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DECEMBER 2001 - JANUARY 2002 - FEBRUARY 2002 RECOMMENDED JEWISH BOOKS
December 4, 2001: Howard Blum reads from The Brigade, B&N W 82nd, NYC
December 5, 2001: Lily Brett reads from Too Many Men, B&N W 82nd, NYC
January 15, 2002: Neil Baldwin reads from HENRY FORD & THE JEWS, B&N, W 82nd, NYC 7:30
January 16, 2002: Calvin Trillin reads from TEPPER ISN'T GOING OUT, B&N, W 82nd, NYC 7:30
January 16, 2002: Miriam Weinstein reads from YIDDISH: A NATION OF WORDS. B&N Boca Raton FL 7 PM
January 16, 2002: FREDERICK REIKEN & PAUL GREENBERG @ Rough Cut Fiction Reading,
KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Aves), 7.30PM, NYC.
January 17, 2002: Edna P. Gurewitsch reads from KINDRED SOULS. Eleanor Roosevent and Gurewitsch, B&N, Lincoln Center, NYC 7:00
January 23, 2002: PISK! WITH ADAM MANSBACK and DANIEL SIERADSKI, At Bar 13, 3rd Floor, 121 University Place, 8:00PM, NYC
January 26, 2002: Comedian Rita Rudner signs TICKLED PINK; A COMIC NOVEL, B&N. Henderson NV, 3 PM
January 28, 2002: Alan Dershowitz reads from SHOUTING FIRE: CIVIL LIBERTIES IN A TURBULENT AGE. B&N. 82nd & Bway NYC 7:30
January 29, 2002: Memoir Nation: Vivian Gornick and Phillip Lopate. Moderated by Daniel Asa Rose, memoirist and arts editor of The Forward. JCCNYC, NYC. 8 PM
February 5, 2002: Mitchell Chefitz reads from THE THIRTY-THIRD HOUR. B&N Boca Raton FL 7 PM
February 6, 2002: Literary Israel: A Night with Israeli Writers. jccmanhattan.org JCC NYC 8 PM
February 11, 2002: Frank Rich reads from GHOST LIGHT, B&N, W 82nd, NYC 7:30
February 19, 2002: Golems & Dybbuks, Horrors Real and Imagined: Thane Rosenbaum and Special Guests Also featuring clips from the 1921 silent film Der Golem, and more. JCC NYC. 8:00 PM
February 20, 2002: Blake Eskin reads from A LIFE IN PIECES: THE MAKING AND UNMAKING OF BINJAMIN WILKOMIRSKI, B&N, W 82nd, NYC 7:30
February 22, 2002: Anita Diamant reads from GOOD HARBOR, B&N, Walnut Creek CA 7:30
February 26, 2002: Thane Rosenbaum reads from THE GOLEMS OF GOTHAM, B&N, W 82nd, NYC 7:30
March 6, 2002: Binnie Kirshenbaum reads from HESTER AMONG THE RUINS, B&N, W 82nd, NYC 7:30
March 14, 2002: Emily Benedek reads from THROUGH THE UNKNOWN, REMEMBERED GATE: A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, B&N, DALLAS, TX. 7:30
March 21, 2002: Harvard Law Prof. Frank Wu reads from YELLOW: RACE IN AMERICA BEYOND BLACK AND WHITE, B&N, Philadelphia. 7:00
April 26-28, 2002: A Weekend conference in Amherst MA (see YiddishBookCenter.org) on Jewish Fiction: The New Voices with Rachel Kadish, author of From A Sealed Room; Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of Strange Fire; Thane Rosenbaum, author of Second Hand Smoke; and Pearl Abraham, author of Giving Up America. Info at : 413-256-4900, ext. 133.
