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CLICK HERE To see the Finalist and Winners of the 1999 Jewish Book Awards.

MORE FEBRUARY 2000 JEWISH BOOKS (MORE ON LATER PAGES)

[bookcover click me] The Boys Across the Street by Rick Sandford
Hardcover - 256 pages (February 2000) Faber&Faber. Talk about sex and repression. A novel by Rick Sanford, who died in 1995. A humorous work of fiction about Rick, an ex porn star, who becomes obsessed with the young men who attend a yeshiva across the street from his home. Rick starts to dress as a hasid, and befriends the students and their families. Even though he is an athiest, he begins to have an epiphany. Some readers will find it funny, most will find it highly offensive.
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[book] No Room of Their Own : Gender and Nation in Israeli Women's Fiction (Gender and Culture) by Yael S. Feldman
Paperback - 337 pages (December 1999). Columbia University Press. An Associate Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU, Feldman has written an eye-opening comparative analysis that will cause you to never read a book authored by a woman the same way again. I am not used to reading literary or gender theory, but this provided an excellent introduction, as well as providing a synopsis of the feminist works of Virginia Woolf and Simone Beauvoir. As Feldman's book taught me, you rarely saw Israeli women authors prior to 1980. It was the time of social realism literature, stories of "WE" the nation builders. But in 1997, four of Israel's best seller's were authored by religious women. Prior to the Yom Kippur War, Israeli women, like Leah Goldberg, wrote poetry; and men wrote fiction. For all the lip service that was paid to the new Hebrew socialist culture of the pioneers and the kibbutz, much of it was lip service when it came to gender roles. But since 1980, women have published historical fiction, biography, and mystery (Batya Gur) successfully in Israel. Many have them have projected contemporary concerns over the role of women in Israeli society onto their heroines from the pre-State period. Feldman focuses on five women authors: Amalia Kahana Carmon (Chapter 3), Shulamith Hareven (Chapter 5 and 6.3), Netiva Ben Yehuda (chapter 7), Ruth Almog (Chapter 8), and Shulamit Lapid (Chapter 1). I was captivated by the analysis of Lapid's "GEI ONI", a fictional story about the founding of Rosh Pinna (its original name was a Hebrew takeoff on the name of the Arab village). Was it a best seller in Israel because it dared to write about a fictional pioneering Woman of the first Aliyah? (Why do we only hear about the male pioneers?) Long story, short... Feldman shows the richness and subtleties of Israeli women's fiction as she explores the themes of gender and nation, as well as the (non)representation of the "New Hebrew Woman" in these five authors who are the "foremothers" of the contemporary boom in Israeli Women's fiction. Click for more information.
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[book] From This Day Forward by Cokie Roberts and Steven Roberts
Hardcover - 352 pages (February 2000). These two journalists, one Catholic and the other Jewish, discuss the success of their marriage, and other marriages as well. When Cokie and Steve Roberts got married, some "friends" said it wouldn't last-just because she's Catholic and he's Jewish. Proving the doubters wrong, they have been married for over thirty years and have a few pieces of advice. Click to read more reviews of this book.
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Click here to order THE AUDIO VERSION.



