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

SOME WINTER 2011 BOOK READINGS


December 02, 2010: Vincent Brook discusses Jewish Emigre Directors: Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Max Ophuls, and Robert Siodmak, the Jewishness and the Rise of Film Noir. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Bunche Hall, Los Angeles CA

January 11, 2011: Eric Alterman reads from KABUKI DEMOCRACY. B&N UWS NYC
January 13, 2011: Lynn Schnurnberger reads from THE BEST LAID PLANS. B&N UWS NYC
January 16, 2011: OU2011. Orthodox Union National Convention. Woodcliff Lake, NJ. Highlights include The Cost of Jewish Living; The Hidden Cost of Free Speech on the Internet; The Keys to Unlocking and Maintaining a Happy Marriage; Best Theories and Practices for Synagogue Leadership; Worms in Fish and the Delicate Interplay between Halacha and Science Throughout the Ages; How Perfect Must a Woman Be? In Search of the Real Eishet Chayil; Challenges and Opportunities for Orthodox Students at Secular College Campuses; Best Youth Programming; and more
January 23-25, 2011: 2011 Family Philanthropy Conference. NYC. Cof.org
January 24, 2011: David Stern (Penn) discusses Reading The Whole Jewish Book. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Royce Hall, Los Angeles CA
January 27, 2011: Ari Kelman discusses Fiddler on the Roof and the Politics of Sentimentality, Film, Photography, and Philanthropy. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Bunche Hall, Los Angeles CA

February 06, 2011: David Schmahmann reads from Ivory from Paradise. Temple Beth Shalom, Needham, MA
February 07-27, 2011: Annual The Seforim Sale at Yeshiva University NYC, with music, lectures, and events. www.theseforimsale.com
February 08, 2011: James Kugel and Peter Steinfels. 92STY NYC
February 08, 2011: Professor JAMES KUGEL reads from his newest book, IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW. Harvard Hillel. Cambridge MA
February 15, 2011: Amy Chua reads from Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother at B&N North Haven CT
February 21, 2011: Andre Aciman reads EIGHT WHITE NIGHTS at B&N UES 86th NYC
February 10, 2011: Author Mimi Sheraton discusses Not By Bialys Alone. Iconic Jewish Foods. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Los Angeles CA
February 17, 2011: Liel Liebovitz reads from FORTUNATE SONS. B&N UWS NYC
February 18, 2011: Creativity in Terezin. The Artists of the Holocaust. First Parish Church and Harvard Book Store. Cambridge MA
February 20-25, 2011: 25th Jerusalem International Books Fair. JerusalemBookFair.com
February 22, 2011: AMY CHUA reads from her tiger mom parenting memoir. Harvard Book Store. Cambridge MA
February 22, 2011: Kosher Food and Wine Expo. NYC. KFWE2011.com
March 01, 2011: A Holocaust Story Told in Music and Word. By NSYNC boyband star Lance Bass and Mona Golabek tell the story of Golabek’s mother and the Kindertransports to England. 92STY NYC
March 03, 2011; Jill Zarin and Lisa Wexler read from SECRETS OF A JEWISH MOTHER. B&N Livingston NJ
March 04, 2011; Jill Zarin and Lisa Wexler read from SECRETS OF A JEWISH MOTHER. B&N Stamford CT
March 08, 2011: David Hazony reads from his book on the Ten Commandments. B&N Skokie IL
March 09, 2011: Ruth Gruber speaks, and the doc on her life Ahead of Time, is screened. 92StY NYC
March 09, 2011: The National Jewish Book Awards 2010 – Ceremony for winning recipients, finalists and honorees. Center for Jewish History NYC, 8PM
March 13, 2011: Peter Manseau will discuss his novel Songs for The Butcher's Daughter which won a National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. NYC East End Temple (E 17th St) 1PM
March 13, 2011: Rabbi Benjamin Blech (The Sistine Secrets) and David Birnbaum (The Crucifixion) speak on The Church and The Jews. 6:30PM, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, NYC UES
March 19, 2011: Mitchell James Kaplan, author of By Fire, By Water speaks at Temple Beth El Bloomfield Hills MI
March 21, 2011: Restoring Splendor: The Architecture of New York Synagogues, an illustrated lecture by Dr. Samuel D. Gruber. TempleEmanu-El NYC 6PM
March 22, 2011: Dan Savage and Terry Miller read from It Gets Better, The Book for the Trevor Project, featuring essays by famous and not so famous people. B&N TriBeCa NYC
March 23, 2011: To honor the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, join Katharine Weber, Author of Triangle: A Novel 6:30 PM, Temple Emanu-El, 1 East 65th Street
March 24, 2011: Dan Savage and Terry Miller read from It Gets Better, The Book for the Trevor Project, featuring essays by famous and not so famous people. Renberg Theater West Hollywood LA CA
March 24, 2011: Jewish Writers on the Promised Land, featuring readings and panel by Thane Rosenbaum, Derek Rubin, Dara Horn, Tova Mirvis, Lara Vapnyar, and Rachel Kadish. $29 to listen to them and maybe ask a question. NYC 92ST Y
March 24, 2011: Allegra Goodman reads from her work. Jewish Literature Live Seminar. Marvin Center. GW University, Washington DC
March 25, 2011: Dan Savage and Terry Miller read from It Gets Better, The Book for the Trevor Project, featuring essays by famous and not so famous people. SFSU Adams Hall 12 Noon San Francisco
March 29, 2011: Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks, chats about his life and memoir. 92STY, NYC

April 02, 2011: Howard Jacobson reads from the top UK prize winning novel, FINKLER QUESTION, B&N Princeton NJ
April 02, 2011: The Jewish Book: Past, Present, Future. NYC Center for Jewish History 1PM
April 03, 2011: Kim Severson read from SPOON FED, now in paperback. B&N Anchorage Alaska
April 04, 2011: Yivo in NYC hosts 2004 Nobel Laureate (Literature) Elfriede Jelinek in AN EXTREMELY RARE PUBLIC appearance on “Rechnitz: Austria's Dirty Little Secret.” Center for Jewish History. 7PM
April 06, 2011: Kosher Wine Tastings. 300 wines. Manhattan
April 07, 2011: Never Forgotten: The Search for Israel's Lost Submarine DAKAR, a lecture by David W. Jourdan. 7PM. Magen David Sephardic Congregation, Rockville, MD
April 11, 2011: The Sabbath: A Day of Rest or a Day of Rules. With Authors Judith Shulevitz, Nicholas Lemann, Bruce Feiler, Jeffrey Goldberg and Neil McFarquhar. $29. 92ST Y
April 10, 2011: Steve and Cokie Roberts discuss their Haggadah and provide samples of their fave Pesach foods (bean salad, eggs), Atlanta Georgia JCC
April 14, 2011: Deborah Lipstadt speaks in Revisiting Eichman. NYC Center for Jewish History
April 18, 2011: Passover begins Monday evening
June 09, 2011: Nora Ephron speaks on her latest books. 92StY NYC
June 13-22, 2011: The Montreal International Yiddish Theatre Festival. SegalCentRe.org











SELECTED DECEMBER 2010 BOOKS


[book] KADDISH AND OTHER POEMS
1958 - 1960
BY ALLEN GINSBERG
50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Number Fourteen
December 2010, City Lights Publishers
Allen Ginsberg's "Kaddish," a poem about the death of his mother, Naomi, is one of his major works. This special fiftieth anniversary edition of Kaddish and Other Poems features an illuminating afterword by Ginsberg biographer Bill Morgan, along with previously unpublished photographs, documents, and letters relating to the composition of the poem. Allen Ginsberg, founding father of the Beat Generation, inspired the American counterculture of the second half of the twentieth century with his groundbreaking poems. Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), founding father of the Beat Generation, inspired the American counterculture of the second half of the twentieth century with his grounbreaking poems. His books include Howl & Other Poems, Kaddish & Other Poems, Reality Sandwiches, Planet News, Fall of American, Mind Breaths, and Plutonian Ode, all published by City Lights.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE PUZZLE KING
A novel
BY BETSY CARTER
December 2010
Carter (Swim to Me) mines her family history in this underwhelming novel that examines the lives and loves of Jewish immigrants in early 20th-century New York. Nine-year-old Simon Phelps is sent by his mother from Lithuania to America, where he grows up poor but ambitious on the Lower East Side. He meets German-born Flora Grossman, and their marriage and ascent into American success forms the linchpin for the familiar tales of immigrants vacillating between the New World and the Old. The interwoven stories of Flora and her sisters—Seema, the kept mistress of a WASP banker, and the somber Margot, who endures an austere life in post-WWI Germany—highlight the different paths for German-Jewish women. Meanwhile, Simon's booming career in the advertising world is tempered by the grief he feels as he searches for his lost family, though his success enables him to plan a bold mission of salvation. Unfortunately, the narrative, while admirable in scope, feels too beholden to its source material, with the remote, speculative tone making this often feel more like a historian's work than a novelist's.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] LIFE IN MINIATURE
A NOVEL
BY LINDA SCHLOSSBERG
December 2010, Kensington
Adie has always known she was different. There's her size, for one thing. Born three months premature, Adie is the smallest of her peers. Then there's Adie's Jewish mother, who at first glance seems like so many other 1980s mums - clipping coupons and attending Feel the Burn aerobics classes. But beneath the surface is something erratic and unpredictable, something that makes her drag Adie and her older sister, Miriam, from one rental apartment to the next - until Miriam runs away. Adie is left behind with her mother, who is convinced their lives are in real danger and takes Adie on a crazy run across northern California. Now Adie faces a stark choice: submit to this increasingly surreal adventure, or grow up in ways she never imagined
Click the book cover to read more.
Or click here to read an excerpt on google: Click here









[book] MAKE ME A WOMAN
A Graphic novel
By Vanessa Davis
2010, Drawn and Quarterly
From Publishers Weekly: These beautifully rendered watercolor and pencil collages capture confessional moments from bat mitzvah to the author taking her boyfriend home to West Palm Beach, Fla., to visit her mother. While treading in the autobiographical path of many cartoonists before her, Davis's sweet and well-observed sketch-diary entries and more structured pieces for such magazines as the Tablet deal with growing up as a Jewish woman. Some time is given to fashion and dating, but the focus is mostly on the daily humor of surviving a boring day job and squabbling family. What sets Davis apart, as least as she portrays herself, is her general sanity and good humor. The problems are more Family Circus than Fun Home: a sisterly blowup comes down to the disposition of a doughnut, and a relationship problem involves several half-eaten packages of cheese. An early strip deals with a trip to a fat farm, but even that ends with remarkably little self-loathing. What this collection does show is Davis's evolution from sometimes awkward swirls of penciled diary pages to constantly inventive and very accomplished painted art. It's hard not to find something to identify with or smile at in these pages
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] I'M DREAMING OF A BLACK CHRISTMAS
BY LEWIS BLACK
December 2010, Riverhead
From Publishers Weekly: Vituperative standup comedian Black (Me of Little Faith) delivers a caustic Christmas diatribe. Warning readers to ignore the book if they have a deep attachment to Christmastime, he notes, "This book contains, like the celebration of Christmas, only 2 percent religion. Think of it as the yuletide equivalent of low-fat milk." After recalling how he argued with the editor who urged him to write a Christmas book, Black delivers a full-scale Scrooge-styled screed. With chapters such as "Meditations of a Jewish Santa," "The Hooker at Rockefeller Center," and "The Carol from Hell," he rips into such seasonal traditions as Christmas cards, dinners, toys, advertising ("a primal scream of sales"), shopping ("Why don't you folks wait until the 26th of December when things are the cheapest?"), trees ("something magical about a Christmas tree all dazzled up in lights... almost as breathtaking as a hooker gone wild in spangles"), carols ("A shower is a place for singing, and on Christmas, it's where you should be caroling"), and gifts: "At Chanukah we get nothing. We don't even get stockings." With digressions on the human comedy and his personal life, Black spews forth much invective, but successfully exposes societal truths with riotous ripostes
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE BIG PAYBACK
THE HISTORY OF THE BUSINESS OF HIP-HOP
BY DAN CHAMAS
December 2010, NAL
The Big Payback takes us from the first $15 made by a "rapping DJ" in 1970s New York to the recent multi-million-dollar sales of the Phat Farm and Roc-a-Wear clothing companies in 2004 and 2007. On this four-decade-long journey from the studios where the first rap records were made to the boardrooms where the big deals were inked, The Big Payback tallies the list of who lost and who won. Read the secret histories of the early long-shot successes of Sugar Hill Records and Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC's crossover breakthrough on MTV, the marketing of gangsta rap, and the rise of artist/ entrepreneurs like Jay-Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs. 300 industry veterans-well-known giants like Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, the founders of Def Jam, and key insiders like Gerald Levin, the embattled former Time Warner chief-gave their stories to renowned hip-hop journalist Dan Charnas, who provides a compelling, never-before seen, myth-debunking view into the victories, defeats, corporate clashes, and street battles along the 40-year road to hip-hop's dominance








[book] BROOKLYN STORY
A NOVEL
BY SUZANNE CORSO
December 2010, S&S
From Publishers Weekly: Tony Manero wouldn't be out of place in this competent coming-of-age debut set in 1978 Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, where Samantha Bonti longs to make it in the big time across the East River. With her Smith-Corona, ambition, good looks, and little else--Sam's Jewish mom's a bitter, drunken mess on welfare, her Italian dad's long gone--the 15-year-old negotiates the shady world of the "Brooklyn Boys" and what it means to be the girlfriend of mob acolyte Tony Kroon. "All ya need is me," he ominously insists. Corso gets the Brooklyn dialect pitch-perfect and keeps the pace brisk, and though the narration too often reads like stage notes, the universal story of longing, loyalty, and growing up rings true
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust
(HBI Series on Jewish Women)
Edited by Sonja M. Hedgepeth and Rochelle G. Saidel
December 2010, Brandeis University Press
From Publishers Weekly: Sadly, Hedgepth and Saidel may be asking too much of their readers: three hundred pages chronicling the literal and metaphorical rapes of women (who were often subsequently murdered) is a visceral discomfort few will be willing to undertake. But these essays, describing experiences of forced sex, "sex for survival," prostitution, sterilization, abortion, and general sexual humiliation, add greatly to what is known about the lives of Jewish women during WWII. Much of the content here is a philosophical extension of first-person accounts of sexual torture. One essay on victim psychology demonstrates how trauma can render the first-person unreliable. Several essays deal with WWII sexual violence as depicted in fiction and film. Taken together, these essays illustrate how this subject is discussed, or not, across the globe. The fact that this exhaustive volume represents the first set of essays on the subject written in English underpins a fundamental truth held by the editors: while English-speaking countries are comfortable discussing these horrors, the fates specific to the murdered women and survivors of sexual assault are considered by many to be too shameful for discourse.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE SECRET LIFE OF MS FINKLEMAN
BY BEN H. WINTERS
2010, Harper
Ages 8 - 12
Ms. Finkleman is just our boring old music teacher. Or is she? It all starts with a Special Project in Mr. Melville's Social Studies class: Solve a mystery in your own life. For seventh grader Bethesda Fielding, one mystery is too tempting to ignore: Ms. Finkleman. Bethesda is convinced that her mousy Music Fundamentals teacher is hiding a secret life, and she’s determined to find out what it is. But no one is prepared for what she learns. Ms. Finkleman used to be . . . a rock star? Soon the whole school goes rock crazy, and a giant concert is in the works with none other than timid Ms. Finkleman at the helm! But the case isn’t quite closed, and the questions continue to swirl for Bethesda. Could there be even more to the secret life of Ms. Finkleman than she already revealed? With the help of her rock-obsessed classmate Tenny Boyer, Bethesda won’t stop until she solves the real mystery of Ms. Finkleman once and for all! .
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] STONE UPON STONE
By Wieslaw Mysliwski
Translated from Polish
December 2010, Archipelago
Mysliwski's grand epic in the rural tradition — a profound and irreverent stream of memory cutting through the rich and varied terrain of one man’s connection to the land, to his family and community, to women, to tradition, to God, to death, and to what it means to be alive. Wise and impetuous, plain-spoken and compassionate Szymek, recalls his youth in their village, his time as a guerrilla soldier, as a wedding official, barber, policeman, lover, drinker, and caretaker for his invalid brother. Filled with interwoven stories and voices, by turns hilarious and moving, Szymek’s narrative exudes the profound wisdom of one who has suffered, yet who loves life to the very core. Like a more agrarian Beckett, a less gothic Faulkner, a slightly warmer Laxness, Mysliwski masterfully renders in Johnston's gorgeous translation (Mysliwski's first into English) life in a Polish farming village before and after WWII. . . . Richly textured and wonderfully evocative, the novel renders Szymus as a distinctly memorable character, whose humor and hard-earned wisdom lend beauty to a bleak vision of a land destroyed by war and ravaged by history, and whose voice--sometimes warm, sometimes ornery, always elegiac--is undeniably original, his digressions and ruminations forming a story that reminds us that 'words are a great grace. When it comes down to it, what are you given other than words?'
"Stone upon Stone is the first masterpiece in Slavic literature, perhaps even in European literature, in which the fate of the peasant attains the standing of human fate in all its tragic vastness." —Anna Tatarkiewicz
Click the book cover to read more.












SELECTED JANUARY 2011 BOOKS


I INVITE OUR READERS TO COMPARE THIS BOOK ON PARENTING WITH THE ONE BELOW BY AMY CHUA

[book] THE BLESSING OF A B MINUS
USING JEWISH TEACHINGS TO RAISE RESILIENT TEENS
October 2010, Scribners
Dr Mogel is a clinical psychologist, parent educator, and keynote speaker for educational and religious organizations and schools. You loved her earlier work, “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee” on the topic of raising younger children with Jewish wisdom, not being overprotective, or overscheduled. Now comes her book on raising teens, giving them space, giving the limits, understanding puberty and the changes that occur and the desire to form individual personalities. If Genesis was early childhood, this is Exodus, in which the parent Moses has to guide his complaining teenaged Israelites.
Dr. Mogel has two daughters, and when they were teens, she thought she could calmly and logically deal with them, their one word answers, their inability to clean their rooms, go to bed on time, wake up on time, do chores, participate in family activities. If only she could bake a challah and have Friday night Shabbat dinner and they would run downstairs and be good obedient young women. Nope. Didn’t happen. How do you pick your battles when everything is a battle?
How do you raise a teen in a culture that expects material and academic success and perfection? Mogel, using mussar and other wisdom teachings, shows other parents how not to be overindulgent and how not to pressure kids. How do you develop sound judgement. How do you maintain composure, detachment, acceptance, integrity, moderation, delight, and even parental authority. Parents will uncover an appreciative and reflective relationship with their children, and set an example for them.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
By Amy Chua, JD, Professor, Yale Law School
January 11, 2011 (1/11/11), Penguin
When the evil Wall Street Journal printed a two page essay from Amy Chua about her book, on January 8, 2011, it got over 1500 online comments in 72 hours. This is an awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother's exercise in EXTREME parenting, revealing the rewards-and the costs-of raising her children the Chinese way, or what she perceives to be the CHINESE way. All decent parents want to do what's best for their children, or what they think is best for their life success, as defined by their mother. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that.
“Western parents” try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way-the Chinese way-and the remarkable results her choice inspires.
Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do:
have a playdate
be in a school play
complain about not being in a school play
not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
play any instrument other than the piano or violin
not play the piano or violin

The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin.
Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene:
"According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing:
1. Oh my God, you're just getting worse and worse.
2. I'm going to count to three, then I want musicality.
3. If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!"

But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices-the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons-the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting- and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another

Oh, by the way, Amy Chua was first in her class in High School. She graduated Harvard College as Phi Beta Kappa. She graduated from Harvard Law School and was Executive Editor of Harvard Law Review. Her father, who came to the US in 1961 from China is a professor at Berkeley. Amy clerked for a federal judge and worked for a top law firm. She is a professor at Yale Law.
On the other hand… her JEWISH HUSBAND… who lets Amy raise the kids her own way, went to Princeton and Harvard Law School. He spent two years at Julliard Drama exploring his creative side (I wonder if he was in school plays). He also clerked for a federal judge, and he is also an author (mystery book) and professor at Yale Law School. He was raised the Jewish way, not the Amy Chua Chinese way
Also, although the stereotype is as Amy portrays it, and a top selling Chinese parenting book is about the Chinese girl who went to Harvard, the most popular book on parenting in China stresses more love and openness for kids. Also, Wendy Mogel (see her book above) is a popular author in Asia (ask us about the Korean version of her Blessing of a Skinned Knee)
Please visit Jewlicious.com for a discussion of this book
Let me just add, Chua is not an idiot and not self-aware. She is very open and honest about what she is doing and possible errors. In the chapter on her youngest daughter's Bat Mitzvah, at their home, and her daughter's obstinate attitude towards playing “Hebrew Melody” on her violing and practicing her Haftorah portion, Chua expresses her angst over the lack of communication between she and her daughter, the comments of her friends, and the sense that after the Bat Mitzvah, her daughter will just grow and grow in her plans to go against Chua's wishes.
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] What We Brought Back
Jewish Life After Birthright
Reflections by Alumni of Taglit-Birthright Israel Trips
Edited by Wayne Hoffman
Fall 2010 and Jan 2011, Toby Press
What did they bring back from Israel? A Hard candy as sweet like sugar? A case of mono?
No.
Eric Leven, Shoshana Rubin, Mordechai Shinefield Jake Marmer, and many more birthright alums write in this new anthology project of Nextbook Inc. and Birthright Israel NEXT, edited by Wayne Hoffman. The book includes essays, poems, photos, graphics and more by alumni of Birthright Israel Trips.
Click the book cover to read more.