CHAINS AROUND THE GRASS
A novel by by Naomi Ragen
Fall 2001. The Jerusalem Post said "Chains around the Grass, is the kind of book that you never want to end. It is a timeless tale that not only offers real insight into human character and family relationships but also generously offers the reader a way to relate to at least one aspect or one character in the story." Set in the 1950's in New York City, CHAINS AROUND THE GRASS is a portrait of a Jewish-American family that glows with affection, tenderness, and courage when tragedy changes the lives of all who are left behind. A passionately personal and heartfelt book, based heavily on autobiographical material, this is the book Ms. Ragen says that she became an author to write. Sara is barely six years old when her beloved father unexpectedly vanishes from her life. Her mother, Ruth, a dreamy and reluctant housewife, is now left with three small children to bring up, and the knowledge that she will somehow have to pick up the pieces, if she is to survive and fend for the family. But Sara takes up a vigil at the window of their dismal apartment, refusing to accept that her father won't be coming back. She searches the movements of other men for traits of her father. Throughout the book, she likens herself to the child character played by Shirley Temple in the The Little Princess. Numerous times, Sara describes how she refuses to believe her father is really gone forever. To this bittersweet and moving tale of childhood and the loss of innocence, the author brings the added intensity of a personal memoir. There seems no way out of the family's poverty or their life in a low-income housing project. Jesse, the older brother, is beaten by the situation only adding to the family's burden. While Sara deals with the pain internally, becoming an introverted little girl and a virtual prisoner in her own home, content to looking out the window at the chained off grass below. The family is not strictly Orthodox Jewish at first, but after the death of her father, Sara is enrolled in a private, Jewish day school not far from her home. Sara feels inadeuqte at the affluent school, but in her study of Judaism she is slowly able to help her family to overcome the death of her father, and even give her mother and siblings strength. This is Naomi Ragen at her best, her writing charged with a searing, emotional truth as she unravels a tale of childhood, betrayal and the unending resilience of family love. Click the book cover to read more.
A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News
by Bernard Goldberg
Hardcover - 234 pages (December 2001). News flash. Reporters are human, and have biases which shape how they present the news to you. Do you think the media are biased? Does a liberal bias pervade the mainstream media? Is the nightly news is slanted to the left? Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist Bernard Goldberg reveals a corporate news culture in which the close-mindedness is breathtaking, journalistic integrity has been pawned to liberal opinion, and "entertainment" trumps hard news every time. In his three decades at CBS, Goldberg repeatedly voiced his concerns to network executives about the often one-sided nature of the news coverage. But no one listened to his complaints-or if they did listen, they did nothing about the problem. Bias is the result. As the author reveals, "liberal bias" doesn't mean simply being hard on Republicans and easy on Democrats. Real media bias is the result of how those in the media see the world-and their bias directly affects how we all see the world. Goldberg tells us about Peter Jenning's Test for classifying politicians-and how all the networks do it; the network color bar or why so many "victims" on network news stories are blond-haired, blue-eyed, and middle class; and how political correctness in network newsrooms puts "sensitivity" ahead of facts. Click the cover to read more.
As he awaits a new trial in his murder trial (accused of having his wife murdered), Rabbi Fred J. Neulander of Cherry Hill, NJ, has published a book on how to be a good rabbi. The 288-page book, "Keep Your Mouth Shut and Your Arms Open: Observations From the Rabbinic Trenches," is published under the pseudonym Rabbi ADAM PLONY. It is published by www.disc-us.com. It can be purchased from www.nuvobookstore.com Tell them we sent you :-)
Also, Rabbi Gary Mazo, a past assistant to Rabbi Neulander has penned a book, called
AND THE FLAMES DID NOT CONSUME US. It is about life leading a congregation after the beloved rabbi got arrested. In it, Rabbi Mazo discusses leadership. Mazo was mesmerized by Neulander as was everyone else; Neulander grew a pony tail, had many affairs, and curiously made sure that he visited Mazo's confirmation class (for the first time ever) on the night of the murder. Hmm...
