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[latka] DECEMBER AND MORE LATE FALL 2000 JEWISH BOOKS




DECEMBER 2000 JEWISH BOOKS

[book] THE END OF DAYS. FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE STRUGGLE FOR THE TEMPLE MOUNT by Gershom Gorenberg (The Jerusalem Report)
Hardcover - 288 pages (December 2000).
Those who avoid this book are doing themselves a disservice. Could you have asked for better timing for this book? Is it any wonder that the film that swept the 2000 Israeli Film Academy Awards, Hahesder, was the story about a religious plot to blow up the Al Aqsa Mosque? Is it a surprise that the Palestinian Authority used the visit of a Jewish Israeli political leader to the Temple Mount as a spark to begin rioting over the peace agreement negotiations (just like Mufti Hajj Amin Al-Husseini did in 1928)? Or that MK Ariel Sharon used his visit to the Temple Mount as a ploy for his party's leadership? Or that a best selling book in the USA is based the coming Rapture? All three Western religions conceived of an End of Days. The Book of Revelations read by Christians expects wars and a Jewish antichrist before the End of Days; while Moslems need a Dajjal, or Jewish false Messiah, for its own End Hour to occur. It is a ticking bomb, an urgency for fundamentalists, all focused on 35 acres in the SE corner of Jerusalem's walled Old City.
Gorenberg, a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report, and regular in the pages of The New Republic, moved to Israel in 1977. To write this book, Gorenberg, a journalist focused on the nexus of religion and politics, interviewed Christians, Jews, and Moslems, many of whom hold views of an END OF DAYS. All their scenarios focus on the Temple Mount and Al Haram Al Sharif / Noble Sanctuary. I began to read THE END OF DAYS as I sat in a Jerusalem hotel room, near The King David Hotel, overlooking the Old City's walls. It was almost a week before the holiday of Hanukkah, which commemorates the victory of the Maccabees, who won back control of the Temple Mount. Jetlagged at 3 AM, with a full moon and a light rain, I started Chapter 1, and the book's story unfolded with heightened suspense. Many Jews believe that Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac on the mount, that King David erected an altar there, that King Solomon and Herod built Temples there, and as Rabbi Levi wrote in 200 CE, that Cain murdered Abel for control of the Mount. Moslems leveled the mount and built the Dome of the Rock there, and Christians believe it will be the site of the Third Temple. What will happen after the year 2000 if the Messiah does not come? How will the fundamentalists of all 3 primary Western religions react? If Jews do not return to Jerusalem and a war occurs, how will the Rapture and Gods Kingdom come to pass? If Jews control the Mount, how will Mecca migrate to Jerusalem for the advent of a Moslem end of time? If Jews do not control the site, how will a Third Temple be built? Gorenberg shows how the future is bound up with the past. The first chapter tells the story of Melody the calf. She was born in August 1996, three years prior to the Year 2000. She was born red, and Jewish messianics need a Red Heifer for sacrifices to commence in a Third Temple, while Christians needs these Jews in order to bring about the End of Days. Gorenberg describes this disturbing and unusual alliance. Chapters 2-4 tell the story of Christian millenialism and Jewish messianism, and its effects on Cromwell's England, the Puritans, the British Mandate, the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the 1967 Six Day War, Dayan's orders to remove an Israeli flag from the captured Mount, and even Christian evangelical attitudes towards the assassination of PM Rabin. Chapter 5 is filled with fascinating portraits of members of American evangelical groups, the late Rabbi Meir Kahane (Michael King), the Jewish Temple Mount Faithful, Gush Emunim settlers, Banch Davidians at Waco, the American Jewish loner who shot up the Dome in 1982, and the Australian Christian paranoid schizophrenic who nearly succeeded in burning down Al Aqsa Mosque in 1967. Later chapters portray the people who are preparing for a Third Jewish Temple (such as the men who are producing priestly garments of flax and linen, to the rabbi who seeks to raise observant boys of the priestly class who have never been in contact with the dead so that they can sacrifice a red heifer, to the Christian Zionists who come to Israel for the Tabernacles festival); as well as the Temple Faithful activists who sue each year for greater access; Bassam Jirrar of Ramallah, who calculates the end of Israel through his mathematical analysis of the Koran; the popular writings of Egyptian author Sa'id Ayyub and Palestinian writer Fa'iq Da'ud (although they aren't directly interviewed); a Texan who hopes to drill for oil near the Dead Sea as per the Lord's instructions; and other unique characters This book is an enlightening decoder and story, and it is a must read for anyone interested in peace in the Middle East.
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[book] THE RED TENT IS NOW ON AUDIO
THE RED TENT [ABRIDGED] by Anita Diamant.

