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Welcome to our pages of Winter 2010 and Fall 2009 and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com

SOME LATE FALL 2009 and WINTER 2010 BOOK READINGS


Nov 22, 2009: 11th Annual Jewish Children‘s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference. 92ndSt Y, NYC $135
See http://www.92y.org/content/pdf/BookConferenceApplication.pdf

Dec 01, 2009 Merrill Perlman speaks on Copy Editing NYPL Mid Manhattan Branch 6:30 PM
Dec 02, 2009 UCLA Center for Jewish Studies hosts Paul Dry on “The Parnas (by my fave author Silvano Arieti).. A scene from the Holocaust in Italy, LA CA
Dec 02, 2009: Andrea Most on “Life Upon the Wicked Stage. Jews and Popular Entertainment in America”. Columbia University IIJS, NYC 8PM
Dec 05, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. Jewish Book Festival of Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. Pasadena CA
Dec 05-13, 2009: 24th Israel Film Festival in NYC IsraelFilmFestival.com
Dec 06, 2009: Yehuda Berg reads from Kabbalah, The Power to Change Everything. B&N Boca Raton
Dec 10, 2009: Workmen‘s Circle Fund Raiser with Theodore Bikel. See Circle.org
Dec 23-29, 2009: 25th Anniversary of KlezKamp. KlezKamp 25. LivingTraditions.org Kerhonkson, NY

Jan 07, 2010: Danielle Ofri reads from “Medicine in Translation” B&N. NYC 82nd Bway
Jan 07, 2010: Early Jewish-American Literature. Jewish-American Lower East Side writers who shaped the American literary cannon. Featured books/writers include "Out of the Shadow" by Rose Cohen and "The Bread Givers" by Anzia Yezierska. With Annie Polland, Suzanne Wasserman, and Sanford Sternlicht. Tenement Museum Shop, NYC
Jan 10, 2010: Art And The Aftermath of Genocide. Center for Jewish History, NYC
Jan 10, 2010: Exploring the World of Tzedakaj: Priorities and Goals in A World of Limited Resources. With Rabbi Dov Linzer and Mrs. Elana Stein Hain and Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot. YCT Rabbinical School, Lincoln Sq. Synagogue, NYC
Jan 15-18, 2010: LimmudNY.org at The Hudson Valley Resort, NY
Jan 20, 2010: Danielle Ofri reads from “Medicine in Translation” B&N. Bethesda
Jan 25, 2010: The History of the Translation of the Hebrew Bible At Skirball Center NYC
Jan 27, 2010: Faith and Loneliness and the Philosophy of Joseph P. Soloveitchik. At Skirball Center NYC
Jan 31, 2010: Is Judaism (Just) Another Fundamentalism? At Skirball Center NYC

Feb 04, 2010: Risa Miller reads from “My Before and After Life“ B&N. Bca Raton
Feb 2010: Month of Feb - Seforim Sales at SOY Yeshiva Univ with lectures
Feb 2010: Birthright Israel‘s first culinary focused trip to Israel
Feb 6, 2010: Karlin-Stolin Melavah Malka. 5th Avenue Synagogue NYC 8PM
Feb 7-8, 2010: Aesthetics After The Holocaust. Exploring the Problem of Aesthetic Reactions to the Holocaust. With Carol Bakhos, Eric Sundquist, Gary Weissman, Sharon Oster, Monica Osborne, Joshue Hirsch, Brett Kaplan, Dora Apel, Lawrence Langer, Amy Hungerford, and more. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. LA CA
Feb 7, 2010: 6th Annual Day of Kabbalah. JCC Manhattan
Feb 9, 2010: Jean Naggar reads from SIPING FROM THE NILE. Edmond Safra Shul, NYC
Feb 11, 2010: Sasha Rothchild reads from “How To Get Divorced by 30“ B&N. Los Angeles Farmer‘s Mkt
Feb 19-21: The Jewlicious 6.0 Festival, Long Beach CA. See Jewlicious.com
Feb 14, 2010: Behavior Therapy Training Institute. Suny Downstate, NYC. OCD TrainingInstitute with special lecture for therapists on OCD among Orthodox Jewish adherents and Religiosity
Feb 21, 2010: The (His)Story of the Siddur? At Skirball Center NYC
Feb 22, 2010: Do Judge a Book By Its Cover; A Look Behind the Covers of American Jewish Prayerbooks. At Skirball Center NYC
Feb 24, 2010: Rabbi Sharon Shalom (Bar Ilan) speaks on his birth in Ethiopia and the plight of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Fifth Avenue Synagogue NYC
Feb 26, 2010: Film: The Name My Mother Gave Me. JCC of Manhattan UWS NYC
Feb 27, 2010: Purim

Mar 02, 2010: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi. Columbia Univ 6pm NYC
Mar 07, 2010: Songs We Much Sing and Little Understand. (Ma’oz Tsur, Adon Olam, Unetaneh Tokef, and other Middle Age piyyutim) with Rabbi Daniel Goldfarb. At Skirball Center NYC
Mar 07, 2010: Rabbi Marc Angel reads from Maimonides, Spinoza and Us. Congregation Shearith Israel, NYC UWS
Mar 07, 2010: Rabbi Hayyim Angel reads from Revealed Texts, Hidden meanings. Congregation Shearith Israel, NYC UWS
Mar 08, 2010: Jewish Book Council awards 2009 Jewish Book Awards. (JewishBooks.org) NYC
Mar 09, 2010: Jewish Book Council awards 2009 Jewish Book Awards. (JewishBooks.org) NYC
Mar 10, 2010: Book Party for The Royal Table by Rabbi Normal Lamm. The Jewish Center, NYC UWS
Mar 13, 2010; Book launch party for Yehuda Avner’s “The Prime Ministers” Jerusalem Great Synagogue, Jerusalem, Israel
Mar 14, 2010: The JOFA Conference,(Jewish Orthodox Feminists) Columbia University, NYC Jofa.Org
Mar 17, 2010: Rabbi David Aaron on the God Powered Life. B&N NYC UWS 7PM
Mar 24, 2010: Andre Aciman (Out of Egypt) reads from Eight White Nights. B&N NYC UWS 7PM
Mar 24, 2010: Jeff Garlin reads My FOOTPRINT. B&N Huntington Beach CA 7PM
Mar 31, 2010: The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, to be presented to Sarah Abrevaya Stein for PLUMES, and Kenneth B. Moss for JEWISH RENAISSANCE IN THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION. King David Hotel, Jerusalem

Apr 07, 2010: Jesse Kellerman reads from The Executor. B&N Farmers Market LA
Apr 09, 2010: Joel Chasnoff, author of the 188th Crybaby Brigade, speaks at JCY BBYO Conference in Easton, PA
Apr 14, 2010: Joel Chasnoff, author of the 188th Crybaby Brigade at 92nd St Y with AJ Jacobs. NYC
Apr 20, 2010: Marilyn Berger reads from This is A Soul: Dr. Rick Hodes B&N UWS NYC
Apr 21, 2010: Jesse Kellerman reads from The Executor. B&N University / Seattle
Apr 28, 2010: Beth Greenfield reads from Ten Minutes From Home B&N UWS NYC

May 05, 2010: Pearl Abraham reads from American Taliban, a novel. B&N NYC UWS 7PM
May 13, 2010: Frederick Reiken reads from DAY FOR NIGHT, a novel. B&N Livingston NJ
May 26, 2010: Joshua Braff reads from Peep Show, a novel. B&N NYC UWS 7PM

June 5-12, 2010: Trip to Israel. Israel Behind the Headlines w/ Gary Rosenblatt, Editor and Publisher of The NY Jewish Week newspaper. GilTravel.com






This book got a lot of attention when it was mentioned in a column by David Brooks in the New York Times Op-Ed page (Titled, The Tel Aviv Cluster)
[book] The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement
The Compendium of a Culture, a People, and Their Stunning Performance
By Steven L. Pease
December 2009
Kirkus wrote -- An exhaustive examination of Jewish achievement over the past 200 years. Pease, who is not Jewish, explains that from a young age he has had an interest in and empathy for the Jewish people, and that many of his friends and colleagues are Jewish. However, simple curiosity led him to ask how such a tiny group of people could have such a major impact upon culture and society. The more the author researched the role of Jews in the modern world, the more impressed he became. Pease explains that in a room filled with a thousand people representing the diversity of the globe, only two would be Jewish. Nevertheless, Jewish achievements belie those statistics. From the number of Nobel Prize winners, to the percent of students on Ivy League campuses, to the notables on various Greatest 100 lists of historical figures, Jews have a consistently strong showing despite their otherwise small world presence. Though the author discusses Jews throughout history, his real focus is on the period since the Jewish Emancipation dating back to the age of Napoleon. At this point, Pease argues, Jews began to have greater opportunities to contribute to national and global cultures. The bulk of the book is dedicated to documenting individual and collective Jewish achievements, from Milton Friedman to Barbra Streisand and from the Six-Day War to real estate development. The author finally provides an analysis of this data, concluding that Jewish culture, above any other factor, has contributed to such high achievement. Cultural focuses on family, education, autonomy, moderation and charity have all contributed. Readers may wish Pease had delved deeper into what it means to be a Jew, both culturally and religiously, and the manner and extent to which some people profiled in his book actually considered themselves Jewish. Still, this is an impressive tome. An intriguing look at the modern history of an outstanding people
Pease, who resides in the Conoma Valley of California, was born and raised Presbyterian in Spokane, Washington. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Washington with a master’s degree from Harvard Business School. He currently serves as co-chairman of the U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law, and Chairman of The U.S. Russia Investment Fund. Both are nonprofit entities; organized by the United States government to work with Russians, encourage entrepreneurship, civil society, and the rule of law, while also improving the U.S. - Russia relationship.
Click the book cover to read more.








NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD RECIPIENT
[book] GRATITUDE
A Novel
By Joseph Kertes
October 2009, Thomas Dunne
This new novel by the Canadian author is the winner of the National Jewish Book Award which will be presented in march 2010 by the Jewish Book Council
From Publishers Weekly: Kertes digs into the experiences of a family of wealthy Hungarian Jews in the darkest moments of WWII in his proficient latest. An ensemble piece, the novel's main character is Paul Beck, a lawyer stripped of his profession who takes great risks to protect his family, including posing as a Swedish diplomat to stop a train taking his family to a concentration camp. His politician father is executed, his dentist brother hides for several months in his assistant's home, and his sister mourns the disappearance of her lover. Eventually, the tide begins to turn as the Russians arrive, though the Russian presence presents a new set of problems. Kertes leavens the grim material with a few lighter scenes of the Becks trying to make the most of a horrible situation, which goes a long way to making them an endearing and memorable group, while the author's straightforward style moves the story along at a healthy clip
Click the book cover to read more.








I ASKED FOR AN iPOD
BUT I GOT THIS bagelPOD instead
[book] Bagelpod
Bagel Slicer
Beige Black Color Combination
A bagel slicer
Click the photo above to read more.
















