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Welcome to Winter 2021 Suggestions


Nearly all in person book readings are postponed.
But if we hear of ZOOM one and other online readings, we will let you know
If any authors want to create one with us, please let us know

Some Winter 2021 Book Releases/Recommendations Below

Be sure to visit our other pages for releases during the past Fall 2020,
releases for Summer 2020,
releases for Spring 2020,
releases for Winter 2020,
releases for Autumn 2019,
or browse all the rest of our pages (oFrah, Passover, Hanukkah, MLK books, Tu b'shvat books, and more).



JANUARY 6, 2021

[book] Remember and Do Not Forget:
Rabbinic Testimonies of January 6, 2021:
A Horrific Day in American History
Edited and Written by Rabbis Menachem Creditor
Rachel Timoner, Jesse Olitzky, Sharon Brous,
David Wolkenfeld, Avram Mlotek, Nicole Guzik,
Aaron Brusso, Elliot Cosgrove, as well as

Rabbis Jill Zimmerman, Adam Baldachin, Gary Creditor,
Adir Glick, Jen Gubitz, Eytan Hammerman,
Ezra Schwartz, Eli Garfinkel, Jonathan Blake, Lisa Gelber,
Joseph Maszler, David-Seth Kirszner, Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff,
Jack Moline, Ilan Glazer, Marc Labowitz,
Rachel Ain, Annie Tucker, Morris Zimbalist (Michael's brother),
Ron Fish, Avuva Fellman, Jeremy Winaker,
Neal Rose, Jeffrey Abraham, Carnie Shalom Rose, Dan Ornstein, Daniel Gropper,
Daniel Cohen, Daniel Greybar,
Yael Ridberg, David Lerner, Adina Lewittes,
Joel Mosbacher, Sydney Mintz, Sharon Kleinbaum, Ken Chasen,
Jeffrey (masc.) Salkin, Ravid Tilles, David Spinrad,
Asher Lopatin, Rachel Kobrin, and Cantor Sharon Nathanson
Former Rep. Ruth Messinger (Foreword)
January 12, 2021
209 Pages

We will forever remember the events of January 6, 2021. We also understand that, just like Torah, there is power in collective memory. This is especially true considering that we may remember the events of this day differently, each of us reflecting on it using our own eyes, hearts – and our unique choices of words.

Was the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 a riot? A coup? Insurrection? Domestic terrorism? A protest?

Words matter, and how we remember is shaped by the words we use. As the great essayist and thinker George Orwell once observed: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” We have done our best to collect diverse rabbinic testimonies from an indescribable moment of American history with a commitment to remember and a promise to not forget. We will not be defined by the threats of white supremacists and the acts of domestic terrorists. But they undoubtedly shape us and shape our view of the world. We are not ignorant enough to think that bigotry did not exist before the Trump era nor would we be so foolish as to suggest that it will cease once that era is over.

But we had thought that American society was in collective agreement that bigotry belonged in the sewers and gutters of society. But when the President amplified such bigotry in 240-characters at a time on his Twitter feed for four years straight, and worse yet, successfully used that bigotry to influence his supporters, he gave them permission to proudly and loudly -- and violently -- express such hateful bigotry for the world to see and incite violence. We are not ignorant enough to believe that Amalek has ceased to exist. But it is our deepest prayer that as long as we remember, as long as we continue to call out the events of this dark day for what they are, then the bigotry of Amalek will return to the sewers of society, where it belongs.



[book] The Librarian of Auschwitz
by Antonio Iturbe
Lilit Thwaites (Translator)
January 5, 2021

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, journalist Antonio Iturbe tells the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

[book] Extraterrestrial:
The First Sign of Intelligent Life
Beyond Earth
by Avi Loeb
Havard University, Dept. Astronomy Chair
January 26, 2021
HMH – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

“Provocative and thrilling ... Loeb asks us to think big and to expect the unexpected.”—Alan Lightman,

Harvard’s top astronomer lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star; perhaps it was a cigar, pickle or 1 millimeter thick sail-shaped trashed space buoy from Vega.

In late 2017, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory glimpsed an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have come from another star. Avi Loeb, Harvard’s top astronomer, showed it was not an asteroid; it was moving too fast along a strange orbit, and left no trail of gas or debris in its wake. There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization, perhaps using the solar wind.

In Extraterrestrial, Loeb takes readers inside the thrilling story of the first interstellar visitor to be spotted in our solar system. He outlines his controversial theory and its profound implications: for science, for religion, and for the future of our species and our planet. A mind-bending journey through the furthest reaches of science, space-time, and the human imagination, Extraterrestrial challenges readers to aim for the stars—and to think critically about what’s out there, no matter how strange it seems.

ABRAHAM (AVI) LOEB is the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University, chair of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy, founding director of Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative, and director of the Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC) within the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. In 2012, Time selected Loeb as one of the twenty-five most influential people in space. Loeb was born in Beit Hanan, Israel in 1962 and received a graduate degree in plasma physics at age 24 from the Hebrew University. Loeb has authored or co-authored nearly seven hundred papers on a broad range of research areas in astrophysics and cosmology.


Haim Eshed, Israel’s former space security chief, and highly respected scientist, has written a book on the existence of aliens, claiming that the American government had an “agreement” with a “galactic federation” of aliens, and that “humanity is not ready” to know about it, as per an interview he gave to Israel’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper and the Jerusalem Post. His new book is ‘The Universe Beyond the Horizon - conversations with Professor Haim Eshed.’

[book] The Beauty of What Remains:
How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift
by Rabbi Steve Leder
(Wilshire Boulevard Synagogue, Los Angeles)
January 5, 2021

From the author of the bestselling More Beautiful Than Before (2017) comes an inspiring book about loss based on his most popular sermon.

As the senior rabbi of one of the largest synagogues in the world, Steve Leder has learned over and over again the many ways death teaches us how to live and love more deeply by showing us not only what is gone but also the beauty of what remains.

Reading this book, for me, came after watching Disney/PIXAR's SOUL, an animated film on souls and death, as southern California is suffering from the pandemic and the unexpected deaths of so many.

Rabbi Leder has written this inspiring and comforting book about a journey through the experience of loss that is fundamental to everyone. Rabbi Leder has sat beside thousands of deathbeds, has done thousands of “INTAKES” of congregants facing death, funerals, and eulogies. He has had to be a rabbi and a human. He knows the Halacha, the law, as well as the exceptions. He has counseled those grieving, those who felt they weren't there at their loved one's death, and those who weren't there for their loved one's life. Those who buried a parent, those who buried a child.

Steve Leder the rabbi was not fully prepared for the loss of his own father, a highly critical and gruff junkyard owner, but loving Yiddishist. The death was twice as hard since he died twice Once from Alzheimer's, and once at the end. It was right before Kol Nidre. It was only then that Steve Leder the son truly learned how loss makes life beautiful by giving it meaning and touching us with love that we had not felt before. Rabbi Steve Leder became Steve Leder the son, facing his own experience of love, regret, and pain in a more personal and intimate way than ever before. What he discovered was life changing: in death we do not lose— we gain. I

“Understanding death — its rituals, its lessons, its gift to reshape love through memory, its grief, its powerful reminder that it is not what but who we have that matters — gives our lives exquisite meaning.” It is about what is important and meaningful. To most, it will be a comforting book, a quest through grief that is fundamental to everyone.

Enriched by Rabbi Leder's irreverence, vulnerability, and wicked sense of humor, this heartfelt narrative is filled with laughter and tears, the wisdom of millennia and modernity, and, most of all, an unfolding of the profound and simple truth that in loss we gain.

[book] Our Darkest Night:
A Novel of Italy
and the Second World War
by Jennifer Robson (Author
January 5, 2021

To survive the Holocaust, a young Jewish woman must pose as a Christian farmer’s wife in this unforgettable novel from USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Robson—a story of terror, hope, love, and sacrifice, inspired by true events, that vividly evokes the most perilous days of World War II.

It is the autumn of 1943, and life is becoming increasingly perilous for Italian Jews like the Mazin family. With Nazi Germany now occupying most of her beloved homeland, and the threat of imprisonment and deportation growing ever more certain, Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive—to leave Venice and her beloved parents and hide in the countryside with a man she has only just met.

Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to leave the seminary to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he could not stand by when the fascists and Nazis began taking innocent lives. Rather than risk a perilous escape across the mountains, Nina will pose as his new bride. And to keep her safe and protect secrets of his own, Nico and Nina must convince prying eyes they are happily married and in love.

But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbors are wary of this soft and educated woman they do not know. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico. The more he learns of Nina, the more his suspicions grow—and with them his determination to exact revenge.

As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their feelings deepen, transforming their relationship into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart . . .

[book] The Man Across the River:
The incredible story of one man's
will to survive the Holocaust
by Zvi Wiesenfeld (Author) Book 8 of 8:
Holocaust Survivor True Stories WWII
January 5, 2021
Amsterdam Publishers

Yankel's simple life is upended when the Nazis invade Romania in this biographical novel. As the fascist dictator Ion Antonescu imposes increasingly ruthless antisemitic edicts, the horrors of the Holocaust are visited on Romania's Jewish community. Stripped of their rights, Yankel's family is forced from their home in Czernowitz and sent on a long and dangerous journey across the Dniester River to Transnistria - the Ukrainian killing fields. Through the ghettos and labor camps of Ukraine, the front lines of the Red Army, and the displaced persons camps of Italy, death stalks Yankel at every turn as he struggles to survive.

[book] The Art & Science of Facilitation:
How to Lead Effective Collaboration
with Agile Teams
by Marsha Acker
January 12, 2021
Team Catapult

Have you ever felt unsure how to help a team that was spinning in circles? Or wanted to flee a room with a high-conflict group? If you lead teams of any size, chances are you have been a facilitator at some point. But what does it mean to be a facilitator? While sticky notes, dot voting, and gathering people around a whiteboard are all helpful activities, they can only take us so far.

The Art & Science of Facilitation is your guide to moving your team further forward using the groundbreaking Five Guiding Principles of the Facilitation Stance. You will learn to lead teams toward effective collaboration by inviting different points of view (even when it creates conflict), remaining unbiased in high-stakes meetings, understanding what the group needs, and navigating difficult interpersonal dynamics.
This book is for anyone ready to lead with self-awareness and group insight, and to help their teams work more efficiently and effectively in a truly collaborative environment. "Every voice in an organization matters, and Marsha shows us how to hear each one." - Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, authors of Difficult Conversations and Thanks for the FeedbackMarsha

Acker is a professional facilitator, executive, and team coach. The founder and CEO of Team Catapult, she uses systems thinking, structural dynamics, dialogue, and agility to help teams collaborate and align with clarity, purpose, and vision.

[book] Reason to Believe:
The Controversial Life of Rabbi Louis Jacobs
by Harry Freedman
January 12, 2021

A biography of Louis Jacobs, rabbi, theologian and author of the highly controversial book on Jewish thought and religion, We Have Reason to Believe

Louis Jacobs was Britain's most gifted Jewish scholar. A Talmudic genius, outstanding teacher and accomplished author, cultured and easy-going, he was widely expected to become Britain's next Chief Rabbi.

Then controversy struck.

The Chief Rabbi refused to appoint him as Principal of Jews' College, the country's premier rabbinic college. He further forbade him from returning as rabbi to his former synagogue. All because of a book Jacobs had written some years earlier, challenging from a rational perspective the traditional belief in the origins of the Torah.

According to the author, the British Jewish community was torn apart. It was a scandal unlike anything they had ever previously endured in the century. The national media loved it. Jacobs became a cause celebre, a beacon of reason, a humble man who wouldn't be compromised. His congregation resigned en masse and created a new synagogue for him in Abbey Road, the heart of fashionable 1970s London. It became the go-to venue for Jews seeking reasonable answers to questions of faith.

A prolific author of over 50 books and hundreds of articles on every aspect of Judaism, from the basics of religious belief to the complexities of mysticism and law, Louis Jacobs won the heart and affection of the mainstream British Jewish community. When the Jewish Chronicle ran a poll to discover the Greatest British Jew, Jacobs won.

Reason To Believe tells the dramatic and touching story of Louis Jacobs's life, and of the human drama lived out by his family, deeply wounded by his rejection.

Note: The breakaway synagogue the NEW LONDON congregation at 33 Abbey Road, which purchased the old Saint John's Wood United Synagogue congregation's building. Jacobs had been rabbi of the orthodox, New West End Synagogue in St Petersburgh Place. One of the issues was that Rabbi Jacobs was in favor of reciting Hallel in the last 1950s for Yom Ha Atzmaut. Some ultra orthodox leaders rejected this. Another issue was the gramophone issue that a record player projects a copy of the original artists' voices. It is a recording of the original and the response it awakens in our higher nature the original truth. This idea as a metaphor for Torah from Sinai was opposed by some orthodox leaders. When Rabbi Jacobs refused to recant and retract his view, he was removed from his post at Jews College and refused a ‘certificate of competency’ to return to his former position at the New West End. At his new synagogue in the 1960's, the Dalai Lama spoke, Daniel Barenboim and Jacqueline du Pré performed, and all four Beatles attended the memorial service for Brian Epstein

[book] Belonging:
The Key to Transforming
and Maintaining Diversity,
Inclusion and Equality at Work
by Sue Unerman,
Kathryn Jacob, Mark Edwards
January 19, 2021

A groundbreaking investigation into diversity and equality in the workplace, arguing that both men and women need to be active participants to promote meaningful progress.

There's never been more discussion and activity around diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Every week, ever more high-profile statistics, stories and initiatives are swirling around: from gender and ethnicity pay gap differentials to #MeToo fallout, and from the focus on more diverse company boards to the prevalence of company-wide unconscious bias training, it seems that every company and organization has finally grasped that change needs to happen.

Following interviews at over 200 businesses about the irrefutable business case for diversity at work, Sue Unerman, Kathryn Jacob and Mark Edwards have discovered one major problem that is holding back the move towards greater diversity: where are all the men?

The book sets out to understand why more men aren't engaged with D&I initiatives in organizations--at one extreme they may be feeling actively hostile, and threatened by the changing cultural landscape. Others may be unmotivated to change: they may see diversity as a good thing in the abstract but can't see what's in it for them. Many will be open-minded and supportive, while still feeling unsure about what to do.

Belonging will speak to both men and women, because:

- Men need to understand how they can benefit from more diverse cultures and how they can become champions of new ways of working; and
- Women need to have an awareness of where men are right now, and identify the most effective ways of bringing them on board to ensure that diversity initiatives do not fall at the first hurdle.

January 5, 2021

a reimagning

J.D. Salinger, mysterious author of The Catcher in the Rye, is remembered today as a reclusive misanthrope. Jerome Charyn’s Salinger is a young American WWII draftee assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps, a band of secret soldiers who trained with the British. A rifleman and an interrogator, he witnessed all the horrors of the war-from the landing on D-Day to the relentless hand-to-hand combat in the hedgerows of Normandy, to the Battle of the Bulge, and finally to the first Allied entry into a Bavarian death camp, where corpses were piled like cordwood.

After the war, interned in a Nuremberg psychiatric clinic, Salinger became enchanted with a suspected Nazi informant. They married, but not long after he brought her home to New York, the marriage collapsed. Maladjusted to civilian life, he lived like a “spook,” with invisible stripes on his shoulder, the ghosts of the murdered inside his head, and stories to tell.

Grounded in biographical fact and reimagined as only Charyn could, Sergeant Salinger is an astonishing portrait of a devastated young man on his way to becoming the mythical figure behind a novel that has marked generations.

Jerome Charyn is the author of more than fifty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Cesare: A Novel of War-Torn Berlin. He lives in New York.

[book] Exercised:
Why Something We Never Evolved
to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding
by Daniel Lieberman
January 5, 2021

If exercise is healthy (so good for you!), why do many people dislike or avoid it? If we are born to walk and run, why do most of us take it easy whenever possible? And how do we make sense of the conflicting, anxiety-inducing information about rest, physical activity, and exercise with which we are bombarded? Is sitting really the new smoking? Can you lose weight by walking?

Does running ruin your knees? Should we do weights, cardio, or high-intensity training? In this myth-busting book, Daniel Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a pioneering researcher on the evolution of human physical activity, tells the story of how we never evolved to exercise—to do voluntary physical activity for the sake of health. Using his own research and experiences throughout the world, Lieberman recounts without jargon how and why humans evolved to walk, run, dig, and do other necessary and rewarding physical activities while avoiding needless exertion. His engaging stories and explanations will revolutionize the way you think about exercising—not to mention sitting, sleeping, sprinting, weight lifting, playing, fighting, walking, jogging, and even dancing.

Exercised is entertaining and enlightening but also constructive. As our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have contributed to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, Lieberman audaciously argues that to become more active we need to do more than medicalize and commodify exercise. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology and anthropology, Lieberman suggests how we can make exercise more enjoyable, rather than shaming and blaming people for avoiding it. He also tackles the question of whether you can exercise too much, even as he explains why exercise can reduce our vulnerability to the diseases mostly likely to make us sick and kill us.

[book] Founding God’s Nation:
Reading Exodus
by Leon R Kass
January 5, 2021
Yale University Press

In this long-awaited follow-up to his 2003 book on Genesis, humanist scholar Leon Kass explores how Exodus raises and then answers the central political questions of what defines a nation and how a nation should govern itself. Considered by some the most important book in the Hebrew Bible, Exodus tells the story of the Jewish people from their enslavement in Egypt, through their liberation under Moses’s leadership, to the covenantal founding at Sinai and the building of the Tabernacle. In Kass’s analysis, these events began the slow process of learning how to stop thinking like slaves and become an independent people. The Israelites ultimately founded their nation on three elements: a shared narrative that instills empathy for the poor and the suffering, the uplifting rule of a moral law, and devotion to a higher common purpose. These elements, Kass argues, remain the essential principles for any freedom-loving nation today.

[book] The Fabergé Secret
A novel
by Charles Belfoure
January 5, 2021
Severn House

New York Times bestselling author Charles Belfoure takes readers on a breathless journey from the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Russia to the grim violence of the pogroms, in his latest thrilling historical adventure.

St Petersburg, 1903. Prince Dimitri Markhov counts himself lucky to be a close friend of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra. Cocooned by the glittering wealth of the Imperial court, the talented architect lives a life of luxury and comfort, by the side of his beautiful but spiteful wife, Princess Lara. But when Dimitri is confronted by the death and destruction wrought by a pogrom, he is taken aback. What did these people do to deserve such brutality? The tsar tells him the Jews themselves were to blame, but Dimitri can't forget what he's seen.

Educated and passionate, Doctor Katya Golitsyn is determined to help end Russian oppression. When she meets Dimitri at a royal ball, she immediately recognizes a kindred spirit, and an unlikely affair begins between them. As their relationship develops, Katya exposes Dimitri to the horrors of the Tsar's regime and the persecution of the Jewish people, and he grows determined to make a stand . . . whatever the cost.

[book] The Good Doctor of Warsaw
by Elisabeth Gifford
January 5, 2021

Set in the ghettos of wartime Warsaw, this is a sweeping, poignant, and heartbreaking novel inspired by the true story of one doctor who was determined to protect two hundred Jewish orphans from extermination.

Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha's mentor, Dr Janusz Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls.

As the noose tightens around the ghetto, Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. They can only hope to find each other again one day . . .

Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak must confront a terrible darkness.

[book] The Karma Effect
by Ruth Dayan Wolfner

One of Israel's top Family Law (divorce) attorneys.. a grad of Bar Ilan and TAU, tells stories of divorce cases and gives advice.

She bluntly believes that you reap what you sow, you harvest what you plant. Getting a divorce can bring out monsters and malice, lack of compassion and vindictiveness in the person with whom you shared a bed for years and established blood ties by bringing children into the world. This behavior, however, will usually find its way back to the wrongdoer, sooner or later, and hit with a vengeance. After all, it is a well-known fact that Karma is a Bitch.

This book is a close examination of the institution of marriage and the process of divorce, providing valuable insights that might preserve your marriage—or at the very least, allow you to go through divorce procedures wisely, manage the proceedings effectively, with legal and personal humanness. It also answers the following critical, burning questions:
What are the monsters that gnaw away at your marriage?
How can you protect your children as much as possible during the process?
Can you prevent divorce wars, and are there any that end well?
Can cheating save the institution of marriage?
What does refusal to sign a financial settlement mean?

Through dozens of stories from real life, laced with humor and emotions, Adv. Ruth Dayan Wolfner, who heads one of the largest firms in the field of family law in Israel, provides a deep understanding of the divorce process. She teaches you how to recognize what is truly important within the dizzying

[book] Praying for our Country:
Reflections of an American Rabbi
by Gary Creditor
Menachem Creditor (Editor)
Moshe Tzvi Creditor (Foreword)
January 5, 2021

The sermons, essays, and bulletin articles included in Praying for Our Country are a curated second volume of Rabbi Gary S. Creditor's writings, focused on a Jewish vision for America. Collectively, they point toward a spiritually grounded, ever-aspirational national trajectory for the United States. This volume features a foreword by his grandson and an introduction by his son.

[book] Evolution of a Taboo:
Pigs and People in
the Ancient Near East
by Max D. Price
January 7, 2021
OXFORD University Press

Pigs are among the most peculiar animals domesticated in the Ancient Near East. Their story, from domestication to taboo, has fascinated historians, archaeologists, and religious studies scholars for decades. Rejecting simple explanations, this book adopts an evolutionary approach that relies on zooarchaeology and texts to unravel the cultural significance of swine in the Near East from the Paleolithic to the present day. Five major themes are covered: The domestication of the pig from wild boars in the Neolithic period, the unique roles that pigs developed in agricultural economies before and after the development of complex societies, the raising of swine in cities, the shifting ritual roles of pigs, and the formation and development of the pork taboo in Judaism and, later, Islam.

The origins and significance of this taboo have inspired much debate. Evolution of a Taboo contends that the well-known taboo described in Leviticus evolved over time, beginning with conflicts between Israelites and Philistines in the early part of the Iron Age, and later was mobilized by Judah's priestly elite in the writing of the Biblical texts. Centuries later, the pig taboo became a point of contention in the ethno-political struggles between Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures in the Levant; later still, between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Through these conflicts, the pig taboo grew in power. As this rich account illustrates, it came to define the relations between pigs and people in the Near East and beyond, up to the present day.

[book] Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin:
A Fugitive Modernism
(German Jewish Cultures)
by Marc Caplan
(University of Wroclaw)
January 5, 2021

In Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin, Marc Caplan explores the reciprocal encounter between Eastern European Jews and German culture in the days following World War I. By concentrating primarily on a small group of avant-garde Yiddish writers-Dovid Bergelson, Der Nister, and Moyshe Kulbak-working in Berlin during the Weimar Republic, Caplan examines how these writers became central to modernist aesthetics. By concentrating on the character of Yiddish literature produced in Weimar Germany, Caplan offers a new method of seeing how artistic creation is constructed and a new understanding of the political resonances that result from it.

Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin reveals how Yiddish literature participated in the culture of Weimar-era modernism, how active Yiddish writers were in the literary scene, and how German-speaking Jews read descriptions of Yiddish-speaking Jews to uncover the emotional complexity of what they managed to create even in the midst of their confusion and ambivalence in Germany.

Caplan's masterful narrative affords new insights into literary form, Jewish culture, and the philosophical and psychological motivations for aesthetic modernism.

[book] Imperfect Union:
How Jessie and John Frémont
Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity,
and Helped Cause the Civil War
in Paperback
by Steve Inskeep (NPR, Morning Edition)
January 5, 2021

Steve Inskeep tells the riveting story of John and Jessie Frémont, the husband and wife team who in the 1800s were instrumental in the westward expansion of the United States, and thus became America's first great political couple

John C. Frémont, one of the United States’s leading explorers of the nineteenth century, was relatively unknown in 1842, when he commanded the first of his expeditions to the uncharted West. But in only a few years, he was one of the most acclaimed people of the age – known as a wilderness explorer, bestselling writer, gallant army officer, and latter-day conquistador, who in 1846 began the United States’s takeover of California from Mexico. He was not even 40 years old when Americans began naming mountains and towns after him. He had perfect timing, exploring the West just as it captured the nation’s attention. But the most important factor in his fame may have been the person who made it all possible: his wife, Jessie Benton Frémont.

Jessie, the daughter of a United States senator who was deeply involved in the West, provided her husband with entrée to the highest levels of government and media, and his career reached new heights only a few months after their elopement. During a time when women were allowed to make few choices for themselves, Jessie – who herself aspired to roles in exploration and politics – threw her skill and passion into promoting her husband. She worked to carefully edit and publicize his accounts of his travels, attracted talented young men to his circle, and lashed out at his enemies. She became her husband’s political adviser, as well as a power player in her own right. In 1856, the famous couple strategized as John became the first-ever presidential nominee of the newly established Republican Party.

With rare detail and in consummate style, Steve Inskeep tells the story of a couple whose joint ambitions and talents intertwined with those of the nascent United States itself. Taking advantage of expanding news media, aided by an increasingly literate public, the two linked their names to the three great national movements of the time—westward settlement, women’s rights, and opposition to slavery. Together, John and Jessie Frémont took parts in events that defined the country and gave rise to a new, more global America. Theirs is a surprisingly modern tale of ambition and fame; they lived in a time of social and technological disruption and divisive politics that foreshadowed our own. In Imperfect Union, as Inskeep navigates these deeply transformative years through Jessie and John’s own union, he reveals how the Frémonts’ adventures amount to nothing less than a tour of the early American soul.

[book] Black Buck
a novel
by Mateo Askaripour
January 5, 2021
HMH Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

For fans of Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street—a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.

There’s nothing like a Black salesman on a mission.

An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor.

After enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren, the only Black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck,” a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. But when things turn tragic at home and Buck feels he’s hit rock bottom, he begins to hatch a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force, setting off a chain of events that forever changes the game.

Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.

[book] On Love and Tyranny:
The Life and Politics of Hannah Arendt
by Dr. Ann Heberlein
Alice Menzies (Translator)
January 5, 2021

In an utterly unique approach to biography, On Love and Tyranny traces the life and work of the iconic German Jewish intellectual Hannah Arendt, whose political philosophy and understandings of evil, totalitarianism, love, and exile prove essential amid the rise of the refugee crisis and authoritarian regimes around the world.

What can we learn from the iconic political thinker Hannah Arendt? Well, the short answer may be: to love the world so much that we think change is possible.

The life of Hannah Arendt spans a crucial chapter in the history of the Western world, a period that witnessed the rise of the Nazi regime and the crises of the Cold War, a time when our ideas about humanity and its value, its guilt and responsibility, were formulated. Arendt’s thinking is intimately entwined with her life and the concrete experiences she drew from her encounters with evil, but also from love, exile, statelessness, and longing. This strikingly original work moves from political themes that wholly consume us today, such as the ways in which democracies can so easily become totalitarian states; to the deeply personal, in intimate recollections of Arendt’s famous lovers and friends, including Heidegger, Benjamin, de Beauvoir, and Sartre; and to wider moral deconstructions of what it means to be human and what it means to be humane.

On Love and Tyranny brings to life a Hannah Arendt for our days, a timeless intellectual whose investigations into the nature of evil and of love are eerily and urgently relevant half a century later.

[book] Keeping Secrets:
A Novel
by Bina Bernard
January 19, 2021

For fans of All the Light You Cannot See and The German Girl, Keeping Secrets is a remarkable debut, by a veteran American magazine journalist exploring her own family's flight from Poland.

Hannah Stone, now a successful New York City journalist, was smuggled out of Poland as a child with her parents after surviving the Holocaust. They remade themselves in America, harboring the deep scars of stories never told. Now in her thirties, Hannah learns a family secret that sends her back to where she came from, on the investigative journey of her life.

Replayed in cinematic flashbacks, of the family’s immigrant experience and war years on the run, alternating with the contemporary family drama in the U.S. and Communist Poland, Keeping Secrets hinges on the mystery of a sister who was left behind.

In this sweeping, suspenseful debut, Keeping Secrets reveals the agonizing choices World War II thrust upon so many, examining the enormous price of guilt and the very heart of identity.

[book] Being Ram Dass
by Ram Dass
Rameshwar Das
Anne Lamott (Introduction)
January 12, 2021
Sounds True Press

Perhaps no other teacher has sparked the fires of as many spiritual seekers in the West as Ram Dass. While many know of his transformation from Harvard psychology professor Richard Alpert to psychedelic and spiritual icon, Ram Dass tells here for the first time the full arc of his remarkable life, including his drive through Israel in Summer 1967 after the Six Day War.

Being Ram Dass begins at the moment he was fired from Harvard for giving drugs to an undergraduate. We then circle back to his privileged youth, education, and the path that led him inexorably away from conventional life and ultimately to his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Populated by a cast of luminaries ranging from Timothy Leary to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Allen Ginsberg to Jack Kornfield, Aldous Huxley to Charles Mingus-this intimate memoir chronicles Ram Dass's experience of the cultural and spiritual transformations that resonate with us to this day.

Ram Dass's life and work prefigured many current trends: the conscious aging and death movement, the healing potential of psychedelics, the use of meditation and yoga in prisons, the ubiquity of those same practices in the wider culture, and more. Here, with his characteristic mix of earthiness and transcendence, Ram Dass finally tells all.

[book] Lana's War:
A Novel
by Anita Abriel (A
January 12, 2021

From the author of the “fast-paced, heartbreaking, and hopeful” (Kristin Harmel, author of The Room on Rue Amélie) The Light After the War, a riveting and heartfelt story of a young woman recruited to be a spy for the resistance on the French Riviera during World War II.

Paris 1943: Lana Antanova is on her way to see her husband with the thrilling news that she is pregnant. But when she arrives at the convent where he teaches music, she’s horrified to see Gestapo officers execute him for hiding a Jewish girl in the piano.

A few months later, grieving both her husband and her lost pregnancy, Lana is shocked when she’s approached to join the resistance on the French Riviera. As the daughter of a Russian countess, Lana has the perfect background to infiltrate the émigré community of Russian aristocrats who socialize with German officers, including the man who killed her husband.

Lana’s cover story makes her the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy Swiss industrialist and fellow resistance member, in whose villa in Cap Ferrat she lives. Together, they gather information on upcoming raids and help members of the Jewish community escape. Consumed by her work, she doesn’t expect to become attached to a young Jewish girl or wonder about the secrets held by the man whose house she shares. And as the Nazis’ deadly efforts intensify, her intention to protect those around her may put them all at risk instead.

With Anita Abriel’s “heartfelt and memorable” (Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Lana’s War is a sweeping and suspenseful tale of survival and second chances during some of the darkest days of history.

[book] The Light of the Eyes:
Homilies on the Torah
by Rabbi Menachem Nahum of Chernobyl
Rabbi Arthur Green (Translator)
(Hebrew College, Boston)
January 19, 2021
Stanford University Press

What do American Jews know of Hasidism? They know about Chabad, Satmar, and other current forms of the movement. But Rabbi Green helps us to recover the writings of an early Hasidic master

Hasidism is an influential spiritual revival movement within Judaism that began in the eighteenth century and continues to thrive today. One of the great classics of early Hasidism, The Light of the Eyes is a collection of homilies on the Torah, reading the entire Five Books of Moses as a guide to spiritual awareness and cultivation of the inner life.

This is the first English translation of any major work from Hasidism's earliest and most creative period. Arthur Green's introduction and annotations survey the history of Hasidism and outline the essential religious and moral teachings of this mystical movement. The Light of the Eyes, by Rabbi Menahem Nahum of Chernobyl, offers insights that remain as fresh and relevant for the contemporary reader as they were when first published in 1798.

You can take a course on the work, pre publication starting October 19, 2020 via zoom at Hebrew College. In an interview with JTA, Rabbi Green responded that, “...I love the Me’or Aynayim. It’s a different face of Hasidism than people see today. People who look at Hasidism today experience three kinds of Hasidism. There’s Chabad, which is very much worldly, messianically oriented. Do more mitzvahs and that will bring the redemption closer. There’s Breslov, which is also redemption-centered — have faith in me, have faith in Rebbe Nachman and he will save you. And then there’s Satmar, which is Hasidism as traditionalism. Do it exactly the same way as they did it in the 18th century. The kind of Hasidism of [the founder of the Hasidic movement] the Baal Shem Tov, which is loving and gentle and forgiving and world-embracing, that kind of Hasidism has somehow gotten lost. And the Me’or Aynayim is one of its best spokesmen. So I want to use the Me’or Aynayim in some ways to bring that gentle kind of Hasidism back into the world. You can serve God in everything you do, you find sparks of holiness everywhere, all of life is about seeking out divinity wherever you find it and raising it up and making it one again. The Me’or Aynayim is not an ascetic. He’s a very earthy guy and really believed that holiness was to be found everywhere. And if you punish yourself, you were denying God because God is in everything — all your thoughts and all your deeds. Within the 18th-century Jewish context, he was a kind of free-spirited person, which isn’t to say that he was careless about the law at all. But it was a love of life and a love of normal earthy human beings that motivated him, and in trying to find a spirituality that would work for such people... Hasidism went through very big changes. It began as a movement of radical innovation. And remember the Hasidim were condemned by the great rabbis in the 18th century. They were persecuted. But by the turn of the 19th century, the rabbis and the Hasidim both looked around and they saw a much more dangerous enemy on the horizon: modernity or haskalah [Jewish enlightenment]. And the rabbis and the Hasidim made peace with one another to fight this common enemy called the modern world.... the Baal Shem Tov and the Me’or Aynayim... wanted an intense spiritual life. At the same time, they wanted to raise families and therefore have to support those families and live in this world. And so it’s a very worldly kind of spirituality for people who want both. And since I’m one of those people, I have fallen in love with it, as you can tell. And this is about sharing that love.

[book] Dancing in God's Earthquake:
The Coming Transformation
of Religion
by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow, PhD
Orbis Books

A new book by Rabbi Waskow, who gave us the Freedom Seder, Seasons of our Joy, The Shalom Center, a defense of the Chicago 7, and so much more. Here is a book of deep wisdom from a prophetic rabbi who has for fifty years worked to promote a progressive spirit of renewal that connects Jews, Christians, and people of other faiths. We all experience earthquakes in our lives--social, personal, religious. From those earthquakes renewal and new life can come forth if we learn to dance in the midst of the earthquake.

Rabbi Waskow writes: I see Dancing in God's Earthquake as a harvest of my whole life experience in religious commitment, spiritual delight, and social transformation. Many people look on a “harvest” as a product of past sowing and growing. But I see this book as what a harvest is really supposed to be – food for the future.

If you want to invite Rabbi Waskow to your community for a schmooze/discussion, contact the Shalom Center and arrange it. You can also order bulk copies of the book at a discount … check their site.

Mark Pinsky of Orlando wrote a great review.... Excerpts are... For more than 50 years, Rabbi Arthur Waskow has been a spiritual and intellectual force of nature.... All of this exuberant effervescence is on display in Waskow’s new book... Waskow returns to the book’s title. “How can we bring grace, music, joy into that dance?” It’s not an easy question to answer, he acknowledges, given the changing times. “It’s hard to dance when the dance floor itself is dancing, shaking, whirling, changing shape.” Waskow says much of his new theology is framed and informed by ecology. He urges “Earth awareness,” finding the Divine in natural forces, like wind and rain... Instead of the word “God,” Waskow prefers variations on a new term for the Divine, “the great Name of the Interbreathing Spirit,” or simply, the “Breath of Life.” He suggests alternative forms of prayer: meditation, chanting, and dance, in particular improvisational, liturgical dance. Waskow wants to learn from the past, but not restore it unaltered. He updates or gives a new, interpretive rendition of traditional Jewish prayers and festivals in order to address the Climate Change crisis..... So he addresses the biblical practice of the Sabbatical, seventh year, when the agricultural land was supposed to rest, fences between fields torn down so grazing animals can roam. Debts were canceled. As a small gesture, Waskow suggests that during this time modern consumers switch to grass fed beef and milk, to avoid corn feed lots — eating “eco-kosher” and “eco-halal” — and use electrical rather than carbon-powered vehicles.... Refreshingly, Waskow takes pride in being schooled in changing gender roles, first by his 10-year-old daughter at the family’s Seder table and, 50 years later, by her daughter, Waskow’s oldest grandchild.... There seems to be a challenge to readers on almost every page of this book. Waskow calls his apparently utopian provocations “simply imaginings, intended to stretch our minds.” Self restraint, he writes, need not entail self denial. So he argues, “What we thought were sins now seem life-giving possibilities.”....

[book] Making Great Strategy:
Arguing for Organizational Advantage
by Glenn R. Carroll, Jesper B. Sørensen
(Stanford Business School
JANUARY 26, 2021
Columbia Business School Press

Making strategy requires undertaking major-often irreversible-decisions aimed at long-term success in an uncertain future. All leaders must formulate a clear course of action, yet many lack confidence in their ability to think systematically about their strategy. They struggle to apply the abstract lessons offered by conventional approaches to strategic analysis to their unique contexts.