[bookcover click me] Jewish Destinies : Citizenship, State and Community in Modern France by Pierre Birnbaum, Translated by Arthur Goldhammer
Hardcover - 288 pages (February 2000) Hill & Wang. Did you know that Abbe Henri Gregoire chamioned that the Jews of France be emancipated under Napoleon since it would then be easier to convert them to Catholicism? Sorbonne Professor Pierre Birnbaum is the author of "Anti Semitism in France," and "The Heights of Power." This is a translation of his latest book about minority cultures and French society, a society in which 89% of its members lament that there is widespread racism, yet 70% feel there are too many "Arabs" in their midst (as in there is too much Racists, but we are Racists). Birnbaum finds that anti-Semitism has risen and fallen in French history along with other forms of racism. He argues that Jews in France are still seen as outsiders. Click to read more.
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[bookcover click me] THE HOURS AFTER: Letters of Love and Longing in War's Aftermath by Gerda Weissman Klein and Kurt Klein.
Hardcover - 288 pages (February 2000) St Martins Press. A collection of the correspondence between these lovers, an American Jewish soldier (came to US from Germany in 1937) during WWII and a Polish Jewish survivor of Auschwitz and the death march, who was stuck in Europe as a DP and Bavarian Aid Society worker after the war. They are now married (for 50 years) and living in Arizona. Click to read more.
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[bookcover click me] The Soup has Many Eyes. From Shtetl to Chicago. A Meoir by Joann Rose Leonard.
Bantam, 192 pages (February 2000. Am memoir in the form of a letter to her sons. Click to read more.
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MORE WINTER 2000 BOOKS (AND MORE ON LATER PAGES)
[bookcover click me] The Three Stooges: From Amalgamated Morons to American Icons
Moe, Curly, and Shemp Howard were born Moses (1897), Jerome (1903), and Samuel (1895) Horwitz--and were believed for many years to be the three least accomplished sons of their Litvak parents. (Irving and Benjamin, the older brothers sold insurance, and at least, that was a real job, no?) Their parents were second cousins (Jennie and Solomon Gorovitz) which is maybe why the stooges were stooges. An authorized bio by Michael Fleming, a Variety columnist. Did you know that Moe was a Shakespearean actor? Obviously, Larry Fine (Feinberg), a Philadelphian, was not a Howard brother. He joined the vaudeville act in 1925. This book details the 190 films by Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe Besser and Joe DeRita made from 1934 to 1958, (from Woman Haters in 1934 to Sappy Bullfighters in 1958) with annotations on the number of slaps, eye-pokes, conking heads, pies thrown, etcetra in each. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk. Did you know that the original "Men in Black" was a 1934 Stooges film with the memorable line of "Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard." Click to read more reviews of this book.
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[bookcover click me] And the Sea Is Never Full. Memoirs, 1969 by Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (Translator)
Hardcover - 384 pages (December 1999). Knopf. This is the 2nd volume of memoirs. The first was All the Rivers Run to the Sea. In the first volume, we met the young Talmud student who returns from the Nazi death camps. He wanders, makes wrong turns, changes of direction, experiences loss, reunion, separation, and ecstasy. And then the notes ended on April 2, 1969, in Jerusalem when his life took another turn towards hope. In this new volume, we meet Wiesel, the novelist, witness, conscience, and Nobel laureate, as he gets married (on April 2, 1969) at the age of 40 and embarks on a new career and tries to leave the ghosts behind. We see him become a militant and witness, a teacher and haranguer of Reagan, Miterrand, Lech, Israelis, the Pope, etc. Click to read more reviews.
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Click here read more about his first VOLUME, ALL RIVERS RUN TO THE SEA.

Click here read more about SOULS ON FIRE (paperback).



[bookcover click me] The Illustrated Hebrew Bible: 75 Selected Stories by Ellen Frankel
Hardcover, 240 pages. In this book, Frankel presents forty stories from the "Torah," and thirty-five from "Prophets and Writings." These allegories, parables, and folktales have been retold in a lyrical English that every reader will find accessible. Lots of famous paintings and drawings. Ellen Frankel is the CEO and Editor in chief of The Jewish Publication Society (JPS). She is currently editing a 15 volume translation of the Zohar by Daniel Matt for publication in the Year 2002.
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[bookcover click me] I Chose China: The Metamorphosis of a Country and a Man by Sidney Shapiro
Hardcover - 355 pages. At the age of 84, after 50 years in China, Yale educated, Jewish born Sidney Shapiro has been able to see the whole picture-and savor it to the hilt. From an inside vantage not available to many, he tells a warmly fond yet objective story of China in this rich and thought-provoking autobiography. The Jewish aide to Mao, an idealist who witnessed to Cultural Revolution and the purges, he tells a fascinating story, even though he feels the revolution, though awful was good for the people. Click to read more.
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[book] The Red Cross and the Holocaust by Jean-Claude Favez, with John Fletcher (Translator)
Hardcover - 488 pages (January 2000) Cambridge Univ Press. Favez was given unrestricted access to the archives of the International Red Cross. Why did they not protect Jews during WWII? Why were they so reticent to help them? Why did they cower in front of Nazi roadblocks? Why were Red Cross individuals (not the organization) more successful in Hungary? His findings and thesis are that it wasn't that the Red Cross's leader were anti-Jewish, but that they wanted to be completely impartial and neutral between the Allies and Axis powers, and they felt Jews were not Prisoners of War, but civilians. Also, since Jews were stateless and had no national Red Cross chapter, the Red Cross's bureaucracy couldn't accommodate the needs of the Jews. Blah blah blah, are completely neutral look at the Red Cross (but we know what neutrality can lead to). One memo states: ``The Jews were not a state, so they had no place in existing international humanitarian law,'' leaving the ICRC, as one of its officials admitted, impotent, horror-struck bystanders.'' While the prestige of the Red Cross fell sharply, Favez marshals equally damning evidence against the Allies. The research leading to his highly critical conclusion is framed by an extensive scholarly apparatus whose even-handedness gives his allegations even graver weight.
Click here to order this book from Amazon.com, read more reviews, or to add your own review.