[book] MRS. GREENBERG'S MESSY HANUKKAH
By LINDA GLASER
Albert Whitman
From Booklist: Ages 5 - 7. What's the first night of Hanukkah without latkes? But Rachel's parents are too busy to think about cooking, so Rachel pays a visit to elderly Mrs. Greenberg, whose sparkling kitchen begs to be invaded by an energetic little girl with potato pancakes on her mind. Pretty soon potatoes, flour, and eggs coat the floor, and an exhausted Mrs. Greenberg has collapsed in a chair. When Rachel's parents arrive, they focus on the mess, and a tearful Rachel apologizes. Then Mrs. Greenberg comes to the rescue, declaring firmly, "My house hasn't felt this lived in in years." Pattern and bright color abound in Cote's lighthearted, cartoonlike pictures, which channel the glow of the menorah on the table right onto the happy faces of the characters as they sit down to eat Rachel's latkes. A recipe, at the front of the book, completes this lively package, suggested for children who are already familiar with the holiday.
BLURB: Though it's the first night of Hanukkah, Rachel's family won't really be celebrating until next week. But Rachel wants to celebrate now, so she comes up wtih a good idea: while her parents do errands, she'll visit her neighbor, Mrs. Greenberg, and they can make latkes together. The two head into Mrs. Greenberg's shiny, tidy kitchen and begin grating the potatoes. But Rachel's gratings slide off the table and onto the floor. Before long, Rachel has dropped an egg, spilled the flour, and dribbled the oil. Mrs. Greenberg is exhausted, Rachel's mom and dad are horrified, and Rachel is afraid she's ruined a friendship by making this terrible mess. She is relieved and delighted to find that Mrs. Greenberg thinks it's a wonderful mess--her house hasn't felt so lived-in in years
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[book] Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy
A Board book
by Don Freeman with Lisa McCue (Illustrator)
2009, Viking
Ages 0 – 2
Celebrate the festival of lights with Corduroy. Corduroy’s having a Hanukkah party for all of his friends. First they light the menorah, then they eat yummy potato pancakes. After they open presents, there’s time for a game of dreidel. Introduce little boys and girls to all of the Hanukkah traditions with Corduroy, one of the most beloved children’s books characters for over forty years.
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[book] A Chanukah Present For Me!
A Board book
by Scholastic
2009, Scholastic
Ages up to 3
It looks like a wrapped gift
A great miracle happened...and now it is time for a great celebration. DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHANUKAH is a playful holiday format that mimics a wrapped gift box. With glitter flocking and an embossed "bow," this simple story highlights the most popular Chanukah icons and traditions as family members share their favorite parts of the holiday, like doughnuts. From the menorah to latkes to chocolate gelt, DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHANUKAH is the gift that keeps on giving.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Hanukkah Lights
A Board book
by David Martin
2009, Candlewick
Ages 1 – 3
Candles on the menorah, ready to light! At Hanukkah, there are many much-anticipated rituals — latkes to eat, dreidels to spin, presents to give and receive, and shiny gold treats. Add some free-form fun, from shadow puppetry to singing and dancing, and you have a warm, truly child-friendly celebration.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] HOPPY HANUKKAH!
BY LINDA GLASER
2009, Whitman
Ages 2 – 5
Violet and Simon, two small bunnies, are excited about Hanukkah. Simon is ready to light all the candles and then blow them right out! But Mama and Papa explain how to celebrate Hanukkah by lighting one candle each night at sunset and placing the menorah in the window for all to see. Grandma and Grandpa come over, too, and there are latkes and presents and a dreidel game. Linda Glaser's simple, cozy story is just right for children first learning about this holiday. Daniel Howarth's charming paintings show a happy family passing on their tradition.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] MY CHANUKAH PLAYBOOK
BY SALINA YOON
2009, Little Simon
Ages 3 – 5
Chanukah is coming and it's time to learn about the celebration of lights and light the candles on the menorah! With 8 foiled board play pieces and interactive notches on every spread, children can learn about learn the meaning of celebrating Chanukah and some of the delicious foods, festive games, and songs that are shared during the holiday. The final spread features a full length menorah with bold candles and a slots above each candle where the play pieces slip in to bring foiled light to each candle.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] MENORAH UNDER THE SEA
BY ESTHER SUSAN HELLER
2009, Kar-Ben
Ages 5 - 9
Diving for sea urchins at the bottom of the frigid sea, marine biologist David Ginsburg brings Hanukkah to Antarctica with a most unusual holiday celebration. The book contains pictures of his trip. He dives down and makes a menorah of urchins (no candles), and then on the surface lights his travel menorah with his other Jewish scientists stationed at the South Pole.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Can I Have a Cell Phone For Hanukkah?
The Essential Scoop on Raising Modern Jewish Kids
By Sharon Duke Estroff
Broadway Books
How do you help your child choose between mandatory baseball practice and Hebrew school? How can you plan a birthday party (not to mention bar or bat mitzvah party!) for your child without sacrificing your values, sanity, and pocketbook? How can you keep peace on the homework homefront? And how do you deal with Santa envy-let alone the entire month of December? What if your child is invited a party on Shabbat? How do handle Santa envy? As any modern Jewish parent knows, balancing family traditions and the realities of contemporary culture can be incredibly challenging. Answering questions both old and new, Jewish and secular, internationally syndicated parenting columnist and award-winning Jewish educator and mother of four, Sharon Duke Estroff illuminates the ways that Jewish tradition can be used to form a lasting, emotional safety net for modern families. Can I Have a Cell Phone for Hanukkah? is an instant classic. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho
Villa Clara and the Construction of Argentine Identity
Jewish History, Life, and Culture
By Judith Noemí Freidenberg
December 2009, University of Texas
By the mid-twentieth century, Eastern European Jews had become one of Argentina's largest minorities. Some represented a wave of immigration begun two generations before; many settled in the province of Entre Ríos and founded an agricultural colony. Taking its title from the resulting hybrid of acculturation, The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho examines the lives of these settlers, who represented a merger between native cowboy identities and homeland memories. The arrival of these immigrants in what would be the village of Villa Clara coincided with the nation's new sense of liberated nationhood. In a meticulous rendition of Villa Clara's social history, Judith Freidenberg interweaves ethnographic and historical information to understand the saga of European immigrants drawn by Argentine open-door policies in the nineteenth century and its impact on the current transformation of immigration into multicultural discourses in the twenty-first century. Using Villa Clara as a case study, Freidenberg demonstrates the broad power of political processes in the construction of ethnic, class, and national identities. The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho draws on life histories, archives, material culture, and performances of heritage to enhance our understanding of a singular population--and to transform our approach to social memory itself.
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[book] The Happiness Project
Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun
BY Gretchen Rubin
December 2009, Harper
Gretchen Anne Craft Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a NYC bus. As she saw a woman, just like her, cross the street in front of the bus, stroller in one hand, balancing other things in the other, she thought, "The days are long, but the years are short." She realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. Of course, she is not an average Upper East Side shlub. She is a child of the Midwest, the daughter of a law partner, a grad of Yale, a grad of Yale Law, an editor of Yale Law Review, a clerk to a judge, a clerk in the Supreme Court to Judge Sandra Day O’Conner, a Manhattan lawyer, mother of two, wife of a hedge fund manager, daughter in law to former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and Goldman Sachs leader, Robert Rubin.
With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn't.
Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money CAN buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.
Maybe it will inspire you to start your own happiness project.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Koestler
The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic
By Michael Scammell
December 2009, Random House
From award-winning author Michael Scammell comes a monumental achievement: the first authorized biography of Arthur Koestler, one of the most influential and controversial intellectuals of the twentieth century. Over a decade in the making, and based on new research and full access to its subject’s papers, Koestler is the definitive account of this fascinating and polarizing figure. Though best known as the creator of the classic anti-Communist novel Darkness at Noon, Koestler is here revealed as much more–a man whose personal life was as astonishing as his literary accomplishments. Koestler portrays the anguished youth of a boy raised in Budapest by a possessive and mercurial mother and an erratic father, marked for life by a forced operation performed without anesthesia when he was five, growing up feeling unloved and unprotected. Here is the young man whose experience of anti-Semitism and devotion to Zionism provoked him to move to Palestine; the foreign correspondent who risked his life from the North Pole to Franco’s Spain, where he was imprisoned and sentenced to death; the committed Communist for whom the brutal truth of Stalin’s show trials inspired the superb and angry novel that became an instant classic in 1940. Scammell also provides new details of Koestler’s amazing World War II adventures, including his escape from occupied France by joining the Foreign Legion and his bluffing his way illegally to England, where his controversial novel Arrival and Departure, published in 1943, was the first to portray Hitler’s Final Solution.
Without sentimentality, Scammell explores Koestler’s turbulent private life: his drug use, his manic depression, the frenetic womanizing that doomed his three marriages and led to an accusation of rape that posthumously tainted his reputation, and his startling suicide while fatally ill in 1983–an act shared by his healthy third wife, Cynthia–rendered unforgettably as part of his dark and disturbing legacy. Featuring cameos of famous friends and colleagues including Langston Hughes, George Orwell, and Albert Camus, Koestler gives a full account of the author’s voluminous writings, making the case that the autobiographies and essays are fit to stand beside Darkness at Noon as works of lasting literary value. Koestler adds up to an indelible portrait of this brilliant, unpredictable, and talented writer, once memorably described as “one third blackguard, one third lunatic, and one third genius.”
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[book] MAIMONIDES, SPINOZA, AND US
TOWARD AN INTELLECTUALLY VIBRANT JUDAISM
By MARC D. ANGEL, RABBI
December 2009, Jewish Lights
A challenging look at two great Jewish philosophers, and what their thinking means to our understanding of God, truth, revelation and reason. Moses Maimonides (1138-1204) is Jewish history's greatest exponent of a rational, philosophically sound Judaism. He strove to reconcile the teachings of the Bible and rabbinic tradition with the principles of Aristotelian philosophy, arguing that religion and philosophy ultimately must arrive at the same truth. Baruch Spinoza (1632-77) is Jewish history's most illustrious "heretic." He believed that truth could be attained through reason alone, and that philosophy and religion were separate domains that could not be reconciled. His critique of the Bible and its teachings caused an intellectual and spiritual upheaval whose effects are still felt today. Rabbi Marc D. Angel discusses major themes in the writings of Maimonides and Spinoza to show us how modern people can deal with religion in an intellectually honest and meaningful way. From Maimonides, we gain insight on how to harmonize traditional religious belief with the dictates of reason. From Spinoza, we gain insight into the intellectual challenges which must be met by modern believers.
Discover how Jewish theology became what it is today--and how it can affect the Jewish future. The views of Moses Maimonides and Baruch Spinoza, both foundation stones of Jewish theology and philosophy, may differ more than they coincide. But by revisiting their philosophical arguments, in vigorous debate with each other, we can come to a deeper appreciation of the role of reason--and of revelation--in Judaism. Theologian Rabbi Marc D. Angel, PhD, explores how these two great thinkers came to formulate what we know as Jewish theology and philosophy today, incorporating the influences of Torah, rabbinic sages, Greek philosophy, and pre-modern and modern science. He breaks down their philosophical arguments with relevant historical detail, making them more accessible to a wide audience. His analysis touches on many provocative but vital questions of enduring importance, including: Can the revealed truth of religion and the empirical truth of science be reconciled? What is the nature of God? Can it be described? Is Torah really the perfect, errorless word of God? Does God play an active role in human affairs? What is the ultimate source of Truth? How important is it to observe ritual? Can Judaism be fully embraced by non-Jews?
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[book] HALAKHAH IN THE MAKING
THE DEVELOPMENT OF JEWISH LAW FROM QUMRAN TO THE RABBIS
BY AHARON SHEMESH (Bar Ilan)
2009, University of California
Halakhah in the Making offers the first comprehensive study of the legal material found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and its significance in the greater history of Jewish religious law (halakhah). Aharon Shemesh's pioneering study revives an issue long dormant in religious scholarship: namely, the relationship between rabbinic law, as written more than one hundred years after the destruction of the Second Temple, and Jewish practice during the Second Temple. The monumental discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran led to the revelation of this missing material and the closing of a two-hundred-year gap in knowledge, allowing work to begin comparing specific laws of the Qumran sect with rabbinic laws. With the publication of scroll 4QMMT-a polemical letter by Dead Sea sectarians concerning points of Jewish law-an effective comparison was finally possible. This is the first book-length treatment of the material to appear since the publication of 4QMMT and the first attempt to apply its discoveries to the work of nineteenth-century scholars. It is also the first work on this important topic written in plain language and accessible to nonspecialists in the history of Jewish law.
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[book] THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN
A MILLENNIAL NOVEL
By Sarah Jane Stratford
2009. St Martins Press
From Publishers Weekly: Stratford's debut, the first in the Millennial series, matches up two groups of smug, self-righteous evildoers: Nazis, who want to "purify" the human race, and all-powerful vampires, who want to consume it. In 1939, Brigit, a vampire who has earned awesome powers by surviving over a thousand years, and her fellow millennials seek to bring down the Nazis, primarily to prevent another war that might diminish their human food supply. Despite the vampires' powers of suggestion and superhuman strength, the Nazi war machine will not be easily broken. Digressions into Brigit's past dig deep into vampire lore and provide emotional heft with sensuous descriptions of love, music, hate and death that evoke early Anne Rice, but readers will be frustrated by the lack of sympathetic characters and the complicated, unresolved plot.
Note to readers: Stars an observant Jewish vampire who is allowed to enter churches. Vampires who try to stop the Holocaust. An interesting view of vampires, those erudite “eastern“ different outsider wealthier vampires.
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[book] THE POLITICAL FIX
CHANGING THE GAME OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
FROM THE GRASSROOTS TO THE WHITE HOUSE
By DOUGLAS E. SCHOEN, D. Phil.
January 2010, Times Books
Schoen, a political advisor to Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Evan Bayh, Michael Bloomberg, Cecil Andrus, Paul Patton, Bob Miller (Nevada), John Breaux, the late New York Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, John D. Rockefeller, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and Ehud Barak, and countless more; a former candidate himself; and the author of several books on politics and politicians, dissects the failures of modern politics and unveils tha practical-minded, citizen-powered solutions that can revive American democracy. Schoen not only explains the problems as so many pundits do, but he goes further and provides solutions and an action plan that can actually be done. Why not rotate the primaries in Presidential politics? Why must debates be moderated? Are Americans to weak to deal with unstructured debates? Do debates in the oval office have moderators? Should the Attorney General be a member of the cabinet? Schoen wants the AG to be separate from the cabinet. In NYC, residents can call the single 311 number for government customer service. Should this be a nationwide program? With the power of the web, why can’t all states post their checkbook online, as Alaska does. Schoen argues that the focus on capping the influence of large donors has cut off true, genuine election reform. Of course, he recommends a tax credit for small donors who controbute to political campaigns (which would help the coffers of political consultants and pollsters, but let’s not mention that)Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Law and Truth in Biblical and Rabbinic Literature
By Chaya T. Halberstam
January 2010, Indiana University
How can humans ever attain the knowledge required to administer and implement divine law and render perfect justice in this world? Contrary to the belief that religious law is infallible, Chaya T. Halberstam shows that early rabbinic jurisprudence is characterized by fundamental uncertainty. She argues that while the Hebrew Bible created a sense of confidence and transparency before the law, the rabbis complicated the paths to knowledge and undermined the stability of personal status and ownership, and notions of guilt or innocence. Examining the facts of legal judgments through midrashic discussions of the law and evidence, Halberstam discovers that rabbinic understandings of the law were riddled with doubt and challenged the possibility of true justice. This book thoroughly engages law, narrative, and theology to explicate rabbinic legal authority and its limits.
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[book] PALESTINIAN POLITICS AFTER ARAFAT
A FAILED NATIONAL MOVEMENT
By As‘ad Ghenam (University of Haifa)
January 2010, Indiana University
The Palestinian national movement reached a dead-end and came close to disintegration at the beginning of the present century. The struggle for power after the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004 signaled the end of a path toward statehood prepared by the Oslo Accords a decade before. The reasons for the failure of the movement are deeply rooted in modern Palestinian history. As'ad Ghanem analyzes the internal and external events that unfolded as the Palestinian national movement became a "failed national movement," marked by internecine struggle and collapse, the failure to secure establishment of a separate state and achieve a stable peace with Israel, and the movement's declining stature within the Arab world and the international community.
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[book] THE ARAB PUBLIC SPHERE IN ISRAEL
Media Space and Cultural Resistance
By Amal Jamal (University of Tel Aviv)
January 2010, Indiana University
In this pathbreaking study, Amal Jamal analyzes the consumption of media by Arab citizens of Israel as a type of communicative behavior and a form of political action. Drawing on extensive public opinion survey data, he describes perceptions and use of media ranging from Arabic Israeli newspapers to satellite television broadcasts from throughout the Middle East. By participating in this semi-autonomous Arab public sphere, the average Arab citizen can connect with a wider Arab world beyond the boundaries of the Israeli state. Jamal shows how media aid the community's ability to resist the state's domination, protect its Palestinian national identity, and promote its civic status.
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[book] When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win
Reflections on Looking in the Mirror
by Carol Leifer
January 2010, now in paperback Villard
Booklist writes: Leifer uses her background in stand-up comedy to good effect in her collection of easy-to-read, column-length pieces that range from her finding her lesbian sexual identity at 40 (“If I don’t sleep with a woman soon, I think I’ll kill myself”) to her childhood disappointment at her dad’s “bargain” gift of a cheap Babblin’ Barbara doll instead of the A-list Chatty Cathy she yearned for. Babblin’ Babs was “a train wreck reeking of cheap Taiwanese sweatshop child-labor plastic . . . a speech-impaired whore . . . you didn’t want to play with as much as rush her to the emergency room.” Along the way she offers breezy observations on Jews celebrating Gentile holidays à la Jews for Jesus—“like vegans for Burger King”—and her heartfelt conversion to animal adoption that led to her current household of seven dogs, all rescues that have changed everything: “My life without loving animals is unimaginable to me now. It’s like living without air, without music.” All in all, Leifer presents a charming mix of outrageous fun shot through with poignant affirmation.
“These essays have stirred in me a foreign, disgusting and heretofore dormant urge to hug someone, in this case the author. If I become human as a result of reading this, so help me God I will sue her for every dollar she makes from this profound, insightful, and hilarious book.”—Larry David
“I discovered Carol Leifer at an open mike night in the late 70's on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It didn't take me two seconds to realize how special her talent is. (Two seconds, that's how good I am, by the way). But she really has one of the most uniquely hilarious minds of anyone I've ever met. We have worked together on countless projects. If you have never heard how she thinks, this book is the perfect introduction.”—Jerry Seinfeld
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[book] My Before and After Life
A Novel
by Risa Miller
January 2010, St. Martin’s Press
Miller (Welcome to Heavenly Heights) focuses on an unrelentingly introspective attorney and her struggle with spirituality in the wake of her father’s sudden religious awakening. Honey Black and her sister, Susan, travel to Israel with the intention of bringing back their father, newly inducted into Orthodox Judaism, whose extended vacation they believe has plunged him into “temporary madness.” After they return home, without their father, Honey continues to brood over her time in Israel, specifically her experience praying in the caves of the countryside. Meanwhile, she’s taken on a case defending her predominantly Jewish (not necessarily Orthodox) neighborhood against the expansion of the Orthodox Brookline Hebrew Day School, bringing to light questions of spirituality as well as community division and religious prejudice. Though Honey is a satisfyingly complex character, her father, husband and sister never quite come to life. Still, Miller is extremely skilled in her exploration of religion as a personal decision, a profound experience and a source of surprise and wonder.
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[book] EMISSARY OF THE DOOMED
BARGAINING FOR LIVES IN THE HOLOCAUST
BY RONALD FLORENCE
January 2010, Viking
The official little known WWII story of a desperate attempt to save Hungary's Jewish population. When Nazi troops invaded in March 1944, Hungary contained the largest intact Jewish population in Europe. Until then, stories of Auschwitz and other "resettlement camps" were still treated as unconfirmed rumors inside Hungary and among the Allied powers. With the arrival of Adolf Eichmann-and reports from the first escapees from Auschwitz confirming the most horrifying rumors about the camps-the 850,000 Jews of Hungary faced annihilation. Emissary of the Doomed is the riveting and heartbreaking account of the heroic attempt to save Hungary's Jewish population. Learning that Eichmann and Himmler were willing to bargain for the lives of as many as one million Jews, Joel Brand and the Jewish rescue committee in Budapest took up the German offer and embarked on a desperate race across Europe and the Middle East to persuade the reluctant Allies to trade funds and matériel for Jewish lives. Against the backdrop of the Normandy invasion, the Soviet advance across Eastern Europe, and the American advances up the Italian peninsula, Brand and his colleagues tried to stop the final push of the Nazis to destroy the Jews of Europe. This untold chapter will appeal to all readers of World War II literature.
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[book] PER LA VITA
A CD IN GERMANY BY
von Bejarano & Microphone Mafia (Künstler)
Featuring Esther Bejarano
2010
Esther Béjarano joins MICROPHONE MAFIA to spread the message of tolerance in Germany and Europe through hip-hop. Born in 1924, she is among the last survivors of the Girl orchestra of Auschwitz. Béjarano was born as Esther Loewy as a daughter of the Head Cantor of a Jewish municipality. The father encouraged his daughter to get interested in music and Esther learned to play the piano. At age 15 she had to separate from her parents, in order to prepare for emigration to Palestine. This emigration was thrwarted by the Nazis. She carried out two years of hard labour in Neuendorf Labour Camp close to Fürstenwalde/Spree. On April 20, 1943 all members of the labour camp were deported to Auschwitz. There she had to drag stones until she joined the Girl orchestra of Auschwitz. In the orchestra, she played the accordion. The orchestra had the task of playing for the daily march of the gangs by the camp gate. She survived Auschwitz after escaping in March, 1945. She emigrated to Palestine and returned later to Germany. At the beginning of the 1980s, with her daughter Edna and son Joram, she created the musical group Coincidence. They sing songs from the ghetto and Jewish as well as anti-fascist songs. Béjarano lives today in Hamburg. She is a co-founder and chairman of the Auschwitz Committee and was awarded the Carl-von-Ossietzky medal. She holds the Cross of Merit, First class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
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DID YOU HEAR THIS IN A RECENT BBC RADIO STORY?
[book] Shir Hodu
Jewish Song From Bombay of 30's
Various Artists
Shir Hodu is the Hebrew for ‘Song of Praise.’ It also means ‘Song of India.’ This CD is the second in our series of remastered 78 recordings of Jewish song featuring Jewish singers and instrumentalists from Iraq and India. Following leads for these long lost original recordings Julian Futter and Dr Sara Manasseh were able to produce this extraordinary compilation of professional recordings in the Bene Israel and Baghdadian Jewish traditions, made originally on the King, Hebrew and Jay Bharat Record labels. Among the performers, all well-known in their communities, are Hazzanim (cantors, prayer leaders) and shofar (Ram’s horn) blowers, a meat shop owner, music school directors, and instrumental stars of the Indian cinema. This musical link with the past has been vividly brought to life by the memories and photos of the descendants, relatives and friends of the singers and instrumentalists, gathered from across the globe. The CD comes with a copiously illustrated 24-page booklet that will serve as a valuable source for future researchers into Indian Jewish musical traditions. Sensitive remastering allows us to hear these recordings as they have never been heard before
Contents include: Simeon Jacob Kharilker (King Records) 1 Adon Olam Lord of the world 3.31 2 Yom Hashabbat The Sabbath day 3.30 3 Deror Ikhra Let freedom be proclaimed 3.17 4 Ashir Lael I will sing to the Lord 3.11 5 Yaroom Venisa He will be exalted and raised 3.13 6 Hatikvah & Él Shémor Hammélékh The hope & God save the king 3.19
Abid David (Hebrew Record) 7 Hai Hai El Hai The living God 3.20 8 Deror Yikra Let freedom be proclaimed 2.52
Zaky Solomon Isaac (Hebrew Record) 9 Aet Shaare Rason The time of (opening of) the gates of mercy 3.17 10 Ado-nai Becol Shophar The Lord is in the sound of the shofâr 2.54 11 Yodukha Raayonai My thoughts will praise You 3.04 12 Yom Hashabat The Sabbath day 3.01 13 Yom Simha A day of rejoicing 2.59
N.S. Satamkar (Jay Bharat Records) 14 Deror Iqra Let freedom be proclaimed 3.24 15 Yom Hashabat The Sabbath day
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[book] GOOD ARABS
The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948–1967
By Hillel Cohen, trans. from the Hebrew by Haim Watzman.
January 2010, University of California
PW writes: Israeli writer Cohen (Army of Shadows) makes extensive use of the thousands of recently declassified Israeli government and police files to argue that Israel has attempted, from its earliest days, to control and co-opt the lives of its Palestinian citizens (roughly 20% of the population) and has utilized classic tools of social control—informants, censorship, offers of reward and threats of punishment—to neutralize a potentially “seditious” faction and to turn the community “from members of the imagined Palestinian community/nation... into members of Israeli civil society.” He explores how deeply Israel infiltrated Palestinian communities, political groups and refugee camps to secure informants and create a veritable “collaborator class” to “ensure a maximal control over the political and social behavior of Israel’s Arab population.” Stressing that the behavior of both sides is typical of national majority-minority relationships everywhere, he shows the extent to which Israel has treated its Arab citizens as one-dimensional characters open to manipulation, and shrewdly observes that the irony for Israel is that because the state couldn’t offer non-Jewish citizens “a real path to participation... the state actually reinforced Arab identity among its Arab citizens.”
From the Inside Flap
“ascinating story. . . . With the publication of this book, we can abandon several accepted clichés."--Ha'aretz
“While many Israelis--Jews and Palestinians alike--already had a sense that these shadowplays were part of the state's history, Aravim Tovim (Good Arabs) supplies the evidence. Case after case is summoned to illustrate how collaboration permeated all aspects of Palestinian society."--The Nation
"The impressive achievement of this timely book is its equal and honest treatment of the explosive issues involved in spite of an often agonizing conflict of interests--and its articulation of the author's findings with empathy, boldness and fairness."--Jerusalem Post
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[book] Paper Fortunes
Modern Wall Street;
Where It's Been and Where It's Going
By Roy C. Smith
January 2010, St. Martins
Paper Fortunes is the richly-detailed story of Wall Street from post-war heyday to present woes, from a player whose experiences, profiles of the colorful personalities involved and learned observations of the forces shaping the business make it insightful and timely. Smith, a long-time Goldman Sachs banker and now a distinguished NYU professor of finance, enables anyone working on the Street, investing with it, or just appalled by its worst shenanigans to understand how the industry has grown, changed and evolved, and what its future prospects are. From various Goldmans, Sachses, and Lehmans through to Richard Fuld, Henry Paulson and Tim Geithner, Andre Meyer at Lazard, Michael Bloomberg, Sidney Weinberg, and more Paper Fortunes tells the ongoing story of the shifting U.S. market economy through the actions of the people who've shaped it for the last 60 years and will shape it for the next 60 years.
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[book] TOWERS OF GOLD
How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California
By Frances Dinkelspiel
January 2010,
The author is the great great granddaughter of Isaias Hellman, a Jewish immigrant, who arrived in California in 1859 with very little money in his pocket and his brother Herman by his side.
By the time he died, he had effectively transformed Los Angeles into the modern metropolis we see today. In Frances Dinkelspiel's groundbreaking history, the early days of California are seen through the life of a man who started out as a simple store owner only to become California's premier money-man of the late 19th and early 20th century. Growing up as a young immigrant, Hellman quickly learned the use to which "capital" could be put, founding LA's Farmers and Merchants Bank, that city's first successful bank, and transforming Wells Fargo into one of the West's biggest financial institutions. He invested money with Henry Huntington to build trolley lines, lent Edward Doheney the funds that led him to discover California's huge oil reserves, and assisted Harrison Gary Otis in acquiring full ownership of the Los Angeles Times. Hellman led the building of Los Angeles' first synagogue, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, helped start the University of Southern California and served as Regent of the University of California. His influence, however, was not limited to Los Angeles. He controlled the California wine industry for almost twenty years and, after San Francisco's devastating 1906 earthquake and fire, calmed the financial markets there in order to help that great city rise from the ashes. With all of these accomplishments, Isaias Hellman almost single-handedly brought California into modernity. Ripe with great historical events that filled the early days of California such as the Gold Rush and the San Francisco earthquake, Towers of Gold brings to life the transformation of California from a frontier society whose economy was driven by the barter of hides and exchange of gold dust into a vibrant state with the strongest economy in the nation. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Remembering Survival
Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp
By Christopher R. Browning
February 2010, Norton
A remarkable story of survival for almost three hundred Jews who live to recount the brutalities of a Nazi work camp. In 1972 the Hamburg State Court acquitted Walter Becker, the German chief of police in the Polish city of Starachowice, of war crimes committed against Jews. Thirty years before, Becker had been responsible for liquidating the nearby Jewish ghetto, sending nearly 4,000 Jews to their deaths at Treblinka and 1,600 to slave-labor factories. The shocking acquittal, delivered despite the incriminating eyewitness testimony of survivors, drives this author’s inquiry. Drawing on the rich testimony of survivors of the Starachowice slave-labor camps, Christopher R. Browning examines the experiences and survival strategies of the Jewish prisoners and the policies and personnel of the Nazi guard. From the killings in the market square in 1942 through the succession of brutal camp regimes, there are stories of heroism, of corruption and retribution, of desperate choices forced on husbands and wives, parents and children. In the end, the ties of family and neighbor are the sinews of survival. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina.
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[book] A LETHAL OBSESSION
ANTI-SEMITISM FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE GLOBAL JIHAD
BY ROBERT S. WISTRICH
January 2010, Random House
Ohh…. About 1,184 pages
In this unprecedented work two decades in the making, leading historian Robert S. Wistrich examines the long and ugly history of anti-Semitism, from the first recorded pogrom in 38 BCE to its shocking and widespread resurgence in the present day. As no other book has done before it, A Lethal Obsession reveals the causes behind this shameful and persistent form of hatred and offers a sobering look at how it may shake and reshape the world in years to come. Here are the fascinating and long-forgotten roots of the “Jewish difference”–the violence that greeted the Jewish Diaspora in first-century Alexandria. Wistrich suggests that the idea of a formless God who passed down a universal moral law to a chosen few deeply disconcerted the pagan world. The early leaders of Christianity increased their strength by painting these “superior” Jews as a cosmic and satanic evil, and by the time of the Crusades, murdering a “Christ killer” had become an act of conscience.
Moving seamlessly through centuries of war and dissidence, A Lethal Obsession powerfully portrays the creation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the fateful anti-Semitic tract commissioned by Russia’s tsarist secret police at the end of the nineteenth century–and the prediction by Theodor Herzl, Austrian founder of political Zionism, of eventual disaster for the Jews in Europe.
The twentieth century fulfilled this dark prophecy, with the horrifying ascent of Hitler’s Third Reich. Yet, as Wistrich disturbingly suggests, the end of World War II failed to neutralize the “Judeophobic virus”: Pogroms and prejudice continued in Soviet-controlled territories and in the Arab-Muslim world that would fan flames for new decades of distrust, malice, and violence. Here, in pointed and devastating detail, is our own world, one in which jihadi terrorists and the radical left blame Israel for all global ills. In his concluding chapters, Wistrich warns of a possible nuclear “Final Solution” at the hands of Iran, a land in which a formerly prosperous Jewish community has declined in both fortunes and freedoms.
Dazzling in scope and erudition, A Lethal Obsession is a riveting masterwork of investigative nonfiction, the definitive work on this unsettling yet essential subject. It is destined to become an indispensable source for any student of world affairs.
Robert S. Wistrich is professor of modern European history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and head of its Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. Previously, he held the Jewish Chronicle Chair of Jewish Studies at University College London and was visiting professor of history at Brandeis and Harvard universities. A regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, he is the author of many books, including Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred, and scripted the PBS television series of the same name.
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[book] The Forty Years War
The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama
By Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman.
January 2010, Harper
PW writes: Neoconservative ideologues battle pragmatists by fair means and foul in this scattershot history of American foreign policy. Colodny (Silent Coup) and Shachtman (Decade) hang their study on the figure of Fritz Kraemer, an obscure Pentagon analyst, whose championing of a militarized, moralistic foreign policy allegedly inspired two generations of neoconservatives. The book’s first half follows the departure of Richard Nixon and erstwhile Kraemer-ite Henry Kissinger from conservative orthodoxy in seeking a rapprochement with Communist powers. In a voluminous rehash of Watergate, the authors insinuate that White House chief of staff and Kraemer protégé Alexander Haig, abetted by reporter Bob Woodward (a sinister “mouthpiece”), undermined the Nixon presidency for this apostasy. The second half treats ensuing decades as a seesaw struggle in which neocon policy makers’ adventurism, from the Iran-Contra affair to the Iraq War, periodically self-destructs and generates a realist backlash. The authors’ sharp narrative of factional infighting exhausts itself in flogging the Haig-Woodward conspiracy theory. Kraemer is an ill-chosen central character, more figurehead than intellectual godfather; his sketchily elaborated ideas shed little light on this serviceable but mundane account of the conflict between hawks and doves
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[book] THE BELIEVERS
A NOVEL. Now in paperback.
BY ZOE HELLER
January 2010, Harper
Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Heller (What Was She Thinking?; Notes on a Scandal) puts to pointed use her acute observations of human nature in her third novel, a satire of 1960s idealism soured in the early 21st century. Audrey and Joel Litvinoff have attempted to pass on to their children their lefty passions—despite Audrey's decidedly bourgeois attitude and attorney Joel's self-satisfied heroism, including the defense of a suspected terrorist in 2002 New York City. When Joel has a stroke and falls into a coma, Audrey grows increasingly nasty as his secrets surface. The children, meanwhile, wander off on their own adventures: Rosa's inherited principles are beleaguered by the unpleasant realities of her work with troubled adolescents; Karla, her self-image crushed by Audrey, has settled into an uncomfortable marriage and the accompanying pressure to have children; and adopted Lenny, the best metaphor for the family's troubles, dawdles along as a drug addict and master manipulator. Though some may be initially put off by the characters' coldness—the Litvinoffs are a severely screwed-up crew—readers with a certain mindset will have a blast watching things get worse
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[book] LOX, STOCKS, AND BACKSTAGE BROADWAY
ICONIIC TRADES OF NEW YORK CITY
BY NANCY GRACE
January 2010, Rowman & Littlefield
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Profiling those who craft the artistry of Broadway, pilot NYC subway trains, construct the city's ubiquitous water towers, plaster Manhattan walls with graffiti, and more, this compendium of big city trade from Library of Congress "folklike specialist" Groce is packed with the fascinating testimony of cityfolk who honestly love what they do. The process of making a wig for a Broadway show, detailed by designer Linda Rice, involves thousands of individual hairs hand-tied to mesh, taking some 15 hours to complete and a minimum of $1,200. The graffiti industry is well-considered some three decades after it emerged as a cultural force, and the everyday frustrations of riding the MTA's subway system are put into startling perspective: "Approximately 70 percent of Americans who ride mass transit each day do so in New York City." Groce also demystifies Wall Street with the help of traders and others, and serves up everything there is to know about Bagels and Bialys on Coney Island: the third-generation owner of Russ and Daughters says that the present-day variety of shmears (like tofu cream cheese) and fish ("I have ten different kinds of smoked salmon") would make grandfather roll over in his grave. A grand undertaking, Groce's volume makes an absorbing document of "local culture in the global city."
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[book] FDR‘s DEADLY SECRET
By Eric Fettmann and Steven Lamaze
January 2010, Publicaffairs
What would have happened if FDR lived to complete his fourth term. What would have happened to Europe, Japan, the Atom Bomb, USSR, and Germany. What if people knew that FDR was dying? Who would have received the nomination and won the presidency and what would his policies have been?
In 1970, Roosevelt’s cardiologist admitted he had been suffering from uncontrolled hypertension and that his death—from a cerebral hemorrhage—was “a cataclysmic event waiting to happen.” But even this was a carefully constructed deceit, one that began in the 1930s and became acutely necessary as America approached war.
In this great medical detective story and narrative of a presidential cover-up, an exhaustive study of all available reports of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s health, and a comprehensive review of thousands of photographs, an intrepid physician-journalist team reveals that Roosevelt at his death suffered from melanoma, a skin cancer that had spread to his brain and abdomen. Roosevelt’s condition was not only physically disabling, but also could have affected substantially his mental function and his ability to make decisions in the days when the nation was imperiled by World War II.
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[book] THE HARVARD PSYCHEDELIC CLUB
How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America
BY DON LATTIN
January 2010, HarperCollins
The Harvard Psychedelic Club is not only a great read, it's also an unforgettable head trip. Lattin weaves a masterful tale of 1960s-style spirituality, professional jealousy, and out-of-body experiences. Lattin has done his homework and it shows. Read this book and expand your mind. No hallucinogenics required. (Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss) A revealing account of four iconic personalities who helped define an era, sowed seeds of consciousness, and left indelible marks in the lives of spiritual explorers to this day. The Conclusion is alone worth the price of the book. (Dan Millman, author of The Peaceful Warrior) With care and considerable humor, Don Lattin shows us how the interwoven relationships of four charismatic visionaries contributed to the expansion of mind that changed American culture forever. The way we eat, pray, and love have all been conditioned by their lives and teachings. (Mirabai Bush, co-founder and Senior Fellow of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, co-author (with Ram Dass) of Compassion in Action). Lattin's focuses on Huston Smith and Andrew Weil as well as Leary and Alpert. He creates a stimulating and engrossing read.
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[book] The Death of the Shtetl
By Yehuda Bauer
January 2010, Yale
In this book, Yehuda Bauer, an internationally acclaimed Holocaust historian, describes the destruction of small Jewish townships, the shtetls, in what was the eastern  part of Poland by the Nazis in 1941–1942. Bauer brings together all available documents, testimonies, and scholarship, including previously unpublished material from the Yad Vashem archives, pertaining to nine representative shtetls. In line with his belief that “history is the story of real people in real situations,” Bauer tells moving stories about what happened to individual Jews and their communities. Over a million people, approximately a quarter of all victims of the Holocaust, came from the  shtetls. Bauer writes of the relations between Jews and non-Jews (including the actions of rescuers); he also describes attempts to create underground resistance groups, efforts to escape to the forests, and Jewish participation in the Soviet partisan movement. Bauer’s book is a definitive examination of the demise of the shtetls, a topic of vast importance to the history of the Holocaust.
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[book] CAPITALISM AND THE JEWS
BY JERRY Z. MuLLER
January 2010, Princeton
The unique historical relationship between capitalism and the Jews is crucial to understanding modern European and Jewish history. But the subject has been addressed less often by mainstream historians than by anti-Semites or apologists. In this book Jerry Muller, a leading historian of capitalism, separates myth from reality to explain why the Jewish experience with capitalism has been so important and complex--and so ambivalent. Drawing on economic, social, political, and intellectual history from medieval Europe through contemporary America and Israel, Capitalism and the Jews examines the ways in which thinking about capitalism and thinking about the Jews have gone hand in hand in European thought, and why anticapitalism and anti-Semitism have frequently been linked. The book explains why Jews have tended to be disproportionately successful in capitalist societies, but also why Jews have numbered among the fiercest anticapitalists and Communists. The book shows how the ancient idea that money was unproductive led from the stigmatization of usury and the Jews to the stigmatization of finance and, ultimately, in Marxism, the stigmatization of capitalism itself. Finally, the book traces how the traditional status of the Jews as a diasporic merchant minority both encouraged their economic success and made them particularly vulnerable to the ethnic nationalism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Providing a fresh look at an important but frequently misunderstood subject, Capitalism and the Jews will interest anyone who wants to understand the Jewish role in the development of capitalism, the role of capitalism in the modern fate of the Jews, or the ways in which the story of capitalism and the Jews has affected the history of Europe and beyond, from the medieval period to our own.
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[book] A TALE OF TWO SEDERS
By Mindy Avra Portnoy (Author), Valeria Cis (Illustrator)
January 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 4 - 8
Divorce is difficult. But over Passover, the child celebrates with both parents, one each night. Over the course of three years and six seders, we watch as a young girl comes to grips with her new family situation as she and her parents forge new lives and create new family traditions. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] GOING ON A HAMETZ HUNT
BY JACQUELINE JULES AND RICK BROWN
2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 1 - 4
Join as a brother and sister search out hametz as they seek out breadcrumbs before the start of pAssover, rhyming and counting as they go. . Click the book cover to read more.