Making Great Strategy resolves these challenges with a straightforward, readily applicable framework. Jesper B. Sørensen and Glenn R. Carroll show that one factor underlies all sustainably successful strategies: a logically coherent argument that connects resources, capabilities, and environmental conditions to desired outcomes. They introduce a system for formulating and managing strategy through a set of three core activities: visualization, formalization and logic, and constructive argumentation. These activities can be implemented in any organization and are illustrated through examples and case studies from well-known companies such as Apple, Walmart, and The Economist.

This book shows that while great strategic thinking is hard, it is not a mystery. Widely applicable and relevant for managers and leaders at all levels, especially executive teams charged with setting the course of their organizations, it is essential reading for anyone faced with practical problems of strategic management.

[book] The Passover Guest
by Susan Kusel
Sean Rubin (Illustrator)
January 19, 2021
Neal Porter Books

Muriel assumes her family is too poor to hold a Passover Seder this year, but an act of kindness and a mysterious magician change everything.

It's the Spring of 1933 in Washington D.C., and the Great Depression is hitting young Muriel's family hard. Her father has lost his job, and her family barely has enough food most days, let alone for a Passover Seder. They don't even have any wine to leave out for the prophet Elijah's ceremonial cup.

With no feast to rush home to, Muriel wanders by the Lincoln Memorial, where she encounters a mysterious magician in whose hands juggled eggs become lit candles. After she makes a kind gesture, he encourages her to run home for her Seder, and when she does, she encounters a holiday miracle, a bountiful feast of brisket, soup, and matzah. But who was this mysterious benefactor? When Muriel sees Elijah's ceremonial cup is empty, she has a good idea.

This fresh retelling of the classic I.L. Peretz story, best known through Uri Shulevitz's 1973 adaptation The Magician, has been sumptuously illustrated by noted graphic novelist Sean Rubin, who based his art on photographs of D.C. in the 1930s. An author note with information about the holiday is included. Susan Kusel is a synagogue librarian and children's book buyer for an independent bookstore. She has served as a member of the Caldecott Medal selection committee and the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. The Passover Guest is Kusel's first picture book. She lives in Arlington, VA.

Illus by Florence Weiser
Winter 2021

Long-suffering Chimp tries to talk his friends Ellie the Elephant and Kanga the Kangaroo out of trying to escape from the Biblical Zoo to find a Passover seder to attend, but ends up joining them in the escapade, teaching them about the Passover holiday along the way. And whose house do they turn up at for the seder? Their old friend and zookeeper, Shmulik! Droll Passover story includes lots of funny mistakes when the animals try to remember the words for Passover items and get them all wrong, needing to be corrected by Chimp. Includes back matter about Passover and the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.

By Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh
Illis by Lauren Gallegos
Winter 2021

"Any school-age Jewish kid who observes Passover understands the lunchroom situation in which redheaded, freckled Noa finds herself. She can’t make any food trades due to Passover dietary rules, and when she opens her lunch box, her tablemates see a large crackerlike food: 'All week long, I don’t eat bread./ Matzah’s what I eat instead.' Noa tells her friends the story of Passover, and for the rest of the week, she brings in a different matzah treat to share with her now-enthralled classmates. Kiffel-Alcheh’s couplet text gets a little wearing, and it’s hard to believe that all of Noa’s pals think that plain matzah is the greatest thing since, well, sliced bread ( '‘Mmm,’ her friends say as they munch./ ‘Matzah has a tasty crunch!’ '). But Gallegos’s peppy, animation-like illustrations feel true enough to school life, depicting an inclusive student body eager to learn-and to nosh." - Publishers Weekly

[book] Queen Vashti's Comfy Pants
by Rabbi Leah Rachel Berkowitz (Kol Ami, Elkins Park)
Ruth Bennett (Illustrator)
Winter 2021
Behrman House

A feminist spin on a Book of Esther event . . . A well-crafted revision sure to spark discussion

Why did Queen Vashti, the other Purim queen, member of the royal household, refuse to obey her king's commands?

Although the traditional biblical canon text gives us no real clue, this story humorously imagines what it might have been like for a Queen to stand up for herself against a string of high-handed demands. In doing so, it demonstrates to children the value of understanding the worth of their own needs and desires.

A so much better take on Vashti, than the (probably male derived) stories about how she was mean to Jewish people in Shushan.

Now.. if only someone would publish my kids' book on the mild mannered short shrude Shoe Shine Boy of Shushan, who moonlighted as a shamash, and never shortchanged his customers, not even Haman. A survivor of a shipwreck, he was adopted by his uncle, a shoemaker.

[book] Osnat and Her Dove:
The True Story of the
World's First Female Rabbi
by Sigal Samuel
Vali Mintzi (Illustrator)
Winter 2021
Levine Querido

Osnat was born five hundred years ago – at a time when almost everyone believed in miracles. But very few believed that girls should learn to read.

Yet Osnat's father was a great scholar whose house was filled with books. And she convinced him to teach her. Then she in turn grew up to teach others, becoming a wise scholar in her own right, the world's first female rabbi! Some say Osnat performed miracles – like healing a dove who had been shot by a hunter! Or saving a congregation from fire!

But perhaps her greatest feat was to be a light of inspiration for other girls and boys; to show that any person who can learn might find a path that none have walked before.

Sigal Samuel is an award-winning novelist and journalist. Currently a Staff Writer at Vox, she previously worked as Religion Editor at The Atlantic, Opinion Editor at the Forward, and Associate Editor at the Daily Beast. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. The Mystics of Mile End, her debut novel, was nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award and won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award and the Alberta Book Publishing Award. Sigal hails from an Iraqi Jewish family in Montreal, and now lives in Washington, DC.

[book] PEE WEES
January 12, 2021

A New York Times bestselling author takes a rollicking deep dive into the ultra-competitive world of youth hockey

Rich Cohen, the New York Times–bestselling author of The Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse and Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football, turns his attention to matters closer to home: his son’s elite Pee Wee hockey team and himself, a former player and a devoted hockey parent.

In Pee Wees: Confessions of a Hockey Parent, Cohen takes us through a season of hard-fought competition in Fairfield County, Connecticut, an affluent suburb of New York City. Part memoir and part exploration of youth sports and the exploding popularity of American hockey, Pee Wees follows the ups and downs of the Ridgefield Bears, the twelve-year-old boys and girls on the team, and the parents watching, cheering, conniving, and cursing in the stands. It is a book about the love of the game, the love of parents for their children, and the triumphs and struggles of both.

[book] Woman of Valor:
A Story of Resistance,
Leadership & Courage
by Marty Brounstein
January 16, 2021
Square One

Woman of Valor is a remarkable and true story of bravery, compassion, and rescue during the Holocaust. Eta Chait, a young Jewish woman, lived with her parents and siblings in Lukow, Poland. In 1939, the country was invaded by Nazi Germany marking the start of World War Two. Under the Nazis’ brutal occupation, the Jews of Poland were rounded up, and segregated into ghettos. At first, they were able to work outside of these areas; within a short time, however, their movements were severely restricted and their food supplies limited. As Eta and her family found themselves crowded into one of these ghettos, they watched as their Jewish neighbors were pulled out of their homes, imprisoned, or summarily executed in the streets. Facing this oncoming brutality, Eta joined a resistance group within the ghetto to escape. After fleeing, she returned to help free the rest of her family with unexpected consequences. From there, Eta and her remaining family made their way into the Polish woods for safety.

From that moment, Eta’s mission was clear-she would do everything she could to defeat the Nazis and save as many Jews as possible. The dense Polish forest served as a relatively safe haven for Poles fleeing from the Germans. It also served as the base of operations for the organized resistance. Eta quickly joined an all-Jewish armed resistance unit, which was part of the Polish Partisan fighters made up of Jews and non-Jews. Through her cunning and bravery, she rose to become one of the leaders of an all-Jewish partisan unit. Led by Eta and others, this unit went on missions outside the forest. These units were armed and ready to engage in combat and defense activities against the Nazis and their collaborators. Because of their success, they became a top target of the Nazis.

To change from daughter into the role of a young soldier is no easy transition; however, this heroic evolution is at the heart of Eta Chait’s story. Woman of Valor follows her journey, from the horrors of the ghetto into the hardships of survival in the woods under the most extreme conditions. And then through her eyes as a fighter, we witness the struggles and fears of those who were trapped by the Holocaust. This is the moving story of a young woman who refused to give up-who chose to put her own life on the line in order to save the lives of others from certain death. Amidst the many tragic stories of the Holocaust, Eta’s tale serves to remind us of the good in people.

[book] Hold On to Your Music:
The Inspiring True Story
of the Children of Willesden Lane
by Emil Sher (Adapter)
Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen
and Sonia Possentini
January 12, 2021
Little Brown Books for Young Readers
40 Pages
Ages 4 - 8

Discover the inspiring illustrated true story about one girl's escape from the Holocaust to become a concert pianist against all odds, made popular by the beloved novel The Children of Willesden Lane.

In pre-World War II Vienna, Lisa Jura was a musical prodigy who dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. But when enemy forces threatened the city—particularly the Jewish people that lived there—Lisa's parents were forced to make a difficult decision. They chose to send Lisa to London for safety through the Kindertransport—a rescue effort that relocated Jewish children. As Lisa yearned to be reunited with her family while living in a home for refugee children on Willesden Lane, her music became a beacon of hope for those around her.

A true story of courage, survival, and determination, this compelling tribute to a gifted young girl has already touched the lives of many around the world. Originally published in 2017 for older readers, The Children of Willesden Lane has sold hundreds of thousands of copies globally; now this picture book retelling will inspire a new generation.

[book] Innocent Witnesses:
Childhood Memories of World War II
by Marilyn Yalom, Ben Yalom (Editor)
Meg Waite Clayton (Foreword)
January 12, 2021
Redwood Press

In a book that will touch hearts and minds, acclaimed cultural historian Marilyn Yalom presents firsthand accounts of six witnesses to war, each offering lasting memories of how childhood trauma transforms lives.

The violence of war leaves indelible marks, and memories last a lifetime for those who experienced this trauma as children. Marilyn Yalom experienced World War II from afar, safely protected in her home in Washington, DC. But over the course of her life, she came to be close friends with many less lucky, who grew up under bombardment across Europe-in France, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, England, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Holland. With Innocent Witnesses, Yalom collects the stories from these accomplished luminaries and brings us voices of a vanishing generation, the last to remember World War II.

Memory is notoriously fickle: it forgets most of the past, holds on to bits and pieces, and colors the truth according to unconscious wishes. But in the circle of safety Marilyn Yalom created for her friends, childhood memories return in all their startling vividness. This powerful collage of testimonies offers us a greater understanding of what it is to be human, not just then but also today. With this book, her final and most personal work of cultural history, Yalom considers the lasting impact of such young experiences-and asks whether we will now force a new generation of children to spend their lives reconciling with such memories.

[book] Trapped by Evil and Deceit:
The Story of Hansi and Joel Brand
by their son, Daniel Brand
January 12, 2021
Cherry Orchard

The author asserts that his parents were silenced.

In his book, he writes that when the Holocaust broke out in Europe, his parents, Hansi and Joel Brand were joined by Israel (Rezs?, Rudolph) Kasztner to launch an organized effort to save thousands. This bacame known as the Kastner Train and the negotiations with Eichmann.

Their efforts, which involved playing a dangerous bluffing game against the Nazi regime, helped to save many Jewish from Auschwitz. Their success put them at odds with the political machine of the young state of Israel, according to their son. Politicians wanted the public to believe that there was nothing they could do, a sentiment which many still believe to this day. He writes that this cover-up led to Israel’s first politically-motivated homicide.

[book] A Swim in a Pond in the Rain:
In Which Four Russians Give a
Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life
by George Saunders
January 12, 2021
(Syracuse University )

From the New York Times bestselling, Booker Prize–winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December comes a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves—and our world today.

So many of classic Jewish and Yiddish writing was created side by side with the Russian masters. For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.

In his introduction, Saunders writes, “We’re going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn’t fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art—namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?” He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. The process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is a technical craft, but also a way of training oneself to see the world with new openness and curiosity.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.

[book] Walking with Ghosts
by Gabriel Byrne
January 12, 2021
Grove Press

“Make no mistake about it: Walking with Ghosts is a masterpiece. A book that will wring out our tired hearts. It is by turns poetic, moving, and very funny. You will find it on the shelf alongside other great Irish memoirs including those by Frank McCourt, Nuala O'Faolain and Edna O’Brien.” —Colum McCann
c As a young boy growing up in the outskirts of Dublin, Gabriel Byrne sought refuge in a world of imagination among the fields and hills near his home, at the edge of a rapidly encroaching city. Born to working class parents and the eldest of six children, he harbored a childhood desire to become a priest. When he was eleven years old, Byrne found himself crossing the Irish Sea to join a seminary in England. Four years later, Byrne had been expelled and he quickly returned to his native city. There he took odd jobs as a messenger boy and a factory laborer to get by. In his spare time, he visited the cinema where he could be alone and yet part of a crowd. It was here that he could begin to imagine a life beyond the grey world of 60s Ireland.

He reveled in the theatre and poetry of Dublin’s streets, populated by characters as eccentric and remarkable as any in fiction, those who spin a yarn with acuity and wit. It was a friend who suggested Byrne join an amateur drama group, a decision that would change his life forever and launch him on an extraordinary forty-year career in film and theatre. Moving between sensual recollection of childhood in a now almost vanished Ireland and reflections on stardom in Hollywood and Broadway, Byrne also courageously recounts his battle with addiction and the ambivalence of fame.

Byrne revealed that his children are being brought up in the Jewish faith, though he himself was raised a Catholic. He decided with his ex wife Ellen Barkin that their children be raised Jewish …. after suffering from years of Catholic guilt. Walking with Ghosts is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking as well as a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that ultimately shape our destinies.

[book] The Lost Boys:
A Decker/Lazarus Mystery Novel
by Faye Kellerman
January 12, 2021
William Morrow

Faye Kellerman returns with an atmospheric, fast-paced mystery set in bucolic upstate New York, full of unexpected twists and turns that build to a shocking and surprising end—the latest thrilling entry in her New York Times bestseller Decker/Lazarus series.

When Bertram Telemann goes missing from a local diner near Greenbury, the entire community of the small upstate New York town volunteers to search the surrounding woods in hopes of finding him. Bertram had been on a field trip with the staff and fellow residents of the Loving Care Home when he vanished.

When no trace of the man is found, the disappearance quickly becomes an official missing persons case and is assigned to detectives Peter Decker and his partner Tyler McAdams. As their investigation deepens, the seasoned Decker becomes convinced that Bertram hadn’t lost his way, but had left with someone he knew. Soon Decker discovers that Elsie Schulung, a recently fired nurse who had worked at the home, seemed to be especially interested in Bertram. But answers proves elusive when Elsie disappears and human blood is found in her kitchen.

But the complications are only beginning. While combing the woods, searchers discover the remains of one of three young men who had vanished during a camping trip. And for Decker, personal problems are adding pressure as well. After a ten-year absence, the biological mother of Decker’s and Rina’s foster son, Gabriel, has suddenly appeared in New York, children in tow, wreaking emotional havoc on the young man.

Juggling the personal and professional, a hot case and a cold case, Decker and McAdams race to find answers, sifting through cabinets of old files, a plethora of clues and evidence, and discouraging dead ends. As on-going searches for Bertram and the campers’ missing remains continue, the frustrated detectives begin to wonder if the woods will ever give up its dark secrets . . . and if these intertwining cases will be solved.

[book] Comrades Betrayed:
Jewish World War I Veterans under Hitler
by Michael Geheran
Cornell University Press

At the end of 1941, six weeks after the mass deportations of Jews from Nazi Germany had begun, Gestapo offices across the Reich received an urgent telex from Adolf Eichmann, decreeing that all war-wounded and decorated Jewish veterans of World War I be exempted from upcoming "evacuations." Why this was so, and how Jewish veterans at least initially were able to avoid the fate of ordinary Jews under the Nazis, is the subject of Comrades Betrayed.

Michael Geheran deftly illuminates how the same values that compelled Jewish soldiers to demonstrate bravery in the front lines in World War I made it impossible for them to accept passively, let alone comprehend, persecution under Hitler. After all, they upheld the ideal of the German fighting man, embraced the fatherland, and cherished the bonds that had developed in military service. Through their diaries and private letters, as well as interviews with eyewitnesses and surviving family members and records from the police, Gestapo, and military, Michael Geheran presents a major challenge to the prevailing view that Jewish veterans were left isolated, neighborless, and having suffered a social death by 1938.

Tracing the path from the trenches of the Great War to the extermination camps of the Third Reich, Geheran exposes a painful dichotomy: while many Jewish former combatants believed that Germany would never betray them, the Holocaust was nonetheless a horrific reality. In chronicling Jewish veterans' appeal to older, traditional notions of comradeship and national belonging, Comrades Betrayed forces reflection on how this group made use of scant opportunities to defy Nazi persecution and, for some, to evade becoming victims of the Final Solution.

Codebreakers, Spies, and the Secret
Struggle to Drive the Nazis
from the Middle East
by Gershom Gorenberg
January 19, 2021

Rommel's army is a day from Cairo, a week from Tel Aviv. The SS is ready for action. Espionage brought the Nazis this far. Espionage can stop them - if Washington wakes up to the danger.

As World War II raged in North Africa, General Erwin Rommel was guided by an uncanny sense of his enemies' plans and weaknesses. In the summer of 1942, he led his Axis army swiftly and terrifyingly toward Alexandria, with the goal of overrunning the entire Middle East. Each step was informed by detailed updates on British positions. The Nazis, somehow, had a source for the Allies' greatest secrets.

Yet the Axis powers were not the only ones with intelligence. Brilliant Allied cryptographers worked relentlessly at Bletchley Park, breaking down the extraordinarily complex Nazi code Enigma. From decoded German messages, they discovered that the enemy had a wealth of inside information. On the brink of disaster, a fevered and high-stakes search for the source began.

War of Shadows is the cinematic story of the race for information in the North African theater of World War II, set against intrigues that spanned the Middle East. Years in the making, this book is a feat of historical research and storytelling, and a rethinking of the popular narrative of the war. It portrays the conflict not as an inevitable clash of heroes and villains but a spiraling series of failures, accidents, and desperate triumphs that decided the fate of the Middle East and quite possibly the outcome of the war.

[book] Homo Irrealis:
by André Aciman
January 19, 2021

Author of Find Me, Call Me by Your Name, Out of Egypt, and other works returns to the essay form with his collection of thoughts on time, the creative mind, and great lives and works

Cheaper than enrolling in his course

Irrealis moods are the set of verbal moods that indicate that something is not actually the case or a certain situation or action is not known to have happened . . .

André Aciman returns to the essay form in Homo Irrealis to explore what the present tense means to artists who cannot grasp the here and now. Irrealis is not about the present, or the past, or the future, but about what might have been but never was-but could in theory still happen.

From meditations on subway poetry and the temporal resonances of an empty Italian street, to considerations of the lives and work of Sigmund Freud, Constantine Cavafy, W. G. Sebald, John Sloan, Éric Rohmer, Marcel Proust, and Fernando Pessoa, and portraits of cities such as Alexandria and St. Petersburg, Homo Irrealis is a deep reflection of the imagination’s power to shape our memories under time’s seemingly intractable hold.

by Matthew Salesses
January 19, 2021

"An insightful guide for readers, writers, and instructors from all walks of life," this manifesto and practical guide challenges current models of craft and the writing workshop by showing how they fail marginalized writers, and how cultural expectations inform storytelling (Kirkus Reviews).

The traditional writing workshop was established with white male writers in mind; what we call craft is informed by their cultural values.

In this examination of elements of writing--including plot, character, conflict, structure, and believability--and aspects of workshop--including the silenced writer and the imagined reader-- Matthew Salesses asks questions to invigorate these familiar concepts.

He upends Western (read as WHITE) notions of how a story must progress. How can we rethink craft, and the teaching of it, to better reach writers with diverse backgrounds? How can we invite diverse storytelling traditions into literary spaces?

Drawing from examples including One Thousand and One Nights, Curious George, Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, and the Asian American classic No-No Boy, Salesses asks us to reimagine craft and the workshop. In the pages of exercises included here, teachers will find suggestions for building syllabi, grading, and introducing new methods to the classroom; students will find revision and editing guidance, as well as a new lens for reading their work. Salesses shows that we need to interrogate the lack of diversity at the core of published fiction: how we teach and write it. After all, as he reminds us, "When we write fiction, we write the world."

[book] [book] I Hate Men:
More than a banned book,
the must-read on feminism,
sexism and the patriarchy
for every woman
by Pauline Harmange
Natasha Lehrer (Translator from French)
January 19, 2021
Fourth Estate

The feminist book that a government official tried to ban. He has since been reassigned

Women, especially feminists and lesbians, have long been accused of hating men. Our instinct is to deny it at all costs. (After all, women have been burnt at the stake for admitting to less.)

But what if mistrusting men, disliking men – and yes, maybe even hating men – is, in fact, a useful response to sexism? What if such a response offers a way out of oppression, a means of resistance? What if it even offers a path to joy, solidarity and sisterhood?

In this sparkling essay, as mischievous and provocative as it is urgent and serious, Pauline Harmange interrogates modern attitudes to feminism and makes a rallying cry for women to find a greater love for each other – and themselves.

[book] Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires:
The Life of Patricia Highsmith
by Richard Bradford
January 19, 2021

PATRICIA HIGHSMITH was famous and successful due to her books, some of which were made into films, including The Talented Mr Ripley and Strangers on a Train. A lesbian and virulent anti-Semite, Patricia Highsmith was lauded as one of the most influential and celebrated modern novelists, and master of the psychological thriller. However, there has never been a clear picture of the woman behind the books. For example, why were two of her closest most passionate lovers Jewish women (Ellen Blumenthal Hill; Marion Aboudaram; Daisy Winton), yet Highsmith hated Jews, called herself, openly, a “Jew Hater,” and would say that Hitler only did half a job (semicaust), since he only killed six million Jews and there were still 6 million left. (She would call her boss a KIKE, and would say he Jew'd her out of money. She also said the Holocaust was an industry – Holocaust Incorporated – that Jews ran for profit. Once at a dinner party in Switzerland, she wrote a tattoo number on her forearm, and offended most of the guests. She often would tell her friends that she was “sick of the Jews.” As a hobby, using pseudonyms, she wrote Letters to the Editor expressing anti-Israeli sentiments to various newspapers in America and Europe. When Hill tried to commit suicide, Highsmith left and slept with another woman that night.

The relationship between Highsmith's lesbianism, her fraught personality – by parts self-destructive and malicious – and her fiction, has been largely avoided by biographers. She was openly homosexual and wrote the seminal lesbian love story, Carol. In modern times, she would be venerated as a radical exponent of the LGBT community. However, her status as an LGBT icon is undermined by the fact that she was excessively cruel and exploitative of her friends and lovers.

Highsmith was buddies with Gore Vidal She was also friend with Arthur Koestler. After she had sex with him, she wrote in her diary of the DOUBLE HORROR iof sleeping with someone who was Jewish and a Man.

In this new biography, Richard Bradford brings his sharp, incisive style to one of the great and most controversial writers of the twentieth century. He considers Highsmith's bestsellers in the context of her troubled personal life; her alcoholism, licentious sex life, racism (if you think she hated Jews, she hated Blacks even more), anti-Semitism, misogyny and abundant self-loathing.

[book] Ask Your Developer:
How to Harness the Power
of Software Developers and
Win in the 21st Century
by Jeff Lawson
January 19, 2021

Jeff Lawson, software developer turned CEO of Twilio, creates a new playbook for unleashing the full potential of software developers in any organization, showing how to help management utilize this coveted and valuable workforce to enable growth, solve a wide range of business problems and drive digital transformation.

From banking and retail to insurance and finance, every industry is turning digital, and every company needs the best software to win the hearts and minds of customers. The landscape has shifted from the classic build vs. buy question, to one of build vs. die. Companies have to get this right to survive. But how do they make this transition?

Software developers are sought after, highly paid, and desperately needed to compete in the modern, digital economy. Yet most companies treat them like digital factory workers without really understanding how to unleash their full potential. Lawson argues that developers are the creative workforce who can solve major business problems and create hit products for customers—not just grind through rote tasks. From Google and Amazon, to one-person online software companies—companies that bring software developers in as partners are winning. Lawson shows how leaders who build industry changing software products consistently do three things well. First, they understand why software developers matter more than ever. Second, they understand developers and know how to motivate them. And third, they invest in their developers' success.

As a software developer and public company CEO, Lawson uses his unique position to bridge the language and tools executives use with the unique culture of high performing, creative software developers. Ask Your Developer is a toolkit to help business leaders, product managers, technical leaders, software developers, and executives achieve their common goal—building great digital products and experiences. How to compete in the digital economy? In short: Ask Your Developer.

[book] The Ex Talk
A Novel
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
January 26, 2021

Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon's sparkling romantic comedy debut.

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can't imagine working anywhere else. But lately it's been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who's fresh off a journalism master's program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it's this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it's not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

[book] Goering's Man in Paris:
The Story of a Nazi Art
Plunderer and His World
by Jonathan Petropoulos
January 26, 2021

A charged biography of a notorious Nazi art plunderer and his career in the postwar art world
"A well-rounded portrait of a complex figure. . . . Engrossing."—Publishers Weekly
“With meticulous precision Jonathan uncovers the inner workings of the Nazi looting machine, exposing a network that lasted well into the 1960s. Indeed Göring’s Man still casts a long shadow.”—Simon Goodman, author of The Orpheus Clock

Bruno Lohse (1911–2007) was one of the most notorious art plunderers in history. Appointed by Hermann Göring to Hitler’s art looting agency in Paris, he went on to help supervise the systematic theft and distribution of more than thirty thousand artworks, taken largely from French Jews, and to assist Göring in amassing an enormous private art collection. By the 1950s Lohse was officially denazified but was back in the art dealing world, offering masterpieces of dubious origin to American museums.

After his death, dozens of paintings by Renoir, Monet, and Pissarro, among others, were found in his Zurich bank vault and adorning the walls of his Munich home. Jonathan Petropoulos spent nearly a decade interviewing Lohse and continues to serve as an expert witness for Holocaust restitution cases. Here he tells the story of Lohse’s life, offering a critical examination of the postwar art world.

[book] The Story Keeper:
Weaving the Threads of
Time and Memory,
A Memoir
by Fred Feldman
January 26, 2021
Amsterdam Publishing

A memoir ultimately without a time and ultimately without a place. It's a story of families across generations of peace and of war, of homes that become lost and hopes that are kept, and a belief in a future that's better than the present.

The book is a compelling and exhilarating experience exploring the threads of times now long gone and the memories that arose from them to generate the stories that lived on. In each family, a fundamental life event spawns ripples that sweep across time and generations that would fade forever without exploration and would otherwise shed all meaning.

The key event in many lives is making the decision to leave home forever and to strike out not knowing if it leads to disaster or to a future and a better place. So many today around the world face the same uncertain decision - to stay or to go.

[book] A Kabbalist in Montreal:
The Life and Times of Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg
Annotated Edition
by Ira Robinson
January 26, 2021
Touro University Press

This book illuminates important issues faced by Orthodox Judaism in the modern era by relating the life and times of Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg (1859–1935). In presenting Yudel Rosenberg’s rabbinic activities, this book aims to show that Jewish Orthodoxy could serve as an agent of modernity no less than its opponents. Yudel Rosenberg’s considerable literary output will demonstrate that the line between “secular” and “traditional” literature was not always sharp and distinct. Rabbi Rosenberg’s kabbalistic works will shed light on the revival of kabbala study in the twentieth century. Yudel Rosenberg’s career in Canada will serve as a counter-example to the often-expressed idea that Hasidism exercised no significant influence on the development of American Judaism at the turn of the twentieth century.

[book] The Good War
by Todd Strasser
January 26, 2021
Touro University Press
Ages 11 and up

From the author of The Wave comes a poignant and timely novel about a group of seventh graders who are brought together—and then torn apart—by an afterschool club that plays a video game based on WW2.

There's a new afterschool club at Ironville Middle School.

Ms. Peterson is starting a video game club where the students will playing The Good War, a new game based on World War II.

They are divided into two teams: Axis and Allies, and they will be simulating a war they know nothing about yet. Only one team will win. But what starts out as friendly competition, takes an unexpected turn for the worst when an one player takes the game too far.

Can an afterschool club change the way the students see eachother...and how they see the world?

"By using a gaming lens to explore the students’ entrée to prejudice and radicalization, he succeeds in lending immediacy and accessibility to his cautionary tale."—Kirkus Reviews

[book] The Devil You Know:
A Black Power Manifesto
by Charles M Blow
January 26, 2021

Charles Blow, formerly a graphics Editor and Op-Ed writer at The New York Times, is now a columnist there. He gained the enmity of some in 2010 when he questioned Jewish political influence in America. Having moved from Brooklyn to Atlanta, in a second great migration, he has escaped the Black communities in Northern cities, where they were abandoned by the Black elites and were spurned by white progressives (code word?), in these permanent refugee camps from the South, and he has written a manifesto and call to action for Black Americans to amass political power and fight white supremacy. Black people of the North and West should recolonize their Black dense majority South and gain electoral power. It is no fluke that Black voters in Georgia elected its first Black Senator in January 2021, as well as the first Jew from the South since the 1880s.

Race, as we have come to understand it, is a fiction; but, racism, as we have come to live it, is a fact.

For Blow, the point here is not to impose a new racial hierarchy, but to remove an existing one. After centuries of waiting for white majorities to overturn white supremacy, Charles Blow wants Black people to do it themselves. Many of the issues that have driven racial justice activists to organize and resist over the last few years — criminal justice, mass incarceration, voting rights and education and health policies — are controlled at the state level. The vast majority of people incarcerated in America are in state prisons: 1.3 million. Only about a sixth as many are in federal prisons. States have natural resources and indigenous industries. Someone has to control who is granted the right to exploit, and profit from, those resources. Why not Black people?

As violence against Black people — both physical and psychological — seemed only to increase in recent years, culminating in the historic pandemic and protests of the summer of 2020, Blow felt compelled to write a new story by a Black Gay American for Black Americans. He envisions a succinct, counter intuitive, and impassioned corrective to the myths that have for too long governed our thinking about race and geography in America. Drawing on both political observations and personal experience as a Black son of the South, Blow sets out to offer a call to action by which Black people can finally achieve equality, on their own terms.

So what will it take to make lasting change when small steps have so frequently failed? It’s going to take an unprecedented shift in power. The Devil You Know is a groundbreaking manifesto, proposing a power play by Black people. His exhortation to generations of a people seeks to offer a road map to true and lasting freedom.

And if you are wondering who the DEVIL is... well... you can probably guess it.

Over 90% of Jewish teens in America will enroll in college, and their families will need to save to pay for it
[book] The Price You Pay for College:
An Entirely New Road Map
for the Biggest Financial Decision
Your Family Will Ever Make
by Ron Lieber
(New York Times)
January 26, 2021

The hugely popular New York Times “Your Money” columnist and author of the bestselling The Opposite of Spoiled offers a deeply reported and emotionally honest approach to the biggest financial decision families will ever make: what to pay for college.

Sending a teenager to a flagship state university for four years of on-campus living costs more than $100,000 in many parts of the United States. Meanwhile, many families of freshmen attending selective private colleges will spend triple—over $300,000. With the same passion, smarts, and humor that infuse his personal finance column, Ron Lieber offers a much-needed roadmap to help families navigate this difficult and often confusing journey.

Lieber begins by explaining who pays what and why and how the financial aid system got so complicated. He also pulls the curtain back on merit aid, an entirely new form of discounting that most colleges now use to compete with peers.

While price is essential, value is paramount. So what is worth paying extra for, and how do you know when it exists in abundance at any particular school? Is a small college better than a big one? Who actually does the teaching? Given that every college claims to have reinvented its career center, who should we actually believe? He asks the tough questions of college presidents and financial aid gatekeepers that parents don’t know (or are afraid) to ask and summarizes the research about what matters and what doesn’t.

Finally, Lieber calmly walks families through the process of setting financial goals, explaining the system to their children and figuring out the right ways to save, borrow, and bargain for a better deal.

The Price You Pay for College gives parents the clarity they need to make informed choices and helps restore the joy and wonder the college experience is supposed to represent.

[book] American Baby:
A Mother, a Child, and the
Shadow History of Adoption
by Gabrielle Glaser
January 26, 2021

You may recall the NYTIMES story on mother and son in 2015. Here is the story in depth:

Louise Wise Services, the defunct Jewish adoption agency left a lot of pain and ethical lapses in its wake.

The shocking truth about postwar adoption in America, told through the bittersweet story of one teenager, the son she was forced to relinquish, and their search to find each other

During the Baby Boom in 1960s America, women were encouraged to stay home and raise large families, but sex and childbirth were taboo subjects (as was cancer). Premarital sex was common, but birth control was hard to get and abortion was illegal. In 1961, sixteen-year-old Margaret Erle (Katz) fell in love (with George Katz, 16, the high school baseball pitcher) and became pregnant (She didn't know about sex and pregnancy, and got pregnant the first time the fumbled around and had sexual intercourse). Her enraged family (her parents were among the many Jews who fled Germany and the Nazis and found refuge in Washington Heights in Manhattan) sent her to a maternity home (Lakeview Home for Unwed Jewish Mothers, on Staten Island, NYC, which was owned by Louise Wise Services), and after she gave birth, she wasn't even allowed her to hold her own son. Social workers threatened her with jail until she signed away her parental rights. Her son vanished, his whereabouts and new identity known only to an adoption agency that would never share the slightest detail about his fate.

Claiming to be acting in the best interests of all, the adoption business was founded on secrecy and lies. American Baby lays out how a lucrative and exploitative industry removed children from their birth mothers and placed them with hopeful families, fabricating stories about infants' origins and destinations, then closing the door firmly between the parties forever. Adoption agencies and other organizations that purported to help pregnant women struck unethical deals with doctors and researchers for pseudo-scientific "assessments," and shamed millions of young women into surrendering their children.

Gabrielle Glaser dramatically demonstrates the power of the expectations and institutions that Margaret faced. Margaret went on to marry and raise a large family with David (Rosenberg)'s father, but she never stopped longing for and worrying about her firstborn. She didn't know he spent the first years of his life living just a few blocks away from her; as he grew, he wondered about where he came from and why he was given up. Their tale--one they share with millions of Americans--is one of loss, love, and the search for identity.

Adoption's closed records are being legally challenged in states nationwide. Open adoption is the rule today, but the identities of many who were adopted or who surrendered a child in the postwar decades are locked in sealed files. American Baby illuminates a dark time in our history and shows a path to reunion that can help heal the wounds inflicted by years of shame and secrecy.

Note: David is the late David Rosenberg, the beloved and celebrated cantor in Portland Oregon, who sadly passed away of thyroid cancer after meeting his birth mother. After his family moved to Toronto, where David focused on hockey and Jewish studies, he moved to Israel and served in the IDF. David's adoptive parents both died before he was 30 (his father passed away in 1978). His adoptive father was Cantor Ephraim Rosenberg, formerly of Rishon le Zion, NYC, (JTS), and Beth Sholom in Toronto. Both Ephraim and Esther survived the Shoah.

[book] Nicky & Vera:
A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust
and the Children He Rescued
by Peter Sís
January 26, 2021
Norton Young Readers
Grades 1 – 4

Caldecott Honoree and Sibert Medalist Peter Sís honors a man who saved hundreds of children from the Nazis.

In 1938, twenty-nine-year-old Nicholas Winton saved the lives of almost 700 children trapped in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia-a story he never told and that remained unknown until an unforgettable TV appearance in the 1980s reunited him with some of the children he saved.

Czech-American artist, MacArthur Fellow, and Andersen Award winner Peter Sís dramatizes Winton’s story in this distinctive and deeply personal picture book. He intertwines Nicky’s efforts with the story of one of the children he saved-a young girl named Vera, whose family enlisted Nicky’s aid when the Germans occupied their country. As the war passes and Vera grows up, she must find balance in her dual identities-one her birthright, the other her choice.

Nicky & Vera is a masterful tribute to a humble man’s courageous efforts to protect Europe’s most vulnerable, and a timely portrayal of the hopes and fears of those forced to leave their homes and create new lives.

[book] American Kompromat:
How the KGB Cultivated Donald
Trump, and Related Tales of Sex,
Greed, Power, and Treachery
by Craig Unger
January 26, 2021

Kompromat n.—Russian for "compromising information"

This is a story of dirty secrets, and the most powerful people in the world.

