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Dec 01, 2004: Discussion of Cynthia Ozick's THE PAGAN RABBI AND OTHER STORIES, NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 02, 2004: Rabbis Lawrence Kushner and Nehemia Polen, NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 05, 2004: Irshad Manji and Asra Nomani, NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 08, 2004: Novel Jews reading series. KGB Bar, 85 E 4th St, East Village NYC 7PM
Dec 12, 2004: Alan Dershowitz (RIGHTS FROM WRONGS), NYC 92nd Street Y
Dec 14, 2004: Dara Horn speaks on SIBLING REVIVALry - The Singers of Warsaw (I.B., I.J. and their sister Esther Kreitman). Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Dec 26, 2004: Klezkamp 20, 20th Annual Yiddish Afolk Arts Festival. Hudson Valley Resort and Spa. NY, see

Jan 06, 2004: David Margolick speaks on STRANGE FRUIT. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Jan 11, 2004: Gary Shteyngart reads. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Jan 13, 2005: Novel Jews reading series. Cynthia Ozick. KGB Bar, 85 E 4th St, East Village NYC 7PM
Jan 23, 2005: A Day of Jewish Silent Meditation. 14th St Y of NYC, with Elat Chayim
Jan 25, 2005: Andre Aciman reads. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Feb 02, 2005: Pearl Abraham reads from THE SEVENTH BEGGAR. Nyc UWS
Feb 09, 2005: Pearl Abraham and Steve Stern. Speak at NOVEL JEWS at KGB BAR. East Village NYC 7PM
Feb 13-18, 2005: 22nd Jerusalem International Book Fair.
Feb 15, 2005: Judaism Today with Richard Joel (YU), Rabbi David Ellenson, Rabbi Ismar Schorsch with Gary Rosenblatt. NYC 92nd St Y. 8 PM $15
Feb 17, 2005: Dr. Laurence Roth talks about Detective Stories, Graphic Novels and Contemporary Amiercan Jewish Culture. Upenn Center of Advanced Judaic. Temple Emanuel NYC 7PM
Feb 17, 2005: Jeffrey Shandler speaks on ALIENS IN THE WASTELAND: THE HOLOCAUST AND SCI-FI TELEVISION. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Feb 19-21, 2005: From Gaza to Negotiations. The Role of American Jews. Temple Israel NYC.
Feb 20, 2005: Fourth Annual EDAH Conference in NYC
Feb 20, 2005: Judaism Encounters Modernity. 2 day conference. Penn Hillel. Phila. PA
Feb 23, 2005: Spinoza and The Quest for Meaning NY Kollel NYC 6:30 PM
Feb 28, 2005: Susan Stamberg (NPR) hosts an evening of readings. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Mar 01, 2005: SF Chronicle and the World Affaris Council present Dr. Yossi Beilin., SF
Mar 07, 2005: Savyon Liebrecht reads. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Mar 09-13, 2005: Israel Non-Stop. Five Days of Cutting Edge Israeli. JCC Manhattan. Discovering Elijah (dance); Yehudit Ravitz (music); Yehudit Katzir; photography; film, wine and food.
Mar 13-14, 2005: Choosing Limits, Limiting Choices. Conference at Brandeis. Waltham MA
Mar 13-14, 2005: Choosing Limits, Limiting Choices. Conference at Brandeis. Waltham MA
Mar 13-14, 2005: UCLA Center for Jewish Studies: Jewish Messianism in the Time of Jesus. Messianism in The Greco-Roman World; Messianism Past and Present; and Messianism and Suffering
Mar 15, 2005: The actor Gene Wilder reads from his new book. B&N Rock Center NYC 1PM
Mar 17, 2005: Franklin Foer speaks on AWAY GAME: SOCCER AND THE JEWS (Hakoah of Vienna Austria in 1925). Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Mar 17, 2005: Kurt Eichenwald reads from his Enron Book, Conspiracy of Fools. B&N Union Sq NYC 7PM
Mar 23, 2005: Keep On Lifting Me Higher. NY Kollel NYC 6:30 PM
Mar 24, 2005: Makor Film NYC: Shivah for My Mother, with Yael Katzir
Mar 24, 2005: James B. Stewart reads from DISNEY WAR, B&N Lincoln NYC 7PM
Mar 29, 2005: Makor Film NYC: Finding Eleazar
Mar 29, 2005: Makor Film NYC: Finding Eleazar
Mar 29, 2005: A Movement Transformed; Women's Ordination... with Abby Joseph Cohen, Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Rabbi Susan Grossman, Rabbi Joel Roth amd Rabbi Gordon Tucker. JTSA. 6:30 PM
Apr 06, 2005: Makor NYC - Metropolitan Klezmer with Los Mas Valientes
Apr 07, 2005: An Evening with Zeek Magazine, with Hal Sirowitz, Aaron Hamburger, and others. Makor NYC 7:30 PM
Apr 07, 2005: Jacqueline Osherow speaks on YIDDISH POEMS IN AMERICA. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC



[book cover click here] [heschel] [heschel and king]

Heavenly Torah
As Refracted through the Generations
By Abraham Joshue Heschel
edited by Gordon Tucker
with Abraham Joshua Heschel and Leonard Levin

December 23, 2004,
41 chapters and over 700 pages
This is one of the most significant Jewish books of Fall 2004
To understand Heschel is to understand Judaism. If people would forego the Zohar and Kabbalah fad and actually read this book, we would be in better touch with our Jewish theology.
If a dwarf were to sit on the shoulders of a giant, who would see farther? The dwarf would.. Reading this book allows we dwarves to sit on a giant's shoulders, and perhaps see what he saw.
Known most widely for his role in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s, Abraham Joshua Heschel made major scholarly contributions to the fields of biblical studies, rabbinics, medieval Jewish philosophy, Hasidism, and mysticism. Yet his most ambitious scholarly achievement, his three-volume study of Rabbinic Judaism, is only now appearing in English. Heschel's great insight is that the world of rabbinic thought can be divided into two types or schools, those of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael, and that the historic disputes between the two are based on fundamental differences over the nature of revelation and religion. Furthermore, this disagreement constitutes a basic and necessary ongoing polarity within Judaism between immanence and transcendence, mysticism and rationalism, neo-Platonism and Aristotelianism. Heschel then goes on to show how these two fundamental theologies of revelation may be used to interpret a great number of topics central to Judaism. Gordon Tucker is senior rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York, and Adjunct Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] [jyt] THE INEFFABLE NAME OF GOD: MAN
Poems in Yiddish and English
By Abraham Joshue Heschel
Translated by Morton Leifman, Introduction by Edward Kaplan

December 23, 2004,
These 66 poems, here in English and Yiddish on facing pages, were collected in the first book Abraham Joshua Heschel ever published. They appeared in Warsaw in 1933 when Heschel was 26 years old and still a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Berlin. Written between 1927 and 1933-and never published in English before-this is the intimate spiritual diary of a devout European Jew, loyal to the revelation at Sinai and afflicted with reverence for all human beings. These poems sound themes that will resonate throughout Heschel's later popular writings: human holiness, a passion for truth, awe and wonder before nature, God's quest for righteousness, solidarity with the downtrodden, and unwavering commitment to tikkun olam. In these poems we also discover a young man's acute loneliness, dismay at God's distance, and dreams of spiritual and sensual intimacy with a woman. Cynthia Ozick writes, "To discover that the religious philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel was a poet in his youth is both startling and indelibly self-evident-startling because the poems have so far eluded the anthologies; and at the same time familiarly manifest, in that Heschel's metaphysical writings themselves carry the impress of poetry. Like Herbert, like Donne, like Blake, he is God-haunted; his lyrics are steeped in the mystic's longing to tear away the curtain that conceals the divine radiance and (sometimes) God's tears." Arthur Hertzberg writes, "Abraham Joshua Heschel's first calling as a writer was to become in his early twenties a major poet in Yiddish. In this earliest work, Heschel stated all the themes of his later development as a religious thinker and passionate Jew. This work is now translated magnificently, in a way that is sensitive to Heschel's Yiddish, by Morton Leifman. Taken together, in the original Yiddish and in contemporary English, this book is a classic." People's eyes wait for me / Like candle wicks for a light
Shamed brothers beg my help / Deceived sisters dream of consolation And it seems to em that I will, in time
Move on through this earth
With the brightness of all the stars
In my eyes

Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] [book cover click here] Michael Chabon Presents
. . .The Amazing Adventures Of The Escapist Volume 1
. . .The Amazing Adventures Of The Escapist Volume 2
by Brian Vaughan, Kevin McCarthy, Marv Wolfman, Matt Kindt, Mike Mignola
Hanukkah 2004. Dark Horse (Volume 2) .
Passover 2004. Dark Horse (Volume 1)
Volumes 1 and 2 of the comic book made famous by Michael Chabon.
Master of Elusion, foe of tyranny, and champion of liberation - The Escapist! Operating from a secret headquarters under the boards of the majestic Empire Theater, the Escapist and his crack team of charismatic associates roam the globe, performing amazing feats of magic to aid all those who languish in oppression's chains. The history of his creators, Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, was recently chronicled in Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. The best of the Escapist's adventures are now collected into one volume for all to enjoy! This thrilling volume of Michael Chabon Presents...The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist collects the first two issues of the comic book and features an original story penned by Michael Chabon, the comics debut of novelist Glen David Gold, a new story written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, the painted artwork of Bill Sienkiewicz, and a wraparound cover by Chris Ware!
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Blood Libel
The Damascus Affair of 1840
By Ronald Florence
University of Wisconsin Press
In Damascus, in February 1840, a Capuchin monk and his servant disappear without a trace. Rumors point at the local Jewish community. Within weeks, the rumors turn to accusations of ritual murder-the infamous "blood libel." Torture, coerced confessions, manufactured evidence, and the fury of the crowds are enough to convict the accused Jews. By the time the rest of the world learns of the events in Damascus, the entire leadership of the Jewish community is awaiting execution. Vicious charges of ritual murder had been heard in Europe for centuries and are heard in the Middle East today-but everything else here was turned around. The accusers of the Jews were not the Muslim majority. The French consul was the chief prosecutor, aided by the British consul, with the support of the American consul. The affair became a cause célèbre in Europe and the Americas, the priorities of diplomacy intervened, and the fabric of a society that had once stretched to tolerate minorities finally burst in an outrage of fears turned to fury. The legacies of that torn fabric, and the continuing myths, feed and sustain the fervor of anti-Semitism today. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Support Any Friend
Kennedy's Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance
by Warren Bass
Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (December 30, 2004). Paperback
At the Cold War's height, John F. Kennedy set precedents that continue to shape America's encounter with the Middle East. Kennedy was the first president to make a major arms sale to Israel, the only president to push hard to deny Israel the atomic bomb, and the last president to reach out to the greatest champion of Arab nationalism, Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser. Now Warren Bass takes readers inside the corridors of power to show how Kennedy's New Frontiersmen grappled with the Middle East. He explains why the fiery Nasser spurned Washington's overtures and stumbled into a Middle Eastern Vietnam. He shows how Israel persuaded the Kennedy administration to start arming the Jewish state. And he grippingly describes JFK's showdown with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion over Israel's secret nuclear reactor. From the Oval Office to secret diplomatic missions to Cairo and Tel Aviv, Bass offers stunning new insights into the pivotal presidency that helped create the U.S.-Israel alliance and the modern Middle East. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] BETHLEHEM ROAD MURDER
A Mystery by Batya Gur
December 2004. HarperCollins.
This is the last published mystery by Ms Gur, prior to her death from cancer at the age of 57 in May 2005. Batya Gur viewed Michael Ohayon, the hero of her detective series, as a kindred spirit: outwardly tough, but soft, sensitive and cultured from within. A contemplative and caring man. "I am Michael Ohayon in a woman's body," she used to tell her interviewers. "He grew like me, slowly and laboriously, until he found his place." Gur (nee Mann) was born in Tel Aviv to Holocaust survivors. At the age of 39 she turned to writing. She began her literary career with a detective novel, "A Saturday Morning Murder" (Keter, 1988), which was warmly received. This was the birth of detective Michael Ohayon, who developed into the protagonist of a six-part series published between 1989 and 2004, and televised for Israel's Channel 2. Gur's novels achieved widespread success in Israel and abroad, serving as a mirror for Israel political, social and economic problems. No part of Israeli reality escaped her eye: ethnic discrimination, poverty and unemployment, the life of new immigrants and all those at the margins of society.
In this mystery, the body of a young woman with her face ruined is discovered in the attic of a house in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, on Rehov Bethlehem. Michael Ohayon is called to the scene to investigate. But this involves more than a crime scene and murder, it involves the place of an old love and unfinished romance. The criminal investigation is set in the complexities of Jerusalem, the tension between Mizrahi Jews and European Jews, Jews and Arabs, the intifada, and the allegedly kidnapped Yemenite children of the 1950's. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE ROAD TO MARTYR'S SQUARE
A Journey into the World of the Suicide Bomber
by Anne Marie Oliver
January 2005, Oxford.
Combining in equal measure the critical and the compassionate, the tragic and the absurd, this memoir chronicles two interlocking, often clashing journeys--an exploration of the cult of martyrdom in the underground media of the intifada, on the one hand, and on the other, the struggle for friendship across seemingly impossible divides. The authors lived for six months with a Palestinian refugee family in the Gaza Strip at the beginning of the intifada, and then for the next six years, collected graffiti, videotapes, audiocassettes, posters, and other street media in over one hundred towns in the West Bank and Gaza. Their book is based on these primary materials (with 66 illustrations included) as well as dozens of interviews with leaders and followers, including a rare interview with a Hamas suicide bomber whose bomb failed to explode on an Israeli bus in Jerusalem. Dispensing with the cliches and platitudes surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the book provides access to materials hitherto unavailable and presents in a new and compelling voice the master scripts of the intifada and the rise of the suicide bomber. Disseminated by nationalists and Islamists alike, these materials make it clear that the suicide bomber is not just an Islamist phenomenon but rather a widely shared fantasy that skips across religious and political divides. Indeed, the fantasy of the suicide bomber, the authors suggest, is global in scope. Here is an important and timely work that will challenge the way we think about the intifada, suicide bombers, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE STAR OF REDEMPTION
December 2004. Reissue. University of Wisconsin.
The reissue of the classic book by Rosenzweig (1886-1929), the co-founder of the Lehrhaus. One of the greatest modern works of religion and philosophy. The major themes in The Star are birth, life, death and the immortality of the soul; Eastern philosophies and Jewish mysticism; the relationship between God and the world and humanity over time; and revelation as the real biblical miracle of faith and path to redemption. The Star of Redemption is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding religion and philosophy. Fusing philosophy and theology, the book assigns both Judaism and Christianity distinct but equally important roles in the spiritual structure of the world and finds in both biblical religions approaches to a comprehension of reality. Franz Rosenzweig (1886 ­ 1929) helped establish Das freie jüdische Lehrhaus (Free House of Jewish Learning) in Frankfurt-am-Main. Rosenzweig is one of the greatest contributors to Jewish philosophy in the twentieth century. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] PALESTINIAN ARAB MUSIC A Maqam Tradition in Practice
December 2004. University of Chicago Press.
A comprehensive analysis of Palestinian music, which is based in the classical style of maqam, is highly improvised, includes text, and is highly connected to the traits of individual performers. Uses the Cohen-Katz Melograph (1957). Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE PRUNE BOOK
December 2004. Brookings.
This is an essential book for those Jewish people who will be appointed to the new federal administration after the January 2005 inauguration of John Kerry. The PLUM Book was famous as a listing of top 7,400 appointed positions available in DC. The PRUNE book is the required tool that describes the selection process. This edition has a section on the leadership challenges facing presidential appointees. This chapter looks at elements of leadership competence in the executive branch, including personal qualities such as people skills, accessibility, intellectual independence, objectivity, and commitment. Insights into federal positions are provided. If you want to perform your best, read this book. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE TREE OF LIFE
By Chava Rosenfarb, Translated from Yiddish with Goldie Morgentaler
December 2004. Wisconsin.
The lives of 10 protagonists in the Lodz Ghetto. The author is a survivor of Lodz, Auschwitz, and Bergen Belsen. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE MANOR AND THE ESTATE
By Isaac Bashevis Singer
December 2004. Wisconsin.
Two novels by Singer, about Polish Jews in the late 19th Century, during a time of industrialization, and the move from the shtetl to prominence in Polish society. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS
A Novel By Amos Oz
December 2004, Harcourt
Publishers Weekly writes: This memoir/family history brims over with riches: metaphors and poetry, drama and comedy, failure and success, unhappy marriages and a wealth of idiosyncratic characters. Some are lions of the Zionist movement-David Ben-Gurion (before whom a young Oz made a terrifying command appearance), novelist S.Y. Agnon, poet Saul Tchernikhovsky-others just neighbors and family friends, all painted lovingly and with humor. Though set mostly during the author's childhood in Jerusalem of the 1940s and '50s, the tale is epic in scope, following his ancestors back to Odessa and to Rovno in 19th-century Ukraine, and describing the anti-Semitism and Zionist passions that drove them with their families to Palestine in the early 1930s. In a rough, dusty, lower-middle-class suburb of Jerusalem, both of Oz's parents found mainly disappointment: his father, a scholar, failed to attain the academic distinction of his uncle, the noted historian Joseph Klausner. Oz's beautiful, tender mother, after a long depresson, committed suicide when Oz (born in 1939) was 12. By the age of 14, Oz was ready to flee his book-crammed, dreary, claustrophobic flat for the freedom and outdoor life of Kibbutz Hulda. Oz's personal trajectory is set against the background of an embattled Palestine during WWII, the jubilation after the U.N. vote to partition Palestine and create a Jewish state, the violence and deprivations of Israel's war of independence and the months-long Arab siege of Jerusalem. This is a powerful, nimbly constructed saga of a man, a family and a nation forged in the crucible of a difficult, painful history. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Occupied By Memory
The Intifada Generation And The Palestinian State Of Emergency
by John Collins
December 2004. NYU PRESS.
Occupied by Memory explores the memories of the first Palestinian intifada. Based on extensive interviews with members of the "intifada generation," those who were between 10 and 18 years old when the intifada began in 1987, the book provides a detailed look at the intifada memories of ordinary Palestinians. These personal stories are presented as part of a complex and politically charged discursive field through which young Palestinians are invested with meaning by scholars, politicians, journalists, and other observers. What emerges from their memories is a sense of a generation caught between a past that is simultaneously traumatic, empowering, and exciting-and a future that is perpetually uncertain. In this sense, Collins argues that understanding the stories and the struggles of the intifada generation is a key to understanding the ongoing state of emergency for the Palestinian people. The book will be of interest not only to scholars of the Middle East but also to those interested in nationalism, discourse analysis, social movements, and oral history. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] ARROWS IN THE DARK
December 2004. Wisconsin.
Analyzes the efforts to aid and rescue Jews by the Jewish community of Palestine. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE JEWISH RADICAL RIGHT
December 2004. Wisconsin.
The lasting effects of Revisionist Zionism on Israel today. The Revisionists of the 1920/1930s under Ze'ev Jabotinsky offered a different view of Jewish history and a vision of the future. The author views the Revisionists in light of other right wing movements of the 1920s. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Yahweh Versus Yahweh
The Enigma Of Jewish History
by Jay Y. Gonen
December 2004. Wisconsin.
Yahweh Versus Yahweh is a vivid description of how the founding myths of Judaism have conditioned Jewish expectations from history. Jay L. Gonen unveils the collective psychology that underlies Jewish psychohistory. The enigmatic God of Gonen's study brings to the Jewish people periods of construction and bounty but also periods of destruction and hopelessness. This duality, according to Gonen, runs throughout Jewish lore, literature, morality, the Kabbala, and Hassidism. It serves as the unifying factor in Jewish history--as it informed and influenced the establishment of the State of Israel, the history and future of Zionism, the debate over the Holocaust, the belief in the coming of the Messiah, and the current conflict in the Middle East. Gonen is at his best when portraying the intricate and highly dialectical interactions within the Jewish psyche among the themes of Messianism, Zionism, and the Holocaust. His penetrating analysis of how shared group fantasies molded Jewish responses to ongoing events is a must read for all persons who are interested in the intersection of religion, politics, and psychology in history. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Jewish Life Cycle
Rites Of Passage From Biblical To Modern Times
(Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies)
by Ivan G. Marcus (Yale University)
University of Washington Press; (December 31, 2004).
In this original and sweeping review of Jewish culture and history, Ivan G. Marcus examines how and why various rites and customs celebrating stages in the life cycle have evolved through the ages and persisted to this day. For each phase of life-from childhood, adolescence, adulthood, to the advanced years-the book traces the origin and development of specific rites associated with the events of birth, circumcision, and schooling; bar and bat mitzvah and confirmation; engagement, betrothal, and marriage; and aging, dying, and remembering. Customs in Jewish tradition such as the presence of godparents at a circumcision, the use of a four-poled canopy at a wedding, and the placing of small stones on tombstones are discussed. In each chapter, detailed descriptions walk the reader through events such as early modern and contemporary circumcision, wedding, and funeral ceremonies. In a comparative framework, Marcus illustrates how Jewish culture has negotiated with the majority cultures of the ancient Near East, Greco-Roman antiquity, medieval European Christianity and Mediterranean Islam and with modern secular and religious movements and social trends to renew itself through ritual innovation. In his extensive research on the Jewish life cycle, Marcus draws on documents on various customs and ritual practices, offering reassessments of original sources and scholarly literature. Marcus's survey is the first comprehensive study of the rites of the Jewish life cycle since Hayyim Schauss's The Lifetime of the Jew was published in 1950, written for Jewish readers. Marcus's book addresses a broader audience and is designed to appeal to scholars and interested readers . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc.
The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Mafia and an Ill-Fated Prizefighter
Ron Ross
December 2004.
St Martins Press.
. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] How to Feed Friends and Influence People
The Carnegie Deli...A Giant Sandwich, a Little Deli, a Huge Success
by Milton Parker, and Allyn Freeman
with help from Sandy Levine (MBD, married the boss' daughter)
John Wiley & Sons (December 17, 2004).
The last page of the book is a cutout coupon for a free slice of cheesecake at the Carnegie Deli.
In the 1950s, New York boasted over 300 of Jewish delicatessens. Today, only a handful (about 30) remain; and of those few, the Carnegie Deli stands out as an icon of lost times. How to Feed Friends and Influence People tells the fascinating and funny story of the little deli that became one of New York City's biggest attractions. World renowned for its absurdly large "gargantuan" sandwiches, the Carnegie Deli is more than a restaurant with a good gimmick-it's a family business that succeeded thanks to tried-and-true business principles. The sandwiches weigh over a pound each, and nearly ALL diners leave with a doggy bag (the deli is kosher style... not kosher... the serve bacon and cheese with meat)
Starting out as a nondescript hole in the wall, the Deli has become the delicatessen of choice for presidents, celebrities, at least one sultan, and millions of other (extremely) hungry diners from around the world. Yet, amazingly, it has never invested in advertising or promotions. At first glance, the Deli's success might seem unlikely, but it's a success built on a set of timeless business values embraced and promoted from day one by owner Milton Parker: Keep it simple; Do one thing and do it better than anyone else; Create a family atmosphere among the staff; Promote from within; Listen to staff and customer comments; Make everything yourself-in-house; Own the premises; Management is always responsible; Don't be greedy; Have fun working.
These are the core business ideals that keep the Deli thronged with customers, and they apply to every business in every industry. But just as the Deli's gargantuan corned beef is much more than just a sandwich, this is much more than just a business book. It also includes funny and strange anecdotes from the Deli's history-from reminiscences on longtime Deli fan Henny Youngman to the "Pastrami Wars" of 1988. Even more delicious, the book also features original recipes from the Deli's kitchen-including chopped liver, Brooklyn egg cream, brisket of beef, and matzoh ball soup! Full of insightful business wisdom, hilarious anecdotes, and tasty recipes, How to Feed Friends and Influence People is a savory story that gourmands and businesspeople alike will dig into with gusto.
MILTON PARKER was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1919. He cofounded the Carnegie Deli with Leo Steiner in 1978 and became sole owner in 1988. ALLYN FREEMAN is a writer whose credits include television episodes of M*A*S*H and Hart to Hart. He holds an MBA from Columbia University Business School. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Oskar Schindler
The Untold Account of His Life, Wartime Activities, and the True Story Behind The List
by David M. Crowe
Westview Press (November 1, 2004)
Deborah Lipstadt writing in The Washington Post's Book World: "David Crowe devoted seven years, conducted scores of interviews and did research on four continents in order to write the definitive biography of Oskar Schindler. That's the good news. The bad news is that this definitive account is buried in a massive text. Crowe would have been served by a good editor, one with a relentless red pencil. Schindler, a man with many flaws, risked his life and his fortune to save more Jews during the Holocaust than anyone else did. While the young Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg saved a larger number of Jews, he had the assistance of an entire team of people and the financial support of American Jews. In contrast, Schindler had only the assistance of his wife, Emilie. Moreover, Schindler performed his heroic deeds only a short distance from Auschwitz... ... In contrast to the impression given by Steven Spielberg in "Schindler's List," Crowe discovered that the famous list was not compiled by Schindler but by one of his Jewish administrators, Marcel Goldberg. There is, Crowe reveals, a seamy side to this story. Aware that inclusion on the list could mean the difference between life and death, Jews bribed Goldberg to get themselves on it. In certain cases, entire families were listed, while people of lesser means were dispatched to Auschwitz and other camps... Schindler did not create the list, but, motivated by a deep sense of compassion for these people and revulsion at the Germans' actions, he did feel responsible for keeping these people alive, particularly during the harrowing final months of the war... Schindler's saga did not end with Germany's defeat. After the Holocaust, Yad Vashem initially refused to honor him as a Righteous Gentile. How, it wondered, could it balance his membership in the Nazi Party with his efforts to save Jews? Those Jews whose factory he had expropriated protested to Yad Vashem that he acquired the considerable sums he spent to save his workers through the Aryanization of Jewish property and the use of slave labor. They tried to take legal action against him. CLICK TH EBOOK COVER ABOVE TO READ MORE.

[book cover click here] LIBERATION ROAD
A novel by David Robbins
December 2004. Bantam Books.
PW Writes: In his latest WWII novel, Robbins powerfully integrates the theme of racial bigotry from Scorched Earth with the successful formula of his previous three combat novels (The End of War, etc.). The 688th Truck Battalion is part of the famed Red Ball Express, which struggles to supply the fast-moving combat following D-Day as American forces fight through the French hedgerows and villages toward Paris. In recounting the battalion's heroic saga, Robbins's tale unfolds from several perspectives-that of Ben Kahn, an aging Jewish army chaplain from Pittsburgh, who fought as a doughboy in the trenches in WWI; Joe Amos, a young, black, college-educated truck driver; and "White Dog," a shadowy, corrupt downed B-17 pilot profiteering on the black market in German-occupied Paris. Bolstered by desperate hope he might find his son-a B-17 pilot shot down over France-Kahn lands on Omaha Beach five days after D-Day and hitches a ride to the front on a GI two-and-a-half ton Jimmy (GMC truck) with Amos. Both men are quickly seasoned by the horrors of war as Kahn heads for a showdown in Paris and Amos makes sergeant and finds romance with a Frenchwoman after shooting down a German plane. Although this isn't quite up to the standard of Robbins's best work-it's occasionally slowed by overwriting and repetition-it's a fine effort from an ambitious storyteller. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Iron Tears
America's Battle for Freedom, Britain's Quagmire: 1775-1783
by Stanley Weintraub
Winter 2005, Free Press
For generations, Americans have been taught to view the Revolutionary War as a heroic tale of resistance, exclusively from the perspective of the Continental army and the Founding Fathers. Now, in Iron Tears, master historian Stanley Weintraub offers the first account that examines the war from three divergent and distinct vantage points: the battlefields; the American leadership under George Washington; and -- most originally -- that of England, embroiled in controversy over the war. Colonial America was England's Vietnam. Weintraub's multifaceted analysis will forever change and expand our view of the struggle. Although Washington's army, with France's help, won the war, it is equally significant -- both then and now -- that Britain lost it. The British found themselves overwhelmed by the geographic and time constraints that prevented their military from holding on to the eighteen-hundred-mile length of the thirteen colonies, from across three thousand miles of ocean during the cumbersome era of water travel. Many in London realized that American independence was only a matter of time. Yet the British were enveloped in a fantasy world of self-delusion as the war trudged along. The unyielding George III, who ultimately threatened abdication; his lethargic prime minister, Lord North; the First Lord of the Admiralty, the corrupt Earl of Sandwich, better remembered for his paired slices of bread; and the Secretary for America, Lord George Germain, an arrogant ex-general court-martialed for cowardice in an earlier war, formed a quartet that played out of tune. As opposition to and frustration with the failing war gradually increased in parliament, in the press, and in the afflicted mercantile sector, so did pacifist sentiment for and sympathy with their American cousins. Click on the cover above to read more.


