a ‘future self’ can help you shop smarter at the grocery store
--what prairie voles can teach us about love
--how the science of happiness can help you trick lawyers into doing charity work
--the components of gullibility, and how they can help you scam-proof yourself
--the secrets to building your very own army of cyborg beetles
--how memetic information can help you exploit altruism for good…or evil
--why eating for eight hours can help you lose weight
--the behavioral economics behind selling your junk for big bucks on eBay
--how to get more plasure for less price

Contributors include Professors Pinker, Panda, Maharbiz, Iyengar, Givens, Bjork, Garibaldi, Lowenstein, Ku, Strayer, Deutsch, Akerlof, Katz-Brown (google), Matsuoka, Berman, Finkel, Neitz, Ekman, Weissmanm, Greenspan, Maskin, Bloom, Berger, Levin, and more.

[book] Twelfth and Race
(Flyover Fiction)
By Eric Goodman
March 2012, Bison Books
Life takes a strange turn when Richard Allan Gordon, thirty years old and as white as they come, discovers that, as a result of identity theft, five-year-old Jada Reece Gordon bears his name. The product of a middle-class Jewish upbringing, Richie finds himself completely in love and lust with Jada’s mother, LaTisha, a twenty-five-year-old African American nursing student, and longs to be a father to her child.
Richie and LaTisha’s story takes place at the intersection of love, race, and identity, as the couple is forced to examine their relationship in light of the terrible event that takes the life of a young black father and catapults their midwestern city into chaos. As riots erupt around them and Richie discovers a secret about his own past that challenges his long-held ideas, he and LaTisha must come to grips with the forces that threaten to tear their relationship apart. A novel that doesn’t shy away from the racism that dwells within the unexamined hearts of so many Americans, Twelfth and Race may shock or outrage some readers, yet its story is ultimately timely, honest, and hopeful.

[book] The Stranger Within Sarah Stein
(Modern Jewish Literature and Culture)
By Thane Rosenbaum
March 2012, Texas Tech Press
Ages 8 and up?
Twelve-year-old Sarah Stein loves life in New York. Who wouldn’t, growing up in a cool TriBeCa loft with an artist dad and a chocolate-maker mom, rollerblading in Central Park, hanging out with friends? That is, until the day her parents tell her they’re divorcing. Forced to shuttle each day by bicycle between their separate residences on either side of the Brooklyn Bridge, Sarah soon discovers that the parents she thought she knew are as opposite as their new homes. She takes on a bizarrely split identity—one day she’s the daughter of the prim, social-climbing chocolatier, the next the streetwise, smart-aleck child of the downtown abstract painter. Sarah Stein becomes a stranger to herself. But that’s not the only thing that’s strange. Colliding with the cart of a homeless man one day while pedaling across the bridge, Sarah tumbles through a magical portal and into an upside-down world of double identities and second chances.
Through her friendship with the homeless Clarence Wind, a disgraced fireman missing since 9/11, and the love of her grandmother, a wise Holocaust survivor with her own hidden past, Sarah unlocks the mysteries behind the strangeness that she and Clarence share. In this witty, wonder-filled novel about broken homes and disconnected lives, with the majestic Brooklyn Bridge as backdrop and the legacies of the Holocaust and the Twin Towers as back story, Sarah Stein’s adventures prove both heartbreaking and heartwarming, an enchantment for readers of all ages.
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[book] We Are Here
Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust
by Ellen Cassedy
March 2012, University of Nebraska Press
Ellen Cassedy’s longing to recover the Yiddish she’d lost with her mother’s death eventually led her to Lithuania, once the “Jerusalem of the North.” As she prepared for her journey, her uncle, sixty years after he’d left Lithuania in a boxcar, made a shocking disclosure about his wartime experience, and an elderly man from her ancestral town made an unsettling request. Gradually, what had begun as a personal journey broadened into a larger exploration of how the people of this country, Jews and non-Jews alike, are confronting their past in order to move forward into the future. How does a nation—how do successor generations, moral beings—overcome a bloody past? How do we judge the bystanders, collaborators, perpetrators, rescuers, and ourselves? These are the questions Cassedy confronts in We Are Here, one woman’s exploration of Lithuania’s Jewish history combined with a personal exploration of her own family’s place in it. Digging through archives with the help of a local whose motives are puzzling to her; interviewing natives, including an old man who wants to “speak to a Jew” before he dies; discovering the complications encountered by a country that endured both Nazi and Soviet occupation—Cassedy finds that it’s not just the facts of history that matter, but what we choose to do with them.

[book] The Jewish Jesus
How Judaism and Christianity Shaped Each Other
By Peter Schäfer
2012, Princeton University Press
In late antiquity, as Christianity emerged from Judaism, it was not only the new religion that was being influenced by the old. The rise and revolutionary challenge of Christianity also had a profound influence on rabbinic Judaism, which was itself just emerging and, like Christianity, trying to shape its own identity. In The Jewish Jesus, Peter Schäfer reveals the crucial ways in which various Jewish heresies, including Christianity, affected the development of rabbinic Judaism. He even shows that some of the ideas that the rabbis appropriated from Christianity were actually reappropriated Jewish ideas. The result is a demonstration of the deep mutual influence between the sister religions, one that calls into question hard and fast distinctions between orthodoxy and heresy, and even Judaism and Christianity, during the first centuries CE
Peter Schäfer is the Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies and professor of religion at Princeton University, where he directs the Program in Judaic Studies. His books include "The Origins of Jewish Mysticism" and "Jesus in the Talmud" (both Princeton).
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The Renew Our Day Haggadah
Edited by Rabbi Ronald Aigen
March 11, 2012
Wellsprings of Freedom: The Renew Our Days Haggadah— Offers commentaries based on a previously untranslated collection of ?asidic insights into the Haggadah for the contemporary seeker. It links each of the traditional simanim or “guideposts” of the Seder to a theme that explores a facet of freedom in our lives today. (E.g., Kaddesh—freedom in relation to our use of time; Karpas—freedom and our relationship to nature and the environment.) It provides user-friendly cues for a fail-safe Seder, as well as for navigating a briefer, child-oriented Seder. It creates a stunning visual midrash (commentary) on the Passover Haggadah with colour artwork by J.W. Stewart. With high praises from Rabbi David Ellenson, President Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Rabbi Naomi Levy, spiritual leader of Nashuva: The Jewish Spiritual Outreach Center and author of Hope Will Find You and Talking to God; Rabbi Laura Geller, Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills; and Rabbi Arthur Green, Rector of the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College and author of Radical Judaism
Rabbi Rachel Cowan wrote, “Dayyenu! If Ron Aigen had created an artistically beautiful and graphically elegant Haggadah, that would be enough. If he had laid it out with great respect for the leader - clear, sophisticated instructions on how to proceed, that would be enough. If he had included wonderful discussion questions that appeal to a wide variety of people, that would be enough. But, in addition, he has included the most interesting, powerful interpretations of the text from deeply spiritual writings of the great classical Hasidic masters to light up the whole Seder. Dayyenu! And Hallelujah!”
"Wellsprings of Freedom is a delight to the eyes, the heart, the mind and the soul. People, using this beautiful work at their Seder, will have the shared experience of a current day Exodus." Rabbi Zalman Schachter–Shalomi, co-author of Jewish With Feeling
Rabbi Ron Aigen, is the spiritual leader of Congregation Dorshei Emet in Montreal where he directs the EMET Centre for Spirituality, Ethics and Culture. A native of Brooklyn, he is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He is a fellow of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and a Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

[book] The Age of Insight
The Quest to Understand the Unconscious
in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present
Eric Kandel, Phd, Nobel Laureate (
March 27, 2012, Random House
You might know the esteemed Columbia University Professor Emeritus from the Charlie Rose Show, or from the time when he won the Nobel and Austria, from which he escaped at age 9, tried to take credit for his prize and he said, “No, this is an American Jewish Nobel.” Austria, however, did agree to host a symposium on Nazism in Austria that Kandel organized with Fritz Stern.
But I digress...
This is a brilliant book by Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel, The Age of Insight takes us to Vienna 1900, where leaders in science, medicine, and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mind—our conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions—and how mind and brain relate to art.
At the turn of the century, Vienna was the cultural capital of Europe. Artists and scientists met in glittering salons, where they freely exchanged ideas that led to revolutionary breakthroughs in psychology, brain science, literature, and art. Kandel takes us into the world of Vienna to trace, in rich and rewarding detail, the ideas and advances made then, and their enduring influence today.
The Vienna School of Medicine led the way with its realization that truth lies hidden beneath the surface. That principle infused Viennese culture and strongly influenced the other pioneers of Vienna 1900. Sigmund Freud shocked the world with his insights into how our everyday unconscious aggressive and erotic desires are repressed and disguised in symbols, dreams, and behavior. Arthur Schnitzler revealed women’s unconscious sexuality in his novels through his innovative use of the interior monologue. Gustav Klimt, Oscar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele created startlingly evocative and honest portraits that expressed unconscious lust, desire, anxiety, and the fear of death.
Kandel tells the story of how these pioneers—Freud, Schnitzler, Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele—inspired by the Vienna School of Medicine, in turn influenced the founders of the Vienna School of Art History to ask pivotal questions such as What does the viewer bring to a work of art? How does the beholder respond to it? These questions prompted new and ongoing discoveries in psychology and brain biology, leading to revelations about how we see and perceive, how we think and feel, and how we respond to and create works of art. Kandel, one of the leading scientific thinkers of our time, places these five innovators in the context of today’s cutting-edge science and gives us a new understanding of the modernist art of Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele, as well as the school of thought of Freud and Schnitzler. Reinvigorating the intellectual enquiry that began in Vienna 1900, The Age of Insight is a wonderfully written, superbly researched, and beautifully illustrated book that also provides a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities. It is an extraordinary book from an international leader in neuroscience and intellectual history.
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[book] If I Could Tell You
A Novel
by Hannah Brown (Jerusalem Post)
Spring 2012, Vantage Point
Anne. Talia. Ruthie. Brett. Four very different New York women. But when their children are diagnosed with autism, they all find themselves struggling with the same problem. Suddenly, these women – an ex-model who owns a downtown bar, a high-powered magazine editor, an English professor, and a physical therapist – find that they need each other, as they face the ultimate challenge for any parent: How to help their autistic children get the care they need. But as women, they struggle with another daunting task: How to keep their marriages alive and not find themselves on the wrong side of a frightening statistic --Eighty percent of the parents of autistic children divorce. They join together in a support group, and each chapter follows a month in their lives and ends with a meeting.
It's a rocky road, as they contend with other problems: Quacks peddling expensive alternative therapies – and hope; husbands impatient with their children's disability; other women only too happy to take advantage of the pressures on their marriages; older children diagnosed with autism years ago; newborn babies who have a one-in-five chance of suffering from the disorder; scheming co-workers who try to turn this problem to their advantage; grandparents who are anything but helpful; and resentful teens who run wild while their mothers cope with the crisis. And through it all, they help each other – with strength, humor, love and wisdom.
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Spring 2012,
July 20, 1894. The German military attaché in Paris receives a visit from a seedy-looking man who claims to be a French army officer in desperate need of money, offering to sell them military secrets.
Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a rising star in the French artillery command. Reserved yet intelligent and ambitious, Dreyfus had everything: a family, money, and a clear path to a prestigious post on the General Staff. However, Dreyfus had enemies as a result of his ambition. Many of them came from the impoverished Catholic aristocracy and disliked Dreyfus because he was rich, bourgeois, and, above all, a Jew.
On the basis of flimsy evidence, Dreyfus was placed under arrest for the crime of high treason. Not long afterward, he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life on the legendary, lethal Devil's Island. The saga of Dreyfus's many trials-he was not exonerated until 1906, twelve years after first being arrested-the fight to free him, and the intrigues on both sides, is a fast-moving mystery story rife with heroes and villains, loose women, loyal wives, bisexual men, tricksters, and charlatans. But this was no mere sideshow. The anti-Semitism and deceit on display in the Dreyfus case was an ominous prelude to the Holocaust and the long, bloody twentieth century to come.
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[book] Jews and Ukrainians in Russia's Literary Borderlands:
From the Shtetl Fair to the Petersburg Bookshop
By Amelia M. Glaser
March 2012, Northwestern Univ Press
Studies of Eastern European literature have largely confined themselves to a single language, culture, or nationality. In this highly original book, Glaser shows how writers working in Russian, Ukrainian, and Yiddish during much of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century were in intense conversation with one another. The marketplace was both the literal locale at which members of these different societies and cultures interacted with one another and a rich subject for representation in their art. It is commonplace to note the influence of Gogol on Russian literature, but Glaser shows him to have been a profound influence on Ukrainian and Yiddish literature as well. And she shows how Gogol must be understood not only within the context of his adopted city of St. Petersburg but also that of his native Ukraine. As Ukrainian and Yiddish literatures developed over this period, they were shaped by their geographical and cultural position on the margins of the Russian Empire. As distinctive as these writers may seem from one another, they are further illuminated by an appreciation of their common relationship to Russia. Glaser’s book paints a far more complicated portrait than scholars have traditionally allowed of Jewish (particularly Yiddish) literature in the context of Eastern European and Russian culture

[book] The New Arab Man
Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam
in the Middle East
By Marcia C. Inhorn
March 2012, Princeton
Middle Eastern Muslim men have been widely vilified as terrorists, religious zealots, and brutal oppressors of women. The New Arab Man challenges these stereotypes with the stories of ordinary Middle Eastern men as they struggle to overcome infertility and childlessness through assisted reproduction.
Drawing on two decades of ethnographic research across the Middle East with hundreds of men from a variety of social and religious backgrounds, Marcia Inhorn shows how the new Arab man is self-consciously rethinking the patriarchal masculinity of his forefathers and unseating received wisdoms. This is especially true in childless Middle Eastern marriages where, contrary to popular belief, infertility is more common among men than women. Inhorn captures the marital, moral, and material commitments of couples undergoing assisted reproduction, revealing how new technologies are transforming their lives and religious sensibilities. And she looks at the changing manhood of husbands who undertake transnational "egg quests"--set against the backdrop of war and economic uncertainty--out of devotion to the infertile wives they love. Trenchant and emotionally gripping, The New Arab Man traces the emergence of new masculinities in the Middle East in the era of biotechnology.

[book] Flatscreen
A Novel
By Adam Wilson
2012, Harper Perennial
Flatscreen tells the story of Eli Schwartz as he endures the loss of his home, the indifference of his parents, the success of his older brother, and the cruel and frequent dismissal of the opposite sex.
He is a loser par excellence — pasty, soft, and high — who struggles to become a new person in a world where nothing is new.
Into this scene of apathy rolls Seymour J. Kahn. Former star of the small screen and current paraplegic sex addict, Kahn has purchased Eli’s old family home. The two begin a dangerous friendship, one that distracts from their circumstances but speeds their descent into utter debasement and, inevitably, YouTube stardom.
By story’s end, through unlikely acts of courage and kindness, roles will be reversed, reputations resurrected, and charges (hopefully) dropped. Adam Wilson writes mischief that moves the heart, and Flatscreen marks the wondrous debut of a truth-telling comic voice.

[book] Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends
By Gertrude Landa
March 2012, Create Space Publishing
Publisher says: “This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare’s finesse to Oscar Wilde’s wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim’s Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library.” Based on a 1919 translation

[book] Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam
Modern Scholarship, Medieval Realities
By Jacob Lassner
March 2012, Univ of Chicago Press
In Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam, Jacob Lassner examines the triangular relationship that during the Middle Ages defined—and continues to define today—the political and cultural interaction among the three Abrahamic faiths. Lassner looks closely at the debates occasioned by modern Western scholarship on Islam to throw new light on the social and political status of medieval Jews and Christians in various Islamic lands from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries. Utilizing a vast array of primary sources, Lassner balances the rhetoric of literary and legal texts from the Middle Ages with other, newly published medieval sources, describing life as it was actually lived among the three faith communities. Lassner shows just what medieval Muslims meant when they spoke of tolerance, and how that abstract concept played out at different times and places in the real world of Christian and Jewish communities under Islamic rule. Finally, he considers what a more informed picture of the relationship among the Abrahamic faiths in the medieval Islamic world might mean for modern scholarship on medieval Islamic civilization and, not the least, for the highly contentious global environment of today.

[book] The Theology of the Chinese Jews, 1000–1850
By Jordan Paper
March 2012, Laurier University Press
A thousand years ago, the Chinese government invited merchants from one of the Chinese port synagogue communities to the capital, Kaifeng. The merchants settled there and the community prospered. Over centuries, with government support, the Kaifeng Jews built and rebuilt their synagogue, which became perhaps the world’s largest. Some studied for the rabbinate; others prepared for civil service examinations, leading to a disproportionate number of Jewish government officials. While continuing orthodox Jewish practices they added rituals honouring their parents and the patriarchs, in keeping with Chinese custom. However, by the mid-eighteenth century—cut off from Judaism elsewhere for two centuries, their synagogue destroyed by a flood, their community impoverished and dispersed by a civil war that devastated Kaifeng—their Judaism became defunct.
The Theology of the Chinese Jews traces the history of Jews in China and explores how their theology’s focus on love, rather than on the fear of a non-anthropomorphic God, may speak to contemporary liberal Jews. Equally relevant to contemporary Jews is that the Chinese Jews remained fully Jewish while harmonizing with the family-centred religion of China. In an illuminating postscript, Rabbi Anson Laytner underscores the point that Jewish culture can thrive in an open society, “without hostility, by absorbing the best of the dominant culture and making it one’s own.”
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[book] Contemplative Nation
A Philosophical Account of Jewish Theological Language
By Cass Fisher
March 2012, Stanford University Press
Contemplative Nation challenges the long-standing view that theology is not a vital part of the Jewish tradition. For political and philosophical reasons, both scholars of Judaism and Jewish thinkers have sought to minimize the role of theology in Judaism. This book constructs a new model for understanding Jewish theological language that emphasizes the central role of theological reflection in Judaism and the close relationship between theological reflection and religious practice in the Jewish tradition. Drawing on diverse philosophical resources, Fisher's model of Jewish theology embraces the multiple forms and functions of Jewish theological language. Fisher demonstrates the utility of this model by undertaking close readings of an early rabbinic commentary on the book of Exodus (Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael ) and a work of modern philosophical theology (Franz Rosenzweig's The Star of Redemption). These readings advance the discussion of theology in rabbinics and modern Jewish thought and provide resources for constructive Jewish theology

[book] Were the Popes Against the Jews?
Tracking the Myths,
Confronting the Ideologues
By Justus George Lawler
2012, Eerdmans
How many people know that a modern pope publicly referred to Jews as "dogs;" that two other modern popes called the Jewish religion "Satan's synagogue"; that at the beginning of the twentieth century another pope refused to save the life of a Jew accused of ritual murder, even though the pope knew the man was innocent? Lastly, how many people know that only a decade before the rise of Hitler, another pope supported priests who called for the extermination of all the Jews in the world?
The answer has to be "great numbers of people" since those accusations appeared in David I. Kertzer's The Popes Against the Jews (2001), a book which had been lauded in major journals and newspapers in the U.S. and the U.K., and which by 2006 had been translated into nine foreign languages, while Kertzer himself according to his Website, had become "America's foremost expert on the modern history of the Vatican's relations with the Jews." It is thus undeniable that very many people in very many countries have heard of the appalling misdeeds and misstatements mentioned above -- even though, in fact, not one of them was ever perpetrated by any pope.
But Were the Popes Against the Jews? is not only about the disclosure of these shocking slanders, however fascinating and important such an expose is. In the broader perspective, it is about the power of ideology to subvert historical judgments, whether the latter concern the origins of anti-Semitism and the papacy, the distortion of documents to indict Pius XII, or the fabrication of Pius XI as "codependent collaborator" with Mussolini (the announced subject of Kertzer's next book). Justus George Lawler's confrontation with ideologues will gratify all who are seeking not triumph over opponents, but peace and justice for all.

