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Welcome to our pages of Winter 2014, Fall 2013, Summer 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2013, Fall 2012, and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com

SOME WINTER 2014 BOOK READINGS

December 2-8, 2013: Various dates and venues. David Krakauer and Mohammed Fairouz perform with others. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. LA, CA
December 02, 2013: Ari Shavit reads from My Promised Land- The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. JCC San Francisco
December 03, 2013: Ari Shavit reads from My Promised Land- The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Commonwealth Club of Silicon Valley CA
December 04, 2013: Ari Shavit reads from My Promised Land- The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Skirball Cultural Center Los Angeles
December 04, 2013: Rabbi Marc Schneier, Imam Shamsi Ali read from Sons of Abraham A Candid Conversation about the Issues That Divide and Unite Jews and Muslims. B&N NYC UWS
December 12, 2013: Ari Shavit reads from My Promised Land- The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. JCC of Saint Louis, MO

January 06, 2014: Cindy Chupack reads from The Longest Date: Life as a Wife. B&N NYC UWS 7PM
January 20, 2014: Gary Shteyngart reads from Little Failure: A Memoir. B&N NYC Union Square. 7 PM
January 22, 2014: Robert M. Gates reads from Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. Lincoln Park B&N, Dallas TX 7PM
February 06, 2014: Armistead Maupin reads from Days of Anna Madrigal: A Novel (Tales of the City Series #9). NYC UWS B&N 86Th Lex. 7PM
February 26, 2014: Rabbi Marc Schneier and Imam Shamsi Ali read from Sons of Abraham A Candid Conversation about the Issues That Divide and Unite Jews and Muslims. B&N UWS NYC

March 10, 2014: Annabelle Gurwitch reads with Jessica Hecht, Tonya Pinkins, Saundra Santiago, Ilana Levine, Gina Gershon, Henry Alford and Alice Ripley. 2econd Stage Benefit and book party. NYC
March 13, 2014: Annabelle Gurwitch reads from her new collecton of essay. NYC 92nd St Y.
March 13, 2014: Michael Gross reads from House of Outrageous Fortune Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address. B&N 82nd Bway UWS NYC
March 15, 2014: Annabelle Gurwitch's I SEE YOU MADE AN EFFORT Book Tour. Books and Books. Miami, FL
March 24, 2014: Tova Mirvis reads from Visible City. B&N 82nd Bway UWS NYC (or you can stand across the street and peep into B&N
March 25, 2014: Annabelle Gurwitch's I SEE YOU MADE AN EFFORT Book Tour. Los Angeles, Live Talks LA with Jane Kaczmarek.. Los Angeles CA
March 27, 2014: Annabelle Gurwitch's I SEE YOU MADE AN EFFORT Book Tour. Book Passage (Ferry Building). San Francisco, CA
March 28, 2014: Annabelle Gurwitch's I SEE YOU MADE AN EFFORT Book Tour. Powell’s Portland.

April 03, 2014: Meg Wolitzer reads from The Interestings. B&N 82nd Bway UWS NYC
April 03, 2014: Biz Stone, a co-founder of Twitter, reads from Things a Little Bird Told Me Confessions of the Creative Mind. B&N Union Square NYC
April 08, 2014: Barbara Ehrenreich reads from Living with a Wild God A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything. B&N Union Square NYC
April 09, 2014: Carol Leifer reads from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying. B&N 86th Lexington UES NYC
April 09, 2014: Bob Saget (who other comedians report is one of the dirtiest comedians on stage even though his image is nice clean guy) reads from Dirty Daddy The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian. B&N. Union Square NYC
April 12-13, 2014: Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
April 24, 2014: Ruchama King Feuerman reads from In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist. B&N 82nd Bway UWS NYC.

May 13, 2014: Ione Skye reads from My Yiddish Vacation. B&N. Farmers' Market Los Angeles






[book] LITTLE FAILURE
A MEMOIR
BY GARY SHTEYNGART
January 7, 2014
Random House
Shteyngart, the author of Super Sad True Love Story; The Russian Debutante’s Handbook; and Absurdistan, has penned a memoir – a candid and deeply poignant story of a Soviet (Jewish) family that arrives in America in 1979 to discovers its future. Shteygart wrote, “I’ve finally written a book that isn’t a ribald satire, and because it’s actually based on my life, contains almost no sex whatsoever. I’ve lived this troubled life so others don’t have to. Learn from my failure, please.”
Gary likes Korean food more than Russian food
Born Igor Shteyngart in Leningrad during the twilight of the Soviet Union, the curious, diminutive, asthmatic boy grew up with a persistent sense of yearning—for food, for acceptance, for words — desires that would follow him into adulthood. At five, Igor wrote his first novel, Lenin and His Magical Goose, and his grandmother paid him a slice of cheese for every page.
In the late 1970s, world events changed Igor’s life. Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev made a deal: exchange grain for the safe passage of Soviet Jews to America — a country Igor viewed as the enemy. Along the way, Igor became Gary so that he would suffer one or two fewer beatings from other kids (AT A SOLOMON SCHECTER SCHOOL!). He had a bris at age eight. It was painful, when he became a “little Jew.”
Coming to the United States from the Soviet Union was equivalent to stumbling off a monochromatic cliff and landing in a pool of pure Technicolor.
Shteyngart’s loving but mismatched parents dreamed that he would become a lawyer or at least a “conscientious toiler” on Wall Street, something their distracted son was simply not cut out to do. Fusing English and Russian, his mother created the term Failurchka — Little Failure — which she applied to her son. With love. Mostly. She also called him a weakling and snotty.. of course, with love. And his father would hit him. His mother would charge him for food, too.
As a result, Shteyngart operated on a theory that he would fail at everything he tried. At being a writer, at being a boyfriend, and, most important, at being a worthwhile human being.
Swinging between a Soviet home life and American aspirations, Shteyngart found himself living in two contradictory worlds, all the while wishing that he could find a real home in one. And somebody to love him. And somebody to lend him sixty-nine cents for a McDonald’s hamburger.
Provocative, hilarious, and inventive, Little Failure reveals a deeper vein of emotion in Gary Shteyngart’s prose. It is a memoir of an immigrant family coming to America, as told by a lifelong misfit who forged from his imagination an essential literary voice and, against all odds, a place in the world.
SO much of what you will read may seem the basis for his prior fictional novels. And now that this memoir is out of his system, who knows what amazing novels he will create in the future.

Mazel Tov to Gary on the birth of a son (now 2 months old). His name is.. Johnny

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[book] ARIK
THE LIFE OF ARIEL SHARON
by David Landau(Haaretz)
January 2014
Knopf
From the former editor in chief of Haaretz, the first in-depth comprehensive biography of the late Ariel Sharon, the most important Israeli political and military leader of the last forty years.

Landau is a left leaning, UK born Israeli journalist who WEPT when Sharon was elected PM and thought of leaving the country. But how did Landau change? And Sharon? How did a military commander that some called ruthless become a father figure to Israel’s citizens and lead a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Why in 2003 did Sharon start to use the word “occupation?”

The life of Ariel Sharon spans much of modern Israel's history: A commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948, Sharon participated in the 1948 War of Independence, and played decisive roles in the 1956 Suez War and the six day War of 1967, and most dramatically is largely credited with the shift in the outcome of the Yom Kippur War of 1973. After returning from the army in 1982, Sharon became a political leader and served in numerous governments, most prominently as the defense minister during the 1983 Lebanon War in which he bore "personal responsibility" according to the Kahan Commission for massacres of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese militia, and he championed the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. But as prime minister he performed a dramatic reversal: orchestrating Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Landau brilliantly chronicles and analyzes his surprising about-face. Sharon suffered a stroke in January 2006 and remained in a persistent vegetative state until January 2014 when he died. Considered by many to be Israel's greatest military leader and political statesman, this biography recounts his life and shows how this leadership transformed Israel, and how Sharon's views were shaped by the changing nature of Israeli society. Landau also asks what if Sharon had not visited the Temple Mount in 2000, or what if he did not have a stroke. Would there have been more withdrawals and more peace?


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[book] It's a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba
Various Artists
Edited by the Idlesohn Society for Jewish Music
Two Audio CD’s
This two-CD set is the first of its kind: an in-depth historical examination of the cultural and political relationships between U.S. Latinos and Jews through popular music! The songs feature Jewish artists engaging with Latin styles, and Latino artists engaging with Jewish themes, following the evolution of a musical relationship from early 20th-century novelty songs through 1970s and 1980s salsa classics. The project includes archival images and ephemera, online oral histories, and an extensive booklet of essays written by Steve Berlin of the legendary Chicano band Los Lobos and acclaimed NYC bandleader and pianist Arturo O Farrill. The range of songs unveils a rarely documented musical genealogy of Jewish-Latino musical interchange in the U.S., moving from early Yiddish rhumba records by Irving Kaufman and the Barton Brothers up through the Catskills mambo experiments of top Latin bandleaders like Machito and Tito Puente, Hava Nagila makeovers by legends like Celia Cruz and Damiron, the influential band innovations of Eddie Palmieri, and the 1970s salsa output of artists like Larry Harlow, dubbed El Judio Maravilloso by his Latino bandmates.

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[book] A REPORT FROM THE INTERIOR
A MEMOIR
BY PAUL AUSTER
November 2013
Holt
Paul Auster’s most intimate autobiographical work to date
In the beginning, everything was alive. The smallest objects were endowed with beating hearts . . .
Having recalled his life through the story of his physical self in Winter Journal, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster now remembers the experience of his development from within through the encounters of his interior self with the outer world in Report from the Interior.
From his baby’s-eye view of the man in the moon, to his childhood worship of the movie cowboy Buster Crabbe, to the composition of his first poem at the age of nine, to his dawning awareness of the injustices of American life, Report from the Interior charts Auster’s moral, political, and intellectual journey as he inches his way toward adulthood through the postwar 1950s and into the turbulent 1960s.
Auster evokes the sounds, smells, and tactile sensations that marked his early life—and the many images that came at him, including moving images (he adored cartoons, he was in love with films), until, at its unique climax, the book breaks away from prose into pure imagery: The final section of Report from the Interior recapitulates the first three parts, told in an album of pictures. At once a story of the times—which makes it everyone’s story—and the story of the emerging consciousness of a renowned literary artist, this four-part work answers the challenge of autobiography in ways rarely, if ever, seen before.  



















[book] CHASING CHASO
My Decade In and Out
Of Humanitarian Aid
By Jessica Alexander
Bdwy Broadway Books
Disillusioned with her marketing job after college, Alexander dove into the humanitarian aid community, hoping to find a sense of purpose that the corporate world could not offer. She arrived in Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide as an eager intern, ready to contribute, but unsure of what to expect. The world she encountered in the field was dramatically different from anything she could have imagined. It was messy, chaotic, and difficult—but she was hooked.
In Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid, the former Fulbright scholar reveals the realities of life as an aid worker from managing a 24,000-person camp in Darfur to contributing to the aid efforts after Haiti’s earthquake in 2010. Alexander also writes about alcohol-fueled parties and fleeting romances, burnout and self-doubt, and the struggle to do good in places that have long endured suffering.
Chasing Chaos chronicles Alexander’s frustrating battles against corruption and inefficiency, but also her victories in the field. From wide-eyed and naïve newcomer to hardened cynic and, ultimately, to hopeful but critical realist, Alexander shows us not only the seemingly impossible challenges, but also the moments of resilience and recovery.
“A no-holds-barred description of what it is like to travel to world disaster sites and engage in the complex, challenging, nitty-gritty work of making a difference across lines of culture, class, age, gender, and perspective. In telling the story of her decade as a young and passionate humanitarian aid worker, Jessica Alexander also manages to tell us the best and the worst of what this work is like and to speculate on the aid establishment—how it has changed, where it works and what its limits are. A must read for anyone with global interests—and that should be all of us.” —Ruth Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service



















[book] Lillian Hellman
An Imperious Life
(Jewish Lives Series) by Dorothy Gallagher
November 2013
Yale University Press
Glamorous, talented, audacious—Lillian Hellman knew everyone, did everything, had been everywhere. By the age of twenty-nine she had written The Children’s Hour, the first of four hit Broadway plays, and soon she was considered a member of America’s first rank of dramatists, a position she maintained for more than twenty-five years.
Apart from her literary accomplishments — eight original plays and three volumes of memoirs — Hellman lived a rich life filled with notable friendships, controversial political activity, travel, and love affairs, most importantly with Dashiell Hammett. But by the time she died, the truth about her life and works had been called into question. Scandals attached to her name, having to do with sex, with money, and with her own veracity.
Dorothy Gallagher confronts the conundrum that was Lillian Hellman — a woman with a capacity to inspire outrage as often as admiration. Exploring Hellman’s leftist politics, her Jewish and Southern background, and her famous testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Gallagher also undertakes a new reading of Hellman’s carefully crafted memoirs and plays, in which she is both revealed and hidden.
At the same time, Gallagher uses Hellman’s life as a way to think about her own liberal thinking mother.
The author likes to use double negatives, such as ‘it was not unimportant’ and in one chapter she compares Hellman to Stein. Sure they had a dinner party together but were mostly opposites
In publishing this book, it seems as if the series wants to illuminate Hellman’s life, and show a Jewish Life that I personally would not want to emulate. Hellman was anti Semitic, lied, used the words yids and kikes, had many lovers and perhaps 7 abortions, and required the intensive help from the drunk, abusive, threesome and prostitute loving Dashiell Hammett to edit her works.
Gallagher sorts through the facts and the myths, explores Hellman’s ancestors, discusses whether the story of “Julia” is false, and arrives at a sharply drawn portrait of a woman who lived large to the end of her remarkable life, tried to craft or control her memoirs and legacy, and never backed down from a fight.













[book] Hanukkah Bear
by Eric A. Kimmel
Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
November 2013
Holiday House
A bear wakes to a wonderful smell that leads him to the house of Bubba Brayna. Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, but at ninety-seven, she doesn't hear or see well. When the bear arrives at her door, she believes he is her rabbi. Bubba Brayna and the bear light the menorah, play the dreidel game, and eat all the latkes. The mix-up is revealed, Bubba Brayna has a laugh about it, and everyone works together to make more latkes. The Chanukkah Guest by Eric A. Kimmel (Holiday House, 1990, o.p.) now has a new title, a shorter text, new illustrations
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[book][book] Eating the Bible
Over 50 Delicious Recipes to Feed Your Body and Nourish Your Soul
by Rena Rossner (you know her from the Jerusalem Post)
November 2013
SkyHorse Press
Feed your body, challenge your mind, and nourish your soul
One weekend, a decade ago, author Rena Rossner was served a bowl of lentil soup at dinner. The portion of the Bible that had been discussed that week was the chapter in which Esau sells his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of red lentil soup. Rossner was struck by the ability to bring the Bible alive in such a tactile way and decided on the spot to see whether she could incorporate the Bible into a meal each week. And so she has. The result, Eating the Bible, is an innovative cookbook with original, easy-to-prepare recipes that will ignite table conversation while pleasing the stomach. Every meal will become both a tactile and intellectual experience as the recipes enrich both the soul of the cook and the palates of those at the table.
Every cook must glance at a recipe countless times before completing a dish. Often recipes involve five- to ten-minute periods during which one must wait for the water to boil, the soup to simmer, or the onions to sauté. It is Rossner’s goal to help enrich those moments with biblical verse and commentary, to enable cooks to feed their souls as they work to feed the members of the household and guests. From the zesty “Garden of Eden Salad” to the “Honey Coriander Manna Bread,” each recipe will delight the palate and spark the mind.
213 color photographs
Rena Rossner has written extensively for the Jerusalem Post and the Jerusalem Report. Her Jerusalem Post cooking column, “The Weekly Portion,” combined recipes with biblical verse. As a mom to five kids, she is always looking for ways to bring more meaning to her family’s meals, and she blogs about this process at eatingthebibleblog.wordpress.com. She holds an MA in history from McGill University and a BA in nonfiction writing from Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars program. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various print and online magazines. Raised in Miami, she also lived in Canada and Ireland before making her home with her family in Jerusalem, but she still travels extensively to North America and the United Kingdom.
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[book] ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL
The Call of Transcendence
By Shai Held
November 2013
Indiana University Press
I remember visiting the office of a Penn Religion Professor and seeing his framed photo of Heschel praying with his feet with Rev Dr. MLK, Jr. I recall many times in high school and college trying to read Heschel and understand his philosophy and not just his great quotes. Unfortunately I was not able to comprehend most of what he wrote. But now, Shai Held has helped me to understand Heschel’s theology.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was a prolific scholar, impassioned theologian, and prominent activist who participated in the black civil rights movement and the campaign against the Vietnam War. He has been hailed as a hero, honored as a visionary, and endlessly quoted as a devotional writer. In this sympathetic, yet critical, examination, Shai Held elicits the overarching themes and unity of Heschel's incisive and insightful thought. Focusing on the idea of transcendence--or the movement from self-centeredness to God-centeredness--Held puts Heschel into dialogue with contemporary Jewish thinkers, Christian theologians, devotional writers, and philosophers of religion.
abbi Shai Held is Co-Founder, Dean and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar. Before that, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and Halakha at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel. A renowned lecturer and educator, Shai is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. He has taught for institutions such as Drisha, Me'ah, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and the Rabbinic Training Institute, and currently serves on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage program. Shai has a PhD in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought and in the history of Zionism.













[book] Outside the Bible,
3-Volume Set:
Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture
Edited by Dr. Louis H. Feldman
James L. Kugel Ph.D.
And Lawrence H. Schiffman Ph.D.
December 2013
JPS/ Nebraska
$261.25
The Hebrew Bible is only part of ancient Israel s writings. Another collection of Jewish works has survived from late- and post-biblical times, a great library that bears witness to the rich spiritual life of Jews in that period. This library consists of the most varied sorts of texts: apocalyptic visions and prophecies, folktales and legends, collections of wise sayings, laws and rules of conduct, commentaries on Scripture, ancient prayers, and much, much more.
While specialists have studied individual texts or subsections of this library, Outside the Bible seeks for the first time to bring together all of its major components into a single collection, gathering portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the biblical apocrypha, and pseudepigrapha, and the writings of Philo of Alexandria and Josephus.
The editors have brought together these diverse works in order to highlight what has often been neglected; their common Jewish background. For this reason the commentaries that accompany the texts devote special attention to their references to Hebrew Scripture and to issues of halakhah (Jewish law), their allusions to motifs and themes known from later Rabbinic writings in Talmud and Midrash, their evocation of recent or distant events in Jewish history, and their references to other texts in this collection.
The work of more than seventy contributing experts in a range of fields, Outside the Bible offers new insights into the development of Judaism and early Christianity. This three-volume set of translations, introductions, and detailed commentaries is a must for scholars, students, and anyone interested in this great body of ancient Jewish writings.
The collection includes a general introduction and opening essays, new and revised translations, and detailed introductions, commentaries, and notes that place each text in its historical and cultural context. A timeline, tables, and a general index complete the set.
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[book] Bernard Kops
Fantasist, London Jew,
Apocalyptic Humorist
by William Baker and Jeanette Roberts Shumaker
2013
Fairleigh Dickinson
This is the first book-length study of the work of contemporary writer Bernard Kops. Born on November 28, 1926 to Dutch-Jewish immigrants, Bernard Kops became famous after the production of his play The Hamlet of Stepney Green: A Sad Comedy with Some Songs in 1958. This play, like much of his work, focuses on the conflicts between young and old. Identified as an “angry young man,” Kops, like his contemporaries John Osborne, Shelagh Delaney, and Harold Pinter, belonged to the so-called new wave of British drama that emerged in the mid-1950s.
Kops went on to create important documentaries about the Blitz and living in London during the early 1940s. He has written two autobiographies, over ten novels, many journalistic pieces, and more than forty plays for TV, stage, and radio. A prolific poet, Kops has authored a long pamphlet poem and eight poetry collections. Now in his mid-80s, the prolific and versatile Kops
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We recall with affection Edgar Bronfman Sr., business leader, philanthropist, author, and Jewish leader – funder of the movement for freedom for Soviet Jews, Bronfman youth fellowships, Taglit, and MyJewish Learning (but not MyJewishBooks or SchmoozeDance, not that we are complaining, or anything). His tell all, informative, insight filled books (and those of his brother, Charles) included:
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[book] Holocaust Mothers and Daughters:
Family, History, and Trauma
(Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry
& HBI Series on Jewish Women)
by Federica K. Clementi and Shulamit Reinharz
2013
Brandeis
In this brave and original work, Federica Clementi focuses on the mother-daughter bond as depicted in six works by women who experienced the Holocaust, sometimes with their mothers, sometimes not. The daughters' memoirs, which record the "all-too-human" qualities of those who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, show that the Holocaust cannot be used to neatly segregate lives into the categories of before and after. Clementi's discussions of differences in social status, along with the persistence of antisemitism and patriarchal structures, support this point strongly, demonstrating the tenacity of trauma--individual, familial, and collective--among Jews in twentieth-century Europe.
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[book] Selling under the Swastika
Advertising and Commercial Culture
in Nazi Germany
by Pamela Swett
2013
Stanford
Selling under the Swastika is the first in-depth study of commercial advertising in the Third Reich. While scholars have focused extensively on the political propaganda that infused daily life in Nazi Germany, they have paid little attention to the role played by commercial ads and sales culture in legitimizing and stabilizing the regime. Historian Pamela Swett explores the extent of the transformation of the German ads industry from the internationally infused republican era that preceded 1933 through the relative calm of the mid-1930s and into the war years.
She argues that advertisements helped to normalize the concept of a "racial community," and that individual consumption played a larger role in the Nazi worldview than is often assumed. Furthermore, Selling under the Swastika demonstrates that commercial actors at all levels, from traveling sales representatives to company executives and ad designers, enjoyed relative independence as they sought to enhance their professional status and boost profits through the manipulation of National Socialist messages.
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Hmm… her History is sure to raise an eyebrow
Note.. this is the year after the ghetto was destroyed and made Jew-free. [book] Warsaw 1944
Hitler, Himmler, and the Warsaw Uprising
by Alexandra Richie
December 2013
FS&G
The full untold story of how one of history’s bravest revolts ended in one of its greatest crimes
In 1943, the Nazis liquidated Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto. A year later, they threatened to complete the city’s destruction by deporting its remaining residents. A sophisticated and cosmopolitan community a thousand years old was facing its final days—and then opportunity struck. As Soviet soldiers turned back the Nazi invasion of Russia and began pressing west, the underground Polish Home Army decided to act. Taking advantage of German disarray and seeking to forestall the absorption of their country into the Soviet empire, they chose to liberate the city of Warsaw for themselves.
Warsaw 1944 tells the story of this brave, and errant, calculation. For more than sixty days, the Polish fighters took over large parts of the city and held off the SS’s most brutal forces. But in the end, their efforts were doomed. Scorned by Stalin and unable to win significant support from the Western Allies, the Polish Home Army was left to face the full fury of Hitler, Himmler, and the SS. The crackdown that followed was among the most brutal episodes of history’s most brutal war, and the celebrated historian Alexandra Richie depicts this tragedy in riveting detail. Using a rich trove of primary sources, Richie relates the terrible experiences of individuals who fought in the uprising and perished in it. Her clear-eyed narrative reveals the fraught choices and complex legacy of some of World War II’s most unsung heroes.
Alexandra Richie is the author of Faust’s Metropolis, a comprehensive cultural and political history of Berlin that Publishers Weekly named one of the top ten books of 1999. She currently lives in Warsaw with her husband, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski.
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[book] The Routes Not Taken
A Trip Through New York City's
Unbuilt Subway System
by Joseph B. Raskin
December 2013
Fordham University Press
Delves deep into the underbelly of the NYC subway system to reveal the tunnels and stations that might have been.
Robert A. Van Wyck, mayor of the greater city of New York, broke ground for the first subway line by City Hall on March 24, 1900. It took four years, six months, and twenty-three days to build the line from City Hall to West 145th Street in Harlem. Things rarely went that quickly ever again. The Routes Not Taken explores the often dramatic stories behind the unbuilt or unfinished subway lines, shedding light on a significant part of New York City's history that has been almost completely ignored until now. West Harlem and the Upper West Side became a Jewish mecca.
NYC is home to one of the world's largest subway systems. It made constant efforts to expand its underground labyrinth, efforts that were often met with unexpected obstacles: financial shortfalls, clashing agendas of mayors and borough presidents, battles with local community groups, and much more.
After discovering a copy of the 1929 subway expansion map, author Joseph Raskin began his own investigation into the city's underbelly. Using research from libraries, historical societies, and transit agencies throughout the New York metropolitan area, Raskin provides a fascinating history of the Big Apple's unfinished business that until now has been only tantalizing stories retold by public-transit experts. The Routes Not Taken sheds light on the tunnels and stations that were completed for lines that were never fulfilled: the efforts to expand the Hudson tubes into a full-fledged subway; the Flushing line, and why it never made it past Flushing; a platform underneath Brooklyn's Nevins Street station that has remained unused for more than a century; and the 2nd Avenue line long the symbol of dashed dreams deferred countless times since the original plans were presented in 1929.
Raskin also reveals the figures and personalities involved, including why Fiorello LaGuardia could not grasp the importance of subway lines and why Robert Moses found them to be old and boring. By focusing on the unbuilt lines, Raskin illustrates how the existing subway system is actually a Herculean feat of countless political compromises.
Filled with illustrations of the extravagant expansion plans, The Routes Not Taken provides an enduring contribution to the transportation history of New York City.
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[book] Entree to Judaism for Families
Jewish Cooking and Kitchen Conversations
with Children
Paperback
by Tina Wasserman
December 2013
URJ Press
Entree to Judaism for Families provides the essential tools for helping children learn to cook with confidence, with clear, step-by-step instructions for every recipe and tips for adults to make the experience safe and rewarding. Every recipe is also a story, and Entree to Judaism for Families provides opportunities to share those stories, by learning the rich history of the communities that created the food, and sharing that food with your own family.
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[book] Who Put the Beef in Wellington?
50 culinary classics, who invented them,
when and why
by James W. Winter
Foreword by James Martin
December 2013
Kyle
I think it would sell better with a brighter cover.
Ever wondered why some of our dishes have the names they do?
Where does Caesar Salad comes from? How about Waldorf Salad
Who was Benedict and what’s he got to do with combining poached eggs with ham and hollandaise sauce?
In this fascinating journey into culinary history James Winter provides the answers to these questions and explores the origins of classic dishes from around the world. Who came up with them? When and what inspired chefs to combine certain ingredients? And why have they endured to become classics that we turn to again and again?
With a total of 50 famous recipes, including 10 iconic cocktails, James covers some of the most well-known salads, suppers, and desserts from restaurants around the world including
Battenberg Cake, Peach Melba, Melba Toast, Lobster Thermodore, Bananas Foster, Pina Colada. Margherita Pizza, Sole Véronique, Chicken Kiev and Tom Collins.
Including the quintessential version of each recipe plus hints and tips from top chefs, this book will inform and inspire in equal measure. You’ll also find the answers to: Why is a Tarte Tatin upside-down? Where does the name Tortellini come from? What has meringue with ice cream got to do with Alaska? Who invented Oysters Rockefeller? Does Chicken Kiev really come from Kiev? Why is the Bellini named after a famous Italian painter? Who was Reuben Kalakofsky (Reuben sandwich) and Ding Baozhen (Chicken Almond Ding, Kung Pao Chicken)?
Accompanied by a recipe for each dish to inspire you to cook these classics at home, this a book for your kitchen shelf as well as your bedside table.
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[book] Head Strong
How Psychology is Revolutionizing War
Michael D. Matthews, Engineering Psych professor at USMA West Point
December 2013
Oxford University Press
Professor Mike Matthews opens the book with the famed story of the West Point chain, a chain on logs that the colonists placed in the Hudson River during the Revolutionary War. It stopped British ships from controlling the river and its supply routes. But guess what. The chains were weak and a British ship could have destroyed them, but the psychology of the chinas stopped them. Psych has a long history but a short story. It is the science that can determine who wins and who loses the wars of the 21st century.
Changes in the world's political landscape coupled with radical advances in the technology of war will greatly alter how militaries are formed, trained, and led. Leadership under fire - and the traits and skills it requires - is also changing. Grant, Lee, Pershing, Patton - these generals would not succeed in 21st century conflicts.
In Head Strong: Psychology and Military Dominance in the 21st Century, Michael D. Matthews explores the many ways that psychology will make the difference for wars yet to come, from revolutionary advances in soldier selection and training to new ways of preparing soldiers to remain resilient in the face of horror and to engineering the super-soldier of the future. These advancements will ripple out to impact on the lives of all of us, not just soldiers. Amputees will have "intelligent" life-like prosthetics that simulate the feel and function of a real limb. Those exposed to trauma will have new and more effective remedies to prevent or treat post-traumatic stress disorder. And a revolution in training - based heavily in the military's increasing reliance on immersive simulations - will radically alter how police, fire, and first-responder personnel are trained in the future.
At its heart, war is the most human of endeavors. Psychology, as the science of human behavior, will prove essential to success in future war. Authored by a West Point military psychologist, this book is one of the first to expose us to the smarter wars, and the world around them, to come.
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[book] Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution
Voices from Tunis to Damascus
Prepared by Layla Al-Zubaidi, Matthew Cassel, Nemonie Craven Roderick, Robin Moger, Georgina Collins, and Samar Yazbek
December 2013
Penguin
An English PEN Award–winning collection of personal testimony from participants in the Arab Spring
As revolution swept through the Arab world in spring of 2011, much of the writing that reached the West came via analysts and academics, experts and expats. We heard about Facebook posts and tweeted calls to action, but what was missing was testimony from on-the-ground participants—which is precisely what Layla Al-Zubaidi and Matthew Cassel have brought together in Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution. These essays and profoundly moving, often harrowing, firsthand accounts span the region from Tunisia to Syria and include contributors ranging from student activists to seasoned journalists—half of whom are women. This unique collection explores just how deeply politics can be held within the personal and highlights the power of writing in a time of revolution..
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[book] A Town of Empty Rooms
A Novel
Paperback edition
by Karen E. Bender
January 2014
Counterpoint
Southern Jewish life
Karen E. Bender burst on to the literary scene a decade ago with her luminous first novel, Like Normal People, which garnered remarkable acclaim.
A Town of Empty Rooms presents the story of Serena and Dan Shine, estranged from one another as they separately grieve over the recent loss of Serena’s father and Dan’s older brother. Serena’s actions cause the couple and their two small children to be banished from New York City, and they settle in the only town that will offer Dan employment: Waring, North Carolina. There, in the Bible belt of America, Serena becomes enmeshed with the small Jewish congregation in town led by an esoteric rabbi, whose increasingly erratic behavior threatens the future of his flock. Serena gets a job at the synagogue, but is immediately recruited to the Board, and therefore immersed in all the issues of small congregations. Dan and their young son are drawn into the Boy Scouts by their mysterious and vigilant neighbor, who may not have their best intentions at heart. Tensions accrue when matters of faith, identity, community, and family all fall into the crosshairs of contemporary, small-town America. A Town of Empty Rooms presents a fascinating insight into the lengths we will go to discover just where we belong.
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[book] All Russians Love Birch Trees
by Olga Grjasnowa
Translated by Eva Bacon
January 2014
Other Press
Set in Frankfurt, All Russians Love Birch Trees follows a young immigrant named Masha. Fluent in five languages and able to get by in several others, Masha lives with her boyfriend, Elias. Her best friends are Muslims struggling to obtain residence permits, and her parents rarely leave the house except to compare gas prices. Masha has nearly completed her studies to become an interpreter, when suddenly Elias is hospitalized after a serious soccer injury and dies, forcing her to question a past that has haunted her for years.
She moves to Israel when she scores a job as a translator, but since she is Jewish, lived in Germany, and speaks Arabic, she is treated with suspicion, and the author paints a picture of Israel as a paranoid violent trauma filled neurotic nation. Yippee.
Olga Grjasnowa has a unique gift for seeing the funny side of even the most tragic situations. With cool irony, her debut novel tells the story of a headstrong young woman for whom the issue of origin and nationality is immaterial—her Jewish background has taught her she can survive anywhere. Yet Masha isn’t equipped to deal with grief, and this all-too-normal shortcoming gives a particularly bittersweet quality to her adventures.Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book











[book] The Longest Date
Life as a Wife
by Cindy Chupack
January 2014
Viking
Over a decade ago, Cindy Chupack, the humorous Jeiwsh writer who hails from Oklahoma and was the chief writer and exec producer for HBO’s Sex and The City taight me a lesson about blind dating. She said that each party should being a mix tape (cd) with them. It might show some part of their soul, and if the date doesn’t work out, as least you have a new mix tape to take home.
Chupack spent much of her adult life writing about dating and relationships (Sex and The City, Oprah Magazine). After her she and her husband were divorced (he realized he is gay, they are still friends and he calls for dating advice), and after many many dates (you have to go on dozens to find a good one, she found THE ONE: Los Angelese Public Defender Ian Wallach. She was 39.
Soulful yet self-deprecating, “The Longest Date” retells the story of her her marriage and divorce, and the meeting of Husband No. 2, Ian. After the courtship and ceremony, both Cindy and Ian realized that happily ever after takes some practice, and near constant negotiation over everyday matters like cooking, sex, holidays, monogamy, and houseguests.
The Longest Date takes a serious turn when it comes to infertility. (Cindy Chupack's endured nasty shots, vile-tasting teas, and a little electro-acupuncture. She's stood on her head and imagined her husband's face on tail-whipping sperm. All in an effort to get pregnant)
And the St Bernard
And life in Los Angeles
The Longest Date is the perfect companion for anyone navigating a serious relationship, be it newlyweds or couples moving in that direction.
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Added bonus… some paragraphs from the Tulsa Jewish paper: She (the rabbi for Cindy’s marriage to Ian) blinked, and nodded — appropriately unfazed. Then she asked, “Was he Jewish?” This seemed like a moot point to me, but I told her yes, he was. I remember how happy my parents were that I was marrying a Jewish doctor. It was like winning the Jewish lottery, until he turned out to be gay. After that, my parents cared less about my boyfriend’s religion than his ability to name at least three pro ballplayers. Therefore it was nice, but not essential, that Ian was Jewish. Ian was a bad-boy motorcycle-riding tattooed lawyer/poet/chef who proposed to me on a beach at sunset riding a white horse and dressed as a knight. The fact that he was Jewish was among the least remarkable things about him. Among the most remarkable things about him was that after hearing my story, he remained straight (note: because nearly every time Cindy told a man in LA at parties that her first husband decided he wanted to be gay, the man replied that he too was thinking of dating men, was married to a man, was bi-sexual, or liked opera.)












