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Welcome to our pages of Summer 2012, Spring 2013, Winter 2013, Fall 2012, and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit


Nov 28, 2012: Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame Co-Editors Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy in Conversation with Kevin Arnovitz and Chad Millman. Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn Park Slope 730PM

December 02, 2012: Pro Mussica Hebbraica presents From Psalm to Laamentation. A Concert of Cantorial Masterpieces with Cantor Netanel Hershtik. Eldridge Street Synagogue.
December 04, 2012: reading of When General Grant Expelled the Jews. Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC
December 06, 2012: UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Daniel Green (Chicago) speaks on The Jewish Origins of Cultural Pluralism. UCLA Royce Hall, LA, CA
December 12, 2012: The Jewish Family Novel with writers Jami Attenberg (The Middlesteins) and Joshua Henkin (The World Without You) in conversation. Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC 7PM
December 19, 2012: Joshua Eli Plaut reads from A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to Be Jewish, Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC

January 08, 2013: Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman in Conversation With James Shaheen: The Dude and the Zen Master. B&N NYC Union Square
January 13, 2013: Ms. Kuan reads from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home. 4PM. BookCourt, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn NY
January 15, 2013: Fred Kaplan reads from The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. B&N NYC 82nd and Broadway
January 17, 2013: UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. UCLA Hillel Symposium on Forbidden Art. Camp Art from the Auschwitz Memorial. LA, CA
January 24, 2013: UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Daniel Itzkovitz (Stonehill) speaks on Birthright Vegas. Wandering the Desert in Search of Jewishness. UCLA Royce Hall. LA, CA
January 24, 2013: Rebecca Dana reads from Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde - A True Story. NYC B&N 82nd and Broadway
January 29, 2013: UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Susannah Heschel (Dartmouth) on “Why This New Fascination? Islam in the Modern Jewish Imagination” UCLA Faculty Center. 4PM LA, CA
January 29, 2013: Eddie Huang – Cardozo grad, felon, and restauranteur reads from Fresh Off The Boat. B&N NYC Union Square January 31 2013: UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Tammi J. Schneider (Claremont) on Women In The Bible: Now That We Are Out of the garden, Where Do We Go?” UCLA Humanities. LA, CA

February 04, 2013: UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Lisa Silverman (Wisconsin) on Vienna’s Jewish Geography: Beyond the Leopoldstadt. UCLA Royce Hall. LA, CA
February 04, 2013: David Nirenberg speaks on Anti-Judaism at Politics & Prose, Washington DC NW
February 06, 2013: David Nirenberg speaks on Anti-Judaism at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, University of Chicago
February 20, 2013: Bruce Feiler reads from The Secrets of Happy Families. B&N NYC 86th and Lexington
February 21, 2013: UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Dan Horowitz on Thnik Yiddish. Dress British. Jews, Anti-Semitism, and the Ivy League Style at Yale in the 1960s. UCLA Royce Hall. LA, CA
February 24, 2013: London Jewish Book Week. Dozens of events. King's Place.

March 03, 2013: Dr. Stephen Grosz discusses The Examined Life. London Jewish Book Week. Kings Place. 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. 2PM
March 04, 2013: John Connelly (Berkeley) and Susannah Heschel (Dartmouth) speak on From Enemy To Brother: What Changed. Converts and the Revolution in Catholic Teaching about Jews. Fordham University, NYC 6PM
March 07, 2013: Amir Eshel (Stanford) steaks on Futuricity: Contemporary Hebrew Literature and the Quest for the Past. UCLA, 314 Royce Hall. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies with the generous support of Milt and Sheila Hyman. 7:30 PM
March 12, 2013: Rashid Khalidi reads from Brokers of Deceit. Book Clulture, Columbia University NYC 6PM
March 27, 2013: Rashid Khalidi reads from Brokers of Deceit. Harvard Club of NYC. 7:30 PM
March 27, 2013: Adam Alter reads Drunk Tank Pink And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave. B&N 82nd Bway NYC


[book] The Sanctity of Hate
A Medieval Mystery
By Priscilla Royal
December 2012,
Poisoned Pen Press
The corpse of an unpopular newcomer floats in the priory millpond. A Jewish family, refugees under the 1275 Statute of the Jewry, is accused. Did Jacob ben Asser kill him or was it Gytha, the prioress' maid?
Even Prioress Eleanor now wonders if she wants to unmask the killer.

13th Century England was interesting. William The Conqueror invited Jews to England to restore its economy, lend money, open shops. But by the time of Edward I, the king turned to Italian merchants, he abused the Jews, scapegoated them as the crusades failed, and used them to gain favor with the barons.
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[book] ISRAEL
December 2012,
What a great cover…
Professor Shapira is a professor emerita at Tel Aviv University and a scholar of the history of Zionism, Jewish-Arab relations, and the State of Israel.
Her volume provides a breathtaking history of Israel from the origins of the Zionist movement in the late 19th century to 2000. Organized chronologically, the volume explores the emergence of Zionism in Europe against the backdrop of relations among Jews, Arabs, and Turks, and the earliest pioneer settlements in Palestine under Ottoman rule. Weaving together political, social, and cultural developments in Palestine under the British mandate, Shapira creates a tapestry through which to understand the challenges of Israeli nation building, including mass immigration, shifting cultural norms, the politics of war and world diplomacy, and the creation of democratic institutions and a civil society. She makes use of literature to illuminate her points.
Publishers Weekly wrote that it is an indispensable guide even though it criticized the book for paying scant attention to military issues on the Suez Crisis, glossing over details, and writing very little about Israeli Arabs which are 20% of the country’s population.
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Fall 2012, FS&G
From the cover: In the late 1940s, David Ben-Gurion founded a unique military society: the state of Israel. A powerful defense establishment came to dominate the nation, and for half a century Israel’s leaders (bound by martial traditions and stern resolve never to lose sight of the Holocaust, and armed with a secret arsenal of nuclear weapons and the most powerful conventional army in the Middle East) have relished continuous war with the Arabs and an unblinking determination to prevail.
Fortress Israel is an epic portrayal of state militarism overpowering democracy and civilian government—of Sparta presenting itself as Athens. Patrick Tyler takes us inside the tough culture of native-born militants: the sabras, named for an especially rugged species of cactus. He shows generals who make decisions that trump those of elected leaders, generals who disdain diplomacy as a sign of weakness, and statesmen who make peace deals with their neighbors so that they can make arms deals with America. Tyler argues that this martial outlook makes Israel loath to achieve peace with the Muslim world even if it is possible to do so.
Based on a breathtakingly broad array of sources, declassified documents, personal archives, and interviews across the spectrum of Israel’s ruling class, Fortress Israel is a powerful story of character, rivalry, conflict, and the competing impulses for war and for peace.
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[book] The Six-Day War and Israeli Self-Defense
Questioning the Legal Basis for Preventive War
By John Quigley
December 2012,
Cambridge University Press
John Quigley's controversial new book states that it is incorrect to perceive that The June 1967 war was forced on Israel to prevent the annihilation of its people by Arab armies on its borders.
Using period documents declassified by key governments, Quigley shows the lack of evidence that the war was waged on Israel's side in anticipation of an attack by Arab states, and gives reason to question the long-held view of the war which has been held up as a precedent allowing an attack on a state that is expected to attack.
John Quigley teaches Law at Ohio State University. He earned his AB, LLB and MA degrees at Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He has written on international law, in particular on the Arab-Israeli conflict and is the author most recently of The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict (2010).
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How Israel Makes National Security Policy
(Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)
By Charles D. Freilich (Harvard K School)
2012, Cornell
In Zion's Dilemmas, a former deputy national security adviser to the State of Israel details the history and, in many cases, the chronic inadequacies in the making of Israeli national security policy. Chuck Freilich identifies profound, ongoing problems that he ascribes to a series of factors: a hostile and highly volatile regional environment, Israel's proportional representation electoral system, and structural peculiarities of the Israeli government and bureaucracy.
Freilich uses his insider understanding and substantial archival and interview research to describe how Israel has made strategic decisions and to present a first of its kind model of national security decision-making in Israel. He analyzes the major events of the last thirty years, from Camp David I to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, through Camp David II, the Gaza Disengagement Plan of 2000, and the second Lebanon war of 2006.
In these and other cases he identifies opportunities forgone, failures that resulted from a flawed decision-making process, and the entanglement of Israeli leaders in an inconsistent, highly politicized, and sometimes improvisational planning process. The cabinet is dysfunctional and Israel does not have an effective statutory forum for its decision-making-most of which is thus conducted in informal settings. In many cases policy objectives and options are poorly formulated. For all these problems, however, the Israeli decision-making process does have some strengths, among them the ability to make rapid and flexible responses, generally pragmatic decision-making, effective planning within the defense establishment, and the skills and motivation of those involved. Freilich concludes with cogent and timely recommendations for reform.

Interview with author is here:
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[book] The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization
Volume 10: 1973-2005
Edited by Deborah Dash Moore and Nurith Gertz
December 2012
Yale University Press
This first published volume in the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization introduces readers to the diversity of Jewish civilization since 1973. The volume vividly demonstrates the interaction of Jewish ideas and themes across continents and languages, revealing the complex transnational character of Jewish life and cultural production. With hundreds of examples from literature, visual arts, and popular culture, as well as intellectual and spiritual works, the volume adopts a deliberately pluralistic perspective. High and low, elite and popular, folk and mass, famous and obscure—all have a place in this groundbreaking anthology.
Readers will quickly come to appreciate the impact on Jewish culture of major social, political, and economic events during the past quarter century—the feminist movement, Israeli politics after the Yom Kippur War, Russian Jewish emigration, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, the rise of identity politics in the United States, South American revolutions and dictatorships, and North African emigration to France, among many others. Offering a rich encounter with an array of expressions of Jewish identity, the anthology reflects the exuberance, diversity, and vigor of Jewish culture in the decades since 1973.
Among the hundreds of noted figures in Volume 10 are Bellow, Blume, Dershowitz, Doctorow, Englander, Gehry, Bader Ginsburg, Thomas L. Friedman, Allegra Goodman, Grossman, Malamud, Memet, Nevelson, Ozick, Roth, Sontag, and Wasserstein
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[book] Moynihan's Moment
The Fight Against Zionism as Racism
By Gil Troy (McGill University)
December 2012
Oxford University Press
On November 10, 1975, the General Assembly of United Nations passed Resolution 3379, which declared Zionism a form of racism. Afterward, a tall man with long, graying hair, horned-rim glasses, and a bowtie stood to speak. He pronounced his words with the rounded tones of a Harvard academic, but his voice shook with outrage: "The United States rises to declare, before the General Assembly of the United Nations, and before the world, that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act."
This speech made Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a celebrity, but as Gil Troy demonstrates in this compelling new book, it also marked the rise of neo-conservatism in American politics--the start of a more confrontational, national-interest-driven foreign policy that turned away from Kissinger's detente-driven approach to the Soviet Union--which was behind Resolution 3379.
Moynihan recognized the resolution for what it was: an attack on Israel and a totalitarian assault against democracy, motivated by anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.
While Washington distanced itself from Moynihan, the public responded enthusiastically: American Jews rallied in support of Israel.
Civil rights leaders cheered.
The speech cost Moynihan his job, but soon won him a U.S. Senate seat from New York State
Troy examines the events leading up to the resolution (coming just months after the fall of South VietNam and the NYC fiscal crisis), vividly recounts Moynihan's speech, and traces its impact in intellectual circles, policy making, international relations, and electoral politics in the ensuing decades.
The mid-1970s represent a low-water mark of American self-confidence, as the country, mired in an economic slump, struggled with the legacy of Watergate and the humiliation of Vietnam. Moynihan's Moment captures a turning point, when the rhetoric began to change and a more muscular foreign policy began to find expression, a policy that continues to shape international relations to this day.
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[book] Bukharan Jews and the Dynamics of Global Judaism
By Alanna E. Cooper, PhD
December 2012, Indiana University Press
Part ethnography, part history, and part memoir, this volume chronicles the complex past and dynamic present of an ancient Mizrahi community. While intimately tied to the Central Asian landscape, the Jews of Bukhara have also maintained deep connections to the wider Jewish world. As the community began to disperse after the fall of the Soviet Union, Alanna E. Cooper traveled to Uzbekistan to document Jewish life there before it disappeared. Drawing on ethnographic research there, as well as among immigrants to the US and Israel, Cooper tells an intimate and personal story about what it means to be Bukharan Jewish. Together with her historical research about a series of dramatic encounters between Bukharan Jews and Jews from other parts of the world, this lively narrative illuminates the tensions inherent in maintaining Judaism as a single global religion over the course of its long and varied diaspora history.
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[book] Think Like Zuck
The Five Business Secrets of
Facebook's Improbably Brilliant
CEO Mark Zuckerberg
by Ekaterina Walter
December 2012,
McGraw Hill
Make Your Mark in the World with the Five Success Principles of the World-Changing Social Media Site, If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. Facebook accounts for one of every seven minutes spent online. More than one billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook.
There’s no doubt about it. Mark Zuckerberg’s creation has changed the world. Literally. Facebook has singlehandedly revolutionized the way more than one-seventh of the world’s population communicates, engages, and consumes information.
If you run a business or plan to start one, you’re probably asking yourself the same question organizational leaders worldwide are asking: What did Mark Zuckerberg do right?
At long last, the answer is here. Think Like Zuck examines the five principles behind Facebook’s meteoric rise, presented in actionable lessons anyone can apply—in any organization, in any industry. Written by social business trailblazer Ekaterina Walter, this groundbreaking book reveals the five “P”s of Facebook’s success:
PASSION—Keep your energy and commitment fully charged at all times by pursuing something you believe in
PURPOSE—Don’t just create a great product; drive a meaningful movement
PEOPLE—Build powerful teams that can execute your vision
PRODUCT—Create a product that is innovative, that breaks all the rules, that changes everything
PARTNERSHIPS—Build powerful partnerships with people who fuel imagination and energize execution

Packed with examples of Facebook’s success principles in action—as well as those of Zappos, TOMS, Threadless, Dyson, and other companies—Think Like Zuck gives you the inspiration, knowledge, and insight to make your own mark in the world, to build a business that makes a difference, and to lead your organization to long-term profitability and growth.
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[book] From Gods to God
How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends
By Avigdor Shinan, Yair Zakovitch. And Translated by Valerie Zakovitch
Hebrew University
December 2012
Jewish Publication Society
The ancient Israelites believed things that the writers of the Bible wanted them to forget: myths and legends from a pre-biblical world that the new monotheist order needed to bury, hide, or reinterpret.
Ancient Israel was rich in such literary traditions before the Bible reached the final form that we have today. These traditions were not lost but continued, passed down through the ages. Many managed to reach us in post-biblical sources: rabbinic literature, Jewish Hellenistic writings, the writings of the Dead Sea sect, the Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and other ancient translations of the Bible, and even outside the ancient Jewish world in Christian and Islamic texts. The Bible itself sometimes alludes to these traditions, often in surprising contexts. Written in clear and accessible language, this volume presents thirty such traditions. It voyages behind the veil of the written Bible to reconstruct what was told and retold among the ancient Israelites, even if it is “not what the Bible tells us.”
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[book] The Trial of the Talmud: Paris, 1240
(Mediaeval Sources in Translation)
Translated by John Friedman and Jean Connell Hoff
Introduction by Robert Chazan
December 2012,
By the early thirteenth century, European Jewish life was firmly rooted in the directives and doctrines of the Babylonian Talmud. In 1236, however, an apostate named Nicholas Donin appeared at the court of Pope Gregory IX, claiming that the Talmud was harmful and thus intolerable in a Christian society. Pope Gregory sent Donin off throughout Europe in 1239 with a message to secular authorities and leading clergy: Donin's allegations were to be carefully investigated, and - if substantiated - the Talmud was to be destroyed. Only one European ruler acted on the papal injunction, the pious King Louis IX of France, who convened a trial of the Talmud in Paris. This unprecedented event is richly reflected in a variety of sources, both Christian and Jewish, here brought together in English translation for the first time.
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[book] Judith
A Novel
By Lawrence Durrell
A breathtaking novel of passion and politics, set in the hotbed of Palestine in the 1940s, by a master of twentieth-century fiction
It is the eve of Britain’s withdrawal from Palestine in 1948, a moment that will mark the beginning of a new Israel. But the course of history is uncertain, and Israel’s territorial enemies plan to smother the new country at its birth. Judith Roth has escaped the concentration camps in Germany only to be plunged into the new conflict, one with stakes just as high for her as they are for her people.
Initially conceived as a screenplay for the 1966 film starring Sophia Loren, Lawrence Durrell’s previously unpublished novel offers a thrilling portrayal of a place and time when ancient history crashed against the fragile bulwarks of the modernizing world.
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[book] Leo Strauss on Moses Mendelssohn
Of course, by Leo Strauss
and Edited Translated by Martin D. Yaffe (North Texas)
December 2012
University of Chicago Press
Moses Mendelssohn (1729–86) was the leading Jewish thinker of the German Enlightenment and the founder of modern Jewish philosophy. His writings, especially his attempt during the Pantheism Controversy to defend the philosophical legacies of Spinoza and Leibniz against F. H. Jacobi’s philosophy of faith, captured the attention of a young Leo Strauss and played a critical role in the development of his thought on one of the fundamental themes of his life’s work: the conflicting demands of reason and revelation.
Leo Strauss on Moses Mendelssohn is a superbly annotated translation of ten introductions written by Strauss to a multi-volume critical edition of Mendelssohn’s work. Commissioned in Weimar Germany in the 1920s, the project was suppressed and nearly destroyed during Nazi rule and was not revived until the 1960s. In addition to Strauss’s introductions, Martin D. Yaffe has translated Strauss’s editorial remarks on each of the passages he annotates in Mendelssohn’s texts and brings those together with the introductions themselves. Yaffe has also contributed an extensive interpretive essay that both analyzes the introductions on their own terms and discusses what Strauss writes elsewhere about the broader themes broached in his Mendelssohn studies.
Strauss’s critique of Mendelssohn represents one of the largest bodies of work by the young Strauss on a single thinker to be made available in English. It illuminates not only a formerly obscure phase in the emergence of his thought but also a critical moment in the history of the German Enlightenment.
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[book] The Holy or the Broken
Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely
Ascent of "Hallelujah"
By Alan Light
December 2012
Today, “Hallelujah” is one of the most-performed rock songs in history. It has become a staple of movies and television shows as diverse as Shrek and The West Wing, of tribute videos and telethons. It has been covered by hundreds of artists, including Bob Dylan, U2, Justin Timberlake, and k.d. lang, and it is played every year at countless events—both sacred and secular—around the world.
Yet when music legend Leonard Cohen first wrote and recorded “Hallelujah,” it was for an album rejected by his longtime record label. Ten years later, charismatic newcomer Jeff Buckley reimagined the song for his much-anticipated debut album, Grace. Three years after that, Buckley would be dead, his album largely unknown, and “Hallelujah” still unreleased as a single. After two such commercially disappointing outings, how did one obscure song become an international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, a song each successive generation seems to feel they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own?
Through in-depth interviews with its interpreters and the key figures who were actually there for its original recordings, acclaimed music journalist Alan Light follows the improbable journey of “Hallelujah” straight to the heart of popular culture. The Holy or the Broken gives insight into how great songs come to be, how they come to be listened to, and how they can be forever reinterpreted.
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Link to Leonard Cohen singing it:

[book] The Chinese Takeout Cookbook
Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home
By Diana Kuan (Aut
December 2012
Jews and Chinese Takeout. America’s and Jewish people's love affairs with Chinese food dates back more than a century. Today, such dishes as General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet and Sour dishes, and Egg Rolls are as common as hamburgers and spaghetti. In Iraq, the army, trying to evoke homestyle American food, served chinese food. Probably at this moment, a drawer in your kitchen is stuffed with Chinese takeout menus, soy sauce packets, and wooden chopsticks, right?
But what if you didn’t have to eat your favorites out of a container?
In The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, Chinese food blogger and cooking instructor Diana Kuan brings Chinatown to your home with this amazing collection of more than eighty popular Chinese takeout recipes—appetizers, main courses, noodle and rice dishes, and desserts—all easy-to-prepare and MSG-free. Plus you’ll discover how to
• stock your pantry with ingredients you can find at your local supermarket
• season and master a wok for all your Chinese cooking needs
• prepare the flavor trifecta of Chinese cuisine—ginger, garlic, and scallions
• wrap egg rolls, dumplings, and wontons like a pro
• steam fish to perfection every time
• create vegetarian variations that will please everyone’s palate
• whip up delectable sweet treats in time for the Chinese New Year

The Chinese Takeout Cookbook also features mouthwatering color photos throughout as well as sidebars that highlight helpful notes, including how to freeze and recook dumplings; cooking tidbits, such as how to kick up your dish with a bit of heat; and the history behind some of your favorite comfort foods, including the curious New York invention of the pastrami egg roll and the influence of Tiki culture on Chinese cuisine. So, put down that takeout menu, grab the wok, and get cooking!
More than 80 favorite Chinese restaurant dishes: Cold Sesame Noodles; Kung Pao Chicken; Beef Chow Fun; Homemade Chili Oil; Hot and Sour Soup (leave out the pork); Chinatown Roast Duck; Moo Shu; Dry-Fried String Beans; and more
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January 2013, Stanford
This book explores the life and thought of one of the most important but least known figures in early Zionism, Nathan Birnbaum. Now remembered mainly for his coinage of the word "Zionism," Birnbaum was a towering figure in early Jewish nationalism. Because of his unusual intellectual trajectory, however, he has been written out of Jewish history. In the middle of his life, in the depth of World War I, Birnbaum left his venerable position as a secular Jewish nationalist for religious Orthodoxy, an unheard of decision in his time. To the dismay of his former colleagues, he adopted a life of strict religiosity and was embraced as a leader in the young, growing world of Orthodox political activism in the interwar period, one of the most successful and powerful movements in interwar central and eastern Europe.
Jess Olson brings to light documents from one of the most complete archives of Jewish nationalism, the Nathan and Solomon Birnbaum Family Archives, including materials previously unknown in the study of Zionism, Yiddish-based Jewish nationalism, and the history of Orthodoxy. This book is an important meditation on the complexities of Jewish political and intellectual life in the most tumultuous period of European Jewish history, especially of the interplay of national, political, and religious identity in the life of one of its most fascinating figures.
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[book] From Our Springtime
Literary Memoirs and Portraits of
Yiddish New York
(Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, & Art)
By Reuben Iceland
January 2013, Syracuse
In New York in 1907, a group of avant-garde Yiddish poets came together to transform Yiddish literature. Seeking a pure artistic expression, they would rid Yiddish poetry of foreign influences and overbearing political and religious rhetoric.
While influenced by their Eastern European heritage, these poets were nonetheless uniquely American in their focus on the exploration of the individual. Calling themselves di Yunge (the Young Ones), this group was led in part by Reuben Iceland (he passed away in the 1950s).
From Our Springtime is Iceland's memoir as well as a reflection on the lives of the di Yunge poets. With its vivid characters, beautifully crafted descriptions, snippets of poetry, and clear analysis of the poems, this book is a work of art in its own right, and an essential resource for anyone interested in Yiddish American poetry. Translated into English for the first time, From Our Springtime brings this period in New York literary history to life and tells the story of how these poets transformed Yiddish poetry from an expression of working class struggles to a form of Yiddish high art.
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[book] The Faith of Remembrance
Marrano Labyrinths
By Nathan Wachtel
Translated from French by Nikki Halpern
Foreword by Yosef Kaplan
January 2013, University of Pennsylvania Press
In a series of intimate and searing portraits, Nathan Wachtel traces the journeys of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Marranos—Spanish and Portuguese Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism but secretly retained their own faith. Fleeing persecution in their Iberian homeland, some sought refuge in the Americas, where they established transcontinental networks linking the New World to the Old. The Marranos—at once Jewish and Christian, outsiders and insiders—nurtured their hidden beliefs within their new communities, participating in the economic development of the early Americas while still adhering to some of the rituals and customs of their ancestors. In a testament to the partial assimilation of these new arrivals, their faith became ever more syncretic, mixing elements of Judaism with Christian practice and theology.
In many cases, the combination was fatal. Wachtel relies on inquisitorial archives of trials and executions to chronicle legal and religious prosecutions for heresy. From the humble Jean Vicente to the fabulously wealthy slave trafficker Manuel Bautista Perez, from the untutored Theresa Paes de Jesus to the learned Francisco Maldonado de Silva, each unforgettable figure offers a chilling reminder of the reach of the Inquisition.
Sensitive to the lingering tensions within the Marrano communities, Wachtel joins the concerns of an anthropologist to his skills as a historian, and in a stunning authorial move, he demonstrates that the faith of remembrance remains alive today in the towns of rural Brazil.
"One of the most important books on crypto-Judaism in the New World, bringing together Wachtel's classic combination of anthropologist and historian into psychological and spiritual investigations of the Marrano community. Based heavily on archival research of Inquisition cases in Mexico City and Lima, this book stresses the syncretist tendency of this group whose knowledge of Judaism and Hebrew was minimal and who couldn't help mixing in a good deal of Christian practice and theology."—Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study
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John Demjanjuk and America's Open-Door Policy for Nazi War Criminals
By Richard Rashke
January 2013, Delphinium
John Demjanjuk was the focus of a complex, years-long war crimes trial. It took six decades for the United States Department of Justice to charge him with a crime. Why? The author writes that after WW2, as the Cold War intensified, the US recruited useful Nazi war criminals. Departments in the government worked to hide and shelter former Nazis. Riveting. Deeply researched by the author of Escape from Sobibor. Click the book’s cover or title to read more

January 2013
Zen master Bernie Glassman compares Jeff Bridges’s iconic role in The Big Lebowski to a Lamed-Vavnik: one of the men in Jewish mysticism who “are simple and unassuming, and so good that, on account of them, God lets the world go on.” His buddy Jeff puts it another way. The wonderful thing about the Dude, he says, is that he’d always rather hug it out than slug it out.
For more than a decade, Academy Award–winning actor Jeff Bridges and his buddhist teacher, renowned Roshi Bernie Glassman, have been close friends. Inspiring and often hilarious, The Dude and the Zen Master captures their freewheeling dialogue about life, laughter, and the movies with a charm and bonhomie that never fail to enlighten and entertain. Throughout, their remarkable humanism reminds us of the importance of doing good in a difficult world.
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[book] Searching for Zion
The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora
By Emily Raboteau
January 2013
Atlantic Monthly Press
A decade in the making, Emily Raboteau’s Searching for Zion takes readers around the world on an unexpected adventure of faith. Both one woman’s quest for a place to call “home” and an investigation into a people’s search for the Promised Land, this landmark work of creative nonfiction is a trenchant inquiry into contemporary and historical ethnic displacement. At the age of twenty-three, award-winning writer Emily Raboteau traveled to Israel to visit her childhood best friend. While her friend appeared to have found a place to belong, Raboteau could not yet say the same for herself. As a biracial woman from a country still divided along racial lines, she’d never felt at home in America. But as a reggae fan and the daughter of a historian of African-American religion, Raboteau knew of "Zion" as a place black people yearned to be. She’d heard about it on Bob Marley’s Exodus and in the speeches of Martin Luther King. She understood it as a metaphor for freedom, a spiritual realm rather than a geographical one. Now in Israel, the Jewish Zion, she was surprised to discover black Jews. More surprising was the story of how they got there. Inspired by their exodus, Raboteau sought out other black communities that left home in search of a Promised Land. Her question for them is same she asks herself: have you found the home you’re looking for?
On her ten-year journey back in time and around the globe, through the Bush years and into the age of Obama, Raboteau wanders to Jamaica, Ethiopia, Ghana, and the American South to explore the complex and contradictory perspectives of Black Zionists. She talks to Rastafarians and African Hebrew Israelites, Evangelicals and Ethiopian Jews, and Katrina transplants from her own family—people that have risked everything in search of territory that is hard to define and harder to inhabit. Uniting memoir with historical and cultural investigation, Raboteau overturns our ideas of place and patriotism, displacement and dispossession, citizenship and country in a disarmingly honest and refreshingly brave take on the pull of the story of Exodus.
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[book] The Tin Horse
A Novel
By Janice Steinberg
January 2013
Random House
In the stunning tradition of Lisa See, Maeve Binchy, and Alice Hoffman, The Tin Horse is a rich multigenerational story about the intense, often fraught bond sisters share and the dreams and sorrows that lay at the heart of the immigrant experience.
It has been more than sixty years since Elaine Greenstein’s twin sister, Barbara, ran away, cutting off contact with her family forever. Elaine has made peace with that loss. But while sifting through old papers as she prepares to move to Rancho Mañana—or the “Ranch of No Tomorrow” as she refers to the retirement community—she is stunned to find a possible hint to Barbara’s whereabouts all these years later. And it pushes her to confront the fierce love and bitter rivalry of their youth during the 1920s and ’30s, in the Los Angeles Jewish neighborhood of Boyle Heights.
Though raised together in Boyle Heights, where kosher delis and storefront signs in Yiddish lined the streets, Elaine and Barbara staked out very different personal territories. Elaine was thoughtful and studious, encouraged to dream of going to college, while Barbara was a bold rule-breaker whose hopes fastened on nearby Hollywood. In the fall of 1939, when the girls were eighteen, Barbara’s recklessness took an alarming turn. Leaving only a cryptic note, she disappeared.
In an unforgettable voice layered with humor and insight, Elaine delves into the past. She recalls growing up with her spirited family: her luftmensch of a grandfather, a former tinsmith with tales from the Old Country; her papa, who preaches the American Dream even as it eludes him; her mercurial mother, whose secret grief colors her moods—and of course audacious Barbara and their younger sisters, Audrey and Harriet. As Elaine looks back on the momentous events of history and on the personal dramas of the Greenstein clan, she must finally face the truth of her own childhood, and that of the twin sister she once knew.
In The Tin Horse, Janice Steinberg exquisitely unfolds a rich multigenerational story about the intense, often fraught bonds between sisters, mothers, and daughters and the profound and surprising ways we are shaped by those we love. At its core, it is a book not only about the stories we tell but, more important, those we believe, especially the ones about our very selves.