[book] Cinderella Ate My Daughter
Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
By Peggy Orenstein
January 2011, Harper
When Peggy Orenstein published a story in The New York Times Magazine about princess culture, she received a firestorm of comments and mail. “what’s Wrong with Cinderella?” was the most emailed article. Afterwards, she set out to investigate the issue more. Chapter 7 on Wholesome or Whoresome, about cultural princesses (Miley) all grown up, sets the tone. The Girl Power Index, a measurement of shopping mall profitability based on girl spending is informative as well. Her look at studies on what makes tomboys and girly girls, and whether mixed sex play is actually mixing or just a boy and a girl playing NEXT to each other is fascinating as well.
Pink and pretty, or predatory and hardened; sexualized girlhoods influence our daughters' lives from infancy onward, telling them that their image is more important than their essence and looks matter. The pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as a source of female empowerment. And commercialization—officially-licensed tiaras, pink soccer balls, "bootylicious" fashion dolls, steamy music videos—has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages. But, realistically, how many times can a parent say no when her daughter begs for a pink tulle princess dress, a makeover birthday party, or the latest Hannah Montana CD? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anyway—especially given girls' successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all. It's adorable watching them pretend to be Snow White or Ariel, innocent and pure, safe from the dangers of the grown-up world. And eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from early sexualization—or prime them for it? Is today's little princess going to be tomorrow's sexting teen? And what if she is? Does that make her in charge of her sexuality—or an unwitting captive to it? And what are parents supposed to do to avoid all this, move to Sweden, where marketing to children under 12 is illegal? Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, investigates. She visited Disneyland trolled American Girl Place and Pottery Barn Kids, met the parents of preschoolers tricked out like Las Vegas showgirls at beauty pageants and watched Miley Cyrus prance across a concert stage.
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[book] THE TRUTH ABOUT GRIEF
THE MYTH OF ITS FIVE STAGES AND THE NEW SCIENCE OF LOSS
By Ruth Davis Konigsberg
January 2011, Simon and Schuster
In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published ON DEATH AND DYING, in which she discussed the several stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Konigsberg was barely 1 year old, when this hypothesis became a truism and accepted fact. Konigsberg, a fashion magazine editor, deconstructs this and reports that it is false. She finds that most people are resilient and can get over grief on their own with their families, without the need to for psychologists and therapists and books. She reports that grief is not a PROCESS, either. Chapters include: The American Way of Grief; Is Widowhood Forever; The Grief Counseling Industry; Grief for Export; and Grief and the Sexes.
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WHY, on February 16, 2011, is NYU's Asia/Pacific/American Institute sponsoring the panel discussion for this book? I did not think of it as Asian or Pacific. Their panel will feauture Moustafa Bayoumi, Max Blumenthal, Susan Buck-Morss, Noam Chomskyand Suheir Hammad. I am sure it will be balanced.. not. Thank you A/P/A.
[book] Midnight on the Mavi Marmara
The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
and How It Changed the Course of the Israeli/Palestine Conflict
Edited by Moustafa Bayoumi
Or Books
The Mavi Marmara was the flagship of the convoy heading to break the what the authors'view is a controversial blockade of the Hamas led area of Gaza. In this book's view, Israeli Defense Forces seized the vessel and its sister vessels in international waters and clashed with activists aboard. Nine were killed. The author's write that 2 were killed by final gunshots after they were already injured. Moustafa Bayoumi has compiled a series of articles and essays on the events; some are very angry. The book has three parts. In the first part, "On Board the Ships," Henning Mankell tells his account of his experience on the ship on May 31, 2010. Ken O'Keefe speaks of the activists on board the ship were merely exerting "self-defense" against the IDF, and the disarming an Israeli commando was benign. OKAY. The second part, "Understanding the Attack," contains essay by the lovers of Zion: Gideon Levy, Ben Saul, Noam Chomsky, George Bisharat, Rashid Kalidi, and others. Law Professor George Bisharat analyzes whether Israel had any legal right to its actions. The third part of the book, "The Blockade of Gaza," opens with a list of items that are prohibited and permitted into the Gaza Strip. The contributors in this section paint their own portrait of what life is like in Gaza. Sara Roy is joined by Nadia Hijab, Raji Sourani and others. The fourth section is, "Inside Israel," with writings from Neve Gordon on the movement for "No Citizenship Without Loyalty!;" and Doron Rosenblum on Israel's passive-aggressive response to the ships. Ilan Pappé criticizes Israel and its decline in internatiopnal status, and Yousef Munayyer's "A History of Impunity" explains that this attack is nothing new in the context of Zionist atrocities. "Old Friends, New Thinking," is the fifth part of the book. Murat Dagli and Marsha B. Cohen explain how Turkey's government publicly responded to the events. Arun Gupta laughs at Israel's idea of “vistimhood,” and Glenn Greenwald discusses “tribalism.” Then in the valiant sixth part of the book, "Palestine on Our Minds," the authors tell how the noble and pure and kind Palestinian struggle is the same as the struggle of Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Adam Shapiro, Omar Barghouti and Mike Marqusee round out the section.
One can see how the newest tactic will be to dress a wolf in the clothing of South African wool.
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[book] I Shall Not Hate
A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity
Izzeldin Abuelaish
January 2011, Walker
PW: “Born in a refugee camp in 1955, Palestinian physician Abuelaish suffers a catastrophic loss when three of his daughters are killed in their home by Israeli fire in 2009. An Israeli television journalist's live broadcast of his call for help captures Israeli public and world press attention. "Most of the world has heard of the Gaza Strip," as Abuelaish says, "[b]ut few know what it's like to live here, blockaded, impoverished, year after year, decade after decade." Abuelaish portrays everyday life in Gaza and tells the remarkable story of how he came to be "the first Palestinian doctor to be on staff at an Israeli hospital." The "tortured politics of Palestine, Israel, and the Middle East" are rendered graphic by his personal accounts of "the humiliation, the fear, the physical difficulty" of border checkpoints and bulldozed homes. Abuelaish tells of the "satisfying, even wonderful" moments, "the good chapter of a bad story," as well; an infertility specialist, he is as "thoroughly smitten" with his research as he is appalled that "Gaza hospitals are rundown and can't be repaired because of an embargo [that] is preposterous." Abuelaish knows anger, but in this impassioned, committed attempt to show the reader life on the sliver of land that is Gaza, he demonstrates that "[a]nger is not the same as hate."”
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[book] THE BEST LAID PLANS
A NOVEL
BY LYNN SCHNURNBERGER
January 2011, Ballantine
From Lynn Schnurnberger, bestselling co-author of Mine Are Spectacular! and The Botox Diaries, comes a novel of big secrets, family ties, and a reminder that sometimes The Best Laid Plans can lead to delightful surprises. Tru Newman is one of the Upper East Side “M&Ms”—the wealthy stay-at-home moms who are into personal Maintenance and Mothering. Having been raised by a beauty queen mother who constantly picked on her, Tru loves looking after her investment banker husband, Peter, and their twin teen daughters. But her perfect world spins off its axis the night Tru throws a charity benefit and discovers that Peter’s been out of work for three months. Even worse, the family’s been living on a house of cards—specifically, Visa and Amex—that’s about to collapse.
Suze Orman tells Tru to “Get a job!” But doing what? When Tru’s best friend, Sienna Post, loses her position as an anchor on the local nightly news, the two hatch a profitable if illegal plan: They’ll open an escort service with “working girls” all over the age of forty. Modeling themselves on Carla Bruni (“after she married the president of France, not before, when she was dating Mick Jagger”), their smart, sexy, seasoned escorts become a big hit with a roster of thirty-year-old clients. If only Tru’s legit life could fall so easily into place: Her husband’s new job has him working side by side with a flirtatious neighbor, her fourteen-year-old twins are competing over a two-timing, Clearasil-using Casanova, and after suffering a heart attack in her bodybuilding class, Tru’s hypercritical mother moves in with her. Not to mention that the gossip columns get wind that Tru and Sienna’s “temp agency” isn’t on the up-and-up—and the DA is on their case. But for the savvy and spirited Tru, these new obstacles bring unexpected benefits—from Geisha facials, to massage toys that are “better than chocolate,” to the realization that at midlife, she’s more comfortable than ever before in her own skin and more grateful for all that she has. By turns touching and laugh-out-loud funny, this is a must-read for every woman who knows it’s never too late to make a fresh start
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[book] A STRANGER ON THE PLANET
BY ADAM SCHWARTZ
January 2011, SoHo Press
In the summer of 1969, twelve-year-old Seth lives with his unstable mother, Ruth, and his brother and sister in a two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey. His father lives with his new wife in a ten-room house and has no interest in Seth and his siblings. Seth is dying to escape from his mother’s craziness and suffocating love, her marriage to a man she’s known for two weeks, and his father’s cold disregard.
Over the next four decades, Seth becomes the keeper of his family’s memories and secrets. At the same time, he emotionally isolates himself from all those who love him, especially his mother. But Ruth is also Seth’s muse, and this enables him to ultimately find redemption, for both himself and his family.
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[book] Cocaine's Son
A Memoir
By Dave Itzkoff
January 2011, Villard
With sharp wit, self-deprecating humor, and penetrating honesty, New York Times journalist Dave Itzkoff turns a keen eye on his life with the mysterious, maddening, much-loved man of whom he writes, “for the first eight years of my life I seem to have believed he was the product of my imagination.”
Itzkoff’s father was the man who lumbered home at night and spent hours murmuring to his small son about his dreams and hopes for the boy’s future, and the fears and failures of his own past. He was the hard-nosed New York fur merchant with an unexpectedly emotional soul; a purveyor of well-worn anecdotes and bittersweet life lessons; a trusted ally in childhood revolts against motherly discipline and Hebrew school drudgery; a friend, advisor, and confidant. He was also a junkie. In Cocaine’s Son, Itzkoff chronicles his coming of age in the disjointed shadow of his father’s double life—struggling to reconcile his love for the garrulous protector and provider, and his loathing for the pitiful addict.
Through his adolescent and teen years Itzkoff is haunted by the spectacle of his father’s drug-fueled depressions and disappearances. In college, Itzkoff plunges into his own seemingly fated bout with substance abuse. And later, an emotional therapy session ends in the intense certainty that he will never overcome the same demons that have driven the older man. But when his father finally gets clean, a long “morning after” begins for them both. And on a road trip across the country and back into memory, in search of clues and revelations, together they discover that there may be more binding them than ever separated them. Unsparing and heartbreaking, mordantly funny and powerfully felt, Cocaine’s Son clears a place for Dave Itzkoff in the forefront of contemporary memoirists.
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[book] Our Man in Tehran
The Truth Behind the Secret Mission to Save
Six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis
and the Ambassador Who Worked with the CIA to Bring Them Home
By Robert Wright
January 2011, Other Press
The world watched with fear in November 1979, when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. The Americans were caught entirely by surprise, and what began as a swift and seemingly short-lived takeover evolved into a crisis that would see fifty four embassy personnel held hostage, most for 444 days. As Tehran exploded in a fury of revolution, six American diplomats secretly escaped. For three months, Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran—along with his wife and embassy staffers—concealed the Americans in their homes, always with the prospect that the revolutionary government of Ayatollah Khomeini would exact deadly consequences. The United States found itself handcuffed by a fractured, fundamentalist government it could not understand and had completely underestimated. With limited intelligence resources available on the ground and anti-American sentiment growing, President Carter turned to Taylor to work with the CIA in developing their exfiltration plans. Until now, the true story behind Taylor’s involvement in the escape of the six diplomats and the Eagle Claw commando raid has remained classified.
In Our Man in Tehran, Robert Wright takes us back to a major historical flashpoint and unfolds a story of cloak-and-dagger intrigue that brings a new understanding of the strained relationship between the Unites States and Iran. With the world once again focused on these two countries, this book is the stuff of John le Carré and Daniel Silva made real.
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[book] THE GOLDSTONE REPORT
THE LEGACY OF THE LANDMARK
INVESTIGATION OF THE GAZA CONFLICT
EDITED BY ADAM HOROWITZ
LIZZY RATNER, AND PHILIP WEISS
January 2011, Nation books
From the publishers of “the nation”, that “lover” of Zion... (not)
COVER BLURB: This is the controversial - and vital - report on the truth behind Israel's incursion into Gaza and the atrocities committed by both sides. "The Goldstone Report" is one of the most controversial UN reports ever published. It alleges that both Israel and Hamas committed atrocities when Israel invaded Gaza in January 2009 as a part of Operation Cast Lead. Justice Richard Goldstone, a celebrated South African and Jewish human rights lawyer, oversaw the UN fact-finding mission after the invasion. What Goldstone found, and later published, caused a maelstrom within Israel and the international community at large. Goldstone was demonized by many who claimed bias, intimating the report unfairly vilified Israel. Though the findings are of enormous historical, political and moral significance, few have actually read the document in its entirety - thus the furious political debate that mushroomed in the wake of its publication has supplanted any true understanding of the report's discoveries. "The Goldstone Report: The Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict of 2008-2009" will change this. Edited by three progressive American Jews, Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner and Philip Weiss, "The Goldstone Report" is an edited and annotated edition of the report that contains analysis, original essays and a context for the debate.
Philip Weiss has written for The New York Observer, The Nation, The American Conservative, National Review, Washington Monthly, New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Harper's and Jewish World Review. He writes mainly from a progressive Jewish perspective. Adam Horowitz lives in New York City; he is the former Director of the Israel/Palestine Programme for the Quaker led American Friends Service Committee. Lizzy Ratner has written for The Nation and The New York Observer.
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[book] I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED THE HOLY TONGUE
ISAAC CASAUBON, THE JEWS, AND A FORGOTTEN
CHAPTER IN RENAISSANCE SCHOLARSHIP
By Anthony Grafton and Joanne Weinberg
January 2011, Harvard
Fusing high scholarship with high drama, Anthony Grafton and Joanna Weinberg uncover a secret and extraordinary aspect of a legendary Renaissance scholar’s already celebrated achievement. The French Protestant Isaac Casaubon (1559–1614) is known to us through his pedantic namesake in George Eliot’s Middlemarch. But in this book, the real Casaubon emerges as a genuine literary hero, an intrepid explorer in the world of books. With a flair for storytelling reminiscent of Umberto Eco, Grafton and Weinberg follow Casaubon as he unearths the lost continent of Hebrew learning—and adds this ancient lore to the well-known Renaissance revival of Latin and Greek.
The mystery begins with Mark Pattison’s nineteenth-century biography of Casaubon. Here we encounter the Protestant Casaubon embroiled in intellectual quarrels with the Italian and Catholic orator Cesare Baronio. Setting out to understand the nature of this imbroglio, Grafton and Weinberg discover Casaubon’s knowledge of Hebrew. Close reading and sedulous inquiry were Casaubon’s tools in recapturing the lost learning of the ancients—and these are the tools that serve Grafton and Weinberg as they pore through pre-1600 books in Hebrew, and through Casaubon’s own manuscript notebooks. Their search takes them from Oxford to Cambridge, from Dublin to Cambridge, Massachusetts, as they reveal how the scholar discovered the learning of the Hebrews—and at what cost.
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Welsh born Rabbi, not Welsh rabbit.
If you are in Jerusalem on January 13, 2011, please drop by the publication party at Machon Lander at 19:30. (Am ve-Olamo St. in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem) Tell them we sent you.
[book] On Changes in Jewish Liturgy
Options and Limitations
By Rabbi Daniel Sperber, PhD
2010 and January 2011, Urim Publications
Although Jewish liturgy has its roots in antiquity, it evolved and developed throughout the ages to emerge in its present, largely standardized form. However, in some aspects, it is archaic, containing passages and statements that apply more to past eras than to the present day. In some cases, these passages may even be offensive to certain segments of our society. It is for this reason that this book attempts to delineate the parameters of halachically permissible changes in Jewish liturgy -- changes that have precedents in traditional sources and that may correct anachronisms and defuse possible conflict, thus enhancing the experience of prayer for an ever-widening spectrum of Orthodox Jewry.
Welsh born Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber taught in the Talmud Department of Bar-Ilan University in Israel and was the dean of the Faculty of Jewish Studies. He serves as the president of the Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies. He also serves as rabbi of the Menachem Zion Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. He received the Israel Prize in 1992 for his research in Talmud and the history of Jewish customs, and served as the chairman of the Council for Religious Education at the Israel Ministry of Education for a decade.
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[book] J. D. SALINGER
A LIFE
BY KENNETH SLAWENSKI
January 2011, Random
One of the most popular and mysterious figures in American literary history, J. D. Salinger eluded fans and journalists for most of his life. Now comes a new biography that Peter Ackroyd in The Times of London calls “energetic and magnificently researched”—a book from which “a true picture of Salinger emerges.” Filled with new information and revelations—garnered from countless interviews, letters, and public records—J. D. Salinger presents an extraordinary life that spanned nearly the entire twentieth century.
Kenneth Slawenski explores Salinger’s privileged youth, long obscured by misrepresentation and rumor, revealing the brilliant, sarcastic, vulnerable son of a disapproving father and doting mother and his entrance into a social world where Gloria Vanderbilt dismissively referred to him as “a Jewish boy from New York.”
Here too are accounts of Salinger’s first broken heart—Eugene O’Neill’s daughter, Oona, left him for the much older Charlie Chaplin—and the devastating World War II service (“a living hell”) of which he never spoke and which haunted him forever. J. D. Salinger features all the dazzle of this author’s early writing successes, his dramatic encounters with luminaries from Ernest Hemingway to Laurence Olivier to Elia Kazan, his surprising office intrigues with famous New Yorker editors and writers, and the stunning triumph of The Catcher in the Rye, which would both make him world-famous and hasten his retreat into the hills of New Hampshire. Whether it’s revealing the facts of his hasty, short-lived first marriage or his lifelong commitment to Eastern religion, which would dictate his attitudes toward sex, nutrition, solitude, and creativity, J. D. Salinger is this unique author’s unforgettable story in full—one that no lover of literature can afford to miss.
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[book] The Best LAID Plans
A Novel
By Lynn Schnurberger
January 2011, Random Ballantine
From Publishers Weekly: Schnurnberger (The Botox Diaries, with Janice Kaplan) goes solo for a middle-age crazy tale of Tru Newman--a stay-at-her-Park-Avenue-home-mom of twin teens whose husband loses his job in the financial meltdown--and glam sidekick Sienna, a TV anchor kicked to the curb for a younger face. The resourceful gals cook up a wacky plan to keep themselves in lipstick and lingerie: an escort agency specializing in well-bred over-40 "courtesans." It's a hit, and along the way, Tru competes to keep her husband; deals with her irrepressible mom, Naomi (a former Miss New York Subway), after her life-changing heart attack; and discovers her daughters are competing for the same wicked eighth-grade heartthrob. The multigenerational antics of this light, enjoyable romp are safely PG, as is the message: true love (or is it Tru's loves?) conquers all
PS – a specialist in Arts Education, Schnurberger founded FOSTERPRIDE, which provides arts education, classes, and mentoring to foster kids in NYC
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[book] The Sriracha Cookbook
50 "Rooster Sauce" Recipes that Pack a Punch
By Randy Clemens
January 2011, Ten Speed Press
Jews love Chinese and Asian cuisine. The love hot foods. They squirt red sauce in their Pho. They secretly love rooster sauce. -- Me
“This book is a perfect example that Sriracha tastes great on everything!” —David Chang, chef/owner of Momofuku
Sri Racha (See RAH Chah) is in Chonburi province, Thailand, about 65 miles southeast of Bangkok. It is a port town of 140 thousand Thais with a taste for hot sauce, specifically Nám prík Sriracha, a red paste sauce made from peppers, garlic, sugar, salt, and vinegar, sort of like a pickled garlic ketchup. Americans know it as rooster sauce.
You’ve drizzled the addictively spicy chili sauce over your breakfast eggs, noodles, and French fries, but now it’s time to take your Sriracha obsession to bold, new heights. Food writer and trained chef Randy Clemens presents 50 palate-expanding recipes that make the most of Sriracha’s savory punch, such as: Spicy Ceviche, Honey-Sriracha Glazed Buffalo Wings, Sriracha Cornbread, the Sriracha Burger, Peach-Sriracha Sorbet, and more. Named Bon Appétit’s Ingredient of the Year for 2010, the piquant pureé of chili peppers is one of the few kitchen standbys adored by adventurous cooks of all stripes—from star chefs to college freshmen—who appreciate its vibrant, versatile balance of ketchup-like sweetness, garlicky pungency, and just the right amount of spice. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a recent convert to the revered “rooster sauce,” you’ll love adding heat, depth, and an intriguing Southeast Asian twist to your dishes beyond just a tableside squeeze.
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[book] The Invisible Bridge
A novel
By Julie Orringer
January 2011,
Vintage reprint paperback
Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he promised to deliver. But when he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter's recipient, he becomes privy to a secret that will alter the course of his—and his family’s—history. From the small Hungarian town of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in labor camps, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a family shattered and remade in history’s darkest hour.
Named one of the best books of 2010
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[book] PSALMS
A MEMOIR
By HIRSCH GRUNSTEIN
Booksurge
The villagers all felt sorry for fourteen-year-old Henri and little Sylvain: with their mother "in an asylum" and a "philandering" father, back in Antwerp, the two brothers had come to Belsele, in the Flemish countryside, "for a much needed fresh-air break." In fact, the intricate story of an unhappy family was spun to protect the two Jewish boys, Hirsch and Salomon, from deportation while they were waiting out the German occupation of Belgium. Hirsch Grunstein's memoir chronicles the events leading up to the boys' escape from Antwerp, his long stretch in hiding (much of it alone, in silence), his eventual capture by the Flemish SS, and the dramatic operation by the Belgian resistance that saved him and scores of other children from certain death. Woven into the riveting account of how he, his family and their rescuers survived, are the teenager's wrenching interpretations of the Psalms.
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[book] MURDER OVER THE BORDER
A MYSTERY NOVEL
By RICHARD STEINITZ
January 2011, Kindle
MURDER OVER THE BORDER is a mystery set in the context of the Middle East Peace Process. The hero, Yossi Abulafia, is an Israeli policeman on army reserve duty near the Jordanian border. Instead of watching the border, he is taking photographs of antelope when the observation post he is sitting in collapses and he is seriously injured. During the accident, he unwittingly takes a photograph of what appears to be a murder -- on the other side of the border with Jordan.
As a result of his accident, he is transferred to a boring desk job. He uses his connections to try and investigate what happened on the other side of the river. In the course of his new job, he travels to Amsterdam for a conference where he meets Aziz -- a Jordanian police officer. During the few days they are together, the two men become friends, but are attacked twice by an unknown assailant - the ‘shooter’. The first attack passes without any damage, but the second is far more serious. Both men are shot, Yossi loses consciousness and is returned to Israel.
As a result of his disabilities from the second accident, Abulafia is discharged from the police force against his will. He is semi-crippled, walks with difficulty and the aid of a cane. His close friend Yehiel, a lawyer and now special advisor to the Prime Minister, offers Yossi a job. Yehiel is in charge of the secret negotiations being conducted with the Palestinians in Oslo. Yossi, who is not enthusiastic about the idea of talking to the PLO, becomes his general factotum and police liaison.
In the course of the negotiations, Yossi identifies one of the PLO delegates as the shooter from Amsterdam. He has also identified him from an old photograph as being connected to the murderer from across the river. Together with another friend -- Arieh, who is about to retire from the Mossad (the Israeli Foreign Intelligence Service) -- he kidnaps the shooter and interrogates him. The interrogation ostensibly concerns the shooting in Amsterdam and the shooter’s connection to radical Palestinian factions. The Israelis wish to give this information to the leaders of the PLO delegation, in order to discredit the shooter, who is operating is operating under an alias. The Israelis do not want to negotiate with the radicals and the PLO does not want the radicals on their team. Yossi’s ulterior motive is to find out about the shooter’s connection to the man he suspects is a murderer.
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[book] Early Northwest Semitic Serpent Spells in the Pyramid Texts
By Richard C. Steiner
January 2011, Eisenbraun
The earliest connected Semitic texts known to modern scholars are usually thought to be East Semitic texts from Mesopotamia, written in the cuneiform script. In this monograph, Richard C. Steiner deciphers Semitic texts that are even earlier--Northwest Semitic texts in hieroglyphic script that have been "hiding in plain sight" among the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom. The Semitic texts are embedded in two series of Egyptian spells designed to protect the king's mummy against snakes. They are orthographically distinct from the rest of the Pyramid Texts, characterized by exceptional phonetic spelling reminiscent of the "group writing" used to write foreign names and texts in later times. Most editors of the Pyramid Texts have considered them unintelligible.
“Prof. Steiner realized that embedded in this text dating back to the 3rd millennium BCE was by far the earliest attested Semitic writing, specifically in proto-Canaanite, an archaic form of what later developed into Phoenician, Hebrew, Moabite and Ammonite. The surrounding Egyptian text consists of spells for the protection from the predation of serpents of the entombed mummy of the Pharaoh Unas which were written on the walls of his pyramid. The Semitic text fits right in, as it also contains serpent spells sent by the priests of Byblos, a city in present-day Lebanon, to Egypt.  In a 2007 lecture in which Prof. Steiner announced his discovery, he explained that the Semitic text demonstrated that proto-Canaanite already existed as a distinct language in early to mid 3rd millennium BCE and concluded that “the practice of writing Semitic texts with Egyptian hieroglyphs began long before the appearance of texts written in the Semitic alphabet.” -- Zvi Erenyi 
The Semitic and Egyptian passages in these spells are mutually elucidating. The Egyptian context contains phrases that reveal the meaning of corresponding Semitic phrases as well as clues that reveal the origin of the texts. The Semitic, in turn, helps to clarify the Egyptian, bringing a degree of cohesiveness and order to a group of spells that previously seemed like a hodgepodge. As Robert K. Ritner writes in his foreword to the monograph: "We have thus gone from a string of isolated invocations, many of them gibberish, to a coherent logically constructed, tripartite ritual with a recognizable beginning, middle, and end. This seems to me a remarkable advance."
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[book] The Human Figure and Jewish Culture
By Eliane Strosberg
Foreword by Julia Weiner
January 2011, Abbeville
In this abundantly illustrated study, Eliane Strosberg investigates why so many modern artists of Jewish descent continued to paint the human form even as the avant-garde movement vigorously promoted abstraction. Strosberg offers a lively analysis of the work of a wide range of Jewish artists, including the immigrant painters of the Ecole de Paris, like Soutine and Modigliani; the American social realists, like Ben Shahn and Raphael Soyer; and, the masters of the postwar School of London, such as Lucian Freud and R.B. Kitaj. She concludes that even though their styles were diverse, all these artists were drawn to the human figure because it offered them a means of communicating, in secular terms, aspects of their Jewish intellectual heritage, such as their humanistic values and passion for social justice.
Eliane Strosberg, who holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. from the Université Libre de Bruxelles
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FEBRUARY 2011 BOOKS