MOSES IN SINAI
by Simone Zelitch (author of Louisa)
December 2001. A novel based on the dark life of the prophet Moses. Moses is abandoned by his family at birth and taken for dead by his father (Amram). The author paints Miriam and a homosexual Aaron in an awful light. Moses' new mother (the Egyptian princess, Bitya) leaves Moses with a stutter when he puts a hot coal in his mouth (she should be arrested for abuse). Moses has an awful life surrounded by stiff necked Hebrews and Egyptians.
A LIFE WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES
by STEPHEN ELLIOT.
2001. This is a harrowing novel.. even more so since it is autobiographical. Mission district-Bay area author, Stephen Elliot, age 30, was a runaway on the streets of Chicago at age 13. The son of a pornographer, the author was a homeless drug abuser, an abused kid, and a genius; he lived in a mental hospital and a series of group homes as a teen and finally got turned around by a Chicago rabbi who got the Jewish Childrens Bureau of Chicago to take Stephen into one of their group homes. This is Mr. Elliot's novel about Paul. PW wrote, "Paul, 14, runs away from home and is quickly picked up by the police after slashing his wrists. Placed in the adolescent unit of a mental institution and deeply depressed, he reviews his life, seeking solace from the motley crew of his fellow inmates. All are equally rootless and confused. French Fry is horribly disfigured following an attempt to burn himself to death; Mike swallowed pills; Jay set fire to a church. Escaping with Tanya, another inmate, Paul commences a twisted life on the streets, interrupted by a short, terrifying stint at the infamous Robert Taylor Homes housing project. Although Elliott keeps the scenes strong and succinct, he frequently pushes the pace so hard that the reader is unable digest what has come before. His ability to capture the fragile sensibility of troubled youth is uncanny, however, and his descriptions of life on the streets are crookedly lyrical. Paul tries to retain his humanity despite being placed in a series of ineffective group homes, and though constantly struggling to adjust to the outside world and become a "normal" human being, he is restless, unable to stay in one place; he eventually hits bottom during a stint in a mental hospital. Finally landing in yet another Chicago group home, he makes a last push toward sanity and stability. The bittersweet conclusion doesn't quite satisfy, but this is an impressive debut, a promising work of fiction and an eloquent expression of life as few people are unlucky enough to know it." Click to read more.
THE GUIDE TO JEWISH INTERFAITH FAMILY LIFE
An Interfaithfamily.com Handbook by Ronnie Friedland (Editor), Edmund Case (Editor)
Fall 2001. Jewish Lights Publishing
Practical ideas, wisdom, and encouragement on strengthening interfaith relationships from the experts-those involved in and with them. "This is a book about my family. And about your family, too. But truly, this is a book about the entire Jewish community and its future. A generation ago, my family constellation might have been seen as an aberration. Today we are typical. Which is why this book is so timely, and so important. The essays in this book describe the life and challenges of the Jewish family at the start of the twenty-first century. And although there are dilemmas and problems on these pages, there are also helpful strategies and spiritual epiphanies. There is wisdom, humor, and hope." --from the Foreword by Anita Diamant. In this first-of-its-kind resource, Jewish and non-Jewish members of interfaith families--grandparents, parents, children, dating and committed couples, Jews-by-Choice, and extended family members--and the rabbis, cantors, family educators, and outreach professionals who work with them, offer you their own first-hand experience. An ideal gift, this book offers essential support for families of any constellation who are exploring Jewish life while respecting the heritage and traditions of those they love. You can also buy it from http://www.jflbooks.com/iffguide.html
GIVING A VOICE TO SORROW
PERSONAL RESPONSES TO DEATH AND MOURNING
by Steve Zeitlin and Ilana Harlow
Fall 2001. Paperback. Rituals are Transformative... How do you carry the dead with you as you proceed with your own life?