[book] The Remarkable Journey of Josh's Kippah
By Barbara Elissa Farida Zaman (Illustrator)
January 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 4 - 8
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
We should have written this book!
OK… Josh has ordered dozens of blue satin kippot for the ceremony of his becoming a Bar Mitzvah
When his uncle wears the blue satin kippah to the bimah for an aliyah, he takes the kippah with him when he flies to Los Angeles. From LA, the kippah is picked up and taken elsewhere and it travels around the world, helping to cover the heads of various people in various places from Israel to Australia and place in between.
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[book] JIHAD AND GENOCIDE
Studies in Genocide: Religion, History, and Human Rights
By Richard L. Rubenstein, PhD
January 2010, Rowman and Littlefield
From the author of the famed groundbreaking 1966 book, “After Auschwitz, Radical Theology and Contemporary Judaism,” (which was groundbreaking, but his thesis did not prove correct … yet) is this book, which examines the relationship between jihad and genocide, past and present.
Richard L. Rubenstein, 86, a respected scholar in the field of genocide studies (perhaps governments will use genocide to get rid of excess population, those who are not productive, no longer productive, or unable to be productive), takes a close look at the violent interpretations of jihad and how they have played out in the past hundred years, from the Armenian genocide through current threats to Israel. Rubenstein's unflinching study of the potential for fundamentalist jihad to initiate targeted violence raises pressing questions in a time when questions of religious co-existence, particularly in the Middle East, are discussed urgently each day.
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[book] THE STRONG HORSE
POWER,POLITICS, AND THE CLASH OF ARAB CIVILIZATIONS
BY LEE SMITH
January 2010, Doubleday
PW; “Starred Review. Smith, Middle East correspondent for the Weekly Standard, argues that it was tensions within the Middle East—not a clash of civilizations, American policies in the region or the creation of Israel—that prompted the attacks on September 11. He writes, In believing that 300 million Arabs had really lined up as one against America, we had been taken in by a mirage, and he takes to task Edward Said and others he feels homogenize Arabs into a monolithic group. In the book's strongest sections, Smith looks at continuities from the pre-Islamic Arab world to the present to trace mores and differences that seep into the modern day, adding a fascinating historical angle. While he undermines his argument with a penchant for proclaiming the condition of the region to be immutable (In the Middle East, political violence is not an anomaly. It is the normal state of affairs), he should be lauded for his commitment and careful research. The book is compelling, well written and worth a read even—or perhaps especially—by those who would disagree with the author.”
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[book] 36 Arguments for the Existence of God
A Work of Fiction
By Rebecca Goldstein
January 2010, Pantheon
The title of the book is 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction. I meant the subtitle to be understood as a sort of joke, but as a serious one, too. --Rebecca Goldstein
PW: “Starred Review. An atheist with a soul is in for a lot of soul-searching in MacArthur genius Goldstein's rollicking latest (Mazel). Cass Seltzer, a university professor specializing in the psychology of religion, hits the big time with a bestselling book and an offer to teach at Harvard—quite a step up from his current position at Frankfurter University. While waiting for his girlfriend to return from a conference, Cass receives an unexpected visit from Roz Margolis, whom he dated 20 years earlier and who looks as good now as she ever did. Her secret: dedicating her substantial smarts to unlocking the secrets of immortality. Cass's recent success and Roz's sudden appearance send him into contemplation of the tumultuous events of his past, involving his former mentor, his failed first marriage and a young mathematical prodigy whose talent may go unrealized, culminating in a standing-room-only debate with a formidable opponent where Cass must reconcile his new, unfamiliar life with his experience of himself. Irreverent and witty, Goldstein seamlessly weaves philosophy into this lively and colorful chronicle of intellectual and emotional struggles. ”
Goldstein, a graudate of yeshiva high school, considered Spinoza a childhood hero. She is the author of Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] MEDICINE IN TRANSLATION
JOURNEYS WITH MY PATIENTS
BY DANIELLE OFRI, MD
January 2010, Beacon Press. DanielleOfri.com
For two decades, Dr. Danielle Ofri has cared for patients at Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in the country and a crossroads for the world’s cultures. In Medicine in Translation, she introduces us, in vivid, moving portraits, to the patients she has known. They have braved language barriers, religious and racial divides, and the emotional and practical difficulties of exile in order to access quality health care. Sharing their journeys with them over the years, Danielle has witnessed some of their best and worst moments, and come to admire their resilience and courageous spirit. Danielle introduces us to her patients: Samuel Nwanko, who was brutally attacked by a Nigerian cult in his homeland and is attempting to create a new life in America; Jade Collier, an Aussie who refuses to let a small thing like a wheelchair keep her from being a homegrown ambassador to New York City; Julia Barquero, a Guatemalan woman who migrated to the States to save her disabled son but cannot obtain the lifesaving heart transplant she needs because she is undocumented. We meet a young Muslim woman threatened at knifepoint for wearing her veil, and the spitfire Señora Estrella, one of Danielle’s many Spanish-speaking patients, whose torrent of words helps seal Danielle’s resolve to improve her own Spanish, an essential skill in today’s urban hospitals. And so she, her husband, and their two young children and seventy-five-pound dog relocate to Costa Rica, where they discover potholes the size of their New York City apartment, a casual absence of street signs or even street names, tangy green-skinned limon dulce dangling in the playground, and sudden rains surging over the craggy edges of roadside ditches. Ultimately, Danielle experiences being a patient in a foreign country when she gives birth to their third child, a "Costarricense" girl. With controversy over immigrants in our society escalating, and debate surrounding health-care reform becoming increasingly urgent, Ofri’s riveting stories about her patients could not be more timely. Living and dying in the foreign country we call home, they have much to teach us about the American way, in sickness and in health.
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[book] Before We Eat
A Thank You Prayer
(Very First Board Books)
By Jacqueline Jules and Melissa Iwai
January 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 1-3, 8 pages
A young child thanks god for his food and learns the “motzi“ prayer of thanks
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[book] TOWER OF BABEL
BY A. S. GADOT
AND CECILIA REBORA
January 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 5 - 9
A lighthearted and visually humorous retelling of the Bible story. In this version, the concept of God as a punitive force is discarded; instead the focus is entirely on the people. Their routine lives seem pleasant enough until someone gets bored and ignites a flurry of discussion about the need for something new and unusual to happen. After abandoning a few ideas such as starting a band or searching the Internet ("But the computer hadn't been invented yet"), they decide to construct a tower "that will make us important and powerful!" It is their arrogance that ultimately results in multilingual squabbling. The rhythmical text moves the tale along at an enjoyable pace and creates a sense of fun. Childlike illustrations are painted in flat, bold colors across spreads that contain lots of amusing details, including an adorable white-and-black pup and a green parrot. Multicultural characters take on a comic quality with large round heads, big eyes, triangular bodies, and silly expressions. For collections looking for a fresh version of an old story, this book fits the bill
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[book] JEWISH COMEDY STARS
CLASSIC TO CUTTING EDGE
BY NORMAN H. FINKELSTEIN
January 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 8 - 11
It was the Freedom Summer of 1964. Civil Rights workers Mickey Schwermer, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney were driving through Mississippi when they were pulled over by a police cruiser with flashing lights. Should they run or pull over? Was it the police or the Ku Klux Klan or both? This is their story and the story of their murder.
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[book] America's Great Delis
Recipes and Traditions from Coast to Coast
By Sheryll Bellman
January 2010, Sellers
Loaded with photos, ads and images, this appreciation of Jewish delis in America from author Bellman will get readers ready to nosh. Opening with a history of deli culture and kosher food prep, Bellman takes readers on a tour of some of the nation's most famous delis, highlighting their best loved dishes with copious photos, menus, advertisements, and other ephemera. Diners who don't know seltzer from schmaltz will learn the appeal in historical overviews of hallmarks like chopped liver, Dr. Browns Cel-Ray Soda, egg creams, corned beef, and knishes, as well as a handy list of Yiddish terms that will guarantee confident counter-side manner. Longtime patrons of New York's Barney Greengrass, Carnegie Deli and Katz's; Los Angeles's Canters Deli; or Ann Arbor, Mich.'s Zingermans will enjoy bellying up with Bellman as she recounts the history of each establishment, alongside a handful of signature recipes. Readers interested in recreating classic deli fare will find multiple options for dishes like chopped liver, cheesecake, reubens, and stuffed cabbage, as well as local specialties. Though heavily weighted with New York establishments, Bellman captures the look and feel of Jewish delis across the U.S. while illustrating their enduring popularity. With more than 250 color and black & white photographs and historical ephemera, America's Great Delis is an in-depth look at delis across the U.S. 80+ original recipes from world famous delis including: a Zingerman's sandwich (#24: The Ferber Experience); Junior s Famous No.1 Cheesecake; Katz's Deli Honey Cake; Canter's Deli Cheese Blintzes; Langer's Deli pastrami, along with a glossary of Yiddishisms and deli-speak for the uninitiated, make this book a wonderful celebration of Jewish cuisine and culture.
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[book] THE FIFTH SERVANT
A NOVEL
BY KENNETH WISHNIA
January 2010, William Morrow
Booklist: “Author of five mysteries featuring Ecuadorian American Filomena Buscarsela as a New York detective, Wishnia here explores the history of Jewish persecution during the sixteenth-century Inquisition. Set in Prague, the story features famous Rabbi Loew and his not-so-famous shammes (synagogue sexton), Benyamin Ben-Akiva. On Passover, a Christian girl is murdered and left in a Jewish shop, stirring up wild accusations of blood libel and witchcraft against the Jews. Benyamin endeavors to find the culprit, wending his way carefully as clues take him into the Christian community. When the situation degenerates into violence, he calls on Yahweh and his greatly divided children for the power to overcome evil, often using Talmudic analogies to convince Jews to break the letter of the law for the sake of life itself. Readers of Lisa Goldstein’s Alchemist’s Door (2002) and Harry Mulisch’s The Procedure (2001), both about Golem in sixteenth-century Prague, will feel at home here, but Richard Zimler’s The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon (1998), about the massacre of Portuguese Jews in 1506, may come closest to matching Wishnia’s powerful (some may feel too detailed) evocations of Jewish persecution. A densely philosophical yet surprisingly witty historical mystery.“ Click the book cover to read more.








[book] NOT WITHOUT MY SON
By Dr. Miriam Naseem
January 2010, AuthorHouse
This memoir of Iranian-born Dr. Mariam Naseem, tells of a Jewish woman who flees for her safety from the new theocracy of Iran. The book offers a view of the United States through the eyes of a modern Middle Eastern immigrant. Together with her infant son and the husband who was chosen for her, Naseem arrives in the United States to face unexpected challenges. The greatest obstacle of all, though, is the sudden change in her son, whose studies at a prestigious university are cut short by illness. When it seems that no one can or will offer a helping hand, Naseem discovers how to summon her own inner strength to help her to get by.
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FEBRUARY 2010

[book] YOU SAY TOMATO, I SAY SHUT UP
A LOVE STORY
By Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn
February 2010, Crown
"We're just not that into us."--Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn
Annabelle and Jeff have been married 13 years, like a marriage bar mitzvah. They have stayed together by ignoring conventional wisdom. They compete as to who is a better parent, they avoid intimacy, they are couples therapy dropouts. This is a he said - she said chronicle of their marriage. Perfect for Valentines Day? Gurwitch is the co host of DINNER AND A MOVIE on TBS, and appears on NPR. Kehn won an Emmy as a writer of the Ben Stiller Show. He is also an actor who was in Tropic Thunder and Entourage (as a clown) and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Best line is:
Jeff: I want to have sex everday, but Annabelle wants to do it only once a week. So we compromise: we have sex once a week.
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[book] THE 188TH CRYBABY BRIGADE
A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah
A Memoir
BY JOEL CHASNOFF
February 2010, Free Press
It was three deacdes ago: he writes, “Look at me. Do you see me? Do you see me in my olive-green uniform, beret, and shiny black boots? Do you see the assault rifle slung across my chest? Finally! I am the badass Israeli soldier at the side of the road, in sunglasses, forearms like bricks. And honestly -- have you ever seen anything quite like me?”
Joel Chasnoff is twenty-four years old, 5’8”, 130, an left wing, lactose-intolerant American, and the graduate of an Ivy League university. But when his career as a stand-up comic (he was a Mask & Wig star at Penn) fails to get off the ground, Chasnoff decides it's time for a serious change of pace. He was a Solomon Schecter grad, so he had the basics in Hebrew. Leaving behind his amenity-laden Brooklyn apartment for a plane ticket to Israel, Joel trades in the comforts of being a stereotypical American Jewish male for an Uzi, dog tags (with his name misspelled, when he told the soldier in charge of dogtags that his name spelled wrong, they instructed him not to die), and serious mental and physical abuse at the hands of the Israeli Army.
I admit, I get pissed when Chasnoff glibly says that Jews aren’t known as soldiers or fighting wars, but I realize he is just being funnyor trying to be funny
The 188th Crybaby Brigade is a hilarious and poignant account of Chasnoff's year in the Israel Defense Forces -- a year that he volunteered for, and that he'll never get back. As a member of the 188th Armored Brigade, soldier # 5481287, a unit trained on the Merkava tanks that make up the backbone of Israeli ground forces, Chasnoff finds himself caught in a twilight zone-like world of mandatory snack breaks, battalion sing-alongs, and eighteen-year-old Israeli mama's boys who feign injuries to get out of guard duty and claim diarrhea to avoid kitchen work. More time is spent arguing over how to roll a sleeve cuff than studying the mechanics of the Merkava tanks. The platoon sergeants are barely older than the soldiers and are younger than Chasnoff himself. By the time he's sent to Lebanon for a tour of duty against Hezbollah, Chasnoff knows everything about why snot dries out in the desert, yet has never been trained in firing the MAG. And all this while his relationship with his tough-as-nails Israeli girlfriend (herself a former drill sergeant) crumbles before his very eyes. The lone American in a platoon of eighteen-year-old Israelis, Chasnoff takes readers into the barracks; over, under, and through political fences; and face-to-face with the absurd reality of life in the Israeli Army. It is a brash and gritty depiction of combat, rife with ego clashes, breakdowns in morale, training mishaps that almost cost lives, and the barely containable sexual urges of a group of teenagers. What's more, it's an on-the-ground account of life in one of the most em-battled armies on earth -- an occupying force in a hostile land, surrounded by enemy governments and terrorists, reviled by much of the world. With equal parts irreverence and vulnerability, irony and intimacy, Chasnoff narrates a new kind of coming-of-age story -- one that teaches us, moves us, and makes us laugh.
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SPEAKING OF L O N E S O L D I E R S…
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THIS
[book] Chayalim Bodedim
Lone Soldiers
Israel's Defenders from Around the World
By Herb Keinon, Lisa Hackel (Editor), Ricki Rosen (Photog)
2009, Devorah
They pick up and leave family, friends, home, cars, first-tier universities, and often top jobs for a land in which, in most cases, they don't have relatives, and are unfamiliar with the language, culture, food, and mentality. Once there, they choose one of the harshest, most difficult frameworks possible in which to immerse themselves: the army. They are Israel's lone soldiers. ''Lone Soldiers: Israel's Defenders from Around the World'' tells a tale, engagingly written by Jerusalem Post diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon, with accompanying pictures by noted photographer Ricki Rosen. This book tells the personal stories of fourteen of these volunteer lone soldiers - including one, Michael Levin, who fell in the Second Lebanon War - and of an ''old school'' kibbutznik, Lt.-Col. (res.) Tzvika Levy, known as the ''father of the lone soldiers,'' whose life mission is to take them under his wing and make their landing in Israel and the IDF as painless as possible. Their stories are living proof of Israel's enduring strength and Zionism's vibrant appeal.
[book]The Israeli Defense Force is the heart and soul of Israeli life. It is in the core of our values and the foundation of our culture.... The lone soldiers are unique individuals who, despite their unusual personal status, give and contribute to the IDF wholeheartedly. The IDF and the State of Israel need to show their gratitude for these wonderful youngsters.... Let this book be a tribute to the vast contribution of the lone soldiers to the Israeli army and our nation. --Shaul Mofaz, former IDF Chief of General Staff and former Defense Minister. This special book, written by Herb Keinon, tells the wonderful tale of fourteen lone soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces and the heart-warming story of a unique man, Tzvika Levy,... who is known as the ''father of the lone soldiers.''... The importance and contribution of the lone soldiers to the State of Israel and the IDF is immeasurable.... The personal example shown by the lone soldiers, who come from afar and volunteer to serve of their own free will out of pure Zionist ideas, is an educational value of the first degree.... Herb Keinon's book is a testimony to the love of Israel and to the unity and cooperation between Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. --Ehud Barak, Defense Minister and former Prime Minister in the foreword to Lone Soldiers: Israel's Defenders from Around the World. The Israeli Defense Force is the heart and soul of Israeli life. It is in the core of our values and the foundation of our culture.... The lone soldiers are unique individuals who, despite their unusual personal status, give and contribute to the IDF wholeheartedly. The IDF and the State of Israel need to show their gratitude for these wonderful youngsters.... Let this book be a tribute to the vast contribution of the lone soldiers to the Israeli army and our nation. --Shaul Mofaz, former IDF Chief of General Staff and former Defense Minister. This special book, written by Herb Keinon, tells the wonderful tale of fourteen lone soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces and the heart-warming story of a unique man, Tzvika Levy,... who is known as the ''father of the lone soldiers.''... The importance and contribution of the lone soldiers to the State of Israel and the IDF is immeasurable.... The personal example shown by the lone soldiers, who come from afar and volunteer to serve of their own free will out of pure Zionist ideas, is an educational value of the first degree.... Herb Keinon's book is a testimony to the love of Israel and to the unity and cooperation between Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. --Ehud Barak, Defense Minister and former Prime Minister in the foreword to Lone Soldiers: Israel's Defenders from Around the World
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A WALL IN PALESTINE
BY RENE BACKMANN
Translated from the French by A. Kasier
February 2010, Picador
Rene Backman is the Editor in Chief of Le Nouvel Observateur‘s foreign desk, and received the Prix Mumm. Backmann writes that the barrier wall will be completed in 2010. It may redraw the property lines between Israel and the West Back of the Jordan for years to come. Backmann writes that Israel refers to it is the security wall, and Palestinians refer to it as the apartheid wall. Backmann has interviewed Israeli policy makers, politicians and military officers, as well as local Palestinians living in the West Bank of the Jordan. He then draws conclusions on it effectiveness, purpose and possible consequences. Is is an endgame and will it occlude the possibility of peace for generations to come?
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[book] ISRAEL’S BARGAIN WITH THE BOMB
DEMOCRACY, SECRECY, AND TABOO
By AVNER COHEN (GWU)
February 2010, Columbia University Press
Israel has made a unique contribution to the nuclear age& mdash;it has created (with the tacit support of the United States) a special "bargain" with its bomb. Israel is the only nuclear-armed state that keeps its bomb invisible, unacknowledged, opaque. It will only say that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East. The bomb is Israel's collective ineffable - the nation's last taboo. This bargain has a name: in Hebrew, it is called amimut, or opacity. By adhering to the bargain, which was born in a secret deal between Richard Nixon and Golda Meir, Israel creates a code of nuclear conduct that encompasses both governmental policy and societal behavior. The bargain lowers the salience of Israel's nuclear weapons, yet it also remains incompatible with the norms and values of liberal democracy. It relies on secrecy and opacity. It infringes on the public right to know and negates the notion of public accountability and oversight, among other offenses. Author of the critically acclaimed Israel and the Bomb, Avner Cohen offers a bold and original study of this politically explosive subject. Along with a fair appraisal of the bargain's strategic merits, Cohen provides a critique of its antidemocratic faults. Arguing that the bargain has become increasingly anachronistic, he calls for a reform in line with domestic democratic values as well as current international nuclear norms. Most important, he believes the old methods will prove inadequate in dealing with a nuclear Iran. Cohen concludes with fresh perspectives on Iran, Israel, and the effort toward global disarmament
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[book] WE CAN HAVE PEACE IN THE HOLY LAND
A PLAN THAT WILL WORK
BY JiMMY CARTER
February 2010, Paperback edition Simon and Schuster
Carter’s treatise now in paperback. And just in time for its publication, he has publicly asked the Jewish community for forgiveness. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] MAKING TOAST
A FAMILY STORY
BY ROGER ROSENBLATT
February 2010, Ecco
Click the book cover to read more.
Rosenblatt made toast the way he constructs a sentence. With great strength. His daughter Amy Rosenblatt Solomon, a gifted physician in Chevy Chase, died suddenly at the age of 38. So Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, Left Quogue and took over her duties to help to raise her three young children along with Amy’s now widowed husband and their son in law, Dr. Harrison Solomon. With the wit, heart, precision, and depth of understanding that has characterized his work, Roger Rosenblatt peels back the layers on this most personal of losses to create both a tribute to his late daughter and a testament to familial love. He learns more about parenting with his grandkids than he did with his own three kids. The day Amy died, Harris told Virginia and Roger, “It’s impossible.” Rosenblatt’s story tells how a family makes the possible out of the impossible. Roger Rosenblatt's contributions to Time and PBS have won two George Polk Awards, a Peabody, and an Emmy. He is the author of six Off-Broadway plays and twelve books, including Lapham Rising.