75,000 COPIES ARE BEING PRINTED… SHOULD BE HUGE
[book] THE LAST JEW OF TREBLINKA
A Memoir
By Chil Rajchman with a Preface by Elie Wiesel
February 2011, Pegasus
Why do some live while so many others perish? Tiny children, old men, beautiful girls. In the gas chambers of Treblinka, all are equal. The Nazis kept the fires of Treblinka burning night and day, a central cog in the wheel of the Final Solution. There was no pretense of work here like in Auschwitz or Birkenau. Only a train platform and a road covered with sand. A road that led only to death. But not for Chil Rajchman, a young man who survived working as a “barber” and “dentist,” heartsick with witnessing atrocity after atrocity. Yet he managed to survive so that somehow he could tell the world what he had seen. How he found the dress of his little sister abandoned in the woods. How he was forced to extract gold teeth from the corpses. How every night he had to cover the body-pits with sand. How ever morning the blood of thousands still rose to the surface. Many have courageously told their stories, and in the tradition of Elie Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’s Survival at Auschwitz and The Drowned and the Saved, Rajchman provides the only survivors’ record of Treblinka. Originally written in Yiddish in 1945 without hope or agenda other than to bear witness, Rajchman’s tale shows that sometimes the bravest and most painful act of all is to remember.
Chil Rajchman was born in Lodz, Poland, where he was an active member of the Jewish community. He survived for a year in the notorious Treblinka death camp and was part of the Treblinka workers’ revolt. Rajchman was also a key witness in the prosecution of a Treblinka guard known as “Ivan the Terrible” during a war-crime tribunal in Germany. He emigrated to Uruguay, where passed away in 2004.
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[book] In the Valley of the Shadow
On the Foundations of Religious Belief
BY James L. Kugel
February 2011, Free Press
TEN YEARS AGO, Harvard professor James Kugel was diagnosed with an aggressive, likely fatal, form of cancer. He was given 2 years to lives, and maybe an additional 2-3 more. “I was, of course, disturbed and worried. But the main change in my state of mind was that the background music had suddenly stopped—the music of daily life that’s constantly going, the music of infinite time and possibilities. Now suddenly it was gone, replaced by nothing, just silence. There you are, one little person, sitting in the late summer sun, with only a few things left to do.”
Despite his illness, Kugel was intrigued by this new state of mind and especially the uncanny feeling of human smallness that came with it. There seemed to be something overwhelmingly true about it—and its starkness reminded him of certain themes and motifs he had encountered in his years of studying ancient religions. “This, I remember thinking, was something I should really look into further—if ever I got the chance.”
In the Valley of the Shadow is the result of that search. In this wide-ranging exploration of different aspects of religion—interspersed with his personal reflections on the course of his own illness—Kugel seeks to uncover what he calls “the starting point of religious consciousness,” an ancient “sense of self” and a way of fitting into the world that is quite at odds with the usual one. He tracks these down in accounts written long ago of human meetings with gods and angels, anthropologists’ descriptions of the lives of hunter-gatherers, the role of witchcraft in African societies, first-person narratives of religious conversions, as well as the experimental data assembled by contemporary neuroscientists and evolutionary biologists.
Though this different sense of how we fit into the world has largely disappeared from our own societies, it can still come back to us as a fleeting state of mind, “when you are just sitting on some park bench somewhere; or at a wedding, while everyone else is dancing and jumping around; or else one day standing in your backyard, as the sun streams down through the trees . . . ” Experienced in its fullness, this different way of seeing opens onto a stark, new landscape ordinarily hidden from human eyes.
Kugel’s look at the whole phenomenon of religious beliefs is a rigorously honest, sometimes skeptical, but ultimately deeply moving affirmation of faith in God. One of our generation’s leading biblical scholars has created a powerful meditation on humanity’s place in the world and all that matters most in our lives. Believers and doubters alike will be struck by its combination of objective scholarship and poetic insight, which makes for a single, beautifully crafted consideration of life’s greatest mystery.
Kugel, the Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University, explores the history of religious doubts and the idea of SMALLNESS and so many interesting topics. It is a depply moving affirmation of faith in God. He will do readings in Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, SF, DC, and Philly.
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[book] Anya's War
By Andrea Alban Gosline
February 2011, Feiwel
Grades 7 -12
In 1937, Anya Rosen, 14, and her extended Jewish family have fled their comfortable home in Odessa, Ukraine, where they were threatened by Stalin’s secret police. Now settled in Shanghai, they join other refugees, including those from Hitler-controlled Germany. In this first novel, based on the author’s family experience, the dramatic cultural and historical details are sometimes more compelling than the plot, in which Anya makes friends and then rescues an abandoned newborn Chinese girl in a culture where girls are worthless. Most moving are the scenes with the full cast of family characters, who are irritating, irritable, funny, surprising, mean, and prejudiced. Alban also explores the complexities of Anya’s Jewish community. Anya resents the Orthodox constraints against women: why can’t she go to synagogue like her brother? The Ashkenazi Jews do not like the Sephardic refugees, and both speak disparagingly of local coolies, though for Anya, the family’s Chinese servant becomes a mentor. An important addition to literature about WWII refugees. Grades 7-12.
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[book] Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History
Authority, Diaspora, Tradition
(Jewish Culture and Contexts)
Edited by Ra'anan S. Boustan, Oren Kosansky, and Marina Rustow
February 2011, University of Pennsylvania Press
Over the past several decades, the field of Jewish studies has expanded to encompass an unprecedented range of research topics, historical periods, geographic regions, and analytical approaches. Yet there have been few systematic efforts to trace these developments, to consider their implications, and to generate new concepts appropriate to a more inclusive view of Jewish culture and society. Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History brings together scholars in anthropology, history, religious studies, comparative literature, and other fields to chart new directions in Jewish studies across the disciplines. This groundbreaking volume explores forms of Jewish experience that span the period from antiquity to the present and encompass a wide range of textual, ritual, spatial, and visual materials. The essays give full consideration to non-written expressions of ritual performance, artistic production, spoken narrative, and social experience through which Jewish life emerges. More than simply contributing to an appreciation of Jewish diversity, the contributors devote their attention to three key concepts—authority, diaspora, and tradition—that have long been central to the study of Jews and Judaism. Moving beyond inherited approaches and conventional academic boundaries, the volume reconsiders these core concepts, reorienting our understanding of the dynamic relationships between text and practice, and continuity and change in Jewish contexts. More broadly, this volume furthers conversation across the disciplines by using Judaic studies to provoke inquiry into theoretical problems in a range of other areas
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[book] REVOLUTION
THE YEAR I FELL IN LOVE
And Went to Join The War
By Deb Olin Unferth
February 2011, Henry Holt and Company
A new twist on the coming-of-age memoir in this eccentric and captivating story of the summer the author ran away from college to join the Sandinista revolutionaries in Nicaragua. "1987 is the year I did nothing. The year I fought in no war, contributed to no cause, didn't get shot, jailed, or injured . . . The only thing that changed as a result of our presence was us." Some people go to the Tibetan Himalayas to find themselves; some to Italy's great temples of art. Not Deb Olin Unferth. A freshman at a large state university, she grew up Jewish. Then Unferth fell in love with a Christian idealist, converted, and followed him to Central America in search of a revolution. Despite their earnest commitment to revolutionary causes — all revolutionary causes — and to each other, the couple find themselves unwanted, unhelpful, and unprepared as they bop around looking for "revolution jobs."
As the months wear on, cracks begin to form in the foundation of their relationship. They get fired, they get sick, they run out of money and grow disillusioned with the revolution and each other. With an unflinching and unique comic sensibility, Unferth reflects on the youthful search for meaning and on what happens to a country and its people after the revolution is over.
Unferth prior work received a NYT Book Review Critics Choice, and the 2009 Cabell award.
PS: Before your run off and join a revolution, you should
Figure out if you have an applicable skill: healthcare, jeep repair, food production?<
Know your limits: Are you a pacifist. Can you kill someone? Do you like to debate and argue and get into fights?
Are you good at childcare? There is an astonishing high need for childcare during revolutions
Can you relocate?
Do you like to join things? Can you shout at rallie?
And bring a roll of toilet paper
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[book] ORPHEUS IN MANHATTAN
WILLIAM SCHUMAN AND THE SHAPING OF AMERICA'S MUSICAL LIFE
BY STEVE SWAYNE, Dartmouth
February 2011, Oxford University Press
The son of Samuel Schuman, a businessman, and Rachel "Ray" (Heilbrunn) Schuman, William Howard Schuman was named after President William Howard Taft. He was born in New York City on April 4, 1910, and grew up in a household that typified American life in the early decades of the 20th century. His parents, both born in New York City and of German Jewish descent, shared with many Americans a sense of pragmatic idealism about their country, a pragmatic outlook on life, and a respect for the value of education.
The musical landscape of New York City and the United States of America would look quite different had it not been for William Schuman. Orpheus in Manhattan, a fully objective and comprehensive biography of Schuman, portrays a man who had a profound influence upon the artistic and political institutions of his day and beyond. Steve Swayne draws heavily upon Schuman's letters, writings, and manuscripts as well as unprecedented access to archival recordings and previously unknown correspondence. The winner of the first Pulitzer Prize in Music, Schuman composed music that is rhythmically febrile, harmonically pungent, melodically long-breathed, and timbrally brilliant, and Swayne offers an astute analysis of his work, including many unpublished music scores. Swayne also describes Schuman's role as president of the Juilliard School of Music and of Lincoln Center, tracing how he both expanded the boundaries of music education and championed the performing arts. Filled with new discoveries and revisions of the received historical narrative, Orpheus in Manhattan confirms Schuman as a major figure in America's musical life.
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[book] Security and Suspicion
An Ethnography of Everyday Life in Israel
The Ethnography of Political Violence
By Juliana Ochs
February 2011, University of Pennsylvania Press
In Israel, gates, fences, and walls encircle public spaces while guards scrutinize, inspect, and interrogate. With a population constantly aware of the possibility of suicide bombings, Israel is defined by its culture of security. Security and Suspicion is a closely drawn ethnographic study of the way Israeli Jews experience security in their everyday lives. Observing security concerns through an anthropological lens, Juliana Ochs investigates the relationship between perceptions of danger and the political strategies of the state. Ochs argues that everyday security practices create exceptional states of civilian alertness that perpetuate—rather than mitigate—national fear and ongoing violence. In Israeli cities, customers entering gated urban cafes open their handbags for armed security guards and parents circumnavigate feared neighborhoods to deliver their children safely to school. Suspicious objects appear to be everywhere, as Israelis internalize the state's vigilance for signs of potential suicide bombers. Fear and suspicion not only permeate political rhetoric, writes Ochs, but also condition how people see, the way they move, and the way they relate to Palestinians. Ochs reveals that in Israel everyday practices of security—in the home, on commutes to work, or in cafés and restaurants—are as much a part of conflict as soldiers and military checkpoints.
Based on intensive fieldwork in Israel during the second intifada, Security and Suspicion charts a new approach to issues of security while contributing to our understanding of the subtle dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This book offers a way to understand why security propagates the very fears and suspicions it is supposed to reduce.
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[book] ENDGAME
THE SPECTACULAR RISE AND FALL OF BOBBY FISCHER
from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness
BY FRANK BRADY
February 2011, Crown
Bobby Fischer died in Iceland having had his U.S. passport revoked. He was the greatest chess player at the age of fifteen. He was a genius yet he also was MAD. He made anti American statements and anti Semitic comments, even though he was raised Jewish in Brooklyn. He was paranoid and an egotist. He was a prodigy and a madman. Here is the definitive biography.
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[book] LIFE ON SANDPAPER
BY YORAM KANIUK
Translated from Hebrew
February 2011, Dalkey Archive
Susan Sontag writes: “Of the novelists I have discovered in translation . . . the three for whom I have the greatest admiration are Gabriel Garci?a Ma?rquez, Peter Handke, and Yoram Kaniuk.“ A whirlwind of art, music, and lust, Life on Sandpaper is Yoram Kaniuk’s overwhelming autobiographical novel detailing his years as a young painter in the New York of the ‘50s. Wounded and alienated, a war veteran at the age of nineteen, Kaniuk arrives in Greenwich Village at its peak period of artistic creativity, and finds his way among such giants as Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Willem de Kooning, and Frank Sinatra. In terse prose, inspired by the associative and breathless drive of bebop, Kaniuk’s memories race between the ecstatic devotion of his beloved Harlem jazz clubs, through the ideological spats of the dying Yiddish world of the Lower East Side, to the volcanic gush of passion, pain, art, dance, alcohol, and drugs that was Greenwich Village. Kaniuk’s stories roll and tumble here with hypnotic urgency, as if this were his last opportunity to remember, and tell, before all is obliterated.
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[book] OUR LAST BEST CHANCE
THE PURSUIT OF PEACE IN A TIME OF PERIL
BY HRH KING ABDULLAH II OF THE HeSHEMite KINGDOM OF JORDAN
February 2011, Viking
BLURB: A newsbreaking memoir that tackles head-on the toughest challenge in the world today. When a dying King Hussein shocked the world by picking his son rather than his brother, the longtime crown prince, to be the next king of Jordan, no one was more surprised than the young head of Special Operations, who discovered his life was in for a major upheaval. This is the inspirational story of a young prince who went to boarding school in America and military academy in Britain and grew up believing he would be a soldier. Back home, he hunted down terrorists and modernized Jordan's Special Forces. Then, suddenly, he found himself king. Together with his wife, Queen Rania, he transformed what it meant to be a monarch, going undercover to escape the bubble of the court while she became the Muslim world's most passionate advocate of women's rights.
In this memoir, King Abdullah tackles the single toughest issue he faces head-on- how to solve the Israeli-Palestinian standoff- and reveals himself to be an invaluable intermediary between America and the Arab world. He writes about the impact of the Iraq war on his neighborhood and how best to tackle Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Why would a sitting head of state choose to write about the most explosive issues he faces? King Abdullah does so now because he believes we face a moment of truth: a last chance for peace in the Middle East. The prize is enormous, the cost of failure far greater than we dare imagine.
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[book] Moby-Duck
The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea
and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists,
and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them
By Donovan Hohn
March 2011, Viking
After reading this, I think we will write a children's book in Hebrew about a duck who falls off the ZIM ship …
From Booklist. *Starred Review* Like Bill Bryson on hard science, or John McPhee with attitude, journalist Hohn travels from beaches to factories to the northern seas in pursuit of a treasure that mystifies as much as it provokes. His quest is to determine what happened to a load of 28,800 Chinese manufactured plastic animals in a container that fell off a ship en route to Seattle in 1992. Hohn’s inquiry leads him to 10 Little Rubber Ducks (2005), children’s author Eric Carle’s idealized board-book version, and also to the plastic-strewn beaches of an Alaskan island, a Hong Kong toy fair, and the Sesame Street origins of the rubber duck’s popularity. By turns thoughtful, bemused, or shocked, Hohn finds the story growing beyond his wildest visions as he learns about the science of ocean currents and drift and the lure of cheap plastic in a consumer culture that has dangerously lost its way. The resulting book is a thoroughly engaging environmental/travel title that crosses partisan divides with its solid research and apolitical nature. Rubber ducks as harmless, ubiquitous symbols of childhood? Not anymore, not by a long shot. This dazzles from start to finish
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[book] UGLY BEAUTY
HELENA RUBENSTEIN, L'OREAL AND THE BLEMISHED HISTORY OF LOOKING GOOD
BY RUTH BRANDON
February 2011, Harper
The story of Helena Rubenstein (1870-1965) a poor Polish Jewish girl who opened a salon in Australia and became a self made tycoon in the beauty business.
Publishers Weekly: “Starred Review. With wonderful attention to detail and real affection for her subjects, Brandon tells the story of Helena Rubinstein (1870–1965), a Polish Jew from a poor family with a small salon in Australia, who became the first woman tycoon and self-made millionaire. Her timing was excellent: she struck at the moment when decent women, for the first time, were allowing themselves makeup and were willing to shop for it publicly. At the same time, a young French chemist named Eugène Schueller (1881–1957) was making his name in hair dyes (and later collaborating with the Nazis); it was his company, L'Oreal, that swallowed Rubinstein's business. The descriptions of Schueller's political scandals are fascinating, but the story shines when Brandon returns to Rubinstein, a stubborn, spirited woman who responded to a luxury Park Avenue apartment's "No Jews" policy by buying the entire building, and who calmly thwarted robbers in her home at the age of 91. A clearheaded discussion of current beauty standards, vanity, and the gender politics of the modern cosmetic industry rounds out this lively history of the founding of the beauty business as we know it.”
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[book] Journal of a UFO Investigator
A Novel
By David Halperin
February 2011, Viking
Against the backdrop of the troubled 1960s, this coming-of-age novel weaves together a compelling psychological drama and vivid outer-space fantasy. Danny Shapiro is an isolated teenager, living with a dying mother and a hostile father and without friends. To cope with these circumstances, Danny forges a reality of his own, which includes the sinister "Three Men in Black", mysterious lake creatures with insectlike carapaces, a beautiful young seductress and thief with whom Danny falls in love, and an alien/human love child who-if only Danny can keep her alive-will redeem the planet. Danny's fictional world blends so seamlessly with his day-to-day life that profound questions about what is real and what is not, what is possible and what is imagined begin to arise. As the hero in his alien landscape, he finds the strength to deal with his own life and to stand up to demons both real and imagined. Told with heart and intellect, Journal of a UFO Investigator will remind readers of the works of Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem.
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[book] What Is a Palestinian State Worth?
By Sari Nusseibeh
February 2011, Harvard University Press
Hey Harvard Press... nice voer....
Can a devout Jew be a devout Jew and ignore the rebuilding of the Temple?
Can a devout Muslim be a devout Muslim and drop the belief in the sacredness of the Rock?
Can one right (the right of return) be given up for another (the right to live in peace)? Can one claim Palestinian identity and still retain Israeli citizenship? What is a Palestinian state worth? For over sixty years, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been subjected to many solutions and offered many answers by diverse parties. Yet, answers are only as good as the questions that beget them. It is with this simple idea of asking the basic questions anew, that Palestinian activist Sari Nusseibeh begins his book. What Is a Palestinian State Worth? poses questions about the history, meaning, future, and resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Deeply informed by political philosophy and based on decades of personal involvement with politics and social activism, Nusseibeh’s points the reader toward a future which, as George Lamming once put it, is colonized by our acts in this moment, but which must always remain open. Sari Nusseibeh is the president of Al-Quds University
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Two Hours after reading it, you are hungry for another book:
[book] FORTUNATE SONS
The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized an Ancient Civilization
By Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller
February 14, 2011, WW Norton and Company, Inc.
I began to read this book, not knowing anything about the story or the book’s structure. I could not put it down (though I had to between commutes). As each chapter unfolded, I wondered why there was no statue for Yung Wing? Does every Yale student know his story? Is there a club named for him? My questions were unending. This book needs to be required reading at a time when modern China is growing in power and wealth each week. Not only does it tell a gripping story of a quest for education, but it recreates the environment in which the Chinese lived in America.
Does anyone ever learn in the schools about how many thousands of Chinese built the railroads, and were then trashed after its completion? Who learns about the taxes that were imposed only on Asians, or the riots and lynchings against the Chinese in California? The Chinese Exclusionary Act and other ugly acts are unknown to most Americans. This is simply an amazing story that must be experienced.

