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SOME SPRING 2019 BOOK READINGS
March 14, 2019: Michael Rothberg (UCLA) on Unexpected Itineraries: Holocaust Testimonies beyond Borders. UCLA Royce Hall 4PM
April 04, 2019: Lindsey Stonebridge (Birmingham) on Hannah Arendt's Message of Ill-Tidings. UCLA Royce Hall 4PM
May 04, 2019: Sarah Phillips Casteel (Carleton) on Global Itineraries of Holocaust Memory: The Jewish Caribbean and Nazi Persecution in Literature and Art. UCLA Royce Hall 4PM
May 09, 2019: Shirli Gilbert (Southhampton) on South African Jews, the Holocaust, and Apartheid. UCLA Royce Hall 4PM
SELECTED MARCH 2019 BOOKS
by Nathan Englander
The Pulitzer finalist delivers his best work yet--a brilliant, streamlined comic novel, reminiscent of early Philip Roth and of his own most masterful stories, about a son's failure to say Kaddish for his father.
Larry is an atheist, an apostate from his Brooklyn-born Orthodox Jewish family. His father passes away and he flies from his Brooklyn non-Jewish neighborhood to the Orthodox enclave in Memphis. He is staying at his sister's home in Memphis, locked in for the seven days of shiva for their departed father, a father who was maybe the only one who “got” and understood Larry, who assured him that he was destined for heaven no matter what he thought about himself.
And so, in Chapter 1, Larry is stuck in a house, feeling that all the mourners who visit are judging him, staring at him (but they are). His claustrophobic feelings are amplified by his sleeping in the skinny, small bed of his nephew.
As the only son in a conservative Orthodox family, it is Larry's responsibility to recite the Kaddish prayer for his father, each day for eleven months. To the horror and dismay of Larry's widowed mother and his sisters, Larry refuses – thus imperiling the fate of his father's departed soul.
Larry is quite self-absorbed.
To appease his family, and in penance for failing to mourn his father correctly, he hatches a plan. He will hire a stranger through a website called kaddish.com to recite the daily prayer.
But then, inspired by the young man (Chemi) that he hired, Larry returns to Orthodoxy, marries, and starts a family. But what is up with this obsession with the man he hired to say kaddish? Larry, now named Shuli, living in Brooklyn as a teach... must search him out... two decades later. He flies to Israel to find Chemi
This is Nathan Englander's freshest and funniest work to date--a satire that touches, lightly and with unforgettable humor, on the conflict between religious and secular worlds, and the hypocrisies that run through both. A novel about atonement; about spiritual redemption; and about the soul-sickening temptations of the internet, which, like God, is everywhere.
A LIFE OF FAITH AND DISSENT
(Jewish Lives Series)
by PAUL MENDES-FLOHR
March 26, 2019
Yale University Press
The first major biography in English in over thirty years of the seminal modern Jewish thinker Martin Buber
An authority on the twentieth-century philosopher Martin Buber (1878–1965), Paul Mendes-Flohr offers the first major biography in English in thirty years of this seminal modern Jewish thinker. Organized around several key moments—such as his sudden abandonment by his mother when he was a child of three—Mendes-Flohr shows how this foundational trauma left an enduring mark on Buber’s inner life, attuning him to the fragility of human relations and the need to nurture them with what he would call a “dialogical attentiveness.”
Buber’s philosophical and theological writings, most famously I and Thou (Ich und DU – 1923), made significant contributions to religious and Jewish thought, philosophical anthropology, biblical studies, political theory, and Zionism. In this accessible new biography, Mendes-Flohr situates Buber’s life and legacy in the intellectual and cultural life of German Jewry as well as in the broader European intellectual life of the first half of the twentieth century.
Note to file: Consider the idea of I and Thou dialogue in the age of online anonymity and online conversations
SPIES OF NO COUNTRY
Secret Lives at the
Birth of Israel
By Matti Friedman
From the author of the critically acclaimed PumpkinFlowers.... THE UNSUNG Horoes of 1948... those who lived undercover... Matti Friedman’s report of the State of Israel’s first spies has all the tropes of an espionage novel, including duplicity, betrayal, disguise, clandestine meetings, the bluff, and the double bluff--but it’s all true.
The four spies at the center of this story were part of a ragtag unit known as the Arab Section, conceived during World War II by British spies and Jewish militia leaders in Palestine. Intended to gather intelligence and carry out sabotage and assassinations, the unit consisted of Jews who were native to the Arab world and could thus easily assume Arab identities. In 1948, with Israel’s existence in the balance during the War of Independence, our spies went undercover in Beirut, where they spent the next two years operating out of a kiosk, collecting intelligence, and sending messages back to Israel via a radio whose antenna was disguised as a clothesline. While performing their dangerous work these men were often unsure to whom they were reporting, and sometimes even who they’d become. Of the dozen spies in the Arab Section at the war’s outbreak, five were caught and executed. But in the end the Arab Section would emerge, improbably, as the nucleus of the Mossad, Israel’s vaunted intelligence agency.
Spies of No Country is about the slippery identities of these young spies, but it’s also about Israel’s own complicated and fascinating identity. Israel sees itself and presents itself as a Western nation, when in fact more than half the country has Middle Eastern roots and traditions, like the spies of this story. And, according to Friedman, that goes a long way toward explaining the life and politics of the country, and why it often baffles the West. For anyone interested in real-life spies and the paradoxes of the Middle East, Spies of No Country is an intimate story with global significance.
Getting Good at Getting Older:
A New Jewish Catalog
by the late Richard Siegel (Jewish Catalog)
and his widow Rabbi Laura Geller
Postoined from March 2019 to Fall 2019
We came of age in the '60s and '70s, through civil rights, anti-war protests, and the rise of feminism. We've raised families and had careers. We've been around the world, figuratively if not literally. We've done a lot.
And we're getting older. So we might as well get good at it.
Getting Good at Getting Older: A Jewish Catalog for a New Age is a tour for all of us "of a certain age" through the resources and skills we need to navigate the years between maturity and old age. Getting Good at Getting Older brings humor, warmth, and 4,000 years of Jewish experience to the question of how to shape this new stage of life.
The 100 Most Jewish Foods:
A Highly Debatable List
by Alana Newhouse
(EIC OF TABLET.COM)
March 19, 2019
Tablet’s list of the 100 most Jewish foods is not about the most popular Jewish foods, or the tastiest, or even the most enduring. It’s a list of the most significant foods culturally and historically to the Jewish people, explored deeply with essays, recipes, stories, and context. Some of the dishes are no longer cooked at home, and some are not even dishes in the traditional sense (store-bought cereal and Stella D’oro cookies, for example). The entire list is up for debate, which is what makes this book so much fun. Many of the foods are delicious (such as babka and shakshuka). Others make us wonder how they’ve survived as long as they have (such as unhatched chicken eggs and jellied calves’ feet).
As expected, many Jewish (and now universal) favorites like matzo balls, pickles, cheesecake, blintzes, and chopped liver make the list. The recipes are global and represent all contingencies of the Jewish experience.
You might be surprised to learn the Jewish histories of Sweet n Low and Bazooka bubble gum.
Contributors include Ruth Reichl on Lamb, Elissa Goldstein on leftovers, Alana Newhouse on Kiddush cookies and Haminados, Gabriel Sanders, Éric Ripert on Gefilte FIsh, Joan Nathan, Michael Solomonov, BKG/Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett on Flanken, Dan Barber, Gail Simmons, Yotam Ottolenghi, Tom Colicchio, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, Maira Kalman on Herring (and Chekhov), Action Bronson, Daphne Merkin on Beet Horseradish, Shalom Auslander, Merissa Nathan Gerson on Honey and honeycake, Marc Tracy on Hebrew National Hot Dogs, Gabriela Geselowitz on Joan Nathan's Azerbaijani Style Eggplant, David Sachs, Rosie Schaap (yes of the grape Schaap's) on Concord Grape Huice, Wayne Hoffman on Chicken, Marjorie Ingall on Bokser, Paola Gavin on Roman Artichokes, MaNishtana on Haroset, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Eve Jochnowitz on Dill, Leil Leibovits on Treyf, and Phil Rosenthal, and many many others. Presented in a gifty package, The 100 Most Jewish Foods is the perfect book to dip into, quote from, cook from, and launch a spirited debate.
THE ART OF BIBLE TRANSLATION
BY PROFESSOR ROBERT ALTER
March 19, 2019
Princeton University Press
An award-winning biblical translator reflects on the art of capturing the literary power of the Bible in English
In this brief book, award-winning biblical translator and acclaimed literary critic Robert Alter offers a personal and passionate account of what he learned about the art of Bible translation over the two decades he spent completing his own English version of the Hebrew Bible.
Alter’s literary training gave him the advantage of seeing that a translation of the Bible can convey the text’s meaning only by trying to capture the powerful and subtle literary style of the biblical Hebrew, something the modern English versions don’t do justice to. The Bible’s style, Alter writes, “is not some sort of aesthetic embellishment of the ‘message’ of Scripture but the vital medium through which the biblical vision of God, human nature, history, politics, society, and moral value is conveyed.” And, as the translators of the King James Version knew, the authority of the Bible is inseparable from its literary authority.
For these reasons, the Bible can be brought to life in English only by re-creating its literary virtuosity, and Alter discusses the principal aspects of style in the Hebrew Bible that any translator should try to reproduce: word choice, syntax, word play and sound play, rhythm, and dialogue. In the process, he provides an illuminating and accessible introduction to biblical style that also offers insights about the art of translation far beyond the Bible.
by Patrick McGilligan
March 19, 2019
Harper (no, it's not Yale Jewish Lives)
A deeply textured and compelling biography of comedy giant Mel Brooks, covering his rags-to-riches life and triumphant career in television, films, and theater, from Patrick McGilligan, the acclaimed author of Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane and Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light.
Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy award–winner Mel Brooks was behind (and sometimes in front the camera too) of some of the most influential comedy hits of our time, including The 2,000 Year Old Man, Get Smart, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. But before this actor, writer, director, comedian, and composer entertained the world, his first audience was his family.
The fourth and last child of Max and Kitty Kaminsky, Mel Brooks was born on his family’s kitchen table in Brooklyn, New York, in 1926, and was not quite three-years-old when his father died of tuberculosis. Growing up in a household too poor to own a radio, Mel was short and homely, a mischievous child whose birth role was to make the family laugh.
Beyond boyhood, after transforming himself into Mel Brooks, the laughs that came easily inside the Kaminsky family proved more elusive. His lifelong crusade to transform himself into a brand name of popular humor is at the center of master biographer Patrick McGilligan’s Funny Man. In this exhaustively researched and wonderfully novelistic look at Brooks’ personal and professional life, McGilligan lays bare the strengths and drawbacks that shaped Brooks’ psychology, his willpower, his persona, and his comedy.
McGilligan insightfully navigates the epic ride that has been the famous funnyman’s life story, from Brooks’s childhood in Williamsburg tenements and breakthrough in early television—working alongside Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner—to Hollywood and Broadway peaks (and valleys). His book offers a meditation on the Jewish immigrant culture that influenced Brooks, snapshots of the golden age of comedy, behind the scenes revelations about the celebrated shows and films, and a telling look at the four-decade romantic partnership with actress Anne Bancroft that superseded Brooks’ troubled first marriage. Engrossing, nuanced and ultimately poignant, Funny Man delivers a great man’s unforgettable life story and an anatomy of the American dream of success.
Women with Leadership Authority
According to Halachah
by Rabbi Daniel Sperber, PhD
(Bar Ilan University)
A book about women in Jewish leadership and authority... wait for it... by a man. I jest... But seriously, how many book by religious publishers are authored by women?
Welcoming Women Clergy: Women with Leadership Authority According to Halacha examines in detail the legitimacy for feminine leadership in Jewish law. Exploring the various manifestations of female leadership, whether as women rabbis or other forms of female halachic adjudication, Welcoming Women Clergy responds to the standard criticisms leveled at the recent phenomenon of female authority within the Orthodox community. In this ground-breaking book, Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber argues the halachic, political, and sociological levels of female leadership in Judaism.
APRIL 2019 BOOKS
Wounds into Wisdom:
Healing Intergenerational Jewish Trauma
by Rabbi Tirzah Firestone PhD
April 16, 2019
Adam Kadmon Books
Note: On April 24, 2019, at the NYC 92StY, Rabbi Firestone will appear with Gloria Steinem to launch the book and discuss trauma and recovery and Jewish wisdom. Steinem worked closely with Firestone's sister, Shulamith
Do Many In The Jewish Community and Israel suffer from intergenerational PTSD?
Should we acknowledge that Jewish historical trauma, left unexamined, is having an effect on Jewish ethics and actions?
When Firestone was 25 and searching exploring various spiritual traditions, she dreamed of a Hungarian skeletal woman in a fur coat. An intergenerational trauma of the Shoah perhaps, passed down through her parents. Although they did not speak of their trauma, it passed to their children. At forty, she learned the story of her extended family and their slaughter by the Nazis. As Professor Dori Laub writes, one has to know the buried truth in order to live.
The lasting effects of individual trauma are now widely recognized. But what of the consequences of extreme trauma on an entire ethnic group?
New research in neuroscience and clinical psychology demonstrates that even when they are hidden, trauma histories - from persecution and deportation to the horrors of the Holocaust - leave imprints on the minds and bodies of future generations.
Wounds Into Wisdom makes a compelling case that trauma legacies can be transformed and healed. Fusing contemporary neuroscience, psychology, and ancient Jewish wisdom and values, this work provides a roadmap for Jews, and all individuals and groups with trauma history, who wish to seize the power to change their lives.
Gripping case studies and interviews with trauma survivors and their descendants - from Berlin to Shanghai, Cairo to Colorado - demonstrate what Viktor Frankl called, "the uniquely human potential to transform personal tragedy into triumph."
As a rabbi and psychotherapist who has studied and counseled hundreds of Jewish families and individuals for over 30 years, Tirzah Firestone brings to life these real people who have surmounted their tragedies. From them we learn the many ways that past trauma shapes the present-from the timid young woman who discovers she has been repeating her lost grandmother's exact words, to the Israeli war hero who has endured decades of terrifying nightmares.
From these moving testimonies Firestone distills seven principles, rich in Jewish wisdom, that mark the way to new freedom. Building on the work of acclaimed traumatologists such as
Drs. Rachel Yehuda,
Bessel van der Kolk, and
Rabbi Firestone shows how people can transform the residual effects of their families' painful pasts and change their long-term futures. The brave characters in Wounds Into Wisdom remind us of our own human capacity to rise up after devastation and reclaim our innate wisdom and inner freedom.
Wounds Into Wisdom also awakens us to the impact of collective trauma in the world today, as entire populations are being dislocated by war, poverty, and climatic changes. The book provides a template for people everywhere to emerge from the wreckage of their tragedies and reshape their destinies. Relevant not only to the tragic past, but to the world of turmoil and displacement we live in today, Wounds into Wisdom is an essential book for our times.