[book] The Patagonian Hare
A Memoir
by Claude Lanzmann. Translated by Frank Wynne
Spring 2012, FS&G
“Even if I lived a hundred lives, I still wouldn’t be exhausted.” These words capture the intensity of the experiences of Claude Lanzmann, a man whose acts have always been a negation of resignation: a member of the Resistance at sixteen, a friend to Jean-Paul Sartre and a lover to Simone de Beauvoir, and the director of one of the most important films in the history of cinema, Shoah.
In these pages, Lanzmann composes a hymn to life that flows from memory yet has the rhythm of a novel, as tumultuous as it is energetic. The Patagonian Hare is the story of a man who has searched at every moment for existential adventure, who has committed himself deeply to what he believes in, and who has made his life a battle. The Patagonian Hare, a number-one bestseller in France, has been translated into Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Polish, Dutch, and Portuguese. Claude Lanzmann’s brilliant memoir has been widely acclaimed as a masterpiece, was hailed as “a true literary and historic event” in the pages of Le Monde, and was awarded the prestigious Welt-Literaturpreis in Germany.
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[book] The Righteous Mind
Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
by Jonathan Haidt
Spring 2012, Knopf
Why can’t our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens? In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition—the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right. He blends his own research findings with those of anthropologists, historians, and other psychologists to draw a map of the moral domain, and he explains why conservatives can navigate that map more skillfully than can liberals. He then examines the origins of morality, overturning the view that evolution made us fundamentally selfish creatures. But rather than arguing that we are innately altruistic, he makes a more subtle claim—that we are fundamentally groupish. It is our groupishness, he explains, that leads to our greatest joys, our religious divisions, and our political affiliations. In a stunning final chapter on ideology and civility, Haidt shows what each side is right about, and why we need the insights of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians to flourish as a nation.
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[book] The Kosher Grapevine
Exploring the World of Fine Wine
By Irving Langer
Spring 2012, Gefen
Kosher wines have been winning prestigious international competitions and creating a buzz among wine connoisseurs, yet most kosher consumers still opt for traditional sweet stuff. Irving Langer used to be one of those people. A man with a zest for living life to the fullest, Irving embarked on an exploration of the subtleties of fine wine and now he s ready to share his knowledge with you. With wit as dry as his favorite Merlot, Irving guides you on a fascinating, often whimsical journey, teaching you all you need to know: the differences between red, white, and sparkling wines; the ten steps of wine tasting; how to navigate a restaurant wine menu. He takes the mystery out of pairing wine with food, and provides solid lists of resources including wineries, critics, and helpful websites. Taking it to the next level, Irving probes the highly significant role of this spiritually charged drink in Jewish culture and history. Bursting with facts, folklore, and humor, The Kosher Grapevine will transform you from ho-hum Kiddush sipper to savvy wine aficionado.
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[book] Fifty-Four Pick Up
Fifteen Minute Inspirational Torah Lessons
By Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld
Spring 2012, Gefen
There is no issue too controversial for Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld as he seamlessly connects ideas and themes of the Torah to the major issues of our times. What does the Torah say about homosexuality? What is the agunah crisis, and what can we do about it? How do we effectively combat intermarriage? Is our justice system truly just? In this collection of thoughts about the fifty-four weekly Torah portions, Rabbi Herzfeld shows us how the Torah can guide us and inspire us in our daily lives. Why is giving away your pillow the best way to get a good night s sleep? Should the Internet be used for bar mitzvah lessons? How can you be a good parent? What would you do if you had only five minutes to live? Rabbi Herzfeld is confident and proud of his Jewishness. His enthusiasm and unabashed love for the Torah is contagious, and his Jewish pride shouts out from every page. Warning: If you read this book you will be infected by Rabbi Herzfeld s love of Torah!
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld is the Rabbi of Ohev Sholom The National Synagogue in Washington, DC. He graduated from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University and a Masters in Jewish History from YU. He was an Assistant Rabbi to Rabbi Avi Weiss at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale from 1999 to 2004. He teaches Torah classes on Capitol Hill
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[book] A Natural Woman:
A Memoir
By Carole King
2012, Grand Central Publishing
Carole King takes us from her early beginnings in Brooklyn, to her remarkable success as one of the world's most acclaimed songwriting and performing talents of all time. A NATURAL WOMAN chronicles King's extraordinary life, drawing readers into her musical world, including her phenomenally successful #1 album Tapestry, and into her journey as a performer, mother, wife and present-day activist. Deeply personal, King's long-awaited memoir offers readers a front-row seat to the woman behind the legend.
The book will include dozens of photos from King's childhood, her own family, and behind-the-scenes images from her performances.

[book] The Illuminated Kaddish
Interpretations of the Mourner’s Prayer
Hyla Shifra Bolsta
April 2012, KTAV
The Illuminated Kaddish: Interpretations of the Jewish Mourner’s Prayer is a contemporary, illuminated manuscript that deepens contemplation and appeals to the spirit through visual beauty. This book is a modern meditation with images that reflect the spirit of the Kaddish, replete with illustrations, illuminated calligraphy, exploration of the powerful text and its invocations, Biblical quotes and sages thoughts on Death and Prayer. It contains about 104 embellished pages in a 10 x 10 format.

[book] From Defender to Critic
The Search for a New Jewish Self
By David Hartman
April 2012, Jewish Lights
How the world s leading modern Orthodox theologian s struggles with halakhic spirituality reshaped and renewed his foundation of faith. He is the founder and head of the Shalom Hartman Inst in Jerusalem. This is an extraordinary look into David Hartman s spiritual quest to reframe the traditional halakhic system of formalism and authority into one with a greater emphasis on the individual and his or her subjective, experiential role in creating meaningful Judaism. It traces his painful spiritual evolution from defender of the rule-based system of Jewish law shaped by his teacher Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik to a revolutionary proponent of a theology of empowerment, one that encourages individuals and communities to take greater levels of responsibility for their religious lives. It shows how his goals were not to strip halakha or the past of its authority but to create a space for questioning and critique that allows for the traditionally religious Jew to act out a moral life in tune with modern experience.
In achieving this synthesis of tradition with the sensibilities of contemporary Jewry, Hartman captures precisely what creates vitality in living Judaism and charts the path to nurture its vitality forever.

[book] Our Religious Brains
What Cognitive Science Reveals
About Belief, Morality, Community
And Our Relationship With God
By Rabbi Ralph D. Mecklenburger with Dr. Neil Gillman and Dr Howard Klefer
2012, Jewish Lights
The first accessible examination of the implications of cognitive studies for theology intended especially for lay people. In the last several decades, scientific research on the way the brain functions has revolutionized more than clinical psychology and medicine. Our brains do not simply process information. They create what each of us knows as reality and how we construe its meaning. This has dramatic implications not only for psychology, but for virtually every field, including religion.
This groundbreaking, accessible book examines the implications of cognitive study for theology. It reviews current theory on how our brains construct our world in order to guide us safely through life, creating and appreciating meaning as we go. It explores what religious experience is as it plays out in our brains and how modern science challenges historic ideas about free will and undermines the religious concept of the soul as a metaphysical entity separable from the body. Finally, it examines what cognitive science reveals about community and asks why we should be loyal to one faith if, in fact, all major religious traditions deal effectively with universal human needs.
Avoiding neurological jargon and respectful to all faiths, this is the first comprehensive look at the insights and challenges of cognitive studies for religion.

[book] Fat, Drunk, and Stupid
The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House
By Matty Simmons
April 2012, St Martin’s Press
A wild, uncensored, behind-the-scenes account of America's favorite film comedy. In 1976, National Lampoon, the nation’s most popular humor magazine, decided to create a movie under the Lampoon banner. It would be set on a college campus in the 60s, very loosely based on the fraternity experiences of Lampoon contributor Chris Miller, and it would be called “Animal House.” A cast of mostly unknowns was hired, and for four weeks in late 1977, the actors and crew invaded the town of Eugene, Oregon. Reluctantly produced by Universal Studios on a budget of less than $3 million, the film wound up with revenues of over $600 million. Drawing from exclusive new interviews with director John Landis, fellow producer Ivan Reitman, Karen Allen, Kevin Bacon and other key players, as well as never-before-seen photos, this book traces the film’s outrageous history, from its birth in the offices of the National Lampoon, to scripting, casting, filming, and, ultimately, the film’s mega success. This is a hilarious romp through one of the biggest grossing, most memorable, most frequently quoted, and most celebrated comedies of all time.

[book] Jews Welcome Coffee:
Tradition and Innovation in Early Modern Germany
Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry
By Robert Liberles (Ben Gurion)
2012, Brandeis
Tracing the introduction of coffee into Europe, Robert Liberles challenges long-held assumptions about early modern Jewish history and shows how the Jews harnessed an innovation that enriched their personal, religious, social, and economic lives. Focusing on Jewish society in Germany in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and using coffee as a key to understanding social change, Liberles analyzes German rabbinic rulings on coffee, Jewish consumption patterns, the commercial importance of coffee for various social strata, differences based on gender, and the efforts of German authorities to restrict Jewish trade in coffee, as well as the integration of Jews into society.
Some chapters are: Introduction: What Should One Drink?; Coffee’s Social Dimensions; Coffee and Controversies in Germany; The Rabbis Welcome Coffee; Coffee in Everyday Life: Consumption, Petty Trade, and Religious Life; It Is Not Permitted, Therefore It Is Forbidden: Controversies over the Jewish Coffee Trade; If Only They Had Worn Their Cocardes: Jews, Coffeehouses, and Social Integration; and Epilogue: Tradition and Innovation

April 2012, Harvard University Press / Belknap
According to tradition, the First Crusade began at Pope Urban II’s instigation and culminated in July 1099, when western European knights liberated Jerusalem. But what if the First Crusade’s real catalyst lay far to the east of Rome? Countering nearly a millennium of scholarship, Peter Frankopan reveals the First Crusade’s untold history. What if the First Crusade’s real catalyst lay far to the east of Rome? Countering nearly a millennium of scholarship, Peter Frankopan reveals the First Crusade’s untold history.
Professor Frankopan shows that the standard history that Pope Urban II gave a speech in 1095 at Clermont might not be the whole story. While Pope Urban had tests and oaths, Peter the Hermit recruited what one contemporary called the feces of Europe to take up arms. Constantinople is where we should look. The Byzantine Empire and its ruler Alexios (I Komnenos) is central to the story of the First Crusade. The Crusade began with Alexios and not Urban II. Alexios was no fool. He had taken power in a coup and saw that the pope was weakened after the Great Schism of 1054. The Turks were threatening Alexios' rule, and he thought that by linking his rule to the freeing of Jerusalem would get him the military support he needed to fend off the Turks. Thus he was the architect of the First Crusade

As for the Jews... Towards the end of the 11th century, there were reports in Europe of atrocities by Muslims in the Holy Land. O 1077, a synagogue was burned in Jerusalem, and in the 1090's pilgrims were reportedly kidnapped and tortured. The Crusaders in the German lands practiced killing Jews on their way to Jerusalem. The Jewish population of Cologne and Mainz were violently attacked; some committed suicide rather than face the mobs. In Regensburg, Jews were pushed into the Danube to be forcibly baptised. Godfrey and Bouillon vowed to eradicate the Jews in 1096, but was stopped by Henry IV. Even the threat of excommunication did not stop the crusaders from killing Jews in Europe. When sacking Jerusalem, the Crusaders cut open Muslims and Jews, thinking that they had swallowed gold and treasures. Click the book cover to read more

[book] Second Person Singular
By Sayed Kashua
Translated from Hebrew by Mitch
April 2012, Grove Press
Fascinating and satirical... addresses the split identity of the Arab Israeli
Acclaimed novelist Sayed Kashua, the creator of the groundbreaking Israeli sitcom, “Arab Labor,” has been widely praised for his literary eye and deadpan wit. His new novel is considered internationally to be his most accomplished and entertaining work yet.
Winner of the prestigious Bernstein Award, Second Person Singular centers on an ambitious lawyer who is considered one of the best Arab criminal attorneys in Jerusalem. He has a thriving practice in the Jewish part of town, a large house, speaks perfect Hebrew, and is in love with his wife and two young children. One day at a used bookstore, he picks up a copy of Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata, and inside finds a love letter, in Arabic, in his wife’s handwriting. Consumed with suspicion and jealousy, the lawyer hunts for the book’s previous owner—a man named Yonatan—pulling at the strings that hold all their lives together.
With enormous emotional power, and a keen sense of the absurd, Kashua spins a tale of love and betrayal, honesty and artifice, and questions whether it is possible to truly reinvent ourselves. Second Person Singular is a deliciously complex psychological mystery and a searing dissection of the individuals that comprise a divided society.
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[book] America's Soul In the Balance
The Holocaust, FDR's State Department, And The Moral Disgrace Of An American Aristocracy
By Attorney Gregory J. Wallance
April 2012, Green Leaf
Documentary producer, author, tv host, and Kaye Scholer partner Wallance, reports on the often forgotten story of the 70,000 Romanian Jews who were deported to death camps during WWII and the US State Department’s reactions, failure to act, and suppression of facts

[book] Conversations at the American Film Institute with the Great Moviemakers
The Next Generation
By George Stevens Jr.
April 2012, Knopf
The Next Generation brings together AFI's conversations with moviemakers at work from the 1950s--during the studios' decline--to today's Hollywood. Directors, producers, writers, actors, cinematographers, composers, film editors, and independent filmmakers. Among them: Steven Spielberg, Nora Ephron, George Lucas, Sidney Poitier, and Darren Aronofsky.

A Graphic novel
By Leela Corman
April 2012, Schocken
But I was reading it on the subway, absorbed in the story, and then I realized that some of the drawing in this graphic novel are X-Rated, or nearly so, so I had to put it back in my bag, so as not to arouse suspicion that I was reading soft core porn during a commute.
This is a mesmerizing, heartbreaking graphic novel of immigrant life on New York’s Lower East Side at the turn of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of twin sisters whose lives take radically and tragically different paths.
For six-year-old Esther and Fanya, the teeming streets of New York’s Lower East Side circa 1910 are both a fascinating playground and a place where life’s lessons are learned quickly and often cruelly. In drawings that capture both the tumult and the telling details of that street life, Unterzakhn (Yiddish for "Underthings") tells the story of these sisters: as wide-eyed little girls absorbing the sights and sounds of a neighborhood of struggling immigrants; as teenagers taking their own tentative steps into the wider world (Esther working for a woman who runs both a burlesque theater and a whorehouse, Fanya for an obstetrician who also performs illegal abortions); and, finally, as adults battling for their own piece of the "golden land," where the difference between just barely surviving and triumphantly succeeding involves, for each of them, painful decisions that will have unavoidably tragic repercussions.
There are also flashbacks to Eastern Europe, dating, and pogroms.

FROM THE LATE ANTHONY SHADID. HE DIED IN FEB 2012, A MONTH BEFORE THE BOOK’S PUBLICATION, WHILE COVERING SYRIA FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES. THE RECIPIENT OF MULTIPLE PULITZER PRIZES, I can tell you that after reading 3 pages, you will see what language and writing can be like in the hands of an artisan. I admit that I re-read some paragraphs, just to see how Shadid constructed them to make them so descriptive and powerful.
Some of the readers of this website might find the early chapters irritating as Shadid describes Israel’s IDF and the war in Southern Lebanon, the destruction, bombs, wanton destruction and defecation, etc., but war is war. And Leebanese will find the way that Shadid’s neighbors try to rip him off and steal.
[book] House of Stone
A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East
By Anthony Shadid
March 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Last spring, when Anthony Shadid—one of four New York Times reporters captured in Libya as the region erupted—was freed, he went home. Not to Boston, Beirut, or Oklahoma where he was raised by his Lebanese-American family, but to an ancient estate built by his great-grandfather, a place filled with memories of a lost era when the Middle East was a world of grace, grandeur, and unexpected departures. For two years previous, Shadid had worked to reconstruct the house and restore his spirit after both had weathered war. Now the author of the award-winning Night Draws Near (National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, Los Angeles Times Book Prize) tells the story of the house’s re-creation, revealing its mysteries and recovering the lives that have passed through it. Shadid juxtaposes past and present as he traces the house’s renewal along with his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America. House of Stone is an unforgettable memoir of the world’s most volatile landscape and the universal yearning for home.

Reviewing the book in The New York Times, Steve Coll of The New Yorker, wrote, “The pain and allure of departure, more than the satisfaction of arrival, run through the stories told in “House of Stone,” Anthony Shadid’s elegiac, heartbreaking memoir of the year he spent restoring a long-abandoned family home in southern Lebanon. The book’s searching characters and mournful tone would be moving even if a reader had no knowledge that Mr. Shadid, a correspondent for The New York Times and perhaps his generation’s finest chronicler of the Middle East, died on Feb. 16 at 43 while on assignment in Syria. As it is, a book conceived as an introspective project of personal recovery — as well as a meditation on politics, identity, craft and beauty in the Levant — now stands as a memorial. It is a fitting one because of the writing skill and deep feeling Mr. Shadid unobtrusively displays. “House of Stone” is an elegant narrative that creates unity from diverse elements, much like the Ottoman-era cemento tiles over which Mr. Shadid obsesses and bargains during one stage of his beguiling restoration work. The book tells the story of his family’s migration from Lebanon to Oklahoma early in the 20th century, and along the way it illuminates the consequences of the Ottoman Empire’s fall; the binding ties of bayt, or home and belonging, in Arab families; the workplace ethics of Mr. Shadid’s small construction site in Lebanon; and the flavors of that battered society’s bitterness and resilience. At the heart of the book, Mr. Shadid’s third, lies the strong, open voice of its author. He is drawn to his family’s origins at a time when, after years of hard travel and conflict reporting at The Washington Post, he finds himself “stunned by war, and shockingly, no longer young, or married, or with my daughter.” He arrives as an emotional refugee in Jedeidet Marjayoun, a town not far from the Israeli frontier, where his great-grandfather left an empty house that Mr. Shadid partly owns by inheritance. His new Lebanese neighbors quickly disabuse him of any fantasy that they will bathe him a restorative embrace. They make a sport of fleecing him and regard his desire to rebuild the home as “reckless, dangerous, and altogether ‘American.’” Yet Mr. Shadid is too much in need of a project that will calm and repair his injured self to care very much what they think. His motivation, he writes, is “bayt and the desire to resurrect what once stood for something…
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The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16
March 2012
Grand Central Publishing
A Delightful Romp Through Childhood Tragedy, Institutional Living, and Teenage Drug Addiction
Moshe Kasher is a stand up comedian and lives in Los Angeles. He has been featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, and Chelsea Lately. He has performed at many international comedy festivals including the prestigious "Just For Laughs" festival in Montreal, Jamie Foxx's "Laffapalooza" festival and "South By Southwest." Moshe just finished shooting an MTV show, and he recently sold a show to Comedy Central, which he wrote and will star in.

If bread was now packaged in a sanitary plastic bag... softness came to replace smell to represent freshness
A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf
By Aaron Bobrow-Strain, PhD (Whitman College)
March 2012
Beacon Press
How was white bread created?
Was it a way to homogenize immigrants, move them away from Commie Socialist rye and black breads?
Did the chemical sliced loaf improve the health of youth and prep them for the army?
Then how did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become “white trash”?
In this lively history of bakers, dietary crusaders, and social reformers, Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows us that what we think about the humble, puffy loaf says a lot about who we are and what we want our society to look like.
White Bread teaches us that when Americans debate what one should eat, they are also wrestling with larger questions of race, class, immigration, and gender. As Bobrow-Strain traces the story of bread, from the first factory loaf to the latest gourmet pain au levain, he shows how efforts to champion “good food” reflect dreams of a better society—even as they reinforce stark social hierarchies.
In the early twentieth century, the factory-baked loaf heralded a bright new future, a world away from the hot, dusty, “dirty” bakeries run by immigrants. Fortified with vitamins, this bread was considered the original “superfood” and even marketed as patriotic—while food reformers painted white bread as a symbol of all that was wrong with America. The history of America’s one-hundred-year-long love-hate relationship with white bread reveals a lot about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat. Today, the alternative food movement favors foods deemed ethical and environmentally correct to eat, and fluffy industrial loaves are about as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get. Still, the beliefs of early twentieth-century food experts and diet gurus, that getting people to eat a certain food could restore the nation’s decaying physical, moral, and social fabric, will sound surprisingly familiar. Given that open disdain for “unhealthy” eaters and discrimination on the basis of eating habits grow increasingly acceptable, White Bread is a timely and important examination of what we talk about when we talk about food.

[book] The Cupcake Diaries
Recipes and Memories from the Sisters of Georgetown Cupcake
By Katherine Kallinis and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne
In this delectable cookbook and memoir, sisters and stars of the hit TLC series DC Cupcakes inspire readers with their recipe for success: equal parts determination, smarts, and the belief that if you do what you love, you can’t fail.
When sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne took a leap of faith and quit their secure jobs in fashion and finance to open a small cupcakery together, they knew they were risking it all. But from when they were little, their Greek grandmother Babee instilled in them a love of baking and the fire to follow their dreams. From the moment they opened the doors to Georgetown Cupcake, crowds have been clamoring for their sweet, wholesome treats; they sell as many as 10,000 cupcakes a day. And for two seasons, fans have been following their escapades—including making a giant bra, a slot machine, and a wedding gown out of cupcakes—on the hit TLC series DC Cupcakes.
Georgetown Cupcake’s meteoric rise is the realization of a dream rooted in the special bond that Sophie and Katherine formed with each other from childhood. The Cupcake Diaries is a tribute to that bond, the memories they share, and the important lessons they learned, both about baking and about life. The book follows the sisters’ personal journey that started in their grandmother’s kitchen years ago. They reveal secrets of their business success and include over thirty delicious recipes, including their bestselling Red Velvet cupcake and their grandmother’s delicious Greek Easter bread. The Cupcake Diaries celebrates what it takes—luck, courage, family support, and determination—to go from dreaming to doing.
When one of the became Jewish, she invented a BLUE VELVET cupcake for Hanukkah (Instead of the red velvet one). Katherine worked with Congregation Adat Reyim to send 10,000 cupcakes to American troops in Afghanistan (or actually they worked with her)

[book] God of Love
A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
By Mirabai Starr
Spring 2012, Monk Fish
God of Love is Mirabai Starr’s passionate and personal exploration of the interconnected wisdom of the three Abrahamic faiths. She shares an overview of essential teachings, stories of saints and spiritual masters, prophetic calls for peace and justice, and for the first time in print, deeply engaging narratives from her own spiritual experiences. She guides readers to recognize the teachings and practices that unify rather then divide the three religions, and sheds light on the interspiritual perspective, which celebrates the Divine in all paths. It is Mirabai’s hope that this book will serve as a reminder that a dedication to lovingkindness is the highest expression of faith for all three religions.

