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Welcome to our pages of Winter 2015, Fall 2014, Summer 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2014, Fall 2013, and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com

SOME WINTER 2016 BOOK READINGS



December 06, 2015: Soviet Songs with a Jewish Flavor, featuring Evgeny Kissing, Boris Sandler, Margarita and Nukhim Koyfman concert. YIVO NYC
December 13, 2015: Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein: Jewish Roots in American Music concert. YIVO Institute NYC

January 10, 2016: Jewish Museums in the 21st Century. Yivo Institute symposium. NYC. 2:30 PM. Featuring: Jonathan Brent; Olga Gershenson (The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow); BKG Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (for the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews); Anna Manchin (Jewish Museums in Hungary); Ruth Ellen Gruber (on Jewish Exhibitions and Synagogue Restorations in the Czech Republic); Jacob Wisse (Yeshiva University Museum); Edward Rothstein (WSJ); Norman Kleeblatt (Jewish Museum, NY); Pamela Nadell(on the National Museum of American Jewish History); and Benjamin Nathans (Penn)
January 21, 2016: Atalia Omer (Notre Dame) on Reconfiguring American Jewish Identity: The Palestine Chapter, based on interviews with Jewish Americans who are Palestine solidarity activists. UCLA Royce Hall
January 24, 2016: Israel & Water: A Conversation with Author Seth Siegel. Facilitated by Bruce Feiler. Brooklyn Heights Synagogue. Brooklyn, NY
January 29, 2016: Rabin, The Last Day. A film Directed by Amos Gitai. Open in the USA
January 31, 2016: Honoring Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller after 40 years of service to UCLA. UCLA Hillel

February 08, 2016: Adam Grant. In Conversation with Dan Pink. In Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, the New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take and top-rated Wharton professor explores how to reject conformity and champion new ideas. Historic Sixth & Eye, Washington DC
February 09, 2016: Gillian Weiss, author of Captives and Corsairs: France and Slavery in the Early Modern Mediterranean, discusses “The Money Launderer's Daughter: A Sephardic Woman and a Slave Rumor in the Early Modern Med. UCLA Bunche Hall
February 9, 2016: Moatza Mekomit New York is holding its 3rd Career Fair, where companies searching for top rate candidates and job seekers meet. Israel Career Fair. Zanger Hall – 34th Street. NYC
February 15, 2016: William Shatner reads from Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man (aboit Leonard Nimoy). B&N Union Square NYC
February 17, 2016: Discussion of the film, Light out of Darkness. UCLA Royce Hall
February 18, 2016: Liora Halperin (Colorado) on her book, BABEL IN ZION, Jews Nationalism and Language Diversity in Palestine 1920-1948. UCLA Roce Hall 12 Noon
February 21, 2016: Nadav Abukksis in NYC. (a top stand up comedy artist in Israel). NYC Symphony Space.
February 21, 2016: All About Hummus. 10 samples. Screening of film: Make Hummus Not War. Rob Eshman moderates discussion with Majadi Wali, Noam Bonnie, and Dr. Trevor Graham. $45. Temple Emanuel Skirball NYC.
February 21, 2016: Rabbi Daniel Goldfarb speaks on Critical Situations and Tough Decisions. Temple Emanu El NYC Skirball
February 22, 2016: Shulem Deen, author of a recent Memoir of leaving his Hasidic life, teaches a multi-week course on writing memoirs. First night. Temple Emanuel Skirball NYC
February 23, 2016: Joel Grey In Conversation with Leon Wieseltier. The actor, producer, and director—best known for his role in Cabaret—draws back the curtain on his seven decades in entertainment in Master of Ceremonies. Historic Sixth & Eye, Washington DC
February 25, 2016: HBS Professor Amy Cuddy In Conversation with Guy Raz. The Harvard Business School social psychologist explains the science underlying power poses and other body-mind effects, and teaches us how to become self-assured in life’s most trying moments in Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. Historic Sixth & Eye, Washington DC
February 25, 2016: UCLA Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music hosts the New Budapest Orpheum Society on Jewish Cabaret between Berlin and Hollywood. UCLA 8 PM

March 01, 2016: Neil W. Netanel on Jewish Law of Copyright Since the Birth of Print. UCLA Royce Hall 12 Noon
March 07, 2016: David Brooks on The Road to Character and other current events/ Temple Emanuel Skirball NYC.
March 08, 2016: Dr. Donniel Hartman of the Hartman Institute / Temple Emanuel Skirball NYC.
March 30, 2016: When Bad Things Happen To Good People. With Rabbis Artson, Kushner, Naomi Levy, Asher Lopatin, Nancy Wiener, and Rachel Cowan / Temple Emanuel Skirball 7 PM NYC.
March 31, 2016: Dan Stone (London) reads from The Liberatuon of the Camps, and hiw liberations helps one understand the history of the Holocaust
April 05, 2016: Lawrence E. Stager (Harvard) – author of Life In Biblical Israel - discusses the Rites of Spring in the Carthagian Tophet, and how the great spring festival in Phoenicia (Canaan) and Syria was like the Hebrew Passover, and coincided with spring lambs and first fruits/early shoots of barley. UCLA Royce Hall 4PM
April 07, 2016: Architect Daniel Liebeskind w. his book: Breaking Ground. / Temple Emanuel Skirball NYC.
April 10, 2016: Yale Strom performs The Polonski Concert: Soviet Jewish Songbook. UCLA Hillel
April 11, 2016: James Snyder discusses his role at The Israel Museum / Temple Emanuel Skirball NYC.
April 13, 2016: An Evening with Gloria Steinem, author of On The Road and Road to the Heart / Temple Emanuel Skirball NYC.
April 14, 2016: Author Dalia Sofer reads from The Septembers of Shiraz. UCLA Faculty Center
April 17, 2016: Saba Soomekh, Sarah A. Stein, Jessica Marglin, Gina Nahal, Shula Nazarian, and Daniel Bouskila read from “Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews in America.” Sinai Temple, Los Angeles 7 PM
April 19, 2016: Eyal Ginio (Hebrew University) on his February book – The Balkan Wars (1912-1913) and the Jewish Communities of the Ottoman Empire: Between Participation and Exclusion. UCLA Royce Hall, Los Angeles
April 22, 2016: Passover celebration begins in evening

May 03, 2016: Francine Prose on Anne Frank / Temple Emanuel Skirball NYC.
May 05, 2016: Rachel Neis (Michigan) – author of The Sense of Sight in Rabbinic Culture: Jewish Ways of Seeing in Late Antiquity – discusses “What is a Human? The Early Rabbis on Uterine Materials and the Makings of Species” UCLA – Los Angeles
May 25, 2016: Avivah Zornberg discusses Abraham and Lech Lecha / Temple Emanuel Skirball NYC.











[book] THE RAGING SKILLET
The True Life Story of Chef Rossi
by Rossi
November 10, 2015
Feminist Press
Once I began to read this on the subway, I stayed for extra stops just so I could read more pages of it. It is too funny and engrossing.

When their high-school-aged, punk, runaway daughter is found hosting a Jersey Shore hotel party in Point Pleasant, Rossi's parents feel they have no other choice: they ship her off to live with a Hasidic rabbi in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Heck... even the Lubavitcher rebbe gives her some wine to drink.

Within the confines of this restrictive culture, Rossi's big city dreams take root. Once she makes her way to Manhattan, Rossi's passion for cooking, which first began as a revolt against her mother's microwave, becomes her life mission.

The Raging Skillet is one woman's story of cooking her way through some of the most unlikely kitchens in New York City—at a "beach" in Tribeca, an East Village supper club, and a makeshift grill at ground zero in the days immediately following 9/11. Forever writing her own rules, Rossi ends up becoming the owner of one of the most sought-after catering companies in the city. This heartfelt, gritty, and hilarious memoir shows us how the creativity of the kitchen allows us to give a nod to where we come from, while simultaneously expressing everything that we are. Includes unpretentious recipes for real people everywhere (lots of hot dog recipes).

Rossi is the owner and executive chef of The Raging Skillet, described as a "rebel anti-caterer" by the New York Times. Rossi has written for many publications, including Bust, the Daily News, the New York Post, the Huffington Post, Time Out New York, and McSweeney's. She is the host of a long-running radio show in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

KIRKUS WRITES: “Growing up as an overweight Orthodox Jew, Rossi’s first introduction to cooking came about as a means to survive after her mother started microwaving all of the family food instead of creating goulashes and stews that simmered on the stove all day. “Suddenly,” she writes, “that elusive sensation of being the only one who could provide what everyone wanted was in my grasp, wedged between the kitchen mitts and the platter of cheese ravioli.” From the pizza bagels that launched her career in the kitchen, Rossi wends her way through the ups and downs and side streets of her rise to cooking fame. With a good shot of humor, a splash of self-deprecation, and a smidgen or two of sadness and regret, she chronicles her introductions to bartending and cooking, her coming out as a lesbian and non–Orthodox Jew to her family, and her rocky relationship with her mother, who, like many good Jewish mothers, used guilt as her favorite spice. Rossi intertwines character descriptions of the chefs, cooks, and waiters she’s worked with and for over the years as she moves through the decades and the numerous positions she held before she launched her own catering service. There’s Big S, who was “stirring tomato sauce, wearing nothing but a black lace bra, matching panties, and an apron,” and the French chef who abhorred having women in the kitchen, let alone a gay Jewish woman. Each of the author’s stories is well-rounded, redolent of salty sweat, sweet love, and the joy of food. The inclusion of numerous recipes related to each narrative is an added garnish to an already satisfying meal. A humorous and witty chronicle of a woman’s pulling-herself-up-by-her-bootstraps rise through the culinary ranks.”



















[book] SEPHARDI AND MIZRAHI JEWS IN AMERICA
VOLUME 13
Edited by Saba Soomekh (UCLA)
December 2015
Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in America includes academics, artists, writers, and civic and religious leaders who contributed chapters focusing on the Sephardi and Mizrahi experience in America. Topics will address language, literature, art, diaspora identity, and civic and political engagement. When discussing identity in America, one contributor will review and explore the distinct philosophy and culture of classic Sephardic Judaism, and how that philosophy and culture represents a viable option for American Jews who seek a rich and meaningful medium through which to balance Jewish tradition and modernity. Another chapter will provide a historical perspective of Sephardi/Ashkenazi Diasporic tensions. Additionally, contributors will address the term Sephardi as a self-imposed, collective, ethnic designation that had to be learned and naturalizedand its parameters defined and negotiatedin the new context of the United States and in conversation with discussions about Sephardic identity across the globe. This volume also will look at the theme of literature, focusing on Egyptian and Iranian writers in the United States. Continuing with the Iranian Jewish community, contributors will discuss the historical and social genesis of Iranian-American Jewish participation and leadership in American civic, political, and Jewish affairs. Another chapter reviews how art is used to express Iranian Diaspora identity and nostalgia. The significance of language among Sephardi and Mizrahi communities is discussed. One chapter looks at the Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jewish population of Seattle, while another confronts the experience of Judeo-Spanish speakers in the United States and how they negotiate identity via the use of language. In addition, scholars will explore how Judeo-Spanish speakers engage in dialogue with one another from a century ago, and furthermore, how they use and modify their language when they find themselves in Spanish-speaking areas today.













[book] WHY DOES THE OTHER LINE MOVE FASTER
The Myths and Misery
Secrets and Psychology of
Waiting in Line
By David Andrews
Workman
November 2015
How we wait, why we wait, what we wait for—waiting in line is a daily indignity that we all experience, usually with a little anxiety thrown in (why is it that the other line always moves faster?!?). This smart, quirky, wide-ranging book (the perfect conversation starter) considers the surprising science and psychology—and the sheer misery—of the well-ordered line. On the way, it takes us from boot camp (where the first lesson is to teach recruits how to stand rigidly in line) to the underground bunker beneath Disneyland’s Cinderella Castle (home of the world’s most advanced, state-of-the-art queue management technologies); from the 2011 riots in London (where rioters were observed patiently taking their turns when looting shops), to the National Voluntary Wait-in-Line days in the People’s Republic of China (to help train their non-queuing populace to wait in line like Westerners in advance of the 2008 Olympics).
Citing sources ranging from Harvard Business School professors to Seinfeld, the book comes back to one underlying truth: it’s not about the time you spend waiting, but how the circumstances of the wait affect your perception of time. In other words, the other line always moves faster because you’re not in it.















[book] SIMPLY DELICIOUS
CREATIVE COOKING FOR THE KOSHER KITCHEN
BY MINDY GINSBeRG
November 2015
GEFEN
From bean stew to brandied apples, from quinoa to butterscotch brownies, Simply Delicious contains delicious recipes for all your cooking needs! Complete with an introductory guide to herbs and legumes, Simply Delicious makes cooking a delight.

Mindy Ginsberg is an imaginative cooking expert who has lovingly assembled and shared over fifty years of proven recipes. She is based in New York and Tel Aviv and has had three previous cookbooks published in Israel.































DECEMBER 2015 BOOKS





[book] Vladimir Jabotinsky's
Story of My Life
by Vladimir Jabotinsky
Edited by Brian Horowitz (Tulane)
Wayne State University Press
December 2015
Vladimir Jabotinsky is well remembered as a militant leader and father of the right-wing Revisionist Zionist movement, but he was also a Russian-Jewish intellectual, talented fiction writer, journalist, playwright, and translator of poetry into Russian and Hebrew. His autobiography, Sippur yamai, Story of My Life-written in Hebrew and published in Tel Aviv in 1936-gives a more nuanced picture of Jabotinsky than his popular image, but it was never published in English. In Vladimir Jabotinsky's Story of My Life, editors Brian Horowitz and Leonid Katsis present this much-needed translation for the first time, based on a rough draft of an English version that was discovered in Jabotinsky's archive at the Jabotinsky Institute in Tel Aviv.
Jabotinsky's volume mixes true events with myth as he offers a portrait of himself from his birth in 1880 until just after the outbreak of World War I. He describes his personal development during childhood and early adult years in Odessa, Rome, St. Petersburg, Vienna, and Istanbul, during Russia's Silver Age, a period known for spiritual searching, but also political violence, radicalism, and pogroms. He tells of his escape to Rome as a youth, his return to Odessa, and his eventual adoption of Zionism. He also depicts struggles with rivals and colleagues in both politics and journalism. The editors introduce the full text of the autobiography by discussing Jabotinsky's life, legacy, and writings in depth.
As Jabotinsky is gaining a reputation for the quality of his fictional and semi-fictional writing in the field of Israel studies, this autobiography will help reading groups and students of Zionism .















[book] Too Much of a Good Thing:
How Four Key Survival Traits Are Now Killing Us by Lee Goldman, MD
Little, Brown and Company
December 2015
Dr. Lee Goldman is dean of the medical school at Columbia University. An internationally renowned cardiologist, he developed the Goldman Criteria (a set of guidelines for healthcare professionals to determine which patients with chest pain require hospital admission) and the Goldman Index (which predicts which patients will have heart problems after surgery). He's the author of more than 480 medical articles and also the lead editor of Goldman-Cecil Medicine, the oldest continuously published medical textbook in the U.S.

Dr. Goldman explains that the traits that let humans survive and thrive are now killing us. We love high calorie carbs. We are living twice as long as in the past. But we are developing more heart disease and diabetes
Dean Goldman explains why our bodies are out of sync with today's environment and how we can correct this to save our health. Over the past 200 years, human life-expectancy has approximately doubled. Yet we face soaring worldwide rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, mental illness, heart disease, and stroke. In his fascinating new book, Dr. Lee Goldman presents a radical explanation: The key protective traits that once ensured our species' survival are now the leading global causes of illness and death. Our capacity to store food, for example, lures us into overeating, and a clotting system designed to protect us from bleeding to death now directly contributes to heart attacks and strokes. A deeply compelling narrative that puts a new spin on evolutionary biology, TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING also provides a roadmap for getting back in sync with the modern world.



















[book] Groucho Marx
The Comedy of Existence
by Lee Siegel
Yale University Press
Jewish Lives series
January 2016
Born Julius Marx in 1890, the brilliant comic actor who would later be known as Groucho was the most verbal of the famed comedy team, the Marx Brothers, his broad slapstick portrayals elevated by ingenious wordplay and double entendre. In his spirited biography of this beloved American iconoclast, Lee Siegel views the life of Groucho through the lens of his work on stage, screen, and television. The author uncovers the roots of the performer’s outrageous intellectual acuity and hilarious insolence toward convention and authority in Groucho’s early upbringing and Marx family dynamics.

The first critical biography of Groucho Marx to approach his work analytically, this fascinating study draws unique connections between Groucho’s comedy and his life, concentrating primarily on the brothers’ classic films as a means of understanding and appreciating Julius the man. Unlike previous uncritical and mostly reverential biographies, Siegel’s “bio-commentary” makes a distinctive contribution to the field of Groucho studies by attempting to tell the story of his life in terms of his work, and vice versa.















[book] Moral Disengagement:
How Good People Can Do Harm
and Feel Good About Themselves
First Edition
by Albert Bandura (Stanford)
Worth
How do otherwise considerate human beings do cruel things and still live in peace with themselves?
Drawing on his agentic theory, Dr. Bandura provides a definitive exposition of the psychosocial mechanism by which people selectively disengage their moral self-sanctions from their harmful conduct. They do so by sanctifying their harmful behavior as serving worthy causes; they absolve themselves of blame for the harm they cause by displacement and diffusion of responsibility; they minimize or deny the harmful effects of their actions; and they dehumanize those they maltreat and blame them for bringing the suffering on themselves. Dr. Bandura’s theory of moral disengagement is uniquely broad in scope. Theories of morality focus almost exclusively at the individual level. He insightfully extends the disengagement of morality to the social-system level through which wide-spread inhumanities are perpetrated. In so doing, he offers enlightening new perspectives on some of the most provocative issues of our time, addressing: Moral disengagement in all aspects of the death penalty—from public policy debates, to jury decisions, to the processes of execution

The social and moral justifications of major industries—including gun manufacturers, the entertainment industry, tobacco companies, and the world of "too big to fail" finance
Moral disengagement in terrorism, and how terrorists rationalize the use of violence as a means of social change
Climate change denial, and the strenuous efforts by some to dispute the overwhelming scientific consensus affirming the impact of human behavior on the environment




















[book] Deciphering the New Antisemitism
by Alvin H. Rosenfeld
January 2016
Indiana University Press
Deciphering the New Antisemitism addresses the increasing prevalence of antisemitism on a global scale. Antisemitism takes on various forms in all parts of the world, and the essays in this wide-ranging volume deal with many of them: European antisemitism, antisemitism and Islamophobia, antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel. Contributors are an international group of scholars who clarify the cultural, intellectual, political, and religious conditions that give rise to antisemitic words and deeds. These landmark essays are noteworthy for their timeliness and ability to grapple effectively with the serious issues at hand.

PW.com writes: The 18 essays assembled in this illuminating book explore what editor Rosenfeld (Resurgent Antisemitism) identifies as a recent increase in global anti-Semitism. The many thoughtful and informative articles include Bernard Harrison’s parsing of claims concerning the Holocaust’s uniqueness; Gunther Jikeli and Sina Arnold’s analyses of anti-Semitism in, respectively, France and the American left; and Eirik Eiglad’s look at connections between anarchism and anti-Zionism. Jean Axelrad Cahan contributes an impassioned essay about how the work of social constructionists in literary theory, such as Edward Said, Erich Auberbach, and Hayden White, might delegitimize Israeli statehood by challenging its foundational national story. The essays occasionally fall into polemics, labeling opponents as idiots and crackpots, but most take pains to be fair to the individuals whose ideas the authors oppose. This volume, rich in information, is not for the casual reader, but is recommended as a valuable compilation of research and analysis that will help concerned readers track the evolution of anti-Semitism and determine which trends are most worrisome.














[book] Excellent Daughters:
The Secret Lives of Young Women
Who Are Transforming the Arab World
by Katherine Zoepf
January 2016
Penguin
The never-before-reported story of this generation of Arab women, who are questioning authority, changing societies, and leading revolutions.
For more than a decade, Katherine Zoepf has lived in or traveled throughout the Arab world, reporting on the lives of women, whose role in the region has never been more in flux. Only a generation ago, female adolescence as we know it in the West scarcely existed in the Middle East. There were only children and married women. Today, young Arab women outnumber men in universities, and a few are beginning to face down religious and social tradition in order to live independently, to delay marriage, and to pursue professional goals. Hundreds of thousands of devout girls and women are attending Qur’anic schools—and using the training to argue for greater freedoms from an Islamic perspective. And, in 2011, young women helped to lead antigovernment protests in the Arab Spring. But their voices have not been heard. The world changes because of wars and terrorist attacks, but it also changes because daughters make different decisions than the ones their mothers made. This is an investigation into the changing lives of this generation of Arab daughters.
Excellent Daughters brings us a new understanding of the changing Arab societies—from 9/11 to Tahrir Square to the rise of ISIS—and gives voice to the remarkable women at the forefront of this change.














[book] OSTEND
Stefan Sweig, Joseph Roth
and the Summer Before The Dark
by Volker Weidermann
translated from German by Carol Brown Janeway
Pantheon Books
January 2016
The true story of two of the twentieth century’s great writers, exiled from Nazi Germany to a Belgian seaside resort, and the world they built there: written with a novelist’s eye for pacing, chronology, and language—a dazzling work of historical nonfiction.