“deeply moving book...to find sources of solace to transform wounds into wisdom.” —Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
"...grounding it in her own family’s story makes the book come alive."-Judith Rosenbaum, PhD, Executive Director of Jewish Women's Archive
by J. A. Bernstein
April 15, 2019
New Issues Poetry and Prose
“Rachel’s Tomb is a deftly ambitious novel about young soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces and the loved ones they’ve left behind. It brings to life with great artistry a diverse cast of secular and religious Jews, Arabs, Russian and Ethiopian immigrants, soldiers and civilians—a complex image of Israel. The book’s absurdist humor gracefully counterpoints the waste, loss, and early sorrow faced by its indelibly drawn characters.”—Zachary Lazar
“Rachel’s Tomb is at once profound, moving and deeply engaging, a novel that puts you right in the middle of one of the world’s most ancient and intractable conflicts.” —T. C. Boyle
“There’s no shortage of complexity in Bernstein’s book—politically and emotionally—but the writing is so clear and engaging that it allows the layers to emerge with a beautiful lucidity, and for the reader to live and think alongside them. There is a deep thoughtfulness on every page of this notable debut.”—Aimee Bender
“From the commander’s seat (a toilet) at Rachel’s Tomb Outpost, Joshua Bernstein creates a multi-narrational novel that plumbs the nature of war with humor, compassion, and an astounding historical depth, one that ricochets from the sacred to the profane in a trigger’s stroke. He writes about war from the inside and creates complex characters that are often as joyously imperiled as an e.e. cummings line: ‘death’s clever enormous voice which hides in a fragility / of poppies…’ —A complex and moving novel that confronts the loss of innocence and profoundly questions notions of temporality.”—Mark Irwin
“Rachel’s Tomb marks the arrival of an important new voice in American letters. J. A. Bernstein writes with power and sympathy and an unerring eye, in prose of crackling intensity. This is a magnificent first novel. I eagerly await the next.”—Steve Yarbrough
Hermann Cohen and
the Crisis of Liberalism:
The Enchantment of the
(New Jewish Philosophy and Thought)
by Paul E. Nahme
April 1, 2019
Indiana University Press
Hermann Cohen (1842–1918) is often held to be one of the most important Jewish philosophers of the nineteenth century. Paul E. Nahme, in this new consideration of Cohen, liberalism, and religion, emphasizes the idea of enchantment, or the faith in and commitment to ideas, reason, and critique-the animating spirits that move society forward. Nahme views Cohen through the lenses of the crises of Imperial Germany-the rise of antisemitism, nationalism, and secularization-to come to a greater understanding of liberalism, its Protestant and Jewish roots, and the spirits of modernity and tradition that form its foundation. Nahme’s philosophical and historical retelling of the story of Cohen and his spiritual investment in liberal theology present a strong argument for religious pluralism and public reason in a world rife with populism, identity politics, and conspiracy theories.
A Well-Read Woman:
The Life, Loves, and
Legacy of Ruth Rappaport
by Kate Stewart
April 1, 2019
The inspiring true story of an indomitable librarian’s journey from Nazi Germany to Seattle to Vietnam—all for the love of books.
Growing up under Fascist censorship in Nazi Germany, Ruth Rappaport absorbed a forbidden community of ideas in banned books. After fleeing her home in Leipzig at fifteen and losing both parents to the Holocaust, Ruth drifted between vocations, relationships, and countries, searching for belonging and purpose. When she found her calling in librarianship, Ruth became not only a witness to history but an agent for change as well.
Culled from decades of diaries, letters, and photographs, this epic true story reveals a driven woman who survived persecution, political unrest, and personal trauma through a love of books. It traces her activism from the Zionist movement to the Red Scare to bibliotherapy in Vietnam and finally to the Library of Congress, where Ruth made an indelible mark and found a home. Connecting it all, one constant thread: Ruth’s passion for the printed word, and the haven it provides—a haven that, as this singularly compelling biography proves, Ruth would spend her life making accessible to others. This wasn’t just a career for Ruth Rappaport. It was her purpose.
SEEDS IN THE DESERT
By MENDEL MANN
Translated by Heather Valencia
From the 1950s classic
Yiddish Book Center of Amherst Mass
Available for the first time in translation, Mendel Mann’s stories follow his life in reverse, from Israel in the 1950s to his experiences in the post-War Soviet Union and his childhood in Poland. With psychological insight and a focus on the tension between remembrance and reinvention, Mann provides indelible portraits of survivors as they confront the past and struggle to create a meaningful existence in the fledgling state of Israel.
MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE
A Therapist, HER Therapist,
and Our Lives Revealed
By Lori Gottlieb
From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world—where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).
One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose office she suddenly lands. As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives—a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys—she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell: about desire and need, guilt and redemption, meaning and mortality, loneliness and love.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is revolutionary in its candor, pulling back the curtain on the therapeutic process and offering the rarest of gifts: an entertaining, illuminating, and quite possibly life-changing account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them. With humor and warmth, Gottlieb reveals the ultimate truth: we are all human, and we grow in connection with others.
Why Don't You Write My
Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?
A Mother's Suggestions
by Patricia Marx,
While reading it on the subway... I HOWLED with laughter. OMG! It is too funny for words
The perfect Mother's Day gift: A collection of witty one-line advice New Yorker writer Patricia Marx heard from her mother, accompanied by full-color illustrations by New Yorker staff cartoonist Roz Chast.
Every mother knows best, but New Yorker writer Patty Marx's knows better. Patty has never been able to shake her mother's one-line witticisms from her brain, so she's collected them into a book, accompanied by full color illustrations by New Yorker staff cartoonist Roz Chast. These snappy maternal cautions include:
If you feel guilty about throwing away leftovers, put them in the back of your refrigerator for five days and then throw them out.
If you run out of food at your dinner party, the world will end.
When traveling, call the hotel from the airport to say there aren't enough towels in your room and, by the way, you'd like a room with a better view.
Why don't you write my eulogy now so I can correct it?
The Book of Exodus:
by Joel S. Baden
April 30, 2019
Yale Univ Press
An essential biography of one of the Bible’s most powerful and inspiring books
Exodus is the second book of the Hebrew Bible, but it may rank first in lasting cultural importance. It is here that the classic biblical themes of oppression and redemption, of human enslavement and divine salvation, are most dramatically expressed. Joel Baden tells the story of this influential and enduring book, tracing how its famous account of the Israelites’ journey to the promised land has been adopted and adapted for millennia, often in unexpected ways.
Baden draws a distinction between the Exodus story and the book itself, which is one of the most multifaceted in the Bible, containing poems, law codes, rituals, and architectural plans. He shows how Exodus brings together an array of oral and written traditions from the ancient Middle East, and how it came to be ritualized in the Passover Seder and the Eucharist. Highlighting the remarkable resilience and flexibility of Exodus, Baden sheds light on how the bestowing of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai divided Jewish and Christian thinkers, on the importance of Exodus during the Reformation and the American Revolution, and on its uses in debates for and against slavery. He also traces how the defining narrative of ancient Israel helped to define Mormon social identity, the American civil rights movement, and liberation theology.
Though three thousand years old, the Exodus-as history, as narrative, as metaphor, as model-continues to be vitally important for us today. Here is the essential biography of this incomparable spiritual masterpiece.
PARK AVENUE SUMMER
BY RENEE ROSEN
BERKLEY PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada as Renée Rosen draws readers into the glamorous New York City of 1965 and Cosmopolitan magazine, where a brazen new editor-in-chief--Helen Gurley Brown--shocks America and saves a dying publication by daring to talk to women about all things off-limits...
New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss, who leaves her small midwestern town to chase her big-city dreams and unexpectedly lands the job of a lifetime working for the first female editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown.
Nothing could have prepared Alice for the world she enters as editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, and confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands. When someone tries to pull Alice into a scheme to sabotage her boss, she is more determined than ever to help Helen succeed. While pressure mounts at the magazine and Alice struggles to make her way in New York, she quickly learns that in Helen Gurley Brown's world, a woman can demand to have it all.
the Food World's Riskiest Business
by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Matt Lee and Ted Lee take on the competitive, wild world of high-end catering, exposing the secrets of a food business few home cooks or restaurant chefs ever experience.
Hotbox reveals the real-life drama behind cavernous event spaces and soaring white tents, where cooking conditions have more in common with a mobile army hospital than a restaurant. Known for their modern take on Southern cooking, the Lee brothers steeped themselves in the catering business for four years, learning the culture from the inside-out. It’s a realm where you find eccentric characters, working in extreme conditions, who must produce magical events and instantly adapt when, for instance, the host’s toast runs a half-hour too long, a hail storm erupts, or a rolling rack of hundreds of ice cream desserts goes wheels-up.
Whether they’re dashing through black-tie fundraisers, celebrity-spotting at a Hamptons cookout, or following a silverware crew at 3:00 a.m. in a warehouse in New Jersey, the Lee brothers guide you on a romp from the inner circle-the elite team of chefs using little more than their wits and Sterno to turn out lamb shanks for eight hundred-to the outer reaches of the industries that facilitate the most dazzling galas. You’ll never attend a party-or entertain on your own-in the same way after reading this book.
The Siege of Tel Aviv
by Hesh Kestin
April 16, 2019
Stephen King calls Hesh Kestin’s The Siege of Ghetto Tel Aviv “scarier than anything Stephen King ever wrote.” Iran leads five Arab armies in a brutal victory over Israel, which ceases to exist. Within hours, its leaders are rounded up and murdered, the IDF is routed, and the country's six million Jews concentrated in Tel Aviv, which becomes a starving ghetto. While the US and the West sit by, the Moslem armies-taking a page from the Nazi playbook-prepare to kill off the entire population.
On the eve of genocide, Ghetto Tel Aviv makes one last attempt to save itself, as an Israeli businessman, a gangster, and a cross-dressing fighter pilot put together a daring plan to counterattack. Will it succeed?
The Siege of Ghetto Tel Aviv is as as bizarrely funny as it is fast-paced. In the words of Stephen King: “An irrepressible sense of humor runs through it. It’s not satire I’m talking about-it’s stuff like the cross-dressing pilot (my favorite character) and any number of deliciously absurd situations (the pink jets). It’s the inevitable result of an eye that sees the funny side, even in horror. So few writers have that. This novel will cause talk and controversy. Most of all, it will be read.”
Reinventing Maimonides in Contemporary Jewish Thought
by James A. Diamond
Menachem Kellner, and Seth Kadish
Liverpool University Press/Littman
Every work on Jewish thought and law since the twelfth century bears the imprint of Maimonides. A. N. Whitehead's famous dictum that the entire European philosophical tradition 'consists of a series of footnotes to Plato' could equally characterize Maimonides' place in the Jewish tradition. The critical studies in this volume explore how Orthodox rabbis of different orientations - Shlomo Aviner, Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin (Netziv), Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, Joseph Kafih, Abraham Isaac Kook, Aaron Kotler, Joseph Soloveitchik, and Elhanan Wasserman - have read and provided footnotes to Maimonides in the long twentieth century. How well did they really understand Maimonides? And where do their arguments fit in the mainstream debates about him and his works? Each of the seven core chapters examines a particular approach. Some rabbis have tried to liberate themselves from the influence of his ideas. Others have sought to build on those ideas or expand them in ways which Maimonides himself did not pursue, and which he may well not have agreed with. Still others advance patently non-Maimonidean positions, while attributing them to none other than Maimonides. Above all, the essays published here demonstrate that his legacy remains vibrantly alive today.
Never a Lovely So Real:
The Life and Work of Nelson Algren
by Colin Asher
This definitive biography reclaims Nelson Algren as a towering literary figure and exposes how his radical politics sabotaged his career. Born in 1909, the third child of Gerson – a machinist - and Goldie – a homemaker - Abraham, named for a grandfather who was a pauper, a teller of wild tales, and a crazed zealot: Nelson Algren Abraham.
For a time, Nelson Algren (1909–1981) was America’s most famous author. Millions bought his books; The Man with the Golden Arm, winner of the first National Book Award, was made into a film starring Frank Sinatra. Yet the cause of Algren’s decline was never clear. Some said he drank his talent away, others cited writer’s block. The truth, hidden in the pages of his books, is far more complicated and tragic.
In this magisterial biography-drawing from interviews, archived correspondence, and the first unredacted version of Algren’s FBI file-Colin Asher reestablishes Algren not only as a legendary figure, but a dramatic iconoclast. He recounts the author’s development as a thinker, his affair with Simone de Beauvoir, and his unapologetic left-leaning politics. Most intriguingly, Asher uncovers the true cause of Algren’s artistic exile: a reckless creative decision that led to increased FBI scrutiny and may have caused a mental breakdown.
The Jewish Founding Father:
Alexander Hamilton’s Hidden Life
by Andrew Porwancher, Phd.
(Univ of Oklahoma School of Law)
Harvard University Press
Jewish …? most say no. Yes, he studied in a Jewish school... but he was Christian? Wasn't he? Porwancher seeks to prove otherwise. Why? Hamilton’s mother, Rachel Faucette, was married to Jewish merchant Johann Michael Lavien (aka Levine) in St. Croix in 1745, at a time that Danish law would have required her conversion to Judaism. She left him within a decade, a lived with James Hamilton in Nevis (BWI). She bore Alexander around 1755, and having been born out of wedlock, attended a Jewish school... either out of necessity since he was not baptised or because his mother was considered Jewish...
The Lure of Authoritarianism:
The Maghreb after the Arab Spring
(Indiana Series in Middle East Studies)
Edited by Stephen J. King,
and Abdeslam M. Maghraoui.
Afterword by Hicham Alaoui
Indiana University Press
The works collected in The Lure of Authoritarianism consider the normative appeal of authoritarianism in light of the 2011 popular uprisings in the Middle East. Despite what seemed to be a popular revolution in favor of more democratic politics, there has instead been a slide back toward authoritarian regimes that merely gesture toward notions of democracy. In the chaos that followed the Arab Spring, societies were lured by the prospect of strong leaders with firm guiding hands. The shift toward normalizing these regimes seems sudden, but the works collected in this volume document a gradual shift toward support for authoritarianism over democracy that stretches back decades in North Africa. Contributors consider the ideological, socioeconomic, and security-based justifications of authoritarianism as well as the surprising and vigorous reestablishment of authoritarianism in these regions. With careful attention to local variations and differences in political strategies, the volume provides a nuanced and sweeping consideration of the changes in the Middle East in the past and what they mean for the future.
Judaism, Christianity, and
the Myth of Divine Chosenness
by Michael Coogan
Harvard Divinity School
April 2, 2019
A noted biblical scholar explores how the claim of divine choice has been used from ancient times to the present to justify territorial expansion and prejudice.
The Bible describes many individuals and groups as specially chosen by God. But does God choose at all? Michael Coogan explains the temporally layered and allusive storytelling of biblical texts and describes the world of the ancient Near East from which it emerged, laying bare the power struggles, the acts of vengeance, and persecutions made sacred by claims of chosenness.
Jumping forward to more modern contexts, Coogan reminds us how the self-designation of the Puritan colonizers of New England as God's new Israel eventually morphed, in the United States, into the self-justifying doctrines of manifest destiny and American exceptionalism. In contemporary Israel, both fundamentalist Zionists and their evangelical American partners cite the Jews' status as God's chosen people as justification for taking land--for very different ends. Appropriated uncritically, the Bible has thus been used to reinforce exclusivity and superiority, with new myths based on old myths.
Finally, in place of the pernicious idea of chosenness, Coogan suggests we might instead focus on another key biblical concept: taking care of the immigrant and the refugee, reminding the reader of the unusual focus on the vulnerable in both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.
“What does it mean to be chosen by God? The biblical promise of the covenant has become the basis for remarkable political movements, both of liberation and xenophobia, freedom, and oppression. Tracing the history of this key concept from the Bible to the present day, Michael Coogan brilliantly brings to life the extraordinary journey of this complex religious idea.”
—Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College, and author of The Aryan Jesus
The Brisket Chronicles:
How to Barbecue, Braise,
Smoke, and Cure the World's
Most Versatile Cut of Meat
by Steven Raichlen
April 30, 2019
It all starts with the big kahuna: an authentic Texas barbecued brisket, aka 18 pounds of smoky, fatty, proteinaceous awesomeness. And from this revelation of pure beefy goodness comes burnt ends. Corned beef. Ropa Vieja. Bollito Misto. Pho . . . and slowly it dawns on you: Brisket must be the tastiest, most versatile, and most beloved cut of meat in the world.
In The Brisket Chronicles, Steven Raichlen—“The Julia Child of BBQ” (Los Angeles Times)—shares his 50 best brisket recipes while showing us step-by-foolproof-step how to ’cue it, grill it, smoke it, braise it, cure it, and boil it. This is next-level comfort food: Texas brisket and Kansas City brisket, Jamaican Jerk Brisket, Old School Pastrami, a perfect Passover brisket with dried fruits and sweet wine, Brisket Ramen, even burgers. Plus what to do with the leftovers: the ultimate Brisket Hash, Brisket Baked Beans, Bacon-Grilled Brisket Bites. And for total mind-blowing pleasure, Kettle Corn with Crispy Brisket. You heard right.