The True Story of a Kievan Girl in WWII
By Sophia Orlovsky Williams
March 2012
Rowman and Littlefield
Escape into Danger tells the remarkable story of a young girl’s perilous adventures and coming of age during World War II. Born in Kiev to a Catholic mother and a Jewish father, Sophia Williams chose to be identified as Jewish when she was eligible for a Soviet passport, mandatory at the age of sixteen, little realizing the life-changing consequences of her decision. Only seventeen when Germany invaded Russia in 1941, Sophia left Kiev, unwittingly escaping the Babi Yar massacre. On her journey into Russia, she fled from flooding, dodged fires and bombs, and fell in love. At Stalingrad, Sophia turned back in a futile attempt to return home to her mother. Stranded in a Nazi-occupied town, accepted as a Russian, she found work with a sympathetic German officer and felt secure until a local girl recognized her as a Jew. Within days, Sophia’s boss spirited her to safety with his family in Poland. Soon, though, Sophia was on the run again, this time to Nazi Germany, where, befriended by Germans and Hungarians, she somehow escaped detection through the rest of the war. She met and married a like-minded German soldier and started a family and business. The business thrived in post-war Germany, but the marriage deteriorated. She divorced her adulterous husband, but the vindictive, even homicidal Guido continued to dog her steps. Throughout, Sophia maintained her grit, charm, and optimism, the qualities that saved her as she time and again made her “escape into danger.”

By Carlos Kotkin
March 2012,
New American Library
Humorist-writer-mammal Carlos Kotkin is lucky in love-if lucky in love means he's had enough horrible, pathetic, and downright bizarre dating experiences to write a book. His trouble with females usually begins upon opening his mouth. Here, Carlos shares his ups and mostly downs of bachelorhood, including romantic conquests with a slew of childhood crushes, insane yogis, a Playboy vixen, a STD host, the flaky, the deaf, and the just plain dumb. His unique mating style is not to be duplicated, but it will definitely make readers laugh-and want to get tested ASAP.
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Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948
By Madeleine Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State
April 2012, Harper
Before she turned twelve, Madeleine Albright's life was shaken by the Nazi invasion of her native Prague, the Battle of Britain, the attempted destruction of European Jewry, the allied victory in World War II, the rise of communism, and the onset of the Cold War. Albright's experiences, and those of her family, provide a lens through which to view the most tumultuous dozen years in modern history. Drawing on her memory, her parents' written reflections, interviews with contemporaries, and newly-available documents, she recounts a tale that is by turns harrowing and inspiring. "Prague Winter" is an exploration of the past with timeless dilemmas in mind, a journey with universal lessons that is, simultaneously, intensely personal. The book takes readers from the Bohemian capital's thousand-year-old castle to the bomb shelters of London, from the desolate prison ghetto of Terezin to the highest councils of European and American government.

Albright reflects on her discovery of her family's Jewish heritage many decades after the war, on her Czech homeland's tangled history, and on the stark moral choices faced by her parents and their generation. Often relying on eyewitness descriptions, she tells the story of how millions of ordinary citizens were ripped from familiar surroundings and forced into new roles as exile leaders and freedom fighters, resistance organizers and collaborators, victims and killers. These events of enormous complexity are nevertheless shaped by concepts familiar to any growing child: fear, trust, adaptation, the search for identity, the pressure to conform, the quest for independence, and the difference between right and wrong. At once a deeply personal memoir and an incisive work of history, "Prague Winter" serves as a guide to the future through the lessons of the past - as seen through the eyes of one of the international community's most respected and fascinating figures.

[book] A Century of Wisdom
Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor
By Caroline Stoessinger
Intro by the late Vaclav Havel
2012, Spiegel and Grau
An inspiring story of resilience and the power of optimism—the true story of Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest living Holocaust survivor.
At 108 years old, the pianist Alice Herz-Sommer is an eyewitness to the entire last century and the first decade of this one. She has seen it all, surviving the Theresienstadt concentration camp, attending the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, and along the way coming into contact with some of the most fascinating historical figures of our time. As a child in Prague, she spent weekends and holidays in the company of Franz Kafka (whom she knew as “Uncle Franz”), and Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, and Rainer Maria Rilke were friendly with her mother. When Alice moved to Israel after the war, Golda Meir attended her house concerts, as did Arthur Rubinstein, Leonard Bernstein, and Isaac Stern. Today Alice lives in London, where she still practices piano for hours every day.
Despite her imprisonment in Theresienstadt and the murders of her mother, husband, and friends by the Nazis, and much later the premature death of her son, Alice has been victorious in her ability to live a life without bitterness. She credits music as the key to her survival, as well as her ability to acknowledge the humanity in each person, even her enemies. A Century of Wisdom is the remarkable and inspiring story of one woman’s lifelong determination—in the face of some of the worst evils known to man—to find goodness in life. It is a testament to the bonds of friendship, the power of music, and the importance of leading a life of material simplicity, intellectual curiosity, and never-ending optimism.

[book] The Seventh Gate
By Richard Zimler
Spring 2012
By the author of the critically acclaimed international hits The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and The Warsaw Anagrams, this novel proves Richard Zimler's mastery of the "riveting literary murder mystery" (Independent on Sunday). It's Berlin, 1932. Sophie is a smart and sexually precocious fourteen-year-old coming of age during Hitler's rise to power. Forced to lead a double life when her father and boyfriend become Nazi collaborators, she reserves her dreams of becoming an actress for her beloved elderly neighbor, Isaac Zarco, and his friends, most of whom are Jews working against the government in a secret group called the Ring. When a member is sent to Dachau, she realizes there must be a Nazi traitor in the group. But who? Through successive mysteries, reversals, and surprises --and a race against time --The Seventh Gate builds to a shattering end. In its chilling but sensuous evocation of the time and place, Richard Zimler's novel is a love story and a tale of ferocious heroism

[book] Shuva
The Future of the Jewish Past
By Yehuda Kurtzer (Shalom Hartman Inst of North America)
2012, Brandeis
Modern Jews tend to relate to the past through "history," which relies on empirical demonstration and rational thought, rather than through "memory," which relies on the non-rational architectures of mythology. By now "history" has surpassed "memory" as a means of relating to the past--a development that falls short in building identity and creates disconnection between Jews and their collective history. Kurtzer seeks to mend this breach. Drawing on key classical texts, he shows that "history" and "memory" are not exclusive and that the perceived dissonance between them can be healed by a selective reclamation of the past and a translation of that past into purposefulness.

[book] The Red Book
A Novel
By Deborah Copaken Kogan
April 2012, Voice/Hyperion
The Big Chill meets The Group and Facebook in Deborah Copaken Kogan’s wry, lively, and irresistible new novel about a once-close circle of friends at their twentieth college reunion. Clover, Addison, Mia, and Jane were roommates at Harvard until their graduation in 1989. Clover, homeschooled on a commune by mixed-race parents, felt woefully out of place. Addison yearned to shed the burden of her Mayflower heritage. Mia mined the depths of her suburban ennui to enact brilliant performances on the Harvard stage. Jane, an adopted Vietnamese war orphan, made sense of her fractured world through words.
Twenty years later, their lives are in free fall. Clover, once a securities broker with Lehman, is out of a job and struggling to reproduce before her fertility window slams shut. Addison’s marriage to a writer’s-blocked novelist is as stale as her so-called career as a painter. Hollywood shut its gold-plated gates to Mia, who now stays home with her four children, renovating and acquiring faster than her director husband can pay the bills. Jane, the Paris bureau chief for a newspaper whose foreign bureaus are now shuttered, is caught in a vortex of loss.
Like all Harvard grads, they’ve kept abreast of one another via the red book, a class report published every five years, containing brief autobiographical essays by fellow alumni. But there’s the story we tell the world, and then there’s the real story, as these former classmates will learn during their twentieth reunion weekend, when they arrive with their families, their histories, their dashed dreams, and their secret yearnings to a relationship-changing, score-settling, unforgettable weekend.
With cover blurbs from Adam Gopnik, Dani Shapiro, Ayelet Waldman, and Meg Wolitzer
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[book] Islamism and Islam
By Bassam Tibi
Koret Foundation Senior Fellow, Stanford University
April 2012, YALE
Professor Emeritus Tibi (University of Gottingen) writes that despite the intense media focus on Muslims and their religion since the tragedy of 9/11, few Western scholars or policymakers today have a clear idea of the distinctions between Islam and the politically based fundamentalist movement known as Islamism. In this important and illuminating book, Bassam Tibi, a senior scholar of Islamic politics, provides a corrective to this dangerous gap in our understanding. He explores the true nature of contemporary Islamism and the essential ways in which it differs from the religious faith of Islam. Drawing on research in twenty Islamic countries over three decades, Tibi describes Islamism as a political ideology based on a reinvented version of Islamic law. In separate chapters devoted to the major features of Islamism, he discusses the Islamist vision of state order, the centrality of antisemitism in Islamist ideology, Islamism's incompatibility with democracy, the reinvention of jihadism as terrorism, the invented tradition of shari'a law as constitutional order, and the Islamists' confusion of the concepts of authenticity and cultural purity. Tibi's concluding chapter applies elements of Hannah Arendt's theory to identify Islamism as a totalitarian ideology.
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[book] No Biking in the House Without a Helmet
By Melissa Fay Greene
Now in paperback
April 2012, FS&G
With four children of their own, Atlanta journalist Greene (There Is No Me Without You; The Temple Bombing) 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.
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[book] Promiscuous
"Portnoy's Complaint" and Our Doomed
Pursuit of Happiness
By Bernard Avishai (Hebrew University)
April 2012, YALE
Avishai, a resident of Jerusalem and New Hampshire, and author of The Tragedy of Zionism and The Hebrew Republic, take a look at the classic work of Roth. The publication of “Portnoy’s Complaint” in 1969 provoked instant, powerful reactions. It blasted Philip Roth into international fame, subjected him to unrelenting personal scrutiny and conjecture, and shocked legions of readers — some delighted, others appalled.
Portnoy and other main characters became instant archetypes, and Roth himself became a touchstone for conflicting attitudes toward sexual liberation, Jewish power, political correctness, Freudian language, and bourgeois disgust.
Bernard Avishai explores Roth’s satiric masterpiece, based on the prolific novelist's own writings, teaching notes, and personal interviews. In addition to discussing the book’s timing, rhetorical gambit, and sheer virtuosity, Avishai includes a chapter on the Jewish community’s outrage over the book and how Roth survived it, and another on the author’s scorching treatment of psychoanalysis.
Avishai shows that Roth’s irreverent novel left us questioning who, or what, was the object of the satire. Hilariously, it proved the serious ways we construct fictions about ourselves and others.
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[book] The Poetry of Kabbalah
Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition
(The Margellos World Republic of Letters)
Edited by Peter Cole
Afterword by Aminadav Dykman
April 2012, YALE
"A groundbreaking work. Cole reveals and explores a subject that has hardly been noticed in previous scholarship or popular writing: the poetic aspect of Jewish mysticism. His translations are superb, his introductions to each section are clear and stimulating, and his notes are learned yet not intimidating, clarifying what would otherwise remain obscure. In short, he brings this material alive for a contemporary reader. This is a marvelous book."—Daniel Matt, author of The Essential Kabbalah and translator of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition

A collection of poetry that emerges directly from Jewish mysticism. Taking up Gershom Scholem’s call to plumb the “tremendous poetic potential” concealed in the Kabbalistic tradition, Peter Cole provides dazzling renderings of work composed on three continents over a period of some fifteen hundred years. In addition to the translations and the texts in their original languages, Cole supplies a lively and insightful introduction, along with accessible commentaries to the poems. Aminadav Dykman adds an elegant afterword that places the work in the context of world literature. As a whole, the collection brings readers into the fascinating force field of Kabbalistic verse, where the building blocks of both language and existence itself are unveiled. Excerpts from The Poetry of Kabbalah have been featured in the Paris Review, Poetry, and Conjunctions.
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[book] Naked Dating
Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life
(While Fully Clothed & Totally Sober)
By Harlan Cohen
April 2012, St Martins
From Harlan Cohen, the bestselling author of THE NAKED ROOMMATE: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run into in College, comes NAKED DATING, an honest, hopeful guide to getting a date, falling in love—or lust—and finding happiness in love (and in life). With a simple 5-step approach to finding the love of your life, Harlan answers the most commonly asked questions from his syndicated advice column, his college tours, his website, and his newest book for Gen Y. He helped a generation make the most of college life, now he’ll help them find the love of their lives.
Harlan's writing career began at Indiana University's school newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student. He shifted his path toward advice after interning at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in the summer of 1995. Harlan was inspired to begin writing his column after meeting a writer who had penned a similar column while in college. When he returned to campus, Harlan immediately launched his "Help Me, Harlan!" advice column. At first he wrote questions and answers to himself. When he started to help himself, he knew he was good. Then real letters started rolling in. Harlan's balance of honest advice, helpful resources, and sharp humor turned the column into an instant success on and off campus. As the column spread, Harlan began writing books, speaking on college campuses, and creating original music to bring the topics addressed in his writing to life.

[book] HHhH
A novel
By Laurent Binet
April 2012
Laurent Binet’s HHhH, winner of the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman, is “a work of breadth, and absolute originality” (Claude Lanzmann)

Everyone has heard of Reinhard Heydrich, “the Butcher of Prague.” And most have heard stories of his spectacular assassination at the hands of two Czechoslovakian partisans. But who exactly were the forgotten heroes who killed one of history’s most notorious men? In Laurent Binet’s captivating debut novel, HHhH (Himmlers Hirn heiBt Heydrich, or Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich), we follow the lives of Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubiš, the Slovak and the Czech responsible for Heydrich’s death. From their heroic escape from Nazi-occupied Prague to their recruitment by the British secret services; from their meticulous preparation and training to their harrowing parachute drop into a war zone; from their stealth attack on Heydrich’s car to their own brutal deaths in the basement of a Prague church, Binet narrates the compelling story of these two incredible men, rescuing their heroic acts from obscurity. The winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman, Binet’s HHhH is a novel unlike anything else. A seemingly effortless blend of historical truth, personal memory, and Binet’s remarkable imagination, HHhH is a work at once thrilling and deeply engrossing—a historical novel and a profound meditation on the nature of writing and the debt we owe to history.

[book] Berlin Cantata
A novel
By Jeffrey Lewis
April 2012
Haus Publishing
A novel from one of the Emmy Award winning writers of Hill Street Blues. A city that has lost one of its limbs and is receiving a miraculous gift, a little bump under the flesh, where the limb is just beginning to grow back." Thus does the American girl in Jeffrey Lewis' remarkable polyphonic novel describe Berlin and the "remnant Jews, secret GDR Jews . . . Soviet Jews . . . Jews who'd fled and come back with the victors, Jews who were lost mandarins now, Jews who'd believed in the universality of man and maybe still did" she finds at a gathering in the eastern city soon after the Wall fell. At the center of Berlin Cantata is a house owned successively by Jews, Nazis, and Communists. In the house, the American girl seeks her hidden past. In the girl, a local reporter seeks redemption. In the reporter, a false hero of the past seeks exposure. In the false hero, the American girl seeks a guide. And so it goes, a round of conspiracy and desire. Berlin Cantata deploys thirteen voices to tell a story of atonement, discovery, loss, identity, intrigue, mystery, insanity, sadomasochism, and lies.

(Life in the 50's (your fifties))
By Anna Quindlen
April 2012, Random House
I admit that over two decades agom when I saw her column in the NYT, titled Life in the 30's, I thought it meant the 1930's.
She's back. Her daughter is over 21 now.
She writes: It’s odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult. First I was who I was. Then I didn’t know who I was. Then I invented someone, and became her. Then I began to like what I’d invented. And finally I was what I was again. It turned out I wasn’t alone in that particular progression.
From Anna Quindlen, #1 New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, comes this irresistible memoir about her life and the lives of women today. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life. As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. Using her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages, Quindlen talks about
Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”
Girlfriends: “Real friends offer both hard truths and soft landings and realize that it’s sometimes more important to be nice than to be honest.”
Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is, a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.”
Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward: We are good parents, not so they will be loving enough to stay with us, but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”
From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it both satisfying and even joyful. So here’s to lots of candles, plenty of cake.

[book] That Said
New and Selected Poems
By Jane Shore
April 2012
Houghton Mifflin
Since Robert Fitzgerald praised Eye Level, Jane Shore’s 1977 Juniper Prize–winning first collection, for its “cool but venturesome eye,” her work has continued to receive the highest accolades and attention from critics and fellow poets. That Said: New and Selected Poems extends Shore’s lifelong, vivid exploration of memory—her childhood in New Jersey, her Jewish heritage, her adult years in Vermont. Shore’s devotion to her familiar coterie of departed parents, aunts, uncles, and friends passionately subscribes to Sholem Aleichem’s dictum that “eternity resides in the past.”
United States Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin wrote, “Shore’s characters emerge with an etched clarity . . . She performs this summoning with a language of quiet directness, grace and exactness, clear and without affectations.” And while there is no “typical” Jane Shore poem, what unifies them is her bittersweet introspection, elegant restraint, provocative autobiography, and on every page a magnetic readability.
Jane Shore was born and grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey. She studied at Goddard College, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and Radcliffe College and was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in poetry at Harvard. She has received a Guggenheim fellowship and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently a professor at George Washington University, she lives in Washington, D.C., and in Vermont.
A Yes-or-No Answer
Have you read The Story of O? / Will Buffalo sink under all that snow? / Do you double-dip your Oreo? / Please answer the question yes or no.

The surgery—was it touch-and-go? / Does a corpse’s hair continue to grow? / Remember when we were simpatico? / Answer my question: yes or no.
Do you want another cup of joe? / If I touch you, is it apropos? / Are you certain that you’re hetero? / Is your answer yes or no?
…. For better or for worse? Ergo, / shall we play it over, in slow mo? / Do you love me? Do you know? / Maybe yes. Maybe no.

[book] The Perfect Gentleman
A Muslim Boy Meets the West
By Imran Ahmad
April 2012
Center Street
It isn’t a Jewish Book, but I like to know more about the lives of Muslims in Western countries. Plus it is funny.
Both deliciously funny and deeply insightful, THE PERFECT GENTLEMAN is a beguiling multi-layered memoir that has touched the hearts of readers all over the world. At the age of one, Imran Ahmad moved from Pakistan to London, growing up torn between his Islamic identity and his desire to embrace the West. Join Imran in his lifelong struggle against corruption and injustice, and as he grapples with some of Life's most profound questions. What does God do exactly? Do you automatically go to Hell for following the wrong religion? How do you persuade a beautiful woman to become your girlfriend (and would driving a Jaguar XJS help?) Can you maintain a James Bond persona without the vodka, cigarettes and women - even whilst your parents are trying to arrange your marriage? Imran's unimagined journey makes thoughtful, compelling, and downright delightful reading. With a unique style and unflinching honesty, THE PERFECT GENTLEMAN addresses serious issues in an extraordinarily light way, and will leave readers both thinking deeply and laughing out loud.

[book] Memoir of a Debulked Woman
Enduring Ovarian Cancer
By Susan Gubar, PhD
April 30, 2012
In this moving memoir, a renowned feminist scholar explores the physical and psychological ordeal of living with terminal ovarian cancer. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008, Susan Gubar, author, teacher, and expert on Holocaust literature, underwent radical debulking surgery, an attempt to excise the cancer by removing part or all of many organs in the lower abdomen. Her memoir mines the deepest levels of anguish and devotion as she struggles to come to terms with her body’s betrayal and the frightful protocols of contemporary medicine. She finds solace in the abiding love of her husband, children, and friends while she searches for understanding in works of literature, visual art, and the testimonies of others who suffer with various forms of cancer.
Ovarian cancer remains an incurable disease for most of those diagnosed, even those lucky enough to find caring and skilled physicians. Memoir of a Debulked Woman is both a polemic against the ineffectual and injurious medical responses to which thousands of women are subjected and a meditation on the gifts of companionship, art, and literature that sustain people in need. .