Craig Unger’s new book, American Kompromat, tells of the spies and salacious events underpinning men’s reputations and riches. It tells how a relatively insignificant targeting operation by the KGB’s New York rezidentura (New York Station) more than forty years ago—an attempt to recruit an influential businessman as a new asset—triggered a sequence of intelligence protocols that morphed into the greatest intelligence bonanza in history. And it tells of a coterie of associates, reaching all the way into the office of the Attorney General, who stood to advance power, and themselves.

Based on extensive, exclusive interviews with dozens of high-level sources—Soviets who resigned from the KGB and moved to the United States, former officers in the CIA, FBI counterintelligence agents, lawyers at white-shoe Washington firms--and analysis of thousands of pages of FBI investigations, police investigations, and news articles in English, Russian, and Ukrainian, American Kompromat shows that something much more sinister and important has been taking place than the public could ever imagine: namely, that from Donald Trump to Jeffrey Epstein, kompromat operations documented the darkest secrets of the most powerful people in the world and transformed them into potent weapons.

Was Donald Trump a Russian asset? Just how compromised was he? And how could such an audacious feat have been accomplished? American Kompromat is situated in the ongoing context of the Trump-Russia scandal and the new era of hybrid warfare, kleptocrats, and authoritarian right-wing populism it helped accelerate. To answer these questions and more, Craig Unger reports, is to understand kompromat—operations that amassed compromising information on the richest and most powerful men on earth, and that leveraged power by appealing to what is for some the most prized possession of all: their vanity.

[book] A Shot in the Moonlight:
How a Freed Slave and a
Confederate Soldier Fought for
Justice in the Jim Crow South
by Ben Montgomery
January 26, 2021
Little, Brown

The sensational true story of George Dinning, a freed slave, who in 1899 joined forces with a Confederate war hero in search of justice in the Jim Crow south.

Named a most anticipated book of 2021 by O, The Oprah Magazine Named a "must-read" by the Chicago Review of Books One of CNN's most anticipated books of 2021

After moonrise on the cold night of January 21, 1897, a mob of twenty-five white men gathered in a patch of woods near Big Road in southwestern Simpson County, Kentucky. Half carried rifles and shotguns, and a few tucked pistols in their pants. Their target was George Dinning, a freed slave who'd farmed peacefully in the area for 14 years, and who had been wrongfully accused of stealing livestock from a neighboring farm. When the mob began firing through the doors and windows of Dinning's home, he fired back in self-defense, shooting and killing the son of a wealthy Kentucky family.

So began one of the strangest legal episodes in American history — one that ended with Dinning becoming the first Black man in America to win damages after a wrongful murder conviction.

Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Ben Montgomery resurrects this dramatic but largely forgotten story, and the unusual convergence of characters — among them a Confederate war hero-turned-lawyer named Bennett H. Young, Kentucky governor William O'Connell Bradley, and George Dinning himself — that allowed this unlikely story of justice to unfold in a time and place where justice was all too rare.

[book] Extremism
by J. M. Berger

What extremism is, how extremist ideologies are constructed, and why extremism can escalate into violence.

A rising tide of extremist movements threaten to destabilize civil societies around the globe. It has never been more important to understand extremism, yet the dictionary definition—a logical starting point in a search for understanding—tells us only that extremism is “the quality or state of being extreme.” In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, J. M. Berger offers a nuanced introduction to extremist movements, explaining what extremism is, how extremist ideologies are constructed, and why extremism can escalate into violence. Berger shows that although the ideological content of extremist movements varies widely, there are common structural elements.

Berger, an expert on extremist movements and terrorism, explains that extremism arises from a perception of “us versus them,” intensified by the conviction that the success of “us” is inseparable from hostile acts against “them.” Extremism differs from ordinary unpleasantness—run-of-the-mill hatred and racism—by its sweeping rationalization of an insistence on violence. Berger illustrates his argument with case studies and examples from around the world and throughout history, from the destruction of Carthage by the Romans—often called “the first genocide”—to the apocalyptic jihadism of Al Qaeda, America's new “alt-right,” and the anti-Semitic conspiracy tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He describes the evolution of identity movements, individual and group radicalization, and more. If we understand the causes of extremism, and the common elements of extremist movements, Berger says, we will be more effective in countering it.

[book] Thinking Like a Lawyer:
A Framework for Teaching
Critical Thinking to All Students
by Colin Seale

Critical thinking is the essential tool for ensuring that students fulfill their promise. But, in reality, critical thinking is still a luxury good, and students with the greatest potential are too often challenged the least. Thinking Like a Lawyer:

Introduces a powerful but practical framework to close the critical thinking gap. Gives teachers the tools and knowledge to teach critical thinking to all students.
Helps students adopt the skills, habits, and mindsets of lawyers.
Empowers students to tackle 21st-century problems.
Teaches students how to compete in a rapidly changing global marketplace.

Colin Seale, a teacher-turned-attorney-turned-education-innovator and founder of thinkLaw, uses his unique experience to introduce a wide variety of concrete instructional strategies and examples that teachers can use in all grade levels and subject areas. Individual chapters address underachievement, the value of nuance, evidence-based reasoning, social-emotional learning, equitable education, and leveraging families to close the critical thinking gap.

[book] Benny Feldman's All-Star Klezmer Band
by Allison Marks, Wayne Marks
January 30, 2021
Green Bean

Eleven-year-old Benny Feldman spends his days at Sieberling School obeying his number-one rule for surviving sixth grade: blend into the background.

So when he signs up his klezmer band to play in the school talent show, his classmates are shocked. Teased by guitar superstar and former friend Jason Conroy, Benny vows to win the trophy and erase the embarrassing nickname that has haunted him since his disastrous debut performance in an first-grade Sabbath play.

But, there is a problem. Benny Feldman's All-Star Klezmer Band is only a figment of Benny's imagination. He loves the traditional klezmer music of Eastern Europe, but how is he going to find other players to join him?

With the show a few months away, Benny, an accomplished fiddler, embarks on a quest to assemble a band that will beat Jason's rock group at the talent show. His search takes him to an arcade convention, a potato chip factory, an oddities shop, and a storage room stacked with cans of creamed corn and succotash. Along the way he meets Jennifer, a jazz-loving drummer; Royce, a bow-tie-wearing clarinet prodigy; and Stuart, a braggart accordion player from Cajun Country. He also learns a great deal about the joys and sorrows that lie at the heart of klezmer and discovers that being different can be wonderful.

Eventually, the ragtag and renamed "Klez Misfits" mount the stage and the tension-filled climax will have young readers wondering until the end if Benny and his band can pull off a miracle.

This fun, feel-good story shows how friends, family, history and culture can all build confidence. Benny learns to believe in himself and has fun and finds love along the way.

[book] Matzpen:
A History of Israeli Dissidence
by Lutz Fiedler
Jake Schneider (Translator)
January 30, 2021
Edinburgh University Press

History from the margins
Lutz Fiedler is Research Associate at the Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg and at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Jake Schneider is a US-born, Berlin-based translator and the editor in chief of the literary journal SAND, established in 2009.

This book explores the history of the Israeli Socialist Organization – Matzpen (compass) – that splintered off from the Communist Party of Israel in 1962. After the Six Day War of June 1967, Matzpen shook Israeli society, calling for a withdrawal from the recently occupied territories, and placing itself outside the national consensus. Even before the war, the group emphasised the colonial dimension of the conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, which was irresolvable within the paradigm of the nation-state. Matzpen instead advocated for Israel’s de-Zionisation and a socialist revolution in the Middle East in order to both restore the rights of Palestinian Arabs and guarantee the existence of Israeli Jews as a new Hebrew nation. However, in the era after Auschwitz, when the Jewish world stood in almost unanimous solidarity with the Jewish state, Matzpen’s radical perspective was at odds with the history and memory of the Holocaust. Against this backdrop, this study places Matzpen’s political stance in its historical context and sheds new light on the political culture of Israel.

[book] The Jewish Soul:
Classics of Yiddish Cinema
[Blu-ray DISCS]
Avrom Morewski, Leo Fuchs, and dozens of other famed actors
FALL 2020

You've seen clips in documentaries. Now see the full films. Cultural sensibility, they captured the essence of the Jewish soul. Comprised of both the essential films (The Dybbuk, Tevya) and the lesser-known programmers (The Yiddish King Lear, Motel the Operator), this five-disc set captures the diversity of Yiddish film, and encourages a better appreciation of this most fascinating, but rarely-viewed genre. The ten features in this collection were restored by Lobster Films, the result of an unprecedented collaboration between the Museum of Modern Art, the Deutsche Kinemathek and the Filmoteka Narodowa in Warsaw. Each film has been newly translated by noted Yiddish actor (the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man), playwright and translator Allen Lewis Rickman.

Special Features:
-THE DYBBUK: Audio commentary by J. Hoberman. Alternate 99-minute version
-AMERICAN MATCHMAKER: Audio commentary by Eve Sicular. Alternate version with 1940 subtitles. | OVERTURE TO GLORY: Audio commentary by Allen Lewis Rickman
-TEVYA: Audio commentary by Allen Lewis Rickman
-HER SECOND MOTHER: Audio commentary by Allen Lewis Rickman. Alternate version with 1940 subtitles
-ELI ELI: Alternate version with 1940 subtitles

-Printed booklet including essays by journalist and historian Samuel Blumenfeld, film preservationist Serge Bromberg and Yiddish cultural historian Allen Lewis Rickman
-Theatrical trailer

Casts include: Avrom Morewski Leo Fuchs cantor Moyshe Oysher Maurice Schwartz Maurice Krohner Chaim Tauber Max Badin Charlotte Goldstein Michael Rosenberg Esther Field Seymour Rechzeit Fannie Levenstein Miriam Riselle Florence Weiss Judith Abarbanel Esta Salzman Ajzyk Samberg
AND Crews of Directors Joseph Seiden, Aleksander Ford, Edgar G. Ulmer, Maurice Schwartz, Max Nosseck and Michal Wasczy?ski

Too often segregated within an academic and cultural niche, Yiddish cinema is in fact a varied and vibrant genre ripe for reappraisal. Whether shot in the fields of Poland or makeshift studios in Manhattan, Yidishe Kino endure not only as precious documents of a vanishing culture, but a fascinating genre unto itself, with its unique blend of schmaltz and shtick, a dash of operetta, often overlaid with brooding atmosphere. Restored by Lobster Films, Paris, presented by Kino Lorber, this series showcases careful new translations by Yiddish cultural historian Allen Lewis Rickman, which preserve the clever wordplay and conveys the fluidity of the multi-lingual dialogue. Ten classics of Yiddish cinema now available in all-new restorations! The Dybbuk (INCLUDING THE FAMED DANCE) – American Matchmaker – Her Second Mother – Mir Kumen On Tevya – Overture to Glory – Eli Eli – Jewish King Lear – Motel, the Operator – Three Daughters

If you don't have BLU RAY... you should visit just to see the trailer and some pics from the films

[book] DIJ - Do It Jewish:
Use Your Jewish Creativity!
by Barbara Bietz
Daria Grinevich (Illustrator)
Winter 2020-21
Intergalactic Afikomen

It’s like a Jewish creativity mentor in a book!
Learn from Jewish creativity mentors & use your own Jewish creativity in areas ranging from Jewish cooking to Jewish filmmaking.

[book] Irreversible Damage:
The Transgender Craze Seducing
Our Daughters
by Abigail Shrier

Wall Street Journal writer reports on her POV on the growth of women transitioning to men, especially during college or grad school, since school insurance pays for the surgery.

Until just a few years ago, gender dysphoria — severe discomfort in one’s biological sex that was assigned at birth — was vanishingly rare. It was typically found in less than .01 percent of the population (one in 10,000), emerged in early childhood, and afflicted males almost exclusively.

But today, the author reports, whole groups of female friends in colleges, high schools, and even middle schools across the country are coming out as “transgender.” These are girls who had never experienced any discomfort in their biological sex until they heard a coming-out story from a speaker at a school assembly or discovered the internet community of trans “influencers.” It is a hot faddish thing to be or identify with, a community to be comfortable with.

Unsuspecting parents are awakening to find their daughters in thrall to hip trans YouTube stars and “gender-affirming” educators and therapists who push life-changing interventions on young girls—including – as the author writes - medically unnecessary double mastectomies and puberty blockers that can cause permanent infertility.

Abigail Shrier writes that it is a trans epidemic, talking to the girls, their parents, and the counselors and doctors who enable gender transitions, as well as to “detransitioners” — young women who bitterly regret what they have done to themselves (and find out that it isn;t covered by most private insurance after school).

Shrier writes that coming out as transgender immediately boosts girls’ social statuses. But it is not easy to reverse. She offers advice for parents who wish to fight this trend, who see it as dangerous, who think it involves brainwashing by trans activists, those who are not supportive, those who see fighting it as a way to protect their daughters. As Shrier sees it, girls are at risk.

[book] Germania:
A Novel of Nazi Berlin
by Harald Gilbers
Winter 2020-21
St. Martin's Press
Mystery / Thriller
Highly anticipated

From international bestselling author Harald Gilbers comes the heart-pounding story of Jewish detective Richard Oppenheimer as he hunts for a serial killer through war-torn Nazi Berlin in Germania.

Berlin 1944: a serial killer stalks the bombed-out capital of the Reich, preying on women and laying their mutilated bodies in front of war memorials. All of the victims are linked to the Nazi party. But according to one eyewitness account, the perpetrator is not an opponent of Hitler's regime, but rather a loyal Nazi.

Jewish detective Richard Oppenheimer, once a successful investigator for the Berlin police, is reactivated by the Gestapo and forced onto the case. Oppenheimer is not just concerned with catching the killer and helping others survive, but also his own survival. Worst of all, solving this case is what will certainly put him in the most jeopardy. With no other choice but to futher his investigation, he feverishly searches for answers, and a way out of this dangerous game.

[book] Apollo's Arrow:
The Profound and Enduring Impact
of Coronavirus on the Way We Live
by Nicholas A. Christakis MD PhD
(Yale University)
Little, Brown

Apollo's Arrow offers a riveting account of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as it swept through American society in 2020, and of how the recovery will unfold in the coming years.

Will people become more religious and then less
Will children lose a year of schooling
Will women leave the workforce or lose their positioning
Will there be a ROARING 20's like after the Spanish flu Will there be reduced sexual mores and increased STDs

Drawing on momentous (yet dimly remembered) historical epidemics, contemporary analyses, and cutting-edge research from a range of scientific disciplines, bestselling author, physician, sociologist, and public health expert Nicholas A. Christakis explores what it means to live in a time of plague — an experience that is paradoxically uncommon to the vast majority of humans who are alive, yet deeply fundamental to our species.

Unleashing new divisions in our society as well as opportunities for cooperation, this 21st-century pandemic has upended our lives in ways that will test, but not vanquish, our already frayed collective culture. Featuring new, provocative arguments and vivid examples ranging across medicine, history, sociology, epidemiology, data science, and genetics, Apollo's Arrow envisions what happens when the great force of a deadly germ meets the enduring reality of our evolved social nature.

[book] My Little Golden Book About
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Shana Corey
Margeaux Lucas (Illustrator)
Winter 2020-21
2 – 5 years old

A Little Golden Book biography about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, written for preschoolers.

This Little Golden Book is a compelling introduction to an inspiring woman, written for the youngest readers. From a young age, Ruth Bader Ginsburg knew that she wanted to fight for girls and women to have equal rights. She studied and worked very hard and became just the second woman--and the first Jewish woman--to be a United States Supreme Court Justice. This is a terrific read for future trailblazers and their parents!



[book] Fodor's Essential Israel
(Full-color Travel Guide)
by Fodor's Travel Guides
Fodor's Books

Whether you want to visit Jerusalem’s Old City, float in the Dead Sea, or party in Tel Aviv, the local Fodor’s travel experts in Israel are here to help! Fodor’s Essential Israel is part of the award-winning Fodor’s Essential series recognized by Booklist as the “Best Travel Guide in 2019.” guidebook is packed with maps, carefully curated recommendations, and everything else you need to simplify your trip-planning process and make the most of your time.

This new edition has been fully-redesigned with an easy-to-read layout, fresh information, and beautiful color photos.

Fodor’s Essential Israel includes: AN ILLUSTRATED ULTIMATE EXPERIENCES GUIDE to the top things to see and do MULTIPLE ITINERARIES to effectively organize your days and maximize your time MORE THAN 40 DETAILED MAPS to help you navigate confidently COLOR PHOTOS throughout to spark your wanderlust!
UP-TO-DATE and HONEST RECOMMENDATIONS for the best sights, restaurants, hotels, nightlife, shopping, performing arts, activities, side-trips, and more PHOTO-FILLED “BEST OF” FEATURES on “Most Sacred Sites,” “Best Museums,” and “Israel’s Natural Wonders”
TRIP-PLANNING TOOLS AND PRACTICAL TIPS including when to go, getting around, beating the crowds, and saving time and money
SPECIAL FEATURES on “Israel Through the Ages,” “Jerusalem: Keeping the Faith,” “The Dead Sea, A Natural Wonder,” “Masada: Desert Fortress,” “The Wines of Israel,” and “Jesus in the Galilee”
HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL INSIGHTS providing rich context on the local people, politics, art, architecture, cuisine, geography and more
LOCAL WRITERS to help you find the under-the-radar gems
HEBREW AND PALESTINIAN ARABIC LANGUAGE PRIMERS with useful words and essential phrases
COVERS: Jerusalem, Jaffa, Bethlehem, Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Masada, Haifa, Nazareth, Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights, Eilat, the Negev, Beersheva, Petra, and more

*Important note for digital editions: The digital edition of this guide does not contain all the images or text included in the physical edition.

(New London Synagogue, Abbey Road)
WINTER 2020-2021
Ages 10-13

A collection of micro-tales. There is a tale for each of the portions of the Torah, as read in Jewish communities around the world. And one for each of the Jewish Festivals as well. These tales are funny, engaging and largely told from the perspective of the 10-13 year olds who are our audience. We've told stories from the perspective of young-people who feature in the Biblical narrative, young-people who feature in classic Rabbinic commentary on our Biblical narratives and young-people we've just made up.

Some of former President Barack Obama's book selections 2020:

"Homeland Elegies" by Ayad Akhtar
"Jack" by Marilynne Robinson
"Caste" by Isabel Wilkerson
"The Splendid and the Vile" by Erik Larson
"Luster" by Raven Leilani
"How Much of These Hills is Gold" by C Pam Zhang
"Long Bright River" by Liz Moore
"Memorial Drive" by Natasha Trethewey
"Twilight of Democracy" by Anne Applebaum
"Deacon King Kong" by James McBride
"The Undocumented Americans" by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
"The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett
"The Glass Hotel" by Emily St. John Mandel
"Hidden Valley Road" by Robert Kolker
"The Ministry for the Future" by Kim Stanley Robinson
"Sharks in the Time of Saviors" by Kawai Strong Washburn
"Missionaries" by Phil Klay

Some of the books recommended for incoming U.S. President Joseph Biden

‘The Art of the Impossible: Politics As Morality in Practice,’ by Václav Havel
‘Stamped From the Beginning,’ by Ibram X. Kendi
‘The Living Presidency,’ by Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash
‘Supreme Inequality,’ by Adam Cohen
‘Gold and Freedom,’ by Nicolas Barreyre
‘To Repair the World,’ by Paul Farmer
‘The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931,’ by Adam Tooze
‘The Subjection of Women,’ by John Stuart Mill
‘The Future of Life,’ by Edward O. Wilson
‘Washington,’ by Ron Chernow
‘Coolidge,’ by Amity Shlaes
‘Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880,’ by W.E.B. Du Bois
‘Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department,’ by Dean Acheson
“The World: A Brief Introduction.” by Richard Haass
‘Baldwin,’ edited by Toni Morrison
‘Men Without Work,’ by Nicholas Eberstadt
‘The True and Only Heaven,’ by Christopher Lasch
‘The Fifth Risk – Undoing Democracy,’ by Michael Lewis
‘The People vs. Democracy,’ by Yascha Mounk
‘The Purpose of Power,’ by Alicia Garza
‘American Politics. The Promise of Disharmony,’ by Samuel P. Huntington
‘What It’s Like to Be a Bird,’ by David Allen Sibley


[book] How to Not Die Alone:
The Surprising Science
That Will Help You Find Love
by Logan Ury
February 2, 2021
Simon and Schuster

Ury grew up in South Florida with fond memories of Shabbat dinners and Jewish day school. At Harvard, the psych department attracted her, and after graduation, on the West Coast at Google, she helped lead the bahavioral econ group with Dan Arieli... and then made her way to Hinge

A funny and practical guide to help you find, build, and keep the relationship of your dreams. Have you ever looked around and wondered, “Why has everyone found love except me?” You’re not the only one.

Great relationships don’t just appear in our lives—they’re the culmination of a series of decisions, including when to get out there, whom to date, how to end it with the wrong person, when to commit to the right one, and everything in between. But our brains often get in the way. We make poor decisions, which thwart us on our quest to find lasting love.

Drawing from years studying psychology and relationships, behavioral scientist turned dating coach Logan Ury reveals the hidden forces that cause those mistakes. But awareness on its own doesn’t lead to results. Knowing you shouldn’t date “bad boys” or “manic pixie dream girls,” for example, doesn’t make them any less appealing—you have to actually change your behavior. Ury shows you how.

This book focuses on a different decision in each chapter incorporating insights from behavioral science, original research, and stories about people just like you. You’ll learn:
-What’s holding you back in dating (and how to break the pattern)
-What really matters in a long-term partner (and what really doesn’t)
-How to overcome the perils of online dating (and make the apps work for you)
-How to meet more people in real life (while doing activities you love)
-How to make dates fun again (so they stop feeling like job interviews)
-Why you should go on that second date (trust me on this one)
-How to know whether to stay or go (and how to end things with compassion)
-Why “the spark” is a myth (but you’ll find love anyway)

And so much more.

This data-driven, step-by-step guide to relationships, along with hands-on exercises, is designed to transform your life. How to Not Die Alone will help you find, build, and keep the relationship of your dreams.

[book] City of a Thousand Gates:
A Novel
by Rebecca Sacks
February 2, 2021

A novel of great humanity, compassion, and astonishing immediacy, this inventive and unique debut captures the emotional reality of contemporary life in the West Bank and the irreconcilable Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a collage of narrative voices and different viewpoints centered on a particular set of events.

Brave and bold, this gorgeously written novel introduces a large cast of characters from various backgrounds in a setting where violence is routine and where survival is defined by boundaries, walls, and checkpoints that force people to live and love within and across them.

Hamid, a college student, has entered Israeli territory illegally for work. Rushing past soldiers, he bumps into Vera, a German journalist headed to Jerusalem to cover the story of Salem, a Palestinian boy beaten into a coma by a group of revenge-seeking Israeli teenagers. On her way to the hospital, Vera runs in front of a car that barely avoids hitting her. The driver is Ido, a new father traveling with his American wife and their baby. Ido is distracted by thoughts of a young Jewish girl murdered by a terrorist who infiltrated her settlement. Ori, a nineteen-year-old soldier from a nearby settlement, is guarding the checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem through which Samar—Hamid’s professor—must pass.

These multiple strands open this magnificent and haunting novel of present-day Israel and Palestine, following each of these diverse characters as they try to protect what they love. Their interwoven stories reveal complicated, painful truths about life in this conflicted land steeped in hope, love, hatred, terror, and blood on both sides.

City of a Thousand Gates brilliantly evokes the universal drives that motivate these individuals to think and act as they do—desires for security, for freedom, for dignity, for the future of one’s children, for land that each of us, no matter who or where we are, recognize and share.

[book] A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm:
The Adrenaline-Fueled Adventures
of an Accidental Scientist
by Robert J. Lefkowitz M.D.
with Randy Hall
February 2, 2021

The rollicking memoir from the cardiologist turned legendary scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize that revels in the joy of science and discovery.

Like Richard Feynman in the field of physics, Dr. Robert Lefkowitz is also known for being a larger-than-life character: a not-immodest, often self-deprecating, always entertaining raconteur. Indeed, when he received the Nobel Prize, the press corps in Sweden covered him intensively, describing him as “the happiest Laureate.”

In addition to his time as a physician, from being a "yellow beret" in the public health corps with Dr. Anthony Fauci to his time as a cardiologist, and his extraordinary transition to biochemistry, which would lead to his Nobel Prize win, Dr. Lefkowitz has ignited passion and curiosity as a fabled mentor and teacher.

But it's all in a day's work, as Lefkowitz reveals in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm, which is filled to the brim with anecdotes and energy, and gives us a glimpse into the life of one of today's leading scientists.

[book] Mike Nichols:
A Life
by Mark Harris
February 2, 2021

A magnificent biography of one of the most protean creative forces in American entertainment history, a life of dazzling highs and vertiginous plunges--some of the worst largely unknown until now--by the acclaimed author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back

Mike Nichols burst onto the scene as a wunderkind: while still in his twenties, he was half of a hit improv duo with Elaine May that was the talk of the country. Next he directed four consecutive hit plays, won back-to-back Tonys, ushered in a new era of Hollywood moviemaking with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and followed it with The Graduate, which won him an Oscar and became the third-highest-grossing movie ever. At thirty-five, he lived in a three-story Central Park West penthouse, drove a Rolls-Royce, collected Arabian horses, and counted Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Leonard Bernstein, and Richard Avedon as friends.

Where he arrived is even more astonishing given where he had begun: born Igor Peschkowsky to a non-observant Jewish couple in Berlin in 1931, he and his younger brother were sent to America on a ship in 1939. The young immigrant boy caught very few breaks. He was bullied and ostracized – an allergic reaction had rendered him permanently hairless – and his father died when he was just twelve, leaving his mother alone and overwhelmed.

The gulf between these two sets of facts explains a great deal about Nichols's transformation from lonely outsider to the center of more than one cultural universe--the acute powers of observation that first made him famous; the nourishment he drew from his creative partnerships, most enduringly with May; his unquenchable drive; his hunger for security and status; and the depressions and self-medications that brought him to terrible lows. It would take decades for him to come to grips with his demons. In an incomparable portrait that follows Nichols from Berlin to New York to Chicago to Hollywood, Mark Harris explores, with brilliantly vivid detail and insight, the life, work, struggle, and passion of an artist and man in constant motion. Among the 250 people Harris interviewed: Elaine May, Meryl Streep, Stephen Sondheim, Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Tom Hanks, Candice Bergen, Emma Thompson, Annette Bening, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Lorne Michaels, and Gloria Steinem.

Mark Harris gives an intimate and evenhanded accounting of success and failure alike; the portrait is not always flattering, but its ultimate impact is to present the full story of one of the most richly interesting, complicated, and consequential figures the worlds of theater and motion pictures have ever seen. It is a triumph of the biographer's art.

[book] Downfall
a mystery crime thriller novel
by Robert Rotenberg
February 2, 2021

Detectives dig into the dark side of Toronto when a serial killer targets homeless people who are camped out near one of the city’s most exclusive enclaves in this latest crime thriller from bestselling author Robert Rotenberg.

Exactly what is one person’s death worth?

For decades, the Humber River Golf Course has been one of the city’s most elite clubs. All is perfect in this playground for the rich, until homeless people move into the pristine ravine nearby, and tensions mount between rich and poor and reach a head when two of the squatters are brutally murdered.

The killings send shockwaves through the city, and suspicion immediately falls upon the members of the club. Protests by homeless groups and their supporters erupt. Suddenly the homelessness problem has caught the attention of the press, politicians, and the public. Ari Greene, now the head of the homicide squad, leaves behind his plush new office and, with his former protégé Daniel Kennicott in tow, returns to the streets to investigate. Meanwhile, Greene’s daughter, Alison, a dynamic young TV journalist, reports on the untold story of extreme poverty in Toronto.

With all the attention focused on the murders, pressure is on Greene to find the killer—now. He calls on his old contacts and his well-honed instincts to pursue the killer and save the city and the people he loves. But then a third body is found.

A riveting page-turner ringing with authenticity, Downfall is a scathing look at the growing disparity between rich and poor in Canada’s wealthiest city.

[book] Religion and the
Rise of Capitalism
by Benjamin M. Friedman
(Harvard University)
February 2, 2021

From one of the nation's preeminent experts on economic policy, a major reassessment of the foundations of modern economic thinking that explores the profound influence of an until-now unrecognized force--religion.

Critics of contemporary economics complain that belief in free markets--among economists as well as many ordinary citizens--is a form of religion. And, it turns out, that in a deeper, more historically grounded sense there is something to that idea. Contrary to the conventional historical view of economics as an entirely secular product of the Enlightenment, Benjamin M. Friedman demonstrates that religion exerted a powerful influence from the outset. Friedman makes clear how the foundational transition in thinking about what we now call economics, beginning in the eighteenth century, was decisively shaped by the hotly contended lines of religious thought within the English-speaking Protestant world.

Beliefs about God-given human character, about the after-life, and about the purpose of our existence, were all under scrutiny in the world in which Adam Smith and his contemporaries lived. Friedman explores how those debates go far in explaining the puzzling behavior of so many of our fellow citizens whose views about economic policies--and whose voting behavior--seems sharply at odds with what would be to their own economic benefit. Illuminating the origins of the relationship between religious thinking and economic thinking, together with its ongoing consequences, Friedman provides invaluable insights into our current economic policy debates and demonstrates ways to shape more functional policies for all citizens.

[book] Probable Impossibilities:
Musings on Beginnings and Endings
by Alan Lightman
February 9, 2021

Professor Lightman grew up in a Jewish family, where at the age of 9, he had an out of body experience where he felt part of the universe and sensed his place in it. He went on to become a leading scientist and award winning writer

From the acclaimed author of Einstein's Dreams, a collection of meditative essays on the possibilities, and impossibilities, of nothingness and infinity--and how our place in the cosmos falls somewhere in between.

Can space be divided into smaller and smaller units, ad infinitum? Does space extend to larger and larger regions, on and on to infinity? Is consciousness reducible to the material brain and its neurons? What was the origin of life, and can biologists create life from scratch in the lab? Physicist and novelist Alan Lightman, whom the Washington Post has called "the poet laureate of science writers," explores these questions and more--from the anatomy of a smile to the capriciousness of memory to the specialness of life in the universe to what came before the Big Bang. Probable Impossibilities is a deeply engaging consideration of what we know of the universe, of life and the mind, and of things vastly larger, and smaller, than ourselves.

[book] Widowish:
A Memoir
by Melissa Gould
February 1, 2021
Little A

Melissa Gould’s hopeful memoir of grieving outside the box and the surprising nature of love.

When Melissa Gould’s husband, Joel, was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed with uncertainty as Joel’s condition tragically worsened, she offered him the only thing she could: her love and devotion. Her dedication didn’t end with his death.

Left to resume life without her beloved husband and raise their young daughter on her own, Melissa soon realized that her and Joel’s love lived on. Melissa found she didn’t fit the typical mold of widowhood or meet the expectations of mourning. She didn’t look like a widow or act like a widow, but she felt like one. Melissa was widowish.

Melissa’s personal journey through grief and beyond includes unlikely inspiration from an evangelical preacher, the calming presence of some Real Housewives, and the unexpected attention of a charming musician.

A modern take on loss, Widowish illuminates the twists of fate that break our world, the determination that keeps us moving forward, and the surprises in life we never see coming.

[book] Think Again:
The Power of Knowing
What You Don't Know
by Adam Grant
February 2, 2021

The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people's minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life

Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there's another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. In our daily lives, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard. We see disagreement as a threat to our egos, rather than an opportunity to learn. We surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions, when we should be gravitating toward those who challenge our thought process. The result is that our beliefs get brittle long before our bones. We think too much like preachers defending our sacred beliefs, prosecutors proving the other side wrong, and politicians campaigning for approval--and too little like scientists searching for truth. Intelligence is no cure, and it can even be a curse: being good at thinking can make us worse at rethinking. The brighter we are, the blinder to our own limitations we can become.

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant is an expert on opening other people's minds--and our own. As Wharton's top-rated professor and the bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, he makes it one of his guiding principles to argue like he's right but listen like he's wrong. With bold ideas and rigorous evidence, he investigates how we can embrace the joy of being wrong, bring nuance to charged conversations, and build schools, workplaces, and communities of lifelong learners. You'll learn how an international debate champion wins arguments, a Black musician persuades white supremacists to abandon hate, a vaccine whisperer convinces concerned parents to immunize their children, and Adam has coaxed Yankees fans to root for the Red Sox. Think Again reveals that we don't have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. It's an invitation to let go of views that are no longer serving us well and prize mental flexibility over foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don't know is wisdom.

[book] SEND FoR ME
February 2, 2021

An achingly beautiful work of historical fiction that moves between Germany on the eve of World War II and present-day Wisconsin, unspooling a thread of love, longing, and the powerful bonds of family.

Annelise is a dreamer: imagining her future while working at her parents' popular bakery in Feldenheim, Germany, anticipating all the delicious possibilities yet to come. There are rumors that anti-Jewish sentiment is on the rise, but Annelise and her parents can't quite believe that it will affect them; they're hardly religious at all. But as Annelise falls in love, marries, and gives birth to her daughter, the dangers grow closer: a brick thrown through her window; a childhood friend who cuts ties with her; customers refusing to patronize the bakery. Luckily Annelise and her husband are given the chance to leave for America, but they must go without her parents, whose future and safety are uncertain.

Two generations later, in a small Midwestern city, Annelise's granddaughter, Clare, is a young woman newly in love. But when she stumbles upon a trove of her grandmother's letters from Germany, she sees the history of her family's sacrifices in a new light, and suddenly she's faced with an impossible choice: the past, or her future. A novel of dazzling emotional richness that is based on letters from Lauren Fox's own family, Send for Me is a major departure for this acclaimed author, an epic and intimate exploration of mothers and daughters, duty and obligation, hope and forgiveness.

[book] The Low Desert:
Thriller, Mysteries
Gangster Stories
by Tod Goldberg
February 2, 2021

Raymond Carver meets Elmore Leonard in this extraordinary collection of contemporary crime writing set in the critically acclaimed Gangsterland universe, a series called "gloriously original" by The New York Times Book Review.

With gimlet-eyed cool and razor-sharp wit, these spare, stylish stories from a master of modern crime fiction assemble a world of gangsters and con men, of do-gooders breaking bad and those caught in the crossfire. The uncle of an FBI agent spends his life as sheriff in different cities, living too close to the violent acts of men; a cocktail waitress moves through several desert towns trying to escape the unexplainable loss of an adopted daughter; a drug dealer with a penchant for karaoke meets a talkative lawyer and a silent clown in a Palm Springs bar.

Witty, brutal, and fast-paced, these stories expand upon the saga of Chicago hitman-turned-Las-Vegas-Rabbi Sal Cupertine--first introduced in Gangsterland and continued in Gangster Nation--while revealing how the line between good and bad is often a mirage.

[book] The Girl from the Channel Islands:
A WWII Novel
by Jenny Lecoat
February 2, 2021
Graydon House

Inspired by true events, the riveting story of a young Jewish woman trapped on the occupied island of Jersey during World War II.

x Summer 1940: Hedy Bercu fled Vienna two years ago. Now she watches the skies over Jersey for German planes, convinced that an invasion is imminent. When it finally comes, there is no counterattack from Allied forces—the Channel Islands are simply not worth defending. Most islanders and occupying forces settle into an uneasy coexistence, but for Hedy, the situation is perilously different. For Hedy is Jewish—a fact that could mean deportation, or worse.

With no means of escape, Hedy hides in plain sight, working as a translator for the Germans while silently working against them. She forges a tentative friendship with a sympathetic German officer who is likewise trapped by circumstance. But as the war intensifies, Hedy knows she is in greater danger each day. Soon, her survival will depend not just on her own courage but on the community she has come to cherish and a man who should be her enemy.

Vividly recreating little-known events, this is an unforgettable tale of resilience and bravery, and of the extraordinary power found in quiet acts of heroism and love.

[book] The Ratline:
The Exalted Life and Mysterious
Death of a Nazi Fugitive
by Philippe Sands
February 2, 2021

"Hypnotic, shocking, and unputdownable." --John le Carré
From the author of the internationally acclaimed, award-winning East West Street: A tale of Nazi lives, mass murder, love, cold war espionage, a mysterious death in the Vatican--and "the Ratline," the Nazi escape route to Peron's Argentina.

Baron Otto von Wächter, Austrian lawyer, husband, father, high Nazi official, senior SS officer, former governor of Galicia during the war, creator and overseer of the Krakow ghetto, indicted after as a war criminal for the mass murder of more than 100,000 Poles, hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the British, by Simon Wiesenthal, on the run for three years, from 1945 to 1948 . . .