It’s the summer of 1936, and the writer Stefan Zweig is in crisis. His German publisher no longer wants him, his marriage is collapsing, and his home in Austria has been seized. He’s been dreaming of Ostend, the Belgian beach town—a paradise of promenades, parasols, and old friends. So he journeys there with his new lover, Lotte Altmann, and reunites with his semi-estranged fellow writer and close friend Joseph Roth, himself newly in love. For a moment, they create a fragile paradise. But as Europe begins to crumble around them, the writers find themselves trapped on vacation, in exile, watching the world burn. In Ostend, Volker Weidermann lyrically recounts “the summer before the dark,” when a coterie of artists, intellectuals, drunks, revolutionaries, and madmen found themselves in limbo while Europe teetered on the edge of fascism and total war.

















[book] ABBA EBAN
A BIOGRAPHY
By Asaf Siniver, PhD
Overlook Press
The definitive biography of Abba Eban, an Israeli diplomat often revered by every nation except the one he represented.
The book draws from a wide range of primary sources to create a complex portrait of a man who left an indelible mark on the quest for peace in the Middle East.
A skilled debater, a master of languages, and a passionate defender of Israel, Abba Eban’s diplomatic presence was in many ways a contradiction unlike any the world has seen since. While he was celebrated internationally for his exceptional wit and his moderate, reasoned worldview, these same qualities painted him as elitist and foreign in his home country.
The disparity in perception of Eban (a cousin to Oliver Sacks) at home and abroad was such that both his critics and his friends agreed that he would have been a wonderful prime minister?in any country but Israel. In Abba Eban, Asaf Siniver paints a nuanced and complete portrait of one of the most complex figures in twentieth-century foreign affairs.
We see Eban growing up and coming into his own as part of the Cambridge Union, and watch him steadily become known as “The Voice of Israel.” Siniver draws on a vast amount of interviews, writings, and other newly available material to show that, in his unceasing quest for stability and peace for Israel, Eban’s primary opposition often came from the homeland he was fighting for; no matter how many allies he gained abroad, the man never understood his own domestic politics well enough to be as effective in his pursuits as he hoped. The first examination of Eban in nearly forty years, Abba Eban is a fascinating look at a life that still offers a valuable perspective on Israel even today.

















[book] Notorious RBG:
The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
Dey Street Books
Irin Carmon: I heard you can do 20 pushups.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Yes, but we do ten at a time. And then I breathe for a bit and do the second set.

Nearly a half-century into being a feminist and legal pioneer, something funny happened to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: the octogenarian won the internet. Across America, people who weren’t even born when Ginsburg made her name are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute. In a class of its own, and much to Ginsburg’s own amusement, is the Notorious RBG Tumblr, which juxtaposes the diminutive but fierce Jewish grandmother with the 350-pound rapper featuring original artwork submitted from around the world.
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers a visually rich, intimate, unprecedented look at the Justice and how she changed the world. From Ginsburg’s refusal to let the slammed doors of sexism stop her to her innovative legal work, from her before-its-time feminist marriage to her perch on the nation’s highest court—with the fierce dissents to match—get to know RBG as never before. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.




















[book] The Geography of Genius
A Search for the World’s Most
Creative {laces from Ancient Athens
To Silicon Valley
By Eric Weiner
Simon & Schuster
January 2016
Travel the world with Eric Weiner, the New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss, as he journeys from Athens to Silicon Valley—and throughout history, too—to show how creative genius flourishes in specific places at specific times.
In The Geography of Genius, acclaimed travel writer Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. He explores the history of places, like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley, to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. And, with his trademark insightful humor, he walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo, and Leonardo remains. In these places, Weiner asks, “What was in the air, and can we bottle it?”
This link can be traced back through history: Darwin’s theory of evolution gelled while he was riding in a carriage. Freud did his best thinking at this favorite coffee house. Beethoven, like many geniuses, preferred long walks in the woods.
Sharp and provocative, The Geography of Genius redefines the argument about how genius came to be. His reevaluation of the importance of culture in nurturing creativity is an informed romp through history that will surely jumpstart a national conversation.



















[book] THEIR PROMISED LAND
MY GRANDPARENTS IN LOVE AND WAR
BY IAN BURUMA
January 2016
Penguin Press

A family history of surpassing beauty and power: Ian Buruma’s account of his grandparents’ enduring love through the terror and separation of two world wars. They were ‘45s’… their code word for “Jews.”

During the almost six years England was at war with Nazi Germany, Winifred and Bernard Schlesinger, Ian Buruma’s grandparents, and the film director John Schlesinger's parents, were, like so many others, thoroughly sundered from each other. Their only recourse was to write letters back and forth. And write they did, often every day. In a way they were just picking up where they left off in 1918, at the end of their first long separation because of the Great War that swept Bernard away to some of Europe’s bloodiest battlefields. The thousands of letters between them were part of an inheritance that ultimately came into the hands of their grandson, Ian Buruma. Now, in a labor of love that is also a powerful act of artistic creation, Ian Buruma has woven his own voice in with theirs to provide the context and counterpoint necessary to bring to life, not just a remarkable marriage, but a class, and an age.
Winifred and Bernard inherited the high European cultural ideals and attitudes that came of being born into prosperous German-Jewish émigré families. To young Ian, who would visit from Holland every Christmas, they seemed the very essence of England, their spacious Berkshire estate the model of genteel English country life at its most pleasant and refined. It wasn’t until years later that he discovered how much more there was to the story.
At its heart, Their Promised Land is the story of cultural assimilation. The Schlesingers were very British in the way their relatives in Germany were very German, until Hitler destroyed that option. The problems of being Jewish and facing anti-Semitism even in the country they loved were met with a kind of stoic discretion. But they showed solidarity when it mattered most. As the shadows of war lengthened again, the Schlesingers mounted a remarkable effort, which Ian Buruma describes movingly, to rescue twelve Jewish children from the Nazis and see to their upkeep in England.
Many are the books that do bad marriages justice; precious few books take readers inside a good marriage. In Their Promised Land, Buruma has done just that; introducing us to a couple whose love was sustaining through the darkest hours of the century.













[book] GERMAN JEWRY AND THE
ALLURE OF THE SEPHARDIC
BY JOHN M. EFRON (Berkeley)
January 2016
Princeton

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as German Jews struggled for legal emancipation and social acceptance, they also embarked on a program of cultural renewal, two key dimensions of which were distancing themselves from their fellow Ashkenazim in Poland and giving a special place to the Sephardim of medieval Spain. Where they saw Ashkenazic Jewry as insular and backward, a result of Christian persecution, they depicted the Sephardim as worldly, morally and intellectually superior, and beautiful, products of the tolerant Muslim environment in which they lived. In this elegantly written book, John Efron looks in depth at the special allure Sephardic aesthetics held for German Jewry.
Efron examines how German Jews idealized the sound of Sephardic Hebrew and the Sephardim's physical and moral beauty, and shows how the allure of the Sephardic found expression in neo-Moorish synagogue architecture, historical novels, and romanticized depictions of Sephardic history. He argues that the shapers of German-Jewish culture imagined medieval Iberian Jewry as an exemplary Jewish community, bound by tradition yet fully at home in the dominant culture of Muslim Spain. Efron argues that the myth of Sephardic superiority was actually an expression of withering self-critique by German Jews who, by seeking to transform Ashkenazic culture and win the acceptance of German society, hoped to enter their own golden age.




















[book] CALYPSO JEWS
Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination
(Literature Now)
by Sarah Phillips Casteel
January 2016
Columbia University Press
With what may seem surprising frequency, Caribbean writers have turned to Jewish Caribbean experiences of exodus and reinvention, from the arrival of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 1490s to the flight of European Jewish refugees to Trinidad and elsewhere in the 1930s. Examining this historical migration through the lens of postwar Caribbean fiction and poetry, Sarah Phillips Casteel conducts the first major study of representations of Jewishness in Caribbean literature. Bridging the gap between postcolonial and Jewish studies, Calypso Jews enriches crosscultural investigations of Caribbean creolization.

Caribbean writers invoke both the 1492 expulsion and the Holocaust as part of their literary archaeology of slavery and its legacies. Despite the unequal and sometimes fraught relations between Blacks and Jews in the Caribbean before and after emancipation, Black-Jewish literary encounters reflect sympathy and identification more than antagonism and competition. Proposing an alternative to U.S.-based critical narratives of Black-Jewish relations, Casteel reads Derek Walcott, Maryse Condé, Michelle Cliff, Jamaica Kincaid, Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen, and Paul Gilroy, among others, to reveal a distinctive inter-diasporic relationship refracted through the creative innovations of two resilient cultures.


















[book] Good on Paper
A novel
by Rachel Cantor
January 26, 2016
Melville House / Random House
STARRED REVIEW!
The highly anticipated second novel from a writer Emily St. John Mandel calls “sharp, witty, and immensely entertaining”
Is a new life possible? Because Shira Greene’s life hasn’t quite turned out at planned. Shira is a permanent temp with a few short stories published in minor literary magazines and a PhD on Dante’s Vita Nuova that she abandoned halfway.
Her life has some happy certainties, though: she lives with her friend Ahmad, and her daughter, Andi, on MANHATTAN’S UPPER WEST SIDE. They’re an unconventional family, but a real one, with Friday night Shabbat dinner rituals, private jokes, and the shared joys and strains of any other family.
So when she gets the call from Romei, the winner of last year’s Nobel Prize and the irascible idol of grad students everywhere, and he tells her he wants HER to translate his new book, Shira is happy (since she was focusing on this before she gave up on her PHD)… but she is stunned.
Suddenly, Shira sees a new beckoning: academic glory, a career as a literary translator, and even love (with a part-time RABBI and owner of the neighborhood indie bookstore… what is better than that… to fall for a RABBI who also LOVES and SELLS BOOKS?). That is, until Romei starts sending her pages of the manuscript and she realizes that something odd is going on: his book may in fact be untranslatable.
A deft, funny, and big-hearted novel about second chances, Good on Paper is a grand novel of family, friendship, and possibility.

















From a famous Eagle Scout, Sec of Defense, and ummm.. big supporter of Binyamin Netanyahu??
[book] A PASSION FOR LEADERSHIP
Lessons on Change and
Reform from Fifty Years in Public Service
January 2016
Knopf
From the former secretary of defense and author of the acclaimed #1 best-selling memoir Duty, a characteristically direct, informed, and urgent assessment of why big institutions are failing us and how smart, committed leadership can effect real improvement regardless of scale.
Across the realms of civic and private enterprise alike, bureaucracies vitally impact our security, freedoms, and everyday life. With so much at stake, competence, efficiency, and fiscal prudence are essential, yet Americans know these institutions fall short. Many despair that they are too big and too hard to reform.
Robert Gates disagrees. Having led change successfully at three monumental organizations—the CIA, Texas A&M University, and the Department of Defense—he offers us the ultimate insider’s look at how major bureaus, organizations, and companies can be transformed, which is by turns heartening and inspiring and always instructive.
With practical, nuanced advice on tailoring reform to the operative culture (we see how Gates worked within the system to increase diversity at Texas A&M); effecting change within committees; engaging the power of compromise (“In the real world of bureaucratic institutions, you almost never get all you want when you want it”); and listening and responding to your team, Gates brings the full weight of his wisdom, candor, and devotion to civic duty to inspire others to lead desperately needed change.























[book] Israel's Edge
The Story of Talpiot,
the IDF's Most Elite Unit
by Jason Gewirtz
January 2016
Gefen
Instead of being trained only to fight, the few soldiers each year selected for Talpiot are taught how to think. In order to join this unit they have to commit to being in the army for ten years, rather than the three years a normal soldier serves. Talpiots are educated in the military applications for computer science, physics and math and they have an enormous influence on the weapons Israel develops and on the Israeli economy, through the businesses they establish after leaving the army.
The book contains dozens of interviews with Talpiot graduates and some of the early founders of the program. It explains Talpiot's highly successful recruiting methods and discloses many of the secrets of the program's success. The book also profiles some of the most successful businesses founded by Talpiot graduates including CheckPoint, Compugen, Anobit, recently bought by Apple, and XIV, recently bought by IBM.
No other military unit has had more of an impact on the State of Israel. The soldiers of Talpiot are truly unsung heroes.






















[book] Le Marais:
A Rare Steakhouse - Well Done
by Jose Meirelles and Mark Hennessey
January 2016
GEFEN
Although it seems as if every kosher eatery wants to publish a cookbook.
Le Marais’s is worthwhile
"Where else would a non-Jewish Portuguese immigrant open a French bistro, hire an Irish-Italian Catholic as its executive chef, and create one of the finest and most successful kosher restaurants in the United States?" As former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman and his wife Hadassah wrote in their foreword to the Le Marais cookbook, this is "a classic New York story."
Get to know the personalities behind the Le Marais experience while learning how to create its incredible delicacies at home. In sections covering sauces; soups; salads; bread, pasta, and risotto; beef; classics; lamb; veal; poultry; fish; sides; and desserts, this beautifully illustrated cookbook gives you the techniques and recipes you'll need to bring French gourmet into the kosher kitchen (or any kitchen).
Hip and irreverent, the Le Marais cookbook is your entrée to the world of French cuisine that just happens to be fully kosher. Braised duck legs with white pearl onions and petite pois, anyone?
























[book] THE GILDED RAZOR
A MEMOIR
BY SAM LANSKY
January 2016
Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Sharply funny and compulsively readable, The Gilded Razor is a dazzling and harrowing memoir from debut author Sam Lansky.
The Gilded Razor is the true story of a double life. By the age of seventeen, Sam Lansky was an all-star student with Ivy League aspirations in his final year at an elite New York City prep school. But he was addicted to Adderall which made him feel like a superman and it spiraled rapidly out of control, compounded by a string of reckless affairs with older men, leaving his bright future in jeopardy. At 19, he had been through rehab seven times. After a terrifying overdose, he tried to straighten out. Yet as he journeyed from the glittering streets of Manhattan, to a wilderness boot camp in Utah, to a psych ward in New Orleans, he only found more opportunities to create chaos—until finally, he began to face himself, get sober (but go to bars and pretend to be drunk in the ineffective hope that a hot guy would take advantage of him).
He is now 26 and a deputy culture editor for Time Magazine.
In the vein of Elizabeth Wurtzel and Augusten Burroughs, Lansky scrapes away at his own life as a young addict and exposes profoundly universal anxieties. Told with remarkable sensitivity, biting humor, and unrelenting self-awareness, The Gilded Razor is a coming-of-age story of searing honesty and lyricism that introduces a powerful new voice to the confessional genre.
























[book] A Marginal Jew:
Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume V:
Probing the Authenticity of the Parables
by John P. Meier
January 2016
Yale
VOLUME FIVE
Since the late nineteenth century, New Testament scholars have operated on the belief that most, if not all, of the narrative parables in the Synoptic Gospels can be attributed to the historical Jesus. This book challenges that consensus and argues instead that only FOUR parables—those of the Mustard Seed, the Evil Tenants, the Talents, and the Great Supper—can be attributed to the historical Jesus with fair certitude. In this eagerly anticipated fifth volume of A Marginal Jew, John Meier approaches this controversial subject with the same rigor and insight that garnered his earlier volumes praise from such publications as the New York Times and Christianity Today. This seminal volume pushes forward his masterful body of work in his ongoing quest for the historical Jesus
























[book] A Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy:
On Jewish Apocalyptic Literature
by John J. Collins
Eerdmans
A highly regarded expert on Jewish apocalyptic texts, John J. Collins has written extensively on the subject. Nineteen of his essays written over the last fifteen years, including several previously unpublished contributions, are brought together for the first time in Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy.
After an introductory essay that revisits the problem of defining Apocalypse as a literary genre, Collins deals with a number of different topics, including the relationship between apocalypse and prophecy and the troubling ethical issues raised by apocalyptic texts. Collins also examines several specific examples to show the themes and variation present in the genre. Organized in five sections, these thematic essays complement and enrich Collins’s well-known book The Apocalyptic Imagination.























[book] The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails
by Steve Reddicliffe
Cider Mill Press
480 pages
More than 350 drink recipes old and new with great writing from The New York Times. The cocktail hour is once again one of America’s most popular pastimes and one of our favorite ways to entertain. And what better place to find the secrets of great drink-making than The Times?
Steve Reddicliffe, the “Quiet Drink” columnist for The Times, brings his signature voice and expertise to this collection of delicious recipes from bartenders from everywhere, especially New York City. Readers will find treasured recipes they have enjoyed for years—the classics like the Martini, the Old-Fashioned, the Manhattan, the French 75, the Negroni —as well as favorites from the new generation of elixirs borne of the craft distilling boom.
Reddicliffe has carefully curated this essential collection, with memorable writing from famed New York Times journalists like Mark Bittman, Craig Claiborne, Toby Cecchini, Eric Asimov, Rosie Schaap, Robert Simonson, Melissa Clark, William L. Hamilton, Jonathan Miles, Amanda Hesser, William Grimes and many more.
This compendium is arranged by cocktail type, with engaging essays throughout. Included are notes on how to set up your bar, stock, and run it—and of course hundreds of recipes, from Bloody Marys to Irish Coffees.





















[book] Jews vs Omnibus:
Jews vs Aliens
and Jews vs Zombies
by Naomi Alderman, Daniel Polansky,
Sarah Lotz, Shimon Adaf, Rachel Swirsky,
Eric Kaplan, Rebecca Levene, Lavie Tidhar, and more
CreateSpace
Now collected into a single volume, editors Lavie Tidhar and Rebecca Levene bring you the groundbreaking anthologies Jews vs Zombies and Jews vs Aliens, which pose the two most important questions asked in the past 2000 years: what happens when the Chosen People meet aliens... or the living dead? With authors ranging from Orange Prize winner Naomi Alderman to The Big Bang Theory’s writer/producer Eric Kaplan, and from BSFA Award winner Adam Roberts to BFS Best Newcomer Sarah Lotz, the stories range from the light-hearted to the profound. “If you will it, it is no dream!” as Theodor Herzl said: and no doubt he had just these anthologies in mind. Jews vs Aliens and Jews vs Zombies are the must have anthologies of the year.




























[book] SAVING SOPHIE
A NOVEL
By Ronald Balson
From Ronald H. Balson, author of Once We Were Brothers, Saving Sophie is the powerful story of the lengths a father will go through to protect his daughter and an action-packed thriller that will take you on an unforgettable journey of murder and deception, testing the bonds of family and love.
Jack Sommers was just an ordinary accountant from Chicago-that is, until his wife passed away, his young daughter was kidnapped, and he became the main suspect in an $88 million dollar embezzlement case. Now Jack is on the run, hoping to avoid the feds long enough to rescue his daughter, Sophie, from her maternal grandfather, a suspected terrorist in Palestine.
With the help of investigative team Liam and Catherine, and a new CIA operative, a secret mission is launched to not only rescue Sophie but also to thwart a major terrorist attack in Hebron. But will being caught in the crossfires of the Palestine-Israeli conflict keep their team from accomplishing the task at hand, or can they overcome the odds and save countless lives, including their own?
















[book] Sailor and Fiddler:
Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author
by Herman Wouk
January 2016
Simon & Schuster
He actually knew Mr. Simon and Mr. Schuster

In an unprecedented literary accomplishment, Herman Wouk, one of America’s most beloved and enduring authors, reflects on his life and times from the remarkable vantage point of 100 years old. Many years ago, the great British philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin urged Herman Wouk to write his autobiography. Wouk responded, “Why me? I’m nobody.” Berlin answered, “No, no. You’ve traveled. You’ve known many people. You have interesting ideas. It would do a lot of good.”

Now, in the same year he has celebrated his hundredth birthday, Herman Wouk finally reflects on the life experiences that inspired his most beloved novels. Among those experiences are his days writing for comedian Fred Allen’s radio show, one of the most popular shows in the history of the medium; enlisting in the US Navy during World War II; falling in love with Betty Sarah Brown, the woman who would become his wife (and literary agent) for sixty-six years; writing his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Caine Mutiny; as well as a big hit Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court Martial; and the surprising inspirations and people behind such masterpieces as The Winds of War, War and Remembrance, Marjorie Morningstar, and Youngblood Hawke.
Written with the wisdom of a man who has lived through two centuries and the wit of someone who began his career as professional comedy writer, the first part of Wouk’s memoir (“Sailor”) refers to his Navy experience and writing career, the second (“Fiddler”) to what he’s learned from living a life of faith. Ultimately, Sailor and Fiddler is an unprecedented reflection from a vantage point few people have lived to experience.















Hoard This Book
[book] White Walls:
A Memoir About Motherhood,
Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between
by Judy Batalion
January 2016
NAL
A memoir of mothers and daughters, hoarding, and healing.
Judy Batalion grew up in a house filled with endless piles of junk and layers of crumbs and dust; suffocated by tuna fish cans, old papers and magazines, swivel chairs, tea bags, clocks, cameras, printers, VHS tapes, ballpoint pens…obsessively gathered and stored by her hoarder mother. The first chance she had, she escaped the clutter to create a new identity—one made of order, regimen, and clean white walls. Until, one day, she found herself enmeshed in life’s biggest chaos: motherhood.
Confronted with the daunting task of raising a daughter after her own dysfunctional childhood, Judy reflected on not only her own upbringing but the lives of her mother and grandmother, Jewish Polish immigrants who had escaped the Holocaust. What she discovered astonished her. The women in her family, despite their differences, were even more closely connected than she ever knew—from her grandmother Zelda to her daughter of the same name. And, despite the hardships of her own mother-daughter relationship, it was that bond that was slowly healing her old wounds. Told with heartbreaking honesty and humor, this is Judy’s poignant account of her trials negotiating the messiness of motherhood and the indelible marks that mothers and daughters make on each other’s lives.
