Audio Cassette Abridged edition Abridged (November 2000). THE BEST SELLING JEWISH BOOK OF 1999 IS NOW ON AUDIO. CLICK THE ICON TO READ OVER 170 REVIEWS OF IT.






[book] AND I WILL DWELL IN THEIR MIDST: ORTHODOX JEWS IN SUBURBIA by Etan Diamond.

Diamond is a social Historian affiiated with the Polis Center at Indiana University-Purdue. He was raised in a Jewish traditional household in Saint Louis. Diamond argues that suburbia is not soulless or community-less. Using the Toronto suburb in which he lived for two years, Diamond analyzes how Orthodox Judaism flourishes as a suburban community. The book studies the growth of North America's Orthodox Jewish community as it moved from urban to suburban neighborhoods in the period after World War II. I argue that the Orthodox Jewish community succeeded in making the geographic and socioeconomic transition to suburbia without having to shed their religious traditionalism--something most observers would not have thought possible in the post-World War II era. Chapters include a look at the growth of "sacred space" within the Orthodox Jewish community, the development of suburban synagogues, the growth of day schools, the evolution of the kosher food industry, and the broader continental expansion of North American Orthodoxy. A final chapter discusses Orthodox Jews in the context of suburbia, religion, and community.




[book] BLACK WHITE AND JEWISH: AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SHIFTING SELF
by Rebecca Walker

Hardcover - 288 pages (December 28, 2000).
Like a painting by the African American artist, Kerry James Marshall, Rebecca Walker is multi-layered. The daughter of the novelist Alice Walker writes about her pain and struggle to find a place between her divorced parents vastly different worlds, black and white, Jewish and non-Jewish. Her mother, Alice Walker, is, of course, the famed African American author, while Rebecca's father is the Jewish lawyer, Mel Leventhal. (kind of similar to Lisa Jones, the daughter of Hetty Jones, the Jewish author, and Amiri Baraka, the African American poet.) . Her parents got married in Mississippi when interracial marriages were still illegal. Born in 1969, in a newly desegregated hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, she was a child of the civil rights movement. But when the marriage ended, what was her identity? (in contrast to being in an airport, where you have a definite identity and goal, that of passenger and destination) Each chapter is freshly written in the precocious voice of Rebecca at the age of her events, whether she be a preteen or an adult. Rebecca's writes of identity, a life in a divorced family, prejudice, and Jewish relatives who are wary of her (it's as if you aren't really part of the family, but there as part of an affirmative action program). But at the same time, reserved, she admits that she was unable to fully commit to either sides of the family. She writes of a boyfriend who doesn't think she is black enough, sexuality, drug use, teenage abortion, ballet prejudice, body form, how she loved to sneak off to the poorer sections of the Bronx from her father's home in Riverdale, how she was often thought of as the baby sitter for are light skinned step-siblings, or a bookish cracker by her some black cousins, and other cutting edge topics. She writes about the feelings you experience when your blood ancestry doesn't claim you fully, and you have to create a new family and identity. A book to experience.
[walker]Click here to order this book from Amazon.com, read more reviews, or to add your own review.