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[book] Stalin's Barber
A Novel
By Paul M. Levitt (Univ Colorado)
January 2013
Taylor Trade
Avraham Bahar leaves debt-ridden and depressed Albania to seek a better life in, ironically, Stalinist Russia. A professional barber, he curries favor with the Communist regime, ultimately being invited to become Stalin’s personal barber at the Kremlin, where he is entitled to live in a government house with other Soviet dignitaries. In the intrigue that follows, Avraham, now known as Razan, is not only barber to Stalin but also to the many Stalin look-alikes that the paranoid dictator circulates to thwart possible assassination attempts—including one from Razan himself.
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[book] DATA, A Love Story
How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match
By Amy Webb
January 2013,
A lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman "gamed" online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid and eHarmony – and met her eventual husband.
After yet another online dating disaster, Amy Webb was about to cancel her JDate membership when an epiphany struck: It wasn’t that her standards were too high, as women are often told, but that she wasn’t evaluating the right data in suitors’ profiles.
That night, Webb, an admitted compulsive person, an award-winning journalist and digital-strategist, made a detailed, exhaustive list of what she did and didn’t want in a mate. The result: A 1500 point system with seventy-two requirements ranging from the expected (smart, funny) to the super-specific (likes selected musicals: Chess, Les Misérables. Not Cats. Must not like Cats(seriously??, that Cats issue is such a hipster attitude… Cats can be loved from the point of view of producing a long-running show on Broadway. And what is up with her issues surrounding George Michael? And why should they only like jazz from the 1920s through the 1940s?)

Next Amy turned to her own profile. In order to craft the most compelling online presentation, she needed to assess the competition — so she signed on to JDate again, this time as a man. She signed in as a man to check her female competition
Using the same gift for data strategy that made her company the top in its field, she found the key words that were digital man magnets, analyzed photos, and studied the timing of women’s messages, then adjusted her (female) profile to make the most of that intelligence (having long straight hair is an advantage on JDate).
Then began the deluge — dozens of men wanted to meet her, men who actually met her requirements. Among them: Brian, her future husband, now the father of their love-child. (he met 71 of her 72 requirements) (truth be told, after making her list, she did not date much since few made her cutoff, she avoided bad date, but also limited her dates)
Forty million people date online each year. Most don’t find true love. Thanks to Data, a Love Story, their odds just got a whole lot better.
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[book] The Imposter Bride
By Nancy Richler
January 2013
St. Martin’s Press
An unforgettable novel about a mysterious mail-order bride in the wake of WWII, whose sudden decision ripples through time to deeply impact the daughter she never knew
The Imposter Bride blends gorgeous storytelling and generation-spanning intrigue in the story of Lily Azerov. A young, enigmatic woman, Lily arrives in post-WWII Montreal on her own, expecting to be married to Sol Kramer. But, upon seeing her at the train station, Sol turns her down. Out of pity, his brother Nathan decides to marry her instead, and pity turns into a deep—and doomed—love. But it is immediately clear that Lily is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters when she disappears, leaving a new husband and a baby daughter with only a diary, a large uncut diamond—and a need to find the truth.
Who is Lily and what happened to the young woman whose identity she stole? Why has she left and where did she go? It's up to the daughter Lily abandoned to find the answers to these questions, as she searches for the mother she may never find or truly know.
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Why The United States Must Come To Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran
By Flynt and Hillary Leverett
January 2013, Metropolitan Books
An eye-opening argument for a new approach to Iran, from two of America's most informed and influential Middle East experts. Less than a decade after Washington endorsed a fraudulent case for invading Iraq, similarly misinformed and politically motivated claims are pushing America toward war with Iran. Today the stakes are even higher: such a war could break the back of America's strained superpower status. Challenging the daily clamor of U.S. saber rattling, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett argue that America should renounce thirty years of failed strategy and engage with Iran—just as Nixon revolutionized U.S. foreign policy by going to Beijing and realigning relations with China.
Former analysts in both the Bush and Clinton administrations, the Leveretts offer a uniquely informed account of Iran as it actually is today, not as many have caricatured it or wished it to be. They show that Iran's political order is not on the verge of collapse, that most Iranians still support the Islamic Republic, and that Iran's regional influence makes it critical to progress in the Middle East. Drawing on years of research and access to high-level officials, Going to Tehran explains how Iran sees the world and why its approach to foreign policy is hardly the irrational behavior of a rogue nation.
A bold call for new thinking, the Leveretts' indispensable work makes it clear that America must "go to Tehran" if it is to avert strategic catastrophe.
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[book] Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde
A True Story
BY Rebecca Dana
January 2013, Putnam Amy Einhorn
The ultimate fish-out-of-water tale
A child who never quite fit in, Rebecca Dana worshipped at the altar of Truman Capote and Nora Ephron, dreaming of one day ditching Pittsburgh and moving to New York, her Jerusalem. After graduating from college, she made her way to the city to begin her destiny. For a time, life turned out exactly as she’d planned: glamorous parties; beautiful people; the perfect job, apartment, and man. But when it all came crashing down, she found herself catapulted into another world. She moves into Brooklyn’s enormous Lubavitch community, and lives with Cosmo, a thirty-year-old Russian rabbi who practices jujitsu on the side.
While Cosmo, disenchanted with Orthodoxy, flirts with leaving the community, Rebecca faces the fact that her religion — the books, magazines, TV shows, and movies that made New York seem like salvation — has also failed her. As she shuttles between the world of religious extremism and the world of secular excess, Rebecca goes on a search for meaning.
Trenchantly observant, entertaining as hell, a mix of Shalom Auslander and The Odd Couple, Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde is a thought-provoking coming-of-age story for the twenty-first century.
Rebecca Dana is a senior correspondent for Newsweek/DailyBeast. She had prior writing positions at the WSJ and the NYObserver
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[book] The Zelmenyaners
A Family Saga
By Moyshe Kulbak, Transl. By Hillel Halkin
January 2013
Yale University Press
In 1937, at the age of 41, Kulbak, one of the foremost Yiddish writers was arrested in Minsk by the Stalin regime and murdered.
This is the first complete English translation of his major work. A family saga of a Jewish family facing the new reality of the Soviet regime in Minsk. Think f it as Tevye and his family moving from the farm to Minsk.
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By Robert A. Ventresca
January 2013, Harvard Belknap
Debates over the legacy of Pope Pius XII and his canonization are so heated they are known as the “Pius wars.” Soldier of Christ moves beyond competing caricatures and considers Pius XII as Eugenio Pacelli, a flawed and gifted man. While offering insight into the Pope’s response to Nazism, Robert A. Ventresca argues that it was the Cold War and Pius XII’s manner of engaging with the modern world that defined his pontificate.
Laying the groundwork for the Pope’s controversial, contradictory actions from 1939 to 1958, Ventresca begins with the story of Pacelli’s Roman upbringing, his intellectual formation in Rome’s seminaries, and his interwar experience as papal diplomat and Vatican Secretary of State. Accused of moral equivocation during the Holocaust, Pius XII later fought the spread of Communism in Western Europe, spoke against the persecution of Catholics in Eastern Europe and Asia, and tackled a range of social and political issues. By appointing the first indigenous cardinals from China and India and expanding missions in Africa while expressing solidarity with independence movements, he internationalized the Church’s membership and moved Catholicism beyond the colonial mentality of previous eras. Drawing from a diversity of international sources, including unexplored documentation from the Vatican, Ventresca reveals a paradoxical figure: a prophetic reformer of limited vision whose leadership both stimulated the emergence of a global Catholicism and sowed doubt and dissension among some of the Church’s most faithful servants.
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Selected and Edited by Marie Rut Krizkova
Jurt Jiri Kotuoc, and Zdenek Orenest
Translated from Czech by R. Elizabeth Novak
Edited by Paul R. Wilson
With a foreword by the late Vaclav Havel
January 2013, JPS
Terezín survivor George (Jirí) Brady recalls: “In the tragic struggle for survival, the Nazi-imposed Terezín ‘self-administration’ tried to help the imprisoned children. They were placed in buildings where living conditions were better than in the many barracks that were inside the fortress. . . . I was one of these children. And by pure luck I found myself among the boys who were led by Valtr Eisinger. In a small room overcrowded with three-tiered bunks, he created a new, fascinating world for us behind the ghetto walls. The boys developed talents they never dreamed they had, and it was there too that the illegal children’s magazine on which this book is based was founded.”
From 1942 to 1944, a group of thirteen- to fifteen-year-old Jewish boys secretly produced a weekly magazine called Vedem (In the Lead) at the model concentration camp, Theresienstadt (“Terezín” in Czech). The writers, artists, and editors put together the issues and copied them by hand behind the blackout shades of their cellblock, which they affectionately called the “Republic of Shkid.” Although the material was saved by one of the handful of boys who survived the Holocaust, it was suppressed for fifty years in Czechoslovakia until 1995, when these works were published simultaneously in English, Czech, and German.
Vedem provides a poignant glimpse into the world of boys torn from their comfortable childhoods and separated from their families, ultimately to perish in the Nazi death machine. The edition includes a new preface and epilogue.
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[book] Why Is Milk White?
& 200 Other Curious Chemistry Questions
By Alexa Coelho and Simon Quellen Field
January 2013, Chicago Review Press
Covering a wide variety of everyday chemistry concepts from the very simple to the more complex, this question-and-answer primer provides straightforward, easy-to-understand explanations for inquisitive young scientists' questions. A dozen unique experiments to try at home—from lifting latent fingerprints from a “crime scene” using super glue (for smooth surfaces) or iodine (for paper) to hollowing out the zinc interior of a penny using muriatic acid—are interspersed with the answers to such questions as What makes soda so fizzy? and Why do you get cavities when you eat too much sugar? From separating food coloring into its component dyes to using easy-to-find chemicals to create “slime,” Silly Putty, or bouncing balls, this handy guide is the ideal resource for the budding chemist.


[book] What They Saved
Pieces of a Jewish Past
Now in Paperback
By Nancy K. Miller
January 2013, University of Nebraska Press
After her father’s death, Nancy K. Miller discovered a minuscule family archive: a handful of photographs, an unexplained land deed, a postcard from Argentina, unidentified locks of hair. These items had been passed down again and again, but what did they mean? Miller follows their traces from one distant relative to the next, across the country, and across an ocean. Her story, unlike the many family memoirs focused on the Holocaust, takes us back earlier in history to the world of pogroms and mass emigrations at the turn of the twentieth century.
Searching for roots as a middle-aged orphan and an assimilated Jewish New Yorker, Miller finds herself asking unexpected questions: Why do I know so little about my family? How can I understand myself when I don’t know my past? The answers lead her to a carpenter in the Ukraine, a stationery peddler on the Lower East Side, and a gangster hanger-on in the Bronx. As a third-generation descendant of Eastern European Jews, Miller learns that the hidden lives of her ancestors reveal as much about the present as they do about the past. In the end, an odyssey to uncover the origins of her lost family becomes a memoir of renewal.
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BY MICHELE ROBERTS (University of East Anglia)
January 2013, Bloomsbury USA
Popular in the UK and France, its comes to the US in January 2013.
In every war there are stories that do not surface. You can try to forget, but sometimes the past can return: in the scent of a bar of soap, in whispers darting through a village after mass, in the color of an undelivered letter.Jeanne Nerin and Marie-Angèle Baudry grow up side by side in the Catholic village of Ste. Madeleine, but their worlds could not be more different. Marie-Angèle is the grocer's daughter, inflated with ideas of her own piety and rightful place in society. Jeanne's mother washes clothes for a living. She used to be a Jew until this became too dangerous. Jeanne does not think twice about stealing food when she is hungry, nor about grasping the slender chances life throws at her. Marie-Angèle does not grasp; she aspires to a life of comfort and influence. When war falls out of the sky, the forces that divide the two girls threaten to overwhelm those that bind them together. In this dizzying new order, the truth can be buried under a pyramid of recriminations.
Michèle Roberts's new novel is a mesmerizing exploration of guilt, faith, desire, and judgment, bringing to life a people at war in a way that is at once lyrical and shocking.
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By Renee Levine Melammed
January 2013, Indiana Univ Press
Poems that recall the lost Jewish community of Salonika. Renee Levine Melammed, Dean of the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem, shows how the poetry of Sarfatty (1916-1997) recaptures a community. Through the poetry of Bouena Sarfatty (1916-1997), An Ode to Salonika sketches the life and demise of the Sephardi Jewish community that once flourished in this Greek crossroads city. A resident of Salonika who survived the Holocaust as a partisan and later settled in Canada, Sarfatty preserved the traditions and memories of this diverse and thriving Sephardi community in some 500 Ladino poems known as coplas. The coplas also describe the traumas the community faced under German occupation before the Nazis deported its Jewish residents to Auschwitz. The coplas in Ladino and in Renée Levine Melammed's English translation are framed by chapters that trace the history of the Sephardi community in Salonika and provide context for the poems. This unique and moving source provides a rare entrée into a once vibrant world now lost. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

[book] The Genius
Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism
By Eliyahu Stern (Yale)
January 2013
Yale University Press
Elijah ben Solomon, the "Genius of Vilna,” was perhaps the best-known and most understudied figure in modern Jewish history. This book offers a new narrative of Jewish modernity based on Elijah's life and influence.
While the experience of Jews in modernity has often been described as a process of Western European secularization—with Jews becoming citizens of Western nation-states, congregants of reformed synagogues, and assimilated members of society—Stern uses Elijah’s story to highlight a different theory of modernization for European life. Religious movements such as Hasidism and anti-secular institutions such as the yeshiva emerged from the same democratization of knowledge and privatization of religion that gave rise to secular and universal movements and institutions. Claimed by traditionalists, enlighteners, Zionists, and the Orthodox, Elijah’s genius and its afterlife capture an all-embracing interpretation of the modern Jewish experience.
Through the story of the “Vilna Gaon,” Stern presents a new model for understanding modern Jewish history and more generally the place of traditionalism and religious radicalism in modern Western life and thought.
“Elli Stern’s study of the great Gaon of Vilna is a considerable contribution to the study of Jewish genius. Though the Gaon now tragically represents the murdered culture of East European Jewry, his example remains a beacon for the entire Judaic intellectual and spiritual enterprise.”—Harold Bloom
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Words of Yearning, Praise, Petition, Gratitude
and Wonder from Traditional and Contemporary Sources
Edited by Stuart M. Matlins
And Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky
January 2013,
Jewish Lights
A celebration of Jewish men s voices in prayer—to strengthen, to heal, to comfort, to inspire. This collection of prayers celebrates the variety of ways Jewish men engage in personal dialogue with God with words of praise, petition, joy, gratitude, wonder, and even anger from the ancient world up to our own day.
Drawn from mystical, traditional, biblical, Talmudic, Hasidic, and modern sources, these prayers will help deepen Jewish men s relationship with God and help guide their journey of self-discovery, healing and spiritual awareness. Together they provide a powerful and creative expression of Jewish men s inner lives, and the always revealing, sometimes painful, sometimes joyous—and often even practical—endeavor that prayer can be.
Jewish Men Pray will challenge preconceived ideas about prayer. It will inspire readers to explore new ways of prayerful expression, new paths for finding the sacred in the ordinary, and new possibilities for understanding the Jewish relationship with the Divine. This is a book to treasure and to share.
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[book] The Fed-Up Man of Faith
Challenging God in the Face of Suffering and Tragedy
By Shmuley Boteach
January 2013,
Gefen Publishing
Boteach, a rabbi in the Lubavitch movement of Hasidism, a former candidate for U.S. Congress from New Jersey, author, speaker, media personality and a man who calls himself “America’s Rabbi,” asks, “Where was the hand of G-d on 9/11?; Was G-d absent from Poland in the 1940s?; Does pain make us into more sensitive people?; and Is a person who questions G-d still righteous?” Boteach tackles the ultimate, timeless questions that go to the heart of the human condition and arrives at some surprising answers.
FROM THE COVER: Drawing on numerous confrontations with God from the Bible, and using examples of appalling suffering from current headlines, Shmuley argues against Rabbi Harold Kushner s best-selling “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People” and boldly guides us to the conclusion that challenging God and His actions is not just our right but our foremost obligation as human beings. This revolutionary book turns millennia of mistaken belief on its head, providing a concrete action plan for emboldening ourselves against victimhood. If life has ever defeated you, or if you have ever felt let down by G-d, this is the book for you.
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[book] Koren Talmud Bavli
Volume 4
Tractate Eiruvin, Part 1
The Noe Color Edition, Hebrew/English
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz (Editor)
January 2013,
Koren Publishers, Jerusalem
The Koren Talmud Bavli is a groundbreaking edition of the Talmud that fuses the innovative design of Koren Publishers Jerusalem with the incomparable scholarship of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The Koren Talmud Bavli Noe Edition is a full-size, full-color edition that presents an enhanced Vilna page, a side-by-side English translation, photographs and illustrations, a brilliant commentary, and a multitude of learning aids to help the beginning and advanced student alike actively participate in the dynamic process of Talmud study.
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The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus
By Frederic Raphael
January 22, 2013,
From the acclaimed biographer, screenwriter, and novelist Frederic Raphael, here is an audacious history of Josephus (37–c.100), the Jewish general turned Roman historian, whose emblematic betrayal is a touchstone for the Jew alone in the Gentile world.
Joseph ben Mattathias’s transformation into Titus Flavius Josephus, historian to the Roman emperor Vespasian, is a gripping and dramatic story. His life, in the hands of Frederic Raphael, becomes a point of departure for an appraisal of Diasporan Jews seeking a place in the dominant cultures they inhabit. Raphael brings a scholar’s rigor, a historian’s perspective, and a novelist’s imagination to this project. He goes beyond the fascinating details of Josephus’s life and his singular literary achievements to examine how Josephus has been viewed by posterity, finding in him the prototype for the un-Jewish Jew, the assimilated intellectual, and the abiding apostate: the recurrent figures in the long centuries of the Diaspora.
Raphael’s insightful portraits of ?Yehuda Halevi, Baruch Spinoza, Karl Kraus, Benjamin Disraeli, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Hannah Arendt extend and illuminate the Josephean worldview Raphael so eloquently lays out.
“To recalibrate Josephus’ legacy in modern times, the screenwriter and novelist Frederic Raphael, who was trained in classics at Cambridge University, has written A Jew Among Romans, an eloquent appraisal of Josephus. In the book’s first part, he skillfully recounts the transformation of Joseph ben Mattathias, a descendant of priests, into Titus Flavius Josephus, confidant of emperors. . . . As Mr. Raphael’s sharply etched account makes clear, the turncoat Josephus may have been a ‘sponsored propagandist.’ . . . In the second and bolder part of A Jew Among Romans, Mr. Raphael casts Josephus as a prototype of the alienated ‘un-Jewish Jew’ in the Diaspora. . . . [I]n capturing Josephus’ ambivalences and ambiguities, Mr. Raphael has with great subtlety shed light on the heirs of that fascinating figure: those memory-haunted thinkers, living on the borderlines of nations and religions, defined by the attempt to transcend the very tradition to which they were so richly indebted.” —Benjamin Balint, The Wall Street Journal
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Contemporary Literature
and The Quest for the Past
by Amir Eshel (Stanford)
January 2013,
University of Chicago Press
When looking at how trauma is represented in literature and the arts, we tend to focus on the weight of the past. In this book, Amir Eshel suggests that this retrospective gaze has trapped us in a search for reason in the madness of the twentieth century’s catastrophes at the expense of literature’s prospective vision. Considering several key literary works, Eshel argues in Futurity that by grappling with watershed events of modernity, these works display a future-centric engagement with the past that opens up the present to new political, cultural, and ethical possibilities—what he calls futurity.
Bringing together postwar German, Israeli, and Anglo-American literature, Eshel traces a shared trajectory of futurity in world literature. He begins by examining German works of fiction and the debates they spurred over the future character of Germany’s public sphere. Turning to literary works by Jewish-Israeli writers as they revisit Israel’s political birth, he shows how these stories inspired a powerful reconsideration of Israel’s identity. Eshel then discusses post-1989 literature—from Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs to J. M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year—revealing how these books turn to events like World War II and the Iraq War not simply to make sense of the past but to contemplate the political and intellectual horizon that emerged after 1989. Bringing to light how reflections on the past create tools for the future, Futurity reminds us of the numerous possibilities literature holds for grappling with the challenges of both today and tomorrow.
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February 2013, Harper Collins
Fifty years after Where the Wild Things Are was published comes the last book Maurice Sendak completed before his death in May 2012, My Brother's Book.
With influences from Shakespeare and William Blake, Sendak pays homage to his late brother, Jack, whom he credited for his passion for writing and drawing. Pairing Sendak's poignant poetry with his exquisite and dramatic artwork, this book redefines what mature readers expect from Maurice Sendak while continuing the lasting legacy he created over his long, illustrious career.
Sendak's tribute to his brother is an expression of both grief and love and will resonate with his lifelong fans who may have read his children's books and will be ecstatic to discover something for them now. Pulitzer Prize–winning literary critic and Shakespearean scholar Stephen Greenblatt contributes a moving introduction.
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[book] The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz
By Ephraim Kanarfogel
Wayne State University Press
In The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz, author Ephraim Kanarfogel challenges the dominant perception that medieval Ashkenazic rabbinic scholarship was lacking in intellectualism or broad scholarly interests. While cultural interaction between Jews and Christians in western Europe was less than that of Sephardic Jews, Kanarfogel's study shows that the intellectual interests of Ashkenazic rabbinic figures were much broader than Talmudic studies alone.
Kanarfogel begins by highlighting several factors that have contributed to relatively narrow perceptions of Ashkenazic rabbinic culture and argues that the Tosafists, and Ashkenazic rabbinic scholarship more generally, advocated a wide definition of the truths that could be discovered through Torah study. He explores differences in talmudic and halakhic studies between the Tosafist centers of northern France and Germany, delves into aspects of biblical interpretation in each region, and identifies important Tosafists and rabbinic figures. Kanarfogel also examines the composition of liturgical poetry (piyyut) by Tosafists, interest in forms of (white) magic and mysticism on the part of a number of northern French Tosafists, and a spectrum of views on the question of anthropomorphism and messianism.
Overall, Kanarfogel demonstrates that the approach taken by Tosafists was broader, more open, and more multi-disciplinary than previously considered. Medieval and Jewish history scholars will appreciate Kanarfogel's volume, which is the culmination of several decades of research on the subject.
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BY JAMAL ELIAS, University of Pennsylvania
Harvard University Press
Media coverage of the Danish cartoon crisis and the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan left Westerners with a strong impression that Islam does not countenance depiction of religious imagery. Jamal J. Elias corrects this view by revealing the complexity of Islamic attitudes toward representational religious art. Aisha’s Cushion emphasizes Islam’s perceptual and intellectual modes and in so doing offers the reader both insight into Islamic visual culture and a unique way of seeing the world.
Aisha’s Cushion evaluates the controversies surrounding blasphemy and iconoclasm by exploring Islamic societies at the time of Muhammad and the birth of Islam; during early contact between Arab Muslims and Byzantine Christians; in medieval Anatolia and India; and in modern times. Elias’s inquiry then goes further, to situate Islamic religious art in a global context. His comparisons with Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu attitudes toward religious art show them to be as contradictory as those of Islam. Contemporary theories about art’s place in society inform Elias’s investigation of how religious objects have been understood across time and in different cultures.
Elias contends that Islamic perspectives on representation and perception should be sought not only in theological writings or aesthetic treatises but in a range of Islamic works in areas as diverse as optics, alchemy, dreaming, calligraphy, literature, vehicle and home decoration, and Sufi metaphysics. Unearthing shades of meaning in Islamic thought throughout history, Elias offers fresh insight into the relations among religion, art, and perception across a broad range of cultures.
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Wrapped in Majesty
By Rabbi DovBer Pinson
February 2013,
Iyyun Publishing
Tefillin, the black boxes and leather straps, that are worn during prayer, are curiously powerful and mysterious. Within the inky black boxes lie untold secrets. In this profound, passionate and thought-provoking text, Rav DovBer Pinson explores and reveals the multi-dimensional perspectives of Tefillin. Rav Pinson magically weaves together all dimensions of Torah;, Peshat, literal observation, to Remez, the allegorical; Derush, the homiletic, to Sod, hidden Kabbalistic, into one wonderful tapestry. Rav Pinson reaches for the underlying unity within all wellsprings of Torah and uncovers the hidden profound mystery of the Tefillin. Inspirational and instructive, Wrapped in Majesty: Tefillin, will make putting on the Tefillin more meaningful and deepen the experience.
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[book] The Soundtrack of My Life
A Memoir
By Clive Davis with Anthony DeCurtis
February 19, 2013
Simon and Schuster
Clive Davis shares a personal, candid look into his life and the last fifty years of popular music as only he can, as the true insider. Davis, born in Brooklyn/New York City, was orphaned at an early age, but completed school and won scholarships to NYU and Harvard Law School. Now, at age 80, he remains firmly in charge of the creative output of Sony Music.
His career has spanned more than four decades, and he has discovered, signed, or worked with a staggering array of artists: Whitney Houston, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Dionne Warwick, Carlos Santana, The Grateful Dead, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, and Aretha Franklin, to name just a few.
In this fully illustrated, personal account, Davis tells all, from becoming an orphan in high school and getting through college and law school on scholarships, to being falsely accused of embezzlement and starting up his own record company, J Records. His wealth of experience offers valuable insight into the evolution of the music business over the past half-century and into the future.
Told with Davis’s unmatched wit, frankness, and style – including his affairs and relationships with both men and women after his marriage ended - The Soundtrack of My Life exposes a trove of never-before-heard stories—some hilarious, others tragic, all revealing—that will captivate and inspire all music lovers.
Kelly Clarkson does not agree with how Clive Davis recounts their relationship and her second and third CD’s/Albums, but that is for you to read and decide.
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February 2013, Harvard
Nineteenth-century Europe saw an unprecedented rise in the number of synagogues. Building a Public Judaism considers what their architecture and the circumstances surrounding their construction reveal about the social progress of modern European Jews. Looking at synagogues in four important centers of Jewish life—London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Berlin—Saskia Coenen Snyder argues that the process of claiming a Jewish space in European cities was a marker of acculturation but not of full acceptance. Whether modest or spectacular, these new edifices most often revealed the limits of European Jewish integration.
Debates over building initiatives provide Coenen Snyder with a vehicle for gauging how Jews approached questions of self-representation in predominantly Christian societies and how public manifestations of their identity were received. Synagogues fused the fundamentals of religion with the prevailing cultural codes in particular locales and served as aesthetic barometers for European Jewry’s degree of modernization. Coenen Snyder finds that the dialogues surrounding synagogue construction varied significantly according to city. While the larger story is one of increasing self-agency in the public life of European Jews, it also highlights this agency’s limitations, precisely in those places where Jews were thought to be most acculturated, namely in France and Germany.
Building a Public Judaism grants the peculiarities of place greater authority than they have been given in shaping the European Jewish experience. At the same time, its place-specific description of tensions over religious tolerance continues to echo in debates about the public presence of religious minorities in contemporary Europe.
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BY DAVID NIRENBERG (Univ of Chicago)
February 2013, Norton
A powerful history that shows anti-Judaism to be a central way of thinking in the Western tradition.
This incisive history upends the complacency that confines anti-Judaism to the ideological extremes in the Western tradition. With deep learning and elegance, David Nirenberg shows how foundational anti-Judaism is to the history of the West.
Questions of how we are Jewish and, more critically, how and why we are not have been churning within the Western imagination throughout its history. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans; Christians and Muslims of every period; even the secularists of modernity have used Judaism in constructing their visions of the world.
The thrust of this tradition construes Judaism as an opposition, a danger often from within, to be criticized, attacked, and eliminated. The intersections of these ideas with the world of power—the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, the Spanish Inquisition, the German Holocaust—are well known. The ways of thought underlying these tragedies can be found at the very foundation of Western history.
Kirkus writes: “A complicated, ultimately rewarding history tracing how the engagement with “Jewish questions” have shaped 3,000 years of Western thought. Nirenberg (Medieval History and Social Thought/Univ. of Chicago; Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages, 1996, etc.) fashions a fascinating, albeit densely academic study of how writers and thinkers from Jesus to Marx to Edward Said have recycled ideas about Jews and Jewishness in creating their own constructions of reality. From the earliest eras, people have been formulating ideas about, and mostly against, Jews, despite their relatively small numerical representation on the world stage—e.g., the Egyptians resented the Jews as “agents of a hated imperial power” (the Persians). Enlisting his formidable army of sources, Nirenberg demonstrates how, in the ancient world, Jews were viewed as noncitizens, a force to be repelled against and even exterminated. Characteristics of “misanthropy, impiety, lawlessness and universal enmity” attached to Moses and his people would be reaffirmed in writings from the Christian Gospels to Shakespeare. Church officials equated Jews with carnality and the flesh, while the Muslims deemed them “hypocrites” and “non-believers.” In the medieval era, Jews worked for monarchs as moneylenders, and thus, resisting their influence became a preoccupation from the Spanish Inquisition to the Enlightenment philosophes. Even the revolutionaries of France were attempting a conversion from an ancient, loathed “Mosaic” system of “slavery to law and letter” to one of truth and freedom. Nirenberg doggedly probes how these inherited ideas of Jewishness created (especially to the modern reader) a “creeping calamity,” coloring history itself. The author takes issue with lazy “habits of thought” that even the greatest thinkers dared not reflect on and challenge.
A bold, impressive study that makes refreshing assertions about our ability to redirect history.”