[book cover click here] HEDWIG AND BERTI
St Martins; (January 2005)
Thirty-five years after publication of her first novel, The Dorp (followed by other works on cooking and gardening), Frieda Arkin returns to the world of fiction to give us another darkly humorous novel, Hedwig and Berti. Hedwig and Berti is a saga of the totally unlikely marriage of a grandly Teutonic woman, Hedwig Kessler, and her diminutive cousin Berti, two upper-class German Jews forced to leave their homeland during the rise of the Nazis. They flee to London, then to New York City, and from there, finally, to a university town in Kansas. In London, Hedwig gives birth to a daughter whose broodingly dark construction and immense genius for the piano point back in time to the tragedy of her bloodline. This is a story of prejudice taken to extremes, both within the domain of a severely class-conscious German-Jewish family and beyond it. The characters are subtle, and finely-honed, and their story is told with grace and unexpected humor. Like Penelope Fitzgerald, Frieda Arkin possesses a rare gift for combining love, wit, and dark realism in the reactions and behavior of her characters in the several cultures they are forced to adapt to.. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE GUGGENHEIMS
By Irwin Unger and Debi Unger
HarperCollins; (January 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: A biography of an illustrious family can be like a cassoulet: lots of delicious bits that combine beautifully but no tastes that fully stand out. Such is the case with this remarkably researched history of the Guggenheims. Pulitzer Prize-winner Irwin Unger (The Greenback Era) and his wife, Debi (coauthor, with Irwin, of LBJ: A Life), assemble an extraordinary collection of letters, interviews, memos and contemporary documents to tell the story of the family's rapid rise and slow decline, a saga marked by a combination of "profound Americanism" and Jewish "old world heritage." The sheer size of the Guggenheim family-the Ungers note that the "legion" descendants of Meyer (1828-1905), the family patriarch, are "impossible" to follow through time-means that no one member of the clan stands out, though the feisty Harry, "fighting entropy" in the family for much of the 20th century, burns brighter than many of his relatives. The scintillating Peggy Guggenheim, known for her patronage of modern art and her robust sex life, gets ample play here, but her story is told more thoroughly in recent biographies by Anton Gill and Mary Dearborn. Readers looking for a broad, appetizing sweep of American life will find it here, but those hungry for sharp, burning flavors may skip to the next course. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE WHITE ROSE
By Jean Hanff Korelitz
Miramax; (January 2005)
From Publishers Weekly Korelitz, known for her intelligent thrillers (The Sabbathday River, etc.), strikes off in a new direction with this mordant story of aging, love and self-discovery, a re-imagining of the Strauss opera Der Rosenkavalier set in upper-class Jewish New York City. Marian Kahn, gracefully aging at 48, is a respected history professor at Columbia, author of a bestselling book of popular history and solidly ensconced in a satisfactory if not brilliant marriage when suddenly she's swept away by the wild but dangerous joy of an affair with the son of her oldest friend. Twenty-six-year-old Oliver, owner of a flower shop called the White Rose, is truly in love, but when he meets graduate student and heiress Sophie Klein, the fiancée of Marian's pompous cousin, Barton Ochstein, he's blindsided and must question his still strong love for Marian. Sophie is swept away, too, by the knowledge that she may want something more out of life than the academic satisfaction she derives from the study of her own White Rose, a group of German dissidents who agitated against the Nazis. The belief that love always involves sacrifice and is worth the sacrifice it demands drives this warm, worldly novel. Even when their own comfort is at stake, Korelitz's characters succumb to generous impulses, making this a satisfying, emotionally rich read. From the West Village to the Upper East Side, from the Hamptons to Millbrook, The White Rose is at once a nuanced and affectionate reimagining of Strauss' beloved opera, Der Rosenkavalier, and a mesmerizing novel of our own time and place. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Bible's Top Fifty Ideas
The Essential Concepts Everyone Should Know
by Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, with Abigail Treu
S.P.I. Books (January 1, 2005)
The author's theory is that if one knows 50 verses of the 5000 in the Torah (1%), the reader will begin to grasp the essence of the Bible This is a revolutionary approach. Finally, a book about the Bible that is accessible, which focuses on its great moral principles, and not about passages which relate long genealogies, and complicated priestly rituals at the altar. "What Rabbi Elkins does in this one volume window in the heart of the world's greatest Book is truly amazing. His discussions are engaging, inspiring, comprehensive and scholarly. I have found his book to be exceptionally accurate, thorough and comprehensive. This is a veritable treasure. I cannot praise this wonderful book enough." Prof. Shalom Paul, Chair, Department of Bible, Hebrew U. of Jerusalem. * "Dov Peretz Elkins continues to educate and inspire us all. His unique talents and knowledge allow him to present the most important values and concepts found in the Bible to a wide audience of persons in a characteristically intelligent and accessible manner. This book is a jewel." Rabbi David Ellenson, President, HUC-JIR. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Jewish Girls Coming Of Age In America, 1860-1920
by Melissa R. Klapper
January 2005. NYU PRESS.
Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 draws on a wealth of archival material, much of which has never been published-or even read-to illuminate the ways in which Jewish girls' adolescent experiences reflected larger issues relating to gender, ethnicity, religion, and education. Klapper explores the dual roles girls played as agents of acculturation and guardians of tradition. Their search for an identity as American girls that would not require the abandonment of Jewish tradition and culture mirrored the struggle of their families and communities for integration into American society. While focusing on their lives as girls, not the adults they would later become, Klapper draws on the papers of such figures as Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah; Edna Ferber, author of Showboat; and Marie Syrkin, whose book Blessed Is the Match: The Story of Jewish Resistance is believed to be the first work in English about Jewish resistance under the Nazis. Klapper analyzes the diaries, memoirs, and letters of hundreds of other girls whose later lives and experiences have been lost to history. Told in an engaging style and filled with colorful quotes, the book brings to life a neglected group of fascinating historical figures during a pivotal moment in the development of gender roles, adolescence, and the modern American Jewish community. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Ransom of the Jews
The Story of Extraordinary Secret Bargain Between Romania and Israel
by Radu Ioanid
Afterword by Elie Wiesel
Ivan R Dee; (January 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: Ioanid (The Holocaust in Romania) sheds light on an extraordinary, little-known and shameful episode that explains some mysteries of international affairs, such as why Romania was the only Soviet bloc country to maintain relations with Israel after the Six-Day War. Drawing on interviews and on highly classified Romanian documents, Ioanid relates how Romania in the 1950s and '60s demanded payments in cash and goods from Israel in exchange for the emigration of Romanian Jews to the Jewish state. A historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Ioanid places these events in the context of a cash-starved Romania, turning away from Russia and eager for Western trade, oil-drilling equipment and agricultural goods. In the late 1960s, the human trade allowed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his family to build their private bank accounts. "Jews, Germans, and oil are our best export commodities," the dictator said in the mid-1970s. He insisted the payments per Jew be determined by his or her "education, profession, employment, and family status." Ioanid carefully follows all the ups and downs in negotiations and relations between Israel and Romania, and the impact of protests from Arab countries and Western demands for human rights. Ioanid does a service in reporting on this sordid tale of exploitation and the trade in human beings. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Little Edens: Stories
by Barbara Klein Moss
WW NORTON; (January 2005)
An elegant and richly evocative collection about the nature of paradise and the complexities of desire. These eight magical stories are about the Edenic spaces that people create in their lives and the serpents that subtly inhabit them; in each case a form of revelation accompanies the threat of expulsion from the earthly paradise. In "Rug Weaver" (selected for Best American Short Stories 2001), an Iranian rug dealer makes a paradise of his prison cell by weaving an elaborate rug in his mind. Grieving parents in the title story transfigure an exotic luxury subdivision in southern California into a vision of heaven. In "Interpreters" a couple working in a re-created colonial village find that the roles they play are more seductively real than their lives outside. For all these men and women, the apple is only the beginning. And in every story there is a tension between inner and outer worlds as the characters leave a place that grows greener, lusher, and more perfect as they look back. In the novella, "The Palm Tree of Dilys Catheart" is an unlikely love story between a lonely English piano teacher and an Orthodox Jewish butcher who hears heavenly music in his head. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] A JEWISH FAMILY IN GERMANY TODAY
Duke; (January 2005)
Immediately after the Holocaust, it seemed inconceivable that a Jewish community would rebuild in Germany. What was once unimaginable has now come to pass: Germany is home to one of Europe's most vibrant Jewish communities, and it has the fastest growing Jewish immigrant population of any country in the world outside Israel. By sharing the life stories of members of one Jewish family-the Kalmans-Y. Michal Bodemann provides an intimate look at what it is like to live as a Jew in Germany today. Having survived concentration camps in Poland, four Kalman siblings-three brothers and a sister-were left stranded in Germany after the war. They built new lives and a major enterprise; they each married and had children. Over the past fifteen years Bodemann conducted extensive interviews with the Kalmans, mostly with the survivors' ten children, who were born between 1948 and 1964. In these oral histories, he shares their thoughts on Judaism, work, family, and community. Staying in Germany is not a given; four of the ten cousins live in Israel and the United States. Among the Kalman cousins are an art gallery owner, a body builder, a radio personality, a former chief financial officer of a prominent U.S. bank, and a sculptor. They discuss Zionism, anti-Semitism, what it means to root for the German soccer team, Schindler's List, money, success, marriage and intermarriage, and family history. They reveal their different levels of engagement with Judaism and involvement with local Jewish communities. Kalman is a pseudonym, and this anonymity allows the family members to talk with passion and candor about their relationships and their lives as Jews. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE SETTING OF THE PEARL
Oxford University Press; (Winter 2005)
When Adolf Hitler seized Vienna in the Anschluss of 1938, he called the city "a pearl to which he would give a proper setting." But the setting he left behind seven years later was one of ruin and destruction--a physical, spiritual, and intellectual wasteland. Here is a grippingly narrated and heartbreaking account of the debasement of one of Europe's great cities. Thomas Weyr shows how Hitler turned Vienna from a vibrant metropolis that was the cradle of modernism into a drab provincial town. In this riveting narrative, we meet Austrian traitors like Arthur Seyss-Inquart and mass murderers like Odilo Globocnik; proconsuls like Joseph Buerckel, who hacked Austria into seven pieces, and Baldur von Schirach, who dreamed of making Vienna into a Nazi capital on the Danube--and failed miserably. More painfully, Weyr chronicles the swift destruction of a rich Jewish culture and the removal of the city's 200,000 Jews through murder, exile, and deportation. Vienna never regained the global role the city had once played. Today, Weyr concludes, only the monuments remain--beautiful but lifeless. This is not only the story of Nazi leaders but of how the Viennese themselves lived and died: those who embraced Hitler, those who resisted, and the many who merely, in the local phrase, "ran after the rabbit." The author draws on his own experiences as a child in Vienna under Nazi rule in 1938, and those of his parents and friends, plus extensive documentary research, to craft a vivid historical narrative that chillingly captures how a once-great city lost its soul under Hitler. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] COMING TO OUR SENSES
Hyperion; (January 2005)
Mindfulness, or Kavanah
Woven into eight parts, Coming to Our Senses uses anecdotes and stories from Kabat-Zinn's own life experiences and work in his clinic to illustrate healing possibilities. At its core, the book offers remarkable insight into how to use the five senses -- touch, hearing, sight, taste, and smell, plus awareness itself -- as a path to a healthier, saner, and more meaningful life. This is about the connection between mindfulness, health, and our physical and spiritual well-being. Kabat-Zinn sets out to awaken us to the true potential and value of a gift that most of us take for granted: sentience. Our lack of awareness of our impact on the rest of the world amounts to "a kind of auto-immune disease of the earth." Borrowing an analogy made by the neuroscientist Francisco Varela, Kabat-Zinn compares the way our immune system senses the whole of our bodily self to our potential for a mindful awareness. That is, the practice of cultivating this conscious, heightened sentience leads to the realization of our wholeness, as we begin to realize that we don't live just within the envelope of our own senses, sensations and thoughts but within the whole of all that is. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The "JEW" In CINEMA
From The Golem To Don't Touch My Holocaust
(The Helen and Martin Schwartz Lectures in Jewish Studies)
by Omer Bartov
January 2005. Indiana University Press
An analysis of the Jew in cinema. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] AUSCHWITZ
January 2005. Public Affairs
Laurence Rees is Creative Director of History Programs for the BBC and author of five books. Published for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-a devastating and surprising account of the most infamous death camp the world has ever known. Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history. Yet its story is not fully known. In Auschwitz, Laurence Rees reveals new insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their testimonies provide a portrait of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail-from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred.
Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe's Jews-their"Final Solution." He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were driven not just by ideological inevitability but as a"practical" response to a war in the East that had begun to go wrong for Germany. A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Thus the story of the camp becomes a morality tale, too, in which evil is shown to proceed in a series of deft, almost noiseless incremental steps until it produces the overwhelming horror of the industrial scale slaughter that was inflicted in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Kaddishel
A Life Reborn
by Aharon Golub, Bennett W. Golub
January 2005. Devorah Publishing, Pitsopany
Aharon Golub was born in Ludvipol, Poland. He survived, and was orphaned by the Holocaust. As a legal immigrant to Palestine in 1946, he actively worked towards Israel's independence. Moving to the US in 1954, Golub married and started a family. Bennett W. Golub, Aharon's son, is a co-founder of a leading investment and risk management firm based in New York. In KADDISHEL-A LIFE REBORN, Bennett Golub assists his father Aharon with documenting his personal history, to both better understand himself and to preserve these experiences for future generations. In doing so, the reader is given a first-hand look at three major historical eras-traditional Jewish life in a small Polish town, the mindless horrors of the Nazis, and the formation of the state of Israel. It is an indication of Aharon's strength that even after witnessing the death of his family members, his resolve is not rage or hatred but rather, the deep conviction that the Jewish people need their own homeland and the power to protect themselves the world over. Aharon's journey leads eventually to America where he raises his own family and has his own Kaddishel to live on and help him tell his story. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Filling Words with Light
Hasidic and Mystical Reflections on Jewish Prayer
by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Rabbi Nehemia Polen
Jewish Lights, January 2005
Engage Body and Soul with the Holy Words of Jewish Prayer . From personal gratitude as we greet the day, to affirming in community Judaism's steadfast devotion to God, prayer encompasses the expanse of our daily lives. In Filling Words with Light, Lawrence Kushner and Nehemia Polen offer new interpretations, flashes of insight, stories, and reflections on the words that compose the Jewish liturgy and enrich our understanding of how and why we pray. Following the order of the traditional prayer book, Kushner and Polen examine the concepts, phrases, and words of prayer, including: * Acts of love * Serving in joy * Blessing * Commandments * Repentance * Healing * Torah study * Reverence * Sabbath lights * Yearning ...and much more. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Lost Princess & Other Kabbalistic Tales Of Rebbe Nachman Of Breslov
Edited by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and Rabbi Chaim Kramer
Jewish Lights, 2005
Discover the hidden secrets of Torah and Kabbalah through the captivating stories of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. "Rabbi Nachman's stories are among the great classics of Jewish literature. They have been recognized by Jews and non-Jews alike for their depth and insight into both the human condition and the realm of the mysterious." -from Aryeh Kaplan's Translator's Introduction. For centuries, spiritual teachers have told stories to convey lessons about God and perceptions of the world around us. Hasidic master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) perfected this teaching method through his engrossing and entertaining stories that are fast-moving, brilliantly structured, and filled with penetrating insights. This collection presents the wisdom of Rebbe Nachman, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and accompanied by illuminating commentary drawn from the works of Rebbe Nachman's pupils. This important work brings you authentic interpretations of Rebbe Nachman's stories, allowing you to experience the rich heritage of Torah and Kabbalah that underlies each word of his inspirational teachings. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Rebbe's Army
Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch
January 2005, NOW IN PAPERBACK
From Publishers Weekly: This remarkable ethnographic profile goes behind the scenes of Lubavitcher Judaism to explore how the movement's enthusiastic young emissaries, or schlihim, carry the Rebbe's message throughout the world. Armed with pamphlets, Shabbos candles and the dream of making all Jews more observant, these idealistic young married couples set up shop in unlikely locales like Peoria, Ill.; Anchorage, Ala.; or Salt Lake City, Utah. There they will tirelessly teach and fundraise-not just for a year or two, but for the rest of their lives. Fishkoff, a regular contributor to Moment and The Jerusalem Post, draws upon dozens of interviews with these schlihim, their supporters and their detractors. Traversing the country to do her research, she attended Shabbos dinners, mikvah demonstrations, Friday afternoon street proselytizing sessions and even a star-studded Chabad telethon in Los Angeles. (The telethon, Fishkoff rightly points out, is the perfect symbol for the way these Hasids have simultaneously eschewed and engaged with American culture, using technology to further their outreach.) Most interestingly, she includes interviews with Reform and Conservative Jews who, surprisingly enough, are often the chief financial backers of local Chabad initiatives. Though Fishkoff makes an effort to include some individuals' critiques of the movement, this is by no means an expos‚; one leaves the book sharing her own tender admiration for the energetic dedication of the Rebbe's followers. Fishkoff writes robustly and engagingly, and her portrait of Chabad is not only profoundly respectful, but also poignant and full of joy." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Code Names
Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World
January 2005,
Do you want to feel in the know about the US Military and Israel, too??
Israel receives about $2.3 billion in US military aid (20% of Israel's public defense budget), under the FORMIL Financing Program. It allows Israel credits to purhcase American made military equipment, such as F161's and Appache Longbow's. By reading this book you can sound like you are a CIA agent.. hehe.. You will find out that Israel comes under the U.S. EUCOM, MOV agreements on training, and JPMG for joint planning. You'll find out about U.S. pre positioned equipment based in Israel, and shared munitions and WRS-I, as well as Naval medical stocks and USAF stocks managed out of Aviano. You can also look up the details on 20 Israel related code names, including Infinite Moonlight, Have Nap, Anatolian Eagle, Reliant Mermaid, and Shining Presence
The war on terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to a secrecy explosion. In the 9/11 world the U.S. military and intelligence organizations have created secret plans, programs, and operations at a frenzied pace, each with their own code name. In a perfect world, all of this secrecy would be to protect legitimate secrets from prying foreign eyes. But in researching Code Names, defense analyst William M. Arkin learned that while most genuine secrets remain secret, other activities labeled as secret are either questionable or remain perfectly in the open. The sheer volume and complexity of these operations ensures that the most politically important remain unreported by the press and shielded from the scrutiny of the American electorate. From "Able Ally" to "Zodiac Beauchamp," this book identifies more than 3,000 code names and details the plans and missions for which they stand. Code Names is divided into five distinct parts: Introduction: Will explain to the American public, for the first time, just what the explosion in the creation of secret code names after 9/11 reveals about overall strategies in the war on terror; Cast of Characters: A brief description of all relevant federal departments, agencies, commands, and organizations; Country-by-Country Directory: Details worldwide U.S. military and intelligence operations and relations; The Code Names Dictionary: An alphabetical listing of more than 3,000 code names; and Acronym List and Glossary. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Diaspora and the Lost Tribes of Israel
by Amotz Asa-El
Hugh Lauter Levin Associates
Coffee-table booksd are usually notable for their pictures, and Amotz Asa-El's "The Diaspora and The Lost Tries of Israel" certainly does not disappoint in this regards, filled as it is by nearly 300 pages of photographs of Jewish life spanning six continents. But the accompanying text has a special claim on our attention. Mr. Asa-El, the executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, vividly captures both the creativity and the nomadic quality of the Jewish people. More important, he offers an engaging history of the Jewish experience by tracing he history of the Jewish Diaspora. Mr. Asa-El's historical narrative begins with the post-biblical wanderings of the Jews from the first exile in 730 B.C.E., when thousands of Jewish refugees were forcibly relocated by ther Assyrians into what is today northeastern Syria. The second exile, some 150 years later, came in the aftermath of the Babylonian conquest of the First Temple. By the time of the Second Temple's destruction by Rome in C.E. 70 and the final rebellion against the Romans in 135-the dates most frequently cited as the beginning of the Diaspora-a majority of Jews were already residing outside the land of Israel. .... Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
by Susan Jane Gilman
Warner Books (January 1, 2005)
Gilman, 40, has written this memoir of growing up on Manhattan's upper Upper West Side in the '70s., a time that people wished they were Puerto Rican and not Jewish. Gilman didn't really realize she was Jewish until the sixth grade, when she was told that she could not play the role of the Virgin Mary in the school play. Gilman was once a young reporter for New York's NY Jewish Week newspaper, and ate lobster while interviewing an Orthodox rabbi. OOPS.. She never knew lobster wasn't kosher. The book starts slowly but gathers momentum. Readers who find themselves drifting during Gilman's reveries on lying during show-and-tell will find themselves pleasantly riveted by the time she's getting in touch with her roots as a reporter for the Jewish Week. Gilman, author of 2001's Kiss My Tiara, a women's self-help guide, makes common scenarios fresh with humor and wry social commentary; on the first day of school, she quickly learns "boys might be fighters, but girls could be terrorists." Gilman's ear for dialogue is dead-on. When her brother asks their dad why their Jewish family celebrates Christmas, she doesn't miss a beat: " 'Because your grandmother's a Communist and your mother loves parties,' said my father. 'Now eat your supper.' " These one-liners don't detract, however, from a serious and moving look at one family's efforts to keep itself intact through divorce and other life challenges. After her parents separate, Gilman, then in her mid-20s, fears she and her brother had spent their childhoods in happy oblivion while their parents were "spellbound with misery." Probably not: Gilman's recollections of moving bumpily toward adulthood are keenly observant. . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Anatomy of Hope
How People Prevail in the Face of Illness
by JEROME GROOPMAN, M.D., holds the Dina and Raphael Recanati Chair of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and is the chief of experimental medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston
Random House Trade Paperbacks (January 11, 2005)
Is hope a vital organ in humans that aids in recovery. How did this Harvard professors patients over the past 30 years overcome cancer through hope and attitude? Why do some people find and sustain hope during difficult circumstances, while others do not? What can we learn from those who do, and how is their example applicable to our own lives? The Anatomy of Hope is a journey of inspiring discovery, spanning some thirty years of Dr. Jerome Groopman's practice, during which he encountered many extraordinary people and sought to answer these questions. This profound exploration begins when Groopman was a medical student, ignorant of the vital role of hope in patients' lives-and it culminates in his remarkable quest to delineate a biology of hope. With appreciation for the human elements and the science, Groopman explains how to distinguish true hope from false hope-and how to gain an honest understanding of the reach and limits of this essential emotion. Click the book cover above to read more.