[book] ARIK
The Life of Ariel Sharon
by David Landau(Haaretz)
January 2014
Knopf
From the former editor in chief of Haaretz, the first in-depth comprehensive biography of Ariel Sharon, the most important Israeli political and military leader of the last forty years.
The life of Ariel Sharon spans much of modern Israel's history: A commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948, Sharon participated in the 1948 War of Independence, and played decisive roles in the 1956 Suez War and the six day War of 1967, and most dramatically is largely credited with the shift in the outcome of the Yom Kippur War of 1973. After returning from the army in 1982, Sharon became a political leader and served in numerous governments, most prominently as the defense minister during the 1983 Lebanon War in which he bore "personal responsibility" according to the Kahan Commission for massacres of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese militia, and he championed the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. But as prime minister he performed a dramatic reversal: orchestrating Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Landau brilliantly chronicles and analyzes his surprising about-face. Sharon suffered a stroke in January 2006 and remains in a persistent vegetative state. Considered by many to be Israel's greatest military leader and political statesman, this biography recounts his life and shows how this leadership transformed Israel, and how Sharon's views were shaped by the changing nature of Israeli society.

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[book] Netta and Her Plant
(A Tu B'shevat Book)
Paperback Edition
by Ellie B. Gellman
Illustrated by Natascia Ugliano
January 2014
Kar Ben
Ages 3 – 8
\ One Tu B'Shevat day in Israel, little Netta (hre name means PLANT) brings a plant home from preschool. Over time, Netta grows, and the plant grows too. Soon it is time for both of them to find new homes and new friends. Her family counsels Netta, and Netta counsels the plant (don’t be afraid of change, plant). Emotions change. Growth occurs. There is a new home, a new sibling, etc)














ARE YOU IN LOVE WITH HER YET??
[book] ON THE EDGE
THE AT OF HIGH IMPACT LEADERSHIP
BY ALISON LEVINE
January 2014
Grand Central
On the Edge is an engaging leadership manual that provides concrete insights garnered from various extreme environments ranging from Mt Everest to the South Pole. By reflecting on the lessons learned from her various expeditions, author Alison Levine makes the case that the leadership principles that apply in extreme adventure sport also apply in today's extreme business environments. Both settings require you to be able to make crucial decisions on the spot when the conditions around you are far from perfect. Your survival - and the survival of your team-depend on it. On the Edge provides a framework to help people scale whatever big peaks they aspire to climb-be they literal or figurative-by offering practical, humorous, and often unorthodox advice about how to grow as a leader.
Alison Levine has climbed the highest peak on each of the seven continents.  She has skied to both the North and South Poles.  Levine is a former Associate at Goldman Sachs; and she is the team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition. She is an adjunct lecturer at the US Military Academy at West Point, and has an MBA from Duke.
Levine hails from Phoenix. Born in 1966, her father was an FBI agent but was shunned after he spoke out against J. Edgar Hoover. She has achieved the educational, career, and physical stamina highlights even though she suffered from a congenital heart illness and Raynaud’s Disease.
Funny story: Levine was a restaurant hostess in college in Arizona and convinced some Mattel exec who were dining there to give her an internship. To help finance her college education, Levine founded a start-up to source and sell logoed items to various groups and associations on multiple college campuses. After college, Levine worked for Allergan and then Iridex. For three years, she worked as a deputy finance director for Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign to be governor of California

An account of her visit to the Jewish Federation of Washington DC: When first asked to be the team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, Levine originally said, “no.” But after 9/11/2001, Levine realized, you can’t let fear keep you from doing what you want to do and accepted the role as team captain. However, the hard part was just beginning. She needed to find the funds to buy the needed equipment to make it to the top of Everest. It just so happened that her expedition coincided with the launch of the Ford Expedition, providing perfect marketing for the full-size SUV. Levine jokes that she is glad it worked out with Ford because she was also in talks with Chevy whose full-size SUV was named the Avalanche… Much better to go with the Expedition than the Avalanche when climbing a mountain. With her team and funding secured, it came time to climb the mountain. Climbing Mt. Everest typically takes two months. Starting at the base camp, a team will climb to Camp I and spend a night there. After that night, they will climb back down to base camp and let their bodies recover. Next, they will climb up to Camp II and then, after spending some time there, climb back down to base camp again. They then repeat this process with Camp III. The repeated trips are necessary because the body starts to degenerate after 18,000 ft. above sea level and the back and forth between the camps allows the body to adjust to the air pressure. Levine admits that this process, constantly having to go backwards, can be mentally frustrating. The important thing, she continues, is to remember that even when you are going backwards, you are still making progress- sometimes you have to go backwards to get where you want to be.
At the Khumbu Icefall (located between Base Camp and Camp I at the head of the Khumbu glacier), Levine learned that “Fear is okay, complacency is what will kill you.” The fear keeps you on the edge of your game, aware of your surroundings. The fear gets you across the icefall alive.
At Camp IV, her team reached the death zone. Altitudes above 26,000 ft. are considered to be in the death zone, the height at which the body begins to die. At this point, the climbers must take ten to fifteen breaths for every step they take. Ten to fifteen breaths. For one step. Insane. This is also the point at which Levine began to freak out. She told herself, “I just need to make it to that piece of ice.” Then, when she had reached that piece of ice, “I just need to make it to that rock.” When she was ready to give up, she told herself, “Just make it to the next landmark.” The task ahead can seem overwhelming if you look at it as a whole, but breaking it into smaller parts makes it manageable, and that is how Levine moved through the death zone.
About 500 ft. from the summit, the situation began to change. Storm clouds appeared, and the weather conditions quickly worsened. Levine’s team had to choose between moving forward and risking their lives in the storm, or turning around and abandoning their summit attempt. A team only gets one chance at the summit because they only bring enough supplies to make it through the death zone once-turning back meant losing the chance to reach the top. Making the decision to turn back was harder than continuing on for Levine, but she had to think of the members of her team. You can’t always stick to the plan and action must be taken based on the situation at the time. Levine’s teamed turned around, and in the end they made it back down the mountain with their lives. (Levine made it to the summit 8 years later)
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[book] [book] MUSLIMS AND JEWS IN FRANCE
HISTORY OF A CONFLICT
BY MAUD MANDEL (Brown Univ)
January 2014
Princeton University Press
This book traces the global, national, and local origins of the conflict between Muslims and Jews in France, challenging the belief that rising anti-Semitism in France is rooted solely in the unfolding crisis in Israel and Palestine. Maud Mandel shows how the conflict in fact emerged from processes internal to French society itself even as it was shaped by affairs elsewhere, particularly in North Africa during the era of decolonization.
Mandel examines moments in which conflicts between Muslims and Jews became a matter of concern to French police, the media, and an array of self-appointed spokesmen from both communities: Israel's War of Independence in 1948, France's decolonization of North Africa, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the 1968 student riots, and François Mitterrand's experiments with multiculturalism in the 1980s. She takes an in-depth, on-the-ground look at interethnic relations in Marseille, which is home to the country's largest Muslim and Jewish populations outside of Paris. She reveals how Muslims and Jews in France have related to each other in diverse ways throughout this history--as former residents of French North Africa, as immigrants competing for limited resources, as employers and employees, as victims of racist aggression, as religious minorities in a secularizing state, and as French citizens.
In Muslims and Jews in France, Mandel traces the way these multiple, complex interactions have been overshadowed and obscured by a reductionist narrative of Muslim-Jewish polarization.

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I THOUGHT IT IS… WHAT DOES THE .. LOX… SAY
[book] What Does the Fox Say?
by Ylvis and Christian Løchstøer (Author)
Illustrated by Svein Nyhus
2014
Simon and Schuster Children’s Books
Ages 4 – 8
Ylvis is made up of brothers Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker. Besides being talented musicians and pretty good dancers, the brothers have worked as comedians and talk-show hosts in their home country of Norway for many years. Their music video “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” appeared on YouTube on September 3, 2013. Within a few months, it had become a global phenomenon, with more than 200 million views. Now, the brothers have taken their fun lyrics and have paired them with Svein Nyhus’s playful illustrations for a whole new take on the fox’s unique way of speaking. What Does the Fox Say? is Ylvis’s first picture book.
Christian Løchstøer cowrote the lyrics of "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" with Ylvis. He is managing editor of Tonight with Ylvis and has been working with the duo since 2007. Svein Nyhus is a Norwegian author and illustrator of children’s books. He lives in Tonsberg, Norway.
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[book] Ice Cream Social
The Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry's
by Brad Edmondson
Epilogue by Jeff Furman, Chairman of the Board, B&J
Winter 2014
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Ben & Jerry’s has always been committed to an insanely ambitious three-part mission: making the world’s best ice cream, supporting progressive causes, and sharing the company’s success with all stakeholders: employees, suppliers, distributors, customers, cows, everybody. But it hasn’t been easy.
This is the first book to tell the full, inside story of the inspiring rise, tragic mistakes, devastating fall, determined recovery, and ongoing renewal of one of the most iconic mission-driven companies in the world. No previous book has focused so intently on the challenges presented by staying true to that mission. No other book has explained how the company came to be sold to corporate giant Unilever or how that relationship evolved to allow Ben & Jerry’s to pursue its mission on a much larger stage.
Jeff really is a lawyer and an accountant, but not in an ordinary sense. One Unilever executive refers to him as “a lawyer in disguise.” He is a balding guy with a fringe of long hair that he tucks behind his ears. He smiles a lot, trims his beard only occasionally, wears a T-shirt every day—no matter how cold it is—and spends his time working with not-for-profit groups and businesses that have progressive values. And he didn’t even meet Ben or Jerry until he was thirty.
Jeff got a degree in accounting in 1965 and a degree in law in 1969, but as the 1970s began, he was not exactly on a career track. In fact, he couldn’t keep a job. He was a parole officer until he was given a gun and told to prevent a suspect from fleeing out the back door. He couldn’t even bring himself to load the thing. Boston University fired him for spreading the word about an antiwar protest. What he did like was working for the Workers Defense League, representing blue-collar folks and conscientious objectors. That experience gave him strong feelings of compassion for people who hold entry-level jobs. It was a big reason why he later suggested that Ben & Jerry’s adopt the policy of paying the company’s top employees no more than five times its starting salary, and it is why the company continues to pay a living wage to its employees today Journalist Brad Edmondson tells the story with an eye for details, dramatic moments, and memorable characters. He interviewed dozens of key figures, particularly Jeff Furman, who helped Ben and Jerry write their first business plan in 1978 and became chairman of the board in 2010. Jeff is said to be the ampersand in Ben & Jerry’s. It’s a funny, sad, surprising, and ultimately hopeful story
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[book] MASTERING THE ART OF QUITTING
Why It Matters in Life, Love, and Work
by Peg Streep, and Alan Bernstein
Winter 2014
De Capo Press
Find out why the happiest, most successful people have the ability both to persist and to quit. In a culture that perceives quitting as a last resort and urges us to hang in, Mastering the Art of Quitting tackles our tendencies to overanalyze, ruminate, and put a positive spin on goals that have outlived their usefulness.
Bestselling author Peg Streep and psychotherapist Alan Bernstein demonstrate that persistence alone isn't always the answer. We also need to be able to quit to get the most out of life. They reveal simple truths that apply to goal setting and achievement in all areas of life, including love, relationships, and work:
Quitting promotes growth and learning, as well as the ability to frame new goals.
Without the ability to give up, most people will end up in a discouraging loop.
The most satisfied people know when it's time to stop persisting and start quitting.
Quitting is a healthy, adaptive response when a goal can't be reached.
Featuring compelling stories of people who successfully quit, along with helpful questionnaires and goal maps to guide you on the right path, Mastering the Art of Quitting allows you to evaluate whether your goals are working for or against you, and whether you need to rechart certain aspects of your life. Do you believe that "winners never quit and quitters never win"?; How realistic are you when it comes to setting goals?; What matters more: staying the course or exploring new possibilities in life?; How much of your sense of self relies on other people's judgments?; Do you tend to hang in longer than you should, even when you're unhappy?; When you try something new, do you focus on the effort you have to put in or the possibility of failure? Are you a procrastinator or a delayer when it comes to getting things done?; How much do you worry about making a mistake? Do you second-guess yourself?; How hard is it for you to get over a setback?Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book











[book] Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn
A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing,
and the Beginning of Everything
By Amanda Gefter
January 2014
Bantam
In a memoir of family bonding and cutting-edge physics for readers of Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality and Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?, Amanda Gefter tells the story of how she conned her way into a career as a science journalist—and wound up hanging out, talking shop, and butting heads with the world’s most brilliant minds. At a Chinese restaurant outside of Philadelphia, a father asks his fifteen-year-old daughter a deceptively simple question: “How would you define nothing?” With that, the girl who once tried to fail geometry as a conscientious objector starts reading up on general relativity and quantum mechanics, as she and her dad embark on a life-altering quest for the answers to the universe’s greatest mysteries. Before Amanda Gefter became an accomplished science writer, she was a twenty-one-year-old magazine assistant willing to sneak her and her father, Warren, into a conference devoted to their physics hero, John Wheeler. Posing as journalists, Amanda and Warren met Wheeler, who offered them cryptic clues to the nature of reality: The universe is a self-excited circuit, he said. And, The boundary of a boundary is zero. Baffled, Amanda and Warren vowed to decode the phrases—and with them, the enigmas of existence. When we solve all that, they agreed, we’ll write a book.
Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn is that book, a memoir of the impassioned hunt that takes Amanda and her father from New York to London to Los Alamos. Along the way, they bump up against quirky science and even quirkier personalities, including Leonard Susskind, the former Bronx plumber who invented string theory; Ed Witten, the soft-spoken genius who coined the enigmatic M-theory; even Stephen Hawking.
What they discover is extraordinary: the beginnings of a monumental paradigm shift in cosmology, from a single universe we all share to a splintered reality in which each observer has her own. Reality, the Gefters learn, is radically observer-dependent, far beyond anything of which Einstein or the founders of quantum mechanics ever dreamed—with shattering consequences for our understanding of the universe’s origin. And somehow it all ties back to that conversation, to that Chinese restaurant, and to the true meaning of nothing.
Throughout their journey, Amanda struggles to make sense of her own life—as her journalism career transforms from illusion to reality, as she searches for her voice as a writer, as she steps from a universe shared with her father to at last carve out one of her own. It’s a paradigm shift you might call growing up.
By turns hilarious, moving, irreverent, and profound, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn weaves together story and science in remarkable ways. By the end, you will never look at the universe the same way again.
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We recall with affection Edgar Bronfman Sr., business leader, philanthropist, author, and Jewish leader – funder of the movement for freedom for Soviet Jews, Bronfman youth fellowships, Taglit, and MyJewish Learning (but not MyJewishBooks or SchmoozeDance, not that we are complaining, or anything). His tell all, informative, insight filled books (and those of his brother, Charles) included:
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[book] THE POPE AND MUSSOLINI
THE SECRET HISTORY OF PIUS XI AND THE
RISE OF FASCISM IN EUROPE
BY DAVID KERTZER (Brown University)
January 2014
Random House
From National Book Award finalist David I. Kertzer comes the gripping story of Pope Pius XI’s secret relations with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. This groundbreaking work, based on seven years of research in the Vatican and Fascist archives, including reports from Mussolini’s spies inside the highest levels of the Church, will forever change our understanding of the Vatican’s role in the rise of Fascism in Europe.
The Pope and Mussolini tells the story of two men who came to power in 1922, and together changed the course of twentieth-century history.
In most respects, they could not have been more different. One was scholarly and devout, the other thuggish and profane. Mussolini had been anti church and ordered his thugs to beat up priests. Prior to become Pope, Pius XI spent time in Poland for the Vatican where he learned of the some of the Polish church’s virulent hatred of Jews.
Yet Pius XI and “Il Duce” had many things in common. They shared a distrust of democracy and a visceral hatred of Communism. Both were prone to sudden fits of temper and were fiercely protective of the prerogatives of their office. (“We have many interests to protect,” the Pope declared, soon after Mussolini seized control of the government in 1922.) Each relied on the other to consolidate his power and achieve his political goals.
In a challenge to the conventional history of this period, in which a heroic Church does battle with the Fascist regime, Kertzer shows how Pius XI played a crucial role in making Mussolini’s dictatorship possible and keeping him in power. In exchange for Vatican support, Mussolini restored many of the privileges the Church had lost and gave in to the pope’s demands that the police enforce Catholic morality. Yet in the last years of his life — as the Italian dictator grew ever closer to Hitler — the pontiff’s faith in this treacherous bargain started to waver. With his health failing, he began to lash out at the Duce and threatened to denounce Mussolini’s anti-Semitic racial laws before it was too late.
Horrified by the threat to the Church-Fascist alliance, the Vatican’s inner circle, including the future Pope Pius XII, struggled to restrain the headstrong pope from destroying a partnership that had served both the Church and the dictator for many years.
The Pope and Mussolini brims with memorable portraits of the men who helped enable the reign of Fascism in Italy: Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Pius’s personal emissary to the dictator, a wily anti-Semite known as Mussolini’s Rasputin; Victor Emmanuel III, the king of Italy, an object of widespread derision who lacked the stature — literally and figuratively — to stand up to the domineering Duce; and Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, whose political skills and ambition made him Mussolini’s most powerful ally inside the Vatican, and positioned him to succeed the pontiff as the controversial Pius XII, whose actions during World War II would be subject for debate for decades to come. While Pius XI of modest Northern Italian heritage hated Hitler and flew into rages about him, Pacelli, or affluent Roman origins, who had spent over a decade in Germany, was more diplomatic and conciliatory.

Did Professor Kertzer find a smoking gun in the archives?? Perhaps it is the 3 page document of understanding between Mussolini and the Vatican before the racial laws against Jews was issued. The Vatican was okay with the laws, as long as they were within the boundaries that had limited Jews in the Papal States in prior years. Namely, Jews could be fired from teaching positions, Jews could be kicked out of schools, and Jews could be removed from positions of power. The rules were similar to those in effect in Rome. But even more information and details came from the fascist archives. The Fascists had dozens of spies in the Vatican and they reported on the happenings of the time. No man was closer to the pope than his master of ceremonies. The MC, a monsignor, was at the Pope’s side constantly. Documents from the Italian Archives contain police reports detailing the monsignor’s desire for boys for sex. While another aide was dismissed for pederasty and never heard from again, the monsignor, who was a friend of the pope since their days in Milan, was able to stay and raised up to cardinal deacon. And he continued to recruit boys for sex in his Vatican apartment.

With the recent opening of the Vatican archives covering Pius XI’s papacy, the full story of the Pope’s complex relationship with his Fascist partner can finally be told. Vivid, dramatic, with surprises at every turn, The Pope and Mussolini is history writ large and with the lightning hand of truth.
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When I first moved to NYC, I worked for a political consulting company. A colleague was a maverick named Sean Strub. One guy went on to be a chef. One a pollster. One a Jewish blogger (me). And Sean Strub became an activist and entrepreneur, direct mailer, hotelier, author, publisher, politician, theatre producer, and more.
[book] Body Counts
A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival
by Sean Strub
January 2014
Scribner
Sean Strub, founder of the groundbreaking POZ magazine, producer of the hit play The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, and the first openly HIV-positive candidate for U.S. Congress, charts his remarkable life—a story of politics and AIDS and a powerful testament to loss, hope, and survival.
As a politics-obsessed Georgetown University freshman, Sean Strub arrived in Washington, D.C., from Iowa in 1976, with a plum part-time job running a Senate elevator in the U.S. Capitol. He also harbored a terrifying secret: his attraction to men.
As Strub explored the capital’s political and social circles, he discovered a parallel world where powerful men lived double lives shrouded in shame. When the AIDS epidemic hit in the early 1980s, Strub was living in New York and soon found himself attending “more funerals than birthday parties.” Scared and angry, he turned to radical activism to combat discrimination and demand research.
Strub takes readers through his own diagnosis and inside ACT UP, the activist organization that transformed a stigmatized cause into one of the defining political movements of our time.
From the New York of Studio 54 and Andy Warhol’s Factory to the intersection of politics and burgeoning LGBT and AIDS movements, Strub’s story crackles with history. He recounts his role in shocking AIDS demonstrations at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the home of U.S. Senator Jesse Helms. Body Counts is a vivid portrait of a tumultuous era, with an astonishing cast of characters, including Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Keith Haring, Bill Clinton, and Yoko Ono. By the time a new class of drugs transformed the epidemic in 1996, Strub was emaciated and covered with Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions, the scarlet letter of AIDS. He was among the fortunate who returned, Lazaruslike, from the brink of death.
Strub has written a vital, inspiring memoir, unprecedented in scope, about this deeply important period of American history.
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[book] Hitler's Generals in America
Nazi POWs and Allied Military Intelligence
by Derek R. Mallett
January 2014
University Press of Kentucky
Americans are familiar with prisoner of war narratives that detail Allied soldiers' treatment at the hands of Germans in World War II: popular books and movies like The Great Escape and Stalag 17 have offered graphic and award-winning depictions of the American POW experience in Nazi camps. Less is known, however, about the Germans captured and held in captivity on U.S. soil during the war.
In Hitler's Generals in America, Derek R. Mallett examines the evolution of the relationship between American officials and the Wehrmacht general officers they held as prisoners of war in the United States between 1943 and 1946. During the early years of the war, British officers spied on the German officers in their custody, housing them in elegant estates separate from enlisted soldiers, providing them with servants and cooks, and sometimes becoming their confidants in order to obtain intelligence. The Americans, on the other hand, lacked the class awareness shared by British and German officers. They ignored their German general officer prisoners, refusing them any special treatment.
By the end of the war, however, the United States had begun to envision itself as a world power rather than one of several allies providing aid during wartime. Mallett demonstrates how a growing admiration for the German officers' prowess and military traditions, coupled with postwar anxiety about Soviet intentions, drove Washington to collaborate with many Wehrmacht general officers. Drawing on newly available sources, this intriguing book vividly demonstrates how Americans undertook the complex process of reconceptualizing Germans -- even Nazi generals -- as allies against what they perceived as their new enemy, the Soviet Union
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[book] America's Great Game
The CIA’s Secret Arabists and
the Shaping of the Modern Middle East
by Hugh Wilford
January 2014
Basic Books
From the 9/11 attacks to waterboarding to drone strikes, relations between the United States and the Middle East seem caught in a downward spiral. And all too often, the Central Intelligence Agency has made the situation worse. But this crisis was not a historical inevitability—far from it. Indeed, the earliest generation of CIA operatives was actually the region’s staunchest western ally.
In America’s Great Game, celebrated intelligence historian Hugh Wilford reveals the surprising history of the CIA’s pro-Arab operations in the 1940s and 50s by tracing the work of the agency’s three most influential—and colorful—officers in the Middle East. Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the first head of CIA covert action in the region; his cousin, Archie Roosevelt, was a Middle East scholar and chief of the Beirut station. The two Roosevelts joined combined forces with Miles Copeland, a maverick covert operations specialist who had joined the American intelligence establishment during World War II. With their deep knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs, the three men were heirs to an American missionary tradition that engaged Arabs and Muslims with respect and empathy. Yet they were also fascinated by imperial intrigue, and were eager to play a modern rematch of the “Great Game,” the nineteenth-century struggle between Britain and Russia for control over central Asia. Despite their good intentions, these “Arabists” propped up authoritarian regimes, attempted secretly to sway public opinion in America against support for the new state of Israel, and staged coups that irrevocably destabilized the nations with which they empathized. Their efforts, and ultimate failure, would shape the course of U.S.–Middle Eastern relations for decades to come.
Based on a vast array of declassified government records, private papers, and personal interviews, America’s Great Game tells the riveting story of the merry band of CIA officers whose spy games forever changed U.S. foreign policy.
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[book] Dubious Gastronomy
The Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA
By Robert Ji-Song Ku
January 2014
University of Hawai’i Press
California roll, Chinese take-out, American-made kimchi, dogmeat, monosodium glutamate, SPAM--all are examples of what Robert Ji-Song Ku calls dubious foods.
Strongly associated with Asian and Asian American gastronomy, they are commonly understood as ersatz, depraved, or simply bad. In Dubious Gastronomy, Ku contends that these foods share a spiritual fellowship with Asians in the United States in that the Asian presence, be it culinary or corporeal, is often considered watered-down, counterfeit, or debased manifestations of the real thing. The American expression of Asianness is defined as doubly inauthentic--as insufficiently Asian and unreliably American when measured against a largely ideological if not entirely political standard of authentic Asia and America. By exploring the other side of what is prescriptively understood as proper Asian gastronomy, Ku suggests that Asian cultural expressions occurring in places such as Los Angeles, Honolulu, New York City, and even Baton Rouge are no less critical to understanding the meaning of Asian food--and, by extension, Asian people--than culinary expressions that took place in Tokyo, Seoul, and Shanghai centuries ago. In critically considering the impure and hybridized with serious and often whimsical intent, Dubious Gastronomy argues that while the notion of cultural authenticity is troubled, troubling, and troublesome, the apocryphal is not necessarily a bad thing: The dubious can be and is often quite delicious.
Dubious Gastronomy overlaps a number of disciplines, including American and Asian American studies, Asian diasporic studies, literary and cultural studies, and the burgeoning field of food studies. More importantly, however, the book fulfills the critical task of amalgamating these areas and putting them in conversation with one another. Written in an engaging and fluid style, it promises to appeal a wide audience of readers who seriously enjoys eating--and reading and thinking about--food.
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[book] Beyond Hummus and Falafel
Social and Political Aspects of
Palestinian Food in Israel
(California Studies in Food and Culture)
by Liora Gvion (Hebrew U)
Translated by David Wesley and Elana Wesley
2012
University of California Press
Beyond Hummus and Falafel is the story of how food has come to play a central role in how Palestinian citizens of Israel negotiate life and a shared cultural identity within a tense political context.
At the household level, Palestinian women govern food culture in the home, replicating tradition and acting as agents of change and modernization, carefully adopting and adapting mainstream Jewish culinary practices and technologies in the kitchen. Food is at the center of how Arab culture minorities define and shape the boundaries and substance of their identity within Israel.
The walkingcookbook.blogspot blog writes: “The authors of Beyond Hummus and Falafel: Social and Political Aspects of Palestinian Food in Israel argue that falafel is a Palestinian food that became part of Israeli cuisine as naturally as any immigrant cuisine merges with a new country. They write that with the establishment of Israel, Palestinian citizens of Israel kept their own immigrant dishes "in the private sphere, not so much due to the reluctance of the Palestinian population to expose its food as to the suspicions of Jewish people toward Arab food. Some, but only relatively few, of its components were appropriated by Jewish knowledge agents and became identified as 'Israeli' dishes." Joan Nathan, the author of The Foods of Israel Today, disagrees that falafel originated as a Palestinian food and became Israeli through proximity. The New York Times quotes her as saying, "Falafel is a Biblical food. The ingredients are as old as you're going to get. These are the foods of the land, and the land goes back to the Bible. There have been Jews and Arabs in the Middle East forever, and the idea that Jews stole it doesn't hold any water."”
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[book] An Officer and a Spy
A novel
by Robert Harris
January 2014
Alfred A. Knopf
Robert Harris returns to the thrilling historical fiction he has so brilliantly made his own. This is the story of the infamous Dreyfus affair told as a chillingly dark, hard-edged novel of conspiracy and espionage.
Paris in 1895. Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of twenty-thousand. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that “proved” Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus’s guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military. As evidence of the most malignant deceit mounts and spirals inexorably toward the uppermost levels of government, Picquart is compelled to question not only the case against Dreyfus but also his most deeply held beliefs about his country, and about himself.
Bringing to life the scandal that mesmerized the world at the turn of the twentieth century, Robert Harris tells a tale of uncanny timeliness––a witch hunt, secret tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, the fate of a whistle-blower--richly dramatized with the singular storytelling mastery that has marked all of his internationally best-selling novels.
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[book] The Burglary
The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI
by Betty Medsger
January 2014
Alfred A. Knopf
596 PAGES
In 1971, during a heavily watched Ali-Frazier boxing match, in a Philadelphia suburb, a lightly secured FBI office was burglarized and its files were sent to reporters. The story had some interest, but then the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate break-ins took over the spotlight, and everyone forgot the story. The culprits were never found.