"Based on a decade of exhaustive research, this book explores 'anti-Judaism' as an intellectual current (as opposed to its overtly political and social analogue, anti-Semitism) from ancient Egypt through to the Frankfurt School and just after the Holocaust. Nirenberg (Communities of Violence), professor of medieval history and social thought at the University of Chicago, contends that anti-Judaism is 'one of the basic tools with which was constructed,' yet he stresses that this device depended less on an acquaintance with real Jews, and more on 'figural Jews,' ciphers for all that a particular thinker opposed. Martin Luther, for example, not only criticized Jews for clinging to the 'killing letter' of the law, he also hurled accusations against the Roman Catholic Church for its 'Jewish' tendencies; Luther's adversaries, meanwhile, accused the Jews of using him to undermine the Church. Nirenberg, whose scholarship is concerned primarily with the historical and cultural intersections of the Abrahamic religions, is particularly strong in his treatment of the Enlightenment, illustrating how Christian anti-Jewish memes were adopted by secular, rationalist thinkers. Though Nirenberg gives short shrift to American intellectualism, and his examination terminates after the Holocaust, this is nevertheless a magisterial work of intellectual history. Agent: Georges Borchardt." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

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[book] Israel Has Moved
By Diana Pinto
February 2013
Harvard University Press
Born in Europe’s shadow, haunted by the Holocaust, and inspired by the Enlightenment, Israel has changed. Where is this diverse and self-absorbed country heading today? How do its citizens see themselves, globally and historically? Israel Has Moved is a profound and sometimes unsettling account of a country that is no longer where we might think.
~Diana Pinto's book is brilliant. She draws a portrait of Israel as a living entity, warts and all, caught between the euphoric power of its creativity, and the weaknesses of its historical contradictions and political impasses. Studded with multi-layered illuminating anecdotes and metaphors, the book could easily pass as a fascinating travel journal. But rigorous intellectual categories lurk behind the highly readable style.--Saul Friedlander, UCLA
~ Brilliant and beautifully written. Even those who disagree with Pinto's analysis cannot deny its force and her deep love and concern for Israel. An equally anguished and powerful rebuttal can be expected from Jerusalem. --Shlomo Avineri,
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February 2013
From the author of “Not Me,” this powerful novel about an Israeli father and his daughter brings to life a rich canvas of events and unexpected change in the aftermath of a suicide bombing.
In the galvanizing opening of THE WANTING, the celebrated Russian-born postmodern architect Roman Guttman is injured in a bus bombing, the result of which is that his life and perceptions become heightened and disturbed, and he embarks on an ill-advised journey into Palestinian territory.
The account of Roman's desert odyssey alternates with the vivacious, bittersweet diary of his thirteen-year-old daughter Anyusha (on her own perilous path, of which Roman is ignorant) and the startlingly alive witnessings of Amir, the young Palestinian who pushed the button and is now damned to observe the havoc he has wrought from a shaky beyond. (Having killed himself in the suicide bombing he has not gone to paradise, but is damned to follow Roman)
Enriched by flashbacks to the alluringly sad tale of Anyusha's mother, a famous Russian Jewish Refusenik who died for her beliefs after giving birth in a Soviet prison, The Wanting is a poignant study of the costs of extremism, but is most satisfying as a story of characters enmeshed in their imperfect love for one another, and for the heartbreakingly complex world in which that love is wrought.
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February 2013, Little Brown
Perfect. Pretty. Political. For nearly forty years, The Hellinger sisters of Hastings-on-Hudson-namely, Imperia (Perri), Olympia (Pia), and Augusta (Gus)--have played the roles set down by their loving but domineering mother Carol. Perri, a mother of three, rules her four-bedroom palace in Westchester with a velvet fist, managing to fold even fitted sheets into immaculate rectangles. Pia, a gorgeous and fashionable Chelsea art gallery worker, still turns heads after becoming a single mother via sperm donation. And Gus, a fiercely independent lawyer and activist, doesn't let her break-up from her girlfriend stop her from attending New Year's Day protests on her way to family brunch.
But the Hellinger women aren't pulling off their roles the way they once did. Perri, increasingly filled with rage over the lack of appreciation from her recently unemployed husband Mike, is engaging in a steamy text flirtation with a college fling. Meanwhile Pia, desperate to find someone to share in the pain and joy of raising her three-year-old daughter Lola, can't stop fantasizing about Donor #6103. And Gus, heartbroken over the loss of her girlfriend, finds herself magnetically drawn to Jeff, Mike's frat boy of a little brother. Each woman is unable to believe that anyone, especially her sisters, could understand what it's like to be her. But when a freak accident lands their mother to the hospital, a chain of events is set in motion that will send each Hellinger sister rocketing out of her comfort zone, leaving her to wonder: was this the role she was truly born to play?
With The Pretty One, author Lucinda Rosenfeld does for siblings what she did for female friendship in I'm So Happy for You, turning her wickedly funny and sharply observant eye on the pleasures and punishments of lifelong sisterhood.
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[book] How to Boil an Egg
By Rose Carrarini
February 2013
How to Boil an Egg is the new collection of recipes from the trend-setting Rose Bakery in Paris. Following Rose Carrarini's critically acclaimed Breakfast, Lunch, Tea (Phaidon Press, 2006), this new cookbook features over 80 original recipes where the egg is the star -- from simple omelets to savory treats, pastries, desserts and more.

Her restaurant chain in Israel is growing

How to Boil an Egg features nearly 40 specially-comissioned, full-page, original hand-drawn paintings of the finished dishes by award-winning botanical artist Fiona Strickland. The unique style and attention to detail that Rose Bakery prides itself on is captured in Strickland's illustrations -- which can take days to complete -- making the book as much a treat for the eye as for the taste buds.
Carrarini opened Rose Bakery, a small Anglo-French bakery, shop, and restaurant, in Paris with her husband Jean-Charles in 2002, with the aim of serving fresh, simple, and healthy food. Rose's philosophy and approach to food proved extremely popular and there are now branches of Rose Bakery in London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, and Tel Aviv.
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[book] The Girls' Guide to Love and Supper Clubs
By Dana Bate
February 2013, Hyperion paperback
Hannah Sugarman's life is a recipe for disaster. Her parents scoff at her passions for cooking, she isn’t happy with her bf, and her job doesn’t fulfill her. She changes things, takes more control, and runs a secret underground supper club in her new landlord's town house. But what about a new romance? What happens if her landlord comes back to town?
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[book] From Enemy to Brother
The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, 1933-1965
By John Connelly (Berkeley)
February 2013,
Harvard University Press
In 1965 the Second Vatican Council declared that God loves the Jews. Before that, the Church had taught for centuries that Jews were cursed by God and, in the 1940s, mostly kept silent as Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis. How did an institution whose wisdom is said to be unchanging undertake one of the most enormous, yet undiscussed, ideological swings in modern history?
The radical shift of Vatican II grew out of a buried history, a theological struggle in Central Europe in the years just before the Holocaust, when a small group of Catholic converts (especially former Jew Johannes Oesterreicher and former Protestant Karl Thieme) fought to keep Nazi racism from entering their newfound church. Through decades of engagement, extending from debates in academic journals, to popular education, to lobbying in the corridors of the Vatican, this unlikely duo overcame the most problematic aspect of Catholic history. Their success came not through appeals to morality but rather from a rediscovery of neglected portions of scripture.
From Enemy to Brother illuminates the baffling silence of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust, showing how the ancient teaching of deicide—according to which the Jews were condemned to suffer until they turned to Christ—constituted the Church’s only language to talk about the Jews. As he explores the process of theological change, John Connelly moves from the speechless Vatican to those Catholics who endeavored to find a new language to speak to the Jews on the eve of, and in the shadow of, the Holocaust.
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[book] Lotsa Matzah
Very First Board Books
By Tilda Balsley
Winter 2013,
Kar Ben
A rhyming introduction to Passover's traditional food with children eating and enjoying “lotsa matzah” many different ways during this holiday.
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[book] Grover and Big Bird's Passover Celebration
By Tilda Balsley, Ellen Fischer,
and Tom Leigh
Winter 2013,
Kar Ben
Grover and Big Bird are in a hurry to get to the Passove seder
But there are several delays
Moshe Oofnik comes to the rescue in his tumbledown truck, but will they arrive in time to ask the Four Questions
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BY TUDOR PARFITT (University of London)
February 2013, Harvard
Black Jews in Africa and the Americas tells the fascinating story of how the Ashanti, Tutsi, Igbo, Zulu, Beta Israel, Maasai, and many other African peoples came to think of themselves as descendants of the ancient tribes of Israel. Pursuing medieval and modern European race narratives over a millennium in which not only were Jews cast as black but black Africans were cast as Jews, Tudor Parfitt reveals a complex history of the interaction between religious and racial labels and their political uses.
For centuries, colonialists, travelers, and missionaries, in an attempt to explain and understand the strange people they encountered on the colonial frontier, labeled an astonishing array of African tribes, languages, and cultures as Hebrew, Jewish, or Israelite. Africans themselves came to adopt these identities as their own, invoking their shared histories of oppression, imagined blood-lines, and common traditional practices as proof of a racial relationship to Jews.
Beginning in the post-slavery era, contacts between black Jews in America and their counterparts in Africa created powerful and ever-growing networks of black Jews who struggled against racism and colonialism. A community whose claims are denied by many, black Jews have developed a strong sense of who they are as a unique people. In Parfitt’s telling, forces of prejudice and the desire for new racial, redemptive identities converge, illuminating Jewish and black history alike in novel and unexplored ways.
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BY MARVIN KALB (Harvard Kennedy School, NBC, CBS)
February 2013

Not since Pearl Harbor has an American president gone to Congress to request a declaration of war. Nevertheless, since then, one president after another, from Truman to Obama, has ordered American troops into wars all over the world. From Korea to Vietnam, Panama to Grenada, Lebanon to Bosnia, Afghanistan to Iraq —why have presidents sidestepped declarations of war? Marvin Kalb, former chief diplomatic correspondent for CBS and NBC News, explores this key question in his thirteenth book about the presidency and U.S. foreign policy.
Instead of a declaration of war, presidents have justified their war-making powers by citing "commitments," private and public, made by former presidents. Many of these commitments have been honored, but some betrayed. Surprisingly, given the tight U.S.-Israeli relationship, Israeli leaders feel that at times they have been betrayed by American presidents. Is it time for a negotiated defense treaty between the United States and Israel as a way of substituting for a string of secret presidential commitments?
From Israel to Vietnam, presidential commitments have proven to be tricky and dangerous. For example, one president after another committed the United States to the defense of South Vietnam, often without explanation. Over the years, these commitments mushroomed into national policy, leading to a war costing 58,000 American lives. Few in Congress or the media chose to question the war's provenance or legitimacy, until it was too late. No president saw the need for a declaration of war, considering one to be old-fashioned.
The word of a president can morph into a national commitment. It can become the functional equivalent of a declaration of war. Therefore, whenever a president "commits"the United States to a policy or course of action with, or increasingly without, congressional approval, watch out —the White House may be setting the nation on a road toward war.
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February 2013
Harvard Belknap
Nearly seventy-five years after World War II, a contentious debate lingers over whether Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned his back on the Jews of Hitler’s Europe. Defenders claim that FDR saved millions of potential victims by defeating Nazi Germany. Others revile him as morally indifferent and indict him for keeping America’s gates closed to Jewish refugees and failing to bomb Auschwitz’s gas chambers.
In an extensive examination of this impassioned debate, Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman find that the president was neither savior nor bystander. In FDR and the Jews, they draw upon many new primary sources to offer an intriguing portrait of a consummate politician—compassionate but also pragmatic—struggling with opposing priorities under perilous conditions. For most of his presidency Roosevelt indeed did little to aid the imperiled Jews of Europe. He put domestic policy priorities ahead of helping Jews and deferred to others’ fears of an anti-Semitic backlash. Yet he also acted decisively at times to rescue Jews, often withstanding contrary pressures from his advisers and the American public. Even Jewish citizens who petitioned the president could not agree on how best to aid their co-religionists abroad.
Though his actions may seem inadequate in retrospect, the authors bring to light a concerned leader whose efforts on behalf of Jews were far greater than those of any other world figure. His moral position was tempered by the political realities of depression and war, a conflict all too familiar to American politicians in the twenty-first century.
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By Edgar M. Bronfman
And Illustrated by Jan Aronson
February 2013
An illustrated contemporary Haggadah for the Passover Seder, as interpreted by the corporate leader, philanthropist, and Jewish leader Edgar M. Bronfman of Seagram’s and World Jewish Congress fame.
Is he the one from Park City Utah?
This Haggadah will inspire and delight all ages. Designed to foster Jewish pride, Edgar Bronfman’s text continues the traditional commandment to retell the Exodus story of slavery and freedom for future generations. The Haggadah teaches people of all ages about Judaism with a fresh perspective while helping to define Passover for everyone at the Seder table. The author’s creative approach weaves together meaningful readings, from the nineteenth-century abolitionist Frederick Douglas to a lesser-known poet, Marge Piercy. Bronfman captures the young reader’s imagination when each child, teenager, and adult assumes the role of a character in the Exodus story, or perhaps to become one of the story’s narrators. Watercolor paintings illustrate its main parts: the Seder plate’s symbolic foods, the parting of the Red Sea, the forty-year journey, the giving of the ten commandments on Mount Sinai, to name a few. The Bronfman Haggadah is a welcome addition for the avid collector, as well as to be used as the Haggadah of choice to enrich the Passover Seder experience with its refreshing interactive approach.
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I personally do not believe in making matza macaroni. I think it is better to eat dry matzah and remind oneself of salvery and poverty. But there are those who crave luxuries, so who am I to criticize?

[book] Passover Made Easy
Favorite Triple-Tested Recipes
By Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek
February 2013
Mesorah Artscroll
Leah Schapira, author of the bestselling Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking, teams up with noted food editor Victoria Dwek. They put the wow into your Passover cooking, with creative and original recipes that you would never believe could be made with Passover ingredients.
Passover Made Easy features triple-tested recipes and tips for making your holiday food festive and delicious and it’s all so simple to prepare! The ingredients are easily available and all but four recipes are gluten-free (non-gebrokts). With its fascinating culinary tidbits and helpful plating tips, this is a cookbook that is as fun to read as it is to use.
Includes sixty easy-to-make recipes, full-color photo for each dish, “plating” & serving secrets, and a wine guide & wine pairings
Victoria Dwek, who hails from a Syrian Jewish background (Deal NJ), eats kitniyot (rice and legumes), many Ashkenazim do not. Leah Schapira (Lakewood NJ), in addition to not eating kitniyot, doesn’t eat gebrokts, (matzah mixed with liquid). She makes everything at home and uses no boxed items. Dwek told the NY Jewish Week that, “the successful recipes [that made it into the book] were when people did not care if they were Pesach or not.” Schapira said she made the book’s biscotti recipe, which calls for potato starch and ground almonds, and left the biscotti in a jar on the table. They were gobbled up before she could tell her family they didn’t contain any flour. The pair first met when Dwek interviewed Schapira for an article about kosher food personalities.
Matzaroni and Cheese - Serves 6 to 8
5 matzahs, broken into small pieces
5 eggs
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
1 (16 oz.) container cottage cheese
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella or muenster cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In an 8 x 8-inch baking dish, arrange one-third of the broken matzah pieces.
2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Add sour cream, cottage cheese, butter, salt, and 1 cup shredded cheese. Pour one-third of the cheese mixture over the matzah. Repeat with two additional layers of matzah and cheese. Top with remaining 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake for 40 minutes. The cheese on top should be brown and bubbling.
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[book] Scholars, Diplomats, and Journalists Reflect on
their First Encounters with China
Edited by Kin-ming Liu
February 2013
I never realized that Old China Hands in correspondent bars in Hong Kong were MOTs. They put the MOTs in the Bon Mots?
Thirty leading China experts (funny how so many names sound... ummm... Jewish?), including Sidney Rittenberg (an American Jewish Communist who visited as a soldier in 1945… when Shenzhen was just a tiny farming village called Lo Wu), Perry Link (Princeton University), Andrew Nathan (Columbia University), Jonathan Mirsky (The Times of London, visited in 1972), David Tang (visited in 1979, wrote a poem), Delia Davin, Thomas Gorman, W. J. F. Jenner, Lois Wheeler Snow, Ezra Vogel, Edward Friedman, Steve Tsang, Perry Link, Richard Baum, and Morton Abramowitz (The Century Foundation), recount their first visit to China, recalling their initial observations and impressions.
Most first traveled to China when it was still closed to the world, or was just beginning to open. Their subsequent opinions, writings, and policies have shaped the Western relationship with China for more than a generation. This is essential reading for those who want to understand the evolution of Western attitudes toward modern China. At the same time, the collection provides a vivid, personal window onto a fascinating period in Chinese history.
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[book] How the Food Giants Hooked Us
By Michael Moss
February 2013
Random House
From a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the explosive story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic. Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict us and, more important, how we can fight back. In the spring of 1999 the heads of the world’s largest processed food companies—from Coca-Cola to Nabisco—gathered at Pillsbury headquarters in Minneapolis for a secret meeting. On the agenda: the emerging epidemic of obesity, and what to do about it.
Increasingly, the salt-, sugar-, and fat-laden foods these companies produced were being linked to obesity, and a concerned Kraft executive took the stage to issue a warning: There would be a day of reckoning unless changes were made. This executive then launched into a damning PowerPoint presentation—114 slides in all—making the case that processed food companies could not afford to sit by, idle, as children grew sick and class-action lawyers lurked. To deny the problem, he said, is to court disaster. When he was done, the most powerful person in the room—the CEO of General Mills—stood up to speak, clearly annoyed. And by the time he sat down, the meeting was over.
Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and seventy pounds of sugar (about 22 teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount, and almost none of that comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food
It is a crisis.
Also in prepared kosher foods… a major crisis
Michael Moss shows how we got here. Featuring examples from some of the most recognizable (and profitable) companies and brands of the last half century—including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Lunchables, Kellogg, Nestlé, Oreos, Cargill, Capri Sun, and many more—Moss’s explosive, empowering narrative is grounded in meticulous, often eye-opening research.
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[book] The Storyteller
A novel
By Jodi Picoult
February 2013
Her 21st novel
Sort of like Apt Pupil by Stephen King
Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t, and they become companions. Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret—one that nobody else in town would ever suspect—and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor (did I mention that he is the beloved little league coach, but a former SS guard, and Sage’s grandmother was a death camp survivor?).
If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With her own identity suddenly challenged, and the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy?
In this searing novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go in order to protect our families and to keep the past from dictating the future.
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[book] The Force of Things
A Marriage in War and Peace
By Alexander Stille
February 2013
A masterpiece of literary memory—a powerful exploration of the intersections of family, history, and memory “One evening in May 1948, my mother went to a party in New York with her first husband and left it with her second, my father.” So begins the passionate and stormy union of Mikhail Kamenetzki, aka Ugo Stille, one of Italy’s most celebrated journalists, and Elizabeth Bogert, a beautiful and charming young woman from the Midwest.
The Force of Things follows two families across the twentieth century—one starting in czarist Russia, the other starting in the American Midwest—and takes them across revolution, war, fascism, and racial persecution, until they collide at mid-century. Their immediate attraction and tumultuous marriage is part of a much larger story: the mass migration of Jews from fascist-dominated Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. It is a micro-story of that moment of cross-pollination that reshaped much of American culture and society. Theirs was an uneasy marriage between Europe and America, between Jew and WASP; their differences were a key to their bond yet a source of constant strife.
Alexander Stille’s The Force of Things is a powerful, beautifully written work with the intimacy of a memoir, the pace and readability of a novel, and the historical sweep and documentary precision of nonfiction writing at its best. It is a portrait of people who are buffeted about by large historical events, who try to escape their origins but find themselves in the grip of the force of things.
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February 2013
Harvard University Press
Israel has changed. The country was born in Europe's shadow, haunted by the Holocaust and inspired by the Enlightenment. But for Israelis today, Europe is hardly relevant, and the country's ties to the broader West, even to America, are fraying. Where is Israel heading? How do citizens of an increasingly diverse nation see themselves globally and historically?
In this revealing portrait of the new Israel in the eyes of the author, Diana Pinto presents a country simultaneously moving forward and backward, looking outward and turning in on itself.
In business, Israel is forging new links with the giants of Asia, and its booming science and technology sectors are helping define the future for the entire world.
But in politics and religion, Israelis are increasingly self-absorbed, building literal and metaphorical walls against hostile neighbors and turning to ancient religious precepts for guidance here and now.
Pinto captures the new moods and mindsets, the anxieties and hopes of Israelis today in sharply drawn sketches of symbolically charged settings. She takes us on the roads to Jerusalem, to border control at Ben Gurion Airport, to a major Israeli conference in Jerusalem, to a hill overlooking the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount, to the heart of Israel's high-tech economy, and to sparkling new malls and restaurants where people of different identities share nothing more than a desire to ignore one another.
Vivid and passionate but underpinned by deep analysis, this is a profound and sometimes unsettling account of a country that is no longer where we might think.
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[book] The Force of Things
A Marriage in War and Peace
By Alexander Stille
February 2013
A masterpiece of literary memory—a powerful exploration of the intersections of family, history, and memory
“One evening in May 1948, my mother went to a party in New York with her first husband and left it with her second, my father.” So begins the passionate and stormy union of Mikhail Kamenetzki, aka Ugo Stille, one of Italy’s most celebrated journalists, and Elizabeth Bogert, a beautiful and charming young woman from the Midwest.
The Force of Things follows two families across the twentieth century—one starting in czarist Russia, the other starting in the American Midwest—and takes them across revolution, war, fascism, and racial persecution, until they collide at mid-century. Their immediate attraction and tumultuous marriage is part of a much larger story: the mass migration of Jews from fascist-dominated Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. It is a micro-story of that moment of cross-pollination that reshaped much of American culture and society. Theirs was an uneasy marriage between Europe and America, between Jew and WASP; their differences were a key to their bond yet a source of constant strife.
Alexander Stille’s The Force of Things is a powerful, beautifully written work with the intimacy of a memoir, the pace and readability of a novel, and the historical sweep and documentary precision of nonfiction writing at its best. It is a portrait of people who are buffeted about by large historical events, who try to escape their origins but find themselves in the grip of the force of things.
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[book] LEAN IN
A Call To Action for Women in Technology
By Sheryl Sandberg, COO,
Formerly with Google;
She turned down the start-up called
Former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Dept of Treasury
And godmother to Tim Geithner’s child
March 11, 2013

Practical advice for women — and the men who want to help them — on how to “LEAN IN” and close the gap. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has authored a book on the challenges facing women in the workplace.

She had written this book to encourage women to dream big, forge a path through the obstacles, and achieve their full potential.”
The title comes from her advice for women to lean in to their work rather than lean back, as many tend to do for a variety of reasons at key points in their careers. In the speeches, Sandberg — who worked in a high-ranking job at Google and also did a stint in government at the Treasury Department in the Clinton administration — also advised women not to “leave before you leave” a job.

“So, my heartfelt message is: Don’t leave before you leave. Don’t lean back; lean in. Keep your foot on the gas pedal until the day you have to make a decision. That’s the only way to ensure you even have a decision to make.”

A call to action with a lot of research and data, laced with anecdotes of the experience of one of Silicon Valley’s most high-profile female executives and also other women. “I believe that the world would be a better place if half our institutions were run by women, and half our homes were run by men” wrote Sandberg. Juggling leadership roles and family has been a central topic of Sandberg’s in numerous speeches she has given in recent years.
Among the key themes she has outlined — most prominently in a TEDTalk in 2010 - is the lack of progress for women in top positions and the loss to society when half the population holds only one-fifth of the top jobs across key industries.

Sandberg, 43, was born in Washington, D.C. and then moved as a toddler with her family to North Miami Beach, Florida. An Econ major at Harvard, Larry Summers was her thesis advisor. She followed him to the World Bank, then got her MBA at HBS, and then scored a consulting job at McKinsey. (Hey… by contrast… I was an Econ major at Penn, worked for Larry Summer’s mother, visited the World Bank, got an MBA, and screwed up my interview at McKinsey)
From the cover: Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential. Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.” She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home.
Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.