Includes full-color photographs throughout; complete tips and techniques for choosing the right cuts; handling, prepping, and storing a brisket; and recipes for accompaniments, too, including slaws, salads, and sauces.
Life Lessons of a Human
Rabbi-Wisdom for Untethered Times
by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
The Talmud states, "In a world that lacks humanity, be human." In a world as untethered as ours has become, simply being human, a good person, is a measure of heroism. At a time when norms of civility are being routinely overwhelmed, it may be the only measure that matters. Mensch-Marks represents Rabbi Joshua Hammerman's personal Torah scroll-the sacred text of his experiences, the life lessons he has learned along his winding, circuitous journey. Mirroring 42 steps Israel wandered in the Wilderness, Hammerman offers 42 brief essays, several of which first appeared in The New York Times Magazine, organized into categories of character, or "mensch-marks," each one a stepping stone toward spiritual maturation. These essays span most of Rabbi Hammerman's life, revealing how he has striven to be a "mensch," a human of character, through every challenge.
He writes, "If by sharing what I've learned, I can add a modicum of generosity, honesty and human connection in a world overflowing with cruelty, loneliness and deceit, then I'll have done my job." The essays cover crucial moments of failure and forgiveness, loving and letting go, finding deeper meaning in one's work, and holiness in the seemingly inconsequential moments of everyday life. Rabbi Hammerman, ever the optimist, believes that we can turn things around, one mensch at a time.
A Bend in the Stars
by Rachel Barenbaum
May 14, 2019
Grand Central Publishing
For fans of All the Light We Cannot See and The Women in the Castle comes a riveting literary novel that is at once an epic love story and a heart-pounding journey across WWI-era Russia, about an ambitious young doctor and her scientist brother in a race against Einstein to solve one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.
In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar's army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia's only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein's elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?
Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri's fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri's own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance.
Grounded in real history --and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914 --A Bend in the Stars offers a heartstopping account of modern science's greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.
The Song of the Jade Lily:
by Kirsty Manning
May 14, 2019
I was sad when I first saw this book. Why? Because a friend and I wrote a short story with a somewhat similar plot, except it took place in Shanghai and the USA, and not Australia. Best wishes to the success of this book.
“Kirsty Manning weaves together little-known threads of World War II history, family secrets, the past and the present into a page-turning, beautiful novel."— Heather Morris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
A gripping historical novel that tells the little-known story of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during WWII.
1939: Two young girls meet in Shanghai, also known as the “Paris of the East”. Beautiful local Li and Jewish refugee Romy form a fierce friendship, but the deepening shadows of World War II fall over the women as they slip between the city's glamorous French Concession district and the teeming streets of the Shanghai Ghetto. Yet soon the realities of war prove to be too much for these close friends as they are torn apart.
2016: Fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm. Her grandfather is dying, and over the coming weeks Romy and Wilhelm begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. As fragments of her mother's history finally become clear, Alexandra struggles with what she learns while more is also revealed about her grandmother's own past in Shanghai.
After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents' past. Peeling back the layers of their hidden lives, she is forced to question what she knows about her family—and herself.
The Song of the Jade Lily is a lush, provocative, and beautiful story of friendship, motherhood, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage that can shape us all.
Howard Stern Comes Again
by Howard Stern
May 14, 2019
Simon and Schuster
Howard Stern’s first book in more than twenty years, Howard Stern Comes Again, will be published by Simon & Schuster on May 14, 2019.
CITY OF THE BOOK
by Merav Mack and Benjamin Balint
Frederic Brenner (Photographer)
May 14, 2019
Yale University Press
A captivating journey through the hidden libraries of Jerusalem, where some of the world’s most enduring ideas were put into words
In this enchanting book, Merav Mack and Benjamin Balint explore Jerusalem’s libraries to tell the story of this city as a place where some of the world’s most enduring ideas were put into words. The writers of Jerusalem, although renowned the world over, are not usually thought of as a distinct school; their story as Jerusalemites has never before been woven into a single narrative. Nor have the stories of the custodians, past and present, who safeguard Jerusalem’s literary legacies.
By showing how Jerusalem has been imagined, safeguarded, and shelved in libraries, Mack and Balint tell the untold history of how the peoples of the book have populated the city with texts. In their hands, Jerusalem itself—perched between East and West, antiquity and modernity, violence and piety—comes alive as a kind of labyrinthine library.
From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth
by Jodi Magness
May 14, 2019
Princeton Univ Press
A new account of the famous site and story of the last stand of a group of Jewish rebels who held out against the Roman Empire
Two thousand years ago, 967 Jewish men, women, and children-the last holdouts of the revolt against Rome following the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple-reportedly took their own lives rather than surrender to the Roman army. This dramatic event, which took place on top of Masada, a barren and windswept mountain overlooking the Dead Sea, spawned a powerful story of Jewish resistance that came to symbolize the embattled modern State of Israel. The first extensive archaeological excavations of Masada began in the 1960s, and today the site draws visitors from around the world. And yet, because the mass suicide was recorded by only one ancient author-the Jewish historian Josephus-some scholars question if the event ever took place.
Jodi Magness, an archaeologist who has excavated at Masada, explains what happened there, how we know it, and how recent developments might change understandings of the story. Incorporating the latest findings, she integrates literary and historical sources to show what life was like for Jews under Roman rule during an era that witnessed the reign of Herod and Jesus’s ministry and death.
Featuring numerous illustrations, this is an engaging exploration of an ancient story that continues to grip the imagination today.
Voices from the Warsaw Ghetto:
Writing Our History
by David G. Roskies (Editor),
Samuel D. Kassow (Foreword)
April 23, 2019
Yale University Press
A powerful and original compilation of writings from the Jewish captives of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II
Hidden in metal containers and buried underground during World War II, these writings from the Warsaw Ghetto record the Holocaust in the words of its first interpreters, the victims themselves. Gathered clandestinely by an underground ghetto collective called Oyneg Shabes, this anthology comprises reportage, diaries, prose, poems, jokes, and sermons that capture the heroism, tragedy, humor, and social dynamics of the ghetto.
Miraculously surviving the devastation of war, this extraordinary archive encompasses a vast range of voices—young and old, men and women, the pious and the secular, optimists and pessimists—and chronicles different perspectives on the topics of the day while also preserving rapidly endangered cultural traditions. Described by David G. Roskies as “a civilization responding to its own destruction,” these texts tell the story of the Warsaw Jews in real time, against time, and for all time.
A 3,000-Year History of
Peoples, Tribes and Empires
by Tim Mackintosh-Smith, Senior Fellow
April 16, 2019
Yale University Press
A riveting, comprehensive history of the Arab peoples and tribes that explores the role of language as a cultural touchstone
This kaleidoscopic book covers almost 3,000 years of Arab history and shines a light on the footloose Arab peoples and tribes who conquered lands and disseminated their language and culture over vast distances. Tracing this process to the origins of the Arabic language, rather than the advent of Islam, Tim Mackintosh-Smith begins his narrative more than a thousand years before Muhammad and focuses on how Arabic, both spoken and written, has functioned as a vital source of shared cultural identity over the millennia.
Mackintosh-Smith reveals how linguistic developments—from pre-Islamic poetry to the growth of script, Muhammad’s use of writing, and the later problems of printing Arabic—have helped and hindered the progress of Arab history, and investigates how, even in today’s politically fractured post–Arab Spring environment, Arabic itself is still a source of unity and disunity.
The Restless Hungarian:
Modernism, Madness, and
The American Dream
by Tom Weidlinger
April 16, 2019
The Restless Hungarian is the saga of an extraordinary life set against the history of the rise of modernism, the Jewish Diaspora, and the Cold War. A Hungarian Jew whose inquiring spirit helped him to escape the Holocaust, Paul Weidlinger became one of the most creative structural engineers of the twentieth century. As a young architect, he broke ranks with the great modernists with his radical idea of the “Joy of Space.” As an engineer, he created the strength behind the beauty in mid-century modern skyscrapers, churches, museums, and he gave concrete form to the eccentric monumental sculptures of Pablo Picasso, Isamu Noguchi, and Jean Dubuffet.
In his private life, he was a divided man, living behind a wall of denial as he lost his family to war, mental illness, and suicide. In telling his father’s story, the author sifts meaning from the inspiring and contradictory narratives of a life: a motherless child and a captain of industry, a clandestine communist who designed silos for the world’s deadliest weapons during the Cold War, a Jewish refugee who denied he was a Jew, a husband who was terrified of his wife’s madness, and a man whose personal saints were artists.
The Thirty-Year Genocide:
Turkey’s Destruction of Its
Christian Minorities, 1894–1924
by Benny Morris and Dror Ze'evi
April 24, 2019
A reappraisal of the giant massacres perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, and then the Turkish Republic, against their Christian minorities.
Between 1894 and 1924, three waves of violence swept across Anatolia, targeting the region’s Christian minorities, who had previously accounted for 20 percent of the population. By 1924, the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks had been reduced to 2 percent. Most historians have treated these waves as distinct, isolated events, and successive Turkish governments presented them as an unfortunate sequence of accidents. The Thirty-Year Genocide is the first account to show that the three were actually part of a single, continuing, and intentional effort to wipe out Anatolia’s Christian population.
The years in question, the most violent in the recent history of the region, began during the reign of the Ottoman sultan Abdulhamid II, continued under the Young Turks, and ended during the first years of the Turkish Republic founded by Ataturk. Yet despite the dramatic swing from the Islamizing autocracy of the sultan to the secularizing republicanism of the post–World War I period, the nation’s annihilationist policies were remarkably constant, with continual recourse to premeditated mass killing, homicidal deportation, forced conversion, mass rape, and brutal abduction. And one thing more was a constant: the rallying cry of jihad. While not justified under the teachings of Islam, the killing of two million Christians was effected through the calculated exhortation of the Turks to create a pure Muslim nation.
Revelatory and impeccably researched, Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi’s account is certain to transform how we see one of modern history’s most horrific events.
by Jennifer Cody Epstein
April 23, 2019
An intimate portrait of a friendship severed by history, and a sweeping saga of wartime, motherhood, and legacy by an award-winning novelist
East Village, 1989:
Things had never been easy between Ava Fisher and her estranged mother Ilse. Too many questions hovered between them: Who was Ava's father? Where had Ilse been during the war? Why had she left her only child in a German orphanage during the war’s final months? But now Ilse’s ashes have arrived from Germany, and with them, a trove of unsent letters addressed to someone else unknown to Ava: Renate Bauer, a childhood friend. As her mother’s letters unfurl a dark past, Ava spirals deep into the shocking history of a woman she never truly knew.
As the Nazi party tightens its grip on the city, Ilse and Renate find their friendship under siege—and Ilse’s increasing involvement in the Hitler Youth movement leaves them on opposing sides of the gathering storm. Then the Nuremburg Laws force Renate to confront a long-buried past, and a catastrophic betrayal is set in motion…
An unflinching exploration of Nazi Germany and its legacy... with details of life in Germany, Wunderland is a at once a powerful portrait of an unspeakable crime history and a page-turning contemplation of womanhood, wartime, and just how far we might go in order to belong.
Shadows of Doubt:
Stereotypes, Crime, and the
Pursuit of Justice
by Brendan O'Flaherty and Rajiv Sethi
April 15, 2019
Do robbers think Jews are easy marks?
Do police officers think brown suspects are more dangerous so they are harsher?
Do judges think dual citizens will flee the jurisdiction after bail?
Shadows of Doubt reveals how deeply stereotypes distort our interactions, shape crime, and deform the criminal justice system.
If you’re a robber, how do you choose your victims? As a police officer, how afraid are you of the young man you’re about to arrest? As a judge, do you think the suspect in front of you will show up in court if released from pretrial detention? As a juror, does the defendant seem guilty to you? Your answers may depend on the stereotypes you hold, and the stereotypes you believe others hold. In this provocative, pioneering book, economists Brendan O’Flaherty and Rajiv Sethi explore how stereotypes can shape the ways crimes unfold and how they contaminate the justice system through far more insidious, pervasive, and surprising paths than we have previously imagined.
Crime and punishment occur under extreme uncertainty. Offenders, victims, police officers, judges, and jurors make high-stakes decisions with limited information, under severe time pressure. With compelling stories and extensive data on how people act as they try to commit, prevent, or punish crimes, O’Flaherty and Sethi reveal the extent to which we rely on stereotypes as shortcuts in our decision making. Sometimes it’s simple: Robbers tend to target those they stereotype as being more compliant. Other interactions display a complex and sometimes tragic interplay of assumptions: “If he thinks I’m dangerous, he might shoot. I’ll shoot first.”
Shadows of Doubt shows how deeply stereotypes are implicated in the most controversial criminal justice issues of our time, and how a clearer understanding of their effects can guide us toward a more just society.
IN SEARCH OF DEEPER LEARNING
The Quest to Remake
the American High School
by Jay Mehta and Sarah Fine
(Harvard GSE, UCSD)
April 1, 2019
An award-winning professor and an accomplished educator take us beyond the hype of reform and inside some of America’s most innovative classrooms to show what is working-and what isn’t-in our schools.
What would it take to transform industrial-era schools into modern organizations capable of supporting deep learning for all? Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine’s quest to answer this question took them inside some of America’s most innovative schools and classrooms-places where educators are rethinking both what and how students should learn.
The story they tell is alternately discouraging and hopeful. Drawing on hundreds of hours of observations and interviews at thirty different schools, Mehta and Fine reveal that deeper learning is more often the exception than the rule. And yet they find pockets of powerful learning at almost every school, often in electives and extracurriculars as well as in a few mold-breaking academic courses. These spaces achieve depth, the authors argue, because they emphasize purpose and choice, cultivate community, and draw on powerful traditions of apprenticeship. These outliers suggest that it is difficult but possible for schools and classrooms to achieve the integrations that support deep learning: rigor with joy, precision with play, mastery with identity and creativity.
This boldly humanistic book offers a rich account of what education can be. The first panoramic study of American public high schools since the 1980s, In Search of Deeper Learning lays out a new vision for American education-one that will set the agenda for schools of the future.
Ethnicity and Empire
by Anthony Kaldellis
April 1, 2019
A leading historian argues that in the empire we know as Byzantium, the Greek-speaking population was actually Roman, and scholars have deliberately mislabeled their ethnicity for the past two centuries for political reasons.
Was there ever such a thing as Byzantium? Certainly no emperor ever called himself “Byzantine.”
And while the identities of minorities in the eastern empire are clear-contemporaries speak of Slavs, Bulgarians, Armenians, Jews, and Muslims-that of the ruling majority remains obscured behind a name made up by later generations.
Historical evidence tells us unequivocally that Byzantium’s ethnic majority, no less than the ruler of Constantinople, would have identified as Roman. It was an identity so strong in the eastern empire that even the conquering Ottomans would eventually adopt it. But Western scholarship has a long tradition of denying the Romanness of Byzantium. In Romanland, Anthony Kaldellis investigates why and argues that it is time for the Romanness of these so-called Byzantines to be taken seriously.
In the Middle Ages, he explains, people of the eastern empire were labeled “Greeks,” and by the nineteenth century they were shorn of their distorted Greekness and became “Byzantine.” Only when we understand that the Greek-speaking population of Byzantium was actually Roman will we fully appreciate the nature of Roman ethnic identity. We will also better understand the processes of assimilation that led to the absorption of foreign and minority groups into the dominant ethnic group, the Romans who presided over the vast multiethnic empire of the east.
111 Places in Jerusalem That You Shouldn't Miss
by Laszlo Trankovits
April 30, 2019
111 Places Press/Emons
An insider's guide to Jerusalem
•Features interesting and unusual places not found in traditional travel guides
•Appeals to both the local market (nearly 900,000 people call Jerusalem home) and the tourist market (more than 3.5 million people visit Jerusalem every year)
•Fully illustrated with 111 full-page color photographs
Jerusalem is truly unique in almost every way. For 3,000 years, people have fought over this city, destroyed it, and rebuilt it again. It is a place of great spirituality and beauty, and also of prophecy, historical intrigue and violence. It has been a stage for kings, conquerors, prophets and saints. Legends and secrets surround the palaces and ruins, churches and tombs and the overwhelming Old City, filled with sacred places. Although a place of contention among religions and between Israelis and Palestinians, the city is also a modern metropolis with bold architecture, vibrant markets, spectacular restaurants, dozens of theaters and 80 museums. Join us on an exciting tour of Jerusalem, a stronghold of culture and science and an international magnet for artists and writers.
