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Dear Bob Dole: When you are finished pitching Viagra and Pepsi during the SuperBowl, please consider the excitement one can get from pitching and reading good Jewish Books.



[book] SOUL PRINTS. Your Path To Fulfillment
By Rabbi Marc Gafni, Dean of the Merlitz Center in Israel

Pocket. March 2001. STOP BEING LONELY, stop doing foolish things to relieve your inner loneliness.
Transform jealousy to a soul print hint.
Is there more to Freud's libido, Maslow's self actualization, nietzsche's power, Victor Frankel's "drive for meaning", or Adler's "self esteem" as drivers for human growth and action? Yes, the soul print. Just as fingerprints are unique, so, too, says Rabbi Gafni, are soul prints: each human soul has an individual mark that it leaves behind on everyone it touches. In this companion volume to a PBS special, Gafni weaves together autobiographical reflections with tips and exercises designed to help readers discover their soul prints and find fulfillment. In the first part of the book, he introduces you to the Soul Print. In the second part of the book, the nature of the Soul Print is explained. The third section, or stage, explores your Soul Print's vocation and how you can fulfill it and achieve joy. In the fourth stage, he tells the Soul Print story, which is the magic from living your own unique authentic life. (actually it is better than I describe it). His tremendous breadth distinguishes this volume from so many spiritualized self-help tomes. As metaphors, he draws on the fantasy novella "Flatlands" and the teachings of Talmudic rabbis, on psychologists and prophets. He uses Bible stories, since they are the Soul Print of our Western culture (he avoids Eastern stories, since the polytheistic and Buddhist stories are not unified with our current culture). He says things like, 'if you are you because I am what I am, then you aren't truly youself.' He tells his own stories. He implores readers to touch another person in a positive way once per week. A post-denominational Orthodox rabbi, Marc (Winiarz) Gafni describes himself as a Kabbalist in practice and passion. He chose to become a teacher when he had to give a eulogy as a teenager for his teacher, Rabbi Pinky Bak. (p.s. - if you are still lonely, call Lula)

Click here for the Audio Cassette (abridged).
Click here for the Audio CD (abridged).

Reflections on Exodus. By Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg.

(February 2001) Zornberg, a lecturer at the University of London and Hebrew University, follows up to her "The Beginning of Desire" exploration of Genesis, and turns her attention to an exploration of Exodus. A former lecturer in English Lit, she compares themes in Exodus to themes in other works of literature, psychology, and philosophy. Some say they got lost when she mentioned the Sfat Emet and other writings, but anyone who is familiar with Exodus and Jewish texts will get a lot out of reading her insightful study of Exodus
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by Abba Kovner. Foreword by Yitz Greenberg. Transl. From Hebrew

JPS. February 2001. Kovner died before completing this book, which can be used by Holocaust Memorial ceremonies. Stories of Jews in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Like the Talmud, other writings surround the main story. Poems, quotes, commentaries. Kovner tells the stories of the sects, factions, debates, and events. The most telling character is Rabbi Nathan Cassuto, a physician from Italy who instructs his fellow death camp inmates to share their stories, so that if one of them survives, at least their memories will be saved.

by Gerald Horne

Univ Texas. February 2001. A Labor History of Hollywood (unionization was attempted in 1918, and locked out in 1921), the story of how union activity was labeled as "red" in the 1930's, how the policies of Walt Disney were racist, sexist, and anti-Jewish. A detailed account of union organization and busting in Hollywood.