[book] THE FOURTH ASSASSIN
A MYSTERY NOVEL
BY MATT BEYNON REES
February 2010, SoHo House
From the former Jerusalem Bureau Chief of Time Magazine. Arriving to visit his youngest son, Ala, in a heavily Palestinian area of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Omar Yussef discovers the beheaded body of one of the boy's roommates. Initially he thinks the dead boy is his son. When when Ala refuses to give an alibi, he is arrested as a suspect. Omar Yussef must prove his son's innocence, and the clues lead to the Assassins, a club Ala had in high school which took its name from the the medieval Shiite sect of murderers. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] FLY FISHING WITH DARTH VADER
AND OTHER ADVENTURES WITH EVANGELICAL WRESTLERS, POLITICAL HITMEN, AND JEWISH COWBOYS
BY MATT LABASH
February 2010, Simon & Schuster
In this debut collection, beloved journalist Matt Labash chronicles the outsized and outrageous characters who populate America's murky periphery. Filled with wit insight and a trenchant grasp of the American scoundrel. Profiles of Pirate Kingfish Governor Edwin Edwards, Crackhead Marion Barry, Political dirty tricks king Roger Stone, and much more
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[book] The Three Weissmanns of Westport
The Three Weissmans of Westport
A Novel
By Cathleen Schine
February 2010, FS&G
Jane Austen’s beloved “Sense and Sensibility” has moved to Westport, Connecticut, in this enchanting modern-day homage to the classic novel. “When Joseph Weissmann divorced his wife, he was seventy eight years old and she was seventy-five . . . He said the words “Irreconcilable differences,” and saw real confusion in his wife’s eyes. “Irreconcilable differences?” she said. “Of course there are irreconcilable differences. What on earth does that have to do with divorce?” “
Thus begins The Three Weissmanns of Westport, a sparkling contemporary adaptation of Sense and Sensibility from the always winning Cathleen Schine, who has already been crowned “a modern-day Jewish Jane Austen” by People’s Leah Rozen.
In Schine’s story, sisters Miranda, an impulsive but successful literary agent, and Annie, a pragmatic library director, quite unexpectedly find themselves the middle-aged products of a broken home. Dumped by her husband of nearly fifty years and then exiled from their elegant New York apartment by his mistress, Betty is forced to move to a small, run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. Joining her are Miranda and Annie, who dutifully comes along to keep an eye on her capricious mother and sister. As the sisters mingle with the suburban aristocracy, love starts to blossom for both of them, and they find themselves struggling with the dueling demands of reason and romance.
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[book] DEVOTION
A MEMOIR
BY DANI SHAPIRO
February 2010, Harper. DaniShapiro.Com
How many women write a memoir? And how many live enough to write two memoirs before they are 50? Dani Shapiro is one of these writers. She grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. But it was more about tradition than belief, and she felt an emptiness that she filled with many things… That was her first memoir. Now she is breaking forty, and she has a marriage and a child and is in Litchfield CT. This is not the burbs, but the country. She lives a few hours from Manhattan, but it might as well be a five hour flight. She settles into being a Mommy (and perhaps a mom), a wife, and a daughter and a neighbor. She is finally coming of age. This book is her reckoning of what she has learned the hard way and what she believes. WHAT DOES SHE BELIEVE? This keeps her awake at night. Is there a plan, an order, some wisdom? Is it chaos? Is life just a jumble of events? This book took two years of introspection to create. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] SEX LOVE AND MONEY
REVENGE AND RUIN NIN THE WORLD OF HIGH STAKES DIVORCE
BY ATTY GERALD NISSENBAUM and John Sedgwick
February 2010, Hudson Street
In this memoir, one of the nation's best divorce lawyers opens decades of case files, exposing salacious stories that make fiction jealous. We all know the stereotypes of divorce: the cheating husband, the financially and emotionally broke wife. But after handling fighting spouses for nearly forty years, attorney Gerald Nissenbaum knows that the truth is even more outrageous and extraordinary than the characters on soap operas or courtroom reality TV. From a money-hungry wife who emptied the entire house-from furniture to the light fixtures-before leaving her husband penniless; to a revenge-obsessed husband who delivered truckloads of documents to his wife trying to deceive her, Nissenbaum shares the best tales from his extensive, successful career. Commanding upwards of $700 per hour, he knows everything about his well-to-do clients: how much is in his bank account; what kind of sex she likes and how often; if they marred for money or power; how he cheated and with whom. Based on the three elements that hold a marriage together and ultimately tear many apart, Sex, Love and Money examines the darkly humorous, ironic, cathartic, vindictive, sad and simply astonishing situations people go through to break asunder what a wedding put together.
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[book] From the Four Winds
A NOVEL
BY Haim Sabato
Translated form Hebrew>BR> February 2010, Toby press
Haim Sabato draws us into his childhood with this evocative rendering of his experiences as a young boy whose family immigrates to Israel in the 1950's, settling in a Ma'abara - a transit camp. He notices his fellow immigrants' concealment of their pasts. He accepts this secrecy, sensing that everything will reveal itself eventually. And this revelation does come, in the form of Farkash, a mysterious, dynamic man who takes Haim under his wing and gradually divulges to him his sorrowful, uplifting story, one that profoundly impacts Haim for the rest of his life...
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[book] YOU COULDN’T IGNORE ME IF YOU TRIED
THE BRAT PACK, JOHN HUGHES, AND THEIR IMPACT ON A GENERATION
BY SuSANNAH GORA
SusannahGora.com
February 2010, Random House Crown
Gora has wanted to write this book for over a decade. It was bashert.
From Publishers Weekly: The phrase was coined by David Blum in the headline Hollywood's Brat Pack, heralding his cover story for the June 10, 1985, issue of New York magazine with its cover photo of Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Judd Nelson. The label stuck, Gora notes, and extended to describe other actors: Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Anthony Michael Hall. A former editor at Premiere, Gora guides the reader through the creation of the teen cinema of the 1980s, described by the American Film Institute as the cultural phenomenon which helped make us what we are today. To recall the era, she interviewed two dozen actors, plus the directors and producers behind the Brat Pack's memorable movies, including The Breakfast Club, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo's Fire and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. As Gora sees it, The films changed the way many young people looked at everything from class distinction to friendship, from love and sex to fashion and music. Writer-director John Hughes's ability to capture adolescent angst is highlighted. The 1980s youth films maintain their popularity on TV and DVDs, and Gora gives them near-encyclopedic, comprehensive coverage.
She pretty much interviewed every actor, actress, producer and director of the period and those films, plus she throws in what happened behind the scenes between the takes. She was an Associate Editor for Premiere.
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[book] Empowered Judaism
What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us about Building Vibrant Jewish Communities
BY Elie Kaunfer
February 2010, Jewish Lights
The inside story and practical lessons from one of the most exciting developments in contemporary Judaism.
“Part description and part prescription, Empowered Judaism is a manifesto for transforming the way Jews pray and—more broadly—for building vibrant Jewish communities…. [It] represents the latest chapter in [an] uplifting history of religious creativity. This is a book that every Jewish leader will want to read and every serious Jew will want to contemplate.” —from the Foreword by Prof. Jonathan D. Sarna
Why have thousands of young Jews, otherwise unengaged with formal Jewish life, started more than sixty innovative prayer communities across the United States? What crucial insights can these grassroots communities provide for all of us? Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, one of the leaders of this revolutionary phenomenon, offers refreshingly new analyses of the age-old question of how to build strong Jewish community. He explores the independent minyan movement and the lessons it has to teach about prayer, community organizing and volunteer leadership, and its implications for contemporary struggles in American Judaism.
Along with describing the growth of independent minyanim across the country, he examines:
* The roles of liturgy, space, music and youth in this new approach to prayer
* Lessons to be learned from the concept of immersive, intensive Jewish learning in an egalitarian context
* Jewish values in which we must invest to achieve a vibrant, robust American Jewish landscape for the twenty-first century
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[book] CONSCIENCE
THE DUTY TO OBEY AND THE DUTY TO DISOBEY
BY RABBI HAROLD SCHULWEIS
February 2010, Jewish Lights
From Publishers Weekly: In this articulate and cogent treatise, Schulweis, longtime congregational rabbi and founding chairman of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, argues that acts of disobedience can be appropriate and moral when law violates conscience. Referencing the Midrash, Bible and Talmud, he argues that both the popular understanding of God as a being who cannot be contradicted and of Judaism as a religion that requires uncompromising obedience to authority is mistaken. Throughout Jewish history, he explains, rabbis have created ingenious legal maneuvers to eliminate laws they found unconscionable, such as making capital punishment so difficult to implement that it became obsolete. Furthermore, God's engagement with humanity, most famously his interaction with Abraham before he destroys Sodom, indicates a willingness for confrontations promoting morality and righteousness. Schulweis's broad knowledge is evident as he intersperses biblical anecdotes with philosophical theories, as is his ability to make his thesis relevant by including material on the Holocaust and references to Abu Ghraib. Whether religious or not, readers concerned with the culture of mindless complicity will find this volume revealing and enlightening.
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[book] INTERACTIVE FAITH
The Essential Interreligious Community-building Handbook
By Bud Heckman and Rori Picker Neiss
February 2010, Jewish Lights
From Publishers Weekly: America is coming to a tipping point, a critical crossroads after which no one will be able to avoid dealing with our growing religious diversity. So writes Heckman, a seasoned director of interfaith programs and former executive director of Religions for Peace–USA. This book, which brings together five original essays filled with case studies on interreligious dialogue, serves as a primer to those who may be new to the movement or find themselves in need of fresh ideas. Its basic premise is that the elements of commonality between religions are greater than their differences. Heckman starts out with a glossary of important terms, which are followed by essays on different ways to facilitate engagement. Eboo Patel, who is called a rock star of the movement, contributes a piece on his Interfaith Youth Core. The volume closes with a brief review of the dozen or so most common world religions, a thorough list of interfaith organizations and a comprehensive bibliography. This book should be required reading for clergy and anyone else interested in furthering the cause of pluralism
Drawing on the knowledge and experience of interfaith leaders from the world’s many faith traditions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Bahá’í Faith, Jainism, Shinto, Sikh Faith, Taoism, Zoroastrianism—this comprehensive resource provides practical ideas for connecting with people of all faiths and backgrounds through common concerns and activities that promote respect and support. It enables communities rich with diversity to work together to create paths toward peace and justice. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother
By Melissa Broder
February 2010, Ampersand
Who's the queen of kundalini bloopers, Emily Dickinson's attitude problem (that bitch) and California dreams? It's Melissa Broder, who will charm your pants off and then show you a little tough love in this vivid, witty first collection of poems: Each poem is artisan-crafted in controlled couplets, weighty triplets, tight syllabics and assonance that will take the top of your head off. But you won't have time to absorb the academic monkeyshine so absorbed you'll be in the flip side of Bat Mitzvah stress-syndrome, Aunt Sheila's in Taos, vampires in absentia, and brand names, brand names, brand names. From junkie fetishism to a housewife with a special thing for laundry, Broder does dark with magnetic charisma and enchanting humor.
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[book] Skeletons at the Feast
A Novel (Paperback)
BY Chris Bohjalian
February 2010, Three Rivers
In his 12th novel, Bohjalian (The Double Bind) paints the brutal landscape of Nazi Germany as German refugees struggle westward ahead of the advancing Russian army. Inspired by the unpublished diary of a Prussian woman who fled west in 1945, the novel exhumes the ruin of spirit, flesh and faith that accompanied thousands of such desperate journeys. Prussian aristocrat Rolf Emmerich and his two elder sons are sent into battle, while his wife flees with their other children and a Scottish POW who has been working on their estate. Before long, they meet up with Uri Singer, a Jewish escapee from an Auschwitz-bound train, who becomes the group's protector. In a parallel story line, hundreds of Jewish women shuffle west on a gruesome death march from a concentration camp. Bohjalian presents the difficulties confronting both sets of travelers with carefully researched detail and an unflinching eye, but he blinks when creating the Emmerichs, painting them as untainted by either their privileged status, their indoctrination by the Nazi Party or their adoration of Hitler. Although most of the characters lack complexity, Bohjalian's well-chosen descriptions capture the anguish of a tragic era and the dehumanizing desolation wrought by war.
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[book] BETWEEN TERROR AND TOURISM
AN OVERLAND JOURNEY ACROSS NORTH AFRICA
BY MICHAEL MEWSHAW
February 2010, COunterpoint
For his 65th birthday, novelist Michael Mewshaw took a 4,000-mile overland trip across North Africa. Arriving in Egypt during food riots, he heads west into Libya, where billions in oil money have produced little except citizens eager to flee to Europe or join the jihad in Iraq. In Tunis, Mewshaw visits an abandoned Star Wars movie set where Al Qaeda has just kidnapped two tourists. Ignoring U.S. Embassy warnings he crosses into Algeria, traveling through mountain towns and seething metropolises where 200,000 people have died during more than a decade of sectarian violence. Searching for the tombs of seven monks murdered by Islamic fundamentalists, he reaches a village where six more people have been beheaded the day before. When he interviews a repentant terrorist responsible for 5,000 deaths, the man praises the Boy Scouts for training him. By contrast, the Moroccan city of Tangier seems almost tame. But then he meets the last literary protégé of Paul Bowles who accuses Bowles of plagiarism and murder. In the end, the reader, like the author, is immersed in a fascinating adventure that’s sometimes tragic, often funny, occasionally terrifying and always a revelation of a strange place and its people.
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Assume you are planning a quick trip to Iran, maybe to scout it out, perhaps to blow up some nuclear missile building sites. Why not do some touring while you are there:
[book] Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah's Beard
A Journey Through The Inside-Out Worlds of Iran and Afghanistan
BY Nicholas Jubber
2010, Da Capo
An engrossing blend of travel writing and history, Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah’s Beard traces one man’s adventure-filled journey through today’s Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, and describes his remarkable attempt to make sense of the present by delving into the past. Setting out to gain insight into the lives of Iranians and Afghans today, Nicholas Jubber is surprised to uncover the legacy of a vibrant pre-Islamic Persian culture that has endured even in times of the most fanatic religious fundamentalism. Everywhere—from underground dance parties to religious shrines to opium dens—he finds powerful and unbreakable connections to a time when both Iran and Afghanistan were part of the same mighty empire, when the flame of Persian culture lit up the world. Whether through his encounters with poets and cab drivers or run-ins with “pleasure daughters” and mujahideen, again and again Jubber is drawn back to the eleventh-century Persian epic, the Shahnameh (“Book of Kings”). The poem becomes not only his window into the region’s past, but also his link to its tumultuous present, and through it Jubber gains access to an Iran and Afghanistan seldom revealed or depicted: inside-out worlds in which he has tea with a warlord, is taught how to walk like an Afghan, and even discovers, on a night full of bootleg alcohol and dancing, what it means to drink arak off an Ayatollah’s beard.
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Since the ads in the JewishWeek and The Forward or HEEB are lacking, you can depend on the London Review of Books for creativity.
[book] SEXUALLY I’M MORE OF A SWITZERLAND
MORE PERSONAL ADS FROM THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS
Edited by DAVID ROSE
February 2010, Scribner
In Sexually, I'm More of a Switzerland, author David Rose shares a collection of humorous personal ads, and gives readers a laugh-out-loud look at what some people will post to get a shot at love.
Nothing says "I love you" in a more sincere way than being woken with champagne and pastries and roses. Apart from a dog with peanut butter on the roof of his mouth. Write, we'll meet, sleep together and--in the morning, just before my friend's wife tells me to get off their sofa and get out of their house--I'll show you Winston's trick. It's hilarious. You'll have to bring the peanut butter though--they've put locks on all the kitchen cupboards. Man, 26. Box no. 6433.
I cannot guarantee you'll fall in love with me, but I can promise you the best home-brewed beetroot wine you’ll have ever tasted. Now if that doesn't sound like a fermented bucket of yummy siphoned lustiness I just don't know what does. Man, 41. Stupid like wow! Box no. 9851.
Tall, handsome, well-built, articulate, intelligent, sensitive, yet often grossly inaccurate man, 21. Cynics (and some cheap Brentwood psychiatrists) may say 'pathological liar', but I like to use 'creative with reality'. Join me in my 36-bedroomed mansion on my Gloucestershire estate, set in 400 acres of wild-stag populated woodland. East Ham.12 Box no. 0620
If intense, post-fight sex scares you, I’m not the woman for you (amateur big-boned cage wrestler, 62). Box no.
My last seven adverts in this column were influenced by the early catalogue of Krautrock band, Paternoster. This one, however, is based entirely around the work of Gil Scott-Heron. Man, 32. Possibly the last person you want to be stood next to at a house-party you’ve been dragged along to by a friend who wants to get off with the flatmate of the guy whose birthday it is. Hey! Have you ever heard Boards of Canada? They’re amazing; I’ll burn you a CD.9 Box no. 3178.
22 Sexually, I’m More of a Switzerland
This advert is about as close as I come to meaningful interaction with other adults. Woman, 51. Not good at parties but tremendous breasts. Box no. 5436.
Years of cigarette smoke can put one hell of a patina on a guy’s complexion. F with hot soapy water, coarse brush and a poor sense of smell/sobriety required by jug-faced M, 57. Box no. 4674.MBR> Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Government Girl
Young and Female in the White House
By Stacy Parker Aab
2010, Ecco paperback
I admit that I was sad in the first chapter of this book, when the author is abroad with the President, no longer working the White House, but volunteering to head up the hotel arrangements. President Clinton is alone with her in the hotel room, he invites her out to the balcony. A lone Japanese naval ship is in the Sea, probably snapping photos of Clinton and this female figure on a balcony. And then . . .
This is a memoir of being young and female in the Clinton White House. Stacy Parker Aab was born in Detroit in 1974, the only daughter of a white Kansas farm girl and a young black Detroiter fresh from two tours of Vietnam. An excellent student, Aab gravitated toward public service and moved to Washington, D.C., for college in 1992. She scored an internship in the White House. For three years, she worked for George Stephanopoulos. In 1997 she became White House staff, serving as Paul Begala's special assistant. At first, life was charmed, with nurturing mentors, (men such as Vernon Jordan), superstar politicos, and handsome Secret Service agents. In January 1998, the world of the Clinton White House changed radically. Monica Lewinsky became a household name, and Aab learned quickly that in Washington, protectors can become predators, investigators will chase you like prey, and if you make mistakes with a powerful man, the world will turn your name into mud. This memoir is a window into the culture of the Clinton White House, as seen through the eyes of an idealistic young female aide. Stacy Parker Aab's intimate memoir tells of her coming-of-age in the lion's den. Her story provides a searing look at the dynamics between smart young women and the influential older men who often hold the keys to their dreams.
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[book] MARRY HIM
THE CASE FOR SETTLING FOR MR. GOOD ENOUGH
BY LORI GOTTLEIB
February 4, 2010, Dutton
You know her and love her The Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt and Sex Drugs and Gefilte Fish or maybe from This American Life. Here is her latest book
“…It was a humbling experience to read MARRY HIM, but I'm so glad I did... fans and foes are falling into two camps: those who think Gottlieb is a neurotic, desperate, extremist nut who should marry her psychiatrist—- and those (mostly women over 40) who think she is absolutely spot-on brilliant and that if only they had read her book when they were 25, they’d be married now. To be fair, many of the complaints against Gottlieb have to do with the fact that she is dispensing marital advice without ever having been married… “My advice is this: settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling ‘Bravo!’ in movie theatres. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go.” Whether it was a fixable problem like bad dress sense or the ­arguably more problematic absence of chemistry, she was uncompromising about compromising
—The Los Angeles Jewish Journal

Book cover: You have a fulfilling job, a great group of friends, the perfect apartment, and no shortage of dates. So what if you haven't found The One just yet. Surely he'll come along, right?
But what if he doesn't? Or even worse, what if he already has, but you just didn't realize it?
Suddenly finding herself forty and single, Lori Gottlieb said the unthinkable in her March 2008 article in The Atlantic: Maybe she and single women everywhere, needed to stop chasing the elusive Prince Charming and instead go for Mr. Good Enough. Looking at her friends' happy marriages to good enough guys who happen to be excellent husbands and fathers, Gottlieb declared it time to reevaluate what we really need in a partner. Her ideas created a firestorm of controversy from outlets like the Today show to The Washington Post, which wrote, "Given the perennial shortage of perfect men, Gottlieb's probably got a point," to Newsweek and NPR, which declared, "Lori Gottlieb didn't want to take her mother's advice to be less picky, but now that she's turned forty, she wonders if her mother is right." Women all over the world were talking. But while many people agreed that they should have more realistic expectations, what did that actually mean out in the real world, where Gottlieb and women like her were inexorably drawn to their "type"?
That's where Marry Him comes in.
By looking at everything from culture to biology, in Marry Him Gottlieb frankly explores the dilemma that so many women today seem to face--how to reconcile the strong desire for a husband and family with a list of must-haves so long and complicated that many great guys get rejected out of the gate. Here Gottlieb shares her own journey in the quest for romantic fulfillment, and in the process gets wise guidance and surprising insights from marital researchers, matchmakers, dating coaches, behavioral economists, neuropsychologists, sociologists, couples therapists, divorce lawyers, and clergy--as well as single and married men and women, ranging in age from their twenties to their sixties.
Marry Him is an eye-opening, often funny, sometimes painful, and always truthful in-depth examination of the modern dating landscape, and ultimately, a provocative wake- up call about getting real about Mr. Right.
The film rights have been optioned by Tobey Maguire for Warner Bros.
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[book] MAKING PRAYER REAL
Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer Is Difficult and What to Do About It
Edited by Mike Comins
February 2010, Jewish Lights
Fresh, Useful Perspectives on the Spiritual Dynamics of Prayer. "Better music, better sermons and better prayer books can only go so far. Many innovations have been tried around the world, and no doubt, synagogue leadership will continue to think creatively about improving services. But deep and lasting change will only come when each of us takes ownership and responsibility for what only we can really guide--our inner lives." --from the Preface
Join over fifty Jewish spiritual leaders from all denominations in a candid conversation about the why and how of prayer: how prayer changes us and how to discern a response from God. In this fascinating forum, they share the challenges of prayer, what it means to pray, how to develop your own personal prayer voice, and how to rediscover meaning and God's presence in the traditional Jewish prayer book.
CONTRIBUTORS:
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson Rabbi Aryeh Ben David Rabbi Anne Brener, LCSW Rabbi Sharon Brous Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum Rabbi Mike Comins Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, PhD Rabbi Lavey Derby Cantor Ellen Dreskin Rabbi Diane Elliot Reb Mimi Feigelson Rabbi Tirzah Firestone Rabbi Nancy Flam Rabbi Karen Fox, DD Dr. Tamar Frankiel Rabbi Ethan Franzel Rabbi Elyse Frishman Rabbi Laura Geller Rabbi Neil Gillman, PhD Rabbi Shefa Gold Rabbi Elyse Goldstein Joel Lurie Grishaver Rabbi Nadya Gross Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD Melila Hellner-Eshed, PhD Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD Rabbi David Ingber Rabbi Zoë Klein Rabbi Myriam Klotz Rabbi Jamie Korngold Rabbi Lawrence Kushner Rabbi Naomi Levy Rabbi Richard N. Levy, DD Rabbi Sheryl Lewart Jay Michaelson Rabbi Linda Motzkin Rabbi Debra Orenstein Rabbi Nehemia Polen, PhD Rabbi Marcia Prager Rabbi Jeff Roth Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi Rabbi Rami Shapiro Rabbi Jonathan P. Slater Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz Rabbi Ira Stone Rabbi Michael Strassfeld Dr. Linda Thal Rabbi Abraham Twerski, MD Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg Rabbi Zari M. Weiss Rabbi David J. Wolpe Rabbi Shawn Zevit
From the Inside Flap
Put your heart's desires into words--no one else can truly pray for you. Have you lost faith in prayer? Do you wonder just who you are praying to and if it is worth the effort? Does your search for religious meaning take you anywhere but to synagogue and the traditional Jewish prayer book? If so, you're not alone. This is a no-holds-barred look at why so many of us find synagogue services and prayer at best difficult, and at worst, meaningless and boring--and how to make it more satisfying. Rabbi Mike Comins draws from over fifty interviews with Jewish spiritual leaders from all denominations, as well as from their "best prayer practices." He offers a new and different response to the challenges of prayer to entice and inspire you to become a "prayer person," a person who engages in prayer to play the heart strings of the soul.
He then guides you in overcoming the obstacles to achieving a satisfying prayer life through twenty-four innovative and traditional practices, relating prayer to the needs of conscious living: * Nurturing joy * Increasing mindfulness * Facilitating self-change * Dealing with tragedy * Responding to loss Click the book cover to read more.