111 Places in Tel Aviv That You Shouldn't Miss
by Adriana Livnat
111 Places Press/Emons
An insider's guide
Features interesting and unusual places not found in traditional travel guides
Appeals to both the local market (almost 433,000 people call Tel Aviv home) and the tourist market (2.3 million people visit Tel Aviv every year!) Fully illustrated with 111 full-page color photographs
Tel Aviv is known for two things above all: its Bauhaus architecture and its nightlife. Both are wonderful, but represent only a small part of this many-faceted city. Often called the Big Orange, for many people this white city on the sea is a synonym for innovation and diversity, but in many ways it is astonishingly provincial, orderly and family-friendly. Tel Aviv has classic sights to see. If you want to get to know the city really well, you simply have to walk its streets. 111 Places in Tel Aviv That You Shouldn't Miss shows you the way.
111 Places in Silicon Valley That You Shouldn't Miss
by Floriana Petersen
111 Places Press/Emons
An insider's guide
The ultimate insider's guide to Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley has become the Mesopotamia of the Digital Age, built on cycles of innovation and disruption, monstrous ambition, and a steady supply of labor and capital. Yet for all that's known about companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook - and the personas behind those companies - the culture of Silicon Valley remains elusive and contradictory, even to many locals. This unique guidebook, written by longtime local Floriana Petersen, takes you on an insider's tour of 111 cool, offbeat, and very compelling places that offer insight into the evolving character of Silicon Valley.
Visit the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford to see drawings done by Leland Jr. Stanford, after whom the university was named after his death at age 15 in 1884. Sit at the Rosewood Hotel bar to witness the mating habits of venture capitalists. Go to the Music@Menlo Festival to listen some of the best chamber music to be found anywhere in the country. Enjoy the Stanford Powwow, a festival to celebrate some of the great American Indian tribes of Northern California. Visit Steve Job's final resting place, or spend an afternoon at the Hakone Japanese gardens. Explore the Filoli Estate, a living testimony to the wealthy families who used the Gold Rush to build the infrastructure that has become Silicon Valley.
Coming in April 2019...
Life Will Be the Death of Me:
. . . and you too!
by Chelsea Handler
April 9, 2019
Random House, Spiegel and Grau
Why look for the right person, when you can focus on being the right person? And should you endorse a line of edibles? In 2016, Handler imagined life in the USA with a female President. But Clinton lost to Trump, and Handler was filled with constant anger... but was anger with Trump ad his cronies just a cover for her anger of lack of control? Handler decided to change her life and try a year of self sufficiency. She also must finally confront how the death of her mother and brother, and her relationships with her siblings has changed her. She asked herself, Where have <<< I >>> been all my life? She enters therapy with a new doctor who follows PDP birth trauma (patterns of Developmental pathways) and who makes her go deep on past love and loss. Why can't she do menial tasks? Why does she have a short fuse and break friendships at the slightest criticism? Why did she think less of one sister when she became a Mormon, why does religious belief offend her? She has to make her own toast (not a metaphor), she cant ask her assistant to ask the other assistant to fix the TV. She has to find her toaster. She body shames her fat chow chow (dog). She wonders when she last flew coach? She develops a crush on Robert Mueller.
From Book Cover:
In a haze of vape smoke on a rare windy night in L.A. in the fall of 2016, Chelsea Handler daydreams about what life will be like with a woman in the White House. And then Donald Trump happens. In a torpor of despair, she decides that she’s had enough of the privileged bubble she’s lived in—a bubble within a bubble—and that it’s time to make some changes, both in her personal life and in the world at large.
At home, she embarks on a year of self-sufficiency—learning how to work the remote, how to pick up dog shit, where to find the toaster. She meets her match in an earnest, brainy psychiatrist and enters into therapy, prepared to do the heavy lifting required to look within and make sense of a childhood marked by love and loss and to figure out why people are afraid of her. She becomes politically active—finding her voice as an advocate for change, having difficult conversations, and energizing her base. In the process, she develops a healthy fixation on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, through unflinching self-reflection and psychological excavation, unearths some glittering truths that light up the road ahead.
Thrillingly honest, insightful, and deeply, darkly funny, Chelsea Handler’s memoir keeps readers laughing, even as it inspires us to look within and ask ourselves what really matters in our own lives.
Living in the Presence:
A Jewish Mindfulness
Guide for Everyday Life
by Rabbi Benjamin Epstein, Ph.D.
April 1, 2019
In our frantic, fast paced society, we need constant guidance to remind us that we can only find the peace of mind we sorely lack by looking inward. Judaism, like many other spiritual traditions, offers a unique path to cultivating fulfillment and presence of mind. In cultivating peace of mind, we do not aim to achieve transcendence. Rather, our goal is to enter fully into whatever is occurring in our lives and meet it with full presence. But being a better Jew and a happier person are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are mutually interdependent. From the moment we wake to the moment we fall asleep, biblical commandments provide us with guidelines that encourage us to be aware of the present moment. A Guide to Jewish Mindfulness provides concise and clear instructions on how to cultivate peace of mind in order to attain a life of greater commitment and inspiration for the present moment.
A Mortuary of Books:
The Rescue of Jewish Culture
after the Holocaust
(Goldstein-Goren Series in
American Jewish History)
by Alex Skinner (Translator)
BY Elisabeth Gallas
April 30, 2019
The astonishing story of the efforts of scholars and activists to rescue Jewish cultural treasures after the Holocaust
In March 1946 the American Military Government for Germany established the Offenbach Archival Depot near Frankfurt to store, identify, and restore the huge quantities of Nazi-looted books, archival material, and ritual objects that Army members had found hidden in German caches. These items bore testimony to the cultural genocide that accompanied the Nazis’ systematic acts of mass murder. The depot built a short-lived lieu de memoire—a “mortuary of books,” as the later renowned historian Lucy Dawidowicz called it—with over three million books of Jewish origin coming from nineteen different European countries awaiting restitution.
A Mortuary of Books tells the miraculous story of the many Jewish organizations and individuals who, after the war, sought to recover this looted cultural property and return the millions of treasured objects to their rightful owners. Some of the most outstanding Jewish intellectuals of the twentieth century, including Dawidowicz, Hannah Arendt, Salo W. Baron, and Gershom Scholem, were involved in this herculean effort. This led to the creation of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Inc., an international body that acted as the Jewish trustee for heirless property in the American Zone and transferred hundreds of thousands of objects from the Depot to the new centers of Jewish life after the Holocaust.
The commitment of these individuals to the restitution of cultural property revealed the importance of cultural objects as symbols of the enduring legacy of those who could not be saved. It also fostered Jewish culture and scholarly life in the postwar world.
The Brisket Chronicles:
How to Barbecue, Braise,
Smoke, and Cure the
World's Most Epic Cut of Meat
by Steven Raichlen
April 30, 2019
Grill master Steven Raichlen shares more than 60 foolproof, mouthwatering recipes for preparing the tastiest, most versatile, and most beloved cut of meat in the world—outside on the grill, as well as in the kitchen.
Take brisket to the next level: ’Cue it, grill it, smoke it, braise it, cure it, boil it—even bake it into chocolate chip cookies. Texas barbecued brisket is just the beginning: There’s also Jamaican Jerk Brisket and Korean Grilled Brisket to savor. Old School Pastrami and Kung Pao Pastrami, a perfect Passover Brisket with Dried Fruits and Sweet Wine, even ground brisket—Jakes Double Brisket Cheeseburgers.
In dozens of unbeatable tips, Raichlen shows you just how to handle, prep, and store your meat for maximum tenderness and flavor. Plus plenty more recipes that are pure comfort food, perfect for using up leftovers: Brisket Hash, Brisket Baked Beans, Bacon-Grilled Brisket Bites—or for real mind-blowing pleasure, Kettle Corn with Burnt Ends. And side dishes that are the perfect brisket accents, including slaws, salads, and sauces.
by Sarah Blake
April 9, 2019
Hey authors... The Red Tent was a winner, as is this. There is still room to write about Lot's Wife, more on Dinah, Joseph's wife, Moses' wife, and more. It rained for forty days and nights. But that was just a little over a month. Na'amah, Noah, their family and the animals were stuck in the ark for over a year. In this reimagining of the story, Naamah trusts Him (God) less, and His feelings toward her, and His choice of her for matriarch. In this retelling she has a lover, Bethel; and after the floow she is obsessed with the corpses of the drowned.
"A dreamy and transgressive feminist retelling of the Great Flood from the perspective of Noah's wife as she wrestles with the mysterious metaphysics of womanhood at the end of the world." --O, The Oprah Magazine
With the coming of the Great Flood--the mother of all disasters--only one family was spared, drifting on an endless sea, waiting for the waters to subside. We know the story of Noah, moved by divine vision to launch their escape. Now, in a work of astounding invention, acclaimed writer Sarah Blake reclaims the story of his wife, Naamah, the matriarch who kept them alive. Here is the woman torn between faith and fury, lending her strength to her sons and their wives, caring for an unruly menagerie of restless creatures, silently mourning the lover she left behind. Here is the woman escaping into the unreceded waters, where a seductive angel tempts her to join a strange and haunted world. Here is the woman tormented by dreams and questions of her own--questions of service and self-determination, of history and memory, of the kindness or cruelty of fate.
In fresh and modern language, Blake revisits the story of the Ark that rescued life on earth, and rediscovers the agonizing burdens endured by the woman at the heart of the story. Naamah is a parable for our time: a provocative fable of body, spirit, and resilience.
America, Auschwitz, and a
Village Caught In Between
by Michael Dobbs
April 2, 2019
Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a riveting story of Jewish families seeking to escape Nazi Germany
In 1938, on the eve of World War II, the American journalist Dorothy Thompson wrote that "a piece of paper with a stamp on it" was "the difference between life and death." The Unwanted is the intimate account of a small village on the edge of the Black Forest whose Jewish families desperately pursued American visas to flee the Nazis. Battling formidable bureaucratic obstacles, some make it to the United States while others are unable to obtain the necessary documents. Some are murdered in Auschwitz, their applications for American visas still "pending."
Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, interviews, and visa records, Michael Dobbs provides an illuminating account of America's response to the refugee crisis of the 1930s and 1940s. He describes the deportation of German Jews to France in October 1940, along with their continuing quest for American visas. And he re-creates the heated debates among U.S. officials over whether or not to admit refugees amid growing concerns about "fifth columnists," at a time when the American public was deeply isolationist, xenophobic, and antisemitic.
A Holocaust story that is both German and American, The Unwanted vividly captures the experiences of a small community struggling to survive amid tumultuous world events.
Where the Desert Meets the Sea:
by Werner Sonne (Author)
Steve Anderson (Translator)
Amazon Crossing Press
Jerusalem, 1947: Judith, a young Jewish survivor of the Dachau concentration camp, arrives in Mandatory Palestine, seeking refuge with her only remaining relative, her uncle. When she learns that he has died, she tries to take her own life in despair.
After awakening in the hospital, Judith learns that Hana, a Muslim Arab nurse, has saved her life by donating her own blood. While the two women develop a fragile bond, each can’t help but be drawn deeper into the political machinations tearing the country apart. After witnessing the repeated attacks inflicted on the Jews, Judith makes the life-changing decision to join the Zionist fight for Jerusalem. And Hana’s star-crossed love for Dr. David Cohen, an American Jew out of his element and working only to save lives, will put her own life in danger.
Then the political situation worsens. When tensions erupt, a shocking act of violence threatens Judith and Hana’s friendship—and the destinies of everyone they love.
The Downfall of America's Dad
by Nicole Weisensee Egan
April 23, 2019
The definitive account of Bill Cosby's transition from revered father figure to convicted criminal, told by a veteran crime reporter and former senior writer for People magazine
Bill Cosby's decades-long career as a sweater-wearing, wholesome TV dad came to a swift and stunning end on April 26, 2018, when he was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. The mounting allegations against Bill Cosby--more than 60 women have come forward to accuse him of similar crimes--and his ultimate conviction were a shock to Americans, who wanted to cleave to their image of Cosby as a pudding-pop hero.
Award-winning journalist and former People magazine senior writer Nicki Weisensee Egan was the first reporter to dig into the story when Constand went to the police in 2005. Other news organizations looked away, but Egan doggedly investigated the case, developing ties with entrenched sources and discovering incriminating details that would ultimately come to influence the prosecution.
In her debut book, Chasing Cosby, Egan shares her firsthand account of Cosby's 13-year run from justice. She tells us how Cosby planned and executed his crimes, and how Hollywood alliances and law enforcement knew what Cosby was doing but did nothing to stop him. A veteran crime reporter, Egan also explores the cultural and social issues that influenced the case, delving into the psychological calculations of a serial predator and into the psyche of a nation that fervently wanted to put their faith in the innocence of "American's Dad."
Rich in character and rife with dramatic revelations about popular culture, media power, and our criminal system, Egan's account will inform and fascinate readers with its candid telling of humanity's most enduring tale: the rise and fall of a cultural icon.
MAY 2019 BOOKS
A YEAR WITH THE SAGES:
Wisdom on the Weekly
by Rabbi Reuven Hammer
A Year with the Sages uniquely relates the Sages’ understanding of each Torah portion to everyday life. The importance of these teachings cannot be overstated. The Sages, who lived during the period from the fifth century BCE to the fifth century CE, considered themselves to have inherited the oral teachings God transmitted to Moses, along with the mandate to interpret them to each subsequent generation. Just as the Torah and the entire Hebrew Bible are the foundations of Judaism, the Sages’ teachings form the structures of Jewish belief and practice built on that foundation. Many of these teachings revolve around core concepts such as God’s justice, God’s love, Torah, Israel, humility, honesty, loving-kindness, reverence, prayer, and repentance.
You are invited to spend a year with the inspiring ideas of the Sages through their reflections on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and the eleven Jewish holidays. Quoting from the week’s Torah portion, Rabbi Reuven Hammer presents a Torah commentary, selections from the Sages that chronicle their process of interpreting the text, a commentary that elucidates these concepts and their consequences, and a personal reflection that illumines the Sages’ enduring wisdom for our era.
Inside Israel's Secret Mission
to Eliminate Syrian Nuclear Power
by Yaakov Katz
(The Jerusalem Post, EIC)
May 7, 2019
St. Martin's Press
The never-before-told inside story of how Israel stopped Syria from becoming a global nuclear nightmare-and its far-reaching implications
On September 6, 2007, shortly after midnight, Israeli fighters advanced on Deir ez-Zour in Syria. Israel often flew into Syria as a warning to President Bashar al-Assad. But this time, there was no warning and no explanation. This was a covert operation, with one goal: to destroy a nuclear reactor being built by North Korea under a tight veil of secrecy in the Syrian desert.
Shadow Strike tells, for the first time, the story of the espionage, political courage, military might and psychological warfare behind Israel’s daring operation to stop one of the greatest known acts of nuclear proliferation. It also brings Israel’s powerful military and diplomatic alliance with the United States to life, revealing the debates President Bush had with Vice President Cheney and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as well as the diplomatic and military planning that took place in the Oval Office, the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, and inside the IDF’s underground war room beneath Tel Aviv.
These two countries remain united in a battle to prevent nuclear proliferation, to defeat Islamic terror, and to curtail Iran’s attempts to spread its hegemony throughout the Middle East. Yaakov Katz's Shadow Strike explores how this operation continues to impact the world we live in today and if what happened in 2007 is a sign of what Israel will need to do one day to stop Iran's nuclear program. It also asks: had Israel not carried out this mission, what would the Middle East look like today?