[book] WHEREVER THERE IS LIGHT
A NOVEL
By Peter Golden
Atria Books
From the author of Comeback Love, a sweeping, panoramic tale of twentieth-century America, chronicling the decades-long love affair between a Jewish immigrant and the granddaughter of a slave.
Julian Rose is only fifteen when he leaves his family and Germany for a new life in 1920s America. Lonely at first, he eventually finds his way—first by joining up with Longy Zwillman and becoming one of the preeminent bootleggers on the East Coast, and later by amassing a fortune in real estate.
Kendall Wakefield is a free-spirited college senior who longs to become a painter. Her mother, the daughter of a slave and founder of an African-American college in South Florida, is determined to find a suitable match for her only daughter.
One evening in 1938, Mrs. Wakefield hosts a dinner that reunites Julian with his parents—who have been rescued from Hitler’s Germany by the college—and brings him together with Kendall for the first time. From that encounter begins a thirty-year affair that will take the lovers from the beaches of Miami to the jazz clubs of Greenwich Village to postwar life in Paris, where they will mingle with Sartre, Picasso, and a host of other artists and intellectuals. Through his years serving in American intelligence and as an interrogator at the Nuremberg trials, what Julian wants most is to marry and find the joy that eluded his parents. Kendall craves her freedom, and after trading her oil paints for a Leica camera, becomes a celebrated photographer, among the first American journalists to photograph the survivors of a liberated concentration camp. Yet despite distance, their competing desires, and the rapidly changing world, their longing for each other remains a constant in the ceaseless sweep of time.
Captivating and infused with historical detail, this is the epic tale of three generations, two different but intertwined families, and one unforgettable love story.
























[book] City of Thorns:
Nine Lives in the World's
Largest Refugee Camp
by Ben Rawlence
Picador
January 2016
To the charity workers, Dadaab refugee camp is a humanitarian crisis; to the Kenyan government, it is a 'nursery for terrorists'; to the western media, it is a dangerous no-go area; but to its half a million residents, it is their last resort.

Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education.
In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad socio-political investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherinee Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.



















[book] EXCELLENT DAUGHTERS
The Secret Lives of Young Women
Who Are Transforming the Arab World
By Katherine Zoepf
Penguin Press
2016
For more than a decade, Katherine Zoepf has lived in or traveled throughout the Arab world, reporting on the lives of women, whose role in the region has never been more in flux. Only a generation ago, female adolescence as we know it in the West did not exist in the Middle East. There were only children and married women. Today, young Arab women outnumber men in universities, and a few are beginning to face down religious and social tradition in order to live independently, to delay marriage, and to pursue professional goals. Hundreds of thousands of devout girls and women are attending Qur’anic schools—and using the training to argue for greater rights and freedoms from an Islamic perspective. And, in 2011, young women helped to lead antigovernment protests in the Arab Spring. But their voices have not been heard. Their stories have not been told.
In Syria, before its civil war, she documents a complex society in the midst of soul searching about its place in the world and about the role of women. In Lebanon, she documents a country that on the surface is freer than other Arab nations but whose women must balance extreme standards of self-presentation with Islamic codes of virtue. In Abu Dhabi, Zoepf reports on a generation of Arab women who’ve found freedom in work outside the home. In Saudi Arabia she chronicles driving protests and women entering the retail industry for the first time. In the aftermath of Tahrir Square, she examines the crucial role of women in Egypt's popular uprising.
Deeply informed, heartfelt, and urgent, Excellent Daughters brings us a new understanding of the changing Arab societies—from 9/11 to Tahrir Square to the rise of ISIS—and gives voice to the remarkable women at the forefront of this change.

















[book] The Hero Two Doors Down:
Based on the True Story of Friendship
Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend
by Sharon Robinson
Scholastic
January 2016
Based on the true story of a boy in Brooklyn who became neighbors and friends with his hero, Jackie Robinson. Steven Satlow is an eight-year-old boy living in Brooklyn, New York, which means he only cares about one thing-the Dodgers. Steve and his father spend hours reading the sports pages and listening to games on the radio. Aside from an occasional run-in with his teacher, life is pretty simple for Steve. But then Steve hears a rumor that an African American family is moving to his all-Jewish neighborhood. It's 1948 and some of his neighbors are against it. His hero, Jackie Robinson, broke the color barrier in baseball the year before.
Then it happens--Steve's new neighbor is none other than Jackie Robinson! Steve is beyond excited about living two doors down from the Robinson family. He can't wait to meet Jackie. This is going to be the best baseball season yet! How many kids ever get to become friends with their hero?

















[book] The Name of God Is Mercy
by Pope Francis
Translate by Oonagh Stransky (
Random House
January 2016
Can the best JEWISH BOOK of January be by the current Pope in Vatican City??

In his first book published as Pope, and in conjunction with the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis here invites all humanity to an intimate and personal dialogue on the subject closest to his heart — mercy — which has long been the cornerstone of his faith and is now the central teaching of his papacy.

In this conversation with La Stampa's Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli, Francis explains — through memories from his youth and moving anecdotes from his experiences as a pastor — why “mercy is the first attribute of God.” God “does not want anyone to be lost. His mercy is infinitely greater than our sins,” he writes. As well, the Church cannot close the door on anyone, Francis asserts — on the contrary, its duty is to go out into the world to find its way into the consciousness of people so that they can assume responsibility for, and move away from, the bad things they have done.

The Pope writes that “Mercy is essential because all men are sinners, in need of God’s forgiveness and grace,” and it’s especially necessary today, at a time when humanity is wounded, suffering from “the many slaveries of the third millennium” — not just war and poverty and social exclusion, but also fatalism, hardheartedness and self-righteousness. He advocates for decentralizing power in the church, condemns economic injustice and calls for focusing on the needs of the marginalized and disenfranchised. He is critical of self-righteous bureaucrats who would glorify themselves rather than the teachings of the church and he deplores those “dour judges bent on rooting out every threat and deviation” from doctrine. He chastises “scholars of the law” who “live attached to the letter of the law but who neglect love; men who only know how to close doors and draw boundaries.” Instead, he urges people to think of the church as “a field hospital, where treatment is given above all to those who are most wounded.” He emphasizes moral sincerity over dogma, an understanding of the complexities of the world and individual experience over rigid doctrine. Of the poor, the homeless and those “immigrants who have survived the crossing and who land on our shores,” he says, “we touch the flesh of Christ in he who is outcast, hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, ill, unemployed, persecuted, in search of refuge.” On the controversial topics of homosexuality and divorce, he proposes no doctrinal changes but, as he’s done in earlier statements and interviews, urges that the church take a welcoming approach to all — embracing understanding, tolerance and compassion. The pope is most critical of those eager to cast stones. Pride, hypocrisy and the urge to judge others in terms of “preconceived notions and ritual purity” are the targets of his ire. He has chastised church bureaucrats for their “theological narcissism,” and he says in this book that “we must avoid the attitude of someone who judges and condemns from the lofty heights of his own certainty, looking for the splinter in his brother’s eye while remaining unaware of the beam in his own.”














[book] The Invention of God
by Thomas Römer (Lausanne)
Translated by Raymond Geuss (Cambridge)
Harvard
January 2016
Who invented God? When, why, and where? Thomas Römer seeks to answer these questions about the deity of the great monotheisms-Yhwh, God, or Allah-by tracing Israelite beliefs and their context from the Bronze Age to the end of the Old Testament period in the third century BCE.
That we can address such enigmatic questions at all may come as a surprise. But as Römer makes clear, a wealth of evidence allows us to piece together a reliable account of the origins and evolution of the god of Israel. Römer draws on a long tradition of historical, philological, and exegetical work and on recent discoveries in archaeology and epigraphy to locate the origins of Yhwh in the early Iron Age, when he emerged somewhere in Edom or in the northwest of the Arabian peninsula as a god of the wilderness and of storms and war. He became the sole god of Israel and Jerusalem in fits and starts as other gods, including the mother goddess Asherah, were gradually sidelined. But it was not until a major catastrophe-the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah-that Israelites came to worship Yhwh as the one god of all, creator of heaven and earth, who nevertheless proclaimed a special relationship with Judaism.
A masterpiece of detective work and exposition by one of the world’s leading experts on the Hebrew Bible, The Invention of God casts a clear light on profoundly important questions that are too rarely asked, let alone answered.















[book] Losing Faith Mass Market
by Adam Mitzner
Pocket
From the acclaimed author of A Conflict of Interest (one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2011) comes “a tightly plotted, fast paced legal thriller...A worthy courtroom yarn that fans of John Grisham and Scott Turow will enjoy” (Kirkus Reviews).
Aaron Littman is the premier lawyer of his generation and the chairman of Cromwell Altman, the most powerful law firm in New York City, when a high-profile new client threatens all that he’s achieved—and more. Nicolai Garkov is currently the most reviled figure in America, accused of laundering funds for the Russian Mafia and financing a terrorist bombing in Red Square that killed twenty-six people, including three American students. Garkov is completely unrepentant, admitting his guilt to Aaron, but with a plan for exoneration that includes blackmailing the presiding judge, the Honorable Faith Nichols. If the judge won’t do his bidding, Garkov promises to go public with irrefutable evidence of an affair between Aaron and Faith—the consequences of which would not only destroy their reputations but quite possibly end their careers.
Garkov has made his move. Now it’s Aaron and Faith’s turn. And in an ever-shocking psychological game of power, ethics, lies, and justice, they could never have predicted where those moves will take them—or what they are prepared to do to protect the truth.
















[book] THE RIGHT WRONG MAN
John Demjanjuk and the Last
Great Nazi War Crimes Trial
by Lawrence Douglas
January 2016
Princeton University Press
In 2009, Harper’s Magazine sent war-crimes expert Lawrence Douglas to Munich to cover the last chapter of the lengthiest case ever to arise from the Holocaust: the trial of eighty-nine-year-old John Demjanjuk. Demjanjuk’s legal odyssey began in 1975, when American investigators received evidence alleging that the Cleveland autoworker and naturalized US citizen had collaborated in Nazi genocide. In the years that followed, Demjanjuk was twice stripped of his American citizenship and sentenced to death by a Jerusalem court as “Ivan the Terrible” of Treblinka—only to be cleared in one of the most notorious cases of mistaken identity in legal history.
Finally, in 2011, after eighteen months of trial, a court in Munich convicted the native Ukrainian of assisting Hitler’s SS in the murder of 28,060 Jews at Sobibor, a death camp in eastern Poland.
An award-winning novelist as well as legal scholar, Douglas offers a compulsively readable history of Demjanjuk’s bizarre case. The Right Wrong Man is both a gripping eyewitness account of the last major Holocaust trial to galvanize world attention and a vital meditation on the law’s effort to bring legal closure to the most horrific chapter in modern history.
















[book] ABC PASSOVER HUNT
By Tilda Balslay
Illustrated by Helen Poole
January 2016
Kar-Ben
A to Z, an alphabet Passover scene. Find all the letters in between! ABC Passover Hunt is a colorful, interactive, rhyming search for Passover foods, customs, and symbols.
















[book] KOPECKS FOR BLINTZES
By Judy Goldman
Illustrated by Susan Bastori
January 2016
Kar-Ben
Shavuot is approaching, but Gitele and Yankl have no money to buy ingredients for blintzes. So they come up with a plan. Every day, they'll each put a coin into the empty trunk. By Shvuot, they should have enough coins to buy the ingredients. But will they be able to stick to their plan and provide their family with delicious blintzes for Shavuot?.
















[book] NOT FOR ALL
THE HAMANTASCHEN
IN TOWN
By Laura Aron Milhander
Illustrated by Inna Chernyak
January 2016
Kar-Ben Publishing
The three little pigs, Rishon, Sheni, and Shlishi, are getting ready for the Purim carnival! They can't wait to play games, eat hamantaschen, and march in the Purim parade.
They all need crowns for their Purim costumes.
Rishon makes his paper crown very quickly. Sheni spends a little more time on his poster board crown. Slishi works hardest and longest on his wonderful papier mache crown.
But will their fun at the carnival be spoiled by the big bad wolf? After all, wolves love hamantaschen, too!
















[book] OG'S ARK
by Allison Marks and
Wayne Marks
Illustrated by Martina Peluso
January 2016
Kar-Ben Publishing
Og the giant is so big that no bed is large enough or strong enough to hold him.
He never gets a good night's sleep-but all the animals know he has a gentle heart under his groggy grumpiness.
Then a man named Noah asks for Og's help, and Og's life changes forever.
















[book] On One Foot
by Linda Glaser (
Nuria Balaguer - Illustrator
January 2016
Kar-Ben Publishing
An impatient young man comes to Jerusalem looking for someone to teach him the Torah - while standing on one foot! The city is full of learned rabbis, but none of them can help him until he meets the famous Rabbi Hillel.























[book] One Fine Shabbat
by Chris Barash
Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss
January 2016
Kar-Ben Publishing
Brother and sister Seth and Sadie Fine love Shabbat. Join them as they spend Shabbat with their family having a picnic, visiting their farm animals, and enjoying the outdoors. It all adds up to a fine day.























[book] Passover Is Coming!
(Very First Board Books)
by Tracy Newman
Illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
January 2016
Kar-Ben Publishing
Readers join a cute family and their dog as they prepare for and celebrate the spring holiday of Passover, cleaning the house, making matzah ball soup, assembling the seder plate, saying the Four Questions, and looking for the afikomen at the end of the seder. This 12-page board book features '3D-feeling' art by Viviana Garofoli, who illustrates all the books in this Jewish holiday series including Shabbat is Coming!, Hanukkah is Coming! and Rosh Hashanah is Coming! (available Fall 2016).























[book] A Place for Elijah
by Kelly Easton Ruben
Illustrated by Joanne Friar
January 2016
Kar-Ben Publishing
As Sarah's family prepares for Passover, Sarah makes sure to save a chair at the table for the prophet Elijah who is said to visit every seder. But when the electricity goes out in the buildings across the street and the neighbors start arriving at Sarah's apartment, her parents invite each visitor to join the seder. Sarah adds another place setting for Elijah, and then another, but soon the table is full with people from her neighborhood and there are no more chairs to spare! How can Sarah honor the Passover tradition of saving a place for Elijah?























[book] Shmulik Paints the Town
by Lisa Rose
Illustrated by Catalina Echeverri
January 2016
Kar-Ben Publishing
Israeli Independence Day is coming up and the mayor is planning a celebration. He asks Shmulik to make a mural in the park, and Shmulik agrees. But he can't decide what to paint! Maybe his dog, Ezra, can help!





















FEBRUARY 2016 BOOKS



[book] "How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?":
Women and Jewish American Identity
in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs
(Gender and Culture Series)
by Tahneer Oksman
February 2, 2016
Columbia University Press
American comics reflect the distinct sensibilities and experiences of the Jewish American men who played an outsized role in creating them, but what about the contributions of Jewish women? Focusing on the visionary work of seven contemporary female Jewish cartoonists, Tahneer Oksman draws a remarkable connection between innovations in modes of graphic storytelling and the unstable, contradictory, and ambiguous figurations of the Jewish self in the postmodern era.

Oksman isolates the dynamic Jewishness that connects each frame in the autobiographical comics of Aline Kominsky Crumb, Vanessa Davis, Miss Lasko-Gross, Lauren Weinstein, Sarah Glidden, Miriam Libicki, and Liana Finck. Rooted in a conception of identity based as much on rebellion as identification and belonging, these artists' representations of Jewishness take shape in the spaces between how we see ourselves and how others see us. They experiment with different representations and affiliations without forgetting that identity ties the self to others. Stemming from Kominsky Crumb's iconic 1989 comic "Nose Job," in which her alter ego refuses to assimilate through cosmetic surgery, Oksman's study is an arresting exploration of invention in the face of the pressure to disappear.
























[book] THE YID
A NOVEL
BY PAUL GOLDBERG
February 2, 2016
Picador
In is February 1953. We are in Moscow under Stalin. Stalin will be dead in a week. But his final pogrom and purge against Jews is in full swing. Three USSR agents arrive at the flat of Solomon ShimonoVich Levinson in order to arrest him. He is an actor from the defunct State Jewish Theater. Levinson is old, retred, and a veteran of Soviet wars. His reponse to the goons sets in motion a zany series of events. He has a plot. To assassinate a tyrant with a ragtag group. Of heroes that includes Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, one of Moscow's top surgeons but a former machine gunner; Kima Petrova; and an Africa American woman who came to the USSR to build smelters but stayed as an engineer.. It is Inglorious Basterds meets Moscow and Chagall and Paul Robeson. Violent and intellectual.


























[book] SOUTH AFRICAN JEWS IN ISRAEL
ASSIMILATION IN MULTIGENERATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
BY REBECA RAIJMAN (Haifa)
February 2016
University of Nebraska
Despite consensus about the importance of multigenerational analysis for studying the long-term impact of immigration, most studies in Israel have focused on the integration of first-generation migrants, neglecting key changes (in economic, social, linguistic, and identity outcomes) that occur intergenerationally. Rebeca Raijman tackles this important but untold story with respect to Jewish South African immigration in Israel. By collecting data from three generational cohorts, Raijman analyzes assimilation from a comparative multigenerational perspective. She also combines both quantitative and qualitative evidence with in-depth interviews and participant observation, thereby providing a rich and more complete picture of the complex process of migrant assimilation.
While the migrant subpopulation of South Africa has not received the attention that immigrant populations from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia have, as English-speaking migrants they are a powerful and significant group. Given the status of English as an international language, this study has important implications for understanding the expected assimilation trajectories of Anglophone immigrants in Israel as well as in other non-English-speaking societies. South African Jews in Israel not only contributes empirical material concerning immigrants in Israeli society but also articulates theoretical understanding of the social mechanisms underlying the integration of various generations of immigrants into a variety of societal domains.


















[book] Piece of Mind
A Novel
by Michelle Adelman
WW Norton
February 2016
A funny, poignant tale for readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
At twenty-seven, Lucy knows everything about coffee, comic books, and Gus (the polar bear at the Central Park Zoo), and she possesses a rare gift for drawing. But since she suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of three, she has had trouble relating to most people. She’s also uncommonly messy, woefully disorganized, and incapable of holding down a regular job. When her father’s unexpected death forces her out of the comfortable and protective Jewish home where he cared for her, and into a cramped studio apartment in New York City with her college-age younger brother, she must adapt to an entirely different life-one with no safety net. And when her “normal” brother snaps under the pressure and disappears, Lucy discovers that she has more strengths than she herself knew. Told with warmth and intelligence, Piece of Mind introduces one of the most endearing and heroic characters in contemporary fiction. 20 illustrations






















[book] The Ottoman Culture of Defeat:
The Balkan Wars and their Aftermath
by Eyal Ginio (Hebrew University)
Oxford University Press
February 2016
When the first Balkan War broke out in October 1912, few Ottomans anticipated that it would prove to be a watershed moment for the Empire, ending in ignominy, national catastrophe, and the loss of its remaining provinces in the Balkans. Defeat at the hands of an alliance of Balkan powers comprising Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro Ottomans set the stage for the Balkan Crisis of 1914 and would serve as a prelude to WWI. It was also a moment of deep national trauma and led to bitter soul-searching, giving rise to a so-called 'Culture of Defeat' in which condemnation and criticism flourished in a way seemingly at odds with the reformist debate which followed the Young Turk Revolution of 1908.

Eyal Ginio's clear-eyed and rigorously researched book uncovers the different visual and written products of the defeat, published in Ottoman Turkish, Arabic and Ladino, with the aim of understanding the experience of defeat - how it was perceived, analysed and commemorated by different sectors in Ottoman society - to show that it is key to understanding the actions of the Ottoman political elite during the subsequent World War and the early decades of the Turkish Republic.


















[book] STOLEN WORDS
The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books
by Mark Glickman
February 2016
Jewish Publication Society / Nebraska
Stolen Words is an epic story about the largest collection of Jewish books in the world—tens-of millions of books that the Nazis looted from European Jewish families and institutions. Nazi soldiers and civilians emptied Jewish communal libraries, confiscated volumes from government collections, and stole from Jewish individuals, schools, and synagogues. Early in their regime, the Nazis burned some books in spectacular bonfires, but most they saved, stashing the literary loot in castles, abandoned mine shafts, and warehouses throughout Europe. It was the largest and most extensive book-looting campaign in history.

After the war, Allied forces discovered these troves of stolen books but quickly found themselves facing a barrage of questions. How could the books be identified? Where should they go? Who had the authority to make such decisions? Eventually, the army turned the books over to an organization of leading Jewish scholars called Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc.—whose chairman was the acclaimed historian Salo Baron, and whose on-the-ground director was the philosopher Hannah Arendt—with the charge to establish restitution protocols.

Stolen Words is the story of how a free civilization decides what to do with the material remains of a world torn asunder, and how those remains connect survivors with their past. It is the story of Jews struggling to understand the new realities of their post-Holocaust world and of Western society’s gradual realization of the magnitude of devastation wrought by World War II. Most of all, it is the story of people —of Nazi leaders, ideologues, and Judaica experts; of Allied soldiers, scholars, and scoundrels; and of Jewish communities, librarians, and readers around the world.
















[book] LONELY BUT NOT ALONE
A Spiritual Autobiography
By Nathan Lopes Cardozo
February 2016
URIM
Lonely But Not Alone tells the highly unusual story of Dutch–Israeli Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, a child of an intermarriage between a Christian woman and Jewish man who discovers Judaism in his teens and subsequently undergoes a ritual conversion. Weaving together his history and his novel approach to Judaism borne out of his unconventional experiences, Cardozo tackles the problems of religiosity, doubt, faith, and the holy land of Israel and offers his vision for an improved Judaism. This volume blends Cardozo’s personal account, testimony by his mother about concealing his father’s family during the Holocaust, seminal essays on Jewish thought, and an interview with the author.




