[book] The Occupy Handbook
Edited by Janet Byrne
April 2012, Little Brown & Company
Analyzing the movement's deep-seated origins in questions that the country has sought too long to ignore, some of the greatest economic minds and most incisive cultural commentators - from Paul Krugman, Robin Wells, Michael Lewis, Robert Reich, Amy Goodman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Gillian Tett, Scott Turow, Bethany McLean, Brandon Adams, and Tyler Cowen to prominent labor leaders and young, cutting-edge economists and financial writers whose work is not yet widely known - capture the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon in all its ragged glory, giving readers an on-the-scene feel for the movement as it unfolds while exploring the heady growth of the protests, considering the lasting changes wrought, and recommending reform. A guide to the occupation, THE OCCUPY HANDBOOK is a talked-about source for understanding why 1% of the people in America take almost a quarter of the nation's income and the long-term effects of a protest movement that even the objects of its attack can find little fault with.
Contributors include Peter Diamond, Ariel Dorfman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Amy Goodman, Michael Greenberg, Daniel Gross, Paul Krugman, Eliot Spitzer, Lawrence Wechsler, Robert Zaretsky, Neri Zilber, Nora Lustig, Jeff Madrick, Robert Reich, Ken Rogoff, Jeffrey Sachs, Felix Salmon, and more
Click to read more

[book] The Investigation of Ariel Warning
Robert Kalich
April 2012, McAdams
In this novel, brothers Adam and David Remler share the bond unique to identical twins, connected in all aspects of their lives and content to be so. Until Ariel Warning, a beautiful young woman with suspect qualities, comes to work for the brother s film company and begins a relationship with David while secretly pursuing Adam. When Adam falls to temptation, his sense of self is shattered. Adam goes out into the world to learn just who this mysterious woman is, seeking to protect his brother even as he betrays him. His inquiry takes him from the heartland of America to the Far East, becoming a journey of self-invention as much as a fact-finding mission. Every new facet of Ariel s past draws Adam in deeper, turning his investigation into a journey to solve the ultimate mystery: his problematic lost self.
The author of the novel is the twin brother of Richard Kalish, and they have a film development cover. So art immitates life, imitates art
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[book] Never Say Never
Finding a Life That Fits
By Ricki Lake
April 2012
Atria Books
Actress, mother of two sons, talk-show host, and personality Ricki Lake has written a positive memoir on turning forty, losing weight, and reinventing oneself. In this intimate memoir, Ricki takes readers into her childhood home in Westchester County, where her parents — once liberal Jews — became born-again Christians.
She’ll reveal the sexual abuse she endured, and the subsequent food issues and weight problems spawned from that trauma.
She’ll pull back the curtain on her life as a celebrity, from Hairspray through her decade-long talk show to the reinvention of herself as an author and filmmaker on the subject of alternative childbirth. Along the way, Ricki has weathered near bankruptcy, a brutal divorce, and a string of broken romances, while also giving birth to two sons and raising them as a single mother—circumstances that would knock some of the strongest off their feet. The book’s release will coincide with Lake’s return to the television screen with a brand-new talk show.

[book] Crossing the Borders of Time
A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed
By Leslie Maitland
April 2012
Other Press Books
On a pier in Marseille in 1942, with desperate refugees pressing to board one of the last ships to escape France before the Nazis choked off its ports, an 18-year-old German Jewish girl was pried from the arms of the Catholic Frenchman she loved and promised to marry. As the Lipari carried Janine and her family to Casablanca on the first leg of a perilous journey to safety in Cuba, she would read through her tears the farewell letter that Roland had slipped in her pocket: “Whatever the length of our separation, our love will survive it, because it depends on us alone. I give you my vow that whatever the time we must wait, you will be my wife. Never forget, never doubt.”
Five years later – her fierce desire to reunite with Roland first obstructed by war and then, in secret, by her father and brother – Janine would build a new life in New York with a dynamic American husband. That his obsession with Ayn Rand tormented their marriage was just one of the reasons she never ceased yearning to reclaim her lost love.
NYT investigative reporter Leslie Maitland grew up enthralled by her mother’s accounts of forbidden romance and harrowing flight from the Nazis. Her book is both a journalist’s vivid depiction of a world at war and a daughter’s pursuit of a haunting question: what had become of the handsome Frenchman whose picture her mother continued to treasure almost fifty years after they parted? It is a tale of memory that reporting made real and a story of undying love that crosses the borders of time.

[book] Suddenly, a Knock on the Door
By Etgar Keret
Translated by Nathan Englander, Miriam Shlesinger, and Sondra Silverston
April 2012
Flash fiction / short stories
Bringing up a child, lying to the boss, placing an order in a fast-food restaurant: in Etgar Keret’s new collection, daily life is complicated, dangerous, and full of yearning. In his most playful and most mature work yet, the living and the dead, silent children and talking animals, dreams and waking life coexist in an uneasy world. Overflowing with absurdity, humor, sadness, and compassion, the tales in Suddenly, a Knock on the Door establish Etgar Keret—declared a “genius” by The New York Times—as one of the most original writers of his generation.
Click to read more

[book] Kosher Feijoada and Other Paradoxes of Jewish Life in Sao Paulo
(New World Diasporas)
By Misha Klein (Oklahoma)
Spring 2012, University of Florida Press
Being Jewish in Brazil—the world’s largest Catholic country—is fraught with paradoxes, and living in São Paulo only amplifies these vivid contradictions. The metropolis is home to Jews from over 60 countries of origin, and to the Hebraica, the world’s largest Jewish athletic and social club. Jewish identity is rooted in layered experiences of historical and contemporary dispersal and border crossings. Brazil is famously tolerant of difference but less understanding of longings for elsewhere. Celebrating both Carnival and the High Holidays is but one example of how Jews in São Paulo hold themselves together as a community in the face of the forces of assimilation. Misha Klein’s fascinating ethnography reveals the complex intertwining of Jewish and Brazilian life and identity.

[book] Ravenscraig
A novel
By Sandi Krawchenko Altner
Spring 2012, iUniverse
Nothing is more important to Rupert J. Willows than the image he has built to hide the deep secret of his true identity. A master manipulator, the ruthless and charismatic Rupert schemes his way into the upper class when he purchases the opulent mansion, Ravenscraig Hall. It is the turn of the 20th century in one of the fastest growing cities in North America; a brawling, raucous, frontier boomtown with a taste for fine theatre and loose women. True power is within Rupert's grasp as long as his secret stays buried.
Malka Zigman is a survivor. Orphaned in London, she has just joined her Uncle Zev and his hardworking Jewish family in Canada. Recent immigrants who escaped from poverty and violence in czarist Russia, the Zigmans struggle to put down roots in the New World. With family resources stretched thin, Malka takes a risk. Everything is about to change as she reinvents herself as Maisie Rosedale and crosses over to the exclusive world of "the English" as the new maid at Ravenscraig.
Click the book’s cover or title to read more

[book] Matzoh Ball Gumbo
Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
By Ferris Marcie Cohen
Spring 2012
Since early colonial times in America, Jewish southerners have been tempted by delectable regional foods. Because some of these foods - including pork and shellfish - have been traditionally forbidden to Jews by religious dietary laws, southern Jews face a special predicament. In a culinary journey through the Jewish South, Arkansas native Marcie Cohen Ferris explores how southern Jews embraced, avoided, and adapted southern food and, in the process, have found themselves at home. From colonial Savannah and Charleston to Civil War era New Orleans and Natchez, from New South Atlanta to contemporary Memphis and the Mississippi and Arkansas Deltas, examines the expressive power of food throughout southern Jewish history. Jews in the South reinvented traditions as they adjusted to living in a largely Christian world where they were bound by regional rules of race, class, and gender. In some cases, Jews merely adjusted their eating habits to match those of their new neighbors. In other cases, they created a new cuisine that revealed a merging of the many cultures they encountered in the New World. At the dining table, Jewish southerners created a distinctive religious expression that reflects the evolution of southern Jewish life. Featuring a trove of photographs, Matzoh Ball Gumbo also includes anecdotes, oral histories, and more than thirty recipes to try at home. Ferris's rich tour of southern Jewish food ways helps us answer the question, ''What does it mean to be both southern and Jewish?''

[book] Ricky Lauren's
The Hamptons
Food, Family and History
By Ricky Lauren
April 2012, Wiley
The photos are amazing. More like a coffee table book for a Summer House.
Fresh, seasonal recipes that perfectly evoke the relaxed luxury of the Hamptons. Combining food with her memories of raising a family in New York's legendary Hamptons, Ricky Lauren's The Hamptons perfectly captures the lifestyle—plus the rich history—of America's most exclusive resort. Written by Ricky Lauren, who is an accomplished author, photographer, and artist, this lush and evocative book is packed with delicious recipes, beautiful photographs, and original watercolors that paint a picture of the Hamptons life. Includes approximately 100 healthy, fresh, seasonal recipes. Features tips and advice on entertaining in true Hamptons style and simplicity. The Hamptons features more than 130 healthy recipes, including those most loved by one of the Hamptons’ most prolific families: Dylan’s Sunshine Salad, David’s Spring Pea Soup and Andrew and Ricky’s Chocolate Mouse. Ralph’s pick is Nana’s Rum-Laced Brownies. The Hamptons offers an intimate portrait of the Lauren family, and Ricky Lauren has also included personal snapshots. Offers a glimpse into the life of a beloved family, with archival photos and personal snapshots of the Laurens: Ralph, Ricky and the kids. Even includes a recipe for Blintzes. Their Hamptons does NOT include Westhampton or Westhampton Beach.. hmmm... I wonder why.
Also... The book os divided into breakfasts, lunches, starters, dinners and desserts. There are many influences at work from her Viennese mother and from Jewish cooking traditions. David is fond of soup; Ralph’s likes Nana’s Rum-Laced Brownies, Dylan (of candy bar fame) likes Schaumrollen, Puff pastry rolls filled with sweetened whipped cream

[book] The Auschwitz Volunteer
Beyond Bravery
By Captain Witold Pilecki
Traanslated by Jarek Garlinski; Intro by Norman Davies; Foreword by Rabbi Michael Schudrich
April 2012, Aquila Polonica
September 1940. Polish Army officer Witold Pilecki deliberately walked into a Nazi German street round-up in Warsaw and became Auschwitz Prisoner No. 4859. He had volunteered for a secret undercover mission: smuggle out intelligence about the new German concentration camp, and build a resistance organization among prisoners. Pilecki’s clandestine intelligence, received by the Allies in 1941, was among earliest. He escaped in 1943 after accomplishing his mission. Dramatic eyewitness report, written in 1945 for Pilecki’s Polish Army superiors, published in English for first time.

April 2012, Bloomsbury
Lillian Hellman was a giant of twentieth-century letters and a groundbreaking figure as one of the most successful female playwrights on Broadway. Yet the author of The Little Foxes and Toys in the Attic is today remembered more as a toxic, bitter survivor and literary fabulist, the woman of whom Mary McCarthy said, "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'" In A Difficult Woman, renowned historian Alice Kessler-Harris undertakes a feat few would dare to attempt: a reclamation of a combative, controversial woman who straddled so many political and cultural fault lines of her time.
Kessler-Harris renders Hellman's feisty wit and personality in all of its contradictions: as a non-Jewish Jew, a displaced Southerner, a passionate political voice without a party, an artist immersed in commerce, a sexually free woman who scorned much of the women's movement, a loyal friend whose trust was often betrayed, and a writer of memoirs who repeatedly questioned the possibility of achieving truth and doubted her memory.
Hellman was a writer whose plays spoke the language of morality yet whose achievements foundered on accusations of mendacity. Above all else, she was a woman who made her way in a man's world. Kessler-Harris has crafted a nuanced life of Hellman, empathetic yet unsparing, that situates her in the varied contexts in which she moved, from New Orleans to Broadway to the hearing room of HUAC. A Difficut Woman is a major work of literary and intellectual history. This will be one of the most reviewed, and most acclaimed, books of 2012.

[book] BABYLON
By Paul Kriwaczek
April 2012, St. Martin's Press
Civilization was born eight thousand years ago, between the floodplains of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, when migrants from the surrounding mountains and deserts began to create increasingly sophisticated urban societies. In the cities that they built, half of human history took place. In Babylon, Paul Kriwaczek tells the story of Mesopotamia from the earliest settlements seven thousand years ago to the eclipse of Babylon in the sixth century BCE. Bringing the people of this land to life in vibrant detail, the author chronicles the rise and fall of power during this period and explores the political and social systems, as well as the technical and cultural innovations, which made this land extraordinary. At the heart of this book is the story of Babylon, which rose to prominence under the Amorite king Hammurabi from about 1800 BCE. Even as Babylon’s fortunes waxed and waned, it never lost its allure as the ancient world’s greatest city.

[book] The Pretty Girl
Novella and Stories
By Debra Spark
April 2012, Four Way
From Victorian toy theatres to a painting with a mysterious story behind it to a graphic novelist's battle with the schizophrenia which causes her cartoon characters to march off the page, the novella and six stories in Debra Spark's fourth work of fiction, The Pretty Girl, revolve around artists, artistry, and the magical--sometimes malicious--deceptions they create. With settings that traverse New York's Lower East Side, Victorian London, Paris and Switzerland, Spark's stories twist and turn in mesmerizing ways as they reflect on the fictions we fabricate about and for friends, family, and strangers.
In one story, a woman finds her life unexpectedly dramatized on the stage; in another, a couple's reconnection with a family friend leads to a labyrinth of mysteries and miscommunications. In the tour-de-force "A Wedding Story," Simon Baal Shem, a charming five-inch rabbi found in a chocolate egg offers life advice in the form of Jewish stories. Gritty and elusive, Spark's stories work like the best magic tricks, seeming to defy the laws of reality even as they deftly extend and reinvigorate those laws. Readers who love magical realism, illusions, Jewish literature, and art, will be captivated by Spark's wonderfully textured The Pretty Girl.

[book] Rachel's Secret
By Shelly Sanders
April 2012, Second Story Press
A Young Adult YA Novel
When the author found out that her Nana was born Jewish but hid it after surviving a pogrom, she wrote this book
Set in pre-revolutionary Russia, where tensions are high between the Jewish and Christian populations. Rachel, who is a Jew, and Sergei, a Christian, find their worlds torn apart by violence as lies about Jews leap off the pages of the local newspaper. Vicious riots break out on Easter Sunday, 1903, and when they finally end, almost three days later, Rachel finds that the person she loves most is dead and that her home has been destroyed. As she struggles to survive the aftermath of the riots—or pogroms—support comes from someone totally unexpected, as Sergei turns against his father to help Rachel. With everything against them, the two young people don't want to fight the bond that is growing between them, one of the few signs of goodness and hope in a time of chaos and violence.

[book] God's Horse and The Atheists' School Translated by Madeline G. Levine
2012, Wilhelm Dichter Books
God's Horse (1996) and The Atheists' School (1999), Wilhelm Dichter's novelistic memoirs, are both striking for their spare, precise prose and for the fullness with which they inhabit the perspectives of, respectively, a young boy trying to survive the Holocaust in hiding and an adolescent in the turbulent world of post-war Poland. The books openly address a rarely documented phenomenon - a young Jewish boy who, having escaped death in Nazi-occupied Poland, ascends into the upper echelons of Polish society as a committed Communist. After the war, the narrator becomes the stepson of a rising star in the petroleum ministry. He tries to gain acceptance by becoming a propagandist, but he can't help wondering if those who constantly warn of a renewal of Jewish persecution may be right. It is a coming of age story with Poland's changing political and social climate as a backdrop.


Mamzers R Us?
By Anouk Markovits
May 8, 2012
A family saga set among a group of Satmar Hasidic Jews, spanning seven decades from pre-WWII Transylvania to Paris in the 1960s and contemporary Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tradition, love, commitment, and Torah law collide.
Josef Lichtenstein, 5, survives the murders of his family at the hand of the Romanian Iron Guard in 1939. He had bumped his head on the table and they didn’t see him under it when they murdered his mother and sister. He is saved by the Florina, the family’s non-Jewish maid. He is taken and raised by her as a Catholic. Five year’s later, in the fields at age 10, Josef rescues a young girl, Mila Heller, after her parents are killed while running to the Satmar Rebbe, Yoel Teitelbaum, who is aboard the Kasztner train. Josef helps Mila reach the home of Zalman Stern, a community leader and scholar, where Mila is taken in and raised like a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. (By the way, we first meet Zalman Stern as he struggles with an erotic wet dream... fundamentalists have to overcome their body and their sub conscious thoughts)
After WWII, Zalman, Mila, and Atara flee to Paris, and Josef is sent to America to the newly planted Satmar community. As you would expect, Mila moves to Brooklyn to marry Josef, while Atara seeks independence. Alas, after a decade of marriage, Mila and Josef are childless and Mila, who is fervently pious, must try to get pregnant using another method. They must replace their families that were killed by the Nazis; Mila can live with her choices, but can Josef?) Hopefully her choice will remain a secret. (Did I mention that it is 1968, and Paris is aflame with student protests and the movement for personal freedom) This is just a taste, an appetizer of chopped liver, to the saga. The author, Anouk, is one of 15 children borne to a Hasidic Jewish family in France. She fled an arranged marriage and moved to NYC where she received a degree from Columbia, and then graduate degrees from Harvard and Cornell. Her first novel was in French, and this is her first novel in English

By Henye Meyer
Israel Bookshop Service
When the Gordons escaped pogrom-ridden Russia and washed up on the shores of Ellis Island, little could they have fathomed how the course of their lives was about to change. Forever. With bustling tenements, endless sweatshops, and throngs racing madly to work...this was definitely the New World. New opportunities and bitter choices.
The Jewish Immigrant Experience ….As it Really Was. “Before you go to bed… Mamme stopped Tatte. “I’ve unpacked our good Shabbos tablecloth. Where do I put it away? Where do you keep yours?" Tatte looked uneasy. He hesitated. “We... ah, we didn't have much use for one,” he said at last. There was a long silence. Finally Mamme said, “Zelig. Tell me the truth. Do you work on Shabbos?”
In this vivid and well-researched saga, originally seri­alized in the Hamodia Magazine, gifted author Henye Meyer relives the East Side of the early 20th century in all its flavor and complexity. We enter the pulsating realm of pushcarts, labor union strikes…and divided loyalties. And so, inundated by waves of financial struggle, social unrest, and spiritual conflict, this colorful family struggles to stay afloat. The characters: Tatte: He’s determined to support and integrate his immigrant family— but at what price?; Mamme: A bedrock of faith and love, will her influence override the great American Dream?; Elya: He may have survived his stint in the Russian army, but the temptations beckoning from the streets of New York are just irresistible…; Bina-Gittel: Bright and spirited, will she soon resemble her classmates at PS 137?; and Hershel: Warm-hearted, thoughtful, and still impressionable — he’s at the crossroads
Henye Meyer was born in Phoenixville, PA, and graduated from Brandeis University. She has written for various Jewish publications and the BBC. Mrs Meyer says she has a respectable number of children and believes she has at least a couple of dozen grandchildren. She resides in Manchester, England.

[book] On the Origins of Jewish Self-Hatred
By Paul Reitter
May 2012, Princeton University Press
Today, the term "Jewish self-hatred" often denotes a treasonous brand of Jewish self-loathing, and is frequently used as a smear, such as when it is applied to politically moderate Jews who are critical of Israel. In On the Origins of Jewish Self-Hatred, Paul Reitter demonstrates that the concept of Jewish self-hatred once had decidedly positive connotations. He traces the genesis of the term to Anton Kuh, a Viennese-Jewish journalist who coined it in the aftermath of World War I, and shows how the German-Jewish philosopher Theodor Lessing came, in 1930, to write a book that popularized "Jewish self-hatred." Reitter contends that, as Kuh and Lessing used it, the concept of Jewish self-hatred described a complex and possibly redemptive way of being Jewish. Paradoxically, Jews could show the world how to get past the blight of self-hatred only by embracing their own, singularly advanced self-critical tendencies--their "Jewish self-hatred." Provocative and elegantly argued, On the Origins of Jewish Self-Hatred challenges widely held notions about the history and meaning of this idea, and explains why its history is so badly misrepresented today.

[book] A Queer and Pleasant Danger
A Memoir
By Kate Bornstein
May 2012,
“I was born male and now I’ve got medical and government documents that say I’m female—but I don’t call myself a woman, and I know I’m not a man. . . .”
Kate Bornstein was a nice Jewish boy from Long Island.
Then a husband and father, tranny, sailor, slave, playwright, dyke, gender outlaw, and Scientologist.
For the first time, it all comes together in A Queer and Pleasant Danger, Kate Bornstein’s stunningly original memoir that’s set to change lives and enrapture readers. Wickedly funny and disarmingly honest, this is Bornstein’s most intimate book yet. With wisdom, wit, and an unwavering resolution to tell the truth (“I must not tell lies”), Bornstein shares her story: from a nice Jewish boy growing up in New Jersey to a strappingly handsome lieutenant of the Church of Scientology’s Sea flagship vessel, and later to 1990s Seattle, where she becomes a rising star in the lesbian community. In between there are wives and lovers, heartbreak and triumph, bridges mended and broken, and a journey of self-discovery that will mesmerize readers.

[book] On the Origins of Jewish Self-Hatred
By Paul Reitter
May 2012, Princeton University Press
Today, the term "Jewish self-hatred" often denotes a treasonous brand of Jewish self-loathing, and is frequently used as a smear, such as when it is applied to politically moderate Jews who are critical of Israel. In On the Origins of Jewish Self-Hatred, Paul Reitter demonstrates that the concept of Jewish self-hatred once had decidedly positive connotations. He traces the genesis of the term to Anton Kuh, a Viennese-Jewish journalist who coined it in the aftermath of World War I, and shows how the German-Jewish philosopher Theodor Lessing came, in 1930, to write a book that popularized "Jewish self-hatred." Reitter contends that, as Kuh and Lessing used it, the concept of Jewish self-hatred described a complex and possibly redemptive way of being Jewish. Paradoxically, Jews could show the world how to get past the blight of self-hatred only by embracing their own, singularly advanced self-critical tendencies--their "Jewish self-hatred." Provocative and elegantly argued, On the Origins of Jewish Self-Hatred challenges widely held notions about the history and meaning of this idea, and explains why its history is so badly misrepresented today.

[book] Between Christian and Jew
Conversion and Inquisition in the Crown of Aragon, 1250-1391
(The Middle Ages Series)
By Paola Tartakoff
Spring 2012, University of Pennsylvania Press
In 1341 in Aragon, a Jewish convert to Christianity was sentenced to death, only to be pulled from the burning stake and into a formal religious interrogation. His confession was as astonishing to his inquisitors as his brush with mortality is to us: the condemned man described a Jewish conspiracy to persuade recent converts to denounce their newfound Christian faith.
His claims were corroborated by witnesses and became the catalyst for a series of trials that unfolded over the course of the next twenty months. Between Christian and Jew closely analyzes these events, which Professor Paola Tartakoff considers paradigmatic of inquisitorial proceedings against Jews in the period. The trials also serve as the backbone of her nuanced consideration of Jewish conversion to Christianity—and the unwelcoming Christian response to Jewish conversions—during a period that is usually celebrated as a time of relative interfaith harmony.