Did I mention that the burglars were led by a Jewish professor of Physics and consisted of four Jews, 3 Christians and 1 Catholic who were inspired by the Berrigan Brothers?

Did I mention that a few days after the break-in, one of the burglars met with Henry Kissinger in the White House. No one the wiser. And Kissinger made an off color inappropriate joke.
Did I mention that after the burglary, they drifted apart… one became a larger radical, one voted for Reagan and the GOP, and other just led quiet family lives
Here is the never-before-told story of the break-in at the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, that made clear the truth and confirmed what some had long suspected, that J. Edgar Hoover had created and was operating, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, his own shadow Bureau of Investigation. A small group of activists — 5 men and 3 women — the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI, inspired by Daniel Berrigan’s rebellious Catholic peace movement, set out to use a more active, but nonviolent, method of civil disobedience to provide hard evidence once and for all that the government was operating outside the laws of the land. The would-be burglars were ordinary people leading lives of purpose: a professor of religion and former freedom rider; a day-care director; a physicist; a cab driver; an antiwar activist, a lock picker; a graduate student haunted by members of her family lost to the Holocaust and the passivity of German civilians under Nazi rule.
Betty Medsger's extraordinary book re-creates in resonant detail how this group of unknowing thieves, in their meticulous planning of the burglary, scouted out the low-security FBI building in a small town just west of Philadelphia, taking into consideration every possible factor, and how they planned the break-in for the night of the long-anticipated boxing match between Joe Frazier (war supporter and friend to President Nixon) and Muhammad Ali (convicted for refusing to serve in the military), knowing that all would be fixated on their televisions and radios.
Medsger writes that the burglars removed all of the FBI files and, with the utmost deliberation, released them to various journalists and members of Congress, soon upending the public’s perception of the inviolate head of the Bureau and paving the way for the first overhaul of the FBI since Hoover became its director in 1924. And we see how the release of the FBI files to the press set the stage for the sensational release three months later, by Daniel Ellsberg, of the top-secret, seven-thousand-page Pentagon study on U.S. decision-making regarding the Vietnam War, which became known as the Pentagon Papers.
At the heart of the heist—and the book—the contents of the FBI files revealing J. Edgar Hoover’s “secret counterintelligence program” COINTELPRO, set up in 1956 to investigate and disrupt dissident political groups in the United States in order “to enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles,” to make clear to all Americans that an FBI agent was “behind every mailbox,” a plan that would discredit, destabilize, and demoralize groups, many of them legal civil rights organizations and antiwar groups that Hoover found offensive—as well as black power groups, student activists, antidraft protestors, conscientious objectors.
Medsger, the first reporter to receive the FBI files, began to cover this story during the three years she worked for The Washington Post and continued her investigation long after she'd left the paper, figuring out who the burglars were, and convincing them, after decades of silence, to come forward and tell their extraordinary story.
The Burglary is an important and riveting book, a portrait of the potential power of nonviolent
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[book] The Letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
Edited by Andrew Schlesinger and Stephen C. Schlesinger
Random House
This extraordinary collection gathers the never-before-seen correspondence of a true American original—the acclaimed historian and lion of the liberal establishment, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
Arthur's father was Jewish. Arthur was originally named Meir
Arthur hated chapel in prep school at Exeter and was not keen on religion, he was actually hostile
An advisor to presidents, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and tireless champion of progressive government, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., was also an inveterate letter writer. Indeed, the term “man of letters” could easily have been coined for Schlesinger, a faithful and prolific correspondent whose wide range of associates included powerful public officials, notable literary figures, prominent journalists, Hollywood celebrities, and distinguished fellow scholars.
The Letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. reveals the late historian’s unvarnished views on the great issues and personalities of his time, from the dawn of the Cold War to the aftermath of September 11. Here is Schlesinger’s correspondence with such icons of American statecraft as Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, and, of course, John and Robert Kennedy (including a detailed critique of JFK’s manuscript for Profiles in Courage). There are letters to friends and confidants such as Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kenneth Galbraith, Gore Vidal, William Styron, and Jacqueline Kennedy (to whom Schlesinger sends his handwritten condolences in the hours after her husband’s assassination), and exchanges with such unlikely pen pals as Groucho Marx, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Bianca Jagger. Finally, there are Schlesinger’s many thoughtful replies to the inquiries of ordinary citizens, in which he offers his observations on influences, issues of the day, and the craft of writing history.
He was super pissed at Israel in 1972 when Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's Ambassador to the United States praised Nixon lavishly, in an attempt to get Jews to vote for Nixon over McGovern. On October 16, 1972, he wrote to Nicolas Nabokov saying that he should tell Isaiah Berlin and Teddy Kollek that he was severely irritated. He said Rabin looked like the air force general from Dr. Strangelove at a party at Lally Weymouth's.
Written with the range and insight that made Schlesinger an indispensable figure, these letters reflect the evolution of his thought—and of American liberalism—from the 1940s to the first decade of the new millennium. Whether he is arguing against the merits of preemptive war, advocating for a more forceful policy on civil rights, or simply explaining his preference in neckwear (“For sloppy eaters bow ties are a godsend”), Schlesinger reveals himself as a formidable debater and consummate wit who reveled in rhetorical combat. To a detractor who accuses him of being a Communist sympathizer, he writes: “If your letter was the product of sincere misunderstanding, the facts I have cited should relieve your mind. If not, I can only commend you to the nearest psychiatrist.” Elsewhere, he castigates a future Speaker of the House, John Boehner, for misattributing quotations to Abraham Lincoln.
Combining a political strategist’s understanding of the present moment with a historian’s awareness that the eyes of posterity were always watching him, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., helped shape the course of an era with these letters. This landmark collection frames the remarkable dynamism of the twentieth-century and ensures that Schlesinger’s legacy will continue to influence this one.
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[book] Under Siege
PLO Decisionmaking During the 1982 War
by Rashid Khalidi (Columbia University)
Columbia University Press
January 4, 2014
Under Siege is Rashid Khalidi's firsthand account of the 1982 Lebanon War and the complex negotiations for the evacuation of the P.L.O. from Beirut. Utilizing unconventional sources and interviews with key officials and diplomats, Khalidi paints a detailed portrait of the siege and ensuing massacres, providing insight into the military pressure experienced by the P.L.O., the war's impact on Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, and diplomatic efforts by the United States.
A new preface by Khalidi considers developments across the Middle East in the thirty years since the conflict. The preface also cites recently declassified Israeli documents to offer surprising new revelations about the roles and responsibilities of both Israeli leaders and American diplomats in the tragic coda to the war, the Sabra and Shatila massacres.
Professor Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia.
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[book] Song of Spider-Man
The Inside Story of the Most Controversial
Musical in Broadway History
by Glen Berger
Simon & Schuster
Some may despise Berger for writing a tell-all when he was involved in the production. Others may want to read it

As one can imagine, writing a Broadway musical has its challenges. But it turns out there are challenges one can’t imagine when collaborating with two rock legends and a superstar director to stage the biggest, most expensive production in theater history.
Song of Spider-Man is playwright (and Penn grad) Glen Berger’s story of a theatrical dream—or nightmare—come true. Renowned director Julie Taymor picked Berger to cowrite the book for a $25 million Spider-Man musical. Together—along with U2’s Bono and Edge— they would shape a work that was technically daring and emotionally profound, with a story fueled by the hero’s quest for love—and the villains’ quest for revenge. Or at least, that’s what they’d hoped for.

But when charismatic producer Tony Adams died suddenly, the show began to lose its footing. Soon the budget was ballooning, financing was evaporating, and producers were jumping ship or getting demoted. And then came the injuries. And then came word-of- mouth about the show itself. What followed was a pageant of foul-ups, falling-outs, ever-more-harrowing mishaps, and a whole lot of malfunctioning spider legs. This “circus-rock-and-roll-drama,” with its $65 million price tag, had become more of a spectacle than its creators ever wished for. During the show’s unprecedented seven months of previews, the company’s struggles to reach opening night inspired breathless tabloid coverage and garnered international notoriety.
Through it all, Berger observed the chaos with his signature mix of big ambition and self-deprecating humor. Song of Spider-Man records the journey of this cast and crew as a hilarious memoir about friendship, collaboration, the foibles of hubris, and the power of art to remind us that we’re alive.
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[book] Mastering the Art of Quitting by Peg Streep and Alan Bernstein
Winter 2014
De Capo
Find out why the happiest, most successful people have the ability both to persist and to quit.
In a culture that perceives quitting as a last resort and urges us to hang in, Mastering the Art of Quitting tackles our tendencies to overanalyze, ruminate, and put a positive spin on goals that have outlived their usefulness.
Bestselling author Peg Streep and psychotherapist Alan Bernstein demonstrate that persistence alone isn't always the answer. We also need to be able to quit to get the most out of life. They reveal simple truths that apply to goal setting and achievement in all areas of life, including love, relationships, and work:

Quitting promotes growth and learning, as well as the ability to frame new goals.
Without the ability to give up, most people will end up in a discouraging loop.
The most satisfied people know when it's time to stop persisting and start quitting.
Quitting is a healthy, adaptive response when a goal can't be reached.

Featuring compelling stories of people who successfully quit, along with helpful questionnaires and goal maps to guide you on the right path, Mastering the Art of Quitting allows you to evaluate whether your goals are working for or against you, and whether you need to rechart certain aspects of your life.
When is it time to stop persisting and start quitting?

Take a moment and answer the following questions. Just thinking about the answers will give you insight into your ability to quit artfully and restart your life.
Do you believe that "winners never quit and quitters never win"?
How realistic are you when it comes to setting goals?
What matters more: staying the course or exploring new possibilities in life?
How much of your sense of self relies on other people's judgments?
Do you tend to hang in longer than you should, even when you're unhappy?
When you try something new, do you focus on the effort you have to put in or the possibility of failure?
Are you a procrastinator or a delayer when it comes to getting things done?
How much do you worry about making a mistake? Do you second-guess yourself?
How hard is it for you to get over a setback?

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[book] GENESIS
Truman,
American Jews,
and the Origins
of the
Arab/Israeli Conflict
by John B. Judis (TNR The New Republic)
January 2014
FSG
A probing look at one of the most incendiary subjects of our time—the relationship between the United States and Israel There has been more than half a century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs—a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world. In Genesis, John B. Judis argues that, while Israelis and Palestinians must shoulder much of the blame, the United States has been the principal power outside the region since the end of World War II and as such must account for its repeated failed efforts to resolve this enduring strife.
The fatal flaw in American policy, Judis shows, can be traced back to the Truman years. What happened between 1945 and 1949 sealed the fate of the Middle East for the remainder of the century. As a result, understanding that period holds the key to explaining almost everything that follows—right down to George W. Bush’s unsuccessful and ill-conceived effort to win peace through holding elections among the Palestinians, and Barack Obama’s failed attempt to bring both parties to the negotiating table. A provocative narrative history animated by a strong analytical and moral perspective, and peopled by colorful and outsized personalities, Genesis offers a fresh look at these critical postwar years, arguing that if we can understand how this stalemate originated, we will be better positioned to help end it.
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[book] HOW TO WOO A JEW
THE MODERN JEWISH GUIDE TO DATING AND MATING
By Tamar Caspi
January 2014
Seal Press
Have you been single longer than the Jews wandered the desert?
Or are you newly single and hoping to hook up with a hot MOT*?
Either way, Tamar Caspi is on a mission to help you find your Chosen One... and who better to do that than the advice columnist from the massively popular dating site JDate.com?
In How to Woo a Jew, your very own Jewish Carrie Bradshaw takes you through each facet of the dating world—from traditional Jewish matchmaking and mixers to modern online dating portals, from honing your Jewdar to kosher sex. Whatever mishegas you’ve made of your love life, Caspi has words of wisdom—and a few enlightening quizzes, charts, and illustrations—to help you find your Jewish soul mate
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[book] DITCH THE PITCH
THE ART OF IMPROVISED PERSUASION
BY STEVE YASTROW
January 2014
SelectBooks
In today's world, customers don't want to hear sales pitches, but so many salespeople still rely on them. In his breakthrough handbook, Ditch the Pitch, Steve Yastrow, founder of a successful business strategy consulting firm, asks us to throw out everything we've been taught about pitching to customers. Steve's advice: tear up your sales pitch and instead improvise persuasive conversations.
Ditch the Pitch is an essential read for salespeople, business managers, and anyone wishing to persuade those around them. Organized into six habits, with each habit consisting of three practices necessary for mastery, Ditch the Pitch is designed to teach Yastrow's approach to fresh, spontaneous, persuasive conversations. These new skills will show the reader how to identify the details that make each customer unique and subsequently navigate a conversation that focuses on the right message for the right customer at the right time.
Throughout the book, the author quotes well-known improv comedians and musicians. He translates the techniques these artists use when improvising to create persuasive situations with customers. With the new confidence Ditch the Pitch offers, you will become master of the art of on-the-spot, engaging, and effective customer interactions. Let go of pre-written scripts and embrace Yastrow's guidelines for effortlessly enabling spontaneous conversations that persuade customers to say "yes."
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[book] Who Scooped My Bagel?
One Woman's Story of Love, Loss and Success
Mary Beall Adler
January 2014
AMG
Not a Jewish book per se, but her 2nd busiest day is Yom Kipper, so there is much that can be learned.
STAY CALM & BAGEL ON
Without any formal business training, Mary Beall Adler took a floundering bagel bakery in Washington, DC on M Street, and, against all odds, made it a success.
In this revealing and touching book of struggle and joy, Mary tells her story of a difficult marriage, financial troubles and dashed dreams. A powerful survival instinct helped her find solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.
Thirty years ago, she was pregnant, had a 18 month old, had her alcoholic, abusive husband in jail and needed to bake thousands of bagels. How did she stay focused? How did she survive? How did she overcome self medication, abuse, and tragedy and obtain a divorce, custody or three kids, rediscover love, re-marry, restart a career, build a business in Bethesda, and became to to rated bagel bakery in the DC Metro for multiple years.
An enticing read from beginning to end, Mary’s book reveals her talent for sharing her innermost thoughts. In doing so, she captures feelings of insecurity and triumph—universal emotions that will move and resonate with those who read about her ever-eventful world of bagels.
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[book] BACK TO BACK
A Novel
By Julia Franck
Translated from German by Anthea Bell
Winter 2014
Grove Atlantic Press
Julia Franck's German-Book-Prize-winning novel, The Blindness of the Heart, was an international phenomenon, selling 850,000 copies in Germany alone and being published in thirty-five countries. Her newest work, Back to Back echoes the themes of The Blindness of the Heart, telling a moving personal story set against the tragedies of twentieth-century Germany.
Back to Back begins in 1954, and centers around a single family living in Berlin in the socialist East. The mother, Käthe, is a sculptor of Jewish heritage, who has been leveraging her party connections in order to get more important and significant commissions. Devoted entirely to becoming a success in the socialist state, she is a cruel and completely unaffectionate mother, putting the party above her children, who she treats as if they were adults - there is no bourgeois mollycoddling in her household. Thomas and Ella's father emigrated to West Germany after World War II, and they deeply long to see him again and dream of a life where they could be allowed to have the kind of childhood that other children enjoy. But Käthe's hard-nosed brutality - a reflection of the materialistic, unsentimental state in which she lives - means Thomas and Ella are unable to live the lives they want to - instead of his dream of becoming a writer, Thomas is forced to study geology, and do hard labor at a quarry as the practical part of his education. And Ella, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly introverted and strange - not least because the Stasi lodger the government has billetted in their home is beginning to abuse her...
Heartbreaking and shocking, Back to Back is a dark fairytale of East Germany, the story of a single family tragedy that reflects the greater tragedies of totalitarianism.
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[book] Cut Me Loose
Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood
by Leah Vincent
January 2014
Nan Talese
In the vein of Prozac Nation and Girl, Interrupted, a memoir about a young woman's promiscuous and self-destructive spiral after leaving her Yeshivash ultra-Orthodox Jewish family.
You can read it as memoir or semi fiction. Events have been compressed or changed to make it a better read. The fifth of 11 children, she says she was cut off from her family, but yet it also appears her other sent her funds and help, etc. etc. There are two sides to the stories, and of course, we are only reading one side, but nevertheless, it is an interesting, lurid, sex filled, triumphant memoir, but if you are planning to comdemn her family, you better read between the lines carefully.
Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community in Western Pennsylvania. As the daughter of an influential rabbi, Leah and her ten siblings were raised to worship two things: God and the men who ruled their world. But the tradition-bound future Leah envisioned for herself was cut short when, at sixteen, she was caught exchanging letters with a male friend, a violation of religious law that forbids contact between members of the opposite sex. He was cute and the brother of her friend, and she had romantic and sexual desires that a 16 year old woman could not suppress
Leah's parents were unforgiving. Afraid, in part, that her behavior would affect the marriage prospects of their other children, they put her on a plane and cut off ties. (note: the book's description says they cut off ties, but the book itself says her mother got her a job, a room, sent her extra money. She wanted to be independent, so now she was independent. Also, her older sisters were sent to NYC too, so it is not as if this was unusual)
In New York City, Leah writes that she was unprepared to navigate the freedoms of secular life. She spent the next few years using her sexuality. One bf was a Jamaican drug dealer. Another liked too much porn, so she broke up with him. She gets a painful STD and is hospitalized. She also is hospitalized for a mental health issue. Fast-paced and mesmerizing, she gets a GRE, a college degree, and is admitted to Harvard, Cut Me Loose tells the story of one woman's harrowing struggle to define herself as an individual. Through Leah's recollections, we see what she found to be an oppressive adolescence and a world of religious fundamentalism, but also the broader issues that face even the most secular young women as they grapple with their sexuality, use of sexual intercourse for acceptance, and identity.
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[book] Believe
Young Adult Fiction
by Sarah Aronson
Carolrhoda Books
Booklist: Issues of religion and responsibility get a refreshingly thorny examination in this hard-nosed look at a girl thrust into an unwelcome spotlight. Janine was only six when a suicide bombing in Jerusalem killed her journalist parents and many others. In fact, Janine was the sole survivor—or “Soul Survivor,” as the media dubbed her—miraculously pulled from the rubble with hand wounds resembling stigmata. The 10-year anniversary brings back the spotlight, especially when her rescuer, Dave, now a famous religious leader, comes to town. With shocking suddenness, Janine appears to heal two sufferers. Is it possible she truly is a healer? In this perfect read-alike to Neil Connelly’s The Miracle Stealer (2010), Aronson is adamant about keeping things realistic the entire way through, coating the so-called miracles with plenty of skepticism, and instead focusing on the way that Janine is used as a symbol of hope for anyone who needs it—even when things turn out poorly. Nuanced relationships and a refusal to accept easy answers make this a strong, unique look at faith. Grades 9-12.
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[book] Kaddish
Women's Voices
Edited by Michal Smart and Barbara Ashkenas
URIM
Winner of: 2013 National Jewish Book Award
For centuries, Jews have turned to the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer upon experiencing a loss. This groundbreaking book explores what the recitation of Kaddish has meant specifically to women. Did they find the consolation, closure, and community they were seeking? How did saying Kaddish affect their relationships with God, with prayer, with the deceased, and with the living? With courage and generosity, 52 authors from around the world reflect upon their experiences of mourning. They share their relationships with the family members they lost and what it meant to move on; how they struggled to balance the competing demands of child rearing, work, and grief; what they learned about tradition and themselves; and the disappointments and particular challenges they confronted as women. The collection shares viewpoints from diverse perspectives and backgrounds and examines what it means to heal from loss and to honor memory in family relationships, both loving and fraught with pain. It is a precious record of women searching for their place within Jewish tradition and exploring the connections that make human life worthwhile.
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[book] THE LAST COMMISSION
A Novel
By Eytan Halaban
January 2014
Inkwater
Maury Green was once a proud man. Now middle-aged, unmarried, and stuck in a dead-end job as a small-time real estate agent, he has few social prospects and fewer friends. The local Jewish community wrote him off years ago, when he slunk home to New Haven from the Israeli War of Independence, his spirit broken by the very men he tried to help. But now, twenty-five years later, Israeli General Yaacov Ronen is passing through the city on a fundraising tour, ahead of his run for prime minister. Somehow, the nebbish Maury winds up on the guest list for a soiree in the general’s honor. When he finally meets the general, Maury sees not an Israeli hero, but the taunting smile that’s been haunting his nightmares for decades. As he soon learns, General Ronen needs someone to do a bit of dirty work, someone expendable—someone like Maury.
The general promises an impressive commission—but Maury will only collect if he lives. Maury launches a daring gambit the like of which nobody ever dreamed he could pull off: Outwit the great tactician, get even, and, in the process, regain his pride, his manhood, and the love of a wonderful woman—not to mention pocket the commission. If he survives. It’s Maury’s chance to be a hero once more … but to whom, and at what price?.
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[book] PASSOVER PARODIES
SHORT PLAYS FOR THE SEDER TABLE
BY SHASHANA HANTMAN
January 2014
Sidney Books
What was the least interesting seder you ever attended? And what was the most interesting? If your experience is like most of ours, your worst seders were dry readings of the haggadah, unoriginal and done by rote. The better seders, on the other hand, were imaginative and thought-provoking. The best may even have included a clever surprise. An incredible 95% of American Jews participate in a Passover seder every year; it’s the best-attended Jewish ritual. Yet most participants find the seder dull, repetitive, and incomprehensible. They attend out of a sense of duty, but they don’t enjoy it.
Passover Parodies is a series of ten-minute plays for the Passover seder table. Families select one each year (or more, if they’re ambitious) to read aloud. Like the traditional humorous Purim-shpiel, the plays entertain, educate, and provoke the discussion that is supposed to dominate a seder. A family might choose to examine Jewish tradition through the eyes of Sherlock Holmes (“This cracker was produced by someone in a most urgent rush. Furthermore, it has been broken along one side. A segment has been removed. Why? That is what we must endeavor to find out.”), … or experience the exodus from Casablanca (“I remember every detail: the Egyptians wore skirts, you wore a tallis. But mostly I remember the wow finish. A guy in a basket, floating in the bulrushes, with a comical look on his face because he has a diaper that needs changing.”), … or starring four young Marx Brothers (“Pharoah, you have to let my people go.
If you don’t, my ancestors would rise from their graves and I’d only have to bury them again.”). They might let Hermione Granger explain the magic of the ten plagues, or challenge traditional God-belief on Sigmund Freud’s couch. Some of these plays can replace parts of the seder; for example, the Shakespeare play (“Much Ado About Bupkes”) tells the Exodus story. Others can complement the rituals, or provide new viewpoints, or simply add humor to what can be a dry ceremony. Readers can choose the themes they like, perhaps reading a different skit each year. The plays also vary in cast size, to accommodate both large and small seders.
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FEBRUARY 2014 BOOKS




[book] The Museum of Extraordinary Things
A Novel
by Alice Hoffman
February 2014
Scribner
Mesmerizing and illuminating, Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extraordinary Things is the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century.
Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father’s “museum,” alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.
The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor’s apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.
With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Alice Hoffman at her most spellbinding.
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[book] The Book of Jonah
A Novel
by Joshua Max Feldman
February 2014
Henry Holt
A major literary debut, an epic tale of love, failure, and unexpected faith set in New York, Amsterdam, and Las Vegas.
The modern-day Jonah at the center of Joshua Max Feldman’s brilliantly conceived retelling of the book of Jonah is a young Manhattan lawyer named Jonah Jacobstein. He’s a lucky man: healthy and handsome, with two beautiful women ready to spend the rest of their lives with him and an enormously successful career that gets more promising by the minute. He’s celebrating a deal that will surely make him partner when a bizarre, unexpected biblical vision at a party changes everything. Hard as he tries to forget what he saw, this disturbing sign is only the first of many Jonah will witness, and before long his life is unrecognizable. Though this perhaps divine intervention will be responsible for more than one irreversible loss in Jonah’s life, it will also cross his path with that of Judith Bulbrook, an intense, breathtakingly intelligent woman who’s no stranger to loss herself. As this funny and bold novel moves to Amsterdam and then Las Vegas, Feldman examines the way we live now while asking an age-old question: How do you know if you’re chosen?
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If Jonah above needed a physician in the belly of a Fish... dr. fong would probably appear:
[book] [book] [book] Extreme Medicine
How Exploration Transformed Medicine
in the Twentieth Century
By Kevin Fong M.D.
February 2014
Penguin
Kevin (Jeremy Sam Yoong) Fong, 42, is an expert on space medicine and Extreme Environment Medicine in England. He is a doctor, trauma specialist, and also has a degree in astrophysicis. An explorer, he is famous guest on BBC-2 science shows and has visited trauma medicine centers throught the planet Earth.
'If you want to know what the human body can take, and why we must continue to push ourselves beyond the limit in the name of exploration, then read this book.' Professor Brian Cox
The book begins with Robert Falcon Scott at the Antarctic in 1912, and goes through his death from hypothermia, organ by organ. His body knows it cant be saved, and it mechanically makes him shiver and slowly seeks energy to delay the death. He was 12 miles from help.
From here, we travel with Dr. Fong, with organs and energy and cells and membranes and equilibrium and fighting entropy and disorder as he discusses the deadly Danish polio outbreak, the 1999 london bombings, SARS in Asia, the Norwegian medical student who froze, went into cardiac arrest for 3 hours, but was brought back to life; and breakthroughs in heart transplants, skin grafting, ICU's, and more.
In anaesthetist Dr Kevin Fong's television programmes he has often demonstrated the impact of extremes on the human body by using his own body as a 'guinea pig'. So Dr Fong is well placed to share his experience of the sheer audacity of medical practice at extreme physiological limits, where human life is balanced on a knife edge. Through gripping accounts of extraordinary events and pioneering medicine, Dr Fong explores how our body responds when tested by the extremes of heat and cold, vacuum and altitude, age and disease. He shows how science, technology and medicine have taken what was once lethal in the world and made it survivable. This is not only a book about medicine, but also about exploration in its broadest sense - and about how, by probing the very limits of our biology, we may ultimately return with a better appreciation of how our bodies work, of what life is, and what it means to be human.
Podcast: http://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2013/mar/11/science-weekly-podcast-kevin-fong
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[book] A GEOLOGIST LOOKS AT MANHATTAN
A GUIDE TO 100 FASCINATING SITES
By SIDNEY HORENSTEIN
February 2014
WW Norton / Countryman Press
Manhattan is home to millions of people and yet it harbors an extraordinary array of wondrous places that have remained relatively unknown and undiscovered. Who better than an emeritus geologist at the American Museum of Natural History to be your guide to uncovering these fantastic sites.
Author Sidney Horenstein gives us a unique guide to more than 100 sites that range from prehistoric potholes to lost river beds to the ginko tree of Isham Park. Each of these marvelous sites is described in a brief essay that is accompanied by a photo. The book is organized by neighborhood, with a locator map for each covered areas of Manhattan. His astute exploration of these sites will give the reader a scientifically accurate insight into the history, geology, and landscape of Manhattan. You’ll never see the island in the same way again!
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Grace Paley wrote that you should not write about what you know, but write what you don’t know about what you know.
[book] THE UNAMERICANS
A NOVEL
by MOLLY ANTOPOL (Stanford University)
February 2014
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
The UnAmericans, a stunning exploration of characters shaped by the forces of history, is the debut work of fiction by Molly Antopol, a 2013 National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Honoree.
The elderly look forward and not back. The young look back to understand the present
A dry cleaner in Manhattan meets a Ukranian customer/widow and starts to date her, and his adult daughter who married a Ba’al Tshuva and is now ultra religious is not too keen on this. An absentee father, a former dissident from communist-era Prague, needles his adult daughter for details about her newly commissioned play when he fears it will cast him in an unflattering light. An actor, imprisoned during the Red Scare for playing up his communist leanings to get a part with a leftist film director, is shamed by his act when he reunites with his precocious young son. An Israeli soldier, forced to defend a settlement filled with American religious families from Brooklyn, resents them and pines for a chance to discover the United States for himself.
A young Israeli journalist, left unemployed after America’s most recent economic crash, questions her life path when she begins dating a middle-aged widower still in mourning for his wife. And in the book’s final story, a tour de force spanning three continents and three generations of women, a young American and her Israeli husband are forced to reconsider their marriage after the death of her dissident art-collecting grandmother.
Again and again, Molly Antopol’s deeply sympathetic characters struggle for footing in an uncertain world, hounded by forces beyond their control. Their voices are intimate and powerful and they resonate with searing beauty. Antopol is a superb young talent, and The UnAmericans will long be remembered for its wit, humanity, and heart.
Her stories are inspired by her life and family; some were Communists, many were from Antopol in Belarus, and a few got dinners interrupted by visits from the FBI. She immiediately began writing this novel after she finished a book about Antopol that she received from an elderly woman she met at a party in Haifa who was from Antopol. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book











[book] LAST TRAIN TO PARIS
A NOVEL, Inspired by a True Story
By Michele Zackheim (SVA, School of Visual Arts)
Winter 2014
Europa editions
I picked up this book while listening to Last Train to London on the Peace Ship radio station
1935.  Rose Manon, an American daughter of the mountains of Nevada, working as a journalist in New York, is awarded her dream job, foreign correspondent.  Posted to Paris, she is soon entangled in romance, an unsolved murder, and the desperation of a looming war.  Assigned to the Berlin desk, Manon is forced to grapple with her hidden identity as a Jew, the mistrust of her lover, and an unwelcome visitor on the eve of Kristallnacht.  And . . . on the day before World War II is declared, she must choose who will join her on the last train to Paris.
This is a carefully researched historical novel that reads like a suspense thriller.  Colette and Janet Flanner are only two of the well-known figures woven into the story. The parts they play will surprise readers. Last Train to Paris will enthrall the same audience that made In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson and Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky bestsellers. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book











[book] A Wolf in the Soul
In Paperback
by Ira T. Berkowitz
Winter 2014
Leviathan
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO BECOME A WOLF BEFORE YOU CAN BE A MAN. Meet 18 year-old Greg Samstag. With his high cheekbones, slanted green eyes, and all-too-graceful gestures, he seems more like a cat than a wolf. Yet a shadowy, nameless force has been haunting Greg, tempting him to lead the simple, brutal life of a wolf. And Greg is sorely tempted. As a wolf, he can return to a long-lost innocence. He can escape his doubts about his masculinity and his relationship with his narcissistic mother. Greg's struggle with the werewolf leads him indirectly to his Jewish roots and to a religious life more satisfying than he has ever imagined, but the werewolf is not easily defeated.