Oh.. Mark Zuckerberg taught her that if you want to please everyone and be everyone’s friend, you will fail. If you do please everyone, you are not making enough progress.

[book] Sobre el cielo y la tierra
On Heaven and Earth
(Spanish Edition)
By Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ and Rabbi Abraham Skorka
Sudamerica Press, Argentina
December 2010, paperback edition
If you want to read it for free:

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now known as Pope Francis I), the highest authority of the Catholic Church in Argentina, and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, two tenacious promoters of interfaith dialogue, through which they seek to build common horizons and undiluted particularities that characterize them.
“About the heaven and earth” is the result of a series of deep conversations alternately held at the headquarters of the Episcopate and in the Jewish B'nai Tikvah synagogue
In his meetings they discussed the most varied theological and worldly issues: God, fundamentalism, atheists, death, the Holocaust, homosexuality, capitalism, and so much more.
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Translated from the Hebrew by Stuart Schoffman
March 2013, HMH
Winner, Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger
An aging Israeli film director has been invited to the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela for a retrospective of his work. When Yair Moses and Ruth, his leading actress and longtime muse, settle into their hotel room, a painting over their bed triggers a distant memory in Moses from one of his early films: a scene that caused a rift with his brilliant but difficult screenwriter—who, as it happens, was once Ruth’s lover. Upon their return to Israel, Moses decides to travel to the south to look for his elusive former partner and propose a new collaboration. But the screenwriter demands a price for it that will have strange and lasting consequences.
A searching and original novel by one of the world’s most esteemed writers, The Retrospective is a meditation on mortality and intimacy, on the limits of memory and the struggle of artistic creation..
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[book] Brothers Emanuel
A Memoir of an American Family
By Ezekiel J. Emanuel
March 2013
Random House
Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel is the son of Benjamin Emanuel and Marsha Emanuel and the brother of Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Hollywood talent uber-agent Ari Emanuel. A vice provost and university professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Emanuel also served as the special advisor for health policy to President Obama’s director of the Office of Management and Budget. He is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.
For years, people have been asking Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, the brash, outspoken, and fiercely loyal eldest brother in the Emanuel clan, the same question:
What did your mom put in the cereal?

Middle brother Rahm is the mayor of Chicago, erstwhile White House chief of staff, lover of ballet and dance, known for tempers and tantrums, and one of the most colorful figures in American politics.
Youngest brother Ari is a Hollywood superagent, the real-life model for the character of Ari Gold on the HBO hit cable series Entourage.
And Zeke himself, whom the other brothers consider to be the smartest of them all, is one of the world’s leading bioethicists and oncologists.
How did one family of
modest means
produce three such high-achieving kids? Here, for the first time, Zeke provides the answer.
Set amid the tumult of Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s, Brothers Emanuel recounts the intertwined histories of these three rambunctious, hypercompetitive Jewish American boys, each with his own unique and compelling life story. But ultimately, this is the story of the entire Emanuel family: the tough, colorful Old World grandparents; a mischievous, loving father who immigrated to the United States with twenty-five dollars and who enthralled his boys with tales of his adventures in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence; and a proud, politically engaged mother who took the boys with her to rallies and protests—including a civil rights march through the streets of Chicago led by Martin Luther King himself.
Even as the Emanuels distinguished themselves as individuals, the bond of brotherhood that tied them together was never broken. Brothers Emanuel is a wry, rollicking, and often poignant narrative of how one American family succeeded in raising three extraordinary children.
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[book] MIDDLE C
March 2013, Knopf
Middle C tells the story of this journey--an investigation into the nature of human identity and the ways in which each of us is several selves, and whether any one self is more genuine than another.It begins in Graz, Austria, in 1938. Joseph Skizzen's father, pretending to be Jewish, leaves his country for England with his wife and two children to avoid any connection with the Nazis, whom he foresees will soon take over his homeland. In London with his family for the duration of the war, he disappears under mysterious circumstances. The family is relocated to a small town in Ohio where Joseph Skizzen grows up, becomes a decent amateur piano player, in part to cope with the abandonment of his father, and creates as well a fantasy self--a professor with a fantasy goal: to establish the Inhumanity Museum. Skizzen has trained himself to accept guilt for crimes against humanity and protects himself with the creation of a secret self that is able to remain sinless.
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[book] Christian Beginnings
From Nazareth to Nicaea
By Geza Vermes (first professor of Jewish Studies at Oxford) (one of the greatest experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls)
March 3, 2013,
Yale University Press
The creation of the Christian Church is one of the most important stories in the development of the world's history, but also one of the most enigmatic and little understood, shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding.
Through a forensic, brilliant reexamination of all the key surviving texts of early Christianity, Geza Vermes illuminates the origins of a faith and traces the evolution of the figure of Jesus from the man he was—a prophet recognizable as the successor to other Jewish holy men of the Old Testament—to what he came to represent: a mysterious, otherworldly being at the heart of a major new religion. As Jesus's teachings spread across the eastern Mediterranean, hammered into place by Paul, John, and their successors, they were transformed in the space of three centuries into a centralized, state-backed creed worlds away from its humble origins. Christian Beginnings tells the captivating story of how a man came to be hailed as the Son consubstantial with God, and of how a revolutionary, anti-conformist Jewish sub-sect became the official state religion of the Roman Empire.
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[book] Hank Greenberg
The Hero of Heroes
By John Rosengren
March 2013, Penguin / NAL
Baseball in the 1930s was more than a national pastime; it was a cultural touchstone that galvanized communities and gave a struggling country its heroes despite the woes of the Depression. Hank Greenberg, one of the most exciting sluggers in baseball history, gave the people of Detroit a reason to be proud. But America was facing more than economic hardship. With the Nazis gaining power across Europe, political and social tensions were approaching a boiling point. As one of the few Jewish athletes competing nationally, Hank Greenberg became not only an iconic ball player, but also an important and sometimes controversial symbol of Jewish identity and the American immigrant experience.
When Hank joined the Detroit Tigers in 1933, they were headed for a dismal fifth-place season finish. The following year, with Hank leading the charge, they were fighting off the Yankees for the pennant. As his star ascended, he found himself cheered wherever he went. But there were other noises also. On and off the field, he met with taunts and anti-Semitic threats. Yet the hardship only drove him on to greater heights, sharing the spotlight with the most legendary sluggers of the day, including Babe Ruth, Jimmie Fox, and Lou Gehrig.
Hank Greenberg offers an intimate account of the man’s life on and off the field. It is a portrait of integrity, triumph over adversity, and one of the greatest baseball players to ever grace the field.
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[book] Is Work Killing You?
A Doctor's Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress
By David Posen, M.D.
Winter 2013,
From the bestselling author of The Little Book of Stress Relief comes the definitive guide to treating — and eliminating — excessive stress in the workplace.
Dr. Posen graduated from Med School in Ontario over four decades ago and practiced in San Francisco, Alberta, and Canada. He got a polito’s license and practiced in the Arctic. He headed to Jerusalem and spent a year practicing in Israel at Tel Gezer before setting up his family and practice in Ontario.
Dr. David Posen, a popular speaker and a leading expert on stress mastery, identifies the three biggest problems that contribute to burnout and low productivity:
Velocity, and

He shares revealing anecdotes and offers clear descriptions of the biology of stress to illustrate how downsizing, economic uncertainty, and technology have made the workplace more toxic than ever. Most importantly, he offers practical advice and easy techniques for managing the harmful symptoms and side effects of stress. Witty, engaging, and accessible, Is Work Killing You? touches on everything from meetings to tweeting, from fake work to face time, from deadlines to dead tired, and more. With this book, Dr. Posen gives us the tools to stop harming our most valuable resource — ourselves.
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[book] Hidden Cities
Travels to the Secret Corners of the
World's Great Metropolises; A Memoir
of Urban Exploration
By Moses Gates
March 2013, Putnam
Gates is a new breed of adventurer for the 21st century. He thrives on the thrill of seeing what others do not see, let alone even know exists. It all began quite innocuously. After moving to New York City and pursuing graduate studies in Urban Planning, he began unearthing hidden facets of the city—abandoned structures, disused subway stops, incredible rooftop views that belonged to cordoned-off buildings. At first it was about satiating a nagging curiosity; yet the more he experienced and saw, the more his thirst for adventure grew, eventually leading him abroad. In this memoir of his experiences, Gates details his travels through underground canals, sewers, subways, and crypts, in metropolises spanning four continents.
In this finely-written book, Gates describes his immersion in the worldwide subculture of urban exploration; how he joined a world of people who create secret art galleries in subway tunnels, break into national monuments for fun, and travel the globe sleeping in centuries-old catacombs and abandoned Soviet relics rather than hotels or bed-and-breakfasts. They push each other further and further—visiting the hidden side of a dozen countries, discovering ancient underground Roman ruins, scaling the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges, partying in tunnels, sneaking into Stonehenge, and even finding themselves under arrest on top of Notre Dame Cathedral.
Ultimately, Gates contemplates why he and other urban explorers are so instinctively drawn to these unknown and sometimes forbidden places—even (and for some, especially) when the stakes are high. Hidden Cities will inspire readers to think about the potential for urban exploration available for anyone, anywhere—if they have only the curiosity (and nerve!) to dig below the surface to discover the hidden corners of this world.
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[book] Sex and the Citadel
Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World
By Shereen El Feki, PhD (Cambridge)
March 2013, Pantheon
A fascinating, groundbreaking look at changing sexual attitudes and behavior in the Arab world, by a leading expert on social practices in the region.
Since the political unrest that swept across the Middle East in 2011, all eyes have been on the streets and squares erupting in protest. But for the past four years, Shereen El Feki has been looking at upheaval a little closer to home—in the sexual lives of men and women across the Arab world. The result is an informative, insightful, and engaging account of a highly sensitive and still largely secret aspect of Arab society.
Sex might seem a strange lens through which to examine change, but it is a prism that refracts the region's complex social spectrum, from religion and culture to politics and economics. Sexual attitudes and behaviors not only are a reflection of the conditions that led to the recent uprisings but will also be a measure of hard-won reforms in the years to come.
By linking sexuality to political, economic, social, and religious trends, Sex and the Citadel opens a window on the greater landscape of the Arab world. This highly personal account, rich with original research and first-person stories, gives us unprecedented and timely insight into a part of the world that is being transformed before our very eyes.
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[book] The Fun Parts
By Sam Lipsyte
March 2013, FS&G
A hilarious collection of stories from the writer The New York Times called “the novelist of his generation”
Returning to the form in which he began, Sam Lipsyte, author of the New York Times bestseller The Ask, offers up The Fun Parts, a book of bold, hilarious, and deeply felt fiction. A boy eats his way to self-discovery while another must battle the reality-brandishing monster preying on his fantasy realm. Meanwhile, an aerobics instructor, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, makes the most shocking leap imaginable to save her soul. These are just a few of the stories, some first published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, or Playboy, that unfold in Lipsyte’s richly imagined world.
Other tales feature a grizzled and possibly deranged male birth doula, a doomsday hustler about to face the multi-universal truth of “the real-ass jumbo,” and a tawdry glimpse of the northern New Jersey high school shot-putting circuit, circa 1986. Combining both the tragicomic dazzle of his beloved novels and the compressed vitality of his classic debut collection, The Fun Parts is Lipsyte at his best—an exploration of new voices and vistas from a writer Time magazine has said “everyone should read.”
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[book] The Drunken Botanist
The Plants That Create
The World’s Great Drinks
By Amy Stewart
March 2013, FS&G
Every great drink starts with a plant. Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley. Gin was born from a conifer shrub when a Dutch physician added oil of juniper to a clear spirit, believing that juniper berries would cure kidney disorders. The Drunken Botanist uncovers the enlightening botanical history and the fascinating science and chemistry of over 150 plants, flowers, trees, and fruits (and even one fungus).
Some of the most extraordinary and obscure plants have been fermented and distilled, and they each represent a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history. Molasses was an essential ingredient in American independence: when the British forced the colonies to buy British (not French) molasses for their New World rum-making, the settlers’ outrage kindled the American Revolution. Rye, which turns up in countless spirits, is vulnerable to ergot, which contains a precursor to LSD, and some historians have speculated that the Salem witch trials occurred because girls poisoned by ergot had seizures that made townspeople think they’d been bewitched. Then there’s the tale of the thirty-year court battle that took place over the trademarking of Angostura bitters, which may or may not actually contain bark from the Angostura tree.
With a delightful two-color vintage-style interior, over fifty drink recipes, growing tips for gardeners, and advice that carries Stewart’s trademark wit, this is the perfect gift for gardeners and cocktail aficionados alike.
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(Equinox Restaurant, Washington DC)
March 5, 2013
St. Martin’s Press
The New Jewish Table explores the melding of two different cooking cultures, seasonal American and Eastern-European Jewish, sharing the mouth-watering recipes that result from this flavorful union from authors, chef Todd Gray and his wife Ellen Kassoff Gray. More than a love story about what one can do with fresh ingredients, Todd and Ellen talk about the food they grew up with, their life together, and how rewarding the sharing of two people’s traditions—and meals—can be. When Chef Todd married his wife, Ellen, who is Jewish, their union brought about his initiation into the world of Jewish cooking. In 1999, Todd combined his love for farm-to-table ingredients with his passion for Jewish cuisine, opening the acclaimed Equinox Restaurant in Washington, D.C.
With more than 125 recipes including reinterpretations of traditional Jewish favorites made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, from Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Latkes, Ellen's Falafel with Pickled Vegetables and Minted Lemon Yogurt, and Roasted Heirloom Beets with Capers and Pistachios, to Matzo-Stuffed Cornish Game Hens, Fig and Port Wine Blintzes, and Chocolate Hazelnut Rugelach, there are recipes for every occasion that the entire family will enjoy.
Includes a Chef’s Appendix (not the appendicitis kind) at the end of the book that is filled with tips and ideas
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[book] Hand-Drying in America
And Other Stories
By Ben Katchor
March 2013, Pantheon
From one of the most original and imaginative American cartoonists at work today comes a collection of graphic narratives on the subjects of urban planning, product design, and architecture—a surrealist handbook for the rebuilding of society in the twenty-first century.
Ben Katchor, a master at twisting mundane commodities into surreal objects of social significance, now takes on the many ways our property influences and reflects cultural values. Here are window-ledge pillows designed expressly for people-watching and a forest of artificial trees for sufferers of hay fever. The Brotherhood of Immaculate Consumption deals with the matter of products that outlive their owners; a school of dance is based upon the choreographic motion of paying with cash; high-visibility construction vests are marketed to lonely people as a method of getting noticed. With cutting wit Katchor reveals a world similar to our own—lives are defined by possessions, consumerism is a kind of spirituality—but also slightly, fabulously askew. Frequently and brilliantly bizarre, and always mesmerizing, Hand-Drying in America ensures that you will never look at a building, a bar of soap, or an ATM the same way.
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[book] Jewish Megatrends
Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future
By Rabbi Sidney Schwarz
Winter 2013,
Jewish Lights
Rabbi Sidney Schwarz is a social entrepreneur, an author and a political activist. He founded and led PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values for twenty-one years. He is also the founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland, where he continues to teach and lead services. Currently, he serves as a senior fellow at Clal The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership where he is involved in a program that trains rabbis to be visionary spiritual leaders.
Jewish Megatrends offers a vision for a community that can simultaneously strengthen the institutions that serve those who seek greater Jewish identification and attract younger Jews, many of whom are currently outside the orbit of Jewish communal life. Schwarz and his collaborators provide an exciting path, building on proven examples, that we ignore at our peril.
The American Jewish community is riddled with doubts about the viability of the institutions that well served the Jewish community of the twentieth century. Synagogues, Federations and Jewish membership organizations have yet to figure out how to meet the changing interests and needs of the next generation.
In this challenging yet hopeful call for transformational change, visionary leader Rabbi Sidney Schwarz looks at the social norms that are shaping the habits and lifestyles of younger American Jews and why the next generation is so resistant to participate in the institutions of Jewish communal life as they currently exist. He sets out four guiding principles that can drive a renaissance in Jewish life and gives evidence of how, on the margins of the Jewish community, those principles are already generating enthusiasm and engagement from the very millennials that the organized Jewish community has yet to engage.
Contributors leading innovators from different sectors of the Jewish community each use Rabbi Schwarz s framework as a springboard to set forth their particular vision for the future of their sector of Jewish life and beyond.
Contribs include Bernhardt, Brous, Dardin, Ellenson, Firestone, Lanski, Joy Levitt, Asher Lopatin, Or N. Rose, Savage, Woocher, Shrage, and more.
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[book] Relational Judaism
Using the Power of Relationships to
Transform the Jewish Community
Dr. Ron Wolfson
April 2013
Jewish Lights
How to transform the model of twentieth-century Jewish institutions into twenty-first-century relational communities offering meaning and purpose, belonging and blessing. What really matters is that we care about the people we seek to engage. When we genuinely care about people, we will not only welcome them; we will listen to their stories, we will share ours, and we will join together to build a Jewish community that enriches our lives.
Membership in Jewish organizations is down. Day school enrollment has peaked. Federation campaigns are flat. The fastest growing and second largest category of Jews is Just Jewish. Young Jewish adults are unengaged and aging baby boomers are disengaging. Yet, in the era of Facebook, people crave face-to-face community.
It s all about relationships. With this simple, but profound idea, noted educator and community revitalization pioneer Dr. Ron Wolfson presents practical strategies and case studies to transform the old model of Jewish institutions into relational communities. He sets out twelve principles of relational engagement to guide Jewish lay leaders, professionals and community members in transforming institutions into inspiring communities whose value-proposition is to engage people and connect them to Judaism and community in meaningful and lasting ways.
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[book] Saying No and Letting Go:
Jewish Wisdom on Making Room for What Matters Most
Rabbi Edwin Goldberg DHL
Winter 2013
Jewish Lights
An inspiring introduction to the most important lesson for today s busy world: the take-away is to take away. All we can hope to accomplish by paying attention is to learn to live with the mystery, become more comfortable with not knowing and try to enjoy life s uncertainty. Every day is a gift, but we often squander it by missing what matters most.
Every day we are faced with choices that entail saying no and frankly we re not very good at it. Whether it s the desire to please, get ahead, accumulate or impress, our lives have become so full and so busy that it is hard to determine what we really need and what s really important to us.
The purpose of this book is to help you regain control of the things that matter most in your life. It taps timeless Jewish wisdom that teaches how to hold on tightly to the things that matter most while learning to let go lightly of the demands, worries, activities and conflicts that do not ultimately matter. Drawing insights from ancient and modern sources, it helps you identify your core values as well as the opportunities that do not reflect those values, and that you can learn to pass up. It also shows you how to establish a disciplined practice to help you adhere to your choices.
Whether it s letting go of resentment, learning to say no at work or to your loved ones, downsizing your diet or asking less of the earth, this book will help you distinguish between the trivial and the profound.
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By Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman
Foreword by Rabbi Neil Gillman, PhD
Preface by Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams, PhD
Winter 2013
Jewish Lights
The conviction that the Messiah is coming is a promise of meaning. It is a source of consolation. It is a wellspring of creativity. It is a reconciliation between what is and what should be. And it is perhaps our most powerful statement of faith in God, in humanity and in ourselves.
The coming of the Messiah the promise of redemption is among Judaism s gifts to the world. But it is a gift about which the world knows so little. It has been overshadowed by Christian belief and teaching, and as a result its Jewish significance has been all but lost. To further complicate matters, Jewish messianic teaching is enthralling, compelling, challenging, exhilarating yet, up until now, woefully inaccessible. This book will change that.
Mbr>Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman brings together, and to life, this three-thousand-year-old tradition as never before. Rather than simply reviewing the vast body of Jewish messianic literature, she explores an astonishing range of primary and secondary sources, explaining in an informative yet inspirational way these teachings significance for Jews of the past and infuses them with new meaning for the modern reader, both Jewish and non-Jewish.
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March 2013
Times Books
The first inside account to be published about Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state, anchored by Ghattas's own perspective and her quest to understand America's place in the world. In November 2008, Hillary Clinton agreed to work for her former rival. As President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, she set out to repair America’s image around the world—and her own. For the following four years, BBC foreign correspondent Kim Ghattas had unparalleled access to Clinton and her entourage, and she weaves a fast-paced, gripping account of life on the road with Clinton in The Secretary.
With the perspective of one who is both an insider and an outsider, Ghattas draws on extensive interviews with Clinton, administration officials, and players in Washington as well as overseas, to paint an intimate and candid portrait of one of the most powerful global politicians. Filled with fresh insights, The Secretary provides a captivating analysis of Clinton’s brand of diplomacy and the Obama administration’s efforts to redefine American power in the twenty-first century.
Populated with a cast of real-life characters, The Secretary tells the story of Clinton’s transformation from popular but polarizing politician to America’s envoy to the world in compelling detail and with all the tension of high stakes diplomacy. From her evolving relationship with President Obama to the drama of WikiLeaks and the turmoil of the Arab Spring, we see Clinton cheerfully boarding her plane at 3 a.m. after no sleep, reading the riot act to the Chinese, and going through her diplomatic checklist before signing on to war in Libya—all the while trying to restore American leadership in a rapidly changing world.
Viewed through Ghattas's vantage point as a half-Dutch, half-Lebanese citizen who grew up in the crossfire of the Lebanese civil war, The Secretary is also the author’s own journey as she seeks to answer the questions that haunted her childhood. How powerful is America really? And, if it is in decline, who or what will replace it and what will it mean for America and the world?
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March 2013
August 2012
A study of the Nigerian Christians and Muslims who have converted to Judaism – mostly ethnic Igbos – (or JuBos) – about 20,000 strong. A study of their use of the unternet to study and pray, and their attempts to be recognized by Nigeria and by Israel. Mostly made up of testimonials and not a hard headed study of what is happening and why.
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(The Jewish wife of Wyatt Earp)
March 2013
Ann Kirschner (Sala’s Gift) tells the story of Josephine Marcus (1860-1944), who was born in NYC to a Prussian Jewish family that relocated to San Francisco. A lively young woman and actress, she joined a traveling theater company and at age 20, she was in Tombstone Arizona Territory, where she met Wyatt Earp. In October 1991, Wyatt and his brothers, along with Doc Holliday, experienced a famous shootout as Josephine watched. After Tombstone, Wyatt and his bride traveled the West in search of opportunities. Theey had a bar in Alaska, and ended up in Hollywoodd as the silent film and talkee industry was being born. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

[book] Black Jews in Africa and the Americas
(The Nathan I. Huggins Lectures)
By Tudor Parfitt
Harvard University Press
Black Jews in Africa and the Americas tells the fascinating story of how the Ashanti, Tutsi, Igbo, Zulu, Beta Israel, Maasai, and many other African peoples came to think of themselves as descendants of the ancient tribes of Israel. Pursuing medieval and modern European race narratives over a millennium in which not only were Jews cast as black but black Africans were cast as Jews, Tudor Parfitt reveals a complex history of the interaction between religious and racial labels and their political uses.
For centuries, colonialists, travelers, and missionaries, in an attempt to explain and understand the strange people they encountered on the colonial frontier, labeled an astonishing array of African tribes, languages, and cultures as Hebrew, Jewish, or Israelite. Africans themselves came to adopt these identities as their own, invoking their shared histories of oppression, imagined blood-lines, and common traditional practices as proof of a racial relationship to Jews.
Beginning in the post-slavery era, contacts between black Jews in America and their counterparts in Africa created powerful and ever-growing networks of black Jews who struggled against racism and colonialism. A community whose claims are denied by many, black Jews have developed a strong sense of who they are as a unique people. In Parfitt’s telling, forces of prejudice and the desire for new racial, redemptive identities converge, illuminating Jewish and black history alike in novel and unexplored ways.
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[book] Being Esther
A Novel
By Miriam Karmel
March 2013, Milkweed
"Growing old is one of the most surprising things that has happened to her. She hadn't given it any thought. Then one day, she was eighty-five. Not just old, but an object of derision, pity. Is there any use explaining that she is still herself — albeit a slower, achier, creakier version of the original?" — from Being Esther
Being Esther intimately explores the interior consciousness of an elderly Jewish woman who lives as much in the past as in the present. As the book opens, she is reading through an old telephone directory, calling people she knew to see if they are still alive. In the corner, the ghost of her dead husband looks on and criticizes her. She asks the husband of an old friend of hers to stop kibitzing and put his wife on the phone… well.. that is not possible, because…
Whereas the past includes pleasant memories of family, love and lust, the happy confines of marriage, and the rare occasions to break those confines—like taking a part-time job as a bookseller at Kroch's & Brentano's—the present includes crossing out the names of the deceased in a phonebook, fending off attempts by her daughter to move into assisted living, daily check-ins with a neighbor, and the occasional outing. Not prone to self-pity, Esther is at moments lucid and then suddenly lost in a world which has disappeared along with many who had inhabited it.
Miriam Karmel's fiction debut brings understanding and tremendous empathy to the character of Esther Lustig, a woman who readers will not soon forget. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