The book lays bare the intensity of the mutual hostility between Christians and Jews in medieval Spain.
Tartakoff's research reveals that the majority of Jewish converts of the period turned to baptism in order to escape personal difficulties, such as poverty, conflict with other Jews, or unhappy marriages.
They often met with a chilly reception from their new Christian brethren, making it difficult to integrate into Christian society. Tartakoff explores Jewish antagonism toward Christians and Christianity by examining the aims and techniques of Jews who sought to re-Judaize apostates as well as the Jewish responses to inquisitorial prosecution during an actual investigation. Prosecutions such as the 1341 trial were understood by papal inquisitors to be in defense of Christianity against perceived Jewish attacks, although Tartakoff shows that Christian fears about Jewish hostility were often exaggerated. Drawing together the accounts of Jews, Jewish converts, and inquisitors, this cultural history offers a broad study of interfaith relations in medieval Iberia.
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See also
The Hebrew Book in Early Modern Italy (Jewish Culture and Contexts) Edited by Joseph R. Hacker and Adam Shear

"I have always loved the Holy Tongue": Isaac Casaubon, the Jews, and a Forgotten Chapter in Renaissance Scholarship Edited by Anthony Grafton and Joanna Weinberg

April 2012, The New Press
In July 2008 a front-page story in the New York Times reported on the discovery of an ancient Hebrew tablet, dating from before the birth of Jesus, which predicted a Messiah who would rise from the dead after three days. Commenting on this startling discovery at the time, noted Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin argued that “some Christians will find it shocking—a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology.” Guiding us through a rich tapestry of new discoveries and ancient scriptures, The Jewish Gospels makes the powerful case that our conventional understandings of Jesus and of the origins of Christianity are wrong. In Boyarin’s scrupulously illustrated account, the coming of the Messiah was fully imagined in the ancient Jewish texts. Jesus, moreover, was embraced by many Jews as this person, and his core teachings were not at all a break from Jewish beliefs and teachings. Jesus and his followers, Boyarin shows, were simply Jewish. What came to be known as Christianity came much later, as religious and political leaders sought to impose a new religious orthodoxy that was not present at the time of Jesus’s life. In the vein of Elaine Pagels’s The Gnostic Gospels, here is a brilliant new work that will break open some of our culture’s most cherished assumptions.
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[book] The Founder's Dilemmas
Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup
Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
By Noam Wasserman, Harvard Business School
Spring 2012, Princeton University Press
Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder's Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team.
Drawing on a decade of research, Professor Noam Wasserman reveals the common pitfalls founders face and how to avoid them. He looks at whether it is a good idea to co-found with friends or relatives, how and when to split the equity within the founding team, and how to recognize when a successful founder-CEO should exit or be fired. Wasserman explains how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team, strip founders of control, and leave founders without a financial payoff for their hard work and innovative ideas. He highlights the need at each step to strike a careful balance between controlling the startup and attracting the best resources to grow it, and demonstrates why the easy short-term choice is often the most perilous in the long term.
The Founder's Dilemmas draws on the inside stories of founders like Evan Williams of Twitter and Tim Westergren of Pandora, while mining quantitative data on almost ten thousand founders. People problems are the leading cause of failure in startups. This book offers solutions.

Noam was a '92 grad of Wharton and Moore at Penn undergrad. After working for American Management for several years, he received his PhD from Harvard University in 2002, and received an MBA (with High Distinction) from Harvard Business School in 1999, graduating as a Baker Scholar. Despite being voted “Most Likely to Become a CEO” by his MBA section, Noam decided to pursue academia as a career and to enter the PhD program (thereby giving up on ever becoming a CEO!). Before coming to Harvard, he was a Principal and Practice Manager at a management-consulting firm near Washington, D.C., where he founded and led the Groupware Practice. He also worked as a venture capitalist at a firm in Boston. He received a BSE (magna cum laude) in Computer Science and Engineering from Penn, and a BSEcon (magna cum laude) in Corporate Finance and Strategic Management from Wharton. He lives in Brookline, MA, with his wife and seven children, loves coaching Little League, and completed Shas in 1997-2005 with the 11th Daf Yomi cycle.
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[book] The Guttenberg Bible
A Memoir
By Steve Guttenberg
May 2012, Thomas Dunne
Actor Steve Guttenberg played the rules and right course. He studied drama, went to college, went to Julliard, booked stage shows, commercials, landed plum roles in films, such as DINER, and comedies (POLICE ACADEMY series, THREE MEN AND A BABY), and the critically acclaimed PS YOUR CAT IS DEAD. He also was a philanthropist. There are many who knock his career, as in “what have you done lately”… but if you ask me, he has done more than many of us.
In this memoir, Guttenberg tells the highs and lows of Hollywood life, and inside items on Diner, Police Academy and Three Men and a Baby
His first agent told him to "forget being an actor. You don’t have the look, you don’t have the talent, and your name is ridiculous. You are the last guy I would ever pick to be a movie star."
Guttenberg spent his early days sneaking onto the Paramount lot (he pretended to be Michael Eisner's son) and meeting more celebrities and casting agents than most aspiring actors ever would. Even before the hit Police Academy (which his agent said would be a flop), he had already worked with everyone from Sir Laurence Olivier to Mickey Rourke. Perhaps it was his charisma or perhaps it was his dogged persistence, but his life was filled with unexpected run-ins and connections with dozens of Hollywood hitmakers.They say this memoir will be one of the most sympathetic and unguarded Hollywood stories to date… or at least of the Spring of 2012.

[book] The Art of Being Unreasonable
Lessons in Unconventional Thinking
By Eli Broad
With a Foreword by Michael R. Bloomberg
May 2012
Unorthodox success principles from a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist
If you're stuck doing what reasonable people do — and not getting anywhere — let Eli Broad show you how to be unreasonable. What do you have to lose?
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." – GB Shaw
Broad was born in the Bronx to Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. His father was a housepainter, his mother was a dressmaker. Ate the age of 6, he and his parents moved to Detroit. After graudating college in 1954 and marrying Edythe "Edye" Lawson, he became the youngest Michigan native to become a CPA. He partnered with Donald Kaufman to found a homebuilding company, Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation (now KB Home). Looking to diversify the cyclical homebuilding business, Broad in 1971 acquired Sun Life Insurance Company of America, a small family-owned insurance company in Baltimore, for $52 million. Broad transformed Sun Life into the retirement savings powerhouse SunAmerica. He sold SunAmerica to AIG in 1999 for $18 billion.
Eli Broad's embrace of "unreasonable thinking" has helped him build two Fortune 500 companies, amass personal billions, and use his wealth to create a new approach to philanthropy. He has helped to fund scientific research institutes, K-12 education reform, and some of the world's greatest contemporary art museums. By contrast, "reasonable" people come up with all the reasons something new and different can't be done, because, after all, no one else has done it that way. This book shares the "unreasonable" principles—from negotiating to risk-taking, from investing to hiring—that have made Eli Broad such a success.
Broad helped to create the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Broad, a new museum being built in downtown Los Angeles. His investing approach to philanthropy has led to the creation of scientific and medical research centers in the fields of genomic medicine and stem cell research.
At his alma mater, Michigan State University, he endowed a full-time MBA program, and he and his wife have funded a new contemporary art museum on campus to serve the broader region. Broad founded of two Fortune 500 companies: KB Home and SunAmerica.
Broad is not a passive philanthropist. He doesn't wait for grant applications, calmly review their merits, pass out checks and wait to see if the money results in any changes for the good. He and his wife have a sense of urgency in their mission that extends to the goals they set, the way they operate and the standards to which they hold themselves.The Broads have given away more than $2 billion, and even a couple million to some wholly Jewish philanthropies, too.

[book] How Will You Measure Your Life?
By Clayton M. Christensen
James Allworth, and Karen Dillon
May 2012
Harper Business
In 2010 world-renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen gave a powerful speech to the Harvard Business School's graduating class. Drawing upon his business research, he offered a series of guidelines for finding meaning and happiness in life. He used examples from his own experiences to explain how high achievers can all too often fall into traps that lead to unhappiness.
The speech was memorable not only because it was deeply revealing but also because it came at a time of intense personal reflection: Christensen had just overcome the same type of cancer that had taken his father's life. As Christensen struggled with the disease, the question "How do you measure your life?" became more urgent and poignant, and he began to share his insights more widely with family, friends, and students.
In this book, Christensen puts forth a series of questions:
How can I be sure that I'll find satisfaction in my career?
How can I be sure that my personal relationships become enduring sources of happiness?
How can I avoid compromising my integrity—and stay out of jail?
Using lessons from some of the world's greatest businesses, he provides incredible insights into these challenging questions. “How Will You Measure Your Life?” is full of inspiration and wisdom, and will help students, midcareer professionals, and parents alike forge their own paths to fulfillment.

[book] The End of Leadership
By Barbara Kellerman, Harvard Business School
Spring 2012, Harper Business
One of our foremost leadership experts dismantles obsolete assumptions and stimulates a new conversation about leadership in the twenty-first century.
Becoming a leader has become a mantra. The explosive growth of the "leadership industry" is based on the belief that leading is a path to power and money, a medium for achievement, and a mechanism for creating change. But there are other, parallel truths: that leaders of every stripe are in disrepute; that the tireless and often superficial teaching of leadership has brought us no closer to nirvana; and that followers nearly everywhere have become, on the one hand, disappointed and disillusioned, and, on the other, entitled and emboldened.
The End of Leadership tells two tales. The first is about change—about how and why leadership and followership have changed over time, especially in the last forty years. As a result of cultural evolution and technological revolution, the balance of power between leaders and followers has shifted—with leaders becoming weaker and followers stronger.
The second narrative is about the leadership industry itself. In this provocative and critical volume, Barbara Kellerman raises questions about leadership as both a scholarly pursuit and a set of practical skills: Does the industry do what it claims to do—grow leaders? Does the research justify the undertaking? Do we adequately measure the results of our efforts? Are leaders as all-important as we think they are? What about followers? Isn't teaching good followership as important now as teaching good leadership? Finally, Kellerman asks: Given the precipitous decline of leaders in the estimation of their followers, are there alternatives to the existing models—ways of teaching leadership that take into account the vicissitudes of the twenty-first century?
The End of Leadership takes on all these questions and then some—making it necessary reading for business, political, and community leaders alike.
Kellerman's books have used by the Wexner Foundation and many Jewish communal groups to teach good and bad leadership
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[book] Learning From the Octopus
How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us
Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease
By Rafe Sagarin, Arizona St Univ
Spring 2012, Basic Books
Octopi can change their eight tenticles separately.
What can we learn from this for security
Why is the Israeli-Hamas suicide bombing issue like that of a salmon?
Despite the billions of dollars we’ve poured into foreign wars, homeland security, and disaster response, we are fundamentally no better prepared for the next terrorist attack or unprecedented flood than we were in 2001. Our response to catastrophe remains unchanged: add another step to airport security, another meter to the levee wall. This approach has proved totally ineffective: reacting to past threats and trying to predict future risks will only waste resources in our increasingly unpredictable world.
In Learning from the Octopus, ecologist and security expert Rafe Sagarin rethinks the seemingly intractable problem of security by drawing inspiration from a surprising source: nature. Biological organisms have been living—and thriving—on a risk-filled planet for billions of years. Remarkably, they have done it without planning, predicting, or trying to perfect their responses to complex threats. Rather, they simply adapt to solve the challenges they continually face. Military leaders, public health officials, and business professionals would all like to be more adaptable, but few have figured out how. Sagarin argues that we can learn from observing how nature is organized, how organisms learn, how they create partnerships, and how life continually diversifies on this unpredictable planet.
As soon as we dip our toes into a cold Pacific tidepool and watch what we thought was a rock turn into an octopus, jetting away in a cloud of ink, we can begin to see the how human adaptability can mimic natural adaptation. The same mechanisms that enabled the octopus’s escape also allow our immune system to ward off new infectious diseases, helped soldiers in Iraq to recognize the threat of IEDs, and aided Google in developing faster ways to detect flu outbreaks. While we will never be able to predict the next earthquake, terrorist attack, or market fluctuation, nature can guide us in developing security systems that are not purely reactive but proactive, holistic, and adaptable. From the tidepools of Monterey to the mountains of Kazakhstan, Sagarin takes us on an eye-opening tour of the security challenges we face, and shows us how we might learn to respond more effectively to the unknown threats lurking in our future.


[book] Legacy
A Genetic History of the Jewish People
By Harry Ostrer MD
May 2012
Oxford University Press
Who are the Jews--a race, a people, a religious group? For over a century, non-Jews and Jews alike have tried to identify who they were--first applying the methods of physical anthropology and more recently of population genetics.
In Legacy, Harry Ostrer, a medical geneticist and authority on the genetics of the Jewish people, explores not only the history of these efforts, but also the insights that genetics has provided about the histories of contemporary Jewish people. Much of the book is told through the lives of scientific pioneers. We meet Russian immigrant Maurice Fishberg; Australian Joseph Jacobs, the leading Jewish anthropologist in fin-de-si�cle Europe; Chaim Sheba, a colorful Israeli geneticist and surgeon general of the Israeli Army; and Arthur Mourant, one of the foremost cataloguers of blood groups in the 20th century.
As Ostrer describes their work and the work of others, he shows that to look over the genetics of Jewish groups, and to see the history of the Diaspora woven there, is truly a marvel. Here is what happened as the Jews migrated to new places and saw their numbers wax and wane, as they gained and lost adherents and thrived or were buffeted by famine, disease, wars, and persecution. Many of these groups--from North Africa, the Middle East, India--are little-known, and by telling their stories, Ostrer brings them to the forefront at a time when assimilation is literally changing the face of world Jewry.
A fascinating blend of history, science, and biography, Legacy offers readers an entirely fresh perspective on the Jewish people and their history. It is as well a cutting-edge portrait of population genetics, a field which may soon take its place as a pillar of group identity alongside shared spirituality, shared social values, and a shared cultural legacy.
Dr. Ostrer is professor of pathology and genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and director of genetic and genomic testing of Montefiore Hospital in The Bronx. For 21 years he was a professor at NYU School of Medicine.

[book] The Year of the Gadfly By Jennifer Miller
May 2012
Houghton Mifflin
Storied Mariana Academy was founded with a serious honor code, its reputation unsullied for decades. Now Prisom’s Party threatens its placid halls.
A budding journalist whose only confidant is the chain-smoking specter of Edward R. Murrow, Iris Dupont knows that she can break into the ranks of The Devil’s Advocate, the Party’s underground newspaper, and there uncover the real source of its blackmail schemes and vilifying rumors. Some involve her favorite teacher, Mr. Kaplan. Others point to an albino student who left school abruptly, never to return. And everything connects to a rare book called Marvelous Species. But the truth is not without its own dangers, leaving Iris torn between her allegiances, her reporter’s instinct, and her own troubled past.
The Year of the Gadfly is an exhilarating journey of double-crosses, long-buried secrets, and all the charge of adolescence, following in the footsteps of classic school novels like Prep and The Secret History, and reminding us how these years haunt our lives forever.

[book] A Sense of Direction
Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful
By Gideon Lewis-Kraus
May 2012, Riverhead
In medieval times, a pilgrimage gave the average Joe his only break from the daily grind. For Gideon Lewis-Kraus, it promises a different kind of escape. Determined to avoid the kind of constraint that kept his father, a gay rabbi, closeted until midlife, he has moved to anything-goes Berlin. But the surfeit of freedom there has begun to paralyze him, and when a friend extends a drunken invitation to join him on an ancient pilgrimage route across Spain, he grabs his sneakers, glad of the chance to be committed to something and someone.
Irreverent, moving, hilarious, and thought-provoking, A Sense of Direction is Lewis-Kraus's dazzling riff on the perpetual war between discipline and desire, and its attendant casualties. Across three pilgrimages and many hundreds of miles - the thousand-year-old Camino de Santiago, a solo circuit of eighty-eight Buddhist temples on the Japanese island of Shikoku, and, together with his father and brother, an annual mass migration to the tomb of a famous Hasidic mystic in the Ukraine - he completes an idiosyncratic odyssey to the heart of a family mystery and a human dilemma: How do we come to terms with what has been and what is - and find a way forward, with purpose?

Understanding and Overcoming Their Power
By Dr. Terri Apter (Cambridge)
May 2012, Norton
Apter, famous for her work on Mothers-in-Law (she rejected hers at first), turns her attention to difficult mothers. Apter is married to David Newbery, professor of applied economics at Cambridge University and research director of the Electricity Policy Research Group. They have two daughters, aged 30 and 26. Their backgrounds couldn't be more different. She grew up in Chicago and is the daughter of two Jewish doctors. "Everything was discussed in graphic detail and a spade was called a spade – very demonstrative, both in terms of excitement and sadness."
An essential work for readers seeking compassionate, wise guidance about the powerful relationship between mothers and their sons and daughters. Mother love is often seen as sacred, but for many children the relationship is a painful struggle. Using the newest research on human attachment and brain development, Terri Apter, an internationally acclaimed psychologist and writer, unlocks the mysteries of this complicated bond. She showcases the five different types of difficult mother—the angry mother, the controlling mother, the narcissistic mother, the envious mother, and the emotionally neglectful mother—and explains the patterns of behavior seen in each type. Apter also explores the dilemma at the heart of a difficult relationship: why a mother has such a powerful impact on us and why we continue to care about her responses long after we have outgrown our dependence. She then shows how we can conduct an “emotional audit” on ourselves to overcome the power of the complex feelings a difficult mother inflicts. In the end this book celebrates the great resilience of sons and daughters of difficult mothers as well as acknowledging their special challenges.

[book] The Aleppo Codex
The True Story of Obesession, Faith, and the International Pursuit of an Ancient Bible
By Matti Friedman
May 2012 Algonquin
This true-life detective story unveils the journey of a sacred text-the tenth-century annotated bible know as the Aleppo Codex-from its hiding place in a Syrian synagogue to the newly founded state of Israel. Based on Matti Friedman's independent research, documents kept secret for fifty years, and personal interviews with key players, the book proposes a new theory of what happened when the codex left Aleppo, Syria, in the late 1940s and eventually surfaced in Jerusalem, mysteriously incomplete.
The closest thing Jews have to the Word of God, the codex provides vital keys to reading biblical texts. By recounting its history, Friedman explores the once vibrant Jewish communities in Islamic lands and follows the thread into the present, uncovering difficult truths about how the manuscript was taken to Israel and how its most important pages went missing. Along the way, he raises critical questions about who owns historical treasures and the role of myth and legend in the creation of a nation.

[book] Blooms of Darkness
A Novel
By Aharon Appelfeld
Translated by Jeffrey M. Green
May 2012, Schocken paperback edition
The ghetto in which the Jews have been confined is being liquidated by the Nazis, and eleven-year-old Hugo is brought by his mother to the local brothel, where one of the prostitutes has agreed to hide him. Mariana is a bitterly unhappy woman who hates what she has done to her life, and night after night Hugo sits in her closet and listens uncomprehendingly as she rages at the Nazi soldiers who come and go. When she’s not mired in self-loathing, Mariana is fiercely protective of the bewildered, painfully polite young boy. And Hugo becomes protective of Mariana, too, trying to make her laugh when she is depressed, soothing her physical and mental agony with cold compresses. As the memories of his family and friends grow dim, Hugo falls in love with Mariana. And as her life spirals downward, Mariana reaches out for consolation to the adoring boy who is on the cusp of manhood. The arrival of the Russian army sends the prostitutes fleeing. But Mariana is too well known, and she is arrested as a Nazi collaborator for having slept with the Germans. As the novel moves toward its heartrending conclusion, Aharon Appelfeld once again crafts out of the depths of unfathomable tragedy a renewal of life and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

[book] Trapeze
A novel
By Simon Mawer
May 2012
Other Press
From our friend at Other Press, a novel by Mawer which is based on a true story
Barely out of school and doing her bit for the British war effort, Marian Sutro has one quality that makes her stand out—she is a native French speaker. It is this that attracts the attention of the SOE, the Special Operations Executive, which trains agents to operate in occupied Europe. Drawn into this strange, secret world at the age of nineteen, she finds herself undergoing commando training, attending a “school for spies,” and ultimately, one autumn night, parachuting into France from an RAF bomber to join the WORDSMITH resistance network. But there’s more to Marian’s mission than meets the eye of her SOE controllers; her mission has been hijacked by another secret organization that wants her to go to Paris and persuade a friend—a research physicist—to join the Allied war effort. The outcome could affect the whole course of the war.
A fascinating blend of fact and fiction, Trapeze is both an old-fashioned adventure story and a modern exploration of a young woman’s growth into adulthood. There is violence, and there is love. There is death and betrayal, deception and revelation. But above all there is Marian Sutro, an ordinary young woman who, like her real-life counterparts in the SOE, did the most extraordinary things at a time when the ordinary was not enough.