[book] Master of Ceremonies:
A Memoir
by Joel Grey
February 2016
Flatiron
Joel Grey, the Tony and Academy Award-winning Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret finally tells his remarkable life story. Born Joel David Katz to a wild and wooly Jewish American family in Cleveland, Ohio in 1932, Joel began his life in the theater at the age of 9, starting in children’s theater and then moving to the main stage. He was hooked, and his seven decades long career charts the evolution of American entertainment - from Vaudeville performances with his father, Mickey Katz to the seedy gangster filled nightclubs of the forties, the bright lights of Broadway and dizzying glamour of Hollywood, to juggernaut musicals like Cabaret, Chicago, and Wicked.
Master of Ceremonies is a memoir of a life lived in and out of the limelight, but it is also the story of the man behind the stage makeup. Coming of age in a time when being yourself tended to be not only difficult but also dangerous, Joel has to act both on and off the stage. He spends his high school years sleeping with the girls-next-door while carrying on a scandalous affair with an older man. Romances with to-die-for Vegas Showgirls are balanced with late night liaisons with like-minded guys, until finally Joel falls in love and marries a talented and beautiful woman, starts a family, and has a pretty much picture perfect life. But 24 years later when the marriage dissolves, Joel has to once again find his place in a world that has radically changed.
Drawing back the curtain on a career filled with show-stopping numbers, larger-than-life stars and even singing in the shower with Bjork, Master of Ceremonies is also a portrait of an artist coming to terms with his evolving identity. When an actor plays a character, he has to find out what makes them who they are; their needs, dreams, and fears. It’s a difficult thing to do, but sometimes the hardest role in an actor’s life is that of himself. Deftly capturing the joy of performing as well as the pain and secrets of an era we have only just started to leave behind, Joel’s story is one of love, loss, hard-won honesty, redemption, and success.
















[book] Better Living Through Criticism
How To Think About Art,
Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth
By A. O. Scott
February 2016
Penguin
The New York Times film critic shows why we need criticism now more than ever Few could explain, let alone seek out, a career in criticism. Yet what A.O. Scott shows in Better Living Through Criticism is that we are, in fact, all critics: because critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation, of civil action, of interpersonal life. With penetrating insight and warm humor, Scott shows that while individual critics--himself included--can make mistakes and find flaws where they shouldn't, criticism as a discipline is one of the noblest, most creative, and urgent activities of modern existence.
Using his own film criticism as a starting point--everything from his infamous dismissal of the international blockbuster The Avengers to his intense affection for Pixar's animinated Ratatouille--Scott expands outward, easily guiding readers through the complexities of Rilke and Shelley, the origins of Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones, the power of Marina Abramovich and 'Ode on a Grecian Urn.' Drawing on the long tradition of criticism from Aristotle to Susan Sontag, Scott shows that real criticism was and always will be the breath of fresh air that allows true creativity to thrive. "The time for criticism is always now," Scott explains, "because the imperative to think clearly, to insist on the necessary balance of reason and passion, never goes away."




























[book] MAX BAER
THE STAR OF DAVID
A NOVEL
By Jay Neugeboran
February 2016
When Jay Neugeboren's first novel, Big Man, was published, James Michener called it "as good a sports novel as has ever been written." Now, nearly a half-century later, Neugeboren is publishingMAX BAER AND THE STAR OF DAVID (Mandel Vilar Press Trade Paperback Original; February 9, 2016), his 22nd book--a remarkable novel that is centered on the life of the world heavyweight champion Max Baer. In 1933, Baer--who was one-quarter Jewish and wore a Star of David on his boxing trunks--won the greatest fight of his career, defeating Nazi Germany's heavyweight champion, Max Schmeling, before a crowd of 60,000 fans at Yankee Stadium. A year later, he earned the heavyweight title, defeating Primo Carnera in front of 50,000 fans at Madison Square Garden Bowl. Baer was a flashy performer and showman who entertained America during the Great Depression. At the height of his fame, he starred in more than a dozen movies, played the vaudeville circuits, and was romantically involved with innumerable actresses, starlets, show girls, and socialites.




























[book] NATIVE
DISPATCHES FROM AN
Israeli-Palestinian Life
By Sayed Kashua
Translated from Hebrew by Ralph Mandel
February 2016
Grove
Sayed Kashua has been praised by the New York Times as “a master of subtle nuance in dealing with both Arab and Jewish society.” An Arab-Israeli who lived in Jerusalem for most of his life, Kashua started writing with the hope of creating one story that both Palestinians and Israelis could relate to, rather than two that cannot coexist together. He devoted his novels and his satirical weekly column published in Haaretz to telling the Palestinian story and exploring the contradictions of modern Israel, while also capturing the nuances of everyday family life in all its tenderness and chaos.

With an intimate tone fueled by deep-seated apprehension and razor-sharp ironic wit, Kashua has been documenting his own life as well as that of society at large: he writes about his children’s upbringing and encounters with racism, about fatherhood and married life, the Jewish-Arab conflict, his professional ambitions, travels around the world as an author, and—more than anything—his love of books and literature. He brings forth a series of brilliant, caustic, wry, and fearless reflections on social and cultural dynamics as experienced by someone who straddles two societies. Written between 2006 and 2014, Native reads like an unrestrained, profoundly thoughtful personal journal.





















[book] THE PLACE I LIVE
THE PEOPLE I KNOW
Profiles of the Eastern Mediterranean
BY LORI MENDEL
Archway
February 2016
Everyone has a unique life story to tell. In The Place I Live The People I Know, author Lori Mendel shares stories from people she knows, gathered from Eilat in the south to Kibbutz Ne'ot Mordecai in the north near the Syrian border. There's Bishara from Nazereth, Edna from Beer Sheba, Ilan from Jerusalem, Noa from Tel Aviv, Sara from Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov, and many more. Some escaped the Holocaust, some are sabras-born in Israel, some are new immigrants; Jews, Arabs, Christians, and Druze living in this extraordinary country, full of passions and contradictions.
Praise for The Place I Live The People I Know
"Lori Mendel's vibrant experiment in oral history helps us to understand the amazing diversity of the Jewish state" -Patrick Tyler, Author, Fortress Israel
"A gold mine of memories, the drama of Israel through the stories of those who live it. Lori Mendel has performed a valuable service, collecting the life stories of dozens of people, a true cross-section of that fascinating nation - moving, real and illuminating" -Martin Fletcher, NBC News and PBS Special Correspondent and author of Walking Israel, winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

PW Booklife writes: n her debut, Mendel sketches portraits of the important people she has come to know in Israel. Most of the people Mendel profiles, ranging in age from 27 to 88, have compelling stories, such as Berliner Abe Rosenfeld, who escaped from Germany to what was then Palestine during WWII, and Erika Peitzer Miron, who survived life in the Warsaw ghetto. More recent immigrants include Americans such as Eva Shaibe Rockman, who moved because she didn’t want to marry a non-Jew, and New Yorker Stanley Rubenstein, spurred to immigrate because of the upheavals in the U.S. during the 1960s and early ’70s. Many came with high hopes for the Israeli state, only to be disappointed: in the words of one, “I am... apprehensive.... We have to reach a compromise with our neighbors.” Yet for all the potentially fascinating narratives, and despite liberal, lively use of exclamation points, the accounts tend to read like transcripts: each participant answered a list of identical questions, and their responses were then compiled into this anthology. One wishes Mendel had followed up with in-depth interviews of at least some of the responders. Many, especially the older Israelis, have stories that deserve to be expanded.




















[book] LIT UP
One Reporter. Three Schools.
Twenty-Four Books That Can Change Lives.
by David Denby
February 2016
Henry Holt
A bestselling author and distinguished critic goes back to high school to find out whether books can shape lives
It's no secret that millions of American teenagers, caught up in social media, television, movies, and games, don't read seriously-they associate sustained reading with duty or work, not with pleasure. This indifference has become a grievous loss to our standing as a great nation--and a personal loss, too, for millions of teenagers who may turn into adults with limited understanding of themselves and the world.
Can teenagers be turned on to serious reading? What kind of teachers can do it, and what books?
To find out, Denby sat in on a tenth-grade English class in a demanding Manhattan public school (BEACON) for an entire academic year, and made frequent visits to a troubled inner-city public school in New Haven (HILLHOUSE) and to a respected public school in MAMARONECK (Westchester county, NY).
He read all the stories, poems, plays, and novels that the kids were reading, and creates an impassioned portrait of charismatic teachers at work, classroom dramas large and small, and fresh and inspiring encounters with the books themselves, including The Scarlet Letter, Brave New World, 1984, Slaughterhouse-Five, Notes From Underground, Long Way Gone and many more. Lit Up is a dramatic narrative that traces awkward and baffled beginnings but also exciting breakthroughs and the emergence of pleasure in reading. In a sea of bad news about education and the fate of the book, Denby reaffirms the power of great teachers and the importance and inspiration of great books.





















[book] Hitler's Forgotten Children
A True Story of the Lebensborn
Program and One Woman's Search
for her Real Identity
By Ingrid von Oelhafen and Tim Tate
February 2016
Created by Heinrich Himmler, the Lebensborn program abducted as many as half a million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the Final Solution.
In the summer of 1942, parents across Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia were required to submit their children to medical checks designed to assess racial purity. One such child, Erika Matko, was nine months old when Nazi doctors declared her fit to be a “Child of Hitler.” Taken to Germany and placed with politically vetted foster parents, Erika was renamed Ingrid von Oelhafen. Many years later, Ingrid began to uncover the truth of her identity.
Though the Nazis destroyed many Lebensborn records, Ingrid unearthed rare documents, including Nuremberg trial testimony about her own abduction. Following the evidence back to her place of birth, Ingrid discovered an even more shocking secret: a woman named Erika Matko, who as an infant had been given to Ingrid’s mother as a replacement child.
Hitler’s Forgotten Children is both a harrowing personal memoir and a devastating investigation into the awful crimes and monstrous scope of the Lebensborn program.




















[book] AND THEN ALL HELL
BROKE LOOSE
TWO DECADES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
BY RICHARD ENGEL
NBC NEWS Correspondent
February 2016
Simon & Schuster
Based on two decades of reporting, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent’s riveting story of the Middle East revolutions, the Arab Spring, war, and terrorism seen up-close—sometimes dangerously so.

As a young boy, in a hotel lobby in Morocco, Richard enjoyed reading the IHT. His mother commented that he would perhaps become a foreign reporter. He liked that idea. So when he was just twenty-three, a recent graduate of Stanford University, Richard Engel set off to Cairo with $2,000 and dreams of being a reporter. He studied Arabic, lived in a walk up, befriended neighbors, and after a mass walkout, snagged a job working freelance for a newspaper. Serving ravioli to a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, he was perceived as poor (wince he did not serve meat) and was befriended by the Brotherhood. One day he got a call that a busload of Italian tourists were massacred at a Cairo museum. This is his first view of the grotesque, psychopathic carnage these years would pile on.

Over two decades Engel has been under fire, blown out of hotel beds, taken hostage. He has watched Mubarak and Morsi in Egypt arrested and condemned, reported from Jerusalem, been through the Lebanese war, covered the whole shooting match in Iraq, interviewed Libyan rebels who toppled Gaddafi, reported from Syria as Al-Qaeda stepped in, was kidnapped in the Syrian crosscurrents of fighting. He goes into Afghanistan with the Taliban and to Iraq with ISIS. In the page-turning And Then All Hell Broke Loose, he shares his adventure tale.

Engel takes chances, though not reckless ones, keeps a level head and a sense of humor, as well as a grasp of history in the making. Reporting as NBC’s Chief-Foreign Correspondent, he reveals his unparalleled access to the major figures, the gritty soldiers, and the helpless victims in the Middle East during this watershed time. We can experience the unforgettable suffering and despair of the local populations. Engel’s vivid description is intimate and personal. Importantly, it is a succinct and authoritative account of the ever-changing currents in that dangerous land.




















[book] CHICKPEAS
Sweet and Savory Recipes
From Hummus to Dessert
By Chef Einat Mazor
February 2016
Imagine
Hummus: the delicious, nutritious treat!
With more than seventy recipes included, Chickpeas offers everything from spreads to dips to entrees. Concoct a dish perfect for any occasion, with recipes ranging from a snack of buttery-flavored spread with pine nuts to a refreshing salad with oranges and clementines—perfect for Sunday brunch.
Spice up your meals and take your health in your own hands with these easy, delicious dishes that are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate!
This beautiful, photo-illustrated cookbook makes it easy to prepare healthy and delicious hummus to accompany every meal.














[book] SHYLOCK IS MY NAME
A Novel
By Howard Jacobson
February 2016
Hogarth
Man Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson brings his singular brilliance to this modern re-imagining of one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable characters: Shylock

Winter, a cemetery, Shylock. In this provocative and profound interpretation of “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock is juxtaposed against his present-day counterpart in the character of art dealer and conflicted father Simon Strulovitch. With characteristic irony, Jacobson presents Shylock as a man of incisive wit and passion, concerned still with questions of identity, parenthood, anti-Semitism and revenge. While Strulovich struggles to reconcile himself to his daughter Beatrice's “betrayal” of her family and heritage – as she is carried away by the excitement of Manchester high society, and into the arms of a footballer notorious for giving a Nazi salute on the field – Shylock alternates grief for his beloved wife with rage against his own daughter's rejection of her Jewish upbringing. Culminating in a shocking twist on Shylock’s demand for the infamous pound of flesh, Jacobson’s insightful retelling examines contemporary, acutely relevant questions of Jewish identity while maintaining a poignant sympathy for its characters and a genuine spiritual kinship with its antecedent—a drama which Jacobson himself considers to be “the most troubling of Shakespeare’s plays for anyone, but, for an English novelist who happens to be Jewish, also the most challenging.”




















[book] NATIVE
Dispatches from an
Israeli-Palestinian Life
by Sayed Kashua
February 2016
Grove
Sayed Kashua has been praised by the New York Times as “a master of subtle nuance in dealing with both Arab and Jewish society.” An Arab-Israeli who lived in Jerusalem for most of his life, Kashua started writing with the hope of creating one story that both Palestinians and Israelis could relate to, rather than two that cannot coexist together. He devoted his novels and his satirical weekly column published in Haaretz to telling the Palestinian story and exploring the contradictions of modern Israel, while also capturing the nuances of everyday family life in all its tenderness and chaos.
With an intimate tone fueled by deep-seated apprehension and razor-sharp ironic wit, Kashua has been documenting his own life as well as that of society at large: he writes about his children’s upbringing and encounters with racism, about fatherhood and married life, the Jewish-Arab conflict, his professional ambitions, travels around the world as an author, and—more than anything—his love of books and literature. He brings forth a series of brilliant, caustic, wry, and fearless reflections on social and cultural dynamics as experienced by someone who straddles two societies. Written between 2006 and 2014, Native reads like an unrestrained, profoundly thoughtful personal journal.




















[book] The German War:
A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945
by Nicholas Stargardt
Basic Books

As early as 1941, Allied victory in World War II seemed all but assured. How and why, then, did the Germans prolong the barbaric conflict for three and a half more years?
In The German War, acclaimed historian Nicholas Stargardt draws on an extraordinary range of primary source materials—personal diaries, court records, and military correspondence—to answer this question. He offers an unprecedented portrait of wartime Germany, bringing the hopes and expectations of the German people—from infantrymen and tank commanders on the Eastern front to civilians on the home front—to vivid life. While most historians identify the German defeat at Stalingrad as the moment when the average German citizen turned against the war effort, Stargardt demonstrates that the Wehrmacht in fact retained the staunch support of the patriotic German populace until the bitter end.
Astonishing in its breadth and humanity, The German War is a groundbreaking new interpretation of what drove the Germans to fight—and keep fighting—for a lost cause.


















[book] Carry Me
A Novel
by Peter Behrens
Pantheon
February 2016
The award-winning author of The O'Briens and The Law of Dreams now gives us a devastating novel of love and family set in the violent years between 1914 and 1938 as Europe staggers between two world wars.

Our narrator is Billy: born to a German father and Irish mother on the Isle of Wight summer estate of the German-Jewish Baron von Weinbrenner. This is the story of Billy and the baron's entrancing daughter, Karin, and the dangerous paths they travel as their childhood attachment deepens to a complex love overshadowed by the rise of the Nazis. Their story takes us from a golden Edwardian summer on the Isle of Wight to London under Zeppelin attack to Ireland on the brink of its War of Independence and at last to Germany in the darkening Weimar period, where Billy and Karin come of age in a country wounded by war and seething with hatreds. On Baron von Weinbrenner's stud farm outside Frankfurt, they share a passion for racehorses and for the Wild West novels of Karl May, whose dream of escape to El Llano Estacado, a richly imagined New Mexico landscape, becomes a powerful beacon of freedom as Germany marches toward Hitler, war, and the Holocaust. Richly imagined, deeply researched, and profoundly moving, Carry Me is a love story, a historical epic, and a powerful meditation on the violence of Europe's 20th century.




















[book] PUTTING GOD SECOND
HOW TO SAVE RELIGION FROM ITSELF
By RABBI DONNIEL HARTMAN
(Shalom Hartman Institute, president)
Beacon
February 2016
Why have the monotheistic religions failed to produce societies that live up to their ethical ideals? A prominent rabbi answers this question by looking at his own faith and offering a way for religion to heal itself. In Putting God Second, Rabbi Donniel Hartman tackles one of modern life’s most urgent and vexing questions: Why are the great monotheistic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—chronically unable to fulfill their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivity and societies governed by the highest ethical standards?
To answer this question, Hartman takes a sober look at the moral peaks and valleys of his own tradition, Judaism, and diagnoses it with clarity, creativity, and erudition. He rejects both the sweeping denouncements of those who view religion as an inherent impediment to moral progress and the apologetics of fundamentalists who proclaim religion’s moral perfection against all evidence to the contrary.
Hartman identifies the primary source of religion’s moral failure in what he terms its “autoimmune disease,” or the way religions so often undermine their own deepest values. While God obligates the good and calls us into its service, Hartman argues, God simultaneously and inadvertently makes us morally blind. The nature of this self-defeating condition is that the human religious desire to live in relationship with God often distracts religious believers from their traditions’ core moral truths.
The answer Hartman offers is this: put God second. In order to fulfill religion’s true vision for humanity—an uncompromising focus on the ethical treatment of others—religious believers must hold their traditions accountable to the highest independent moral standards. Decency toward one’s neighbor must always take precedence over acts of religious devotion, and ethical piety must trump ritual piety. For as long as devotion to God comes first, responsibility to other people will trail far, far behind.
In this book, Judaism serves as a template for how the challenge might be addressed by those of other faiths, whose sacred scriptures similarly evoke both the sublime heights of human aspiration and the depths of narcissistic moral blindness. In Putting God Second, Rabbi Hartman offers a lucid analysis of religion’s flaws, as well as a compelling resource, and vision, for its repair.




















[book] Small Data:
The Tiny Clues That
Uncover Huge Trends
by Martin Lindstrom
February 23, 2016
St. Martin's Press
Martin Lindstrom, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, harnesses the power of “small data” in his quest to discover the next big thing
Hired by the world's leading brands to find out what makes their customers tick, Martin Lindstrom spends 300 nights a year in strangers’ homes, carefully observing every detail in order to uncover their hidden desires, and, ultimately, the clues to a multi-million dollar product.
Lindstrom connects the dots in this globetrotting narrative that will enthrall enterprising marketers, as well as anyone with a curiosity about the endless variations of human behavior. You’ll learn…

• How a noise reduction headset at 35,000 feet led to the creation of Pepsi’s new trademarked signature sound.
• How a worn down sneaker discovered in the home of an 11-year-old German boy led to LEGO’s incredible turnaround.
• How a magnet found on a fridge in Siberia resulted in a U.S. supermarket revolution.
• How a toy stuffed bear in a girl’s bedroom helped revolutionize a fashion retailer’s 1,000 stores in 20 different countries.
• How an ordinary bracelet helped Jenny Craig increase customer loyalty by 159% in less than a year.
• How the ergonomic layout of a car dashboard led to the redesign of the Roomba vacuum.
















[book] In the Land of Armadillos
Stories
by Helen Maryles Shankman
February 2016
Scribner
A radiant debut collection of linked stories from a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, set in a German-occupied town in Poland, where mythic tales of Jewish folklore meet the real-life monsters of the Nazi invasion.
1942. With the Nazi Party at the height of its power, the occupying army empties Poland’s towns and cities of their Jewish populations. As neighbor turns on neighbor and survival often demands unthinkable choices, Poland has become a moral quagmire—a place of shifting truths and blinding ambiguities.
Blending folklore and fact, Helen Maryles Shankman shows us the people of Wlodawa, a remote Polish town: we meet a cold-blooded SS officer dedicated to rescuing the Jewish creator of his son’s favorite picture book, even as he helps exterminate the artist’s friends and family; a Messiah who appears in a little boy’s bedroom to announce that he is quitting; a young Jewish girl who is hidden by the town’s most outspoken anti-Semite—and his talking dog. And walking among these tales are two unforgettable figures: the enigmatic and silver-tongued Willy Reinhart, Commandant of the forced labor camp who has grand schemes to protect “his” Jews, and Soroka, the Jewish saddlemaker and his family, struggling to survive.
Channeling the mythic magic of classic storytellers like Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer and the psychological acuity of modern-day masters like Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander, In the Land of Armadillos is a testament to the persistence of humanity in the most inhuman conditions.