When Greg is at his weakest, the werewolf invades Greg's body. Greg must now expel the werewolf in a spiritual battle that requires great tenacity and faith. If he fails, he faces death-or worse. Often moving, sometimes surreally funny, A Wolf in the Soul is always intense. Nuanced, realistic characters mix with over-the-top, absurd personalities. Kabbalistic themes and literary allusions percolate under the surface. But overriding everything else is the story of one young man who struggles with his own worst tendencies and emerges triumphant.
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[book] The Priority List
A teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest lessons
By David Menasche
Winter 2014
Touchstone
In this poignant and inspiring memoir, a beloved high school English teacher with terminal brain cancer undertakes a cross-country journey to reunite with his former students from Miami Florida area in order to find out if he made a difference in their lives, discovering along the way what is truly important in life.
At thirty-four years old, David Menasche was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was given two months to live. Six years later and fifteen years after he began teaching, Menasche suffered a catastrophic seizure that began to steal his vision, memories, mobility, and perhaps most tragically of all—his ability to continue teaching.
But teaching is something David Menasche can’t quit. Undaunted by the difficult road ahead of him, he decided to end his treatments and make life his classroom. Cancer had taken his past and would certainly, at some point, take his future, but he wouldn't allow it to take his present. He put out a call on Facebook and within hours of posting his plan to travel the country, former students now living in more than fifty cities replied with offers to help and couches to sleep on. The lasting lessons he collected on his journey make up The Priority List.
Based on one of Menasche’s favorite lessons, The Priority List is a remarkable book of insights that explores many of life’s biggest themes, such as love, wealth, family, ambition, and friends, and asks us all to consider what really matters.
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[book] Absolute Value
What Really Influences Customers in
the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information
by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen
February 2014
Harper Business
Going against conventional marketing wisdom, Absolute Value reveals what really influences customers today and offers a new framework—the Influence Mix, a totally new way of thinking about consumer decision making and marketing, and about developing more effective business strategies.
How people buy things has changed profoundly—yet the fundamental thinking about consumer decision-making and marketing has not. Most marketers still believe that they can shape consumers’ perception and drive their behavior. In this provocative book, Stanford professor Itamar Simonson and bestselling author Emanuel Rosen show why current mantras are losing their relevance. When consumers base their decisions on reviews from other users, easily accessed expert opinions, price comparison apps, and other emerging technologies, everything changes.
Absolute Value answers the pressing questions of how to influence customers in this new age. Simonson and Rosen point out the old-school marketing concepts that need to change and explain how a company should design its communication strategy, market research program, and segmentation strategy in the new environment. Filled with deep analysis, case studies, and cutting-edge research, this forward-looking book provides a totally new way of thinking about marketing.
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[book] Left Brain, Right Stuff
How Leaders Make Winning Decisions
by Phil Rosenzweig
February 2014
PublicAffairs
Left Brain, Right Stuff takes up where other books about decision making leave off. For many routine choices, from shopping to investing, we can make good decisions simply by avoiding common errors, such as searching only for confirming information or avoiding the hindsight bias. But as Phil Rosenzweig shows, for many of the most important, more complex situations we face—in business, sports, politics, and more—a different way of thinking is required. Leaders must possess the ability to shape opinions, inspire followers, manage risk, and outmaneuver and outperform rivals.
Making winning decisions calls for a combination of skills: clear analysis and calculation—left brain—as well as the willingness to push boundaries and take bold action—right stuff. Of course leaders need to understand the dynamics of competition, to anticipate rival moves, to draw on the power of statistical analysis, and to be aware of common decision errors—all features of left brain thinking. But to achieve the unprecedented in real-world situations, much more is needed. Leaders also need the right stuff. In business, they have to devise plans and inspire followers for successful execution; in politics, they must mobilize popular support for a chosen program; in the military, commanders need to commit to a battle strategy and lead their troops; and in start-ups, entrepreneurs must manage risk when success is uncertain. In every case, success calls for action as well as analysis, and for courage as well as calculation.
Always entertaining, often surprising, and immensely practical, Left Brain, Right Stuff draws on a wealth of examples in order to propose a new paradigm for decision making in synch with the way we have to operate in the real world. Rosenzweig’s smart and perceptive analysis of research provides fresh, and often surprising, insights on topics such as confidence and overconfidence, the uses and limits of decision models, the illusion of control, expert performance and deliberate practice, competitive bidding and new venture management, and…
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[book] Talent Wants to Be Free
Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids, and Free Riding
by Orly Lobel
Yale University Press
This timely book challenges conventional business wisdom about competition, secrecy, motivation, and creativity. Orly Lobel, an internationally acclaimed expert in the law and economics of human capital, warns that a set of counterproductive mentalities are stifling innovation in many regions and companies. Lobel asks how innovators, entrepreneurs, research teams, and every one of us who experiences the occasional spark of creativity can triumph in today’s innovation ecosystems.
In every industry and every market, battles to recruit, retain, train, energize, and motivate the best people are fierce. From Facebook to Google, Coca-Cola to Intel, JetBlue to Mattel, Lobel uncovers specific factors that produce winners or losers in the talent wars. Combining original behavioral experiments with sharp observations of contemporary battles over ideas, secrets, and skill, Lobel identifies motivation, relationships, and mobility as the most important ingredients for successful innovation. Yet many companies embrace a control mentality—relying more on patents, copyright, branding, espionage, and aggressive restrictions of their own talent and secrets than on creative energies that are waiting to be unleashed. Lobel presents a set of positive changes in corporate strategies, industry norms, regional policies, and national laws that will incentivize talent flow, creativity, and growth. This vital and exciting reading reveals why everyone wins when talent is set free.
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[book] Stranger in My Own Country
A Jewish Family in Modern Germany
by Yascha Mounk
Winter 2014
FSG
As a Jew in postwar Germany, Yascha Mounk felt like a foreigner in his own country. When he mentioned that he is Jewish, some made anti-Semitic jokes or talked about the superiority of the Aryan race. Others, sincerely hoping to atone for the country’s past, fawned over him with a forced friendliness he found just as alienating.
Vivid and fascinating, Stranger in My Own Country traces the contours of Jewish life in a country still struggling with the legacy of the Third Reich and who, inevitably, continue to live in its shadow. Marshaling an extraordinary range of material into a lively narrative, Mounk surveys his countrymen’s responses to the “Jewish question.” Examining history, the story of his family, and his own childhood, he shows that anti-Semitism and far-right extremism have long coexisted with self-conscious philo-Semitism.
But of late a new kind of resentment against Jews has come out in the open. Unnoticed by much of the outside world, the desire for a “finish line” that would spell a definitive end to the country’s obsession with the past is feeding an emphasis on German victimhood. Mounk shows how, from the government’s pursuit of a less “apologetic” foreign policy to the way the country’s idea of the “Volk” makes life difficult for its immigrant communities, a troubled nationalism is shaping Germany’s future.
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OBSESSION
My Loves and Lives with Calvin Klein
By Nick Gruber
CANCELLED
A tell all memoir by Nick Gruber, 23, a former estranged boyfriend of designer and fashion leader, Calvin Klein, 70. Silly details, like that Klein forced the former porn actor to take lie detector tests to find out if he was cheating, and that Gruber made Klein eat a Big Mac — which Klein requested as “medium rare” from the McDonald’s employee.








[book] THE AGENT
MY 40 YEAR CAREER MAKING DEALS AND CHANGING THE GAME
BY LEIGH STEINBERG
With Evan Arkush
February 2014
Thomas Dunne, Saint Martin’s Press
Leigh Steinberg is the famed sports agent and attorney, Berkeley and Boadt Hall grad, upon whom the film character of Jerry Maguire is said to have been based. Here is his behind the scenes look at the life of a super-agent and his deals, and his game changing behavior in the world of professional sports
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[book] A Child of Christian Blood
Murder and Conspiracy in Tsarist Russia
The Beilis Blood Libel
by Edmund Levin
February 2014
Schocken
A riveting account of one of the most notorious blood libels of the twentieth century: a Jewish factory worker is falsely accused of ritually murdering a Christian boy in Russia in 1913, and his trial becomes an international cause célèbre. A parallel to the Leo Frank case of Marietta Georgia in 1913.
On March 20, 1911, thirteen-year-old Andrei Yushchinsky was found stabbed to death in a cave on the outskirts of Kiev. Four months later, Russian police arrested Mendel Beilis, a 37-year-old father of five who worked as a clerk in a brick factory nearby, and charged him not only with Andrei’s murder but also with the Jewish ritual murder of a Christian child. Despite the fact that there was no evidence linking him to the crime, that he had a solid alibi, and that his main accuser was a professional criminal who was herself under suspicion for the murder, Beilis was imprisoned for more than two years before being brought to trial. As a handful of Russian officials and journalists diligently searched for the real killer, the rabid anti-Semites known as the Black Hundreds whipped into a frenzy men and women throughout the Russian Empire who firmly believed that this was only the latest example of centuries of Jewish ritual murder of Christian children.
With the full backing of Tsar Nicholas II’s teetering government, the prosecution called an array of “expert witnesses”—pathologists, theologians, a psychological profiler—whose laughably incompetent testimony horrified liberal Russians and brought to Beilis’s side an array of international supporters that included Thomas Mann, H. G. Wells, Anatole France, Arthur Conan Doyle, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Jane Addams. The jury’s stunning, split verdict allowed both sides to claim victory: they agreed with the prosecution’s description of the wounds on the boy’s body—a description that was worded to imply a ritual murder—but they determined that Beilis was not the murderer. After the fall of the Romanovs in 1917, many of those involved in the investigation and the trial were themselves imprisoned or murdered by the Bolsheviks. A renewed effort to find Andrei’s killer was not successful, and his grave has become a pilgrimage site for those convinced that the boy was murdered by a Jew so that his blood could be used in making Passover matzo. Visitors today will find it covered with flowers.
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[book] Mad as Hell
The Making of Network and the
Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies
by Dave Itzkoff
February 2014
Times Books
The behind-the-scenes story of the making of the iconic movie Network, which transformed the way we think about television and the way television thinks about us
“I’m mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!”
Those words, spoken by an unhinged anchorman named Howard Beale, “the mad prophet of the airwaves,” took America by storm in 1976, when Network became a sensation. With a superb cast (including Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall) directed by Sidney Lumet, the film won four Academy Awards and indelibly shaped how we think about corporate and media power.
In Mad As Hell, Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times recounts the surprising and dramatic story of how Network made it to the screen. Such a movie rarely gets made any more—one man’s vision of the world, independent of studio testing or market research. And that man was Paddy Chayefsky, the tough, driven, Oscar-winning screenwriter whose vision—outlandish for its time—is all too real today. Itzkoff uses interviews with the cast and crew, as well as Chayefsky’s notes, letters, and drafts to re-create the action in front of and behind the camera at a time of swirling cultural turmoil. The result is a riveting account that enriches our appreciation of this prophetic and still-startling film.
Itzkoff also speaks with today’s leading broadcasters and filmmakers to assess Network’s lasting impact on television and popular culture. They testify to the enduring genius of Paddy Chayefsky, who foresaw the future and whose life offers an unforgettable lesson (he battled anti-Semitism) about the true cost of self-expression.
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[book] SCHLEPPING THE eXILE
SECOND EDITION
A NOVEL
BY MICHAEL WEX
February 2014
St. Martin’s Press
Svelte and supple as unleavened bread, Shlepping the Exile rends the shmaltz from Jewish fiction and replaces it with a pound of real flesh.
It's the story of Yoine Levkes, a hassidic boy of the Canadian prairies, his refugee parents, and the Jewish community of Coalbanks, Alberta in the late 1950s. Confronted with dying people, an ailing culture, the perils of near-orphanhood and the allures of Sabina Mandelbroit, whose family doesn't keep the Sabbath, Yoine can no longer tell whether he's a human being or a loot-bag of conflicting traditions. He's too religious to be 'normal,' too 'normal' not to realize this, and too much of a kid to be able to make any sense of it.  
Shlepping the Exile is Michael Wex's inside portrait of orthodox, post-Holocaust Judaism in a place that it never expected to be.
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[book] Beyond Magenta
Transgender Teens Speak Out
By Susan Kuklin
February 2014
Candlewick
Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves
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[book] HOPE STREET
JERUSALEM
A MEMOIR
BY IRRIS MAKLER
(author of Our Woman In Kabul)
February 2014
HarperCollins
?I had no idea how demanding this consuming, cruel, dangerous and fascinating place would be. I would fall in love here, I would do some of my best reporting, I would be injured, ending my run of good luck - my life would change dramatically ...? Moving to a strange city always takes courage, but never more so than in a place where the daily expression of love and hate can turn a simple choice of a romantic table by the window into a life or death decision. Both a love story and bittersweet tribute to her beloved adopted city of Jerusalem, Irris Makler shines a hopeful light on a part of the world where the news reports often makes it seem impossibly dark. From juggling the danger and unpredictability of her work as a roving foreign correspondent , covering everything from Palestinian suicide attacks to Israeli incursions into the West Bank, to falling in love with a handsome and charming young Israeli, and gaining a mischievious four-legged companion along the way, she allows us an intimate glimpse into a passionate, vibrant and fascinating world. Adventurous, compassionate and engagingly honest, the award-winning author of OUR WOMAN IN KABUL is a master at capturing the personal stories behind the news we really want to know - and her story is the most interesting of all.
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[book] The Son Also Rises
Surnames and the History of Social Mobility
(The Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
by Gregory Clark (UC Davis)
February 2014
Princeton University
How much of our fate is tied to the status of our parents and grandparents? How much does this influence our children? More than we wish to believe. While it has been argued that rigid class structures have eroded in favor of greater social equality, The Son Also Rises proves that movement on the social ladder has changed little over eight centuries. Using a novel technique--tracking family names over generations to measure social mobility across countries and periods--renowned economic historian Gregory Clark reveals that mobility rates are lower than conventionally estimated, do not vary across societies, and are resistant to social policies. The good news is that these patterns are driven by strong inheritance of abilities and lineage does not beget unwarranted advantage. The bad news is that much of our fate is predictable from lineage. Clark argues that since a greater part of our place in the world is predetermined, we must avoid creating winner-take-all societies.
Clark examines and compares surnames in such diverse cases as modern Sweden, fourteenth-century England, and Qing Dynasty China. He demonstrates how fate is determined by ancestry and that almost all societies--as different as the modern United States, Communist China, and modern Japan--have similarly low social mobility rates. These figures are impervious to institutions, and it takes hundreds of years for descendants to shake off the advantages and disadvantages of their ancestors. For these reasons, Clark contends that societies should act to limit the disparities in rewards between those of high and low social rank.
Challenging popular assumptions about mobility and revealing the deeply entrenched force of inherited advantage, this will prompt debate on
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[book] Faith in the Face of Empire
The Bible through Palestinian Eyes
by Mitri Raheb
February 2014
Orbis
Mitri Raheb is the President of Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem as well as president of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
He serves as the Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine. He is the author of several books, including “I am a Palestinian Christian” and “Bethlehem Besieged” and by besieged he doesn’t mean by his Muslim neighbors.
Raheb explicates the words of Jesus with his political and historical perspective as a Palestinian and Christian in a land that has been part of many empires.
A Palestinian reading of the Bible begins with an awareness of the role of empire — a constant feature of Palestine for thousands of years, from the Babylonians and Egyptians, to the Romans, Ottomans, the British, and the state of Israel. (but not Jordan, and not the Palestinian Authority)
Each empire, up to the present, imposed its own system of control, undergirded by an imperial theology. For “the people of the land,” those who endure from one empire to the next, the question, “Where is God?” carries practical and theological urgency. For Raheb, faith in God is the hope that there is something greater than empire. Jesus embodied that hope, and so Raheb spells out Jesus’ political program in relation to the Roman Empire of his time, its relevance for his community, and the biblical values relevant for the Middle East, past and present. He ends, hopefully, by representing a future vision for the Middle East.
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A NEW BOOK FROM THE TIGER MAN AND HER JEWISH HUSBAND... BOTH YALE LAW SCHOOL PROFESSORS:
[book] THE TRIPLE PACKAGE
How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the
Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups
in America
by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld (Yale Law School)
February 2014
Penguin Press
It may be taboo to say, but some groups in America do better than others. Mormons have recently risen to astonishing business success. Cubans in Miami climbed from poverty to prosperity in a generation. Nigerians earn doctorates at stunningly high rates. Indian and Chinese Americans have much higher incomes than other Americans; and Jewish people may have the highest incomes of all.
Why do some groups rise?
Drawing on original research and startling statistics, THE TRIPLE PACKAGE uncovers the hypothesized roots to their success.
A superiority complex,
insecurity, and
impulse control — these are the elements of the Triple Package, the rare and potent cultural constellation that drives disproportionate group success.
The Triple Package is open to anyone. America itself was once a Triple Package culture. It’s been losing that edge for a long time now. Even as headlines proclaim the death of upward mobility in America, the truth is that the old-fashioned American Dream is very much alive — but some groups have a CULTURAL edge, which enables them to take advantage of opportunity far more than others.

Americans are taught that everyone is equal, that no group is superior to another. But remarkably, all of America’s most successful groups believe (even if they don’t say so aloud) that they’re exceptional, chosen, superior in some way.
Americans are taught that self-esteem—feeling good about yourself—is the key to a successful life. But in all of America’s most successful groups, people tend to feel insecure, inadequate, that they have to prove themselves.
America today spreads a message of immediate gratification, living for the moment. But all of America’s most successful groups cultivate heightened discipline and impulse control.

But the Triple Package has a dark underside too. Each of its elements carries distinctive pathologies; when taken to an extreme, they can have truly toxic effects. Should people strive for the Triple Package? Should America? Ultimately, the authors conclude that the Triple Package is a ladder that should be climbed and then kicked away, drawing on its power but breaking free from its constraints.
Provocative and profound, The Triple Package will transform the way we think about success and achievement.
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See also
[book] The Hybrid Tiger
Secrets of the Extraordinary
Success of Asian-American Kids
by Quanyu Huang (Miami University of Ohio)
February 2014
Prometheus
Why do Asian and Asian-American students consistently perform so well on standardized tests? Why are students of Asian heritage disproportionately admitted to America’s top colleges? This informative and entertainingly written comparison of educational methods in America and China answers these questions and more, while assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each culture’s distinctly different education systems. Education expert Quanyu Huang notes that both Asian and Asian American students excel early on at mastering lesson material and test-taking, whereas many of their non-Asian American peers do not perform as well. The author also points out that American students generally demonstrate far more creativity and independence than students in China, where conformity and rote learning are emphasized. This is evident from the American record of award-winning innovations and discoveries. By contrast, the Chinese educational system has not yet produced a Nobel Prize winner in science…













[book] For Today I Am a Boy
A Novel
by Kim Fu
2014
HMHarcourt

NOT A JEWISH BOOK… BUT A PLAY ON THE FAMOUS BAR MITZVAH LINE OF 'ToDAY I AM A MAN” or at least a FOUNTAIN PEN

Peter Huang and his sisters—elegant Adele, shrewd Helen, and Bonnie the bon vivant—grow up in a house of many secrets, then escape the confines of small-town Ontario and spread from Montreal to California to Berlin. Peter’s own journey is obstructed by playground bullies, masochistic lovers, Christian ex-gays, and the ever-present shadow of his Chinese father. At birth, Peter had been given the Chinese name juan chaun, “powerful king.” (It is the last words in Chinese that his father will say, since his father wants to assimilate and be English ony). Peter is the exalted only son in the middle of three daughters, Peter was the one who would finally embody his immigrant father's ideal of power and masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he is certain he is a girl.
Sensitive, witty, and stunningly assured, Kim Fu’s debut novel lays bare the costs of forsaking one’s own path in deference to one laid out by others. For Today I Am a Boy is a coming-of-age tale like no other, and marks the emergence of an astonishing new literary voice.
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[book] Mandela's Way
Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage
by Richard Stengel
Preface by Nelson Mandela
2010
Crown
Michael Gould, the retiring CEO and Chief Merchandiser of Bloomingdale’s recommended that I read this book. He picked it up a few years ago at a bookstore while waiting for his son, and read it, felt inspired, gave it to some colleagues, who gave it to more.. etc etc.. and now all senior manager and junior managers read it. He has probably purchased 3000 copies, but not from me, of course.
A compact, profoundly inspiring book that captures the spirit of Nelson Mandela, distilling the South African leader’s wisdom into 15 vital life lessons. We long for heroes and have too few. Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of ninety-five, is the closest thing the world has to a secular saint. He liberated a country from a system of violent prejudice and helped unite oppressor and oppressed in a way that had never been done before.
Richard Stengel has distilled countless hours of intimate conversations with Mandela into fifteen essential life lessons. For nearly three years, including the critical period when Mandela moved South Africa toward the first democratic elections in its history, Stengel collaborated with Mandela on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, and traveled with him everywhere. Eating with him, watching him campaign, hearing him think out loud, Stengel came to know all the different sides of this complex man and became a cherished friend and colleague.
In Mandela’s Way, Stengel recounts the moments in which “the grandfather of South Africa” was tested and shares the wisdom he learned: why courage is more than the absence of fear, why we should keep our rivals close, why the answer is not always either/or but often “both,” how important it is for each of us to find something away from the world that gives us pleasure and satisfaction—our own garden. Woven into these life lessons are remarkable stories—of Mandela’s childhood as the protégé of a tribal king, of his early days as a freedom fighter, of the twenty-seven-year imprisonment that could not break him, and of his fulfilling remarriage at the age of eighty. This uplifting book captures the spirit of this extraordinary man—warrior, martyr, husband, statesman, and moral leader—and spurs us to look within ourselves, reconsider the things we take for granted, and contemplate the legacy we’ll leave behind.

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[book] Jewish as a Second Language
How to Worry, How to Interrupt,
How to Say the Opposite of What You Mean
by Molly Katz
Workman – back list
The revised, updated, and expanded second edition of Jewish as a Second Language, the hilarious field guide to Jewish language and culture. Written to help her Gentile husband and others like him who fall for believing a Jewish mother-in-law when she says, "Don't bother driving me, I'll take a cab," Jewish as a Second Language shows how to be one of the family—how to worry, how to interrupt, how to change your hotel room. It's not Yiddish. Though non-Jews can endear themselves by learning how to mis-use words like schmendrick and schmatta—providing both laughs and confirmation of Jewish superiority—this Jewish language is about the complex twists and somersaults of everyday speech, of unexpected nuances, hidden meanings, and swampy thickets of behavior, of wins, losses, and draws in competitions you never knew you entered. It's about the most common OAQs (obsessive anal questions): "This mole looks okay, doesn't it?" "Can Saltines go bad?" "They'll de-ice the wings before takeoff, right?" The Four Basic Shrugs. Acronyms never to use again: NASCAR, STD, and MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, the potentially deadly skin virus that’s spread by contact, and also by talking about it casually). The things non-Jews do for fun and what Jews do: Contra dance/Contradict, Read the comics/Read the obituaries, Get your boobs done/Get your taxes done. Stuff never found in a Jewish home (trout flies, a lineoleum knife, a Lay-Z-Boy, a rottweiler) or mouth (Miracle Whip, marshmallow fluff, Bud).
So you'll sit, you'll read, you'll laugh until you're nauseous. It's a nice book.
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See also: [book] [book] [book]





















From a son of the book above’s editor
[book] ONE MORE THING:
STORIES AND OTHER STORIES
BY B. J. NOVAK
Alfred A. Knopf
You know him as a bunkmate from Camp Ramah.
Or you know him as a Harvard hallmate, or member of the Lampoon and Hasty Pudding.
Or You know him as a writer for THE OFFICE, and later as a featured and lead actor in the television series.
B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction.
A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes—only to discover that claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins—turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself; a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook. Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just . . . down.
Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element just that might make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, sharp eye, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.
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[book] I See You Made an Effort:
Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50
by Annabelle Gurwitch
Winter 2014
Blue Rider Press / Penguin
Actress and humorist Annabelle Gurwitch returns with “I See You Made an Effort,” a book of essays so wickedly funny it may make you forget your last birthday.
Not one to shy away from the grisly realities of middle age, the “slyly subversive” (O: The Oprah Magazine) Gurwitch confronts the various indignities faced by femmes d’un certain âge with candor, wit, and a healthy dose of hilarious self-deprecation.
Whether falling in lust at the Apple Genius Bar, navigating the extensive — and treacherously expensive — anti-aging offerings at a department store beauty counter, coping with the assisted suicide of her best friend, negotiating the ins and outs of acceptable behavior with her teenage kid or the thudding financial reality of the “never-tirement” generation that leads her to petty theft, Gurwitch’s essays prove her a remarkably astute writer in her prime (in so many ways). Is this the beginning of the Eileen Fisher years? Where does one conduct an affair with a younger man? Is fifty the new forty? Or is fifty still just . . . fifty?
Scorchingly honest, surreally and riotously funny, I See You Made an Effort is the ultimate coming-of-middle-age story and a must listen for women of all ages.
If you meet her on her book tour I nSpring 2014, please ask her about her Little Black Dress (LBD), her Little Black Book Tour Dress, the Bar Mitzvah she plans to attend during the tour, and what it is like to meet the guy who dumped you in Fifth grade during your book tour.
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[book] A Jewish Ceremony for Newborn Girls
The Torah's Covenant Affirmed
by Sharon R. Siegel, Esq.
Winter 2014
Brandeis University Press
This engaging book offers the first in-depth analysis of the history, philosophy, and social trends that underpin modern welcoming ceremonies for newborn girls in the Jewish community. Sharon R. Siegel traces the arc of these ceremonies from their emergence in the 1970s until today. She also delves into the history of how Jewish girls have been named over the centuries and explores how this history can shape contemporary welcoming practices.
Siegel builds on the notion that modern ceremonies should focus on a newborn girl's entry into the covenant between God and Israel and examines classic Jewish texts that speak to the critical question of women's inclusion in the covenant. A bold new perspective on the relation between the covenant and male circumcision reveals why the covenantal status of Jewish women stands independent of this male rite.
Siegel formulates a vision for the next phase in the development of Jewish rituals for newborn girls by placing these new rituals within the context of Jewish law (halacha) and synthesizing a vast array of pertinent customs, imagery, and texts. Bridging traditional Jewish beliefs and modern feminist ideals, Siegel's powerful insights draw on her experiences and personal feminist philosophy. A Jewish Ceremony for Newborn Girls is an erudite and thought-provoking narrative that will inspire wide-ranging discussions about how and why to commemorate the birth of Jewish girls.
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[book] THE SIXTY-MINUTE SEDER
PRESERVING THE ESSENCE OF THE PASSOVER HAGGADAH
By Nellie and Cass Foster
2014
Six Points Press
No.
Mike Wallace and Morley Safer to not come to your seder

Sixty-Minute Seder: Preserving the Essence of the Passover Haggadah is not about taking the traditional Seder and turning it into something so modern that the reader loses all sense of tradition. This conservative Jewish couple has condensed the Seder - which normally runs anywhere from two to five hours - to one which is under an hour. Although it is condensed, everyone can honor and celebrate the annual Passover Seder as intended. Readers will welcome the instructions on how to keep Chametz (unleavened products forbidden during Pesach) for use following the eight days of Passover, and Nellie's delicious Seder meal recipes. Most books provide instructions for only the service of the Seder. Cass and Nellie Foster have created an easy-to-follow guide that explains how to prepare for Passover, how to prepare for the Seder, and how to execute the service. Also included are instructions for proper kitchenware, how to set the Seder table and create the Seder plate, candle-lighting, a wide variety of children's activities, how to manage the Fast of the First Born without having to fast, how to keep chametz (unleavened products forbidden during Pesach) for use following the eight days of Passover and recipes for the ideal Seder meal. Part of the Sixty-Minute Collection. Foreword by Rabbi Judith HaLevy, Preface by Rabbi Jack Moline,
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[book] The Wherewithal
A Novel in Verse
by Philip Schultz
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Winter 2014
WW Norton
I, one
Henryk Stanislaw Wyrzykowski,
Head Clerk of Closed Files,
a department of one,
work . . .