A Good American Family:
The Red Scare and My Father
by David Maraniss, Washington Post
May 14, 2019
Simon and Schuster
In a riveting book with powerful resonance today, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss captures the pervasive fear and paranoia that gripped America during the Red Scare of the 1950s through the chilling yet affirming story of his family’s ordeal, from blacklisting to vindication.
Elliott Maraniss, David’s father, a WWII veteran who had commanded an all-black company in the Pacific, was spied on by the FBI, named as a communist by an informant, called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, fired from his newspaper job, and blacklisted for five years. Yet he never lost faith in America and emerged on the other side with his family and optimism intact.
In a sweeping drama that moves from the Depression and Spanish Civil War to the HUAC hearings and end of the McCarthy era, Maraniss weaves his father’s story through the lives of his inquisitors and defenders as they struggle with the vital twentieth-century issues of race, fascism, communism, and first amendment freedoms. A Good American Family powerfully evokes the political dysfunctions of the 1950s while underscoring what it really means to be an American. It is an unsparing yet moving tribute from a brilliant writer to his father and the family he protected in dangerous times.
Where the Light Enters:
Building a Family,
by Jill Biden
(wife of Senator Joe Biden)
An intimate look at the love that built the Biden family and the delicate balancing act of the woman at its center
"How did you get this number?" Those were the first words Jill Biden spoke to U.S. senator Joe Biden when he called her out of the blue to ask her on a date.
Growing up, Jill had wanted two things: a marriage like her parents'-strong, loving, and full of laughter-and a career. An early heartbreak had left her uncertain about love, until she met Joe. But as they grew closer, Jill faced difficult questions: How would politics shape her family and professional life? And was she ready to become a mother to Joe's two young sons?
She soon found herself falling in love with her three "boys," learning to balance life as a mother, wife, educator, and political spouse. Through the challenges of public scrutiny, complicated family dynamics, and personal losses, she grew alongside her family, and she extended the family circle at every turn: with her students, military families, friends and staff at the White House, and more.
This is the story of how Jill built a family-and a life-of her own. From the pranks she played to keep everyone laughing to the traditions she formed that would carry them through tragedy, hers is the spirited journey of a woman embracing many roles.
Where the Light Enters is a candid, heartwarming glimpse into the creation of a beloved American family, and the life of a woman at its center.
The Wealth of Religions:
The Political Economy of Believing and Belonging
by Robert J Barro
May 21, 2019
Which countries grow faster economically--those with strong beliefs in heaven and hell or those with weak beliefs in them? Does religious participation matter? Why do some countries experience secularization while others are religiously vibrant? In The Wealth of Religions, Rachel McCleary and Robert Barro draw on their long record of pioneering research to examine these and many other aspects of the economics of religion. Places with firm beliefs in heaven and hell measured relative to the time spent in religious activities tend to be more productive and experience faster growth. Going further, there are two directions of causation: religiosity influences economic performance and economic development affects religiosity. Dimensions of economic development--such as urbanization, education, health, and fertility--matter too, interacting differently with religiosity. State regulation and subsidization of religion also play a role.
The Wealth of Religions addresses the effects of religious beliefs on character traits such as work ethic, thrift, and honesty; the Protestant Reformation and its long-term effects on education and religious competition; Communism's suppression of and competition with religion; the effects of Islamic laws and regulations on the functioning of markets and, hence, on the long-term development of Muslim countries; why some countries have state religions; analogies between religious groups and terrorist organizations; the violent origins of the Dalai Lama's brand of Tibetan Buddhism; and the use by the Catholic Church of saint-making as a way to compete against the rise of Protestant Evangelicals.
Timely and incisive, The Wealth of Religions provides fresh insights into the vital interplay between religion, markets, and economic development.
NOT LONG AGO
NOT FAR AWAY
By Robert Jan Van Pelt
A book issued to coincide with the exhibit of the same name at New York City's Museum of Jewish Heritage which will feature over 600 items that have never left the Auschwitz Birkenau museum in Poland.
Kissinger on Kissinger:
Reflections on Diplomacy, Grand Strategy,
by Winston (Pillsbury) Lord
(Former Ambassador to China, former Pres of CFR)
and Henry Kissinger
(Former NSC Chief and Secretary of State)
May 14, 2019
All Points Books
Winston Lord, son of Mary Pillsbury Lord, graduated near the top of his class at Yale and then top at Fletcher. He first worked with Kissinger in the Nixon White House, and was a top assistant in the U.S. negotiations with North Vietnam and the U.S> introductory relations with the People's Republic of China. He was later head of the Counsel of Foreign Relations and was u.S> Ambassador to China. Lord recently organized several panels with former Nixon officials in order to capture their oral histories. His interviews with 90+ year old Kissinger were so insightful that he asked this senior statesman and former professor to discuss the challenges of directing foreign policy during times of great global tension, conduct several oral history interviews, and compile them into this slim book.
Some consider Kissinger a war criminal, some hate him for his reactions to the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, and others delebrate him a great seer; either way there is much to learn from him, especially during the Trump Administration... and its efforts with China, Russia, and the Middle East. Namely, Kissinger believed in the long term GRAND STRATEGY... laying out a multi level chess game, and not reacting in a knee jerk fashion to daily events.
As National Security Advisor to Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger transformed America's approach to diplomacy with China, the USSR, Vietnam, and the Middle East, laying the foundations for geopolitics as we know them today.
Nearly fifty years later, escalating tensions between the US, China, and Russia are threatening a swift return to the same diplomatic game of tug-of-war that Kissinger played so masterfully. Kissinger on Kissinger is a series of faithfully transcribed interviews conducted by the elder statesman's longtime associate, Winston Lord, which captures Kissinger's thoughts on the specific challenges that he faced during his tenure as NSA, his general advice on leadership and international relations, and stunning portraits of the larger-than-life world leaders of the era. The result is a frank and well-informed overview of US foreign policy in the first half of the 70s-essential reading for anyone hoping to understand tomorrow's global challenges.
Hold My Hand
a Teen Novel
by Michael Barakiva
The author is of Israeli/Armenian heritage.
Alek Khederian thinks about his life B.E. and A.E.: Before Ethan and After Ethan. Before Ethan, Alek was just an Armenian-American kid with a mess of curly dark hair, near-perfect grades, and conventional (okay, boring) fashion sense. Before Ethan, Alek didn’t even know he was gay. After he met-and got together with-Ethan, Alek was a new man. Well-coifed. Stylish. Out and proud!
With their six-month anniversary coming up, Alek and Ethan want to do something special to celebrate. Like, really special. Like, the most special thing two people in love can do with one another. But Alek’s not sure he’s ready for that. And then he learns something about Ethan that may not just change their relationship, but end it.
Alek can't bear the thought of finding out who he'd be P.E.: Post-Ethan. But he also can't bring himself to forgive or forget what Ethan did. Luckily, his best friend Becky and crazy (in a good way) family are there to help him figure out whether he should reach out and hold Ethan's hand, or just let it go.
Hold My Hand is a funny, smart, contemporary take on the joy and challenges of teenage love, the boundaries of forgiveness, and what it really means to be honest with yourself.
Becoming Dr. Seuss:
Theodor Geisel and the
Making of an American Imagination
by Brian Jay Jones
May 7, 2019
Dr. Seuss is a classic American icon. His work has defined our childhoods and the childhoods of our own children. More than twenty-five years after his death, his books continue to find new readers, now grossing over half a billion dollars in sales. His whimsical illustrations and silly, simple rhymes are timeless favorites because, quite simply, he makes us laugh.
Theodor Geisel, however, led a life that goes much deeper than the prolific and beloved children's book author. In fact, the allure and fascination of Dr. Seuss begins with this second, more radical side. He had a successful career as a political cartoonist, and his political leanings can be felt throughout his books--remember the environmentalist of The Lorax?
Geisel was a complicated man, who introduced generations to the wonders of reading while teaching young people about empathy and how to treat others well.
Coming right off the heels of multiple books-of-the-month- and year-winner GEORGE LUCAS and the bestselling JIM HENSON, Brian is quickly developing a reputation as a master biographer of the creative geniuses of our time.
A Life in Movies:
Stories from 50 years in Hollywood
by Irwin Winkler
May 7, 2019
A rollicking autobiography from the legendary producer of Goodfellas, Rocky, and Raging Bull, and an insider’s account of making movies in Hollywood over half a century
The list of films Irwin Winkler has produced in his more-than-fifty-year career is extraordinary:
Raging Bull, De-Lovely,
The Right Stuff, and Creed.
His films have been nominated for fifty-two Academy Awards, including five movies for Best Picture, and have won twelve. Winkler’s new film Creed II, starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, opening fall 2018, will be followed by Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, a major mafia saga for Netflix starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.
In A Life in Movies, his charming and insightful memoir, Winkler tells the stories of his career through his many films as a producer and then as a writer and director, charting the changes in Hollywood over the past decades. Winkler started in the famous William Morris mailroom and made his first film—starring Elvis—in the last days of the old studio system. Beginning in the late 1960s, and then for decades to come, he produced a string of provocative and influential films, making him one of the most critically lauded, prolific, and commercially successful producers of his era.
This is an engrossing and candid book, a beguiling exploration of what it means to be a producer, including purchasing rights, developing scripts, casting actors, managing directors, editing film, and winning awards.Filled with tales of legendary and beloved films, as well as some not-so-legendary and forgotten ones, A Life in Movies takes readers behind the scenes and into the history of Hollywood.
The Post-Widget Society:
Economic Possibilities for
by Lawrence H. Summers
From Professors Anita and Bob Summers son, former U.S. Sec of Treasury Lawrence H. Summers, a presentation of a new paradigm for thinking about the current economic and technological revolution
We are buffeted by the sense that everything is accelerating: Digital technology is changing the way we work, shop, and socialize. And yet for all the talk about disruptive innovations, economic growth is largely stagnant. We are told that with new technologies average citizens are empowered as never before, and yet wide swaths of the population feel powerless and can no longer count on stable careers and a better life for their children. As Lawrence H. Summers shows in The Post-Widget Society, these are the paradoxes that define the economic revolution that is transforming our world.
At the heart of this revolution are two dramatic developments in Western economies: the declining significance of widgets (mass-produced goods) and the rise of design goods (products that cost a lot to design but little to produce); and the controversial prospect of secular stagnation, the long-term phenomenon of negligible economic growth and depressed employment in a dynamic market economy. Summers’s trenchant analysis of these trends reveals that they have profound implications not only for the future of jobs and widening income inequality but also for the nature of the state and the very stability of society.
A bold, pathbreaking book by one of our most important economists, The Post-Widget Society is necessary reading for every American concerned about our economic and political future.
The Forgotten Life Behind
an American Myth
by Josh Levin
May 21, 2019
Slate editor Josh Levin's masterful account of the life and crimes of America's original "welfare queen" is "an invaluable work of nonfiction" (David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon).
On the South Side of Chicago in 1974, Linda Taylor reported a phony burglary, concocting a lie about stolen furs and jewelry. The detective who checked it out soon discovered she was a welfare cheat who drove a Cadillac to collect ill-gotten government checks. And that was just the beginning: Taylor, it turned out, was also a kidnapper, and possibly a murderer. A desperately ill teacher, a combat-traumatized Marine, an elderly woman hungry for companionship-after Taylor came into their lives, all three ended up dead under suspicious circumstances. But nobody-not the journalists who touted her story, not the police, and not presidential candidate Ronald Reagan-seemed to care about anything but her welfare thievery.
Growing up in the Jim Crow South, Taylor was made an outcast because of the color of her skin. As she rose to infamy, the press and politicians manipulated her image to demonize poor black women. Part social history, part true-crime investigation, Josh Levin's mesmerizing book, the product of six years of reporting and research, is a fascinating account of American racism, and an expose of the "welfare queen" myth, one that fueled political debates that reverberate to this day. THE QUEEN tells, for the first time, the fascinating story of what was done to Linda Taylor, what she did to others, and what was done in her name.
"THE QUEEN is a wild, only-in-America story that helped me understand my country better. It's a fascinating portrait of a con artist and a nation... and the ways the United States continually relies on oversimplified narratives about race and class to shape public policy, almost always at the expense of brown people and poor people." (Attica Locke, author of the Edgar Award winning Bluebird, Bluebird)
The Guarded Gate:
Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law
That Kept Two Generations of Jews,
Italians, and Other European
Immigrants Out of America
by Daniel Okrent
By the widely celebrated New York Times bestselling author of Last Call—the powerful, definitive, and timely account of how the rise of eugenics helped America close the immigration door to “inferiors” in the 1920s.
A forgotten, dark chapter of American history with implications for the current day, The Guarded Gate tells the story of the scientists who argued that certain nationalities were inherently inferior, providing the intellectual justification for the harshest immigration law in American history. Brandished by the upper class Bostonians and New Yorkers—many of them progressives—who led the anti-immigration movement, the eugenic arguments helped keep hundreds of thousands of Jews, Italians, and other unwanted groups out of the US for more than 40 years.
Over five years in the writing, The Guarded Gate tells the complete story from its beginning in 1895, when Henry Cabot Lodge and other Boston Brahmins launched their anti-immigrant campaign. In 1921, Vice President Calvin Coolidge declared that “biological laws” had proven the inferiority of southern and eastern Europeans; the restrictive law was enacted three years later. In his characteristic style, both lively and authoritative, Okrent brings to life the rich cast of characters from this time, including Lodge’s closest friend, Theodore Roosevelt; Charles Darwin’s first cousin, Francis Galton, the idiosyncratic polymath who gave life to eugenics; the fabulously wealthy and profoundly bigoted Madison Grant, founder of the Bronx Zoo, and his best friend, H. Fairfield Osborn, director of the American Museum of Natural History; Margaret Sanger, who saw eugenics as a sensible adjunct to her birth control campaign; and Maxwell Perkins, the celebrated editor of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. A work of history relevant for today, The Guarded Gate is an important, insightful tale that painstakingly connects the American eugenicists to the rise of Nazism, and shows how their beliefs found fertile soil in the minds of citizens and leaders both here and abroad.
Fidelity & Constraint:
How the Supreme Court
Has Read the American Constitution
by Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School
May 1, 2019
OUP – Oxford University Press
Lessig took Econ at Penn. Me too
Lessig worked for an Israeli professor at Penn. Me too
Lessig got a p-t job at WEFA and did regressions. I got rejected
But he learned, over 35 years ago, about regressions, correlation, and causation; interpretation, and loyalty-fidelity to the document/model/theory and to your own role/position.
The U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in the world. In Fidelity & Constraint, legal scholar Lawrence Lessig explains that one of the most basic approaches to interpreting the constitution is the process of translation. Indeed, some of the most significant shifts in constitutional doctrine are products of the evolution of the translation process over time. In every new era, judges understand their translations as instances of "interpretive fidelity," framed within each new temporal context.
Yet, as Lessig also argues, there is a repeatedly occurring countermove that upends the process of translation. Throughout American history, there has been a second fidelity in addition to interpretive fidelity: what Lessig calls "fidelity to role." In each of the cycles of translation that he describes, the role of the judge -- the ultimate translator -- has evolved too. Old ways of interpreting the text now become illegitimate because they do not match up with the judge's perceived role. And when that conflict occurs, the practice of judges within our tradition has been to follow the guidance of a fidelity to role. Ultimately, Lessig not only shows us how important the concept of translation is to constitutional interpretation, but also exposes the institutional limits on this practice.
The first work of both constitutional and foundational theory by one of America's leading legal minds, Fidelity & Constraint maps strategies that both help judges understand the fundamental conflict at the heart of interpretation whenever it arises and work around the limits it inevitably creates.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich,
Second Edition, a decade update
No Guilt. No Excuses.
No B.S. Just a 6-Week Program That Works.
by Ramit Sethi
May 14, 2019, Independence (Financial)
Ramit Sethi is “the new finance guru” (Fortune), “a unique voice on money, one singularly attuned to . . . his generation” (San Francisco Chronicle). He reaches over 500,000 followers a month on his website, iwillteachyoutoberich.com. And his book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, is a New York Times bestseller with 383,000 copies in print—and the kind of backlist title that is so robust that its sales increase year after year. Now on the eve of its tenth anniversary comes a significant cover-to-cover revision.