[bookcover click me] GATES OF EDEN by Ethan Coen
PAPERBACK EDITION. Yes, Oscar winning filmmaker Ethan Coen of the Coen Brothers gives us this offbeat, funny, disturbing, quirky collection of stories, like the one about the Minneapolis mob; one about a deaf private investigator; a story about a young student at Hebrew school and the Torah study class bully. Click to read more.
Click here to order this book from Amazon.com, read more reviews, or to add your own review.


[bookcover click me] Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans by Eric A. Johnson
Hardcover - 600 pages (January 2000) Basic Books. Johnson, former Princeton IAS member, and Central Michigan professor challenges Goldhagen and Arendt, and presents this highly detailed history of the SS and the Jews, the Roma, religious leaders, political opponents, Communists, mentally ill, Sinti, trade unionists, and socialists, its effects on Germans, Germany, and humanity. Ordinary Germans accomodated themselves to the War and "ignored" the BBC reports of atrocities, and the Gestapo was, contrary to Goldhagen, not too ordinary. Click to read more.
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[bookcover click me] The Cap: The Price of a Life by Roman Frister, Hillel Halkin (Translator)
Hardcover - 384 pages (February 2000). In this critically acclaimed extremely detailed memoir by Roman Frister, an Israeli journalist, we find him obsessed with a piece of bread while his father dies of starvation. At Plaszow death camp, Frister watches Wilhelm Kunde of the SS-Gestapo kill Frister's mother by hand. We find Frister at Auschwitz, walking in a daze like a cow in the marketplace, not knowing that the slaughterhouse awaits him, living only for the next minute or day, not thinking of a future. The air is heavy with death, and the mechanized process of death makes prisoner and guard alike numb to all morality. Were survivors numb, or just Frister? Does this justify his choice to save himself at another's expense? Is his tribulations an excuse for why he abandoned his children in adulthood? Click to read more.
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[bookcover click me] Wonderful Town : New York Stories from the New Yorker by David Remnick
Hardcover - 480 pages (February 2000). 43 stories from The New Yorker. Including Philip Roth's 1981 story about Zuckerman "Smart Money"; IB Singer's The Cafeteria (1968); Woody Allen's "The Whore of Mensa" (1974); as well as pieces by SJ Perelman, bernard Malamud, Updike, Cheever, Caulfield, Deb Eisenberg, Anne Beattie, Thurber, EB White, and Irwin Shaw just to name a few. Click to read more.
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[bookcover click me] More Words, More Arrows : A Further Collection of Yiddish Folk Sayings by Shirley Kumove (Editor)
Yiddish proverbs and aphorisms. Click to read more.
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[bookcover click me] Jacob H. Schiff : A Study in American Jewish Leadership (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life) by Naomi W. Cohen
Hardcover - 320 pages (December 1999) . Why was Schiff a leader? He did what he felt was right and he expected others to follow. He didnt sit in committees and argue things to death and just have good intentions. He accomplished things. Of course, he also had the money to do so. Prior to World War II, were Jews just meek and provincial and fearful of anti Semitism? Did they avoid exerting political influence (except in the leftist Labor movement?) Maybe many were, but then there was our Jacob, Jacob Schiff, the "Our Crowd" German-Jew, the prosperous partner of Kuhn Loeb & Company, the man who actually held the debt of The New York Times before allowing it to be sold to the Arthur Ochs. The man who gave Barnard $500,000 but did not contribute to Columbia which restricted Jews. He paid for Harvard's Semitic Studies program. He loaned money to Japan in its fight against Czarist Russia which persecuted Jews. A Reform Jew, he paid for Solomon Schecter to come to JTS from Cambridge, England to bring more life to the Conservative movement. He funded the Galveston Plan which paid for Jews to settle in Texas and the Southwest, rather than the ghetto's of the Lower East Side. He was America's top Jewish leader between 1880-1920. Click to read more.
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[book] The Hunt for the Engineer: How Israeli Agents Tracked the Hamas Master Bomber by Samuel M. Katz
Hardcover - 288 pages (December 1999). The years 1994-97 witnessed an increase in the number of terrorist bombings in Israel. Many of them were the work of Yehiya Ayyash, known as The (electrical) Engineer, an explosives expert in the much-feared Izzedine al-Qassam Brigade of Hamas. He joined Hamas when he was refused an exit permit to attend engineering school in Jordan. He dedicated himself to terror, and it responsible for about 150 deaths and 500 wounded, including the Dizengoff Bombing on Purim. He was executed by an exploding cell phone at his ear. The title concisely tell you what the book is about. Click to read more reviews of this book.
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[book] The Changing Land: Between the Jordan and the Sea: Aerial Photographs from 1917 to the Present by Benjamin Z. Kedar
Hardcover - 209 pages (January 2000) Wayne State Univ Press Click to read more reviews of this book.
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[bookcover click me] The Group by Hilton Als
Hardcover - 192 pages (Jan 2000) FS&G. Wow. In 1948, James Baldwin wrote that the Negro identified as a Jew awaiting Moses to lead him out of Egypt. Hilton Als picks up where Baldwin left off, and studies the intellectual and moral relationships between blacks and Jews. Als dissects Baldwin's associations with the editors Saul Levitas, Elliot Cohen, Philip Rahv, and Robert Warshaw (the "group"). He also confronts Bernard Malamud's relationship to blacks, and James Baldwin's migration towards the philosophy of the black radicals. Hmmm, but why is Als writing this? Als, who works for The New Yorker.... cuz Als then writes about his own life and his dichotomy between the world of the Jewish intellectuals and editors and black intellectuals. Click to read more.
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[bookcover click me] God-Optional Judaism : Alternatives for Cultural Jews Who Love Their History, Heritage, and Community by Judith Seid
Hardcover - 176 pages (January 2000). The idea of secular humanist Judaism and being a cultural Jew. What you should do if you don't want to pray or have a God centered religion.
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[bookcover click me] What If? : The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been by Robert Cowley
Hardcover - 395 pages (1999). A fun romp with history. This is not like :What if Napoleon had an Atom Bomb and B-52?" If is "What if Hitler had not attacked Russia when he did?" He might have moved into the Mideast and captured the oil fields. What if D-Day had been a failure? The Soviet Union might have controlled all of Europe. What is Annie Oakley shot and killed the Kaiser and not missed? What if Islam had taken hold in Europe? What is Alexander the Great died at 21 and not 32, and Greek culture not predominated? What if Sennacherib had pressed the siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C.? Then the nascent, monotheistic Jewish religion might never have taken hold among the people of Judah--and the daughter religions of Christianity and Islam would never have been born. Click to read more.
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If you like the above, Click here to check out Michael Coffey's Best Selling MILITARY BLUNDERS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY


[book] More Wandering Stars; An Anthology of Outstanding Stories of Jewish Fantasy and Science Fiction by Jack Dann
Paperback - 208 pages (November 1999) Jewish Lights Publishing. Includes Woody Allen, Harlan Ellison, Phyllis Gotlieb, I B Singer, and more.
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[book] Descent. a novel by Dovid Bergelson.
First published in Yiddish in 1920. First time translated into English. A young pharmacist commits suicide in the period before the October Revolution of 1917. Click to read more reviews of this book.
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[book] Yiddish Song Book by Jerry Silverman
Paperback - 224 pages. offers 115 pieces of Klezmer music with more than 20 photos. Full sheet music plus Yiddish and English. Click to read more reviews of this book.
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[book] With All My Heart, With All My Mind: Thirteen Stories About Growing Up Jewish by Sandy Asher (Editor)
Reading level: YOUNG ADULT Ages 10-14
Hardcover - 192 pages (November 1999). Thirteen original stories about growing up Jewish, followed by an interview with the author of the story. (portion of proceeds to publisher goes to Mazon). The best stories are Eric Kimmel's, "Willow", about passover dishes and a concentration camp; and "Cain and Abel Double-Date" by Susan Beth Pfeffer, which is a witty fantasy. In "David's Star" by Jacqueline Dembar Greene, a Sephardic girl i nthe Midwest passes for Italian, and must decide whether to keep her Jewishness a secret from her anti-Semitic boss at the soda fountain. In Phyllis Shalant's "Pinch Hitting" we meet a 13 year old Bat Mitzvah who is upset, angry, yet fearful by her grandmother's loss of memory and illness. There is also a futuristic story about the role of religion in space. Click to read more reviews of this book.
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Quote of the month: By Rabbi Norman Lamm, President of Yeshiva University, "Like everything else in life, religion, too, is subject to the laws of the pendulum. Over-emphasis on spirituality will make religion appear totally subjective, without any anchor in reality." That will give way to a more balanced view that lends equal credence to spirituality and a more structured religious life based on conduct and behavior in the ritual, ethical, moral, and social realms, a dynamic equilibrium between halacha and spirituality



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