[book] DIVIDED LIVES. THE UNTOLD STORIES OF JEWISH-CHRISTIAN WOMEN IN NAZI GERMANY. By Cynthia Crane.
Hardcover - 384 Pages. December 2000. St Martins Press
The real life stories of mixed-marriage women and "half-breeds" Mischlings, many of whom only discovered they were Jewish after Hitler's Laws against them were passed. The book focuses on eight women who remained in Germany and their fight for identity. By the Way, the author's father and his siblings were Mischlinge. Curious, she traveled to Germany to learn about her father's family and discovered the atrocities
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[book] Surfing Rabbi: A Kabbalistic Quest for Soul by Rabbi Nachum Schifren
Paperback (November 2000). Rabbi Nachum Shifren is a native of Southern California, where he became a competitive swimmer, runner and triathalete, and competed in the Los Angeles Triathalon. He was a Los Angeles County Lifeguard for 10 years. While attending Pierce College in 1973, at the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, he visited Israel and became a Kibbutz volunteer. In 1977 he made aliyah. He did his graduate studies in the U.S. and in West Germany at the University of Goettingen. Rabbi Shifren's Torah studies include learning at Toras Chayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and Harayon HaYehudi. He continued his studies at Yeshivat Tomchei Tmimim in Kfar Chabad, Israel, where he received his Rabbinical Ordination. He is a resident of Tapuah Israel now. This is his teaching. Here is a taste... The ocean, according to the Kabbalah, is derived from the highest spiritual source. It represents an absolute unity with the Divine. Those individuals who merited supreme spirituality were termed "fish of the sea." Because of the all-pervasive quality of water in enveloping "created beings" therein, these "fish" never know anything other than the secrets of the universe, residing as they do in a "world of unity" as opposed to land beings who dwell in a "world of separation." Does this sound familiar? This world of separation, being cut off from the life force symbolized by the ocean, seems to plague many of those seemingly "landlocked" individuals, yet they appear to be oblivious to this mystical world the surfer takes for granted. What's the bottom line? You paddle out and you feel your world change the second your feet leave land. This transformation takes place for many of us on a subliminal level at least, yet regardless of our backgrounds or personal beliefs, we all share this aspect of divine life force as is evidenced by the proverbial "aloha" spirit shared by surfers the world over. The wondrous details of this relationship will be expounded upon at the next opportunity, God willing.
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[book] To Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the World: The Life of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann
by Gail A. Hornstein (Mount Holoyoke College).

Hardcover - 480 pages (December 2000) The Free Press. This should be considered for a Jewish Book Award. Everyone knows Freud and Fromm; but how many know of Reichman? Reichman was born into a Jewish family in Germany in 1889. They were Orthodox and upper middle class. She was a brilliant medical student and psychoanalyst. Her close friends and colleagues in pre-World War II Germany included some of the most visionary intellectuals and therapists of the era: Martin Buber, Karen Horney, Franz Rosenzweig, Gershom Scholem, and Georg Groddeck, among others. She became the wife of Erich Fromm (who was a patient). When they fled Hitler and came to the USA in 1935, she became eminent in the field of treating schizophrenics. What makes this Jewish?? Reichman actually felt that her Orthodox Judaism influenced her approach to medicine and psychoanalysis. Gershom Scholem called her technique, "torahpeutic." Her work at the Chestnut Lodge psychiatric hospital in Rockville MD was immortalized in the 1964 novel "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden", about her work in treating a schizophrenic, Joanne Greenberg.




[book] Pioneers, Peddlers, and Tsadikim : The Story of the Jews in Colorado by Ida Libert Uchill.
Paperback - 363 pages 3 Ed edition (December 2000) Univ Press of Colorado.




[book] Hearts of Fire by Ellen Brazer.
Paperback - 518 pages (Fall 2000). A multigenerational family saga. "From Poland to Berlin, from pre-war Paris to post-war Russia, from Israel to the greed-filled corridors of Washington, this historical saga will enrage, enlighten and enrich its readers." Shadowing the lives of two families, Hearts of Fire begins with the Milch twins. Raised in Berlin, Germany, Otto and Ilya are classic products of poverty and abuse. Brilliant, handsome and despotic, Otto maneuvers his way into the twisted bowels of the Nazi inner circle. Simultaneously, we follow the life of Morgan Robinowiszch. Born into a pious Jewish family in Vilna, Poland, she is a gifted and exceptionally beautiful girl. Determined to become an actress she makes the momentous decision to break with the traditions of her faith. From pre-war Paris to post-war Russia, from the malaria-infested swamps of Israel to the greed-filled corridors of modern day Washington, this historical saga is a story of duplicity and outrage, courage, determination, love and triumph.




[book] Fragile Branches : Travels Through the Jewish Diaspora by James R. Ross
December 2000. Fragile Branches: Travels Through the Jewish Diaspora is James R. Ross's account of his journeys among the world's most far-flung Jewish communities in countries including Uganda, India, Peru, and Brazil. Ross's accounts of the ways that each community discovered Judaism, and the ways that geographical isolation allows for both preservation and evolution of Jewish traditions, demonstrate a sophisticated grasp of theology and anthropology.
Click here to order this book from Amazon.com, read more reviews, or to add your own review.