March 2013,
Little Brown & Company
Alderman, an award winning London writer, re-imagines the life of Jesus, from the points of view of four people closest to him before his death. This is the story of Yehoshuah, who wandered Roman-occupied Judea giving sermons and healing the sick. Now, a year after his death, four people tell their stories. His mother grieves, his friend Iehuda loses his faith, the High Priest of the Temple tries to keep the peace, and a rebel named Bar-Avo strives to bring that peace tumbling down. It was a time of political power-play and brutal tyranny. Men and women took to the streets to protest. Dictators put them down with iron force. In the midst of it all, one inconsequential preacher died. And either something miraculous happened, or someone lied. Viscerally powerful in its depictions of the period - massacres and riots, animal sacrifice and human betrayal - The Liars' Gospel makes an old story entirely new.
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March 2013,
Overlook Duckworth
In recent years there has been a war raging within Israel -- but not the interminable conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, as one might assume. For many Israelis, it is the internecine conflict with the ultra-orthodox Haredim that impacts their lives the most. The majority of Haredim -- raised with an intense focus on religion at the expense of all else -- are unemployable in a modern economy. Many choose to pursue religious studies, which the government subsidizes up to the age of 40.
The first book on a conflict that is fast crystallizing into a national debate, The War Within is a lively and trenchant exploration of a battle between church and state as it plays out before our eyes in Israel today. As acclaimed journalists Yuval Elizur and Lawrence Malkin expose, the situation today has reached a critical point that threatens the state of Israel from within and must certainly affect its future.
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[book] Russ & Daughters
Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built
By Mark Russ Federman
Intro by Calvin Trillin (a customer, humorist, poet and author whose prior novel starred the appetizing store)
March 2013,
A real delight to read.
Even if you don’t like lox of herring, the book recreates the struggles of the immigrant Jews on the Lower East Side and the stories of those who stayed in that area through the crime ridden, drug infested 1960s/1970s/1980s, and the return of Yuppies and professionals in the past two decades.
The former third generation owner/proprietor of the beloved appetizing store on Manhattan's Lower East Side tells the delightful, mouthwatering story of an immigrant family's journey from a pushcart in 1907 to "New York's most hallowed shrine to the miracle of caviar, smoked salmon, ethereal herring, and silken chopped liver" (Jason Epstein, The New York Times Magazine).
When Joel Russ started peddling herring from a barrel shortly after his arrival in America from the Galician area of Southeastern Poland, he could not have imagined that he was witnessing the birth of a gastronomic legend. Here is the story of this "Louvre of lox" (The Sunday Times, London) from its humble beginnings through the Great Depression, the food rationing of World War II, the passing of the torch to the next generation just as the flight from the Lower East Side to the suburbs was beginning, the heartbreaking years of neighborhood blight, and the almost miraculous renaissance of an area from which hundreds of other family-owned stores had fled.
The author fills his book with some recipes and with delightful anecdotes about how a ferociously hardworking family turned a passion for selling perfectly smoked and pickled fish into an institution with a devoted international clientele. Mark Russ Federman's (people say Russ, but the real name was more like Roooos) reminiscences combine a heartwarming and triumphant immigrant saga with a panoramic history of twentieth-century New York, a meditation on the creation and selling of gourmet food by a family that has mastered this art, and an enchanting behind-the-scenes look at four generations of people who are just a little bit crazy on the subject of fish.
The most important lessons I learned was not to lose your focus when slicing fish, or you can end up with a scar on your hand; whether it was Joel Russ’s idea to bring in his daughters or his neighbors idea to convince him to bring in his three daughters, it doesn’t matter, there is no single truth; never hire a shomer shabbos brother (Uncle Shmemendel) in the business who feels it is his duty to turn away customers because the kashrut level is not to his liking; never accuse a nephew of stealing when you simply misplaced the day’s receipts (but the nephew ended up making so many times more in his own business after he left); if you are going to visit the Strzyzover Rebbe, you should wear a kippah; if grandpa’s idea of customer service to say “Rebbitzen, tog mire a toyveh, fahrlir mein ahdres (lady, do me a favor, lose my address”), then bring in some females into the business, preferably lovely, who can schmooze the customers; never give special favors to certain customers, unless they are top doctors; if a customer tells you to set your daughter up with the “sheik of Brooklyn”, do it; yes, Jose (Yussel) Reyes, Herman (Chaim) Vargas, and a Sherpa can be great slicers and managers; use Swedish mustard when making a beet, apple, and herring salad; . But I still, thank god, never tasted a herring. (I think Ruth Tanenbaum Shapiro, the baker’s daughter and upper west sider sounds fascinating and should write a book, too)
Mark Russ Federman, grandson of founder Joel Russ, took over the running of Russ & Daughters from his parents in 1978 and turned it over to the fourth generation, his daughter Niki and nephew Josh (an ashram raised chemical engineer), in 2009. Federman, an attorney/litigator by profession and army captain during Vietnam, explains how he had to learn the fish business with difficulty (his father passed away too quickly), and the art of managing people and managing his own managers.
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The Old Testament as a Political Text
from the Revolution to the Civil War
By Eran Shalev
March 2013
The Bible has always been an integral part of American political culture. Yet in the years before the Civil War, it was the Old Testament, not the New Testament, that pervaded political rhetoric. From Revolutionary times through about 1830, numerous American politicians, commentators, ministers, and laymen depicted their young nation as a new, God-chosen Israel and relied on the Old Testament for political guidance.
In this original book, historian Eran Shalev closely examines how this powerful predilection for Old Testament narratives and rhetoric in early America shaped a wide range of debates and cultural discussions—from republican ideology, constitutional interpretation, southern slavery, and more generally the meaning of American nationalism to speculations on the origins of American Indians and to the emergence of Mormonism. Shalev argues that the effort to shape the United States as a biblical nation reflected conflicting attitudes within the culture—proudly boastful on the one hand but uncertain about its abilities and ultimate destiny on the other. With great nuance, American Zion explores for the first time the meaning and lasting effects of the idea of the United States as a new Israel and sheds new light on our understanding of the nation’s origins and culture during the founding and antebellum decades.
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March 2013
One Hundred Philistine Foreskins centers on the life of Temima Ba'alatOv, known also as Ima Temima, or Mother Temima, a charismatic woman rabbi of extraordinary spiritual power and learning, and an utterly original interpreter of the Hebrew Bible. Temima is revered as a guru with prophetic, even messianic powers—one who dares to raise her woman’s “naked” voice even in the face of extreme hostility by the traditional establishment. Moving between two worlds—Temima as a child in Brooklyn and Temima as an adult in Jerusalem—the story reveals the forces that shaped her, including the early loss of her mother; her spiritual and intellectual awakening; her complex relationship with her father, a ritual slaughterer; her forced marriage; her “ascent” to Israel; and her intense romantic involvements with charismatic men who launch her toward her destiny as a renowned woman leader in Israel.
True to Reich’s voice as a satirist of humanity's darker inclinations, the story is rooted in contemporary times, revealing the extreme and ecstatic expressions of religion, as well as the power of religion and religious authorities to use and abuse the faithful, both spiritually and physically, with life-altering and crushing consequences. Cynthia Ozick said of Tova Reich that her “verbal blade is amazingly, ingeniously, startlingly, all-consumingly, all-encompassingly, deservedly, and brilliantly savage.” This has never been more true than in One Hundred Philistine Foreskins, a work of literature sure to be hailed as an immensely authoritative and fearlessly bold tour-de-force.
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[book] Jacob’s Folly
A Novel
By Rebecca Miller
March 2013
A luminous novel—funny and moving in equal measure—that shines with the author’s unique talents
Jacob’s Folly is a rollicking, ingenious, saucy book that takes on desire, faith, love, acting—and reincarnation.
The novel brims with sparkling, unexpected characters: Jacob, a Jewish peddler living in eighteenth-century France; Leslie and Deirdre Senzatimore, a settled American couple; Masha, an alluring young Ultra-Orthodox Jew, who is also gravely ill. In Rebecca Miller’s self-assured second novel, these four individuals will find their fates intertwined when Jacob is reincarnated as a fly in contemporary Long Island. Miller’s quirky humor and acute, original intelligence animate a wonderfully memorable protagonist. Through the unique lens of Jacob’s consciousness, she explores transformation in all its different guises—personal, spiritual, literal. As she considers the hold of the past on the present, the power of private hopes and dreams, and the collision of fate and free will, Miller’s world—which is our own, transfigured by her clear gaze and by her sharp, surprising wit—comes to life. Leslie’s desire to act as hero and rescuer; Jacob’s disastrous marriage to the childlike Hodel and his obsession with Masha—Miller sketches her characters’ interior lives with compassion, subtlety, and an exceptionally light touch. Jacob’s Folly is wildly inventive and ultimately moving; it will leave the reader, no less than its characters, transformed.
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March 2013
Ages 1 – 4
Little ted is called Tikkun Olam Ted since he wants to repair the world and do good.
He does mitvot (good deeds) six days a week and rests on the Sabbath. He recycles, helps his father, feeds da’ birds. And lots more
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March 2013
Ages 4 – 9
The winner of a KESHET CONTEST
Everyone at Hebrew school was getting ready for Purim. Max, who was coloring his Mordechai mask orange, turned to Nate and asked, "What are you going to be for Purim?" All the boys were planning to be superheroes, but Nate was different. Nate wants to be an alien, just as Estehr and Mordechai felt, aliens in their own land
But if he is not a superhero, if he does not go along with the crowd, will he be bullied? Will he feel out of place?
He asks his Abba and his Daddy.
Daddy says that not all boys have to be the same thing

His sister, Miri, wants to dress up as a rock star. Abba makes her a costume while Nate wonders what he should be. Nate and Abba talk about Queen Esther and the story of Purim. Esther, the queen, did not try to be something she wasn’t. She did not hide. Nate decides not to hide his alien desire behind a superhero mask.

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March 2013

The United States declared war on terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. More than ten years later, the results are decidedly mixed. In The Thistle and the Drone, world-renowned author, diplomat, and scholar Akbar Ahmed reveals a tremendously important yet largely unrecognized adverse effect of these campaigns: they actually have exacerbated the already-broken relationship between central governments and the tribal societies on their periphery.
Ideas of a clash of civilizations, "security," and "terrorism" have dominated the last decade, upsetting the balance between central governments and their periphery in much of the world. Ahmed draws on sixty current case studies for this unprecedented analysis, beginning with Waziristan in Pakistan and expanding to similar societies in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere to offer an alternative paradigm. The United States is directly or indirectly involved with many of these societies. Al Qaeda has been decimated, but the world is drifting into a global war where the focus has shifted to these peripheral societies. Old ethnic and tribal tensions have been revived. No one is immune to the violence —neither school children nor congregations in their houses of worship. People on the periphery say, "Every day is 9/11 for us." The thistle of the title evokes Hadji Murad, Tolstoy's classic novel about the struggle between the Imperial Russian army and the independent Muslim states in the Caucasus. The local tribesman with his courage, pride, and sense of egalitarianism is the prickly thistle; the drone reference, as the most advanced kill technology of globalization, is painfully clear. Together these two powerful metaphors paint a bleak landscape of confusion, uncertainty, violence, and loss. The book provides concrete ways to minimize conflict and win this global war.
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[book] Rita Moreno
A Memoir
By Rita Moreno
March 2013
Celebra Penguin
Moreno writes movingly and passionately about with her single mother at the age of 5 from Puerto Rico to New York, being hospitalized with chicken pox, discovering singing and dancing, acting in television shows like 'Electric Company' and 'Oz,' her Oscar-winning role in 'West Side Story,' dealing with discrimination throughout her career, and coming to terms with her heritage and 'otherness' in Hollywood. She will also share stories about dating Elvis Presley and Howard Hughes, the tumultuous romance with Marlon Brando that resulted in her suicide attempt, and the joy of her 45-year marriage.
“I was born Rosita Dolores, became Rita, and was serially cast as Latina, Thai, Native American Indian, Eastern Indian, Gypsy, and Cajun," Moreno says. "I played a generic ethnic maiden with an all-purpose foreign accent. I lived through the hilarious days of early Hollywood Hyperbole — my first picture was 'So Young, So Bad,' which was subtitled 'What Made Them this Way?' I went on to dance with Gene Kelly, seduce Laurence Harvey (on screen), ‘service’ Yul Brynner and Jack Nicholson, and mingle with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner and Clark Gable. I am still kicking my 80 year old legs and my career and life have never been better! After all the tumult of pretending to be someone else and a near fatal affair with Marlon Brando, I have landed on my feet — on stage and off. Happy at last in my own skin, I am Rosita Dolores from Puerto Rico, and proud of it!"
Moreno had four stepfathers after her mother divorced her father in Puerto Rico. And that sort of instability, she says, is part of the reason she married, in 1965, a “nice Jewish doctor” (which is redundant). Lenny Gordon is now a retired cardiologist. Moreno said, “He is the most devoted family man who has ever lived. As a father, as a grandfather -- he is just an unmatchable, fabulous man. I knew I wasn't going to marry a Latin man. Not in those days. I'm sure to some extent times have changed. But I was so scared of being betrayed in some way, or abandoned. Remember, I had five fathers. I don't want it to sound like I think all Latin men are bastards. But that was my experience. Not the Cuban stepfather. He was a sweet, sweet man. He was unusual for the time.”
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[book] The American Sun & Wind Moving Picture Company
(Modern Jewish Literature and Culture)
A Novel
By Jay Neugeboren
March 2013,
Texas Tech University Press
The American Sun & Wind Moving Picture Company is an enchanting tale set in the silent film era. Beginning in 1915, in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where a Jewish family makes one and two reel silent films, the novel is composed of six chapters, each a discrete silent film in itself.
Joey, the too-beautiful-to-be-a-boy son of moviemaker, Simon, and his actress wife, Hannah, imagines stories that his uncle’s camera turns into scenes for their movies. Witness to and participant in the rapid technological advances in film, from the movies his family makes, to the advent of the talkies, Joey is cast in both male and female roles, onstage and off. When the woman Joey loves murders her abusive husband and sends Joey from his New Jersey family disguised as the mother of her own children, he embarks on a cross-country journey of adventure and hardship, crossing paths with the likes of D. W. Griffith, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, and “Roxy” Rothafel. Finally, reunited on the opposite coast with his uncle, and with the woman he has never stopped loving, Joey’s wild journey—and life!—arrive at a moment as unpredictable as it is magical.
In an outrageously original tale worthy of a studio whose moguls might have been Kafka, Garcia Marquez, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, reality and illusion merge and separate, leaving the audience spellbound even after the final curtain falls.
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The author writes the following on the JBC website: ...When friends ask how and why I came to write a novel about the silent film era, the first answer that comes to mind is that the novel is inspired not by my love of film, but by my childhood love of listening to stories on the radio. During my years in high school, in Brooklyn in the early fifties, the New York City Board of Education’s radio station, WNYE-FM, regularly broadcast radio programs into elementary, junior high, and high school classrooms. And during those years I was a child/teenage actor at the radio station. I played some wonderful parts—Tom Sawyer, Hans Brinker, Willie the Whale, young Abe Lincoln, et al—and what the director of the station, Marjorie Knudsen, taught me on my first day there has stayed with me throughout my life. The most important element an actor has at his or her command for creating character, she said, were not words, but silence. The way you pause before a word, or between sentences, or after a particular phrase, or in the middle of a word—this, she said, is what makes listeners pay attention so that they can, in their imaginations, transform what they hear—and do not hear—into credible characters and scenes. The mystery of character—and the essence of what made listeners want to know what-happens-next, lay in those moments when there was no sound.
Here, then, from the first page of The American Sun & Wind Moving Picture Company, Joey Levine, a boy who plays both male and female parts in his family’s movies, and who conjures up the stories that his family turns into movies:
I could make a story out of anything back then—a nail, a glass, a shoe, a tree, a mirror, a button, a window, a wall—and for every story I made up and gave away, I also made one up that I told no one about—one I stored inside me, in the rooms where I kept my most precious memories and pictures.
What Joey is doing, I now realize (I didn’t see or understand this when I was writing the novel, which is told in his voice), is trying to conjure up the seen from the unseen—just as, when listening to the radio as a boy, I conjured up live human beings I could see in my mind’s eye, and to some degree like viewers of silent movies, who had to infer the unseen—the mysteries and complexities of character—from the seen. Viewers, that is, had to infer thoughts and feelings, not from words characters spoke (though there were often titles between scenes where snatches of dialogue were projected onto the screen), but from expressions and gestures the characters made—from closeups of eyes, for example—that told of those silent, inner worlds that were un-seen. In both radio dramas, and silent films, the greatest source of mystery and power—of our attachment and interest in fictional characters—resided in ways to make us sense what we could not see, whether what we saw came to us in images or in sound. In The American Sun & Wind Moving Picture Company, Joey is forced into exile, and we follow his cross-country adventures in both time and space—from New Jersey to Wisconsin to California, and from 1915 to 1930. He arrives in Los Angeles at a time when silent movies are giving way to ‘talkies,’ and where his uncle Karl, who directed the family’s movies when Joey was a boy, has become a major producer and director in Hollywood. In the novel’s final chapter, Joey and Joey and Karl sit on a mountain top and look down at a desert that has been the setting for a great battle the day before for the uncle’s cast-of-thouands production of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. And what do these two men do when they look down upon a scene of horrific devastation? It is the end of the Sabbath, and they talk about the sermon they heard in synagogue that morning—they talk about King David and King Solomon, and about God’s ways, and about why it is the rabbis say that on the day the Temple was destroyed, the Messiah was born.

We are giving extra space to this book, since there will be many book readings in DC, NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia and Cambridge, and it will be read by many thought leaders and policy makers:
The Edward Said Professor of Modern Arabic Studies at Columbia Univ
March 11, 2013
Beacon Press/Boston
An examination of the failure of the United States as a broker in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, through three key historical moments.

Read a chapter for free at www.Beacon.ORG/BrokersOfDeceit

Israel lovers,
John J. Mearsheimer, coauthor of The Israel Lobby, says the book makes clear that the United states richly deserves to be called “Israel’s Lawyer.”
Jeffrey D. Sachs calls it disturbing.
Avi Shlaim, emeritus professor at Oxford, says it shows the the “Peace process” is all process and no peace
Seymour Hersh (The New Yorker) writes, “... Washington's efforts to be an honest broker fall "somewhere between high irony and farce" —and puts democratic America, with its avowed commitment to freedom for all, in the position of enabling the continued subjugation of the Palestine people.”

For more than seven decades the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people has raged on with no end in sight, and for much of that time, the United States has been involved as a mediator in the conflict. In this book, Rashid Khalidi zeroes in on the United States’ role as the “impartial” broker in this failed peace process.
Khalidi closely analyzes three historical moments that illuminate how the United States’ involvement has, in fact, thwarted progress toward peace between Israel and Palestine. The first moment he investigates is the “Reagan Plan” of 1982, when Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin refused to accept the Reagan administration’s proposal to reframe the Camp David Accords more impartially. The second moment covers the period after the Madrid Peace Conference, from 1991 to 1993, during which negotiations between Israel and Palestine were brokered by the United States until the signing of the secretly negotiated Oslo accords. Finally, Khalidi takes on President Barack Obama’s retreat from plans to insist on halting the settlements in the West Bank.
Through in-depth research into and keen analysis of these three moments, as well as his own firsthand experience as an advisor to the Palestinian delegation at the 1991 pre–Oslo negotiations in Washington, DC, Khalidi reveals how the United States and Israel have actively colluded to prevent a Palestinian state and resolve the situation in Israel’s favor. Brokers of Deceit bares the truth about why peace in the Middle East has been impossible to achieve: for decades, US policymakers have masqueraded as unbiased agents working to bring the two sides together, when, in fact, they have been the agents of continuing injustice, effectively preventing the difficult but essential steps needed to achieve peace in the region..

Pubishers Weekly writes: Khalidi, a Middle East historian and Columbia University professor of modern Arab studies, continues his deconstruction of the obstacles to stability in the region. His detailing of the roots of the Palestinian struggle in The Iron Cage (2006) and his demonstration of U.S. interest in fostering instability in Sowing Crisis (2009), are synthesized here in a comprehensive exposition of what he calls the United States’ role as “Israel’s lawyer” in ensuring that Palestinian statehood will never be achieved. Khalidi itemizes successive administrations that have set forth two-state solutions only to back rapidly away, instead crafting “Orwellian” linguistic feats whose outcome has redefined Palestinian autonomy to mean only people, not land, and a Palestinian Authority that serves as little more than an auxiliary Israeli police force. Reagan’s backtracking from an initially firm antisettlement stance, George H.W. Bush’s surrender on the issue of loan guarantees to Israel, Condoleezza Rice’s tone-deafness to Palestinian concerns, and the use of unquestioning support for Israel as a litmus test for presidential candidates in 2012 are ably used by Khalidi to construct a chronicle of the U.S. willfully squandering its role in “peace processes.”

And Kirkus writes: Khalidi (Modern Arab Studies/Columbia Univ.; Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East, 2009, etc.) insists that the struggle over Palestine lies at the core of the Arab/Israeli conflict, with resolution impossible as long as the U.S. continues to act, in the words of one observer, as “Israel’s lawyer.” America, he writes, has only posed as an honest broker, deceiving the public with corrupted rhetoric about “progress” and “the peace process.” All the while, U.S. policymaking—with only a few Cold War exceptions—has been consistently driven by domestic political considerations distorted by Israel’s muscular congressional lobby, the alliance with Saudi Arabia and the quiet compliance of the other Arab Gulf states, and a complete disregard for the welfare of the Palestinians. Making use of a number of previously classified documents, Khalidi isolates three clarifying moments that illustrate America’s bias: the torpedoing of the so-called 1982 Reagan Plan by Menachem Begin’s narrow construction of the Camp David Accords; the bilateral Madrid-Washington negotiations of 1991-1993, especially revelatory of the collusion between the U.S. and Israel; and the Obama administration’s predictable retreat from anything resembling a new policy toward Palestine. Unpacking these episodes in sharp, take-no-prisoners prose, Khalidi maintains that the U.S. and Isreal, “by far the most powerful actors in the Middle East,” through successive administrations and a variety of key officials (Condoleezza Rice and Dennis Ross take a particular beating here), have conspired to deny Palestinians any semblance of self-determination.

March 2013
Simon and Schuster

What makes things popular? Why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?
Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos. Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheesesteak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the most seemingly boring products there is: a blender.
If you’ve wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, Contagious explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content. The book also provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and information that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.
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By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
March 2013
10 Speed Press
Available for the first time in an American edition, this debut cookbook, from bestselling authors Yotam Ottoloenghi  and Sami Tamimi of Plenty and Jerusalem, features 140 recipes culled from the popular Ottolenghi restaurants and inspired by the diverse culinary traditions of the Mediterranean.
Yotam Ottolenghi's four restaurants–each a patisserie, deli, restaurant, and bakery rolled into one– are among London's most popular culinary destinations. Now readers who can't travel to one of the pristine food shops can re-create its famous dishes at home with recipes like Harissa-Marinated Chicken with Red Grapefruit Salad, and Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters with Lime Yogurt. The recipes reflect the authors' upbringings in Jerusalem yet also incorporate culinary traditions from California, Italy, and North Africa, among others. Featuring abundant produce, a full chapter devoted to the "mighty eggplant," and numerous fish and meat dishes, as well as Ottolenghi's famed cakes and breads, Ottolenghi invites readers into a world of inventive flavors and fresh, vibrant cooking.
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[book] Fast Times in Palestine
A Love Affair with a Homeless Homeland
By Pamela Olson
March 2013
Seal Press
For much of her life—like many Westerners—most of what Pamela Olson knew of the Middle East was informed by headlines and stereotypes. But when she traveled to Palestine in 2003, she found herself thrown with dizzying speed into the realities of Palestinian life.
Fast Times in Palestine is Olson’s powerful, deeply moving account of life in Palestine—both the daily events that are universal to us all (house parties, concerts, barbecues, and weddings) as well as the violence, trauma, and political tensions that are particular to the country. From idyllic olive groves to Palestinian beer gardens, from Passover in Tel Aviv to Ramadan in a Hamas village, readers will find Olson’s narrative both suspenseful and discerning. Her irresistible story offers a multi-faceted understanding of the Palestinian perspective on the Israel–Palestine conflict, filling a gap in the West’s understanding of the difficult relationship between the two nations.
At turns funny, shocking, and galvanizing, Fast Times in Palestine is a gripping narrative that challenges our ways of thinking—not only about the Middle East, but about human nature, cultural identity, and our place in the world.
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[book] Family Table
Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home
Foreword by Danny Meyer
By Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner
March 2013
10 Speed Press
Some of the Best Food You’ll Never Eat in a Restaurant
Danny Meyer’s restaurants are among the most acclaimed and beloved in the nation: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, Blue Smoke, The Modern, and more, winners of an unprecedented number of James Beard Awards for outstanding food and hospitality. Family Table takes you behind the scenes of these restaurants to share the food that the chefs make for one another before they cook for you.
Each day, before the lunch and dinner services, the staff sits down to a “family meal.” It is simple, often improvised, but special enough to please the chefs’ discerning palates. Now, for the first time, the restaurants’ culinary director, Michael Romano, coauthor of the award-winning Union Square Cafe Cookbook, collects and refines his favorite in-house dishes for the home cook, served alongside Karen Stabiner’s stories about the restaurants’ often-unsung heroes, and about how this imaginative array of dishes came to be. Their collaboration celebrates food, the family itself, and the restaurants’ rich backstage life.
Some of the recipes are global and regional specialties: Mama Romano’s Lasagna, Dominican Chicken, Thai Beef, Layered Huevos Rancheros, and Southern Cola-Braised Short Ribs. Many highlight fresh produce, like Michael Anthony’s Corn Soup, Barley & Spring Vegetables with Pesto, Grilled Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas & Lemon, and Plum & Apricot Crisp with Almond Cream. There are homey dishes like Turkey & Vegetable Potpie with Biscuit Crust and Streusel-Swirl Coffee Cake, and inventive, contemporary takes, like Cornmeal-Crusted Fish Tacos with Black Bean & Peach Salsa and a delightfully tangy Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Rhubarb-Strawberry Compote. What all these recipes have in common is ease and perfection.
Family Table is an invitation from the restaurant family to you: Please join in..
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Simple, Beautiful, Kosher
By Kim Kushner
March 31, 2013
It is about 8 weeks late. They say it is because the orders were so high they had to delay the release date
Sadly they missed the Passover rush for cookbooks, but I am sure it will do well enough
The concept for this book has been building for the last decade. During these years the author has been teaching, out of her own kitchen, various groups of friends how to cook and put together menus. At the end of the day, everyone needs and loves to eat, especially when what s on offer is made with love. And the truth is, a thoughtfully prepared dish is far more interesting than a perfectly prepared one. In fact, the author never approaches any dish with the idea that it will be perfect. Not only is this attitude freeing, but it inspires her to try new ingredients, flavors, and techniques. She has prepared the recipes in the book dozens of times; they re tried and true, foolproof, and beautiful. Her students always want to know what goes with what, so she organized the recipes into menus, named for the way the dishes make her feel.
There s a Vibrant menu, filled with color, which inherently translates to flavor; the Crisp menu is loaded with pleasing crunch; the Saucy menu highlights the transformational power of a well-made yet simple sauce. The menu arrangements are simply suggestions; feel free to mix and match as you like. But never, ever skimp on the passion you put into making any dish, right down to a simple salad dressing. Because when it comes to cooking, what you put into it is what you get out of it.

Kim comes from a huge family - her Moroccan-born mother was raised in Israel, along with eight siblings. Spending childhood summers in Israel with her extended family, Kim learned to cook by eating, and by participating in family feasts. Hands-on experience with fresh and international ingredients gave Kim an edge when she began her studies at the prestigious Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, where she excelled in their Professional Culinary Program. After stints at Food & Wine and Chile Pepper magazines, where she developed simple but innovative recipes for their subscribers to try at home, word of Kim's skill at making gourmet Kosher dishes from simple and elegant ingredients began to spread. Before long, she found herself working as a private chef for some of New York City's most discerning eaters, and teaching private cooking classes out of her own kitchen. Her culinary style, much like her life, is a study in Modern Orthodoxy: her kitchen is Kosher, and very much in line with her upbringing and heritage; yet, she is young, and her perspective is fresh and new.
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March 2013
Nate Foster is not Jewish. The author is not Jewish, but his bf is.
A choreographer on BILLY ELLIOT, he decided to try to write a novel in 30 days, and crank out a chapter a day. Here is the result.
A small-town boy hops a bus to New York City to crash an audition for E.T.: The Musical.
Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for seeing a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.
Tim Federle writes a warm and witty debut that's full of broken curfews, second chances, and the adventure of growing up—because sometimes you have to get four hundred miles from your backyard to finally feel at home..
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[book] Pati's Mexican Table
The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking
By Pati Jinich
March 2013
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt HMH
Chef Pati Jinich (Hi Nich) was born and raised in Mexico City in a Jewish family, one of the 40,000 Jewish people living in Mexico (her sister runs a restaurant in Mexico City) Pati moved to Washington DC, attended Georgetown and cooking school and worked in public policy before pursuing a food related career.
Perhaps you have seen her on TV, The Chew, The Today Show, PBS, NPR, or in other media. Maybe you saw her in March at the 6th and Eye Synagogue in DC?
She is the host of a highly popular PBS series, Pati’s Mexican Table, and a self-described “overloaded soccer mom with three kids and a powerful blender,” Pati Jinich has a mission. She’s out to prove that Mexican home cooking is quicker and far easier than most Americans think.
Her dishes are not blanketed with cheese, or heavy and fried, or based on complex sauces. Nor are they necessarily highly spicy. Surprising in their simplicity and freshness, they incorporate produce and grains. Most important, they fit perfectly into an everyday family cooking schedule and use just a handful of ingredients, most of which are already in your pantry. Many are homey specialties that Pati learned from her mother and grandmother, some are creative spins on classics, while others are not well known outside of Mexico.
Dishes like Chicken à la Trash (it’s delicious!), a one-pot meal that Pati gleaned from a Mexican restaurant cook; Mexican Meatballs with Mint and Chipotle; Sweet and Salty Salmon; and Mexican-Style Pasta can revitalize your daily repertoire. You’ll find plenty of vegetarian fare, from Classic Avocado Soup, to Divorced Eggs (with red and green salsa), to Oaxaca-Style Mushroom and Cheese Quesadillas.
Mexican Chicken Soup is made by her every Sunday (coldo de pollo) (chicken, carrots, white onion, celery, garlic, parsley, peppercorns, thyme, marjoram, and bay leaves. But mexicans make the soup in an hour, and dont boil it as long as other soup styles.
Her Sopa de Aguacate (Avocado Soup) is based on Dona Maria Rosa Marmolejo, the chef to the Mexican Ambassador to Washington. It uses oil, butter, Hass avacados, lime farmer cheese, and cilantro. You can use a vegatarian stock instead of her chicken stock.
Your friends and family will enjoy Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Pickled Ancho Chile Vinaigrette; and Chicken Tinga (shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken in tomato onion garlic adobo sauce with tomatilos, marjoram, oregano, thyme, and pepper). Pati also shares exciting dishes for the holidays and other special occasions, including Mexican Thanksgiving Turkey, Pecan, Apple, and Corn Bread Stuffing; Spiral-Cut Beef Tenderloin; and Red Pozole (“a Mexican party in a bowl”), which she served on her wedding day. Desserts like Triple Orange Mexican Wedding Cookies, Scribble Cookies (sandwich cookies filled with chocolate), and little Apricot-Lime Glazed Mini Pound Cakes are sophisticated yet simple to make.
You can visit her website for free for her passover and Jewish Mexican recipes that are not in the book
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March 2013
Starred review from Publishers’ Weekly
Hitler had a dream to rule the world, not only with the gun but also with his mind. He saw himself as a "philosopher-leader" and astonishingly gained the support of many intellectuals of his time. In this compelling book, Yvonne Sherratt explores Hitler's relationship with philosophers and uncovers cruelty, ambition, violence, and betrayal where least expected—at the heart of Germany's ivory tower.
Sherratt investigates international archives, discovering evidence back to the 1920s of Hitler's vulgarization of noble thinkers of the past, including Kant, Nietzsche, and Darwin. She reveals how philosophers of the 1930s eagerly collaborated to lend the Nazi regime a cloak of respectability: Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, and a host of others. And while these eminent men sanctioned slaughter, Semitic thinkers like Walter Benjamin and opponents like Kurt Huber were hunted down or murdered. Many others, such as Theodor Adorno and Hannah Arendt, were forced to flee as refugees. The book portrays their fates, to be dispersed across the world as the historic edifice of Jewish-German culture was destroyed by Hitler.
Sherratt not only confronts the past; she also tracks down chilling evidence of continuing Nazi sympathy in Western Universities today.
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[book] Contagious
Why Things Catch On
Jonah Berger (Wharton School of Business)
March 2013
Simon & Schuster
What makes things popular?
If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?
Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He’s studied why New York Times articles make the paper’s own Most E-mailed List, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children.
In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos.