[book] JUDAISM: EMBRACING THE SEEKER
By Rabbi Harold Schulweis
February 2010, KTAV
This book is addressed to Jews and non-Jews, affiliated or unaffiliated, who seek to understand the distinctive character of Jewish faith and identification. It seeks to dispel the whispered rumors that Judaism looks askance at those of other faiths who seek or have adopted a Jewish way of life. The myth of exclusiveness would limit Judaism to Jews by genes, contrary to Jewish theology, law, and Jewish history. 57 men and women who have chosen to join the Jewish community of faith and destiny are asked the motivation for their choice, the reaction of their family and friends, and their aspirations for their renewed lives. They answer by offering personal testimony to their journey and to the meaning their free-willed choice has added to their lives. Prominent synagogue rabbis, of all Jewish schools of thought share their dialogues with the seekers who learn of the shivers of Jewish history, the resilience of its people throughout 40 centuries of existence and the vision of a universe to be sanctified through active, loving care. The gates of Judaism are open. Let all who hunger come and eat at the same table
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[book] MY FOOTPRINT
CARRYING THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
BY JEFF GARLIN
February 2010, Simon
As Rabbi Hillel wrote, IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
Jeff Garlin shares his hysterical and eye-opening journey to reduce his waistline and his carbon footprint during the production of the seventh season of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Jeff Garlin has dedicated the filming of an entire season of Curb Your Enthusiasm to completely making over his lifestyle in two major ways--by lightening his physical and his ecological footprints. After many false starts, he believes that writing a book about the experiment is the only possible way to help him lose weight and go green. The hardest part of the endeavor is overcoming his food addiction--especially when craft service has a constant buffet of everything delicious you could imagine on set. In addition to cutting calories, Jeff accidentally falls into a love affair with pilates, sweats with Richard Simmons, and twice visits the Pritikin Longevity Center, which he says is "rehab for people who eat too much pizza." Larry David’s rooting for him. Jerry Seinfeld’s plotting against him. And his wife is just plain annoyed by everything. As far as going green, Jeff has always been a big recycler, but he has a lot to learn. For example, actor Ed Begley Jr. is the guy to call if you want to reduce your environmental impact. Jeff does, and it changes everything. He hopes that being healthy and green becomes a big part of who he is--if not now, when?
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[book] JEPHTE’S DAUGHTER
A NOVEL
BY NAOMI RAGEN
February 2010, paperback
From Publishers Weekly: Abraham Ha-Levi, a wealthy Los Angeles businessman, is the sole heir to a 300-year-old Hasidic dynasty. Believing himself unworthy to take on the mantle of leadership, he makes a solemn vow to God to continue the distinguished lineage through his only child, Batsheva. When he marries her off at 18 to a young Talmudic scholar, Isaac Harshen, they live in the ultra-fanatic religious quarters of Meah Shearim in Jerusalem. Beautiful and intelligent, Batsheva struggles valiantly to be a true daughter of Israel, obedient to her husband and the laws of Hasidic life. But her inquisitive nature and desire for secular knowledge (her favorite books are Anna Karenina and Women in Love ) challenge Isaac's narrow view of her role as wife and mother. When his abusiveness threatens their young son's well-being, she makes a dramatic escape, winding up in London, where she falls in love with a man studying for the priesthood. Batsheva's Jewish faith survives her spiritual and intellectual quests, and she returns to Jerusalem to confront Isaac, demanding freedom for herself and her child. Ragen's impeccable knowledge of Jewish law and lore allows us a deep understanding of orthodox Jewish life from a woman's point of view. Despite eloquent writing and vivid characters, however, her first novel falters under convenient plot machinations that compromise the full development of its religious and emotional themes.
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[book] Women at the Crossroads
A Woman's Perspective on the Weekly Torah Portion
By Rebbitzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum
February 2010, paperback
Women at the Crossroads: A Woman's Perspective on the Weekly Torah Portion comprises 53 essays pertaining to women based on each of the weekly Torah Portions throughout the year. Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum discusses in-depth the characters and dilemmas of the women in the Torah that are relevant to the issues which women encounter today. The author explores the underlying values of laws and rituals that pertain to women by examining the inherent nature of women as presented in the Torah. Based on the intricacies of the Torah text, she shows the beauty and depth of the role of women as portrayed in the Torah and teaches the importance of women and their immense influence on society as prime movers of history. The book is divided into five chapters, corresponding to the five books of the Torah. Each chapter is divided into sections according to each Torah portion. In addition, it includes a comprehensive and useful compilation of biographies of the commentaries quoted in the book. Expounding the Torah text through methodical research of Midrash, Talmud and traditional commentators, such as Rashi and the Ramban, placed side-by-side with Chassidic masters like the Me'or v'Shemesh and modern commentators including Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum weaves together the strands that make up the tapestry of life for the contemporary woman. Rather than paying homage to the external, competitive, masculine world, the author demonstrates how Jewish women of today may look inwards to the women in the Torah for guidance in choosing their priorities in life.
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[book] EIGHT WHITE NIGHTS
A NOVEL
BY ANDRE ACIMAN
February 2010, FS&G
From Publishers Weekly: This feverish novel from the author of Call Me by Your Name takes a microscope to a torrid romance–cum–battle of the sexes between two 20-something New Yorkers. Clara Brunschvicg and the unnamed narrator meet at a swank Christmas Eve party and immediately jockey for position. The ensuing grappling plays out over the course of the seven nights between that party and New Year's Eve. The motor that makes this dual character portrait hum is the narrator's uncertainty about sardonic beauty Clara's murky intentions. Aciman knows these types well, filling their romance with coffees, wealthy friends in Hudson County, and Rohmer film festivals, and he concocts ever more complex scenarios to dramatize the tension and uncertainty. This smart book is rich with the details of how skittish lovers interact. Aciman creates a private vernacular for the two while rarely failing to miss a telling smile or let so much as a line of dialogue go wasted. At times the narrator's wordiness drags—particularly when he intersperses the play-by-play of an intense moment with an extended analysis of the scene—but, mostly, the novel is taut and entirely authentic.
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[book] Once a Warrior
Always a Warrior:
Navigating the Transition from Combat to Home
Including Combat Stress, PTSD, and mTBI By Colonel Charles W. Hoge M.D.
February 2010, GPP
There’s combat. Then, there’s the rest of your life. We need survival skills for each battle zone. This is the guide to surviving the war back here. We all need it. A hell of a book. The lucky get it.” Senator Max Cleland (D GA)
“Dr. Charles Hoge has provided those who defend us a road map for treatment and support of their unseen wounds.” —Dan G. Blazer, MD, PhD, JP Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center
“It is the answer to the question “Where can I get great advice to help me adjust to returning home?” Charles Hoge shares his experience as a soldier and his wealth of knowledge as a physician and mental health expert with the aim of easing the transition from the battleground to civilian life. The book is fact-filled, authoritative, and immensely practical. It is a must read for returning military personnel, their families and friends, and anyone who provides care to active duty personnel and veterans.” — Murray B. Stein MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry and Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego; VA San Diego Healthcare System; Naval Medical Center San Diego
The essential handbook for anyone who has ever returned from a war zone, and their spouse, partner, or family members. Being back home can be as difficult, if not more so, than the time spent serving in a combat zone. It’s with this truth that Colonel Charles W. Hoge, MD, a leading advocate for eliminating the stigma of mental health care, presents Once a Warrior—Always a Warrior, a groundbreaking resource with essential new insights for anyone who has ever returned home from a war zone. In clear practical language, Dr. Hoge explores the latest knowledge in combat stress, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), mTBI (mild traumatic brain injury), other physiological reactions to war, and their treatment options. Recognizing that warriors and family members both change during deployment, he helps them better understand each other’s experience, especially living with enduring survival skills from the combat environment that are often viewed as “symptoms” back home. The heart of this book focuses on what’s necessary to successfully navigate the transition—“LANDNAV” for the home front.
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TRANSGRESSIONS
A NOVEL
BY JAMES A. JACOBS
2010.
Buy it at www.JamesAJacobs.com
This novel was originally inspired by a newspaper article, “Joined Tribes: Jewish Indians Are Ultimate Outsiders,” written in 1994 by Jonathon Tilove, which featured Sharon Skolnick, an Apache who married a Jewish husband and whose daughter Debbie was a Chicago Indian Princess. The article also contained a quote by Suzan S. Harjo, a Cheyenne poet and former head of the National Congress of American Indians who compared Indians and Jews as “survivors who have lived life on the run…and who have been the victims of the most hideous kinds of politics and personal attacks.” In the novel, these words are repeated.
The book pays homage to the author’s father, David Jacobs, a renowned high school athlete and a New York State heavyweight boxing champion in the early 1920s, and to his mother, Mary King Jacobs, that red-haired Irish beauty who could cook a kugel with the best of ‘em.
Brant, N.Y., 1952…Daniel Mendoza, son of a Jewish professional boxer on the verge of his first title shot, blames himself for the terrible events that befall his family. However, while sheltered on an Iroquois reservation, he is counseled through a series of rituals and tests both physical and spiritual that urge him toward manhood and a life-changing discovery.
“The author skillfully reveals how two high-minded uncles, one an Iroquois Faithkeeper and the other a Jewish Kabbalist, encourage their young nephew to shed his guilt and despair. Through rituals, games, and friendship, they help him learn personal and communal responsibility. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s a great story that beautifully weaves the spirituality of religion with young love, lacrosse, football, and the corrupt world of boxing.” -- Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia, Congregation Beth Chaim, Princeton Junction, N.J.








[book] BROKEN BIRDS
THE STORY OF MY MOMILA
BY JEANNETTE KATZIR
There is a truth in war: Every survivor has a story to tell. Sadly, it is very true. They have remembrances of evil too horrible to talk about, but anable to be forgotten. But, what of their children, the second and third generations? They too have stories to tell. Fortunately, their tales are not of prison guards and ovens, but of parents, who because of the war, were badly broken.
Channa, a Partisan Fighter during World War II, prepares Katzir and her four siblings to survive a war that ended before they were born. Channa's rules are unbreakable: Failure means Death. Strangers mean Danger. Anyone who is not blood is a Stranger. When Channa suddenly dies, the unexpected contents of her will force her adult children to recognize the affects her guidance has had on their relationships with one another, with their created families, and with her. What was once a close-knit family is now led down the road to emotional destruction.
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[book] THE SECRET LIVES OF THE DALAI LAMA
The Untold Story of the Holy Men Who Shaped Tibet, from Pre-history to the Present Day
By Alexander Norman. Dalai Lama (Foreword)
February 2010, Doubleday paperback
His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama is known to the world for his efforts to preserve Tibetan culture and for his inspiring spiritual teachings. Often unnoticed, however, is the long, colorful history from which this most beloved of holy men has emerged. In Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama, Alexander Norman tells this story in full for the first time, from Tibetan Buddhism’s foundational narratives to the present-day crisis faced by Tibet. And what a story it is. Along with dedicated monks selflessly serving the Tibetan people, among His Holiness’s spiritual forebears there are a Dalai Lama who waged wars, a womanizing and inebriated poet, and several who wound up dead following disputes over temporal power. Also, while Western practitioners focus on Tibetan Buddhism’s liberating vision of enlightenment, it simultaneously contains ritual practices of prophecy and magic, as well as a vivid pantheon of deities and demons. In the end, although Tibet falls short of the Western myths of a Himalayan utopia, by illuminating the historical struggle toward compassion and selflessness embodied in the Dalai Lama lineage, Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama ultimately reveals a reality that is vastly more compelling than any romance of “Shangri-La” and provides deeper reasons for admiring Tibetan tradition.
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[book] THE SECRET LIVES OF THE DALAI LAMA
The Untold Story of the Holy Men Who Shaped Tibet, from Pre-history to the Present Day
By Alexander Norman. Dalai Lama (Foreword)
February 2010, Doubleday paperback
His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama is known to the world for his efforts to preserve Tibetan culture and for his inspiring spiritual teachings. Often unnoticed, however, is the long, colorful history from which this most beloved of holy men has emerged. In Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama, Alexander Norman tells this story in full for the first time, from Tibetan Buddhism’s foundational narratives to the present-day crisis faced by Tibet. And what a story it is. Along with dedicated monks selflessly serving the Tibetan people, among His Holiness’s spiritual forebears there are a Dalai Lama who waged wars, a womanizing and inebriated poet, and several who wound up dead following disputes over temporal power. Also, while Western practitioners focus on Tibetan Buddhism’s liberating vision of enlightenment, it simultaneously contains ritual practices of prophecy and magic, as well as a vivid pantheon of deities and demons. In the end, although Tibet falls short of the Western myths of a Himalayan utopia, by illuminating the historical struggle toward compassion and selflessness embodied in the Dalai Lama lineage, Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama ultimately reveals a reality that is vastly more compelling than any romance of “Shangri-La” and provides deeper reasons for admiring Tibetan tradition.
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MARCH 2010 BOOKS

[book] YEHUDA HALEVI
By HILLEL HALKIN
March 2010, Schocken
A masterful biography of Yehuda Halevi, poet laureate of the Jewish people and a shining example of the synthesis of religion and culture that defined the golden age of Spanish Jewry. Like Maimonides, with whom he is often contrasted, Yehuda Halevi spanned multiple worlds. Poet, physician, and philosopher, Halevi is as well known today for poetry that is taught to schoolchildren and has become part of the Jewish liturgy, as he is for The Kuzari, one of the most important works of Jewish philosophy ever published. Hillel Halkin brilliantly evokes the fascinating world of eleventh- and twelfth-century Andalusian Spain and discusses the tangle of religious and cultural influences–Christian, Muslim, and Jewish–that formed Halevi. It was a time when Muslim and Jewish Spain spoke in verse for fun and patrons hired poets to write great verses to recite. Halevi actually moced from Northern Christian Spain to the more Muslim South in order to live in the more poetic environment. Halkin, who, like Halevi, moved to Israel, pieces together the mysterious fragments of Halevi’s last days and his final, fateful voyage to Palestine. Halkin reports that the later fable of Halevi being trampled to death in error as he made his way to Jerusalem might actually be true. Recall that Halevi was a proto Zionist, moving to Palestine at a time when there were few Jews there, most having been massacred years earlier.
An acclaimed writer and translator, Halkin intersperses his account of Halevi’s life and tragic death with excerpts from his poems and a magnificent analysis of them. He also places Halevi’s philosophic writings within the larger context of Jewish thought, analyzes his rediscovery by Heinrich Heine and other members of the nineteenth-century German-Jewish intelligentsia, and provides a comprehensive overview of the ongoing debate over Halevi’s legacy as a Zionist visionary.
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[book] Son of Hamas
A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices
By Mosab Hassan Yousef and Ron Brackin
March 2010, SaltRiver, Tyndale Publishers
From the Inside Flap: Before the age of twenty-one, Mosab Hassan Yousef saw things no one should ever see: abject poverty, abuse of power, torture, and death. He witnessed the behind-the-scenes dealings of top Middle Eastern leaders who make headlines around the world. He was trusted at the highest levels of Hamas and participated in the Intifada. He was held captive deep inside Israel's most feared prison facility. His dangerous choices and unlikely journey through dark places made him a traitor in the eyes of people he loves--and gave him access to extraordinary secrets. On the pages of this book, he exposes events and processes that to this point have been known only by a handful of individuals... Mosab Hassan ("Joseph") Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding leader of Hamas, internationally recognized as a terrorist organization and responsible for countless suicide bombings and other deadly attacks against Israel. An integral part of the movement, Mosab was imprisoned several times by the Israeli internal intelligence service. After a chance encounter with a British tourist, he started a six-year quest that jeopardized Hamas, endangered his family, and threatened his life. He has since embraced the teachings of Jesus and sought political asylum in America. Ron Brackin has traveled extensively in the Middle East as an investigative journalist. He was in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Gaza, and Jerusalem during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. He was on assignment in Baghdad after the fall of Iraq and more recently with the rebels and refugees of southern Sudan and Darfur.
Tyndale writes: While the exclusive Son of Hamas story will appear in this Friday’s Haaretz Magazine, Yousef has a heavy schedule of press interviews in March 2010. In Son of Hamas, Yousef reveals new information about this dangerous terrorist organization and unveils the truth behind his own secret role. He also describes his journey to a new faith—one that instructed him to love his enemies. And he tells the story of the agonizing decisions that led him to walk away from his family, friends, and homeland. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] FROM THE FOUR WINDS
A NOVEL
BY HAIM SABATO
2010, Toby Press. Translated from Hebrew.
Haim Sabato draws us into his childhood with this evocative rendering of his experiences as a young boy whose family immigrates to Israel in the 1950's, settling in a Ma'abara - a transit camp. He notices his fellow immigrants' concealment of their pasts. He accepts this secrecy, sensing that everything will reveal itself eventually. And this revelation does come, in the form of Farkash, a mysterious, dynamic man who takes Haim under his wing and gradually divulges to him his sorrowful, uplifting story, one that profoundly impacts Haim for the rest of his life
A best seller in Israel
Robert Leiter, writing in the Jewish Exponent, wrote, “I can think of no more fitting book to turn to on Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, than Haim Sabato's From the Four Winds. The plot -- if it can be called that -- of this obviously autobiographical novel is simplicity itself. This is the author's fourth work of fiction -- following Aleppo Tales, Adjusting Sights and The Dawning of the Day, all of them published by the enterprising and always surprising Toby Press -- and it is drawn from Sabato's childhood in Israel during the 1950s. His family, immigrants from Egypt, were placed in a ma'abara, a transit camp, as so many other immigrants groups were at the time, till permanent housing could be constructed. All of the family's fellow Egyptians are demonstrably and publicly happy to have escaped the difficulties in their former country. But they are all puzzled by their neighbors, the Hungarian immigrants, in the poor area of Beit Mazmil, who seem forever forlorn and uncommunicative. The Egyptians, never having met survivors of the Shoah before and little aware of what occurred in Europe, cannot fathom the overwhelming sadness and silence that hangs like a shroud about them….“
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COME ON PEOPLE!!!
YOU GOTTA DO A JEWISH VERSION OF THIS! I LEGO THE JEWISH HOLIDAYS, or I LEGO ISRAEL, or I LEGO SHABBOS…
[book] [book] [book] [book] I LEGO NY
BY CHRISTOPH NIEMANN
March 2010, Abrams
I LEGO N.Y. is an imaginative look at life in New York City constructed entirely out of LEGOs. Designer and illustrator Christoph Niemann was inspired to create a series of miniature New York vignettes out of his sons' toys after a few cold and dark winter days in Berlin. The former New Yorker then posted photographs of his creations along with his handwritten captions on his New York Times blog. Resident and honorary New Yorkers around the world responded enthusiastically to the clever and minimalist inventions, which captured both the iconic (the Empire State Building) and the mundane (man standing on a subway platform) in fewer LEGO pieces than one might think possible. This book includes all of the original images, plus thirteen new creations. The resulting collection is delightful in its simplicity and moving in its ability to capture the spirit of life in New York in so few strokes. [book][book][book] Christoph Niemann is an award-winning illustrator and children’s book author
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[book] In Every Generation
The JDC Haggadah
By Ari Goldman and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
March 2010, URIM
The JDC Haggadah highlights the work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which, since it was founded in 1914, has been the premier organization reaching out to Jews in distress around the world. For the making of this Haggadah, JDC opened its vast archives of photographs, letters and documents, many of them never before made public. This Haggadah is rich in pictures of the rescue and relief of Jews in times of crisis from pre-state Israel to post-Shoah Europe to Soviet Russia to the deserts of Ethiopia. It reminds us how the JDC helped liberate Jews in distress and provided for both their physical and spiritual needs. Some of the most moving images are of Jews who themselves narrowly escaped tragedy marking the Passover seder with the potent holiday symbols of matzah and wine. The connections between the Exodus story and these modern-day rescues are made in the inspiring Foreword by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin and the insightful Commentary by Professor Ari L. Goldman. Historical anecdotes inserted at appropriate points in the text feature firsthand accounts by both rescuers and those rescued. Skillfully edited by Linda Levi, Director of Global Archives for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), and JDC Consultant, Ilana Stern Kabak, what emerges is a vivid and moving account of the Exodus that reaches back through the ages and reminds us why the Passover story is a story for all times
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[book] The Royal Table
A Passover Haggadah
By Rabbi Norman Lamm and Edited Compiled by Joel B. Wolowelsky
January 2010, KTAV
The Passover Haggadah is perhaps the most popular Jewish liturgical book after the siddur. Each year families gather around their tables to retell the story of the Exodus of the nascent Jewish community from Egypt, using an ancient text made ever-relevant by each generation's added commentaries. Now the OU Press has the honor of publishing Rabbi Norman Lamm s Haggadah commentary, a work of brilliant insights expressed in Rabbi Lamm s inimitable style, articulate and engaging, while sensitive and moving. For this commentary, Rabbi Lamm s weekly sermons and divrei Torah delivered while he was Rabbi of The Jewish Center have been culled for his insights on the Haggadah and the Passover holiday. Together with relevant selections from his written works, they make up this new and compelling commentary on the Haggadah. We now have the opportunity on Passover evening to join Rabbi Lamm at his Royal Table and retell the story of the Exodus with new understanding and insight.
Rabbi Norman Lamm is Chancellor of Yeshiva University and Rosh HaYeshiva of its affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. . Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Passover
Celebrating Now, Remembering Then
By Harriet Ziefert , and Karla Gudeon (Illustrator)
March 2010, Blue Apple
Ages 4 – 8
The National Jewish Book Award finalists for Hanukkah Haiku return with Passover: Celebrating Now, Remembering Then, a celebration of Passover's past and present, its meanings, its history, and its traditions. Karla Gudeon's folk-inspired artwork serves as a gorgeous backdrop for this fresh look at Passover. Harriet Ziefert seamlessly weaves elements of a contemporary seder with the biblical stories from which the rituals evolved. An ideal gift for Passover gatherings, this inspired book embraces family, freedom, and remembrance. Karla Gudeon's paintings and prints are joyful representations of life, love, family, and Jewish ritual and culture. Her artwork is displayed in galleries and distinguished
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[book] Richard Codor's Joyous Haggadah
A Children and Family Cartoon Haggadah for Passover Seder
By Richard Codor and Liora Codor
2010, Loose Line
“A concise modern Haggadah children's haggadah, this is a great family haggadah for beginners or anyone who spends seder night with children. Illustrated in a cartoon style and written in a light humorous manner.” - Alan M. Tigay, Executive Editor, Hadassah Magazine
His Haggadah promises to bridge the greatest divide in the Jewish world: between adults and children. - Peninnah Schram, storyteller and author of Jewish folktales
A delightful romp through the seder. The multi-layered narrative and rituals in this haggadah appeal to the eye, the imagination, the funny-bone, and the occasion. Beginning with the prequel of the Joseph story, continuing until the Israelites gain their freedom, and ending with more symbolic rituals and song, the combination of telling the story and conducting the seder is presented clearly with charming and wacky humor (in both words and visuals). The cartoon-like illustrations not only enhance the story but will also add to a memorable and joy-filled shared family experience
Richard Codor makes a living drawing humorously. His illustrations appear regularly in Hadassah Magazine and he was editorial cartoonist for Crain's NY Business and NY Observer. Liora Codor is a senior staff photographer for Macy's. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE PROPHET’S WIFE
BY MILTON STEINBERG
March 2010, Berhman House
Foreword by Ari Goldman.
Commentaries by Harold S Kushner and Norma Rosen
“A glorious new novel” - Cynthia Ozick,
“A sixty-year-old posthumous gift from the author of As a Driven Leaf, which was perhaps the most important Jewish novel of the twentieth century. Milton Steinberg's insights into the tormented, sexually betrayed, and perennially forgiving Hosea ring true” - Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
“The greatest voice of the American pulpit reaches out to us from the past. The discovery of a new work by Milton Steinberg is a gripping and wondrous event.” - Rabbi David J. Wolpe
What if Milton Steinberg, author of As a Driven Leaf, actually wrote a second historical novel, a companion to his original blockbuster? A tale that is itself worthy of a novel is exactly what happened to David Behrman, third-generation owner of Behrman House Publishers in Springfield. In March 2010, Behrman House will publish The Prophet s Wife, an unfinished manuscript by Steinberg based on accounts of the biblical prophet Hosea and his wife Gomer. It s an exciting find for Behrman House, which acquired As a Driven Leaf in 1941 and reissued it in 1996. Steinberg’s novel about the Talmudic figure Elisha ben Abuya and his loss of faith is a popular Jewish classic, a fixture on high school reading lists, and a perennial pick by Jewish book clubs.
The journey into print of The Prophet s Wife began in 1999, when historian Jonathan Sarna mentioned to David Behrman that the American Jewish Historical Society was holding a manuscript by Steinberg. Intrigued, Behrman contacted the society. While he and his colleagues waited for the manuscript to be photocopied, he told NJJN, I was thinking how unusual it is that the manuscript would have sat for so long in an archive. And we didn’t know what to expect. We didn t know how unfinished it was. We didn’t know the state of the manuscript. We didn’t know if it would be legible. We were curious, and we hoped. They got lucky for the most part. Typewritten, the manuscript was already well developed and covered over 300 pages. But it came to an abrupt stop, and there were no notes on the likely ending or further character development. One decade later, the unfinished work will appear with a foreword by Columbia University journalism professor Ari Goldman and two concluding essays by author Rabbi Harold Kushner and critic and novelist Norma Rosen.
The book weaves together the lives of Hosea, his brother Iddo, and Hosea s wife Gomer in a tale of love and betrayal. Hosea rescues the honest, if overly bold, Gomer from what is certain to be a debased life, only to find her one day sleeping with his idolatrous brother. There are a potentially illegitimate child, divorce, prostitution, and more adultery.
Steinberg offers a kind of prequel to Hosea s career as a prophet. He parallels Israel s faithlessness to God with Gomer s infidelity. He depicts the period, the eighth century BCE, as one of rampant godlessness. As Hosea leaves his father s home, he encounters what will become themes in the biblical book of Hosea: corruption among the high priests of Israel, apathy among the laity, and reverence for God only among a few righteous men, including the prophet Amos.
Steinberg takes some literary license. The Hosea of the Prophets, for example, probably never met Amos, and in the Bible, Gomer is a prostitute when Hosea marries her, not the virtuous, if somewhat wild, woman depicted in the novel. Such departures from the biblical record, said Behrman, make for a more intriguing work. The book ends as Hosea barely escapes an arrow shot by his brother Iddo while they fight for the kingdom on opposite sides of a battle, and a friend describes seeing the angel of death. Steinberg died the day after he wrote those final words in 1950, a point not missed by Goldman in his foreword. Steinberg was just 46 years old, rabbi of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, and in the midst of writing a series of theological essays.