in a forgotten well of ghostly sighs This astonishing novel in verse tells the story of Henryk Wyrzykowski, a drifting, haunted young man hiding from the Vietnam War in the basement of a San Francisco welfare building and translating his mother’s diaries. The diaries concern the Jedwabne massacre, an event that took place in German-occupied Poland in 1941. Wildly inventive, dark, beautiful, and unrelenting, The Wherewithal is a meditation on the nature of evil and the destruction of war.
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[book] Rav Kook
Mystic in a Time of Revolution
(Jewish Lives)
by Yehudah Mirsky
Winter 2014
Yale University Press
Rav Abraham Isaac Kook (1865–1935) was one of the most influential—and controversial—rabbis of the twentieth century. A visionary writer and outstanding rabbinic leader, Kook was a philosopher, mystic, poet, jurist, communal leader, and veritable saint. The first chief rabbi of Jewish Palestine and the founding theologian of religious Zionism, he struggled to understand and shape his revolutionary times. His life and writings resonate with the defining tensions of Jewish life and thought.
A powerfully original thinker, Rav Kook combined strict traditionalism and an embrace of modernity, Orthodoxy and tolerance, piety and audacity, scholasticism and ecstasy, and passionate nationalism with profound universalism. Though little known in the English-speaking world, his life and teachings are essential to understanding current Israeli politics, contemporary Jewish spirituality, and modern Jewish thought. This biography, the first in English in more than half a century, offers a rich and insightful portrait of the man and his complex legacy. Yehudah Mirsky clears away widespread misunderstandings of Kook’s ideas and provides fresh insights into his personality and worldview. Mirsky demonstrates how Kook's richly erudite, dazzlingly poetic writings convey a breathtaking vision in which "the old will become new, and the new will become holy."
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[book] Olives, Lemons & Za'atar:
The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking
by Rawia Bishara
February 2014
Kyle NBN
From one of Brooklyn’s top, but little known, restaurants
Rawia, in Arabic, means storyteller. And that is what I am. I tell the stories of my life’s journey, culture, and family through my cooking. A delicious meal is the greatest companion to the memories we cherish most. I was born into a food-loving Palestinian-Arab family in Nazareth, a beautiful town in the southern Galilee. Though the words “organic,” “locavore,” and “sustainable” were unknown then, my parents’ approach qualified on all counts. My respect for the sources of food, how it is grown and prepared, originates in my early years at home. My grandmother had ceramic urns filled with fruity olive oil, pressed from the trees on her family’s land picked by my aunts and uncles. My mother, too, made her own olive oil, and used the remaining “crude” oil to make soap; she also distilled her own vinegar, sun-dried her own herbs and fruits, made fresh batches of goat cheese, as well as sweet wine from our vineyards, and jarred jewel-colored jams from the bounty of the local orchards.
After moving to New York, I opened my restaurant Tanoreen to honor my mother and her imaginative cooking as well as the rich Middle Eastern gastronomic culture that is rarely experienced outside the region. Tanoreen is unique because it showcases Middle Eastern home cooking as I experienced it growing up. The 135 recipes in this book celebrate tradition and embrace change. I cook without rigidly following recipes, though I do respect tradition. My dishes are based on our culture’s recipes that are flexible enough to accommodate both adventurous and conservative contemporary palates.
Organized by Breakfasts, Mezze, Salads, Soups and Stews, Main Courses (including vegetarian, fish, chicken, lamb and beef), Sides, Pickles and Sauces, and Desserts, in each chapter I maintain the authenticity of a dish, re-creating it as it has been made for generations; but sometimes I might opt to experiment a bit, to make the recipe more contemporary, perhaps adding a spice or offering a few shortcuts. My favorite examples of these are my preparation of Brussels Sprouts with Panko (and tahini), Spice Rubbed Braised Lamb Shank (marinated in ginger and rose buds), Tanoreen Kafta Roll, (a reconstructed classic) or Eggplant Napoleon (baba ghanouge layered between crisp eggplant and topped with basil and tomatoes). A dish like Egyptian Rice with Lamb and Pine Nuts shows this cookbook goes beyond Nazareth, and is more of a bible of Middle Eastern food, sharing my culinary journey from Nazareth to New York, with many stops in between.
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[book] Saving Italy
The Race to Rescue a Nation's
Treasures from the Nazis
By Robert M. Edsel
2014
WW Norton Paperback
When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire. On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes—artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt—embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. With the German army retreating up the Italian peninsula, orders came from the highest levels of the Nazi government to transport truckloads of art north across the border into the Reich. Standing in the way was General Karl Wolff, a top-level Nazi officer. As German forces blew up the magnificent bridges of Florence, General Wolff commandeered the great collections of the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, later risking his life to negotiate a secret Nazi surrender with American spymaster Allen Dulles.
Brilliantly researched and vividly written, Saving Italy brings readers from Milan and the near destruction of The Last Supper to the inner sanctum of the Vatican and behind closed doors with the preeminent Allied and Axis leaders: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill; Hitler, Göring, and Himmler.
An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue, Saving Italy is a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture, and history..
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[book] JACOB’s FOLLY
A NOVEL
By Rebecca Miller February 2014
Picador Paperback
In Rebecca Miller’s dazzling and inventive new novel, we meet characters separated by time but united in their desire to live a life of their own choosing, free from the constraints of community and tradition.
In eighteenth-century Paris, Jacob Cerf is a Jewish street peddler burdened by a disastrous young marriage but determined to raise himself up by whatever means he can. His richly observed life in Paris’ Jewish ghetto is radically altered when he gains entrance to the opulent world of the aristocracy and the freedom to create his own identity. More than two hundred years later, Jacob reappears in surprising form in the suburbs of Long Island. He soon becomes obsessed by a young Orthodox Jewish woman with a secret ambition. Determined to change her fate, Jacob takes it upon himself to entangle her with a conflicted volunteer fireman. As Jacob’s mischievous plans unfold, the burdens of duty and the pull of desire will twist the lives of all three.
Rebecca Miller explores the hold of the past on the present, the power of private hopes and dreams, the collision of fate and free will, and change in all of its various guises. Transfiguring her world with a clear gaze and sharp, surprising wit, she brings Jacob’s Folly vividly to life.
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[book] HRC
State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillar Clinton
By Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes
February 11, 2014
Crown
WHEN I FIRST SAW COPIES OF THIS BOOK, I THOUGHT IT WAS HRC'S OWN MEMOIR, WHICH ISNT DUE OUT FOR ANOTHER THREE MONTHS.
THE BOOK IS A LOVING PORTRAIT OF HILLARY CLINTON. There is little controversary and they gloss over any problems. I expected to read about her failure to force Israel into peace negotiations, but there is little about that in this book.
Hillary Rodham Clinton was defeated by Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries. Few had heard of Obama before. She was at the height of her power. How did he crush her. How was he more tech savvy than she. Six years later, in 2014, HRC has reemerged as an even more powerful and influential figure, a formidable stateswoman and the presumed front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, marking one of the great political comebacks in history.
The story of Hillary’s phoenix-like rise is at the heart of HRC, a riveting political biography that journeys into the heart of “Hillaryland” to discover a brilliant strategist at work.
Masterfully unfolded by Politico’s Jonathan Allen and The Hill’s Amie Parnes from more than two hundred top-access interviews with Hillary’s intimates, colleagues, supporters, and enemies, HRC portrays a seasoned operator who negotiates political and diplomatic worlds with equal savvy.
Loathed by the Obama team in the wake of the primary, Hillary worked to become the president’s greatest ally, their fates intertwined in the work of reestablishing America on the world stage. HRC puts readers in the room with Hillary during the most intense and pivotal moments of this era, as she mulls the president-elect’s offer to join the administration, pulls the strings to build a coalition for his war against Libya, and scrambles to deal with the fallout from the terrible events in Benghazi—all while keeping one eye focused on 2016. It is crazy that Benghazi issues might hurt her when HRC was the architect of the Libya strategy.

HRC offers a rare look inside the merciless Clinton political machine, as Bill Clinton handled the messy business of avenging Hillary’s primary loss while she tried to remain above the partisan fray. This is the best part of the book. You can imagine a scene from The Godfather, where Michael is at a baptism, which his associates carry out hits. In the same way, Hillary was the tireless traveler cabinet member logging tgousand of miles, while Bill went out to crush and kill anyone who did not support Hillary and pave the way for 2016. McAuliffe is not governor of Virginia in time for 20156 by accident. Wink wink
Exploring her friendships and alliances with Robert Gates, David Petraeus, Leon Panetta, Joe Biden, and the president himself, Allen and Parnes show how Hillary fundamentally transformed the State Department through the force of her celebrity and her unparalleled knowledge of how power works in Washington. Filled with deep reporting and immersive storytelling, this remarkable portrait of the most important female politician in American history is an essential inside look at the woman who may be our next president.
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[book] A Child of Christian Blood
Murder and Conspiracy in Tsarist Russia
The Beilis Blood Libel
by Edmund Levin
February 2014
Schocken
A Jewish factory worker is falsely accused of ritually murdering a Christian boy in Russia in 1911, and his trial becomes an international cause célèbre.
On March 20, 1911, thirteen-year-old Andrei Yushchinsky was found stabbed to death in a cave on the outskirts of Kiev. Four months later, Russian police arrested Mendel Beilis, a thirty-seven-year-old father of five who worked as a clerk in a brick factory nearby, and charged him not only with Andrei’s murder but also with the Jewish ritual murder of a Christian child. Despite the fact that there was no evidence linking him to the crime, that he had a solid alibi, and that his main accuser was a professional criminal who was herself under suspicion for the murder, Beilis was imprisoned for more than two years before being brought to trial. As a handful of Russian officials and journalists diligently searched for the real killer, the rabid anti-Semites known as the Black Hundreds whipped into a frenzy men and women throughout the Russian Empire who firmly believed that this was only the latest example of centuries of Jewish ritual murder of Christian children—the age-old blood libel.
With the full backing of Tsar Nicholas II’s teetering government, the prosecution called an array of “expert witnesses”—pathologists, a theologian, a psychological profiler—whose laughably incompetent testimony horrified liberal Russians and brought to Beilis’s side an array of international supporters who included Thomas Mann, H. G. Wells, Anatole France, Arthur Conan Doyle, the archbishop of Canterbury, and Jane Addams. The jury’s split verdict allowed both sides to claim victory: they agreed with the prosecution’s description of the wounds on the boy’s body—a description that was worded to imply a ritual murder—but they determined that Beilis was not the murderer. After the fall of the Romanovs in 1917, a renewed effort to find Andrei’s killer was not successful; in recent years his grave has become a pilgrimage site for those convinced that the boy was murdered by a Jew so that his blood could be used in making Passover matzo. Visitors today will find it covered with flowers.
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[book] Kinder Than Solitude
A Novel
by Yiyun Li
February 2014
Random House
Not a JEWISH BOOK
But I can imagine it taking place in Israel? Maybe? Consider four friends in 1982, during the Lebanon War. One falls ill, one stays and becomes a tech millionaire, and two others leave for America …

And now on to the real book…
A profound mystery is at the heart of this magnificent new novel by Yiyun Li, “one of America’s best young novelists” (Newsweek) and the celebrated author of The Vagrants, winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Moving back and forth in time, between America today and China in the 1990s, Kinder Than Solitude is the story of three people whose lives are changed by a murder one of them may have committed. As one of the three observes, “Even the most innocent person, when cornered, is capable of a heartless crime.”
When Moran, Ruyu, and Boyang were young, they were involved in a mysterious “accident” in which a friend of theirs was poisoned. She falls into a decades long coma after Tianaman Square (hint hint). Was the poisoner her cousin who is devoid of emotion, the woman she forced herself onto?
Grown up, the three friends are separated by distance and personal estrangement. Moran and Ruyu live in the United States, Boyang in China; all three are haunted by what really happened in their youth, and by doubt about themselves. Maybe they are willing to give up on the truth in order to have success (hint hint.. Chinese modernity)
In California, Ruyu helps a local woman care for her family and home, and avoids entanglements, as she has done all her life. In Wisconsin, Moran visits her ex-husband, whose kindness once overcame her flight into solitude. In Beijing, Boyang struggles to deal with an inability to love (and all the young girls who want him to be their sugar daddy), and with the outcome of what happened among the three friends twenty years ago.
Brilliantly written, a breathtaking page-turner, Kinder Than Solitude resonates with provocative observations about human nature and life. In mesmerizing prose, and with profound insight, Yiyun Li unfolds this remarkable story, even as she explores the impact of personality and the past on the shape of a person’s present and future.
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You remember Kevin Roose. He spent time at Liberty University and wrote his undercover story of spending time at an evangelical university
[book] YOUNG MONEY
Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's
Post-Crash Recruits
by Kevin Roose
February 2014
Grand Central

How many Jewish 22 year old college grads dream of scoring a job on Wall Street, working at Goldman Sachs, attending the UJA Wall Street dinner each December?

Becoming a young Wall Street banker is like pledging the world's most lucrative and soul-crushing fraternity. Every year, thousands of eager college graduates are hired by the world's financial giants, where they're taught the secrets of making obscene amounts of money-- as well as how to dress, talk, date, drink, and schmooze like real financiers.
YOUNG MONEY is the inside story of this well-guarded world. Kevin Roose, New York magazine business writer and author of the critically acclaimed The Unlikely Disciple, spent more than three years shadowing eight entry-level workers at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and other leading investment firms. Roose chronicled their triumphs and disappointments, their million-dollar trades and runaway Excel spreadsheets, and got an unprecedented (and unauthorized) glimpse of the financial world's initiation process.
Roose's young bankers are exposed to the exhausting workloads, huge bonuses, and recreational drugs that have always characterized Wall Street life. But they experience something new, too: an industry forever changed by the massive financial collapse of 2008. And as they get their Wall Street educations, they face hard questions about morality, prestige, and the value of their work.
YOUNG MONEY is more than an exposé of excess; it's the story of how the financial crisis changed a generation-and remade Wall Street from the bottom up.
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[book] The Holocaust In The East:
Local Perpetrators and the Soviet Responses
Edited by Michael David-Fox, Peter Holist and Alexander M. Martin
February 2014
University of Pittsburgh Press
Silence has many causes: shame, embarrassment, ignorance, a desire to protect. The silence that has surrounded the atrocities committed against the Jewish population of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during World War II is particularly remarkable given the scholarly and popular interest in the war. It, too, has many causes—of which antisemitism, the most striking, is only one. When, on July 10, 1941, in the wake of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, local residents enflamed by Nazi propaganda murdered the entire Jewish population of Jedwabne, Poland, the ferocity of the attack horrified their fellow Poles. The denial of Polish involvement in the massacre lasted for decades.
Since its founding, the journal Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History has led the way in exploring the East European and Soviet experience of the Holocaust. This volume combines revised articles from the journal and previously unpublished pieces to highlight the complex interactions of prejudice, power, and publicity. It offers a probing examination of the complicity of local populations in the mass murder of Jews perpetrated in areas such as Poland, Ukraine, Bessarabia, and northern Bukovina and analyzes Soviet responses to the Holocaust.
Based on Soviet commission reports, news media, and other archives, the contributors examine the factors that led certain local residents to participate in the extermination of their Jewish neighbors; the interaction of Nazi occupation regimes with various sectors of the local population; the ambiguities of Soviet press coverage, which at times reported and at times suppressed information about persecution specifically directed at the Jews; the extraordinary Soviet efforts to document and prosecute Nazi crimes and the way in which the Soviet state’s agenda informed that effort; and the lingering effects of silence about the true impact of the Holocaust on public memory and state response.
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[book] In the Shadow of Hitler
Alabama's Jews, the Second World War, and the Holocaust
(Modern South)
by Dan J. Puckett
February 2014
University of Alabama Press
In the Shadow of Hitler is the first comprehensive state study of how southern Jews—and non-Jews—dealt with the coming of the Good War and the Nazi persecution of European Jews.
In 1982, the Orthodox congregation of Ahavas Chesed in Mobile, Alabama, reconsecrated a Torah scroll from the Altneuschule in Prague, Czechoslovakia, that had been seized by the Nazis in the midst of the Holocaust. The Nazis, over the course of their occupation of Czechoslovakia, confiscated from Jewish communities throughout Bohemia and Moravia 1,564 Torahs, among numerous other Judaic ceremonial objects. The Nazis had the Torahs cataloged and planned to exhibit them after the war in a museum to the extinct Jewish race. Ahavas Chesed acquired the Altneuschule scroll from the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust to honor the members of those communities who had perished in the camps.
Dan J. Puckett’s In the Shadow of Hitler examines the Jews of Alabama and shows that they were fully aware of events that affected Jews both nationally and internationally. Although Alabama’s Jewish community was divided between Central and Eastern European and Sephardic backgrounds and cultures, and the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox traditions, the Nazi persecution of the Jews in Europe forced this disparate Jewish community to put aside its differences and work together to aid and save European Jewry. In doing so, Alabama’s Jews not only effectively lobbied influential politicians on the local, state, and national level, and swayed the opinions of newspaper editors, Christian groups, and the general public, but their cooperation also built bridges that spanned the cultural and religious divides within their own community.
In the Shadow of Hitler illustrates how this intracommunity cooperation, the impact of the war and the murder of six million European Jews, and the establishment of the state of Israel built.
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[book] Shifting Sands
The United States in the Middle East
by Joel S. Migdal
February 2014
Columbia University Press
Joel S. Migdal revisits the approach U.S. officials have adopted toward the Middle East since World War II, which paid scant attention to tectonic shifts in the region. After the war, the United States did not restrict its strategic model to the Middle East. Beginning with Harry S. Truman, American presidents applied a uniform strategy rooted in the country's Cold War experience in Europe to regions across the globe, designed to project America into nearly every corner of the world while limiting costs and overreach.
The approach was simple: find a local power that could play Great Britain's role in Europe after the war, sharing the burden of exercising power, and establish a security alliance along the lines of NATO. Yet regional changes following the creation of Israel, the Free Officers Coup in Egypt, the rise of Arab nationalism from 1948 to 1952, and, later, the Iranian Revolution and the Egypt-Israel peace treaty in 1979 complicated this project. Migdal shows how insufficient attention to these key transformations led to a series of missteps and misconceptions in the twentieth century. With the Arab uprisings of 2009 through 2011 prompting another major shift, Migdal sees an opportunity for the United States to deploy a new, more workable strategy, and he concludes with a plan for gaining a stable foothold in the region.
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Did you know that in the 1920s, Harbin had a community of perhaps 15-20,000 Jews in Manchuria/China/USSR. It has nothing to do with this book. I just came across the book while studying about the Jewish history of Northern China and Harbin…
[book] Unwanted Visionaries
The Soviet Failure in Asia at the
End of the Cold War
(Oxford Studies in International History)
by Sergey Radchenko
February 2014
Oxford University Press
Mikhail Gorbachev's relations with the West have captured the imagination of contemporaries and historians alike, but his vision of Soviet leadership in Asia has received far less attention. The failure of Gorbachev's Asian initiatives has had dramatic consequences, by the late 1980s, the Soviet Union was in full retreat from Asia, and since the Soviet collapse, Russia has been left on the sidelines of the "Pacific century."
In this exceptionally wide-ranging and deeply researched book, Sergey Radchenko offers an illuminating account of the end of the Cold War in the East, tracing the death of Soviet ambitions in Asia. Radchenko shows that Gorbachev began with big gestures, of which the most important was his initiative in Vladivostok in July 1986, the opening salvo of the Soviet charm offensive in Asia Pacific. The problem, Radchenko points out, was that no one in Asia bought into Gorbachev's vision. If the Soviets had realized earlier that they needed Asia more than Asia needed them, they might have played a much more important role there. Instead, China was largely misunderstood, early gains in India were squandered, Japan was ignored or condescended to, and the Korean scenario played out in ways most unfavorable to Russia. Radchenko captures all of this in his compelling narrative, shedding important new light on many key players, including Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping, Margaret Thatcher, Boris Yeltsin, and George H. W. Bush, among others.
Based on archival research in Russia, China, Mongolia, India, the United States, Britain, and numerous European countries and on interviews with former policy makers in a dozen countries, Unwanted Visionaries presents a deftly narrated and penetrating portrait of the Soviet failure in the East, with a wealth of valuable insight into Asia today
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[book] NAZIS, ISLAMISTS, and the
MAKING OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST
By Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz
February 2014
Yale University Press
During the 1930s and 1940s, a unique and lasting political alliance was forged among Third Reich leaders, Arab nationalists, and Muslim religious authorities. From this relationship sprang a series of dramatic events that, despite their profound impact on the course of World War II, remained secret until now. In this groundbreaking book, esteemed Middle East scholars Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz uncover for the first time the complete story of this dangerous alliance and explore its continuing impact on Arab politics in the twenty-first century.
Rubin and Schwanitz reveal, for example, the full scope of Palestinian leader Amin al-Husaini’s support of Hitler’s genocidal plans against European and Middle Eastern Jews. In addition, they expose the extent of Germany’s long-term promotion of Islamism and jihad. Drawing on unprecedented research in European, American, and Middle East archives, many recently opened and never before written about, the authors offer new insight on the intertwined development of Nazism and Islamism and its impact on the modern Middle East.
Barry Rubin is the director at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya Israel, and he writes for the Jerusalem Post. Wolfgang Schwanitz was a visiting Senior Fellow at GLORIA Center in Herzliya
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[book] OPERATION PAPERCLIP
The Secret Intelligence Program That
Brought Nazi Scientists to America
by Annie Jacobsen
February 2014
Little Brown

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[book] SAGE TALES
Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud
BY Burton Visotzky
February 2014
Jewish Lights
Now in paperback
These ancient stories whisper truth to your soul.
Great stories have the power to draw the heart. But certain stories have the power to draw the heart to God and awaken the better angels of our nature. Such are the tales of the rabbis of the Talmud, colorful, quirky yarns that tug at our heartstrings and test our values, ethics, morality—and our imaginations.
In this collection for people of all faiths and backgrounds, Rabbi Burton Visotzky draws on four decades of telling and teaching these legends in order to unlock their wisdom for the contemporary heart. He introduces you to the cast of characters, explains their motivations, and provides the historical background needed to penetrate the wise lessons often hidden within these unusual narratives.
In learning how and why these oft-told tales were spun, you discover how they continue to hold value for our lives.
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[book] The God Who Hates Lies:
Confronting & Rethinking Jewish Tradition
by Rabbi David Hartman
with Charlie Buckholtz
reprinted in paperback February 2014
Jewish Lights
Darah Barnard of AJL Reviews wrote: Hartman draws his title from his final chapter, which describes the dilemma of an Israeli with an adopted child, who had to lie to the Rabbinic Court about his own level of Jewish observance in order to convert the child to Judaism. The book as a whole is critical of the "Orthodox establishment," but that is not its main thrust. Hartman's main theme is his proposal of a different way of looking at halakhah (Jewish law). He sees it as a way of enriching God-consciousness and as something that can be viewed as a means of education so that a person, especially one new to halakhah, can take a gradual approach, adopting more and more as he becomes comfortable with it. The book describes several cases where the author has bent commonly accepted halakhah in order to prevent emotional suffering of the people involved. For a reader whose point of view is Orthodox, the book is beyond radical, possibly scandalous. For readers who are Conservative or at the extreme left wing of Orthodoxy, it might make a lot of sense. The question must be raised as to whom the book is addressed and who will be the readers. The book belongs in a serious collection on Jewish religious thought and would find readers in Conservative synagogue libraries. The author was a pupil of Rav Soloveitchik, whom he greatly admires, but with whom he also differed. The style is conversational and accessible with notes, a bibliography and an index.
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MARCH 2014 BOOKS

[book] THE STORY OF THE JEWS
FINDING THE WORDS 1000BCE – 1492 CE
BY SIMON SCHAMA
March 18, 2014
Ecco / HarperCollins
It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds. It spans the millennia and the continents - from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain.
Within these pages, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with spice and gems founder at sea.
And a great story unfolds. Not - as often imagined - of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.
Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.
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A review in the guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/sep/22/story-jews-simon-schama-review

A review from FT.com http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/32e9e57a-0fd0-11e3-99e0-00144feabdc0.html

Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Judith Shulevitz wrote that in every generation, a scholar rises to write a history of the Jews. Schama tried to write it 40 years ago, to take over for Cecil Roth who passed away before finishing it. He couldn’t. Now he has.







[book] Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Professor Thomas Piketty
Translated from French by Arthur Goldhammer
March 2014
Only 700 pages, only 100 graphs
Harvard University Press / Belknap
As I write this, this book is slowly moving to the best sellers list. It has been vilified by rightist pundits, many of whom did not read the book. Piketty is a 42 year old French economist who seeks to examine the relationship between income equality (the distribution of wealth in a society) and economic growth. He used to teach at MIT, after he received his PhD at the age of 22. He is the director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and professor at the Paris School of Economics. You migt have see nhis columns in Liberation or Le Monde.
As they say at the morning minyan, does a rising tide raise all boats, or just the QE2?

Since publishing the book in the U.S., Pinketty has met with Paul Krugman, Joseph Stigletz, and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew.
It is worth reading since this is going to be the topic of the year and the next elections.

Piketty argues that throughout history there has bee nincome inequality. During the 19th Century Belle Époque in France, times were the worst and the best. Periods like this ended historically with recessions or wars. He thinks governments should therefore tax the rich at higher rates to distribute income. Wages will no longer lead to an American Dream. Jobs will move offshore to low wage / slave wage nations, and growth will not come from access to wages, but to capital. The rich will get richer, and the poor poorer.




[book] THE LITTLEST LEVINE
BY SANDY LANTON
Illustrated by Claire Keay
Winter 2014
Kar-Ben
Hannah doesn't like being the littlest Levine. She's too short to hang fruit from the sukkah and too young to light the Hanukkah candles by herself. But when Passover comes, the littlest Levine gets a chance to shine in a big way.
Kirkus writes: For little Hannah, being the youngest in the family is a vexing issue—until it is time for the Passover Seder, and one special honor is given only to her. Hannah continually laments that she is too small to reach the sink, join brother and sister on the school bus, and even light Hanukkah candles by herself. Grandpa tells her to be patient, as soon her holiday will come. Together, they spend many evenings after dinner in the study, learning something special that will be revealed to the whole family at the upcoming Seder. On the first night of Passover, Hannah takes much pride in reciting the traditional four questions as required by the youngest family member, finally delighted to be the littlest Levine. Generic watercolor drawings in pale spring hues place this intergenerational, observant family in a middle-class, suburban setting. The well-developed storyline provides enough intrigue to engage the littlest listeners and culminates pleasingly. This should be inspirational to little tykes who are expected to carry on with the tradition and need to understand their larger role in the Seder ceremony. 













[book] SEDER IN THE DESERT
BY JAMIE KORNGOLD
The Adventure Rabbi
Photos by Jeff Finkelstein
Winter 2014
Kar-Ben
Join a group of families as they follow Rabbi Jamie into Moab, Utah to celebrate a most unusual Passover seder in the desert..

Kirkus writes: Expressive, beautiful color photography forms the visual storytelling accompaniment to this modern-day communal Seder in the desert in Moav, Utah. “Why is this seder different from all others?” Beginning with a slightly altered question from the traditional “Why is this night different…,” readers are taken through a re-enactment of the Israelites’ desert journey as participants in the Adventure Rabbi Program celebrate Passover. The program seeks to “[combine] the ancient traditions of the Jewish Seder with the inspiration of the Red Rock Desert.” Author and rabbi Korngold, spiritual leader of the program, simply and effectively demonstrates how the traditional concepts of the holiday are maintained through this unusual event, which emphasizes experiential learning. With stunning natural scenery as a backdrop, families hike, carry Seder necessities including a Torah and Haggadot for children, and set a table on the sandy ground complete with the special ceremonial foods. There, they read, learn and debate the story of the Exodus, eat together, sing and dance. Before nightfall, they reverse their trip, closing with a campfire gathering. The focus of this distinctive approach is on examining how and why the Seder is celebrated rather than on retelling the familiar story.












[book] BREATHING AND QUIETING THE MIND
BY RABBI DOVBER PINSON
BY RAV DOVBER PINSON
Winter 2014
Iyyun
Achieving a sense of self mastery, and inner freedom, demands that we gain a measure of hegemony over our thoughts. We learn to choose our thoughts so that we are not at the mercy of whatever burps up to the mind, thus, transforming a cluttered mind into a peaceful inner state of awareness. Through quieting the mind and conscious breathing, we can slow the onrush of anxious, scattered thinking and come to a deeper awareness of the interconectedness of all of life. Once mastered, these techniques will carry over into every aspect and facet of our lives, improving our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Click the Bookcover to read more reviews, purchase the book, or to read the first chapter and Table of Contents















[book] FALLING OUT OF TIME
A NOVEL
BY DAVID GROSSMAN
Translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
March 2014
Knopf
Following his magisterial To the End of the Land, the universally acclaimed Israeli author brings us an incandescent fable of parental grief––concise, elemental, a powerfully distilled experience of understanding and acceptance, and of art’s triumph over death.
In Falling Out of Time, David Grossman has created a genre-defying drama––part play, part prose, pure poetry––to tell the story of bereaved parents setting out to reach their lost children. It begins in a small village, in a kitchen, where a man announces to his wife that he is leaving, embarking on a journey in search of their dead son. The man––called simply Walking Man––paces in ever-widening circles around the town. One after another, all manner of townsfolk fall into step with him (the Net-Mender, the Midwife, the Elderly Math Teacher, even the Duke), each enduring his or her own loss. The walkers raise questions of grief and bereavement: Can death be overcome by an intensity of speech or memory? Is it possible, even for a fleeting moment, to call to the dead and free them from their death? Grossman’s answer to such questions is a hymn to these characters, who ultimately find solace and hope in their communal act of breaching death’s hermetic separateness. For the reader, the solace is in their clamorous vitality, and in the gift of Grossman’s storytelling––a realm where loss is not merely an absence but a life force of its own.
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[book] The Broken and the Whole
Discovering Joy after Heartbreak
by Rabbi Charles S. Sherman
Rabbi of Temple Adath Yeshurun in Syracuse NY for over 28 years
March 2014
Schocken
Rabbi Sherman and his wife are the parents of five. He is a grad of Yeshiva College and JTS and nearing the time when many synagogue leaders retire. I only made it through the first few chapters so far; my eyes kept leaking from his stories.
The book opens in the Poconos in 1985. Sherman and his family are in their vacation house, away from congregants and being a regular family and playing at a pool. He is relaxing and thinking of sermons and classes for the upcoming Fall. All is well. The book continues the next Spring when he is awoken by his youngest son who is ill. The rush from their pastel bathroom to the hospital and the prognosis is awful. The doctors advise that they should allow nature to let their son – Eyal (Force) - pass away
They fight.
They find a physician who can do surgery and says there is a chance. After multiple surgeries and hospital stays their pre-school son comes home: quadriplegic; partially blind, in need of a feeding tube and respirator, and 24/7 care.
Yet with support and care and love and prayer, he is now in his 30’s and recently graduated with a degree in Art (he paints with a brush in his teeth)
This is Rabbi Sherman’s story of his path to joy, even though his ideas of a heavy load prestigious congregation and glory and ambition and ego were reduced three decades ago.
It is a powerful, inspiring memoir about the wisdom a rabbi gained after his young son suffered a catastrophic brain stem stroke that left him quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator for each breath. As a young, ambitious rabbi at one of New York’s largest synagogues, Charles Sherman had high hopes for what his future would hold — a happy and healthy family, professional success, and recognition. Then, early one morning in 1986, everything changed. His son Eyal spiked a fever and was soon in serious respiratory distress. Doctors discovered a lesion on the four-year-old’s brain stem. Following high-risk surgery, Eyal suffered a catastrophic stroke. Sherman and his wife later learned that their son would never walk, talk, feed himself, or breathe on his own again—yet his mind was entirely intact. He was still the curious, intelligent boy they had always loved. Rabbi Sherman found himself confronting life’s biggest questions: To what lengths should parents go to protect their children? How can we maintain faith in God when tragedies like this occur? Is it possible to experience joy after heartbreak?
Now, with deep insight, refreshing honesty, humor, and intelligence, Rabbi Charles Sherman reflects back on his life and describes his struggle to address and ultimately answer these questions. The Broken and the Whole is a moving and affecting meditation on rebuilding your life when everything you’ve known has been shattered to pieces.
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[book] MENACHEM BEGIN
THE BATTLE FOR ISRAEL'S SOUL
BY DANIEL GORDIS
March 2014
Schocken
Jewish Encounters Series
A fascinating biography of the sixth prime minister of Israel that explains how the pre-state terrorist became the first Israeli leader to sign a peace treaty with an Arab country.
Reviled as a fascist demagogue by his great rival Ben-Gurion, venerated by Israel’s underclass, the first Israeli to win the Nobel Peace Prize, a proud Jew but not a conventionally religious one, Menachem Begin was a complex and controversial figure. Born in Poland in 1913, Begin was a youthful admirer of the Revisionist Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and soon became a leader within Jabotinsky’s Betar movement. A powerful orator and mesmerizing public figure, Begin was imprisoned by the Soviets in 1940, joined the Free Polish Army in 1942, and arrived in Palestine as a Polish soldier shortly thereafter. Joining the underground paramilitary Irgun in 1943, he achieved instant notoriety for the organization’s devastating bombings of British military installations and other violent acts.
Intentionally left out of the newly established Israeli government, Begin’s right-leaning Herut political party became a fixture of the opposition to the Labor-dominated governments of Ben-Gurion and his successors, until the surprising parliamentary victory of his political coalition in 1977 made him prime minister of Israel. Welcoming Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Israel and co-signing a peace treaty with him on the White House lawn in 1979, Begin accomplished what his predecessors could not. His welcoming of Ethiopian Jews and Vietnamese “boat people” was universally admired, and his decision to bomb Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 is now regarded as an act of courageous foresight. But the disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982 to end the PLO’s shelling of Israel’s northern cities, combined with declining health and the death of his wife, led Begin to resign in 1983. He spent the next nine years in virtual seclusion, until his death in 1992. Begin was buried not alongside Israel’s prime ministers, but alongside the Irgun comrades who died in the struggle to create the Jewish national home to which he had devoted his life.
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[book] Where's My Tushy?
(Kar-Ben Favorites)
by Deborah Aronson
Ivica Stevanovic Illustrator
Winter 2014
Kar-Ben
"In one little town (it is sad but it's true),
The tushies left town without leaving a clue.""
What happens when all the tushies in an unusual town decide to take a vacation?"