These two folklorists have written a study of rituals of remembrance (you know, like, graffiti murals dedicated to the dead). Their stories of grief ought to be told and that when they are, and when they are collected into book form, they will offer readers support comparable to group therapy sessions. They "share some of the voices that have saddened and inspired" them in chapters that address matters of storytelling, ritual and ceremony, commemoration, dreams and even signs the dead might leave to comfort the living. In story after story, grief's facets are explored and its sharp edges softened. Jewish readers will find out about Jewish and other ceremonies that they can incorporate into their families or communities. Rabbi Edward Schecter tells how he conducts memorial services as "the inauguration of memory." There is a story on Boris Blum's gravestone, etched with the dates of his liberation from a death camp, as well as the names of his family members who would never have had a tombstone, having died in pogroms and the camps. There is the story of Congregation Ansche Chesed in Manhattan which created a casket cover for the community, made of interwoven strips of fabric with the names of congregants who have passed away (great idea for a MIHSEH). The cover is then used at future funerals. There is the story of two siblings who made their father's coffin. There is another story about a woman who worked with a fabric artist to make a quilt out of pieces from her father's favorite old shirt and other fabrics that represent his life. And there is another story about a little girl who when she was told that her leukemia was terminal, said to her mother "I know how I want to die" and described, and basically staged, her own death scene. Also, there's a section about an entire community in Cape Cod that created many rituals and commemorative art projects when a local teenager died of cancer. If you love folklore and folklife, or are interested in expressions of grief and remembrance, read this book. I Click to read more.
New York Jews and the Decline of Urban Ethnicity, 1950-1970
(Modern Jewish History)
by Eli Lederhendler
Fall 2001. Syracuse University Press. Taking New York City as a case study not because it is unique but because it is representative of urban Jewish communities worldwide, and because of the massive material available for research, Lederhendler (American Jewish history and institutions, Hebrew University, Jerusalem) describes the evolution of such communities in the two decades after World War II, in the period between WWII and the Vietnam War, when morals, attitudes, values, and ways of thinking were changed and questioned and confronted. The baby boom created a youth culture, a State of Israel was born, GI's who never would have been able to go to college, became college grads, and Puerto Ricans and African Americans came to the city in greater numbers. During this period, New York made Jews and Jews made New York.
MY SUBURBAN SHTETL
A Novel about Life in a Twentieth-Century Jewish-American Village
Fall 2001. Syracuse University Press. A novel about growing up Jewish in the Midwest. An endearing story of growing up in an insular Midwestern suburb of Jewish Holocaust survivors trying to fit into the world around them
SECRETS OF THE EXODUS
By Roger and Messod Sabbah
These two Moroccan researchers claim to have proven that the biblical exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt was a reference to the monotheism of Pharaoh Akhnaten, who was driven into exile with his followers.
Not available in the USA yet (only in France)
THE BOOK OF JEWISH SACRED PRACTICES
CLAL's Guide to Everyday and Holiday Rituals and Blessings.
by Irwin Kula and Vanessa Ochs
December 2001. Jewish Lights. Over 100 occasions are classified into 11 sections, including: tzedakah; parents and children; holy days; relationships; everyday life; learning; Israel; leadership; healing; life and death; special moments; and communal life. Decades of experience by CLAL--The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in connecting spirituality with daily life come together in this one comprehensive handbook. In these pages, you have access to teachings that can help to sanctify almost any moment in your day. Offering a meditation, a blessing, a profound Jewish teaching, and a ritual. Includes sacred practices for: Lighting Shabbat candles, Blessing your parents, Running a marathon, Visiting the sick, Building a sukkah, Seeing natural wonders, Moving into a new home, Saying goodbye to a beloved pet, and Making a shiva call. Drawing from both traditional and contemporary sources, The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices will show you how to make more holy any moment in your daily life. Click to read more.
ENEMIES WITHIN - THE CULTURE OF CONSPIRACY IN MODERN AMERICA
by Robert Alan Goldberg - University of Utah
November 15, 2001. Yale University Press. A book that Oliver Stone will love, or actually should read.