At the core of the book is Ramit’s extraordinarily simple, powerful, and effective six-week program for gaining control over your finances. Written in an irreverent and entertaining style, I Will Teach You to Be Rich shows you step-by-step how to beat banks and credit cards at the fee game, automate your savings and investments, negotiate a raise, manage student loans, and enjoy vacations and other things you love by practicing conscious spending.
In addition to completely updating everything from interest rates to financial instruments, Ramit has added a new dimension to the book: a guide for how to live a “rich life”—a life where money brings meaning, where you can afford to give back, and where experiences, and the time to pursue them, are a priority.
Damned If You Do . . .:
The Outrageous Book of
May 14, 2019
Would you rather walk across a field with 1000 rattlesnakes or 3 landmines
Would you rather lose a shoe at 500 feet up while climbing, or your contact lenses
A perennial bestseller that begins with a warning: Proceed with caution. This book is only for those with a twisted imagination. Be prepared to leave conventional thought behind and join the ranks of the demented and insane.
Previously published as Would You Rather . . .?, with 356,000 copies in print, Damned If You Do . . . is an addictive game in a book that challenges readers to ask—and attempt to answer—more than 400 questions that range from the heinous to the nauseating to the downright disturbing. Each is a field-tested conversation starter guaranteed to provoke ridiculous fun, break the ice at any party, and, like some kind of sick Rorschach test, open a unique window into the minds of friends and family.
Some questions delight in their own grossness: Would you rather . . . Eat three earthworms–OR–wear a necklace made of them on your wedding day? Be trapped in an elevator with wet dogs–OR–three fat men with bad breath? Some force you to reveal values: Would you rather . . . Age only from the neck up–OR–age only from the neck down? Be stupid and rich–OR–smart and poor? Some create that squirming sensation: Would you rather . . . Get a bad case of poison ivy way up inside your nose–OR–inside your inner ear? And some are just deliciously absurd. Each question also features related, often off-the-wall information, from quotes to dumb jokes to delightfully odd trivia (326-pound President William Howard Taft once got stuck in the White House bathroom).
Food. People. Stories.
A Culinary Journey With NENI
by Haya Molcho and Nuriel Molcho
May 31, 2019
Tel Aviv is colorful, cosmopolitan and modern; a city full of contrasts, fragrances, stories and flavors. It is a vibrant melting pot of cultures, religions and delicious culinary traditions. Successful restaurateurs Haya Molcho and her four sons take us on a journey to meet Tel Aviv's local chefs and story-tellers - from the epicures and the urban forager, to the magician and the survivor - capturing the special spirit of the city's many cuisines and inhabitants. Haya revisits the recipes of her home town, re-creating the flavors of her childhood: knafeh, green shakshuka, sarma, Israeli paella, pickled lemons and much more.
The Rational Bible:
by Dennis Prager
MAY 7, 2019
Regnery Faith publishing
The continuation of Dennis Prager's bestselling five-part commentary,The Rational Bible.
Why do so many people think the Bible, the most influential book in world history, is outdated? Why do our friends and neighbors – and sometimes we ourselves – dismiss the Bible as irrelevant, irrational, immoral, or all of these things? This explanation of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, will demonstrate that the Bible is not only powerfully relevant to today’s issues, but completely consistent with rational thought.
Secrecy, Scandal and the Soul
by Harry Freedman
May 14, 2019
Harry Freedman, author of The Talmud: A Biography and The Murderous History of Bible Translations, explores the mysterious Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah.
Kabbalah is popularly known as a fashionable system for personal and spiritual insight, a Jewish mystical tradition popularized by devoted celebrities like Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, and Britney Spears. But behind the hype and simplicity of "pop-Kabbalah" lies an ancient, complex and very profound system that can take a lifetime to master. Kabbalah: Secrecy, Scandal and the Soul is a short introduction that untangles the complex history and spiritual tradition behind the phenomenon.
Kabbalah is difficult to define. The very phrase "story of Kabbalah" is as opaque and mysterious as the topic itself. This of course is its appeal. The word itself means "received." For over half a millennium, individuals and movements with no attachment to Judaism have incorporated Kabbalah into their own spiritual traditions. Kabbalah flourished in the Renaissance and its method was adopted in varying measures by Hermeticists, Rosicrucians, Freemasons and tarot card readers. Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibnitz, Carl Jung and Harold Bloom have all admitted to the influence of Kabbalah. But it all goes back to the Hebrew Bible where the prophet Ezekiel described in detail his vision of the heavenly throne, perceived as a chariot.
Kabbalah became fashionable in the late 1960s in the wake of the hippy counter-culture and with the approach of the new age, and enjoyed its share of fame, scandal, and disrepute as the twenty first century approached.
This concise, readable, and thoughtful history of Kabbalah tells its story as it has never been told before. It demands no knowledge of Kabbalah, just an interest in asking the questions "why?" and "how?"
Creativity and Copyright:
Legal Essentials for Screenwriters
and Creative Artists
by John L. Geiger
and Howard Suber
May 14, 2019
Univ of California Press
Inspired by Strunk & White's The Elements of Style, this elegant, short reference is the perfect guide for screenwriters and creative artists looking to succeed as industry professionals. Readers will quickly understand the laws that govern creativity, idea-making, and selling, and learn how to protect themselves and their works from the legal quagmires they may encounter. Written by an unrivaled pair of experts, John L. Geiger and Howard Suber, who use real-life case studies to cover topics such as clearance, contracts, collaboration, and infringement, Creativity and Copyright is poised to become an indispensable resource for beginners and experts alike.
Fruit from the Sands:
The Silk Road Origins
of the Foods We Eat
by Robert N. Spengler III
May 14, 2019
Univ of California Press
The foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. The exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient routes extends back five thousand years, and organized trade along the Silk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second century BC. Balancing a broad array of archaeological, botanical, and historical evidence, Fruit from the Sands presents the fascinating story of the origins and spread of agriculture across Inner Asia and into Europe and East Asia. Through the preserved remains of plants found in archaeological sites, Robert N. Spengler III identifies the regions where our most familiar crops were domesticated and follows their routes as people carried them around the world. With vivid examples, Fruit from the Sands explores how the foods we eat have shaped the course of human history and transformed cuisines all over the globe.
How Judaism Can Thrive
in the 21st Century
by Terry Bookman, Rabbi, DivD. (Miami)
May 21, 2019
Rowman and Littlefield
Rabbi Bookman, one time leader of Miami's largest Reform synagogue; once named by Newsweek as a top 25 American pulpit rabbi; proponent of encouraging conversions and recruiting; and author of several books has written this book on how Judaism can thrive (you can google other info on him**).
Book cover: Book writes that Beyond Survival challenges the current agenda, assumptions, mind-set, and sacred cows of the Jewish establishment, which has largely accepted as a given and become resigned to its communal decline. Instead, Beyond Survival offers an alternative vision for the Jewish future — a paradigm shift, one in which individuals can find an open and accepting community that joyously and creatively celebrates their sacred way of life. A future in which we can all grow and thrive.
Beyond Survival begins by taking an in-depth look at the obstacles that currently prevent our growth as a people. This is the survival agenda that has served the Jewish community well in the past but now needs to be laid to rest. Change is never easy, but Rabbi Bookman, drawing from his decades of experience as a pulpit rabbi and innovator, shows the reader the path to surmount them. In each successive chapter, Beyond Survival looks at the opportunities that are in front of us—from active conversion; emerging Jewish communities around the globe; a new understanding of intermarriage; a realigned relationship of mutuality with a pluralistic Israel; a post-modern understanding of Jewish identity; reimagined synagogues and reinvigorated Jewish institutions; and a community that is truly an open door to all.
In the afterword, Rabbi Bookman suggests how this can all take shape, positing that a thriving Jewish community can be actualized only when we all thrive. Against all the inertia, resignation, negativity and pessimism that pervades our world, Beyond Survival is a breath of fresh air, hope, and practical, achievable direction for a bright future that we can create together.
JUNE 2019 BOOKS
In This Hour:
Heschel's Writings in Nazi
Germany and London Exile
by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Stephen Lehmann (Translator)
Marion Faber (Translator)
Foreword by Professor Susannah Heschel (Dartmouth)
JPS: Jewish Publication Society
In 1937 Martin Buber appointed Heschel, 30 years of age, as his successor at the central organization for Jewish adult education in Frankfurt am Main. This was a year before 1938, when he fled to England and then to America. In time he became one of the most influential modern philosophers of religion in the United States. He formulated an original philosophy of Judaism, expressed in such foundational books as Man Is Not Alone (1951) and God in Search of Man (1955).
In This Hour offers the first English translations of selected German writings by Abraham Joshua Heschel from his tumultuous years in Nazi-ruled Germany and months in London exile, before he found refuge in the United States.
Several of the works have, moreover, never been published in any language. Composed during a time of intense crisis for European Jewry, these writings both argue for and exemplify a powerful vision of spiritually rich Jewish learning and its redemptive role in the past and the future of the Jewish people.
The collection opens with the text of a speech in which Heschel laid out with passion his vision for Jewish education. Then it goes on to present his teachings: a set of essays about the rabbis of the Mishnaic period, whose struggles paralleled those of his own time; the biography of the medieval Jewish scholar and leader Don Yitzhak Abravanel; reflections on the power and meaning of repentance written for the High Holidays in 1936; and a short story on Jewish exile written for Hanukkah 1937. The collection closes with a set of four recently discovered meditations—on suffering, prayer, and spirituality—in which Heschel grapples with the horrors unfolding around him. Taken together, these essays and story fill a significant void in Heschel’s bibliography: his Nazi Germany and London exile years.
These translations convey the spare elegance of Heschel’s prose, and the introduction and detailed notes make the volume accessible to readers of all knowledge levels.
As Heschel teaches history, his voice is more than that of a historian: the old becomes new, and the struggles of one era shed light on another. Even as Heschel quotes ancient sources, his words address the issues of his own time and speak urgently to ours.
“This collection of early writings by Abraham Joshua Heschel significantly expands our awareness of his full oeuvre. Readers of Heschel will want to see these prior confrontations with key issues and Heschel’s earliest stages as an activist in response to Nazi persecution.”—Rabbi Arthur Green, coeditor of A New Hasidism: Roots and A New Hasidism: Branches
An Innocent Bystander:
The Killing of Leon Klinghoffer
by Julie Salamon
June 11, 2019
Little, Brown & Company
On October 3, 1985, Mr. Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jewish New Yorker, and his wife boarded the Achille Lauro to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary with a Mediterranean cruise. Four days later, four Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Italian luxury liner and took the passengers and crew hostage. Leon Klinghoffer was shot in the head, his body and wheelchair thrown overboard. His murder became a flashpoint in the intractable struggle between Israelis and Arabs and gave Americans a horrifying preview of what it means when terrorism hits home.
In this richly reported book, drawing on multiple perspectives, Julie Salamon dispels the mythology that has grown around that shattering moment. What transpired on the Achille Lauro left the Klinghoffer family in the grip of irredeemable sorrow, while precipitating tragic reverberations for the wives and sons of Abu al-Abbas, the Palestinian mastermind behind the hijacking, and the family of Alex Odeh, a Palestinian-American murdered in Los Angeles in a brutal act of retaliation.
Through intimate interviews with almost all living participants, including one of the hijackers, Julie Salamon brings alive the moment-by-moment saga of the hijacking and the ensuing U.S.-led international manhunt; the diplomatic wrangling between the United States, Egypt, Italy, and Israel; and the long agonizing search for justice.
The book also reveals the back story of the controversial opera about the Klinghoffer tragedy that provoked a culture war.
An Innocent Bystander is a masterful work of journalism that moves between the personal and the global with the pace of a geopolitical thriller and the depth of a psychological drama. Throughout lies the tension wrought by terrorism and its repercussions today.
Crisis, Change, and How to
Lead When It Matters Most
by Leonard Marcus, Eric McNulty,
Joseph M. Henderson, Barry C. Dorn
June 11, 2019
Today, in an instant, any leader can find themselves face-to-face with crisis. In You're It, the faculty of the National Preparedness Leadership Inititative at Harvard University distill their extensive research and experience to show you to be a better leader through crisis and change.
The NPLI team has shadowed and interviewed the leaders who have forged through some of the most complex, high stakes disasters: the Boston Marathon bombings, the H1N1 pandemic, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the devastating string of 2017 hurricanes, and more. They also went inside the tough decision-making of the world's largest companies, the hottest startups, and leading not-for-profit organizations.
Here, the reader sits alongside, learning from these rich experiences and integrating their lessons into your leadership repertoire. Full of practical tools for routine practice, this is a guide for complex problem-solving and systemic transformation.With true life stories of today's watershed challenges and opportunities, You're It is an essential read for anyone preparing to lead an adaptive team through crisis and change.
The NPLI is a joint program of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government.
I pity my cousin Shlomy who was also asked by Harvey Milk to create a flag in San Francisco, but his design came in second place....
My Life in Color
by Gilbert Baker
June 4, 2019
Chicago Review Press
Gilbert Baker was an active member of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in Manhattan. He passed away in 2017. After leaving Kansas for the Army and finding safety ad comfort in San Franscisco, he became an artist, designer (Radar Jeans) and performer (sister chanel 2001 of sisters of perpetual indulgence). In 1978, Harvey Milk, a friend of over 3 years, asked Gilbert Baker to create a unifying symbol for the growing gay rights movement, and on June 25 of that year (1978), Baker’s Rainbow Flag debuted at San Francisco’s Gay Liberation Day parade.
Baker had no idea his creation would become an international emblem of freedom, forever cementing his place and importance in helping to define the modern LGBTQ+ movement.
Rainbow Warrior is Baker’s passionate personal chronicle, from a repressive childhood in 1950s Kansas to a harrowing stint in the US Army, and finally his arrival in San Francisco, where he bloomed as both a visual artist and social justice activist. His fascinating story weaves through the early years of the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights, where he worked closely with Milk, Cleve Jones, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Baker continued his flag-making, street theater and activism through the Reagan years and the AIDS crisis. And in 1994, Baker spearheaded the effort to fabricate a mile-long Rainbow Flag—at the time, the world’s longest—to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City. Gilbert and parade organizers battled with the newly elected Mayor Giuliani for the right to carry it up Fifth Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Today, the Rainbow Flag has become a worldwide symbol of LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusiveness, and its rainbow hues have illuminated landmarks from the White House to the Eiffel Tower to the Sydney Opera House. Gilbert Baker often called himself the “Gay Betsy Ross,” and readers of his colorful, irreverent and deeply personal memoir will find it difficult to disagree.
Fleishman Is in Trouble:
by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Dr. Toby Fleishman, a liver specialist, thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations.
He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation on online apps and new women to sleep with every night (even though he is 5'5”), that his ex-wife Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return.
He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life. The winds of his optimism, long dormant, had finally begun to pick up. Now this.
As Toby tries to figure out where Rachel went, all while juggling his patients at the hospital, his never-ending parental duties, and his new app-assisted sexual popularity, his tidy narrative of the spurned husband with the too-ambitious wife is his sole consolation. But if Toby ever wants to truly understand what happened to Rachel and what happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen things all that clearly in the first place.
A searing, utterly unvarnished debut, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an insightful, unsettling, often hilarious exploration of a culture trying to navigate the fault lines of an institution that has proven to be worthy of our great wariness and our great hope.
“Blisteringly funny, feverishly smart, heartbreaking, and true, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an essential read for anyone who’s wondered how to navigate loving (and hating) the people we choose.”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest
“From its opening pages, Fleishman Is in Trouble is shrewdly observed, brimming with wisdom, and utterly of this moment. Not until its explosive final pages are you fully aware of its cunning ferocity. Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut is that rare and delicious treat: a page-turner with heft.”—Maria Semple
“This is a remarkable debut from one of the most distinctive writers around.”—Tom Perrotta
A Journey Through the Heart of
America's Fast-Food Kingdom
By Adam Chandler
You may recall Chandler's work for Esquire, The Atlantic, or even TABLET, where he wrote of Texas and Jews. He opens this work on American Fast-Food with a quote from Shemot/Exodus, about the Hebrews not tarrying in their flight from Mitzrayim and their need for fast-food.