[book] Presence:
Bringing Your Boldest Self
to Your Biggest Challenges
by Amy Cuddy (Harvard Business School)
Little Brown
Have you ever left a nerve-racking challenge and immediately wished for a do over? Maybe after a job interview, a performance, or a difficult conversation? The very moments that require us to be genuine and commanding can instead cause us to feel phony and powerless. Too often we approach our lives' biggest hurdles with dread, execute them with anxiety, and leave them with regret.
By accessing our personal power, we can achieve "presence," the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we're making on others and instead adjust the impression we've been making on ourselves. As Harvard professor Amy Cuddy's revolutionary book reveals, we don't need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set in our day-to-day lives.
Amy Cuddy has galvanized tens of millions of viewers around the world with her TED talk about "power poses." Now she presents the enthralling science underlying these and many other fascinating body-mind effects, and teaches us how to use simple techniques to liberate ourselves from fear in high-pressure moments, perform at our best, and connect with and empower others to do the same.
Brilliantly researched, impassioned, and accessible, Presence is filled with stories of individuals who learned how to flourish during the stressful moments that once terrified them. Every reader will learn how to approach their biggest challenges with confidence instead of dread, and to leave them with satisfaction instead of regret.



















[book] The Battle for Room 314
My Year of Hope and Despair
in a New York City High School
by Ed Boland
Grand Central
February 2016
In a fit of idealism, Ed Boland left a twenty-year career as a non-profit executive, volleyball player, and Fordham/Yale recruiter, to teach in a tough New York City public high school. But his hopes quickly collided headlong with the appalling reality of his students' lives and a hobbled education system unable to help them: Freddy runs a drug ring for his incarcerated brother; Nee-cole is homeschooled on the subway by her brilliant homeless mother; and Byron's Ivy League dream is dashed because he is undocumented.
In the end, Boland isn't hoisted on his students' shoulders and no one passes Advanced Placement AP-anything.
This is no urban fairy tale of at-risk kids saved by a Hollywood hero, but a searing indictment of schools that claim to be progressive, but still fail their students. Told with compassion, humor, and a keen eye, Boland's story is sure to ignite debate about the future of American education and attempts to reform it.
Boland, an exec with Prep for Prep, resides in NYC and is married to filmmaker Samuel Zalutsky.














[book] INSIDE THE MIDDLE EAST
MAKING SENSE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS
AND COMPLICATED REGION ON EARTH
By Avi Melamed
Skyhorse Publishing
February 2016
Avi Melamed, an Israeli intelligence analyst, has spent more than thirty years interpreting Middle East affairs. As a former Senior Israeli Official on Arab Affairs, he spent most of his intelligence career in Arab speaking areas. He is a Eisenhower Institute Fellow and sought after speaker. He also gives intelligence related tours to tourists in Israel. During the first Intifada he was appointed the youngest-ever Deputy Advisor on Arab affairs to the Mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, and later he served in the Ehud Olmert administration as Senior Advisor. He was instrumental in developing Israeli policy in and around Jerusalem and represented the city in local and international forums.
His book challenges widely-accepted perceptions and provides a gripping and uniquely enlightening guide to make sense of the events unfolding in the region—to answer how the Arab world got to this point, what is currently happening, what the ramifications will be, how they will affect Israel, and what actions must immediately be undertaken, including how Western leaders need to respond.
Melamed considers all the major power players in the Middle East, explains the underlying issues, and creates a three-dimensional picture, an illustration that connects the dots and provides a fascinating roadmap. He elucidates developments such as the Arab Spring, the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood, the rise of ISIS, the epic Sunni-Shiite animosity, the essence of the war in Syria, the role of the Caliphate and Jihad, and the looming nuclear arms race. He also provides a rare opportunity to journey into the psyche of Arab society. Look through the lens of its leaders and its most ruthless terrorists. See what makes them tick and what they want. Discover how they can be overtaken.
This unparalleled volume is a milestone in our understanding of the Middle East. It is the untold story of the struggles that will shape the region, and the world, for decades to come, and a groundbreaking guide that will shake you to the core, force you to reevalute your outlook, and give you tips to navigate the future.














[book] A ROOM
BY YOUVAL SIMONI
Translated from the hebew by Michael Sharp
Dalkey Archive/Columbia
February 2016
596 PAGES!
First published in Israel in 1999
A bedraggled detective is dispatched to an IDF base where a man was burned alive while soldiers were making a training / recruitment film. This is the first 400 pages of the novel
In the second part, told in second person, an art student in Paris breaks into a morgue to recreate Mantegna's Lamentation of Christ. In part three, the shortest and best section, a scripture (with commentary!) tells of a mythical nation uniting to construct a monument to their deity, HUAN, then falling into chaos when no one can agree on its precise form or dimensions.
Hailed from publication as one of the finest novels ever written in Hebrew, A Room is in the league of Gravity's Rainbow or The Recognitions: a monumental, subversive classic of twentieth-century literature.
















[book] LEONARD
MY Fifty-Year Friendship
with a Remarkable Man
by William Shatner
Thomas Dunne
February 2016
Who knew?
According to William Shatner, the late Leonard Nimoy and he first crossed paths as actors on the set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Little did they know that their next roles, in a new science fiction television series, would shape their lives in ways no one could have anticipated. In seventy-nine television episodes and six feature films, they grew to know each other more than most friends could ever imagine.
Over the course of half a century, Shatner and Nimoy saw each other through personal and professional highs and lows.
In this powerfully emotional book, Shatner tells the story of a man who was his friend for five decades, recounting anecdotes and untold stories of their lives on and off set, as well as gathering stories from others who knew Nimoy well, to present a full picture of a rich life. Includes issues over acting as a craft, Shatner's wife's death, addictyion, alchoholism, the deaths of parents.

As much a biography of Nimoy as a story of their friendship, Leonard is a uniquely heartfelt book written by one legendary actor in celebration of another.






















MARCH 2016 BOOKS




[book] WHY BE JEWISH
A TESTAMENT
BY EDGAR M. BRONFMAN
Hachette / Twelve
March 2016
Edgar Bronfman's clarion call to a generation of secular, disaffected and unaffiliated Jews, WHY BE JEWISH? addresses the most critical question confronting Judaism worldwide. Completed in December 2013, just weeks before he passed away, WHY BE JEWISH? expresses Edgar Bronfman's awe, respect, and deep love for his faith and heritage. Bronfman walks readers through the major tenets and ideas in Jewish life, fleshing out their meaning and offering proof texts from the Jewish tradition gleaned over his many years of study with some of the greatest teachers in the Jewish world. In WHY BE JEWISH?, with honesty, poignancy, and passion, Bronfman shares insights gleaned from his own personal journey and makes a compelling case for the meaning and transcendence of a secular Judaism that is still steeped in deep moral values, authentic Jewish texts, and a focus on deed over creed or dogma.























[book] The New Mediterranean Jewish Table:
Old World Recipes for the Modern Home
by Joyce Goldstein
March 2016
University of California Press
For thousands of years, the people of the Jewish Diaspora have carried their culinary traditions and kosher laws throughout the world. In the United States, this has resulted primarily in an Ashkenazi table of matzo ball soup and knishes, brisket and gefilte fish. But Joyce Goldstein is now expanding that menu with this comprehensive collection of over four hundred recipes from the kitchens of three Mediterranean Jewish cultures: the Sephardic, the Maghrebi, and the Mizrahi.
The New Mediterranean Jewish Table is an authoritative guide to Jewish home cooking from North Africa, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and the Middle East. It is a treasury filled with vibrant, seasonal recipes—both classic and updated—that embrace fresh fruits and vegetables; grains and legumes; small portions of meat, poultry, and fish; and a healthy mix of herbs and spices. It is also the story of how Jewish cooks successfully brought the local ingredients, techniques, and traditions of their new homelands into their kitchens. With this varied and appealing selection of Mediterranean Jewish recipes, Joyce Goldstein promises to inspire new generations of Jewish and non-Jewish home cooks alike with dishes for everyday meals and holiday celebrations.














[book] SCARY OLD SEX
BY ARLENE HEYMAN
March 2016
BLOOMSBURY
For fans of Alice Munro and Edith Pearlman, a stunning debut collection of short stories about aging, relationships, and intimacy.

SCARY OLD SEX was written and rewritten over a period of thirty years. In her youth, Arlene Heyman had been a promising writer, studying with Bernard Malamud at Bennington College, earning an M.A. from the Syracuse University writing program, teaching literature, publishing stories. But her life changed course once she entered medical school; although she always wrote in quiet moments, she went on to work as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst while raising her sons. Now Bloomsbury is bringing to light these mature and accomplished stories, the fruit of a lifetime.

In this taboo-breaking debut, Heyman gives us what really goes on in some people's minds and relationships--those things left unspoken in much of society, about sex between older people, or about sex and love when one person is very ill, or when the age difference makes the relationship practically illegal. Love and sex in these stories are sometimes seen through the wide-open eyes of women, with women often in dominant roles in relationships. Looking behind the curtain at the intimacies we usually keep to ourselves, a few of the stories are raw, many are unsettling, but all are insightful and at times comical.

Not intended to be titillating, Heyman's stories give us the lives we all live: shocking, sloppy, human.














[book] CASTING LOTS
Creating a Family in a
Beautiful Broken World
by Rabbi Susan Silverman
March 2016
Da Capo Press
On Purim, we recall the casting of lots to determine the date of destruction…
As a child, Susan Silverman was surrounded by a loving family in New Hampshire; although her parents weren't happily married, they were devoted to their kids. In a vibrant, funny, voice (think Anne Lamott meets Katrina Kenison), Rabbi Silverman tells of a family's evolution — from her parents' devastating loss of their infant son to raising bright and wildly unique daughters.
It's also the creation story of her own family — raising her own bright and wildly unique daughters and taking a journey to adopt two boys from Ethiopia.
It is a story of her road to the rabbinate (I mean how do you go to HUC in Jerusalem and not know Hebrew ?? hehe). It is meditation on identity, faith, and belonging, peppered with laugh-out-loud moments. It will make you laugh. It will make you mad at the Bet Din in DC. It will make you wonder about omens and plans (Was a child found in Adar on Purim?)
Casting Lots will resonate with anyone who has struggled to find their place in the world, to understand the significance of that place, and to sustain a family amid the world's chaos.
Note: You can see why her younger sister, Sarah Silverman, became a cutting edge comedian





















[book] BULLIES
A Friendship
by Alex Abramovich
March 2016
The powerful account of one writer's unlikely friendship with his childhood bully, now the president of a motorcycle club in one of America's most dangerous cities.
Once upon a time, Alex Abramovich and Trevor Latham were mortal enemies: miniature outlaws in a Long Island elementary school, perpetually at each other's throats. Then they lost track of each other. Decades later, when they met again, Abramovich was a writer and Latham had become President of the East Bay Rats, a motorcycle club in Oakland.
In 2010, Abramovich moved to California to immerse himself in Latham's world - one of fight clubs, booze-filled nights, and beat-downs on the city's streets. But dangerous, dysfunctional Oakland was also becoming one of America's most rapidly gentrifying cities, and the questions Abramovich had arrived with were thrown into brutal relief: How do we live with the burden of violence? How do we overcome it? Do we overcome it?
As Trevor, the Rats, and the city they live in careen between crises and moments of renaissance, Abramovich explores issues of friendship, family, history, and destiny - and looks at what happens when those things fail. Bullies is at once a vivid, visceral narrative of an unusual friendship and an incisive portrait of a beautiful, terrible city.





















[book] Hell's Angels:
The True Story of the
303rd Bomb Group in World War II
by Jay A. Stout (Lt. Colonel (Ret))
2016
Berkley Publishing Group

The true story of the 8th Air Force’s legendary 303rd bomb group. Let us remember all the brave soliders and pilots, including Mel Alderman, who was killed on his final mission; Howard George Weinberg, who was KIA; Major Schulstad; and so many many more

Although the United States declared war against Germany in December 1941, a successful assault on Nazi-occupied Europe could not happen until Germany’s industrial and military might were crippled. The first target was the Luftwaffe—the most powerful and battle-hardened air force in the world. The United States Army Air Forces joined with Great Britain’s already-engaged Royal Air Force to launch a strategic air campaign that ultimately brought the Luftwaffe to its knees. One of the standout units of this campaign was the legendary 303rd Bomb Group—Hell’s Angels.
This is the 303rd’s story, as told by the men who made it what it was. Taking their name from their B-17 of the same name, they became one of the most distinguished and important air combat units in history. The dramatic and terrible air battles they fought against Germany ultimately changed the course of the war.









The Language of the Enemy
By Stuart Friebert
Black Mountain Press
Semi-autobiographical stories, half based on exchange-student days in Germany (1949-50), as one of the 1st US students to study there post WW II. Stories center on an interwoven group of German-Jewish characters from the 1st world war through the second.


[book] The New Yiddish Kitchen:
Gluten-Free and Paleo KOSHER
Recipes for the Holidays and Everyday
by Jennifer Robins and Simone Miller
March 2016
Page Street Publishing
The New Yiddish Kitchen is a modern take on the great Jewish cooking tradition. It's a lifesaver for Jewish home cooks around the world who have cut processed grains and/or dairy from their diets. With 100 traditional Jewish foods adapted for the Paleo diet, photos to go with each and bonus practical guides, readers will enjoy the holidays and everyday meals stress-free.

Some example recipes in the book are grain-free Challah, Matzo Balls, Sweet Potato Latkes, Smoked Squash Hummus, Everything Bagels with Cashew Cream Cheese and Blintzes with Blueberry Topping. Of course, you don't have to be Jewish to love homemade bagels or matzo ball soup, so even non-Jewish readers will enjoy the variety of Paleo and gluten-free dishes. No Jewish grandmother or mother will want to miss out on this essential, fun cookbook.





















[book] Bubbe and Me in the Kitchen:
A Kosher Cookbook of Beloved
Recipes and Modern Twists
A Kosher Cookbook
by Sonoma Press
March 2016
Sonoma Press
Jerry Seinfeld’s fictional dentist Tim Whatley famously converted to Judaism “for the jokes,” but if there’s one thing that defines Jewish culture as much as humor it’s food. This touching, hilarious, and versatile cookbook celebrates the storied and flavorful kosher recipes that characterize and continue to reinvent Jewish food culture from the perspective of a bubbe (grandmother) and her granddaughter.
It includes:
• Generational perspectives on keeping kosher and how observance and the foods we eat have changed through the years
• Two versions of every recipe—one traditional and one modern—for a total of 150 recipes
• Recipes written with common dietary restrictions and adaptations in mind, including vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free
• Sample holiday menus that offer recipe suggestions for a traditional meal, a modern meal, and a meal that offers a mix of both

Whether you like it bubbe’s way or prefer fresh and healthy takes on keeping kosher, you’ll find both here in this very special cookbook written by and for the family.














IF YOU HAVE TO ASK... IT'S TREYF
CHOLENT AND ITS CHILDREN
Rokeach or Ro-kay-ach
AS THE CHOLENT COOKS (the name of a new tv show?)
[book] Rhapsody in Schmaltz
Yiddish Food and Why We
Can't Stop Eating It
by Michael Wex
April 12, 2016
St. Martin’s Press
Bagels, deli sandwiches and gefilte fish are only a few of the Jewish foods to have crossed into American culture and onto American plates. Rhapsody in Schmaltz traces the history and social impact of the cuisine that Yiddish-speaking Jews from Central and Eastern Europe brought to the U.S. and that their American descendants developed and refined. The book looks at how and where these dishes came to be, how they varied from region to region, the role they played in Jewish culture in Europe, and the role that they play in Jewish and more general American culture and foodways today.
Rhapsody in Schmaltz traces the pathways of Jewish food from the Bible and Talmud, to Eastern Europe, to its popular landing pads in North America today. With an eye for detail and a healthy dose of humor, Michael Wex also examines how these impact modern culture, from temple to television. He looks at Diane Keaton's pastrami sandwich in Annie Hall, Andy Kaufman's stint as Latke on Taxi and Larry David's Passover seder on Curb Your Enthusiasm, shedding light on how Jewish food permeates our modern imaginations.
Rhapsody in Schmaltz is a journey into the sociology, humor, history, and traditions of food and Judaism.




















[book] ALLIGATOR CANDY
A MEMOIR
BY DAVID KUSHNER
March 2016
Simon & Schuster
From journalist David Kushner, a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and other premiere outlets, Alligator Candy is a reported memoir in the vein of The Night of the Gun about how a family survives an unthinkable tragedy.
David sat in a synagogue, twirling his tallis strings. His father looked down. He tickled him with the tallis, then stood to say kaddish for a son. David didnt understand...

David Kushner grew up in the suburbs of Florida in the early 1970s, running wild with his friends, exploring, riding bikes, and disappearing into the nearby woods for hours at a time. One morning in 1973, however, everything changed. David’s older brother Jon, making a trip to the local convenience store, vanished. This is the story of Jon’s murder at the hands of two sadistic drifters…and everything that happened after.
Alligator Candy isn’t only the chronicle of Jon’s death, it is also the story of how parenting in America changed, casting light on the transition between two generations of children—one raised on freedom, the other on fear. Jon’s death was one of the first in what turned out to be a rash of child abductions and murders that dominated headlines for much of the 1970s and 80s. It was around this time that milk cartons began to feature the images of missing children, and newscasters began asking, “It’s 10:00, do you know where you children are?”
When one of Jon’s killers received a parole hearing, David revisited the case that had so haunted him. Marshalling his skills as a journalist, he compiled all the details that he was sheltered from as a child, interviewing neighbors, reporters, cops, and his own family, and combing through yellowed news clippings. Haunting and intimate, Alligator Candy is a moving, disturbing, insightful, and inspiring meditation on grief, growth, family, and survival.














[book] THE VIOLET HOUR
Great Writers at the End
BY KATIE ROIPHE
March 2016
Random House
From one of our most perceptive and provocative voices comes a deeply researched account of the last days of Susan Sontag, Sigmund Freud, John Updike, Dylan Thomas, and Maurice Sendak—an arresting and wholly original meditation on mortality.
In The Violet Hour, Katie Roiphe takes an unexpected and liberating approach to the most unavoidable of subjects. She investigates the last days of five great thinkers, writers, and artists as they come to terms with the reality of approaching death, or what T. S. Eliot called “the evening hour that strives Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea.”
Roiphe draws on her own extraordinary research and access to the family, friends, and caretakers of her subjects. Here is Susan Sontag, the consummate public intellectual, who finds her commitment to rational thinking tested during her third bout with cancer. Roiphe takes us to the hospital room where, after receiving the worst possible diagnosis, seventy-six-year-old John Updike begins writing a poem. She vividly re-creates the fortnight of almost suicidal excess that culminated in Dylan Thomas’s fatal collapse on the floor of a Greenwich Village tavern. She gives us a bracing portrait of Sigmund Freud fleeing Nazi-occupied Vienna only to continue in his London exile the compulsive cigar smoking that he knows will hasten his decline. And she shows us how Maurice Sendak’s beloved books for children are infused with his lifelong obsession with death, if you know where to look.
The Violet Hour is a book filled with intimate and surprising revelations. In the final acts of each of these creative geniuses are examples of courage, passion, self-delusion, pointless suffering, and superb devotion. There are also moments of sublime insight and understanding where the mind creates its own comfort. As the author writes, “If it’s nearly impossible to capture the approach of death in words, who would have the most hope of doing it?” By bringing these great writers’ final days to urgent, unsentimental life, Katie Roiphe helps us to look boldly in the face of death and be less afraid.














[book] Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo:
A Novel
by Boris Fishman
March 1, 2016
HarperCollins
The author of the critically admired, award-winning A Replacement Life turns to a different kind of story—an evocative, nuanced portrait of marriage and family, a woman reckoning with what she’s given up to make both work, and the universal question of how we reconcile who we are and whom the world wants us to be.
Maya Shulman and Alex Rubin met in 1992, when she was a Ukrainian exchange student with “a devil in [her] head” about becoming a chef instead of a medical worker, and he the coddled son of Russian immigrants wanting to toe the water of a less predictable life.
Twenty years later, Maya Rubin is a medical worker in suburban New Jersey, and Alex his father’s second in the family business. The great dislocation of their lives is their eight-year-old son Max—adopted from two teenagers in Montana despite Alex’s view that “adopted children are second-class.”
At once a salvation and a mystery to his parents—with whom Max’s biological mother left the child with the cryptic exhortation “don’t let my baby do rodeo”—Max suddenly turns feral, consorting with wild animals, eating grass, and running away to sit face down in a river.
Searching for answers, Maya convinces Alex to embark on a cross-country trip to Montana to track down Max’s birth parents—the first drive west of New Jersey of their American lives. But it’s Maya who’s illuminated by the journey, her own erstwhile wildness summoned for a reckoning by the unsparing landscape, with seismic consequences for herself and her family.
Don’ t Let My Baby Do Rodeo is a novel about the mystery of inheritance and what exactly it means to belong.