Philippe Sands pieces together, in riveting detail, Wächter's extraordinary, shocking story. Given full access to the Wächter family archives--journals, diaries, tapes, and more--and with the assistance of the Wächters' son Horst, who believes his father to have been a "good man," Sands writes of Wächter's rise through the Nazi high command, his "blissful" marriage and family life as their world was brought to ruin, and his four-year flight to escape justice--to the Tirol, to Rome, and the Vatican; given a new identity, on his way to a new life via "the Ratline" to Perón's Argentina, the escape route taken by Eichmann, Mengele, and thousands of other Nazis. Wächter's escape was cut short by his mysterious, shocking death in Rome, in the midst of the burgeoning Cold War (was he being recruited in postwar Italy by the Americans and the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps or by the Soviet NKVD or by both; or was he poisoned by one side or the other, as his son believes--or by both?) . . .

An extraordinary discovery, told up-close through access to a trove of family correspondence between Wächter and his wife--part historical detective story, part love story, part family memoir, part Cold War espionage thriller.

[book] Jacob the Liar:
A Novel-50th Anniversary Edition
by Jurek Becker
Leila Vennewitz (Translator)
Louis Begley (Afterword)
February 2, 2021
One of the most remarkable novels of the Holocaust ever written, and the basis of the 1999 major motion picture starring the late Robin Williams.

A novel about the Holocaust "that has never been surpassed" (Times Literary Supplement), Jacob the Liar is a now classic work from one of the giants of German postwar literature and a tale of everyday heroism and the extraordinary power of illusion.

In the ghetto, possession of a radio is punishable by death. Like thousands of his fellow prisoners, Jacob Heym is cut off from all news of the war—until he is arrested one evening and brought to the German military office, where he overhears a report of the Red Army’s advance to a city some 300 miles away. Miraculously, he is allowed to return to his quarters, but when he tries to spread the good news, the only way to make people believe him is to tell a lie: “How do I know? I have a radio.” One lie leads to another, and before long Jacob finds himself feeding the entire ghetto fabricated news reports of the Russians’ advance—reports that save lives by giving people renewed hope. So Jacob is a hero and a liar. But how much longer can his web of lies hold?

Told with suspense and humor, here is a masterful tale of hope, desire, and the life-giving force of fiction. Awarded Germany's prestigious Heinrich Mann Prize for fiction and in a new translation by Leila Vennewitz, Jacob the Liar is a masterpiece of Kafkaesque comedy which unfolds with the impact of a timeless folk legend. This edition includes a new afterword by Louis Begley.

[book] Animal, Vegetable, Junk:
A History of Food,
from Sustainable to Suicidal
by Mark Bittman
February 2, 2021

From hunting and gathering to GMOs and ultraprocessed foods, this expansive tour of human history rewrites the story of our species—and points the way to a better future.

The history of Homo sapiens is usually told as a story of technology or economics. But there is a more fundamental driver: food. How we hunted and gathered explains our emergence as a new species and our earliest technology; our first food systems, from fire to agriculture, tell where we settled and how civilizations expanded. The quest for food for growing populations drove exploration, colonialism, slavery, even capitalism.

A century ago, food was industrialized. Since then, new styles of agriculture and food production have written a new chapter of human history, one that’s driving both climate change and global health crises. Best-selling food authority Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of the story and explains how we can rescue ourselves from the modern wrong turn.

[book] Learning to Pray:
A Guide for Everyone
by Father James Martin, SJ
February 2, 2021

One of America’s most beloved spiritual leaders and the New York Times bestselling author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and “Jesus: A Pilgrimage” teaches anyone to converse with God in this comprehensive guide to prayer from a Catholic/Jesuit perspective.

In The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, Wharton grad Father James Martin included a chapter on communicating with God. Now, he expands those thoughts in this profound and practical handbook. Learning to Pray explains what prayer is, what to expect from praying, how to do it, and how it can transform us when we make it a regular practice in our lives.

A trusted guide walking beside us as we navigate our unique spiritual paths, Martin lays out the different styles and traditions of prayer throughout Christian history and invites us to experiment and discover which works best to feed our soul and build intimacy with our Creator. Father Martin makes clear there is not one secret formula for praying. But like any relationship, each person can discover the best style for building an intimate relationship with God, regardless of religion or denomination. Prayer, he teaches us, is open and accessible to anyone willing to open their heart.

[book] God I Feel Modern Tonight:
Poems from a Gal About Town
by Catherine Cohen
February 2, 2021

You probably remember her from Texas Bible Camp, Princeton's 2013 Class Day Speech, late night TV (fat fat ass... why did he have to say fat twice?), the Edinb. Fringe, Club (Alan) Cumming, or her GQ essay on her love of sex and orgasms... but comedian / poet / singer CAT COHEN has a book of poetry you might enjoy.

Poems of heartbreak and sex, self-care and self-critique, urban adventures and love on the road from the millennial quarantine queen and comedy sensation.

in L.A. we got naked and swam in the ocean
we ate cured meats and carrots
& sat in the back of a red pickup truck
like we were in a film where two old friends fight
& wrestle their way into a hug
heave-sobbing as the dust settles
I want to be famous for being the first person
who never feels bad again

In these short, captivating lyrics, Catherine Cohen, the one-woman stand-up chanteuse who electrified the downtown NYC comedy scene in her white go-go boots, and who has been posting poignant, unfiltered poems on social media since before Instagram was a thing, details her life on the prowl with her beaded bag; she ponders guys who call you "dude" after sex, true love during the pandemic, and English-major dreams. "I wish I were smart instead of on my phone," Cat Cohen confides; "heartbreak, / when it comes, and it will come / is always new." A Dorothy Parker for our time, a Starbucks philosophe with no primary-care doctor, she’s a welcome new breed of everywoman--a larger-than-life best friend, who will say all the outrageous things we think but never say out loud ourselves.

[book] The Scaffold Effect:
Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant,
and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety
by Harold S. Koplewicz, MD
February 2, 2021

“A master synthesizer of attachment science, medical practice, and his own experience as a father, Harold Koplewicz capably and compassionately leads us through the art of scaffolding, from early childhood through the important adolescent period.”—Daniel J. Siegel, MD, author of The Whole Brain Child

Just as sturdy scaffolding is necessary when erecting a building and will come down when the structure grows stable, good parenting provides children with steady and warm emotional nourishment on the path toward independence. Never-ending parental problem-solving and involvement can have the opposite effect, enabling fragility and anxiety over time.

In The Scaffold Effect, world-renowned child psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz introduces the powerful and clinically tested idea that this deliberate build-up and then gradual loosening of parental support is the single most effective way to encourage kids to climb higher, try new things, grow from mistakes, and develop character and strength. Explaining the building blocks of an effective scaffold from infancy through young adulthood, he expertly guides parents through the strategies for raising empowered, capable people, including:

• Lay a solid foundation: The parent-child relationship needs to be made from the concrete mixture of emotional availability, positive reinforcement, clear messaging, and consistent rules. From this supportive base, your will forge a bond that will survive adolescence and grow stronger into adulthood.

• Empower growth: Skyscraper or sprawling ranch—the style of your child’s construction is not up to you! Scaffold parenting validates and accommodates the shape the child is growing into. Any effort to block or control growth will actually stunt it.

• Stay on their level: Imagine being on the ground floor of a house and trying to talk to someone on the roof. The person on the roof will have to “talk down” to you or yell. If your child’s building and your scaffold are on the same level, you can speak directly, look each other in the eye, and keep the lines of communication open.

Drawing on Dr. Koplewicz’s decades of clinical and personal experience, The Scaffold Effect is a compassionate, street-smart, and essential guide for the ages. All of the author’s proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Child Mind Institute.

[book] In Memory of Memory
by Maria Stepanova
Sasha Dugdale (Translator)
February 9, 2021
New Directions

An exploration of life at the margins of history from one of Russia’s most exciting contemporary writers

With the death of her aunt, the narrator is left to sift through an apartment full of faded photographs, old postcards, letters, diaries, and heaps of souvenirs: a withered repository of an entire century of life in Russia. Carefully reassembled with calm, steady hands, these shards tell the story of an ordinary family that somehow managed to survive the myriad persecutions and repressions of the last century. The family’s pursuit of a quiet, civilized, ordinary life-during such atrocious times-is itself a strange odyssey.

In dialogue with thinkers like Roland Barthes, W. G. Sebald, Susan Sontag, and Osip Mandelstam, In Memory of Memory is imbued with rare intellectual curiosity and a wonderfully soft-spoken, poetic voice. Dipping into various genres-essay, fiction, memoir, travelogue, and history-Stepanova assembles a vast panorama of ideas and personalities and offers a bold exploration of cultural and personal memory.

[book] Fall: The Mysterious
Life and Death of Robert Maxwell,
Britain's Most Notorious Media Baron
by John Preston
February 9, 2021

From the acclaimed author of A Very English Scandal, a thrilling and dramatic true-life account of the rise and fall of one of the most notorious media moguls of all time: Robert Maxwell.

In February 1991, Robert Maxwell triumphantly sailed into Manhattan harbor on his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, to buy the ailing New York Daily News. Taxi drivers stopped their cabs to shake his hand, children asked for his autograph, and patrons of the hottest restaurant in Manhattan gave him a standing ovation while he dined. Ten months later, Maxwell disappeared off that same yacht in the middle of the night and was later found dead in the water. As John Preston reveals in this entertaining and revealing biography, Maxwell’s death was as mysterious as his remarkable life.

A tightly paced, addictive saga of ambition, hubris, narcissism, greed, power, and intrigue, Fall recounts Maxwell’s rise and fall and rise and fall again. Preston weaves backwards and forwards in time to examine the forces that shaped Maxwell, including his childhood as a Jew in occupied Eastern Europe through his failed political ambitions in the 1960s which ended in accusations of financial double-dealing, and his resurrection as a media mogul--and on to the family legacy he left behind, including his daughter Ghislaine Maxwell.

Preston chronicles Maxwell’s all-encompassing rivalry with Rupert Murdoch—a battle that ruined Maxwell financially, threatened his sanity and lead, indirectly, to his death. Did Maxwell have a heart attack and fall overboard? Was his death suicide? Or was he murdered—possibly by Mossad or the KGB? Few in the twentieth century journeyed as far from his roots as Robert Maxwell. Yet, as Fall reveals, no one, however rich and powerful, can entirely escape their past.

[book] We Play Ourselves:
A Novel
by Jen Silverman
February 9, 2021
Random House

After a humiliating scandal, a young writer flees to the West Coast, where she is drawn into the morally ambiguous orbit of a charismatic filmmaker and the teenage girls who are her next subjects.

Not too long ago, Cass (or Cath or Cast) was a promising young playwright in New York, hailed as “a fierce new voice” and “queer, feminist, and ready to spill the tea.” But at the height of all this attention, Cass finds herself at the center of a searing public shaming, and flees to Los Angeles to escape—and reinvent herself. There she meets her next-door neighbor Caroline, a magnetic filmmaker on the rise, as well as the pack of teenage girls who hang around her house. They are the subjects of Caroline’s next semidocumentary movie, which follows the girls’ clandestine activity: a Fight Club inspired by the violent classic.

As Cass is drawn into the film’s orbit, she is awed by Caroline’s ambition and confidence. But over time, with her organized half Jewish neighbor, she becomes troubled by how deeply Caroline is manipulating the teens in the name of art—especially as the consequences become increasingly disturbing. With her past proving hard to shake and her future one she’s no longer sure she wants, Cass is forced to reckon with her own ambitions and confront what she has come to believe about the steep price of success.

a biography
February 9, 2021
Laurence King

In her intense, brief life, Amy Winehouse's music spoke directly to millions. And since her death, her fans have only increased.

Amy Winehouse is one of those pop stars that comes along so rarely we're not sure we knew what we had when we had her. Her story speaks to us not because the relentless tabloid coverage of her darker days unfolded in real time, but because she tapped into deeply personal yet universal feelings and displayed them to us in all their painful, raw glory. She turned our demons into something we could dance and sing to, and she skewered those who wronged her in ways we could only dream of.

[book] Jewish Pride:
Rebuilding a People
by Ben M. Freeman
February 9, 2021

Just in time for Vallentine's Day and Lunar New Year, Scotland born Freeman has penned a book on Jewish pride, inspired by his experiences with LGBTQQAI+ pride, where he aims to educate, inspire and empower Jewish people to reject the shame of antisemitism imposed on Jews by the non-Jewish world as well as non-Jewish perceptions of what it means to be a Jew.

Freeman is a educator in Hong King China, presently. His book seeks to enable Jewish people to begin the process of defining their own identities as proud Jews through Jewish experience, Jewish history and Jewish values. He writes that Jewish Pride is an urgent and essential read. Recommended by A Wider Bridge.

[book] Bugsy Siegel:
The Dark Side of the American Dream
The Yale Jewish Lives series (50 books so far)
by Michael Shnayerson
February 9, 2021
Yale University Press

The story of the notorious Jewish gangster who ascended from impoverished beginnings to the glittering Las Vegas strip

"A highly readable, fast-moving contribution to the annals of 20th-century organized crime."—Kirkus Reviews

In a brief life that led to a violent end, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (1906–1947) rose from desperate poverty to ill-gotten riches, from an early-twentieth-century family of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side to a kingdom of his own making in Las Vegas. In this captivating portrait, author Michael Shnayerson sets out not to absolve Bugsy Siegel but rather to understand him in all his complexity.

Through the 1920s, 1930s, and most of the 1940s, Bugsy Siegel and his longtime partner in crime Meyer Lansky engaged in innumerable acts of violence. As World War II came to an end, Siegel saw the potential for a huge, elegant casino resort in the sands of Las Vegas. Jewish gangsters built nearly all of the Vegas casinos that followed. Then, one by one, they disappeared. Siegel’s story laces through a larger, generational story of eastern European Jewish immigrants in the early- to mid-twentieth century.

[book] Why the Innocent Plead Guilty
and the Guilty Go Free:
And Other Paradoxes of Our
Broken Legal System
by U.S. Federal Judge Jed S. Rakoff
February 16, 2021

A senior federal judge’s incisive, unsettling exploration of some of the paradoxes that define the judiciary today, Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free features essays examining why innocent people plead guilty, why high-level executives aren’t prosecuted, why you won’t get your day in court, and why the judiciary is curtailing its own constitutionally mandated power.

How can we be proud of a system of justice that often pressures the innocent to plead guilty? How can we claim that justice is equal when we imprison thousands of poor Black men for relatively modest crimes but rarely prosecute rich white executives who commit crimes having far greater impact? How can we applaud the Supreme Court’s ever-more-limited view of its duty to combat excesses by the president?

The federal judge Jed S. Rakoff, a leading authority on white-collar crime, explores these and other puzzles in Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free, a startling account of our broken legal system. Grounded in Rakoff’s twenty-four years as a federal trial judge in New York in addition to the many years he worked as a federal prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer, Rakoff ’s assessment of our justice system illuminates some of our most urgent legal, social, and political issues: plea deals and class-action lawsuits, corporate impunity and the death penalty, the perils of eyewitness testimony and forensic science, the war on terror and the expanding reach of the executive branch. A fundamental problem, he reveals, is that the judiciary is constraining its own constitutional powers.

Like few others, Rakoff understands the values that animate the best aspects of our legal system-and has a close-up view of our failure to live up to these ideals. But he sees within this gap great opportunities for practical reform, and a public mandate to make our justice system truly just.

[book] The Ravine:
A Family, a Photograph,
a Holocaust Massacre Revealed
by Wendy Lower
February 16, 2021

A single photograph—an exceptionally rare “action shot” documenting the horrific final moment of the murder of a family—drives a riveting process of discovery for a gifted Holocaust scholar

In 2009, the acclaimed author of Hitler’s Furies was shown a photograph just brought to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The documentation of the Holocaust is vast, but there are virtually no images of a Jewish family at the actual moment of murder, in this case by German officials and Ukrainian collaborators. A Ukrainian shooter’s rifle is inches from a woman's head, obscured in a cloud of smoke. She is bending forward, holding the hand of a barefooted little boy. And—only one of the shocking revelations of Wendy Lower’s brilliant ten-year investigation of this image—the shins of another child, slipping from the woman’s lap.

Wendy Lower’s forensic and archival detective work—in Ukraine, Germany, Slovakia, Israel, and the United States—recovers astonishing layers of detail concerning the open-air massacres in Ukraine. The identities of mother and children, of the killers—and, remarkably, of the Slovakian photographer who openly took the image, as a secret act of resistance—are dramatically uncovered. Finally, in the hands of this brilliant exceptional scholar, a single image unlocks a new understanding of the place of the family unit in the ideology of Nazi genocide.

[book] The Tale of the Mandarin Duck:
A Modern Fable
by Bette Midler
Michiko Kakutani (Photographer)
February 16, 2021
Random House Books for Young Readers
40 Pages
Ages 3 - 7

Inspired by the real-life rainbow-colored Mandarin Duck who appeared in New York’s Central Park in 2018, this modern fable by Bette Midler celebrates the connections people make with each other and the world around them.

How do you get people to appreciate what is right in front of them? In The Tale of the Mandarin Duck, it takes a mysterious, beautiful duck and a clear-eyed kid to point out the obvious! Bette Midler’s distinctive voice joins striking photos of the real duck by Michiko Kakutani and charming black-and-white drawings by Joana Avillez. This book will have readers of all ages coming back to visit the fantastical interpretation of New York City and its odd ducks—both feathered and human.

An afterword by Ms. Kakutani adds details to the facts behind this one-of-a-kind story of the Mandarin Duck.

Illustrated by Maya Ish-Shalom
February 16, 2021
Dial Books
Ages 4 - 8

The Jewish immigrant experience in the early 1900s is touchingly and joyfully portrayed in this picture book based on the author's own grandfather.

Growing up in a shtetl in Russia, Nathan is always singing, and when he hears a famous opera soloist perform in a nearby town one day, he realizes that music could be his future. But he'll need to travel far from his loved ones and poor village in order to pursue that cherished goal. With his family's support he eventually journeys all the way to New York City, where hard work and much excitement await him. His dream is coming true, but how can he be fully happy when his family is all the way across the ocean?

[book] Except for Palestine:
The Limits of Progressive Politics
by Marc Lamont Hill
Mitchell Plitnick
February 16, 2021
The New Press

With blurbs and recommendations from professors Cornell West and Rashid Khalidi; Member of Congress Rashida Tlaib; a leader of the Jewish Voice for Peace; and other anti Israel groups, this is a polemic from members of America's Far Left calling on U.S. Policy to be more against the State of Israel.

Marc Lamont Hill and Israel-Palestine pundit Mitchell Plitnick write that American policy is one-sided and pro-Israel and reflect – in their opinion – lying authoritarianism in both Israel and the United States. They call on progressives and liberals who support policies on immigration, racial justice, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and other issues to consider that Palestinians are oppressed and to fight for their rights. They criticize the idea that they are haters of Israel and anti-Jewish just because they advocate for Palestinians

Hill and Plitnick write that the leaders of the State of Israel have a growing disdain for democracy, that Palestinian leaders are blameless, that Israel has sieged Gaza, and call out those who stigmatize anyone who dares to critique Israel.

You may recall that Marc Lamont Hill was fired by CNN in 2018 after saying, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” at the United Nations. And in 2019, he said at the Netroots Nation summit for progressives in Philly, “They’re like, I want to work for Fox, or I want to work for ABC or NBC or whoever. I want to tell these stories... You have to make choices about where you want to work. And if you work for a Zionist organization, you’re going to get Zionist content. And no matter how vigorous you are in the newsroom, there are going to be two, three, four, 17, or maybe one powerful person — not going to suggest a conspiracy — all news outlets have a point of a view. And if your point of view competes with the point of view of the institution, you’re going to have challenges.”

[book] The Black Church:
This Is Our Story,
This Is Our Song
by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
February 16, 2021
Penguin Press

The companion book to the PBS series.

For the young Henry Louis Gates, Jr., growing up in a small, residentially segregated West Virginia town, the church was a center of gravity—an intimate place where voices rose up in song and neighbors gathered to celebrate life's blessings and offer comfort amid its trials and tribulations. In this tender and expansive reckoning with the meaning of the Black Church in America, Gates takes us on a journey spanning more than five centuries, from the intersection of Christianity and the transatlantic slave trade to today’s political landscape. At road’s end, and after Gates’s distinctive meditation on the churches of his childhood, we emerge with a new understanding of the importance of African American religion to the larger national narrative—as a center of resistance to slavery and white supremacy, as a magnet for political mobilization, as an incubator of musical and oratorical talent that would transform the culture, and as a crucible for working through the Black community’s most critical personal and social issues.

In a country that has historically afforded its citizens from the African diaspora tragically few safe spaces, the Black Church has always been more than a sanctuary. This fact was never lost on white supremacists: from the earliest days of slavery, when enslaved people were allowed to worship at all, their meetinghouses were subject to surveillance and destruction. Long after slavery’s formal eradication, church burnings and bombings by anti-Black racists continued, a hallmark of the violent effort to suppress the African American struggle for equality. The past often isn’t even past—Dylann Roof committed his slaughter in the Mother Emanuel AME Church 193 years after it was first burned down by white citizens of Charleston, South Carolina, following a thwarted slave rebellion.

But as Gates brilliantly shows, the Black church has never been only one thing. Its story lies at the heart of the Black political struggle, and it has produced many of the Black community’s most notable leaders. At the same time, some churches and denominations have eschewed political engagement and exemplified practices of exclusion and intolerance that have caused polarization and pain. Those tensions remain today, as a rising generation demands freedom and dignity for all within and beyond their communities, regardless of race, sex, or gender. Still, as a source of faith and refuge, spiritual sustenance and struggle against society’s darkest forces, the Black Church has been central, as this enthralling history makes vividly clear.

[book] Made in China:
A Prisoner, an SOS Letter,
and the Hidden Cost of
America’s Cheap Goods
by Amelia Pang
February 2, 2021

Discover the truth behind the discounts

In 2012, an Oregon mother named Julie Keith opened up a package of Halloween decorations. The cheap foam headstones had been five dollars at Kmart, too good a deal to pass up. But when she opened the box, something shocking fell out: an SOS letter, handwritten in broken English.

“Sir: If you occassionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicuton of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.”

The note’s author, Sun Yi, was a mild-mannered Chinese engineer turned political prisoner, forced into grueling labor for campaigning for the freedom to join a forbidden meditation movement. He was imprisoned alongside petty criminals, civil rights activists, and tens of thousands of others the Chinese government had decided to “reeducate,” carving foam gravestones and stitching clothing for more than fifteen hours a day.

In Made in China, investigative journalist Amelia Pang pulls back the curtain on Sun’s story and the stories of others like him, including the persecuted Uyghur minority group whose abuse and exploitation is rapidly gathering steam. What she reveals is a closely guarded network of laogai—forced labor camps—that power the rapid pace of American consumerism. Through extensive interviews and firsthand reportage, Pang shows us the true cost of America’s cheap goods and shares what is ultimately a call to action—urging us to ask more questions and demand more answers from the companies we patronize.

[book] MILK FED:
A Novel
by Melissa Broder
February 21, 2021

Rachel is twenty-four, a lapsed Jew – a Chanel Jew - who has made calorie restriction her religion. By day, she maintains an illusion of existential control, by way of obsessive food rituals, while working as an underling at a Los Angeles talent management agency. At night, she pedals nowhere on the elliptical machine. Rachel is content to carry on subsisting — until her therapist encourages her to take a ninety-day communication detox from her mother, who raised her in the tradition of calorie counting. (calling Dr. Freud)

Early in the detox, Rachel meets Miriam, a zaftig young Orthodox Jewish woman who works at Rachel's favorite frozen yogurt shop and is intent upon feeding her. Is Miriam a nurturing Golem that Rachel has sought. Rachel is suddenly and powerfully entranced by Miriam — by her sundaes and her voluptuous body, her Jewish faith and her family (her brother also worked at the shop) — and as the two grow closer, Rachel embarks on a journey marked by mirrors, mysticism, mothers, milk, and honey.

Pairing superlative emotional insight with unabashed vivid fantasy, Broder tells a tale of appetites: physical hunger, LGBTQA sexual desire, spiritual longing, and the ways that we as humans can compartmentalize these so often interdependent instincts. Milk Fed is a tender and riotously funny meditation on love, certitude, and the question of what we are all being fed, from one of our major writers on the psyche—both sacred and profane.

By Alexis Landau
February 23, 2021

\In the spirit of We Were the Lucky Ones and We Must Be Brave, a heartbreaking World War II novel of one mother's impossible choice, and her search for her daughter against the odds.

As a Russian Jewish émigré to France, Vera's wealth cannot protect her or her four-year-old-daughter, Lucie, once the Nazis occupy the country. After receiving notice that all foreigners must report to an internment camp, Vera has just a few hours to make an impossible choice: Does she subject Lucie to the horrid conditions of the camp, or does she put her into hiding with her beloved and trusted governess, safe until Vera can retrieve her? Believing the war will end soon, Vera chooses to leave Lucie in safety. She cannot know that she and her husband will have an opportunity to escape, to flee to America. She cannot know that Lucie's governess will have fled with Lucie to family in rural France, too far to reach in time.

And so begins a heartbreaking journey and separation, a war and a continent apart. Vera's marriage will falter under the surreal sun of California. Her ability to write--once her passion--will disappear. But Vera's love for Lucie, her faith that her daughter lives, will only grow. As Vera's determination to return to France and find Lucie crystalizes, she meets Sasha, a man on his own search for meaning. She is stronger with Sasha than she is alone. Together they will journey to Lucie. They will find her fate.

[book] Mazel Tov
by J. S. Margot
Jane Hedley-Prole (Translator)
February 23, 2021
Pushkin Press
A heartwarming, funny and provocative memoir of a woman navigating clashing cultures during her decades-long friendship with an Orthodox Jewish family, new in paperback

When 20-year-old student J. S. Margot took a tutoring job in 1987, little did she know it would open up an entire world.

In the family's Orthodox Jewish household she would encounter endless rules - 'never come on a Friday, never shake hands with a man' - and quirks she had not seen before: tiny tubes on the doorposts, separate fridges for meat and dairy products. Her initial response was puzzlement and occasionally anger, but as she taught the children and fiercely debated with the family, she also began to learn from them.

Full of funny misunderstandings and unexpected connections, Mazel Tov is a heartwarming, provocative and disarmingly honest memoir of clashing cultures and unusual friendships - and of how, where adults build walls, sometimes only children can dissolve them.

[book] Beyond Chopped Liver:
59 Jewish Recipes Get a Vegan Health Makeover
by Kenden Alfond
(Jewish Food Hero)
February 23, 2021

"Jewish Food Hero blogger Alfond charms in this cheerful guide to vegan Jewish cooking...This vegan twist on Jewish cuisine hits all of the right notes." –Publishers Weekly

Jewish food’s “greatest hits” receive a makeover in the newest recipe collection from the author of the Jewish Food Hero Cookbook and Feeding Women of the Bible, Feeding Ourselves. Beyond Chopped Liver: 59 Jewish Recipes Get a Vegan Health Makeover shares new and better ways to enjoy quintessentially Jewish food with delicious, plant-based recipes– from challah to matzo ball soup!

The Jewish recipes in this cookbook are inspired by recipes from Jewish pre-modern Diaspora communities: Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi, Beta Israel/Ethiopian and Indian Jewish communities, and from modern Israel and American Jewish food cultures.

The updates in this collection speak to the Jewish community today, as we seek to honor inherited Jewish food traditions while living in ways that are healthier for our bodies and our planet. Communal meals are essential for family and community cohesion and health, and there should be no conflict between Jewish life and ethical eating. Offering healthier plant-based and vegan Jewish recipes is author Kenden Alfond’s way of problem-solving and providing resources for the community so that everyone can share delicious, healthy meals.

[book] The Essential Jewish Cookbook:
100 Easy Recipes for the
Modern Jewish Kitchen
by Marcia A. Friedman
February 9, 2021

From a specialist in meatball and matzo balls, comes 100 Easy, must-have Jewish recipes for any occasion. Jewish food is steeped in diverse cultural traditions, featuring a wide array of ingredients, flavors, and textures from all over the world. Capture the essence of this one-of-a-kind cuisine with The Essential Jewish Cookbook, filled with easy recipes for classic Jewish dishes made simple and modern.

From Challah French Toast and Classic Potato Latkes to Adafina and Doro Wot, these recipes highlight the breadth and depth of Jewish cuisine from different regions. You’ll find tips and tricks for getting the most out of each recipe, from preparing certain steps in advance to swapping ingredients for making dishes kosher.

The Essential Jewish Cookbook includes:

A culinary history-Learn more about where these recipes come from with a historical journey through Jewish cuisine, from the Middle East, to Europe, North Africa, the Americas, and beyond. Holiday menus-Discover simple holiday menus that offer a starting place for planning memorable meals and forming your own delicious traditions. Dietary labels-Explore vegetarian, kosher, and gluten-free recipes with labels that make it easy to find dishes that will work for everyone. From weeknight dinners to holiday feasts, create delectable meals the whole family will love with this traditional Jewish cookbook.

by Leah Schapira, Victoria Dwek,
Shaindy Menzer, Renee Muller, and Esti Waldman
Fall 2020

What's for Dinner?
Is that the question you hear, night after night?
And often, are you simply stumped? In this epic collaboration, the team behind Between Carpools, the popular lifestyle site for busy Jewish women, brings you the cookbook you really need with easy-to-prep dinner recipes your family will want to eat! So now you can finally say, "Dinner Done!" Since its inception, fans have turned to Leah Schapira, Victoria Dwek, Renee Muller, Esti Waldman, and Shaindy Menzer - the women behind Between Carpools - for the easy, practical recipes that simply work with their lives. Now, in Dinner Done, the team brings you:

150+ quick-to-prepare, family-friendly dishes that you ll turn to over and over. No pricey, hard-to-find ingredients needed! You already have most ingredients in your pantry!
Beautiful photo for every single dish.
A full chapter of super-quick, no-mess 9 x 13 recipes prepared directly in the pan in just minutes. Mix, bake, and serve!
Chicken, Meat, Fish, and Dairy main dishes, plus lots of easy side dishes, salads, and soups!

Yes, there's always room for a sweet treat. Dinner Done also includes the easy, delicious desserts you ll turn to when there's no time to fuss. The Between Carpools team also shares their favorite cooking hacks and tips throughout the book!

So, now are you ready to answer the question, "What's for dinner?" It might be the No-Fry Hot Poppers that your boys will beg you to make again and again or a Crispy Chicken that's even better than any takeout or the Meat Pizza That Kids Love that s super easy for mom too or a Maple Salmon that ll make it into the rotation or, of course, No-Pot No-Cream Fettuccine Alfredo that will become your #1 go-to pasta dish.

[book] The Instant Pot® Kosher Cookbook:
100 Recipes to Nourish Body and Soul
by Paula Shoyer
February 2, 2021
Sterlng Epicure

Welcome to the first Instant Pot® cookbook to feature kosher food. Paula Shoyer has expertly developed a robust array of both traditional and contemporary kosher recipes for the king of all kitchen appliances: the Instant Pot®!

Jewish food and the Instant Pot® are a natural fit. So many traditional Jewish dishes are soups and stews—prepared before Friday night and kept warm throughout Shabbat, when observant Jews aren’t allowed to cook—and that’s the sweet spot of the Instant Pot®. For decades, Jewish families have relied on slow cookers to achieve the soft, flavor-filled stews of their ancestors, but they lamented the time required.

Now, the Instant Pot® allows for vastly shorter cooking times without compromising flavor or texture. The Instant Pot ® Kosher Cookbook includes timeless Jewish favorites tailored to this modern appliance: stuffed cabbage, Israeli cooked salads, corned beef, brisket, cholent, Yemenite and Persian beef and lamb stews, chicken soup, beet soup, kasha varnishkes, tzimmis, even apple cake. There are weeknight meals as well as recipes for Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, and Passover, along with kosher versions of international classics such as lasagna, sesame noodles, arroz con pollo, Asian noodle soups, and risotto—all expertly and deliciously adapted to the Instant Pot®.

[book] Bill Cunningham Was There:
Spring Flings + Summer Soirées
by John Kurdewan, Steven Stolman
the late Bill Cunningham (Photographer)
Ruben Toledo (Foreword)
February 23, 2021

Bill Cunningham--the iconic New York Times photographer who chronicled society and fashion--celebrated the people, the style, and the happenings of New York and beyond. This volume focuses on the vibrant and fun-filled events of spring and summer.

Bill Cunningham (1929-2016) embraced the colors, carefree beauty, and escapism of spring outings and summer parties as both a photographer and an astute fashion documentarian. His camera captured the showstopping hats and dresses worn by society ladies at the annual Central Park Conservancy luncheons, the gorgeous gowns sweeping the dance floors of tented galas in Newport and the Hamptons, and the authentic vintage outfits sported by young attendees at summertime jazz and swing-dance festivals. For decades, Cunningham's two weekly columns for the Times remained at the top of every fashionista's go-to list, presenting not only a comprehensive chronicle of the looks of the day but also an insider's view of the glamorous parties and philanthropic events that are part of the social whirl. This celebration of Cunningham's genius for capturing magical moments with extraordinary style provides a heartfelt insiders' tribute to one of photojournalism's greatest legends.


February 23, 2021

One of our most brilliant biographers takes on one of our greatest living playwrights, drawing on a wealth of new materials and on many conversations with him

Tom Stoppard (Straussler - Beck) is a towering and beloved literary figure. Known for his dizzying narrative inventiveness and intense attention to language, he deftly deploys art, science, history, politics, and philosophy in works that span a remarkable spectrum of literary genres: theater, radio, film, TV, journalism, and fiction. His most acclaimed creations--Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Real Thing, Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Shakespeare in Love--remain as fresh and moving as when they entranced their first audiences.

Born in Czechoslovakia (Zlin), to a Jewish family (click the book cover to read a Chapter One excerpt on his family) that worked for BATA shoes, “Stoppard” and his family were saved by Mr. Bata and sent to Singapore, and then fled to India to escape the Nazis. He spent his early years in Singapore and India before arriving in England at age eight. Skipping university, he embarked on a brilliant career, becoming close friends over the years with an astonishing array of writers, actors, directors, musicians, and political figures, from Peter O'Toole, Harold Pinter, and Stephen Spielberg to Mick Jagger and Václav Havel.

Having long described himself as a "bounced Czech," Stoppard only learned late in life of his mother's Jewish family and of the relatives he lost to the Holocaust.

Lee's absorbing biography seamlessly weaves Stoppard's life and work together into a vivid, insightful, and always riveting portrait of a remarkable man.

[book] Friends and Enemies:
A Life in Vogue, Prison, & Park Avenue
by Barbara Amiel
Fall 2020

Shockingly honest, richly detailed, and pulling no punches, Friends and Enemies traverses the highs and lows of Barbara Amiel's storied life in journalism and high society.

From her early childhood in London during the Blitz to emigrating to North America and her rise to the top rungs of journalism; to her four husbands and other assorted beaus both famous and not; and right up to her marriage to Conrad Black and their prolific legal battles against the powerful and vengeful American justice system, Barbara Amiel's life has been as dramatic as it is glamorous. She has been called every conceivable name in the book by the media (and authors of unauthorized biographies about her), pilloried for her extravagant lifestyle and sometimes regrettable quotes to the press ("My extravagance knows no bounds," for instance, to Vogue), not to mention her outspoken conservative political views as stated in her weekly newspaper columns around the world. It's no surprise she remains to this day a subject of utter fascination after over four decades in the public eye.

But until now, very few people actually know her real story—the break-up of her family when she was a child, her bouts of debilitating depression and other chronic health issues, her thoughts on feminism and #MeToo, her travels with the international jet set and A-list celebrities, and, of course, her unvarnished views on the trial and conviction (since overturned) of Conrad Black and the iron-clad bond they have shared since they were married in 1992.

Whether you are an admirer or critic of Amiel’s, you will be completely engrossed in her operatic life, one that seems ripped from the pages of a scandalous novel. She also distinguishes herself as a woman well ahead of her time—the first female editor of a national newspaper in Canada, she challenged the sexual mores of society while also angering the feminist establishment. She has certainly had many friends and enemies over the years—Henry and Nancy Kissinger, Elton John, Tom Stoppard, David Frost, Anna Wintour, Oscar de la Renta, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana, Marie Jose Kravis, to name but a few—and she brings these personalties into the spotlight in this larger-than-life memoir that is sure to cause a sensation with readers everywhere.

Translated from Hebrew By Orr Scharf, PhD
February 23, 2021

An irresistible, picaresque tale of two Jewish sisters in late-nineteenth-century Russia, filled with "boundless imagination and a vibrant style" (David Grossman), and enough intrigue and misadventure to stupefy the Coen brothers.