Social currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical value of the info, and Stories

Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak (the $100 cheese steak), why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use (showing ex addicts and others how to use drugs entices them to use again and reminds them how good their high was), and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender (I am sure you saw that videa of the man trying to blend various items).
If you’ve wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, Contagious explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content. This book provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and information that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.
As Berger says, “We really don’t believe what we hear from ads; we are much more likely to believe our friends. {therefore} word-of-mouth is much more effective at driving sales and popularizing ideas than traditional advertising.” Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

[book] Mumbai New York Scranton
A Memoir
By Tamara Shopsin
with photos by Jason Fulford
March 2013
Truth be told. I was once thrown out of Shopsin's, her parents' restaurant for wearing a suit. Also I am intimate with New York and Scranton housing, but not carriage houses.
This is a moving memoir from a new talent, cook, and illustrator whose adventures at home and abroad reveal the importance of living life with your eyes wide open.
Best known for her witty illustrations, and as a cook beside her mischievous father in her family’s legendary Manhattan restaurant, in Mumbai New York Scranton, Tamara Shopsin offers a brilliantly inventive, spare, and elegant chronicle of a year in her life characterized by impermanence.
Shopsin recounts a trip to the Far East with her sidekick husband and the harrowing adventure that unfolds when she comes home and gets ill with a brain tumor. Entire worlds, deep relationships, and indelible experiences are portrayed in Shopsin’s deceptively simple and sparse language and drawings.
Blending humor, love, suspense—and featuring photographs by Jason Fulford — Mumbai New York Scranton inspires a kaleidoscope of emotions. Shopsin’s surprising and affecting tale will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The writing seems so simple, but the effect is powerful. Her last chapters on her sudden illness made me feel as if I were in the hospital with her.
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Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's
Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941
By Lynne Olson
March 2013
Random House
IN PHILIP ROTH'S NOVEL, THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, we see an America and world if the isolationist Nazi-philic Lindbergh was President of the USA. Thankfully that was just a novel, but what was real was the severe debate before Pearl Harbor by those who wanted to keep America out of WWII.
And here is the real story
The definitive account of the debate over American intervention in World War II — a bitter, sometimes violent clash of personalities and ideas that divided the nation.
At the center of this controversy stood the two most famous men in America: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who championed the interventionist cause, and aviator Charles Lindbergh, who as unofficial leader and spokesman for America’s isolationists emerged as the president’s most formidable adversary. Their contest of wills personified the divisions within the country at large, and Lynne Olson makes masterly use of their dramatic personal stories to create a poignant and riveting narrative. While FDR, buffeted by political pressures on all sides, struggled to marshal public support for aid to Winston Churchill’s Britain, Lindbergh saw his heroic reputation besmirched — and his marriage thrown into turmoil — by allegations that he was a Nazi sympathizer.
Spanning the years 1939 to 1941, Those Angry Days vividly re-creates the rancorous internal squabbles that gripped the United States in the period leading up to Pearl Harbor. After Germany vanquished most of Europe, America found itself torn between its traditional isolationism and the urgent need to come to the aid of Britain, the only country still battling Hitler. The conflict over intervention was, as FDR noted, “a dirty fight,” rife with chicanery and intrigue, and Those Angry Days recounts every bruising detail. In Washington, a group of high-ranking military officers, including the Air Force chief of staff, worked to sabotage FDR’s pro-British policies. Roosevelt, meanwhile, authorized FBI wiretaps of Lindbergh and other opponents of intervention. At the same time, a covert British operation, approved by the president, spied on antiwar groups, dug up dirt on congressional isolationists, and planted propaganda in U.S. newspapers.
The stakes could not have been higher. The combatants were larger than life. With the immediacy of a great novel, Those Angry Days brilliantly recalls a time fraught with danger when the future of democracy and America’s role in the world hung in the balance.
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A Memoir
By Debbie Reynolds
April 2013
William “chocolate” Morrow
Unsinkable is the definitive memoir by film legend and Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds.
Actress, comedienne, singer, and dancer Debbie Reynolds shares the highs and lows of her life as an actress during Hollywood’s Golden Age, anecdotes about her lifelong friendship with Elizabeth Taylor (who ran off with her husband, Eddie Fisher) and her experiences as the foremost collector of Hollywood memorabilia, and intimate details of her marriages and family life with her children, Carrie and Todd Fisher.
A story of heartbreak, hope, and survival, “America’s Sweetheart” Debbie Reynolds picks up where she left off in her first memoir, “Debbie: My Life.”
Debbie also invites readers into the close circle of her family, speaking with deep affection and honesty about her relationships with her children, Carrie and Todd Fisher (Carrie is her next door neighbor). She looks back at her life as an actress during Hollywood's Golden Age—"the most magical time you could imagine.” Here, too, are stories that never reached the tabloids about numerous celebrities, such as Ava Gardner, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Mick Jagger, Gene Kelly, and many more. She takes us on a guided tour through her movies with delightful, often hilarious behind-the-scenes anecdotes about every film in which she was involved, from 1948 to the present.
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By Ophira Eisenberg
Spring 2013
Seal Press
Screw Everyone is comedian Ophira Eisenberg’s wisecracking account of how she spent most of her life saying “yes” to everything—and everyone—and how that attitude ultimately helped her overcome her phobia of commitment.
Skeptical about long-term relationships, Eisenberg approached dating as a sort of research experiment from early on: she spent her twenties traveling from futon to futon and gathering data, figuring that one day she’d put it all together somehow and build her own perfect Frankenmate. When she met a guy who didn’t fall for the emotionally cavalier facade she’d constructed (a guy who wanted marriage and monogamy), she knew it was time to reevaluate.
From her first kiss to saying “I do,” Screw Everyone is an honest, hilarious chronicle of how one woman discovered herself, conquered her fears, and even found the “real thing”—one promiscuous encounter at a time.
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[book] The Mothers
A Novel
By Jennifer Gilmore
April 2013
A taut, emotionally gripping novel about one couple’s passionate desire for a child and their heartrending journey through adoption—from a critically acclaimed writer whose “voice is at turns wise and barbed with sharp humor” (Vanity Fair).
Post-cancer Jesse (Jewish) and Ramon (Italian Spanish) are a happy, loving couple but after years trying to get pregnant they turn to adoption, relieved to think that once they navigate the bureaucratic path to parenthood they will finally be able to bring a child into their family. But nothing prepared them for the labyrinthine process—for the many training sessions and approvals, for the ocean of advice, for the birthmothers who would contact them but not choose them, for the women who would call claiming that they had chosen Jesse and Ramon but weren’t really pregnant. All the while, husband and wife grapple with notions of race, class, culture, and changing family dynamics as they navigate the difficult, absurd, and often heart-breaking terrain of domestic open adoption.
Poignant, raw, and wise, Jennifer Gilmore has written a powerful and unforgettable story of love and family.
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[book] The Gods Are Broken!
The Hidden Legacy of Abraham
By Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
April 2013
Jewish Publication Society / University of Nebraska Press
The story of Abraham smashing his father Terah’s idols might be the most important Jewish story ever told and the key to how Jews define themselves.
In a work at once deeply erudite and wonderfully accessible, Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin conducts readers through the life and legacy of this powerful story and explains how it has shaped Jewish consciousness.
Offering a radical view of Jewish existence, The Gods Are Broken! views the story of the young Abraham as the “primal trauma” of Jewish history, one critical to the development of a certain Jewish comfort with rebelliousness and one that, happening in every generation, has helped Jews develop a unique identity. Salkin, one of America’s most manly rabbis (The Modern Men’s Torah Commentary), shows how the story continues to reverberate through the ages, even in its connection to the phenomenon of anti-Semitism.
Salkin’s work—combining biblical texts, archaeology, rabbinic insights, Hasidic texts (some never before translated), philosophy, history, poetry, contemporary Jewish thought, sociology, and popular culture—is nothing less than a journey through two thousand years of Jewish life and intellectual endeavor.
Rabbi Salkin, formerly a successful author and pulpit rabbi, is employed by the ADL
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[book] Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots
A Novel
By Jessica Soffer
April 2013
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Two women adrift in New York—an Iraqi Jewish widow and the latchkey daughter of a chef—find each other, solace, and a new kind of family through their shared love of cooking.
Lorca spends hours poring over cookbooks, seeking out ingredients for her distracted chef of a mother, who is about to send her off to boarding school. In one last effort to secure her mother’s love and prove herself indispensable, Lorca resolves to replicate her mother’s ideal meal, an obscure dish called masgouf.
Victoria, an Iraqi-Jewish immigrant, teaches cooking lessons; Lorca signs up. Grappling with grief over her husband’s passing, Victoria has been dreaming of the daughter they gave up forty years ago. Together these two women — a widow and an almost-orphan — begin to suspect they are connected through more than a love of food. In these lessons and their separate investigations, they will be forced to reckon with the past, the future, and the truth — however complicated and unimaginable it might be.
Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is a novel of loss, remembrance, and revival. It is the heartrending, heartwarming story of two cast-off characters who find in each other a way of accepting the people we love, including ourselves.
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Foreword by Allan H Selig
Inntroduction by Dr. Martin Abramowitz
April 2013
The Jewish Publication Society, University of Nebraska Press
Most fans don’t know how far the Jewish presence in baseball extends beyond a few famous players such as Greenberg, Rosen, Koufax, Holtzman, Green, Ausmus, Youkilis, Braun, and Kinsler. In fact, that presence extends to the baseball commissioner Bud Selig, labor leaders Marvin Miller and Don Fehr, owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Stuart Sternberg, officials Theo Epstein and Mark Shapiro, sportswriters Murray Chass, Ross Newhan, Ira Berkow, and Roger Kahn, and even famous Jewish baseball fans like Alan Dershowitz and Barney Frank.
The life stories of these and many others, on and off the field, have been compiled from nearly fifty in-depth interviews and arranged by decade in this edifying and entertaining work of oral and cultural history. In American Jews and America’s Game each person talks about growing up Jewish and dealing with Jewish identity, assimilation, intermarriage, future viability, religious observance, anti-Semitism, and Israel. Each tells about being in the midst of the colorful pantheon of players who, over the past seventy-five years or more, have made baseball what it is. Their stories tell, as no previous book has, the history of the larger-than-life role of Jews in America’s pastime.Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

Honestly, this was my favorite read of 2013 so far:
[book] SLIP
April 2013
The book opens with this scene. Flip Wilson, with the top rated show on television, a black man known for Geraldine, The Devil Made Me Do It, WYSISYG (What You See Is What You Get), a variety of characters, and being in nearly every sketch on his show, is leaving the set after a taping. He bid good bye to his write, an up and coming comedian named Richard Pryor. His other top writer is a comedian named George Carlin. Flip starts the engine of his extremely expensive car and heads East across state lines. Drinking, snorting, signing a few autographs along the way, but not doing any shticks or Geraldine, he drives some more, comes to the edge of a cliff and ponders his life.

And then you think. Where is Flip? What ever happened to him? Did he go over the cliff? Overdose? Just retire while he was on top? And so the book begins, and along the way, we learn the rags-to-riches story of a beloved, very hard working, scientifically minded entertainer.
When The Flip Wilson Show debuted in 1970, black faces were still rare on television, black hosts did not exist. Remember, there were only three main channels that America watched in 1970. How did Clerow “Flip” Wilson go from Jersey City grade-school dropout to national celebrity, heralded on the cover of Time magazine as “TV’s First Black Superstar”?
Kevin Cook chronicles Flip’s meteoric rise through the Chitlin’ Circuit of segregated nightclubs to his breakthrough on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show (after Redd Fox – who owed Flip $50 for blow - said he was the funniest comic out there) to his hit variety show, on which he created such outrageous and hilarious characters as the Geraldine and Reverend Leroy. He performed and partied with Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Sid Caesar, BB King, Andy Griffith, Curtis Mayfield, and other stars of the 1970s. How did Cook learn all this and how do we get a glimpse at what went on behind the scenes? Flip made tapes
Drawing on interviews with family, friends, and celebrities, Cook delivers the inspiring story of a complex man who broke the prime-time color barrier, blazing a trail for generations of African American performers who followed him. It is funny, and at times not to pretty. Wilson was abused by his family, learned early on that his father was not his biological father, never married the mother of his children, but married a pick-up he met in Vegas, tipped big, withheld love from his kids, planned his suicide, did more coke than one would think was humanly possible, scientifically times his jokes and planned his sets on a legal pad, studied the art of comedy, had more threesomes and ten-somes than probably anyone else, and harbored extreme grudges and jealousies against Bill Cosby and other competitors.
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[book] THE AMISH
By Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt.
April 2013
Johns Hopkins Press
First a joke. My cousins visited Lancaster PA. A Jewish woman criticized them saying how she hated their orthodox backward ways, the suppression of women, insularity, religiosity, keeping children out of public schools and colleges… My cousin told her that he was Amish. She replied, “Oh, I just love you people and your ways…” Meet the Amish
What keeps them going? What is their religion? How do they focus on the group and not the individual?
The Amish have always struggled with the modern world. Known for their simple clothing, plain lifestyle, and horse-and-buggy mode of transportation, Amish communities continually face outside pressures to modify their cultural patterns, social organization, and religious world view. An intimate portrait of Amish life, The Amish explores not only the emerging diversity and evolving identities within this distinctive American ethnic community, but also its transformation and geographic expansion.
Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt spent twenty-five years researching Amish history, religion, and culture. Drawing on archival material, direct observations, and oral history, the authors provide an authoritative and sensitive understanding of Amish society.
Amish people do not evangelize, yet their numbers in North America have grown from a small community of some 6,000 people in the early 1900s to a thriving population of more than 275,000 today. The largest populations are found in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, with additional communities in twenty-seven other states and Ontario.
The authors argue that the intensely private and insular Amish have devised creative ways to negotiate with modernity that have enabled them to thrive in America. The transformation of the Amish in the American imagination from "backward bumpkins" to media icons poses provocative questions. What does the Amish story reveal about the American character, popular culture, and mainstream values? Richly illustrated, The Amish is the definitive portrayal of the Amish in America in the twenty-first century.
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A book by the physician who has helped countless Jewish families adopt children:
[book] Carried in Our Hearts
The Gift of Adoption
Inspiring Stories of Families Created Across Continents
By Dr. Jane Aronson
April 2013, Tarcher
"My mommy didn't carry me in her tummy, she carried me in her heart." Bailey, a 5-years old who was adopted from China. Her story is included in this book.
According to People magazine, parents from all over the country seek adoption expert and Worldwide Orphans Foundation founder Dr. Jane Aronson’s help “as if consulting a master detective.” Angelina Jolie praised Dr. Aronson’s “drive and ambition to help children dream” (Elle). Indeed, over the course of the past three decades, Dr. Aronson has touched the lives of thousands of adopted children from around the world and in this inspiring book she presents moving first-person testimonies from parents (and a few children themselves) whose lives have been blessed by adoption.
Divided into thematic sections—such as "The Decision," "The Journey," and "The Moment We Met")—each prefaced by Dr. Aronson, this book introduces readers to Claude Knobler, a writer from Los Angeles whose journey to Ethiopia to adopt his son led to an unexpectedly moving encounter with the boy’s courageous birthmother; actor Mary Louise-Parker whose older adopted son’s bond with her newly adopted baby daughter was deep and unwavering from the instant the two children met; and Lynn Danzker, an entrepreneur who set off alone to adopt her son, Cole, and in the process, met and married her husband. The authors of these testimonies range from doctors to filmmakers, from financial consultants to celebrities—all of them bound by their moving and transformative experience as adoptive parents.
Essay authors include Shari Hershon, Maggie greenwald, Carolyn Jacobs, Wendy Lipp, Ann Silverberg, Lori Finkel, the famed author Melissa Fay Greene, Cindy Sutliff, Ben Aronson (adopted from VietNam), Des Aronson (from Ethiopia), and many more.
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April 2013
Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Jenny Lipkin is a formerly up-and-coming magazine editor. Presently, she is your average, stretched-too-thin Brooklyn mom, tackling the challenges of raising two children in a cramped Park Slope walk-up. All she really wants is to survive the sweltering New York summer with a shred of sanity intact. But when her husband, Harry, a gambling addict, vanishes one evening (he said he was going for smokes), Jenny reaches her breaking point. And in a moment of despair, considering suicide, she falls from the Brooklyn Bridge only to be saved (and possessed) by a Russian mermaid (rusalka).
Pulled from the brink, Jenny rethinks her ideas about success, motherhood, romance, and relationships, and pursues sewing and another man. But confronting her inner demons (or mermaid) is no easy task, especially if Harry returns. . . .
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[book] Hitler's Charisma
Leading Millions into the Abyss
By Laurence Rees
April 2013
Fueled by hate, incapable of forming normal human relationships, unwilling to listen to dissenting voices, Adolf Hitler seemed an unlikely leader, and yet he commanded enormous support and was able to exert a powerful influence over those who encountered him. How did Hitler become such an attractive figure to millions of people? That is the question at the core of Hitler’s Charisma.
Acclaimed historian and documentary filmmaker Laurence Rees examines the nature of Hitler’s appeal and reveals the role his supposed “charisma” played in his success. Here is a fascinating social, psychological and historical investigation into the formation of a personality whose determination and vision would at the outset convince a small group of like-minded political and social outcasts but would eventually win over an entire nation and plunge the rest of the world into a cataclysm unlike any that had ever been seen before. Hitler’s Charisma is a natural culmination of twenty years of writing and research on the Third Reich and a remarkable examination of the man and the mind at the heart of it all.
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[book] The Interestings
A Novel
By Meg Wolitzer
April 2013
From bestselling author Meg Wolitzer a dazzling, panoramic novel about what becomes of early talent, and the roles that art, money, and even envy can play in close friendships. The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.
The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.
Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.
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[book] The Golem and the Jinni
A Novel
By Helene Wecker
April 2013
In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free. Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker's debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
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[book] I Can't Complain
(All Too) Personal Essays
Elinor Lipman
April 2013
From the beloved and acclaimed novelist, a collection of witty, moving essays In her two decades of writing, Elinor Lipman has populated her fictional universe with characters so utterly real that we feel like they’re old friends. Now she shares an even more intimate world with us her own in essays that offer a candid, charming take on modern life. Looking back and forging ahead, she considers the subjects that matter most, from childhood to condiments, long marriage and solo living, career and politics.
Here you’ll find the lighthearted: a celebration of four decades of All My Children, a reflection on being Jewish in heavily Irish-Catholic Lowell on St. Patrick’s Day, a hilariously unflinching account of her tip-toe into online dating. But she also tackles the serious and profound in eloquent stories of unexpected widowhood and caring for elderly parents that use her struggles to illuminate ours. Whether for Lipman’s longtime readers or those who love the essays of Nora Ephron or Anna Quindlen, I Can't Complain is a diverting delight.
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[book] In the Land of the Living
A Novel
By Austin Ratner
April 2013,
WW Norton
A dazzling story of fathers, sons, and brothers - bound by love, divided by history The Auberons are a lovably neurotic, infernally intelligent family who love and hate each other-and themselves-- in equal measure. Driven both by grief at his young mother's death and war with his distant, abusive immigrant father, patriarch Isidore almost attains the life of his dreams: he works his way through Harvard and then medical school; he marries a beautiful and even-keeled girl; in his father-in-law, he finds the father he always wanted; and he becomes a father himself. He has talent, but he also has rage, and happiness is not meant to be his for very long.
Isidore's sons, Leo and Mack, haunted by the mythic, epic proportions of their father's heroics and the tragic events that marked their early lives, have alternately relied upon and disappointed one another since the day Mack was born. For Leo, who is angry at the world but angrier at himself, the burden of the past shapes his future: sexual awakening, first love, and restless attempts live up to his father's ideals.
Just when Leo reaches a crossroads between potential self-destruction and new freedom, Mack invites him on a road trip from Los Angeles to Cleveland. As the brothers make their way east, and towards understanding, their battles and reconciliations illuminate the power of family to both destroy and empower-and the price and rewards of independence. Part family saga, part coming-of-age story, In the Land of the Living is a kinetic, fresh, bawdy yet earnest shot to the heart of a novel about coping with death, and figuring out how and why to live. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

BY JESSICA IRVINE (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 2013
Allen and Unwin/IPG
Use the power of economics to solve everyday problems with this witty, accessible, and entertaining guide presenting Econ 101
Can economics help one lose weight? How does an emissions trading scheme work? Why are bananas so expensive? What really goes on inside the federal budget lock up? How can one spot a zombie bank? Why do boy bands make so much money? From asylum seekers to bananas, this book uses fun facts to get to the heart of some of the biggest political and economic debates. Part economics lesson, part quirky observation on modern life, this collection of easily digestible, bite-sized nuggets of factual goodness will help transform even the most economically illiterate person into an insightful commentator at their next work drinks or weekend barbeque.
She plans to leave Australia if banana prices rise over $15 AUS per Kilo.
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A Mystery Novel
An Avraham Avraham Mystery
By D. A. Mishani
April 2013,
Introducing a detective from Israel, Avraham Avraham
A missing person’s case that the author, an Israeli scholar, based on his own fantasy as well as a true story he once read about, of a man who would write horrible nasty letters to families who experienced tragedies.
In The Missing File, Israeli detective Avraham Avraham must find a teenage boy gone missing from the suburbs of Tel Aviv in this first volume in a fresh new literary crime series by D. A. Mishani.
Crimes in Avraham's quiet suburb are generally not all that complex. But when a sixteen-year-old boy goes missing and a schoolteacher offers up a baffling complication, Avraham finds himself questioning everything he thought he knew about his life. Was there a crime? Maybe there is no crime and the boy is just missing? Is the detective correct? Or wrong?
Told through alternating points of view, The Missing File is an emotionally wrought, character-driven page-turner with plenty of twists and turns. It's a mystery that will leave readers questioning the notions of innocence and guilt, and the nebulous nature of truth Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