[book] THE UNLIKELY SETTLER
by Lipika Pelham
March 2014
The Other Press
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seen by an outsider who craves to make sense of herself, her marriage, and the city she lives in – Jerusalem
The Unlikely Settler is none other than a young Bengali BBC World Service journalist who moves to Jerusalem with her English-Jewish husband and two children. He speaks Arabic and is an arch-believer in the peace process; she leaves her BBC career behind to follow his dream. Jerusalem propels Pelham into a world where freedom from tribal allegiance is a challenging prospect. From the school you choose for your children to the wine you buy, you take sides at every turn.
Pelham’s complicated relationship with her husband, Leo, is as emotive as the city she lives in, as full of energy, pain, and contradictions. As she tries to navigate the complexities and absurdities of daily life in Jerusalem, often with hilarious results, Pelham achieves deep insights into the respective woes and guilt of her Palestinian and Israeli friends. Her intelligent analysis suggests a very different approach to a potential resolution of the conflict.
Although the cover art is nice, I think this book would sell much better if they had a subtitle that mentioned that Lipika was born on the border of India and Bangladesh, was a prize winning filmmaker and journalist, and gave inkling into the contents of the book. You probably know Lipika from her award winning film, “Deadly Honour” about 9 Bedouin women killed in Israel in the past 7 years for showing skin, not being modest enough, or other honour killing issues. Pelham hints that Israeli authorities have failed to properly investigate the murders and lets Bedouins kill as they wish.
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[book] MOUNT TERMINUS
A NOVEL
BY DAVID GRAND
March 2014
FS&G
David Grand's Mount Terminus is a dark, majestic novel about art, family, overwhelming love, and the birth of Los Angeles
After his mother’s death, young Bloom boards a train with his bereaved father, Jacob, to travel west across mountains and deserts to California: Mount Terminus, their new home at the desolate end of the world. There, in a villa built atop a rare desert spring, they live apart from society, supported by the income from Jacob’s invention, the Rosenbloom Loop, a piece of technology that has revolutionized the nascent art of filmmaking. There, Bloom grows up in the shadow of his father’s grief, with only a pair of servants, the house’s ghosts, and his own artistic muse for company.
But Jacob can’t forever protect his family from his past—the dramatic series of events that has taken him from the Hebrew Orphan Asylum on New York City's Lower East Side and into the graces of beautiful twin girls, and finally to this fragile refuge in pre-Hollywood Los Angeles. And Bloom, now an eccentric dark genius, can’t live alone at the top of the mountain forever. Prodded by his newly discovered half brother, in every way his opposite, Bloom will have to come down to meet the world. Otherwise the orange farmers and the vaqueros, the speculators and the developers, the artists and the barons of the silver screen, will surely come up the mountain to meet him.
Triumphant and enthralling, Mount Terminus marks a magnificent return for David Grand; it’s the novel he was born to write..
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[book] THE LIE
A NOVEL
BY HESH KESTIN
March 2014
Scribner
A “page-turner that will engage your mind and emotions in a way few novels do” (Stephen King) about a left-wing Israeli lawyer—famous for defending Palestinians—whose views face the ultimate test when her own son is captured and tortured by terrorists.
Devoted mother, soon-to-be divorced wife, attractive lover of an American television correspondent, Dahlia Barr is a brash and successful Israeli attorney whose life’s work is defending Palestinians accused of terrorism. One day, to her astonishment, the Israeli national police approach Dahlia with a tantalizing proposition: Join us, and become the government’s arbiter on when to use the harshest of interrogation methods—what some would call torture. Dahlia is intrigued. She has no intention of permitting torture. Can she change the system from within? She takes the job.
Then, one horrible day, Dahlia’s son Ari, a twenty-year-old lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces, is kidnapped by Hezbollah and whisked over the border to Lebanon. As fate would have it, the one man who may hold the key to Ari’s rescue is currently locked in a cell in police headquarters. He is an Arab who has a long and complicated history with Dahlia. And he’s not talking.
A nail-biting thriller, pulsing with insight into the inner-workings of Israel’s security apparatus, The Lie is an unforgettable story of human beings on both sides of the terror equation whose lives turn out to share more in common than they—and the reader—ever could have imagined.
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[book] Testimony
The Legacy of Schindler's List
and the USC Shoah Foundation
by Steven Spielberg, The Shoah Foundation
March 2014
Harper Collins
This illustrated, large-format book, Testimony: The Legacy of Schindler’s List and the USC Shoah Foundation—A 20th Anniversary Commemoration combines, for the first time, the behind-the-scenes story of the making of Schindler’s List with the history of the remarkable organization inspired by that landmark film. Steven Spielberg’s encounters with Holocaust survivors who visited the set and personally told him their stories set him on a quest to collect and preserve survivor testimony for generations to come. In 1994, he established the Shoah Foundation, and in the following four years nearly 52,000 eyewitness interviews were video recorded in 56 countries and 32 languages. This commemorative book relates how the foundation accomplished this feat through a worldwide network of dedicated people, pioneering interview methods, and state-of-the art technologies.
A special 140-page section tells the riveting story of the film in photos, script excerpts, and the words of the cast and crew, including Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and Spielberg. Drawing from the Universal Pictures archives and exclusive interviews, here are details on Spielberg’s struggle to bring Oskar Schindler’s story from novel to script to screen, the casting, cinematography, and especially what happened during the difficult shoot in Poland in 1993—on locations where actual events of the Holocaust occurred.
Partnered with the University of Southern California since 2006, the USC Shoah Foundation has broadened its mission and now collects and preserves testimonies from other genocides, including those in Armenia, Cambodia, and Rwanda, while expanding its educational outreach, especially to young people. Its Visual History Archive—digitized, fully searchable, and hyperlinked to the minute—has become the largest digital collection of its kind in the world. As Spielberg writes in his introduction, “I believe the work of the USC Shoah Foundation is the most important legacy of Schindler’s List.”
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EXPLOSIVE!
[book] The Double Life of Paul De Man
By Evelyn Barish (CUNY, Professor Emeritus)
March 2014
Liveright WW Norton
Also known as “Paul de Man: A Life of Betrayals”
An explosive biography, decades in the making, reveals the secret past of the 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 foundation of literature and history itself.
The revelation in 1988 that de Man had written a collaborationist and anti-Semitic article that said Jewish writers were mediocre and that isolating Jews would not affect literature too much, 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 (he was sentenced to 6 years in prison in absentia after embezzling funds), his lack of an undergraduate degree, and his bigamous marriage. He abandoned his first wife and three sons and never supported the children even in later years. The life of the man who despised narrative, particularly biography, finally is revealed in depth in this searching portrait of Paul de Man and his era. 8 pages of photographs
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[book] Exodus
A memoir by the author of Unorthodox
by Deborah Feldman
March 2014
Blue Rider Press
The memoir open with Feldman on a couch with a therapist imagining herself as a child in Williamsburg. Will it help her overcome her sexual dysfunction?
Feldman recounts her new life as a young woman, free of her family, a religious refugee, a 26 year old single mother, and her search for a personal Jewish identity in rural New England near a lake that reflects her new image
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A Study in leadership styles. If you embark on a quality crusade, is it okay to burn an entire factory’s inventory in front of the staff as they weep? It sure does send a message
[book] Haunted Empire
Apple After Steve Jobs
by Yukari Iwatani Kane (WSJ)
March 2014
Harper Business
Former Wall Street Journal technology reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane delves deep inside Apple in the two years since Steve Jobs’s death, revealing the tensions and challenges CEO Tim Cook and his team face as they try to sustain Jobs’s vision and keep the company moving forward.
Steve Jobs's death raised one of the most pressing questions in the tech and business worlds: Could Apple stay great without its iconic leader? Many inside the company were eager to prove that Apple could be just as innovative as it had been under Jobs. Others were painfully aware of the immense challenge ahead. As its business has become more complex and global, Apple has come under intense scrutiny, much of it critical. Maintaining market leadership has become crucial as it tries to conquer new frontiers and satisfy the public's insatiable appetite for "insanely great” products.
Based on over two hundred interviews with current and former executives, business partners, Apple watchers and others, Haunted Empire is an illuminating portrait of Apple today that offers clues to its future. With nuanced insights and colorful details that only a seasoned journalist could glean, Kane goes beyond the myths and headlines. She explores Tim Cook’s leadership and its impact on Jobs’s loyal lieutenants, new product development, and Apple’s relationships with Wall Street, the government, tech rivals, suppliers, the media, and consumers.
Hard-hitting yet fair, Haunted Empire reveals the perils and opportunities an iconic company faces when it loses its visionary leader.
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[book] FAISAL OF IRAQ
FAISAL I OF IRAQ
By ALI A. ALLAWI (NUS)
Winter 2014
Yale University Press
Born in 1883, King Faisal I of Iraq was a seminal figure not only in the founding of the state of Iraq but also in the making of the modern Middle East. In all the tumult leading to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of new Arab states, Faisal was a central player. His life traversed each of the important political, military, and intellectual developments of his times.
This comprehensive biography is the first to provide a fully rounded picture of Faisal the man and Faisal the monarch. Ali A. Allawi recounts the dramatic events of his subject’s life and provides a reassessment of his crucial role in developments in the pre– and post–World War I Middle East and of his lasting but underappreciated influence in the region even 80 years after his death.
A battle-hardened military leader who, with the help of Lawrence of Arabia, organized the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire; a leading representative of the Arab cause, alongside Gertrude Bell, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919; a founding father and king of the first independent state of Syria; the first king of Iraq—in his many roles Faisal overcame innumerable crises and opposing currents while striving to build the structures of a modern state.
This book is the first to afford his contributions to Middle East history the attention they deserve.
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If you like Nancy Lubin (doSomething), Charles Best (DonorsChoose), Ben Rattray (change.org), Jared Cohen (Google ideas), and Wendy Kopp (Teach for America), you will like Adam.
[book] The Promise of a Pencil
How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change
by Adam Braun
March 2014
Scribner
From one of Forbes’s “30 Under 30” and Wired Magazine’s “50 People Who Are Changing the World,” the inspiring memoir of a young man who traded a lucrative career in finance to found Pencils of Promise — the groundbreaking organization that started with $25 and has now built more than 150 schools around the world.
Adam Braun, the son of dentists in CT who built a basketball “stadium” in their yard, began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. You probably heard of his Emory b-ball playing brother, Scooter Braun, who developed and managed Justin Bieber. But while traveling as a college student, he met a young boy begging on the streets of India who would change his life. When Braun asked the boy what he wanted most in the world, he simply answered, “a pencil.”
This small request became the inspiration for the organization Braun would one day start, taking him on a journey through more than fifty countries and into the heart of self-discovery. His unique “for-purpose” approach reversed the traditional non-profit playbook, and in doing so helped redefine how modern movements are created.
The book (The Promise of a Pencil) chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling; each chapter explains the steps that every person can take to discover a meaningful life. His trailblazing story takes readers behind the scenes with CEO’s and village chiefs, business moguls and world-famous celebrities. Driven by compelling stories and shareable insights, this is a vivid and inspiring book that will give readers the tools to unlock a sense of purpose, passion, and meaning in their own lives.
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[book] Talk Like TED
The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds
by Carmine Gallo
March 2014
St. Martin’s
Ideas are the true currency of the twenty-first century. So, in order to succeed you need to be able to SELL YOURSELF and your ideas persuasively.
The ability to sell yourself and your ideas is the single greatest skill that will help you accomplish your dreams. TED Talks (created by Richard Saul Waxman) have redefined the elements of a successful presentation and become the gold standard for public speaking.
TED — which stands for technology, entertainment, and design — brings together the world’s leading innovators and thinkers. Their online presentations have been viewed more than a billion times. These are the presentations that set the world on fire, and the techniques that top TED speakers use are the same ones that will make any presentation more dynamic, fire up any team, and give anyone the confidence to overcome their fear of public speaking.
Public speaking?coach and bestselling author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, Carmine Gallo has broken down hundreds of TED talks and interviewed the most popular TED presenters as well as the top researchers in the fields of psychology, communications, and neuroscience to get their cutting-edge insights and to reveal the?nine secrets of all successful TED presentations. From "Unleash the Master Within" and "Deliver Jaw-Dropping Moments" to "Stick to the 18-minute Rule," Gallo provides a step-by-step method that makes it possible for anyone to create, design, and deliver a TED-style presentation that is engaging, persuasive, and memorable.
Many people have a fear of public speaking or they’re insecure about their ability to give a TED-worthy presentation. Talk Like TED will give you the tools to create presentations around the ideas that matter most to you, the skill to win over hearts and minds, and the confidence to deliver the talk of your life. You have ideas that were meant to be heard. Use your voice to inspire any audience and achieve your most audacious goals.
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THE HOROWITZ OF ANDREESEN HOROWITZ
[book] The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
by Ben Horowitz
March 2014
Harper Business
Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.
While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz's personal and often humbling experiences.
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[book] BELIEF WITHOUT BORDERS
Inside the Minds of the Spiritual But Not Religious
By Linda A. Mercadante
March 2014
Oxford
The last twenty years have seen a dramatic increase in "nones": people who do not claim any religious affiliation. These "nones" now outnumber even the largest Protestant denominations in America. They are not to be confused with secularists, however, for many of them identify themselves as "spiritual but not religious" (SBNR). The response to this dramatic change in American religion has been amazingly mixed. While social scientists have been busy counting and categorizing them, the public has swung between derision and adulation. Some complain "nones" are simply shallow dilettantes, narcissistically concerned with their own inner world. Others hail them as spiritual giants, and ground-breaking pioneers. Rarely, however, have these "nones" been asked to explain their own views, beliefs, and experiences. In Belief without Borders, theologian and one-time SBNR Linda Mercadante finally gives these individuals a chance to speak for themselves.
This volume is the result of extensive observation and nearly 100 in-depth interviews with SBNRs across the United States. Mercadante presents SBNRs' stories, shows how they analyze their spiritual journeys, and explains why they reject the claims of organized religion. Surprisingly, however, Mercadante finds these SBNRs within as well as outside the church. She reveals the unexpected, emerging latent theology within this group, including the interviewees' creative concepts of divine transcendence, life after death, human nature, and community. The conclusions she draws are startling: despite the fact that SBNRs routinely discount the creeds and doctrines of organized religion, many have devised a structured set of beliefs, often purposefully in opposition to doctrines associated with Christianity.
Belief without Borders is a captivating exploration of a growing belief system certain to transform the spiritual character of America..
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IS LIBERTARIAN PATERNALISM A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS?
If the benefits of preventing bad choices outweigh the costs of people making wrong choices, should people be allowed to make mistakes?
[book] Why Nudge?
The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism
(The Storrs Lectures Series)
by Cass R. Sunstein (Harvard Law School)
March 2014
Yale University Press
Should the law be like a Jewish parent and nudge and pster people into doing the “right” or healthy thing?
Based on a series of pathbreaking lectures given at Yale University in 2012, this powerful, thought-provoking work by national best-selling author Cass R. Sunstein combines legal theory with behavioral economics to make a fresh argument about
the legitimate scope of government,
bearing on obesity, smoking,
distracted driving, health care, food safety,
and other highly volatile, high-profile public issues.
Behavioral economists have established that people often make decisions that run counter to their best interests—producing what Sunstein describes as “behavioral market failures.” Sometimes we disregard the long term; sometimes we are unrealistically optimistic; sometimes we do not see what is in front of us. With this evidence in mind, Sunstein argues for a new form of paternalism, one that protects people against serious errors but also recognizes the risk of government overreaching and usually preserves freedom of choice.
Against those who reject paternalism of any kind, Sunstein shows that “choice architecture”—government-imposed structures that affect our choices—is inevitable, and hence that a form of paternalism cannot be avoided. He urges that there are profoundly moral reasons to ensure that choice architecture is helpful rather than harmful—and that it makes people’s lives better and longer.
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[book] The Ten Commandments
A Short History of an Ancient Text
by Michael Coogan (Harvard Semitic Museum)
March 2014
Yale University Press
In this lively and provocative book, Michael Coogan guides readers into the ancient past to examine the iconic Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue. How, among all the laws reportedly given on Mount Sinai, did the Ten Commandments become the Ten Commandments? When did that happen? There are several versions of the Decalogue in the Old Testament, so how have different groups determined which is the most authoritative?
Why were different versions created?
Coogan discusses the meanings the Ten Commandments had for audiences in biblical times and observes that the form of the ten proscriptions and prohibitions was not fixed—as one would expect since they were purported to have come directly from God—nor were the Commandments always strictly observed. In later times as well, Jews and especially Christians ignored and even rejected some of the prohibitions, although the New Testament clearly acknowledges the special status of the Ten Commandments. Today it is plain that some of the values enshrined in the Decalogue are no longer defensible, such as the ownership of slaves and the labeling of women as men’s property. Yet in line with biblical precedents, the author concludes that while a literal observance of the Ten Commandments is misguided, some of their underlying ideals remain valid in a modern context.
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Reading this book made me develop an is an idea for an art installation. We take an illustration of a Manhattan apartment building. We place ipads in the windows, and each one plays a loop of 24 hours of a video of peeping into an apartment. The gallery patrons can watch all the ipad/window videos or focus on just one as a voyeur…
[book] VISIBLE CITY
A novel
by Tova Mirvis
March 2014
HMH
For fans of Meg Wolitzer and Allegra Goodman, an intimate and provocative novel about three couples whose paths intersect in their New York City neighborhood, forcing them all to weigh the comfort of stability against the costs of change.
Nina is a harried young mother who spends her evenings spying on the older couple across the street through her son’s Fisher-Price binoculars. It is Manhattan, and they don’t have window shades. She can see straight into the flats of neighbors and imagine what is happening in their lives. She is drawn to the quiet contentment of the older couple — the are reading on the couch, the husband touches his wife’s foot and massages it - it is so unlike her own lonely, chaotic world of nursing and soothing and simply getting by.
One night, through that same window, she spies a young couple. They commence passion filled, spontaneous sexual intercourse and the woman stares right out the window and into Nina’s eyes. Does she enjoy being watched? Who are these people, and what happened to her symbol of domestic bliss?
In the coming weeks, Nina encounters the older couple, Leon and Claudia, their daughter Emma and her fiancé, and many others on the streets of her Upper West Side neighborhood, eroding the safe distance of her secret vigils. Soon anonymity gives way to different — and sometimes dangerous — forms of intimacy, and Nina and her neighbors each begin to question their own paths.
With enormous empathy and a keen observational eye, Tova Mirvis introduces a constellation of characters we all know: twenty-somethings unsure about commitments they haven’t yet made; thirty-somethings unsure about the ones they have; and sixty-somethings whose empty nest causes all sorts of doubt. Visible City invites us to examine those all-important forks in the road, and the conflict between desire and loyalty.
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[book] Bedrock Faith
A paperback novel
by Eric Charles May
March 2014
Akashic
I like the premise of this novel. I think it would make a very good film, or set it in Israel.
After fourteen years in prison, Gerald "Stew Pot" Reeves, age thirty-one, returns home to live with his mom in Parkland, a black middle-class neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.
A frightening delinquent before being sent away, his return sends Parkland residents into a religiously infused tailspin, which only increases when Stew Pot announces that he experienced a religious awakening in prison.
Now the man who once terrorized the area as a thug will terrorize the area as a religious leader
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I AM NOT KEEN ON HOLOCAUST NOVELS, BUT THIS WILL SELL MANY COPIES, SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW ABOUT
[book] The Auschwitz Escape
by Joel C. Rosenberg
March 2014
Tyndale (Christian Publishing)
Joel Rosenberg is a best-selling author of Christian historical fiction and an award winner of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Most of his seven novels focused on the Middle East and Israel. His goal is to entertain and enlighten and to inspire other Christians to bless Israel.
In this latest Rosenberg novel, a Christian pastor helps Jew in France and is arrested and sent to Auschwitz. The pastor befriends a Jewish prisoner, tells him about Christianity, escapes, and more.

A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz’s beloved Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans—especially Jews like Jacob and his family—are treated like dogs. When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare—trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp.
As World War II rages and Hitler begins implementing his “final solution” to systematically and ruthlessly exterminate the Jewish people, Jacob must rely on his wits and a God he’s not sure he believes in to somehow escape from Auschwitz and alert the world to the Nazi’s atrocities before Fascism overtakes all of Europe. The fate of millions hangs in the balance.
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Ben Horowitz’s BLOG has 10 million followers
If you work for a Jewish philanthropy and you plan to solicit Ben Horowitz, you better first read his book
[book] The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
by Ben Horowitz
of Andreessen Horowitz of the Silicon Valley
March 25, 2014
HarperBusiness
Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.
While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong RAP fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
His firm raised $2.7 billion in its first three years and funded Airbnb.com, Anki, Foursquare, GitHub, Facebook, Pinterest, Skype, zulily, Twitter, and so many more.
Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz's personal and often humbling experiences.
Among the lessons are: How to survive the STRUGGLE every entrepreneur faces
Why and How CEO’s have to tell it like it is to their staff
How to lay people off, especially if they are your friends
How to reduce and minimize office politics
Titles matter. How do you handle promotions
Why do some of the smartest people make the worst employees
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[book] Just Say Yes
What I've learned About Life,
Luck, and the Pursuit of Opportunity
by Bernard L. Schwartz (LORAL)
March 2014
Greenleaf
WHAT DOES JUST SYA YES MEAN? It means, after Bernard Schwartz has listened to a debate and made a decision, do not argue the point again. Just Say Yes, and move on for the decision has been made. He is in charge.
Whether he's leading a company or leading the call for a better nation, storied New York businessman and philanthropist Bernard Schwartz believes in the power of optimism.
His daughters urged him to write this book so America can learn from his vast wisdom and the Loral Way

Bernard Schwartz has dined with world leaders, cut a multi billion-dollar deal on the back of a napkin, and led a Fortune 200 corporation. From humble beginnings that saw his family moving regularly from apartment to apartment to take advantage of new lease discounts to his dramatic rise to CEO of a major aerospace innovator, the author's story is a narrative on the importance of character, intelligence, and a lot of good luck. In a time when stories about corrupt CEOs and unethical banking practices flood the news, Schwartz offers the notion that doing the right thing is a more rewarding road to accomplishment, and that when applied for immoral purposes even the sharpest skills will likely lead to a fall.
As Americans today await the return of economic stability and politicians wage battle over the future of government programs, opportunity seems out of reach. But Schwartz, who grew up in Depression-era Bensonhurst Brooklyn (where landlord lived above the tenants, but shared the neighborhood), believes that there are steps we can take as a nation to bring about a recovery and even growth. As a child, he watched men dress for work each day whether they held a job or not. He remembers the widespread deprivation that filled everyday scenes and the streets with breadlines. But he also recalls a hopeful people; a citizenry united in the pursuit of education, homeownership, proprietorship, and community improvement. During the Viet Nam War and after Kent State, he seriously considered moving his whole family to France. He was so pissed off.