[book] How I Came into My Inheritance : And Other True Stories by Dorothy Gallagher
Random House. February 2001. A funny family saga told by the daughter of socialist, Russian Jewish immigrants to the USA, who arrived in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan and swore allegiance to Marx, Lenin, and Stalin, even though their Ukrainian village was starving (Her father was a member of the party briefly, Communist Party; her mother never joined the party; Her mother was always asking Dorothy to go out and play with black kids). Amazing stories so weird that they must be true (or mostly true). Did I mention that in one story the police question the author regarding the murder of her aunt? Or that she thought that the picture in her bedroom over her bed was that of her zaydie (grandfather), but it was actually a photo of Lenin? Her parents died in agonizing long pain. A con man tried to steal her parent's estate from Dorothy, their only child. He bilked Dorothy's father out of his savings.
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[book] A PAST IN HIDING. Memory and Survival in Nazi Germany. By Mark Roseman
Hardcover - 470 pages (February 2001). Metropolitan Books
Roseman, a teacher at the University of Southhampton (UK), writes about Marianne Strauss, the sheltered daughter of wealthy Jews. Marianne's family were protected Jews in Germany til late in the War. When the Gestapo moved in to wipe out her parents, she fled and lived in the underground for two years. This book is filled with stories of hiding, of memory and fact, of unsung heroes, of the Izbica Ghetto, of the mail system from Theresienstadt, and secrets from the Wehrmacht's intelligence unit which protected some very highly placed Jews.
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[book] Jewish Voices of the California Gold Rush : A Documentary History, 1849 to 1880 (American Jewish Civilization Series) by Ava Fran Kahn
Hardcover - 416 pages (February 2001) Wayne State Univ Pr.
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By Ludmila Ulitskaya

Schocken Books. 154 pages. The NYT says she is a mix of Isaac Babel and IB Singer. Alik, A Russian émigré in NYC is dying. He is cheerfully resigned to dying. His friends gather, they are an unusual bunch. His wife, Nina, wants Alik to convert from secular Judaism to Russian Orthodoxy before he dies (or maybe to cure him). In walk a priest and rabbi, with some funny consequences and dialogue. But this is but a small scene. What this book really delivers is an inviting and intellectual read, fun, interesting characters, and insights into the life of soulful Russian emigres.

Let the lawyers line-up... [book] IBM AND THE HOLOCAUST
The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation
By Edwin Black