Liel Leibovitz, the co-author, was born in Israel. At age 10, he came to America for a Summer, attended a camp in New Jersey, and was, according to his memory, struck by the culture shock and desire to learn all things American. He therefore empathizes with these 120 young Chinese pre-teens, who came to America, to stoic New England, where one had to ask for food in English if they wanted to be fed, to learn American gumption and fortitude, to become the new Mandarins of a changing 19th Century China.

The reader learns history through the adventures of these students, who one would have assumed would be anonymous players in the events of the world. My assumption was wrong. Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Herbert Hoover, China, Japan, the emperors, the Great Western powers, and more all play a role in the book and are influenced by the students. Through a handful or two of these 120 students we are present at the most important points of Chinese history from 1840 to WWII.
The book opens in America prior to the U.S. Civil War. Yung Wing has been sent, in his scholar’s robes and long queue pony tail to New England for prep school and college. It is he, the Chinese student, who scores a touchdown at Yale to win the game for the freshmen against the sophomores. An unheard of victory. For the next 100 pages we follow the life of Yung Wing as he studies and excels at Yale, returns to China on a very slow boat, deals with Mandarins and revolutionaries, and faces off with colonial Brits, Scots, Americans and other non Chinese. His courage and tenacity are without end.
When he convinces governors and ultimately the Emperor to allow 120 Chinese boys to go to New England for decades of school and work, the story continues as we follow Yung Wing and his charges in New Haven and Hartford. (HAS THIS BEEN OPTIONED FOR A FILM?)
The story continues as these students acclimate to America and excel. The next two thirds of the book focus on the students as they return to China and contribute to its wars, changes, revolutions, and modernization. Just ponder it. It was some of these 120 boys who led China’s Army, Navy, negotiations over Tibet, became PM, started railways and mines and more.
You will not look at the Mao's revolution, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Tibet, England or America in the same way again. Definitely my favorite read of the past 12 months.

From the inside cover: The epic story of the American-educated boys who changed China forever. At the twilight of the nineteenth century, China sent a detachment of boys to America in order to learn the ways of the West, modernize the antiquated empire, and defend it from foreigners invading its shores. After spending a decade in New England’s finest schools, the boys re-turned home, driven by a pioneering spirit of progress and reform. Their lives in America influenced not only their thinking but also their nation’s endeavor to become a contemporary world power, an endeavor that resonates powerfully today. Drawing on diaries, letters, and other first-person accounts, Fortunate Sons tells a remarkable tale, weaving together the dramas of personal lives with the momentous thrust of a nation reborn. Shedding light on a crucial yet largely unknown period in China’s history, Fortunate Sons provides insight into the issues concerning that nation today, from its struggle toward economic supremacy to its fraught relationship with the United States.
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[book] THE OTHER LIFE
A NOVEL
BY ELLEN MEISTER
February 2011, Putnam
Happily married with a young son and another child on the way, Quinn Braverman has the perfect life. She also has an ominous secret. Every time she makes a major life decision, she knows an alternative reality exists in which she made the opposite choice-not only that, she knows how to cross over. But even in her darkest moments-like her mother's suicide-Quinn hasn't been tempted to visit . . . until she receives shattering news about the baby she's carrying. Desperate to escape her grief, Quinn slips through the portal that leads to her other life: the life in which she stayed with her exciting but neurotic ex- boyfriend, and is childless. The life in which-as she is amazed to discover-her mother is still very much alive. Quinn is soon forced to make an impossible choice. Will she stay with the family she loves and face the painful challenges that lie ahead? Or will a more carefree life-and the primal lure of being with her mother-pull her into her other life for good? This gripping emotional journey is both shocking and poignant . . . as the bonds of love are put to the ultimate test.
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In 2050, there will be 100 million more people in America, assuming current trends and no horrible accidents and diseases or no apes from the future. But these 100 million are not going to be Jewish, and they will dilute the Jewish vote within 40 years. Anyone planning on the Jewish future in America, in terms of social services and political gamesmanship, should read this book
[book] THE NEXT HUNDRED MILLION
AMERICA IN 2050
BY JOEL KOTKIN
February 2011, Penguin
From Booklist: Assuming that America will increase to 400 million people in the next 40 years, Kotkin divines demographic consequences in this catalog of predictions. Optimistic in contrast to elite opinions on the Left and the Right that see America in decline, Kotkin’s views are not certitudes: the author regularly cautions that if certain things are not done, such as ensuring an economic environment of upward mobility, his vision of the future may not come to pass. Caveats dealt with, Kotkin essentially asks where the extra 100 million will live. Because some of them are already here—those born or who have immigrated since the early 1980s—Kotkin tends to extrapolate present trends. After a career-starting stint in the big city, family-raising aspirations send people to the suburbs and, increasingly in the Internet-connected world, to small towns and rural areas. Describing specific locales, Kotkin anticipates a revitalization of older suburbs and even a repopulation of the Great Plains. As sociological futurists engage with Kotkin’s outlook, the opportunity for critics lies in the author’s lesser attention to the environmental and political effects of population growth
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[book] Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist
Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper
By Brant Pitre (Notre Dame) with a preface by Scott Hahn
February 2011, Doubleday
In Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist Brant Pitre pairs together the Jewish Scriptures and the Jewish tradition to frame the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper, and to provide a fresh look at the heart of Christian practice — the Eucharist. By taking the reader back to the Jewish roots of the christian faith, Pitre gives the reader a powerful lens through which to see anew the bread of the presence, the manna, the Last Supper, and ultimately the meaning of Christian Eucharist. Pitre’s mastery of Scripture and the Jewish traditions makes him the perfect guide for anyone seeking to understand the climax of Jesus’ ministry, the Last Supper and the first Eucharist.
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[book] The Long Road Home
The Aftermath of the Second World War
By Ben Shephard
February 2011, Knopf
At the end of World War II, long before an Allied victory was assured and before the scope of the atrocities orchestrated by Hitler would come into focus or even assume the name of the Holocaust, Allied forces had begun to prepare for its aftermath. Taking cues from the end of the First World War, planners had begun the futile task of preparing themselves for a civilian health crisis that, due in large part to advances in medical science, would never come. The problem that emerged was not widespread disease among Europe’s population, as anticipated, but massive displacement among those who had been uprooted from home and country during the war. Displaced Persons, as the refugees would come to be known, were not comprised entirely of Jews. Millions of Latvians, Poles, Ukrainians, and Yugoslavs, in addition to several hundred thousand Germans, were situated in a limbo long overlooked by historians. While many were speedily repatriated, millions of refugees refused to return to countries that were forever changed by the war—a crisis that would take years to resolve and would become the defining legacy of World War II. Indeed many of the postwar questions that haunted the Allied planners still confront us today: How can humanitarian aid be made to work? What levels of immigration can our societies absorb? How can an occupying power restore prosperity to a defeated enemy? Including new documentation in the form of journals, oral histories, and essays by actual DPs unearthed during his research for this illuminating and radical reassessment of history, Ben Shephard brings to light the extraordinary stories and myriad versions of the war experienced by the refugees and the new United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration that would undertake the responsibility of binding the wounds of an entire continent. Groundbreaking and remarkably relevant to conflicts that continue to plague peacekeeping efforts, The Long Road Home tells the epic story of how millions redefined the notion of home amid painstaking recovery
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[book] THE SECOND SON
A NOVEL (Berlin Trilogy)
By Jonathan Rabb
February 2011, FSG
From Publishers Weekly: Set in 1936, Rabb's gripping conclusion to his Berlin noir trilogy featuring Chief Insp. Nikolai Hoffner (after Rosa and Shadow and Light) finds the 62-year-old Hoffner forced into retirement because the Nazis have discovered that his late mother was Jewish. Meanwhile, Hoffner's filmmaker second son, Georg, has left his wife and son in Berlin to travel to Barcelona, where the People's Olympics, games intended to protest the spectacle of Hitler's Olympics, are scheduled to take place. But the outbreak of civil war in Spain ensures that these alternative games never happen. Letters that Georg pens to his wife describing the conflicting factions—well-organized Fascists on the right, a motley array of socialists and anarchists on the left—will resonate with admirers of George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. After Georg goes missing, Hoffner embarks on a dangerous and perhaps quixotic search to bring his son safely home. Fans of Alan Furst and Philip Kerr will be rewarded.
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[book] IVORY FROM PARADISE
A NOVEL
By David Schmahmann
February 2011, Academy Chicago
PW writes: In Schmahmann's (Nibble & Kuhn) haunting new novel, the circumstances surrounding a mothers death compel her son to unravel the complicated story of his family. Central to it is Gordonwood, their Durbin, South Africa estate, and the artifact collection that Silas, the family patriarch, assembled. Gordonwood was a tenuous Ivory Tower, with the precious elephant tusks (which may have belonged to King Shaka, Shaka Zulu) to prove it. This tower was "likely to fall at any moment," and fall, it does when Silas dies suddenly and mysteriously, propelling his son Danny to Boston and Danny's sister and mother (Helga) to London. His mother (Helga) marries again, and her new husband, Arnold, seems intent on holding onto the precious artifacts that Silas spent his life collecting (Arnold not only takes Silas' tusks, but he miaappropriates his anecdotes and stories). When their mother dies, and Arnold's intentions are revealed, Danny and his sister return to Durban. There, they reunite with their beloved nanny, who "is all that remains of the past," and encounter a city "whose landmarks are dangerous to visit." Schmahmann, born and raised in Durban, has written a sad, revisionist book about the moment we realize that our paradise was in reality far from an idyll and what we prized as authentic was actually worthless
Note: Helga Diviin is the matriarch of this Jewish family from Durban. Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








How Democracy Will Be Halal
[book] The Wave
Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East
By Reuel Marc Gerecht
February 2011, Hoover
The promise of democracy for Muslims offers something historically unparalleled. But how powerful is the idea of democracy in the Middle East? Could the region actually be at the beginning of a democratic wave, or is a "democratic recession" under way in Islamic lands? In The Wave, Middle East expert Reuel Marc Gerecht argues that the Middle East may actually be at the beginning of a momentous democratic wave whose convulsions could become the region's defining theme during Obama's presidency. He describes the powerful Middle Eastern democratic movements coming from both the secular left and the religious right and asserts that America must reassess democracy's supposed lack of a future in the region. The author explains the importance of those countries that hold the keys to the success or failure of democracy in the region, most notably Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and the United States. He tells why mainstream Islamist groups today see elections, not revolution, as a means for society to maintain akhlaq: the mores that define good Muslims. And he shows why any legitimate form of government in the contemporary Arab Middle East must be seen to be complementary to the Prophet Muhammad's legacy and the Holy Law. If democracy is to succeed in Arab lands, he concludes, it will be because devout Arabs have decided that their faith and representative government can meld.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] LEGENDS OF THE FIRE SPIRITS
JINN AND GENIES FROM ARABIA TO ZANZIBAR
BY ROBERT LEBLING
February 2011, Counterpoint
When Westerners think of a genie, the first image that comes to mind may be Barbara Eden in her pink harem pants or the illuminated blue buffoon from the animated Disney film Aladdin. But to the people of the Arab and Islamic worlds, the picture is dramatically different. Legends of the Fire Spirits looks beyond Westernized caricatures to immerse the reader in the vibrant lore of the jinn—the wondrous, often troublesome, and sometimes terrifying spirit beings of ancient Arab and Islamic tradition. Robert Lebling delves into long-lost accounts, medieval histories, colonial records, anthropologist’s reports, and traveler’s tales to explore the origin and evolution of legends that continue to thrive in the Middle East and beyond. He cuts through centuries of Orientalists’ cultural presumption to craft a study that stands apart from the overwhelming body of literature concerned with religion in the Middle East. A captivating synthesis of history and folklore, this is the most diverse collection of jinn lore ever assembled in one volume. From ancient scriptures to The Arabian Nights and beyond, and with a foreword by acclaimed filmmaker Tahir Shah, Lebling has constructed a comprehensive account that not only transcends geographical borders but also spans some four millennia.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] A Dangerous Woman
The Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken
1835-1868, America's Original Superstar
By Michael Foster
February 2011, Pequot
The definitive biography of a trailblazing actress who entertained—and shocked—the nation and the world. She was the Marilyn Monroe of the early 19th Century, prior to the U.S. Civil WarShe was America’s original tragic starlet: actress and poet Adah Isaacs Menken (1835–1868). In a century that most people think was Victorian, prudish, and restrained, Menken was scandalous and she supported unpopular causes — especially that of the Jewish people. On stage, she was the first actress to bare all. Off stage, she originated the front-page scandal and became the world’s most highly paid actress—celebrated on Broadway, as well as in San Francisco, London, and Paris. At thirty-three, she mysteriously died. She was born in New Orleans as Ada Berthe Theodore to a “kept woman of color” and to a father whose identity is debated. Menken eventually moved to the Midwest, where she became an outspoken protégé of the rabbi who founded Reform Judaism. In New York City, she became Walt Whitman’s disciple. During the Civil War she was arrested as a Confederate agent—and became America’s first pin-up superstar. She married Alexander Isaacs Menkin in 1856 in Cincinnati Ohio, a scion of a successful Jewish family. He later denounced her as a disgrace, incubus, and “adventuress.” Menken married and left five husbands. Ultimately, she paid dearly for success, dying at 33 in Paris, with Longfellow at her side. A shocking read, a fascinating read, a compelling read.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] People of the Book
A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy
Edited by Rachel Swirsky and Sean Wallace
Featuring Peter S. Beagle, Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Lavie Tidhar, Tamar Yellin, Jane Yolen, and more
2011, Prime
From Sholom Aleichem to Avram Davidson, Isaac Bashevis Singer to Tony Kushner, the Jewish literary tradition has always been one rich in the supernatural and the fantastic. In these pages, gathered from the best short fiction of the last ten years, twenty authors prove that their heritage is alive and well - in the spaces between stars that an alphabet can bridge, folklore come to life and histories become stories, and all the places where old worlds and new collide and change.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








Not Jewish... but of Jewish (and Zoroastrian) interest:
[book] SUITS
A WOMAN ON WALL STREET
BY NiNA GODIWALLA
2011, Atlas
No class can prepare anyone for a career on Wall Street. Godiwalla attened Wharton for her MBA, Dartmouth for writing and the University of Texas. While others in Nina Godiwalla's Persian-Indian immigrant community were content to fulfill their parents' dreams, Nina's fierce ambition pulled her from Houston to New York to become a banker. The liked the taste of power she got. Firms showered her and other Associates (and Junior Analysts) with Broadway tickets and ferried around in sleek black town cars. The Morgan Stanley Corporate Finance Department recruits led a fast and flashy lifestyle, but at a steep cost. In a world where strip clubs took the place of conference rooms, Nina was driven to fit the mold of her fellow recruits: wealthy, white, and male. (The Zoroastrian community in New York reached out to welcome her including an aunty who housed her rent-feel others threw parties for her, had her to dinner, but the life of investment banking left her in awe) But would she have to lose her Southern accent and suppress her family's heritage to prove her worth on the trading floor?
Ohe day she found out one of her colleagues was found dead. Several senior managers crowded in a conference room; they were annoyed that they were getting paid less than one of their counterparts whose salary was mentioned in the newspaper article. More talk went around about money that about her colleague’s death. Over time she got her priorities straight. Would she rather have pop tarts than croissants and a tennis court with a mansion? Nina Godiwalla offers a behind-the-scenes look at the recklessness that ruled Wall Street during the dot-com boom days. (1997 to 1999) “Suits” is also a story of the family Nina left behind: a story of fathers and daughters, the pursuit of honor, swapping your grandmother's shrimp curry for takeout sushi and cocktails. A vibrant snapshot of an immigrant family with big dreams, Suits reveals how much we've been conditioned to trade for success.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt












[book] The Hour of Sunlight
One Palestinian's Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker
By Sami al Jundi and Jen Marlowe
2011, Paperback. Perseus
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. In this remarkable story of life under Israeli occupation, coauthors al Jundi, cofounder of the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, and Marlowe (Darfur Diaries) intertwine the personal and the political as they trace al Jundi's evolution from Palestinian militant to peacemaker. As teenagers, al Jundi and two friends joined the PLO, but when a bomb exploded as they were building it, one boy was killed, and the other two badly injured—and on the receiving end of Israeli interrogations and torture. Sentenced to a decade in prison, al Jundi dedicates himself to an extensive education program maintained by the prisoners themselves, ultimately committing himself to nonviolence and to bridging the Israeli-Palestinian divide. The authors successfully convey al Jundi's joys and sorrows, the triumph of his endurance, the complexity of the conflict, and the necessity of dialogue.
Click the cover to read more










[book] Swimming in the Daylight
An American Student, a Soviet-Jewish Dissident, and the Gift of Hope
By Lisa C. Paul
February 2011, Skyhorse
There is always some part of the world where human rights are trampled and oppression quashes the human spirit. In the 1980s, it was the Soviet Union. In Swimming in the Daylight, Lisa Paul, a Catholic-American student living in Moscow in the early ’80s, details how she grew to understand the perverse reality of the pre-Gorbachev Soviet regime as her friendship with her Russian-language tutor, Inna Kitrosskaya Meiman, blossomed. Inna, a Soviet-Jewish dissident and refusenik, was repeatedly denied a visa to receive life-saving cancer treatment abroad. The refusal was an apparent punishment imposed on both her and her Jewish husband, Naum, for his participation in the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group—the lone group fighting for human rights in the U.S.S.R.
Before Lisa returned to the United States, she promised Inna she would do all she could to get her out of Moscow. But Lisa was one person, what could she possibly do that would make a difference? Inspired by her faith and rights as an American, Lisa staged a hunger strike, held press conferences, and galvanized American politicians to demand Inna’s immediate release.
In this heartfelt, compassionate, and inspiring narrative, Lisa brings the reader along with her as she learns indelible lessons from her heroic teacher. Inna’s greatest lesson—that it is possible to swim through treacherous waters, in daylight, not in despair—is as relevant today as it was during the final years of the Soviet regime. At a time when international strife seems insurmountable and worries at home seem to paralyze, this story will teach people everywhere that it is the courage inside, not the chaos outside, that defines us. 20 color photographs
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[book] Theories of International Politics and Zombies
By Daniel W. Drezner, PhD
Winter 2011, Princeton
Fletcher school teacher and DanielDrezner.com blogger writes on politics and zombies.
Drezner comes up with an intriguing intellectual conceit to explain various schools of international political theory. He imagines a world overrun with zombies and considers the likely responses of national governments, the U.N. and other international organizations, and nongovernment organizations (NGOs). He examines possible reactions through the lens of seven theoretical approaches including realpolitik, liberalism, neoconservatism, and bureaucratic politics. After considering the efficacy of each approach in combating the zombie hordes, Drezner weighs their flaws and concludes that given the limitations of human reason and a highly fluid situation, all theories are "more circumscribed than international relations theorists proclaim in their scholarship." Drezner is fascinated with zombies—he's seen all the movies and read the books—and writes with clarity, insight, and wit. For example, he notes that as zombies bite humans, who then become zombies, human-zombie "alliances of convenience" might be possible," that NGOs would arise "devoted to the defense of the living dead," and that neoconservative "shock-and-awe" military approaches probably wouldn't impress the undead zombies. This slim book is an imaginative and very helpful way to introduce its subject—who knew international relations could be this much fun?
Click the book cover to read more.








MARCH 2011 BOOKS

[book] THE HADASSAH EVERYDAY COOKBOOK
DAILY MEALS FOR THE CONTEMPORARY JEWISH KITCHEN
BY LEAH KOENIG, with LUCY SCHAEFFER AND JOAN NATHAN
March 2011, Universe
The Jewish love of eating extends far beyond the Shabbat and holiday tables to the every day. And while cholent and challah sate our appetites on Shabbat, and classics from brisket to latkes grace our holiday menus, what do we make for dinner on Monday night? Or prepare for Sunday brunch, or snack on in front of a movie? Here, America’s leading Jewish women’s organization, Hadassah, answers those culinary questions, sharing over 160 delicious, simple, kosher recipes that are destined to become family favorites. The recipes in this book span the culinary globe, combining iconic American and Jewish tastes with Mexican, Italian, French, Asian and Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine. They also celebrate the growing availability of fresh, seasonal produce and gourmet kosher ingredients, from artisanal cheese and chocolate to organic meat and poultry. Vegetarians and omnivores alike will be delighted to find a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes (not to mention snacks and cocktails) that cater directly to them. Focusing on freshness, flavor and no-fuss technique, The Hadassah Every Day Cookbook brings the flavors of the world—and the farm—to the kitchen. BR> Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A PASSOVER HAGGADAH
GO FORTH AND LEARN
Edited By Rabbi David Silber
March 2011, JPS Jewish Publication Society
Rabbi Silber is the founder and dean of the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in innovative Jewish education. I cannot tell you how many lectures of his I tried to squeeze into, but they were much too crowded.
Rabbi Silber has given us two books in one: the Haggadah itself, in English and Hebrew, with his seder commentary and a collection of essays that provide close readings of the classic biblical and rabbinic texts that inform Seder-night ritual and narration. Both parts work beautifully together to illuminate the central themes of Passover: peoplehood, Covenant, our relationship to ritual, God's presence in history, and other important issues that resonate with us all.
Just as midrash attempts to bridge the gap between ancient text and contemporary meaning, Rabbi Silber's Haggadah provides new sources of insight that deepen the Passover experience for today's readers.
Ellen Frankel of JPS said, “Dr. Silber's genius is close reading of texts, bringing together a keen literary sensibility and a deep familiarity with biblical and rabbinic sources.”
"Silber's format engages people in the study of the Haggadah before and during the Passover holiday, at their leisure; and it provides a useful resource right at the seder table." --Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, Chair, Departments of Bible and Jewish Thought, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
"Silber's scholarship is solid and accessible, and will appeal to a range of Jewishly literate readers seeking to better understand and appreciate the richness of the Haggadah text." --Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, Worship Specialist, Union for Reform Judaism
Click the book cover to read more.