Most any honest person can own up to harboring at least one fast-food guilty pleasure. In Drive-Thru Dreams, Adam Chandler explores the inseparable link between fast food and American life for the past century. The dark underbelly of the industry’s largest players has long been scrutinized and gutted, characterized as impersonal, greedy, corporate, and worse. But, in unexpected ways, fast food is also deeply personal and emblematic of a larger than life image of America.
With wit and nuance, Chandler reveals the complexities of this industry through heartfelt anecdotes and fascinating trivia as well as interviews with fans, executives, and workers. He traces the industry from its roots in Wichita, where White Castle became the first fast food chain in 1921 and successfully branded the hamburger as the official all-American meal, to a teenager's 2017 plea for a year’s supply of Wendy’s chicken nuggets, which united the internet to generate the most viral tweet of all time.
Drive-Thru Dreams by Adam Chandler tells an intimate and contemporary story of America-its humble beginning, its innovations and failures, its international charisma, and its regional identities-through its beloved roadside fare.
War over Peace:
One Hundred Years of Israel's
by Uri Ben-Eliezer (Univ of Haifa)
Shaul Vardi (Translator)
June 14, 2019
Univ of California Press
When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When your thesis is that Israel poicy and leadership is militaristic... then your books see it all through this lens
Violence and war have raged between Zionists and Palestinians for over a century, ever since Zionists, trying to establish a nation-state in Palestine, were forced to confront the fact that the country was already populated. Covering every conflict in Israel’s history, War over Peace reveals that Israeli nationalism was born ethnic and militaristic and has embraced these characteristics to this day. In his sweeping and original synthesis, Uri Ben-Eliezer shows that this militaristic nationalism systematically drives Israel to find military solutions for its national problems, based on the idea that the homeland is sacred and the territory is indivisible. When Israelis opposed to this ideology brought about change during a period that led to the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, cultural and political forces, reinforced by religious and messianic elements, prevented the implementation of the agreements, which brought violence back in the form of new wars. War over Peace is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the role of ethnic nationalism and militarism in Israel as well as throughout the world.
An American History
by Tom Nicholas
(Harvard B School)
June 3, 2019
Harvard University Press
A major exploration of venture financing, from its origins in the whaling industry to Silicon Valley, that shows how venture capital created an epicenter for the development of high-tech innovation.
VC tells the riveting story of how the industry arose from the United States’ long-running orientation toward entrepreneurship. Venture capital has been driven from the start by the pull of outsized returns through a skewed distribution of payoffs-a faith in low-probability but substantial financial rewards that rarely materialize. Whether the gamble is a whaling voyage setting sail from New Bedford or the newest startup in Silicon Valley, VC is not just a model of finance that has proven difficult to replicate in other countries. It is a state of mind exemplified by an appetite for risk-taking, a bold spirit of adventure, and an unbridled quest for improbable wealth through investment in innovation.
Tom Nicholas’s history of the venture capital industry offers readers a ride on the roller coaster of setbacks and success in America’s pursuit of financial gain.
Zionism and Melancholy:
The Short Life of Israel Zarchi
(New Jewish Philosophy and Thought)
by Nitzan Lebovic
June 1, 2019
Indiana University Press
Nitzan Lebovic claims that political melancholy is the defining trait of a generation of Israelis born between the 1960s and 1990s. This cohort came of age during wars, occupation and intifada, cultural conflict, and the failure of the Oslo Accords. The atmosphere of militarism and conservative state politics left little room for democratic opposition or dissent. Lebovic and others depict the failure to respond not only as a result of institutional pressure but as the effect of a long-lasting "left-wing melancholy." In order to understand its grip on Israeli society, Lebovic turns to the novels and short stories of Israel Zarchi. For him, Zarchi aptly describes the gap between the utopian hope present in Zionism since its early days and the melancholic reality of the present. Through personal engagement with Zarchi, Lebovic develops a philosophy of melancholy and shows how it pervades Israeli society.
Shanghai in 12 Dishes:
How to eat like you live there
(Culinary travel guide)
by Antony Suvalko, Leanne Kitchen
Red Pork Press
From a couple based in NZ and Australia, the fourth in a series of culinary travel guides. Shanghai In 12 Dishes helps you cut to the chase, culinarily speaking. Aimed at travelling food lovers, this book assumes you're visiting Shanghai for a limited period and don't have time to waste. You don't need to be overwhelmed with endless listings, options and recommendations; you just want a reliable entree into the local dining scene so you can cut right to the chase. You want authenticity. You want dining experiences that are meaningful. You want to rub shoulders with locals. Focusing squarely on Shanghainese cuisine, the emphasis here is as much on what to eat, as it is on where to eat. Structured around 12 iconic dishes, it features meaty information on each dish, guiding you to places you can find them. Dishes such as sheng jian bao (pan fried pork buns), xiao long bao (soup dumplings), lion's head meatballs, red cooked pork, squirrel-shaped mandarin fish and tofu braised crab. These define Shanghai and you'd be nuts to leave town without discovering them. The restaurants listed represent so much more than these essential dishes- this book merely gives you starting points for making your own culinary finds. All you need is a sharpened sense of adventure and to throw yourself into Shanghai's incredible world of food.
The Tolerance for Mediocrity
in Nature and Society
by Daniel S. Milo
Harvard University Press
ONLY THE FITTEST SURVIVE
WELL... maybe the GOOD ENOUGH survive as well
In this spirited and irreverent critique of Darwin’s long hold over our imagination, a distinguished philosopher of science makes the case that, in culture as well as nature, not only the fittest survive: the world is full of the “good enough” that persist too.
Why is the genome of a salamander forty times larger than that of a human? Why does the avocado tree produce a million flowers and only a hundred fruits? Why, in short, is there so much waste in nature? In this lively and wide-ranging meditation on the curious accidents and unexpected detours on the path of life, Daniel Milo argues that we ask these questions because we’ve embraced a faulty conception of how evolution-and human society-really works.
Good Enough offers a vigorous critique of the quasi-monopoly that Darwin’s concept of natural selection has on our idea of the natural world. Darwinism excels in accounting for the evolution of traits, but it does not explain their excess in size and number. Many traits far exceed the optimal configuration to do the job, and yet the maintenance of this extra baggage does not prevent species from thriving for millions of years. Milo aims to give the messy side of nature its due-to stand up for the wasteful and inefficient organisms that nevertheless survive and multiply.
But he does not stop at the border between evolutionary theory and its social consequences. He argues provocatively that the theory of evolution through natural selection has acquired the trappings of an ethical system. Optimization, competitiveness, and innovation have become the watchwords of Western societies, yet their role in human lives-as in the rest of nature-is dangerously overrated. Imperfection is not just good enough: it may at times be essential to survival.
When We Were Arabs:
A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History
by Massoud Hayoun
June 25, 2019
The New Press
The stunning debut of a brilliant nonfiction writer whose vivid account of his grandparents’ lives in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, and Los Angeles reclaims his family’s Jewish Arab identity There was a time when being an “Arab” didn’t mean you were necessarily Muslim. It was a time when Oscar Hayoun, a Jewish Arab, strode along the Nile in a fashionable suit, long before he and his father arrived at the port of Haifa to join the Zionist state only to find themselves hosed down with DDT and then left unemployed on the margins of society.
In that time, Arabness was a mark of cosmopolitanism, of intellectualism. Today, in the age of the Likud and ISIS, Oscar’s son, the Jewish Arab journalist Massoud Hayoun whom Oscar raised in Los Angeles, finds his voice by telling his family’s story.
To reclaim a worldly, nuanced Arab identity is, for Hayoun, part of the larger project to recall a time before ethnic identity was mangled for political ends. It is also a journey deep into a lost age of sophisticated innocence in the Arab world; an age that is now nearly lost.
When We Were Arabs showcases the gorgeous prose of the Eppy Award–winning writer Massoud Hayoun, bringing the worlds of his grandparents alive, vividly shattering our contemporary understanding of what makes an Arab, what makes a Jew, and how we draw the lines over which we do battle.
Der Nister's Soviet Years:
Yiddish Writer as Witness
to the People
by Mikhail Krutikov
(University of Michigan)
Indiana University Press
In Der Nister's Soviet Years, author Mikhail Krutikov focuses on the second half of the dramatic writing career of Soviet Yiddish writer Der Nister, pen name of Pinhas Kahanovich (1884–1950). Krutikov follows Der Nister's painful but ultimately successful literary transformation from his symbolist roots to social realism under severe ideological pressure from Soviet critics and authorities. This volume reveals how profoundly Der Nister was affected by the destruction of Jewish life during WWII and his own personal misfortunes. While Der Nister was writing a history of his generation, he was arrested for anti-government activities and died tragically from a botched surgery in the Gulag. Krutikov illustrates why Der Nister's work is so important to understandings of Soviet literature, the Russian Revolution, and the catastrophic demise of the Jewish community under Stalin.
JULY 2019 BOOKS
The Day the World Stopped Turning
by Michael Morpurgo
July 9, 2019
Feiwel and Friends Publishings
Michael Morpurgo's The Day the World Stopped Turning is a middle-grade novel about an extraordinary boy who sees the world differently.
In the unique landscape of the Camargue (France) during World War II, Lorenzo lives among the salt flats and the flamingos. There are lots of things he doesn't understand–but he does know how to heal animals, how to talk to them; the flamingos especially. He loves routine, and music too: and every week he goes to market with his mother. It’s there he meets Kezia, a Roma girl, who helps her parents run their carousel–and who shows him how to ride the wooden horse as the music plays.
But then the German soldiers come, with their guns. Everything is threatened, everything is falling apart: the carousel, Kezia and her family, even Lorenzo’s beloved flamingos. Yet there are kind people even among soldiers, and there is always hope. . .
HITLER'S SECRET ARMY
A Hidden History of Spies, Saboteurs,
and Traitors in the World War II
By Tim Tate
This dramatic exposé of Allied subterfuge and betrayal uncovers the treachery of undercover fascists and American Nazi spy rings during the height of World War II.
Between 1939 and 1945, more than seventy Allied men and women were convicted-mostly in secret trials-of working to help Nazi Germany win the war. In the same period, hundreds of British Fascists were also interned without trial on specific and detailed evidence that they were spying for, or working on behalf of, Germany. Collectively, these men and women were part of a little-known Fifth Column: traitors who committed crimes including espionage, sabotage, communicating with enemy intelligence agents and attempting to cause disaffection amongst Allied troops. Four of these traitors were sentenced to death; two were executed, whilst most of the others received lengthy prison sentences or were interned throughout the war.
Hundreds of official files, released piecemeal and in remarkably haphazard fashion in the years between 2002 and 2017, reveal the truth about the Allied men and women who formed these spy rings. Most were ardent fascists: all willingly betrayed their own country in the hope and anticipation of a German victory. Several were part of international espionage rings based in the United States.
If these men and women were, for the most part, lone wolves or members of small networks, others were much more dangerous. In 1940, during some of the darkest days of the war, two well-connected British Nazi sympathizers planned overlapping conspiracies to bring about a “fascist revolution.” These plots were foiled by Allied spymasters through radical-and often contentious-methods of investigation. Its agents set up elaborate agent provocateur and sting operations which uncovered scores of the Nazi sympathizers seeking to pass military and defense secrets to the enemy.
The Floating Feldmans
by Elyssa Friedland
July 23, 2019
Sink or swim. Or at least that's what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It's been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family.
Too bad her kids didn't get the memo.
Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette's birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they've been ignoring--and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.
Don't Wait Up:
Confessions of a
by Liz Astrof
July 30, 2019
For fans of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and I Heart My Little A-Holes comes a candid and hilarious collection of essays on motherhood from the award-winning television comedy writer and producer of 2 Broke Girls and The King of Queens (a reboot of Alice; a rom com about an engaged single mother whose ex hubby who is an ex con shows up; The Connors; Trial & Error; Kath and Kim, Last Man Standing; and more), who swears she loves her kids—when she’s not hiding from them.
Some women feel that motherhood is a calling and their purpose on earth. They somehow manage to make pregnancy look effortless, bring out the beauty in a screaming child, and keep the back seat of their cars as spotless as their kitchens.
And then there’s women like Liz Astrof. Who originally had children because “everyone else was.”
In this blunt and side-splittingly funny book of essays, Liz Astrof embraces the realities of motherhood (and womanhood) that no one ever talks about: like needing to hide from your kids in your closet, your car, or a yoga class on the other side of town, letting them eat candy for dinner because you just can't deal, to the sheer terror of failing them or at the very least losing them in a mall. And sometimes, many times, wondering if the whole parenting thing wasn’t for you.
In vivid and relatable prose, she discusses her love for her career, how she’s managed to overcome some of her own dysfunctional childhood, and the ups and downs of raising the little demons she calls her own…from the office.
Soul-baring, entertaining, and insightful, Don't Wait Up is an abashedly honest look at parenting and relationships for moms who realize that motherhood doesn’t have to be your entire life—just an amazing part of it—that you would definitely most likely do all over again.
When Islam Is Not a Religion:
Inside America's Fight
for Religious Freedom
by Asma T. Uddin
July 9, 2019
A galvanizing look at the threat to religious freedom in the United States through the prism of attacks on the constitutional rights of American Muslims.
American Muslim religious liberty lawyer Asma Uddin has long considered her work defending people of all faiths to be a calling more than a job. Yet even as she seeks equal protection for Evangelicals, Sikhs, Muslims, Native Americans, Jews, and Catholics alike, she has seen an ominous increase in attempts to criminalize Islam and exclude Muslim Americans from those protections.
Somehow, the view that Muslims aren’t human enough for human rights or constitutional protections is moving from the fringe to the mainstream-along with the claim “Islam is not a religion.” This conceit is not just a threat to the First Amendment rights of American Muslims. It is a threat to the freedom of all Americans.
When Islam Is Not a Religion reveals a significant but overlooked danger to our religious liberty. Woven throughout this national saga is Uddin’s own story and the stories of American Muslims and other people of faith who have faced tremendous indignities as they attempt to live and worship freely.
Combining her experience of Islam as a religious truth and her legal and philosophical appreciation that all individuals have a right to religious liberty, Uddin examines the shifting tides of American culture and outlines a way forward for individuals and communities navigating today’s culture wars.
FROM SCHLEMIel to SABRA
Zionist Masculinity and Palestinian
By Philip Hollander
(University of Wisconsin - Madison)
July 1, 2019
Indiana University Press
In From Schlemiel to Sabra Philip Hollander examines how masculine ideals and images of the New Hebrew man shaped the Israeli state. In this innovative book, Hollander uncovers the complex relationship that Jews had with masculinity, interrogating narratives depicting masculinity in the new state as a transition from weak, feminized schlemiels to robust, muscular, and rugged Israelis. Turning to key literary texts by S. Y. Agnon, Y. H. Brenner, L. A. Arieli, and Aharon Reuveni, Hollander reveals how gender and sexuality were intertwined to promote a specific Zionist political agenda. A Zionist masculinity grounded in military prowess could not only protect the new state but also ensure its procreative needs and future. Self-awareness, physical power, fierce loyalty to the state and devotion to the land, humility, and nurture of the young were essential qualities that needed to be cultivated in migrants to the state. By turning to the early literature of Zionist Palestine, Hollander shows how Jews strove to construct a better Jewish future.
AUGUST 2019 BOOKS
Why Israel Is a Hub of
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
by Inbal Arieli
Discover the secret behind how Israel, a tiny country with the highest concentration of start-ups per capita worldwide, is raising generations of entrepreneurs who are disrupting markets around the globe and bringing change to the world.
Dubbed “Silicon Wadi,” Israel ranks third in the World Economic Forum Innovation Rating. Despite its small size, it attracts more venture capital per capita than any other country on the planet. What factors have led to these remarkable achievements, and what secrets do Israeli tech entrepreneurs know that others can learn?