[book] APOSTLE
Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve
by Tom Bissell
March 2016
Pantheon
In this profound and moving journey into the heart of Christianity, the widely acclaimed author of The Disaster Artist explores the mysterious and often paradoxical lives and legacies of the Twelve Apostles—a book both for those of the Christian faith and those who want to understand it from the outside in.
Peter, Matthew, Thomas, John: Who were these men? What was their relationship to Jesus? Tom Bissell gives us rich and deeply informed answers to these ancient and surprisingly elusive questions. He examines not just who these men were (and weren't), but how their identities have taken shape over the course of two millennia. He makes clear that, ultimately, their story is the story of Christianity and its growth from an obscure Jewish sect to the global faith we know today. Bissell has visited sites from Rome and Jerusalem to Turkey, India, and Kyrgyzstan, and he vividly captures the rich diversity of Christianity's global reach. Written with warmth, humor, and rare acumen, Apostle is a brilliant synthesis of travel writing, biblical history, and a deep lifelong relationship with Christianity. The result is an unusual, erudite, at times hilarious book—a religious, intellectual, and personal adventure.

























[book] CITIES THAT BUILT THE BIBLE
By Robert Cargill (Iowa)
March 2016
HarperOne.
For many, the names Bethlehem, Babylon, and Jerusalem are known as the setting for epic stories from the Bible featuring rustic mangers, soaring towers, and wooden crosses. What often gets missed is that these cities are far more than just the setting for the Bible and its characters—they were instrumental to the creation of the Bible as we know it today. Robert Cargill, Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, is an archeologist, Bible scholar, and host of numerous television documentaries, such as the History Channel series Bible Secrets Revealed. Taking us behind-the-scenes of the Bible, Cargill blends archaeology, biblical history, and personal journey as he explores these cities and their role in the creation of the Bible. He reveals surprising facts such as what the Bible says about the birth of Jesus and how Mary’s Virgin Birth caused problems for the early church. We’ll also see how the God of the Old Testament was influenced by other deities, that there were numerous non-biblical books written about Moses, Jacob, and Jesus in antiquity, and how far more books were left out of the Bible than were let in during the messy, political canonization process.
The Cities That Built the Bible is a magnificent tour through fourteen cities: the Phoenicia cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos, Ugarit, Nineveh, Babylon, Megiddo, Athens, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Qumran, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Rome. Along the way, Cargill includes photos of artifacts, dig sites, ruins, and relics, taking readers on a far-reaching journey from the Grotto of the Nativity to the battlegrounds of Megiddo, from the towering Acropolis of Athens to the caves in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
An exciting adventure through time, The Cities That Built the Bible is a fresh, fascinating exploration that sheds new light on the Bible.























[book] THE GREAT DEPARTURE
Mass Migration from Eastern Europe
and The Making of the Free World
by Tara Zahra
WW Norton
March 2016
Between 1846 and 1940, more than 50 million Europeans moved to the Americas, irrevocably changing both their new homes and the ones they left behind. In this groundbreaking study, Tara Zahra explores the deeper story of this astonishing movement of people-one of the largest in human history.
The great exodus out of Eastern Europe hollowed out villages with dizzying speed. As villages emptied and the fear of depopulation ran rampant, anxiety over “American fever” prevailed, leading to the scapegoating of Jewish emigration agents. Yet others saw vast opportunity: to seed colonies of migrants like the Polish community in Argentina, to gain economic advantage from an inflow of foreign currency, or to reshape their communities in a new land. In the United States, their migration fostered the notion of the “land of the free.” Globally, the policies that gave shape to this migration provided the precedent for future events such as the Holocaust, the closing of the Iron Curtain, and the tragedies of ethnic cleansing.
A sweeping history of the most consequential social phenomenon of the twentieth century, The Great Departure gives poignant attention to the individuals whose lives were transformed by these decades of mass departure, and a keen historical perspective on their continuing legacy.



















[book] AMERICAN GENEROSITY
WHO GIVES AND WHY
By Patricia Snell Herzog and Heather Price
March 2016
Oxford University Press
How much do people give?
Who gives?
Where are they giving?
Why are they giving?

American charitable giving veers from the hyperbolically generous to the hyperbolically stingy. On some days, no one has a quarter to spare; in times of disaster, Americans will put their lives on hold to build houses for those displaced by hurricanes. The crucial question of who gives and why they do it lies at the heart of American Generosity.
Patricia Snell Herzog and Heather E. Price, sociologists who focus on philanthropy, draw on findings from the groundbreaking Science of Generosity initiative, which combines a nationally representative survey of adult Americans with in-depth interviews and case studies. For most Americans, they find, the important forms of giving are: donating money, volunteering time, and taking political action. Focusing on these three types of activity, the authors go on to examine and analyze multiple dimensions of resources, social status, regional cultural norms, different approaches to giving, social-psychological orientation, and the relational contexts of generosity. Herzog and Price conclude that giving is supported by "circles of generosity," which ripple outward in their reach to targets of giving. The book offers not just analysis, but practical tips for readers who want to increase their own giving, for parents modeling giving to their children, spouses desiring alignment in their giving, and friends and community members seeking to support giving by others. The authors also provide explicit fundraising ideas for nonprofits, foundations, and religious leaders.
Thought-provoking and accessibly written, American Generosity lays out a broad yet nuanced explanation of giving that sheds important new light on a topic that touches all of us in one way or another.





















And may their first child be a masculine child – Luca Brasi (The Godfather)
[book] THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE
a novel
By Lynda Cohen Loigman
March 2016
St. Martin's Press
First some background. Lynda grandmother, the mother of three daughters, told Lynda how she longed for a son. It was how Jews, Italians, Chinese, and other families felt in those days. Then in 1999, Lisa Belkin, in an essay in The New York Times, wrote about how she and her husband cared about the sex of their future child... a preference, a wish, an unspoken desire...
And now the novel
Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women: Helen and Rose. They are sisters by marriage (to Abe and Mort) with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. Helen is the mother of four active boys. She yearns for a daughter. Rose wishes for a son for Mort (they have 3 girls). Mort is jealous of his older brother and his sons; psychologically this bars him from forming a close relationship with his own children, Oy. So of course when they are both pregnant... at the same time... and give birth on the same night... well... you can guess....
No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Can the right choice lead to a right future?? Can one choice change everyone's lives, friendships, bonds, and futures?
Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins.
From debut novelist Lynda Cohen Loigman comes The Two-Family House, a moving family saga filled with heart, emotion, longing, love, and mystery.














[book] THE LOST BOOK OF MOSES
By Chanan Tigay (SFSU)
March 2016
Ecco / HarperCollins
A gripping account of one man's quest to find the oldest Bible in the world and solve the riddle of the brilliant, doomed antiquities dealer accused of forging it.
In the summer of 1883, Moses Wilhelm Shapira -- archaeological treasure hunter, inveterate social climber, and denizen of Jerusalem's bustling marketplace -- arrived unannounced in London (British Museum) claiming to have discovered the world's oldest Bible scroll.
Written centuries earlier in the barren plains east of the Dead Sea and stashed away in caves, the mysterious scrolls called into question the divine authorship of the scriptures, taking three thousand years of religious faith and turning them upside down. When news of the discovery leaked to the excited English press, Shapira became a household name. But before the British Museum could acquire them, Shapira's nemesis, French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau, denounced his find as a fraud.
Humiliated, Shapira fled England. Six months later he was dead; his corpse was found in a Rotterdam hotel.
In 1947, the eerily similar Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Investigators reopened the case, wondering whether SHAPIRA had, in fact, discovered the first Dead Sea Scroll, decades before the rest. But by then Shapira's scrolls had vanished.
Tigay, award-winning journalist and son of a renowned Bible scholar, (Professor Jeffrey Tigay, Emeritus A.M. Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania; shout out to Williams Hall, 8th Floor) set out to find the scrolls and determine Shapira's guilt or innocence for himself. His father told him about the scrolls during a family dinner. Tigay was hooked, obsessed. The globetrotting hunt that follows vibrates with the suspense of a classic detective tale. Weaving meticulous research into fast-paced storytelling, Tigay spins a remarkable tale of history and theology; intrigue and scandal; greed, ambition, and the struggle for authenticity.
With a brilliant eye for detail, Tigay takes us from restricted storerooms at the Louvre to musty English attics to a flooded Jordanian gorge--and to the German countryside where he meets Shapira's aggrieved descendants.
At once historical drama and modern-day mystery, The Lost Book of Moses brings to life 19th century London and Jerusalem and a cast of rogues, reverends, and relic hunters at whose center sits Moses Wilhelm Shapira, a flamboyant, ingenious, and ultimately tragic personality.














[book] Isaac Mizrahi
by Chee Pearlman
with Ulrich Lehmann, Kelly Taxter,
and Lynn Yaeger
March 2016
Yale University press
Beginning with Isaac Mizrahi’s first fashion collection, which debuted to critical acclaim in 1986, and running though the present day, this stylish, lavishly illustrated book presents his signature couture collections. Mizrahi’s exuberant couture style is classic American, inventively reimagined. He pioneered the concept of “high/low” in fashion, and was the first high-end fashion designer to create an accessibly priced mass-market line. Mizrahi approached other complex issues through his designs, as well — mixing questions of beauty and taste with those of race, religion, class, Nanook of the North, and politics.

Although Mizrahi (b. 1961) is best known for his clothing, his work in theater, film, and television is also explored. The result is a spirited discourse on high versus low, modern glamour, and contemporary culture. Three essayists discuss Mizrahi’s place in fashion history, his close connection to contemporary art, and the performative nature of his designs. New photography brings Mizrahi’s fashions to life, and an interview with the artist offers an intimate perspective on his kaleidoscopic work in diverse media.





















[book] More Than Enough
by April Halprin Wayland
Illustrated by Katie Kath
March 2016
Dial Books
A family's Passover celebration is equal parts warmth and charm in this cozy picture book, with the traditional seder song “Dayenu” as the grateful refrain.

In this story told in spare, lyrical prose, a Jewish family prepares for their Passover seder, visiting the farmer's market for walnuts, lilacs, and honey (and adopting a kitten along the way!), then chopping apples for the charoset, and getting dressed up before walking to Nana's house. The refrain throughout is “Dayenu”—a mind-set of thankfulness, a reminder to be aware of the blessings in each moment. At Nana's, there's matzo ball soup, chicken, coconut macaroons, and of course, the hidden afikomen. After opening the door for Elijah and singing the verses of “Chad Gadya,”Nana tucks the children in for a special Passover sleepover.

This warm, affectionate story embraces Passover in the spirit of dayenu, and offers a comprehensive glossary—it’s a perfect read for the entire family in anticipation and celebration of the holiday.























[book] The Devil's Diary:
Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen
Secrets of the Third Reich
by Robert K. Wittman and David Kinney
March 2016
Harper
This exploration of the private wartime diary of Alfred Rosenberg—Hitler’s “chief philosopher” and architect of Nazi ideology—interweaves the story of its recent discovery with the revelation of its never-before-published contents, which are contextualized by the authors: The result is a unprecedented, page-turning narrative of the Nazi rise to power, the Holocaust, and Hitler’s post-invasion plans for Russia.
A groundbreaking historical contribution, The Devil’s Diary is a chilling window into the mind of Adolf Hitler’s “chief social philosopher,” Alfred Rosenberg, who formulated some of the guiding principles behind the Third Reich’s genocidal crusade. It also chronicles the thrilling detective hunt for the diary, which disappeared after the Nuremburg Trials and remained lost for almost three quarters of a century, until Robert Wittman, a former FBI special agent who founded the Bureau’s Art Crimes Team, played an important role and tells his story now for the first time.
The authors expertly and deftly contextualize more than 400 pages of entries stretching from 1936 through 1944, in which the loyal Hitler advisor recounts internal meetings with the Fürher and his close associates Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler; describes the post-invasion occupation of the Soviet Union; considers the “solution” to the “Jewish question;” and discusses his overseeing of the mass seizure and cataloguing of books and artwork from homes, libraries, and museums across occupied Europe. An eyewitness to events, this narrative of Rosenberg’s diary offers provocative and intimate insights into pivotal moments in the war and the notorious Nazi who laid the philosophical foundations of the Third Reich.



















[book] Leaning on the Arc:
A Personal History of
Criminal Defense
by M. Gerald Schwartzbach
Ankerwycke
March 2016
Leaning on the Arc: A Personal History of Criminal Defense is a memoir by renowned trial lawyer M. Gerald Schwartzbach, who is perhaps best known for successfully defending actor Robert Blake against charges he had murdered his wife. Each chapter details a different trial in the author's illustrious career that run the gamut from murder to malpractice, sexual assault to domestic abuse, from protecting the right of dissent to advocating expanded rights for defendants. Schwartzbach stands at the intersection of some of the key issues of our time and demonstrates how true justice can only happen when we refuse to objectify the defendant, whoever he or she may be, whatever his or her alleged crime






















[book] The Finest Traditions of My Calling
One Physician’s Search for the Renewal of Medicine
By Abraham M. Nussbaum, MD
March 2016
Yale
Patients and doctors alike are keenly aware that the medical world is in the midst of great change. We live in an era of continuous healthcare reforms, many of which focus on high volume, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. This compelling, thoughtful book is the response of a practicing physician who explains how population-based reforms have diminished the relationship between doctors and patients, to the detriment of both. As an antidote to failed reforms and an alternative to stubbornly held traditions, Dr. Abraham M. Nussbaum suggests ways that doctors and patients can learn what it means to be ill and to seek medical assistance.

Using a variety of riveting stories from his own and others' experiences, the author develops a series of metaphors to explore a doctor's role in different healthcare reform scenarios: scientist, technician, author, gardener, teacher, servant, and witness. Each role influences what a physician sees when examining a person as a patient. Dr. Nussbaum cautions that true healthcare reform can happen only when those who practice medicine can see, and be seen by, their patients as fellow creatures. His memoir makes a hopeful appeal for change, and his insights reveal the direction that change must take.





















APRIL 2016 BOOKS



A book by the plaintiff
[book] The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel:
The Rise of a Village Theocracy
and the Battle to Defend the
Separation of Church and State
by Louis Grumet and John M. Caher
Foreword by the late former NY State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye
April 2016
Chicago Review Press
Twenty years ago, on the last day of its session, the New York State Legislature created a publicly funded school district to cater to the interests of a religious sect living in a town called Kiryas Joel. They were a group of Satmar Hasidic Jews; they named their village for Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, their leader.
The sect had bought land in upstate New York, populated it solely with members of its faction, and created a village that exerted extraordinary political pressure over both political parties in the NY State Legislature in Albany. They could deliver votes in Brooklyn and upstate. Marking the first time in American history that a governmental unit was established for a religious group, the Legislature’s action prompted years of litigation that eventually went to the Supreme Court.
The 1994 case, The Board of Education of the Village of Kiryas Joel v. Grumet, stands as the most important legal precedent in the fight to uphold the separation of church and state.
In The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel, plaintiff Louis Grumet opens a window onto the Satmar Hasidic community and details the inside story of HIS fight for the First Amendment. This story — a blend of politics, religion, cultural clashes, and constitutional tension — is an object lesson in the ongoing debate over freedom OF religion versus freedom FROM religion.

















[book] The Dinner Party:
A Novel
by Brenda Janowitz
April 2016
St. Martin’s Griffin
This Passover Seder is not just any Passover Seder. Yes, there will be a quick service and then a festive meal afterwards, but this night is different from all other nights. This will be the night the Golds of Greenwich meet the Rothschilds of New York City.

The Rothschilds are the stuff of legends. They control banks, own vineyards in Napa, diamond mines in Africa, and even an organic farm somewhere in the Midwest that produces the most popular Romaine lettuce consumed in this country. And now, Sylvia Gold's daughter is dating one of them.

When Sylvia finds out that her youngest of three is going to bring her new boyfriend to the Seder, she's giddy. When she finds out that his parents are coming, too, she darn near faints. Making a good impression is all she thinks about. Well, almost. She still has to consider her other daughter, Sarah, who'll be coming with her less than appropriate beau and his overly dramatic Italian mother. But the drama won't stop there. Because despite the food and the wine, despite the new linen and the fresh flowers, the holidays are about family.
Long forgotten memories come to the surface.
Old grievances play out.
And Sylvia Gold has to learn how to let her family go.






















[book] Nurture the WOW:
Finding Spirituality in the Frustration,
Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder,
and Radical Amazement of Parenting
by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
April 2016
Flatiron Books
Every day, parents are bombarded by demands. The pressures of work and life are relentless; our children’s needs are often impossible to meet; and we rarely, if ever, allow ourselves the time and attention necessary to satisfy our own inner longings. Parenthood is difficult, demanding, and draining. And yet, argues Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, if we can approach it from a different mindset, perhaps the work of parenting itself can offer the solace we seek.
Rooted in Judaism but incorporating a wide-range of religious and literary traditions, Nurture the Wow asks, Can ancient ideas about relationships, drudgery, pain, devotion, and purpose help make the hard parts of a parent’s job easier and the magical stuff even more so? Ruttenberg shows how parenting can be considered a spiritual practice?and how seeing it that way can lead to transformation. This is a parenthood book, not a parenting book; it shows how the experiences we have as parents can change us for the better.
Enlightening, uplifting, and laugh-out-loud funny, Nurture the Wow reveals how parenthood?in all its crazy-making, rage-inducing, awe and joy-filled moments?can actually be the path to living fully, authentically, and soulfully.






















[book] Good for the Money:
My Fight to Pay Back America (AIG)
by Robert Benmosche
April 2016
St. Martin's Press
In 2009, at the peak of the financial crisis, AIG - the American insurance behemoth - was sinking fast. It was the peg upon which the nation hung its ire and resentment during the financial crisis: the pinnacle of Wall Street arrogance and greed. When Bob Benmosche climbed aboard as CEO, it was widely assumed that he would go down with his ship. In mere months, he turned things around, pulling AIG from the brink of financial collapse and restoring its profitability. Before three years were up, AIG had fully repaid its staggering debt to the U.S. government - with interest.
Good for the Money is an unyielding leader's memoir of a career spent fixing companies through thoughtful, unconventional strategy. With his brash, no-holds-barred approach to the job, Benmosche restored AIG's employee morale and good name. His is a story of perseverance, told with refreshing irreverence in unpretentious terms.
Called "an American hero" by Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of Too Big to Fail, Benmosche was a self-made man who never forgot what life is like for the nation's 99-percent; again and again, he pushed back against obstinate colleagues to salvage American jobs and industry. Good for the Money affords you a front-row seat for Benmosche's heated battles with major players from Geithner to Obama to Cuomo, and offers incomparable lessons in leadership from the legendary CEO who changed the way Wall Street does business.

















[book] THE KAMINSKY CURE
A NOVEL
By Christopher New
April 2016
Delphinium Books
The Kaminsky Cure is a poignant yet comedic novel of a half Jewish/half Christian family caught up in the machinery of Hitler’s final solution.
The matriarch, Gabi, was born Jewish but converted to Christianity in her teens. The patriarch, Willibald, is a Lutheran minister who, on one hand is an admirer of Hitler, but on the other hand, the conflicted father of children who are half-Jewish. Mindful and resentful of her husband’s ambivalence, Gabi is determined to make sure her children are educated, devising schemes to keep them in school even after learning that any child less than 100% Aryan will eventually be kept from completing education. She even hires tutors who are willing to teach half-Jewish children and in this way comes to hire Fraulein Kaminsky who shows Gabi how to cure her frustration and rage: to keep her mouth filled with water until the urge to scream or rant has passed.





















[book] Orchestra of Exiles:
The Story of Bronislaw Huberman,
the Israel Philharmonic, and
the One Thousand Jews He Saved from Nazi Horrors
by Josh Aronson and Denise George
April 2016
Berkley
The compelling biography of the violinist who founded the Palestine Symphony Orchestra and saved hundreds of people from Hitler—as seen in Josh Aronson’s documentary Orchestra of Exiles.
“The true artist does not create art as an end in itself. He creates art for human beings. Humanity is the goal.”—Bronislaw Huberman
At fourteen, Bronislaw Huberman played the Brahms Violin Concerto in Vienna— winning high praise from the composer himself, who was there. Instantly famous, Huberman began touring all over the world and received invitations to play for royalty across Europe. But after witnessing the tragedy of World War I, he committed his phenomenal talent and celebrity to aid humanity.
After studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, Huberman joined the ranks of Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein in calling for peace through the Pan European Movement. But when hope for their noble vision was destroyed by the rise of Nazism, Huberman began a crusade that would become his greatest legacy—the creation, in 1936, of the Palestine Symphony, which twelve years later became the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
In creating this world-level orchestra, Huberman miraculously arranged for the very best Jewish musicians and their families to emigrate from Nazi-threatened territories. His tireless campaigning for the project—including a marathon fundraising concert tour across America—ultimately saved nearly a thousand Jews from the approaching Holocaust. Inviting the great Arturo Toscanini to conduct the orchestra’s first concert, Huberman’s clarion call of art over cruelty was heard around the world. His story contains estraordinary adventures, riches and royalty, politicians and broken promises, losses and triumphs. Against near impossible obstacles, Huberman refused to give up on his dream to create a unique and life-saving orchestra of exiles which was one of the great cultural achievements of the 20th century.

















[book] The Last Goodnight
A World War II Story of
Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal
by Howard Blum
April 2016
Harper
The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Dark Invasion, channels Erik Larson and Ben Macintyre in this riveting biography of Betty Pack, the dazzling American debutante who became an Allied spy during WWII and was hailed by OSS chief General “Wild Bill" Donovan as “the greatest unsung heroine of the war.”
Betty Pack was charming, beautiful, and intelligent—and she knew it. As an agent for Britain’s MI-6 and then America’s OSS during World War II, these qualities proved crucial to her success. This is the remarkable story of this “Mata Hari from Minnesota” (Time) and the passions that ruled her tempestuous life—a life filled with dangerous liaisons and death-defying missions vital to the Allied victory.
For decades, much of Betty’s career working for MI-6 and the OSS remained classified. Through access to recently unclassified files, Howard Blum discovers the truth about the attractive blond, codenamed “Cynthia,” who seduced diplomats and military attachés across the globe in exchange for ciphers and secrets; cracked embassy safes to steal codes; and obtained the Polish notebooks that proved key to Alan Turing’s success with Operation Ultra.
Beneath Betty’s cool, professional determination, Blum reveals a troubled woman conflicted by the very traits that made her successful: her lack of deep emotional connections and her readiness to risk everything. The Last Goodnight is a mesmerizing, provocative, and moving portrait of an exceptional heroine whose undaunted courage helped to save the world.


