With her reputation as a vilde chaya (wild animal), Fanny Keismann isn't like the other women in her shtetl in Russia's Pale of Settlement--certainly not her obedient and anxiety-ridden sister, Mende, whose "philosopher" of a husband, Zvi-Meir, has run off to Minsk, abandoning her and their two children. As a young girl, Fanny felt an inexorable pull toward her father's profession of ritual slaughterer and, under his reluctant guidance, became a master with a knife. And though she long ago gave up that unsuitable profession--she's now the wife of a cheesemaker and a mother of five--Fanny still keeps the knife tied to her right leg. Which might come in handy when, heedless of the dangers facing a Jewish woman traveling alone in czarist Russia, she sets off to track down Zvi-Meir and bring him home-- with the help of the mute and mysterious ferryman Zizek Breshov, an ex-soldier with his own sensational past.

Yaniv Iczkovits spins a family drama into a far-reaching comedy of errors that will pit the czar's army against the Russian secret police and threaten the very foundations of the Russian Empire. The Slaughterman's Daughter is a rollicking and unforgettable work of fiction.

[book] The Delusions Of Crowds:
Why People Go Mad in Groups
by William J. Bernstein
February 23, 2021
Atlantic Monthly Press

From the award-winning author of A Splendid Exchange, a fascinating new history of financial and religious mass manias over the past five centuries

“We are the apes who tell stories,” writes William Bernstein. “And no matter how misleading the narrative, if it is compelling enough it will nearly always trump the facts.” As Bernstein shows in his eloquent and persuasive new book, The Delusions of Crowds, throughout human history compelling stories have catalyzed the spread of contagious narratives through susceptible groups-with enormous, often disastrous, consequences.

Inspired by Charles Mackay’s 19th-century classic Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Bernstein engages with mass delusion with the same curiosity and passion, but armed with the latest scientific research that explains the biological, evolutionary, and psychosocial roots of human irrationality. Bernstein tells the stories of dramatic religious and financial mania in western society over the last 500 years-from the Anabaptist Madness that afflicted the Low Countries in the 1530s to the dangerous End-Times beliefs that animate ISIS and pervade today’s polarized America; and from the South Sea Bubble to the Enron scandal and dot com bubbles of recent years. Through Bernstein’s supple prose, the participants are as colorful as their motivation, invariably “the desire to improve one’s well-being in this life or the next.”

As revealing about human nature as they are historically significant, Bernstein’s chronicles reveal the huge cost and alarming implications of mass mania: for example, belief in dispensationalist End-Times has over decades profoundly affected U.S. Middle East policy. Bernstein observes that if we can absorb the history and biology of mass delusion, we can recognize it more readily in our own time, and avoid its frequently dire impact.

[book] Bartali's Bicycle:
The True Story of Gino Bartali,
Italy's Secret Hero
by Megan Hoyt, Iacopo Bruno
February 23, 2021
Quill Tree

Author Megan Hoyt and illustrator Iacopo Bruno bring to light the inspiring, true story of Gino Bartali, a beloved Italian cyclist and secret champion in the fight for Jewish lives during World War II.

Gino Bartali pedaled across Italy for years, winning one cycling race after another, including the 1938 Tour de France. Gino became an international sports hero! But the next year, World War II began, and it changed everything. Soldiers marched into Italy. Tanks rolled down the cobbled streets of Florence. And powerful leaders declared that Jewish people should be arrested.

To the entire world, Gino Bartali was merely a champion cyclist. But Gino’s greatest achievement was something he never told a soul—that he secretly worked with the Italian resistance to save hundreds of Jewish men, women, and children, and others, from certain death, using the one thing no authority would question: his bicycle.

This compelling nonfiction picture book for elementary-age readers offers a unique perspective on World War II history. It's a strong choice for units on the war and for biographies of lesser-known heroes in history and in sports.

[book] Backable:
The Surprising Truth Behind
What Makes People Take a Chance on You
by Suneel Gupta, Carlye Adler
February 23, 2021
Little, Brown

A groundbreaking book that boldly claims the key to success is not talent, connections, or ideas, but the ability to persuade people to take a chance on your potential.

"The most exceptional people aren't just brilliant...they're backable." —Daniel Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive and To Sell is Human

No one makes it alone. But there’s a reason some people can get investors or bosses to believe in them while others cannot. And that reason has little to do with experience, pedigree, or a polished business plan. Backable people seem to have a hidden quality that inspires others to take action. We often chalk this up to natural talent or charisma...either you have “it” or you don’t.

After getting rejected by every investor he pitched, Suneel Gupta had a burning question: Could “it” be learned?

Drawing lessons from hundreds of the world’s biggest thinkers, Gupta discovered how to pitch new ideas in a way that has raised millions of dollars, influenced large-scale change inside massive corporations, and even convinced his eight-year-old daughter to clean her room. Inside Backable are long-held secrets from producers of Oscar-winning films, members of Congress, military leaders, culinary stars, venture capitalists, founders of unicorn-status startups, and executives at iconic companies like Lego, Method, and Pixar.

Backable reveals how the key to success is not charisma, connections, or even your résumé, but rather your ability to persuade others to take a chance on you. This original book will show you how.

[book] The Dictatorship of Woke Capital:
How Political Correctness
Captured Big Business
by Stephen R. Soukup
February 23, 2021
Encounter Books

The author is concerned that philanthropists and corporate leaders – many of them Progressive, Jewish, or Left of Center are using their capital to support Democratic Party and other initiatives.

He writes that “the Left has been waging a slow, methodical battle for control of the institutions of Western Civilization and undermining freedom, free markets, and property rights. The author lauds U.S. Senators Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, and Josh Hawley who seek to fight progressive ideas. Soukop proposes in his book how Conservatives can resist corporate tikkun olam and “woke” ness.

It gpt a great review from Philanthropy Daily and Capital Research.. but then again, they often write about the awfulness of “Hollywood” leader and Mark Zuckerberg. Wink wink

[book] Skip the Line:
The 10,000 Experiments Rule and
Other Surprising Advice for Reaching Your Goals
by James Altucher
February 23, 2021
Harper Business

The entrepreneur, angel investor, and bestselling author of Choose Yourself busts the 10,000-hour rule of achieving mastery, offering a new mindset and dozens of techniques that will inspire any professional—no matter their age or managerial level—to pursue their passions and quickly acquire the skills they need to succeed and achieve their dreams.

We live in a hierarchical world where experience has traditionally been the key to promotion. But that period is over! Straight, clear-cut career trajectories no longer exist. Industries disappear, job descriptions change, and people’s interests and passions evolve. The key to riding this wave, entrepreneur James Altucher advises, is to constantly be curious about what’s next, to be comfortable with uncertainty so you can keep navigating the rough waters ahead, and most important, to pursue the things that interest you.

In Skip the Line, he reveals how he went from struggling and depressed to making his personal, financial, and creative dreams come true, despite—and perhaps due to—his many failures along the way. Altucher combines his personal story with concrete—and unorthodox—insights that work. But Skip the Line isn’t about hacks and shortcuts—it’s about transforming the way you think, work, and live, letting your interests guide your learning, time, and resources. It’s about allowing yourself to do what comes naturally; the more you do what you love, the better you do it. While showing you how to approach change and crisis, Altucher gives you tools to help easily execute ideas, become an expert negotiator, attract the attention of those around you, scale promising ideas, and improve leadership—all of which will catapult you higher than you ever thought possible and at a speed that everyone will tell you is impossible.

[book] My Lifelong Fight Against Disease:
From Polio and AIDS to COVID-19
by William A. Haseltine, MD
February 16, 2021

Anticipating a career in medicine, Dr. William A. Haseltine was in his first weeks of graduate studies at Harvard when a legendary physician-scientist offered this advice: “You can do more for human health through science than you ever could as a doctor.” That advice hit him “like a thunderbolt”—and he took it.

Since then, Dr. Haseltine has helped combat cancers, worked to contain the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and unlocked the power of the human genome to develop dozens of new pharmaceutical cures. His discoveries in molecular biology and genomics, amplified through his counsel at the highest levels of government and in the public eye, have improved the health and lives of millions of people around the world.

For the first time, Dr. Haseltine tells his life story—which is still unfolding—in My Lifelong Fight Against Disease, including facing devastating public health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighting exhilarating moments of medical discovery. In writing the story of his wide ranging career, Dr. Haseltine’s goals are simple: to encourage the next generation to make their own significant contribution to human life, and for all readers to appreciate science as a humanistic enterprise.

A compulsively readable and fast paced insider’s account of some of the most brilliant medical breakthroughs in modern history, My Lifelong Fight Against Disease is a candid, evocative, and ultimately revelatory exploration into what it means to make science your life.

[book] Ticking Clock:
Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes
by Ira Rosen
February 16, 2021
Two-time Peabody Award-winning writer and producer Ira Rosen reveals the intimate, untold stories of his decades at America’s most iconic news show. It’s a 60 Minutes story on 60 Minutes itself.

When producer Ira Rosen walked into the 60 Minutes offices in June 1980, he knew he was about to enter television history. His career catapulted him to the heights of TV journalism, breaking some of the most important stories in TV news. But behind the scenes was a war room of clashing producers, anchors, and the most formidable 60 Minutes figure: legendary correspondent Mike Wallace.

Based on decades of access and experience, Ira Rosen takes readers behind closed doors to offer an incisive look at the show that invented TV investigative journalism. With surprising humor, charm, and an eye for colorful detail, Rosen delivers an authoritative account of the unforgettable personalities that battled for prestige, credit, and the desire to scoop everyone else in the game. As Mike Wallace’s top producer, Rosen reveals the interview secrets that made Wallace’s work legendary, and the flaring temper that made him infamous. Later, as senior producer of ABC News Primetime Live and 20/20, Rosen exposes the competitive environment among famous colleagues like Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, and the power plays between correspondents Chris Wallace, Anderson Cooper, and Chris Cuomo.

A master class in how TV news is made, Rosen shows readers how 60 Minutes puts together a story when sources are explosive, unreliable, and even dangerous. From unearthing shocking revelations from inside the Trump White House, to an outrageous proposition from Ghislaine Maxwell, to interviewing gangsters Joe Bonanno and John Gotti Jr., Ira Rosen was behind the scenes of 60 Minutes' most sensational stories.

Highly entertaining, dishy, and unforgettable, Ticking Clock is a never-before-told account of the most successful news show in American history.

[book] I Am Meir's Brother
by Ellen Brazer
February 3, 2021

I Am Meir’s brother is the biography of the celebrated research scientist, Eliezer (Eli) Huberman, and the relationship he had with his Israeli spymaster brother, Meir (Huberman) Dagan.

In order to grasp the influences that turn ordinary people into extraordinary people, the story begins with Eli and Meir’s parents. The family, including two-year-old Eli, escape from Poland and the Nazi extermination in 1941, only to find themselves entrapped in the frozen tundra of a Russian work camp. Through resilience, ingenuity and determination that would be passed down to their sons, the parents survive. Meir is born at the end of the war on the family’s way back to Poland, where they are greeted with devastation and derision. By the time they finally book passage to the newly formed State of Israel, their Zionist father has firmly instilled in the psyches of his sons a fervent commitment to a Jewish homeland.

Eli excels as a gifted and exceptional student. He serves in the IDF, participates in the various wars, receives a master’s degree in microbiology and a PhD, and draws international attention for his published papers on cancer research. Upon meeting Lily Ginzburg, a life-long love affair begins. A child prodigy pianist from Lithuania and the descendant of survivors, the book examines her family’s life during the war and the impact it has on her. She becomes the bedrock of Eli’s existence, birthing and raising two sons, while shielding and protecting her husband from daily distractions.

Eli’s demeanor, insightfulness and genius would open doors into the rarefied corridors of the greatest research institutions in Israel, America and the world. Every day of his life is spent searching for cures, unraveling mysteries, sailing another unchartered course, each step, deliberate and insightful. There are incalculable successes and heartbreaking failures, accolades and dismissals. Through it all, he never quits and never stops believing in the unbelievable. While Eli devotes himself to science, his younger brother, Meir Huberman Dagan, dedicates his life to the State of Israel. A zealot like his father, Meir rises through the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces, eventually becoming a Major General. He is appointed Director of the Mossad, the National Intelligence Agency in Israel. A hero known as the King of Shadows, Meir is disappointed when his brother leaves Israel for America.

Knowing he is unable to protect Eli and his family from the possibility of a retaliatory assassination attempt, Meir resolves to keep their familial relationship a secret. As proud as he was of Eli, it was not until the end of his illustrious life that Meir definitively acknowledges that he has a brother. The title of this book is Eli’s way of telling the world how honored he is to say, I Am Meir’s Brother.

[book] Tangled Up in Blue:
Policing the American City
by Rosa Brooks
February 9, 2021
Penguin Press

Journalist and law professor Rosa Brooks goes beyond the "blue wall of silence" in this radical inside examination of American policing. Brooks, the daughter of author Barbara Ehrenreich and psychologist John Ehrenreich, was protesting with her mother while still in the womb.

In her forties, with two children, a spouse, a dog, a mortgage, and a full-time job as a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, Rosa Brooks decided to become a cop. A liberal academic and journalist with an enduring interest in law's troubled relationship with violence, Brooks wanted the kind of insider experience that would help her understand how police officers make sense of their world—and whether that world can be changed. In 2015, against the advice of everyone she knew, she applied to become a sworn, armed reserve police officer with the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department.

Then as now, police violence was constantly in the news. The Black Lives Matter movement was gaining momentum, protests wracked America's cities, and each day brought more stories of cruel, corrupt cops, police violence, and the racial disparities that mar our criminal justice system. Lines were being drawn, and people were taking sides. But as Brooks made her way through the police academy and began work as a patrol officer in the poorest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods of the nation's capital, she found a reality far more complex than the headlines suggested.

In Tangled Up in Blue, Brooks recounts her experiences inside the usually closed world of policing. From street shootings and domestic violence calls to the behind-the-scenes police work during Donald Trump's 2016 presidential inauguration, Brooks presents a revelatory account of what it's like inside the "blue wall of silence." She issues an urgent call for new laws and institutions, and argues that in a nation increasingly divided by race, class, ethnicity, geography, and ideology, a truly transformative approach to policing requires us to move beyond sound bites, slogans, and stereotypes. An explosive and groundbreaking investigation, Tangled Up in Blue complicates matters rather than simplifies them, and gives pause both to those who think police can do no wrong—and those who think they can do no right.

[book] Rebel Daughter
by Lori Banov Kaufmann
February 9, 2021
Delacorte Press

read the first two chapters by clicking the book cover

A young woman survives the unthinkable in this stunning and emotionally satisfying tale of family, love, and resilience, set against the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

Esther dreams of so much more than the marriage her parents have arranged to a prosperous silversmith. Always curious and eager to explore, she must accept the burden of being the dutiful daughter. Yet she is torn between her family responsibilities and her own desires; she longs for the handsome Joseph, even though he treats her like a child, and is confused by her attraction to the Roman freedman Tiberius, a man who should be her sworn enemy.

Meanwhile, the growing turmoil threatens to tear apart not only her beloved city, Jerusalem, but also her own family. As the streets turn into a bloody battleground between rebels and Romans, Esther's journey becomes one of survival. She remains fiercely devoted to her family, and braves famine, siege, and slavery to protect those she loves.

This emotional and impassioned saga, based on real characters and meticulous research, seamlessly blends the fascinating story of the Jewish people with a timeless protagonist determined to take charge of her own life against all odds.

[book] How to Avoid a Climate Disaster:
The Solutions We Have and
the Breakthroughs We Need
by Bill Gates
February 16, 2021

In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical--and accessible--plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide to certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.

He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions--suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise.

As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.


[book] The Superhero Haggadah:
A Story of Signs and Marvels
(Hebrew Edition)
by Moshe Rosenberg
Aviva Shur, Moriel Hirsch-Hoffman (Illust's)
March 1, 2021

How is the Passover Seder plate like a time machine? What makes a true superhero? And is guilt actually a Jewish super power? Join the author of the best-selling Unofficial Hogwarts Haggadah as he explores the 23 Infinity Saga films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and reveals uncanny connections to the classic Passover story. From time travel to teaching, internal demons to external enemies, exile to homecoming, and Talmudic sages to cinematic superheroes, you’ll discover commonalities you never considered—and may just unearth your own super powers along the way.

This 164-page full-color volume contains the entire text of the traditional Haggadah in Hebrew and English, along with English commentary, essays, and art to supercharge your Seder.

[book] Fruits of Freedom:
The Torah Flora Hagadah
by Jon Greenberg, Phd
March 15, 2021

This extraordinary Hagadah will enrich and restore meaning to any seder. Fruits of Freedom reveals the forgotten roots of the seder in the history of Jewish food and agriculture. The author's broad scholarship enables him to bring new vigor and excitement to this ancient ritual with the respectful use of science and history. Much of this information has never been published before. Readers will learn how the Ten Plagues discredited the Egyptian sun god Ra and his daughter, the beer goddess Hathor.

Three versions of the seder plate reflect three reasons for the seder; the dozens of charoset recipes express seven meanings of the Exodus. Illustrations of animals in old Hagadot express one feeling that could not be revealed publicly in medieval Spain, and another in sixteenth-century Germany. Surprising wisdom appears in every detail from the choice of vegetables for karpas and maror to the roasting of the Paschal lamb and the custom of leaning to the left. "What Does it Mean?" sidebars explore customs with multiple meanings. Over 90 lavish award-winning and original photographs enliven and clarify the beautifully designed text.

Readers of all religious inclinations, foodies, and environmentalists will find much to celebrate and learn from in this major new publication. Dr. Greenberg's extensive experience as an agricultural scientist and educator animates an entertaining and informative commentary that makes science and Torah scholarship vivid and understandable to all. Learned readers and those who would like to delve deeper will appreciate the extensive footnotes and appendices that lead to the original sources without cluttering the commentary. Prominent rabbis, food historians, and biblical ethnobotanists have enthusiastically approved Fruits of Freedom. Readers who have visited Dr. Greenberg's Web site,, will recognize his clear, often humorous explanations that are respectful of both religious tradition and the findings of science.

Dr. Jon Greenberg is one of the very few living biblical and talmudic ethnobotanists. He is often consulted by rabbis and other scholars for his broad knowledge of this area. Dr. Greenberg received his bachelor's degree with honors in biology from Brown University and his master's and doctorate in agronomy from Cornell University. He has also studied with Rabbi Chaim Brovender at Israel's Yeshivat Hamivtar and conducted research on corn, alfalfa, and soybeans at Cornell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Cancer Research. Since 1989, he has been a science teacher and educational consultant. Dr. Greenberg was Senior Editor of science textbooks at Prentice Hall Publishing Co. Previously on the faculty of Yeshivas Ohr Yosef, the School of Education at Indiana University, and the University of Phoenix, he has taught at the Heschel School since 2008. He is a frequent speaker at synagogues, schools, and botanical gardens. Dr. Greenberg is the author of and can be contacted at

Reclaim Your Sex Life with the
Revolutionary Multi-point System
by Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus
The Orthodox Jewish Sex Guru,
March 9, 2021
Hachette Go

The "Queen of Vibrators" and the "Orthodox Sex Guru" shares her easy, proven system to help women have a healthy, robust sex life.

IN the series UNORTHODOX, the character os Esty has sexual and vagina issues with her husband. Dr. Marcus could have treated her vaginismus so that she could have have had healthy sex with her husband and not have had to fee to Berlin into the arms of the grandson of a former SS Nazi

Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus believes a healthy, fulfilling sex life is a right for all women. But many women don't quite believe that themselves; they think that a diminished sex drive is natural, pain during sex is to be expected, and no orgasms?...well, too bad! As a veteran sex therapist, Dr. Marcus has seen everything and knows firsthand that all that is rubbish.

Most of the books you find on how to have a good sex life focus on emotional intimacy and behavior--or, like the Cosmo quizzes say, sexy lingerie and a beach vacation. But there's more to it than that. For most women, while there are relationship and emotional components that are critical to a healthy sex life, there is also a hefty physiological or medical component driving their desire. And until you know what's really going on, all the lingerie and sexy couples' time won't really help. Your sex life is complex, made up many different aspects of your life; these variables shift and change over time--and all the variables need to work together to make your sex life work.

Sex Points is the first book that helps women and identify analyze for themselves what factors are affecting their sex life and then gives a wide variety of ways to approach different problems. The book breaks down these variables in an easy-to-use system--one that uses a threshold of 100 points for a healthy sex life. Divided into four key areas--pain, arousal, libido, and orgasm--each variable has its own point value. The Sex Points Assessment helps you determine exactly what is keeping you from having a great sex life-where you are missing points. Specific chapters address the issues with practical suggestions. Whatever it is, the points system gives you a concrete picture of your situation and then gives you the tools to fix it.

Covering everything from how to choose a vibrator to recapturing orgasms, to rekindling lust, embracing taboo fantasies, and parsing complicated relationships, to what sex really means (hint: it's not just intercourse!), Sex Points is a revelatory guide to ensure women get the rich sex life they deserve.

[book] The Telling:
How Judaism's Essential
Book Reveals the Meaning of Life
by Mark Gerson
March 2, 2021
St. Martin's

In The Telling, Mark Gerson, host of The Rabbi’s Husband podcast and renowned Jewish philanthropist, shows us how to make the Seder the most engaging, inspiring, and important night of the Jewish year.

God didn’t design the Seder to put your kids to sleep. Instead, the Seder is an experience your family should love, treasure and remember.

Have you ever wondered that there might be something more to Passover, the Seder and in the Haggadah-something that just might hold the secrets to living the life of joy and meaning that you were intended to?

By using this book, you’ll be able to:
· Lead the Seder with wisdom, confidence and fun that guests will remember
· Make the Haggadah burst alive with insight for our opportunities, questions and challenges
· Show Gentile friends the richness of the Jewish tradition
· Instill a lasting love of Judaism within your children
· Bring your family closer together and closer to God

The Telling will enable you to see what the Haggadah really is: The Greatest Hits of Jewish Thought. This understanding will enable you to provide your guests with the most interesting, insightful and practically helpful night of the year-with teachings and lessons that will continue to brighten in the year to come. What leaders are saying about The Telling:
Senator Joseph Lieberman: In The Telling, Mark Gerson brilliantly illuminates some of the big questions from the Haggadah whose answers can define what constitutes a meaningful life. By showing how the Haggadah enables its readers to deploy ancient Jewish wisdom to help answer the most contemporary questions, this book will help your Pesach to be what it can be: a life-guiding event, every year, for anyone who learns enough to give it the opportunity.

Yossi Klein Halevi, Author of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor and Like Dreamers Once a year, shortly before Pesach (emphatically not Passover!), Mark Gerson steps out of his role as a world-class entrepreneur and becomes a teacher of Torah-or more precisely, of the Haggadah. Those sessions have become legendary, and this book helps explain why. Here is Gerson's inimitable voice-passionate, erudite and most of all deeply in love with Jewish wisdom. Read this book to understand why the Haggadah has endured as a seminal Jewish text and why it remains no less relevant today than when it was first written.

Gordon Robertson - CEO, The Christian Broadcasting Network "The Telling is the perfect introduction for those desiring to explore this aspect of Jewish life. This book is full of knowledge and thought-provoking questions and answers to the many mysteries that surround this sacred Jewish holiday."

Thank G-d!
by Dave Cowen
March 2, 2021

From the writer of The New York Times featured parody books, The Trump Passover Haggadah and The Yada Yada Haggadah, comes the new The Biden-Harris Haggadah: Thank G-d! Enjoy your Passover Seder with the Second Gentleman and first-ever Jewish spouse of a President or Vice President, Doug Emhoff, progressively leading the Yom Tov Candle ceremony. Laugh at Bernie Sanders back to make sure the moderates give the afflicted 99% a piece of the “poor man’s bread.” See if new President, Joe Biden, can get through the Magid without an interruption...and much more. Dave Cowen has written humor for The New Yorker and McSweeney’s. His books have been Best Sellers in the Amazon categories of Political Humor, Parody, History Humor, Religious Humor, Jewish Holidays, and Haggadahs.

[book] The Haggadah:
For a Meaningful, Fun and
Uplifting Passover Seder
by Team
March 14, 2021

The complete Haggadah in Hebrew and English, complete with simple instructions, guides and a host of haggadah insights to make your Passover seder meaningful, fun and uplifting for you and all your guests.This Haggadah introduces a new accessible translation that makes the seder come alive, explaining each step in simple and relatable terms.The Haggadah also offers tips for leading a seder to make sure everyone at your table gets involved and enjoys the experience.The Haggadah was created by the team based on years of experience in creating and providing thought-provoking content that engages and brings people together.

[book] The Haggadah About Nothing:
The (Unofficial) Seinfeld Haggadah
by Rabbi Sam Reinstein

Welcome to "The Haggadah about Nothing" by Rabbi Sam Reinstein. It features commentary and parody connecting the Haggadah, the Exodus story, and other Jewish texts to the nine seasons of the seminal show, Seinfeld. You might be thinking "What's the deal with a Seinfeld Haggadah?" What do Seinfeld and Pesach have in common? Surprisingly, quite a lot. You'll just have to get a copy to find out. The Haggadah has the full Hebrew text surrounded by commentary connecting it to Seinfeld. There are tons of Seinfeld references in the translation, and the illustrations relate Seinfeld to the Haggadah. This Haggadah is perfect for the Seinfeld fan looking to either bring levity to their Passover experience or to relate our national history to something modern and relatable. All Seinfeld content is used purely for commentary and/or parody.

Rabbi Sam Reinstein was ordained at Yeshiva University, and received his Masters in Philosophy at Revel Graduate School. He is the Rabbi at Congregation Kol Israel in Brooklyn, and a trained Actuary. He lives with his wife Hannah, and their three children Leon, Sophia, and Miriam in Brooklyn where he makes more puns and TV references than are reasonable.

[book] A Raid on the Red Sea:
The Israeli Capture of the Karine
by Amos Gilboa, Yonah Jeremy Bob
(Editor, Translator)
March 2, 2021

A Raid on the Red Sea is the thrilling, real-life tale of illegal gun-running in the Middle East. In this firsthand account, Amos Gilboa gives the harrowing details of the secret close-working relations between Israeli and American intelligence in the seizure of the “Karine A” ship, the most successful Israeli intelligence operation since the legendary Entebbe hostage rescue.

At 0400 hours, January 3, 2002, two fast boats of Israel’s naval commando unit closed in on the stern of the Palestinian Authority’s Karine A. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had clandestinely loaded its cargo: fifty-six tons of high-grade, long-range weapons destined for the Gaza Strip. The Israelis’ plan to seize it went awry when they found nothing but a confused group of Egyptians, Jordanians, and Palestinians.
Had they boarded the wrong ship?
Was there going to be an international incident disgracing Israel?

This drama has more than its share of plot twists. The story’s hero, a low-level female intelligence analyst, was the first to grasp the grave danger posed by the Karine A. Analyzing piles of disinformation, she kept on the scent of the ship, tracking it from Egypt to Sudan to Dubai. Only through the joint efforts of Israeli and U.S. naval intelligence, Mossad and the CIA, was the ship stopped and calamity averted. Seizing the ship led to a fateful reorientation of U.S. policy regarding the Middle East with consequences to this day, from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the 2020 assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani.

[book] Nothing the Same,
Everything Haunted:
The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy
by Gary Barwin
March 9, 2021
Random House Canada

A middle-aged Jewish man who fantasizes about being a cowboy goes on an eccentric quest across Europe after the 1941 Nazi invasion of Lithuania in this wild and witty yet heartrending novel from the bestselling author of Yiddish for Pirates, shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Motl is middle-aged, poor, nerdy, Jewish and in desperate need of a shave. Since having his balls shot cleanly off as a youth in WWI, he's lived a quiet life at home in Vilnius with his shrewd and shrewish mom, Gitl, losing himself in the masculine fantasy world of cowboy novels by writers like Karl May--novels equally loved by Hitler, whose troops have just invaded Lithuania and are out to exterminate people like Motl. In his dreams, Motl is a fast-talking, rugged, expert gunslinger capable of dealing with the Nazi threat. But only in his dreams.

As friends and neighbours are killed around them, Motl and Gitl escape from Vilnius, saving their own skins.

But they immediately risk everything to try rescue relatives they hope are still alive. With death all around him, Motl decides that a Jew's best revenge is not only to live, but to procreate. In order to achieve this, though, he must relocate those most crucial pieces of his anatomy lost to him in a glacier in the Swiss Alps in the previous war. It's an absurd yet life-affirming mission, made even more urgent when he's separated from his mother, and isn't sure whether she's alive or dead. Joining forces, and eventually hearts, with Esther, a Jewish woman whose family has been killed, Motl ventures across Europe, a kaleidoscope of narrow escapes and close encounters with everyone from Himmler, to circus performers, double agents, quislings, fake "Indians" and real ones. Motl at last figures out that he has more connection to the Indigenous characters in western novels than the cowboys.

An imaginative and deeply felt exploration of genocide, persecution, colonialism and masculinity--saturated in Gary Barwin's sharp wit and perfect pun-play--Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy is a one-of-a-kind novel of sheer genius.

[book] Jew-ish:
A Cookbook:
Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch
by Jake Cohen
(formerly, Saveur)
March 9, 2021

When you think of Jewish food, a few classics come to mind: chicken soup with matzo balls, challah, maybe a babka if you’re feeling adventurous. But as food writer and nice Jewish boy Jake Cohen demonstrates in this stunning debut cookbook, Jewish food can be so much more. In Jew-ish, he reinvents the food of his Ashkenazi heritage and draws inspiration from his husband’s Persian-Iraqi traditions to offer recipes that are modern, fresh, and enticing for a whole new generation of readers. Imagine the components of an everything bagel wrapped into a flaky galette and latkes dyed vibrant yellow with saffron for a Persian spin on the potato pancake, plus best-ever hybrid desserts like Macaroon Brownies and Pumpkin Spice Babka!

From elevated, yet approachable classics (shtetl chic as he calls it) like Jake’s Perfect Challah, Roasted Tomato Brisket, Short Rib Cholent, and Iraqi Beet Kubbeh Soup to innovative creations like Cacio e Pepe Rugelach, Sabich Bagel Sandwiches, and Matzo Tiramisu, Jew-ish is a brilliant collection of delicious recipes, but it’s also much more than that. He adds saffron to his latkes. He adds chicken fat to Chex Mix. As Jake reconciles Jewish traditions with his modern times (like putting ham on challah), his recipes become a celebration of a rich and vibrant history, a love story of blending cultures, and an invitation to gather around the table and create new memories with family, friends, and loved ones.

Jake Cohen, 27, learned Mizrahi and Sephardi cuisine – like tahdig - from his husband Alex Shapiro and his family (Robina). And, alternatively, Alex learned babkas (not bupkis) from Jake. A few months into dating, Alex's mother sent a rice cooker and Persian rice cookbook to Jake as a welcome gift. Cohen is on the board of OneTable. Your can check him out on social media, even on TikTok, but avoid the anti-Jewish comments that some asshole TikTokkers leave him

Readers of Jewish Food Society essays maybe recall the one on Cohen from a few years ago. Jake's mother in law lived in Iraq, Iran, and Israel. (Many Iraqi Jews moved to Iran after the Farhud in 1941). Robina's parents moved to Israel from turmeric/cumin rich Iraq , but then to saffron-rich Iran.

[book] My Pesach Kitchen
by Faigy Murray
Feb 2021

Whether you've been making Pesach for many years, or it s your very first Pesach staying at home, let My Pesach Kitchen show you how to prepare for Pesach and serve fabulous meals on Yom Tov and Chol HaMoed - without stress!

Faigy Murray, a popular recipe developer and food blogger, wants to make sure that this Pesach, your food is spectacular and delicious and you are relaxed and able to enjoy it! In My Pesach Kitchen, she guides you through the process of making, prepping, and cooking for Pesach so it's pressure free for you.

More than 130 easy-to-follow recipes with stunning photos Practical hacks and creative tips to keep your prep and cooking seamless A special Chol HaMoed section with creative cooking ideas for at home and on-the-go Chol HaMoed travel

All recipes are gluten free (except for the matzah balls!)
Bonus! Pesach in Your Kitchen:
Step-by-step notes and tips to making Pesach From shopping lists to day-by-day cleaning tips, menu planning, and turning over this is your perfect and practical guide to making Pesach.

[book] I Had a Miscarriage:
A Memoir, a Movement
by Jessica Zucker
March 9, 2021
The Feminist Press of CUNY

Sixteen weeks into her second pregnancy, psychologist Jessica Zucker miscarried at home, alone. Suddenly, her career, spent specializing in reproductive and maternal mental health, was rendered corporeal, no longer just theoretical. She now had a changed perspective on her life’s work, her patients’ pain, and the crucial need for a zeitgeist shift. Navigating this nascent transition amid her own grief became a catalyst for Jessica to bring voice to this ubiquitous experience. She embarked on a mission to upend the strident trifecta of silence, shame, and stigma that surrounds reproductive loss—and the result is her striking memoir meets manifesto.

Drawing from her psychological expertise and her work as the creator of the #IHadaMiscarriage campaign, I Had a Miscarriage is a heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, and validating book about navigating these liminal spaces and the vitality of truth telling—an urgent reminder of the power of speaking openly and unapologetically about the complexities of our lives.

Jessica Zucker weaves her own experience and other women's stories into a compassionate and compelling exploration of grief as a necessary, nuanced personal and communal process. She inspires her readers to speak their truth and, in turn, to ignite transformative change within themselves and in our culture.

[book] 2034: A Novel
of the Next World War
by Elliot Ackerman and Ret. Admiral James Stavridis
March 9, 2021

From two former military officers and award-winning authors, a chillingly authentic geopolitical thriller that imagines a naval clash between the US and China in the South China Sea in 2034--and the path from there to a nightmarish global conflagration.

It is 2034. Syria re-acquired the Golan Heights years ago. On March 12, 2034, US Navy Commodore Sarah Hunt is on the bridge of her flagship, the guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones, conducting a routine freedom of navigation patrol in the South China Sea when her ship detects an unflagged trawler in clear distress, smoke billowing from its bridge.

On that same day, US Marine aviator Major Chris "Wedge" Mitchell is flying an F35E Lightning over the Strait of Hormuz, testing a new stealth technology as he flirts with Iranian airspace.

By the end of that day, Wedge will be an Iranian prisoner, and Sarah Hunt's destroyer will lie at the bottom of the sea, sunk by the Chinese Navy. Iran and China have clearly coordinated their moves, which involve the use of powerful new forms of cyber weaponry that render US ships and planes defenseless. In a single day, America's faith in its military's strategic pre-eminence is in tatters. A new, terrifying era is at hand.

So begins a disturbing work of speculative fiction, co-authored by an award-winning novelist and decorated Marine veteran and the former commander of NATO, a legendary admiral who has spent much of his career strategically outmaneuvering America's most tenacious adversaries. Written with a powerful blend of geopolitical sophistication and human empathy, 2034 takes us inside the minds of a global cast of characters--Americans, Chinese, Iranians, Russians, Indians--as a series of arrogant miscalculations on all sides leads the world into an intensifying international storm. In the end, China and the United States will have paid a staggering cost, one that forever alters the global balance of power.

Everything in 2034 is an imaginative extrapolation from present-day facts on the ground combined with the authors' years working at the highest and most classified levels of national security. Sometimes it takes a brilliant work of fiction to illuminate the most dire of warnings: 2034 is all too close at hand, and this cautionary tale presents the reader a dark yet possible future that we must do all we can to avoid.

Stavridis served for over three decades. Ackerman was a White House Fellow, CIA Analyst and led a rifle company during he Battle of Faluja. A National Book Award Finalist, the Fletcher/Tufts grad was a Special Operations Officer, with a team of fourteen Marines who served as the primary combat advisors to a 700-man Afghan commando battalion. He has served on the board of the Afghan Scholars Initiative and as an advisor to the No Greater Sacrifice Scholarship Fund. His published works have appeared in Politico, Comparative Strategy Journal, and The Marine Corps Gazette among others. Elliot’s military awards include the Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart.

[book] Liars:
Falsehoods and Free Speech
in an Age of Deception
by Cass R. Sunstein
Harvard University
March 2, 2021
Oxford University Press

A powerful analysis of why lies and falsehoods spread so rapidly now, and how we can reform our laws and policies regarding speech to alleviate the problem.

Lying has been with us from time immemorial. Yet today is different-and in many respects worse. All over the world, people are circulating damaging lies, and these falsehoods are amplified as never before through powerful social media platforms that reach billions. Liars are saying that COVID-19 is a hoax. They are claiming that vaccines cause autism. They are lying about public officials and about people who aspire to high office. They are lying about their friends and neighbors. They are trying to sell products on the basis of untruths. Unfriendly governments, including Russia, are circulating lies in order to destabilize other nations, including the United Kingdom and the United States. In the face of those problems, the renowned legal scholar Cass Sunstein probes the fundamental question of how we can deter lies while also protecting freedom of speech.