Next Year in Jerusalem, But this year at our house… Steven Roberts grew up Jewish in Bayoone NJ, but his family was culturally and politically Jewish, but not religiously observant. His parents and grandparents never had bar mitzvah ceremonies nor were the married by rabbis. They were Bund members and socialist shopkeepers. They were more into the Workmen's Circle than the shul. His family never held a Passover seder. Steven Roberts (nee Rogowsky) had half a bar mitzvah (with his twin brother) and got active in JFTY. He took Myrna Goldblatt to his senior prom, and at Harvard most of his friends were Jewish, but Roberts never had a seder until after he married Cokie (Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Roberts (née Boggs), a devoutly Catholic graduate of Wellesley and the daughter Congressman and Majority Leader Hale Boggs and Ambassador (to the Vatican) Lindy Boggs.
After Steven and Cokie married (by Arthur Goldberg and a Jesuit), Cokie wanted a religious, deliberately Jewish household. Steven had no traditions to fall back upon, so they attended their first seder in Manhattan at the Waldorf=Astoria residence of Arthur Goldberg (as in Arthur Goldberg, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice and American Ambassador to the UN). The next year they started having their own seder (Steven’s mother and father pitched in; it was their first seder). All their guests had their own views of how a seder should proceed; that classic Maxwell House Coffee haggadah just did not work for everyone. So they typed out their own haggadah with prayers and lots of readings (minus wine stains). Cokie especially wanted to use the psalms that are also used in the Easter service. It was edited and expanded and edited through their decades in New York, Athens, DC and elsewhere. The people who attended their interfaith seders are a Who’s Who of journalists, media personalities, NPR reporters/hosts (Nina, Linda), and interfaith couples.
The first “L” (or “50”) pages are two essays by Cokie and Steven on how the seders came about. Great for readers who enjoy humor filled memoirs. The next twenty pages lay out instructions on how to prep for a seder and explain the symbols of the seder (matza, etc). The rest of the book is a Haggadah you can use for your seder. There are short readings for the leader, and explanations. The blessings for the four cups of wine, the four questions, and a few other prayers are in Hebrew, English transliteration, and English translation. There are ideas for the kids interspersed in the section. For example, one seder, Steve’s sister made masks (or finger-puppets) for the kids to use during the 10 plagues. (Did I mention that in their original photocopied haggadah, “Rabbi” Gamaliel was mistyped as “Rabbit.” And thus a tradition was started in their household). The Hallel is abridged in English and the Grace After Meals is a paragraph. The songs at the end of the book include We Shall Overcome and Had Gadya. The book closes with several recipes that the Roberts’ serve. It includes gefilte fish, chopped liver, egg lemon soup, leg of lamb with scallions and mint, dried bean salad, zucchini in a skillet, and an eggplant and green pepper kugel.
Is this a Hagaddah to use in your house and include issues of the Eucharist, etc? That is up to you. It is for households that are of mixed faiths, who want to see some of the Jewish roots to Christian rituals.
[book][book] Our Haggadah
Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families
By Cokie Roberts and Steven V. Roberts
Illustrated by Kristina Applegate Lutes
March 2011, Harper
New York Times bestselling authors and journalists Cokie and Steve Roberts share their Passover traditions in this engaging version of the Haggadah for couples and families of mixed faiths. When they met more than forty years ago, Cokie and Steve Roberts found common ground in their shared values, despite their different religious beliefs. Choosing to honor both of their faiths and traditions, they began hosting a Passover Seder that has evolved from a small family gathering to a veritable event celebrated with loved ones from all walks of life.
Based on the time-honored Haggadah — the text read throughout the evening that gives order to the ritual meal — Our Haggadah is a practical guide for interfaith families, whether they're celebrating their very first Passover or starting a new tradition. Originally composed on a typewriter and stapled together, Our Haggadah has been the Roberts family's handbook for each Seder and comes from years of adapting and expanding their Seders to welcome all who wish to take part in the celebration. From finding a Seder plate to preparing traditional and nontraditional foods, from the customary prayers to new ways for guests to participate, Cokie and Steve share their special approach to the holiday and the lessons they've learned over the years as an interfaith couple.
Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and a senior news analyst for National Public Radio. Steve Roberts is the author of From Every End of This Earth and My Fathers' Houses. He has worked as a journalist for more than forty years and appears regularly as a political analyst on the ABC radio network and National Public Radio. They are the parents of two children and grandparents of six children.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] AFIKOMEN MAMBO
BY RABBI JOE BLACK AND LINDA PRATER
March 2011, Kar-Ben
Ages 4 - 8
Popular children’s songster Rabbi Joe Black returns with a catchy rhyme to enliven the afikomen hunt at your seder! Afikomen Mambo, a story-and- song combo for the holiday of Passover, makes a great "afikomen finding" present and can entertain kids both at the family seder and leading up to the holiday. Includes a CD.
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[book] Beginnings
Reflections on the Bible's Intriguing Firsts
Meir Shalev
March 2011, Doubleday Religion Harmony
The bestselling and prize-winning Israeli author Meir Shalev describes the many "firsts" of the Bible – the first love and the first death, to the first laugh and the first dream – providing a fresh, secular and surprising look at the stories we think we know.
The first kiss in the Bible is not a kiss of love. The first love in the Bible is not the love of a man and a woman. The first hatred in the Bible is the hatred of a man toward his wife. The first laugh in the Bible is also the last. In Beginnings, Meir Shalev reintroduces us to the heroes and heroines of the Old Testament, exploring these and many more of the Bible’s unexpected "firsts." Combining penetrating wit, deep empathy, and impressive knowledge of the Bible, he probes each episode to uncover nuances and implications that a lesser writer would overlook, and his nontraditional, nonreligious interpretations of the famous stories of the Bible take them beyond platitudes and assumptions to the love, fear, tragedy, and inspiration at their heart. Literary, inquisitive, and honest, Shalev makes these stories come alive in all their complicated beauty, and though these stories are ancient, their resonance remains intensely contemporary.
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[book] THE ESSENTIAL JEWISH STORIES
COLLECTED, ANNOTATED, AND RETOLD
By Rabbi SEYMOUR ROSSEL
March 2011, KTAV
More than 300 stories selected from every period of Jewish history and from every Jewish tradition -- narratives, anecdotes, metaphors, analogies, folktales, and fantasies -- each story elegantly retold. The Essential Jewish Stories is arranged thematically for easy access, and contains three indices to simplify the process of finding just the right story, whether you are looking for an occasion (holy days or life observances), for a personality (who originally told the stories or who the stories are about), or for particular subject matter. Original sources are cited for every narrative and many are accompanied by special notes on their meaning, their origins, or their place in comparative world mythology. The Essential Jewish Stories is a perfect key for unlocking the riches of the Jewish tradition. It is also an invaluable tool for clergy of all faiths, for teachers, for storytellers, and for parents -- for all who wish to initiate discussions of tradition and values with children, friends, and community -- and certainly for those of us who simply love to share a good story.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] IT GETS BETTER
Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying,
and Creating a Life Worth Living
Edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller
March 2011, Dutton Penguin
Last summer, each week, the news had a story about a young teenage student who was bullied for being gay or being perceived gay who committed suicide. Dan Savage, a Seattle based sex and relationships columnist was outraged. He asked his husband, Terry Miller, who shuns all publicity, if they could both make a youtube video which told teens that IT GETS BETTER. Terry immediately agreed, a friend shot and edited the video, and they uploaded the video on September 22, 2010. They expected 100 total videos.

Within 24 hours, someone uploaded a second video
In three days, there were several hundred videos
At the end of the week, there were 1000 uploaded videos
Within four weeks the U.S. White House called: Could President Obama submit a video to ItGetsBetter.org and the TrevorProject?
There are now more than 10,000 videos.

Dan Savage’s publisher and editor, Penguin and Dutton, decided to turn a selection of these transcribed videos and other expanded essays, about 110 in all, with additional resource information into a book. The theme of the essays are why gay or questioning or outsider or bullied or any youth should not kill themselves and be self destructive, since their lives will and do get better. It includes resources and suggestions.

The book features contributions by President Obama, David Sedaris, Kate Clinton, Murray Hill, Bishop Gene Robinson, Ellen Degeneres, Tim Gunn, UK PM David Cameron, Financial advisor Suze Orman, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Chaz Bono, Bruce Ortiz, PereZ Hilton, Alex Orue and many more. It also includes Jennifer Finney Boylan, a transgender woman who teaches at Colby in Maine, who writes about a post college incident where she drove to the literal edge of North America to end her life from a cliff; Gregory MaGuire, the author of “Wicked,” as well as Kevin Yee, an actor in the Broadway musical based on the book, “Wicked,” who in one of the funniest (and sad) essays, writes on his teen years in a boy band (Youth Asylum) in which the producers dyed his hair blond and tried to teach him to act more straight (like a Vanilla Ice, I suppose), by wearing baggy pants, mumbling, having idiotic interests, and even trained him to walk “straight” by taking his to a supermarket and making him walk the grocery aisles in a butch way.

Urvashi Vaid (partner of Kate Clinton) writes about taking action in teens’ lives; and Bishop Gene Robinson writes about god’s love, religion, true religion, and how it gets not only better but continues to get better. Brinae Lois Gaudet in Wisconsin, just one year out of high school, writes about finding a safe zone in his college dorm (in high school, a local citizen forced his high school to take down “safe zone” signs). Alez R. Orve of Mexico City and Vancouver writes in Spanish about life in Mexico and a new life in Canada; Mark Ramirez (Anchorage) submitted an essay in ASL sign language essay; and another submitted an essay in Arabic. Lance Corporal James Wharton in London writes of life in the British Army and how he was married to his partner in his military barracks and was recently the cover pic and story of the UK’s army magazine.

Award winning novelist, Michael Cunningham, author of A Home At The End of the World, about a gay teen’s crush on a straight friend, writes about confronting childhood friends and coming out on NPR; Alison Bechtel submits a cartoon, 22 Broadway actors tell snippets of their stories; while A. Y. Daring, a black lesbian and choreographer for Lada Gaga write about life in Ontario. David Sedaris tells readers that readers should keep journals. Plus people who are good to you make lousy stories. Jakes Shears (Jason Sellards) who with Scott Hoffman makes up the Scissor Sisters submits an essay on coming out at 15, being bullied badly, having the principal blame him for his abuse (it was so bad, he moved schools), but finding a great life after graduation.

There are also several Jews who were selected to include essays. They include Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, the senior rabbi at Congregation CBST in Manhattan; Jules Skloot, the Brooklyn based dancer and choreographer, graduate of Hampshire and Sarah Lawrence, and member of Jews with Tattoos; Dr. David Rosen in Ottawa writes with his partner, Sean B Lane; and six gay Orthodox Jewish young men have a group essay in which they discuss life growing up in Orthodox and Haredi and Hasidic homes and Jewish summer camps, their survival in these institutions, and their current, happy and productive lives.

Also, Barbara Gaines, 53, is currently the Executive Producer of the Late Show with David Letterman. She writes of growing up on Long Island, playing clarinet in the school band, and attempting suicide after college. But if she had died in 1979, she would have missed out on the rest of a fabulous life, her partner, their 4 year old, and her life at the CBST synagogue. Adam Roberts, a Jewish graduate of Emory and star of the Food Network and the Amateur gourmet flogger (food blogger) site writes a hilarious essay on cooking a Friday night meal for his parents, his partner, and his partner’s parents. In between recipes and tangential asides on food, he discusses being bullied in school, and finding how to express himself in a comedy troupe in college. As he says, high school is like a cold depressing tv dinner, but it gets better and you might end up as a plated dish of braised (braised!!) shirt ribs with polenta (*not kosher)

There are also essays by Michael Feinstein, a piano player (hehe); and Suze Orman, 60, a financial advisor and proud lesbian who says life is NOT EASY, but it is all worth the struggle! Andy Cohen, EVP of Bravo and head of original programming writes of growing up in St Louis and wondering if he would be Charles Nelson Reilly and Paul Lynde; finding himself during a year abroad at college; and being himself for the rest of his life. Jessica Leshnoff writes about growing up and thinking she was a bad person and a bad Jew, a spiral of self-loathing, that she overcame. Jake Kleinman, who is finishing Med school at Tulane, writes about moving from being scared to being proud. And the book closes with an essay by Sara Sperling on being a sorority leader and an essay by Kate Bornstein.
Not in the book are: Rabbi David Bauer (SF)
Rabbi Denise Eger (Kol Ami, West Hollywood)
Rabbi David Horowitz (Pflag)
Washington DC JCC and GLOE and Rabbi Shira Stutman (6th and I, DC)
CBST Equality channel
Bryan Mann, Philadelphia
Punk Rock Torah
Black Gay & Jewish
Just Another Gay In The Life
Broadway stars
Broadway Part 2
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Cardboard Valise
Ben Katchor
March 2011, Pantheon
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. In this winsomely haunting graphic novel from Katchor—whose weekly strips have been collected into The Jew of New York and Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, among others—an overstuffed suitcase becomes a ripe, comic metaphor for modern life. Set in a world tilted about 45 degrees away from reality, Katchor's story follows a number of characters through their quirky obsessions, each of which highlights a uniquely curious take on modernity. A hunt in the "Saccharine Mountains" turns a BLT into a tongue-in-cheek metaphor ("the lettuce symbolizes the cost of living"), while the citizens of "Outer Canthus" each undergo a symbolic funeral at the age of 47, after which they are "allowed to shed the burden of responsibility." In this slurry of sketchy and gray-tinged surrealism, the titular valise stands out with a certain haunting magic: a cheap and disposable thing (Katchor tracks its construction and sale with a curiously socioeconomic exactitude) that can contain multitudes. Once its contents are unleashed upon the hopelessly modernized island nation of Tensint (Katchor relentlessly skewers affected bourgeois quests for "authenticity"), things go downhill fast—it's the end of the world writ small. Rarely have books that made this little sense made so much sense.
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[book] Shut Up and Stay Married
By Yisroel Roll
March 2011, Leviathan
Psychotherapist Yisroel Roll helps people discover the secret of a successful marriage. The message is simple:It's not about your spouse or what you can do for your spouse. The secret lies with you. Presents easy to understand, hands-on strategies to breathe new life into relationships. Simple techniques one can use every day to- • Find happiness in marriage • Get along without hurting each other • Prevent small arguments from escalating into major blowups • Build an atmosphere of trust in your home • Rekindle the deep feelings spouses once had for one another • Feel good about yourself-and your spouse The same principles-though with different strategies-are presented for creating a happy family, empowering kids, and motivate them to thrive. Yisroel Roll, a psychotherapist in private practice, has inspired and helped improve thousands of marriages. A dynamic motivational speaker, he has presented marriage workshops around the world.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Solomon
The Lure of Wisdom
(Jewish Lives)
By Steven Weitzman
March 2011, Yale
Steve Weitzman turns the challenge of writing a biography of King Solomon into a meditation on the quest for unattainable knowledge, an enterprise equally embodied in the figure of Solomon in Scripture and in legend. There is something deeply human about this appealing book of intellectual distinction."--Robert Alter
Tradition has it that King Solomon knew everything there was to know—the mysteries of nature, of love, of God himself—but what do we know of him? Esteemed biblical scholar Steven Weitzman reintroduces readers to Solomon's story and its surprising influence in shaping Western culture, and he also examines what Solomon's life, wisdom, and writings have come to mean for Jews, Christians, and Muslims over the past two thousand years. Weitzman's Solomon is populated by a colorful cast of ambitious characters—Byzantine emperors, explorers, rabbis, saints, scientists, poets, archaeologists, trial judges, reggae singers, and moviemakers among them—whose common goal is to unearth the truth about Solomon's life and wisdom. Filled with the Solomonic texts of the Bible, along with lesser–known magical texts and other writings, this book challenges both religious and secular assumptions. Even as it seeks to tell the story of ancient Israel's greatest ruler, this insightful book is also a meditation on the Solomonic desire to know all of life's secrets, and on the role of this desire in world history.
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[book] Hank Greenberg
The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One
(Jewish Lives)
By Mark Kurlansky
March 2011, Yale University Press
One of the reasons baseball fans so love the sport is that it involves certain physical acts of beauty. And one of the most beautiful sights in the history of baseball was Hank Greenberg's swing. His calmly poised body seemed to have some special set of springs with a trigger release that snapped his arms and swept the bat through the air with the clean speed and strength of a propeller. But what is even more extraordinary than his grace and his power is that in Detroit of 1934, his swing—or its absence—became entwined with American Jewish history. Though Hank Greenberg was one of the first players to challenge Babe Ruth's single-season record of sixty home runs, it was the game Greenberg did not play for which he is best remembered. With his decision to sit out a 1934 game between his Tigers and the New York Yankees because it fell on Yom Kippur, Hank Greenberg became a hero to Jews throughout America. Yet, as Kurlansky writes, he was the quintessential secular Jew, and to celebrate him for his loyalty to religious observance is to ignore who this man was. In Hank Greenberg Mark Kurlansky explores the truth behind the slugger's legend: his Bronx boyhood, his spectacular discipline as an aspiring ballplayer, the complexity of his decision not to play on Yom Kippur, and the cultural context of virulent anti-Semitism in which his career played out.
What Kurlansky discovers is a man of immense dignity and restraint with a passion for sport who became a great reader—a man, too, who was an inspiration to the young Jackie Robinson, who said, "Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg."
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[book] You Are What You Speak
Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity Son
Robert Lane Greene
March 2011, Random Delacorte
Brooklynite Greene, a writer for The Economist, hear a lot of grammar mistakes, including axe instead of ask, and double negatives. And Americans and other judge people by their grammar and identify / group people by their speech. What is it about other people’s language that moves some of us to anxiety or even rage? For centuries, sticklers the world over have donned the cloak of authority to control the way people use words. Now this sensational new book strikes back to defend the fascinating, real-life diversity of this most basic human faculty. Greene illustrates with vivid anecdotes the role language beliefs play in shaping our identities, for good and ill. Beginning with literal myths, from the Tower of Babel to the bloody origins of the word “shibboleth,” Greene shows how language “experts” went from myth-making to rule-making and from building cohesive communities to building modern nations. From the notion of one language’s superiority to the common perception that phrases like “It’s me” are “bad English,” linguistic beliefs too often define “us” and distance “them,” supporting class, ethnic, or national prejudices. In short: What we hear about language is often really about the politics of identity. Governments foolishly try to police language development (the French Academy), nationalism leads to the violent suppression of minority languages (Kurdish and Basque), and even Americans fear that the most successful language in world history (English) may be threatened by increased immigration. These false language beliefs are often tied to harmful political ends and can lead to the violation of basic human rights. Conversely, political involvement in language can sometimes prove beneficial, as with the Zionist revival of Hebrew or our present-day efforts to provide education in foreign languages essential to business, diplomacy, and intelligence. And yes, standardized languages play a crucial role in uniting modern societies. As this fascinating book shows, everything we’ve been taught to think about language may not be wrong—but it is often about something more than language alone.
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[book] Everything Is Obvious
*Once You Know the Answer
Duncan J. Watts
March 2011, Crown
Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world? Why did Facebook succeed when other social networking sites failed? Did the surge in Iraq really lead to less violence? How much can CEO’s impact the performance of their companies? And does higher pay incentivize people to work hard?
If you think the answers to these questions are a matter of common sense, think again. As sociologist and network science pioneer Duncan Watts explains in this provocative and at times unsettling book, the explanations that we give for the outcomes that we observe in life—explanation that seem obvious once we know the answer—are less useful than they seem.
Drawing on the latest scientific research, along with a wealth of historical and contemporary examples, Watts shows how commonsense reasoning and history conspire to mislead us into thinking believing that we understand more about the world of human behavior than we do; and in turn, why attempts to predict, manage, or manipulate social and economic systems so often go awry.
It seems obvious, for example, that people respond to incentives; yet policy makers and managers alike frequently fail to anticipate how people will respond to the incentives they create. Social trends often seem to have been driven by certain influential people; yet marketers have been unable to identify these “influencers” in advance. And although successful products or companies always seem in retrospect to have succeeded because of their unique qualities, predicting the qualities of the next hit product or hot company is notoriously difficult even for experienced professionals. Only by understanding how and when common sense fails, Watts argues, can we improve how we plan for the future, as well as understand the present—an argument that has important implications in politics, business, and marketing, as well as in science and everyday life.
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Get it for your local shochet
[book] A CHICKEN IN EVERY YARD
The Urban Farm Store's Guide to Chicken Keeping
By Robert and Hannah Litt
March 2011, Ten Speed Press
For Jews who want to raise chickens and halve their own kibbutz in the USA
Got a little space and a hankering for fresh eggs? Robert and Hannah Litt have dispensed advice to hundreds of urban and suburban chicken-keepers from behind their perch at Portland’s Urban Farm Store, and now they’re ready to help you go local and sustainable with your own backyard birds. In this handy guide to breeds, feed, coops, and care, the Litts take you under their experienced wings and share the secrets to: Picking the breeds that are right for you • Building a sturdy coop in one weekend for $100 • Raising happy and hearty chicks • Feeding your flock for optimal health and egg nutrition • Preventing and treating common chicken diseases • Planning ahead for family, neighborhood, and legal considerations • Whipping up tasty egg recipes from flan to frittata
With everything that first-timers will need to get started—along with expert tips for more seasoned keepers—this colorful, nuts-and-bolts manual proves that keeping chickens is all it’s cracked up to be.
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The son of friend graduated college and could not find a job. He worked in a donut shop. I told him to buy the donuts each day, make special types, and sell them from a pink truck and call it PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESSERT. He said No, Thanks. Another friend was out of work. I suggested he run a pizza truck. He declined. I guess I should give them this book to inspire them:
[book] FOOD TRUCKS
Stories and Recipes from America's Best Kitchens On Wheels
By Heather Shouse
Spring 2011, Ten Speed Press
With food-truck fever sweeping the nation, intrepid journalist Heather Shouse launched a coast-to-coast exploration of street food. In Food Trucks, she gives readers a page-by-page compass for finding the best movable feasts in America. From decades-old pushcarts manned by tradition-towing immigrants to massive, gleaming mobile kitchens run by culinary prodigies, she identifies more than 100 chowhound pit-stops that are the very best of the best. Serving up everything from slow-smoked barbecue ribs to escargot puffs, with virtually every corner of the globe represented in brilliant detail for authentic eats, Food Trucks presents portable and affordable detour-worthy dishes and puts to rest the notion that memorable meals can only be experienced in lofty towers of haute cuisine. The secrets behind the vibrant flavors found in Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, Hungarian paprikash, lacy French crepes, and global mash-ups like Mex-Korean kimchi quesadillas are delivered via more than 45 recipes, contributed by the truck chefs themselves. Behind-the-scenes profiles paint a deeper portrait of the talent behind the trend, offering insight into just what spawned the current mobile-food concept and just what kind of cook chooses the taco-truck life over the traditional brick-and-mortar restauranteur route. Vivid photography delivers tantalizing vignettes of street food life, as it ebbs and flows with the changing demographics from city to city. Organized geographically, Food Trucks doubles as a road trip must-have, a travel companion for discovering memorable meals on minimal budgets and a snapshot of a culinary craze just waiting to be devoured.
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[book] QUANTUM MAN
RICHARD FEYNMAN'S LIFE IN SCIENCE
BY LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS
March 2011, WW Norton and Company, Inc.
The author of The Physics of Star Trek focuses in the genius of our times, the late physicist Dr. Richard Feynman. This is a gripping new scientific biography of the revered Nobel Prize–winning physicist (and curious character). Perhaps the greatest physicist of the second half of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman changed the way we think about quantum mechanics, the most perplexing of all physical theories. Here Lawrence M. Krauss, himself a theoretical physicist and best-selling author, offers a unique scientific biography: a rollicking narrative coupled with clear and novel expositions of science at the limits. An immensely colorful persona in and out of the office, Feynman revolutionized our understanding of nature amid a turbulent life. Krauss presents that life—from the death of Feynman’s childhood sweetheart during the Manhattan Project to his reluctant rise as a scientific icon—as seen through the science, providing a new understanding of the legacy of a man who has fascinated millions. An accessible reflection on the issues that drive physics today, Quantum Man captures the story of a man who was willing to break all the rules to tame a theory that broke all the rules.
So put some cream in your lemon tea... and
(Surely I was joking
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[book] THE JERSEY STING
A TRUE STORY OF CROOKED POLS
MONEY LAUNDERING RABBIS, BLACK MARKET
KIDNEYS, AND THE INFORMANT WHO BROUGHT
IT ALL DOWN
BY TED SHERMAN AND JOSH MARGOLIN (Newark NJ Star Ledger)
March 2011, St Martins Press
In the summer of 2009 the blog Gawker stated “Everybody in New Jersey Was Arrested Yesterday.” Now for the first time, the real story behind the biggest corruption bust in New Jersey’s notoriously corrupt history. Among the forty-four people arrested in July 2009 were three mayors, five Orthodox rabbis, two state legislators, and the flamboyant deputy mayor of Jersey City, Leona Beldini, once a stripper using the stage name “Hope Diamond.” At the center of it all was a dubious character named Solomon Dwek, who perpetrated a $50 million Ponzi scheme before copping a plea and wearing a wire as a secret FBI undercover informant, setting up friends, partners, rabbis, and dozens of politicians. Mr. Dwek played his role like an extra in a mob movie. On surveillance tape, he repeatedly referred to his fraudulent “schnookie deals,” which is Yiddish for, well, schnook.
Full of impossible-to-make-up detail and fresh revelations from the continuing trials and investigations, this book—the inside, untold account of a federal sting operation that moves from the streets of Brooklyn to the diners of Jersey City, and all the way to Israel—is a wonderful tour de force of investigative journalism by the reporting team that broke this amazing story.
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[book] YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE
A NOVEL
BY BEN DOLNICK
March 2011, Vintage Original
A gorgeous novel of family life, You Know Who You Are is the story of the Vine family, Arthur, Alice, and their three children. The eldest, Will, is well-mannered and academically driven. The youngest, Cara, is a sweet little charmer. Jacob, the middle child, is less sure of who he is. He’s funny, he’s impulsive, and he is often held hostage by his urges to make chaos. But when their mother, Alice, falls ill, Jacob begins to experiment--guiltily, nervously--with the special freedoms conferred on the motherless.
Following the Vines as Jacob moves through high school, college, and beyond, You Know Who You Are is a wise, funny, elegiac novel of moving on, pulling together, and answering that most complicated of questions: who will you decide to become? Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] The Eichmann Trial
By Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University
March 2011, Jewish Encounters Series
Award-winning historian Deborah Lipstadt gives us a compelling reassessment of the groundbreaking trial that has become a touchstone for judicial proceedings throughout the world in which victims of genocide confront its perpetrators.
The capture of SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann by Israeli agents in Argentina in May of 1960 and his subsequent trial in Tel Aviv by an Israeli court electrified the world. The public debate it sparked on where, how, and by whom Nazi war criminals should be brought to justice, and the international media coverage of the trial itself, is recognized as a watershed moment in how the civilized world in general and Holocaust survivors in particular found the means to deal with the legacy of genocide on a scale that had never been seen before.
In The Eichmann Trial, award-winning historian Deborah Lipstadt gives us an overview of the trial and analyzes the dramatic effect that the testimony of survivors in a court of law—which was itself not without controversy—had on a world that had until then regularly commemorated the Holocaust but never fully understood the millions who died and the hundreds of thousands who managed to survive.
As the world continues to confront the ongoing reality of genocide and ponder the fate of those who survive it, this “trial of the century” offers a legal, moral, and political framework for coming to terms with unfathomable evil and with those who perpetrate it. In The Eichmann Trial, Lipstadt infuses a gripping narrative with historical perspective and contemporary urgency.
DEBORAH E. LIPSTADT is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. She is the author of History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving (a National Jewish Book Award winner); Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory; and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933–1945.
Haaretz and The Forward add: “With her new book, “The Eichmann Trial,” historian Deborah Lipstadt attempts to refute Arendt’s main arguments. On the cover is an iconic image of Arendt — pearl-bedecked and pensive, a cigarette dangling from her fingers — and an entire chapter of the book discusses her arguments. Although other scholars have re-examined the Eichmann trial — most notably the Israeli historian Hannah Yablonka, in a book published in English in 2004 as “The State of Israel vs. Adolf Eichmann” — Lipstadt aims to reach a wider audience. Arendt bitterly criticized the Jewish Councils for helping the Nazis compile lists of Jews to be deported. This observation was the one that sparked the violent outrage in American Jewish circles because of her insinuation that the Nazi authorities and Jewish Councils were equally culpable. Lipstadt vehemently challenges Arendt’s argument, noting that the Einsatzgruppen murdered thousands of Jews in the Soviet territories, which had no Jewish Councils. In her mind, this proves that Arendt exaggerated the importance of the Jewish Councils.”
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[book] Iphigenia in Forest Hills
Anatomy of a Murder Trial
By Janet Malcolm
March 2011, Yale
"She couldn't have done it and she must have done it."
This is the enigma at the heart of Janet Malcolm's riveting new book about a murder trial in the insular Bukharan-Jewish community of Forest Hills, Queens, that captured national attention.
The defendant, Mazoltuv Borukhova, a beautiful young physician, was accused of hiring an assassin to kill her estranged husband, Daniel Malakov, a respected orthodontist, in the presence of their four-year old child.
The prosecutor called it an act of vengeance: just weeks before Malakov was killed in cold blood, he was given custody of Michelle for inexplicable reasons. It is the "Dickensian ordeal" of Borukhova's innocent child that drives Malcolm's inquiry. With the intellectual and emotional precision for which she is known, Malcolm looks at the trial--"a contest between competing narratives"--from every conceivable angle. It is the chasm between our ideals of justice and the human factors that influence every trial--from divergent lawyering abilities to the nature of jury selection, the malleability of evidence, and the disposition of the judge--that is perhaps most striking.
Surely one of the most keenly observed trial books ever written, Iphigenia in Forest Hills is ultimately about character and "reasonable doubt." As Jeffrey Rosen writes, it is "as suspenseful and exciting as a detective story, with all the moral and intellectual interest of a great novel."Click the cover to read more