Tech insider Inbal Arieli goes against the common belief that Israel’s outstanding economic accomplishments are the byproduct of its technologically advanced military or the result of long-standing Jewish traditions of study and questioning. Rather, Arieli gives credit to the unique way Israelis are raised in a culture that supports creative thinking and risk taking. Growing up within a tribal-like community, Israelis experience childhoods purposely shaped by challenges and risks—in a culture that encourages and rewards chutzpah. This has helped Israelis develop the courage to pursue unorthodox, and often revolutionary, approaches to change and innovation and is the secret behind the country’s economic success.
While chutzpah has given generations of Israelis the courage to break away from conventional thinking, the Israeli concept balagan—messiness in Hebrew—is at the root of how Israelis are taught to interact with the world. Instead of following strict rules, balagan fosters ambiguity, encouraging the development of the skills necessary for dealing with the unpredictability of life and business. Living with balagan provides Israelis with the opportunity to constantly practice the soft skills defined by the World Economic Forum as the Skills for the Future, as balagan promotes creativity, problem-solving, and independence—key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
By revealing the unique ways in which Israelis parent, educate and acculturate, Chutzpah offers invaluable insights and proven strategies for success to aspiring entrepreneurs, parents, executives, innovators, and policymakers.
Medieval Jewish Philosophy
and Its Literary Forms
(New Jewish Philosophy and Thought)
Aaron W. Hughes, James T. Robinson
Indiana University Press
Too often the study of philosophical texts is carried out in ways that do not pay significant attention to how the ideas contained within them are presented, articulated, and developed. This was not always the case. The contributors to this collected work consider Jewish philosophy in the medieval period, when new genres and forms of written expression were flourishing in the wake of renewed interest in ancient philosophy. Many medieval Jewish philosophers were highly accomplished poets, for example, and made conscious efforts to write in a poetic style. This volume turns attention to the connections that medieval Jewish thinkers made between the literary, the exegetical, the philosophical, and the mystical to shed light on the creativity and diversity of medieval thought. As they broaden the scope of what counts as medieval Jewish philosophy, the essays collected here consider questions about how an argument is formed, how text is put into the service of philosophy, and the social and intellectual environment in which philosophical texts were produced.
Heidegger and Kabbalah:
Hidden Gnosis and the
Path of Poi?sis
(New Jewish Philosophy and Thought)
by Elliot R. Wolfson
Indiana University Press
While many scholars have noted Martin Heidegger’s indebtedness to Christian mystical sources, as well as his affinity with Taoism and Buddhism, Elliot R. Wolfson expands connections between Heidegger’s thought and kabbalistic material. By arguing that the Jewish esoteric tradition impacted Heidegger, Wolfson presents an alternative way of understanding the history of Western philosophy. Wolfson’s comparison between Heidegger and kabbalah sheds light on key concepts such as hermeneutics, temporality, language, and being and nothingness, while yielding surprising reflections on their common philosophical ground. Given Heidegger’s involvement with National Socialism and his use of antisemitic language, these innovative readings are all the more remarkable for their juxtaposition of incongruent fields of discourse. Wolfson’s entanglement with Heidegger and kabbalah not only enhances understandings of both but, more profoundly, serves as an ethical corrective to their respective ethnocentrism and essentialism. Wolfson masterfully illustrates the redemptive capacity of thought to illuminate common ground in seemingly disparate philosophical traditions.
BEATEN DOWN, WORKED UP
The Past, Present, and
Future of American Labor
by Steven Greenhouse
From the longtime New York Times labor correspondent, an in-depth look at working men and women in America, the challenges they face, and how they can be re-empowered. It is a history of major labor events and also a repeating manifesto on why unions and organized labor is the solution to many problems. If you get irritated by lovingly pro-union paragraphs, this is not a book for you.
In an era when corporate profits have soared while wages have flatlined, millions of Americans are searching for ways to improve their lives, and they're often turning to labor unions and worker action, whether #RedforEd teachers' strikes or the Fight for $15. Wage stagnation, low-wage work, and blighted blue-collar communities have become an all-too-common part of modern-day America, and behind these trends is a little-discussed problem: the decades-long decline in worker power.
Steven Greenhouse sees this decline reflected in some of the most pressing problems facing our nation today, including income inequality, declining social mobility, the gender pay gap, and the concentration of political power in the hands of the wealthy. He rebuts the often-stated view that labor unions are outmoded--or even harmful--by recounting some of labor's victories, and the efforts of several of today's most innovative and successful worker groups. He shows us the modern labor landscape through the stories of dozens of American workers, from G.M. workers to Uber drivers, and we see how unions historically have empowered--and lifted--the most marginalized, including young women garment workers in New York in 1909, black sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968, and hotel housekeepers today. Greenhouse proposes concrete, feasible ways in which workers' collective power can be--and is being--rekindled and reimagined in the twenty-first century.
(Studies in Antisemitism)
by Jennifer Craig-norton
Indiana University Press
Jennifer Craig-Norton sets out to challenge celebratory narratives of the Kindertransport that have dominated popular memory as well as literature on the subject. According to these accounts, the Kindertransport was a straightforward act of rescue and salvation, with little room for a deeper, more complex analysis. This volume reveals that in fact many children experienced difficulties with settlement: they were treated inconsistently by refugee agencies, their parents had complicated reasons for giving them up, and their caregivers had a variety of motives for taking them in. Against the grain of many other narratives, Craig-Norton emphasizes the use of archival sources, many of them newly discovered testimonial accounts and letters from Kinder to their families. This documentary evidence together with testimonial evidence allows compelling insights into the nature of interactions between children and their parents and caregivers and shows readers a more nuanced and complete picture of the Kindertransport.
SEPTEMBER 2019 BOOKS
A Reintroduction to Judaism
by Sarah Hurwitz
Spiegel & Grau
Attorney Hurwitz, a long term speechwriter in the Obama White House, specifically for FLOTUS Michelle Obama, (also wrote Clinton concession speech in 2008, and speeches for Kerry, General Clark, Gore and Clinton) and a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law writes a deeply felt compelling book on why the Jewish religion – Judaism – is urgent and relevant in the present times. She was named to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by POTUS Barack Obama.
As she told the JFN Jewish Funders Network a year ago... she did not enjoy “Hebrew School” as a child. Neither she nor any of her classmates had any kind of meaningful Jewish practice going on at home. High Holy Day services were excruciating. After her bat mitzvah, she left the religion behind her. Then, about four years ago, she broke up with a guy she had been dating, and she took an eight week intro to Judaism class at the JCC jCC in response to an email. To fill up her Wednesday nights. The texts on Jewish ethics and values articulated HER ethics and values, but in a way that was far deeper, and more insightful. Seen through adult eyes, practices like Shabbat struck her as utterly brilliant. She found that Judaism has so much to offer today, but few people made it beyond the juvenile ideas from Hebrew School. Her book will try to rectify the epic communications problem American Judaism has. (Also, shout out to Rabbi Aaron Potek and “Gather” which focuses on engaging 20 and 30 somethings in Jewish life.)
LOVE, LATKES, AND WHAT I WORE...
It's a Whole Spiel:
Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories
Edited by Katherine Locke
and Mayim Bialik (Foreword)
Knopf for Young Readers
Ages 12 and up
Includes a special introduction by Mayim Bialik, star of The Big Bang Theory and author of the #1 bestseller Girling Up!
Get ready to fall in love, experience heartbreak, and discover the true meaning of identity in this poignant collection of short stories about Jewish teens, including entries by David Levithan, Nova Ren Suma, and more!
A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend's family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush's Hanukkah party.
From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It's a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be. You will fall in love with this insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors.
We Stand Divided:
The Rift Between American Jews and Israel
by Daniel Gordis, PhD
September 24, 2019
From National Jewish Book Award Winner and author of Israel, a bold reevaluation of the tensions between American and Israeli Jews that reimagines the past, present, and future of Jewish life
Relations between the American Jewish community and Israel are at an all-time nadir. Since Israel’s founding seventy years ago, particularly as memory of the Holocaust and of Israel’s early vulnerability has receded, the divide has grown only wider. Most explanations pin the blame on Israel’s handling of its conflict with the Palestinians, Israel’s attitude toward non-Orthodox Judaism, and Israel’s dismissive attitude toward American Jews in general. In short, the cause for the rupture is not what Israel is; it’s what Israel does.
These explanations tell only half the story. We Stand Divided examines the history of the troubled relationship, showing that from the outset, the founders of what are now the world’s two largest Jewish communities were responding to different threats and opportunities, and had very different ideas of how to guarantee a Jewish future.
With an even hand, Daniel Gordis takes us beyond the headlines and explains how Israel and America have fundamentally different ideas about issues ranging from democracy and history to religion and identity. He argues that as a first step to healing the breach, the two communities must acknowledge and discuss their profound differences and moral commitments. Only then can they forge a path forward, together.
Dr. Daniel Gordis is Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and Bloomberg View. The author of numerous books on Jewish thought and political currents in Israel, and a winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Dr. Gordis was the founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism. He joined Shalem in 2007 to help found Israel’s first liberal arts college, after spending nine years as vice president of the Mandel Foundation in Israel and director of its Leadership Institute. He lives in Jerusalem.
The World That We Knew:
by Alice Hoffman
Simon and Schuster
In Berlin in 1941 during humanity’s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman.
In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she's destined to be.
What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.
Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen
by Adeena Sussman
with a Foreword by Zahav's Michael Solomonov
September 3, 2019
"The pages of this book ooze with [Adeena's] passion for the romance and beauty of Israeli cuisine. The recipes are soulful, elemental and stunningly delicious."
--from the foreword by Michael Solomonov
In an Israeli cookbook as personal as it is global, Adeena Sussman celebrates the tableau of flavors the region has to offer, in all its staggering and delicious variety. Adeena is the secret powerhouse recipe developer behind the scenes on many cookbooks, including her collaboration on Cravings and Cravings: Hungry for More with Chrissy Teigen and The Sprinkles Baking Book with Candace Nelson. She has also written about Jewish and Israeli cooking and food culture for Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Epicurious, and the now defunct Gourmet.
In Hebrew (derived from the original Arabic), sababa means "everything is awesome," and it's this sunny spirit with which the American food writer and expat Adeena Sussman cooks and dreams up meals in her Tel Aviv kitchen. Every morning, Sussman makes her way through the bustling stalls of Shuk Hacarmel, her local market, which sells irresistibly fresh ingredients and tempting snacks--juicy ripe figs and cherries, locally made halvah, addictive street food, and delectable cheeses and olives. In Sababa, Sussman presents 125 recipes for dishes inspired by this culinary wonderland and by the wide-varying influences surrounding her in Israel.
Americans have begun to instinctively crave the spicy, bright flavors of Israeli cuisine, and in this timely cookbook, Sussman shows readers how to use border-crossing kitchen staples-- tahini, sumac, silan (date syrup), harissa, za'atar---to delicious effect, while also introducing more exotic spices and ingredients. From Freekeh and Roasted Grape Salad and Crudo with Cherries and Squeezed Tomatoes, to Schug Marinated Lamb Chops and Tahini Caramel Tart, Sussman's recipes make a riot of fresh tastes accessible and effortless for the home cook. Filled with transporting storytelling, Sababa is the ultimate, everyday guide to the Israeli kitchen.
The (First) Jewish Catalog
by Richard Siegel
and Michael and Sharon Strassfeld
The First Jewish Catalog, compiled and edited by Sharon & Michael Strassfeld, and Richard Siegel, Jewish Publication Society, First Edition, 1973. Hundreds of b/w photos and illustrations populate this innovative reference catalog that presents Jewish history, religion, rituals, communities, culture, festivals, writings, and behavior in an easily readable format. Oversize trade paperback with glossy, pictorial, stiff covers.
The Story of My Relationship
with My Most Challenging Client
by Alan M. Dershowitz
September 3, 2019
All Points Books
World-renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz recounts stories from his many years of defending the state of Israel.
Alan Dershowitz has spent years advocating for his "most challenging client"-the state of Israel-both publicly and in private meetings with high level international figures, including every US president and Israeli leader of the past 40 years. Replete with personal insights and unreported details, Defending Israel offers a comprehensive history of modern Israel from the perspective of one of the country's most important supporters. Readers are given a rare front row seat to the high profile controversies and debates that Dershowitz was involved in over the years, even as the political tides shifted and the liberal community became increasingly critical of Israeli policies.
Beyond documenting America's changing attitude toward the country, Defending Israel serves as an updated defense of the Jewish homeland on numerous points-though it also includes Dershowitz's criticisms of Israeli decisions and policies that he believes to be unwise. At a time when Jewish Americans as a whole are increasingly uncertain as to who supports Israel and who doesn't, there is no better book to turn to for answers-and a pragmatic look toward the future.
Blood Libel in an American Town
by Edward Berenson
A fascinating investigation of America’s only alleged case of blood libel, and what it reveals about anti-Semitism in the United States and Europe.
On Saturday, September 22, 1928, Barbara Griffith, age 4, strayed into the woods surrounding the upstate village of Massena, New York. Hundreds of people looked everywhere for the child but could not find her; several hours into the search, someone suggested that Barbara had been kidnapped and killed by Jews. The mayor and local police believed the rumor, and suddenly the allegation of ritual murder, known to Jews as “blood libel,” took hold. Rational people in government and Jewish leaders had to intervene to restore calm once Barbara was found safe and sound.
That so many embraced the accusation seems bizarre at first glance- blood libel was essentially unknown in the United States- but a great many of Massena’s inhabitants, Christians and Jews alike, had emigrated recently from Central and Eastern Europe, where it was all too common. The Accusation is a shocking and perceptive cross- cultural exploration of American and European responses to anti- Semitism.
What We Will Become:
A Mother, a Son, and a
Journey of Transformation
by Mimi Lemay
November 12, 2019
Houghton Mifflin HMH
A mother’s memoir of her transgender child’s odyssey, and her journey outside the boundaries of the faith and culture that shaped her.
From the age of two-and-a-half, Jacob, born “Em,” adamantly told his family he was a boy. While his mother Mimi struggled to understand and come to terms with the fact that her child may be transgender, she experienced a sense of déjà vu—the journey to uncover the source of her child’s inner turmoil unearthed ghosts from Mimi’s past and her own struggle to live an authentic life.
Raised in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, every aspect of Mimi’s life was dictated by ancient rules and her role in life largely preordained from cradle to grave. As a young woman, Mimi wrestled with the demands of her faith and eventually made the painful decision to leave her faith and community and the strict gender roles it upheld.
Having risen from the ashes of this past life, Mimi was prepared to help her son forge a new one, at a time when there was little consensus on how best to help young transgender children. Brimming with love and courage, and an honest, heartfelt portrait of an unforgettable family, What We Will Become is a testament to how painful events from the past can be redeemed to give us hope for the future.
And in the Vienna Woods the Trees Remain:
The Heartbreaking True Story
of a Family Torn Apart by War
by Elisabeth Åsbrink
Saskia Vogel (Translator)
Winner of the August Prize, an intricate weave of documents, substantive narrative, and emotional commentary that centers on a young Jewish refugee's friendship with the future founder of IKEA.
Otto Ullman, a Jewish boy, was sent from Austria to Sweden right before the outbreak of World War II. There he became best friends with Ingvar Kamprad, who would grow up to become the founder of IKEA. Despite the huge Swedish resistance to Jews, the thirteen-year-old Otto was granted permission to enter Sweden--all in accordance with the Swedish archbishop's secret plan to save Jews on condition that they converted to Christianity. Otto found work as a farmhand at the Kamprad family's farm Elmtaryd in Agunnaryd in the province of Småland. Ingvar and Otto became very close friends. But at the same time, Ingvar Kamprad was actively engaged in Nazi organizations and a great supporter of the fascist Per Engdahl. Otto's parents were trapped in Vienna, and the last letters he received were sent from Theresienstadt.
With thorough research, including personal files initiated by the predecessor to today's Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) and more than 500 letters, Elisabeth Åsbrink illustrates how Swedish society was infused with anti-Semitism and how families are shattered by war and asylum politics.
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