May 2012, Three Rivers Press
Apron Anxiety is the hilarious and heartfelt memoir of quintessential city girl Alyssa Shelasky and her crazy, complicated love affair with...the kitchen.
Three months into a relationship with her TV-chef crush, celebrity journalist Alyssa Shelasky left her highly social life in New York City to live with him in D.C. But what followed was no fairy tale: Chef hours are tough on a relationship. Surrounded by foodies yet unable to make a cup of tea, she was displaced and discouraged. Motivated at first by self-preservation rather than culinary passion, Shelasky embarked on a journey to master the kitchen, and she created the blog Apron Anxiety ( to share her stories.
This is a memoir (with recipes) about learning to cook, the ups and downs of love, and entering the world of food full throttle. Although she went to unitarian pre school, her famiglia is Jewish, and although her mother eat a devil dog each morning, Alyssa grew up with a keen palate. Readers will delight in her infectious voice as she dishes on everything from the sexy chef scene to the unexpected inner calm of tying on an apron.

[book] Text Messages
A Torah Commentary for Teens
By Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
May 2012, Jewish Lights
Young people like to be included in the struggle for meaning, for the right questions to ask and the search for tentative answers. This is the book that has been missing from the ever-expanding bookshelf of Torah commentaries a collection of messages on each Torah portion, aimed specifically for teens. It shows them how each Torah portion contains worlds of meaning for them, for what they are going through in their lives, and how they can shape their Jewish identity as they enter adulthood.
This spiritual resource is transdenominational including the insights of Jews who identify as Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Renewal, post-denominational and just Jewish. They are rabbis, cantors, educators, authors and cultural personalities.
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is editor of The Modern Men s Torah Commentary: New Insights from Jewish Men on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions, and the best-selling author of Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child s Bar or Bat Mitzvah; For Kids Putting God on Your Guest List: How to Claim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah; and other books.

[book] The Pope and I
How the Lifelong Friendship between a Polish Jew and John Paul II Advanced Jewish-Christian Relations
By Jerzy Kluger and Gianfranco De Simone
May 2012, Orbis
This book describes the surprising, lifelong relationship between Pope John Paul II and his Jewish friend, Jerzy Kluger. Their friendship played a role in shaping Karol Wojtyla s early views toward the Jewish people, and his later efforts, as pope, to overcome the legacy of anti-Semitism. Though their story has been previously recounted, here for the first time Jerzy Kluger offers his own account of their relationship over many years. The story begins with their friendship in grade school in Poland, Kluger s extraordinary survival of the war, followed by his reunion with Archbishop Wojtyla in Rome during Vatican II. After his friend s election as Pope John Paul II, their relationship unfolds against extraordinary advances in Jewish-Christian relations. Kluger tells a fascinating tale, highlighting the surprising confluences of history, politics, and religion sealed by friendship and mutual respect.
Jerzy Kluger grew up in the Polish town of Wadowice, where he befriended Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II. While most of his family perished in Auschwitz, he escaped Poland and fought with the allies. After the war he moved to Rome and trained as an engineer. This book is his story, written with the help of Gianfranco Di Simone.

May 2012, Skyhorse
Joel Yanofsky gives us the funny, heartwrenching account of a year in the life of a father who struggles to enter his son’s world, the world of autism, using the materials he knows best, including self-help books, literary classics, and old movies. Joel Yanofsky tried for years to start this memoir. “It’s not just going to be about autism,” he told his wife, Cynthia. “It’s going to be about parenthood and marriage, about hope and despair, and storytelling, too.”
“Marriage?” Cynthia said. “What about marriage?”
A veteran book reviewer, Yanofsky has spent a lifetime immersed in literature (not to mention old movies and old jokes), which he calls shtick. This account of a year in the life of a family describes a father’s struggle to enter his son’s world, the world of autism, using the materials he knows best: self-help books, feel-good memoirs, literary classics from the Bible to Dr. Seuss, old movies, and, yes, shtick. Funny, wrenching, and unfailingly candid, Bad Animals is both an exploration of a baffling condition and a quirky love story told by a gifted writer.

[book] Father's Day
A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son
By Buzz Bissinger
May 2012, Houghton Mifflin
Remember Rain Man and the road trip?...

Most people know Bissinger, “just a Jewish kid from New York,” for his best selling FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. They known him as the sportswriter who got his start writing sports for Penn’s Daily Pennsylvanian and took his fiancée and two children to Odessa, Texas, where he accumulated stories of football, sociology, and Texas. But they don’t know much about his family.
Bissinger’s twins were born three minutes. Gerry, the older one, is a graduate student at Penn, preparing to become a teacher. His brother Zach has spent his life attending special schools. He’ll never drive a car, or kiss a girl, or live by himself. He is a savant when it comes to birthdates, maps, and navigation, but as a preemie, issues with oxygen at birth has left him intellectually challenged
Buzz realized that while he had always been an attentive father, he didn’t really understand what it was like to be Zach. So one summer night Buzz and Zach hit the road to revisit all the places they have lived together during Zach’s twenty-four years. Zach revels in his memories, and Buzz hopes this journey into their shared past will bring them closer and reveal to him the mysterious workings of his son’s mind and heart. The trip also becomes Buzz's personal journey, yielding revelations about his own parents, the price of ambition, and its effect on his twins.
As father and son journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, they see the best and worst of America and each other. Ultimately, Buzz gains a new and uplifting wisdom, realizing that Zach’s worldview has a sturdy logic of its own: a logic that deserves the greatest respect. And with the help of Zach’s twin, Gerry, Buzz learns an even more vital lesson about Zach: character transcends intellect. We come to see Zach as he truly is: patient, fearless, perceptive, kind—a man of excellent character.

[book] TZILI
The Story of a Life
A Novel
By Aharon Appelfeld
Translated by Dalya Bilu
Spring 2012, Schocken paperback edition
Back in print, Aharon Appelfeld's acclaimed novel about an abandoned child who miraculously survives the Holocaust on her own. The youngest, least-favored member of an Eastern European Jewish family, Tzili is considered an embarrassment by her parents and older siblings. Her schooling has been a failure, she is simple and meek, and she seems more at home with the animals in the field than with people. And so when her panic-stricken family flees the encroaching Nazi armies, Tzili is left behind to fend for herself. At first seeking refuge with the local peasants, she is eventually forced to escape from them as well, and she takes to the forest, living a solitary existence until she is discovered by another Jewish refugee, a man who is as alone in the world as she is. As she matures into womanhood, they fall in love. And though their time together is tragically brief, their love for each other imbues Tzili with the strength to survive the war and begin a new life, together with other survivors, in Palestine. Aharon Appelfeld imbues Tzili's story with a harrowing beauty that is emblematic of the fate of an entire people.

[book] Einstein's Jewish Science
Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion
By Steven Gimbel
May 2012, Johns Hopkins University Press
Is relativity Jewish? The Nazis denigrated Albert Einstein’s revolutionary theory by calling it "Jewish science," a charge typical of the ideological excesses of Hitler and his followers. Philosopher of science Steven Gimbel explores the many meanings of this provocative phrase and considers whether there is any sense in which Einstein’s theory of relativity is Jewish. Arguing that we must take seriously the possibility that the Nazis were in some measure correct, Gimbel examines Einstein and his work to explore how beliefs, background, and environment may—or may not—influence the work of the scientist. You cannot understand Einstein’s science, Gimbel declares, without knowing the history, religion, and philosophy that influenced it.
No one, especially Einstein himself, denies Einstein's Jewish heritage, but many are uncomfortable saying that he was being a Jew while he was at his desk working. To understand what "Jewish" means for Einstein’s work, Gimbel first explores the many definitions of "Jewish" and asks whether there are elements of Talmudic thinking apparent in Einstein’s theory of relativity. He applies this line of inquiry to other scientists, including Isaac Newton, René Descartes, Sigmund Freud, and Émile Durkheim, to consider whether their specific religious beliefs or backgrounds manifested in their scientific endeavors. Einstein's Jewish Science intertwines science, history, philosophy, theology, and politics in fresh and fascinating ways to solve the multifaceted riddle of what religion means—and what it means to science. There are some senses, Gimbel claims, in which Jews can find a special connection to E = mc2, and this claim leads to the engaging, spirited debate at the heart of this book.

[book] In God's Shadow
Politics in the Hebrew Bible
By Michael Walzer (Princeton, IAS)
May 2012, YALE
The Bible cries out for reader to be engaged with its politics and anti politics. Walzer explores it. Were the editors of the Bible actually pluralists and inclusive in outlook; were they radical pluralists?
The Bible has a doctrine on religion and on justice… but with regard to politics, with god as a monarch, what does the Bible think about human politics?
In this eagerly awaited book, political theorist Michael Walzer reports his findings after decades of thinking about the politics of the Hebrew Bible. Attentive to nuance while engagingly straightforward, Walzer examines the laws, the histories, the prophecies, and the wisdom of the ancient biblical writers and discusses their views on such central political questions as justice, hierarchy, war, the authority of kings and priests, and the experience of exile.
Because there are many biblical writers with differing views, pluralism is a central feature of biblical politics. Yet pluralism, Walzer observes, is never explicitly defended in the Bible; indeed, it couldn’t be defended since God’s word had to be as singular as God himself. Yet different political regimes are described in the biblical texts, and there are conflicting political arguments—and also a recurrent anti-political argument: if you have faith in God, you have no need for strong institutions, prudent leaders, or reformist policies. At the same time, however, in the books of law and prophecy, the people of Israel are called upon to overcome oppression and “let justice well up like water, righteousness like an unfailing stream.”

[book] Stop, Think, Go, Do
How Typography and Graphic Design Influence Behavior
By Steven Heller and Mirko Ilic
May 2012, Rockport
This revolutionary guide is not only the first to look at how typography in design creates a call to action, but it also explores type and image as language. Stop, Think, Go, Do is packed with arresting imagery from around the world that influences human behavior. Page after page, you’ll find innovative messages that advocate, advise caution, educate, entertain, express, inform, play, and transform.
Steven Heller is the co-chair of MFA Design (Designer as Author + Entrepreneur) at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the co-founder of MFA Design Criticism, MFA Interaction Design, MPS Branding and MFA Products of Design. He is the author or editor of over 135 books, including I Heart Design, and coauthor of The Design Entrepreneur and Anatomy of Design.
Mirko Ilic is founder of Mirko Ilic Corp., in New York City. He has received medals from Society of Illustrators, Society of Publication Designers, Art Directors Club, I.D. Magazine, and Society of Newspaper Design. Ilic is co-author of The Anatomy of Design with Steven Heller and co-author of The Design of Dissent with Milton Glaser.

[book] Those Who Have Borne the Battle
A History of America's Wars and Those Who Fought Them
By James Wright
May 2012, Public Affairs
At the heart of the story of America’s wars are our “citizen soldiers”—those hometown heroes who fought and sacrificed from Bunker Hill at Charlestown to Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, and beyond, without expectation of recognition or recompense. Americans like to think that the service of its citizen volunteers is, and always has been, of momentous importance in our politics and society. But though this has made for good storytelling, the reality of America’s relationship to its veterans is far more complex. In Those Who Have Borne the Battle, historian and marine veteran James Wright tells the story of the long, often troubled relationship between America and those who have defended her—from the Revolutionary War to today—shedding new light both on our history and on the issues our country and its armed forces face today. From the beginning, American gratitude to its warriors was not a given. Prior to World War II, the prevailing view was that, as citizen soldiers, the service of its young men was the price of citizenship in a free society. Even Revolutionary War veterans were affectionately, but only temporarily, embraced, as the new nation and its citizens had much else to do. In time, the celebration of the nation’s heroes became an important part of our culture, building to the response to World War II, where warriors were celebrated and new government programs provided support for veterans.
The greater transformation came in the wars after World War II, as the way we mobilize for war, fight our wars, and honor those who serve has changed in drastic and troubling ways. Unclear and changing military objectives have made our actions harder for civilians to stand behind, a situation compounded by the fact that the armed forces have become less representative of American society as a whole. Few citizens join in the sacrifice that war demands. The support systems seem less and less capable of handling the increasing number of wounded warriors returning from our numerous and bewildering conflicts abroad.
A masterful work of history, Those Who Have Borne the Battle expertly relates the burdens carried by veterans dating back to the Revolution, as well as those fighting today’s wars. And it challenges Americans to do better for those who serve and sacrifice today.

[book] Writing, the Sacred Art
Beyond the Page to Spiritual Practice
By Rabbi Rami Shapiro and Aaron Shapiro
May 2012, Skylight Paths
Push your writing through the trite and the boring to something fresh, something transformative. If it is true for you that sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me, then your words are soft, weak and ineffective. Words can hurt; words can shatter; words can strip you naked, forcing you to see the truth no matter how precious the lies.
This is the kind of word craft that awardwinning author and renowned spirituality teacher Rami Shapiro promotes in this fresh and unapologetic guide to writing as a spiritual practice. It isn t about writing spiritual books or about the romance of writing. It doesn t cover the ins and outs of publishing and building a brand. Rather, it explores the bedrock of spiritual awakening and how writing can shatter you upon it. Along with award-winning writer and writing coach Aaron Shapiro, he approaches writing the way a spiritual seeker uses meditation and chant to shift from narrow mind to spacious mind and see through the distorting lens of the self-centered self to the larger reality that includes and transcends it. They guide you in how to use writing to discover the deeper reality of life and how best to livein harmony with it.
Rami Shapiro, an award-winning author, storyteller, and essayist, is author of the best-selling The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice and Recovery The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice, among other books. A rabbi, he directs the Writer s Loft Certificate Program in Creative Writing at Middle Tennessee State University and is co-founder, along with Aaron Shapiro, of Path & Pen Spiritual Writer s Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. aron Shapiro teaches writing at Middle Tennessee State University, is widely published and is a frequent speaker on the topics of creative writing and critical theory.

[book] Moral Origins
The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame
By Dr. Christopher Boehm, USC
May 2012, Basic Books
I am so embarrassed to admit that prior to reading this book, I did not realize that Darwin's “Natural selection” was referring to the opposite of interventional selection done by humans when domesticating plants and animals. Which shows how well Professor Boehm explains evolutionary concepts
Are we a selfish species, or are we altruistic? Do we help our neighbors when they are in trouble, or do we steal from them and prey on their weaknesses? For three decades, genetic altruism has been cited as the dominant theory to explain the paradox of human generosity; experts claim our altruism is limited to close kin. But Moral Origins tells a different story. While most scientists continue to apply static evolutionary game theory models to the question of human morality, ethologist and anthropologist Christopher Boehm carefully traces our social evolution over time. By studying the social and natural environments of primates, Boehm has devised a convincing new hypothesis: as autonomy-loving humans became large game hunters, severe group punishment began to genetically favor individuals with superior self-control. Essentially, bullies and free-loader types were killed or expelled from social bands because they interfered with the survival of others in the group.
This social bias singled out highly altruistic individuals as preferable marriage partners, political allies, and group leaders—what Boehm calls “social selection.” The result was the first stirrings of conscience and the genetic effects eventually led to a fully-developed sense of shame. Rigorously researched and expertly argued, Moral Origins offers a new evolutionary paradigm of human generosity and cooperation. With its new perspective on the forces that shaped human morality, it offers insight into some of the toughest problems of our time—dealing humanely with those who transgress, and, perhaps, realizing how to prevent them from going bad to begin with.
My question after reading the book is... can Jewish people shun those of child bearing ability who cut in line at a shul kiddush so that they cannot reproduce. This will create more altruistic kiddush eaters over several generations of breeding.

[book] The Moral Molecule
The Source of Love and Prosperity
By Paul J. Zak, Phd
May 2012, Dutton Books
A Revolution in the Science of Good and Evil. Why do some people give freely while others are cold hearted? Why do some people cheat and steal while others you can trust with your life? Why are some husbands more faithful than others—and why do women tend to be more generous than men? Could they key to moral behavior lie with a single molecule? From the bucolic English countryside to the highlands of Papua New Guinea, from labs in Switzerland to his campus in Souther California, Dr. Paul Zak recounts his extraordinary stories and sets out, for the first time, his revolutionary theory of moral behavior. Accessible and electrifying, The Moral Molecule reveals nothing less than the origins of our most human qualities—empathy, happiness, and the kindness of strangers.

[book] ON THE EVE
The Jews of Europe Before the Second World War
By Bernard Wasserstein
May 2012, Simon and Schuster
On the Eve is the portrait of a world on the eve of its destruction. Bernard Wasserstein’s original and provocative book presents a new and disturbing interpretation of the collapse of European Jewish civilization even before the Nazi onslaught.
Wasserstein shows how the harsh political and social realities of the age devastated the private lives of individuals and families. He demonstrates that, by 1939, the Jews faced an existential crisis that was as much the result of internal decay as of external attack.
From Vilna (the “Jerusalem of Lithuania”) to Salonica with its Judeo-EspaÑol-speaking stevedores and singers, and from the Soviet Jewish “homeland” of Birobidzhan to Amsterdam (the “Jerusalem of the west”), the book explores the mindsets of wealthy bankers and far-left revolutionaries, of ultra-orthodox yeshiva bokhers and militant atheists, of cultural revivalists and radical assimilationists.
Describing the predicament of the Jews in a continent suffused with anti-Semitism, Wasserstein’s focus is squarely on the Jews themselves rather than their persecutors. His aim, he writes, is to “breathe life into dry bones.” Based on vast research, written with compassion and empathy, and enlivened by dry wit, On the Eve paints a vivid and shocking picture of Europe’s Jews in their final hour.

[book] EXIT PLAN
An adventure novel
May 2012, Forge Books
An adventure novel based on the Navy Seals and the Iranian nuclear program, written by a celebrated novelist who studied the the US Navy's Surface Warfare school in Coronado CA
Jerry Mitchell is on exercises off the coast of Pakistan when his submarine, the USS Michigan, is ordered to a rendezvous off the Iranian coast. Once there, disembarked SEALs---experts in seaborne commando operations---are to extract two Iranian nationals who have sensitive information on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. While en route to shore, Michigan’s mini-sub suffers a battery fire, killing one crew member and forcing the survivors---four SEALs and LCDR Mitchell---to scuttle their disabled craft and swim for shore. There they find the two Iranians waiting for them, but their attempts at returning to Michigan are thwarted by heavy Iranian patrol boat activity. When agents of Iran’s secret police, VEVAK, appear, escape seems all but impossible.
When Mitchell and his men find themselves surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp troops, they create a bold plan to escape by sea. It’s a desperate gamble, but it’s the only way to get proof of the Iranian plot to the U.S. . . . and prevent a devastating new war.

Translated by Hegle Dascher
Spring 2012, Drawn and Quarterly Books
Guy Delisle lived in Jerusalem in 2008 and 2009 with his family. His wife worked for Doctors Without Borders. His prior books were on Pyongyang and Burma. Here he sets out his views on his experiences in contemporary Jerusalem, utilizing the stranger in a strange land method. In Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, Delisle explores the complexities of a city that represents so much to so many. He eloquently examines the impact of the conflict on the lives of people on both sides of the wall while drolly recounting the quotidian: checkpoints, traffic jams, and holidays. When observing the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim populations that call Jerusalem home, Delisle assumes nothing
"Neither Jewish nor Arab, Delisle explores Jerusalem and is able to observe this strange world with candidness and humor...But most of all, those stories convey what life in East Jerusalem is about for an expatriate."—Haaretz

HEEB MAGAZINE writes, “Now if all this sounds a little like left-wing philo-Palestinian tripe, really it’s not. Mr. Delisle is refreshingly upfront about his politics, which is to say that he admits that from his vantage point as the plus one of a Médecins Sans Frontières administrator, of course he saw and chronicled the hardships of Palestinians more than those of Israelis. But he claims to have made the effort to go into the situation with what he called a “formatted hardrive.” For example, he gladly took Hebron settlers up on their offer of a tour of their settlement, though he admits it came off as fairly propagandizing. Yes, it could be called immensely naïve to view the Israeli-Palestian conflict as one between refugees and settlers–considering that there are millions of Israelis who view the settlers as, well, total nutballs. However, Delisle seems to embrace his naiveté to an extent, focusing his stories less directly on the conflict and more on time spent on personal experiences, like teaching comic book courses to ultra-religious Palestinian Muslim teenagers, where his drawings of France’s topless beaches caused a walkout. And mercifully he never mentioned a solution to the conflict or brought up even one political figure.”