[book] THE FREE WORLD
A Novel
By David Bezmozgis
March 2011, FS&G
PW writes: Bezmozgis follows his well-received Natasha and Other Stories with a meticulous study of the capricious spaces between historical certainties. First, there's the gap that allows the Krasnansky family to flee Soviet Latvia in the late 1970s for the edge of Rome, where a population of Jewish refugees contemplate their chances of emigrating to Canada, America, or Australia while awaiting news of Israel's peace with Egypt amid widespread anti-Zionism. Then there's the generational gap between the Krasnansky patriarch, unreconstructed Communist Samuil, who only reluctantly leaves the bloc he fought and sacrificed for, and his somewhat profligate sons, Alec and Karl, keen to snatch up the opportunities—sexual, financial, and criminal—that the West affords. And finally there is the growing distance between Alec and his wife, Polina, who is fleeing an ex-husband and a scandalous abortion. Bezmozgis displays an evenhanded verisimilitude in dealing with a wide variety of cold war attitudes, and though the unremitting seriousness of his tone makes for some slow patches, the book remains an assured, complex social novel whose relevance will be obvious to any reader genuinely curious about recent history, the limits of love, and the unexpected burdens that attend the arrival of freedom.

Daniel Schifrin said: “Extraordinary . . . [Recalls] the work of Babel, Roth, Saul Bellow and so many others. Yet Bezmozgis makes these characters, and the state or marginality itself, uniquely his own. His hysterical, merciless, yet open-hearted excavation of the Jewish family in the process of assimilating may give his literary predecessors a run for their money.”
Francine Prose said, “Dazzling, hilarious and hugely compassionate narratives [written with] freshness and precision. . . Readers will find themselves laughing out loud, then grasping as Bezmozgis brings these fictions to the searing, startling and perfectly pitched conclusion that remind us that, as the Russian writer Isaac Babel said,‘no iron can stab the heart so powerfully as a period put in exactly the right place.’ ”









[book] AN IMPROVISED LIFE
A MEMOIR
BY ALAN ARKIN
March 2011, De Capo Press
I am really loving this book. He is so interesting and honest. His life in the arts is so interesting and I am glad that he, and not I, lived it, since it was so filled with stress and doubt and mishigas
From Publishers Weekly: More a reflection on acting than a straightforward memoir, Academy Award–winner Arkin's musing on the creative process is a welcome window into the mind of an artist. After declaring to his father at age five that he wanted to be an actor, Arkin spent his Brooklyn childhood absorbing as much as he could from both everyday life and any opportunity he had to see films and plays. A move to L.A. in junior high cemented Arkin's performer dreams. As a student at Bennington's theater program, Arkin also performed with the earliest incarnation of Chicago's now famous Second City troupe, where he learned to appreciate the power of improvisation. Broadway and film roles followed, with Arkin integrating improvisation into his performances whenever possible, a skill he would hone over the years and later teach. The improv workshops—which Arkin taught and stresses were not "acting" workshops—began at Bennington and were also held at the Institute for American Indian Arts in New Mexico, where Arkin now lives. In this engaging and instructive book, he describes his own intuitive approach to acting and the ways in which he coaxed tentative workshop participants out of their shells.









[book] JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM
HOW THE ANCIENT CITY IGNITED OUR MODERN WORLD
BY JAMES CARROLL
March 2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
James Carroll’s urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem uncovers the ways in which the ancient city became, unlike any other in the world—reaching deep into our contemporary lives—an incendiary fantasy of a city. In Carroll’s provocative reading of the deep past, the Bible’s brutality responded to the violence that threatened Jerusalem from the start. Centuries later, the mounting European fixation on a heavenly Jerusalem sparked both anti-Semitism and racist colonial contempt. The holy wars of the Knights Templar burned apocalyptic mayhem into the Western mind. Carroll’s brilliant and original leap is to show how, as Christopher Columbus carried his own Jerusalem-centric worldview to the West, America too was powerfully shaped by the dream of the City on a Hill—from Governor Winthrop to Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan. The nuclear brinksmanship of the 1973 Yom Kippur War helps prove his point: religion and violence fuel each other, with Jerusalem the ground zero of the heat.
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[book] THE MORNING STAR
A NOVEL
BY ANDRE SCHWARZ-BART
March 2011, Overlook Duckworth
From Booklist: Acclaimed French novelist and Holocaust survivor Schwarz-Bart’s last novel, discovered after his death, begins in the year 3000, after the earth has been obliterated by a nuclear war. One survivor uncovers chests filled with manuscripts that document a human massacre occurring one thousand years earlier. The central narrative shifts to the Polish village of Podhoretz, and chronicles the life of Haim Shuster, descendent of the town’s fabled rabbi who is rumored to have hosted the prophet Elijah. Sensitive and inquisitive Haim possesses a gift that links him, in music and religion, to his lineage. When Nazi troops enter 1939 Poland, Haim’s family is cruelly separated, leaving him to care for his three young brothers. While Haim becomes increasingly disillusioned with God and humanity, he struggles to survive in the Warsaw Ghetto and, subsequently, Auschwitz. Years later, Haim, much older and expecting a child of his own, struggles to reconcile the horrors of the Holocaust with the weight of his oscillating spirit. Schwarz-Bart’s tale is a delicate, necessary portrait, wavering between faith and disbelief, reconciliation and doubt.
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[book] SINS OF THE HOUSE OF BORGIA
A novel
By Sarah Bower
March 2011, Sourcebooks
A young Jewish woman is drawn into the splendor and corruption surrounding the court of the Borgia pope, Alexander VI, in Bower's debut, a slick historical soap opera. After Esther Sarfati is baptized and becomes a lady-in-waiting to the widowed Lucrezia Borgia, the pope's illegitimate daughter, she is attracted to Lucrezia's seductive and cruel brother, Cesare. Esther becomes ensnared in a web of deceit and betrayal as Lucrezia is sent in a political marriage to the powerful Alfonso d'Este, heir to the dukedom of Ferrara. Determined to pursue a romance with the elusive Cesare, Esther is increasingly drawn into the schemes and passions of the Ferrara and Borgia families. While Esther's blind love for the careless and usually absent Cesare strains belief, the sheer grandeur of the papal and Ferrara courts, and the spectacle of the Borgia and Ferrara siblings' rivalries and revenges form a glittering take on one of the most notorious families of the Italian Renaissance.









[book] Local History, Transnational Memory in the Romanian Holocaust
(Studies in European Culture and History)
Edited by Valentina Glajar and Jeanine Teodorescu
March 2011, Macmillan
This book explores the memory of the Romanian Holocaust through transnational representations strongly rooted in a Romanian past of anti-Semitism, genocide, and violence. The essays in this volume discuss survivor testimonial accounts, letters, journals, and drawings, as well as literature and films in an effort to break the silence imposed by the Communist regime and debunk the denials of the Holocaust in Romania. What the survivors, writers (Paul Celan, Aharon Applefeld, Elie Wiesel, Norman Manea), artists, and film directors (Radu Mihaileanu, Radu Gabrea) present in this volume have in common is not just their Romanian heritage and their complicated relationship with Romania, but also an intense preoccupation with the memory of the Holocaust.









[book] Sarajevo, 1941-1945:
Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Hitler's Europe
By Emily Greble
March 2011, Cornell University Press
On April 15, 1941, Sarajevo fell to Germany's 16th Motorized Infantry Division. The city, along with the rest of Bosnia, was incorporated into the Independent State of Croatia, one of the most brutal of Nazi satellite states run by the ultranationalist Croat Ustasha regime. The occupation posed an extraordinary set of challenges to Sarajevo's famously cosmopolitan culture and its civic consciousness; these challenges included humanitarian and political crises and tensions of national identity. As detailed for the first time in Emily Greble's book, the city's complex mosaic of confessions (Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish) and ethnicities (Croat, Serb, Jew, Bosnian Muslim, Roma, and various other national minorities) began to fracture under the Ustasha regime's violent assault on "Serbs, Jews, and Roma"-contested categories of identity in this multiconfessional space-tearing at the city's most basic traditions. Nor was there unanimity within the various ethnic and confessional groups: some Catholic Croats detested the Ustasha regime while others rode to power within it; Muslims quarreled about how best to position themselves for the postwar world, and some cast their lot with Hitler and joined the ill-fated Muslim Waffen SS. In time, these centripetal forces were complicated by the Yugoslav civil war, a multisided civil conflict fought among Communist Partisans, Chetniks (Serb nationalists), Ustashas, and a host of other smaller groups. The absence of military conflict in Sarajevo allows Greble to explore the different sides of civil conflict, shedding light on the ways that humanitarian crises contributed to civil tensions and the ways that marginalized groups sought political power within the shifting political system. There is much drama in these pages: In the late days of the war, the Ustasha leaders, realizing that their game was up, turned the city into a slaughterhouse before fleeing abroad. The arrival of the Communist Partisans in April 1945 ushered in a new revolutionary era, one met with caution by the townspeople. Greble tells this complex story with remarkable clarity. Throughout, she emphasizes the measures that the city's leaders took to preserve against staggering odds the cultural and religious pluralism that had long enabled the city's diverse populations to thrive together.











[book] When Courage Prevailed
The Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945
By Esther Gitman
March 2011, Paragon House
When Courage Prevailed examines the ways Jews were rescued and how they survived in a country in which the Ustase, with their roots in Yugoslavia's nationality conflicts and politics, adopted the Nazi ideology that emphasized that there could be no compromise in regard to the Jewish Question: no Jews deserved rescue. Survival of Jews was complicated by Yugoslavia's dismemberment at the hands of the Axis Powers: Germany and Italy and their satellites and puppets. The Nazi propaganda machine advocated that Jews be exterminated for the good of the Aryans, which included the Volksdeutsche (Yugoslav of German ancestry), the Croats, and the Muslims. Those who dared to defy German commands suffered severe penalties. To survive, a Jew had to be brave, resourceful, and willing to seize every opportunity for escape, and each one would owe a debt of gratitude to as many as twenty helpers. Entire villages hid Jewish children. Friends and neighbors appealed to the Ministry of the Interior. Employers and employees beseeched the Ministry of Finance to obtain the release of Jewish workers, employers, and managers from concentration camps. Many efforts entailed great risk. This book reveals the practical and ethical motives animating rescue.











[book] Future Babble
Why Expert Predictions Are Next to Worthless,
and You Can Do Better
By Dan Gardner
March 2011, Dutton
Gardner, a columnist and senior writer for the Ottawa Citizen, examines the misguided trust people place in media forecasters and "legions of experts" who make meaningless predictions about the future. He reviews the findings of psychologist Philip Tetlock, who had 284 experts from a range of disciplines make 27,450 predictions on political and economic trends, concluding they produced about the same results as random guesses. Biologist Paul Erhlich is one of his main targets. In 1968's The Population Bomb, Ehrlich predicted mass famines. In fact, Gardner points to America's "epidemic of obesity" and growing calorie intake worldwide. Gardner also probes economic and environmental worries, and warnings of wars, climate change, the Y2K hysteria, and the weather, which he says can be forecast with accuracy only at most two days out. Successful predictions are celebrated, Gardner says, while the wrong ones are forgotten. Yet he might have done well to remember more of those accurate predictions, and to focus more on Tetlock's conclusions about those experts who show greater accuracy and on how the public might recognize them. Instead, he writes off accurate predictions as "likely... a coincidence.









[book] MESSAGE FROM AN UNKNOWN CHINESE MOTHER
STORIES OF LOSS AND LOVE
BY XINRAN
March 2011, Scribner
Xinran is the radio talkshow host in China who one would compare to the Oprah of China, with millions and millions of followers
With many Jewish families in America adopting Chinese girls, this is a book that may be of interest, but it is heartwrenching and graphicly detailed on how some Chinese families abandon, kill, abuse female infants, or perceive females as non human.
From Publishers Weekly: Xinran (Good Women of China) collects the heartbreaking stories of Chinese women forced to give up their baby girls because of the one-child-only policy or feudal traditions that prefer boys, in an oral history written for those abandoned daughters. Speaking with midwives, students, businesswomen, adoption workers, peasants, and "extra-birth guerrilla troops" (people who live on the lam eluding the system so they can have more than one baby), Xinran is compassionate and remarkably adept at getting her interviewees to open up about their most painful memories: how some mothers were forced to put their babies up for adoption or abandon them at hospitals, orphanages, or on the street, and how they've seen newborns drowned or smothered at birth. She shows how outdated traditions, modern policies, and punishing poverty spur the abandonment of so many female infants, and an abnormally high suicide rate for women of childbearing age. This is a brutally honest book written for those relinquished children, so that they will know how much their birth mothers loved them and how--in the words of one mother who gave up her daughter--"they paid for that love with an endless stream of bitter tears."