[book cover click here] [book cover click here] [book cover click here] From My Father's Shabbos Table
A Treasury of Chabad Chassidic Stories
by Rabbi Yehudah Chitrik
Translated by: Rabbi Eliyahu Touger
1991, MozNaim Press
On December 7, 2004, The New York Times profile Rabbi Citrik, the father, at age 105 and living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY. This is the book the mentioned. At 105, he had heard and told countless Hasidic stories and tales. This is a small collection of a few of those tales. Having been blessed by three successive Lubavitch rebbes with long life.. at age 105, he is a touchstone and wellspring. This anthology is a collection of Chabad Chassidic stories or stories of other Rebbeim told from a Chabad perspective - that of "wisdom, intellect, and knowledge", the unique approach of Chabad which is distinguished from other Chassidic movements, which place a greater stress on the emotional impact of Chassidus - the transcending of the soul over the intellect. These stories relate to multidimensional living truths in a manner with filters these truths through the intellect. Each story is a teaching which can influence and enhance our behavior. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] A NEW KABBALAH FOR WOMEN
February 2005, Palgrave
From Publishers Weekly: "From an early age Besserman rebelled against the idea, fostered in her ultra-Orthodox yeshiva (school), that "Jewish women served God by having sons and being 'footstools' to their husbands in heaven after they died." She didn't want to be anyone's footstool-she wanted to see God. Unfortunately, because she was female, those men with the answers refused to acknowledge, much less answer, her questions on spirituality and mysticism, leading her to seek answers in hatha yoga, Zen, the Bhagavad Gita and other Eastern texts, until she finally met a rabbi willing to teach her. Besserman has spent a lifetime honing, teaching and writing of a deep intrinsic spirituality that has gripped her soul from childhood-expertise that shines through in this step-by-step Kabbalah guide for women. She recognizes that for women to be empowered with a strong sense of self, they must overcome the illusions they've been fed of inferiority, as well as remember the "Talmudic claim that the ways to Truth are as numerous and varied as human faces." There is an everywoman quality to Besserman's quest-one that instills an instant camaraderie among women readers seeking spiritual answers, and that makes her meditations and suggested paths seem natural and intuitive. Don't judge this book by its pop iconic cover-it's thoughtful, insightful and deeply spiritual." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Israel A Spiritual Travel Guide
A Companion For The Modern Jewish Pilgrim
by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
Jewish Lights Publishing; SECOND EDITION (January 29, 2005)
It is the must companion for any traveler to Israel. The blurb says it best, "the other travel books tell you how to get there, Hoffman tells you why to go and what to do when you're there." Hoffman, a Professor of Liturgy at HUC-JIR, is best known for his book, "What Is A Jew?" His travel guide is in four sections. The first contains eighteen (chai) meditations to be read before embarking on one's trip to Israel. The second section is on preparations for "the eve before the trip." Section three focuses on "How to prepare while on the way." And Section four is filled with 25 specific pilgrimage destinations for the traveler. For each site, such as The Kotel or a Kibbutz, Professor Hoffman provides THE FOUR A's -- four sections on "Anticipation," "Approach," "Acknowledgment," and "Afterthought." In Anticipation, one reads an overview of the sight; Approach contains biblical, rabbinic and other writings about the site; Acknowledgment is filled with prayers or readings for you to recite at your destination; and Afterthought provides a blank space in which you may record your feelings, emotions, or just plain journal entries that you can keep forever. This is an excellent companion for a trip to Israel." Click the book cover above to read more.
If you are leading a trip, contact Jewish Lights and get the version of this book for trip leaders.

[book cover click here] Jugar a Matar (Zona Libre)
By Marcelo Birmajer
Yes, perhaps Cervantes (Don Quixote) was descended from converso Jewish family in Spain, but I will leave that issue for a PhD dissertation. But if you want to read a book by the hottest Jewish author in Argentina, look no further than Marcelo Birmajer. Each summer as a child, Marcelo Birmajer went with his parents to Miramar, a beach resort that is for the Jews of Argentina what the Catskills once were for the Jews of New York. There, his father would tell stories about the people who paraded by as the family sat on the sand or, as dusk fell each day, relate the plot of whatever novel he happened to be reading. Today, Birmajer is one of Argentina's most prolific and praised young writers of fiction. But he traces both the birth of his vocation and his desire to portray his country's Jewish community, at more than 300,000 the largest in Latin America, back to those summer days and the simple fact that "my father, an accountant for the state gas company, was a great storyteller." At 38, Birmajer has already written more than 20 books, many of which focus on life in the Jewish barrio here, known as El Once. The grandson of Romanian, Polish, Lithuanian and Syrian immigrants, he grew up in the neighborhood, which he describes as a fascinating blend of Askenazi and Sephardic traditions, with Jews rich and poor, religious and secular, living side by side.
"Not only was I born in Once, but the studio where I still write is there," he said. "It's a place that I prefer not just for reasons of class, but for metaphysical or mythical reasons as well. I like to just walk around and see the ebullience of commerce, the money changing hands, to eat in the Sephardic restaurants. It's the place that has the vitamins that allow me to write." A recurring character in Birmajer's fiction is Javier Mossen, a sexually voracious and sometimes repugnant journalist who some regard as Birmajer's alter ego. In three acclaimed short story collections, called "Stories of Married Men," Mossen manages to transform nearly every contact with a woman into an erotically-charged encounter. In stories like "An Interview With Kissinger," Birmajer, who is married and has two children, also uses Mossen to comment humorously or satirically on the worlds of politics and journalism. Birmajer is "one of several younger writers who have really moved in a nonconfrontational manner away from the baroque style of García Márquez, Vargas Llosa and Fuentes," said the translator Edith Grossman. "His is a more straightforward kind of narrative, something entirely different from the older generation." In a country whose modern literary tradition is based largely on fabulists and experimentalists like Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar, critics seem not to know quite what to make of Birmajer. So he often finds himself being compared to writers who are Jewish and American - "a sort of Woody Allen of the Pampas" and "David Mamet in Spanish," as he has been described. And while Birmajer admits the importance of American Jewish writers and comedians, from Bernard Malamud to Jerry Seinfeld, in molding his work, he cites others as his primary influences, including Philip Roth but especially Isaac Bashevis Singer.
"Even though by time and circumstance I am closer to Roth, if I had to choose a single master, without a doubt it would be Singer," he said. "I am absolutely devoted to him, have all of his books and have translated some into Spanish. He is a disenchanted mystic and a seer, the son and grandson of rabbis who knows the Torah by heart but is won over by the profane, not the sacred." Others of Birmajer's short stories and novels, including "Being Human and Other Misfortunes" and "Not So Different," have been translated into German, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch. Thus far, though, none of his work has appeared in Hebrew, and only one of his short stories, "A Christmas Carol," has been translated into English. In the story, Mossen, a nonobservant Jew, drifts from one Christmas Eve party to another, hoping to find and seduce Raquel, a woman he has long lusted after. On the street, he rescues his Uncle Boris from a group of skinhead punks only to have his Orthodox uncle reproach him for not practicing their faith. "It's really a knockout, with that poignant, bittersweet quality you find in Yiddish writing, and brilliant in the way he finds a link between a failed love affair and what is going on in the streets," said Grossman, who translated the story. Birmajer has also written a pamphlet on "Being Jewish in the 21st Century," yet he has never referred directly - by design, he said - to the 1994 bombing attack on a Jewish community center here, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the world since World War II
Yet, he said "it is always present, in the form of an atmosphere in which something can always happen. It is a theme that seems to me, like the Shoah, that you end up bastardizing if you take away its sacrosanct nature and use it as a theme for fiction."
As a Jewish Argentine, "I have felt anti-Semitism all my life," Birmajer continued. "But to the extent that I have been successful, Judaism has been one of the foundations of my career. It's a paradoxical situation: Anti-Semitism exists here, but at the same time, this country is livable and quite sweet." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] History on Trial
My Day in Court with David Irving
by Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University
February 2005, Ecco
In 1993, Deborah E. Lipstadt, a professor of Jewish Studies at Emory University, published the first comprehensive history of the Holocaust denial movement. In this critically acclaimed account, Lipstadt called David Irving -- a prolific, respected, and well-known writer on World War II who had, over the years, made controversial statements about Hitler and the Jews -- one of the most dangerous spokespersons of the denial movement.
A year later, when Irving sued Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin UK, for libel in a London courtroom, the media spotlight fell on Deborah Lipstadt and, by extension, on the historiography of the Holocaust. Five years later, when David Irving lost his case after an intense ten-week trial, Lipstadt's resounding victory was proclaimed on front pages of newspapers worldwide. The implications of the trial, however, were far from over.
History on Trial is Deborah Lipstadt's personal, riveting chronicle of the legal battle with Irving, in which she went from a relatively quiet existence as a professor at an American university to being a defendant in a sensational libel case. This blow-by-blow account reveals how Lipstadt fund-raised $1.5 million for her defense, which included a first-rate team of solicitors, historians, and experts, among them Anthony Julius, a literary scholar who is better known as the late Princess Diana's divorce lawyer. Lipstadt describes how in forced silence she endured Irving's relentless provocations, including his claims that more people died in Senator Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than in the gas chambers at Auschwitz, that survivors tattooed numbers on their arms to make money, and that nonwhite people are a different "species." She also reveals how her lawyers gained access to Irving's personal papers, which exposed his association with neo-Nazi extremists in Germany, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and the National Alliance, which wants to transform America into an "Aryan society." In the course of the trial, Lipstadt's legal team stripped away Irving's mask of respectability through exposing the prejudice, extremism, and distortion of history that defined his work, even his once highly regarded account of the Dresden bombing.
Part history, part edge-of-your-seat courtroom drama, History on Trial goes beyond the historiography of World War II and the Holocaust to reveal the intricate way in which extremism and deliberate historical distortions gain widespread legitimacy and help generate hatred. An inspiring personal story of perseverance and unexpected limelight, here is the definitive account of the trial that tested the standards for historical and judicial truths, a trial that the Daily Telegraph of London proclaimed did "for the new century what the Nuremberg tribunals or the Eichmann trial did for earlier generations." Click on the bookcover above to read more.
By the way... HBO and Ridley Scott's production company was working on a film on the case. Ronald Harwood wrote the screenplay. But when HBO asked him to add some fictional elements to the story to jazz it up, Harwood refused. How could he add fictional elements to a story that is about the truth. The film project therefore died a quiet death