[book] BARBRA STEISAND
REDEFINING BEAUTY, FEMINITY, AND POWER
By Neal Gabler
April 2016
Jewish Lives Series
Yale University Press
Barbra Streisand has been called the “most successful...talented performer of her generation” by Vanity Fair, and her voice, said pianist Glenn Gould, is “one of the natural wonders of the age.” Streisand scaled the heights of entertainment—from a popular vocalist to a first-rank Broadway star in Funny Girl to an Oscar-winning actress to a producer and director. But she has also become a cultural icon who has transcended show business. To achieve her success, Brooklyn-born Streisand had to overcome tremendous odds, not the least of which was her Jewishness. Dismissed, insulted, even reviled when she embarked on a show business career for acting too Jewish and looking too Jewish, she brilliantly converted her Jewishness into a metaphor for outsiderness that would eventually make her the avenger for anyone who felt marginalized and powerless.

Neal Gabler examines Streisand’s life and career through this prism of otherness—a Jew in a gentile world, a self-proclaimed homely girl in a world of glamour, a kooky girl in a world of convention—and shows how central it was to Streisand’s triumph as one of the voices of her age.




















See also… now in paperback:
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[book] CURSED LEGACY
THE TRAGIC LIFE OF KLAUS MANN
(Son of Thomas Mann)
By Frederic Spotts
March 2016
Yale University Press
Son of the famous Thomas Mann, homosexual, drug-addicted, and forced to flee from his fatherland, the gifted writer Klaus Mann’s comparatively short life was as artistically productive as it was devastatingly dislocated. Best-known today as the author of Mephisto, the literary enfant terrible of the Weimar era produced seven novels, a dozen plays, four biographies, and three autobiographies—among them the first works in Germany to tackle gay issues—amidst a prodigious artistic output. He was among the first to take up his pen against the Nazis, as a reward for which he was blacklisted and denounced as a dangerous half-Jew, his books burnt in public squares around Germany, and his citizenship revoked. Having served with the U.S. military in Italy, he was nevertheless undone by anti-Communist fanatics in Cold War-era America and Germany, dying in France (though not, as all other books contend, by his own hand) at age forty-two.

Powerful, revealing, and compulsively readable, this first English-language biography of Klaus Mann charts the effects of reactionary politics on art and literature and tells the moving story of a supreme talent destroyed by personal circumstance and the seismic events of the twentieth century.






















[book] DISRAELI
The Novel Politician
By David Cesarani
April 2016
Jewish Lives Series
Yale University Press
Lauded as a “great Jew,” excoriated by antisemites, and one of Britain’s most renowned prime ministers, Benjamin Disraeli has been widely celebrated for his role in Jewish history. But is the perception of him as a Jewish hero accurate? In what ways did he contribute to Jewish causes? In this groundbreaking, lucid investigation of Disraeli’s life and accomplishments, David Cesarani draws a new portrait of one of Europe’s leading nineteenth-century statesmen, a complicated, driven, opportunistic man.

While acknowledging that Disraeli never denied his Jewish lineage, boasted of Jewish achievements, and argued for Jewish civil rights while serving as MP, Cesarani challenges the assumption that Disraeli truly cared about Jewish issues. Instead, his driving personal ambition required him to confront his Jewishness at the same time as he acted opportunistically. By creating a myth of aristocratic Jewish origins for himself, and by arguing that Jews were a superior race, Disraeli boosted his own career but also contributed to the consolidation of some of the most fundamental stereotypes of modern antisemitism.






















NOW IN PAPERBACK
Winner of the 2015 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
[book] Challenger Deep
by Neal Shusterman
Illustrated by his son, Brendan Shusterman
April 2016
Harper Teen
First some background… Neal is a father of four children. Brendan, now 26, suffers from a mental illness. When Brendan was in the Second Grade, Neal helped him with a report on the Pacific Ocean’s Marianas Trench. Challenger Deep, its deepest trench, thought Neal, was a fabulous title for a book. Nearly two decades later, with the permission and cooperation of his son, Neal has written a novel with this title. It is a story of a teen who begins to experience the effects – hallucinations, voices, anxieties - of schizophrenia.

It is a captivating novel about mental illness that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman.
Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.
Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.
Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence to document the journey with images.
Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.
Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.
Caden Bosch is torn.

Challenger Deep is a deeply powerful and personal novel from one of today's most admired writers for teens. Laurie Halse Anderson, award-winning author of Speak, calls Challenger Deep "a brilliant journey across the dark sea of the mind; frightening, sensitive, and powerful. Simply extraordinary."






















There is a craze for coloring books.
There is no Jerusalem coloring book yet to meet this fad
Here is the next best thing…
[book] Till We Have Built Jerusalem:
Architects of a New City
by Adina Hoffman
April 5, 2016
FS&G
Equal parts biographical puzzle, architectural meditation, and probing detective story, Adina Hoffman's Till We Have Built Jerusalem offers a prismatic view into one of the world's most beloved and troubled cities. Panoramic yet intimate, this portrait of three architects who helped build modern Jerusalem is also a gripping exploration of the ways in which politics and aesthetics clash in a place of constant conflict.

The book opens with the arrival in 1930s Jerusalem of the celebrated Berlin architect Erich Mendelsohn, who, as a refugee from Hitler's Germany, has to reckon with a complex new Middle Eastern reality. Next we meet Austen St. Barbe Harrison, Palestine's chief government architect from 1922 to 1937. Steeped in the traditions of Byzantine and Islamic building, he's forced to work in the often stifling and violent context of British rule. And in the riveting final section, Hoffman herself sets out through the battered streets of today's Jerusalem looking for traces of a possibly Greek, possibly Arab architect named Spyro Houris. Once renowned around town, Houris is now utterly forgotten, though his buildings still stand, a ghostly testimony to his presence.

A beautifully written rumination on memory and forgetting, place and displacement, Till We Have Built Jerusalem uncovers ramifying levels of one great city's buried history as it asks what it means, everywhere, to be foreign and to belong.




















[book] A Street Divided:
Stories From Jerusalem's Alley of God
by Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ
St. Martin’s Press
It has been the home to priests and prostitutes, poets and spies. It has been the stage for an improbable flirtation between an Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy living on opposite sides of the barbed wire that separated enemy nations. It has even been the scene of an unsolved international murder. This one-time shepherd's path between Jerusalem and Bethlehem has been a dividing line for decades. Arab families called it "al Mantiqa Haram." Jewish residents knew it as "shetach hefker." In both languages, in both Israel and Jordan, it meant the same thing: "the Forbidden Area." Peacekeepers that monitored the steep fault line dubbed it "Barbed Wire Alley." To folks on either side of the border, it was the same thing: A dangerous no-man's land separating warring nations and feuding cultures in the Middle East. The barbed wire came down in 1967. But it was soon supplanted by evermore formidable cultural, emotional and political barriers separating Arab and Jew.

For nearly two decades, coils of barbed wire ran right down the middle of what became Assael Street, marking the fissure between Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem and Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem. In a beautiful narrative, Dion Nissenbaum's A Street Divided offers a more intimate look at one road at the heart of the conflict, where inches really do matter.
























[book] GHETTO
The Invention of Place,
The History of an Idea
By Mitchell Duneier
FS&G
April 2016
On March 29, 1516, the city council of Venice issued a decree forcing Jews to live in il geto?a closed quarter named for the copper foundry that once occupied the area. The term stuck. In this sweeping and original interpretation, Mitchell Duneier traces the idea of the ghetto from its beginnings in the sixteenth century and its revival by the Nazis to the present. As Duneier shows, we cannot understand the entanglements of race, poverty, and place in America today without recalling the history of the ghetto in Europe, as well as later efforts to understand the problems of the American city.
This is the story of the scholars and activists who tried to achieve that understanding. Their efforts to wrestle with race and poverty in their times cannot be divorced from their individual biographies, which often included direct encounters with prejudice and discrimination in the academy and elsewhere. Using new and forgotten sources, Duneier introduces us to Horace Cayton and St. Clair Drake, graduate students whose conception of the South Side of Chicago established a new paradigm for thinking about Northern racism and poverty in the 1940s. We learn how the psychologist Kenneth Clark subsequently linked Harlem’s slum conditions with the persistence of black powerlessness in the civil rights era, and we follow the controversy over Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family. We see how the sociologist William Julius Wilson redefined the debate about urban America as middle-class African Americans increasingly escaped the ghetto and the country retreated from racially specific remedies. And we trace the education reformer Geoffrey Canada’s efforts to transform the lives of inner-city children with ambitious interventions, even as other reformers sought to help families escape their neighborhoods altogether.
Ghetto offers a clear-eyed assessment of the thinkers and doers who have shaped American ideas about urban poverty?and the ghetto. The result is a valuable new understanding of an age-old concept.





















[book] CITY SQUARES
Eighteen Writers on the Spirit and Significance
of Squares Around the World
With 93 Photographs
Harper
April 2016
In this important collection, eighteen renowned writers, including David Remnick, Zadie Smith, Rebecca Skloot, Rory Stewart, and Adam Gopnik evoke the spirit and history of some of the world’s most recognized and significant city squares, accompanied by illustrations from equally distinguished photographers.
Over half of the world’s citizens now live in cities, and this number is rapidly growing. At the heart of these municipalities is the square—the defining urban public space since the dawn of democracy in Ancient Greece. Each square stands for a larger theme in history: cultural, geopolitical, anthropological, or architectural, and each of the eighteen luminary writers has contributed his or her own innate talent, prodigious research, and local knowledge.
Divided into three parts: Culture, Geopolitics, History, headlined by Michael Kimmelman, David Remnick, and George Packer, this significant anthology shows the city square in new light. Jehane Noujaim, award-winning filmmaker, takes the reader through her return to Tahrir Square during the 2011 protest; Rory Stewart, diplomat and author, chronicles a square in Kabul which has come and gone several times over five centuries; Ari Shavit describes the dramatic changes of central Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square; Rick Stengel, editor, author, and journalist, recounts the power of Mandela’s choice of the Grand Parade, Cape Town, a huge market square to speak to the world right after his release from twenty-seven years in prison; while award-winning journalist Gillian Tett explores the concept of the virtual square in the age of social media.
This collection is an important lesson in history, a portrait of the world we live in today, as well as an exercise in thinking about the future. Evocative and compelling, City Squares will change the way you walk through a city.
Contributors include:
David Adjaye on Jemma e-Fnna, Marrakech • Anne Applebaum on Red Square, Moscow and Grand Market Square, Krakow • Chrystia Freeland on Euromaiden, Kiev • Adam Gopnik on Place des Vosges, Paris
Jehane Noujaim on Tahrir Square, Cairo • Evan Osnos on Tiananmen Square, Beijing • Andrew Roberts on Residential Squares, London • Elif Shafak on Taksim Square, Istanbul • Rebecca Skloot on American Town Squares • Ari Shavit on Rabin Square, Tel Aviv • Zadie Smith on the grand piazzas of Rome and Venice • and more



















[book] Pumpkinflowers:
A Soldier's Story
by Matti Friedman
May 3, 2016
Algonquin Books
Pumpkinflowers – Pumpkin Flowers
Friedman’s first book won several Jewish book awards.
Kai Bird write that this book is “Destined to become a classic text on the absurdities of war. . . A beautifully written account of a young Israeli soldier's experience. A stunning achievement.”

Yossi Klein Halevi writes, “Inspiring, heartbreaking, illuminating. Matti Friedman’s brilliant account of a forgotten war seen through the lens of a simple soldier is at once a coming-of-age story and an essential chronicle about how the twenty-first century was born.”

It was one small hilltop in a small, unnamed war in the late 1990s, but it would send out ripples still felt worldwide today. The hill, in Lebanon, was called the Pumpkin; flowers was the military code word for “casualties.” Award-winning writer Matti Friedman re-creates the harrowing experience of a band of young soldiers -- the author among them -- charged with holding this remote outpost, a task that changed them forever and foreshadowed the unwinnable conflicts the United States would soon confront in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
Part memoir, part reportage, part military history, this powerful narrative captures the birth of today’s chaotic Middle East and the rise of a twenty-first-century type of war in which there is never a clear victor, and media images can be as important as the battle itself.
Raw and beautifully rendered, Pumpkinflowers will take its place among classic war narratives by George Orwell, Philip Caputo, and Vasily Grossman. It is an unflinching look at the way we conduct war today.


















[book] SEPTIMANIA
ANOVEL
BY Jonathan Levi
Overlook
April 2016
A strange and magical picaresque romance, Jonathan Levi's first novel since 1992's critically acclaimed A Guide For the Perplexed
The novel opens in England in the mid 17th Century where a young man named Isaac is sitting in an orchard with perhaps a Jewish friend or bromance buddy. An apple falls. Is it Eden? Is it Newton?
Next we are in a church tower. On an idyllic spring afternoon in 1978 in the loft of a church outside Cambridge, England, an organ tuner named Malory loses his virginity to a dyslexic math genius named Louiza. When Louiza disappears, Malory follows her trail to Rome.
There, the quest to find his love gets sidetracked when he discovers he is the heir to the Kingdom of Septimania, given by Charlemagne to the Jews of 8th-century France. In the midst of a Rome reeling from the kidnappings and bombs of the Red Brigades, Malory is crowned King of the Jews, Holy Roman Emperor and possibly Caliph of All Islam.
Over the next fifty years, Malory’s search for Louiza leads to encounters with Aldo Moro, Pope John Paul II, a band of lost Romanians, a magical Bernini statue, Haroun al Rashid of Arabian Nights fame, an elephant that changes color, a shadowy U.S. spy agency and one of the 9/11 bombers, an appleseed from the original Tree of Knowledge, and the secret history of Isaac Newton and his discovery of a Grand Unified Theory that explains everything.
But most of all, Septimania is the quest of a Candide for love and knowledge, and the ultimate discovery that they may be unified after all.





















[book] The Path:
What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach
Us About the Good Life
by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh
Simon & Schuster
April 2016
For the first time an award-winning Harvard professor shares his wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy, showing you how these ancient ideas can guide you on the path to a good life today.
Why is a course on ancient Chinese philosophers one of the most popular at Harvard?
It’s because the course challenges all our modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish. This is why Professor Michael Puett says to his students, “The encounter with these ideas will change your life.” As one of them told his collaborator, author Christine Gross-Loh, “You can open yourself up to possibilities you never imagined were even possible.”
These astonishing teachings emerged two thousand years ago through the work of a succession of Chinese scholars exploring how humans can improve themselves and their society. And what are these counterintuitive ideas? Good relationships come not from being sincere and authentic, but from the rituals we perform within them. Influence comes not from wielding power but from holding back. Excellence comes from what we choose to do, not our natural abilities. A good life emerges not from planning it out, but through training ourselves to respond well to small moments. Transformation comes not from looking within for a true self, but from creating conditions that produce new possibilities.
In other words, The Path upends everything we are told about how to lead a good life. Above all, unlike most books on the subject, its most radical idea is that there is no path to follow in the first place—just a journey we create anew at every moment by seeing and doing things differently.
Sometimes voices from the past can offer possibilities for thinking afresh about the future.


















[book] SCREAM
A Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction
By Tama Janowitz
April 2016
Morrow/Dey Street
In this darkly funny, surprising memoir, the original “Lit Girl” and author of the era-defining Slaves of New York considers her life in and outside of New York City, from the heyday of the 1980s to her life today in a tiny upstate town that proves that fact is always stranger than fiction.
With the publication of her acclaimed short story collection Slaves of New York, Tama Janowitz was crowned the Lit Girl of New York. Celebrated in rarified literary and social circles, she was hailed, alongside Mark Lindquist, Bret Easton Ellis, and Jay McInerney, as one of the original “Brat Pack” writers—a wave of young minimalist authors whose wry, urbane sensibility captured the zeitgeist of the time, propelling them to the forefront of American culture.
In Scream, her first memoir, Janowitz recalls the quirky literary world of young downtown New York in the go-go 1980s and reflects on her life today far away from the city indelible to her work. As in Slaves of New York and A Certain Age, Janowitz turns a critical eye towards life, this time her own, recounting the vagaries of fame and fortune as a writer devoted to her art. Here, too, is Tama as daughter, wife, and mother, wrestling with aging, loss, and angst, both adolescent (her daughter) and middle aged (her own) as she cares for a mother plagued by dementia, battles a brother who questions her choices, and endures the criticism of a surly teenager.
Filled with a very real, very personal cast of characters, Scream is an intimate, scorching memoir rife with the humor, insight, and experience of a writer with a surgeon’s eye for detail, and a skill for cutting straight to the strangest parts of life.





















EMAILS WITH GLORIE? (Tuesdays w/ Morrie)
[book] THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES
And Other Life Lessons I Learned
From My Mom
By Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt
April 2016
Harper
I once met Anderson Cooper, and he mentioned that his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, loved to talk about everything, including sex and her lovers. She sounded fascinating. Now he has written a book on the lessons he learned from her about life, race, overcoming tragedies and defeats, love, and everything in between.
This intimate collection of correspondence between Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, offers timeless wisdom and a revealing glimpse into their lives. Anderson Cooper’s intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS’ 60 Minutes affords him little time to spend with his 91 year old mother. After she briefly fell ill, he and Gloria began a conversation through e-mail unlike any they had ever had before — a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discussed their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other.
Both a son’s love letter to his mother in her final years and an unconventional mother’s life lessons for her grown son, The Rainbow Comes and Goes offers a rare window into their close relationship and fascinating lives. In these often hilarious and touching exchanges, they share their most private thoughts and the hard-earned truths they’ve learned along the way. Throughout, their distinctive personalities shine through—Anderson’s darker outlook on the world is a brilliant contrast to his mother’s idealism and unwavering optimism.
An appealing blend of memoir and inspirational advice, The Rainbow Comes and Goes is a beautiful and affectionate celebration of the profound and universal bond between a parent and child, and, like Tuesdays with Morrie, a thoughtful reflection on life and love, reminding us of the precious knowledge and insight that remains to be shared, no matter what age we are.





















[book] Lies, Incorporated
The World of Post-Truth Politics
by Ari Rabin-Havt
and Media Matters for America
Anchor
April 2016
Ari Rabin-Havt, alum of Brandeis, GWU, Penn&Schoen, Kerry for President and Harry Reid unravels the distortions of truth that are transformed into “common knowledge” by a powerful network of special-interest groups and politicians.

It is the story of POST TRUTH
In today’s post-truth political landscape, there is a carefully concealed but ever-growing industry of organized misinformation, paid to create and disseminate lies in the service of political agendas.
Ari Rabin-Havt presents a revelatory history of this industry of public deception, which he dubs Lies, Incorporated, and uncovers the ideological groups that have shaped American politics via coordinated assaults on the truth. For more than sixty years, these organizations have successfully obscured the facts, manufactured controversies, and, ultimately, crippled legislative progress on issues including tobacco regulation, public health care, climate change, gun control, immigration, abortion, and same-sex marriage. In an age when deep-pocketed individuals and corporations have the ear of major media outlets—and those media outlets can directly influence policy—Lies, Incorporated is essential reading.


















[book] America's War for the Greater Middle East:
A Military History
by Andrew J. Bacevich
Random House
April 5, 2016
Bacevich, a rofessor at Boston University, graduated from West Point, received a PhD from Princeton, and rose to the rank of Colonel before returning from the US Army after over two decades of service. In this book he reassesses U.S. military policy in the Middle East over the past four decades.
From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in the Greater Middle East. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed in action anywhere else. What caused this shift? Andrew J. Bacevich, one of the country’s most respected voices on foreign affairs, offers an incisive critical history of this ongoing military enterprise—now more than thirty years old and with no end in sight.
During the 1980s, Bacevich argues, a great transition occurred.
As the Cold War wound down, the United States initiated a new conflict — a War for the Greater Middle East — that continues to the present day. The long twilight struggle with the Soviet Union had involved only occasional and sporadic fighting. But as this new war unfolded, hostilities became persistent. From the Balkans and East Africa to the Persian Gulf and Central Asia, U.S. forces embarked upon a seemingly endless series of campaigns across the Islamic world.
Few achieved anything remotely like conclusive success. Instead, actions undertaken with expectations of promoting peace and stability produced just the opposite. As a consequence, phrases like “permanent war” and “open-ended war” have become part of everyday discourse.
Connecting the dots in a way no other historian has done before, Bacevich weaves a compelling narrative out of episodes as varied as the Beirut bombing of 1983, the Mogadishu firefight of 1993, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the rise of ISIS in the present decade. Understanding what America’s costly military exertions have wrought requires seeing these seemingly discrete events as parts of a single war. It also requires identifying the errors of judgment made by political leaders in both parties and by senior military officers who share responsibility for what has become a monumental march to folly. This Bacevich unflinchingly does.
A twenty-year army veteran who served in Vietnam, Andrew J. Bacevich brings the full weight of his expertise to this vitally important subject. America’s War for the Greater Middle East is a bracing after-action report from the front lines of history. It will fundamentally change the way we view America’s engagement in the world’s most volatile region.



