[book] THE ART OF THE THE TELL
TELL TO WIN
Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
IGNITE YOUR SUCCESS BY TELLING PURPOSEFUL STORIES
BY PETER GUBER
March 2011. Crown
Howard Peter Guber was born on March 1, 1942, 69 years ago, in Boston. His father, Samuel, owned a junk metal business. Peter grew up as the youngest of three boys, in the shadow of Charlie and Mike. A graduate of Syracuse, Guber married Lynda Gellis in 1965 (the daughter of Brooklyn kosher meats magnate Isaac Gellis). With a law degree and MBA, he headed to LA and worked his way up at Columbia for 8 years, until he was fired and started his own music group and then ran Polygram's film unit. In 1982, he set up Guber-Peters at Warner Brothers, where is exec produced Steven Spielberg's 1985 film The Color Purple. He was loved, he was hated, he was screwed up, he was powerful, he was the quintessential Hollywood Jewish leader.
He was Studio Chief at Columbia Pictures; Co-Chairman of Casablanca Records and Filmworks; CEO of Polygram Entertainment; Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures; and is Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group. He produced (or EP'd) “Midnight Express,” “The Color Purple,” “Gorillas in the Mist,” “Batman,” and “Rain Man.” He co-owns an NBA team. ( See TelltoWin.com )
What Guber understands is that to be successful, you must tell a story quickly. Today, everyone is in the emotional transportation business. More and more, success is won by creating compelling stories that have the power to move partners, shareholders, customers, and employees to action. Simply put, if you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it. And this book tells you how to do both.
I was once at a G.A., the General Assembly of Jewish federations, and a leader told how she went around her organization and asked employees what the mission of the group was and what their top priorities were. They couldn't. There was no single clear mission statement. She knew she had to change that in order to survive and grow and thrive. She should read this book to help her
Historically, stories have always been igniters of action, moving people to do things. But only recently has it become clear that purposeful stories – those created with a specific mission in mind – are absolutely essential in persuading others to support a vision, dream or cause.
Peter Guber, whose executive and entrepreneurial accomplishments have made him a success in multiple industries, has long relied on purposeful story telling to motivate, win over, shape, engage and sell. Indeed, what began as knack for telling stories as an entertainment industry executive has, through years of perspiration and inspiration, evolved into a set of principles that anyone can use to achieve their goals.
Guber shows how to move beyond soulless Power Point slides, facts, and figures to create purposeful stories that can serve as powerful calls to action. Among his techniques:
Capture your audience’s attention first, fast and foremost
Motivate your listeners by demonstrating “authenticity”
Build your tell around “what’s in it for them”
Change passive listeners into active participants
Use “state-of-the-HEART” technology online and offline to make sure audience commitment remains strong

To validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of “voices” – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Normal Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra. After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver -- and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.
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[book] The Choosing
A Rabbi's Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days
BY RABBI Andrea Myers
March 2011. Rutgers University Press
A young Lutheran girl grows up on Long Island, New York. She aspires to be a doctor, and is on the fast track to marriage and the conventional happily-ever-after. But, as the Yiddish saying goes, "Man plans, and God laughs." Meet Andrea Myers, whose coming-of-age at Brandeis, conversion to Judaism, and awakening sexual identity make for a rich and well-timed life in the rabbinate.
In THE CHOOSING, Rabbi Myers fuses heartwarming anecdotes with rabbinic insights and generous dollops of humor to describe what it means to survive and flourish on your own terms. Portioned around the cycle of the Jewish year, with stories connected to each of the holidays, Myers draws on her unique path to the rabbinate--leaving behind her Christian upbringing, coming out as a lesbian, discovering Judaism in college, moving to Israel, converting, and returning to New York to become a rabbi, partner, and parent.
Myers relates tales of new beginnings, of reinventing oneself, and finding oneself. Whether it's a Sicilian grandmother attempting to bake hamantaschen on Purim for her Jewish granddaughter, or an American in Jerusalem saving a chicken from slaughter during a Rosh Hashanah ritual, Myers keeps readers entertained as she reflects that spirituality, goodness, and morality can and do take many forms. Readers will enthusiastically embrace stories of doors closing and windows opening, of family and community, of integration and transformation. These captivating narratives will resonate and, in the author's words, "reach across coasts, continents, and generations."
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[book] The Archaeology of Home
An Epic Set on a Thousand Square Feet of the Lower East Side
By Katharine Greider
March 2011. PublicAffairs
When Katharine Greider was told to leave her house or risk it falling down on top of her and her family, it spurred an investigation that began with contractors' diagnoses and lawsuits, then veered into archaeology and urban history, before settling into the saltwater grasses of the marsh that fatefully once sat beneath the site of Number 239 East 7th Street. During the journey, Greider examines how people balance the need for permanence with the urge to migrate, and how the home is the resting place for ancestral ghosts. The land on which Number 239 was built has a history as long as America's own. It provisioned the earliest European settlers who needed fodder for their cattle; it became a spoil of war handed from the king's servant to the revolutionary victor; it was at the heart of nineteenth-century Kleinedeutschland and of the revolutionary Jewish Lower East Side. America's immigrant waves have all passed through 7th Street. In one small house is written the history of a young country and the much longer story of humankind and the places they came to call home.
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[book] EISENHOWER 1956
BY DAVID NICHOLS
March 2011. Simon and Schuster
From Publishers Weekly: Making a well-documented case that the Suez crisis and the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary destabilized the cold war's balance of power, Eisenhower scholar Nichols (A Matter of Justice) presents a day-by-day and hour-by-hour depiction of these events. He draws on newly declassified documents to describe with rare accuracy and immediacy how Eisenhower, recovering from a heart attack and major surgery, acted with intelligence and foresight to defuse the threats. Nichols also provides the policy background to underscore the crisis's magnitude. His linear narrative keeps the reader on track despite the many cross currents: Egypt's flirtation with the Soviet Union, the British and French governments' "program of deception," and
an Israel unwilling to agree to a cease-fire.
As France and Britain's actions escalated the crisis, Eisenhower threatened potentially draconian sanctions, such as withholding financial aid and oil from the Europeans, in order to secure a cease-fire. Nichols rightly emphasizes the end result of the crisis, the Eisenhower doctrine, which placed the U.S. in the role of guarantor of Middle East stability, a policy that has remained in place for more than half a century.

The LA TIMES: ”Eisenhower and the nation were lucky that he was stricken during a quiet period. But as the president recovered, events abroad gathered steam, and a crisis took hold in Egypt, where the U.S. was fencing with its leader Gamal Abdel Nasser over his plans to build a dam on the Aswan River. In painstaking, meticulously documented detail, Nichols re-creates the complicated slide into confusion and distrust over American participation in the dam, as Ike fought conservative members of his own party who opposed foreign aid, as well as other sundry interests who distrusted Nasser or worried about political or economic implications of the project. Eventually, the U.S. withdrew its pledged support for the dam, sending an angry Nasser scrambling to the Soviet Union for help, recognizing the government of Communist China and, most provocatively, retaliating against the West by nationalizing the Suez Canal. ...That thrust the conflict into a higher orbit, and Eisenhower wrestled with it at the same time that he confronted two more difficulties: a worrisome flare-up of a longstanding intestinal disorder that forced him to undergo surgery in mid-1956 and his reelection campaign that year, a rematch of the 1952 contest against Adlai Stevenson. With all of those distractions swirling around Eisenhower — whom Nichols aptly describes as a master juggler — Britain and France secretly prepared to retaliate against Nasser.....” They set upa smokescreen about their plans. The West's preoccupation with Nasser and Suez gave the USSR the greenlight to crush Hungary....
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[book] MY TWO WIVES
AND THREE HUSBANDS
A TRUE LOVE STORY
BY S. STANLEY GORDON
2011. Savant
An erudite charmer documents his ongoing adventures in love and culture through 80-plus years “in the life”—from Rittenhouse Square to London’s West End.
Kirkus: First-time author Gordon’s breezy autobiography begins with a caution to the reader: “If concepts like Hopeless Romantic, Love at First Sight or Head Over Heels make you nauseous, this book is definitely not for you.” Born to working-class Russian-Jewish immigrants in 1920s Philadelphia, Gordon, née Samuel Grodsky, knew early on that he was different; after unrequited crushes on neighbor boys and desperate trips to the library to read Havelock Ellis, the amiable young man ambles into what would eventually become a lucrative career in optometry and a truly amazing life story. He marries, divorces, dabbles and dithers, marries again, has a son and eventually realizes he’s gay. Then the fun begins; cruising, swank Hollywood parties, lots of sex, the pursuit of love (a recurring theme), glamorous midcentury gay New York, Broadway semitriumphs and tragedies, lots more sex and love (with the titular husbands) and a graceful slide into vigorous middle age and beyond. The book chronicles Gordon’s long and mostly absurdly happy life to date with stylish candor and humility. His engaging prose is chatty without being catty, and sexy without being sleazy; better still, he tells his tale of fabulousness without resorting to the bland narcissism that sully many memoirs—especially the happy ones. There’s no false modesty, but neither is there boasting or gratuitous name-dropping. Even when he dishes on celebs such as Tallulah Bankhead or Lawrence Harvey, it’s more wittily self-deprecating than vicious. Gordon’s is a fascinating life, and his boundless joy at his good fortune is genuine—and contagious. The only thing his book lacks is pictures. An instant classic of its kind (i.e., Christopher’s kind) and required reading for inquisitive young queers, dyspeptic old conservatives and just about anyone who has a heart.
The author writes, “...I started out as a doctor of optometry, in private practice. Then, through serendipity , I partnered with another optometrist to open, staff and manage 56 optical offices in department stores throughout the country. That’s not a misprint. 56! After selling out to a larger optical chain, I had the wherewithal to jump into my third career – one I had been harboring for many years: SHOW BUSINESS! Starting at the top, as a theatrical producer, I had fun in New York and London until, alas, eventually that wonderful but demanding mistress let me down, and I had to say goodbye to that giddy life of ups ands downs. Next came years of semi-retirement, acting as a consultant to other doctors. Finally I officially retired (old, you know!)Even though I have had several distinctly different careers during my lifetime, never in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that being an author would crown my later years. But here I am, in my eighties, having my first book published….and planning more. Well, that just shows how exciting life can be if you are open to new adventures. And if you have LOVE in your life. With two wives and three husbands (and a few amours in-between) I have certainly known love….and still do. Am I just lucky or am I a hopeless romantic? Actually, that is a misnomer. Romantics are always hopeful, not hopeless.”
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APRIL 2011 BOOKS


[book] SACRED TRASH
The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza
By Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole
April 2011, Schocken Jewish Encounters
A story of buried scholarly treasure that rivals in drama, scope, and importance the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and sheds profound light on nine hundred years of Jewish life. One May day in 1896, at a dining room table in Cambridge, England, a meeting took place between a Romanian-born maverick Jewish intellectual and twin learned Presbyterian Scotswomen, who had assembled to inspect several pieces of rag-paper and parchment. It was the unlikely start to what would prove a remarkable, continent-hopping, century-crossing saga, one that in many ways has revolutionized our sense of what it means to lead a Jewish life. In Sacred Trash, acclaimed essayist Adina Hoffman and MacArthur-winning poet and translator Peter Cole tell the story of the recovery from a Cairo geniza (a repository for worn-out texts) of the most vital cache of Hebrew manuscripts ever discovered. Weaving together unforgettable portraits of Solomon Schechter and the other scholar-heroes of this drama with explorations of the medieval documents themselves—letters and poems, wills and marriage contracts, prescriptions, prayers, trousseau lists, bibles, money orders, children’s primers, rabbinic responsa, amulets, and receipts—Hoffman and Cole present a panoramic view of a vibrant Mediterranean Judaism. Part biography and part meditation on the supreme value the Jewish people has long placed on the written word, Sacred Trash is above all a gripping tale of adventure and redemption
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








I forgot to add this book to the list
Does memory make you smart?
If you remember 1000 numerals in order, does that mean you can solve a problem?
Are Jews memory specialists, since they are always remembering events?
How many Foer brothers can you remember and memorize while eating felafel spaghetti? Franklin, Jonathan Safran, Joshua… ?
[book] SACRED TRASH
Moonwalking with Einstein
The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
By Joshua Foer
April 2011, Penguin
Amazon says: “Moonwalking with Einstein follows Joshua Foer's compelling journey as a participant in the U.S. Memory Championship. As a science journalist covering the competition, Foer became captivated by the secrets of the competitors, like how the current world memory champion, Ben Pridmore, could memorize the exact order of 1,528 digits in an hour. He met with individuals whose memories are truly unique—from one man whose memory only extends back to his most recent thought, to another who can memorize complex mathematical formulas without knowing any math. Brains remember visual imagery but have a harder time with other information, like lists, and so with the help of experts, Foer learned how to transform the kinds of memories he forgot into the kind his brain remembered naturally. The techniques he mastered made it easier to remember information, and Foer's story demonstrates that the tricks of the masters are accessible to anyone.”
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] BDS
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions
The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights
By Omar Barghouti
April 2011, Haymarket
Haymarket, that lover of Israel, published this book. Omar Barghouti applied for a visa to visit the USA for a book tour in April and was denied a visa to visit the USA as of February 22, 2011. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. He holds BS and MS degrees in engineering from Columbia University and an MA in philosophy and ethics from Tel Aviv University.
International boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts helped topple South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime. In this book, Omar Barghouti sets forth his case for a BDS campaign against Israel, which he views as an occupier, colonizer, and creator of apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. He writes that Israel violates international law and he desires a united global civil society movement for freedom, justice, self-determination, and equality for all inhabits of Earth.
Haymarket publicity director Sarah Macaraeg says Barghouti is scheduled to make stops in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, as well as at Brown, Yale, and other universities, on the first leg of the tour. Ten events are scheduled to date. His first stop is an appearance, co-sponsored with Verso and Nation Books, in New York City April 9, and his last an appearance at Busboys & Poets in Washington, DC April 15. But no visa was obtained
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








This is about Modigliani the artist, not the Economist
[book] MODIGLIANI
A LIFE
By Meryl Secrest
March 2011, Knopf
From Publishers Weekly: Secrest, respected biographer of art world personalities (Being Bernard Berenson), musicians such as Leonard Bernstein, and others, sets out in this volume to resurrect the reputation of the modernist painter Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920). Long the stuff of myth and sensationalism, Modigliani's life was fictionalized in book and film while his lifelong battle with tuberculosis was ignored and his art marginalized. Up until recently the literature has portrayed Modigliani as a ranting, drunken, stoned womanizer—"the archetypal accursed artist," as Secrest puts it. Rather, she says, he suffered throughout his life from various illnesses that he attempted to conceal. But the misperception contributed to Modigliani's status as a minor artist. The "separation of truth from fiction" is the author's cause. In her revisionist account, Secrest delves into numerous primary sources to weave together a comprehensive and well-rounded biography of the artist and to bring to life bohemian society in early 20th-century Paris. Additionally, the author surveys the history of Modigliani scholarship, the ongoing problem of forgeries of the artist's work, and the "chaotic field" of authentication. The result is an enjoyable read for all, and a most welcome contribution to Modigliani scholarship
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[book] MY PARENTS WERE AWESOME
BEFORE FANNY PACKS, AND MINIVANS
THEY WERE PEOPLE, TOO
Edited by Eliot Glazer
April 2011, Villard
They bathed you. They fed you. They raised you to become the person you are today. Your parents are an integral part of your story. But guess what? They have a story too—one that started long before you entered the picture. Before embarrassing fanny packs and Lite FM, there was a time when Mom and Dad were young and carefree—just like you. They were also fun and flirty, full of hope and desire and effortlessly cool.
Based on the wildly popular website, My Parents Were Awesome shares heartwarming and hilarious essays by sons and daughters—including Jamie Deen, Christian Lander, Dave Itzkoff, Katherine Center, Laurie Notaro, and Holly Peterson—who’ tell tales of their folks before babies, mortgages, and receding hairlines: the mom and dad who traveled by VW bus to see Led Zeppelin for $1, the grandmother whose halter top and shorts belied her perfect demeanor, the father whose wanderlust passed down to his equally nomadic daughter. Accompanied by treasured vintage photographs, these stories will make you laugh, melt your heart, and spark your own reflections of Mom and Dad.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] THE DRUGGIST OF AUSCHWITZ
A DOCUMENTARY NOVEL
BY DIETER SCHLESAK
Translated from German by John Hargraves
April 2011, FS&G
For those who don’t mind novels of the Holocasut:
A unique and haunting novel about the Holocaust and the nature of evil In Dieter Schlesak’s novel The Druggist of Auschwitz, Adam—known as “the Last Jew of Schässburg”—recounts with disturbing clarity his imprisonment at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. Through Adam’s testimony at the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial of 1963–65, we come to learn of the true-life story of Dr. Victor Capesius, who, despite strong friendships with Jews before the war, quickly aided in and profited from their tragedy once the Nazis came to power. Interspersed with historical research and actual face-to-face interviews with survivors, the novel follows Capesius from his assignment as the “sorter” of new arrivals at Auschwitz—deciding who will go directly to the gas chamber and who will be used as labor—through his life of lavish wealth after the war to his arrest and eventual trial. The Druggist of Auschwitz—beautifully translated from the German by John Hargraves—is a frighteningly vivid portrayal of the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of criminal and victim alike. Schlesak’s use of factual data and testimony—woven into Adam’s dreamlike remembrance of a world turned upside down—makes The Druggist of Auschwitz an essential addition to our understanding of the Holocaust.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] Levant
Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean
By Dr. Philip Mansel
April 2011, Yale University Press
Levant is a book of cities. It describes three former centers of great wealth, pleasure, and freedom—Smyrna, Alexandria, and Beirut—cities of the Levant region along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. In these key ports at the crossroads of East and West, against all expectations, cosmopolitanism and nationalism flourished simultaneously. People freely switched identities and languages, released from the prisons of religion and nationality. Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived and worshipped as neighbors. Distinguished historian Philip Mansel is the first to recount the colorful, contradictory histories of Smyrna, Alexandria, and Beirut in the modern age. He begins in the early days of the French alliance with the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century and continues through the cities' mid-twentieth-century fates: Smyrna burned; Alexandria Egyptianized; Beirut lacerated by civil war. Mansel looks back to discern what these remarkable Levantine cities were like, how they differed from other cities, why they shone forth as cultural beacons. He also embarks on a quest: to discover whether, as often claimed, these cities were truly cosmopolitan, possessing the elixir of coexistence between Muslims, Christians, and Jews for which the world yearns. Or, below the glittering surface, were they volcanoes waiting to erupt, as the catastrophes of the twentieth century suggest? In the pages of the past, Mansel finds important messages for the fractured world of today.
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[book] Nice Girls Just Don't Get It
99 Ways to Win the Respect You Deserve,
the Success You've Earned, and the Life You Want
By Lois P. Frankel and Carol Frohlinger
April 2011, Crown
Offering the same brand of practical, no-holds-barred, expert advice that made Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office an international million-copy bestseller, Nice Girls Just Don't Get It teaches us the skills we need to turn from a nice girl into a winning woman, not just in our careers but in our relationships, families, and everyday lives. Have you ever felt invisible? Taken advantage of? Reluctant (or unable) to articulate what you really want? If so, join the club. The nice girls club. Nice girls—that's right, girls—are those more concerned with pleasing others than with addressing their own needs and haven't yet learned how to overcome the childhood messages cultural stereotypes keeping them from getting their voices heard, their needs met, and the lives they want.
This book will turn those nice girls into winning women. That is, women who factor their own needs in with those of others, confront those who treat them disrespectfully, maintain healthy and mutually beneficial relationships with appropriate boundaries— and as a result, are happier and more successful in every area of their life.
In 2004, Lois Frankel blew the lid off so many of our long-held ideas about gender and success with her bestselling Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, which went on to become such a huge phenomenon, the term "nice girls" has secured a place in our cultural lexicon. Here, Frankel teams up with negotiation expert Carol Frohlinger to bring this bestselling advice out of the workplace and provide a broader set of skills that any woman—whether a CEO or stay-at-home mom—can use to win anywhere, with anyone.
By the time you've finished reading this book, you'll be able to:
Get your husband to do his half of the household chores—without being made to feel like a nag, even if you are an Iranian Jewish female professional
Stop overextending yourself by taking on all the unpleasant tasks no one on your volunteer board, even if it is a UJA campaign, or your team at work will go near.
Win an argument with your mother in law about who will be hosting a holiday dinner or upcoming seder (or Xmas dinner).
Have the courage to send back a meal that isn’t prepared the way you’d ordered it.
And so much more.











[book] my father's daughter
a cookbook
by gwyneth paltrow
foreword by mario batali
April 2011, grand central
from the award winning actress, cook, and future magazine editor; paltrow is a descendant of a long line of Lithuanian rabbis
As an actress, author, trendsetter, creator of goop.com, and host of the popular PBS series, Spain: On the Road Again, Gwyneth Paltrow is an icon of style and good taste around the world. She is the daughter of the late Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner
From Publishers Weekly: Award-winning actress and mother of two, Paltrow pays posthumous tribute to her much-adored father who passed along to her a deep love and appreciation for good food. From an early age, she was his eager eating companion and developed a diverse palate that relished everything from egg creams to oysters to blue cheese. Their dining ventures morphed into joint cooking get-togethers where dad instilled the notion that a meal made for one's family is an expression of love. This is evident in the simple and mostly healthy recipes she shares, as prepared for family and friends, in this warm and inviting collection. Paltrow showcases a wealth of dishes, from soups to pastas to main courses and more. Highlights include fried rice with kale and scallions, sole à la grenobloise, and her mother's blueberry muffins. A helpful pantry section includes recipes for basics such as slow-roasted tomatoes and numerous types of stocks. While many recipes are vegetarian, Paltrow does include meat dishes, including cheesy stuffed burgers and cassoulet. Her chapter on side dishes is superb and appealing enough to take center stage, especially her sautéed greens with onions and soy sauce, maple-Dijon roasted winter vegetables, and crispy potato and garlic cakes. Filled with charming personal anecdotes, this book convinces that healthy food can be delicious as well as good for you—and that a father's passion can endure.
She balances healthy food with homemade treats. And, for the first time, Paltrow offers a glimpse into her life as daughter, mother and wife, sharing her thoughts on the importance of family and togetherness. Contains 150 ideas for breakfast, sandwiches and burgers, soups, salads, main dishes, sides, and desserts

An excerpt: “I always feel closest to my father, who was the love of my life until his death in 2002, when I am n the kitchen, I can still hear him over the shoulder, heckling me, telling me to be careful with my knife, moaning with pleasure over a bite of something in only the way a Jew from Long Island can, his shoulders doing most of the talking...”








[book] TRIESTE
A novel
By Dasa Drndic. Translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac
April 2011, MacLehose
Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, north-eastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after 62 years with her son, fathered by an S.S. officer and stolen from her by the German authorities during the War as part of Himmler's clandestine 'Lebensborn' project, which strove for a 'racially pure' Germany.
Haya's reflection on her Catholicized Jewish family's experiences deals unsparingly with the massacre of Italian Jews in the concentration camps of Trieste. Her obsessive search for her son leads her to photographs, maps and fragments of verse, to testimonies from the Nuremberg trials and interviews with second-generation Jews, as well as witness accounts of atrocities that took place on her doorstep. A broad collage of material is assembled, and the lesser-known horror of Nazi occupation in northern Italy is gradually unveiled. Written in immensely powerful language, and employing a range of astonishing conceptual devices, Trieste is a novel like no other. Dasa Drndic has produced a shattering contribution to the literature of our twentieth-century history.
Dasa Drndic is a distinguished Croatian novelist and playwright. She also translates and teaches at the Faculty of Philosophy in Rijeka.










[book] PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOM
A novel
By KYUNG SOOK SHIN
April 2011, Knopf
A million-plus-copy best seller in South Korea and poised to become an international sensation—Please Look After Mom is the stunning, deeply moving story of a family’s search for their mother, and of the desires, heartaches, and secrets they discover she harbored within. On a family visit to the city, Mom is right behind her husband when the train pulls out of Seoul Station without her, and she is lost, possibly forever. As her children argue over how to find her and her husband returns to their countryside home to wait for her, they each recall their lives with her, their memories often more surprising than comforting. Have they lived up to her expectations? Was she happy? Through the piercing voices of daughter, son, and husband, and through Mom’s own words in the novel’s shattering conclusion, we learn what happened that day, and explore an even deeper mystery—of motherhood itself. At once steeped in the beauty and complexities of the East and rich with a universal tenderness, Please Look After Mom has a revelatory emotional power. You will never think of your mother the same way again after you’ve read this book.