[book cover click here] [book cover click here] THE SEVENTH BEGGAR
Feb 2005, Riverhead
Set in the Chasidic world of Monsey, New York, a brilliantly original, provocative novel about storytelling and the limits of creation. The Seventh Beggar begins with a contemporary young man's obsession with the legendary nineteenth-century Chasidic master, Nachman of Bratslav-kabbalist, storyteller, and charismatic whose cult following persists to this day. The legends and life of Nachman inform the novel, in particular Nachman's famously unfinished "Tales of the Seven Beggars," which serves as the inspiration for Pearl Abraham's own bold and probing story about the glories and pitfalls of originality. A translation of Nachman's tales from the original Yiddish is included in full in the novel itself. Abraham staked her literary claim in the groundbreaking novel The Romance Reader, which took readers for the first time into the Chasidic world through the eyes of a woman. Now she returns to that world, with an even more ambitious work that upends the conventions of storytelling, thwarts expectations, and yet all the while compels us with its lovable characters, its narrative momentum, and its creation of a familiar yet dreamlike landscape, in which imagination simultaneously triumphs and destroys.
Reminded me slightly of the play by Yehuda Hyman, the mad dancer. Pearl Abraham grew up in a Hasidic household. Her father and her brother are writers also. Her maternal grandfather was a Bratslav Hasid. The book has three themes, Nahman, eroticism, and the creation of artificial life. Joel Jakob tries to create a female (shekhina) while his nephew at MIT, Jakob Joel tries to create a robot. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Counterculture Through the Ages
From Abraham to Acid House
Abraham was the first counter culture leader. He heard a voice in his head, called it God, became monotheistic, and moved to another place to begin again. Booklist writes, "Although typically defining themselves in opposition to dominant cultures--hence the name--countercultures through history have more in common with each other than previously supposed. In fact, argues this book, breaking with tradition is itself a longstanding tradition, distinguished by Promethean antiauthority impulses, often accompanied by some sort of libertine humanism and individualism (although often conflicted about the merits of technology). Less a history of movements than of moments, Goffman's narrative hits Socrates and Sufism, among select others, en route to a more detailed parsing of the various countercultural moments of the twentieth century; at times, it reads reminiscent of an old-fashioned intellectual history, mapping influences catalyzed in heady Paris or Haight-Ashbury. Yet Goffman steers clear of overtheorizing, keeps readers hooked with hip contemporary comparisons (declaring Calvin Coolidge the Reagan of the early 1900s, for example), and, for decorum's sake, keeps his evident zeal for certain figures (Timothy Leary, for example, a posthumous contributor to this book) more or less in check. Always engaging, often inspiring, and certainly not just for nostalgic boomers." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] AL-JAZEERA
February 2005, Grove Press
Al Jazeera has been broadcasting from Quatar in 1996. It became infamour since 9/11. Miles monitored Al Jazeera for Australia's Sky News for the past few years. Now, in anticipation of Al Jazeera's launch of an English language channel, Miles has written this infomrative account of the news station that will try to be the CNN and BBC and Sky News of the Arabic speaking world. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Harvard Rules
The Struggle for the Soul of the World's Most Powerful University
by Richard Bradley
HarperCollins (February 1, 2005)
It is the richest, most influential, most powerful university in the world, but at the beginning of 2001, Harvard was in crisis. Students complained that a Harvard education had grown mediocre. Professors charged that the university cared more about money than about learning. And everyone worried that Harvard's outgoing president, Neil Rudenstine, epitomized an unhappy trend: the university president as full-time fund-raiser. Harvard may have possessed a $19 billion endowment, but had the university lost its soul? The members of the Harvard Corporation, the ultra-secretive governing board established more than three centuries ago, knew that they had to act. And so they made a bold pick for Harvard's twenty-seventh president: former Treasury Secretary and intellectual prodigy economist Lawrence Summers (Son of Larry Summer and Anita Summars, and nephew to Ken Arrow and Paul Samuelson.. the man who was born to be an Economist... a guy whose parents allowed the kids to bid on which tv show to watch and tried to actually place oa value on what the view from their house was worth) Although famously brilliant, Summers was a high-stakes gamble. In the 1990s he had crafted American policies to stabilize the global economy, quietly becoming one of the world's most powerful men. But while many admired Summers, his critics called him elitist, imperialist, and arrogant beyond measure. Today Larry Summers sits atop a university in a state of upheaval, unsure of what it stands for and where it is going. His allies believe that Harvard needs shaking up and appreciate Summer's blunt language and unabashed displays of power. His foes accuse the new president of tearing apart a venerable institution simply to remake it in his own image. At stake is not just the future of Harvard University, but the way in which Harvard students see the world -- and the manner in which they will lead it. Written despite the university's official opposition, Harvard Rules uncovers what really goes on behind Harvard's storied walls -- the politics, sex, ambition, infighting, and intrigue that run rampant within the world's most important university. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Chicken Soup with Chopsticks
A Jew's Struggle for Truth in an Interfaith Relationship
By Jack Botwinick
Paper Spider (February, 2005)
The moment Jack Botwinik became enamoured of Belinda Cheung, he began to reflect seriously on his Jewish heritage and identity. Confronted with an ancient, rich and fascinating Chinese tradition that he knew nothing about, and that threatened to eclipse his own, Jack was challenged to identify what was ultimately special about his Jewishness. While embarking with his Chinese girlfriend on a sincere quest for Truth across religions, Jack was keenly aware of his bias: he feared being cut off from his family and friends and from his ethnic roots, and hoped that Belinda would convert to Judaism. In seeking to show Belinda the beauty, depth and meaningfulness of his religion, Jack came to discover these things himself. And as Belinda was being drawn to the teachings of Judaism, it helped Jack validate his own changing worldview and way of life. Jack Botwinik grew up in a culturally rich environment, speaking five languages. He attained a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from McGill University in Montreal. He worked in Toronto for a few years in the city's welfare department, before landing a job with the Correctional Service of Canada. Jack's experience in dealing with destitute and under-privileged people, and his re-examination of his religious heritage, significantly altered his outlook on life. Jack enjoys family time with his wife and two young children. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Fall Of The Sun God
by Henye Meyer
Pitspopany Press (February, 2005)
Reading level: Ages 9-12 Paperback: 336 pages
Set against the background of the First Crusade, the novel follows the development of Martin as he learns to navigate the treacherous highways and byways of ancient Constantinople, the seat of Christianity in the Middle Ages. After Martin's parents are killed by bandits, he gives up his Judaism and goes on a pilgrimage to find himself. Ultimately, as Martin evolves, he finds a place for himself, a place he never thought existed, a place that holds an age-old message: The Torah is the ultimate shield and sword in a world filled with barbarism; it is the lamp and the staff that leads every Jew to his people. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Biblical Narrative And The Death Of The Rhapsode
(Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature)
by Robert S. Kawashima, PhD
Indiana University Press, 2005
Finalist for the Koret Foundation Jewish Books Award 2005.
An analysis of the novelty of biblical prose narrative and its break with oral traditions. Informed by literary theory and Homeric scholarship as well as biblical studies, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode sheds new light on the Hebrew Bible and, more generally, on the possibilities of narrative form. Robert S. Kawashima compares the narratives of the Hebrew Bible with Homeric and Ugaritic epic in order to account for the "novelty" of biblical prose narrative. Long before Herodotus or Homer, Israelite writers practiced an innovative narrative art, which anticipated the modern novelist's craft. Though their work is undeniably linked to the linguistic tradition of the Ugaritic narrative poems, there are substantive differences between the bodies of work. Kawashima views biblical narrative as the result of a specifically written verbal art that we should counterpose to the oral-traditional art of epic. Beyond this strictly historical thesis, the study has theoretical implications for the study of narrative, literature, and oral tradition.
PL writes: Does the Hebrew Bible show signs of being a product of long oral tradition? In Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode (Indiana University Press), Robert S. Kawashima argues that it does not. He believes that the Bible manifests a very different narrative art from the epic tradition of both the ANE and ancient Greece, and sets out to explain the difference. He argues that the difference lies primarily in the fact that epic is an oral narrative art, while the Bible is (and was from the beginning, he argues) a written narrative: The difference of biblical narrative "resides in the simple fact that writing allows an author to edit, to rewrite, whereas speech exists instantaneously and irrevocably in the act of its utterance. The ability to manipulate language and, more generally, narrative form gives rise in written narratives to techniques foreign to the traditional, improvisational art of epic, techniques premised on the impulse to innovate." He challenges the notion that writing was widely unknown in ancient Israel. On the contrary, "the world of biblical narrative exhibits a thoroughgoing and . . . mundane familiarity with writing without parallel, moreover, in Homeric, Ugaritic, and Mesopotamian narrative traditions." He cites Judges 8:14, where Gideon makes a young captive write the names of the leaders and elders of Succoth. The Bible does not give clear indications of the extent of literacy, however. ..... . Kawashima cites Shemaryahu Talmon, who writes, "The outstanding predominance in the Bible of straightforward prose narration fulfills the functions for which other literatures revert to the epic genre: heroic tales, historiography, even myth and cosmology. The phenomenon is too striking to be coincidental. It appears that the ancient Hebrew writers purposefully nurtured and developed prose narration to take the place of the epic genre which by its content was intimately bound up with the world of paganism and appears to have had a special standing in the polytheistic cults. The recitation of epics was tantamount to a reenactment of cosmic events in the manner of sympathetic magic. In the process of total rejection of the polytheistic religions and their ritual expressions in the cult, epic songs and also the epic genre were purged from the literary repertoire of the Hebrew authors." Kawashima argues that even when the Bible uses techniques found in epic, it flagrantly violates the conventions, out of all recognition. He focuses on the issue of "type scenes," introduced from Homeric into biblical scholarship by Robert Alter, and particularly discusses various examples of the "annunciation type scene" in the Hebrew Bible. He points out, for instance, that the annunciation of Isaac's birth in Genesis 18 is separated from the fulfillment of the promise in chapter 21 by the events of Sodom and Gomorrah. A type scene into which another type scene intervenes (the destruction of a city) is not likely to arise in an oral narrative,... Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] DisneyWar
by James B. Stewart
Simon & Schuster (February 22, 2005)
Drawing on unprecedented access to both Eisner and Roy Disney, current and former Disney executives and board members, as well as thousands of pages of never-before-seen letters, memos, transcripts, and other documents, James B. Stewart gets to the bottom of mysteries that have enveloped Disney for years: What really caused the rupture with studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, a man who once regarded Eisner as a father but who became his fiercest rival? How could "charming, intelligent and funny" Eisner have so misjudged Michael Ovitz, a man who was not only "the most powerful man in Hollywood" but also his friend, whom he appointed as Disney president and immediately wanted to fire? How did Eisner tell all those fact free lies to Ovitz? What caused the break between Eisner and Pixar chairman Steve Jobs, and why did Pixar abruptly abandon its partnership with Disney? Why did Eisner so mistrust Roy Disney that he assigned Disney company executives to spy on him? How did Eisner control the Disney board for so long, and what really happened in the fateful board meeting in September 2004, when Eisner played his last cards? Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] A Thread of Grace
A Novel
by Mary Doria Russell
Random House (February 2005)
Italian citizens saved more than 43,000 Jews during the last 20 months of World War II. Russell has transmuted this little-known history into an expansive, well-researched, and compelling novel. As the story opens, the mountainous region of northwest Italy has been relatively untouched by WWII, and even Jews have been safe. When Italy breaks with Germany in 1943 and pulls out of southern France, thousands of Jewish refugees cross the mountains in search of safety. But the German occupation of Italy poses a new threat. Even with the list that's provided, it can be hard to keep track of all the characters--Catholics and Jews, priests and rabbis, Germans and Italians, old and young, Nazis and Resistance fighters. But Russell is good at presenting the human story while never using the war merely as a backdrop for personal dramas. In fact, to mirror the arbitrary nature of survival during wartime, she has said that she flipped a coin to determine who among her characters would live and who would die. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] PIZZA
By Ed Levine
Rizzoli Universe, February 2005
Pizza is the single most popular food in the world. We consume an estimated $33 billion worth of pizza annually from the 63,873 pizzerias in America. That's a lot of slices. This year's pizza centennial is a milestone laid claim to by Lombardi's Pizza, which opened its doors in New York in 1905. Celebrating this anniversary is Ed Levine's A Slice of Heaven: The Ultimate Pizza Guide and Companion, in which Levine and some of America's best writers and cartoonists set out to answer every cosmic question involving this beloved food: Is Chicago pizza really more of a casserole? What makes New York pizza so good? Is the pizza in New Haven better than anything found in Naples? Is the best pizzeria in the world found in Phoenix, Arizona? What and where is the Pizza Belt? How good can homemade pizza be? Why was Nora Ephron petrified that her very first date would take her to a pizzeria? How did someone named Fats Goldberg end up being New York's preeminent thick-crust pizza maker? Is there an American pizza aesthetic? How does one go about judging pizza? Is there such a thing as a good frozen pizza? All these questions and more will be answered in A Slice of Heaven by Levine, along with some of his favorite writers, including, among others, Calvin Trillin, Ruth Reichl, Roy Blount, Jr., Arthur Schwartz, Mario Batali, Jeffrey Steingarten, and Eric Asimov. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE ORIENTALIST
February 15, 2005; RANDOM HOUSE
Lev Nussimbaum was born in Baku in Azerbaijan in 1905, and was raised as the son of a Jewish oil millionaire. He was pampered, and he was protected from kidnappers from an early age. Afte rthe revolution he ended up in Paris and then Berlin, where he converted to Islam at age 17. He became a prominent author and journalist, before dying in 1942 in Italy of an infection, as Essad Bey. Booklist writes: Lev Nussimbaum fabricated a life that in its brief arc encompassed the whole of the Western and Near Eastern culture of his time. A Jew from the Caucasus, born in the first throes of the Russian Revolution, he styled himself a Muslim prince. As Kurban Said, he wrote a best-selling novel that made him the toast of Nazi Germany. Inventing and reinventing himself, he left a confused and perplexing trail. Reiss pursues two great narratives, one recounting Nussimbaum's life itself, the other following the author's quest to ferret from among myths and outright lies the truth of this man's life. Along the way, readers absorb much about oil-rich Azerbaijan, the Russian Revolution, the rise of fascism, and the centuries-old clashes of cultures and religions in the Caucasus and Middle East. Digressions abound because of Nussimbaum's intricate, multicultural encounters. In the hands of a less adept writer, such complex history might grow opaque and tedious, but Reiss' storytelling flair and the utterly compelling character of Lev Nussimbaum turn this biography into a page-turner of epic proportion. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Do You Hear What I Hear?
Religious Calling, the Priesthood, and My Father
by Minna Proctor
February 2005; VIKING
Proctor's parents-a nonobservant Catholic father and a nonpracticing Jewish mother who divorced when she was in her teens-reared her without religion. So it is a surprise when her father tells her that he is applying to become an Episcopal priest. Her quest to come to terms first with her father's calling, and then with the rejection of his candidacy, leads to a multifaceted consideration of the ordination process, church history, and comparative theology, and also to stringent self-examination. Cosmopolitan and secular, Proctor discovers a wistful envy of her father's faith and a touching indignation when his proffered service is turned down: "I don't think I believe in a God who sends psychic messages through bureaucratic processes." Based on lengthy conversations with her father, interviews with clergy and religious scholars, and readings of classic faith narratives from Augustine to Simone Weil, Do You Hear What I Hear? is a broad-minded and fascinating exploration of a very human phenomenon in the light of cultural shifts over the last three decades

[book cover click here] Jewish Ritual
A Brief Introduction For Christians
by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, Daniel Judson
Jewish Lights Publishing, February 2005
A window into the meaning of Jewish rituals throughout history and today-written especially for Christians. Ritual moments and opportunities guide the daily life of practicing Jews. These spiritual practices give expression to Jewish identity and reflect Judaism's core beliefs and values. But what can they mean to Christians seeking to understand their own faith? In this special book, Rabbis Olitzky and Judson guide you through the whys and hows of nine specific areas of Jewish ritual.
* Observing the Sabbath * Keeping Kosher * Putting on Tefillin (Prayer Boxes) * Wrapping the Tallit (Prayer Shawl) * Covering the Head * Studying Torah * Praying Daily * Saying Blessings throughout the Day * Going to the Ritual Bath
Providing you with the biblical and historical background of each practice, insight into its contemporary use and significance-including the often divergent approaches of different Jewish movements-and personal stories from rabbis and lay people, this easy-to-understand guide illustrates the deep meaning these rituals have in the Jewish relationship with God. Linking these practices to familiar rituals in the Christian tradition, Olitzky and Judson help you better understand the roots of Christianity and how the fundamentals of Judaism relate to and reflect your own spiritual foundation

[book cover click here] NEVER MIND THE GOLDBERGS
A Young Adult Novel
by Matthue Roth
Push, February 2005
Don't think for a second that you know Hava or her place in the world. Yes, she's an Orthodox Jew. But that doesn't mean she can't rock out. And yes, she has opinions about everything around her. But her opinions about herself can be twice as harsh. Now Hava's just been asked to be the token Jew on a TV show about a Jewish family, trading one insular community for another. As in Tanuja Desai Hidier's BORN CONFUSED, there is soon a collision of both cultures and desires -- with one headstrong heroine caught in the middle

[book cover click here] Operation Solomon
The Daring Rescue Of The Ethiopian Jews
by Stephen Spector, SUNY-Stony Brook and Visiting Scholar at Hebrew Univ
Oxford University Press (February 28, 2005) Finally a definitive account, with so much new info on the role of Rudy Boschwitz.
Operation Solomon was one of the most remarkable rescue efforts in modern history, in which more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel in little more than a day. (compare this to 45,000 Yemeni Jews in 1949-1950) Now, in this riveting volume, Stephen Spector offers the definitive account of this incredible story, based on over 200 interviews and exclusive access to confidential documents. Written with the pace and immediacy of a novel, here is the dramatic story of the rescue of the dark-skinned Jews of Ethiopia. Spector recounts how 20,000 Jews were willingly lured from their ancestral villages to Addis Ababa, expecting to be taken quickly from there to the Holy Land. Instead, they became pawns in a struggle between the Israeli government and Ethiopia's repressive dictator, who tried to coerce Israel to sell him weapons he needed in a losing war against rebel armies. In the resulting stalemate, the Jewish community was forced to live for nearly a year in squalid hovels, vulnerable to the dangers of the city, including crime and HIV. Worse yet, the imminent collapse of Addis Ababa, with the rebels closing in on the capital, raised the threat of bloody street fighting or even a genocidal attack on the Jews, a small minority in a nation that is primarily Christian and Moslem. Spector describes the tense negotiations among Israelis, Ethiopians, and Americans, which became increasingly urgent as time ran low and the danger mounted. And he highlights the secret deals and sudden setbacks that nearly aborted the mission at the eleventh hour, even as Israeli jets sat on the runway in Ethiopia, waiting to take the Jews to the land for which they had yearned for generations. Recounting the full story for the first time, Operation Solomon is a stirring account of a heroic rescue achieved in the face of daunting odds. The author includes infomration on the assimilation of lack of assimilation in Israel today, including the near riot in 1996 when it was revealed that blood donated from Ethiopian Jews was usually thrown away than used for transfusions. Click the book cover for more information

MARCH 2005

[book cover click here] Wrestling With God And Men
Homosexuality In The Jewish Tradition
by Rabbi Steven Greenberg
March 2005, University of Wisconsin Press
Rabbi Greenberg's Wrestling with God and Men has received a great deal of media attention. According to Publisher's Weekly, "While Greenberg's controversial biblical claims on this long-taboo topic may infuriate some and gratify others, his book arouses deep empathy for Orthodox homosexuals." Publisher's Weekly also named Greenberg one of the top ten authors at Jewish book festivals in 2004. His book was chosen by as one of the top ten 2004 gay and lesbian books. Greenberg recently won the Koret Jewish Book Award in philosophy and thought for his groundbreaking integration of faith and homosexuality; the award will be presented April 11, 2005 in San Francisco. He is also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, which recognizes gay literature, in religion and spirituality, winners will be announced in New York City on June 2, 2005. Greenberg has toured in the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa. While two verses in the Bible have long been understood to prohibit homosexuality as abominable, Rabbi Steven Greenberg sought to reconcile traditional Judaism and homosexuality in Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition. In the newly updated, paperback edition of his book, Greenberg includes a discussion of the compelling force that may influence sexuality. Rabbi Steven Greenberg became the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi in 1999. Currently, he is a senior teaching fellow at CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. For more information about Greenberg and Wrestling with God and Men, please visit Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] JEWISH FOOD
The World at Table
by Matthew Goodman
HarperCollins (March 1, 2005)
One of the reasons I buy the weekly FORWARD is for the pleasure of reading Matthew Goodman's columns on Jewish food. AND NOW HE HAS A BOOK!... And a colorful one at that.
For centuries Jewish communities around the world forged dynamic cuisines from ancient traditions combined with the bounties -- and limitations -- of their adopted homelands. In this important new collection, Matthew Goodman has assembled more than 170 recipes from 29 countries. Goodman gathered range from such iconic specialties as bagels, kugel, and chopped liver to such favorites, mostly unknown in the United States, as Turkish borekas, flaky cheese-filled turnovers; chelou, an Iranian rice specialty; and shtritzlach, a sweet blueberry pastry unique to Toronto. Together the recipes celebrate the ingenuity of Jewish cooks around the world, in Mexican Baked Blintzes with Vegetables and Roasted Poblano Peppers, Syrian Bulgur Salad with Pomegranate Molasses, Moroccan Roast Chicken with Dried Fruit and Nuts, Iraqi Sweet-and-Sour Lamb with Eggplant and Peppers, Italian Baked Ricotta Pudding, and many other unexpected delights. These dishes have been shaped by the histories of the communities from which they come. This book also features dozens of lively, engaging essays that present the history of Jewish food in all its richness and variety. The essays focus on ingredients, prepared dishes, and cultures. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] GOLDILOCKS RETURNS (and MAKES TSHUVA)
These questions have nothing to do with the book to the right, but I just wanted to ponder the following.
Was Rip Van Winkle actually Reb Ben Vinkl??
Was Goldilocks actually Goldie Lox?
Were the three Bears a Jewish family?
Was the boy who cried wolf speaking about Rabbi Wolf?