The American appetite for conspiracy news seems bottomless. We find the most extremist arguments I tabloid reports about aliens and the Antichrist, on radical web sites, and in fringe books. Bute fears about conspiracy inform mainstream American beliefs and political debate as well. When scholars and journalists have written about conspiracy theories, they have often focused on the mental health of proponents. Influenced by Richard Hofstadter's classic essay "The Pranoid Style of American Politics" they've concluded that conspiracy theorists are marginal people with personality disorders whose extreme ideas flourish in a tolerant american society. BUT IN THIS BOOK, GOLDBERG takes a different hypothesis. He wonders what forces in American society, since its founding, NURTURE the belief in diabolical plots. He investigates 5 plots that are believed by many Americans and and made significant marks in American culture. The are: the Roswell UFO incident; the communist threat; the rise of the Antichrist; the murder of John F Kennedy from the grassy knoll; and THE JEWISH PLOT against black America (Jewish Devils and the War on Black America, Chapter 5). He also explores the American culture's view of Jews. Such as The Ku Klux Klan's opinion that Jews were Hebrew syndicates, lascivious pimps who spread jazz, commercializers of the Sabbath, and "Jonahs on the Ship of State", incapable of assimilation, and exclusive. In Chapter 5, he quotes from Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, on the Jewish lobby and its stranglehold on the federal government, the Jewish landlords and grocers who prey upon blacks, as well as Jewish production of Uzis which conspire to destroy black America. Click to read more
Kindred Souls: The Friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and David Gurewitsch
by Edna P. Gurewitsch
Dec 2001. During the final 15 years of Eleanor Roosevelt's celebrated life, she nurtured an intense personal relationship with A. David Gurewitsch, a man 20 years her junior who was first her physician and later became her surrogate son. This intimate and poignant story of two psychological outsiders validating each other's needs is recounted by Gurewitsch's widow, who herself became Eleanor Roosevelt's close friend during the last four years of ER's life. Gurewitsch, born in Russia of Jewish parents, was reared in Germany. In addition to bouts of statelessness and tuberculosis in the 1930s and 1940s, he grew up fatherless like ER. Moreover, just as Eleanor was ostracized emotionally as "granny" by her beautiful socialite mother before her early death, David Gurewitsch's demanding mother abandoned him early while she pursued her medical degree abroad. Eleanor served as his "adopted" mother, and David served as her ideal son and friend. Eleanor kept a framed photo of David on her nightstand. They were devoted to each other. Especially poignant is when David married (Edna) in 1958, and how Eleanor had to change her relationship with him. Click the cover to read more.
THE THIRTY THIRD HOUR
by Mitchell Chefitz
Dec 2001. The Thirty-third Hour opens at midnight Saturday, in the study of Rabbi Arthur Greenberg, the leader of the largest synagogue in Miami. The Rabbi has until 9 a.m. Monday morning, thirty-three hours, to investigate a sex ethics charge brought against one of his colleagues by a member of the congregation, Brenda, an attractive widow and the mother of an autistic son. That colleague, Moshe Katan, an associate from Arthur's seminary days, has been leading an experimental family education program at the synagogue, bringing together parents and children to explore the stories of the Bible in new and challenging ways. Now, piled on Arthur's desk are the video and audio recordings of these sessions and Brenda's journal, which he has to review in a desperate attempt to avoid a disastrous scandal. The reader becomes judge and jury as Arthur seeks to find out what happened and, in the process, undergoes a spiritual transformation himself. Click the cover to read more.