The Lord said unto Hosea: Go, take unto thee a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry; for the land doth commit great harlotry, departing from the Lord. HOSEA 1:2

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[book][book] The Living Fire
Poems
By Edward Hirsch
March 2010, Knopf
A rich and significant collection of more than one hundred poems, drawn from a lifetime of “wild gratitude” in poetry. In poems chronicling insomnia (“the blue-rimmed edge / of outer dark, those crossroads / where we meet the dead”), art and culture (poems on Edward Hopper and Paul Celan, love poems in the voices of Baudelaire and Gertrude Stein, a meditation on two suitcases of children’s drawings that came out of the Terezin concentration camp), and his own experience, including the powerful, frank self-examinations in his more recent work, Edward Hirsch displays stunning range and quality. Repeatedly confronting the darkness, his own sense of godlessness (“Forgive me, faith, for never having any”), he also struggles with the unlikely presence of the divine, the power of art to redeem human transience, and the complexity of relationships. Throughout the collection, his own life trajectory enriches the poems; he is the “skinny, long-beaked boy / who perched in the branches of the old branch library,” as well as the passionate middle-aged man who tells his lover, “I wish I could paint you— / . . . / I need a brush for your hard angles / and ferocious blues and reds. / . . . / I wish I could paint you / from the waist down.”
Grieving for the losses occasioned by our mortality, Hirsch’s ultimate impulse as a poet is to praise—to wreathe himself, as he writes, in “the living fire” that burns with a ferocious intensity.
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[book] THE SHAMEFUL PEACE
How French Artists and Intellectuals Survived the Nazi Occupation
By Frederic Spotts
March 2010 Yale
The German occupation of France from 1940 to 1945 presented wrenching challenges for the nation’s artists and intellectuals. Some were able to flee the country; those who remained—including Gide and Céline, Picasso and Matisse, Cortot and Messiaen, and Cocteau and Gabin—responded in various ways. This fascinating book is the first to provide a full account of how France’s artistic leaders coped under the crushing German presence. Some became heroes, others villains; most were simply survivors. Filled with anecdotes about the artists, composers, writers, filmmakers, and actors who lived through the years of occupation, the book illuminates the disconcerting experience of life and work within a cultural prison. Frederic Spotts uncovers Hitler’s plan to pacify the French through an active cultural life, and examines the unexpected vibrancy of opera, ballet, painting, theater, and film in both the Occupied and Vichy Zones. In view of the longer-term goal to supplant French with German culture, Spotts offers moving insight into the predicament of French artists as they fought to preserve their country’s cultural and national identity.
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[book] TO HAVE NOT
A MEMOIR
BY FRANCES LEFKOWITZ
March 2010, McAdam Cage
Imagine sitting in a car as a kid, and watching your mother negotiate with a movie theater for discounted tickets. Sticks in your head.
Poverty has many guises: a lack of money, of course, but it can also be a lack of love or choice, pleasure or safety, faith or confidence or possibility. Poverty seeps into the soul and deadens the spirit. In To Have Not, Frances Lefkowitz reflects on her own life of poverties. A poor white girl from 1970s San Francisco, Lefkowitz tries to escape her upbringing through an Ivy League scholarship, only to realize that upward mobility is not all it’s cracked up to be: being a Have Not and not having aren’t necessarily the same thing. Crashing headfirst into boundaries of class, race, and sex, Lefkowitz emerges scarred but whole, humor intact. To Have Not speaks to anyone who has ever battled the feeling of being cut off from the world’s abundance, and then settled, eventually, somewhere between resignation and appreciation for all they do have.
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[book] THE HEBREW REPUBLIC
JEWISH SOURCES AND THE TANSFORMATION OF EUROPEAN POLITICAL THOUGHT
BY ERIC NELSON
March 2010, Harvard University Press
According to a commonplace narrative, the rise of modern political thought in the West resulted from secularization—the exclusion of religious arguments from political discourse. But in this pathbreaking work, Eric Nelson argues that this familiar story is wrong. Instead, he contends, political thought in early-modern Europe became less, not more, secular with time, and it was the Christian encounter with Hebrew sources that provoked this radical transformation. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Christian scholars began to regard the Hebrew Bible as a political constitution designed by God for the children of Israel. Newly available rabbinic materials became authoritative guides to the institutions and practices of the perfect republic. This thinking resulted in a sweeping reorientation of political commitments. In the book’s central chapters, Nelson identifies three transformative claims introduced into European political theory by the Hebrew revival: the argument that republics are the only legitimate regimes; the idea that the state should coercively maintain an egalitarian distribution of property; and the belief that a godly republic would tolerate religious diversity. One major consequence of Nelson’s work is that the revolutionary politics of John Milton, James Harrington, and Thomas Hobbes appear in a brand-new light. Nelson demonstrates that central features of modern political thought emerged from an attempt to emulate a constitution designed by God. This paradox, a reminder that while we may live in a secular age, we owe our politics to an age of religious fervor, in turn illuminates fault lines in contemporary political discourse.
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[book] MOSES MONTEFIORE
JEWISH LIbERATOR, IMPErIAL HERO
BY ABIGAIL GREEN
March 2010, Harvard University Press
Humanitarian, philanthropist, and campaigner for Jewish emancipation on a grand scale, Sir Moses Montefiore (1784–1885) was the preeminent Jewish figure of the nineteenth century—and one of the first truly global celebrities. His story, told here in full for the first time, is a remarkable and illuminating tale of diplomacy and adventure. Abigail Green's sweeping biography follows Montefiore through the realms of court and ghetto, tsar and sultan, synagogue and stock exchange. Interweaving the public triumph of Montefiore's foreign missions with the private tragedy of his childless marriage, this book brings the diversity of nineteenth-century Jewry brilliantly to life—from London to Jerusalem, Rome to St. Petersburg, Morocco to Istanbul. Here we see the origins of Zionism and the rise of international Jewish consciousness, the faltering birth of international human rights, and the making of the modern Middle East. With the globalization and mobilization of religious identities now at the top of the political agenda, Montefiore's life story is relevant as never before. Mining materials from eleven countries in nine languages, Green's masterly biography bridges the East-West divide in modern Jewish history, presenting the transformation of Jewish life in Europe, the Middle East, and the New World as part of a single global phenomenon. As it reestablishes Montefiore's status as a major historical player, it also restores a significant chapter to the history of our modern world.
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[book] GREECE - A JEWISH HISTORY
NOW IN PAPERBACK
BY K E FLEMING
March 2010, Princeton
K. E. Fleming's Greece--a Jewish History is the first comprehensive English-language history of Greek Jews, and the only history that includes material on their diaspora in Israel and the United States. The book tells the story of a people who for the most part no longer exist and whose identity is a paradox in that it wasn't fully formed until after most Greek Jews had emigrated or been deported and killed by the Nazis. For centuries, Jews lived in areas that are now part of Greece. But Greek Jews as a nationalized group existed in substantial number only for a few short decades--from the Balkan Wars (1912-13) until the Holocaust, in which more than 80 percent were killed. Greece--a Jewish History describes their diverse histories and the processes that worked to make them emerge as a Greek collective. It also follows Jews as they left Greece--as deportees to Auschwitz or émigrés to Palestine/Israel and New York's Lower East Side. In such foreign settings their Greekness was emphasized as it never was in Greece, where Orthodox Christianity traditionally defines national identity and anti-Semitism remains common. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] Mornings in Jenin
A Novel
By Susan Abulhawa
February 2010, Bloomsbury
COVER BLURB: heart-wrenching, powerfully written novel that could do for Palestine what The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan. Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart, his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story, told as never before, through four generations of a single family.
The very precariousness of existence in the camps quickens life itself. Amal, the patriarch's bright granddaughter, feels this with certainty when she discovers the joys of young friendship and first love and especially when she loses her adored father, who read to her daily as a young girl in the quiet of the early dawn. Through Amal we get the stories of her twin brothers, one who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish; the other who sacrifices everything for the Palestinian cause. Amal’s own dramatic story threads between the major Palestinian-Israeli clashes of three decades; it is one of love and loss, of childhood, marriage, and parenthood, and finally of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.
Previously published in a hardcover edition with a limited run under the title The SCar of David, this powerful novel is now available in a fully revised, newly titled paperback edition. The deep and moving humanity of Mornings in Jenin forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining political conflicts of our lifetimes.
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Tomorrow Hygo will be eleven, and Anna and Otto will come for his birthday. Most of Hugo’s friends have already been sent to distant villages, and the few remaining will be sent soon. The tension in the ghetto is great but no one cries. The children secretly guess what is in store for them.
[book] BLOOMS OF DARKNESS
A NOVEL
BY AHARON APPELFELD. Translated from Hebrew by Jeffrey M. Green
March 2010, Schocken
A new novel from the award-winning, internationally acclaimed Israeli writer (“One of the greatest writers of the age”–The Guardian), a haunting, heartbreaking story of love and loss. The ghetto in which the Jews have been confined is being liquidated by the Nazis, and eleven-year-old Hugo is brought by his mother to the local brothel, where one of the prostitutes has agreed to hide him. Mariana is a bitterly unhappy woman who hates what she has done to her life, and night after night Hugo sits in her closet and listens uncomprehendingly as she battles with the Nazi soldiers who come and go. When she’s not mired in self-loathing, Mariana is fiercely protective of the bewildered, painfully polite young boy. And Hugo becomes protective of Mariana, too, trying to make her laugh when she is depressed, soothing her physical and mental agony with cold compresses. As the memories of his family and friends grow dim, Hugo falls in love with Mariana. And as her life spirals downward, Mariana reaches out for consolation to the adoring boy who is on the cusp of manhood. The arrival of the Russian army sends the prostitutes fleeing. But Mariana is too well known, and she is arrested as a Nazi collaborator for having slept with the Germans. As the novel moves toward its heartrending conclusion, Aharon Appelfeld once again crafts out of the depths of unfathomable tragedy a renewal of life and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] BACKING NITO FORWARD
A MEMOIR
BY JULES FEIFFER
March 2010, Doubleday
The award-winning cartoonist, playwright, and author delivers a witty, illustrated rendition of his life, from his childhood as a wimpy kid in the Bronx to his legendary career in the arts. A gifted storyteller who has delighted readers and theater audiences for decades, Jules Feiffer now turns his talents to the tale of his own life. Plagued by learning problems, a domineering mother, and a debilitating sense of fear, Feiffer embarked on his first cartoon apprenticeship at the age of seventeen, emboldened only by a passion for success and a fortitude for failure. He vividly recalls those transformative years working under the legendary Will Eisner, and later, after he was drafted into the army, his transformation from “smart-ass kid into an enraged satirist.” Backing into Forward also traces Feiffer's love life, from a doomed hitchhiking trip to reclaim his high-school sweetheart to losing his virginity in Greenwich Village and his road to marriage and fatherhood. At the center of this journey is Feiffer's prolific creativity. In dazzling detail, he recounts the birth of his subversive graphic novella Munro, his entrée into New York's literary salons in the 1960s, collaborations with film greats Mike Nichols, Robert Altman, and Jack Nicholson, and other major turning points. Brimming with wry punch lines, slices of Americana, and pithy social commentary, Backing into Forward charts Feiffer's rise to fame from unlikely beginnings.. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] THE SABBATH WORLD
GLIMPSES OF A DIFFERENT ORDER OF TIME
BY JUDITH SHULEVITZ
March 2010, Random House
Perhaps not since Heschel's The Sabbath, has an author presented a simple deeply informative narrative on the meaning of rest and the Sabbath.
The book opens with Shulevitz recalling how she moved from Detroit, as a child, to Puerto Rico, from a large house to a small apartment, On Saturdays she would curl up in a corner near the freezer that they had to store kosher meat that was flown in from the USA. This solitude and space was her Sabbath, this space in time and this space in the kitchen. Her mother, on the other hand, loved the conservative synagogue in San Juan. What about it mitigated her mother’s loneliness? What about it was her escape from the issues in PR? Ten year’s ago the author became obsessed with the Sabbath. She read Heschel, but clung to Eiatar Zerubavel‘s “The Seven Day Cycle” more. She wanted to understand her week, its shape, its values. It was then that she wanted to write a book. This is it. She is no longer ambivalent towards the seventh day.
The Sabbath is not just the holy day of rest. It’s also a utopian idea about a less pressured, more sociable, purer world. Where did this notion come from? Is there value in withdrawing from the world one day in seven, despite its obvious inconvenience in an age of convenience? And what will be lost if the Sabbath goes away?
In this erudite, elegantly written book, critic Judith Shulevitz weaves together histories of the Jewish and Christian sabbaths, speculations on the nature of time, and a rueful account of her personal struggle with the day. Shulevitz has found insights into the Sabbath in both cultural and contemporary sources—the Torah, the Gospels, the Talmud, and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, as well as in the poetry of William Wordsworth, the life of Sigmund Freud, and the science of neuropsychology. She tells stories of martyrdom by Jews who died en masse rather than fight on the Sabbath and describes the feverish Sabbatarianism of the American Puritans. And she counterposes the tyranny of religious law with the equally oppressive tyranny of the clock. Can we really flourish under the yoke of communal  discipline, as preachers and rabbis like to tell us? What about being free to live as we please? Can we preserve what the Sabbath gives us—a time outside time—without following its rules?
Whatever our faith or lack thereof, this rich and resonant meditation on the day of rest will remind us of the danger of letting time drive us heedlessly forward without ever stopping to reflect. Shulevitz writes for Slate and the NYT, The New Yorker and New Republic. She is the spouse of Nicholas Lemann.
Click here to read the Nytimes.com review by the Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, who comes to adult Sabbath observance from a different perspective: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/books/index.html
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[book] LIFE IN THE YEAR ONE
WHAT THE WORLD WAS LIKE IN FIRST-CENTURY PALESTINE
BY SCOTT KORB
March 2010, Riverhead
Call me Ishmael.. I mean Call Me Todbit
For anyone who's ever pondered what everyday life was like during the time of Jesus comes a lively and illuminating portrait of the nearly unknown world of daily life in first-century Palestine. What was it like to live during the time of Jesus? Where did people live? Who did they marry? And what was family life like? How did people survive?
These are just some of the questions that Scott Korb answers in this engaging new book, which explores what everyday life entailed two thousand years ago in first-century Palestine, that tumultuous era when the Roman Empire was at its zenith and a new religion-Christianity-was born.
Culling information from primary sources, scholarly research, and his own travels and observations, Korb explores the nitty-gritty of real life back then-from how people fed, housed, and groomed themselves to how they kept themselves healthy. He guides the contemporary reader through the maze of customs and traditions that dictated life under the numerous groups, tribes, and peoples in the eastern Mediterranean that Rome governed two thousand years ago, and he illuminates the intriguing details of marriage, family life, health, baths, cleanliness, ritual, and a host of other aspects of first-century life. For the average Jew, taxes were very high, life was impoverished, crime was rampant, and hygiene was disgusting. I mean, Herod himself died from genital worms! Is it any wonder that new sects are popping up each month? The result is a book for everyone, from the armchair traveler to the amateur historian. With surprising revelations about politics and medicine, crime and personal hygiene, this book is smart and accessible popular history at its very best.
Scott Korb was raised Catholic in rural Wisconsin and graduated UW in Madison. In 1998, he moved to NYC to attend Union Theological. With Peter Bebergal, they wrote “The Faith Between Us: A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God.” With Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics), he studied Jewish ethics, and he has co written pieces with Skirball’s Rabbi Leon Morris. “Click the book cover to read more.












[book] NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD
HOW BIGOTRY SHAPED A GREAT AMERICAN CITY
BY ANTERO PIETILA
March 2010, Ivan Dee
Baltimore? What about Riverdale in The Bronx NY, where up until just a few decades ago, there were still anti-Jewish restrictive covenants in some neighborhoods.
Baltimore is the setting for one of the most penetrating examinations of bigotry and residential segregation to be published in the United States. The book tells the story of how discrimination toward African Americans and Jews shaped the cities in which we live. Eugenics, racial thinking, and white supremacist attitudes influenced even the federal government's actions toward housing, dooming American cities to ghettoization. The Federal Housing Administration continued discriminatory housing policies even into the 1960s. This all-American tale is told through the prism of Baltimore, from its early suburbanization in the 1880s to the consequences of white flight after World War II, and into the first decade of the twenty-first century. The events are real, and so are the heroes and villains. The narrative centers on residential real estate practices, whose discriminatory tools were the same everywhere: restrictive covenants, red- lining, blockbusting, predatory lending. After the Supreme Court invalidated residential segregation ordinances in 1917, other cities copied another Baltimore tradition - private agreements that prohibited blacks and Jews from specific neighborhoods. Redlining led to blockbusting. When the sub-prime mortgage craze began, speculators turned Baltimore into a hotbed of risky lending. It became the first city to sue a bank for alleged targeting of minorities for sub-prime loans that would later be foreclosed. This engrossing story is an eye-opening journey into blocks and neighborhoods, shady practices, and ruthless promoters - the dark side of the American dream of owning your own home.
“From the sordid formation of Baltimore’s segregated housing policy by unrepentant former Confederates and white supremacist eugenicists to the incorporation of such bigoted perspectives into national housing policy, from the mid-century era of Baltimore’s urban “blockbusters” to the stunningly effective efforts of late twentieth-century political leaders to displace the black residents in order to keep suburban developments white, Baltimore has played a pivotal role in our nation’s shameful and ongoing history of racial segregation. Thanks to Antero Pietila, our national amnesia about the well-known people as well as the back-room wheelers and dealers who kept our cities segregated –and profited handsomely from their actions – is about to end. His sweeping examination of the complex ways that racism as well as anti-Semitism shaped Baltimore’s housing market over the past 100 years is a page-turner, chock full of riveting and shocking stories and vivid, unforgettable characters.” -- BERYL SATTER, author of Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America
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[book] The Liberators
America's Witnesses to the Holocaust
by Michael Hirsh
March 2010, Bantam
Hirsh interviewed over 150 soldiers and six military nurses who happened upon Nazi death camps in the final weeks before WW2 ended. This is the story of these witnesses to the atrocities. In early Aprul 1945, the American 4th Armored Division was on the attack when a platoon found Ohrdruf, a slave labor sub-camp of Buchenwald. The the continuing weeks, more platoons found more camps. This book brings together their stories. Will be published on Holocaust Remembrance Day
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[book] PEN OF IRON
AMERICAN PROSE AND THE KING JAMES BIBLE
By ROBERT ALTER (Berkeley Professor of Hebrew and Comp Lit)
March 2010, Princeton
The simple yet grand language of the King James Bible has pervaded American culture from the beginning--and its powerful eloquence continues to be felt even today. In this book, acclaimed biblical translator and literary critic Robert Alter traces some of the fascinating ways that American novelists--from Melville, Hemingway, and Faulkner to Bellow, Marilynne Robinson, and Cormac McCarthy--have drawn on the rich stylistic resources of the canonical English Bible to fashion their own strongly resonant styles and distinctive visions of reality. Showing the radically different manners in which the words, idioms, syntax, and cadences of this Bible are woven into Moby-Dick, Absalom, Absalom!, The Sun Also Rises, Seize the Day, Gilead, and The Road, Alter reveals the wide variety of stylistic and imaginative possibilities that American novelists have found in Scripture. At the same time, Alter demonstrates the importance of looking closely at the style of literary works, making the case that style is not merely an aesthetic phenomenon but is the very medium through which writers conceive their worlds.
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[book] GOD POWERED LIFE
AWAKENING TO YOUR DIVINE PURPOSE
By Rabbi DAVID AARON
March 2010, Trumpeter Shambhala
“Rabbi David Aaron offers insight after insight on the most basic issues of human existence, insights that are life-transforming.”—Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy
You are an individual expression of God. That’s the teaching of the ancient Jewish mystical tradition. Rabbi David Aaron shows that when we truly connect to our inner self, that fact becomes wonderfully obvious. Each of us has a divine mission in life, he teaches, and when we understand this, we are empowered to take control of our life; to use our creative powers more fully; and give more to others, our community, and the world. In The God-Powered Life, the author looks at how to: find the courage to be who we truly are rather than who others want us to be; find a connection to the divine within ourselves; manifest that divine presence in our dealing with others and during tumultuous times; gain a clearer understanding of ourselves and our purpose in life by using the ten Sephirot, or attributes of God.
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[book] BLOOD IRON AND GOLD
How The Railroads Transformed the World
By Christian Wolmar
March 2010, PublicAffairs
It was the railroad that transported the Jews to the death camps…
"Blood, Iron and Gold" tells the dramatic story of the people and events that shaped the world's railways, stimulating economic growth and social change on an unprecedented scale. The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 marked the beginning of a revolution in transportation. "Blood, Iron and Gold" reveals the huge impact of the railways as they spread rapidly across the world, linking cities that had hitherto been isolated, stimulating both economic growth and social change on an unprecedented scale. From Panama to the Punjab, Tasmania to Turin, Christian Wolmar describes the vision and determination of the pioneers who developed railways that would one day span continents, as well as the labour of the navvies who endured horrific conditions to build this global network. Wolmar shows how the rise of the train stimulated daring feats of engineering, architectural innovation and the rapid movement of people and goods around the world. He shows how cultures were enriched - and destroyed - by the unrelenting construction and how they had a vital role in civil conflict, as well as in two world wars. Indeed, "Blood, Iron and Gold" reveals that the global expansion of the railways was key to the spread of modernity and the making of the modern world Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE GOOD AND EVIL SERPENT
HOW A UNIVERSAL SYMBOL BECAME CHRISTIANIZED
BY JAMES H. CHARLESWORTH
March 2010, Yale University Press
"Making use of his vast knowledge in archaeology and ancient literature, Professor Charlesworth has written an outstanding research on serpent symbolism, which is certainly to become the standard book of reference to this topic in the years to come."Mr. Adolfo Roitman, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
The serpent had many meanings in antiquity. The Greeks and Romans saw it as positive. don’t forget the the symbol of medicine has a serpent in it The fertile Crescent gave meanings to it. There were rich varieties of meanings. In the Hebrew Bible, there was a fear and fascination feeling towards snakes. But in the New testament, it was seen as demonic (Chapter 6). In a perplexing passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus is likened to the most reviled creature in Christian symbology: the snake. Attempting to understand how the Fourth Evangelist could have made such a surprising analogy, James H. Charlesworth has spent nearly a decade combing through the vast array of references to serpents in the ancient world—from the Bible and other religious texts to ancient statuary and jewelry. Charlesworth has arrived at a surprising conclusion: not only was the serpent a widespread symbol throughout the world, but its meanings were both subtle and varied. In fact, the serpent of ancient times was more often associated with positive attributes like healing and eternal life than it was with negative meanings. This groundbreaking book explores in plentiful detail the symbol of the serpent from 40,000 BCE to the present, and from diverse regions in the world. In doing so it emphasizes the creativity of the biblical authors’ use of symbols and argues that we must today reexamine our own archetypal conceptions with comparable creativity.
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[book] HOW TO RETIRE OVERSEAS
BY KATHLEEN PEDDICORD
March 2010, Hudson Street
Will the new generation of Jewish people be moving to Florida as snowbirds?
Maybe
Or maybe they will read this book and end up in Buenos Aires, Nicaragua, Panama City, or KL(Malaysia) (probably not Israel hating Malaysia)
It's not just Florida anymore. This definitive step-by-step guide helps anyone to find, relocate, and save on a home away from home
The effects of the economic downturn on IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement savings plans have forced thousands of people to rethink their plans for retirement. But Kathleen Peddicord offers a cheaper option with all the benefits of a stateside retirement: liv­ing overseas. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] THE TRIALS OF ZION
A NOVEL
BY ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
March 2010. Grand Central
When Harvard Law School Professor Dershowitz is not busy teaching, defending, parenting, defending rights, America, Israel or patrilineal descent, he has been hard at work on a thriller that may become as classic as Leon Uris' Mila 18 and Exodus. There has been a SHOCKING act of terrorism which focuses the world's attention and brings the Middle East to a point of conflagration. A young Jewish American lawyer takes a position on the defense team of a Palestinian who stands accused of terrorism. Her father is a famed criminal defense attorney, who must accept the case to save his family. In order to win the case for the accused Palestinian, he must take into the history of the Middle East and what is termed by many, the Holy Land. There is action on the streets as well as the courtroom in this book. Dershowitz adds a compelling, thrilling plot and unique, memorable characters against a panoramic backdrop that will cry out for a movie deal. east Click the book cover to read more.