[book cover click here][book cover click here] Angel of Forgetfulness
A novel
by Steve Stern
Viking Adult (March 3, 2005)
NYT - "Steve Stern memorializes the prostitutes, gangsters, yellow journalists and Yiddish comedians of the Lower East Side , circa 1910"
Donna Seaman for Booklist wrote: "The bright humor, colorful characters, and potent blend of realism and Jewish mysticism found in Stern's earlier work, particularly The Wedding Jester (1999), attain deeper resonance in his enrapturing new novel. A far-roaming serial bildungsroman, it encompasses a century and links the amazing adventures of an angel called Mocky, who ensures that newborns forget "their prenatal knowledge of paradise" until he falls in love with life on earth; his half-human son, Nachman; Nathan, a proofreader for the Jewish Daily Forward circa 1910 who is at once blessed and cursed with a gift for storytelling; and misfit Saul, who comes to New York from Memphis to attend college in 1969 but who learns the most from an aging relative, the chain-smoking painter Keni. Like the Tree of Life in the Jewish mystical tradition, Stern's vividly picaresque and ingeniously plotted novel intricately meshes earth and heaven, past and present, body and soul as it captures the spirit of the now fabled Lower East Side, with its packed Yiddish theaters and fierce Jewish gangsters; a hippie commune in Arkansas; and a haunted synagogue in Prague. Stern's magical, sexy, suspenseful, and cleverly metaphysical saga brilliantly contrasts the lure of the imagined world with the greater promise of life itself." Click the book cover above to read more.
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[book cover click here] JUDAISM FOR TWO
Partnering As A Spiritual Journey
by Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, and Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer
Jewish Lights, March 2005
Rabbi Wiener (HUC-JIR) and Rabbi Fuchs-Kreimer (RRC) are respected teachers, leaders, and authors. Rabbi Wiener is one of America's top teachers of pastoral counseling. Rabbi Fuchs-Kreimer is a leader at RRC and also a Director for the Jewish Family Service in Philly. In this book, the collaboratively assert that Jewish teachings can strengthen relationships, both gay and straight. This innovative guidebook focuses on Jewish teachings and how the wisdom of the Jewish tradition can strengthen your committed relationship and make your life together richly rewarding. Offering a new perspective on Jewish life for couples at any stage in their lives together, Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer and Rabbi Nancy Wiener draw from the metaphors, concepts and values inherent in the Jewish holiday cycle to address topics important to your life together: communication, forgiveness, anger, play, sex, loss and change. They identify those aspects of Judaism that speak to the complexities of living life as a couple. At the end of each chapter you'll find exercises and suggestions for incorporating ritual, learning and loving-kindness into your time together, helping you reach out beyond yourselves and enrich your shared life as a couple. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Prince of Fire
A novel
by Daniel Silva
Putnam (February 22, 2005)
Few recent thriller writers have excited the kind of critical praise that Daniel Silva has, with his novels featuring art restorer and sometime spy Gabriel Allon. Now Allon is back in Venice, when a terrible explosion in Rome leads to a disturbing personal revelation: the existence of a dossier in the hands of terrorists that strips away his secrets, lays bare his history. Hastily recalled home to Israel, drawn once more into the heart of a service he had once forsaken, Gabriel Allon finds himself stalking an elusive master terrorist across a landscape drenched in generations of blood, along a trail that keeps turning in upon itself, until, finally, he can no longer be certain who is stalking whom. And when at last the inevitable showdown comes, it's not Gabriel alone who is threatened with destruction-for it is not his history alone that has been laid bare. A knife-edged thriller of astonishing intricacy and feeling, filled with exhilarating prose, this is Daniel Silva's finest novel yet.
The New Yorker writes: Silva's fourth novel, "The Kill Artist," introduced Gabriel Allon, an Israeli secret agent and the unlikely guardian of Yasir Arafat during the Oslo peace negotiations. In the three books that followed, Arafat demonstrated his appreciation by repeatedly trying to have Allon murdered. In the latest installment, the Israeli Embassy in Rome is destroyed by a Palestinian bomb, and Allon is summoned from Venice, where he poses as a world-class art restorer, to hunt down the terrorist. That the bomber also happens to moonlight as a famous French archeologist is mere coincidence. How these two could operate undetected in such gossipy professions is itself a mystery, but Silva manages to render the rest of the tense cat-and-mouse plot more credibly. Though he doesn't disguise his (now, perhaps, obsolete) antipathy for Arafat, Silva adorns his other characters-the true believer, the spymaster, the lover-with enough fine thoughts to make them sympathetic. Click the book cover above to read more.
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[book cover click here] KISS ME LIKE A STRANGER
My Search for Love and Art
St. Martin's Press (March 1, 2005)
Jerry Silberman studied acting at the Actors Studio after leaving Milwaukee and changed his name to Gene Wilder (from Eugene Gant, the main character in "Look Homeward, Angel" and the playwright Thornton Wilder). He landed a role with Mel Brooks after starring opposite Mel's girlfriend, Anne Bancroft. He then collaborated with Mel on more films, and landed some amazing rolls as Willy Wonka and in Bonnie and Clyde. And buddy films with Richard Pryor. This book is so so so honest, it is so refreshing to read about Wilder's life, his roles, his marriages (4), his infidelities, how is met Gilda Radnor, what she was really like in his eyes, his recoveries from illnesses, his therapy sessions, his mother issues, and more. Wilder writes compellingly about the creative process on stage and screen, and divulges moments from life on the sets of some of the most iconic movies of our time. In this book, he talks about everything from his experiences in psychoanalysis to why he got into acting and later comedy (his first goal was to be a Shakespearean actor), and how a Midwestern childhood with a sick mother changed him. Wilder explains why he became an actor and writer, and about the funny, wonderful movies he made with Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, and Harrison Ford, among many others. He candidly reveals his failures in love, and writes about the overwhelming experience of marrying comedienne Gilda Radner, as well as what finally had to happen for him to make a true and lasting commitment to another woman. Writing in the NYT, Janet Maslin wrote, "...this is such a gracious, endearing book that even the stickiness of its name develops a certain gallantry. As Mr. Wilder writes on the closing page, the title came from Gilda Radner, his third wife and one of the many friends, lovers and colleagues about whom he writes with striking candor. "I had no idea why she said it or what the title meant," he explains. But there is a courtliness to his having resurrected those words no matter what the cost. There's a sting here too, since Mr. Wilder does not intend the title sentimentally; he uses it to convey anger. Why couldn't Ms. Radner have been as kind to a husband as she was to people she didn't know? Though this book is true to the nice-guy persona that Mr. Wilder has used to such fine comic effect as an actor, it is not without claws. But he writes with an introspection that keeps these opposite sides of his nature reconciled." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Torah:
A Modern Commentary,
Revised Edition
Edited by Rabbi Gunther Plaut
Union of Reform Judaism, March 2005
ANNOUNCING THE FIRST REVISION OF THE TORAH: A MODERN COMMENTARY IN MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS! New in 2005, The Torah: A Modern Commentary, Revised Edition brings contemporary values and a fresh vibrancy to the 1981 Plaut editon, North America's longtime most popular Torah commentary. Now divided by parashiyot, Aliyot markers included in each parashah, Haftarah follows each parashah, Side-by-side English and Hebrew translation, Gender-sensitive, Clearer type, vowels, and cantillation marks. Click the BOOK COVER above to see the Introduction to Revised Edition [PDF, 132k], Parashat Sh'mot [PDF, 1.4 MB], Excerpts from Parashat VaYigash [PDF, 1 MB], or Excerpts from Parashat B'reishit & Yitro [1.2 MB, PDF]. Click the book cover to be referred to the Union of Reform Judaism, where you can buy the book directly. Tell them we sent ya. Thanks. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Choosing Judaism
by Lydia Kukoff
Urj Press; Revised edition Spring 2005
Issues that affect Jews by Choice and converts to the faith. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Why the Jews Rejected Jesus
The Turning Point in Western History
March 2005. Doubleday
Klinghoffer, one of America's most circumcised Jewish men, the politically right-wing Jewish writer who likened Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael Schiavo, to Haman, a murderer (in his essay in NY Jewish Week 4/1/05), explores the Jews and Jesus. Why did the Jews reject Jesus? Was he really the son of God? Were the Jews culpable in his death? These ancient questions have been debated for almost two thousand years, most recently with the release of Mel Gibson's explosive The Passion of the Christ. The controversy was never merely academic. The legal status and security of Jews-often their very lives-depended on the answer.
In WHY THE JEWS REJECTED JESUS, David Klinghoffer reveals that the Jews since ancient times accepted not only the historical existence of Jesus but the role of certain Jews in bringing about his crucifixion and death. But he also argues that they had every reason to be skeptical of claims for his divinity. For one thing, Palestine under Roman occupation had numerous charismatic would-be messiahs, so Jesus would not have been unique, nor was his following the largest of its kind. For another, the biblical prophecies about the coming of the Messiah were never fulfilled by Jesus, including an ingathering of exiles, the rise of a Davidic king who would defeat Israel's enemies, the building of a new Temple, and recognition of God by the gentiles. Above all, the Jews understood their biblically commanded way of life, from which Jesus's followers sought to "free" them, as precious, immutable, and eternal. Jews have long been blamed for Jesus's death and stigmatized for rejecting him. But Jesus lived and died a relatively obscure figure at the margins of Jewish society. Indeed, it is difficult to argue that "the Jews" of his day rejected Jesus at all, since most Jews had never heard of him. The figure they really rejected, often violently, was Paul, who convinced the Jerusalem church led by Jesus's brother to jettison the observance of Jewish law. Paul thus founded a new religion. If not for him, Christianity would likely have remained a Jewish movement, and the course of history itself would have been changed. Had the Jews accepted Jesus, Klinghoffer speculates, Christianity would not have conquered Europe, and there would be no Western civilization as we know it. WHY THE JEWS REJECTED JESUS tells the story of this long, acrimonious, and occasionally deadly debate between Christians and Jews. It is thoroughly engaging, lucidly written, and in many ways highly original. Though written from a Jewish point of view, it is also profoundly respectful of Christian sensibilities. Coming at a time when Christians and Jews are in some ways moving closer than ever before, this thoughtful and provocative book represents a genuine effort to heal the ancient rift between these two great faith traditions. Click the book cover above to read more.

Speaking of Jewish Republicans...