Inheritance, A Mixed Blessing
by Charlotte Krepismann
Fall 2001. A memoir of 3 generations of an American Jewish family. Stories of migration and assimilation
into the U.S. Written like a novel with all the joys and problems of an extended family. Click to read more
OUR IMMORAL SOUL: WHY THE HUMAN IMPLULSE TO DISOBEY IS ESSENTIAL
by Rabbi Nilton Bonder (JTS, Brazil)
Brazil's celebrity rabbi and media savvy author with a new book. Making use of diverse sources such as evolutionary psychology and Hasidic lore, Rabbi Bonder inverts the usual "body/soul" definitions. For Bonder, it is not the evil flesh that seduces the moral soul; rather, it is the soul, in its desire to evolve, that encourages the body to break accepted mores. Bonder argues that religious conformity does not lead to spiritual maturity, which is attained instead through a thoughtful rebellion against the status quo. So, for example, "Adam and Eve were apes until this act of disobedience [eating of the Tree of Knowledge] marked the advent of consciousness," and the biblical Abraham founded Judaism by abandoning his home in "civilized" Ur a betrayal in his countrymen's eyes. The results are intriguing, with Bonder posing moral dilemmas involving everything from the causes of anti-Semitism to infidelity in marriages.
What Makes Women Sick? Maternity, Modesty and Militarism in Israeli Society
by Susan Sered
Anthropologist Susan Sered examines Israeli society and the health of its citizens. Her most recent book, What Makes Women Sick? Maternity, Modesty and Militarism in Israeli Society, analyzes the cultural causes of the poor health of Israeli women. Exploring the implications of religious, medical, political and military attitudes and policies, Sered argues that Israeli women are - literally - sickened through systematic exclusion from positions of power and authority at the same time that they are extolled for their maternal role. Professor Sered currently directs the Religion, Health and Healing Initiative at Harvard University and also is affiliated with Bar Ilan University in Israel. Scrutinizing the Israeli military, medical, and religious establishments, Susan Sered discloses the myths, policies, and pressures that encumber and endanger Israeli women in their roles as soldiers, brides, and mothers. Framed by the question of why the life expectancy and health status of Israeli women is poor in comparison to women in other developed countries, What Makes Women Sick conjoins medical anthropology, gender studies, and women's health to show how female bodies in Israel are controlled through public policy, symbolic discourses, and ritual performances. Looking at issues such as disputes over women serving in combat, the rape of a former "Miss Israel," and government incentives for bearing children, Sered develops a passionate ethnography of Israeli society that resonates universal truths about women, power, and authority. Click to read more.
SUMMER IN BADEN BADEN
by Leonid Tsypkin. Translated by Roger and Angela Keys
Tsypkin was a Soviet Jew who died in 1982 of a heart attack after being denied an emigration visa from the USSR twice. He never saw any of his work published. Now, after death, his magnum opus has been translated and published. Summer in Baden-Baden, written between 1977 and 1981, is a lost masterpiece, one of the major achievements of Russian literature in the second half of the twentieth century, whose author, Leonid Tsypkin (1926-1982), never saw a single page of his literary work published in his lifetime. A complex, highly original novel written in a prose that suggests the intensity and daring of Josť Saramago and Thomas Bernhard (authors that Tsypkin could not, of course, have possibly read), Summer in Baden-Baden has a double narrative. It is winter-time, late December, no date given: a species of "now." A narrator-Tsypkin-is on a train going to Leningrad (once and future Petersburg). And it is mid-April 1867. The newly married Dostoyevskys, Fyodor, the great novelist, and his youthful wife, Anna Grigoryevna, are on their way to Germany, for a trip that will keep them abroad for four years. This is not, like J.M. Coetzee's The Master of Petersburg, a Dostoyevsky fantasy. Neither is it a docu-novel, although its author was obsessed with getting everything "right." Nothing is invented. Everything is invented. Dostoyevsky's reckless passions for gambling, for his literary vocation, for his wife, are matched by her all forgiving love, which in turn rhymes with the love of liter! ature's disciple, Leomid Tsypkin, for Dostoyevsky. In a remarkable introductory essay, Susan Sontag explains why it is something of a miracle that Summer in Baden-Baden has survived, and celebrates the happy event of its publication in America with an account of Tsypkin's beleaguered life and the important pleasures of his marvelous novel. Click book cover to read more.