Today, he champions investments in job creation, infrastructure, technology, and innovation as the means to get us back on track. With measured insight on the role the federal government can play in creating pathways to prosperity, the author discusses how the United States can again be a land of opportunity for all.
In this inspiring example of a life well lived, Bernard Schwartz invites readers to look at their own opportunities, their own ideas, and even their fellow Americans and Just Say Yes..
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[book] On the Cancer Frontier
One Man, One Disease, and a Medical Revolution
by Dr. Paul Marks with James Sterngold
March 2014
PublicAffairs
In the 1940’s when Dr. Marks decided to specialize in cancer medicine, the medical community thought it was foolish. Little was known of the cell and cancer. It was treated much. Patients prepared to die. Now, six decades later, we understand cell biologu and cancer much more and many cancers can be controlled or stopped.
Cancer, instead of being whispered, is now seen as an enemy to battle. There are ribbons, marches, fundraisers, group support systems. People are seen as battling the foe called cancer. Overcoming it is seen as heroic, as if it is an internal fight based on perseverance and not on whether it is caught in time or the treatment is proper.
Paul Marks M.D., President Emeritus of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital, attributes the elusive nature of cancer’s cure to its inherently anarchic processes. There can be no hope for a miracle cure when defective cells use a myriad of tools to succeed in their relentless assaults. There are many ways cancers get started, and turn healthy cell division and growth into lethal attacks. Cancer cells and their abnormal genes are inherently unstable and so, are able to fight off anything that gets in their way—often a prescribed drug.
In 1950 the discovery of cancer was all but a death sentence. By 1980, 214 of every 100,000 Americans died from cancer. As late as 1986, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed the less-than-optimistic outlook cancer research, publishing the condemning sentence: “we are losing the war against cancer.”
In fact, though cancer had not been eliminated, it had begun to be identified for what it is. A highly individualistic disease, variable—a guerrilla cell rather than a marching army. Suddenly science learned how to fight the right war—at ever closer quarters. And at the forefront of the momentous chain of discoveries was Paul Marks.
Chronicling the insights of researchers and doctors around the world and the momentous effects of their pains-taking advances—Marks weaves together the humbling account of how
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[book] The $11 Billion Year
From Sundance to the Oscars,
an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System
by Anne Thompson
March 2014
Newmarket
"This chronicle of 2012 is a slice of what happened during a watershed year for the Hollywood movie industry. It's not the whole story, but it's a mosaic of what went on, and why, and of where things are heading."
What changed in one Hollywood year to produce a record-breaking box office after two years of decline? How can the Sundance Festival influence a film's fate, as it did for Beasts of the Southern Wild and Searching for Sugar Man, which both went all the way to the Oscars? Why did John Carter misfire and The Hunger Games succeed? How did maneuvers at festivals such as South by Southwest (SXSW), Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, and New York and at conventions such as CinemaCon and Comic-Con benefit Amour, Django Unchained, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook, Les Misérables, The Life of Pi, The Avengers, Lincoln, and Argo? What jeopardized Zero Dark Thirty's launch? What role does gender bias still play in the industry? What are the ten things that changed the 2012 Oscar race?
When it comes to film, Anne Thompson, a seasoned reporter and critic, addresses these questions and more on her respected daily blog, Thompson on Hollywood. Each year, she observes the Hollywood machine at work: the indies at Sundance, the exhibitors' jockeying at CinemaCon, the international scene at Cannes, the summer tentpoles, the fall's "smart" films and festivals, the family-friendly and big films of the holiday season, and the glamour of the Oscars®. Inspired by William Goldman's classic book The Season, which examined the overall Broadway scene through a production-by-production analysis of one theatrical season, Thompson had long wanted to apply a similar lens to the movie business. When she chose 2012 as "the year" to track, she knew that box-office and DVD sales were declining, production costs were soaring, and the digital revolution was making big waves, but she had no idea that events would converge to bring radical structural movement, record-setting box-office revenues, and what she calls "sublime moviemaking."
Though impossible to mention all 670-plus films released in 2012, Thompson includes many in this book, while focusing on the nine Best Picture nominees and the personalities and powers behind them. Reflecting on the year, Thompson concludes, "The best movies get made because filmmakers, financiers, champions, and a great many gifted creative people stubbornly ignore the obstacles. The question going forward is how adaptive these people are, and how flexible is the industry itself?"
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[book] On Leave
A Novel
by Daniel Anselme – Translated by David Bellos
March 2014
Faber and Faber
A long-lost French novel in which three soldiers return home from an unpopular, unspeakable war
When On Leave was published in Paris in 1957, as France’s engagement in Algeria became ever more bloody, it told people things they did not want to hear. It vividly described what it was like for soldiers to return home from an unpopular war in a faraway place. The book received a handful of reviews, it was never reprinted, it disappeared from view. With no outcome to the war in sight, its power to disturb was too much to bear.
Through David Bellos’s translation, this lost classic has been rediscovered. Spare, forceful, and moving, it describes a week in the lives of a sergeant, a corporal, and an infantryman, each home on leave in Paris. What these soldiers have to say can’t be heard, can’t even be spoken; they find themselves strangers in their own city, unmoored from their lives. Full of sympathy and feeling, informed by the many hours Daniel Anselme spent talking to conscripts in Paris, On Leave is a timeless evocation of what the history books can never record: the shame and the terror felt by men returning home from war.
Daniel Anselme was born Daniel Rabinovitch in 1927, and adopted the name Anselme while serving in the French Resistance with his father. Anselme traveled widely as a journalist, and was known as a raconteur and a habitué of Left Bank cafés. A vocal protester of France’s war with Algeria, he addressed the war in On Leave (1957), his first novel. Anselme published a second novel, Relations, in 1964; ran the journal Les Cahiers de Mai from 1968 to 1974; and was one of the leaders of Solidarity Radio in Paris in 1981–82
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[book] THE MASTER OF CONFESSIONS
The Making of a Khmer Rouge Torturer
by Thierry Cruvellier
March 2014
ecco
Renowned journalist Thierry Cruvellier takes us into the dark heart of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge with The Master of Confessions, a suspenseful account of a Chief Interrogator's trial for war crimes.
On April 17, 1975, the communist Khmer Rouge, led by its secretive prime minister Pol Pot, took over Cambodia. Renaming the country Democratic Kampuchea, they cut the nation off from the world and began systematically killing and starving two million of their people.
Thirty years after their fall, a man named Duch (pronounced "Doïk"), who had served as Chief Prison officer of S21, the regime's central prison complex, stood trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Unlike any other tribunal defendant, Duch acknowledged his personal responsibility, pleaded guilty, and asked for forgiveness from his victims. In The Master of Confessions, Thierry Cruvellier uses the trial to tell the horrifying story of this terrible chapter in history.
Cruvellier offers a psychologically penetrating, devastating look at the victims, the torturers, and the regime itself, searching to answer crucial questions about culpability. Self-drawing on his knowledge, and experience, Cruvellier delivers a startling work of journalistic history—by turns deeply moving, horrifying, and darkly funny.
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[book] NOAH
BY DARREN ARONOFSKY
March 2014
Image Comics
The film book tie-in for what will be the most talked-about film of spring 2014: Darren Aronofsky's Noah, starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins. Following on the heels of his successful film Black Swan, celebrated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky turns his talent to the epic big-budget biblical tradition with his film Noah, starring Award-winners¨ Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins, as well as Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ray Winstone. Russell Crowe stars as Noah, a man chosen by God for a great task before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world. The film touches on themes found throughout Aronofsky's work-the dichotomy of life/death, inner turmoil, otherness-presented with Aronofsky's singular and compelling aesthetic. Noah is an extension of Aronofsky's otherworldly sensibilities; it showcases art from the film and the director at work and is a must-have for fans of Aronofsky and of cinema everywhere.
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[book] I SEE YOU MADE AN EFFORT
Compliments, Indignities, and
Survival Stories from the Edge of 50
by Annabelle Gurwitch
March 2014
Blue Rider
Actress and humorist Annabelle Gurwitch returns with I See You Made an Effort, a book of essays so wickedly funny it may make you forget your last birthday. Not one to shy away from the grisly realities of middle age, the “slyly subversive” (O, The Oprah Magazine) Gurwitch confronts the various indignities faced by femmes d’un certain age with candor, wit, and a healthy dose of hilarious self-deprecation. 
Whether falling in lust at the Genius bar, navigating the extensive—and treacherously expensive—anti aging offerings at a department-store beauty counter, coping with the assisted suicide of her best friend, negotiating the ins and outs of acceptable behavior with her teenage kid, or the thudding financial reality of the “never-tirement” generation that leads her to petty theft, Gurwitch’s essays prove her a remarkably astute writer in her prime (in so many ways). Is this the beginning of the Eileen Fisher years? Where does one conduct an affair with a younger man? Is 50 the new 40? Or is 50 still just…50?
Scorchingly honest, surreally and riotously funny, I See You Made an Effort is the ultimate coming-of-middle-age story and a must-read for women of all ages. Reading glasses not included
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[book] Five Came Back
A Story of Hollywood and
the Second World War
by Mark Harris
March 2014
Penguin
In Pictures at a Revolution, Mark Harris turned the story of the five movies nominated for Best Picture in 1967 into a landmark work of cultural history, a book about the transformation of an art form and the larger social shift it signified. In Five Came Back, he achieves something larger and even more remarkable, giving us the untold story of how Hollywood changed World War II, and how World War II changed Hollywood, through the prism of five film directors caught up in the war: John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens.
It was the best of times and the worst of times for Hollywood before the war. The box office was booming, and the studios’ control of talent and distribution was as airtight as could be hoped. But the industry’s relationship with Washington was decidedly uneasy—hearings and investigations into allegations of corruption and racketeering were multiplying, and hanging in the air was the insinuation that the business was too foreign, too Jewish, too “un-American” in its values and causes. Could an industry this powerful in shaping America’s mind-set really be left in the hands of this crew? Following Pearl Harbor, Hollywood had the chance to prove its critics wrong and did so with vigor, turning its talents and its business over to the war effort to an unprecedented extent.
No industry professionals played a bigger role in the war than America’s most legendary directors: Ford, Wyler, Huston, Capra, and Stevens. Between them they were on the scene of almost every major moment of America’s war, and in every branch of service—army, navy, and air force; Atlantic and Pacific; from Midway to North Africa; from Normandy to the fall of Paris and the liberation of the Nazi death camps; to the shaping of the message out of Washington, D.C.
As it did for so many others, World War II divided the lives of these men into before and after, to an extent that has not been adequately understood. In a larger sense—even less well understood—the war divided the history of Hollywood into before and after as well. Harris reckons with that transformation on a human level—through five unforgettable lives—and on the level of the industry and the country as a whole. Like these five men, Hollywood too, and indeed all of America, came back from the war having grown up more than a little
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DID you know that young children were not allowed to make confessions until they were older. This rule changed a century ago, which increased abuse potential and abuse.
[book] The Dark Box
A Secret History of Confession
by John Cornwell
Spring 2014
Basic Books
Confession is a crucial ritual of the Catholic Church, offering absolution of sin and spiritual guidance to the faithful. Yet this ancient sacrament has also been a source of controversy and oppression, culminating, as prize-winning historian John Cornwell reveals in The Dark Box, with the scandal of clerical child abuse. Drawing on extensive historical sources, contemporary reports, and first-hand accounts, Cornwell takes a hard look at the long evolution of confession.
The papacy made annual, one-on-one confession obligatory for the first time in the 13th century. In the era that followed, confession was a source of spiritual consolation as well as sexual and mercenary scandal. During the 16th century, the Church introduced the confession box to prevent sexual solicitation of women, but this private space gave rise to new forms of temptation, both for penitents and confessors. Yet no phase in the story of the sacrament has had such drastic consequences as a historic decree by Pope Pius X in 1910. In reaction to the spiritual perils of the new century, Pius sought to safeguard the Catholic faithful by lowering the age at which children made their first confession from their early teens to seven, while exhorting all Catholics to confess frequently instead of annually. This sweeping, inappropriately early imposition of the sacrament gave priests an unprecedented and privileged role in the lives of young boys and girls—a role that a significant number would exploit in the decades that followed.
A much-needed account of confession’s fraught history, The Dark Box explores the sources of the sacrament’s harm and shame, while recognizing its continuing power to offer consolation and reconciliation.
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[book] From Akhenaten to Moses
Ancient Egypt and Religious Change
by Jan Assmann (Heidelberg, Constance)
March 2014
Oxford
The shift from polytheism to monotheism changed the world radically. Akhenaten and Moses-a figure of history and a figure of tradition-symbolize this shift in its incipient, revolutionary stages and represent two civilizations that were brought into the closest connection as early as the Book of Exodus, where Egypt stands for the old world to be rejected and abandoned in order to enter the new one. > BR> The seven chapters of this seminal study shed light on the great transformation from different angles. Between Egypt in the first chapter and monotheism in the last, five chapters deal in various ways with the transition from one to the other, analyzing the Exodus myth, understanding the shift in terms of evolution and revolution, confronting Akhenaten and Moses in a new way, discussing Karl Jaspers' theory of the Axial Age, and dealing with the eighteenth-century view of the Egyptian mysteries as a cultural model.
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[book] THE LIVING MEMORIES PROJECT
LEGACIES THAT LAST
BY MERYL AIN, ARTHUR M. FISCHMAN, AND STEWART AIN
March 2014
Little MiAmi
A collection of stories from Nick Clooney, Lynda Johnson Robb, Jack Klugman, and others who lost someone dear to them and how they keep their memories alive through memory quilts, the arts, scholarships, poetry, recipes, and many other ways to remember their loved ones.
Thre year the death of her mother< Meryl Ain still felt a major loss in her life. She knew there was no closure but discovered how some other people successfully overcame grief and integrated the loss into their lives.
Meryl enlisted the help of her husband, the award-winning Jewish journalist Stewart Ain, and her brother, Arthur Fischman, and began to interview people who had moved from mourning to meaningful action and remembrance.
The Project presents more than thirty interviews and their memorial projects. They include Arthur Kurzweill, Atty Leon Charney; Jack Klugman; Eileen Belmont, a quilt designer; Malachy McCourt, the actor and author, and brother of Frank; Robert Meeropol, who established a Fund in memory of his parents, Ethel and Julius Osenberg; Linda Ruth Tosetti, who made a film about her grandfather, athlete babe Ruth; Jen Chapin, daughter of the late Harry Chapin; Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma, the sister of Yo-Yo Ma, who writes poetry and has a society in memory of their father; .
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[book] Prison Baby
A Memoir
by Deborah Jiang Stein
March 2014
Beacon Press / Random House
A deeply personal and inspiring memoir recounting one woman's struggles--beginning with her birth in prison--to find self-acceptance
Even at twelve years old Deborah Jiang Stein, the adopted daughter of a progressive Jewish couple in Seattle, felt like an outsider. Her multiracial features set her apart from her well-intentioned white parents, who evaded questions about her past. But when Deborah discovered a letter revealing the truth--that she was born in prison to a heroin-addicted mother and spent the first year of her life there--she spiraled into emotional lockdown. For years she turned to drugs, violence, and crime as a way to cope with her grief. Ultimately, Deborah overcame the stigma, shame, and secrecy of her birth and found peace by helping others--proving that redemption and acceptance is possible, even from the darkest corners
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[book] THE DECEMBER PROJECT
An ExtraOrdinary Rabbi and a
Skeptical Seeker Confront
Life’s Greatest Mystery
March 2014
HarperOne
In the tradition of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Last Lecture, New York Times bestselling author Sara Davidson met every Friday with 89-year-old Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi, the iconic founder of the Jewish Renewal movment, to discuss what he calls The December Project. "When you can feel in your cells that you're coming to the end of your tour of duty," he said, "what is the spiritual work of this time, and how do we prepare for the mystery?"
Davidson, who has a seeker's heart and a skeptic's mind, jumped at the chance to spend time with him. She'd long feared that death would be a complete annihilation, while Reb Zalman felt certain that "something continues." He said he didn't want to convince her of anything. "What I want is to loosen your mind." Through their talks, he wanted to help people "not freak out about dying," and enable them to have a more heightened and grateful life.
For two years, they met every week, and this is Davidson's memoir of what they learned and how they changed. Interspersed with their talks are sketches from Reb Zalman's extraordinary life. He barely escaped the Nazis, became an Orthodox rabbi in the US, was married four times and had eleven children, one from a sperm donation to a lesbian rabbi, and formed friendships with leaders of other faiths, such as Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama. Breaking with the Orthodox, he founded the Jewish Renewal Movement to encourage people to have a direct experience of God.
During their time together, Davidson was nearly killed by a suicide bomb, and Reb Zalman struggled with a steep decline in health. Together they created strategies to deal with pain and memory loss, and found tools to cultivate simplicity, fearlessness, and joy—at any age. Davidson includes twelve exercises so that readers may experience what she did—a sea change in facing what we all must face: mortality.
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[book] Jesus
A Pilgrimage
by James Martin, SJ
March 2014
HarperOne
James Martin, SJ, gifted storyteller, former GE financial analyst/Wharton grad, editor at large of America magazine, popular media commentator, religious commentator for The Colbert Report, broadway reviewer, and New York Times bestselling author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, brings the Gospels to life in Jesus: A Pilgrimage, and invites believers and seekers alike to experience Jesus through Scripture, prayer and travel.

Why am I mentioning this book on MyJewishBooks.com? Because Father Martin travels through Israel and Jordan and areas in between and gives her perspective on locations, prayer, and his faith. It is like seeing a place with different eyes, and along the way you learn about another faith that has parallels and differences with normative Judaism.

Combining the fascinating insights of historical Jesus studies with profound spiritual insights about the Jesus of his Roman Catholic of faith, Father Martin recreates the world of first-century Galilee and Judea to usher you into Jesus's life and times and show readers how Rabbi Jesus speaks to us today. Martin also brings together the most up-to-date Scripture scholarship, wise spiritual reflections, Greek and other phrases, and lighthearted stories about traveling through the Holy Land with a fellow (and funny) Jesuit, George, visiting important sites in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Father Martin sure does PRAY A LOT. Here he is in Bethlehem.. praying. There he is on the Sea of Galilee, ,,, praying.

His pilgrimage has 'produced good fruit' for us in the form of this book. In addition to the spiritual travelogue and educated discussions on things like Greek phrases, I like the zingers... "After a series of improbable detours that took us to the desert... , to a lonely monastery, and 'to the edge of heat stroke'..." (In Bethlehem they visit a site that Catholics find holy, but Russian Orthodox say the site is a few blocks away); i like the reality of traveling with a friend and the stresses that might develop, like how he and George and an empty listerine bottled glowered at each other at the Jordan in a suddenly seemingly smaller car (Father Martin playfully splashed George with water from the polluted Jordan and this was not a fun experience); his insights into baggage - "sometimes we close the door to our past, thinking that we have progressed.." (recalling his college years at Penn, he always thought of it as a time of unholy sillyness, but a picture, like a baked good, reminds him that his life before seminary was not as awful and as devoid of spirituality as he recalled); the dreaminess of Capernaum (why did Jesus move to Capernaum and not Jerusalem? good question... maybe he liked the beach?); and the lesson of Bartimaeus ben Timaeus (reminds me of Kotker Rebbe ideas, of to preach and minister to a person, you need to know the person and your study partner, personally).

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[book] The Israeli Solution
A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East
by Caroline Glick
March 2014
Crown
A manifesto that exposes the flaws in the two-state policy of the United States toward Israel and the Palestinians and offers a direct and powerful call for Israeli sovereignty in the region.
The reigning consensus in elite and academic circles is that the United States must seek to resolve the Palestinians' conflict with Israel by implementing the so-called two-state solution. Establishing a Palestinian state, so the thinking goes, would be a panacea for all the region’s ills. It would end the Arab world’s conflict with Israel, because the reason the Arab world is anti-Israel is that there is no Palestinian state. It would also nearly erase the principal cause of the violent extremism in the rest of the Middle East.
In a time when American politics are marked by partisan gridlock, the two-state solution stands out for its ability to attract supporters from both sides of the ideological divide. But the great irony is that it is one of the most irrational and failed policies the United States has ever adopted.
Between 1970 and 2013, the United States presented nine different peace plans for Israel and the Palestinians, and for the past twenty years, the two state solution has been the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy. But despite this laser focus, American efforts to implement a two-state peace deal have failed—and with each new attempt, the Middle East has become less stable, more violent, more radicalized, and more inimical to democratic values and interests.
In The Israeli Solution, Caroline Glick, senior contributing editor to the Jerusalem Post, examines the history and misconceptions behind the two-state policy, most notably:
- The huge errors made in counting the actual numbers of Jews and Arabs in the region. The 1997 Palestinian Census, upon which most two-state policy is based, wildly exaggerated the numbers of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
- Neglect of the long history of Palestinian anti-Semitism, refusal to negotiate in good faith, terrorism, and denial of Israel’s right to exist.
- Disregard for Israel’s stronger claims to territorial sovereignty under international law, as well as the long history of Jewish presence in the region.
- Indifference to polling data that shows the Palestinian people admire Israeli society and governance. Despite a half-century of domestic and international terrorism, anti-semitism, and military attacks from regional neighbors who reject its right to exist, Israel has thrived as the Middle East’s lone democracy.

After a century spent chasing a two-state policy that hasn’t brought the Israelis and Palestinians any closer to peace, The Israeli Solution offers an alternative path to stability in the Middle East based on Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.
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[book] A Bride for One Night
Talmud Tales
by M.K. Dr. Ruth Calderon (Hebrew University)
Translated by Ilana Kurshan
March 2014
JPS
Ruth Calderon has recently electrified the Jewish world with her teachings of talmudic texts. In this volume, her first to appear in English, she offers a fascinating window into some of the liveliest and most colorful stories in the Talmud. Calderon rewrites talmudic tales as richly imagined fictions, drawing us into the lives of such characters as the woman who risks her life for a sister suspected of adultery; a humble schoolteacher who rescues his village from drought; and a wife who dresses as a prostitute to seduce her pious husband in their garden. Breathing new life into an ancient text, A Bride for One Night offers a surprising and provocative read, both for anyone already intimate with the Talmud and for anyone interested in one of the most influential works of Jewish literature.
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[book] Secrets of Breaking into the Film and TV Business
Tools and Tricks for Today's Directors, Writers, and Actors
by Dean Silvers Phd
March 2014
William Morrow
A highly successful, award-winning independent producer shares his funny, practical, and innovative approach to breaking into film or television, whether you want to direct, act, write, or produce.
It doesn't take film school or expensive, high-tech equipment to make a brilliant—and marketable—movie today, says successful maverick producer Dean Silvers. For aspiring filmmakers, it's easier than ever to produce—and sell—their work. Secrets of Breaking into the Film and TV Business is packed with concrete, proven advice to help you follow in the footsteps of today's cinematic giants, many of whom broke out with runaway independent successes. Drawing from his own experience as a filmmaker, Silvers offers essential tips and a wealth of invaluable knowledge about every aspect of the moviemaking business, from Internet shorts to how to adapt, option, and collaborate on feature-length films (with shoestring budgets).
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APRIL 2014 BOOKS

[book] HOW THE BIBLE BECAME HOLY
By MICHAEL L. SATLOW (Brown University)
April 2014
Yale University Press
In this sweeping narrative, Michael Satlow tells the fascinating story of how an ancient collection of obscure Israelite writings became the founding texts of both Judaism and Christianity, considered holy by followers of each faith. Drawing on cutting-edge historical and archeological research, he traces the story of how, when, and why Jews and Christians gradually granted authority to texts that had long lay dormant in a dusty temple archive. The Bible, Satlow maintains, was not the consecrated book it is now until quite late in its history.
He describes how elite scribes in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E. began the process that led to the creation of several of our biblical texts. It was not until these were translated into Greek in Egypt in the second century B.C.E., however, that some Jews began to see them as culturally authoritative, comparable to Homer’s works in contemporary Greek society. Then, in the first century B.C.E. in Israel, political machinations resulted in the Sadducees assigning legal power to the writings. We see how the world Jesus was born into was largely biblically illiterate and how he knew very little about the texts upon which his apostles would base his spiritual leadership.
Synthesizing an enormous body of scholarly work, Satlow’s groundbreaking study offers provocative new assertions about commonly accepted interpretations of biblical history as well as a unique window into how two of the world’s great faiths came into being.
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[book] Lovers at the Chameleon Club,
Paris 1932:
A Novel
By Francine Prose
April 2014
Harper
A richly imagined and stunningly inventive literary masterpiece of love, art, and betrayal, exploring the genesis of evil, the unforeseen consequences of love, and the ultimate unreliability of storytelling itself.
Paris in the 1920s shimmers with excitement, dissipation, and freedom. It is a place of intoxicating ambition, passion, art, and discontent, where louche jazz venues like the Chameleon Club draw expats, artists, libertines, and parvenus looking to indulge their true selves. It is at the Chameleon where the striking Lou Villars, an extraordinary athlete and scandalous cross-dressing lesbian, finds refuge among the club’s loyal denizens, including the rising Hungarian photographer Gabor Tsenyi, the socialite and art patron Baroness Lily de Rossignol; and the caustic American writer Lionel Maine.
As the years pass, their fortunes—and the world itself—evolve. Lou falls desperately in love and finds success as a race car driver. Gabor builds his reputation with startlingly vivid and imaginative photographs, including a haunting portrait of Lou and her lover, which will resonate through all their lives. As the exuberant twenties give way to darker times, Lou experiences another metamorphosis— sparked by tumultuous events—that will warp her earnest desire for love and approval into something far more.
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[book] [book] [book] DAUGHTER OF THE KING
GROWING UP IN GANGLAND
BY THE DAUGHTER OF MEYER LANSKY
BY SANDRA LANSKY
With William Stadtiem
Foreword by Nicholas Pileggi
April 2014
Weinstein
First, let me say that I dislike restaurant owners who glorify Siegel and Lansky with Lansky’s Lounge and Bugsy’s. Yes, they were business men and parents and gave to charity, but they also were murderers and sociopaths. And they should not be made heroes. In The Godfather II by Mario Puzo, the Lansky character is “Hyman Roth” – played by Lee Strasberg. He is a kindly nice old man at home in Florida with his daughter, returning from Israel, trying to escape U.S. laws. But that was fiction.
Nick Pilegi knew Sandi Lansky for about two decades; she had zero interest in writing a book on her father, Mayer Lansky. She, and her current husband, Vince Lombardo, loved Meyer Lansky and had no interest in telling tales. As a young police reporter, Nick used to see Meyer Lansky at dinner with Vincent “Jimmy Blue Eyes” Alo at Frankie and Johnny’s Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan (he had brown eyes). Nick wanted to know how a skinny kid from Grodno Poland came to America and became a casino genius and a top leader of organized crime. So he kept pushing for Sandi to write a book. Here it is:
In the memoir, the only daughter of the man who was considered the “brains of the Mob” opens the door on her glamorous—and tragic—life. Sandi Lansky Lombardo, daughter of Mob boss Meyer Lansky, was raised in New York City in upper-class Jewish splendor and spent her childhood in the undeniable glitz of Havana and Las Vegas in Lansky’s heyday in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s. (Although her grandparents and parents were Jewish, she tells that she was raised with little of anything Jewish, and her mother focused on Christian Science in a gambit to cure the first son of spina bifida) (and in order to try to cure Buddy, Meyer was tight and catholic’ish with the priest who later became the archbishop of Boston).
Sandy dined out with her father and his associates at places like Diny Moore’s when she was six years old, and she was introduced to Frank Sinatra (who spilled a drink on her) when she was eleven. When the men needed to talk business, she went to the hatcheck girl to help out. She knew (Uncle) Bugsy Siegel and Uncle Lucky Luciano and met Howard Hughes and Joseph Kennedy (another bootlegger who was seen as a member of society and not a criminal).
She was the Paris Hilton of her day: partying till dawn at El Morocco and the Stork Club (mob controlled), married at sixteen (he was gay, marriage did not last long), and romanced by Dean Martin at nineteen. She was pampered and protected, but her life was also full of tragedy: her mother was mentally ill and her eldest brother (Buddy) severely handicapped, and Mob violence repeatedly invaded the world of their friends and family. Also, Meyer Lansky kept matters and emotions private, so who knew how he really felt. For example, he couldn’t save “Uncle Benny (Bugsy Siegel)” from being murdered. Lansky profited from the turnaround of the Flamingo, and Benny was closer to him than a real brother, but some things even Lansky could not control. Or.. to his daughter, Meyer Lansky was daddy and so nice and doting. But once when color blind Dan almost got them all killed at a railroad crossing (red or green light?), she saw his mob-anger and vocabulary as she never did before.
Sandy’s other brother, Paul, was sent to NY Military Academy, and went on to USMA at West Point and VietNam and NASA. All the top monsters sent their sons to NYMA; John Gotti, Donald Trump, and other famous made men went there as well. In Daughter of the King, Sandi recounts for the first time the grandeur—and heartbreak—in her life as the daughter of one of the most powerful mobsters in America. Sandi takes readers back in time to tell the story of her life—one lived in a glamorous but troubled world where nothing ever turned out to be quite as it seemed.
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[book] I PITY THE POOR IMMIGRANT
A NOVEL
BY ZACHARY LAZAR
April 2014
Little, Brown
The stunning new novel by the author of Sway is another "brilliant portrayal of life as a legend" (Margot Livesey).
In 1972, the American gangster Meyer Lansky petitions the Israeli government for citizenship. His request is denied, and he is returned to the U.S. to stand trial. He leaves behind a mistress in Tel Aviv, a Holocaust survivor named Gila Konig.
In 2009, American journalist Hannah Groff travels to Israel to investigate the killing of an Israeli writer. She soon finds herself inside a web of violence that takes in the American and Israeli Mafias, the Biblical figure of King David, and the modern state of Israel. As she connects the dots between the murdered writer, Lansky, Gila, and her own father, Hannah becomes increasingly obsessed with the dark side of her heritage. Part crime story, part spiritual quest, I Pity the Poor Immigrant is also a novelistic consideration of Jewish identity.
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[book] DON’T EVER LOOK BACK
A MYSTERY NOVEL
BY DANIEL FREEDMAN, ESQ.
April 2014
Minotaur
DON'T EVER GET OLD was one of mystery-publishing's biggest critical successes last year, earning starred reviews from every major trade publication, garnering nominations for the Edgar, Thriller, and Anthony awards, and winning the Macavity Award for Best First Novel. The producer of four Harry Potter films and the Sherlock Holmes sequel, Lionel Wigram, is set to produce the film version.
In this new novel, set in Memphis, Tennessee, and four months after the events of DON'T EVER GET OLD, eighty-eight-year-old Buck is reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that he can only move around with the aid of a walker, and his dementia seems to be getting worse.
So when one of Buck’s long-time foes, a bank-robber named Elijah, comes to Buck looking for protection from mysterious pursuers, Buck wavers. In the end, his desire to cement his legacy by closing out a series of long-unsolved robberies overwhelms his usual antipathy toward doing favors for people he dislikes. Buck agrees to broker Elijah's surrender to the authorities, if Elijah will promise to confess to his long-ago crimes.
But nothing involving Elijah, or Buck, is ever simple, and Elijah's plans for Buck are more sinister than they first appeared.
Written in Buck's signature voice and featuring a mystery that will knock your socks off, DON'T EVER LOOK BACK takes a decades-old feud between two dangerous—and now elderly—men and brings it to a final, explosive conclusion.
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[book] Things a Little Bird Told Me
Confessions of the Creative Mind
by Biz Stone (Au
April 1, 2014
Grand Central
I can be snarky or envious. Why is the publication date April Fool’s Day? Why would a guy who dropped out of school to be a book cover designer for Little brown in Boston have this as a cover? If the adult neighbor really built the alarm mat, wy does Biz still think that he made it himself as a kid? Why would you move to SF and live in a 6 floor walk down and not think it possible to break a lease?
Nevertheless why be snarky. Enjoy the ride. The stories are great and enlightening. If I was ever able to interview at Google, I would use Biz Stone’s style in a heartbeat
Biz Stone is a co-founder of Twitter. IN this memoir he discusses the power of his creativity and how he harnessed his and how you could do the same.
GQ Magazine (does anyone still read it, who?) named him "Nerd of the Year." Biz Stone represents different things to different people. But he is known to all as the creative, effervescent, funny, charmingly positive and remarkably savvy co-founder of Twitter. Now, Biz tells fascinating, pivotal, and personal stories from his early life and his careers at Google, Odeo and Twitter, sharing his knowledge about the nature and importance of ingenuity today. In Biz's world:

-Opportunity can be manufactured
-Great work comes from abandoning a linear way of thinking
-Creativity never runs out
-Asking questions is free
-Empathy is core to personal and global success

In this book, Biz also addresses failure, the value of vulnerability, ambition, and corporate culture. Whether seeking behind-the-scenes stories, advice, or wisdom and principles from one of the most successful businessmen of the new century, THINGS A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME will satisfy every reader.
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[book] OVERWATCH
A MYSTERY NOVEL
BY MARC GuGGENHEIM
April 2014
Little, Brown/Mulholland
A young CIA lawyer uncovers a dangerous worldwide conspiracy, masterminded by forces within the US intelligence community.
Alex Garnett has spent his life in the shadow of his father, a former Chief of Staff and Solicitor General to two presidents who's been responsible for getting Alex every job he ever had, including his latest: attorney for the CIA. However, a seemingly routine litigation leads to a series of unexpected events, including poison, kidnapping, torture and murder. As casualties pile up, it becomes clear Alex is the final target in someone's blood-soaked attempts to cover their tracks.
With the help of a neurotic hacker, Alex unravels a conspiracy older than the CIA itself. The trail of clues reveals the presence of unseen forces that are bringing this nation to the brink of war--and Alex's life is only one of many in danger.
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[book] Lost and Found in Johannesburg
A Memoir
by Mark Gevisser
April 2014
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
An inner life of Johannesburg that turns on the author’s fascination with maps, boundaries, and transgressions
This singular memoir begins with a transgression—the invasion of a private home in Johannesburg. But it is far more than the story of a theft. Lost and Found in Johannesburg is a luminous exploration of place, one in which the author’s and the reader’s assumptions are constantly being tested.
As a child growing up in apartheid South Africa, Mark Gevisser was obsessed with maps—and with Holmden’s Register, Johannesburg’s street guide, in particular. He played a game called Dispatcher with this eccentric guide, transporting himself across the city into places that would otherwise be forbidden to him. It was through Dispatcher that he discovered apartheid by realizing that he could not find an access route to the neighboring township of Alexandra and, later, by realizing that Soweto was not mapped at all. This was the beginning of his lifelong obsession with maps and photographs, and what they tell us about borders and boundaries—how we define ourselves by staying within them or by transgressing them. This memoir is an account of getting lost in one’s hometown, and then finding oneself as a gay Jewish South African who was raised under apartheid and who eventually married a man of a different race as the country moved toward freedom.
Using maps, shards of memory, photographs, and stories, Gevisser constructs a stunning portrait of race and sexuality, heritage and otherness.
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Joan Bingham, VP of Grove Atlantic and Executive Editor reminds us that the publication of this novel coincides with Holocaust Remembrance Day and the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. It is a lyrical and fierce story of survival, betrayal, memory and enduring love.
[book] THE TRAIN TO WARSAW
A NOVEL
BY GWEN EDELMAN
April 2014
Grove
Jascha and Lilka separately fled from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942. Reunited years later, they live in London where Jascha has become a celebrated writer, feted for his dark tales about his war adventures. One day, forty years after the war, Jascha receives a letter inviting him to give a reading in Warsaw. He tells Lilka that nothing remains of the city they knew and that wild horses couldn’t drag him back. Nostalgic for the city of her childhood, Lilka prevails; together, traveling by train through a frozen December landscape, they return to the city of their past. When they unwittingly find themselves back in what was once the ghetto, they will discover that they still have secrets between them.
A riveting story of the nature of desire and the cost of survival, The Train to Warsaw is a haunting and unforgettable portrait of a man and a woman who cannot escape their past.
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[book] 50 Children
One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary
Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany
by Steven Pressman
April 2014
HarperCollins
Based on the acclaimed HBO documentary, the astonishing true story of how one American couple transported fifty Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Austria to America in 1939—the single largest group of unaccompanied refugee children allowed into the United States—for readers of In the Garden of Beasts and A Train in Winter.
In early 1939, America's rigid immigration laws made it virtually impossible for European Jews to seek safe haven in the United States. As deep-seated anti-Semitism and isolationism gripped much of the country, neither President Roosevelt nor Congress rallied to their aid.
Yet one brave Jewish couple from Philadelphia refused to silently stand by. Risking their own safety, Gilbert Kraus, a successful lawyer, and his stylish wife, Eleanor, traveled to Nazi-controlled Vienna and Berlin to save fifty Jewish children. Steven Pressman brought the Kraus's rescue mission to life in his acclaimed HBO documentary, 50 Children. In this book, he expands upon the story related in the hour-long film, offering additional historical detail and context to offer a rich, full portrait of this ordinary couple and their extraordinary actions.
Drawing from Eleanor Kraus's unpublished memoir, rare historical documents, and interviews with more than a dozen of the surviving children, and illustrated with period photographs, archival materials, and memorabilia, 50 Children is a remarkable tale of personal courage and triumphant heroism that offers a fresh, unique insight into a critical period of history.
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Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die, and Whom Shall I Say Is Calling
[book] Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen
Interviews and Encounters
by Jeff Burger
April 2014
Chicago Review Press
Leonard Cohen, one of the most admired performers of the last half century, has had a stranger-than-fiction, roller-coaster ride of a life. Now, for the first time, he tells his story in his own words, via more than 50 interviews conducted worldwide between 1966 and 2012.
In Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen--which includes a foreword by singer Suzanne Vega and eight pages of rarely seen photos--the artist talks about "Bird on the Wire," "Hallelujah," and his other classic songs. He candidly discusses his famous romances, his years in a Zen monastery, his ill-fated collaboration with producer Phil Spector, his long battle with depression, and much more.
You'll find interviews that first appeared in the New York Times and Rolling Stone, but also material that has not previously been printed in English. Some of it has not been available until now in any format, including many illuminating reminiscences that contributors supplied specifically for this definitive anthology.
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[book] Living with a Wild God
A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything
by Barbara Ehrenreich
April 2014
Twelve
In middle age, Ehrenreich came across the journal she had kept during her tumultuous adolescence and set out to reconstruct that quest, which had taken her to the study of science and through a cataclysmic series of uncanny-or as she later learned to call them, "mystical"-experiences. A staunch atheist and rationalist, she is profoundly shaken by the implications of her life-long search.
Part memoir, part philosophical and spiritual inquiry, LIVING WITH A WILD GOD brings an older woman's wry and erudite perspective to a young girl's uninhibited musings on the questions that, at one point or another, torment us all. Ehrenreich's most personal book ever will spark a lively and heated conversation about religion and spirituality, science and morality, and the "meaning of life."
Certain to be a classic, LIVING WITH A WILD GOD combines intellectual rigor with a frank account of the inexplicable, in Ehrenreich's singular voice, to produce a true literary
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[book] The Myth of the Strong Leader
Political Leadership in the Modern Age
by Archie Brown (Oxford University)
April 2014
Basic
All too frequently, leadership is reduced to a simple dichotomy: the strong versus the weak. Yet, there are myriad ways to exercise effective political leadership—as well as different ways to fail. We blame our leaders for economic downfalls and praise them for vital social reforms, but rarely do we question what makes some leaders successful while others falter. In this magisterial and wide-ranging survey of political leadership over the past hundred years, renowned Oxford politics professor Archie Brown challenges the widespread belief that strong leaders – meaning those who dominate their colleagues and the policy-making process – are the most successful and admirable.
In reality, only a minority of political leaders will truly make a lasting difference. Though we tend to dismiss more collegial styles of leadership as weak, it is often the most cooperative leaders who have the greatest impact. Drawing on extensive research and decades of political analysis and experience, Brown illuminates the achievements, failures and foibles of a broad array of twentieth century politicians. Whether speaking of redefining leaders like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Margaret Thatcher, who expanded the limits of what was politically possible during their time in power, or the even rarer transformational leaders who played a decisive role in bringing about systemic change – Charles de Gaulle, Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela, among them – Brown challenges our commonly held beliefs about political efficacy and strength.
Overturning many of our assumptions about the twentieth century’s most important figures, Brown’s conclusions are both original and enlightening. The Myth of the Strong Leader compels us to reassess the leaders who have shaped our world – and to reconsider how we should choose and evaluate those who will lead us into the future. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book


