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Spring 2012, Overlook
A month after the Nazis took over Austria on March 12, 1938, every business owned by Jews had a Nazi appointed to run it. For eighty-two- year-old Sigmund Freud, the world's leading psychoanalyst, the appointed "commissar" was a thirty-five-year-old chemist, Anton Sauerwald. Goebbels and Himmler wanted all psychoanalysts, especially Freud, humiliated and, later, killed, and Sauerwald was in a position to seal Freud's fate. The Escape of Sigmund Freud tells of the Nazi raid on Freud's house produced evidence that would have prevented the Freuds from leaving Austria--yet Sauerwald chose to hide this from his superiors. With never-before-seen material, David Cohen reveals the last two years of Freud's life and the fate of Sauerwald, from the arrest of Freud's daughter, Anna, by the Gestapo; the dramatic saga behind the signing of Freud's exit visa and his eventual escape to London via Paris; to how the Freud family would have the chance to save Sauerwald's life as well.
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Spring 2012, St. Martin's/Dunne
The untold story of the late Mike Wallace, America's most feared TV reporter and how he transformed his inner darkness into a journalistic juggernaut that riveted millions and redefined the landscape of television news. In his four decades as the front man for 60 Minutes, the most successful show in television history, Mike Wallace earned the distinction of being hyperaggressive, self-assured, and unflinching in his riveting exposés of injustice and corruption. His unrivaled career includes interviews with every major newsmaker of the late twentieth century, from Martin Luther King to Arafat to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Behind this intimidating facade, however, Wallace was profoundly depressed and haunted by demons that nearly drove him to suicide. Despite reaching the pinnacle of his profession, Wallace harbored deep insecurities about his credentials as a journalist. For half his life, he was more “TV Personality” than reporter, dabbling as a quiz show emcee, commercial pitchman, and actor. But in the wake of a life-changing personal tragedy, Wallace transformed himself, against all odds, into the most talked-about newsman in America.
Peter Rader's Mike Wallace: A Life tells the story of a courageous man who triumphed over personal adversity and redefined the landscape of television news
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A Coming of Age Novel
May 2012, SixOneSeven Books
The year is 1960 and the place is the Bronx. All twelve-year-old Ricky Davis wants to do is play stickball with his friends and flirt with the building super’s daughter. But when his father crosses gangster Nathan Glucksman and goes into hiding, Ricky has to take over his father’s bookie business and figure out a way to pay back his debt—before the gangsters make good on their threats. Meanwhile, Ricky’s mother, Pearl, a fading beauty of failed dreams, plots to raise the money by embezzling funds from one of her boss’s clients: Elizabeth Taylor. Fast-paced, engrossing and full of heart, The Bookie’s Son paints the picture of a family forced to decide just how much they’re willing to sacrifice for each other—and at what cost.
SixOneSeven Books is a community micro press in Boston founded by Michelle Toth
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[book] Whatever is Contained
Must Be Released
My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood,
My Life as a Feminist Artist
May 2012, Feminist Press
Helène Aylon was a good Jewish girl raised in orthodox Brooklyn, married to a rabbi, and mother of two when her world split apart. A widow at thirty, she broke free of tradition to become an eco-feminist artist whose work deals in transgressive images about war and peace, women's bodies, women and god, and the deeply religious world that continues to influence her work to this day. This memoir is a charming dash through the years of a structured orthodox life and the artistic life that freed her to question the misogyny of her beloved religion. It is also a tell-all about the art world, with fascinating details about luminaries such as Ana Mendieta, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, and Betty Parsons. Examples of Aylon's work included are her early doors for the Jewish chapel at JFK airport, her peace pillowcases (including one worn by Grace Paley), and her current search for the links between feminism and Judaism.
Helène Aylon is a visual, conceptual, and installation artist and eco-feminist whose work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum and the Jewish Museum in New York, the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, among many others. She has upcoming exhibitions at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Aylon turned eighty this year.

[book] MAMIKA
May 2012, Harper Design
Meet Mamika: the world’s coolest and most daring nonagenarian!
To raise his ninety-three-year-old grandmother’s spirits, photographer Sacha Goldberger engaged her as his creative collaborator, model, and muse. Countless costumes, geriatric gaffes, unbelievable stunts, and hilarious photo shoots later, Mamika is a worldwide global media sensation.
This volume captures our feisty heroine in a range of amusing scenarios, all accompanied by her droll observations about life and living, making this book a treasure trove of witty, sardonic wisdom for readers of all ages.

[book] The Jewish Odyssey Of George Eliot
By Gertrude Himmelfarb
May 2012,
“In The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot, a brave and bravura excavation of a prophetic artist’s mind, Gertrude Himmelfarb at last opens to us the George Eliot who has too long been snubbed — sometimes on aesthetic grounds, but more often with full disparaging intent. In so doing, Himmelfarb catapults George Eliot into the thick of the great central maelstrom of our own moment, when Daniel Deronda ceases to be a Victorian novel only, and boldly enters the twenty-first century. Through the lenses of history, culture, philosophy, politics, and literary art, Himmelfarb, in this innovative and dazzling study, reveals how Daniel Deronda — not unlike Uncle Tom’s Cabin — has had its role in succoring and renewing a people; and how it serves as a prescient rebuke to both Sartre and Said.” - Cynthia Ozick
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[book] O Powerful Western Star
American Jews, Russian Jews,
and the Final Battle of the Cold War
By Peter Golden
May 2012, Gefen
An extensively researched history of the impact of the Cold War on Soviet Jews, Golden's book is largely concerned with the American Jewish community's efforts to help their Soviet counterparts emigrate from the flagrantly anti-Semitic U.S.S.R. under Stalin and his successors. Arguing that American Jews, in the wake of the Holocaust, feared they were abandoning Soviet Jews in the same way they had supposedly abandoned European Jews to Hitler (thus suffering from what "Dr. Mortimer Ostow diagnosed as a kind of survivor guilt'"), Golden guides the reader through a history of activism, from the formation of groups such as the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry to the militarization of the Jewish Defense League. As the plight of Soviet Jewry eventually becomes inextricably linked to Cold War, Golden illustrates how activists attempted to navigate the counterproductive goals of Nixon's policy and Kissinger's realpolitik, as well as the efforts of Israel and the U.S.S.R. to undermine the movement. Given its politically-charged subject matter, Golden (The Quiet Diplomat) is remarkably even-handed (he proves equally critical of Israel, America, and the U.S.S.R.), but his narrative--based on thorough research and interviews with Gorbachev, Reagan, Nixon, Kissinger, and others--can be tangential and disorganized, tending to follow a single figure or movement for a while before backtracking in a manner that only muddies the already complex Cold War history he is trying to illuminate. --Publishers Weekly
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[book] The Night of Broken Glass
Eyewitness Accounts of Kristallnacht
By Uta Gerhardt and Thomas Karlauf
May 2012, Gefen
November 9th 1938 is widely seen as a violent turning point in Nazi Germany's assault on the Jews. An estimated 400 Jews lost their lives in the anti-Semitic pogrom and more than 30,000 were imprisoned or sent to concentration camps, where many were brutally mistreated. Thousands more fled their homelands in Germany and Austria, shocked by what they had seen, heard and experienced. What they took with them was not only the pain of saying farewell but also the memory of terrible scenes: attacks by mobs of drunken Nazis, public humiliations, burning synagogues, inhuman conditions in overcrowded prison cells and concentration camp barracks. The reactions of neighbors and passersby to these barbarities ranged from sympathy and aid to scorn, mockery, and abuse.
In 1939 the Harvard sociologist Edward Hartshorne gathered eyewitness accounts of the Kristallnacht from hundreds of Jews who had fled, but Hartshorne joined the Secret Service shortly afterwards and the accounts he gathered were forgotten - until now. These eyewitness testimonies - published here for the first time, with a foreword by Saul Friedländer, the Pulitzer Prize historian and Holocaust survivor - paint a harrowing picture of everyday violence in one of Europe's darkest moments.
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[book] Demonizing the Jews
Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany
By Christopher J. Probst
May 2012, Indiana University Press
The acquiescence of the German Protestant churches in Nazi oppression and murder of Jews is well documented. In this book, Christopher J. Probst demonstrates that a significant number of German theologians and clergy made use of the 16th-century writings by Martin Luther on Jews and Judaism to reinforce the racial antisemitism and religious anti-Judaism already present among Protestants. Focusing on key figures, Probst's study makes clear that a significant number of pastors, bishops, and theologians of varying theological and political persuasions employed Luther's texts with considerable effectiveness in campaigning for the creation of a "de-Judaized" form of Christianity. Probst shows that even the church most critical of Luther's anti-Jewish writings reaffirmed the antisemitic stereotyping that helped justify early Nazi measures against the Jews.
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[book] The Wiley-Blackwell History of Jews and Judaism
Edited and Authored By Alan T. Levenson
Schusterman/Josey Professor of Jewish Intellectual and Religious History at the University of Oklahoma
May 2012, Wiley
In The Wiley-Blackwell History of Jews and Judaism, a team of internationally-renowned scholars offer a comprehensive and authoritative overview of Jewish life and culture, from the biblical period to contemporary times.
Provides a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the main periods and themes of Jewish history, from Biblical Israel, through medieval and early modern periods, to Judaism since the Holocaust, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and Judaism today
Brings together an international team of established and emerging scholars across a range of disciplines
Discusses how to present Judaism - to both non-Jews and Jews - as a religious system on its own terms and with its own unique vocabulary
Explores the latest scholarship on a range of issues, including folk practices, politics, economic structure, the relationship of Judaism to Christianity, and the nature of Zionism diaspora and its implications for contemporary Israel
Considers Jewish historiography and the lives of ordinary people, the achievements of Jewish women, and the sustained interaction of Jews within the environments they inhabited
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[book] Edouard Vuillard
A Painter and His Muses, 1890-1940
(The Jewish Museum, NYC)
By Stephen Brown and R. Brettell
May 2012, Yale University Press
In many of Edouard Vuillard's (1868-1940) most famous paintings, figures are nestled in intimate settings among bold patterns and colors. As the viewer's eye adjusts to the complexity of the scene, the artist's world opens up. At a young age, Vuillard was one of a group of avant-garde painters in Paris who favored rich palettes and dreamlike imagery. He was equally a member of the literary and theatrical circles that included writers like Marcel Proust and Stéphane Mallarmé. As his career progressed into the new century, he entered the rarefied society of upper-class French families—many of them Jewish—who collected the new art, published the new poetry, and wrote the new criticism.
This beautifully illustrated book examines the master artist's work in the context of a unique circle of friends and patrons between the turn of the 20th century and World War II. Essays by leading scholars explore the artist's relationship with key members of this glamorous social circle, as well as the connections between Vuillard and Proust, two of the world's great observers of a world now lost.
A fascinating exploration of artistic culture in Paris before the war, Edouard Vuillard establishes the artist as one of the masters of the modern portrait.
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[book] Jews under Moroccan Skies
Two Thousand Years of Jewish Life
By Raphael David Elmaleh and George Ricketts
May 2012, Gaon Books
Peter Geffen writes, “Jews under Moroccan Skies tells the story of Jewish life in Morocco, describing in realistic detail how Jews and Muslims interweaved their lives in peace for centuries. The authors give us the rich history of Berber Jews, the Moroccan tzadikim, and Jewish mysticism in the country. They also describe the cultural differences between the Judeo-Spanish communities of the North, the Francophone urban Jews, and the Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Berber traditions. "No chapter in the long history of the Jewish people has more power and more relevance to our contemporary world than Moroccan Jewry. And it is the least known, by far! This wonderful book will draw you into its mystery, captivating and capturing your imagination. If you don't want to be tempted to travel, don't read this book. You will never be satisfied until you see it with you own eyes accompanied by the unparalleled teacher and guide, Raphael David Elmaleh! People all over the world have been waiting for Raphy to put his words down on paper.”
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[book] Top of the Rock:
Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV
By Warren Littlefield with T. R. Pearson
May 2012, Doubleday Books
Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier, ER, Cheers, Law & Order, Will & Grace…Here is the funny, splashy, irresistible insiders’ account of the greatest era in television history -- told by the actors, writers, directors, producers, and the network executives who made it happen…and watched it all fall apart.
Warren Littlefield was the NBC President of Entertainment who oversaw the Peacock Network’s rise from also-ran to a division that generated a billion dollars in profits. In this fast-paced and exceptionally entertaining oral history, Littlefield and NBC luminaries including Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Kelsey Grammer, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Julianna Marguiles, Anthony Edwards, Noah Wylie, Debra Messing, Jack Welch, Jimmy Burrows, Helen Hunt, and Dick Wolf vividly recapture the incredible era of Must See TV.
From 1993 through 1998, NBC exploded every conventional notion of what a broadcast network could accomplish with the greatest prime-time line-up in television history. On Thursday nights, a cavalcade of groundbreaking comedies and dramas streamed into homes, attracting a staggering 75 million viewers and generating more revenue than all other six nights of programming combined. The road to success, however, was a rocky one. How do you turn a show like Seinfeld, one of the lowest testing pilots of all time, into a hit when the network overlords are constantly warring, or worse, drowning in a bottle of vodka? Top of the Rock is an addictively readable account of the risky business decisions, creative passion, and leaps of faith that made Must See TV possible. Chock full of delicious behind-the-scenes anecdotes that run the gamut from hilarious casting and programming ploys to petty jealousies and drug interventions, you’re in for a juicy, unputdownable read.
Includes items such as the concern the Seinfeld was too Jewish (but after Tartikoff died, they gave it a green light), why Seinfeld killed off George's fiance (they didn't like the actress), why Will & Grace was seen as too gay for advertisers, the casting of Friends (Six of One), how David Schwimmer's mother, a lawyer, pushed the Friends cast to unionize and get the same pay (to help her son and his love of thee u tah), etc.
The did-you-know details about "Cheers" are all here: William Devane auditioned to be Sam Malone; John Lithgow was offered the role of Dr. Frasier Crane; Shelley Long was "difficult" and spent too much time in her dressing room while the weary live audience endured her costume changes. The new commandment: Have faith in the talent, and ye shall profit.
The WSJ writes, “Mr. Littlefield's entry in the shelf-esteem sweepstakes, "Top of the Rock," is an oral history of mostly 1990s television, with interview snippets from on- and off-screen talent and fellow executives. Mr. Littlefield is just one among many speakers, but he gets the biggest entries and wrote the swaggering, cigar-chomping introduction. The book proceeds more or less chronologically, from "Cheers," which ended in the early 1990s, to the launch of "Will & Grace" in the late '90s. With plenty of lessons about branding and managing up (the book is about television, after all), Littlefield & Co. give their versions of events, applying the golden rule of television—essentially, you've got to spin it to win it—but also settling scores along the way.”
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[book] Istanbul Passage
A Novel
By Joseph Kanon
May 2012, Atria
What happens when you must protect someone that months earlier you would have happily murdered
A neutral straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul survived the Second World War as a magnet for refugees and spies, trafficking in secrets and lies rather than soldiers. Expatriate American businessman Leon Bauer was drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs and courier runs in support of the Allied war effort.
Now, as the espionage community begins to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of postwar life, Leon is given one last routine assignment. But when the job goes fatally wrong—an exchange of gunfire, a body left in the street, a potential war criminal on his hands—Leon is plunged into a tangle of intrigue, shifting loyalties, and moral uncertainty.
Played out against the bazaars and mosques and faded mansions of this knowing, ancient Ottoman city, Leon’s conflicted attempt to save one life leads to a desperate manhunt that ultimately threatens his own survival. How do you do the right thing when there are only bad choices to be made?
Rich with atmosphere and period detail, Istanbul Passage is the haunting story of a man swept up in the dawn of the Cold War, of an unexpected love affair, and of a city as deceptive as the calm surface waters of the Bosphorus that divides it.
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Based on More Than 6,000 Newly Discovered Letters, Documents, and Photos
BY Mirjam Pressler AND Damion Searls (Translator)
May 2012, Anchor
This fascinating history of Anne Frank and the family that shaped her is based on a treasure trove of thousands of letters, poems, drawings, postcards, and photos recently discovered by her last surviving close relative, Buddy Elias, and his wife, Gerti. As children, Anne and her cousin Buddy were very close; he affectionately dubbed her “the Rascal” and they visited and corresponded frequently. Years later, Buddy inherited their grandmother’s papers, stored unseen in an attic for decades. These invaluable new materials bring a lost world to life and tell a moving saga of a far-flung but close-knit family divided by unimaginable tragedy. We see Anne’s father surviving the Holocaust and searching for his daughters, finally receiving a wrenching account of their last months. We see the relatives in Switzerland waiting anxiously for news during the war and share their experiences of reunion and grief afterwards—and their astonishment as Anne’s diary becomes a worldwide phenomenon. Anne Frank’s Family is the story of a remarkable Jewish family that will move readers everywhere.
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[book] Shuva
The Future of the Jewish Past
By Yehuda Kurtzer, Shalom Hartman Inst
Spring 2012, Brandeis
Modern Jews tend to relate to the past through "history," which relies on empirical demonstration and rational thought, rather than through "memory," which relies on the non-rational architectures of mythology. By now "history" has surpassed "memory" as a means of relating to the past--a development that falls short in building identity and creates disconnection between Jews and their collective history. Kurtzer seeks to mend this breach. Drawing on key classical texts, he shows that "history" and "memory" are not exclusive and that the perceived dissonance between them can be healed by a selective reclamation of the past and a translation of that past into purposefulness.
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[book] What Chinese Want,br. Culture, Communism and the Modern Chinese Consumer
BY Tom Doctoroff (J Walter Thompson)
Spring 2012, Palgrave
Today, most Americans take for granted that China will be the next global superpower. But despite the nation's growing influence, the average Chinese person is still a mystery—or, at best, a baffling set of seeming contradictions—to Westerners who expect the rising Chinese consumer to resemble themselves. Here, Tom Doctoroff, the guiding force of advertising giant J. Walter Thompson's (JWT) China operations, marshals his 20 years of experience navigating this fascinating intersection of commerce and culture to explain the mysteries of China. He explores the many cultural, political, and economic forces shaping the twenty-first-century Chinese and their implications for businesspeople, marketers, and entrepreneurs—or anyone else who wants to know what makes the Chinese tick. Dismantling common misconceptions, Doctoroff provides the context Westerners need to understand the distinctive worldview that drives Chinese businesses and consumers, including: why family and social stability take precedence over individual self-expression and the consequences for education, innovation, and growth; their fundamentally different understanding of morality, and why Chinese tolerate human rights abuses, rampant piracy, and endemic government corruption; and the long and storied past that still drives decision making at corporate, local, and national levels. Change is coming fast and furious in China, challenging not only how the Western world sees the Chinese but how they see themselves. From the new generation's embrace of Christmas to the middle-class fixation with luxury brands; from the exploding senior demographic to what the Internet means for the government's hold on power, Doctoroff pulls back the curtain to reveal a complex and nuanced picture of a facinating people whose lives are becoming ever more entwined with our own.
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Israel's Controversial Hero
A Jewish Lives Biography
By Mordechai Bar-On, MK
June 2012, YALE
Instantly recognizable with his iconic eye patch, Moshe Dayan (1915–1981) was one of Israel's most charismatic—and controversial—personalities. As a youth he earned the reputation of a fearless warrior, and in later years as a leading military tactician, admired by peers and enemies alike. (He lost his eye with the British, not fighting for Israel) As chief of staff during the 1956 Sinai Campaign and as minister of defense during the 1967 Six Day War, Dayan led the Israel Defense Forces to stunning military victories. But in the aftermath of the bungled 1973 Yom Kippur War, he shared the blame for operational mistakes and retired from the government. He later proved himself a principled and talented diplomat, playing an integral role in peace negotiations with Egypt.
In this biography, Mordechai Bar-On, a Minister in the Israeli Knesset, and Dayan's IDF bureau chief during the Sinai campaign, offers an intimate view of Dayan's private life, public career, and political controversies, set against an original analysis of Israel's political environment from pre-British Mandate Palestine through the early 1980s.
Drawing on a wealth of Israeli archives, accounts by Dayan and members of his circle, and firsthand experiences, Bar-On reveals Dayan as a man unwavering in his devotion to Zionism and the Land of Israel. Moshe Dayan makes a unique contribution to the history of Israel and the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
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[book] The Shema and the Mezuzah
Listening to Each Other
By Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
2012, Jewish Lights
Ages 3 – 7
In a divided world where the one who shouts the loudest often gets the most attention, a story about compromise and listening. The townspeople have mezuzahs but cannot agree on how to put them up on their doorways. Should they place them horizontally or vertically, standing up or lying down? To end their arguing, they consult the wise rabbi of the town, who advises them to carefully read the Shema in the mezuzah to find the answer.
This lively tale, based on a twelfth-century rabbinic debate, introduces children ages 3 to 6 to the words of the Shema, the Jewish people s affirmation of faith, and the custom of putting up the mezuzah. A spirited disagreement over how to affix the mezuzah results in compromise and harmony when the townspeople learn to truly listen to one another.
Best-selling, award-winning children s author Sandy Eisenberg Sasso helps young people discover that there is often more than one solution to a problem, and that living together and creating home requires cooperation and listening to one another.