[book cover click here] Taking Heat
The President, the Press, and My Years in the White House
by Ari Fleischer
William Morrow (March 1, 2005)
The NYT writes: "As a press secretary, Fleischer frustrated the press because he refused to shed meaningful light on the president's actions. After reading his recollections, one wonders if he is even capable of such insight. This is not a memoir so much as an infomercial."
PW writes: "Former White House press secretary, Fleischer became a lightning rod for accusations about the Bush administration's alleged spin, secrecy and hostility to the press, claims that may not be quieted by this sunnily defensive memoir. Fleischer acknowledges the White House's fanatical "message discipline," which still seems in force in his glowing portrait of Bush as a decisive leader, stalwart in advancing freedom and opposing "evil," forever comforting the families of terror victims and military casualties. And he cops to some stonewalling at press briefings, explaining, with some justice, that many questions concerned security and military operations he couldn't discuss. The many lengthy fencing matches he reprints sometimes evoke sympathy, as reporters badger him with provocative questions and he responds "with the same non-answer every time." Mainly, though, he blames his testy relations with the media on the media themselves and what he sees as their knee-jerk controversializing and pervasive liberal bias, and gleefully cites examples. Fleischer is less forthcoming on his own responsibility for relating false claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; "we may all have been wrong," he shrugs, but contends it doesn't matter because Saddam might have gotten WMDs someday. Seldom have a press secretary's inaccuracies had such momentous consequences, so Fleischer's reluctance to examine how and why they occurred is disappointing indeed." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC
A Novel
Dutton, March 2005
Ages 9 to 12 and up
Justine Silver's best friend, Mary Catherine McAllister, has given up chocolate for Lent, but Justine doesn't think God wants her to make that kind of sacrifice. So she's decided to give up being Jewish instead. Eleven-year-old Justine pours her heart out to her teddy bear, "Father Ted," in a homemade closet confessional. But when Justine's beloved Bubbe suffers a stroke, Justine worries that her religious exploration is responsible. Worse, she must suddenly contemplate life without Bubbe. Ultimately, it's Bubbe's quiet understanding of Justine's search for identity that helps Justine to find faith in the most important place of all-within herself. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] A CHANGED MAN
A novel by
March 2005, HarperCollins
On an unseasonably warm spring afternoon, a young neo-Nazi named Vincent Nolan walks into the Manhattan office of World Brotherhood Watch, a human rights foundation headed by a charismatic Holocaust survivor, Meyer Maslow. Vincent announces that he wants to make a radical change in his life. But what is Maslow to make of this rough-looking stranger who claims to have read Maslow's books, who has Waffen-SS tattoos under his shirtsleeves, and who says that his mission is to save guys like him from becoming guys like him? As he gradually turns into the sort of person who might actually be able to do that, Vincent also transforms those around him: Maslow, who fears that heroism has become a desk job; Bonnie Kalen, the foundation's fund-raiser, a divorced single mother and a devoted believer in Maslow's crusade against intolerance and injustice; and Bonnie's teenage son, Danny, whose take on the world around him is at once openhearted, sharp-eyed, and as fundamentally decent as his mother's. A Changed Man poses the essential questions: What constitutes a life worth living? Is it possible to change? What does it mean to be a moral human being? Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE EMERGENCE OF ETHICAL MAN
Edited by Michael Berger
Ktav, March 2005
Discloses what it means to be human. For thousands of years, philosophers have pondered the question what it means to be human. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, known universally as "the Rav" --the rabbi par excellence-- answers the question in The Emergence of Ethical Man, edited by Michael Berger. Relying on both scientific research and classical Jewish sources, Soloveitchik explains how a thoroughly naturalistic setting could give birth to human personality -- and to Judaism's expectation of moral character and self-transcendence. The resulting religious anthropology is a startlingly fresh reading of the early chapters of Genesis, and highlights Judaism's distinctive view among those of other religious traditions. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Understanding the Hebrew Bible
A Guide for the Perplexed
by Elliot Rabin
Ktav, March 2005
An orientation to the Bible. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] HELLO GOD, IT'S ME (original working title)
By Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi with Joel Segel
March 3, 2005, Riverhead Books
One of the great innovators in Jewish history and a father of the Jewish Renewal movement writes a practical guide to Jewish living in a modern world. Scholar, mystic, teacher, friend to spiritual teachers from Thomas Merton to Arthur green to David Cooper to Rodger Kamanetz to Shlomo Carlebach to the Dalai Lama, from Ram Dass to the revered Native American elders, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi is himself one of the great spiritual leaders of our time. In JEWISH WITH FEELING, Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi brings the core tenets and practices of Judaism into the twenty-first century. Drawing on a wide range of philosophies and religious traditions, Schachter-Shalomi illuminates the universal aspects of Judaism and shows readers how to apply them to daily life. Emphasizing personal experience over doctrine, he offers sage insight into how Judaism-both old and new-can help us lead satisfying spiritual lives. Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi acknowledges the complexities of our lives today, which leave many of us with little room for spiritual pursuits, and he gives readers the tools to understand God in a contemporary context. The message is simple: Meaningful practice is the springboard to fulfillment in modern times.
Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi shows hot to: Connect with a personal god; create our own Sabbath practice; share our innermost experience with the divine; understand the deepest levels of our rituals; restore global responsibility to thje top of the Jewish agenda; enrich and learn from other faiths; and look to our future with hope. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] We Jews
Who Are We and What Should We Do
by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Jossey-Bass (March 11, 2005)
In We Jews, Rabbi Steinsaltz explores the most important issues that concern Jews today as Jews. He provides wise and uplifting answers to Jews everywhere, whether they are secular and assimilated or orthodox-Are we a nation or a religion? Are the stereotypes of Jews really true? Why are Jews so controversial? How can we navigate the opposing forces of diversity, culture, and politics? Can we survive intermarriage and the loss of tradition? Do we still worship the Golden Calf? In this book, Rabbi Steinsaltz sees causes and consequences, achievements and failures, looks at the contemporary world, and observes the dreams and longings of modern Jewish people. Written as an intimate and inspiring internal memo to the whole Jewish family, We Jews answers these questions and many more in a way that is at once insightful and inspiring Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Kosher By Design Entertains
Fabulous Recipes For Parties And Every Day by Susie Fishbein
Mesorah Publications (March 15, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: Building on her popular Kosher by Design, Fishbein leads readers through an array of extremely doable kosher options, covering finger foods to main dishes to desserts, while giving suggestions for organizing a menu, decorating a table and serving foods. International offerings like Pesce Arrabbiatta, Moroccan Short Ribs, and Caribbean Jerk Chicken appear alongside variations on familiar classics, such as Mexican Gefilte Fish, Strawberry Apple Kugel, and Mexican Brisket. The author is hip to trendy food items such as edamame, olive tapenade, fennel and porcini mushrooms, reinforcing this cookbook's value: yes, every dish is kosher, but far from old-fashioned. Fishbein suggests salmon mousse as an alternative to gefilte fish and uses innovative combinations such as bread pudding with kugel (in Pineapple Challah Kugel). In dishes like Steak and Green Beans with Wasabi Cream Sauce, or Orecchiette with Salmon in Cream Sauce, Fishbein uses nondairy sour cream and cream cheese. She codes each dish parve, meat or dairy, and gives helpful pointers (the Arugula and Pear Salad, for example, "works equally [book cover click here] [book cover click here] well with Granny Smith apples in place of the pears. Think of the apple option for Rosh Hashana"). Even if readers aren't likely to throw a "Just for Guys" dinner and decorate their table with a "homey, masculine look," or follow Fishbein's other ideas for theme nights, here are plenty of solid recipes perfect for any occasion. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here][book cover click here] Kosher Living
It's More Than Just the Food
by Rabbi Ron Isaacs
Jossey-Bass (March 11, 2005)
Kosher Living is an essential guide to Jewish ethics and morality for your everyday life. Rabbi Ron Isaacs offers a warm, humorous, and eminently useful book that shows what is really kosher, proper, and appropriate in all aspects of our lives. Kosher Living includes comprehensive entries organized into practical categories of daily life practices, business, hospitality, relationships, care of the body, and more3/4it gives advice from all aspects of Jewish religion, custom, ritual, and tradition. This book is an invaluable source of inspiration; and a definitive reference work for every Jewish family. Written in an easy-to-use format, Kosher Living is a perfect tool for teaching Jewish values and tradition. Rabbi Ron Isaacs has been the spiritual leader of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater, New Jersey since 1975. He received his doctorate in instructional technology from Columbia University's Teacher's College. He is the author of more than 80 books. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The New Jewish Baby Book
Names, Ceremonies, And Customs
A Guide For Today's Families
by Anita Diamant
March 2005, Jewish LIGHTS
Complete guide to the customs and rituals for welcoming a new child to the world and into the Jewish community, and for commemorating this joyous event in family life--whatever your family constellation. Includes new ceremonies for girls, celebrations in interfaith families, and more. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Sholom's Treasure
How Sholom Aleichem Became a Writer
by Erica Silverman, Mordicai Gerstein (Illustrator)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (March 11, 2005)
Ilene Cooper in BookList writes: "The name Sholom Aleichem may be familiar to only a few children, but the story of this young imp, who was determined to do his father proud, will strike a chord with many. Born Sholom Rabinowitz, he was 1 of 12 children living in a Russian shtetl. One of his earliest memories was listening to his father read humorous stories aloud. But life wasn't funny or easy for the family--his father's business failed, and his mother's death [ed note: cholera] led to the presence of an unpleasant stepmother. [ed note: his father told the stepmother that there were 6 kids.. there were actually 12, your would be pissed, too 'Larry]Yet the boy found fun in just about everything. A clown, a reader, and, eventually, a talented writer, he used the people and places he knew as a basis of his popular stories. Silverman keeps her focus on the things about Aleichem's life that will appeal most to young readers: his sense of the absurd, his railings against life's injustices, and his determination to follow his dreams. Caldecott winner Gerstein's ink-and-watercolor paintings appear as full-page art and strips of illustration, both of which are equally adept at capturing the pathos and absurdities of everyday life. As in Aleichem's own stories, there's a universality here that transcends the borders of time and place."
Writing for The San Francisco Chronicle, Susan Faust wrote: "Gerstein's scratchy pen and ink art has a wry and rustic quality, perfect for this slice-of-life in the Russian Pale. Kids will see the genesis of genius..." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Judaism, Physics And God
Searching For Sacred Metaphors In A Post-Einstein World
by Rabbi David W. Nelson
March 2005, Jewish LIGHTS
Explores the interconnection of science and faith. In clear, non-technical terms, Judaism, Physics and God explores the basic ideas of five broad areas of modern physics and how they connect to our understanding of Judaism and God. Relating the scientific studies of cosmology, creation, chaos theory, relativity, and string theories to the human search for meaning through faith and religion, Nelson explores the fundamental question: How would our Jewish thought, belief, and language be affected if we were to internalize the lessons of physics as part of our intuitive sense of how the world works? How would it change our understanding of and relationship with God? In playfully informal prose that will captivate the most reluctant and unscientific reader, Rabbi Nelson draws upon a heritage rich with faith and science as he examines the ways these two seemingly incompatible fields share intriguing and enlightening connections.
Rabbi Nelson (HUC 1980, Wesleyan) is the Director of The Jewish Life Connection in Washington Township, NJ. In addition to teaching for CLAL and HUC, He has spoken on and authored topics including "Way Beyond Chicken Soup: The Meaning of Jewish Law for the (Liberal) Jewish Soul"; "The Book is Better than the Movie: New Understandings of Pesach, the Haggadah, and Freedom"; "Close Encounters of the Jewish Kind: The Search for Intimacy with God"; "Re-Discovering Jewish Prayer: A Spiritual Safari for Jewish Explorers"; and "New Jewish Metaphors for Einstein's Descendents: Physics and the Language of Jewish Life for Non-Scientists" Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Light of Redemption
A Passover Haggadah Based on the Writings of Rav Kook
by Rabbi Gideon Weitzman, founder the Kansas City Community Kollel and served as its first Rosh Kollel
March 2005, URIM
Rabbi Abraham Isaac (Avraham Yitzhak) haCohen Kook (1865-1935) was born in Latvia, studied in the great yeshivot of Lithuania (and Volozhin). Rav Kook became a Zionist leader and the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine. His Zionist infused essays and analysis of the festival of Pesach (Israel being a modern day exodus of the Hebrews) became a mainstay of Israeli haggadahs and Passover seders. Now, finally, these essays and thoughts are available to an English speaking and reading audience. The Haggadah is Right to left, with Hebrew text on the right pages, and English translations on the facing left pages. Commentaries are at the bottom of the pages. There is no transliteration of the Hebrew, and the fours sons are sons and not children. The Haggadah opens with five essays, one of which is "Four That is Really Five," which discusses four cups of wine, four sons, four questions, four redemptions.. or it really five? And is there a fifth son that is not talked about? There are songs at the back of the Haggadah, the Hallel, as well as Shir haShirim (no English, just voweled Hebrew), since some have a custom of reading the Song of Songs at their Seder. It also includes the Search for Leavening, and illustrations of three ways to arrange a seder plate: according to the Ari; The Gaon of Vilna; and Rabbi Moshe Isserlis.
But the reason to buy this Haggadah is the Kook commentaries. Here are just a tiny bit of examples: For Kaddesh, Rav Kook asks, why Kaddesh and not Kiddush for this recitation of the kiddush? Because Kaddesh is singular and an imperative for each individual to sanctify. Why is the simple function of washing your hands U'rechatz before the Karpas a way to transport oneself to Jews around the world? For Karpas you dip a vegetable in salt water. Which is the food? The solid vegetable or the liquid? Is the salt water merely tears of the slaves? Or is the fluid more; is the fusing consumption of fluid and solid more significant than just salty water on a vegetable? When the hungry and the needy are invited to the seder, Rav Kook asks why are the hungry and needy both mentioned. How do they differ? What are their differing needs and characteristics? I was especially drawn to Rav Kook's commentaries on the nature of freedom. Passover is the festival of freedom; we are commanded to feel free, but yet we are constrained by the format of the seder. Rav Kook cuts to the heart of the matter. How can you be free yet forced to follow a format at the same time. Rav Kook wrote that freedom is not achieved by each person doing whatever s/he wants, but the freedom to act without coercion but within a framework. Regarding the "wicked son," Rav Kook says that the almighty saves those who want to be saved, and that some are content with their slavery. They see the seder as work and service. Rav Kook comments on "The Egyptians mistreated us" by writing that that 'the Egyptians made us bad', and that servitude causes one to lose faith and leads to Hebrews mistreating fellow Hebrews as well as others. For "with a strong hand", Rav Kook relates that God required a strong hand to extricate the Hebrews from Egypt. Rav Kook asks why Maror is eaten after Matzah. Would it not be better to taste the Maror of slavery before the Matzah of freedom? Or must we first taste freedom, and then only eat of slavery to better understand servitude from the vantage point of freedom? Although this is a holiday of leavened bread, reading this book will truly levitate your seder.
This Passover Haggadah presents the ideas of the great Israeli rabbi and thinker, Rabbi Kook, on the Haggadah and on Passover in general, making them available to the English speaking public for the first time. The full text of the Passover Haggadah appears in the original Hebrew with English translation. The commentary is in English. When the Jews left Egypt they achieved more than just physical freedom. They were now able to flourish and become a nation. This process did not stop, but continues until today. Rav Kook was one of the greatest Jewish leaders and thinkers of recent history. He understood that the Zionist awakenings were the realization of the prophetic visions of rebirth and return. It was in this context that Rav Kook explained Pesach and wrote a commentary on the Haggadah. His poetic and kabbalistic style meant that his writings have been largely inaccessible to the English reader. Rabbi Weitzman presents these ideas in a lucid and readable style that will enhance the understanding of the Seder and will be an excellent addition to any Jewish library. Rabbi Kook (1865-1935), the first Chief Rabbi of modern Israel, is recognized as one of the greatest Jewish leaders and thinkers of the past century. He taught that the gatherings in Israel and Zion were the early realization of the prophetic visions of rebirth and return. The poetic and kabbalistic style of his writings have been largely inaccessible to the English reader. Rabbi Gideon Weitzman is currently the Head of the English Speaking Section of the Puah Institute for Fertility and Gynecology in Accordance with Halachah. He is the author of Sparks of Light, a book of essays on the weekly Torah portion based on the philosophy of Rav Kook, and In Those Days, At This Time, a volume on the festivals based on the philosophy of Rav Kook, as well as many halachic articles. Click on the cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] WOMEN AT THE SEDER
Ktav, March 2005
This is a TRADITIONAL Haggadah that celebrates the emergence and achievements of women in public Orthodox Jewish life. It is compiled by Joel Wolowelsky, the Dean of the Faculty at Brooklyn's Yeshivah of Flatbush, where he teaches Math and Philosophy. He is an associate editor of "Tradition," a journal of Orthodox Jewish thought. The format is right to left, with Hebrew on right facing pages, English translations on left facing pages, and commentaries on the bottom of each page. He adds a page of Tkhines for Peysekh, and a Blessing for sons and a blessing for daughters. The four "sons" are four children (and the commentary asks how can their be a wise and wicked child in the same family, raised by the same parents [Oprah can do a show on this issue]) The illustration of the Rasha child is smoking a cigarette. I began learning from his commentaries on the first page. Did you know that some families add cooked fish to their seder plates, to commemorate Miriam (in addition to Moses and Aaron), and that this tradition is over 700 years old? Or that in some Syrian Jewish families, the leader places the matzah over his or her shoulder and talks about leaving Egypt, and then passes it to all the others at the table, and they repeat the stories of Exodus? Did you know that seders at the old secular kibbitzim used to ask, "Why on this night do we eat together and not with kids and adults separated?" Did you know that in the Talmud TB Pesahim 108a, women who were not prominent were not supposed to recline out of fear of their husbands, but in the same chapter, the Mordehai rules that all women and men must recline. This practice of subjugation was changed over time. The Haggadah mentions that Rahtzah is the feminine form of the word for "washing", and is used here to recall that women saved Moses when he was born. It has tidbits, such as when he quotes a ruling by Rabbi Akiva Eiger, he notes that the Eiger children are known by their mother's maiden name (Eiger's or Pressburg) instead of his father's Guens surname; or some Ashkenazi medieval haggadot would include a picture of a rabbit, since the German word (jagen-has) for rabbit hunt, sounds like YaKNeHaZ (Yayin, Kiddush, Ner, Havdalah, Zman), the order of Saturday night blessings. Several female scholars are quoted, including Marisa Savitsky, Yaffa Eliach, Nechama Leibowitz, Dina Haramati, Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg, Levia Cooper, and many others.

Women at the Seder is a traditional Passover Haggadah whose commentary celebrates of one of the great transformations of the Torah community during this past century: the emergence of women from the privacy of their home "tents" to the public arena of the synagogue and Torah study halls, without abandoning in any way their central traditional role as the cornerstone of the home and family. The Rabbis had long ago acknowledged that it was in the merit of our righteous women that Israel was redeemed from slavery. The Passover seder -- the home celebration of our national liberation - is an appropriate place to acknowledge and honor women's expanded role in our public as well as private religious life. The commentary includes rabbinic comments on women associated with the Exodus, a discussion of those relevant aspects of Jewish law that apply to women, and homilies -- divrei Torah by women for the seder, many written especially for this volume. In a generation, it should seem quaint that it was noteworthy that women's divrei Torah constituted a significant part of a Haggadah commentary. That will be cause for yet additional rejoicing, as women's contributions on all levels of Torah scholarship will have become even more commonplace. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Moriah Haggadah:
Collector's Edition
by Avner Moriah
Spring 2005, Jewish Publication Society of America
SAVE 37% off the LIST PRICE
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The illuminated haggadah is the most popular artistic book in Jewish history. The word "haggadah" means recital -- namely, reciting or telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt -- following the biblical exhortation to tell the next generation the story of the redemption of the Israelites. This special collector's edition of The Moriah Haggadah, with art and calligraphy faithfully reproduced from the original hand-painted edition, is enhanced with a clear and precise English translation and commentary. All translations of biblical texts are from the 1917 and 1985 Jewish Publication Society translations of the TANAKAH, which have been modified to make the texts gender sensitive. Avner Moriah's prodigious talent and curiosity, his deep personal identification with the themes of the festival and its special book, and his imaginative visualizations have given rise to an inspiring contemporary interpretation of the ancient Passover story. Moriah imbues the words with captivating modern images and new ways to penetrate its many hidden meanings. Izzy Pludwinski's elegant calligraphy gives the Hebrew characters unique beauty, and the commentary by Shlomo Fox provides new insights into the familiar text. Click on the cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Leading The Passover Journey
The Seder's Meaning Revealed, The Haggadah's Story Retold.
by Rabbi Nathan Laufer
Spring 2005, Jewish Lights
Everyone Can Rediscover the Meaning of the Seder. In this intriguing and enlightening exploration of the Passover Seder, Rabbi Nathan Laufer uncovers the hidden meaning of the Seder's rituals and customs for everyone interested in or participating in a Seder. He insightfully brings an original, accessible, yet scholarly perspective to understanding the Haggadah text. Unlike other books on the Seder that offer only fragmentary insights into the Seder and the Haggadah, Leading the Passover Journey reveals a unifying theory connecting the fifteen pieces of the Seder and our own contemporary experiencing of the Passover story. Explaining the background and spiritual meaning of many customs and rituals we may have otherwise thought little about-from kadesh (the first cup of wine) to nirtzah (acceptance)-Rabbi Laufer helps you to develop a deeper understanding and a more passionate appreciation of the Passover Seder experience. Leading the Passover Journey will transform your family and friends from reluctant bystanders at the Passover Seder who repeatedly ask "When are we going to eat already?" to enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and active participants in our people's journey toward redemption. Rabbi Nathan Laufer, senior fellow at The Shalem Center in Jerusalem and president emeritus of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, is a graduate of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (REITS) of Yeshiva University and the Fordham University School of Law. Rabbi Laufer teaches and lectures across North America and Israel regarding issues of leadership, Jewish identity and meaning, and the future of American Jewry.