[book] THE TWILIGHT OF ANCIENT EGYPT: First Millennium BCE. By Karol My'sliwiec
December 2000. Cornell University Press. The history and culture of ancient Egypt during the period of the Torah.
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[gelt]



SOME HANUKKAH BOOKS

[book] THE RUNAWAY LATKES by Leslie Kimmelman. Illustrated by Paul Yalowitz.
September 2000. Ages 4-7. Albert Whitman. The latkes that Rebecca Bloom is frying jump out of the pan just like a runaway gingerbread man. Everyone gives chase till the runaway falls into a river made of applesauce.
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[book] THE JAR OF FOOLS: EIGHT HANUKKAH STORIES FROM CHELM by Eric Kimmel. Illustrated from Mordicai Gerstein.
September 2000. Kimmel's lastest Hannukah book. Kimmel changes some famous stories, repackaging them as Hanukkah tales. You know, put a latka here, and poof, it's a Hanukkah folktale. But seriously, here are 8 cute tales with a recurring cast of Chelm characters.
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[book] MY TWO GRANDMOTHERS by Effin Older. Illustrated by Nancy Hayashi
September 2000. Ages 3-7. Harcourt. Lily has a grandmother who celebrates Xmas and one that celebrates Hanukkah. Lily hosts a grandmas party for her extremely elderly Bubbe Silver and Grammy Lane.
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[book] MOISHES MIRACLE: A HANUKKAH STORY by Laura Kress Melmed. Illustrated by David Slonim
October 2000. HarperCollins. Ages 4-8 Baila and Moishe are given a magic fryingpan that makes as many latkes as one wants by the milkman. Not for feminists. Nice illustrations.
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[book] OUR EIGHT NIGHTS OF HANUKKAH by Michael Rosen. Illustrated by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan.
September 2000. Ages 6-10. A multicultural cast celebrate Hanukkah at home, at temple and at the homeless shelter.
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[book] JASON'S MIRACLE. A HANUKKAH STORY. By Beryl Lieff Benderly.
September 2000. Ages 9-13. Albert Whitman. Jason is 12 years old. Why can't his family celebrate xmas and have Santa? Poof. He is transported back to the time of the Macabees. He aids in their revolt against the Greek-Syrians. The Macabees weren't willing to lose their Jewish culture and religion and give in to the popular assimilationist Greek ways. Hmmmm.
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MORE BOOKS FOR WINTER 2001
The following is a listing of neglected Jewish novelists that have been reprinted by the Dalkey Archive Press of Normal, Illinois.

Click here to order or read about Elaine Kraf's THE PRINCESS OF 72ND STREET, about a young Jewish women who slips between her identities of Ellen and Princess Esmeralda.

Click here to order or read about Wallace Markfield's 1964 novel, TO AN EARLY GRAVE, which captures the atmosphere among NYC intellectuals in the 1950s (as in Braverman's Funeral, the film).

Click here to order or read about Wallace Markfield's 1970 novel, TEITLEBAUM'S WINDOW, about life in Brighton Beach Brooklyn in the 1930s. (or at least click to see the cover art)

Click here to order or read about Stanley Elkin's CRIERS AND KIBBITZERS, KIBBITZERS AND CRIERS (or at least click to see the pastel cover).

Click here to order or read about Stanley Elkin's THE MAGIC KINGDOM. About Eddy Bale, whose 12-year-old son has tragically died from a terminal illness. Eddy is determined to take other terminally ill children to Disney's Magic Kingdom to experience life. Elkin's similes and stream-of-consciousness descriptions flow.

Click here to order or read about Piotr Szewc's ANNIHILATION.

Click here to order or read about Marc Cholodenko's MORDECHAI SCHMANZ. A series of comic monologues, interrupted by quirky letters to G. and the girl he loves, Marc Cholodenko creates a character who is witty, crazed, passionate, and wily. Inventing a style that is as stilted and convoluted as the mind of his character, Cholodenko allows us to know everything about what Mordechai thinks and feels, while keeping us strangely ignorant about almost all of the externals of his character's life, except that he wears an oversized overcoat. We are given an imagination that is twisted as it is funny, and as brilliantly ironic as it may be insane.







Some hot books in Israel, not yet in the USA...
Adi Ophir, a Philosophy teacher at Tel Aviv University, and member of the postmodern stream (Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida), assaults Israeli self-righteousness in his newest book, Lashon Hara (The Language of Evil)- Am Oved Publishing. He calls for the nationalist approach to the State to be discarded. He sees evil as a social, not a theological, problem. He is willing to deal with the national schism that will occur if occupation is ended. To him, occupation in a moral failure. It is an UN-necessary evil. Unnecessary evils are those evils that can be prevented, such as degradation of patients in some hospitals. He dislikes those who say that the evil of Auschwitz cannot be compared to other evils. He constructs a moral playing field upon which the moral person can live.



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