[book] The Knowledge
How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch
By Lewis Dartnell, PhD (UK Space Agency; Leicester)
April 2014
Penguin Press
The book I have longed for for two decades.
What if the world as we know it nearly ends and you or I are left alive.
How would we survive? What is the knowledge we need? Infrastructures will not be maintained, oil won’t be refined, coasts will flood, videogames will not work.
Should you stay in cities? No. The rotting corpses will spread disease and buildings will crumble. It is best to be in suburban areas where you have space and can grow food. After a year of more, you can return to cities to forage for materials.
For postapocalyptic survivors, what crucial knowledge would they need to survive in the immediate aftermath and to rebuild civilization as quickly as possible—a guide for rebooting the world? Human knowledge is collective, distributed across the population. It has built on itself for centuries, becoming vast and increasingly specialized. Most of us are ignorant about the fundamental principles of the civilization that supports us, happily utilizing the latest—or even the most basic—technology without having the slightest idea of why it works or how it came to be. If you had to go back to absolute basics, like some sort of postcataclysmic Robinson Crusoe, would you know how to re-create an internal combustion engine, put together a microscope, get metals out of rock, accurately tell time, weave fibers into clothing, or even how to produce food for yourself?
Regarded as one of the brightest young scientists of his generation, Lewis Dartnell proposes that the key to preserving civilization in an apocalyptic scenario is to provide a quickstart guide, adapted to cataclysmic circumstances. The Knowledge describes many of the modern technologies we employ, but first it explains the fundamentals upon which they are built. Every piece of technology rests on an enormous support network of other technologies, all interlinked and mutually dependent. You can’t hope to build a radio, for example, without understanding how to acquire the raw materials it requires, as well as generate the electricity needed to run it. But Dartnell doesn’t just provide specific information for starting over; he also reveals the greatest invention of them all—the phenomenal knowledge-generating machine that is the scientific method itself. This would allow survivors to learn technological advances not explicitly explored in The Knowledge as well as things we have yet to discover. The Knowledge is a brilliantly original guide to the fundamentals of science and how it built our modern world as well as a thought experiment about the very idea of scientific knowledge itself. Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book












[book] My Paris Kitchen
Recipes and Stories
by David Lebovitz
April 2014
Ten Speed Press
A collection of stories and 100 sweet and savory French-inspired recipes from Chez Panisse pastry chef and popular food blogger and nice Jewish boy, David Lebovitz, reflecting the way modern Parisians eat today and featuring lush photography taken around Paris and in David's Parisian kitchen. He was at Chez Panisse for 13 years.
This is cuisine due Marche (market cuisine)
French cooking has come a long way since the days of Escoffier. The culinary culture of France has changed and the current generation of French cooks, most notably in Paris, are incorporating ingredients and techniques from around the world. In My Paris Kitchen, David Lebovitz re-masters the French classics, introduces lesser known French fare, and presents 100 recipes using ingredients foraged in the ethnic neighborhoods of Paris. Stories told in David's trademark style describe the quirks, trials, and joys of cooking, shopping, and eating in France, while food and location photographs reveal modern life in Paris.
Recipes include sriracha spiced meatballs, onion tart, duck terrine with figs, tabbouleh, Egyptian spiced nut mix, eggplant caviar, chicken with mustard, the no-mess counterfeit confit of duck, salted butter caramel sauce over chocolate cake, orange glaze over bay leaf pound cake, cassoulet, and more
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[book] Exit Berlin
How One Woman Saved Her Family from Nazi Germany
by Charlotte Bonelli
Translated by Natascha Bodemann
April 2014
Yale University Press
Just a week after the Kristallnacht terror in 1938, young Luzie Hatch, a German Jew, fled Berlin to resettle in New York. Her rescuer was an American-born cousin and industrialist, Arnold Hatch. Arnold spoke no German, so Luzie quickly became translator, intermediary, and advocate for family left behind. Soon an unending stream of desperate requests from German relatives made their way to Arnold’s desk.
Luzie Hatch had faithfully preserved her letters both to and from far-flung relatives during the World War II era as well as copies of letters written on their behalf. This extraordinary collection, now housed at the American Jewish Committee Archives, serves as the framework for Exit Berlin. Charlotte R. Bonelli offers a vantage point rich with historical context, from biographical information about the correspondents to background on U.S. immigration laws, conditions at the Vichy internment camps, refuge in Shanghai, and many other topics, thus transforming the letters into a riveting narrative.
Arnold’s letters reveal an unfamiliar side of Holocaust history. His are the responses of an “average” American Jew, struggling to keep his own business afloat while also assisting dozens of relatives trapped abroad—most of whom he had never met and whose deathly situation he could not fully comprehend. This book contributes importantly to historical understanding while also uncovering the dramatic story of one besieged family confronting unimaginable evil..
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[book] A World Without Jews
by Alon Confino (Virginia, Ben Gurion Univ)
April 2014
Yale University Press
Click to read an excerpt
Why exactly did the Nazis burn the Hebrew Bible everywhere in Germany on November 9, 1938? The perplexing event has not been adequately accounted for by historians in their large-scale assessments of how and why the Holocaust occurred. In this gripping new analysis, Alon Confino draws on an array of archives across three continents to propose a penetrating new assessment of one of the central moral problems of the twentieth century. To a surprising extent, Confino demonstrates, the mass murder of Jews during the war years was powerfully anticipated in the culture of the prewar years.
The author shifts his focus away from the debates over what the Germans did or did not know about the Holocaust and explores instead how Germans came to conceive of the idea of a Germany without Jews. He traces the stories the Nazis told themselves—where they came from and where they were heading—and how those stories led to the conclusion that Jews must be eradicated in order for the new Nazi civilization to arise. The creation of this new empire required that Jews and Judaism be erased from Christian history, and this was the inspiration—and justification—for Kristallnacht. As Germans imagined a future world without Jews, persecution and extermination became imaginable, and even justifiable.
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SEA PEOPLES? Sea peoples should also be read as Philistines of the coastal area perhaps?
[book] 1177 B.C.
The Year Civilization Collapsed
(Turning Points in Ancient History)
by Eric H. Cline (GWU)
April 2014
Princeton University
In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh's army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C., which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist, along with writing systems, technology, and monumental architecture. But the Sea Peoples alone could not have caused such widespread breakdown. How did it happen?
In this major new account of the causes of this "First Dark Ages," Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted centuries.
A compelling combination of narrative and the latest scholarship, 1177 B.C. sheds new light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and ultimately destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age--and that set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece.
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[book] The Golden Age Shtetl
A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe
by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Northwestern University)
April 2014
Princeton University
The shtetl was home to two-thirds of East Europe's Jews in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, yet it has long been one of the most neglected and misunderstood chapters of the Jewish experience. This book provides the first grassroots social, economic, and cultural history of the shtetl. Challenging popular misconceptions of the shtetl as an isolated, ramshackle Jewish village stricken by poverty and pogroms, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern argues that, in its heyday from the 1790s to the 1840s, the shtetl was a thriving Jewish community as vibrant as any in Europe.
Petrovsky-Shtern brings this golden age to life, looking at dozens of shtetls and drawing on a wealth of never-before-used archival material. The shtetl, in essence, was a Polish private town belonging to a Catholic magnate, administratively run by the tsarist empire, yet economically driven by Jews. Petrovsky-Shtern shows how its success hinged on its unique position in this triangle of power--as did its ultimate suppression. He reconstructs the rich social tapestry of these market towns, showing how Russian clerks put the shtetl on the empire's map, and chronicling how shtetl Jews traded widely, importing commodities from France, Austria, Prussia, and even the Ottoman Empire. Petrovsky-Shtern describes family life; dwellings, trading stalls, and taverns; books and religious life; and the bustling marketplace with its Polish gentry, Ukrainian peasants, and Russian policemen.
Illustrated throughout with rare archival photographs and artwork, this nuanced history casts the shtetl in an altogether new light, revealing how its golden age continues to shape the collective memory of the Jewish people today.
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[book] EVERYDAY CALCULUS
DISCOVERING THE HIDDEN MATH ALL AROUND US
BY OSCAR E. FERNANDEZ (Wellesley))
April 2014
Princeton University Press
Calculus. For some of us, the word conjures up memories of ten-pound textbooks and visions of tedious abstract equations. And yet, in reality, calculus is fun, accessible, and surrounds us everywhere we go. In Everyday Calculus, Oscar Fernandez shows us how to see the math in our coffee, on the highway, and even in the night sky.
Fernandez uses our everyday experiences to skillfully reveal the hidden calculus behind a typical day's events. He guides us through how math naturally emerges from simple observations--how hot coffee cools down, for example--and in discussions of over fifty familiar events and activities. Fernandez demonstrates that calculus can be used to explore practically any aspect of our lives, including the most effective number of hours to sleep and the fastest route to get to work. He also shows that calculus can be both useful--determining which seat at the theater leads to the best viewing experience, for instance--and fascinating--exploring topics such as time travel and the age of the universe. Throughout, Fernandez presents straightforward concepts, and no prior mathematical knowledge is required. For advanced math fans, the mathematical derivations are included in the appendixes.
Whether you're new to mathematics or already a curious math enthusiast, Everyday Calculus invites you to spend a day discovering the calculus all around you. The book will convince even die-hard skeptics to view this area of math in a whole new way.
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[book] Enlightening Symbols:
A Short History of Mathematical Notation
and Its Hidden Powers
By Joseph Mazur
Spring 2014
Princeton University Press
Plus, Minus, Divided by, Square Root..
While all of us regularly use basic math symbols such as those for plus, minus, and equals, few of us know that many of these symbols weren't available before the sixteenth century. What did mathematicians rely on for their work before then? And how did mathematical notations evolve into what we know today? In Enlightening Symbols, popular math writer Joseph Mazur explains the fascinating history behind the development of our mathematical notation system. He shows how symbols were used initially, how one symbol replaced another over time, and how written math was conveyed before and after symbols became widely adopted.
Traversing mathematical history and the foundations of numerals in different cultures, Mazur looks at how historians have disagreed over the origins of the numerical system for the past two centuries. He follows the transfigurations of algebra from a rhetorical style to a symbolic one, demonstrating that most algebra before the sixteenth century was written in prose or in verse employing the written names of numerals. Mazur also investigates the subconscious and psychological effects that mathematical symbols have had on mathematical thought, moods, meaning, communication, and comprehension. He considers how these symbols influence us (through similarity, association, identity, resemblance, and repeated imagery), how they lead to new ideas by subconscious associations, how they make connections between experience and the unknown, and how they contribute to the communication of basic mathematics.
From words to abbreviations to symbols, this book shows how math evolved to the familiar forms we use today..
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[book] MATH BYTES
Google Bombs, Chocolate-covered Pi
And Other Cool Bits of Computing
By Tim Chartier (Davidson)
April 2014
Princeton University Press
This book provides a fun, hands-on approach to learning how mathematics and computing relate to the world around us and help us to better understand it. How can reposting on Twitter kill a movie's opening weekend? How can you use mathematics to find your celebrity look-alike? What is Homer Simpson's method for disproving Fermat's Last Theorem? Each topic in this refreshingly inviting book illustrates a famous mathematical algorithm or result--such as Google's PageRank and the traveling salesman problem--and the applications grow more challenging as you progress through the chapters. But don't worry, helpful solutions are provided each step of the way.
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[book] Outside the Box
Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists
by Hillary L. Chute
April 2014
University of Chicago Press
We are living in a golden age of cartoon art. Never before has graphic storytelling been so prominent or garnered such respect: critics and readers alike agree that contemporary cartoonists are creating some of the most innovative and exciting work in all the arts.
For nearly a decade Hillary L. Chute has been sitting down for extensive interviews with the leading figures in comics, and with Outside the Box she offers fans a chance to share her ringside seat. Chute’s in-depth discussions with twelve of the most prominent and accomplished artists and writers in comics today reveal a creative community that is richly interconnected yet fiercely independent, its members sharing many interests and approaches while working with wildly different styles and themes. Chute’s subjects run the gamut of contemporary comics practice, from underground pioneers like Art Spiegelman and Lynda Barry, to the analytic work of Scott McCloud, the journalism of Joe Sacco, and the extended narratives of Alison Bechdel, Charles Burns, and more. They reflect on their experience and innovations, the influence of peers and mentors, the reception of their art and the growth of critical attention, and the crucial place of print amid the encroachment of the digital age.
Beautifully illustrated in full-color, and featuring three never-before-published interviews—including the first public conversation between Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware—Outside the Box will be a landmark volume, a close-up account of the rise of graphic storytelling and a testament to its vibrant creativity.
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[book] IN PARADISE
A NOVEL
BBY PETER MATTHIESSEN
April 2014
Riverhead Books
From the author of 30 books and National Book Award winner, Peter Matthiesaen comes a profoundly searching new novel by a writer of incomparable range, power, and achievement.
In the winter of 1996, more than a hundred women and men of diverse nationality, background, and belief gather at the site of a former concentration camp for an unprecedented purpose: a weeklong retreat during which they will offer prayer and witness at the crematoria and meditate in all weathers on the selection platform, while eating and sleeping in the quarters of the Nazi officers who, half a century before, sent more than a million Jews to their deaths. Clements Olin, an American academic of Polish descent, has come along, ostensibly to complete research on the death of a survivor, even as he questions what a non-Jew can contribute to the understanding of so monstrous a catastrophe. As the days pass, tensions, both political and personal, surface among the participants, stripping away any easy pretense to healing or closure. Finding himself in the grip of emotions and impulses of bewildering intensity, Olin is forced to abandon his observer’s role and to embrace a history his family has long suppressed—and with it the yearnings and contradictions of being fully alive.
In Paradise is a brave and deeply thought-provoking novel by one of our most stunningly accomplished writers.Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book









[book] WHY THE GERMANS?
WHY THE JEWS?
ENVY, RACE HATRED, AND
THE PREHISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST
BY GOTZ ALY
April 2014
Henry Holt Books
A provocative and insightful analysis that sheds new light on one of the most puzzling and historically unsettling conundrums
Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Countless historians have grappled with these questions, but few have come up with answers as original and insightful as those of maverick German historian Götz Aly. Tracing the prehistory of the Holocaust from the 1800s to the Nazis’ assumption of power in 1933, Aly shows that German anti-Semitism was—to a previously overlooked extent—driven in large part by material concerns, not racist ideology or religious animosity. As Germany made its way through the upheaval of the Industrial Revolution, the difficulties of the lethargic, economically backward German majority stood in marked contrast to the social and economic success of the agile Jewish minority. This success aroused envy and fear among the Gentile population, creating fertile ground for murderous Nazi politics.
In 1858, just fifty years after being emancipated from ghettos, Jews were 1% of the population and 50% of the middle class and 15% of the upper class. Social envy was strong against the Jews, and it was fertile ground for Hitler.
Surprisingly, and controversially, Aly shows that the roots of the Holocaust are deeply intertwined with German efforts to create greater social equality. Redistributing wealth from the well-off to the less fortunate was in many respects a laudable goal, particularly at a time when many lived in poverty. But as the notion of material equality took over the public imagination, the skilled, well-educated Jewish population came to be seen as having more than its fair share. Aly’s account of this fatal social dynamic opens up a new vantage point on the greatest crime in history and is sure to prompt heated debate for years to come.
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[book] How Could This Happen
Explaining the Holocaust
by Dan McMillan
April 2014
Basic Books
The Holocaust has long seemed incomprehensible, a monumental crime that beggars our powers of description and explanation. Historians have probed the many sources of this tragedy, but no account has united the various causes into an overarching synthesis that answers the vital question: How was such a nightmare possible in the heart of western civilization?
In How Could This Happen, historian Dan McMillan distills the vast body of Holocaust research into a cogent explanation and comprehensive analysis of the genocide’s many causes, revealing how a once-progressive society like Germany could have carried out this crime. The Holocaust, he explains, was caused not by one but by a combination of factors—from Germany’s failure to become a democracy until 1918, to the widespread acceptance of anti-Semitism and scientific racism, to the effects of World War I, which intensified political divisions within the country and drastically lowered the value of human life in the minds of an entire generation. Masterfully synthesizing the myriad causes that led Germany to disaster, McMillan shows why thousands of Germans carried out the genocide while millions watched, with cold indifference, as it enveloped their homeland.
Persuasive and compelling, How Could This Happen explains how a perfect storm of bleak circumstances, malevolent ideas, and damaged personalities unleashed history’s most terrifying atrocity.
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[book] A Bintel Brief
Love and Longing in Old New York
by Liana Finck
April 15, 2014
Ecco
In an illustrative style that is a thrilling mash-up of Art Spiegelman's deft emotionality, Roz Chast's neuroses, and the magical spirit of Marc Chagall, A Bintel Brief is Liana Frinck’s evocative, elegiac love letter to the turn-of-the-century Jewish immigrants who transformed New York City and America itself.
A Bintel Brief "A Bundle of Letters" was the enormously popular advice column of the Yiddish language daily, The Forverts (The Forward), begun in 1906 New York City.
Written by a diverse community of Jewish immigrants, these letters seeking advice spoke to the daily heartbreaks and comedies of new lives, capturing the hope, isolation, and confusion of assimilation.
Finck, a former cartoonist for TABLET, has selected some letters, translated them to English, and adapted them into two-color illustrations. She also imagines that Mr. Abraham Cahan himself pops out of the letters and chats with FInck and routs around her flat.
From premarital sex to stolen watches to family politics to struggles with jobs and money and family relations and immigration, A Bintel Brief is an enlightening look at a segment of America's rich cultural past that offers fresh insights for our own lives as well..
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[book] SACRED LAUGHTER OF THE SUFIs
Awakening The Soul With The
Mulla’s Comic Teaching Stories
& Other Islamic Wisdom
By Imam Jamal Rahman
April 2014
Skylight Paths
A first-of-its-kind combination of the legendary wisdom stories of Islam s great comic foil with spiritual insights for seekers of all traditions or none.
There is an ancient Sufi saying that a precious gold coin can sometimes be recovered with the help of a penny candle, meaning that sometimes the profoundest truths are best illuminated through simple stories. So it is with the legendary stories of Mulla Nasruddin, Islam s great comic foil. Timeless and placeless, the mythical Mulla is a village simpleton and sage rolled into one, whose wisdom stories emanate from a source beyond book learning, and contain several layers of meaning.
In this first-of-its-kind presentation of the Mulla s teachings, Imam Jamal Rahman weaves together spiritual insights with the Mulla s stories and connects them to the issues at the heart of the spiritual quest. Addressing such topics as human vulnerability, the rigors of inner and outer spiritual work, the hazards of the ego and more, he roots the Mulla s stories in Islamic spirituality by pairing them with sayings from the Qur an, the Prophet Muhammad, Rumi, Hafiz and other Islamic sages. Together, these sources awaken readers spirits with laughter and inspire them to transform themselves and the world around them.
Imam Rahman then shows how spiritual seekers of all faiths as individuals or as part of a group can apply the Mulla s wisdom teachings to their spiritual lives with easy-to-follow spiritual practices.
Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book











In an interview with the author, PW’s reviewer, Atty. Lenny Picker, we learn that the Daniel Friedman wanted to push the envelope in the genre of mysteries that star retired cops and detectives in their 60s and 70s. In the Buck Schatz mystery, Buck is in his late 80s. The character was inspired by Buddy Friedman, Daniel’s grandfather who passed away at the age of 97, as well as his great aunt Rose Burson who lived in a dementia ward for the last decade of her life. She passed away at 88. His grandmother, Margaret Friedman, is 96 and still with us.
[book] Don't Ever Look Back
A Mystery (Buck Schatz)
by Daniel Friedman
April 22, 2014
Minotaur
DON'T EVER GET OLD was one of mystery-publishing's biggest critical successes last year, earning starred reviews from every major trade publication, garnering nominations for the Edgar, Thriller, and Anthony awards, and winning the Macavity Award for Best First Novel. The producer of four Harry Potter films and the Sherlock Holmes sequel, Lionel Wigram, is set to produce the film version.
In this new novel, set in Memphis, Tennessee, and four months after the events of DON'T EVER GET OLD, eighty-eight-year-old Buck is reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that he can only move around with the aid of a walker, and his dementia seems to be getting worse.
So when one of Buck’s long-time foes, a bank-robber named Elijah, comes to Buck looking for protection from mysterious pursuers, Buck wavers. In the end, his desire to cement his legacy by closing out a series of long-unsolved robberies overwhelms his usual antipathy toward doing favors for people he dislikes. Buck agrees to broker Elijah's surrender to the authorities, if Elijah will promise to confess to his long-ago crimes.
But nothing involving Elijah, or Buck, is ever simple, and Elijah's plans for Buck are more sinister than they first appeared. Written in Buck's signature voice and featuring a mystery that will knock your socks off, DON'T EVER LOOK BACK takes a decades-old feud between two dangerous—and now elderly—men and brings it to a final, explosive conclusion.
Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book

See also his earlier book, DON’T EVER GET OLD, by clicking HERE (just $10 in hardcover)







[book] From Enemy to Friend
Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace
by Rabbi Amy Eilberg
April 2014
orbis
Rabbi Eilberg, the first openly female student ordained by JTS, has written this guide on how to pursue peace.
Most of Jewish law is case law, in response to situations. But two commandments are explicitly articulated not as responses to a particular situation, but as imperatives to be followed — indeed, pursued — at all times. We are not only to act in accordance with these imperatives passively when the occasion arises. We are to actively seek out opportunities to engage in them. The two cases are the pursuit of justice, of which it is said, “Justice, justice shall you pursue” (Deut. 16:20) and the pursuit of peace, of which it is said, “Seek peace and pursue it” (Ps. 34:15). The Rabbis ask why the verse employs two verbs (“seek” and “pursue”) when one would have sufficed. Their answer: “Seek it in your place and pursue it in other places.” The two verbs, they suggest, convey different elements of the command: seek peace when conflict comes to your doorstep, but do not stop there. You must energetically pursue opportunities to practice peace, near and far, for it is the work of God.
Read this book to learn how to pursue peace and learn from EIlberg’s own experiences in building bridges and peace.
Here are ten ideas adapted from the book to entice you to buy and read it
Extend a warm greeting to someone at work with whom you have had recent disagreements.
Invite someone of another religion or political perspective to lunch.
Read a piece of political commentary representing a perspective different from your own. Try to imagine: what in the author’s life journey might have led him or her to such a view?
Think back over a recent argument with a friend. Make a list of three ways to explain sympathetically why your friend might have behaved in the way that he or she did.
Call or email a friend or relative with whom you have felt some tension, expressing a desire to reconnect.
If someone speaks sharply or critically to you today, stop and ask yourself what pain or pressure in his or her life might have led to that moment of harsh speech.
If you notice that you have spoken with unnecessary sharpness to another today, stop and ask yourself compassionately what might have led you to speak in that moment in a way that was hurtful. When you are ready, look for an opportunity to apologize.
If you hear two people arguing at a desk or table some distance from yours, notice how quickly you jump to conclusions about who is right. Stop and ask yourself what more you would need to know to really understand their conversation.
Counter- intuitively, pay close attention to whoever irritates you today. When you sense annoyance or anger in yourself, use that uncomfortable sensation as an internal reminder to ask yourself what about that person causes pain in you.
Find at least three opportunities today to say each of the following: “Thank you,” “I appreciate you” (or “I love you”), and “I don’t know.”

Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book





[book] Alex's Wake
A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance
by Martin Goldsmith (Sirius XM)
April 2014
de capo
Alex’s Wake is a tale of two parallel journeys undertaken seven decades apart. In the spring of 1939, Alex and Helmut Goldschmidt were two of more than 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the St. Louis, “the saddest ship afloat” (New York Times). Turned away from Cuba, the United States, and Canada, the St. Louis returned to Europe, a stark symbol of the world’s indifference to the gathering Holocaust. The Goldschmidts disembarked in France, where they spent the next three years in six different camps before being shipped to their deaths in Auschwitz.
In the spring of 2011, Alex’s grandson, Martin Goldsmith, followed in his relatives’ footsteps on a six-week journey of remembrance and hope, an irrational quest to reverse their fate and bring himself peace. Alex’s Wake movingly recounts the detailed histories of the two journeys, the witnesses Martin encounters for whom the events of the past are a vivid part of a living present, and an intimate, honest attempt to overcome a tormented family legacy.
Click the book cover or title to read more or to purchase the book











How Did a Jewish Rabbi From Galilee Become God in Christian Theology and Faith?
[book] How Jesus Became God
The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee
by Bart D. Ehrman (UNC, Chapel Hill)
April 2014
HarperOne
New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.
The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first. A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.

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[book] THE FRENCH INTIFADA
The Long War Between France and Its Arabs
by Andrew Hussey (London Institute in Paris)
April 2014
Faber and Faber
A provocative rethinking of France’s long relationship with the Arab world
To fully understand both the social and political pressures wracking contemporary France—and, indeed, all of Europe—as well as major events from the Arab Spring to the tensions in Mali, Andrew Hussey believes that we have to look beyond the confines of domestic horizons. As much as unemployment, economic stagnation, and social deprivation exacerbate the ongoing turmoil in the banlieues, the root of the problem lies elsewhere: in the continuing fallout from Europe’s colonial era.
Combining a fascinating and compulsively readable mix of history, literature, and politics with his years of personal experience visiting the banlieues and countries across the Arab world, especially Algeria, Hussey attempts to make sense of the present situation. In the course of teasing out the myriad interconnections between past and present in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Beirut, and Western Europe, The French Intifada shows that the defining conflict of the twenty-first century will not be between Islam and the West but between two dramatically different experiences of the world—the colonizers and the colonized.
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[book] Radiant Truths
Essential Dispatches, Reports, Confessions,
and Other Essays on American Belief
Edited by Jeff Sharlet
April 2014
Yale University Press
Beginning with Walt Whitman singing hymns at a wounded soldier’s bedside during the Civil War, this surprising and vivid anthology ranges straight through to the twenty-first century to end with Francine Prose crying tears of complicated joy at the sight of Whitman’s words in Zuccotti Park during the brief days of the Occupy movement. The first anthology of its kind, Radiant Truths gathers an exquisite selection of writings by both well-known and forgotten American authors and thinkers, each engaged in the challenges of writing about religion, of documenting “things unseen.” Their contributions to the genre of literary journalism—the telling of factual stories using the techniques of fiction and poetry—make this volume one of the most exciting anthologies of creative nonfiction to have emerged in years.
Jeff Sharlet presents an evocative selection of writings that illuminate the evolution of the American genre of documentary prose. Each entry may be savored separately, but together the works enrich one another, engaging in an implicit and continuing conversation that reaches across time and generations.
Including works by:
Walt Whitman • Henry David Thoreau • Mark Twain • Meridel Le Sueur • Zora Neale Hurston • Mary McCarthy • James Baldwin • Norman Mailer • Ellen Willis • Anne Fadiman • John Jeremiah Sullivan • Francine Prose • Garry Wills • and many others.
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QUESTION: Dear MyJewishBooks.com – 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 MyJewishBooks.com – What can I read after hearing of a new ponzi scheme in Lakewood?

ANSWER: WE RECOMMEND:

[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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[book]



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