[book] Abuelita's Secret Matzahs
by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Diana Bryer (Illustrator)
March 2005. Emmis
Ages 4-8
Abuelita (grandma) is descended from "crypto Jews" in New Mexico, people who hid their religion in the 15th and 16th Centuries when they left Spain for Mexico and the new Mexican territories. When her grandson, Jacobo, comes to visit around Easter time, he learns about her avoidance of pork and the secret flat tortillas (no yeast) she traditionally eats at this Springtime religious festival. Peculiar. Then he meets and plays with David. David's family also eats flat bread, lights candles on Friday night, and avoids pork. They are Jewish and celebrate Passover, not Easter. Jacobo, like David, asks a lot of questions. But unlike at a seder, there is no Ha Lachman Anya... abuelita keeps quiet. But after continued question, abuelita relents and tells him the story of hidden Jews. A lovely multicultural and historical story. The book ends with a recipe for Jacobo's favorite Sopa (although it is not a Passover soup since it uses leavened bread)

[book] The Matzo Ball Boy
by Lisa Shulman, Rosanne Litzinger (Illustrator)
Winter 2005. Dutton Juvenile
Ages 4-8
One day, the author, Lisa Shulman (author and a former classroom teacher), was making soup while her daughters read the Gingerbrad Man story. OY! BING! SHMING! Inspiration. The Matzo Ball Boy was born. With lovely deep reds and oranges, chicken soup yellows, and forest greens, we read the story of a childless bube, who is preparing for a lonely Passover meal. A shanda. When, oy, her matzo ball comes alive. Boy, Shmoy he tells her. He is a man, and off to make his way in the world and not in a soup bowl. He runs and she gives chase. As does the tailor, the rabbi, the yenta, and a wolf that is not as smart as he thought. In the forest, the matzo ball boy gets tired and hungry, when he meets up with a poor man who isn't interested in giving chase. Let all who are hungry come and meet, so the boy comes to the poor man's cottage. When the matzo ball boy leans over to check out the poor family's soup... This humorous tale is a must have for your seder table or bookcase. Includes not a "glass tea" but something better, a glossary of 14 Jewish words. SPOILER.. Was he pushed? Did he fall? Or maybe he saw this poor family and knew it was a mitvah to make their Hag a good one?

[book cover click here] AftER THE APPLE
Miramax, March 2005
PW writes, "Rosenblatt dispels the pervasive notion many have that biblical matriarchs were weak and ineffective, demonstrating instead that these ancient dames took risks that often catapulted the struggling Jewish nation to survival and prominence. She infuses each chapter with her experience as a relationship therapist and brings timeless stories to life with a combination of personal and professional insight. Instead of viewing Eve as a temptress and sinner, Rosenblatt encourages readers to understand Eve's actions as a conscious rejection of "the stultifying monotony of her perfect paradisiacal life" and desire to transcend the limitations of the garden. Tamar's heroic act to right her situation as a beleaguered two-time widow results in the union from which King David would be born; Queen Esther's formidable courage in time of despair earns her people salvation and an opportunity for retribution; and Abigail, King David's second wife, saves her household from destruction with calm and confidence. Although parts of the book tend to overanalyze personalities and actions, and at times the author's expositions seem verbose, the overall flow is smooth and the stories engaging. Rosenblatt successfully places herself in the hearts and minds of ancient heroines and teaches her readers not just to study but to imagine." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Language of Baklava
A Memoir
March 2005 pantheon
Not a Jewish Book, but a fun read. She chronicles her own growing up as the oldest daughter of an American mother and her exuberant Jordanian father, Bud, who, like his large crowd of siblings, aches for his birth county. "I sense a deep weirdness about my own existence in the world," she writes. "How could these two people have ever found each other?" Bud is a passionate cook, and as in Crescent, the intoxicating power of good food forms a sublime current through the story, with recipes anchoring each chapter. Abu-Jaber writes about the profound disorientation of both childhood and the immigrant experience with the same acute insight, poignancy, and expertly timed, self-deprecating comic narration. Recollections about family, fitting in, and the author's struggles to become a writer read like polished, self-contained short stories, both familiar and enchantingly exotic. But beneath the amusing, generous personal stories are "deeper, formless questions": Do people "have to decide who they are and where exactly their home is? How many lives are we allowed?" Abu-Jaber's sly, poetic precision will leave readers breathless. (Booklist) Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE OTHER HOLLYWOOD
The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry
by Legs McNeil, JENNIFER OSBORNE, Peter Pavia
ReganBooks (March 1, 2005)
Legs McNeil is the coauthor of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, a book widely hailed as the definitive work on the subject. The founder of the seminal magazine that gave punk its name, he is a former editor at Spin and editor-in-chief of Nerve. McNeil also wrote Marilyn Chambers's comeback film, Still Insatiable. He divides his time between New York and Los Angeles. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Genizah At The House Of Shepher
A novel
by Tamar Yellin
Toby Press (March 30, 2005)
Shulamit, a biblical scholar from England, returns to her grandparents' home in Jerusalem for a visit, after an absence of many years. Almost immediately she becomes embroiled in a family feud over possession of the so-called Shepher Codex, a mysterious and valuable manuscript which has been discovered in the attic. In tracing the origins of the Codex she uncovers the history of the Shepher family itself: of her great-grandfather, who traveled to Babylon in search of the ten lost tribes; of her grandfather, a dreamer whose Zionist ideals brought him into confl ict with his religion; of her parents, and their tormented love affair; and of her own orphaned and unhappy past. At the same time, she struggles to find answers to pressing questions: what is the significance of the Codex and where does it come from? Who is the stranger, Gideon, who is desperate to enlist her help? Above all, whom does the Codex belong to and what part must Shula play in its destiny? Set against the backdrop of a changing Jerusalem over a hundred and thirty years, The Genizah at the House of Shepher is a large-canvas novel of exile and belonging, displacement, and the quest for both love and a true promised land. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] AND THE WORD WAS
A novel
by Bruce Bauman
Other Press, March 2005
Booklist writes, "Bauman's first novel is a magnificent debut, smart and intense, but accessible and riveting. Its central character, Neil Downs, is embraceable and human, a Jewish doctor for all the right reasons; and though he has led a good life, it is overturned by a random act of violence. His treasured young son, a brilliant and lovable pre-teen, is gunned down in a school shooting, and Downs finds later that day that his wife has betrayed him. When Downs' medical expertise cannot save his son and his spirituality cannot save his faith in his marriage, he turns to the universe in utter despair and moves to India, hoping to find either oblivion or hope. What he finds is a fascinating play of world politics encompassing a wide cast of characters. This story at first seems a strange foil for his internal turmoil, but as the two plots weave together, the connections become clearer. The binding thread of this narrative is the integration of suffering into one's worldview. Downs' favorite writer, Holocaust survivor Levi Furstenblum, denies all meaning in the universe, and his writings are interspersed within the book and espoused in real conversations between him and Downs, since Furstenblum is now living in India. In the end, the world does turn again, for all the characters, and the resolution is hopeful and fulfilling. This is simply a great novel, and hopefully only the first in what will be many more from the author. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Let Me Create A Paradise
A Journey of Conscience from Johannesburg to Jerusalem
by Hirsh Goodman
Perseus Books Group (March 30, 2005)
From Johannesburg to Jerusalem: A moving memoir and a controversial examination of a nation's conscience. Hirsh Goodman's childhood in South Africa was white-and Jewish-in ways he did not initially appreciate. While the local culture brutally suppressed the black population, Hirsh and his friends marched off to Zionist Socialist meetings, full of rhetoric about equality, justice, and democracy-all within the context of Israel. By his mid-teens, Goodman could no longer ignore South Africa's anti-Semitism and racism. He soon left for Israel, never expecting that the promised land of his dreams would also prove to be riven by ethnic and religious conflict. It was after marching victoriously through the Sinai as a paratrooper in the Six-Day War that Goodman heard David Ben-Gurion on the radio warning that Israel must rid itself of its Arab territories lest it "become an Apartheid state," a warning that had a very specific meaning to the young soldier. Then, as a journalist, Goodman witnessed first-hand all of Israel's subsequent troubles, from frontlines, to occupied zones, to the summits that attempted to find even a temporary peace. Let Me Create a Paradise is a wise, warm, and wry memoir. It is one man's life story and the story of two divided nations in two different eras; the tragedies in their histories, and the hope that still exists for both of them. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] DETOUR
A Novel
by James Siegel
March 23, 2005. Warner
After five years of unsuccessful fertility treatments, Joanna and Paul Breidbart fly to South America to adopt a baby girl; after spending less than a day there, however, Paul is convinced that Colombia "wasn't Third World as much as fourth dimension." Then things go seriously wrong. Their Colombian nurse and chauffeur, provided by the adoption agency, kidnap the couple and their baby and deliver them to a revolutionary cartel. Paul is told that the only way to free his wife and daughter is to smuggle $2 million worth of cocaine into the U.S. His attempt to deliver the goods, however, is sabotaged, and after losing the drugs and the money, he must scramble to come up with an alternate plan. For help he turns to Miles Goldstein, the Orthodox Jewish lawyer who arranged the adoption. This leads to Brooklyn, as well as the Russian mob. The familiar formula--ordinary man (Paul is an actuary) forced to deal with a nightmarish scenario--is given plenty of twists by the inventive Siegel (Derailed, 2003). Crisp prose, a breakneck pace, a surprisingly tart sense of humor, and some pointed social commentary give this thriller a good deal of bite. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] LIGHTNING OUT OF LEBANON
March 2005. Presidio
PW writes: "In a compact and cogent addition to the literature on terrorism, two expert journalists join forces for a portrait of how a Hezbollah cell in Charlotte, N.C., was broken up a little more than a year before September 11. In clear prose with a minimum of political ax-grinding, Newman (The Covenant) and Diaz (Making a Killing) provide biographies of cell leader Mohammed Youssef Hammoud (from his origins in the Shiite slums of Beirut) and member Said Harb; the FBI agents and federal prosecutors (who overcame bureaucratic inertia and civil libertarian-fostered barriers to accumulate the evidence that led to Hammoud's prosecution); and many incidental players along the way. They also provide clear historical summaries of the religious and ethnic divides in the Middle East, and portraits of lesser-known phenomena such as the role of Paraguay (and its borders with Argentina and Brazil) in providing havens for international terrorists. The authors' skill at characterization of friends and foes puts a great many thriller writers in the shade, and at no point do they fall into stereotyping. Embedded in the book is an argument for the kind of interagency intelligence sharing that is still in its infancy." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Schlepping Through the Alps
My Search for Austria's Jewish Past with Its Last Wandering Shepherd
by Sam Apple
Ballantine Books (March 29, 2005)
Hans Breuer, Austria's only wandering shepherd, is also a Yiddish folksinger. He walks the Alps, shepherd's stick in hand, singing lullabies to his 625 sheep. Sometimes he even gives concerts in historically anti-Semitic towns, showing slides of the flock as he belts out Yiddish ditties. Born in 1954, Breuer spent his childhood in Vienna fighting the lingering Nazism in Austrian society. His performances are an attempt to educate his fellow citizens on the people their parents and grandparents had helped to wipe out of Europe. When New York-based writer, Sam Apple, hears about this off-the-wall eccentric, he flies overseas and signs on as a shepherd's apprentice. Demonstrating no immediate natural talent for shepherding, Apple does his best to earn the respect of Breuer's sheep, while keeping a safe distance from the fierce herding dogs. As this strange and hilarious adventure unfolds, Apple is determined to find out why Breuer has chosen to become a folk-singing shepherd and to see if there are really as many anti-Semites in Austria as he fears. What Apple discovers turns out to be far more fascinating and moving than he had imagined. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] [book cover click here] BEWARE OF GOD
by Shalom Auslander
March 2005, Simon and Schuster
An inventive, surreal, and absurd collection--and much anticipated literary debut of a fresh young humor writer. Violent rabbis, lovelorn wives, a busy Grim Reaper, shame-filled simians, and one seriously angry deity populate this humorous and disquieting collection. Shalom Auslander's stories in Beware of God have the mysterious punch of a dream. They are wide ranging and inventive: A young Jewish man's inexplicable transformation into a very large, blond, tattooed goy ends with a Talmudic argument over whether or not his father can beat his unclean son with a copy of the Talmud. A pious man having a near-death experience discovers that God is actually a chicken, and he's forced to reconsider his life -- and his diet. At God's insistence, Leo Schwartzman searches Home Depot for supplies for an ark. And a young boy mistakes Holocaust Remembrance Day as emergency preparedness training for the future. Auslander draws upon his upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish community in New York State to craft stories that are filled with shame, sex, God, and death, but also manage to be wickedly funny and poignant.
Shalom Auslander was raised as an Orthodox Jew in Spring Valley, New York. His father drank and was physically abusive, and his mother had more pictures of the dead on the wall than she did the living. You might have heard him on Ira Glass's THIS AMERICAN LIFE, with his story about how, as an impatient teen, he desired a 1982 Mustang convertible, and worked as a funeral home body watcher for $85 a night (cash), and would read Psalms, drink purple Gatorade, smoke a joint, and listen to his CD (Guns and Roses). But then his grandmother died from Alzheimer's, and he chose to watch her (not as a job), so he could finally perhaps feel something for someone he was watching. Nominated for the Koret Award for writers under thirty-five, he has published articles in Esquire and has had stories aired on NPR's This American Life. He lives in New York City. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] OUR SACRED LAND
Oneworld (March 2005)
Mourad spent 15 years as a Middle East correspondent for France's La Nouvelle Observateur. She presents interviews with a Palestinian man whose home has been repeatedly destroyed; a Jewish settler originally from Morocco; a Christian clergyman from Bethlehem; a Jewish conscientious objector; the family of Wafa, the first female suicide bomber; the sister of a Jewish Israeli killed by a suicide bomber; journalists, children and activists from both sides; and many others. Mourad makes no secret of her opposition to many reported Israeli practices, some of which-like endless bureaucratic delays for Palestinians within and outside of Israel and extended detentions under technicalities-are presented here as covertly sanctioned by branches of the Israeli government. She manages to get excellent material even from interviewees for whom she has little sympathy (even as she dismisses some of what they say), and to allow for the "whys" of the more extreme views on all sides. For anyone numbed by the tactics and body counts coming out of the area, this collection of first-person experiences lends humanizing depth. Click the book cover above to read more.

APRIL 2005

[book cover click here] [book cover click here] [book cover click here] EXTREMELY LOUD AND
April 2005,
Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history. What he discovers is solace in that most human quality, imagination. But wait.. First let me admit to doing something. After reading his first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, I sent away for brochures from Accounting Programs at American universities in the name of one of his characters (who wanted to go to study accounting) and had them sent to Foer's JH address before he moved onto to the better boro in PS.
Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone's heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who've lost loved ones before. As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father's grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother's apartment. They are there to dig up his father's empty coffin. Click the book cover above to read more.
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