[book] Koren Talmud Bavli
Tractate Berakhot, Hebrew/English,
Standard Format (you can also get the Daf Yomi format)
Edited by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
The Koren Talmud Bavli is a groundbreaking edition of the Talmud that fuses the innovative design of Koren Publishers Jerusalem with the incomparable scholarship of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The Koren Talmud Bavli Standard Edition is a full-size, full-color edition that presents an enhanced Vilna page, a side-by-side English translation, photographs and illustrations, a brilliant commentary, and a multitude of learning aids to help the beginning and advanced student alike actively participate in the dynamic process of Talmud study.
The Koren Talmud Bavli is a groundbreaking edition of the Talmud that fuses the innovative design of Koren Publishers Jerusalem with the incomparable scholarship of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The Koren Talmud Bavli – Standard Edition is a full-size, full-color edition that presents an enhanced Vilna page, a side-by-side English translation, photographs and illustrations, a brilliant commentary, and a multitude of learning aids to help the beginning and advanced student alike actively participate in the dynamic process of Talmud study.
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[book] Koren Sacks Siddur
Sepharad Prayerbook
Edited by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
June 2012, Koren
The Koren Sacks Siddur is the first new Orthodox Hebrew/English siddur in a generation. The Siddur marks the culmination of years of rabbinic scholarship, exemplifies Koren's tradition of textual accuracy and intuitive graphic design, and offers an illuminating translation, introduction and commentary by one of the world's leading Jewish thinkers, Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks. Halakhic guides to daily, Shabbat, and holiday prayers supplement the traditional text. Prayers for the State of Israel, its soldiers, and national holidays, for the American government, upon the birth of a daughter and more reinforce the Siddur's contemporary relevance. A special Canadian Edition is the first to include prayers for the Canadian government within the body of the text.
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[book] The Illustrated History of the Hungarian Jews
From the Beginnings Up
to the Present
By Katalin Jalsovszky,
Emoke Tomsics, and Zsuzsanna Toronyi
June 2012,
From the Ancient Roman Empire to the present day, the life of the Jewish people in Hungary is documented, aiming to fill the current gap that exists in their history. The analysis focuses on the social and cultural circumstances of this population as well as their background, considered within the context of Hungary’s own past. The chapters journey through the middle ages, the reform age, World War I, and the Holocaust, which concluded with the extermination of the Hungarian Jewry—considered one of Europe’s largest and most important Jewish communities. Accentuated with a striking array of photographs capturing archeological artifacts, architectural relics, and works of art, this consideration delves into this community’s religion, daily life, and the prominent role they have played in the cultural and economic life of modern Hungary. A collection of authentic documents—some of which have been unpublished until now—is also featured.
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[book] The Founding Fathers of Zionism
By Professor Benzion Netanyahu (Cornell)
June 2012,
Balfour Books
Before the state of Israel became a reality in 1948, a group of thinkers advanced the idea; five of these men would become icons of the Zionist movement, and today, renowned history professor Benzion Netanyahu (himself a significant figure) has profiled The Founding Fathers of Zionism. From the mind of Herzl, to the persevering efforts in Russia and elsewhere, this landmark book brings to life the men, times, and ideology that propelled a fantastic idea to reality.
Professor Netanyahu passed away on April 30, 2012 prior to the book’s publication. He is father of Iddo, Yonaton (killed leading the Raid on Entebbe) and Binyamin (served as Prime Minister of the State of Israel)
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[book] Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky
Stories of Accommodation and Audacity
(Kentucky Remembered: An Oral History Series)
By Nora Rose Moosnick
June 2012,
University of Kentucky Press
Outwardly it would appear that Arab and Jewish immigrants comprise two distinct groups with differing cultural backgrounds and an adversarial relationship. Yet, as immigrants who have settled in communities at a distance from metropolitan areas, both must negotiate complex identities. Growing up in Kentucky as the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, Nora Rose Moosnick observed this traditionally mismatched pairing firsthand, finding that, Arab and Jewish immigrants have been brought together by their shared otherness and shared fears. Even more intriguing to Moosnick was the key role played by immigrant women of both cultures in family businesses -- a similarity which brings the two groups close together as they try to balance the demands of integration into American society.
In Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Audacity and Accomodation, Moosnick reveals how Jewish and Arab women have navigated the intersection of tradition, assimilation, and Kentucky's cultural landscape. The stories of ten women's experiences as immigrants or the children of immigrants join around common themes of public service to their communities, intergenerational relationships, running small businesses, and the difficulties of juggling family and work. Together, their compelling narratives challenge misconceptions and overcome the invisibility of Arabs and Jews in out of the way places in America.
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[book] Road to Valor
A True Story of WWII Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation
By Aili McConnon and Andres McConnon
June 2012, Crown
Road to Valor is the inspiring, against-the-odds story of Gino Bartali, the cyclist who made the greatest comeback in Tour de France history and secretly aided the Italian resistance during World War II. Gino Bartali is best known as an Italian cycling legend: the man who not only won the Tour de France twice, but also holds the record for the longest time span between victories. During the ten years that separated his hard-won triumphs, his actions, both on and off the racecourse, ensured him a permanent place in Italian hearts and minds.
In Road to Valor, Aili and Andres McConnon chronicle Bartali’s journey, starting in impoverished rural Tuscany where a scrawny, mischievous boy painstakingly saves his money to buy a bicycle and before long, is racking up wins throughout the country. At the age of 24, he stuns the world by winning the Tour de France and becomes an international sports icon. But Mussolini’s Fascists try to hijack his victory for propaganda purposes, derailing Bartali’s career, and as the Nazis occupy Italy, Bartali undertakes secret and dangerous activities to help those being targeted. He shelters a family of Jews in an apartment he financed with his cycling winnings and is able to smuggle counterfeit identity documents hidden in his bicycle past Fascist and Nazi checkpoints because the soldiers recognize him as a national hero in training.
After the grueling wartime years, Bartali fights to rebuild his career as Italy emerges from the rubble. In 1948, the stakes are raised when midway through the Tour de France, an assassination attempt in Rome sparks nationwide political protests and riots. Despite numerous setbacks and a legendary snowstorm in the Alps, the chain-smoking, Chianti-loving, 34-year-old underdog comes back and wins the most difficult endurance competition on earth. Bartali’s inspiring performance helps unite his fractured homeland and restore pride and spirit to a country still reeling from war and despair.
Set in Italy and France against the turbulent backdrop of an unforgiving sport and threatening politics, Road to Valor is the breathtaking account of one man’s unsung heroism and his resilience in the face of adversity. Based on nearly ten years of research in Italy, France, and Israel, including interviews with Bartali’s family, former teammates, a Holocaust survivor Bartali saved, and many others, Road to Valor is the first book ever written about Bartali in English and the only book written in any language to fully explore the scope of Bartali’s wartime work. An epic tale of courage, comeback, and redemption, it is the untold story of one of the greatest athletes of the twentieth century.

[book] Slouching Toward Adulthood
Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest
By Sally Koslow (Sarah Lawrence)
June 2012, Viking
A witty and insightful report from the parenting trenches by the mother of two "adultescents"
Millions of American parents sit down to dinner every night, wondering why fully grown children are joining them—or, more likely, grunting good-bye as they head out for another night of who knows what. Sally Koslow, a journalist, novelist, and mother of two "adultescents" digs deep to reveal what lies behind the current generation’s unwillingness—or inability—to take flight.
By delving into the latest research and conducting probing interviews with both frustrated parents and their frustrated offspring, Koslow uses humor, insight, and honest self-reflection to give voice to the issues of prolonged dependency. From the adultescent’s relationship to work (or no work), money (that convenient parental ATM), or social life, Slouching Toward Adulthood is a provocative, razor-sharp, but heartfelt cri de coeur for all the parents who sent their kids to college only to have them ricochet home with a diploma in one hand and the DVR remote in the other.
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[book] Mission to Paris
A Novel
by Alan Furst
June 2012, Random House
It is the late summer of 1938, Europe is about to explode, the Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie for Paramount France. The Nazis know he’s coming—a secret bureau within the Reich Foreign Ministry has for years been waging political warfare against France, using bribery, intimidation, and corrupt newspapers to weaken French morale and degrade France’s will to defend herself. For their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence, and they attack him. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service being run out of the American embassy in Paris.
From Alan Furst, the bestselling author, often praised as the best spy novelist ever, comes a novel that’s truly hard to put down. Mission to Paris includes beautifully drawn scenes of romance and intimacy, and the novel is alive with extraordinary characters: the German Baroness von Reschke, a famous hostess deeply involved in Nazi clandestine operations; the assassins Herbert and Lothar; the Russian film actress and spy Olga Orlova; the Hungarian diplomat and spy, Count Janos Polanyi; along with the French cast of Stahl’s movie, German film producers, and the magnetic women in Stahl’s life, the socialite Kiki de Saint-Ange and the émigré Renate Steiner.
But always at the center of the novel is the city of Paris, the heart and soul of Europe—its alleys and bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it was their last. As always, Alan Furst brings to life both a dark time in history and the passion of the human hearts that fought to survive it.

[book] With Our Backs to the Wall
Victory and Defeat in 1918
By David Stevenson
Spring 2012, Harvard
With so much at stake and so much already lost, why did World War I end with a whimper—an arrangement between two weary opponents to suspend hostilities? After more than four years of desperate fighting, with victories sometimes measured in feet and inches, why did the Allies reject the option of advancing into Germany in 1918 and taking Berlin? Most histories of the Great War focus on the avoidability of its beginning. This book brings a laser-like focus to its ominous end—the Allies’ incomplete victory, and the tragic ramifications for world peace just two decades later.
In the most comprehensive account to date of the conflict’s endgame, David Stevenson approaches the events of 1918 from a truly international perspective, examining the positions and perspectives of combatants on both sides, as well as the impact of the Russian Revolution. Stevenson pays close attention to America’s effort in its first twentieth-century war, including its naval and military contribution, army recruitment, industrial mobilization, and home-front politics. Alongside military and political developments, he adds new information about the crucial role of economics and logistics.
The Allies’ eventual success, Stevenson shows, was due to new organizational methods of managing men and materiel and to increased combat effectiveness resulting partly from technological innovation. These factors, combined with Germany’s disastrous military offensive in spring 1918, ensured an Allied victory—but not a conclusive German defeat.

[book] Recipes from My Jewish Grandmother
By Marlena Spieler
Late Spring 2012
Annes books
Marlena Spieler is a passionate cook who discovered her love of cooking living in Israel as a teenager. She has written more than 30 cookbooks, and writes for newspapers in both Britain and the USA. Her regular column, The Roving Feast, goes out worldwide and is a two-time award winner for the Association of Food Writers
Marlena has been shortlisted numerous times for various awards including the prestigious James Beard (two books and one newspaper column), the Guild of Food Writers Awards (UK, best radio food broadcaster of the year, twice ), and the Association of Food Journalists (USA: Best Column in Newspaper of Over 400,000 circulation — twice) for radio presenting, food writing and books. Everyone from BBC Radio to LBC agree: Marlena can talk about food… she can talk and talk and talk and talk. One of her latest books, Feeding Friends, won the International Cookbook Award in Perigueux, France, in 2000 and her Jewish Heritage Cooking was honored in the Loire Valley, in 2003 by a Special Jury Award at World Gourmand Book Awards.
Marlena is passionate about discovering and sharing the good flavours of life. She lives in Britain with her husband Alan, beautiful and patient cat Madeline, and two wild energetic totally adorable Jack Russell Terriers, Jake and Lambchop. Catch up with her culinary adventuress at

[book] Very Near to You
By Avraham Burg
Translated by JJ Goldberg
June 2012, Gefen
Turn the Torah over and over again, the ancient rabbis said, for everything is in it. Avraham Burg shows the way in his unique and valuable Torah commentary, displaying a profound mastery of classical Jewish learning and secular knowledge, informed by the events of our world and sensitive to the psychological intricacies of our lives. All these qualities combine in a truly insightful, original volume. It will reward the reader greatly! --Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Avraham Avrum Burg is one of Israel s best-known social critics. Author, politician, businessman, television personality and popular Bible scholar, he has served as speaker of Israel s parliament, chairman of the executive of the World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency for Israel and one of the early activists of the Peace Now protest movement. Born in Jerusalem to one of Israel’s leading Orthodox political families, Burg served as a lieutenant in the paratroop brigade during the 1982 Lebanon War. His speech that September at the mass peace rally following the notorious Beirut massacre electrified Israelis and confirmed him as an essential voice of his nation s conscience. During the mid-1980s he served as Diaspora affairs adviser to Prime Minister Shimon Peres and offered a weekly Friday evening Torah commentary on Israel Television that made him one of his country s most familiar and popular public figures. In 1988 he was elected to the Knesset and went on to serve two terms, emerging as a champion of religious pluralism, women s rights and the environment as well as Israeli-Palestinian peace. He resigned from the legislature in 1995 to run for chairman of the World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency, traditionally considered a backwater for political has-beens, and returned to the Knesset as speaker in 1999. He retired from politics in 2004 to take up his present role as author and gadfly. Today, from his home in the village of Nataf in the Jerusalem hills, where he lives with his wife Yael, Avrum Burg writes, lectures and continues his outspoken advocacy of peace, religious pluralism and the environment. In Very Near to You, his third book, he invites the reader to join him as he revisits Judaism s most sacred texts and retraces his spiritual journey. Click to read more

[book] A Zionist among Palestinians
By Hillel Bardin, ACRI
Mubarak Awad (Foreword), Edward (Edy) Kaufman (Foreword)
June 2012, Indiana Univ Press
A Zionist among Palestinians offers the perspective of an ordinary Israeli citizen who became concerned about the Israeli military's treatment of Palestinians and was moved to work for peace. Hillel Bardin, a confirmed Zionist, was a reservist in the Israeli army during the first intifada when he met Palestinians arrested by his unit. He learned that they supported peace with Israel and the then-taboo proposal for a two-state solution, and that they understood the intifada as a struggle to achieve these goals. Bardin began to organize dialogues between Arabs and Israelis in West Bank villages, towns, and refugee camps. In 1988, he was jailed for meeting with Palestinians while on active duty in Ramallah. Over the next two decades, he participated in a variety of peace organizations and actions, from arranging for Israelis to visit Palestinian communities and homes, to the joint jogging group "Runners for Peace," to marches, political organizing, and demonstrations supporting peace, security, and freedom. In this very personal account, Bardin tries to come to grips with the conflict in a way that takes account of both Israeli-Zionist and Palestinian aims.
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[book] A Perfect Fit
The Garment Industry and American Jewry, 1860-1960
(Costume Society of America Series)
Edited by Gabriel Goldstein and Elizabeth Greenberg, with a Foreword by Sylvia A. Herskowitz
June 2012, Texas Tech University Press
Flip on the entertainment news, open an issue of a popular magazine, or step into any department store—and you’ll appreciate the impact of the multibillion-dollar fashion industry on American culture. Yet its origins in the nineteenth-century “rag trade” of Jewish tailors, cutters, pressers, peddlers, and shopkeepers have yet to be fully explored. In this copiously illustrated volume, scholars from varied backgrounds consider the role of American Jews in creating, developing, and furthering the national garment industry from the Civil War forward. Drawn from an award-winning exhibition of the same title at the Yeshiva University Museum, A Perfect Fit provides a fascinating view of American society, culture, and industrialization. Essays address themes such as the development of the menswear industry; the early film industry and its relationship to American fashion; the relationship of the American industry to Britain and France; the acculturation of Jewish immigrants and its impact on American garment making; advertising history and popular culture; and regional centers of manufacturing. This multivalent group of essays compellingly weaves together important threads of the complex history of the American garment industry.

[book] The Innocents
A Novel
By Francesca Segal
May 2012
A smart and slyly funny tale of love, temptation, confusion, and commitment; a triumphant and beautifully executed recasting of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. Newly engaged and unthinkingly self-satisfied, twenty-eight-year-old Adam Newman is the prize catch of Temple Fortune, a small, tight-knit Jewish suburb of London. He has been dating Rachel Gilbert since they were both sixteen and now, to the relief and happiness of the entire Gilbert family, they are finally to marry. To Adam, Rachel embodies the highest values of Temple Fortune; she is innocent, conventional, and entirely secure in her community—a place in which everyone still knows the whereabouts of their nursery school classmates. Marrying Rachel will cement Adam’s role in a warm, inclusive family he loves.
But as the vast machinery of the wedding gathers momentum, Adam feels the first faint touches of claustrophobia, and when Rachel’s younger cousin Ellie Schneider moves home from New York, she unsettles Adam more than he’d care to admit. Ellie—beautiful, vulnerable, and fiercely independent—offers a liberation that he hadn’t known existed: a freedom from the loving interference and frustrating parochialism of North West London. Adam finds himself questioning everything, suddenly torn between security and exhilaration, tradition and independence. What might he be missing by staying close to home?
Francesca Segal was born in London and studied at Oxford and Harvard University before becoming a journalist and critic. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Guardian, and The Observer, among other publications. For three years she wrote the Debut Fiction column in The Observer and was, until recently, a features writer at Tatler. She lives in London.

[book] The World Without You
A Novel
By Joshua Henkin
June 2012, Pantheon
From the author of the widely acclaimed novel Matrimony (a New York Times Notable Book)--a moving, deeply engaging new novel about love, loss, and the aftermath of a family tragedy. It's July 4th, 2005, and the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. But this is no ordinary holiday: the family is gathering for a memorial. Leo, the youngest of the four Frankel siblings and an intrepid journalist and adventurer, was killed one year earlier while on assignment in Iraq. His parents, Marilyn and David, are adrift in grief, and it's tearing apart their forty-year marriage. Clarissa, the eldest, is struggling at thirty-nine with infertility. Lily, a fiery-tempered lawyer, is angry about everything. Noelle, a born-again Orthodox Jew (and the last person to see Leo alive), has come in from Israel with her husband and four children and feels entirely out of place. And Thisbe--Leo's widow and mother of their three-year-old son--has arrived from California bearing her own secret. Over the course of three days, the Frankels will contend with sibling rivalries and marital feuds, volatile women and silent men, and, ultimately, with the true meaning of family.

[book] The Fish That Ate the Whale
The Life and Times of America's Banana King
By Rich Cohen
June 2012, FS&G
From the author of TOUGH JEWS, ISRAEL IS REAL, and SWEET AND LOWDOWN comes another story of a tough kickass Jewish guy who didn’t take crap
When Samuel Zemurray arrived in America in 1891, he was tall, gangly and penniless. When he died in the grandest house in New Orleans sixty-nine years later, he was among the richest, most powerful men in the world. In between, he worked as a fruit peddler, a banana hauler, a dockside hustler, and a plantation owner. He battled and conquered the United Fruit Company, becoming a symbol of the best and worst of the United States: proof that America is the land of opportunity, but also a classic example of the corporate pirate who treats foreign nations as the backdrop for his adventures. In Latin America, when people shouted “Yankee, Go Home!” it was men like Zemurray they had in mind.
Rich Cohen’s brilliant historical profile, The Fish That Ate the Whale, unveils Zemurray as a hidden kingmaker and capitalist revolutionary, driven by an indomitable will to succeed. Known as El Amigo, the Gringo, or simply Z, the Bananaman lived one of the great untold stories of the last hundred years. Starting with nothing but a cart of freckled bananas and built a sprawling empire of banana cowboys, Mestizo Indians, soldiers of fortune, Mafia loan-sharks, Honduran peasants and American Presidents. From hustling on the docks to bankrolling private wars, Zemurray emerges as an unforgettable figure, connected to the birth of modern American diplomacy, public relations, business and war.

[book] My Life in Jewish Renewal
A Memoir
By Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi with Dr. Edward Hoffman (Yeshiva Univ)
June 2012, Rowman & Littlefield
This powerful memoir chronicles the life of one of America’s most celebrated rabbis—Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi, or “Reb Zalman” as he is fondly known to friends and followers. The book traces his life from a youth in the shadow of the Nazis through the tumultuous 1960s in America to his position as a renowned religious leader today.
Often controversial for his attraction to cultural mavericks and religious rebels, Reb Zalman’s colorful lifetime includes a striking cast of characters, including Timothy Leary, Elie Wiesel, Abraham Maslow, and more. He has developed deep relationships across faith traditions, including the Catholic theologian Thomas Merton. The book discusses these relationships, as well as his historic encounter with the Dalai Lama, as featured in the popular book and film The Jew in the Lotus. It also describes the founding of the now coast-to-coast Jewish Renewal movement and Reb Zalman’s pioneering work on “sage-ing” for the elderly.
Reb Zalman often illustrates his talks with stories from his life, and My Life in Jewish Renewal brings together the complete life story of this beloved leader for the first time.

[book] In God's Shadow
Politics in the Hebrew Bible
By Michael Walzer (Princeton)
June 2012
In this eagerly awaited book, political theorist Michael Walzer reports his findings after decades of thinking about the politics of the Hebrew Bible. Attentive to nuance while engagingly straightforward, Walzer examines the laws, the histories, the prophecies, and the wisdom of the ancient biblical writers and discusses their views on such central political questions as justice, hierarchy, war, the authority of kings and priests, and the experience of exile.
Because there are many biblical writers with differing views, pluralism is a central feature of biblical politics. Yet pluralism, Walzer observes, is never explicitly defended in the Bible; indeed, it couldn’t be defended since God’s word had to be as singular as God himself. Yet different political regimes are described in the biblical texts, and there are conflicting political arguments—and also a recurrent anti-political argument: if you have faith in God, you have no need for strong institutions, prudent leaders, or reformist policies. At the same time, however, in the books of law and prophecy, the people of Israel are called upon to overcome oppression and “let justice well up like water, righteousness like an unfailing stream.”

[book] The Bride and the Dowry
Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians in the Aftermath of the June 1967 War
By Avi Raz (Oxford)
June 2012, YALE
Israel’s victory in the June 1967 Six Day War provided a unique opportunity for resolving the decades-old Arab-Zionist conflict. Having seized the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights, Israel for the first time in its history had something concrete to offer its Arab neighbors: it could trade land for peace. Yet the political deadlock persisted after the guns fell silent. This book asks why.
Avi Raz places Israel’s conduct under an uncompromising lens. His penetrating book examines the critical two years following the June war and substantially revises our understanding of how and why Israeli-Arab secret contacts came to naught. Mining newly declassified records in Israeli, American, British, and United Nations archives, as well as private papers of individual participants, Raz dispels the myth of overall Arab intransigence and arrives at new and unexpected conclusions. In short, he concludes that Israel’s postwar diplomacy was deliberately ineffective because its leaders preferred land over peace with its neighbors. The book throws a great deal of light not only on the post-1967 period but also on the problems and pitfalls of peacemaking in the Middle East today. Click to read more



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