To be sure, we cannot eliminate lying, nor should we try to do so. Sunstein shows why free societies must generally allow falsehoods and lies, which cannot and should not be excised from democratic debate. A main reason is that we cannot trust governments to make unbiased judgments about what counts as "fake news." However, governments should have the power to regulate specific kinds of falsehoods: those that genuinely endanger health, safety, and the capacity of the public to govern itself. Sunstein also suggests that private institutions, such as Facebook and Twitter, have a great deal of room to stop the spread of falsehoods, and they should be exercising their authority far more than they are now doing. As Sunstein contends, we are allowing far too many lies, including those that both threaten public health and undermine the foundations of democracy itself.

[book] You're Leaving When?:
Adventures in Downward Mobility
by Annabelle Gurwitch
March 2, 2021

From the New York Times bestselling author of I See You Made an Effort comes a timely and hilarious chronicle of downward mobility, financial and emotional.

With signature "sharp wit" (NPR), Annabelle Gurwitch gives irreverent and empathetic voice to a generation hurtling into their next chapter with no safety net and proving that our no-frills new normal doesn't mean a deficit of humor. In these essays, Gurwitch embraces homesharing, welcoming a housing-insecure young couple and a bunny rabbit into her home.

The mother of a college student in recovery who sheds the gender binary, she relearns to parent, one pronoun at a time. She wades into the dating pool with a reupholstered vagina and flunks the magic of tidying up.

You're Leaving When? is for anybody who thought they had a semblance of security but wound up with a fragile economy and a blankie. "What do we do when we've already reinvented in midlife?" Gurwitch offers stories of resilience, adaptability, low-rent redemption, and the kindness of strangers. Even in a Zoom.

See also her Opinion essay from November 15, 2020 in The New York Times on her discovery she has Stage 4 lung cancer after a Covid-19 test procedure discovered it. We wish her a full recovery.

To Be Known By God
(Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics)
by Abraham Joshua Heschel
Robert Erlewine (Editor)
Professor Susannah Heschel (Introduction)
March 2, 2021

Like the Hebrew prophets before him, the great American rabbi and civil rights leader reveals God’s concern for this world and each of us.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, descended from a long line of Orthodox rabbis, fled Europe to escape the Nazis. He made the insights of traditional Jewish spirituality come alive for American Jews while speaking out boldly against war and racial injustice.

Heschel brought the fervor of the Hebrew prophets to his role as a public intellectual. He challenged the sensibilities of the modern West, which views science and human reason as sufficient. Only by rediscovering wonder and awe before mysteries that transcend knowledge can we hope to find God again. This God, Heschel says, is not distant but passionately concerned about our lives and human affairs, and asks something of us in return.

This little book, which brings together Heschel’s key insights on a range of topics, will reinvigorate readers of any faith who hunger for wonder and thirst for justice. Plough Spiritual Guides briefly introduce the writings of great spiritual voices of the past to new readers.

[book] Mine!:
How the Hidden Rules of Ownership
Control Our Lives
by Michael A. Heller, James Salzman
Columbia Law, UCLA Law
March 2, 2021

Who owns the space between your knees and the seat in front of you?
Who owns the parking space in front of your house?
Do you need to trim your tree if your neighbor needs sunlight for her solar panels?

A hidden set of rules governs who owns what--explaining everything from whether you can recline your airplane seat to why HBO lets you borrow a password illegally--and in this lively and entertaining guide, two acclaimed law professors reveal how things become "mine."

"Mine" is one of the first words babies learn. By the time we grow up, the idea of ownership seems natural, whether buying a cup of coffee or a house. But who controls the space behind your airplane seat: you reclining or the squished laptop user behind? Why is plagiarism wrong, but it's okay to knock-off a recipe or a dress design? And after a snowstorm, why does a chair in the street hold your parking space in Chicago, but in New York you lose the space and the chair?

Mine! explains these puzzles and many more. Surprisingly, there are just six simple stories that everyone uses to claim everything. Owners choose the story that steers us to do what they want. But we can always pick a different story. This is true not just for airplane seats, but also for battles over digital privacy, climate change, and wealth inequality. As Michael Heller and James Salzman show--in the spirited style of Freakonomics, Nudge, and Predictably Irrational--ownership is always up for grabs.

With stories that are eye-opening, mind-bending, and sometimes infuriating, Mine! reveals the rules of ownership that secretly control our lives.

[book] Spooked:
The Trump Dossier, Black Cube,
and the Rise of Private Spies
by Barry Meier
March 2, 2021

Who were those Israelis who were available for hire to spy on people, collect information by hook or crook, plant misinformation, or worse?
A Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist’s journey into a billon-dollar secret industry that is shaping our world – the booming business of private spying, operatives-for-hire retained by companies, political parties and the powerful to dig up dirt on their enemies and, if need be, destroy them.

For decades, private eyes from Allan Pinkerton, who formed the first detective agency in the U.S., to Jules Kroll, who transformed the investigations business by giving it a corporate veneer, private spies were content to stand in the shadows. Now, that is all changing. High-profile stories grabbing recent headlines – the Steele Dossier, Black Cube, the Theranos scandal, Harvey Weinstein’s attacks on his accusers – all share a common thread, the involvement of private spies.

Today, operatives-for-hire are influencing presidential elections, the news media, government policies and the fortunes of companies.. They are also peering into our personal lives as never before, using off-the shelf technology to listen to our phone calls, monitor our emails, and decide what we see on social media. Private spying has never been cheaper and the business has never been more lucrative—just as its power has never been more pervasive.

Spooked is a fast-paced, disturbing and, at times, hilarious tour through the shadowlands of private spying and its inhabitants, a grab-bag collection of ex-intelligence operatives, former journalists and lost souls. In this hidden world, information is currency, double-crosses are commonplace, and hacking can be standard procedure. Drawing on his journalistic expertise and unique access to sources, Barry Meier uncovers the secrets private spies want to keep hidden.

[book] Meet the Matzah
Hardcover – Picture Book
by Alan Silberberg
March 2, 2021
Ages 3 - 5

From the creator of Meet the Latkes comes the zaniest retelling of the Passover story starring an earnest matzah and his bready friends!

What makes this Passover different from all other Passovers?

Meet Alfie Koman. He's a matzah who really likes to hide. But Alfie also has a great story to tell his class of how the Hebrews fled Egypt to freedom. Too bad Loaf, the school sourdough bully, turns Alfie's Passover story upside-down. A pharaoh who is a giant cockroach? Moses as a mighty superhero? And Ten Plagues that include "No Wi-fi" and "Chocolate-turned-to-broccoli"?

Looks like it's up to Alfie and his best friend Challa Looyah to get the Passover story right. Alfie just has to come out of hiding first....

A follow-up to the hysterical Meet The Latkes, this Passover book is another mis-told holiday treat.

[book] Not So Fast, Max:
A Rosh Hashanah Visit With Grandma
by Annette Schottenfeld
Jennifer Kirkham (Illustrator)
March 2, 2021
Ages 3 - 6

When Max and Emily’s spunky Savta comes from Israel for a Rosh Hashanah visit, she’s got some surprises up her sleeve.

Max just wants to hurry up and get started, but he learns that sometimes new traditions can be worth the wait.

You can start your own Rosh Hashanah traditions using the delicious recipes included in the book.

[book] Sarah's Solo
by Tracy Brown
Paula Wegman (Illustrator)
March 2, 2021
Ages 3 - 6

Sarah is disappointed when she must miss dancing her solo at the upcoming ballet recital to go to her cousin’s wedding.

But as she explores some of the Jewish customs at the wedding, she begins to realize how much her own culture’s traditions have to offer.

Although not the delicate melodies of classical music and elegant movements of ballet, the hypnotic rhythms of the klezmer band and the energetic steps of the hora still transport her—and the reader—to another world.

[book] Soosie: The Horse
That Saved Shabbat
by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
Menahem Halberstadt (Illustrator)
March 2, 2021
Ages 3 - 6

Every Shabbat, Jacob and Soosie the horse set out to deliver Ezra and Esther’s delicious challahs to their Jerusalem neighbors.

But what happens when Jacob is sick? Will everyone get their challah in time for Shabbat?

This heart warming story highlights the friendship between a boy and a horse.

Charming illustrations capture early twentieth century Jerusalem and its diverse residents from all over the Middle East and Europe.

KIRKUS: Blessing the challah at the Friday night dinner signals the beginning of Shabbat. In the early 20th century, the city of Jerusalem is still a small town. Bakery owners Esther and Ezra bake the challahs before dawn on Friday mornings to be ready by daylight for delivery to Jewish families. Jacob, their reliable delivery boy, loads the cart, hitches up their horse, clicks his tongue to her, and off they go. Jacob and Soosie make several stops along the road for people waiting to select their loaves and place payment in a little tin bank affixed to the side of the cart, exchanging greetings of “Shabbat Shalom” as they go. One memorable Friday, Jacob is very sick, but he and the bakers are confident that Soosie can do the job on her own. After all, she knows the routine very well. They put a note under the tin bank so their customers will understand the unusual change. It works perfectly, and the exhausted Soosie arrives home with a full bank and an empty stomach. She is given the trio’s gratitude, a meal, and a well-earned rest. Halberstadt’s cartoon illustrations are filled with energy and emotion, vividly depicting characters and important objects in bright colors, with some backgrounds in gray, and just enough detail to set the scene. Diverse townspeople are seen with many different skin tones and a wide variety of dress indicating the scattered places from which they migrated to Palestine/Israel. A detailed author’s note explains the tale’s origins, a bit of Jerusalem’s history, and the rituals of Shabbat.

[book] Rah! Rah! Mujadara
Board book
by Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh
Claudine Gévry (Illustrator)
March 2, 2021
Ages 1 - 4

Rah, rah,
Lentil rice
tastes so nice!

A rhyming, rhythmic story follows a diverse group of Israeli children as they taste a variety of different ethnic foods found in Israel

An introduction to the diverse people and foods of Israel for preschoolers, each page shows a headshot of a child eating. A red-headed boy eats hummus on bread; a girl of color enjoys mujadara, a classic Middle Eastern lentil and rice dish; another girl looks through the hole of a bagel, while another has just bitten into a falafel ball. Then there’s a boy with peyos (sidelocks) eating a boreka, a popular pastry usually filled with potato or cheese, a girl anxious to eat pashtida (kind of like a crustless quiche), and a baby being fed shakshuka (an egg and tomato dish). Finally, someone is eating malawach (Yemenite flatbread) and a boy is eating schnitzel (breaded chicken cutlet). The short rhymes ('It’s a pitzel of a schnitzel! Crispy chicken, finger lickin’) and the bright illustrations will make this a favorite, and it can be used with older kids for story time with themes of food and/or Israel. Bitei-avon (healthy appetite)!"

[book] An Egg for Shabbat
Hardcover – Picture Book
by Mirik Snir
Eleyor Snir (Illustrator)
March 2, 2021
Ages 4 - 8

Every day Ben’s mom sends him out to fetch an egg from the chicken pen. But each day, havoc ensues and Ben comes back empty-handed. Until finally, just in time for Shabbat, he achieves his goal.

"Can a frolicsome boy carry an egg from the coop to the kitchen? As the book opens, readers are greeted by a picture of a happy hen with a just-laid egg beneath the word Sunday. Mom, busy in the kitchen that morning, sends Ben to the chicken coop for that egg. Alas, Ben plays ball with the egg, and his cat licks up the mess. Understanding Mom responds: 'Oh, Ben, my dear. Oh, son of mine. / You learned a lesson, and that's fine.' Monday comes, and now two hens with two eggs are depicted. Ben sets off; again collecting one, he attempts to balance it on his head. (There is no seeming relation between the number of hens and eggs seen on pages announcing the days and the number of eggs Ben collects.) Alas, it falls, and the cat enjoys it. Mom repeats her mantra. The rest of the week follows, with one more hen and one more egg added to the mix each day. Each time, Mom stays busy in the kitchen, and Ben gets too adventuresome as he runs, skips, and trips with those easily breakable eggs. Finally, Friday arrives and Ben successfully brings home one egg, which Mom uses to brush on her braided challahs to 'make them shine.' Both sit down to a festive Shabbat dinner, and on Shabbat they rest. The humorous tale is told in rhyming couplets with lots of verbal repetition; some dialogue is in speech bubbles. Reds and blues are featured in the paneled illustrations. Mom and Ben have pink-tinged round faces with round red cheeks. The hens are colorfully adorned. A celebration of Shabbat for the very young." - Kirkus Reviews

[book] A Rainy Day Story
by Ruth Calderon
(Harvard Law School)
Noa Kelner (Illustrator)
March 2, 2021
Ages 4 - 8

Rabbi Hanina feels sorry for himself when he becomes wet, cold and muddy from the rain. But when he goes inside his house-where he is warm, dry and happy-he feels selfish, knowing the parched earth needs the rain, and he learns a lesson about his place in the world.

[book] Rebel Cinderella:
From Rags to Riches to Radical,
the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes
by Adam Hochschild
March 2, 2021
Mariner Books

The astonishing but forgotten story of an immigrant sweatshop worker who became one of the most charismatic radical leaders of her time

Rose Pastor arrived in New York City in 1903, a Jewish refugee from Russia. Two years later, she swept headlines when she married James Graham Phelps Stokes, scion of New York high society.

Together, this unusual couple moved among the liveliest group of Socialist activists and dreamers this country has ever seen, including Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, Margaret Sanger, and W.E.B. Du Bois. Rose stirred audiences to tears, led labor strikes, and distributed birth control information alongside the country’s earliest feminists. Living on an island off Long Island with other couples, writing columns for readers of Yiddish and other. President Woodrow Wilson – a noted racost - called her “one of the dangerous influences of the country.” Rebel Cinderella unearths the rich, overlooked life of a social justice campaigner truly ahead of her time.

[book] Mindful Fundraising
by Sagi Melamed
March 2, 2021
Gefen Publishing

Israeli Melamed addresses the burning issues faced by organizations around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where do I start?
People who need to raise money for any type of organization often wonder how to take the first steps. How can I ask others for money? Should I travel to make my pitch? What kind of materials should I distribute?

These questions and many more are addressed in this practical, nuts-and-bolts guide to fundraising by a seasoned professional. For everyone from novices to CEOs, volunteers and lay leadership, this is the ultimate insider's guide. In a special chapter on fundraising during crisis, Mindful Fundraising tackles burning issues faced by organizations around the world, as they attempt to fundraise during the COVID-19 crisis and prepare for the post-Corona era.

March 2, 2021

Now in paperback—the intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States, featuring a new introduction by Michelle Obama, a letter from the author to her younger self, and a book club guide with 20 discussion questions and a 5-question Q&A


In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

[book] Lucky:
How Joe Biden Barely Won
the Presidency
by Jonathan Allen, Amie Parnes
NBC News, The Hill (News Corp)
March 2, 2021

Two reporters give their views on the historic 2020 presidential election and Joe Biden’s ride to victory, from the authors of Shattered, the definitive account of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign failure.

The authors write that almost no one thought Joe Biden could make it back to the White House — not Donald Trump (who's team expected 400 electoral votes before Coronavirus hit and Trump failed in the debates), not the two dozen Democratic rivals who sought to take down Biden - a weak front-runner, not the mega-donors and key endorsers who feared he could not beat Bernie Sanders, not even Barack Obama, who distanced himself from his VP and was enamored with BETO. Hillary considered running again, she was so unimpressed by the field and so confident in herself. Obama wrote that Biden lacked self awareness at times. Biden was rambling. But Biden had and has extreme confidence in himself.

The story of Biden’s victory in the 2020 election is the story of a Democratic Party at odds with itself, torn between the single-minded goal of removing Donald Trump and the push for a bold progressive agenda that threatened to alienate as many voters as it drew in.

In Lucky, Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes tell how Biden’s campaign for the presidency vexed his own party as much as it did Trump. Having premised his path on unlocking the Black vote in South Carolina, Biden nearly imploded before he got there after a relentless string of misfires left him free-falling in polls and nearly broke.

Luckily, the Democratic Party establishment and funders were averse to Sanders. They needed a centrist like Biden, Pete Buttigieg, or Amy Klobuchar. Although Biden was no “Trumpslayer,” the endorsement from Jim Clyburn of South Carolina saved is campaign (Clyburn told him to be sure to mention that he would nominate a black woman to the SCOTUS, and Clyburn would endorse him, but the endorsement would mean shit if he flamed out in the debate). Some say that “Covid is the best thing that ever happened to him.” People were suffering and Trump was tone deaf and not listening to his advisers.

IN the book, the authors remind us how Sen. Elizabeth Warren eviscerated Michael Bloomberg on a debate stage in February 2020. She planned on it and practiced it FOR WEEKS. Warren had been looking for ways to make up ground in the primary, and had decided that she needed to take a scalp to show she was still a serious White House contender. She was eager to take on Bloomberg, a Jewish billionaire who was surging in the polls. Warren was boiling mad after the Democratic National Committee changed its rules to allow Bloomberg to make the debate stage in February She decided to focus in Las Vegas on Bloomberg’s wealth, his comments about women, and his support of NYC policing and “stop and frisk.” She said, "Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another."

Allen and Parnes detail the string of chance events that saved him, from the botched Iowa caucus tally that concealed his terrible result, to the pandemic lockdown that kept him off the stump, where he was often at his worst. Keeping him in the basement made him look responsible, but also kept him out of rallies and away from errors, gaffes, and missteps. Staying in the basement was a strategy the saved his campaign.

Lucky unfolds the pitched struggle within Biden’s general election campaign to downplay the very issues that many Democrats believed would drive voters to the polls, especially in the wake of Trump’s response to nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd. Even Biden’s victory did not salve his party’s wounds; instead, it revealed a surprising, complicated portrait of American voters and crushed Democrats’ belief in the inevitability of a blue wave.

In light of Cuomo's issues in March 2021, the book shows how Cuomo's narcissistic speech at the DNC was just another in a long string of bullying fuck you's to other campaigns. LUCKY is good political reporting, and an important read to understand the recent election.

When this book was released last year in Germany, it sparked a controversy on WHO OWN HOLOCAUST MATERIAL? WHAT is considered ethical treatment of Holocaust material? Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl says she is Jewish... worse.. she works for the Gestapo. In real life, we understand that the Stella did not really identify as Jewish, and was more interested in doing whatever was necessary to be a jazz singer in Berlin. Critics in Germany have said this novel is HOLOCAUST KITSCH. Is it ethical to base a character on someone and tweak their identity to fit a plot, when dealing with the Holocaust? Reviewers in Germany have called the author frivolous and lacking seriousness and misusing German history. Yet the author is satusfied that his novel brought up issues as to how Germans use history in their art and feels he is shouldering his responsibility. A reviewer in a Jewish newspaper in Germany (Judische Algemeiner) reviewed the novel well, writing that Stella had awfulness brought upon her and in turn brought awfulness on her own community. IT WILL BE INTERESTING to see how the U.S. press and book reviewers treat the novel in March 2021
[book] Stella
a novel
by Takis Wurger
Liesl Schillinger (Translator)
March 9, 2021
Grove Press

In 1942, Friedrich, an even-keeled but unworldly young man, arrives in Berlin from bucolic Switzerland with dreams of becoming an artist. At a life drawing class, he is hypnotized by the beautiful model, Kristin (based on the real life STELLA GOLDSCHLAG), who soon becomes his energetic yet enigmatic guide to the bustling and cosmopolitan city, escorting him to underground jazz clubs where they drink cognac, dance, and kiss. The war feels far away to Friedrich, who falls in love with Kristin as they spend time together in his rooms at the Grand Hotel, but as the months pass, the mood in the city darkens as the Nazis tighten their hold on Berlin, terrorizing any who are deemed foes of the Reich.

One day, Kristin comes back to Friedrich’s rooms in tears, battered and bruised. She tells him that her real name is Stella, and that she is Jewish, passing for Aryan. (surprise.... as if you didn't know) More disturbing still, she has troubling connections with the Gestapo (she is working as a GREIFER!!... in real life, Stella Goldschlag – the Blonde Poison - probably caused or hastened the murder of 3000 Jews) that Friedrich does not fully understand. As Friedrich confronts Stella’s unimaginable choices, he finds himself woefully unprepared for the history he is living through. Based in part on a real historical character, Stella sets a tortured love story against the backdrop of wartime Berlin, and powerfully explores questions of naiveté, young love, betrayal, and the horrors of history.

[book] Abby, Tried and True
by Donna Gephart
March 9, 2021
Simon & Schuster
Ages 10 and up

Fans of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise and Shouting at the Rain will love this heartwarming story of the bond between siblings from the award-winning author of Lily and Dunkin and The Paris Project.

When Abby Braverman’s best friend and Florida neighbor, Cat, moves to Israel, she’s sure it’s the worst thing that could happen. But then her older brother, Paul, is diagnosed with testicular cancer, and life upends again. Now it’s up to Abby to find a way to navigate seventh grade without her best friend, help keep her brother’s spirits up during difficult treatments, and figure out her surprising new feelings for the boy next door, Conrad. Contains aspects of her Jewish faith and many games of Monpoly

[book] Meiselman:
The Lean Years
(New Chicago Classics, 7)
Book 6 of 6
by Avner Landes
March 9, 2021

Meiselman has had enough. After a life spent playing by the rules, this lonely thirty-six-year-old man-"number two" at a suburban Chicago public library, in charge of events and programs, and in no control whatsoever over his fantasies about his domineering boss-is looking to come out on top, at last. What seems like an ordinary week in 2004 will prove to be a golden opportunity (at least in his mind) to reverse a lifetime of petty humiliations. And no one-not his newly observant wife, not the Holocaust survivor neighbor who regularly disturbs his sleep with her late-night gardening, and certainly not the former-classmate-turned-renowned-author who's returning to the library for a triumphant literary homecoming-will stand in his way.

PW writes: Landes’s darkly funny debut chronicles a suburban schlemiel’s endless capacity for self-sabotage. Living in the rigid orthodox Jewish community of New Niles, Meiselman outwardly plays the dutiful son and husband. Yet, on the inside, he is itching for greater recognition. He finds an opportunity when his boss, head of the local public library, takes ill and asks him to moderate an upcoming discussion with controversial author Izzy Shenkenberg, a former classmate of Meiselman’s. Shenkenberg has shrugged off the yoke of their religious upbringing and is famous for writing a novel condemned by a local rabbi for “severe sins of evil speech, scoffing, gossip, slander, and demeaning Torah scholars.” Meiselman decides to play the hero and give Shenkenberg his comeuppance for scandalizing their congregation, but in the week leading up to the event, Meiselman’s delusions of grandeur repeatedly collide with reality, to tragic and hilarious effect. Landes succeeds in depicting the nuances of the religious community, though some of Meiselman’s more outlandish fantasies and flashbacks detailing sexual confessions to his therapist tread too closely to Portnoy’s Complaint territory.f

[book] PLUNDER
A Memoir of Family Property
and Nazi Treasure
A Quest for Memory, Property, and Treasure
By Menachem Kaiser
March 16, 2021
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

From a gifted young writer, the story of his quest to reclaim his family’s apartment building in Poland—and of the astonishing entanglement with Nazi treasure hunters that follows

The project description states that the book focuses on the author’s “mission to reclaim ownership of the apartment building his Jewish family was forced to abandon during WWII, a search that expands to encounters with a bizarre subculture of explorers hunting for Nazi gold; their astounding connection to an unknown Kaiser relative who survived the war after years as a slave laborer who excavated a vast system of secret underground tunnels; and finally to controversial questions that challenge the meaning of reclamation and of family obligation.
Brooklyn based Kaiser is a Fulbright Fellow (Lithuania) and has an MFA from the University of Michigan. His works has appeared in WSJ.

[book] Shooting Midnight Cowboy:
Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation,
and the Making of a Dark Classic
By Glenn Frankel
March 16, 2021

The Pulitzer Prize–winning an National Jewish Book award winning journalist and New York Times–bestselling author of the behind-the-scenes explorations of the classic American Westerns High Noon and The Searchers now reveals the history of the controversial 1969 Oscar-winning film that signaled a dramatic shift in American popular culture.

Director John Schlesinger’s Darling was nominated for five Academy Awards, and introduced the world to the transcendently talented Julie Christie. Suddenly the toast of Hollywood, Schlesinger (Jewish and gay) used his newfound clout to film an expensive, Panavision adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd. Expectations were huge, making the movie’s complete critical and commercial failure even more devastating, and Schlesinger suddenly found himself persona non grata in the Hollywood circles he had hoped to conquer.

Given his recent travails, Schlesinger’s next project seemed doubly daring, bordering on foolish. James Leo Herlihy’s novel Midnight Cowboy, about a Texas hustler trying to survive on the mean streets of 1960’s New York, was dark and transgressive. Jerome Hellman was Exec Prod. Perhaps something about the book’s unsparing portrait of cultural alienation resonated with him. His decision to film it began one of the unlikelier convergences in cinematic history, centered around a city that seemed, at first glance, as unwelcoming as Herlihy’s novel itself.

Glenn Frankel’s Shooting Midnight Cowboy tells the story of a modern classic that, by all accounts, should never have become one in the first place. The film’s boundary-pushing subject matter-homosexuality, prostitution, sexual assault-earned it an X rating when it first appeared in cinemas in 1969. For Midnight Cowboy, Schlesinger-who had never made a film in the United States-enlisted Jerome Hellman, a producer coming off his own recent flop and smarting from a failed marriage, and Waldo Salt, a formerly blacklisted screenwriter with a tortured past. The decision to shoot on location in New York, at a time when the city was approaching its gritty nadir, backfired when a sanitation strike filled Manhattan with garbage fires and fears of dysentery.

Much more than a history of Schlesinger’s film, Shooting Midnight Cowboy is an arresting glimpse into the world from which it emerged: a troubled city that nurtured the talents and ambitions of the pioneering Polish cinematographer Adam Holender and legendary casting director Marion Dougherty, who discovered both Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight and supported them for the roles of “Ratso” Rizzo and Joe Buck-leading to one of the most intensely moving joint performances ever to appear on screen. We follow Herlihy himself as he moves from the experimental confines of Black Mountain College to the theaters of Broadway, influenced by close relationships with Tennessee Williams and Anaïs Nin, and yet unable to find lasting literary success.

By turns madcap and serious, and enriched by interviews with Hoffman, Voight, and others, Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic is not only the definitive account of the film that unleashed a new wave of innovation in American cinema, but also the story of a country-and an industry-beginning to break free from decades of cultural and sexual repression.

[book] The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy:
What Animals on Earth Reveal
About Aliens--and Ourselves
by Arik Kershenbaum
March 16, 2021
Penguin Press

From a noted Cambridge zoologist, a wildly fun and scientifically sound exploration of what alien life must be like, using universal laws that govern life on Earth and in space.

Scientists are confident that life exists elsewhere in the universe. Yet rather than taking a realistic approach to what aliens might be like, we imagine that life on other planets is the stuff of science fiction. The time has come to abandon our fantasies of space invaders and movie monsters and place our expectations on solid scientific footing.

But short of aliens landing in New York City, how do we know what they are like? Using his own expert understanding of life on Earth and Darwin's theory of evolution--which applies throughout the universe--Cambridge zoologist Dr. Arik Kershenbaum explains what alien life must be like: how these creatures will move, socialize, and communicate. For example, by observing fish whose electrical pulses indicate social status, we can see that other planets might allow for communication by electricity. As there was evolutionary pressure to wriggle along a sea floor, Earthling animals tend to have left/right symmetry; on planets where creatures evolved in midair or in soupy tar, they might be lacking any symmetry at all.

Might there be an alien planet with supersonic animals? A moon where creatures have a language composed of smells? Will aliens scream with fear, act honestly, or have technology? The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy answers these questions using the latest science to tell the story of how life really works, on Earth and in space.

[book] The Believer:
Alien Encounters, Hard Science,
and the Passion of John Mack
by Ralph Blumenthal
March 16, 2021
University of New Mexico Press
High Road Books

The Believer is the weird and chilling true story of Dr. John Mack. This eminent Harvard psychiatrist and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer risked his career to investigate the phenomenon of human encounters with aliens and to give credibility to the stupefying tales shared by people who were utterly convinced they had happened.

Nothing in Mack's four decades of psychiatry had prepared him for the otherworldly accounts of a cross-section of humanity including young children who reported being taken against their wills by alien beings. Over the course of his career his interest in alien abduction grew from curiosity to wonder, ultimately developing into a limitless, unwavering passion.

Based on exclusive access to Mack's archives, journals, and psychiatric notes and interviews with his family and closest associates, The Believer reveals the life and work of a man who explored the deepest of scientific conundrums and further leads us to the hidden dimensions and alternate realities that captivated Mack until the end of his life.

[book] Justice, Justice
Thou Shalt Pursue:
A Life's Work Fighting
for a More Perfect Union
by SCOTUS JUSTICE Ruth Bader Ginsburg
and Amanda L. Tyler
March 16, 2021
University of California Press

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's last book is a curation of her own legacy, tracing the long history of her work for gender equality and a “more perfect Union.”

In the fall of 2019, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited the University of California, Berkeley School of Law to deliver the first annual Herma Hill Kay Memorial Lecture in honor of her friend, the late Herma Hill Kay, with whom Ginsburg had coauthored the very first casebook on sex-based discrimination in 1974. Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue is the result of a period of collaboration between Ginsburg and Amanda L. Tyler, a Berkeley professor and former Ginsburg law clerk. During Justice Ginsburg's visit to Berkeley, she told her life story in conversation with Tyler. In this collection, the two bring together that conversation and other materials—many previously unpublished—that share details from Justice Ginsburg's family life and long career. These include notable briefs and oral arguments, some of Ginsburg's last speeches, and her favorite opinions that she wrote as a Supreme Court Justice (many in dissent), along with the statements that she read from the bench in those important cases. Each document was chosen by Ginsburg and Tyler to tell the story of the litigation strategy and optimistic vision that were at the heart of Ginsburg's unwavering commitment to the achievement of "a more perfect Union."

In a decades-long career, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an advocate and jurist for gender equality and for ensuring that the United States Constitution leaves no person behind. Her work transformed not just the American legal landscape, but American society more generally. Ginsburg labored tirelessly to promote a Constitution that is ever more inclusive and that allows every individual to achieve their full human potential. As revealed in these pages, in the area of gender rights, Ginsburg dismantled long-entrenched systems of discrimination based on outdated stereotypes by showing how such laws hold back both genders. And as also shown in the materials brought together here, Justice Ginsburg had a special ability to appreciate how the decisions of the high court impact the lived experiences of everyday Americans. The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September 2020 as this book was heading into production was met with a public outpouring of grief. With her death, the country lost a hero and national treasure whose incredible life and legacy made the United States a more just society and one in which “We the People,” for whom the Constitution is written, includes everyone.

New York’s White Shoe Law Firms -
How They Started,
How They Grew, and
How They Ran the Country
by Jeremiah Lambert, Geoffrey Stewart
March 16, 2021
Lyons Press

A Harvard Law / Princeton grad and a Yale Law / Princeton grad combine forces to tell the story of how and why such powerhouse Wall Street law firms as Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Davis Polk & Wardwell, and Sullivan & Cromwell, grew from nineteenth-century entrepreneurial origins into icons of institutional law practice; how, as white-shoe bastions with the social standards of an exclusive gentlemen’s club, they promoted the values of an east coast elite; and how they adapted to a radically changed legal world, surviving snobbish insularity and ferocious competition to remain at the pinnacle of a transformed profession.

It is no accident these firms are found in New York, the largest city in the world’s largest economy and also the nation’s largest port, principal banking center, and epicenter of industry.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, linked by canals, railroads, telegraph and telephone lines, transatlantic steamships and undersea cables, New York became the economic nerve center of the United States. It also wielded formidable political power and supplied every President or Vice President of the United States between the Civil War and the Great War WWI).

[book] Jacob and the Mandolin Adventure
by Anne Dublin
March 16, 2021
Second Story Press
Ages 9 - 12

Thirteen-year-old Jacob’s life is hard in 1920s Poland, where he lives in an orphanage for Jewish children. One pleasure he has is learning to play the mandolin. Then an American benefactor promises the orphans a new life in Canada and the dream of playing a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall. But will he keep his promises? The children embark on the long journey by train and by ship, where a stow-away becomes dangerously ill. Jacob, the orchestra’s star mandolin player, must overcome his fears and doubts to help his friends face the challenges of the voyage to a new life.

[book] We Must Not Forget:
Holocaust Stories of Survival
and Resistance
by Deborah Hopkinson
Winter 2021
Ages 9 - 12

Sibert Honor author Deborah Hopkinson unearths the heroic stories of Jewish survivors from different countries so that we may never forget the past. As World War II raged, millions of young Jewish people were caught up in the horrors of the Nazis' Final Solution. Many readers know of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi state's genocidal campaign against European Jews and others of so-called "inferior" races. Yet so many of the individual stories remain buried in time. Of those who endured the Holocaust, some were caught by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps, some hid right under Hitler's nose, some were separated from their parents, some chose to fight back. Against all odds, some survived. They all have stories that must be told. They all have stories we must keep safe in our collective memory.

In this thoroughly researched and passionately written narrative nonfiction for upper middle-grade readers, critically acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson allows the voices of Holocaust survivors to live on the page, recalling their persecution, survival, and resistance. Focusing on testimonies from across Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Poland, Hopkinson paints a moving and diverse portrait of the Jewish youth experience in Europe under the shadow of the Third Reich. With archival images and myriad interviews, this compelling and beautifully told addition to Holocaust history not only honors the courage of the victims, but calls young readers to action -- by reminding them that heroism begins with the ordinary, everyday feat of showing compassion toward our fellow citizens.

[book] The New York Times Cooking No-Recipe Recipes:
[A Cookbook]
by Sam Sifton
March 16, 2021
Ten Speed Press

The debut cookbook from the popular New York Times website and mobile app NYT Cooking, featuring 100 vividly photographed No Recipe Recipes to make weeknight cooking more inspired and delicious.

Sam Sifton, an assistant managing editor of The New York Times and founding editor of NYT Cooking, has inspired millions of home cooks with his informal, improvisational No Recipe Recipes, published in his beloved regular newsletter, "What to Cook." Sifton's argument is a simple one: Cooking without a recipe is a kitchen skill every home cook can develop, it's easier than you think, and it's a way to make nightly cooking more satisfying and fun.

Now NYT Cooking is making it truly easy for all home cooks to build their intuitive cooking confidence with a stylish, compact handbook of 100 no-recipe-required meals, each photographed and described beautifully and laid out with minimal suggestions of ingredients and approximate amounts, like a "glug" and a "fistful." With dishes like Weeknight Fried Rice, Fettuccine with Minted Ricotta, and Smothered Pork Chops with Onions and Sautéed Greens, this handy volume brings the brilliance of NYT Cooking's unfussy, delicious, improvisational approach to the dinner table night after night.

[book] A Kabbalah of Food:
Stories, Teachings, Recipes
by Rabbi Hanoch Hecht

A rabbi who is part of the Chabad movement, who participated in a televised cable TV show, and lectures at the Culinary Institute of America on koshrut rules, foods, and catering, has written a paperback of stories and general recipes

His Chassidic tales combine with teachings and favorite Jewish recipes

Stories and food have always been central to Hasidic Jewish life, and in this book, they are uniquely tied together. Thirty-nine Chassidic tales, revolving around food and eating and accompanied by spiritual teachings, delve into the mysteries of the Kabbalah, the joy of the Chassidim, and the power of religious faith and acts (mitzvot). Sixty-three recipes highlight Kosher cooking and the special foods traditionally prepared for Shabbat and the major Jewish holidays, including such favorites as knishes, latkes, gefilte fish, brisket, kugel, bagels, and challah bread. Many of the recipes are suitable for children to learn to cook.

[book] Mister Jiu's in Chinatown:
Recipes and Stories from the
Birthplace of Chinese American Food
by Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho
March 9, 2021
Ten Speed Press

The acclaimed chef behind the Michelin-starred Mister Jiu's in San Francisco's Chinatown shares stories of the past, present, and future of Chinese cooking in America through 90 mouthwatering recipes.

In this groundbreaking cookbook, Brandon Jew takes inspiration from classic Chinatown recipes to create innovative spins like Sizzling Rice Soup, Squid Ink Wontons, Orange Chicken Wings, Liberty Roast Duck, Mushroom Mu Shu, and Banana Black Sesame Pie. Recipes and techniques are interwoven with stories about their roots in Chinatown and in Jew's own family history. Beginning with fundamentals of Chinese cooking and then applying them to every day and master class recipes, Jew’s essential guide to Chinese American food demystifies the elements of good cooking for occasional and experienced cooks alike.

In the pages devoted to dim sum and dumplings, and throwing a party Chinese-banquet style, Jew connects his classical training and American roots to Chinese traditions of celebration, through the shared making and enjoying of food.