[book] Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue
How a French Priest Together with Jewish
Friends Saved Thousands during the Holocaust
By Susan Zuccotti
April 2013,
Indiana University Press
From the award winning author and expert on French and Italian Jews during WWII.
PW calls it a page turner and highlights it as one of the best reads for Spring 2013.
Susan Zuccotti narrates the life and work of Père Marie-Benoît, a courageous French Capuchin priest who risked everything to hide Jews in France and Italy during the Holocaust. Who was this extraordinary priest and how did he become adept at hiding Jews, providing them with false papers, and helping them to elude their persecutors? First from a monastery in Marseille and later in Rome, Père Benoît worked with Jewish co-conspirators to build remarkably effective Jewish-Christian rescue networks.
Despite a cold reception from Pope Pius XII, who declined to assist in their efforts, they persisted in their clandestine activities until the Allies liberated Rome. To tell this remarkable tale, in addition to her research in French and Vatican archives, Zuccotti personally interviewed Père Benoît, his family, Jewish rescuers with whom he worked, and survivors who owed their lives to his network.
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[book] The Cushion in the Road
Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm's Way
By Alice Walker
April 2013,
New Press
So well written, but drek.
Walker’s latest collection of personal and spiritual and political essays, letters from her travels, and letters to luminaries and politicians on the topics of racism, solidarity with Code Pink and the Palestinian people, Africa, the criminality of Israel, Barack Obama, Cuba, Dennis Banks, Clinton, healthcare, Mumia Abu-Jamal of course, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Walker final chapter of several essays focuses on her love of the Palestinian people and her push to engage deeply in their struggles. One essay is an open letter to Israel’s PM, MK, and others in support of MK ZOaby he joined with a flotilla (or faux-tilla) to Gaza. Walker frets over her inability to buy a pair of sandals that she loves. Why? Because she sees that they were manufactured in Israel by Israelis and she must therefore boycott them.
Loko for Walker in late May 2013 at Busboys and Poets (May 28, Washington DC) and The 92nd St YM/WHA in Manhattan on May 30, 2013
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April 2013,
Back Bay Books
One of the most acclaimed and original story collections of the last decade, Peter Orner's first book explores the brief but far-reaching occasions that haunt us. The discovery of a murdered man in a bathrobe by the side of a road, the destruction of a town's historic City Hall building, and the recollection of a cruel wartime decision are equally affecting in Orner's vivid and intimate gaze. The first half of the book concerns the lives of unrelated strangers across the American landscape, and the second introduces two very different Jewish families, one on the East Coast, the other in the Midwest. Yet Orner's real territory is memory, and this book of wide-ranging and innovative stories remains an important and unique contribution to the art of the American short story.
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[book] The Throne of Adulis
Red Sea Wars on the Eve of Islam
By G.W. Bowersock (Princeton)
April 2013,
Just prior to the birth of Islam in the sixth century AD, southern Arabia was embroiled in a violent conflict between Christian Ethiopians and Jewish Arabs. Though little known today, this was an international war that involved both the Byzantine Empire, which had established Christian churches in Ethiopia, and the Sasanian Empire in Persia, which supported the Jews in a proxy war against its longtime foe Byzantium.
Our knowledge of these events derives largely from an inscribed marble throne at the Ethiopian port of Adulis, meticulously described by a sixth-century merchant known as Cosmas Indicopleustes. Using the writings of Cosmas and a wealth of other historical and archaeological evidence from the period, eminent historian G. W. Bowersock carefully reconstructs this fascinating but overlooked chapter in pre-Islamic Arabian history. The flashpoint of the war, Bowersock tells us, occurred when Yusuf, the Jewish king of ?imyar, massacred hundreds of Christians living in Najran. The Christian ruler of Ethiopia, Kaleb, urged on by the Byzantine emperor Justin "to go forth...against the abominable and criminal Jew," led a force of 120,000 men across the Red Sea to defeat Yusuf. But when the victorious Kaleb--said to have retired to a monastery--left behind weak leaders in both Ethiopia and Himyar, the Byzantine and Persian empires expanded their activity in the Arabian territory. In the midst of this conflict, a new religion was born, destined to bring a wholly unanticipated resolution to the power struggle in Arabia.
The Throne of Adulis vividly recreates the Red Sea world of Late Antiquity, transporting us back to a remote but pivotal epoch in ancient history, one that sheds light on the rise of Islam as well as the collapse of the Persian Empire.
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April 2013,
Sayyid Qutb is widely considered the guiding intellectual of radical Islam, with a direct line connecting him to Osama bin Laden. But Qutb has too often been treated maliciously or reductively-"the Philosopher of Islamic Terror," as Paul Berman famously put it in the New York Times Magazine.
James Toth offers an even-handed account of Sayyid Qutb and shows him to be a much more complex figure than the many one-dimensional portraits would have us believe. Qutb first gained notice as a novelist, literary critic, and poet but then turned to religious and political criticism aimed at the Egyptian government and Muslims he deemed insufficiently pious. After a two-year sojourn in the U.S., he returned to Egypt even more radicalized and joined the Muslim Brotherhood, eventually taking charge of its propaganda operation. When Brotherhood members were accused of assassinating Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the group was outlawed and Qutb imprisoned.
He was executed in 1966, becoming the first martyr to the Islamist cause. Using an analytical approach that investigates without passing judgment, Toth traces the life and thought of Qutb, giving attention not only to his well-known Signposts on the Road, but also to his less-studied works like Social Justice in Islam and his 30-volume Qur'anic commentary, In the Shade of the Qur'an. Toth's aim is to give Qutb's ideas a fair hearing, to measure their impact, and to treat him like other
intellectuals who inspire revolutions, however unpopular they may be. In offering a more nuanced account of Qutb, one that moves beyond the cartoonish depictions of him as the evil genius lurking behind today's terrorists, Sayyid Qutb deepens our understanding of a central figure of radical Islam and, indeed, our understanding of radical Islam itself
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[book] A Nearly Perfect Copy
A Novel
BY Allison Amend
April 2013,
Nan A Talese
Richly drawn and sharply observed, A Nearly Perfect Copy is a smart and affecting novel of family and forgery set amidst the rarefied international art world.
Elm Howells has a loving family and a distinguished career at an elite Manhattan auction house. But after a tragic loss throws her into an emotional crisis, she pursues a reckless course of action that jeopardizes her personal and professional success. Meanwhile, talented artist Gabriel Connois wearies of remaining at the margins of the capricious Parisian art scene. Desperate for recognition, he embarks on a scheme that threatens his burgeoning reputation. As these narratives converge, with disastrous consequences, A Nearly Perfect Copy boldly challenges our presumptions about originality and authenticity, loss and replacement, and the perilous pursuit of perfection.
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[book] 'Til Faith Do Us Part
How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America
By Naomi Schaefer Riley
April 2013,
Oxford University Press
In the last decade, 45% of all marriages in the U.S. were between people of different faiths. The rapidly growing number of mixed-faith families has become a source of hope, encouraging openness and tolerance among religious communities that historically have been insular and suspicious of other faiths.
Yet as Naomi Schaefer Riley demonstrates in 'Til Faith Do Us Part, what is good for society as a whole often proves difficult for individual families: interfaith couples, Riley shows, are less happy than others and certain combinations of religions are more likely to lead to divorce.
Drawing on in-depth interviews with married and once-married couples, clergy, counselors, sociologists, and others, Riley shows that many people enter into interfaith marriages without much consideration of the fundamental spiritual, doctrinal, and practical issues that divide them. Couples tend to marry in their twenties and thirties, a time when religion diminishes in importance, only to return to faith as they grow older and raise children, suffer the loss of a parent, or experience other major life challenges. Riley suggests that a devotion to diversity as well as to a romantic ideal blinds many interfaith couples to potential future problems. Even when they recognize deeply held differences, couples believe that love conquers all. As a result, they fail to ask the necessary questions about how they will reconcile their divergent worldviews-about raising children, celebrating holidays, interacting with extended families, and more. An obsession with tolerance at all costs, Riley argues, has made discussing the problems of interfaith marriage taboo.
'Til Faith Do Us Part is a fascinating exploration of the promise and peril of interfaith marriage today. It will be required reading not only for interfaith couples or anyone considering interfaith marriage, but for all those interested in learning more about this significant, yet understudied phenomenon and the impact it is having on America.
This is not a memoir of her own life. Riley is Jewish. She married a lapsed Jehovah’s Witness. On their first date, she said their kids – should the relationship work out – would be raised Jewish. Years have passed, and they have a happy marriage. But the book is a study, not a memoir.
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April 2013,
WW Norton
The remarkable diary of a young girl who survived the Holocaust—appearing in English for the first time. In 1939, Helga Weiss was a young Jewish schoolgirl in Prague. Along with some 45,000 Jews living in the city, Helga’s family endured the first wave of the Nazi invasion: her father was denied work; she was forbidden from attending regular school. As Helga witnessed the increasing Nazi brutality, she began documenting her experiences in a diary.
In 1941, Helga and her parents were sent to the concentration camp of Terezín. There, Helga continued to write with astonishing insight about her daily life: the squalid living quarters, the cruel rationing of food, and the executions—as well as the moments of joy and hope that persisted in even the worst conditions.
In 1944, Helga and her family were sent to Auschwitz. Before she left, Helga’s uncle, who worked in the Terezín records department, hid her diary and drawings in a brick wall. Miraculously, he was able to reclaim them for her after the war.
Of the 15,000 children brought to Terezín and later deported to Auschwitz, only 100 survived. Helga was one of them. Reconstructed from her original notebooks, the diary is presented here in its entirety. With an introduction by Francine Prose, a revealing interview between translator Neil Bermel and Helga, and the artwork Helga made during her time at Terezín, Helga's Diary stands as a vivid and utterly unique historical document.
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April 2013,
WW Norton
A powerful tale of love, friendship, and becoming American in late ’70s Cambridge from the best-selling novelist. André Aciman has been hailed as "the most exciting new fiction writer of the twenty-first century" (New York magazine), a "brilliant chronicler of the disconnect…between who we are and who we wish we might have been" (Wall Street Journal), and a writer of "fiction at its most supremely interesting" (Colm Tóibín). Now, with his third and most ambitious novel, Aciman delivers an elegant and powerful tale of the wages of assimilation—a moving story of an immigrant’s remembered youth and the nearly forgotten costs and sacrifices of becoming an American.
It’s the fall of 1977, and amid the lovely, leafy streets of Cambridge a young Harvard graduate student, a Jew from Egypt, longs more than anything to become an assimilated American and a professor of literature. He spends his days in a pleasant blur of seventeenth-century fiction, but when he meets a brash, charismatic Arab cab driver in a Harvard Square café, everything changes.
Nicknamed Kalashnikov—Kalaj for short—for his machine-gun vitriol, the cab driver roars into the student’s life with his denunciations of the American obsession with "all things jumbo and ersatz"—Twinkies, monster television sets, all-you-can-eat buffets—and his outrageous declarations on love and the art of seduction. The student finds it hard to resist his new friend’s magnetism, and before long he begins to neglect his studies and live a double life: one in the rarified world of Harvard, the other as an exile with Kalaj on the streets of Cambridge. Together they carouse the bars and cafés around Harvard Square, trade intimate accounts of their love affairs, argue about the American dream, and skinny-dip in Walden Pond. But as final exams loom and Kalaj has his license revoked and is threatened with deportation, the student faces the decision of his life: whether to cling to his dream of New World assimilation or risk it all to defend his Old World friend. Harvard Square is a sexually charged and deeply American novel of identity and aspiration at odds. It is also an unforgettable, moving portrait of an unlikely friendship from one of the finest stylists of our time.
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[book] Payback
The Case for Revenge
Thane Rosenbaum
April 2013
University of Chicago Press
Rosenbaum, the son of Holocaust survivors, is an attorney, essayist, novelist, and university professor, A theme in a lot of his writing is justice and morality
We call it justice—the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the incarceration of corrupt politicians or financiers like Rod Blagojevich and Bernard Madoff, and the climactic slaying of cinema-screen villains by superheroes. But could we not also call it revenge? We are told that revenge is uncivilized and immoral, an impulse that individuals and societies should actively repress and replace with the order and codes of courtroom justice. What, if anything, distinguishes punishment at the hands of the government from a victim’s individual desire for retribution? Are vengeance and justice really so very different? No, answers legal scholar and novelist Thane Rosenbaum in Payback: The Case for Revenge—revenge is, in fact, indistinguishable from justice.
Revenge, Rosenbaum argues, is not the problem. It is, in fact, a perfectly healthy emotion. Instead, the problem is the inadequacy of lawful outlets through which to express it. He mounts a case for legal systems to punish the guilty commensurate with their crimes as part of a societal moral duty to satisfy the needs of victims to feel avenged. Indeed, the legal system would better serve the public if it gave victims the sense that vengeance was being done on their behalf. Drawing on a wide range of support, from recent studies in behavioral psychology and neuroeconomics, to stories of vengeance and justice denied, to revenge practices from around the world, to the way in which revenge tales have permeated popular culture—including Hamlet, The Godfather, and Braveheart—Rosenbaum demonstrates that vengeance needs to be more openly and honestly discussed and lawfully practiced.
Fiercely argued and highly engaging, Payback is a provocative and eye-opening cultural tour of revenge and its rewards—from Shakespeare to The Sopranos. It liberates revenge from its social stigma and proves that vengeance is indeed ours, a perfectly human and acceptable response to moral injury. Rosenbaum deftly persuades us to reconsider a misunderstood subject and, along the way, reinvigorates the debate on the shape of justice in the modern world. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

The Former Prophets
Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings
A Translation with Translation
Robert Alter (UC - Berkeley)
April 2013,
WW Norton
Robert Alter’s award-winning translation of the Hebrew Bible continues with the stirring narrative of Israel’s ancient history. To read the books of the Former Prophets in this riveting Robert Alter translation is to discover an entertaining amalgam of hair-raising action and high literary achievement. Samson, the vigilante superhero of Judges, slaughters thousands of Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. David, the Machiavellian prince of Samuel and Kings, is one of the great literary figures of antiquity. A ruthless monarch, David embodies a life in full dimension as it moves from brilliant youth through vigorous prime to failing old age. Samson and David play emblematic roles in the rise and fall of ancient Israel, a nation beset by internal divisions and external threats. A scattering of contentious desert tribes joined by faith in a special covenant with God, Israel emerges through the bloody massacres of Canaanite populations recounted in Joshua and the anarchic violence of Judges. The resourceful David consolidates national power, but it is power rooted in conspiracy, and David dies bitterly isolated in his court, surrounded by enemies. His successor, Solomon, maintains national unity through his legendary wisdom, wealth, and grand public vision, but after his death Israel succumbs to internal discord and foreign conquest. Near its end, the saga of ancient Israel returns to the supernatural. In Elijah’s fiery ascent to heaven many would find the harbinger of a messiah coming to save his people in their time of need.
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[book] The Turk Who Loved Apples
And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World
By Matt Gross
April 2013
Da Capo Press
While writing his celebrated Frugal Traveler column for The New York Times, Matt Gross began to feel hemmed in by its focus on what he thought of as “traveling on the cheap at all costs.” When his editor offered him the opportunity to do something less structured, the Getting Lost series was born, and Gross began a more immersive form of travel that allowed him to “lose his way all over the globe”—from developing-world megalopolises to venerable European capitals, from American sprawl to Asian archipelagos. And that’s what the never-before-published material in The Turk Who Loved Apples is all about: breaking free of the constraints of modern travel and letting the place itself guide you. It’s a variety of travel you’ll love to experience vicariously through Matt Gross—and maybe even be inspired to try for yourself.
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[book] What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know
An Insider Reveals How to Get Smart Funding for Your Billion Dollar Idea
By Brian Cohen
with John Kador
April 2013
McGraw Hill
"Terrific advice from a master of the angel investing game. Brian Cohen reveals the art and craft of raising angel money. An investment in this book will pay off a thousandfold." -- DR. HOWARD MORGAN, founder and partner at First Round Capital
When you connect with the right angel investor, it's like finding a new best friend--you just have to know what makes him or her happy. Smart funding is waiting for smart founders. Raising funds is all about connecting with the investor who's right for you--and What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know shows you exactly how to succeed.
Veteran early-stage investor Brian Cohen knows how to spot a great company destined for success, and in this groundbreaking book he offers soup-to-nuts guidance for any entrepreneur seeking to launch an invention, a product, or a great new idea into a receptive marketplace. As chairman of the board of directors of the New York Angels, Cohen is one of the most engaged angel investors out there today. The first investor in Pinterest, he describes exactly what angels want to see, hear, and feel before they take out their checkbooks:
A clear exit strategy before the startup even launches
Facts that turn "due" diligence into "do" diligence
Authenticity--"save your spinning for the fitness center"
Proof that you "live inside the customer's head"
Cohen gives invaluable insight into how the most successful angels view due diligence, friends and family money, crowdfunding, team building, scalability, iteration, exit strategies--and much more. This one-of-a-kind book provides a rare look inside the minds of people who are in the business of funding businesses just like yours. Read What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know to get your best shot at funding for your product after your very first pitch.
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[book] Franz Kafka
The Poet of Shame and Guilt (Jewish Lives)
By Saul Friedlander
April 2013
Yale University Press
Franz Kafka was the poet of his own disorder. Throughout his life he struggled with a pervasive sense of shame and guilt that left traces in his daily existence—in his many letters, in his extensive diaries, and especially in his fiction. This stimulating book investigates some of the sources of Kafka’s personal anguish and its complex reflections in his imaginary world.
In his query, Saul Friedländer probes major aspects of Kafka’s life (family, Judaism, love and sex, writing, illness, and despair) that until now have been skewed by posthumous censorship. Contrary to Kafka’s dying request that all his papers be burned, Max Brod, Kafka’s closest friend and literary executor, edited and published the author’s novels and other works soon after his death in 1924. Friedländer shows that, when reinserted in Kafka’s letters and diaries, deleted segments lift the mask of “sainthood” frequently attached to the writer and thus restore previously hidden aspects of his individuality.
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[book] SHOCKED
My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me
By Patricia Volk
April 2013,
From the acclaimed author of Stuffed: an intimate, richly illustrated memoir, written with charm and panache, that juxtaposes two fascinating lives—the iconoclastic designer Elsa Schiaparelli and the author’s own mother—to explore how a girl fashions herself into a woman.
Audrey Morgen Volk, an upper-middle-class New Yorker, was a great beauty and the polished hostess at her family’s garment district restaurant. Elsa Schiaparelli—“Schiap”—the haute couture designer whose creations shocked the world, blurred the line between fashion and art, and believed that everything, even a button, has the potential to delight. Audrey’s daughter Patricia read Schiap’s autobiography, Shocking Life, at a tender age, and was transformed by it. These two women—volatile, opinionated, and brilliant each in her own way—offered Patricia contrasting lessons about womanhood and personal style that allowed her to plot her own course.
Moving seamlessly between the Volks’ Manhattan and Florida milieux and Schiap’s life in Rome and Paris (among friends such as Dalí, Duchamp, and Picasso), Shocked weaves Audrey’s traditional notions of domesticity with Schiaparelli’s often outrageous ideas into a marvel-filled, meditation on beauty, and on being a daughter, sister, and mother, while demonstrating how a single book can change a life.
PW and Kirkus write: “Volk has a talent for unearthing meaning in the seemingly mundane. She works off the theory that everyone reads one influential book before puberty that leaves an indelible mark. Hers was Shocking Life, outré fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s memoir, filched from a shelf before her voracious reader of a mother (deemed beautiful by everyone from the dentist to the hostess at Schrafft’s) could return it to the Upper West Side bookstore where she ‘rented’ books. This is no soft-focus hagiography, however. Volk is cheerfully honest about her mother’s concern with what others think of her, and she bluntly calls Schiaparelli ‘a terrible mother.’ Including both personal photographs and depictions of Schiaparelli inventions such as women’s underpants that didn’t require ironing, this memoir is a compelling tribute to two ambitious women who were way ahead of their time.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Witty, tender and vividly nostalgic. . . . a spirited account of how an encounter with a memoir by couturier Elsa Schiaparelli transformed a young girl’s view of what it meant to be a woman. Volk adored her movie-star gorgeous mother Audrey. However, even as a child, she could never quite countenance the ‘blind adherence to the mystifying virtue of ‘seemly’ (female) behavior’ that Audrey demanded of her. She unexpectedly found [a] more subversive model for feminine behavior in Schiaparelli, whose autobiography Volk read at age 10. Like the author, ‘Schiap’ was a much-loved child. . . . [and] no great beauty, something Volk also understood. Yet she still managed to create an enduring legacy as an avant-garde fashion designer . . . Schiaparelli’s remarkable story provided Volk the ‘shock’ she needed to grow away from Audrey’s certitudes—about everything from clothes to men to life itself—and into her own, unique sensibilities. . . . Generously illustrated with images from the two worlds Volk depicts, the narrative that emerges from Volk’s deft interweaving of lives is as sharp-eyed as it is wickedly funny. Her attention to detail, especially in her evocations of 1950s New York, is nothing short of delicious.” —Kirkus
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[book] Man'oushe
Inside the Street Corner Lebanese Bakery
By Barbara Abdeni Massaad
Illustrated by Raymond Yazbeck
April/May 2013
Interlink IPG
The man'oushé is the cherished national pie of Lebanon. It has a reserved place on the country's breakfast table and has the unique ability to be worked into every meal of the day due to its simple versatility. Barbara Abdeni Massaad's cookbook is dedicated entirely to the art of creating the perfect man'oushé. With over 70 simple recipes, it offers you a way to enjoy these typical pies traditionally baked in street corner bakeries in the comfort of your own home.
Man'oushé: Inside the Street Corner Lebanese Bakery is a journey to discover Lebanon's favorite snack. One only has to leaf through the pages to realize that this typical Lebanese creation can be as simple as an on-the-go breakfast and as intricate as a family meal.
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The Importance of...
Former Mayor of Las Vegas
Director Emeritus of the Mob Museum
Owner, Oscar's Beef, Booze, and Broads
with George Anastasia
May 21, 2013
Weinstein Books
In Being Oscar,one of America’s most celebrated criminal defense attorneys recounts the stories and cases of his epic life. The Mafia’s go-to defender, he has tried an estimated 300 criminal cases, and won most of them. His roster of clients reads like a history of organized crime: Meyer Lansky, Nicky Scarfo, and “Lefty” Rosenthal, as well as Mike Tyson and boxing promoter Don King, along with a midget, a dentist, and a federal judge.
After thirty-five years as a defender, he ran for mayor of Las Vegas, and America’s greatest Mob lawyer became the mayor of its sexiest city. He was so popular his image appeared on the $5, $25, and $100 chips. While mayor of Vegas, he starred on the screen in Rush Hour 2 and CSI. He is as large a character in the history of organized crime as any of his clients and as legendary a figure in the history of Las Vegas as the entrepreneurs (his friends and clients) who built the city. This is his astonishing story—the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
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[book] Atrocities
The 100 Deadliest Episodes in Human History
By Matthew White, Steven Pinker (Foreword)
May 2013
WW Norton
Evangelists of human progress meet their opposite in Matthew White’s epic examination of history’s one hundred most violent events, or, in White’s piquant phrasing, “the numbers that people want to argue about.” Reaching back to the Second Persian War in 480 BCE and moving chronologically through history, White surrounds hard facts (time and place) and succinct takeaways (who usually gets the blame?) with lively military, social, and political histories. 4 maps
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Ediated by Jonathan Goldstein
May 2013
A Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, 2013.
David Sedaris says he is funny. That is good enough for me.
Jonathan Goldstein worries. A lot.
A year before his fortieth birthday, and Jonathan isn’t where he thinks he should be. With no wife, no kids, no car, and no house—not even a houseboat—what does he have?
Through a series of wonderfully funny stories, Jonathan recounts the highs and lows of his last year in his thirties, weighing in on topics such as the mysterious McRib, whether an automatic hand dryer can tell if you have a soul, and the underestimated power of a toy poodle.
Filled with Jonathan’s trademark wit, I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow is the tale of one man’s journey to find some great truth on his road to forty . . . or maybe not.
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By STEPHEN GROSZ. PHD, University College London
May 2013
WW Norton
(The British cover is so much better)
An extraordinary book for anyone eager to understand the hidden motives that shape our lives.
The everyday world bedevils us. To make sense of it, we tell ourselves stories. Here, in short, vivid, dramatic tales, psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz draws from his twenty-year practice to track the collaborative journey of therapist and patient as they uncover the hidden feelings behind ordinary behavior. A woman finds herself daydreaming as she returns home from a business trip; a young man loses his wallet. We learn, too, from more extreme examples: the patient who points an unloaded gun at a police officer, the compulsive liar who convinces his wife he’s dying of cancer. These beautifully rendered tales illuminate the fundamental pathways of life from birth to death. They invite compassionate understanding, suggesting answers to the questions that compel and disturb us most about love and loss, parents and children, work and change. The resulting journey will spark new ideas about who we are and why we do what we do.

The Examined Life is a series of short dramatic tales from the caseload of London psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz. It charts life’s trajectory from birth to death and aims to answer the questions that compel and disturb us most about love and loss, parents and children, work and change. In almost Talmudic vein, the chapters are self-contained stories that can be read in any order; in succession they offer a way of thinking about life’s problems. Grosz tells stories about everyday lives: about the people we love and the lies that we tell; the changes we bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but how we might find ourselves too.
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[book] The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan
A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris
By Jonathan Kirsch
May 2013,
On the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht comes this untold story of a teenager whose act of defiance would have dire international consequences. On the morning of November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a desperate seventeen-year-old Jewish refugee, walked into the German embassy in Paris and shot Ernst vom Rath, a Nazi diplomat. Two days later vom Rath lay dead, and the Third Reich exploited the murder to unleash Kristallnacht—its horrific campaign of terror against Germany’s Jewish citizens in a bizarre concatenation of events that would rapidly involve Ribbentrop, Goebbels, and Hitler himself. Bestselling author Jonathan Kirsch brings to light this wrenching story, reexamining the historical details and moral dimensions of one of World War II’s most enigmatic cases. Was Grynszpan a deranged lone gunman or psychopath, as Hannah Arendt claimed, or was he an early resistance fighter? Had this young man and his victim shared an intimate connection, as Grynszpan later claimed? Kirsch illuminates a life cast into the shadows of history in a compelling biography that is part page-turning historical thriller and part Kafkaesque legal drama. 8 pages of photographs
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The Importance of...
[book] Strange Rebels
1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century
By Christian Caryl
May 2013
Basic Books
Few moments in history have seen as many seismic transformations as 1979. That single year marked the emergence of revolutionary Islam as a political force on the world stage, the beginning of market revolutions in China and Britain that would fuel globalization and radically alter the international economy, and the first stirrings of the resistance movements in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. More than any other year in the latter half of the twentieth century, 1979 heralded the economic, political, and religious realities that define the twenty-first.
In Strange Rebels, veteran journalist Christian Caryl shows how the world we live in today—and the problems that plague it—began to take shape in this pivotal year. 1979, he explains, saw a series of counterrevolutions against the progressive consensus that had dominated the postwar era. The year’s epic upheavals embodied a startling conservative challenge to communist and socialist systems around the globe, fundamentally transforming politics and economics worldwide. In China, 1979 marked the start of sweeping market-oriented reforms that have made the country the economic powerhouse it is today. 1979 was also the year that Pope John Paul II traveled to Poland, confronting communism in Eastern Europe by reigniting its people’s suppressed Catholic faith. In Iran, meanwhile, an Islamic Revolution transformed the nation into a theocracy almost overnight, overthrowing the Shah’s modernizing monarchy. Further west, Margaret Thatcher became prime minister of Britain, returning it to a purer form of free-market capitalism and opening the way for Ronald Reagan to do the same in the US. And in Afghanistan, a Soviet invasion fueled an Islamic holy war with global consequences; the Afghan mujahedin presaged the rise of al-Qaeda and served as a key factor—along with John Paul’s journey to Poland—in the fall of communism.
Weaving the story of each of these counterrevolutions into a brisk, gripping narrative, Strange Rebels is a groundbreaking account of how these far-flung events and disparate actors and movements gave birth to our modern age.
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[book] Who Will Die Last
Stories of Life in Israel
By David Ehrlich and Ken Frieden
May 2013,
"This is a highly original collection of thought-provoking stories that both prod and soothe the reader, and range in style from Etgar Keret to Lorrie Moore. The characters are often in search of answers to life’s biggest issues— truth, love, identity, purpose—and sometimes even find them. More often, they grapple with loneliness and are filled with wistful regret. The prose is unadorned and straightforward, infused with a sane, world-weary, winking godliness. A must-read for anyone who enjoys well-crafted, unpretentious, and meaningful stories."—Evan Fallenberg, author of Light Fell and When We Danced on Water
"David Ehrlich takes us into an Israel of fragile soldiers and all-powerful grandmothers, a country that confounds expectations and whose people live at the meeting point between meaning and absurdity. By turn heartbreaking and hilarious (and sometimes both at once), these stories are small epics for a post-mythical time. Only a writer in love with the story of Israel could have written such wonderful Israeli stories."—Yossi Klein Halevi, fellow, The Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem

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[book]A Dual Inheritance
A Novel
By Joanna Hershon
May 2013
For readers of Rules of Civility and The Marriage Plot, Joanna Hershon’s A Dual Inheritance is an engrossing novel of passion, friendship, betrayal, and class—and their reverberations across generations.
Autumn 1962: Ed Cantowitz and Hugh Shipley meet in their final year at Harvard. Ed is far removed from Hugh’s privileged upbringing as a Boston Brahmin, yet his drive and ambition outpace Hugh’s ambivalence about his own life. These two young men form an unlikely friendship, bolstered by a fierce shared desire to transcend their circumstances. But in just a few short years, not only do their paths diverge—one rising on Wall Street, the other becoming a kind of global humanitarian—but their friendship ends abruptly, with only one of them understanding why.
Can a friendship define your view of the world? Spanning from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the present-day stock market collapse, with locations as diverse as Dar es Salaam, Boston, Shenzhen, and Fishers Island, A Dual Inheritance asks this question, as it follows not only these two men, but the complicated women in their vastly different lives. And as Ed and Hugh grow farther and farther apart, they remain uniquely—even surprisingly—connected.
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May 2013
WW Norton
Jews are thinkers. Looking at facets like on a diamond
New tools explained for thinkers
One of the world’s leading philosophers offers aspiring thinkers his personal trove of mind-stretching thought experiments. Over a storied career, philosopher Daniel C. Dennett has engaged questions about science and the workings of the mind. His answers have combined rigorous argument with strong empirical grounding.
And a lot of fun.
In this book, Dennett shares the “imagination extenders and focus-holders” that he and others have developed for addressing life’s most fundamental questions. Along with novel discussions of familiar moves—Occam’s Razor, reductio ad absurdum—Dennett offers cognitive tools purpose-built for the most treacherous subject matter: evolution, meaning, mind, and free will. From skyhooks to deepities, the Wandering Two-Bitser and the Prime Mammal, Dennett’s genial style persuades as it educates, pointing out pitfalls in arguments as it challenges readers to find others. The result is a sweeping work of deep intellectual seriousness that’s also studded with impish delights. Intuition Pumps offers intrepid thinkers—in all walks of life—delicious opportunities to explore their pet ideas with new powers.
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[book] MAN MADE
May 2013
Grad Central Publishing