Crown Books. February 2001
According to Edwin Black, like Ford, General Motors, and financial institutions, IBM helped the Nazi's carry out the Final Solution. It was a tool. The Holocaust would have happened anyway. But the technology increased the number of victims. The book recalls that Adolph Hitler awarded IBM's CEO, Watson, a medal in 1937 (which Watson returned), and explores why Watson helped Hitler's regime. IBM did not walk away from a very lucrative client. This was a time in which the USA government was neutral towards Germany (war wasn't declared until December 1941). The book states that Nazi Germany, "offered Watson the opportunity to cater to government control, supervision, surveillance, and regimentation on a plane never before known in human history. The fact that Hitler planned to extend his Reich to other nations only magnified the prospective profits." "In business terms, that was account growth. The technology was almost exclusively IBM's to purvey because the firm controlled about 90 percent of the world market in punch cards and sorters."
Having skimmed the book now, I would concur with the review printed in the NYT on March 7, 2001. "its title, suggesting something far more sinister than a mere willingness to do business with an evil state?... One doesn't read Mr. Black's history of IBM and the Hitlerites and then feel an impulse to run out and defend Watson or the company he made great. And yet one wonders if Mr Black has properly calculated the degree of the company's culpability.... Would the country that devised the Messerschmitt and V-2 missile have been unable to devise the necessary menas to slaughter millions of victims without IBM at its disposal?"
Additional info gleaned from articles from the Holocaust Museum's mid-90's exhibit, and articles by historians Sybil Milton and David Martin Luebke, "Locating the Victim: An Overview of Census-Taking, Tabulation Technology and Persecution in Nazi Germany," in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers annals of the history of computing in 1994.
During the persecution and annihilation of European Jewry between 1933 and 1945 in the Holocaust, statistics and technology were key tools used by Nazi Germany in its industrialized mass murders. The Hollerith machine, manufactured by IBM, was a forerunner to the modern computer. It was based on the 80 character, punch card system. Invented in 1884 by Herman Hollerith, it was used for the U.S. and other governments' censuses. It was the best technology for censuses and tracking citizens. (Hollerith's TM Corp merged with other companies in 1911, became the CTR Company, and was renamed IBM in 1924. The Hollerith was used by the Nazi government to track Jewish population centers and geographic locations of others deemed undesirable, such as Romani Gypsies. In at least four death camps, the Hollerith was used to register inmates, laborers, and deaths. The SS used Hollerith machines that were manufactured by DEHOMAG (Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft, or German Hollerith Machine Company), a subsidiary of IBM since 1922. In1934, DEHOMAG director Willy Heidinger, wrote, 'We are recording the individual characteristics of every single member of the nation onto a little card. We are proud to be able to contribute to such a task, a task that makes available to the physician of our German body-social [i.e. Adolf Hitler] the material for his examination, so that our physician can determine whether, from the standpoint of the health of the nation, the results calculated in this manner stand in a harmonious, healthy relation to one another, or whether unhealthy conditions must be cured by corrective interventions. We have firm trust in our physician and will follow his orders blindly, because we know that he will lead our nation toward a great future. Hail to our German people and their leader!"
An exhibit at the US Holocaust Museum stated that, "Over half of all Jews killed in the Holocaust were already dead before the completion of the national Ethnic Catalog based on 1939 census data. "We have no proof that the Hollerith was ever used to target individuals for deportation lists. It was a back-up system because it was too broad a system, providing aggregate counts of population group, however, when they would check a deportation list against what is known as the number of Jews in a town, then the Hollerith list would provide the evidence that, 'Yes, this figure is reasonable. We know we have X number of Jews, X number of Roma [Gypsies] registered' in a town like Heidelberg, and therefore, we know that this might have been used as back-up material.
"Once you get into the concentration camps, then Hollerith tabulation was definitely used. It is definitely used to register prisoners." "In January 1946, the former French prisoner Jean-Frederic Veith, imprisoned at Mauthausen from April 1943 to April 1945, testified before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg: 'Certainly I saw prisoners of war. Their arrival at Mauthausen took place, first of all, in front of the political section. Since I was working at the Hollerith, I could watch the arrivals, for the offices faced the parade ground in front of the political section where the convoys arrived. My knowledge of Aktion K [Operation Bullet, referring to orders to execute all prisoners of war discovered attempting to escape, excluding Americans and British] is due to the fact that I was head of the Hollerith service in Mauthausen, and consequently all the transfer forms from the various camps.'
Dr. Friedrich W. Kistermann, a German historian of technology, has written that German authorities did not use the tabulating machine results of the 1933 and 1939 censuses to locate the victims during the Holocaust. Kistermann says, "A single person was never the target of a population census, but only the grouped and accumulated data were the target of the census. Therefore, a personal identification was never used in population census work." He also argues that the 1939 census information about descent and educational background was a separate questionnaire, with resulting data being maintained separately on supplementary cards tabulated manually. In addition, Kistermann cites the incompleteness of the data gathered, making it unsuitable for use. "At the occasion of the 1939 German census, every step had already been taken to identify and locate the German Jews." He insists, "Nazi organizations and bureaucratic administrations instituted and used every means and procedure to identify, locate, isolate, deprive, exclude and deport the Jews. These institutions used ordinary office equipment and supplies: paper, forms, index cards, pencil, ink and pen and typewriters. However, without further discovery of documentary proof, which seems most unlikely and even unnecessary, there is no evidence that Hollerith machines and census work were used, as indicated in published articles and books and in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum." Senior research scholar William Seltzer at the Institute for Social Research of Fordham University in New York City disagrees. "There appears to be only one instance, that is, the 1939 German census, where information obtained in a regular population census permitting the identification of specific individuals may have been used operationally in the Holocaust. In addition, census-based aggregates for small geographical areas can be used to assist in the identification of population concentrations to facilitate persecution and apprehension... The Museum publication continued, that even without census-taking technologies, including Hollerith machinery, the Shoah and persecution of millions of others political dissidents, homosexuals, the handicapped, Roma, Jehovah's Witnesses and other groups would have taken place.

Deborah Lipstadt, The Emory University professor and holocaust historian, described Black's previous book on the Holocaust as a "sham." That book, "The Transfer Agreement," "made the argument that there was a secret agreement between Hitler and the Zionists to transfer Jews' funds to Palestine. There was an agreement, but it hardly was a secret," Lipstadt said.

Our snowman saw his shadow... meaning six more weeks of good Jewish book reading.


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