[book] An Exclusive Love
Eine Exklusive Liebe
von Johanna Adorjan
Luchterhand LiteraturVerlag
In German
Will be translated and released by Norton in the USA in 2011
The story of the author’s paternal grandparents, who survived the Holocaust in Hungary, but recently committed suicide together in 1991 in Denmark. The author is a famous social commentator in modern Germany. They killed each other after learning that István (Pista) had terminal cancer. The early part of their relationship is dominated by the Nazi invasion of Hungary in March 1944, during which two-thirds of Hungary’s Jewish population were killed, many of them gunned down in mass shootings on the banks of the Danube. Pista, a surgeon, was deported to Muthausen concentration camp, and remained silent afterwards on what he may have been forced to do there. Then came their postwar lives in Communist-dominated Hungary. Adorjan considers the role her grandparents played in shaping her own identity, particularly in relation to questions of Jewishness and her own mixed German, Hungarian and Danish heritage. She remarks on how meticulously her grandparents planned their own deaths, and observes how many other victims of the camps also committed suicide. A powerful, reflective and thought-provoking work. Johanna Adorján, born in 1971 in Stockholm Sweden, now lives in Berlin Germany where she is a social commentator, playwright, and opera director. Since 2001 she has been the culture section editor of the Sunday Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
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[book] DINING WITH AL-QaEDA
THREE DECADES EXPLORING THE MANY WORLDS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
BY HUGH POPE
March 2010, Thomas Dunne
The former WSJ reporter based in The Middle East reflects on the region’s history, the murder of Daniel Pearl, attitudes and mores, poetry and religion and food.
Of course he criticizes American support of Israel.
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[book] MAKERS OF ANCIENT STRATEGY
FROM THE PERSIAN WARS TO THE FALL OF ROME
EDITED BY VICTOR DAVIS HANSON
March 2010, Princeton
In this prequel to the now-classic Makers of Modern Strategy, Victor Davis Hanson, a leading scholar of ancient military history, gathers prominent thinkers to explore key facets of warfare, strategy, and foreign policy in the Greco-Roman world. From the Persian Wars to the final defense of the Roman Empire, Makers of Ancient Strategy demonstrates that the military thinking and policies of the ancient Greeks and Romans remain surprisingly relevant for understanding conflict in the modern world. The book reveals that much of the organized violence witnessed today--such as counterterrorism, urban fighting, insurgencies, preemptive war, and ethnic cleansing--has ample precedent in the classical era. The book examines the preemption and unilateralism used to instill democracy during Epaminondas's great invasion of the Peloponnesus in 369 BC, as well as the counterinsurgency and terrorism that characterized Rome's battles with insurgents such as Spartacus, Mithridates, and the Cilician pirates. The collection looks at the urban warfare that became increasingly common as more battles were fought within city walls, and follows the careful tactical strategies of statesmen as diverse as Pericles, Demosthenes, Alexander, Pyrrhus, Caesar, and Augustus. Makers of Ancient Strategy shows how Greco-Roman history sheds light on wars of every age. In addition to the editor, the contributors are David L. Berkey, Adrian Goldsworthy, Peter J. Heather, Tom Holland, Donald Kagan, John W. I. Lee, Susan Mattern, Barry Strauss, and Ian Worthington.
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[book] THE LAST CRUSADERS
THE HUNDRED YEAR BATTLE FOR THE CENTER OF THE WORLD
BY BARNABY ROGERSON
March 2010, Overlook Press
By center of the world… yes… it means Jerusalem
This is not only a story of politics and history, but one of psychology, spies, merchants, battles, carnage, skulls, and more.
The Crusades were the bridge between medieval and modern history, between feudalism and colonialism. In many ways, the little explored later Crusades were the most significant of them all, for they made the crisis truly global. The Last Crusaders is about the period's last great conflict between East and West, and the titanic contest between Habsburg-led Christendom and the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. From the great naval campaigns and the ferocious struggle to dominate the North African shore, the conflict spread out along trade routes, consuming nations and cultures, destroying dynasties, and spawning the first colonial empires in South America and the Indian Ocean. Acclaimed scholar of Islamic history and author Barnaby Rogerson illuminates the Last Crusades in an accessible and skillful manner. He shows how, to this day, the disputed borders of the Crusades era stand as defining frontiers and dividing lines between languages, nations, and religions. From Constantinople to Fez, from Rhodes to Granada, The Last Crusaders is narrative history at its richest and most compelling.
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[book] HOLY WARRIORS
A MODERN HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES
BY JONATHAN PHILLIPS
March 2010, Random House
PW: University of London historian and History Channel contributor Phillips (The Second Crusade) superbly condenses the four centuries of the Crusades into a single, easily accessible volume. Islamic as well as Western sources are utilized to demonstrate the similarities between jihad and crusading. The narrative weaves a tragic tapestry, beginning with the bloodily successful First Crusade, through the establishment of the Crusader states, to the failure of subsequent Crusades, the victories of the Muslim counter-Crusade, and the continuing legacy of religious and cultural hatred that permeates the Holy Land. Individuals such as the charismatic Queen Melisende of Jerusalem; the Leper King, Baldwin IV; the Muslim warriors Nur ad-Din and Saladin; England's Richard the Lionheart; and many others play major and minor roles in the creation of a past that still lives today. Episodes including the breathtaking naivete of the Children's Crusade and the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula are effectively described. Concluding chapters examine the impact of the Crusades since the 15th century. Regrettably, little attention is given to the crusading spirit resurrected by the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. But this is an outstanding summary of centuries of religious strife, the effects of which are with us still.
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[book] WAR BY LAND, SEA, AND AIR
DWIGHT EISENHOWER AND THE CONCEPT OF UNIFIED COMMAND
BY DAVID JABLONSKY (Col., retired)
March 2010, Yale
In this book, a retired U.S. Army colonel and esteemed military historian and strategist takes a fresh look at Dwight D. Eisenhower’s lasting military legacy, in light of his evolving approach to the concept of unified command. Examining Eisenhower’s career from his West Point years to the passage of the 1958 Defense Reorganization Act, David Jablonsky explores Eisenhower’s efforts to implement a unified command in the U.S. military—a concept that eventually led to the current organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and that, almost three decades after Eisenhower’s presidency, played a major role in defense reorganization under the Goldwater-Nichols Act. In the new century, Eisenhower’s approach continues to animate reform discussion at the highest level of government in terms of the interagency process
A must read for students of joint military organized
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[book] THE LIBERATORS
AMERICA’S WITNESSES TO THE HOLOCAUST
BY MICHAEL HIRSH
March 2010, Random House
Taking us from the beginnings of the liberators’ final march across Germany to V-E Day and beyond, Michael Hirsh (Peabody award winner, producer for PBS, CBS, ABC, and HBO) allows us to walk in their footsteps, experiencing the journey as they themselves experienced it. But this book is more than just an in-depth account of the liberation. It reveals how profoundly these young men were affected by what they saw—the unbelievable horror and pathos they felt upon seeing “stacks of bodies like cordwood” and “skeletonlike survivors” in camp after camp. That life-altering experience has stayed with them to this very day. It’s been well over half a century since the end of World War II, and they still haven’t forgotten what the camps looked like, how they smelled, what the inmates looked like, and how it made them feel. Many of the liberators suffer from what’s now called post-traumatic stress disorder and still experience Holocaust-related nightmares. 
Here we meet the brave souls who—now in their eighties and nineties—have chosen at last to share their stories. Corporal Forrest Robinson saw masses of dead bodies at Nordhausen and was so horrified that he lost his memory for the next two weeks. Melvin Waters, a 4-F volunteer civilian ambulance driver, recalls that a woman at Bergen-Belsen “fought us like a cat because she thought we were taking her to the crematory.” Private Don Timmer used his high school German to interpret for General Dwight Eisenhower during the supreme Allied commander’s visit to Ohrdruf, the first camp liberated by the Americans. And Phyllis Lamont Law, an army nurse at Mauthausen-Gusen, recalls the shock and, ultimately, “the hope” that “you can save a few.”
From Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany to Mauthausen in Austria, The Liberators offers readers an intense and unforgettable look at the Nazi death machine through the eyes of the men and women who were our country’s witnesses to the Holocaust. The liberators’ recollections are historically important, vivid, riveting, heartbreaking, and, on rare occasions, joyous and uplifting. This book is their opportunity, perhaps for the last time, to tell the world.
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[book] The Reluctant Spy
My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror
by John Kiriakou and Michael Ruby
March 2010, Bantam
The story of a 20 year career with the CIA, detailing operations, including the capture of Abu Zubaydah, and many cases of torture or “pressure.” A brutally honest accounts of waterboarding, as well as the unsung stranegths and successes of the CIA. Also stories of the agents he recruited in Greece to work in Arab countries
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[book] DOWN HOME
JEWISH LIFE IN NORTH CAROLINA
BY LEONARD ROGOFF
March 2010 UNC Press
A sweeping chronicle of Jewish life in the Tar Heel State from colonial times to the present, this beautifully illustrated volume incorporates oral histories, original historical documents, and profiles of fascinating individuals. The first comprehensive social history of its kind, Down Home demonstrates that the story of North Carolina Jews is attuned to the national story of immigrant acculturation but has a southern twist. Keeping in mind the larger southern, American, and Jewish contexts, Leonard Rogoff considers how the North Carolina Jewish experience differs from that of Jews in other southern states. He explores how Jews very often settled in North Carolina's small towns, rather than in its large cities, and he documents the reach and vitality of Jewish North Carolinians' participation in building the New South and the Sunbelt. Many North Carolina Jews were among those at the forefront of a changing South, Rogoff argues, and their experiences challenge stereotypes of a society that was agrarian and Protestant. More than 125 historic and contemporary photographs complement Rogoff's engaging epic, providing a visual panorama of Jewish social, cultural, economic, and religious life in North Carolina. This volume is a treasure to share and to keep. Published in association with the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina
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IN TIME FOR PASSOVER:
[book] [book] EX ABS PLASTIC KNIFE BLOCK
5 PIECE STAINLESS STEEL KNIFE SET
BY RAFFAELO IANNELLO
# 8-inch chef's knife, 8-inch bread knife, 8-inch carver, 5-inch utility, and 3-1/2-inch parer
# Heavy-gauge stainless-steel construction; razor-sharp precision cutting blades
# Hollow, ergonomically designed handles ensure a secure grip
# Also includes ABS plastic block with effigy design and protective sleeves
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[book] In the Land of Believers
An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church
BY Gina Welch
March 2010, Metropolitan Books
A secular Jew raised by a single mother in Berkeley, Welch became an outsider in a strange land when in 2002 she moved for graduate school to the heart of the Bible Belt near Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. She saw everything around her ironically, treated the South “as a joke” and her time there “as a kind of elaborate performance art project.” Then something miraculous happened. The jaded Californian began to like Virginia. She’d arrived to a Virginia on the verge of a demographic shift as a new, progressive population burgeoned. But she also grew to like the Old South—its manners, easygoing nature, and friendliness. She got serious, cast aside her cynicism, and sought to know her evangelical neighbors “as people.” Why did they think as they did? Why were they so determined “to convert non-Christian America?” She went “undercover” to attend Falwell’s church. The resultant portrayal of evangelicals as she sees them and of how she transcended the popular media caricatures of them constitute an insightful, frequently funny book.
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[book] MILKWEED
BY JERRY SPINELLI
March 2010, Knopf
Ages 9 and up
Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Spinelli (Maniac McGee, Stargirl) paints a vivid picture of the streets of the Nazi-occupied Warsaw during World War II, as seen through the eyes of a curious, kind, heartbreakingly naïve orphan with many names. His name is Stopthief when people shout "Stop! Thief!" as he flees with stolen bread. Or it's Jew, "filthy son of Abraham," depending on who's talking to him. Or, maybe he's a Gypsy, because his eyes are black, his skin is dark, and he wears a mysterious yellow stone around his neck. His new friend and protector Uri forces him to take the name Misha Pilsudski and to memorize a made-up story about his Gypsy background so that no one will mistake him for a Jew and kill him. Misha, a very young boy, is slow to understand what's happening around him. When he sees people running, he thinks it's a race. Nazis (Jackboots, as the children call them) marching through the streets appear to him as a delightful parade of magnificent boots. He wants to be a Jackboot! (Uri smacks him for saying this.) He compares bombs to sauerkraut kettles, machine guns to praying mantises, and tanks to "colossal gray long-snouted beetles." The story of Misha and his band of orphans trying to survive on their own would have a deliciously Dickensian quality, if it weren't for the devastation around them--people hurrying to dig trenches to stop Nazi tanks, shops exploding in flames, the wailing of sirens, buzzing airplanes, bombs, and human torture. Spinelli has written a powerfully moving story of survival--readers will love Misha the dreamer and his wonderfully poetic observations of the world around him, his instinct to befriend a Jewish girl and her family, his impulse to steal food for a local orphanage and his friends in the ghetto, and his ability to delight in small things even surrounded by the horror of the Holocaust. A remarkable achievement.
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[book] HE WALKED AMONG US
A NOVEL
BY NORMAN SPINRAD
March 2010, Tor Forge
From Publishers Weekly Spinrad's shrill messianic novel reaches the U.S. eight years after its first publication in French. Texas Jimmy Balaban is convinced that stand-up comedian Ralf, a self-proclaimed refugee from a horrific world of tomorrow, could be a megastar. Jimmy drafts jaded SF writer Dexter Lambkin and New Age guru Amanda Robin to effect this transformation. Amanda eagerly accepts Ralf at face value, and cynical Dexter is surprised to find himself also falling under Ralf's spell even as the new role takes a terrible toll on the comedian. Spinrad alternates between revulsion at overweight SF fans, whom Dexter shamelessly manipulates for egoboo pussy and joke fodder, and an unshakable conviction that these Monkey People can change the world if they just apply themselves. Even Spinrad's venerable name won't sell this book to the readers he so palpably despises, leaving it without an audience
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APRIL 2010 BOOKS
[book] AMERICAN TALIBAN
A Novel
By Pearl Abraham
April 2010, Random House
From the author of The Seventh Beggar and The Romance Reader, and for readers of Dutch, “Een Sterke Vrouw, Wie Zal Haar Vinden? (A Strong Woman, Who Can Find Her; an anthology of Jewish heroines in literature),” comes a novel about an ordinary young American drawn to the edges of terror
How could a seemingly ordinary American end up fighting against America in the war of terror? John Jude Parish is 6 feet tall, 19, and an avid surfer and skateboarder. His greatest hero is Richard Burton. No, not the actor, but the famed explorer. He chats online and meets a young woman from Brooklyn, an Arab woman who sparks his interest in Arab culture and Islam. He defers his acceptance to Brown University, and travels to Brooklyn, where he studies Arabic and Islam. More than studying it, he submits himself to Islam. John, like his hero, Burton, embarks on an exploraton. Like the American Transcendentatlists, Emerson, and Walt Whitman, he is on an exploration of America, himself, and religion, and ends up with the current enemy. How does a typical kids from an Upper Middle Class household end up involved in violent terrorism? Abraham attempts to lay out a riveting fictional yet intellectual story of how.
I admit that reading the first chapters were quite maddening since it seemed the author was forcefully dropping in current pop cultural indicators about John who drives a Saab and likes Chickabiddy for their colors… (“John walked from tent to sponsored tent, from Quicksilver to Roxy to Hurley to Billabong…” ), but the novel gets better as the story proceeds.
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[book] DAY FOR NIGHT
A Novel
By Frederick Reiken
April 2010, Reagan
"If you look hard enough into the history of anything, you will discover things that seem to be connected but are not." So claims a character in Frederick Reiken's wonderful, surprising novel, which seems in fact to be determined to prove just the opposite. How else to explain the threads that link a middle-aged woman on vacation in Florida with a rock and roll singer visiting her comatose brother in Utah, where he's been transported after a motorcycle injury in Israel, where he works with a man whose long-lost mother, in a retirement community in New Jersey, recognizes him in a televised report about an Israeli-Palestinian skirmish? And that's not the half of it. In DAY FOR NIGHT, critically acclaimed writer Frederick Reiken spins an unlikely and yet utterly convincing story about people lost and found. They are all refugees from their own lives or history's cruelties, and yet they wind up linked to each other in compelling and unpredictable ways that will keep you guessing until the very end.
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[book] IF YOU KNEW SUZY
A MOTHER, A DAUGHTER, A REPORTER‘S NOTEBOOK
BY KATHERINE ROSMAN
April 2010, Harper
Perhaps you recall the story in the WSJ about the author’s mother, in a hospital being treated for cancer, struggling to draw a breath, only to ask her daughters to make sure to safeguard her eBay bidding reputation (she would bid on Venetian, Steuben and Depression art glass, fragile but resilient)
Former freelancer and Brill’s Content writer, and current WSJ culture reporter, Katherine Barnett Rosman, longed to find answers to the questions that we all grapple with after losing someone we love. So she did what she does best: she opened her notebook and started asking questions. Faced with the loss of her mother, Suzanne Rosin (daughter of Leo Goldberg the Kitt Peak astronomer), to cancer at only 60 in June 2005, Rosman spent a year investigating the life of a woman she only knew as a parent. Along the way, Rosman discovered another side to her mother—a woman whose life was intricately connected to a host of characters her daughter hardly knew. Embarking on a cross-country odyssey that would take her into the heart of some quirky, colorful communities, Rosman interviewed friends and acquaintances of her mother, as well as people whose relationships were more complex though no less potent–a former golf caddie, a legendary Pilates instructor (her mother was Pilates instructor who would give free instruction to teenagers with scoliosis, overweight people who couldn't afford regular lessons or anyone else whose "energy" she liked), an eBay glass collector and an immigrant doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, among them. As Rosman attempted to fill in the blank spaces that might explain her mother’s motivations and philosophies in building a life and in facing death, she came to understand this woman as she never imagined she could. Blending humor, honesty and old-fashioned reporting, Rosman’s grapples with the bittersweet reality that sometimes we can’t truly know someone until after she is gone. At once comforting, candid and very funny, If You Knew Suzy is a heartfelt memoir against which readers can consider themselves and the lives of all those they love.
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PS: Sa (infinity) Ta (life) Na (death) Ma (rebirth)











[book] SOS!
The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue
Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families (Paperback)
By Aviva Goldfarb
April 2010, St Martin‘s Griffin
Goldfarb, a mother in Chevy Chase, MD, writes that dinner with kids shouldn’t be a battleground. And it shouldn’t make a martyr out of the parent whose job it is to get it on the table fast, fresh and hot every day at 6 PM. Aviva Goldfarb’s cheerful Scramble system takes the hassle and worry out of mealtime. Her users and readers rely on her grocery lists, weekly meal plans and recipes not just for the healthy dinners themselves but for taking the stress out of dinnertime. She wants families to actually enjoy their dinners together! Now, with SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue, Goldfarb is taking an extra of-the-moment stress away from meal planning for busy families: concern about the environment, about the cost of shipping out-of-season food halfway around the world, about packaging, about additives and preservatives.
In SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue, readers will get a full year of weekly meals that:
help readers eat seasonally without missing their favorite foods; move toward a slightly more vegetarian menu for health and a lighter environmental footprint; reveal when organic matters (and when it doesn’t); save money through easy, efficient planning, bulk buying, freezing and storing, and avoiding waste; and make grocery trips count. Goldfarb publishes The Six O’Clock Scramble, a subscription e-mail newsletter and she wrote The Six O’Clock Scramble, and with Lisa Flaxman wrote Peanut Butter Stew and Couscous, Too.
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[book] CROSSING MENDELBAUM GATE
COMING OF AGE BETWEEN ARABS AND ISRAELIS
1956 - 1978
BY KAI BIRD
April 2010, Scribner
As Robert Oppenheimer used to toast people, “To The Confusion of Our Enemies!“ Well, this book on face value confused me. What does a guy who live in Kathmandu, Nepal know about the Middle East? Kai Bird is the co-author with Martin J. Sherwin (Is he a Naval navigator that I think I took a History class with at Penn?) of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2005). So atomic history is a natural, but the Middle East? Well… don’t be confused.
In this book, Bird recounts growing up in the Middle East. He spent most of his childhood in the Arab world, but prior to now, as a journalist and historian, he has avoided the topic, it was a black hole, the kind that sucks in your emotions where it disappears in gravitational forces. But in 1991, Bird wrote a personal Op-Ed in The Washington Post, trying to convey his feelings about the region as it plunged into yet another war. His wife, a Jewish American, thought it was the best piece of writing he had ever done (listen to Jewish wives). She encouraged him to think about writing this memoir, which is so so much more difficult than writing a biography.
Bird grew up on the seam between Israeli Jews and Arab non Jews. It was the Jerusalem border between Jordan and Israel prior to 1967. That world is now gone. In 1956, prior to the Suez War, Kai Bird arrived in Jerusalem. He was only 4 years old and arrived with his family and father, who was a FSO in the US State Department. To get to school, young Kai was chauffeured through the Mandelbaum Gate (named for the house of the Byelorussian Jewish family that used to own it, it was the site in 1929 where the Haganah defended Jewish majority West Jerusalem during the riots and killings) each schoolday, which separated East Jerusalem from the Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem. Little did he know that he would spend his youth and adulthood on borders in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. Of course he was only 4 during the Suez War, but he recalls the 67 War, the Black September hijackings in 1970, the Jordanian Civil War, and the 1973 War. He knew Nasser, Kings Faisal and Khalid, Salem bin Laden, and King Hussein. His parents were sympathetic to Palestinian independence, and his wife is the child of two survivors of the Nazi death camps. Armed with all this baggage, he relates a spellbinding and informative memoir.
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[book] This Is a Soul
The Mission of Rick Hodes
By Marilyn Berger
April 2010, William Morrow
Whoever Saves a Life, It Is Considered as If He Saved an Entire World"
Maybe you have met or heard Dr Hodes at JCC’s around the country for the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Dr. Rick Hodes arrived in Africa more than two decades ago to help the victims of a famine, but he never expected to call this extremely poor continent his home. Twenty-eight years later, he is still there. This Is a Soul tells the remarkable story of Rick Hodes's journey from suburban America to Mother Teresa's clinic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As a boy, Rick was devoted to helping those in need, and eventually he determined that becoming a doctor would allow him to do the most good. When he heard about famine in Africa, that's where he went, and when genocide convulsed Rwanda, he went into the refugee camps to minister to the victims. When he was told that Ethiopia was allowing its Jews to emigrate to Israel, he went to help. While there, he was drawn to Mother Teresa's mission in Addis Ababa. It was there that Rick found his calling when he began caring for the sickest children in one of the world's poorest countries. But he did more than that—he began taking them into his home and officially adopted five of them.
This Is a Soul is also a book filled with great joy and triumph. When Rick's kids return from surgery or life-saving treatments, he is exultant. "Seeing these people after surgery is like going to heaven," he says. Marilyn Berger went to Africa to write about Dr. Hodes, but while there, she became involved with the story. When she came upon a small, deformed, and malnourished boy begging on the street, she recognized immediately that he had the exact disease Rick could cure. She took him to Rick, who eventually arranged for the boy to have a complicated and risky surgery, which turned out to be incredibly successful. The boy's story—intertwined with Rick's, and Marilyn's as well—is unforgettable in its pathos and subtle humor.
This Is a Soul is not just a story of the savior and the saved, it is a celebration of love and wisdom, and an exploration of how charity and devotion can actually change lives in an overcrowded, unjust, and often harsh world.
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[book] The Council of Dads
My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me
By Bruce Feiler
April 2010, William Morrow
Feiler’s cancer diary: http://brucefeiler.com/c/bruces-cancer-diary/
Bestselling author Bruce Feiler (WALKING THE BIBLE; WHERE GOD WAS BORN) was a young father of twin girls in Brooklyn NYC when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had osteogenic sarcoma (same thing Teddy Kennedy had) in his left femur and within the next year he would have neuropathy in his fingertips and was fitted with a prosthesis. He will limp just as Jacob did after wrestling. He had to take a year off, his lost year, to recover and lay fallow, as if he were the land in the Jubilee Year. He instantly worried what his daughters' lives would be like without him. "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?"
(As you might recall from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, Feiler’s mother and father both had cancer.)
Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would reach out to six men from all the passages in his life, and ask them to be present in the passages in his daughters' lives. And he would call this group "The Council of Dads."
"I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives," he wrote to these men. "They'll have loving families. They'll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?"
The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Feiler, a grad of Cambridge and Yale, introduces the men in his Council and captures the life lesson he wants each to convey to his daughters, Eden and Tybee,--how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream. Linda, his wife, their mother, was already entrepreneurial, so they did not need a business educator. He mixes these with an intimate, highly personal chronicle of his experience battling cancer while raising young children, along with vivid portraits of his father, his two grandfathers, and various father figures in his life that explore the changing role of fathers in America. This is the work of a master storyteller confronting the most difficult experience of his life and emerging with wisdom and hope. The Council of Dads is a touching, funny, and ultimately deeply moving book on how to live life, how the human spirit can respond to adversity, and how to deepen and cherish the friendships that enrich our lives.
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[book] TEN MINUTES FROM HOME
BY BETH GREENFIELD
April 2010, Harmony
www.BethGreenfield.com
Ten Minutes from Home is the poignant account of how a suburban New Jersey family struggles to come together after being shattered by tragedy. In this searing, sparely written, and surprisingly wry memoir, Beth Greenfield shares what happens in 1982 when, as a twelve-year-old, she survives a drunk-driving accident that kills her younger brother Adam and best friend Kristin. As the benign concerns of adolescence are re­placed by crushing guilt and grief, Beth searches for hope and support in some likely and not-so-likely places (General Hospital, a kindly rabbi, the bottom of a keg), eventually discovering that while life is fragile, love doesn’t have to be. Ten Minutes from Home exquisitely captures both the heartache of lost innocence and the solace of strength and survival.
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[book][book] LEO AND HIS CIRCLE
THE LIFE OF LEO CASTELLI
BY ANNIE COHEN-SOLAL
March 2010, Alfred Knopf
Leo Castelli, born Leo Krauss, reigned for decades as America’s most influential art dealer. Leo and His Circle is the story of his astonishing life and career. Arriving in New York in 1941, Castelli would not open a gallery until fifteen years later, at the age of fifty. But being first to exhibit the unknown Jasper Johns, Castelli emerged a tastemaker overnight and fast came to champion a virtual Who’s Who of twentieth-century masters: Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Twombly, among them. The secret of Leo’s success? Personal devotion to his “heroes”: putting young talents on stipend and cultivating careers by finding the ideal collection for each work rather than the top bidder, he transformed the way business was done. But Castelli had another secret too: his life as an Italian Jew. Annie Cohen-Solal traces a family whose fortunes rose and fell for centuries before the Castellis fled European fascism. Never hidden but never expressed, this experience would form the core of a guarded but magnetic character possessed of unfailing old-world charm and a refusal to look backward—traits that ensured Castelli’s visionary precedence in every major new movement from Pop to Conceptual and by which he fostered the worldwide enthusiasm for American contemporary art that is his greatest legacy.
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[book] Systems Thinking for Curious Managers
With 40 New Management f-Laws
By the late Russell L. Ackoff, and Herbert J. Addison
With a foreword by Jamshid Gharajedaghi
March 2010, Triarchy
This gem of a book introduces the extraordinary world of Systems Thinking and its 'Dean', Russell Ackoff, to curious and enquiring managers, teachers, business people - anyone, anywhere who works in an organisation. Finished just before Professor Ackoff's death late in Fall 2009, "Systems Thinking for Curious Managers" opens the door to a joined up way of thinking about things that has profoundly influenced thinkers and doers in the fields of business, politics, economics, biology, psychology.
Although Systems Thinking was 'invented' early in the 20th century, even Peter Senge's best-selling "The Fifth Discipline" (Systems Thinking is the fifth discipline) failed to popularise the term. But now, in business and academia, in the public sector and in the search for solutions to the environmental problems we face, Systems Thinking is being talked about everywhere. In the same way, it's only since his death in 2009 that management thinker, writer and guru Russell Ackoff has achieved the reputation he deserves. This timely book presents 40 more of Russ Ackoff's famously witty and incisive f-Laws (or flaws) of business - following on from his 2007 collection "Management f-Laws". All those in this collection are new and previously unpublished. Andrew Carey's extended introduction ties these f-Laws into the rest of Ackoff's work and gives the reader new to Systems Thinking a practical guide to the implications of Systems Thinking for organisations and managers. The Foreword by Jamshid Gharajedaghi is a moving tribute from Ackoff's friend and business partner of many years.
Ackoff (Penn Architecture 41) of Haverford, PA, was the Anheuser Busch Professor Emeritus of Mgt Science at Wharton. He was honored with the creation of the Ackoff Center for Advancement of Systems Approaches at Penn. He is famous for his collection of business stories known as Ackoff’s Fables. He co-founded Adopt-a-Neighborhood for Development. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] A JEW MUST DIE
A NOVEL BASED ON A TRUE STORY
BY JACQUES CHESSEX
April 2010, Bitter Lemon Press
Winner of the Prix Goncourt
On April 16, 1942, a handful of Swiss Nazis in Payerne lure Arthur Bloch, a Jewish cattle merchant, into an empty stable and kill him with a crowbar. Europe is in flames, but this is Switzerland, and Payerne, a rural market town of butchers and bankers, is more worried about unemployment and local bankruptcies than the fate of nations across the border. Fernand Ischi, leader of the local Nazi cell, blames it all on the town’s Jewish population and wants to set an example, thinking the German embassy would be grateful. Ischi's dream of becoming the local gauLeiter is shattered, however, when the milk containers used to dissimulate Bloch's body parts is discovered floating in a lake nearby, leading to his arrest.
Jacques Chessex, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, WAS one of Switzerland’s greatest authors. He knew the murderers, went to school with their children, and has written a terse, implacable story that has awakened memories in a country that seems to endlessly rediscover dark areas of its past. Sadly, he passed away a week before I received a copy of the book, in early December 2009. Chessex, aged 75, was the first non-French citizen to win France's most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt. The precise, sometimes austere beauty of his prose often contrasted with the way he used it to delve into stories of hidden cruelty, crime or passion. His neighbours in the Swiss village of Ropraz were offended by his 2007 novel Le Vampire de Ropraz, published in Britain as The Vampire of Ropraz by Bitter Lemon Press in 2008, which examined a 1903 miscarriage of justice when a local stable boy caught violating animals was convicted of a series of brutal murders. His stories had an undercurrent of Swiss rural isolation, Calvinist repression, and intense social jealousy. His most recent novel, Un Juif Pour L'Exemple, investigated the 1942 killing of a Jewish cattle trader by Swiss Nazis in Chessex's home town of Payerne, and became a national cause celebre in a country still uncomfortable with the true character of its neutrality during the second world war. Chessex won the Goncourt in 1973 for his novel L'Ogre, published in English translation as A Father's Love in 1975. Chessex attended elementary school with the son of the Nazi at the centre of Un Juif pour L'Exemple, then studied at the Jesuit College St Michel in Fribourg, where, aged 17, he founded a poetry magazine, Pays du Lac (Lake Country). At Lausanne University he wrote his dissertation on Francis Ponge, the poet and essayist who might be described as a French William Carlos Williams. He wrote more than 80 books, including 31 novels or other fictions, 28 volumes of poetry, including Les Aveugles du Seul Regard, which won the Prix Mallarmé in 1994, and a number of children's books. He collapsed during a lecture at the Municipal Library in Yverdon les Bains, discussing a play adapted from his 1967 novel La Confession du Pasteur Burg. He had just been asked to comment on the arrest of the film director Roman Polanski.
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[book] JEWISH PASTORAL CARE
2nd EDITION
A Practical Handbook from Traditional & Contemporary Sources
Now in paperback
Edited By Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman
April 2010, Jewish Lights
The first comprehensive resource for pastoral care in the Jewish tradition—and a vital resource for counselors and caregivers of other faith traditions. The essential reference for rabbis, cantors, and laypeople who are called to spiritually accompany those encountering joy, sorrow, and change—now in paperback. This groundbreaking volume draws upon both Jewish tradition and the classical foundations of pastoral care to provide invaluable guidance. Offering insight on pastoral care technique, theory, and theological implications, the contributors to Jewish Pastoral Care are innovators in their fields, and represent all four contemporary Jewish movements. This comprehensive resource provides you with the latest theological perspectives and tools, along with basic theory and skills for assisting the ill and those who care for them, the aging and dying, those with dementia and other mental disorders, engaged couples, and others, and for responding to issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and disasters.
Contributors: Barbara Eve Breitman, MSW, LSW • Anne Brener, MAJCS, MA, LCSW • Rabbi Amy Eilberg, MSW • Rabbi Nancy Flam, MA • Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MAJCS, BCC • Gus Kaufman, Jr., PhD • Rabbi Myriam Klotz, MA • Rabbi Yaacov Kravitz, EdD • Rabbi Ellen Jay Lewis, NCPsyA • Wendy Lipshutz, LMSW • Rabbi Sheldon Marder • Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, DMin • Simcha Paull Raphael, PhD • Rabbi Stephen Roberts, BCC • Rabbi Rochelle Robins • Rabbi Drorah Setel, MTS • Rabbi Jeffery M. Silberman, DMin • Marcia Cohn Spiegel, MAJCS • Rabbi Karen Sussan • Rabbi Bonita E. Taylor, MA, BCC • Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, CSW • Rabbi David J. Zucker, PhD, BCC
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[book] PEN OF IRON
AMERICAN PRoSE AND THE KING JAMES BIBLE
BY ROBERT ALTER
April 2010, Princeton
In college, I was told that if you want to write prose, you need to read the New Testament and Bible to get a sense of rhythm and language and understand the references to it in American literature.
The simple yet grand language of the King James Bible has pervaded American culture from the beginning--and its powerful eloquence continues to be felt even today. In this book, acclaimed biblical translator and literary critic Robert Alter traces some of the fascinating ways that American novelists--from Melville, Hemingway, and Faulkner to Bellow, Marilynne Robinson, and Cormac McCarthy--have drawn on the rich stylistic resources of the canonical English Bible to fashion their own strongly resonant styles and distinctive visions of reality. Showing the radically different manners in which the words, idioms, syntax, and cadences of this Bible are woven into Moby-Dick, Absalom, Absalom!, The Sun Also Rises, Seize the Day, Gilead, and The Road, Alter reveals the wide variety of stylistic and imaginative possibilities that American novelists have found in Scripture. At the same time, Alter demonstrates the importance of looking closely at the style of literary works, making the case that style is not merely an aesthetic phenomenon but is the very medium through which writers conceive their worlds.
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[book] GOD IS NOT ONE
THE EIGHT RIVAL RELIGIONS THAT RUN THE WORLD
AND WHY THEIR DIFFERENCES MATTER
BY STePHEN PROTHERO, Boston University
April 2010, Harperone
Argues that the differences among the world religions are greater than anyone acknowledges. With intelligence, wit, wisdom, and humor, Prothero has written an important and informative book, which happens to also be a very entertaining read! Through discussion of the world’s great religions, the book makes a convincing argument about religious difference, a hopeful antidote both to the idea that religions are mutually exclusive and to the schmaltzy claim that ‘all religions are one.’ In God is Not One, Prothero gives us a way to religious literacy. Everyone will benefit from reading this book.” Click the book cover to read more.