Stein is based on Los Angeles. He is a columnist for Time Magazine and he has over 1 million followers in A graduate of of Stanford, he worked initially for Martha Stewart where he was fired twice in single day, and for other publications. He was an Idiot Savant on MTV, and finally landed at Time.
The smudge looked suspiciously penis- like. The doctor confirmed: "That's the baby's penis!" which caused not celebration, but panic. Joel pictured having to go camping and fix a car and use a hammer and throw a football and watch professionals throw footballs and figure out whether to be sad or happy about the results of said football throwing.
So begins his quest to confront his effete nature whether he likes it or not (he doesn't), by doing a twenty-four-hour shift with L.A. firefighters, going hunting, rebuilding a house, driving a Lamborghini, enduring three days of boot camp with the U.S. Army, day-trading with $100,000, and going into the ring with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. Seeking help from a panel of experts, including his manly father-in-law, Boy Scouts, former NFL star Warren Sapp, former MLB All-Star Shawn Green, Adam Carolla, and a pit bull named Hercules, he expects to learn that masculinity is defined not by the size of his muscles, but by the size of his heart (also, technically, a muscle). This is not at all what he learns.
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[book] Top Student, Top School?
How Social Class Shapes Where Valedictorians Go to College
By Alexandria Walton Radford
May 2013
University of Chicago Press
Most of us think that valedictorians can write their own ticket. By reaching the top of their class they have proven their merit, so their next logical step should be to attend the nation’s very best universities. Yet in Top Student, Top School?, Alexandria Walton Radford reveals that many valedictorians do not enroll in prestigious institutions. Employing an original five-state study that surveyed nine hundred public high school valedictorians, she sets out to determine when and why valedictorians end up at less selective schools, showing that social class makes all the difference.  
Radford traces valedictorians’ paths to college and presents damning evidence that high schools do not provide sufficient guidance on crucial factors affecting college selection, such as reputation, financial aid, and even the application process itself. Left in a bewildering environment of seemingly similar options, many students depend on their parents for assistance—and this allows social class to rear its head and have a profound impact on where students attend. Simply put, parents from less affluent backgrounds are far less informed about differences in colleges’ quality, the college application process, and financial aid options, which significantly limits their child’s chances of attending a competitive school, even when their child has already managed to become valedictorian.  
Top Student, Top School? pinpoints an overlooked yet critical juncture in the education process, one that stands as a barrier to class mobility. By focusing solely on valedictorians, it shows that students’ paths diverge by social class even when they are similarly well-prepared academically, and this divergence is traceable to specific failures by society, failures that we can and should address.
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[book] What Were They Thinking?
Carrie, from Book to Movie to Musical
By Lawrence D. Cohen
June 2013
Applause Theatre and Cinema Books
What Were They Thinking? Carrie, from Book to Movie to Musical is an intensely personal chronicle, tracking Lawrence Cohens almost four-decade history with Stephen Kings classic fable, from reading the manuscript in 1973 while a reader for producer David Susskind, to writing the screenplay for the classic 1976 Brian de Palma film, from deciding to turn it into a musical (1984) to the controversial Royal Shakespeare Company and legendary Broadway production that crashed and burned (1988), to collaborating on its rebirth and resurrection Off-Broadway for MCC Theater in 2012. Rarely has a theatrical account been so first person and insider basednaming names, telling never-before-told stories, and revealing what its creators were thinking. Passionate and visceral, it provides a highly informative and educational behind-the-scenes look into just how musicals are written and put together. How did a show that even its harshest critic, Frank Rich, admitted was a workable idea for a musical and Ken Mandelbaum argued was salvageable go so far off track? How did an Oscar-winning composer and lyricist, plus the award-nominated screenwriter of the original film, mess up so badly? How did a musical that the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company chose as its follow-up to Les Misérables become such a train wreck? What were they thinking? Follow the journey from its inception to its resurrectionthirteen theater award nominations; an award for Best Revival; the release of a long-awaited cast recording; and licensing by Rodgers and Hammerstein allowing Carrie to enter the global theater repertoire. Talk about a miracle and a happy ending.
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[book] Sacred Scripture, Sacred War
The Bible and the American Revolution
by James P. Byrd
June 2013
On January 17, 1776, one week after Thomas Paine published his incendiary pamphlet Common Sense, Connecticut minister Samuel Sherwood preached an equally patriotic sermon. "God Almighty, with all the powers of heaven, are on our side," Sherwood said, voicing a sacred justification for war that Americans would invoke repeatedly throughout the struggle for independence.
In Sacred Scripture, Sacred War, James Byrd offers the first comprehensive analysis of how American revolutionaries defended their patriotic convictions through scripture. Byrd shows that the Bible was a key text of the American Revolution. Indeed, many colonists saw the Bible as primarily a book about war. They viewed God as not merely sanctioning violence but actively participating in combat, playing a decisive role on the battlefield. When war came, preachers and patriots alike turned to scripture not only for solace but for exhortations to fight. Such scripture helped amateur soldiers overcome their natural aversion to killing, conferred on those who died for the Revolution the halo of martyrdom, and gave Americans a sense of the divine providence of their cause. Many histories of the Revolution have noted the connection between religion and war, but Sacred Scripture, Sacred War is the first to provide a detailed analysis of specific biblical texts and how they were used, especially in making the patriotic case for war. Combing through more than 500 wartime sources, which include more than 17,000 biblical citations, Byrd shows precisely how the Bible shaped American war, and how war in turn shaped Americans' view of the Bible.
Brilliantly researched and cogently argued, Sacred Scripture, Sacred War sheds new light on the American Revolution.
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[book] The Property
A graphic Novel
By Rutu Modan
Translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
June 2013
Drawn and Quarterly
The award-winning author of Exit Wounds returns with a story about families, secrets, and the bonds of love
The Property is a work that will inspire, fascinate, and delight readers and critics alike. Savvy and insightful, elegant and subtle, Rutu Modan’s second full-length graphic novel is a triumph of storytelling and fine lines.
After the death of her son, Regina Segal takes her granddaughter Mica to Warsaw, hoping to reclaim a family property lost during the Second World War. As they get to know modern Warsaw, Regina is forced to recall difficult things about her past, and Mica begins to wonder if maybe their reasons for coming aren’t a little different than what her grandmother led her to believe.
Modan offers up a world populated by prickly seniors, smart-alecky public servants, and stubborn women—a world whose realism is expressed alternately in the absurdity of people’s behavior and in the complex consequences of their sacrifices. Modan’s ever-present wit is articulated perfectly in her clear-line style, while a subtle, almost muted color palette complements the true-to-life nuances of her characterization. Exit Wounds made a huge splash for this signature combination of wit, style, and realism, and The Property will cement Modan’s status as one of the foremost cartoonists working today.
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[book] Finerman's Rules
Secrets I'd Only Tell My Daughters
About Business and Life
By Karen Finerman
June 2013
WW Norton
Finerman runs a fund with over $400 Million in assets. Her husband Lewis Golub) has a fund, she and her husband have two sets of twins, and her siblings are very successful economically as well. She is on the board of a hospital and a medical philanthropy. Here is some of her advice
Karen Finerman (pronounced like "Mighty Fine-rman") likes to tell people she was raised Calvinist. Or as her mother used to say, "I buy my girls Calvin Klein clothes. Then when they graduate from college they have to pay for them themselves." In order to keep herself in Calvin, Karen went to Wall Street.
As a woman working in an investment bank she noticed numerous ways that she and her colleagues sabotaged themselves both professionally and personally. Why were her friends unable to bring the same logic they applied at work to personal decisions? Why did they often let personal baggage undermine them at work in a way that her male colleagues never did? A classic illustration would be the way that women tend to Poll (Do I look good in these shoes?) rather than Decide, often giving too much weight to the input from a random stranger than their own gut.
Divided into three sections (Career, Money, Love), Finerman's Rules serves up unvarnished advice about how to get ahead, how to get the dysfunction out of your personal life and how to take control of your financial destiny. Or as Karen puts it, "You wouldn't let a man tell you where to live, how to vote, or what to wear. Then tell me why 80 percent of women have a man in charge of their money?"
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If you like the book, why not emulate a 2010 program that Finerman spoke at for JWI at Manhattan's JCC. A Mother-Daughter brunch on Life$avings® which grows out of JWI’s commitment to empower women and girls.

[book] Blessed
A History of the American Prosperity Gospel
By Kate Bowler (Duke)
June 2013,
Oxford University Press
How have millions of American Christians come to measure spiritual progress in terms of their financial status and physical well-being? How has the movement variously called Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, or simply prosperity gospel come to dominate much of our contemporary religious landscape?
Kate Bowler's Blessed is the first book to fully explore the origins, unifying themes, and major figures of a burgeoning movement that now claims millions of followers in America. Bowler traces the roots of the prosperity gospel: from the touring mesmerists, metaphysical sages, pentecostal healers, business oracles, and princely prophets of the early 20th century; through mid-century positive thinkers like Norman Vincent Peale and revivalists like Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin; to today's hugely successful prosperity preachers. Bowler focuses on such contemporary figures as
Creflo Dollar, pastor of Atlanta's 30,000-member World Changers Church International;
Joel Osteen, known as "the smiling preacher," with a weekly audience of seven million;
T. D. Jakes, named by Time magazine one of America's most influential new religious leaders;
Joyce Meyer, evangelist and women's empowerment guru; and many others.
At almost any moment, day or night, the American public can tune in to these preachers-on TV, radio, podcasts, and in their megachurches-to hear the message that God desires to bless them with wealth and health. Bowler offers an interpretive framework for scholars and general readers alike to understand the diverse expressions of Christian abundance as a cohesive movement bound by shared understandings and common goals.
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[book] Claudia Silver to the Rescue
A Novel
By Kathy Ebel
June 2013
In this gutsy debut novel, flawed but unsinkable Claudia Silver cuts a wide comic swath in her misguided attempts to find love and security in 1990s New York City. Estranged from her bohemian Brooklyn family and fired for an impropriety at work, Claudia Silver is officially in over her head. When her younger sister lands on her doorstep urgently in need of help, 20-something Claudia desperately wants to offer the rescue that she herself has longed for. But Claudia missteps spectacularly, straight into a supremely disastrous love affair that disrupts three very different New York households. Ultimately, she discovers the resilient nature of love where she least expects it — among her own family. In the fierce and vulnerable spirit of the HBO series Girls, Claudia Silver to the Rescue follows the various humiliations and rare triumphs that allow a memorable young woman to claim her identity from the wreckage of the worst mistake she’s ever made. By turns razor-sharp and tender, Claudia Silver to the Rescue chronicles the offbeat life of a heroine who shoots for the stars and hits the ceiling.
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June 2013
A book from David Berg, a renowned Texas trial lawyer. He looked up to his brother, a brother who pushed him to greater heights, until he was brutally murdered by a man who is now known as the actor Woody Harrelson’s father.
In 1968 David Berg’s brother, Alan, was murdered by Charles Harrelson—notorious hit man and father of Woody Harrelson. Alan was only thirty-one when he disappeared and for more than six months his family did not know what had happened to him—until his remains were found in a ditch in Texas.
There was an eyewitness to the murder: Harrelson’s girlfriend, who agreed to testify. Even so, Harrelson was acquitted with the help of the most famous criminal lawyer in America. Writing with cold-eyed grief and lacerating humor, Berg shares intimate details about his striving Jewish family that perhaps set Alan on a course for self-destruction, and the wrenching miscarriage of justice when Berg’s murderer went unpunished.
Since burying his brother, David has never discussed how he died. But then about three years ago, details from his past crept into his memory and he began to research his family’s legacy and his brother’s death, informed by his expertise as a seasoned attorney. The result is a raw and painful memoir that taps into the darkest human behaviors, a fascinating portrait of an iconic American place, and a true-crime courtroom murder drama—all perfectly calibrated.
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[book] Goliath
Life and Loathing in Greater Israel
By Max Blumenthal
June 2013
Nation Books
Blumenthal has appeared in the left wing Nation, Daily Beast and Al Jazeera
Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel is Max Blumenthal’s journey through Israel and an anatomy of what he terms an extremist takeover of Israel.
Blumenthal finds is a country overrun by extremists, where the Jewish Right has hijacked constitutional protections for both minorities and those in the majority who dissent. Blumenthal investigates the roots of these cultural and political shifts, as well as the American right-wing funders who are bankrolling Israel's right wingers that Bumenthal terms extremists. He finds that the country US officials regard as the only foothold of democracy in the Middle East—with which President Obama has said “[our] bond is unbreakable”—is teetering on the edge of authoritarianism.
Informed by intensive on-the-ground reporting, Goliath paints a vivid portrait of a society turning its back on democracy and uncovers the factors (political, demographic, and psychological) that have transformed a nation.
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[book] God in Proof
The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet
By Nathan Schneider
June 2013
University of California Press
In this tour of the history of arguments for and against the existence of God, Nathan Schneider embarks on a remarkable intellectual, historical, and theological journey through the centuries of believers and unbelievers--from ancient Greeks, to medieval Arabs, to today's most eminent philosophers and the New Atheists. Framed by an account of Schneider's own unique journey, God in Proof illuminates the great minds who wrestled with one of history's biggest questions together with their arguments, bringing them to life in their time, and our own. Schneider's sure-handed portrayal of the characters and ideas involved in the search for proof challenges how we normally think about doubt and faith while showing that, in their quest for certainty and the proofs to declare it, thinkers on either side of the God divide are often closer to one another than they would like to think.
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By Elana Amsterdam
June 2013
10 Speed Press
A family-friendly collection of simple paleo recipes that emphasize protein and produce, from breakfasts to entrees to treats, from the popular gluten-free blogger of Elana's Pantry.
Amsterdam is based on Boulder CO with her globe trotting husband and two pre-teen sons.
She opens this book with Bagels topped with smoked salmon, and these bagels are grain free. She uses almond flour and flax meal, and a dash of coconut flour. Her pancakes are based in the same primary ingredients.
Her younger son is fond of avocado kale salad. The kale is massaged. She serves beets with rosemary and balsamic vinegar. In need of Colorado style healing? Try her Healing Vegetable Bisque which is rooted in an onion, carrots, daikon root, burdock root, and chicken stock. He sautes turnips in coconut oil and honey, and her sesame noodles are made with kelp noodles, almond butter, sesame oil, plum vinegar and honey. Other unique recipes includes salmon burgers, greek turkey burgers (hint: uses zucchini), sesame fish sticks (cod, eggs, almond flour, sesame seeds); chicken marbella (based on the silver palate recipe: includes prunes, green olives, honey, apple cider vinegar) There are no specific passover recipes. For those, check her blog.
Elana Amsterdam has established herself as an extremely successful gluten-free author and blogger; her simple recipes offer busy cooks streamlined techniques and short ingredients lists. While her first two books emphasized gluten-free recipes, Elana has eaten a grain-free diet since 2001. Her paleo recipes have become the most popular on her site, embraced by readers looking to not only eliminate gluten--but also dairy and grains--whether because of allergies or to generally improve their health. Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry offers nearly 100 recipes featuring lean proteins and simple vegetable dishes, plus classic desserts--all free from grain, gluten, and dairy, and made with natural sweeteners.
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Are you a leader of your local UJA/Federation? Have you reached out to your Hispanic, Asian and Asian-Indian/Indian Subcontinent neighbors? Here is a book to read.
June 2013
Hachette/Business Plus
Historically, the Protestant WASPs, the Irish Catholics, and then the German Jews moved from immigrant enclaves to Wall Street powerbroker positions. The newest group is Indian Americans. Who runs PepsiCO, ran Citigroup, runs Mastercard? Indian Americans. Who are these Indian emigres (and children of emigres) ?
The collapse of the Galleon Group--a hedge fund that managed more than $7 billion in assets--from criminal charges of insider trading was a sensational case that pitted prosecutor Preet Bharara, himself the son of Indian immigrants, against the best and brightest of the South Asian business community. At the center of the case was self-described King of Kings, Galleon's founder Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan-born, Wharton-educated billionaire. But the most shocking allegation was that the éminence grise of Indian business, Rajat Gupta, was Rajaratnam's accomplice and mole. If not for Gupta's nose-to-the-grindstone rise to head up McKinsey & Co and position on the Goldman Sachs board, men like Rajaratnam would have never made it to the top of America's moneyed elite.
Author Anita Raghavan criss-crosses the globe from Wall Street boardrooms to Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology as she uncovers the secrets of this subculture--an incredible tale of triumph, temptation and tragedy.
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July 2013
Crazy. Let's talk about the heir to one of the largest fortunes in Asia. He lives in a small rented studio in Astoria Queens and takes the subway to work. He eats at McDonalds to save money. How about the heiress who walks everywhere to economize on bus fare. I feel so empathetic for these people. They are m. And now, on to the novel
Kevin Kwan, the grandson of Dr. Arthur PC Kwan, is from Singapore and was forcibly sent to America by his parents for schooling. He graduated from college in Texas and from Parsons and worked for Tibor Kalman and M&Co on their cool umbrella with the sky inside. He also worked at Martha Stewart and Interview magazines and presently lives in Manhattan. He is the co-author of LUCK with D. Aaronson and this is his first novel. He has been told be his relatives to keep $500K liquid at all times.

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions, lah, a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry, lah. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back.
Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.
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A Novel
By Gabriel Roth
July 2013
A sharp, sparkling debut about the sentimental education of a nerd. Eric Muller has been trying to hack the girlfriend problem since puberty, and all his attempts have backfired. As a high school freshman, Eric takes detailed notes on the girls in his class, hoping to find the one who will deign to go out with him. But when his notebook of "research" falls into into the hands of his peers, social disaster ensues. Flash forward to 2002. Eric is a Silicon Valley millionaire. He's figured out how to coax girls into bed with a protocol of ironic remarks and carefully timed intimacies, but he's never been in love. So when he falls for Maya, a disarmingly clever young journalist who sees through his moves, he's in virgin territory. When Eric discovers that her past may hold a dark secret, he must decide: Do the facts--the data--of her life matter? Or does it only matter that he loves her?
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[book] "On My Way"
The Untold Story of Rouben Mamoulian,
George Gershwin, and Porgy and Bess
By Joseph Horowitz
July 2013
Horowitz, a former NYTIMES music critic has composed a revelatory history of the operatic masterpiece that both made and destroyed Rouben Mamoulian, its director and unsung hero. The title derives from the closing song in which Porgy packs up and heads off for the big city in the North.
A forgotten master of American musical theater, Rouben Mamoulian directed the original production of Porgy and Bess, the opera that catapulted his career and led to both successes and failures.
Culling newly released information from the Mamoulian Archives at the Library of Congress, Joseph Horowitz shows that, more than any other individual, Mamoulian transformed DuBose Heyward’s 1925 novella, Porgy, from a quasi-realistic regional cameo into an epic theater work about suffering and redemption. In vividly rendered scenes of sound and movement, “On My Way” transports readers to the rehearsals and performances that Mamoulian singularly reconceived and choreographed, and the laudatory or scathing reviews that followed. Part history and part biography, “On My Way” re-creates Mamoulian’s unique directorial style on stage and screen, his collaboration with musical genius George Gershwin, and the opera that changed the face of American musical life.
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July 2, 2013
Random House/Spiegel and Grau
Not Jewish, but so many young Jewish people are headed to Shanghai
An expansive, eye-opening novel that captures the vibrancy of China today Phoebe is a factory girl who has come to Shanghai with the promise of a job—but when she arrives she discovers that the job doesn’t exist. Gary is a country boy turned pop star who is spinning out of control. Justin is in Shanghai to expand his family’s real estate empire, only to find that he might not be up to the task. He has long harbored a crush on Yinghui, a poetry-loving, left-wing activist who has reinvented herself as a successful Shanghai businesswoman. Yinghui is about to make a deal with the shadowy Walter Chao, the five star billionaire of the novel, who with his secrets and his schemes has a hand in the lives of each of the characters. All bring their dreams and hopes to Shanghai, the shining symbol of the New China, which, like the novel’s characters, is constantly in flux and which plays its own fateful role in the lives of its inhabitants.
Five Star Billionaire is a dazzling, kaleidoscopic novel that offers rare insight into the booming world of Shanghai, a city of elusive identities and ever-changing skylines, of grand ambitions and outsize dreams. Bursting with energy, contradictions, and the promise of possibility, Tash Aw’s remarkable new book is both poignant and comic, exotic and familiar, cutting-edge and classic, suspenseful and yet beautifully unhurried. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

[book] Bringing the Dark Past to Light
The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe
Edited by John-Paul Himka and Joanna Beata Michlic
July 2013
Jewish Publication Society, University of Nebraska Press
Despite the Holocaust’s profound impact on the history of Eastern Europe, the communist regimes successfully repressed public discourse about and memory of this tragedy. Since the collapse of communism in 1989, however, this has changed. Not only has a wealth of archival sources become available, but there have also been oral history projects and interviews recording the testimonies of eyewitnesses who experienced the Holocaust as children and young adults. Recent political, social, and cultural developments have facilitated a more nuanced and complex understanding of the continuities and discontinuities in representations of the Holocaust. People are beginning to realize the significant role that memory of Holocaust plays in contemporary discussions of national identity in Eastern Europe.

This volume of original essays explores the memory of the Holocaust and the Jewish past in postcommunist Eastern Europe. Devoting space to every postcommunist country, the essays in Bringing the Dark Past to Light explore how the memory of the “dark pasts” of Eastern European nations is being recollected and reworked. In addition, it examines how this memory shapes the collective identities and the social identity of ethnic and national minorities. Memory of the Holocaust has practical implications regarding the current development of national cultures and international relationships.
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[book] Between Philosemitism and Antisemitism
Defenses of Jews and Judaism in Germany, 1871-1932
By Alan T. Levenson
Paperback edition
July 2013
Jewish Publication Society, University of Nebraska Press
Philosemitism, as Alan T. Levenson explains, is “any pro-Jewish or pro-Judaic utterance or act.” The German term for this phenomenon appeared in the language at roughly the same time as its more famous counterpart, antisemitism, and its emergence signifies an important, often neglected aspect of German-Jewish encounters. Between Philosemitism and Antisemitism is the first assessment of the non-Jewish defense of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness from the foundation of the German Reich in 1871 until the ascent of the Nazis in 1932, when befriending Jews became a crime.
Levenson takes an interdisciplinary look at fiction, private correspondence, and published works defending Jews and Judaism in early twentieth-century Germany. He reappraises the missionary Protestant defense of Judaism and advocacy of Jewry by members of the German peace movement. Literary analysis of popular novels with positive Jewish characters and exploration of the reception of Herzlian Zionism further illuminate this often overlooked aspect of German-Jewish history.
Between Philosemitism and Antisemitism reveals the dynamic process by which a generally despised minority attracts defenders and supporters. It demonstrates that there was sympathy for Jews and Judaism in Imperial and Weimar Germany, although its effectiveness was limited by the values of a bygone era and scattered across the political and social spectrum.
Levenson’s new afterword vividly surveys the past decade of philosemitism studies, and in a reading of Die Weltbühne, Weimar Germany’s most celebrated leftwing intellectual journal, he justifies the widely contested term of philosemitism. 
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Untold Stories from the Fight against Muslim Fundamentalism
by Karima Bennoune
August 2013
WW Norton
Impassioned, eye-opening accounts of heroic resistance to religious extremism. Journalists, theater directors, doctors, musicians, museum curators, lawyers, comics, street vendors, educators, and women’s rights activists—these are some of the people Karima Bennoune interviewed in her three-year investigation of grassroots opposition to the rising tide of fundamentalism in Muslim populations from Lahore, Pakistan, to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her subjects’ own religious views range from the wholly secular to the deeply devout, yet all bear painful witness to the brutal effects of fundamentalist violence and oppression.
True defenders of freedom, they struggle to foster creativity, compassion, discussion, and diversity even sometimes in the face of death threats (and more than threats) from armed religious militants. Yet, some of these vibrant, engaging, and heroic people also suffer from the consequences of counterterrorism. Abroad, they are abandoned, as the political right resorts to anti-Muslim prejudice while the left defends Muslim fundamentalism as an authentic expression of cultural tradition, even as a “democratic” force. 20 illustrations
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August 2013
WW Norton
An explosive biography, decades in the making, reveals the secret past of the Svengali-like academic who held an entire generation in his thrall. Thirty years after his death in 1983, Yale University professor Paul de Man remains a haunting figure. The Nazi collaborator and chameleon-like intellectual created with Deconstruction a literary movement so pervasive that it threatened to topple the very foundations of literature and history itself. The revelation in 1988 that de Man had written a collaborationist and anti-Semitic article led to his intellectual downfall, yet biographer Evelyn Barish apprehended that nothing appeared to contextualize the life he assiduously sought to conceal. Relying on archival research and hundreds of interviews, Barish evokes figures such as Mary McCarthy, Elizabeth Hardwick, and Jacques Derrida. Reexamining de Man’s life, particularly in prewar Europe and his reincarnation in postwar America, she reveals, among other things, his embezzlement schemes, his lack of an undergraduate degree, and his bigamous marriage. The man who despised narrative, particularly biography, finally gets his due in this chilling portrait of a man and his era.
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BY Actor/ Comedian/ Star of Broadway/ Author and Grandfather, Billy Crystal
Henry Holt
October 2013
Arranged by decade, a memoir, and probably soon to be stage play a la 700 Sundays
A hilarious and heartfelt look at aging, by one of America's biggest movie stars on the eve of his 65th birthday Billy Crystal is turning 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners out with half your meal on your shirt. In humorously titled chapters like "Drugs We Did Then, Drugs We Do Now" and "Sex at 65," Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a roadmap to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him, urging them to "celebrate the fact that you made it around the sun one more time" and that "the ancient Mayans were wrong." He looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from his final conversation with his father, which would haunt him, to the birthday ritual he shared with his mother. Readers get a front row seat to his one day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever "test positive for Maalox"), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his first brush with the afterlife. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion ("the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon and Prozac"), death, and the things he wishes he had known as a younger man. As wise and poignant as it is funny, Crystal’s reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived. S

QUESTION: Dear – I heard that the It Get’s Better campaign will be a book. Will it be a Jewish book?

ANSWER: I hear that Penguin USA/Dutton (Dan Savage’s publisher and editor) will issue a collection of essay on It Gets Better in Spring 2011. I am sure that several Jewish people will submit essay and be published. So I would answer that yes, it will be a Jewish book and a book of Jewish interest. While you are waiting for the book, may I suggest you check out YouTube for this growing collection of YouTube videos from NYC’s CBST synagogue leaders: Click here, or Click here, or Click here.

QUESTION: Dear – What can I read after hearing of a new ponzi scheme in Lakewood?


[book] Confronting Scandal
How Jews Can Respond When Jews Do Bad Things
Erica Brown
August 2010, Jewish Lights
Jews seem to be in the news today for all of the wrong reasons. Whether it is Bernie Madoff or money laundering by rabbinic leaders, faking appraisals so you can sell assets to friends, smuggling narcotics to benefit yeshivas, the Jewish community has yet to take stock of what these breaches of civil law and Jewish ethical teachings mean for us as a people.
How do we manage collective discomfort and shame?
Should we feel ghetto mentality shame, or be filled with Dershowitz like Chutzpah?
How do we explain rabbis (or cantors) who commit sex offenses (and then ask for ultra kosher food in prison) or other crimes yet stand at the pulpit week after week offering others moral guidance?
And most importantly, how do we restore honor and dignity to our community by raising the ethical bar and adherence to it? This book explores the difficult and thorny issues surrounding scandals: airing dirty laundry in public, coming to terms with criminality among Jews, examining painful stereotypes of Jews and the difficult position of being a minority in society. A call for us to answer to a higher authority, it also addresses practical ways to strengthen ethical behavior and "do good things" to bring pride back, and to engender greater self-respect and the respect of others.
Dr. Erica Brown, a leading voice on subjects of current Jewish interest, consults for Jewish federations and organizations across the country. She is author of Inspired Jewish Leadership: Practical Approaches to Building Strong Communities, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.
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