Reproducing Jews : A Cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel (Body, Commodity, Text)
by Susan Martha Kahn
There are more fertility clinics per capita in Israel than in any other country in the world and Israel has the world's highest per capita rate of in-vitro fertilization procedures. Fertility treatments are fully subsidized by Israeli national health insurance and are available to all Israelis, regardless of religion or marital status. These phenomena are not the result of unusually high rates of infertility in Israel but reflect the centrality of reproduction in Judaism and Jewish culture. Click book cover to read more.
Speaking of reproducing Jews....
A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis
by David M. Friedman
Hardcover - Fall 2001. Free Press.
In the words of another scholar, It All Began in Sumer... haha
Friedman writes about aspects of the penis in human life and culture over the past several millennia, including the penis in Jewish culture and writings. Click the cover to read more.
Sanity and Sanctity: Mental Health Work Among the Ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem
by Dr David Greenberg and Dr Eliezer Witztum
Ultra-orthodox Jews in Jerusalem are isolated from the secular community that surrounds them not only physically but by their dress, behaviors, and beliefs. Their relationship with secular society is characterized by social, religious, and political tensions. The differences between the ultra-orthodox and secular often pose special difficulties for psychiatrists who attempt to deal with their needs. In this book, two Western-trained psychiatrists discuss their mental health work with this community over the past two decades. With humor and affection they elaborate on some of the factors that make it difficult to treat or even to diagnose the ultra-orthodox, such as their distrust of the secular, their belief that all suffering is God-sent, and the problem of distinguishing what appear to be mental disturbances from manifestations of religious fervor. Drs. David Greenberg and Eliezer Witztum explain how they cope with their ultra- orthodox patients' negative feelings toward Western medicine and gradually establish a relationship of trust, by listening carefully to patients' narratives, learning about the ultra- orthodox way of life, working closely with the patient's religious advisers, and coming to terms with their own feelings. They present fascinating case studies, ranging from some young men who became psychotic while studying Kabbalah to another man who intended blowing up a mosque to atone for a friend's death. And they relate their observations of this religious community to the management of mental health services for other fundamentalist, anti-secular groups. Click book cover to read more.
What Went Wrong: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response
by Professor Bernard Lewis
December 2001. Oxford University press. NYT Bestseller. I was never actually a fan of the writings of Princeton's eminent Professor, Bernard Lewis. But it is a best seller.. so people must like what he writes. Decide for yourself. His general argument is that Islamic civilization, once flourishing and tolerant, has in modern times become stagnant. This, he contends, has led to considerable soul-searching among Muslims, who ask themselves, "What went wrong?" But while sometimes the author states that there is a critical inquiry into the source of economic weakness in Muslim civilizations, other times he says that, instead of looking into the mirror, Muslims have blamed their problems on Europeans or Jews and thus fed their sense of victimhood. In medieval times, Lewis notes, Muslim civilization transmitted scientific ideas into Europe. But after offering intriguing examples of Muslim physicians and astronomers on the cutting edge in the 13th to 15th centuries, this chapter abruptly ends by stating that in modern times the roles have reversed, leaving the reader baffled over what between the 15th and the 20th centuries may have contributed to this reversal. Thus, the book raises more questions than it answers. Furthermore, Lewis discounts the effects of various decisions made by European and American colonial powers that negatively impacted the development of a democratic political community and a viable economy in the Middle East. Lewis's earlier books, such as The Muslim Discovery of Europe and The Middle East and the West, are much more useful for anyone seeking to understand the historical dynamic between these two parts of the world
Click to read more.
I SEEK MY BRETHREN
RALPH GOLDMAN AND THE JOINT: RESCUE, RELIEF, AND RECONSTRUCTION
THE WORK OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE JDC
by Tom Shachtman. Forewards by David Wyman and Teddy Kollek
December 2001. A portrait of Ralph Goldman, and the JDC. The JDC was founded in 1914, but this book mostly concerns itself with post 1976 when Goldman joined the JDC. But did they honor him with a dinner? That's my question. Click to read more.
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