[book] Kings of the Jews
BY Norman Gelb
April 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
The incredible saga of Jewish history as seen through the eyes of its monarchs. We all know about King David and King Solomon, but what about the kings Omri and Uzziah? Of the more than fifty monarchs who sat on the throne of the Jews for over 1000 years, most of us can recall only a few. What we do remember about them has been colored by legend and embellishment. In Kings of the Jews, Norman Gelb tells us the real stories of them all. And in doing so, he reveals how a remarkably resilient people survived divisions, discord, and conquest to forge a vibrant identity that has lasted to the present day. Kings of the Jews explores some of the most dramatic periods in Jewish history: those of the united Israelite kingdom under David and Solomon, the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the Babylonian exile, and the destruction of the Second Temple and the Roman conquest of Jerusalem.
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[book] WHERE HEAVEN AND EARTH MEET
Jerusalem's Sacred Esplanade
Edited by Oleg Grabar and Benjamin Z. Kedar
April 2010, University of Texas Press
One of the most extraordinary spaces on earth, Jerusalem's Esplanade has been regarded as sacred for about three millennia. For Judaism, it is the holiest space, where the Solomonic and Herodian Temples once stood and where, in the messianic age, the Temple is to be rebuilt at God's behest. For Christendom, it is the site of the Herodian Temple, which Jesus repeatedly visited, foretelling its destruction and announcing the advent of a new, spiritual worship of God. For Islam, it is the holy space to which the Prophet Muhammad traveled on his mystical Night-Journey and Ascension, and which holds the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa Mosque. Where Heaven and Earth Meet is an unprecedented endeavor. For the first time, an Israeli, a Palestinian, and a Dominican institute of higher learning, all located in Jerusalem, have jointly sponsored a volume dealing with Jerusalem's sacred Esplanade--not only with its monuments, but also with the conflicting emotions they have aroused over the ages and with the passions they ignite today. The book contains eleven articles written by leading experts on the various periods, which add up to an authoritative, up-to-date account of the site's history; as well as five thematic essays, ranging from the site considered as a work of art to its roles in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thought; a photographic dossier; and three personal views by the presidents of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Al-Quds University, as well as by Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini.
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[book] WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU‘LL KNOW I‘M DEAD
USEFUL STORIES FROM A PERSUASIVE MAN
BY JERRY WEINTAUB with RICH COHEN
April 2010, TWELVE
As a child, Weintraub learned about packaging. His father, a jeweler, bought the largest star sapphire in the world. He toured the country with it, and then sold his other pieces to the jewelers and consumers who came to see it. He then donated the sapphire to the Smithsonian. It was all about packaging. When Jerry was nine, his father and movie loving mother, took the family ona car trip to Beverly Hills and Hollywood. They stayed at the Roosevelt and toured Grauman‘s Chinese. Jerry‘s hand prints are now at Grauman‘s, six decades later.
Here is the story of Jerry Weintraub: the self-made, Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised impresario, Hollywood producer, legendary deal maker, and friend of politicians and stars. No matter where nature has placed him--the club rooms of Brooklyn, the Mafia dives of New York's Lower East Side, the wilds of Alaska (where he worked for the Air Force, but also had a full time job at Sachs clothing stores cuz he was Jewish, and also played craps for extra dough), or the hills of Hollywood--he has found a way to put on a show and sell tickets at the door. "All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage," he writes. "I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: 'Jerry Weintraub Presents.'"
In WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU'LL KNOW I'M DEAD, we follow Weintraub from his first great success at age twenty-six with Elvis Presley, whom he took on the road with the help of Colonel Tom Parker; to the immortal days with Sinatra and Rat Pack glory; to his crowning hits as a movie producer, starting with Robert Altman and Nashville, continuing with Oh, God!, The Karate Kid movies, and Diner, among others, and summiting with Steven Soderbergh and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.
Along the way, we'll watch as Jerry moves from the poker tables of Palm Springs (the games went on for days), (he has a house in Palm Desert that is 10,000 sqft) to the power rooms of Hollywood, to the halls of the White House, to Red Square in Moscow and the Great Palace in Beijing-all the while counseling potentates, poets, and kings, with clients and confidants like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, George H. W. Bush, Armand Hammer, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Denver, Bobby Fischer . . .well, the list goes on forever.
And of course, the story is not yet over . . .as the old-timers say, "The best is yet to come." As Weintraub says, "When I stop talking, you'll know I'm dead." With wit, wisdom, and the cool confidence that has colored his remarkable career, Jerry chronicles a quintessentially American journey, one marked by luck, love, and improvisation. The stories he tells and the lessons we learn are essential, not just for those who love movies and music, but for businessmen, entrepreneurs, artists . . . everyone.
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Still a best seller after half a year:
[book] Have a Little Faith
A True Story
By Mitch Albom
September 2009, Hyperion
First some background from the book. Mitch Albom was on track for Jewish scholarship. He studied Hebrew and Aramaic, Rashi and the RaMBaM. He knew Jewish texts and history. He went to Brandeis University and led Jewish youth groups. After graduation, his sports writing career began to blossom and he had a lack of need for Jewish study and practice. Then came marriage, and other events and he left his religious spirituality tucked away in a corner.
And now for the book
What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together? In “Have a Little Faith,” Mitch Albom offers a story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds--two men, two faiths, two communities. The book opens with an unusual request: an 82 year old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof. Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat. As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds--and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.
In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi's last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself. The book is about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story. Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.






[book] FUTURE TENSE
JEWS, JUDAISM, AND ISRAEL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTurY
BY RABBI JONATHAN SACKS
April 2010, Alfred Knopf Schocken
One of the most admired religious thinkers of our time issues a call for world Jewry to reject the self-fulfilling image of “a people alone in the world, surrounded by enemies” and to reclaim Judaism’s original sense of purpose: as a partner with God and with those of other faiths in the never-ending struggle for freedom and social justice for all. We are in danger, says Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of forgetting what Judaism’s place is within the global project of humankind. During the last two thousand years, Jews have lived through persecutions that would have spelled the end of most nations, but they did not see anti-Semitism written into the fabric of the universe. They knew they existed for a purpose, and it was not for themselves alone. Rabbi Sacks believes that the Jewish people have lost their way, that they need to recommit themselves to the task of creating a just world in which the divine presence can dwell among us. Without compromising one iota of Jewish faith, Rabbi Sacks declares, Jews must stand alongside their friends–Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and secular humanist–in defense of freedom against the enemies of freedom, in affirmation of life against those who desecrate life. And they should do this not to win friends or the admiration of others, but because it is what a people of God is supposed to do. Rabbi Sacks’s powerful message of tikkun olam–of using Judaism as a blueprint for repairing an imperfect world–will resonate with people of all faiths. Sir Jonathan Sacks is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
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[book] TANYA
The Masterpiece of Hasidic Wisdom
Selections Annotated and Explained by Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Foreword by Rabbi Zalman Schacter Shalomi
Spring 2010, Skylight Paths
The wisdom of Jewish spirituality and mysticism can be a companion for your own spiritual journey. Tanya, “It Was Taught,” is one of the most powerful and potentially transformative books of Jewish wisdom. Written in 1797 by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, Tanya sets forth the fundamentals of Jewish spirituality and mysticism. While a focus of daily study by tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews, Tanya is little known outside the world of Jewish mysticism. Until now, its kabbalistic terms and esoteric language have made this essential text of Jewish spirituality inaccessible to most readers. In this engaging volume, Rabbi Rami Shapiro offers a contemporary English translation of key selections of Tanya coupled with commentary designed to clarify and amplify the wisdom it contains. He also outlines the philosophical and spiritual framework on which Tanya is based—God’s nonduality; the five dimensions of reality and their corresponding intelligences (body, heart, mind, soul, and spirit); the purpose of mitzvot, the practices of Jewish life, as catalysts to God realization and the hallowing of all life through godliness—to help you understand the selected Tanya translations in a way that enhances your own spiritual development. Now you can benefit from the wisdom of Tanya even if you have no previous knowledge of Judaism or Hebrew terminology. This SkyLight Illuminations edition presents the core teachings of Tanya, with insightful yet unobtrusive commentary that will deepen your understanding of the soul and how it relates to and manifests the Divine Source from which all life comes, in which all life lives and to which all life returns.
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[book] REPENTANCE
The Meaning and Practice of Teshuva
By Dr. Louis E., Dr. Newman. Intro by Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar (Introduction). Foreword by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis
Spring 2010, Jewish Lights
An inspiring way to reclaim your integrity and renew your sense of moral purpose.
“Like water, teshuvah is both destructive and creative. It dissolves the person you were but simultaneously provides the moisture you need to grow anew. It erodes the hard edges of your willfulness but also refreshens your spirit. It can turn the tallest barriers of moral blindness into rubble while it also gently nourishes the hidden seeds of hope buried deep in your soul. Teshuvah, like water, has the power both to wash away past sin and to shower you with the blessing of a new future, if only you trust it and allow yourself to be carried along in its current.” —from Part VII
In this candid and comprehensive probe into the nature of moral transgression and spiritual healing, Dr. Louis E. Newman examines both the practical and philosophical dimensions of teshuvah, Judaism’s core religious-moral teaching on repentance, and its value for us—Jews and non-Jews alike—today. He exposes the inner logic of teshuvah as well as the beliefs about God and humankind that make it possible. He also charts the path of teshuvah, revealing to us how we can free ourselves from the burden of our own transgressions by: * Acknowledging our transgressions * Confessing * Feeling remorse * Apologizing * Making restitution * Soul reckoning * Avoiding sin when the next opportunity arises
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[book] Missing a Beat
The Rants and Regrets of Seymour Krim
(Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music and Art)
BY Mark Cohen
April 2010, Syracuse
In 1961, Beat writer Seymour Krim set Greenwich Village on its ear with a slim volume of essays that featured an unleashed voice, a brash title, and a foreword by Norman Mailer. James Baldwin called Views of a Nearsighted Cannoneer an extraordinary volume. Saul Bellow published an excerpt in his journal The Noble Savage, and Mailer saluted Krim s jazzy prose with its shifts and shatterings of mood. Despite such praise and critical attention, Krim s work is excluded from most Beat anthologies and is little known outside literary circles. With Missing a Beat, a collection of eighteen essays by Krim published between 1957 and 1989, Cohen introduces this influential writer to a new generation. In the Village Voice, New York Magazine, New York Times, and elsewhere, Krim pioneered a new style of subjective and personal reporting to write about the postwar American scene from a Jewish angle. Aggressively unacademic, Krim s journalism displays the rapid, nervous, breathless tempo that Irving Howe called a hallmark of Jewish literature. Krim outlived his early literary fame, but he produced an impressive body of work and was a tremendous prose stylist. Missing a Beat resurrects an American original, finding Krim a new literary home among such celebrated writers as Norman Mailer, David Mamet, and Saul Bellow.
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[book] KING OF THE JEWS
THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWISH NATION
BY NORMAN GELB
April 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
The incredible saga of Jewish history as seen through the eyes of its monarchs We all know about King David and King Solomon, but what about the kings Omri and Uzziah? Of the more than fifty monarchs who sat on the throne of the Jews for over 1000 years, most of us can recall only a few. What we do remember about them has been colored by legend and embellishment. In Kings of the Jews, Norman Gelb tells us the real stories of them all. And in doing so, he reveals how a remarkably resilient people survived divisions, discord, and conquest to forge a vibrant identity that has lasted to the present day. Kings of the Jews explores some of the most dramatic periods in Jewish history: those of the united Israelite kingdom under David and Solomon, the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the Babylonian exile, and the destruction of the Second Temple and the Roman conquest of Jerusalem. How a resilient people survived division, conquest, and exile more than 2,000 years ago to forge a vibrant identity that has lasted to the present day. Kings of the Jews traces the evolution of the Jewish nation, forerunner of the modern state of Israel, through vivid accounts of the lives and times of the men and women who ruled it -- from Saul to Agrippa II -- in a Middle East even more turbulent than it is today.
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[book] DREYFUS
POLITICS, EMOTION, AND THE SCANDAL OF THE CENTURY
BY RUTH HARRIS
April 2010, Metropolitan Books
What might be the definitive history of the infamous scandal that shook a nation and stunned the world
In 1894, Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was wrongfully convicted of spying for Germany and imprisoned on Devil’s Island. Over the next few years, France was torn apart as attempts to correct the injustice broke up families, set off anti-Semitic riots, and came close to triggering a coup d’etat against France‘s ruling government.
Drawing upon thousands of previously unconsidered sources, Ruth Harris goes beyond the conventional narrative of truth-loving left-wing democrats mobilizing against right-wing proto-Fascists to explain how violently reactionary forces could overtake a country that viewed itself as the flagship of progressive enlightenment.
She shows how complex emotions and interlocking influences—the tension between the military and the intellectuals, the clashing demands of justice and nationalism, and a tangled web of personal connections—shaped both the coalitions working to free Dreyfus and the alliances seeking to protect the army that had convicted him. Sweeping and engaging, Dreyfus offers a new understanding of one of the most contested and consequential moments in modern history.
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[book] A JOURNEY INTO THE ZOHAR
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF RADIANCE
BY NATHAN WOLSKI, Monash University
Spring 2010, SUNY Press
The crowning work of medieval Kabbalah, the Zohar is unlike any other work in the Jewish canon. Written in Aramaic, the Zohar contains complex mystical exegesis as well as a delightful epic narrative about the Companions--a group of sages who wander through second-century Israel discussing the Torah while encountering children, donkey drivers, and other surprising figures who reveal profound mysteries to them. Nathan Wolski offers original translations of episodes involving this mystical fellowship and goes on to provide a sustained reading of each. With particular emphasis on the literary and performative dimensions of the composition, Wolski takes the reader on a journey through the central themes and motifs of the zoharic world: kabbalistic hermeneutics, the structure of divinity, the nature of the soul, and, above all, the experiential core of the Zohar--the desire to be saturated and intoxicated with the flowing fluids of divinity. A Journey into the Zohar opens the mysterious, wondrous, and at times bewildering universe of one of the masterpieces of world mystical literature to a wider community of scholars, students, and general readers alike.
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Scary. Doesn’t it sound like America? Financial problems that are blamed on Jwes (Madoff, Greenspan, Summer, Levitt, Rubin), and a wartime defeat (Iraq, Afghanistan, Viet Nam)… all leading to culture wars:
[book] FOR THE SOUL OF FRANCE
CULTURE WARS IN THE AGE OF DREyFUS
BY FREDERICK BROWN
2010, Knopf
Frederick Brown, cultural historian, author of acclaimed biographies of Émile Zola and Flaubert now gives us an ambitious, far-reaching book—a perfect joining of subject and writer: a portrait of fin-de-siècle France. He writes about the forces that led up to the twilight years of the nineteenth century when France, defeated by Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, was forced to cede the border states of Alsace and Lorraine, and of the resulting civil war, waged without restraint, that toppled Napoléon III, crushed the Paris Commune, and provoked a dangerous nationalism that gripped the Republic.
The author describes how postwar France, a nation splintered in the face of humiliation by the foreigner—Prussia—dissolved into two cultural factions: moderates, proponents of a secular state (“Clericalism, there is the enemy!”), and reactionaries, who saw their ideal nation—militant, Catholic, royalist—embodied by Joan of Arc, with their message, that France had suffered its defeat in 1871 for having betrayed its true faith. A bitter debate took hold of the heart and soul of the country, framed by the vision of “science” and “technological advancement” versus “supernatural intervention.”
Brown shows us how Paris’s most iconic monuments that rose up during those years bear witness to the passionate decades-long quarrel. At one end of Paris was Gustave Eiffel’s tower, built in iron and more than a thousand feet tall, the beacon of a forward-looking nation; at Paris’ other end, at the highest point in the city, the basilica of the Sacré-Coeur, atonement for the country’s sins and moral laxity whose punishment was France’s defeat in the war . . .
Brown makes clear that the Dreyfus Affair—the cannonade of the 1890s—can only be understood in light of these converging forces. “The Affair” shaped the character of public debate and informed private life. At stake was the fate of a Republic born during the Franco-Prussian War and reared against bitter opposition. The losses that abounded during this time—the financial loss suffered by thousands in the crash of the Union Génerale, a bank founded in 1875 to promote Catholic interests with Catholic capital outside the Rothschilds’ sphere of influence, along with the failure of the Panama Canal Company—spurred the partisan press, which blamed both disasters on Jewry. The author writes how the roiling conflicts that began thirty years before Dreyfus did not end with his exoneration in 1900. Instead they became the festering point that led to France’s surrender to Hitler’s armies in 1940, when the Third Republic fell and the Vichy government replaced it, with Marshal Pétain heralded as the latest incarnation of Joan of Arc, France’s savior . . . Click the book cover to read more.














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