With more than a hundred photographs of finished dishes as well as moving and evocative atmospheric shots of Chinatown, this book is also an intimate portrait—a look down the alleyways, above the tourist shops, and into the kitchens—of the neighborhood that changed the flavor of America.

[book] The Code Breaker:
Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing,
and the Future of the Human Race
by Walter Isaacson
March 9, 2021
Simon & Schuster

The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn’t become scientists, she decided she would.

Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she would help to make what the book’s author, James Watson, told her was the most important biological advance since his co-discovery of the structure of DNA. She and her collaborators turned ?a curiosity ?of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions.

The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code.

Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses? What a wonderful boon that would be! And what about preventing depression? Hmmm…Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the height or muscles or IQ of their kids?

After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.

[book] The Beirut Protocol:
A Marcus Ryker Series Action Thriller: (Book 4)
by Joel C. Rosenberg
March 9, 2021
Tyndale House Christian Publishing

A Top 10 Christian Thriller in March 2021. A game-changing peace treaty between Israel and the Saudis is nearly done. The U.S. Secretary of State is headed to the region to seal the deal. And Special Agent Marcus Ryker is leading an advance trip along the Israeli-Lebanon border, ahead of the secretary’s arrival.

But when Ryker and his team are ambushed by Hezbollah forces, a nightmare scenario begins to unfold. The last thing the White House can afford is a new war in the Mideast that could derail the treaty and set the region ablaze. U.S. and Israeli forces are mobilizing to find the hostages and get them home, but Ryker knows the clock is ticking.

When Hezbollah realizes who they’ve captured, no amount of ransom will save them-they’ll be transferred to Beirut and then to Tehran to be executed on live television. In the fourth installment of Rosenberg’s new series, Marcus Ryker finds himself in the most dangerous situation he has ever faced-captured, brutalized, and dragged deep behind enemy lines.
Should he wait to be rescued? Or try to escape? How? And what if his colleagues are too wounded to run? This is the CIA’s most valuable operative as you have never seen him before.

[book] ETERNAL
March 23, 2021

#1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline offers a sweeping and shattering epic of historical fiction fueled by shocking true events, the tale of a love triangle that unfolds in the heart of the creeping shadow of fascism.

What war destroys, only love can heal.

Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta's heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy's Fascists with Hitler's Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear--their families, their homes, and their connection to one another--is tested in ways they never could have imagined.

As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city's Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal.

Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer.

Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war--all set in one of the world's most beautiful cities at its darkest moment. This moving novel will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of readers.

Scottoline, Penn grad, former student of Philip Roth who turned her on to Primo Levi, former practicing attorney. For this book she took thousands of pics, saw over 40 films, and read over 300 books on the period... and bought and used a 1930 red Olivetti.

[book] Chaver Up!:
49 Rabbis Explore What it Means
to be an Ally through a Jewish Lens
Edited by Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, and
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
March 23, 2021

Allyship is a deeply Jewish value. In this book, 49 Jewish spiritual / faith leaders grapple with the complexity, messiness, and human fallibility of allyship, as well its beauty, holiness, and power to restore good.

Wise, searing, and emotional, this book invites you to create new paths of human kindness and action. It challenges us to Chaver Up! and see LGBTQA and other allyship as a powerful way to repair our humanity and activate our empathy.

49 entries... like the counting of the Omer. Includes essays by Rabbis Ari Poster Moffic, David Evan Markus, Marc Margolius, Rena Singer, Rick Jacobs, Rachel Barenblat, and many more

[book] The Upstander:
How Surviving the Holocaust
Sparked Max Glauben's Mission
to Dismantle Hate
by Jori Epstein, Michael Berenbaum (Foreword)
March 23, 2021

Holocaust survivor Max Glauben is on a mission—to outlast hate, to preserve memory, and to compel the world to embrace tolerance.

Holocaust survivor Max Glauben remembers the paralyzing fear as a boxcar crammed with Jews rumbled from the Warsaw Ghetto to Majdanek death camp in May 1943.

“Why me?” he asked himself at fifteen, wondering why the Nazis had destroyed his family’s business, upended their rights, and ultimately decimated their neighborhood. The deluge of questions only intensified after the Nazis murdered Max’s mother, father, and brother. Max channeled grit, determination, and a fortuitous knack for airplane pattern-making to outlast six horrific concentration camps in his quest to preserve the Glauben name.

This memoir explores Max’s mischievous childhood and teen years as a go-to ghetto smuggler. Max journeys from displaced person to American immigrant. He then reveals how he ached as he dared to court love and rear children. Pain can’t be duplicated, he long insisted as he bottled it up. Then he realized: He could transform his pain into purpose.

Infused with raw emotion and vivid detail, historical records and Max’s poignant voice, this memoir relays the true story of the harrowing violence and dehumanization Max endured. It relays Max’s powerful lifetime commitment to actively thwarting hate and galvanizing resilience. Max insists you, too, can transform your adversity into your greatest strength.

Across the seventy-five years that followed Max’s liberation from his sixth and final concentration camp, he’s scrapped the question of “Why me?” He instead deliberately asks himself: “What can I do next?"

[book] Software Design for Flexibility:
How to Avoid Programming
Yourself into a Corner
by Chris Hanson, Gerald Jay Sussman
March 9, 2021

Like a master class if system design of Very Large Systems.

Strategies for building large systems that can be easily adapted for new situations with only minor programming modifications.

Time pressures encourage programmers to write code that works well for a narrow purpose, with no room to grow. But the best systems are evolvable; they can be adapted for new situations by adding code, rather than changing the existing code. The authors describe techniques they have found effective--over their combined 100-plus years of programming experience--that will help programmers avoid programming themselves into corners.

The authors explore ways to enhance flexibility by: Organizing systems using combinators to compose mix-and-match parts, ranging from small functions to whole arithmetics, with standardized interfaces; Augmenting data with independent annotation layers, such as units of measurement or provenance; Combining independent pieces of partial information using unification or propagation; Separating control structure from problem domain with domain models, rule systems and pattern matching, propagation, and dependency-directed backtracking; Extending the programming language, using dynamically extensible evaluators

[book] Own It:
The Secret to Life
by Diane von Furstenberg
March 9, 2021

“Own It is a must-have survival guide that you can come back to time and again for immediate inspiration from the heart and soul of the trailblazing business leader and creative genius that is DVF!” —Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO and Founder of Bumble

"Many books describe paths to success, but only Own It helps us to find our own. My friend Diane von Furstenberg gives us the biggest gift: faith in our uniqueness." —Gloria Steinem, writer, activist and feminist organizer?

Diane von Furstenberg, entrepreneur and philanthropist, presents her words to live by.

In an easy-to-navigate A - Z dictionary format, designed to be browsed or as read a whole, Own It offers readers Diane’s well-earned wisdom for enjoying both personal and professional growth at any age.

The words included in this book are ones that have been key to DVF attaining self-awareness and realization, the fuel for all her accomplishments personally and professionally. Own It is an A - Z dictionary of life-enhancing vocabulary that is the basis of her accessible and empowering philosophy. It is a true manifesto, a compilation of words that together will empower you to attain the satisfaction and serenity you have always wanted.

"The secret of life,” DVF says, is to “Own our imperfections. Own our vulnerability; it becomes our strength. Whatever the challenge is, own it. Owning it is the first step to everything.”

[book] Expecting Jewish!:
A Millennial Mom's Practical Guide
to How Judaism Can be a Blessing
to New Moms and Moms-to-be
by Marion Haberman
March 23, 2021

From conception to birth, Expecting Jewish! is the best resource for practical advice and helpful insight on preparing for motherhood from a Jewish perspective. Covering everything from the essentials of bris and baby-name planning to the mysticism of the mikvah, Expecting Jewish! is a guide for infusing Jewish customs and wisdom into each stage of the parenthood journey, from conception to the newborn days.

Expecting Jewish! doesn't shy away from the most important conversations including genetic testing, infertility, miscarriage and pregnancy loss - and most importantly how Judaism can be a blessing throughout these difficult journeys. Building on the Jewish value of inclusion the book also provides essential resources for interfaith couples, conversion and adoption.

The book shares an unfiltered perspective on what new parents can really expect during this stage of life, with advice from real moms who have lived through it. The book also includes interviews from prominent rabbis, Jewish thought leaders and social media game-changes who offer their own insights into what's trending and what's changing for Jewish women today when it comes to motherhood.

Here's what you can expect to find in Expecting Jewish
-How to choose a Hebrew or Jewish baby name?
-How to plan a bris or baby naming
-Sacred kosher sex
-Infertility, miscarriage and pregnancy loss
-Genetic testing
-Jewish adoption - Welcoming all children into our home
-The Jewish conversion process
-Spiritual birth plan and first blessings
-Healing and postpartum health
-Jewish nursery ideas and bedtime blessings

March 23, 2021
Dial Books
Ages 8 - 12

Fans of the Penderwicks and the Vanderbeekers, meet the Finkel family in this middle grade novel about two autistic sisters, their detective agency, and life's most consequential mysteries.

When twelve-year-old Lara Finkel starts her very own detective agency, FIASCCO (Finkel Investigation Agency Solving Consequential Crimes Only), she does not want her sister, Caroline, involved. She and Caroline don't have to do everything together. But Caroline won't give up, and when she brings Lara the firm's first mystery, Lara relents, and the questions start piling up.

But Lara and Caroline’s truce doesn’t last for long. Caroline normally uses her tablet to talk, but now she's busily texting a new friend. Lara can't figure out what the two of them are up to, but it can't be good. And Caroline doesn't like Lara's snooping—she's supposed to be solving other people's crimes, not spying on Caroline! As FIASCCO and the Finkel family mysteries spin out of control, can Caroline and Lara find a way to be friends again?

By Sharon Stone
March 30, 2021

Although celebrated actress Sharon Stone is not of the Jewish faith, she had two husbands who were members of the tribe, and she has joked that she feels a type of Jewish neurosis.

Sharon Stone tells her own story: a journey of healing, love, and purpose.

She was one of the most renowned actresses in the world--until a massive stroke cost her not only her health, but her career, family, fortune, and global fame. In The Beauty of Living Twice, Sharon Stone chronicles her efforts to rebuild her life, and the slow road back to wholeness and health. In an industry that doesn’t accept failure, in a world where too many voices are silenced, Stone found the power to return, the courage to speak up, and the will to make a difference in the lives of women and children around the globe.

Over the course of these intimate pages, as candid as a personal conversation, Stone talks about her pivotal roles, her life-changing friendships, her worst disappointments, and her greatest accomplishments. She reveals how she went from a childhood of trauma and violence to a business that in many ways echoed those same assaults, under cover of money and glamour. She describes the strength and meaning she found in her children, and in her humanitarian efforts. And ultimately, she shares how she fought her way back to find not only her truth, but her family’s reconciliation and love.

Stone made headlines not just for her beauty and her talent, but for her candor and her refusal to “play nice,” and it’s those same qualities that make this memoir so powerful. The Beauty of Living Twice is a book for the wounded, and a book for the survivors; it’s a celebration of women’s strength and resilience, a reckoning, and a call to activism. It is proof that it’s never too late to raise your voice, and speak out.

[book] The Light of the Eyes:
Homilies on the Torah
by Rabbi Menachem Nahum of Chernobyl
Rabbi Arthur Green (Translator)
(Hebrew College, Boston)
January 19, 2021
Stanford University Press

What do American Jews know of Hasidism? They know about Chabad, Satmar, and other current forms of the movement. But Rabbi Green helps us to recover the writings of an early Hasidic master

Hasidism is an influential spiritual revival movement within Judaism that began in the eighteenth century and continues to thrive today. One of the great classics of early Hasidism, The Light of the Eyes is a collection of homilies on the Torah, reading the entire Five Books of Moses as a guide to spiritual awareness and cultivation of the inner life.

This is the first English translation of any major work from Hasidism's earliest and most creative period. Arthur Green's introduction and annotations survey the history of Hasidism and outline the essential religious and moral teachings of this mystical movement. The Light of the Eyes, by Rabbi Menahem Nahum of Chernobyl, offers insights that remain as fresh and relevant for the contemporary reader as they were when first published in 1798.

You can take a course on the work, pre publication starting October 19, 2020 via zoom at Hebrew College. In an interview with JTA, Rabbi Green responded that, “...I love the Me’or Aynayim. It’s a different face of Hasidism than people see today. People who look at Hasidism today experience three kinds of Hasidism. There’s Chabad, which is very much worldly, messianically oriented. Do more mitzvahs and that will bring the redemption closer. There’s Breslov, which is also redemption-centered — have faith in me, have faith in Rebbe Nachman and he will save you. And then there’s Satmar, which is Hasidism as traditionalism. Do it exactly the same way as they did it in the 18th century. The kind of Hasidism of [the founder of the Hasidic movement] the Baal Shem Tov, which is loving and gentle and forgiving and world-embracing, that kind of Hasidism has somehow gotten lost. And the Me’or Aynayim is one of its best spokesmen. So I want to use the Me’or Aynayim in some ways to bring that gentle kind of Hasidism back into the world. You can serve God in everything you do, you find sparks of holiness everywhere, all of life is about seeking out divinity wherever you find it and raising it up and making it one again. The Me’or Aynayim is not an ascetic. He’s a very earthy guy and really believed that holiness was to be found everywhere. And if you punish yourself, you were denying God because God is in everything — all your thoughts and all your deeds. Within the 18th-century Jewish context, he was a kind of free-spirited person, which isn’t to say that he was careless about the law at all. But it was a love of life and a love of normal earthy human beings that motivated him, and in trying to find a spirituality that would work for such people... Hasidism went through very big changes. It began as a movement of radical innovation. And remember the Hasidim were condemned by the great rabbis in the 18th century. They were persecuted. But by the turn of the 19th century, the rabbis and the Hasidim both looked around and they saw a much more dangerous enemy on the horizon: modernity or haskalah [Jewish enlightenment]. And the rabbis and the Hasidim made peace with one another to fight this common enemy called the modern world.... the Baal Shem Tov and the Me’or Aynayim... wanted an intense spiritual life. At the same time, they wanted to raise families and therefore have to support those families and live in this world. And so it’s a very worldly kind of spirituality for people who want both. And since I’m one of those people, I have fallen in love with it, as you can tell. And this is about sharing that love.

[book] Beyond the Synagogue:
Jewish Nostalgia as Religious Practice
(North American Religions)
by Rachel B. Gross
January 12, 2021
NYU Press

Reveals nostalgia as a new way of maintaining Jewish continuity

In 2007, the Museum at Eldridge Street opened at the site of a restored nineteenth-century synagogue originally built by some of the first Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New York City. Visitors to the museum are invited to stand along indentations on the floor where footprints of congregants past have worn down the soft pinewood. Here, many feel a palpable connection to the history surrounding them.

Beyond the Synagogue argues that nostalgic activities such as visiting the Museum at Eldridge Street or eating traditional Jewish foods should be understood as American Jewish religious practices. In making the case that these practices are not just cultural, but are actually religious, Rachel B. Gross asserts that many prominent sociologists and historians have mistakenly concluded that American Judaism is in decline, and she contends that they are looking in the wrong places for Jewish religious activity. If they looked outside of traditional institutions and practices, such as attendance at synagogue or membership in Jewish Community Centers, they would see that the embrace of nostalgia provides evidence of an alternative, under-appreciated way of being Jewish and of maintaining Jewish continuity.

Tracing American Jews’ involvement in a broad array of ostensibly nonreligious activities, including conducting Jewish genealogical research, visiting Jewish historic sites, purchasing books and toys that teach Jewish nostalgia to children, and seeking out traditional Jewish foods, Gross argues that these practices illuminate how many American Jews are finding and making meaning within American Judaism today.

[book] The Hype Handbook:
12 Indispensable Success Secrets
From the World’s Greatest Propagandists,
Self-Promoters, Cult Leaders, Mischief
Makers, and Boundary Breakers
by Michael F. Schein
January 12, 2021
McGraw Hill

Master the art and science of using shameless propaganda for personal and social good.

Influencers have always deployed the power of hype to get what they want. But never in history have people been so susceptible to propaganda and persuasion as they are now. Hype truly runs our world.

Imagine if you could generate and leverage hype for positive purposes-like legitimate business success, helping people, or effecting positive change in your community. Michael F. Schein teaches you how.

In The Hype Handbook, the notorious marketing guru provides 12 fundamental strategies for creating and leveraging hype for good, including ways to:

Attract attention from people that matter
Create a community of acolytes to further your cause
Create an atmosphere of curiosity and intrigue
Sell your message with the skill of a master
Create a step-by-step “manifesto”

Citing the latest research in psychology, sociology and neuroscience, Schein breaks the concept of hype down into a simple set of strategies, skills, and techniques-and illustrates his methods through stories of the world’s most effective hype artists, including American propagandist Edward Bernays, Alice Cooper manager Shep Gordon, celebrity preacher Aimee Semple McPherson, Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena, and digital guru Gary Vaynerchuk.

Whatever your temperament, education, budget, background, or natural ability, The Hype Handbook delivers everything you need to apply the most powerful tools of persuasion for personal and business success.

[book] Lead Like It Matters to God:
(Christian) Values-Driven Leadership
in a Success-Driven World
by Richard Stearns
March 30, 2021

World Vision is one of the largest Christian Relief organizations. You may have seen their TV ads soliciting funds. They made news when they fired three employees who did not believe in the divinity of Jesus. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. They also suspended their relief operation in Gaza after the Israeli government arrested their leader in Gaza and accused him of giving material support to Hamas and allowing the diversion of donations. In 2014, they decided to allow a gay Christian to remain employed and not be fired, since Acts 15 did not required gentile converts to take on the yoke of Jewish laws.
What is it like to manage a relief group around the world that is also a ministry?

Richard Stearns explains. He was a leader of Parker Brothers and Lenox. He then became head of one of the world’s largest Christian ministries. He became the longest serving president in their seventy-year history. During his tenure there he implemented corporate best practices, lowering overheads while tripling revenues. His leadership in calling the American church to respond to some of the greatest crises of our time, notably the HIV and AIDS pandemic, and the global refugee crisis, challenged Christians to embrace a bold vision for compassion, mercy, and justice. In Lead Like It Matters to God, Stearns shares the leadership principles he has learned over the course of his remarkable career. As a leader who has navigated both secular and sacred spaces, Stearns claims that the values Christian leaders embrace in their workplaces are actually more important than the results they achieve-that God is more concerned about a leader's character than a leader's success. With wisdom, wit, and biblical teaching, Stearns shares captivating stories of his life journey and unpacks seventeen crucial values that can transform leaders and their organizations. When leaders embody values such as integrity, courage, excellence, forgiveness, humility, surrender, balance, generosity, perseverance, love, and encouragement, they not only improve their witness for Christ, they also shape institutions, influence culture, improve team performance, and create healthy workplaces where people can flourish. Through this book, Stearns will inspire a new generation of Christian leaders to boldly take their values into their workplaces to tangibly demonstrate the character of their conception of Jesus Christ, the love of Jesus Christ, and the gospel as they live out their faith in full view of others in the workplace.

SHOULD FARMERS FLOOD THEIR LAND a couple days a year for the birds, and then farm the rest of the time, so that land could be shared by birds and agriculture without have to build a year long reserve?
Has I-95 lights on the East Coast of the USA and the 9/11 beams of lights killed millions of birds during migration?
Are wind farms actually dangerous to birds and bats?
Can radar detect migratory birds and turn off a wind farm for a few hours?
[book] A World on the Wing:
The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds
by Scott Weidensaul
March 30, 2021

One day, a bird was in someone's backyard resting. No one knew it had just flown in from the Alaska Tundra and was on its way to the Amazon River Basin. An exhilarating exploration of the science and wonder of global bird migration.

In the past two decades, our understanding of the navigational and physiological feats that enable birds to cross immense oceans, fly above the highest mountains, or remain in unbroken flight for months at a stretch has exploded. What we’ve learned of these key migrations-how billions of birds circumnavigate the globe, flying tens of thousands of miles between hemispheres on an annual basis-is nothing short of extraordinary.

Bird migration entails almost unfathomable endurance, like a sparrow-sized sandpiper that will fly nonstop from Canada to Venezuela-the equivalent of running 126 consecutive marathons without food, water, or rest-avoiding dehydration by "drinking" moisture from its own muscles and organs, while orienting itself using the earth’s magnetic field through a form of quantum entanglement that made Einstein queasy. Crossing the Pacific Ocean in nine days of nonstop flight, as some birds do, leaves little time for sleep, but migrants can put half their brains to sleep for a few seconds at a time, alternating sides-and their reaction time actually improves.

What about geese that fly over the Himalayas at an elevation that would kill a human from pulmonary edema. While humans breathe in and out, some birds breathe into air sacs, drawing in much greater oxygen into hemoglobin than humans, taking four cycles until breathing out, more efficiently, what was received on intake.

These and other revelations convey both the wonder of bird migration and its global sweep, from the mudflats of the Yellow Sea in China to the remote mountains of northeastern India to the dusty hills of southern Cyprus. This breathtaking work of nature writing from Pulitzer Prize finalist Scott Weidensaul also introduces readers to those scientists, researchers, and bird lovers trying to preserve global migratory patterns in the face of climate change and other environmental challenges.

[book] Hooked:
Food, Free Will, and How
the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions
by Michael Moss
March 2, 2021
Random House

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt Sugar Fat comes a “gripping” (The Wall Street Journal) exposé of how the processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts, the emotions we associate with food, and legal loopholes in their pursuit of profit over public health.

“The processed food industry has managed to avoid being lumped in with Big Tobacco—which is why Michael Moss’s new book is so important.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit

Everyone knows how hard it can be to maintain a healthy diet. But what if some of the decisions we make about what to eat are beyond our control? Is it possible that food is addictive, like drugs or alcohol? And to what extent does the food industry know, or care, about these vulnerabilities? In Hooked, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Michael Moss sets out to answer these questions—and to find the true peril in our food.

Moss uses the latest research on addiction to uncover what the scientific and medical communities—as well as food manufacturers—already know: that food, in some cases, is even more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Our bodies are hardwired for sweets, so food giants have developed fifty-six types of sugar to add to their products, creating in us the expectation that everything should be cloying; we’ve evolved to prefer fast, convenient meals, hence our modern-day preference for ready-to-eat foods. Moss goes on to show how the processed food industry—including major companies like Nestlé, Mars, and Kellogg’s—has tried not only to evade this troubling discovery about the addictiveness of food but to actually exploit it. For instance, in response to recent dieting trends, food manufacturers have simply turned junk food into junk diets, filling grocery stores with “diet” foods that are hardly distinguishable from the products that got us into trouble in the first place. As obesity rates continue to climb, manufacturers are now claiming to add ingredients that can effortlessly cure our compulsive eating habits.

A gripping account of the legal battles, insidious marketing campaigns, and cutting-edge food science that have brought us to our current public health crisis, Hooked lays out all that the food industry is doing to exploit and deepen our addictions, and shows us why what we eat has never mattered more.

[book] Getting to the Heart of the Matter:
My 36 Years in the Senate
by U.S. Senator Carl Levin
Linda Gustitus (Foreword)
March 2, 2021
Wayne State University Press

Representing Michigan for thirty-six years in the U.S. Senate, Carl Levin, the longest-serving senator in Michigan history, was known for his dogged pursuit of the truth, his commitment to holding government accountable, and his basic decency. Getting to the Heart of the Matter: My 36 Years in the Senate is his story - from his early days in Detroit as the son of a respected lawyer to the capstone of his career as chair of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Levin's career placed him at the center of some of our nation's most critical points in modern times: from the aftermath of the 1967 Detroit riots, to the Clinton impeachment, through 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the 2008 financial crisis. He met with numerous world leaders, including Egypt's Anwar Sadat and China's Jiang Zemin. Getting to the Heart of the Matter recounts Levin's experiences, thoughts, and actions during these historic moments.

Consisting of seventeen chapters, the book takes the reader through Levin's early life in Detroit of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s where he met his wife, started a family, practiced law and served as the first General Counsel for the newly created Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the chief appellate defender for Detroit's Legal Aid Office. Elected to the Detroit City Council in 1969, where Levin served for eight years including four as Council president, the book describes how his fight against the Department of Housing and Urban Development's devastating housing practices in the neighborhoods of Detroit led him to run for the U.S. Senate with a pledge to make government work more effectively. Winning election six times, Levin had an illustrious career in the Senate where he challenged leaders in government and the private sector for the greater good of the nation. Levin describes how, as a Democrat, throughout his time in the Senate, he worked with Republican senators who often held different policy positions in order to find common ground to achieve national goals, and how he and his Senate staff searched for creative solutions to trade issues, support for the auto industry and manufacturing sector, U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and efforts to protect the Great Lakes and the environment, among many other issues.

Levin's hope in writing this memoir is that by sharing his deeply held beliefs about the responsibility of elected officials, the book will serve as a resource for people beginning a career in, or contemplating running for, public office. Readers with an interest in politics, history, facts, and perseverance will find kinship in this book.


[book] ISRAEL:
A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth
by Noa Tishby
April 6, 2021
Free Press

A personal, spirited, and concise simple, easy to digest chronological timeline spanning from Biblical times to today that explores Israel.

Israel. The small strip of arid land is 5,700 miles away but remains a hot button issue and a thorny topic of debate. But while everyone seems to have a strong opinion about Israel, how many people actually know the facts?

Here to fill in the information gap is Israeli American Noa Tishby, who arrived in Hollywood two decades ago. Offering a 360-degree view, Tishby brings her straight-shooting, engaging, and slightly irreverent voice to the subject, creating an accessible and dynamic portrait of a tiny country of outsized relevance. Through bite-sized chunks of history and deeply personal stories, Tishby chronicles her homeland’s evolution, beginning in Biblical times and moving forward to cover everything from WWI to Israel’s creation to the real disputes dividing the country today.

She tells the story from the perspective of her life and family. One of her grandmothers was a founder of Israel’s first kibbutz, Degania Alef. Her grandfather, Hanan Yavor, was an envoy to several African nations. According to Tishby, if you believe in democracy, freedom of speech, human rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights, you are an idiot not to support the State of Israel

By Rabbi Wayne Dosick, PhD, DD (JTS, HUC)
April 2, 2021

“Rabbi Dosick has written more theological books than this one, but none wiser or more courageous. While his idiom here is Jewish, my liberal Catholic heart is cheering.” -Jon M. Sweeney, coauthor, Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart, and translator, Francis of Assisi in His Own Words

Rabbi Dosick, author of several books and leader of San Diego's Jewish renewal Elijah Minyan... writes that for many, it feels as if our world is breaking apart. Long-held, comfortable beliefs are being shattered, and we face unprecedented questions and challenges. How do we heal the harsh divisions of class, race, religion, and cultures that plague us? How do we vanquish sexism, rigid fundamentalism, unabashed nationalism, senseless hatred, and violent terrorism? How do we save our precious planet from the threats to its very existence?

In this book is a bold, visionary, Spirit-filled blueprint for the redemption, transformation, and evolution of our emerging new world through radical loving and a day-to-day sense of the sacred. With age-old wisdom wrapped in contemporary garb, sweet, inspiring stories, keen insights, and gentle guidance, Radical Loving is a call to renewal and to Oneness-a promise that Earth can be Eden once again.

[book] And a Cat from Carmel Market
by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Rotem Teplow (Illustrator)
April 1, 2021
Ages 4 – 7

Bubbe goes to the outdoor Carmel Market in Tel-Aviv to shop for Shabbat, but in addition to buying the challah, candles, chicken, tablecloth, flowers, and other necessities, she also finds herself coming home with lots of stray cats. The cats’ howling begins to disrupt the lovely Shabbat dinner she has planned, but they all calm down once Bubbe lights the Shabbat candles.

[book] The Upside-Down Boy and the
Israeli Prime Minister
by Sherri Mandell
Robert Dunn (Illustrator)
April 1, 2021
Ages 5 – 6

Daniel likes to do things backwards and upside down. He walks on his hands, walks backwards, and eats cereal for dinner. His teacher reminds him that when he visits the Prime Minister's office, he must be on his best behavior. But when something unexpected happens, can Daniel resist his urge to do a headstand? Uh oh! What would the Prime Minister say?

[book] Ashkenazi Herbalism:
Rediscovering the Herbal Traditions
of Eastern European Jews
by Deatra Cohen
Adam Siegel
April 6, 2021
North Atlantic Press

Deatra... reminds me of Mara de-atra... master of one's house.. in rabbinical decision making...

The definitive guide to medicinal plant knowledge of Ashkenazi herbal healers, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

Until now, the herbal traditions of the Ashkenazi people have remained unexplored and shrouded in mystery. Ashkenazi Herbalism rediscovers the forgotten legacy of the Jewish medicinal plant healers who thrived in eastern Europe's Pale of Settlement, from their beginnings in the Middle Ages through the modern era.

Including the first materia medica of 25 plants and herbs essential to Ashkenazi folk medicine, this essential guide sheds light on the preparations, medicinal profiles, and applications of a rich but previously unknown herbal tradition--one hidden by language barriers, obscured by cultural misunderstandings, and nearly lost to history. Written for new and established practitioners, it offers illustrations, provides information on comparative medicinal practices, and illuminates the important historical and cultural contexts that gave rise to eastern European Jewish herbalism.

Part I introduces a brief history of the Ashkenazim and provides an overview of traditional eastern European medicine. Part II offers descriptions of predominantly Jewish towns in the Pale, their many native plants, and the remedies applied by indigenous healers to treat a range of illnesses. This materia medica names each plant in Yiddish, English, Latin, and other relevant languages. Ashkenazi Herbalism also details a brief history of medicine; the roles of the Ba'alei shem, Feldshers, Opshprekherins, midwives, and brewers; and the seferot.

[book] PHILiP ROTH
April 6, 2021

One of Oprah Magazine's Most Anticipated Books of 2021
The renowned biographer’s definitive portrait of a literary titan.

Appointed by Philip Roth and granted independence and complete access, Blake Bailey spent years poring over Roth’s personal archive, interviewing his friends, lovers, and colleagues, and engaging Roth himself in breathtakingly candid conversations. The result is an indelible portrait of an American master and of the postwar literary scene.

Bailey shows how Roth emerged from a lower-middle-class Jewish milieu to achieve the heights of literary fame, how his career was nearly derailed by his catastrophic first marriage, and how he championed the work of dissident novelists behind the Iron Curtain.

Bailey examines Roth’s rivalrous friendships with Saul Bellow, John Updike, and William Styron, and reveals the truths of his florid love life, culminating in his almost-twenty-year relationship with actress Claire Bloom, who pilloried Roth in her 1996 memoir, Leaving a Doll’s House.

Tracing Roth’s path from realism to farce to metafiction to the tragic masterpieces of the American Trilogy, Bailey explores Roth’s engagement with nearly every aspect of postwar American culture. 100 photographs

[book] PHILiP ROTH

This new biography of famed American novelist Philip Roth offers a full account of his development as a writer.

Philip Roth was much more than a Jewish writer from Newark, as this new biography reveals. His life encompassed writing some of the most original novels in American literature, publishing censored writers from Eastern Europe, surviving less than satisfactory marriages, and developing friendships with a number of the most important writers of his time from Primo Levi and Milan Kundera to Isaac Bashevis Singer, Saul Bellow and Edna O'Brien. The winner of a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and the Man Booker International Prize, Roth maintained a remarkable productivity throughout a career that spanned almost fifty years, creating 31 works. But beneath the success was illness, angst, and anxiety often masked from his readers. This biography, drawing on archives, interviews and his books, delves into the shaded world of Philip Roth to identify the ghosts, the character, and even identity of the man.

[book] Unstoppable:
Siggi B. Wilzig's Astonishing Journey
from Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant
to Wall Street Legend
by Joshua Greene
Deborah E. Lipstadt (Foreword)
April 6, 2021
Insight Editions

Unstoppable recounts the fascinating life of Siggi Wilzig, who survived the hell of Hitler and Auschwitz to become one of the biggest success stories in post-World War II American business—a true embodiment of the American Dream. At a time of national division, this testament to the triumph of the human spirit over horrific tragedy through fortitude and faith offers an inspiring message that will both resonate with readers today and offer enormous hope for a better future.

Unstoppable is the story of an American hero—a man who survived the hell of Auschwitz to become one of the most successful, mesmerizing, and outrageous personalities in postwar America. Siggi Wilzig was a force of nature: a Holocaust survivor who arrived in New York penniless and without formal education at just twenty one years old yet went on to build a $4 billion oil-and-banking empire. This is the ultimate immigrant story, an epic rags-to-riches adventure that follows Siggi from starvation on death marches to dinner at the White House—a story that starts in Auschwitz and ends with one of the most lucrative bank sales in Wall Street history. A survivor’s saga in a category of its own, Unstoppable does not dwell on tragedy, but instead celebrates Siggi’s ingenuity, hope, resolve and message: no matter how cruel or unjust the world may be, humans can overcome the past to achieve a bright future.

[book] The Hard Crowd:
Essays 2000-2020
by Rachel Kushner
April 6, 2021

Novelist Kushner, who has written for the NYT Magazine and other pubs, and wrote some not so nice stuff on Israel for Waldman and Chabon on a trip sponsored by Breaking The Silence, has collected some essays in the highly blurbed book.

In The Hard Crowd, she gathers a selection of her writing from over the course of the last two decades that addresses political, artistic, and cultural issues and the real-life issues that underpin her fiction.

In 19 essays, The Hard Crowd spans literary journalism, memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about art and literature, including pieces on Jeff Koons, Denis Johnson, and Marguerite Duras. Kushner takes us on a journey through a Palestinian refugee camp/checkpoint, an illegal motorcycle race down the Baja Peninsula, 1970s wildcat strikes in Fiat factories, her love of classic cars, and her young life in the music scene of her hometown, San Francisco. The closing, eponymous essay is her manifesto on nostalgia, doom, and writing.

“Kushner writes with startling detail, imagination, and gallows humor,” said Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly
“Kushner can really write. Her prose has a poise and wariness and moral graininess that puts you in mind of Robert Stone and Joan Didion.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

[book] The Garden of Angels
by David Hewson
April 6, 2021
Severn House

At his beloved Nonno Paolo's deathbed, fifteen-year-old Nico receives a gift that will change his life forever: a yellowing manuscript which tells the haunting, twisty tale of what really happened to his grandfather in Nazi-occupied Venice in 1943.

The Palazzo Colombina is home to the Uccello family: three generations of men, trapped together in the dusty palace on Venice’s Grand Canal. Awkward fifteen-year-old Nico. His distant, business-focused father. And his beloved grandfather, Paolo. Paolo is dying. But before he passes, he has secrets he’s waited his whole life to share.

When a Jewish classmate is attacked by bullies, Nico just watches – earning him a week’s suspension and a typed, yellowing manuscript from his frail Nonno Paolo. A history lesson, his grandfather says. A secret he must keep from his father. A tale of blood and madness . . .

Nico is transported back to the Venice of 1943, an occupied city seething under its Nazi overlords, and to the defining moment of his grandfather’s life: when Paolo’s support for a murdered Jewish woman brings him into the sights of the city’s underground resistance. Hooked and unsettled, Nico can’t stop reading – but he soon wonders if he ever knew his beloved grandfather at all.

by Mike Nawrocki
April 6, 2021
Tyndale Christian Publishing
Ages 10 and under

From the people who gave you the Christian-children's Veggie Tales series of books comes a series about two kids and the squirrels they found near Qumran.

Merle and Pearl are still in the clutches of their squirrelnapper. The Gomez family, along with Justin and Sadie, is in hot pursuit. After a wrong turn, they receive a hint from the most unlikely of sources.

Meanwhile, Merle and Pearl are having their own adventure, riding a donkey from Bethlehem to Nazareth under the watchful eye of their abductor. As usual, their hijinks bring laughter and a few surprises-this time in the form of new friends who are also animals. And they can talk!

Will Merle and Pearl finally be rescued? Everyone learns that with God, all things are possible.

[book] At Any Cost:
A Father's Betrayal,
a Wife's Murder,
and a Ten-Year War for Justice
by Rebecca Rosenberg
Selim Algar
April 6, 2021
St. Martin's Press

At Any Cost unravels the twisted story of Rod Covlin, whose unrepentant greed drove him to an unspeakable act of murdering his wife, planning to murder his parents and frame a daughter, and pursued a betrayal that rocked New York City, the Upper West Side, and the Lincoln Square Synagogue Orthodox Jewish community.

Wealthy, beautiful, and brilliant, Shele Danishefsky had fulfillment at her fingertips. Having conquered Wall Street, working for a third gen family firm, she was eager to build a family with her much younger husband, promising Ivy League graduate Rod Covlin. But when his hidden vices surfaced, marital harmony gave way to a merciless divorce. He was abusive, and he did not work, choosing to live off his wife's income. Rod had long depended on Shele's income to fund his tastes for high stakes backgammon and infidelity – and she finally vowed to sever him from her will.