[book] LEFT OF BOOM
How a Young CIA Case Officer
Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda
by Ralph Pezzullo
St. Martin's Press
April 2016
On September 11, 2001, John Smith was a freshman in college, on the path to becoming a doctor. But with the fall of the Twin Towers came a turning point in his life. After graduating he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, determined to get himself to Afghanistan and into the center of the action. Through persistence and hard work he was fast-tracked to a clandestine operations position overseas. Dropped into a remote region of Afghanistan, he received his baptism by fire. Frustrated by bureaucratic red tape, a widespread lack of knowledge of the local customs and culture and an attitude of complacency that hindered his ability to combat the local Taliban, John confounded his peers by dressing like a native and mastering the local dialect, making contact and building sources within several deadly terrorist networks. His new approach resulted in unprecedented successes, including the uncovering the largest IED network in the world, responsible for killing hundreds of US soldiers. Meanwhile, John had to keep up false pretenses with his family, girlfriend and friends--nobody could know what he did for a living--and deal with the emotional turbulence of constantly living a lie. His double life was building to an explosive resolution, with repercussions that would have far reaching consequences.






















[book] The Last Days of Stalin
by Joshua Rubenstein
Yale
May 2016
Joshua Rubenstein’s riveting account takes us back to the second half of 1952 when no one could foresee an end to Joseph Stalin’s murderous regime. He was poised to challenge the newly elected U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower with armed force, and was also broadening a vicious campaign against Soviet Jews. Stalin’s sudden collapse and death in March 1953 was as dramatic and mysterious as his life. It is no overstatement to say that his passing marked a major turning point in the twentieth century.

The Last Days of Stalin is an engaging, briskly told account of the dictator’s final active months, the vigil at his deathbed, and the unfolding of Soviet and international events in the months after his death. Rubenstein throws fresh light on
· the devious plotting of Beria, Malenkov, Khrushchev, and other “comrades in arms” who well understood the significance of the dictator’s impending death;
· the witness-documented events of his death as compared to official published versions;
· Stalin’s rumored plans to forcibly exile Soviet Jews;
· the responses of Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles to the Kremlin’s conciliatory gestures after Stalin’s death; and
· the momentous repercussions when Stalin’s regime of terror was cut short.





















[book] The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep
Russia’s Road To Terror and
Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin
By David Satter
Yale
May 2016
In December 2013, David Satter became the first American journalist to be expelled from Russia since the Cold War. The Moscow Times said it was not surprising he was expelled, “it was surprising it took so long.” Satter is known in Russia for having written that the apartment bombings in 1999, which were blamed on Chechens and brought Putin to power, were actually carried out by the Russian FSB security police.
In this book, Satter tells the story of the apartment bombings and how Boris Yeltsin presided over the criminalization of Russia, why Vladimir Putin was chosen as his sucessor, and how Putin has suppressed all opposition while retaining the appreance of a pluralist state. As the threat represented by Russia becomes increasingly clear, Satter’s description of where Russia is and how it got there will be of vital interest to anyone concerned about the dangers facing the world today.





















[book] Bellow's People:
How Saul Bellow Made Life Into Art
by David Mikics
Norton
May 2016
A leading literary critic’s innovative study of how the Nobel Prize–winning author turned life into art.
Saul Bellow was the most lauded American writer of the twentieth century-the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, and the only novelist to be awarded the National Book Award in Fiction three times. Preeminently a novelist of personality in all its wrinkles, its glories and shortcomings, Bellow filled his work with vibrant, garrulous, particular people-people who are somehow exceptionally alive on the page.
In Bellow’s People, literary historian and critic David Mikics explores Bellow’s life and work through the real-life relationships and friendships that Bellow transmuted into the genius of his art. Mikics covers ten of the extraordinary people who mattered most to Bellow, such as his irascible older brother, Morrie, a key inspiration for The Adventures of Augie March; the writer Delmore Schwartz and the philosopher Allan Bloom, who were the originals for the protagonists of Humboldt’s Gift and Ravelstein; the novelist Ralph Ellison, with whom he shared a house every summer in the late 1950s, when Ellison was coming off the mammoth success of Invisible Man and Bellow was trying to write Herzog; and Bellow’s wife, Sondra Tschacbasov, and his best friend, Jack Ludwig, whose love affair Bellow fictionalized in Herzog.

A perfect introduction to Bellow’s life and work, Bellow’s People is an incisive critical study of the novelist and a memorable account of a vibrant and tempestuous circle of midcentury American intellectuals.



















[book] ONE WAY STREET
BY WALTER BENJAMIN
Edited by Michael W. Jennings
Translated from German by Edmund Jephcott
Preface by Greil Marcus
May 2016
Belknap/Harvard
One-Way Street is a thoroughfare unlike anything else in literature?by turns exhilarating and bewildering, requiring mental agility and a special kind of urban literacy. Presented here in a new edition with expanded notes, this genre-defying meditation on the semiotics of late-1920s Weimar culture offers a fresh opportunity to encounter Walter Benjamin at his most virtuosic and experimental, writing in a vein that anticipates later masterpieces such as “On the Concept of History” and The Arcades Project.

Composed of sixty short prose pieces
that vary wildly in style and theme,
One-Way Street evokes a dense cityscape of
shops, cafes, and apartments, alive with
the hubbub of social interactions and papered over with public inscriptions of all kinds: advertisements, signs, posters, slogans. Benjamin avoids all semblance of linear narrative, enticing readers with a seemingly random sequence of aphorisms, reminiscences, jokes, off-the-cuff observations, dreamlike fantasias, serious philosophical inquiries, apparently unserious philosophical parodies, and trenchant political commentaries. Providing remarkable insight into the occluded meanings of everyday things, Benjamin time and again proves himself the unrivalled interpreter of what he called “the soul of the commodity.”

Despite the diversity of its individual sections, Benjamin’s text is far from formless. Drawing on the avant-garde aesthetics of Dada, Constructivism, and Surrealism, its unusual construction implies a practice of reading that cannot be reduced to simple formulas. Still refractory, still radical, One-Way Street is a work in perpetual progress.
























[book] ANATOMY OF MALICE
The Enigma of the Nazi War Criminals
By Joel E. Dimsdale
Yale
May 2016
When the ashes had settled after World War II and the Allies convened an international war crimes trial in Nuremberg, a psychiatrist, Douglas Kelley, and a psychologist, Gustave Gilbert, tried to fathom the psychology of the Nazi leaders, using extensive psychiatric interviews, IQ tests, and Rorschach inkblot tests. Never before nor since has there been such a detailed study of governmental leaders who orchestrated mass killings.
Before the war crimes trial began, it was self-evident to most people that the Nazi leaders were demonic maniacs. But when the interviews and psychological tests were completed, the answer was no longer so clear. The findings were so disconcerting that portions of the data were hidden away for decades and the research became a topic for vituperative disputes. Gilbert thought the war criminals’ malice stemmed from depraved psychopathology. Kelley viewed them as ordinary men who were creatures of their environment. Who was right?
Drawing on his decades of experience as a psychiatrist and the dramatic advances within psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience since Nuremberg, Joel E. Dimsdale looks anew at the findings and examines in detail four of the war criminals, Robert Ley, Hermann Goering, Julius Streicher, and Rudolf Hess. Using increasingly precise diagnostic tools, he discovers a remarkably broad spectrum of pathology. Anatomy of Malice takes us on a complex and troubling quest to make sense of the most extreme evil.





















AS A PRELUDE TO THE 70TH ANNIV OF THE NUREMBERG TRIALS
[book] EAST WEST STREET
On the Origins of "Genocide"
and "Crimes Against Humanity"
by Philippe Sands
Knopf
and Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK
May 2016
In 2010, Philippe Sands was invited to give a lecture on genocide and crimes against humanity at Lviv University in Ukraine, which he accepted with the intent of learning about the extraordinary city that was home to his maternal grandfather, a Galician Jew who had been born there a century before and who'd moved to Vienna at the outbreak of the First World War, married, had a child (the author's mother), and then moved to Paris after the German annexation of Austria in 1938. It was a life that had been shrouded in secrecy with many questions not to be asked and fewer answers offered if they were.

As the author uncovered, clue by clue, the deliberately obscured story of his grandfather's mysterious life and of his mother's journey (alone?) as a child surviving Nazi occupation, Sands realized that his own field of humanitarian law had been forged by two men--Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht--each of whom had studied law with the same professors, in the city of his grandfather's birth, at Lviv University
Lemkin and Lauterpacht had not known one another at school and yet at parallel times had forged diametrically opposed revolutionary concepts of humanitarian law that had changed the world--and, Sands writes, that each had dedicated his life to having his legal concept incorporated as a centerpiece for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals
The author writes of a third man, Hans Frank, Hitler's personal lawyer, who, as governor-general of Nazi-occupied Poland, ordered the death of more than a million Jews and Poles, among them the families of the author, and of Lemkin and Lauterpacht.
Sands pieces together how all three lives converged in October 1946, in courtroom 600 of the Palace of Justice at the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg.

Praised by John le Carré as 'a monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision', EAST WEST STREET: ON THE ORIGINS OF GENOCIDE AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY is a uniquely personal exploration of the origins of international law, centering on the Nuremberg Trials and a secret family history. Sands’ has written powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations, and the haunting gaps left by the secrets of others. Philippe Sands says: 'Over six years I have chased two interweaving, untold stories – a personal one about my family, a professional one about the origins of 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide'. A series of most unexpected discoveries, and even more remarkable coincidences.’ Philippe Sands (QC) is Professor of Law at University College London and a practicing barrister at Matrix Chambers. He frequently appears before international courts, including the International Criminal Court and the World Court in The Hague, and has been involved in many of the most important cases of recent years, including Pinochet, Congo, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq and Guantanamo. His documentary film MY NAZI LEGACY: WHAT OUR FATEHR DID premiered at London Film Festival on 11 October 2015> It follows Philippe as he travels with Niklas Frank and Horst von Wachter, the septuagenarian sons of Nazi leaders featured in EAST WEST STREET. The film explores their opposing views on the legacy of their fathers' actions.


















[book] Bright, Infinite Future:
A Generational Memoir on the
Rise of Progressive Patriotism
by Mark Green
May 2016
St. Martin's Press
Blending the historical, biographical and political, the wide-ranging Bright, Infinite Future describes how the values of the '60s are creating a new progressive majority in '16. The multi-faceted Mark Green - bestselling author, public interest lawyer and former elected official - is our guide through contemporary American politics as Nader launches the modern consumer movement; Clinton wins the 1992 New York primary and therefore the nomination; and Green loses the closest NYC mayoral election in a century to Bloomberg after 9/11 in a perfect storm of money, terrorism, and race.
(Yes.... let's blame it on money terror and race.... god forbid it was about a dislike of Mr. Green by the voters)

As Public Advocate, Green was seen by himself and others as Mayor Giuiliani's bête noir, exposing NYPD's racial profiling, killing off Joe Camel, and then running against what he calls a "Murderer's Row" of Cuomo, de Blasio, Schumer, and Bloomberg.
Starting with the consequential movements of the '60s, Green shows how a rising tide of minority and millennial voters, GOP's lurch from mainstream to extreme, and the contrast between the presidencies of Bush and Clinton Obama are leading to a new era of "Progressive Patriotism" built on four cornerstones: an Economy-for-All, Democracy-for-All, Compact on Race & Justice, and Sustainable Climate.
Really??

Full of behind-the-scenes stories about bold-faced names, this will be the 2016 book for liberals looking to a "bright, infinite future" (Leonard Bernstein), conservatives wanting to know what they're up against, and readers who want to know "what-it-takes" in the arena.
























[book] LAWRENCE OF ARABIA’s WAR
The Arabs, The British, and the Remaking
Of the Middle East in WWI
By Neil Faulkner
Yale
May 2016
Rarely is a book published that revises our understanding of an entire world region and the history that has defined it. This groundbreaking volume makes just such a contribution. Neil Faulkner draws on ten years of field research to offer the first truly multidisciplinary history of the conflicts that raged in Sinai, Arabia, Palestine, and Syria during the First World War.
In Lawrence of Arabia’s War, the author rewrites the history of T. E. Lawrence’s legendary military campaigns in the context of the Arab Revolt. He explores the intersections among the declining Ottoman Empire, the Bedouin tribes, nascent Arab nationalism, and Western imperial ambition. The book provides a new analysis of Ottoman resilience in the face of modern industrialized warfare, and it assesses the relative weight of conventional operations in Palestine and irregular warfare in Syria. Faulkner thus reassesses the historic roots of today’s divided, fractious, war-torn Middle East.



















[book] Central Station
by Lavie Tidhar
May 2016
Tachyon
A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap and data is cheaper.
When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover Miriam is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the data stream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin Isobel is infatuated with a robotnik—a cyborg ex-Israeli soldier who might well be begging for parts. Even his old flame Carmel—a hunted data-vampire—has followed him back to a planet where she is forbidden to return.
Rising above all is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things: the constantly shifting Tel Aviv; a powerful virtual arena and the space colonies where humanity has gone to escape the ravages of poverty and war. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful entities who, through the Conversation—a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness—are just the beginning of irrevocable change.























[book] LOUIS D. BRANDEIS
American Prophet
By Jeffrey Rosen
June 2016
Jewish Lives Series
Yale University Press
According to Jeffrey Rosen, Louis D. Brandeis was “the Jewish Jefferson,” the greatest critic of what he called “the curse of bigness,” in business and government, since the author of the Declaration of Independence. Published to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of his Supreme Court confirmation on June 1, 1916, Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet argues that Brandeis was the most farseeing constitutional philosopher of the twentieth century. In addition to writing the most famous article on the right to privacy, he also wrote the most important Supreme Court opinions about free speech, freedom from government surveillance, and freedom of thought and opinion. And as the leader of the American Zionist movement, he convinced Woodrow Wilson and the British government to recognize a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Combining narrative biography with a passionate argument for why Brandeis matters today, Rosen explores what Brandeis, the Jeffersonian prophet, can teach us about historic and contemporary questions involving the Constitution, monopoly, corporate and federal power, technology, privacy, free speech, and Zionism.






















[book] Judenstaat
by Simone Zelitch
June 21, 2016
Tor
On April 4th, 1948 the sovereign state of Judenstaat was created in the territory of Saxony, bordering Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia .
Forty years later, Jewish historian Judit Klemmer is making a documentary portraying Judenstaat's history from the time of its founding to the present. She is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband, Hans, a Saxon, shot by a sniper as he conducted the National Symphony. With the grief always fresh, Judit lives a half-life, until confronted by a mysterious, flesh-and-blood ghost from her past who leaves her controversial footage on one of Judenstaat's founding fathers--and a note:
"They lied about the murder."
Judit's research into the footage, and what really happened to Hans, embroils her in controversy and conspiracy, collective memory and national amnesia, and answers far more horrific than she imagined.




















[book] Ratf**ked:
How the Democrats Won the
Presidency But Lost America
by David Daley
June 2016
Liveright
With Barack Obama’s historic election in 2008, pundits proclaimed the Republicans as dead as the Whigs of yesteryear. Yet even as Democrats swooned, a small cadre of Republican operatives, including Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, and Chris Jankowski began plotting their comeback with a simple yet ingenious plan. These men had devised a way to take a tradition of dirty tricks-known to political insiders as “ratf**king”-to a whole new, unprecedented level. Flooding state races with a gold rush of dark money made possible by Citizens United, the Republicans reshaped state legislatures, where the power to redistrict is held. Reconstructing this never- told-before story, David Daley examines the far-reaching effects of this so-called REDMAP program, which has radically altered America’s electoral map and created a firewall in the House, insulating the party and its wealthy donors from popular democracy. Ratf**ked pulls back the curtain on one of the greatest heists in American political history. 5 maps






















[book] HITLER’S SOLDIERS
The German Army in the Third Reich
By Ben H. Shepherd
June 2016
Yale University Press
For decades after 1945, it was generally believed that the German army, professional and morally decent, had largely stood apart from the SS, Gestapo, and other corps of the Nazi machine. Ben Shepherd draws on a wealth of primary sources and recent scholarship to convey a much darker, more complex picture. For the first time, the German army is examined throughout the Second World War, across all combat theaters and occupied regions, and from multiple perspectives: its battle performance, social composition, relationship with the Nazi state, and involvement in war crimes and military occupation.
This was a true people’s army, drawn from across German society and reflecting that society as it existed under the Nazis. Without the army and its conquests abroad, Shepherd explains, the Nazi regime could not have perpetrated its crimes against Jews, prisoners of war, and civilians in occupied countries. The author examines how the army was complicit in these crimes and why some soldiers, units, and higher commands were more complicit than others. Shepherd also reveals the reasons for the army’s early battlefield successes and its mounting defeats up to 1945, the latter due not only to Allied superiority and Hitler’s mismanagement as commander-in-chief, but also to the failings—moral, political, economic, strategic, and operational—of the army’s own leadership.






















[book] HITLER’S COMPROMISES
Coercion and Consensus in Nazi Germany
By Nathan Stoltzfus
June 2016
Yale University Press
History has focused on Hitler’s use of charisma and terror, asserting that the dictator made few concessions to maintain power. Nathan Stoltzfus, the award-winning author of Resistance of Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Germany, challenges this notion, assessing the surprisingly frequent tactical compromises Hitler made in order to preempt hostility and win the German people’s complete fealty.
As part of his strategy to secure a “1,000-year Reich,” Hitler sought to convince the German people to believe in Nazism so they would perpetuate it permanently and actively shun those who were out of step with society. When widespread public dissent occurred at home—which most often happened when policies conflicted with popular traditions or encroached on private life—Hitler made careful calculations and acted strategically to maintain his popular image. Extending from the 1920s to the regime’s collapse, this revealing history makes a powerful and original argument that will inspire a major rethinking of Hitler’s rule.





















[book] FAMOUS NATHAN
A Family Saga of Coney Island
The American Dream
And the Search for the Perfect Hot Dog
By Lloyd Handwerker
June 21, 2016… the first day of Summer, of course
Flatiron
Beginning with just five feet of counter space on Coney Island in 1916, Nathan’s Famous - based on the basic principles of quality ingredients, hard work and a price everyone could afford -soon stretched across the globe, launching the hotdog as an American food staple and Nathan Handwerker to national fame. But the story behind the dog is even tastier...
Fleeing Eastern Europe as the shadow of WWI looms large with nothing but twenty dollars in his socks, Nathan arrives in New York with the insatiable desire to make a better life, and within two years he sets up a shop of his own, hawking frankfurters for five cents at the sleepy little beach retreat of Coney Island. As New York booms, pushing trains and patrons to the shore, so too do Nathan's humble hotdogs. Within ten years he has the whole corner, and a brand as recognizable as Coca-Cola and Cracker Jack. Nathan's is famous.
But with success comes difficulties, and as Nathan's two sons vie to inherit the family dynasty a story of Biblical proportions plays out, mirroring the corporatization of the American food industry.
Written by Nathan's own grandson, and at once a portrait of a man, a family and the changing face of a nation through a century of promise and progress, Famous Nathan is a dog's tale that snaps and satisfies with every page.




















[book] GRUNT
The Curious Science of Humans at War
by Mary Roach
June 2016
Norton
Best-selling author Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and un-infested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.
Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries?panic, exhaustion, heat, noise?and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds.
At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in East Africa, we learn how diarrhea can be a threat to national security.
The author samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with the crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee.
She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again.




















[book] Critics, Monsters, Fanatics,
and Other Literary Essays
by Cynthia Ozick
July 2016
HMH
In a collection that includes new essays written explicitly for this volume, one of our sharpest and most influential critics confronts the past, present, and future of literary culture.
If every outlet for book criticism suddenly disappeared — if all we had were reviews that treated books like any other commodity — could the novel survive? In a gauntlet-throwing essay at the start of this brilliant assemblage, Cynthia Ozick stakes the claim that, just as surely as critics require a steady supply of new fiction, novelists need great critics to build a vibrant community on the foundation of literary history. For decades, Ozick herself has been one of our great critics, as these essays so clearly display. She offers models of critical analysis of writers from the mid-twentieth century to today, from Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, and Kafka, to William Gass and Martin Amis, all assembled in provocatively named groups: Fanatics, Monsters, Figures, and others. Uncompromising and brimming with insight, these essays are essential reading for anyone facing the future of literature in the digital age.




















[book] Seinfeldia
How a Show About Nothing
Changed Everything
by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
July 2016
Simon & Schuster
The hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld—the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world, altering the lives of everyone it touched.
Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly forty million Americans were tuning in weekly.
In Seinfeldia, acclaimed TV historian and entertainment writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!”, Joe Davola gets questioned every day about his sanity, Kenny Kramer makes his living giving tours of New York sights from the show, and fans dress up in Jerry’s famous puffy shirt, dance like Elaine, and imagine plotlines for Seinfeld if it were still on TV.


























HiNENI
HERE I AM
A Novel
By Jonathan Safran Foer
Expected September 2016
Farrar, Straus & Giroux (FS&G) Forthcoming. A novel of a Jewish man in Washington DC wth a wife and three sons (wait, Foer grew up in DC and was one of 3 sons). The marriage falters, a drama unfolds. (Foer also recently went through a divorce). Israel is attacked, an earthquake erupts, the Middle East is aflame in passion. Rosh Hashana falls in September. The akedah is read. Abraham is called upon to sacrifice his beloved child…. How do we come to terms with a natural and man-made world on fire.






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.
Click the book cover to read more.









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