MAY 2011 BOOKS

[book] Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance
Edited by Judith Brin Ingber
May 2011 Wayne State University Press
In Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance, choreographer, dancer, and dance scholar Judith Brin Ingber collects wide-ranging essays and many remarkable photographs to explore the evolution of Jewish dance through two thousand years of Diaspora, in communities of amazing variety and amid changing traditions. Ingber and other eminent scholars consider dancers individually and in community, defining Jewish dance broadly to encompass religious ritual, community folk dance, and choreographed performance. Taken together, this wide range of expression illustrates the vitality, necessity, and continuity of dance in Judaism.
This volume combines dancers’ own views of their art with scholarly examinations of Jewish dance conducted in Europe, Israel, other Middle East areas, Africa, and the Americas. In seven parts, Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance considers Jewish dance artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; the dance of different Jewish communities, including Hasidic, Yemenite, Kurdish, Ethiopian, and European Jews in many epochs; historical and current Israeli folk dance; and the contrast between Israeli and American modern and post-modern theater dance. Along the way, contributors see dance in ancient texts like the Song of Songs, the Talmud, and Renaissance-era illuminated manuscripts, and plumb oral histories, Holocaust sources, and their own unique views of the subject. A selection of 182 illustrations, including photos, paintings, and film stills, round out this lively volume. Many of the illustrations come from private collections and have never before been published, and they represent such varied sources as a program booklet from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and archival photos from the Israel Government Press Office.
Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance threads together unique source material and scholarly examinations by authors from Europe, Israel, and America trained in sociology, anthropology, history, cultural studies, Jewish studies, dance studies, as well as art, theater, and dance criticism. Enthusiasts of dance and performance art and a wide range of university students will enjoy this significant volume.
Contributors include: Gaby Aldor, Felix Fibich, Zvi Friedhaber, Jill Gellerman, Ayalah Goren-Kadman, Yehuda Hyman (Hey, he is the celebrated writer and choreographer of THE MAD 7 that was performed nationwide!), Judith Brin Ingber, Naomi M. Jackson, Elke Kaschl, Sara Levi-Tanai, Dawn Lille, Giora Manor, Josh Perelman, Dina Roginsky, Janice Ross, Barbara Sparti, Nina S. Spiegel, Shalom Staub (Hey, I think I sat next to him in Arabic 1 class with Professor Roger Allen in 1978)










[book] KABBALAH IN ITALY 1280-1510
BY MOSHE IDEL
May 2011 Yale University Press
This sweeping survey of the history of Kabbalah in Italy represents a major contribution from one of the world's foremost Kabbalah scholars. The first to focus attention on a specific center of Kabbalah, Moshe Idel charts the ways that Kabbalistic thought and literature developed in Italy and how its unique geographical situation facilitated the arrival of both Spanish and Byzantine Kabbalah. Idel analyzes the work of three major Kabbalists—
Abraham Abulafia,
Menahem Recanati, and
Yohanan Alemanno —
who represent diverse schools of thought: the ecstatic, the theosophical-theurgical, and the astromagical. Directing special attention to the interactions and tensions among these forms of Jewish Kabbalah and the nascent Christian Kabbalah, Idel brings to light the rich history of Kabbalah in Italy and the powerful influence of this important center on the emergence of Christian Kabbalah and European occultism in general.
Moshe Idel is Max Cooper Professor in the Department of Jewish Thought, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and senior researcher at the Shalom Hartman Institute. He has received many awards, including the National Jewish Book Award, for his previous books on Kabbalah. He lives in Jerusalem










[book] 2030
The Real Story of What Happens to America
By Albert Brooks
May 2011,
Is this what’s in store for us in 2030? Comedian Albert Brooks (aka Albert Einstein and brother of Super Dave) thinks so. June 12, 2030 started out like any other day in memory—and by then, memories were long. Since cancer had been cured fifteen years before, America’s population was aging rapidly. That sounds like good news, but consider this: millions of baby boomers, with a big natural predator picked off, were sucking dry benefits and resources that were never meant to hold them into their eighties and beyond. Young people around the country simmered with resentment toward “the olds” and anger at the treadmill they could never get off of just to maintain their parents’ entitlement programs. But on that June 12th, everything changed: a massive earthquake devastated Los Angeles, and the government, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, was unable to respond.
The fallout from the earthquake sets in motion a sweeping novel of ideas that pits national hope for the future against assurances from the past and is peopled by a memorable cast of refugees and billionaires, presidents and revolutionaries, all struggling to find their way. In 2030, the author’s all-too-believable imagining of where today’s challenges could lead us tomorrow makes gripping and thought-provoking reading.
Did I mention that the US President is Jewish ?
Would you believe that China offers to rebuild LA if it can own half of So Cal?
Albert Brooks is a writer, actor, and director. He has written and directed several classic American comedies that are considered prescient and incisive commentaries on contemporary life, including Lost In America, Modern Romance and Defending Your Life. Brooks has also acted in over twenty motion pictures for other directors, including Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, Pixar’s Finding Nemo, and James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News, for which he received an Academy Award nomination Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] A MOST DANGEROUS BOOK
TACITUS'S GERMANIA FROM THE ROMAN EMPIRE TO THE THID REICH
By CHRISTOPHER KREB
May 2011 WW Norton
The riveting story of the Germania and its incarnations and exploitations through the ages. The pope wanted it, Montesquieu used it, and the Nazis pilfered an Italian noble's villa to get it: the Germania, by the Roman historian Tacitus, took on a life of its own as both an object and an ideology. When Tacitus wrote a not-very-flattering little book about the ancient Germans in 98 CE, at the height of the Roman Empire, he could not have foreseen that the Nazis would extol it as "a bible," nor that Heinrich Himmler, the engineer of the Holocaust, would vow to resurrect Germany on its grounds. But the Germania inspired—and polarized—readers long before the rise of the Third Reich. In this elegant and captivating history, Christopher B. Krebs, a professor of classics at Harvard University, traces the wide-ranging influence of the Germania over a five-hundred-year span, showing us how an ancient text rose to take its place among the most dangerous books in the world. 14 black-and-white illustrations
Christopher Kreb is a classics professor at Harvard University









[book] You Are My Heart and Other Stories
A paperback
By Jay Neugeboren
May 2011 Consortium
Jay Neugeboren is an award-winning short story writer who has been applauded as one of the most distinguished writers of our time. With this, his fourth collection of short stories, he returns to the form that earned him the reputation as a "master storyteller." From the secluded villages in the south of France, to the cattle crawl in the Valley of a Thousand Hills in South Africa, to the hard-knock adolescent streets of Brooklyn, Neugeboren examines the great mysteries and complexities that unsettle and comprise human relationships. In the title story, a Jewish teen in Brooklyn falls for the sister of a black friend, and the families are none too pleased. In “State of Israel,” an American physician in France undergoes EYE surgery by a doctor of Middle Eastern origin and then must listen to the doctor's views on Israel. There is also a story based in Lakewood NJ. In works that are as memorable, engrossing, and exciting as they are gorgeously crafted, Neugeboren delivers on his reputation as one of our pre-eminent American writers.
Click the book cover above to read more on the stories












[book] JERUSALEM MAIDEN
A NOVEL
BY TALIA CARNER
May 31, 2011. Harper
Esther Kaminsky knows that her duty is to marry young and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah’s arrival: that is what expected of young ultra-Orthodox women in Jerusalem at the end of the Ottoman Empire’s rule. But when her French teacher catches Esther's extraordinary doodling and gives her colored pencils and art lessons, Esther wonders if God has a special destiny for her: maybe she is meant to be an artist, not a mother; maybe she is meant to travel to Paris, not stay in Jerusalem. However, when tragedy strikes her family, Esther takes it as His warning. Sacrificing her yearning for painting, she devotes herself instead to following God’s path as an obedient “Jerusalem maiden.”
In the coming years, Esther struggles between comfort and repression in God’s decrees, trusting the rituals of faith while suppressing her desires—until a surprising opportunity forces itself into her pre-ordained path. As her beliefs clash with the passions she has staved off her entire life, Esther must confront the hard questions: What is faith? Is there such thing as destiny? And to whom must she be true, to God or to herself?
Talia Carner is formerly the publisher of Savvy Woman magazine and a lecturer at international women economic forums. Carner’s addictions include chocolate, ballet, hats—and social justice.







[book] KING'S COUNSEL
A MEMOIR OF WAR, ESPIONAGE, AND DIPLOMACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
BY JACK O'CONNELL
May 31, 2011. Harper
A CIA station chief, later Jordan's lawyer in Washington, reveals the secret history of a lost peace. Jack O'Connell possessed an uncanny ability to be at the center of things. On his arrival in Jordan in 1958, he unraveled a coup aimed at the young King Hussein, who would become America's most reliable Middle East ally. Over time, their bond of trust and friendship deepened. His narrative contains secrets that will revise our understanding of the Middle East. In 1967, O'Connell tipped off Hussein that Israel would invade Egypt the next morning. Later, as Hussein's Washington counselor, O'Connell learned of Henry Kissinger's surprising role in the Yom Kippur War. The book's leitmotif is betrayal. Hussein, the Middle East's only bona fide peacemaker, wanted simply the return of the West Bank, seized in the Six-Day War. Despite American promises, the clear directive of UN Resolution 242, and the years of secret negotiations with Israel, that never happened. Hussein's dying wish was that O'Connell tell the unknown story in this book. Jack O'Connell (1921-2010) served as CIA station chief in Amman, Jordan, from 1963 to 1971 and was King Hussein's most trusted American adviser. He then became the king's attorney and diplomatic counselor in Washington for three decades.







[book] THE FROZEN RABBI
a novel by Steve Stern
June 2011 Algonquin paperback
From Booklist. *Starred Review* Stern’s uproarious and trouncing romp through the anguish and ironies of the Jewish diaspora matches mysticism with mayhem, beatitude with organized crime, creativity with crassness. The madcap, at times, surreal action revolves around Rabbi Eliezer ben Zephyr, whose out-of-body journeys to the realm of the divine result in his being frozen in a block of ice in the Jewish Pale in 1889, a frigid relic that becomes one family’s problematic inheritance. In scenes of vivid drama and burlesque comedy on the same epic scale as Stern’s Angel of Forgetfulness (2005), the rabbi-on-ice is transported through a pogrom and across the Atlantic under the guardianship of a raven-haired woman protectively disguised as a man, who finds sanctuary with the sweet-natured, hunchbacked inventor Shmerl Karp in the roiling Lower East Side. Finally, in 1999, the “great thaw” brings the reanimated rabbi and misfit teen Bernie Karp together in a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, where the holy man, enthralled by America’s TV-stoked capitalism, opens his profitable and controversial House of Enlightenment. Stern elevates his virtuoso storytelling and whirling magical satire to cosmic heights in this lovingly irreverent and revelatory novel of the timeless conflict between the sacred and the profane, and the perpetual search for home and meaning







[book] EINSTEIN BEFORE ISRAEL
ZIONIST ICON OR ICONOCLAST?
BY Ze'ev Rosenkranz
June 2011 Princeton
Einstein appears on Israeli currency.
Einstein's name adorns hospital and Jewish institutions
But what is the possible backstory?
According to Rosenkranz, the senior editor for Einstein's papers and the former curator of Einstein's archives at Hebrew University, Albert Einstein was initially skeptical and even disdainful of the Zionist movement, yet he affiliated himself with what he aw as a controversial political ideology and today is widely seen as an outspoken advocate for a modern Jewish homeland in Palestine.
What enticed this renowned scientist and humanitarian, who repeatedly condemned nationalism of all forms, to radically change his views?
Was he a Zionist?
Einstein Before Israel traces Einstein's involvement with Zionism from his initial contacts with the movement at the end of World War I to his emigration from Germany in 1933 in the wake of Hitler's rise to power. Drawing on a wealth of rare archival evidence--much of it never before published--this book offers the most nuanced picture yet of Einstein's complex and sometimes stormy relationship with Jewish nationalism.
Ze'ev Rosenkranz sheds new light on Einstein's encounters with prominent Zionist leaders, and reveals exactly what Einstein did and didn't like about Zionist beliefs, objectives, and methods. He looks at the personal, cultural, and political factors that led Einstein to support certain goals of Jewish nationalism; his role in the birth of the Hebrew University; his impressions of the emerging Jewish settlements in Palestine; and his reaction to mounting violence in the Arab-Jewish conflict. Rosenkranz explores a host of fascinating questions, such as whether Zionists sought to silence Einstein's criticism of their movement, whether Einstein was the real manipulator, and whether this Zionist icon was indeed a committed believer in Zionism or an iconoclast beholden to no one.

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[book] SEASON TO TASTE
HOW I LOST MY SENSE OF SMELL AND FOUND MY WAY
BY MOLLY BIRNBAUM
June 2011 Ecco Harper
In college, Molly Birnbaum found that she enjoyed cookbooks, baking, and cooking more than other coursework. She prepared to become a chef. After graduation, Molly Birnbaum spent her nights savoring cookbooks and her days working at a Boston bistro. But shortly before starting at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), she was hit by a car, an accident that fractured her skull, broke her pelvis, tore her knee to shreds, and destroyed her ability to smell — a sense essential to cooking... a sense essential to taste. Devastated, Birnbaum dropped her cooking school plans, quit her restaurant job, and sank into depression.
Season to Taste is the heartwarming story of what came next: how she picked herself up and set off on a grand quest to understand and overcome her condition. With irresistible charm and good cheer, Birnbaum explores the science of olfaction, pheromones, and Proust’s madeleine. She meets leading experts, including writer Oliver Sacks, scientist Stuart Firestein, and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. And she visits a pioneering New Jersey flavor lab, eats at the legendary Chicago restaurant Alinea, and enrolls at a renowned perfume school in the South of France. Through Birnbaum we rediscover the joy of smell — from the pungency of cinnamon and cedarwood to the subtle beauty of fresh bagels and lavender — fall in love, and recapture a dream.
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NOW IN PAPERBACK WiTH NEW COVER ART
[book] Dreyfus
Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century
By Ruth Harris
June 2011 Picador paperback
Booklist: “It is just over a century since the final exoneration of Alfred Dreyfus, after “L'affaire Dreyfus” convulsed France for a dozen years. Yet historical analysis and re-examination continues. Of course, no serious historians question Dreyfus' innocence, but the significance of various elements of the affair remains fertile ground for historical debate. Oxford fellow Harris' recounting of the case from inception to conclusion is comprehensive and offers some original and provocative insights. The conventional view that the affair pitted assorted reactionaries and anti-Semites against a coalition of liberals and progressives is rejected as simplistic. Rather, both the defenders and attackers of Dreyfus were motivated by a complex series of emotions and political stances, including nationalism, religion, republicanism, and nostalgia for a France that never existed. Much like the Rosenberg case in the U.S., the guilt or innocence of Dreyfus became almost irrelevant to the causes he symbolized. This is a well-written and well-researched analysis of a great miscarriage of justice.”
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[book] HERE COMES MRS. KUGELMAN
A NOVEL
BY MINKA PRADESKI
Translated from the German by Philip Boehm
July 2011 Metropolitan
An enchanting novel of listening and telling, of the silence between Holocaust survivors and their children, and the power of stories to mend broken bonds
When feisty young Tsippy Silberberg of the curious eating habits receives word from Tel Aviv that a distant aunt has left her a mysterious inheritance—an incomplete fish service in a battered brown suitcase—she decides to break her rigid routine and go collect it in person. But before she is even able to settle into her hotel room, an odd old woman bangs at her door and invites herself in. Her name is Bella Kugelman, and she is determined to talk. Talk she does, with wondrous effect. Soon the room is filled with people—residents of the Polish town of Bedzin before the war, who now live on, if only in Mrs. Kugelman's stories. Flirtatious girls and sly shopkeepers, rich industrialists and a family so poor that their necks are bent over from looking for coins—in tale after tale, a town magically returns to life, even as its grim future looms darkly. And under the thrall of Mrs. Kugelman's words, Tsippy finally pieces together her aunt's strange bequest, as well as her own place in the story unfolding before her.








[book] Four Kitchens
My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris
BY Lauren Shockey
July 2011 Grand Central
At the French Culinary Institute, Lauren Shockey learned to salt food properly, cook fearlessly over high heat, and knock back beers like a pro. But she also discovered that her real culinary education wouldn't begin until she actually worked in a restaurant. After a somewhat disappointing apprenticeship in the French provinces, Shockey hatched a plan for her dream year: to apprentice in four high-end restaurants around the world. She started in her hometown of New York City under the famed chef Wylie Dufresne at the molecular gastronomy hotspot wd-50, then traveled to Vietnam, Israel, and back to France. From the ribald kitchen humor to fiery-tempered workers to tasks ranging from the mundane (mincing cases of shallots) to the extraordinary (cooking seafood on the line), Shockey shows us what really happens behind the scenes in haute cuisine, and includes original recipes integrating the techniques and flavors she learned along the way. With the dramatic backdrop of restaurant life, readers will be delighted by the adventures of a bright and restless young woman looking for her place in the world.
I recall from a 2009 piece she wrote in The Atlantic that she spent two months working as a kitchen apprentice in Tel Aviv, a place known only for Hummus, falafel, poultry schnitzel, and cucumber-tomato salad diced finely. There is also sabich, one of her favorite foods, it is an Iraqi Jewish food, made by stuffing cold, fried eggplant slices into a pita along with preserved hard boiled eggs, tehina, hummus, chopped salad, and amba, which is a mango pickle, and is said to have been brought to the Middle East by spice traders in India. She writes of jachnun, a traditional Yemenite dish of rolled dough served with grated tomatoes and harissa, and shakshuka, a dish of poached eggs in tomato sauce originally eaten in North Africa and brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews. The place she worked was a more sophisticated restaurant in Israel which exhibited a clear French influence. And focusing on terroir locavore trends of Israel.








Geez, Does everyone who does the Peace Corp think they have to write a book about it? Not everyone is Iron and Silk. Actually this one is very good. Mike served as a TEFL English teacher at Guizhou University from 2005-2007. The original title was Kosher Dog Meat. Thank god they changed it.
[book] KOSHER CHINESE:
LIVING, TEACHING, AND EATING WITH CHINA’S OTHER BILLION
BY MICHAEL LEVY
July 2011 Holt
Michael is from Chicago but moved with his mishpacha to Philly before he became a Bar Mitzvah. A graduate of Cornell, he spent a year in Israel and studied in a yeshiva, before he headed to China with the Peace Corps. Here is an irreverent tale of an American Jew serving in the Peace Corps in rural China, which reveals the absurdities, joys, and pathos of a traditional society in flux.
Rural Chinese absurdity??? You mean as absurd as flying to Vegas to marry a WASP gf and joining the Peace Corp together?
In September of 2005, the Peace Corps sent Michael Levy (and his new wife) to teach English in the heart of China's heartland. His hosts in the city of Guiyang found additional uses for him: resident expert on Judaism, romantic adviser, and provincial basketball star, to name a few. Guiyang is the capital city of one of China’s poorest provinces. He lived about a half hour away from the city center of this SMALL town of 3 million people. The college at which he taught had about 40,000 students, and no football team, and no glee club. But he, as the “Friendship Jew” is asked to lead the Jewish Friday Night English and Cooking Corner Club. He also taught in a small village of Bouyi people.
His account of overcoming vast cultural differences to befriend his students and fellow teachers is by turns poignant and laugh-out-loud funny.
While reveling in the peculiarities of life in China's interior, the author also discovered that the "other billion" (people living far from the coastal cities covered by the American media) have a complex relationship with both their own traditions and the rapid changes of modernization. Lagging behind in China's economic boom, they experience the darker side of "capitalism with Chinese characteristics," daily facing the schizophrenia of conflicting ideologies.
He wasn’t planning to be the city’s resident Jew, but the Jewish holidays were a source of comfort for him during his sojourn in China. Since he was most likely one one of perhaps 2 Jewish in the entire province, he was sort of the Chief Rabbi of Guizhou Province. Envious? His friends and students were interested in his Jewish rites. Around 2006, the best seller in China was. “How To Make Money Like The Jews.” His students were interested in his Jewish secrets.
Kosher Chinese is an illuminating account of the lives of the residents of Guiyang, particularly the young people who will soon control the fate of the world.
He currently teaches at St Paul’s in NH. He has appeared in The Forward, so he’s good. Click the cover for more info.








[book] The Cookbook Collector
A Novel
By Allegra Goodman
July 2011 Paperback Edition
If any contemporary author deserves to wear the mantel of Jane Austen, it's Goodman, whose subtle, astute social comedies perfectly capture the quirks of human nature. This dazzling novel is Austen updated for the dot-com era, played out between 1999 and 2001 among a group of brilliant risk takers and truth seekers. Still in her 20s, Emily Bach is the CEO of Veritech, a Web-based data-storage startup in trendy Berkeley. Her boyfriend, charismatic Jonathan Tilghman, is in a race to catch up at his data-security company, ISIS, in Cambridge, Mass. Emily is low-key, pragmatic, kind, serene—the polar opposite of her beloved younger sister, Jess, a crazed postgrad who works at an antiquarian bookstore owned by a retired Microsoft millionaire. When Emily confides her company's new secret project to Jonathan as a proof of her love, the stage is set for issues of loyalty and trust, greed, and the allure of power. What is actually valuable, Goodman's characters ponder: a company's stock, a person's promise, a forest of redwoods, a collection of rare cookbooks? Goodman creates a bubble of suspense as both Veritech and ISIS issue IPOs, career paths collide, social values clash, ironies multiply, and misjudgments threaten to destroy romantic desire. Enjoyable and satisfying, this is Goodman's (Intuition) most robust, fully realized and trenchantly meaningful work yet.








THE CRISIS OF LIBERAL ZIONISM
BY PETER BEINART
TIMES BOOKS, Forthcoming late 2011
Based on Beinart's famed piece in June 10 issue of The NY Review of Books, the book will examine the growing gap between liberal American Jews and the State of Israel. The book will lay bare the fissures in the American Jewish community, trace the history of this divide with Israel, and how it will manifest itself in American as well as Israeli politics. TBA
Mystery crime novel
By Linda Fairstein
Forthcoming 2011
She is fascinated by the religious institutions within NYC, and a little bit about their history. So the first dead body is found in the opening scene, on the steps of an elegant, old Baptist church in Harlem, right on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and 114th Street. So it’s the heart of Harlem in New York City, and the cops don’t realize, and none of us realized when we got there, is that the building was built as a synagogue 100 years ago. It was a point in time when Harlem was home to many, many wealthy Jews and so a lot of the Baptist churches there were once synagogues. And as clear as day, when someone points this out to you – in stained-glass windows, or Old Testaments with Hebrew writing in them, and the pediment of the building, instead of saying 1920, has the Hebrew years – the killings have a motive that ties to religion and it allows her to explore how these institutions developed in the city …






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