In late December 2009, Shele made an appointment with her lawyer to block him from her millions. She would never make it to that meeting.

Two days later, on New Year’s Eve, Shele was found dead in the bathtub of her Upper West Side apartment. Police ruled it an accident, and Shele’s deeply Orthodox Jewish family in Scarsdale quickly buried her without an autopsy on religious grounds. Rod tried to get her family to bury her in Israel, making sure she counld not be exhumed easily. Rod had a clear path to his ex-wife's fortune, but suspicions about her death lingered.

As the two families warred over custody of Shele’s children - and their inheritance - Rod concocted a series of increasingly demented schemes, even plotting to kill his own parents, so that he could get custody and cash, to secure the treasure. And as investigators closed in, Rod committed a final, desperate act to frame his own daughter for her mother’s death.

Fortunately, the NYPD figured out that Rod had strangled Shele and staged it to look like a bathroom accident. He was finally arrested in 2015, and found guilty after four years

Journalists Rebecca Rosenberg and Selim Algar reconstruct the ten years that passed between the day Shele was found dead and the day her killer faced justice in this riveting account of how one man’s irrepressible greed devolved into obsession, manipulation, and murder.

Translated from Hebrew by Todd Hasak-Lowy
April 13, 2021

An incredible story following two sisters, both deaf and raised in cultlike seclusion by deaf parents, and the shattering consequences that unfold when that isolation comes to an end

Sisters Lili and Dori Ackerman are deaf. Their parents-beautiful, despondent Anna; fearsome and admired Alex-are deaf too. Alex, a scrap-metal collector and sometime prophet, opposes any attempts to integrate with the world of the hearing; to escape its destructive influence, the girls are educated at home. Deafness is no disability, their father says, but an alternative way of life, preferable by far to that of the strident, hypocritical hearing.

Lili and Dori grow up semi-feral, living in a world they have created together. Lili writes down everything that happens, just the facts. And Dori, the reader, follows her. On the block where the girls spend their childhood, the family is united against a hostile and alien world. They watch the hearing like they would fish in an aquarium.

But when the outside world intrudes, the cracks that begin to form will span the rest of their lives. Separated from the family that ingrained in them a sense of uniqueness and alienation, Lili and Dori must relearn how to live, and how to tell their own stories.

Sly, surprising, and as sharp-fanged as its protagonists, Yaara Shehori's Aquarium is a stunning debut that interrogates the practices of storytelling-and storyhearing.

[book] At the End of the World, Turn Left
by Zhanna Slor
April 13, 2021

Zhanna Slor's debut novel is the tale of two sisters, and how different generations define home. Masha remembers her childhood in the former USSR, but found her life and heart in Israel. Anna was an infant when her family fled, but yearns to find her roots. When Anna is contacted by a stranger from their homeland and then disappears, Masha is called home to Milwaukee to find her, and where the search leads changes the family forever.

[book] The Hero Code:
Lessons Learned from Lives
Well Lived
by Admiral William H. McRaven (Retired, US Navy)
April 13, 2021
Grand Central Publishing

From the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Your Bed—a short, inspirational book about the qualities of true, everyday heroes.

THE HERO CODE is Admiral McRaven's ringing tribute to the real, everyday heroes he's met over the years, from battlefields to hospitals to college campuses, who are doing their part to save the world.

When Bill McRaven was a young boy growing up in Texas, he dreamed of being a superhero. He longed to put on a cape and use his superpowers to save the earth from destruction. But as he grew older and traveled the world, he found real heroes everywhere he went -- and none of them had superpowers. None of them wore capes or cowls. But they all possessed qualities that gave them the power to help others, to make a difference, to save the world: courage, both physical and moral; humility; a willingness to sacrifice; and a deep sense of integrity.

See also:

[book] [book] THE HERO CODE is not a cypher, a puzzle, or a secret message. It is a code of conduct; lessons in virtues that can become the foundations of our character as we build a life worthy of honor and respect.

[book] Lilyville:
Mother, Daughter,
and Other Roles I've Played
by Tovah Feldshuh
April 13, 2021

A heartwarming and funny memoir from a beloved actress, Lilyville tells the story of a mother and daughter whose narrative reflects American cultural changes and the world's shifting expectations of women.

From Golda to Ginsburg, Yentl to Mama Rose, Tallulah to the Queen of Mean, Tovah Feldshuh has always played powerful women who aren't afraid to sit at the table with the big boys and rule their world. But offstage, Tovah struggled to fulfill the one role she never auditioned for-Lily Feldshuh's only daughter.

Growing up in Scarsdale, NY in the 1950s, Tovah-known then by her given name Terri Sue-lived a life of piano lessons, dance lessons, shopping trips, and white-gloved cultural trips into Manhattan. In awe of her mother's meticulous appearance and perfect manners, Tovah spent her childhood striving for Lily's approval, only to feel as though she always fell short. Lily's own dreams were beside the point; instead, she devoted herself to Tovah's father Sidney and her two children. Tovah watched Lily retreat into the roles of the perfect housewife and mother, and swore to herself, I will never do this.

When Tovah shot to stardom with the Broadway hit Yentl, winning five awards for her performance, she still did not garner her mother's approval. But, it was her success in another sphere that finally gained Lily's attention. After falling in love with a Harvard-educated lawyer and having children, Tovah found it was easier to understand her mother and the sacrifices she had made. The women's movement, the sexual revolution, and the subsequent mandate for women to "have it all."

Beloved as he had been by both women, Sidney's passing made room for the love that had failed to take root during his life. In her new independence, Lily became outspoken, witty, and profane. "Don't tell Daddy this," Lily whispered to Tovah, "but these are the best years of my life." She lived until 103.

In this insightful, compelling, often hilarious and always illuminating memoir, Tovah shares the highs and lows of a remarkable career that has spanned five decades, and shares the lessons that she has learned, often the hard way, about how to live a life in the spotlight, strive for excellence, and still get along with your mother. Through their evolving relationship we see how expectations for women changed, with a daughter performing her heart out to gain her mother's approval and a mother becoming liberated from her confining roles of wife and mother to become her full self.

A great Mother's Day or any day gift when women want a joyous and meaningful way to celebrate each other.

Translated from German by Philip Boehm
April 13, 2021

Hailed as a remarkable literary discovery, a lost novel of heart-stopping intensity and harrowing absurdity about flight and persecution in 1930s Germany

Berlin, November 1938. Jewish shops have been ransacked and looted, synagogues destroyed. As storm troopers pound on his door, Otto Silbermann, a respected businessman who fought for Germany in the Great War, is forced to sneak out the back of his own home. Turned away from establishments he had long patronized, and fearful of being exposed as a Jew despite his Aryan looks, he boards a train.

And then another. And another . . . until his flight becomes a frantic odyssey across Germany, as he searches first for information, then for help, and finally for escape. His travels bring him face-to-face with waiters and conductors, officials and fellow outcasts, seductive women and vicious thieves, a few of whom disapprove of the regime while the rest embrace it wholeheartedly.

Clinging to his existence as it was just days before, Silbermann refuses to believe what is happening even as he is beset by opportunists, betrayed by associates, and bereft of family, friends, and fortune. As his world collapses around him, he is forced to concede that his nightmare is all too real.

Twenty-three-year-old Ulrich Boschwitz wrote The Passenger at breakneck speed in 1938, fresh in the wake of the Kristallnacht pogroms, and his prose flies at the same pace. Taut, immediate, infused with acerbic Kafkaesque humor, The Passenger is an indelible portrait of a man and a society careening out of control.

[book] Crying in H Mart:
A Memoir
by Michelle Zauner
April 20, 2021

From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American and Jewish, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.

In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band--and meeting the man who would become her husband--her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.

[book] The Next 500 Years:
Engineering Life to Reach New Worlds
by Christopher E. Mason
April 20, 2021

An argument that we have a moral duty to colonize other planets and solar systems--because human life on Earth has an expiration date.

Inevitably, life on Earth will come to an end, whether by climate disaster, cataclysmic war, or the death of the sun in a few billion years. To avoid extinction, we will have to find a new home planet, perhaps even a new solar system, to inhabit. In this provocative and fascinating book, Christopher Mason argues that we have a moral duty to do just that. As the only species aware that life on Earth has an expiration date, we have a responsibility to act as the shepherd of life-forms--not only for our species but for all species on which we depend and for those still to come (by accidental or designed evolution). Mason argues that the same capacity for ingenuity that has enabled us to build rockets and land on other planets can be applied to redesigning biology so that we can sustainably inhabit those planets. And he lays out a 500-year plan for undertaking the massively ambitious project of reengineering human genetics for life on other worlds.

As they are today, our frail human bodies could never survive travel to another habitable planet. Mason describes the toll that long-term space travel took on astronaut Scott Kelly, who returned from a year on the International Space Station with changes to his blood, bones, and genes. Mason proposes a ten-phase, 500-year program that would engineer the genome so that humans can tolerate the extreme environments of outer space--with the ultimate goal of achieving human settlement of new solar systems. He lays out a roadmap of which solar systems to visit first, and merges biotechnology, philosophy, and genetics to offer an unparalleled vision of the universe to come.

[book] Second Thoughts:
On Having and Being a Second Child
by Lynn Berger (PhD)
April 20, 2021

Berger, a correspondent for The Correspondent in Amsterdam, and Columbia grad writes a lovely, searching meditation on second children-on whether to have one and what it means to be one-that seamlessly weaves pieces of art and culture on the topic with scientific research and personal anecdotes

The decision to have more than one child is at least as consuming as the decision to have a child at all-and yet for all the good books that deliberate on the choice of becoming a parent, there is far less writing on the choice of becoming a parent of two, and all the questions that arise during the process. Is there any truth in the idea of character informed by birth order, or the loneliness of only children? What is the reality of sibling rivalry? What might a parent to one, or two, come to regret?

Lynn Berger is here to fill that gap with the curious, reflective Second Thoughts. Grounded in autobiography and full of considered allusion, careful investigation and generous candor, it’s an exploration specifically dedicated to second children and their particular, too often forgotten lot. Warm and wise, intimate and universal at once, it’s a must read for parents-to-be and want-to-be, parents of one, parents of two or more, and second children themselves.

[book] Two Against Hitler:
The Daring Mission to Save
Europe's Opera Stars from the Nazis
by Isabel Vincent
May 4, 2021

An extra .ordinary account of two British sisters whose obsession with opera became a cover for their roles in helping Jewish refugees flee the Nazis during World War II--a true story that is one part Schindler's List, one part The Sound of Music and all but forgotten, until now.

Born in the early 1900s in small-town England, the Cook sisters--Ida, a budding romance novelist, and Louise, a civil service typist-were single, like many in the Great War generation. They devoted their free time to their passion for opera, making frequent pilgrimages in the 1930s to Germany and Austria to see their favorite stars, many of them Jewish.

Along with the charismatic Austrian conductor Clemens Krauss (a favorite of Hitler's), the Cooks helped form a cabal of opera world insiders who worked in secrecy to save Jews from Hitler between 1937 and the outbreak of World War II. With their seemingly oblivious disposition and gaudy attire, the sisters eluded suspicion of Nazi spies, eventually helping over two dozen Jewish members of the opera community find safe passage to London--men and women who otherwise would have likely perished in the Holocaust.

Based on original research and packed with vivid details--many revealed here for the first time--Isabel Vincent's Two Against Hitler will join the ranks of bestselling books like Code Girls and Hidden Figures in shining the spotlight on the extraordinary contributions of women in wartime.

[book] The Woman with the Blue Star:
A Novel Paperback
by Pam Jenoff
May 4, 2021
Park Row

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris comes a riveting tale of unfathomable sacrifice and unlikely friendship during World War II.

1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. Scorned by her friends and longing for her fiancé, who has gone off to war, Ella wanders Kraków restlessly. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding.

Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by harrowing true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an emotional testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive.

May 4, 2021

Known for her outstanding performances on the groundbreaking television series The Good Wife and ER, Julianna Margulies deftly chronicles her life and her work in this deeply powerful memoir.

As an apple-cheeked bubbly child, Julianna was bestowed with the family nickname “Sunshine Girl.” Shuttled back and forth between her divorced parents, often on different continents, she quickly learned how to be of value to her eccentric mother and her absent father. Raised in fairly unconventional ways in various homes in Paris, England, New York, and New Hampshire, Julianna found that her role among the surrounding turmoil and uncertainty was to comfort those around her, seeking organization among the disorder, making her way in the world as a young adult and eventually an award-winning actress.

Throughout, there were complicated relationships, difficult choices, and overwhelming rejections. But there were also the moments where fate, faith, and talent aligned, leading to the unforgettable roles of a lifetime, both professionally and personally—moments when chaos had finally turned to calm.

Filled with intimate stories and revelatory moments, Sunshine Girl is at once unflinchingly honest and perceptive. It is a riveting self-portrait of a woman whose resilience in the face of turmoil will leave readers intrigued and inspired.

[book] No One Succeeds Alone:
Learn Everything You Can
from Everyone You Can
by Robert Reffkin
May 4, 2021
HMH Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The inspirational story of Compass CEO Robert Reffkin—born black and raised Jewish—and the vital lessons he learned to help him overcome life’s daunting obstacles.

No one expected a fifteen-year-old Black kid with dreadlocks who cared more about his DJ business than his homework to grow up to become the youngest-ever White House fellow, run 50 marathons, and co-found a multibillion-dollar real estate sales company. But Robert Reffkin, raised by an Israeli immigrant single mother after his father abandoned him and his maternal grandparents disowned them, has always defied the odds.

As CEO of Compass, which he co founded with Ori Allon, America’s largest independent real estate brokerage, Reffkin distills the wisdom he’s gathered from his mother and his 100+ mentors throughout his journey. Each chapter offers a part of his life story and an actionable lesson, such as: “Love your customers more than your ideas.” “Dream out your future on paper—then tear the paper up.” And “Adapt like water and you’ll be unstoppable.”

The advice in No One Succeeds Alone will inspire you to dream bigger than you ever have before, realize your full potential, and give back by helping make someone else’s dreams come true, too.

[book] Mergers and Acquisitions:
Or, Everything I Know About Love
I Learned on the Wedding Pages
by Cate Doty
former editor,
The New York Times Vows pages
May 4, 2021

A compulsively readable behind-the-scenes memoir that takes readers inside the weddings section of The New York Times--the good, bad, and just plain weird--through the eyes of a young reporter just as she's falling in love herself.

Growing up in the south, where tradition reigns supreme, Cate Doty thought about weddings . . . a lot. She catered for them, she attended many, she imagined her own. So, when she moved to New York City in pursuit of love--and to write for The New York Times--she finds her natural home in the wedding section, a first step to her own happily-ever-after, surely. Soon Cate is thrown into the cutthroat world of the metropolitan society pages, experiencing the lengths couples go to have their announcements accepted and the lengths the writers go in fact-checking their stories; the surprising, status-signaling details that matter most to brides and grooms; and the politics of the paper at a time of vast cultural and industry changes.

Reporting weekly on couples whose relationships seem enviable--or eye-roll worthy--and dealing with WASPy grandparents and last-minute snafus, Cate is surrounded by love, or what we're told to believe is love. But when she starts to take the leap herself, she begins to ask her own questions about what it means to truly commit...

Warm, witty, and keenly observed, Mergers and Acquisitions is an enthralling dive into one of society's most esteemed institutions, its creators and subjects, and a young woman's coming-of-age.

[book] What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?:
Discover a life filled with purpose
and joy through the secrets
of Jewish wisdom
by Michal Oshman
(TikTok, Europe)
May 4, 2021

Let Michal Oshman take you on a journey of self discovery to identify what makes you you, what you were born to do and how to do it.

As a mentor for leaders in top global companies, on diversity and inclusion, Michal created a unique personal growth methodology based on the life-changing principles of Jewish wisdom and the Chassidic style of Judaism that she adheres to. It is easy to think that the daily challenges we experience in the 21st century are new and unlike any that people faced in the past. Michal draws on her own heritage and a wide range of Chassidut (Jewish teachings) to offerpractical advice for common concerns, such as a broken heart, parenting, overcoming setbacks, and getting the most out of your career.

By challenging you to explore what matters, Michal offers solutions to your everyday struggles. She will empower you as well as teach you how to adopt her self-development tools to discover who you really are and what you were born to do with your life. With its uplifting belief that you already have all the ingredients within you to lead a joyous life, Michal's unique mix of corporate culture experience and Jewish wisdom will help you reconnect with yourself.This unique book will help you to find your courage, and move forward freely, with no fear at all!

[book] Thinking about Good and Evil:
Jewish Views from Antiquity to Modernity
(JPS Essential Judaism)
by Rabbi Wayne Allen
May 4, 2021

The most comprehensive book on the topic, Thinking about Good and Evil traces the most salient Jewish ideas about why innocent people seem to suffer, why evil individuals seem to prosper, and God’s role in such matters of (in)justice, from antiquity to the present.

Starting with the Bible and Apocrypha, Rabbi Wayne Allen takes us through the Talmud; medieval Jewish philosophers and Jewish mystical sources; the Ba’al Shem Tov and his disciples; early modern thinkers such as Spinoza, Mendelssohn, and Luzzatto; and, finally, modern thinkers such as Cohen, Buber, Kaplan, and Plaskow. Each chapter analyzes individual thinkers’ arguments and synthesizes their collective ideas on the nature of good and evil and questions of justice. Allen also exposes vastly divergent Jewish thinking about the Holocaust: traditionalist (e.g., Ehrenreich), revisionist (e.g., Rubenstein, Jonas), and deflective (e.g., Soloveitchik, Wiesel).

Rabbi Allen’s engaging, accessible volume illuminates well-known, obscure, and novel Jewish solutions to the problem of good and evil.

[book] A Fortress in Brooklyn:
Race, Real Estate, and the
Making of Hasidic Williamsburg
by Nathaniel Deutsch
Michael Casper
May 11, 2021
Yale University Press

The epic story of Hasidic Williamsburg, Brooklyn from the decline of New York to the gentrification of Brooklyn

Hasidic Williamsburg is famous as one of the most separatist, intensely religious, and politically savvy communities in the entire United States. Less known is how the community survived in one of New York City’s toughest neighborhoods during an era of steep decline, only to later oppose and also participate in the unprecedented gentrification of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Nathaniel Deutsch and Michael Casper unravel the fascinating history of how a community of determined Holocaust survivors encountered, shaped, and sometimes fiercely resisted the urban processes that transformed their gritty neighborhood, from white flight and the construction of public housing to rising crime, divestment of city services, and, ultimately, extreme gentrification. By showing how Williamsburg’s Hasidim avoided assimilation, Deutsch and Casper present both a provocative counter-history of American Jewry and a novel look at how race, real estate, and religion intersected in the creation of a quintessential, and yet deeply misunderstood, New York neighborhood.

[book] That Summer:
A Novel
Part 2 in the Cape Cod Trilogy
by Jennifer Weiner
(pronounced whiner) May 11, 2021
Altria Books

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Summer comes another timely and deliciously twisty novel of intrigue, secrets, and the transformative power of female friendship. Hint hint... Ms. Weiner wrote this novel during #MeToo, The Kavanaugh hearing, testifying about a rape that happened years ago during high school, and having her daughter apply for a job and remembering how Weiner's first job was filled with incidents of harassment.

Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful, her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?

While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?

From the manicured Main Line of Philadelphia to the wild landscape of the Outer Cape, written with Jennifer Weiner’s signature wit and sharp observations, That Summer is a story about surviving our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of friendship.

Essays by
May 11, 2021

A collection of funny personal essays from one of the writers of Superbad and Pineapple Express and one of the producers of The Disaster Artist, Neighbors, and The Boys. (All of these words have been added to help this book show up in people’s searches using the wonders of algorithmic technology. Thanks for bearing with us!) Hi! I’m Seth! I was asked to describe my book, Yearbook, for the inside flap (which is a gross phrase) and for websites and shit like that, so… here it goes!!!

Yearbook is a collection of true stories that I desperately hope are just funny at worst, and life-changingly amazing at best. (I understand that it’s likely the former, which is a fancy “book” way of saying “the first one.”)

I talk about my grandparents, doing stand-up comedy as a teenager, bar mitzvahs, and Jewish summer camp, and tell way more stories about doing drugs than my mother would like. I also talk about some of my adventures in Los Angeles, and surely say things about other famous people that will create a wildly awkward conversation for me at a party one day.

I hope you enjoy the book should you buy it, and if you don’t enjoy it, I’m sorry. If you ever see me on the street and explain the situation, I’ll do my best to make it up to you.

[book] Father Figure:
How to Be a Feminist Dad
by Jordan Shapiro, PhD
May 11, 2021
Temple University
Little Brown Spark

From digital-age parenting expert Jordan Shapiro, a thoughtful and long-overdue exploration of fatherhood and masculinity in the 21st century.

There are hundreds of books on parenting, and with good reason—becoming a parent is scary, difficult, and life-changing. But when it comes to books about parenting identity, rather than the nuts and bolts of raising children, nearly all are about what it's like to be a mother.

Drawing on research in sociology, economics, philosophy, gender studies, and the author's own experiences, Father Figure sets out to fill that gap. It's an exploration of the psychology of fatherhood from an archetypal perspective as well as a cultural history that challenges familiar assumptions about the origins of so-called traditional parenting roles. What paradoxes and contradictions are inherent in our common understanding of dads? Might it be time to rethink some aspects of fatherhood?

Gender norms are changing, and old economic models are facing disruption. As a result, parenthood and family life are undergoing an existential transformation. And yet, the narratives and images of dads available to us are wholly inadequate for this transition. Victorian and Industrial Age tropes about fathers not only dominate the media, but also contour most people's lived experience. Father Figure offers a badly needed update to our collective understanding of fatherhood—and masculinity in general. It teaches dads how to embrace the joys of fathering while guiding them toward an image of manliness for the modern world.

[book] While Justice Sleeps:
A Novel
by Stacey Abrams
May 11, 2021

"Stacey Abrams is a true novelist, and While Justice Sleeps is a first-class legal thriller, favorably compared to many of the best, starting with The Pelican Brief, which it brings to mind. It’s fast-paced and full of surprises—a terrific read." —Scott Turow, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Presumed Innocent and The Last Trial

Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, is doing her best to hold her life together—excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. When the shocking news breaks that Justice Wynn—the cantankerous swing vote on many current high-profile cases—has slipped into a coma, Avery’s life turns upside down. She is immediately notified that Justice Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney. Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery finds that Justice Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court—a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field. She also discovers that Wynn suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.

As political wrangling ensues in Washington to potentially replace the ailing judge whose life and survival Avery controls, she begins to unravel a carefully constructed, chesslike sequence of clues left behind by Wynn. She comes to see that Wynn had a much more personal stake in the controversial case and realizes his complex puzzle will lead her directly into harm’s way in order to find the truth. While Justice Sleeps is a cunningly crafted, sophisticated novel, layered with myriad twists and a vibrant cast of characters. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows herself to be not only a force for good in politics and voter fairness but also a major new talent in suspense fiction.

[book] Sephardi:
Cooking the History.
Recipes of the Jews of Spain
and the Diaspora, from the 13th Century Onwards
by Chef Hélène Jawhara Piñer, Phd
May 11, 2021
Cherry Orchard Books

In this extraordinary cookbook, chef and scholar Hélène Jawhara-Piñer combines rich culinary history and Jewish heritage to serve up over fifty culturally significant recipes. Steeped in the history of the Sephardic Jews (Jews of Spain) and their diaspora, these recipes are expertly collected from such diverse sources as medieval cookbooks, Inquisition trials, medical treatises, poems, and literature. Original sources ranging from the thirteenth century onwards and written in Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Occitan, Italian, and Hebrew, are here presented in English translation, bearing witness to the culinary diversity of the Sephardim, who brought their cuisine with them and kept it alive wherever they went. Jawhara-Piñer provides enlightening commentary for each recipe, revealing underlying societal issues from anti-Semitism to social order. In addition, the author provides several of her own recipes inspired by her research and academic studies.

Each creation and bite of the dishes herein are guaranteed to transport the reader to the most deeply moving and intriguing aspects of Jewish history. Jawhara-Piñer reminds us that eating is a way to commemorate the past.

Hélène Jawhara Piñer holds a doctoral degree in Medieval History and the History of Food. In 2018, she was awarded the Broome & Allen Fellowship of the American Sephardi Federation (ASF), dedicated to recognizing outstanding academic accomplishments and services to the Sephardic community, as well as encouraging continued excellence in the field of Sephardi studies. As a research associate of the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance(CESR) and of the Cooking of Recipes of the Middle Ages (CoReMa) research program in Tours, Dr. Jawhara-Piñer’s main research interest is the medieval culinary history of Spain through inter- and multiculturalism, with a special focus on the Jewish culinary heritage in Arabic. With the collaboration of the ASF, she gives live historical cooking classes for the show “Sephardic Culinary History with Chef Hélène Jawhara Piñer,” available on Chaiflix.

[book] The Outlier:
The Unfinished Presidency
of Jimmy Carter
by Kai Bird
May 11, 2021

Jimmy Carter... he thought Menachem Begin was a psycho at Camp David

A re-evaluation of the triumphs and tragedies of Jimmy Carter's presidential legacy—from the expert biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Prometheus on Oppenheimer

Four decades after Ronald Reagan’s landslide win in 1980, Jimmy Carter’s one-term presidency is often labeled a failure; indeed, many Americans view Carter as the only ex-president to have used the White House as a stepping-stone to greater achievements. But in retrospect the Carter political odyssey is a rich and human story, marked by both formidable accomplishments and painful political adversity. In this deeply researched, brilliantly written account, Kai Bird expertly unfolds the Carter saga as a tragic tipping point in American history.

As president, Carter was not merely an OUTSIDER, but an OUTLIER. He was the only president in a century to grow up in the heart of the Deep South, and his born-again Christianity made him the most openly religious president in memory. This outlier brought to the White House a rare mix of humility, candor—and unnerving self-confidence that neither Washington nor America embraced.

Decades before today’s public reckoning with the vast gulf between America’s ethos and its actions, Carter looked out on a nation torn by race and demoralized by Watergate and Vietnam and prescribed a radical self-examination from which voters recoiled. The cost of his unshakable belief in doing the right thing would be a second term—and the ascendance of Reagan.

In these remarkable pages, Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Bird traces the arc of Carter’s administration, from his aggressive domestic agenda to his controversial foreign policy record, taking readers inside the Oval Office and through Carter’s battles with both a political establishment and a Washington press corps that proved as adversarial as any foreign power. Bird shows how issues still hotly debated today—from national health care to growing inequality and racism to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—burned at the heart of Carter’s America, and consumed a president who found a moral duty in solving them.

Drawing on interviews with Carter and members of his administration and recently declassified documents, Bird delivers a profound, clear-eyed evaluation of a leader whose legacy has been deeply misunderstood. The Outlier is the definitive account of an enigmatic presidency—both as it really happened and as it is remembered in the American consciousness.

[book] The Spirit of Green:
The Economics of Collisions
and Contagions in a Crowded World
by William D. Nordhaus
May 18, 2021
Princeton University Press

From a Nobel Prize–winning pioneer in environmental economics, an innovative account of how and why “green thinking” could cure many of the world’s most serious problems-from global warming to pandemics

Solving the world’s biggest problems-from climate catastrophe and pandemics to wildfires and corporate malfeasance-requires, more than anything else, coming up with new ways to manage the powerful interactions that surround us. For carbon emissions and other environmental damage, this means ensuring that those responsible pay their full costs rather than continuing to pass them along to others, including future generations. In The Spirit of Green, Nobel Prize–winning economist William Nordhaus describes a new way of green thinking that would help us overcome our biggest challenges without sacrificing economic prosperity, in large part by accounting for the spillover costs of economic collisions.

In a discussion that ranges from the history of the environmental movement to the Green New Deal, Nordhaus explains how the spirit of green thinking provides a compelling and hopeful new perspective on modern life. At the heart of green thinking is a recognition that the globalized world is shaped not by isolated individuals but rather by innumerable interactions inside and outside the economy. He shows how rethinking economic efficiency, sustainability, politics, profits, taxes, individual ethics, corporate social responsibility, finance, and more would improve the effectiveness and equity of our society. And he offers specific solutions-on how to price carbon, how to pursue low-carbon technologies, how to design an efficient tax system, and how to foster international cooperation through climate clubs.

The result is a groundbreaking new vision of how we can have our environment and our economy too.

[book] Super Founders:
What Data Reveals About Billion-Dollar Startups
by Ali Tamaseb
May 18, 2021

University of Tehran and Stanford grad, Ali Tamaseb, writes in Super Founders that using a data-driven approach to understand what really differentiates billion-dollar startups from the rest—revealing that nearly everything we thought was true about them is false

Ali Tamaseb has spent thousands of hours manually (he should have used Excel.. it would have been faster) amassing a dataset on startups, comparing billion-dollar startups with those that failed to become one — 30,000 data points on nearly every factor: number of competitors, market size, the founder’s age, his or her university’s ranking, quality of investors, fundraising time, and many more.

And what he found looked far different than he had hypothesized and expected. Just to mention a few:
Most unicorn FOUNDER had no industry experience;
There's no disadvantage to being a solo founder or to being a non-technical CEO;
Fewer than 15% of FOUNDERS went through any kind of accelerator program;
Over half had strong competitors when starting – thus being first to market with an idea does not adversely affect the growth of the new firm.

You will also hear the stories of the early days of billion-dollar startups first-hand. The book includes exclusive interviews with the founders/investors of Zoom, Instacart, PayPal, Nest, Github, Flatiron Health, Kite Pharma, Facebook, Stripe, Airbnb, YouTube, LinkedIn, Lyft, DoorDash, Coinbase, and Square, venture capital investors like Elad Gil, Peter Thiel, Alfred Lin from Sequoia Capital and Keith Rabois of Founders Fund, as well as previously untold stories about the early days of ByteDance (TikTok), WhatsApp, Dropbox, Discord, DiDi, Flipkart, Instagram, Careem, Peloton, and SpaceX.

Packed with counterintuitive insights and inside stories from people who have built massively successful companies, Super Founders is a paradigm-shifting and actionable guide for entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone interested in what makes a startup successful.

May 23, 2021

Erasmus Levine has a job like no other. He travels with the President of the United States at all times, and holds in his hands the power to obliterate life as we know it.

Levine is the man with the nuclear briefcase, part of a crack team of top-secret operatives established after 9/11, led by a man code- named Edelweiss. But not even Edelweiss knows the identity of their ultimate authority, Alpha.

But Levine has a secret, for years he has been receiving cryptic messages from Alpha, an elaborate communication that began with the words: "we two against the world." Now he's thinking of escape and his chance comes during an official visit to Sweden.

But Alpha has other plans. From their first meeting in a network of tunnels and bunkers beneath the city, Levine is drawn into a plan to eliminate the world's nuclear arsenals. But is controlled demolition really the endgame? Could he be working towards a controlled apocalypse designed to wipe humanity from the face of the earth?

[book] The Plight of Jewish Deserted Wives, 1851–1900:
A Social History of East European Agunah
by Haim Sperber
(Western Galilee College)
JUNE 1, 2021

Agunot (Agunah, sing., meaning ‘anchored’ in Hebrew) is a Jewish term describing women who cannot remarry because their husband has disappeared. According to Jewish law (Halacha) a woman can get out of the marriage only if the husband releases her by granting a divorce writ (Get), if he dies, or if his whereabouts is not known. Women whose husbands cannot be located, and who have not been granted a Get, are considered Agunot. The Agunah phenomenon was of major concern in East European Jewry and much referred to in Hebrew and Yiddish media and fiction.

Most nineteenth-century Agunot cases came from Eastern Europe, where most Jews resided (twentieth-century Agunot were primarily in North America, and will be the subject of a forthcoming book).

Seven variations of Agunot have been identified: Deserted wives; women who refused to receive, or were not granted, a Get; widowed women whose brothers-in-law refused to grant them permission to marry someone else (Halitza); women whose husbands’ remains were not found; improperly or incorrectly written Gets; women whose husbands became mentally ill and were not competent to grant a Get; women refused a Get by husbands who had converted to Christianity or Islam.

The book explores the reasons for desertion and the plight of the left-alone wife. Key is the change from a legal issue to a social one, with changing attitudes to philanthropy and public opinion at the fore of explanation. A statistical database of circa 5000 identified Agunot is to be published simultaneously in a separate companion volume.

[book] Hasidism, Suffering, and Renewal:
The Prewar and Holocaust Legacy
of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira
(SUNY series in Contemporary Jewish Thought)
Edited by Don Seeman, Daniel Reiser,
Ariel Evan Mayse
JUNE 1, 2021

Reconsiders the legacy of an important Hasidic mystic, leader, and educator who confronted the dilemmas of modernity after World War I and whose writing constitutes a unique testimony to religious experience and its rupture in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Kalonymus Kalman Shapira (1889–1943) was a remarkable Hasidic mystic, leader, and educator. He confronted the secularization and dislocation of Polish Jews after World War I, the failure of the traditional educational system, and the devastation of the Holocaust, in which he lost all his close family and eventually his own life.

Thanks to a new critical edition of his Warsaw Ghetto sermons, scholars have begun to reassess the relationship between Shapira’s literary and educational attainments, his prewar mysticism, and his Holocaust experience, and to reexamine the question of faith-or its collapse-in the Warsaw Ghetto. This interdisciplinary volume, the first such work devoted to a twentieth-century Hasidic leader, integrates social and intellectual history along with theological, literary, and anthropological analyses of Shapira’s legacy. It raises theoretical and methodological questions related to the study of Jewish thought and mysticism, but also contributes to contemporary conversations about topics such as spiritual renewal and radical religious experience, the literature of suffering, and perhaps most pressingly, the question of faith and meaning-or their rupture-in the wake of genocide.

An American Story
A Memoir
Alexander S. Vindman,
Ret Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army
Harper Books
JUNE 15, 2021

Former U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman tells the story of his childhood as a Ukranian immigrant in Brooklyn, his choice to pursue a career in service of his new home in war and at the highest levels of the National Security Council, and his decision to report the infamous phone call that led to a presidential impeachment.

0900, Thursday, July 25, 2019: President Trump called Ukraine’s President Zelensky, supposedly to congratulate him on his recent victory. In the months to follow, the American public would learn what only Alexander Vindman was courageous enough to bring to light: on that call, the President of the United States extorted a foreign ally to bring down a political challenger at home. Vindman’s actions would lead to Trump’s impeachment. It would also lead to the end of Vindman’s decorated career in the US Army, in retribution for his public testimony before Congress.

Here, Right Matters is the story of Vindman’s family, his career, and the moment of truth he faced for his nation. As an immigrant, raised by a father who fled the Soviet Union in pursuit of a better life for his children, Vindman learned about respect for truth and fact throughout his education and military training in his new home country. Speaking up about what happened on July 25th was never a choice: it was Vindman’s duty, as a naturalized citizen and member of the armed forces. And far louder than the partisan attacks he endured in the wake of his testimony was an extraordinary chorus of support from citizens who were collectively intent on reaffirming an abiding American commitment to integrity.

In the face of a sure-fire career derailment and public excoriation, Vindman heeded the lessons from the people and institutions who instilled in him the moral compass and the courage to act decisively. Like so many other American immigrant families, the Vindmans had to learn to build a life from scratch and take big risks to achieve important goals. Here, Right Matters is about the quiet heroes who keep us safe; but, above all, it is a call to arms for those of us who refuse to let America betray its true self.

[book] Morningside Heights:
A Novel
by Joshua Henkin
JUNE 15, 2021

A tender, powerful, and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-winning author of The World Without You and Matrimony

When Ohio-born Pru Steiner arrives in New York in 1976 after graduating from Yale, she follows in a long tradition of young people determined to take the city by storm. She is escaping the strict Orthodox Jewish family in Ohio. When she falls in love with Spence Robin, her hotshot young Shakespeare professor, her life takes a turn she couldn’t have anticipated.

Thirty years later, in 2006, something is wrong with Spence, now 57. The Great Man can’t concentrate; he falls asleep reading The New York Review of Books. It is most likely early onset Alzheimer's. With their daughter Sarah away at medical school, Pru must struggle on her own. One day, feeling particularly isolated, Pru meets a man, and the possibility of new romance blooms. Meanwhile, Spence’s estranged son from his first marriage has come back into their lives (he did spend two years with them as a teen, and loved his father and hip step mother). Arlo Zackheim, a wealthy entrepreneur who invests in biotech, may be his father’s last, best hope (his mother, was a narcissistic vagabond who left Arlo with a deep void, always seeking love.

Morningside Heights is a sweeping and compassionate novel about a marriage surviving hardship. It’s about the love between women and men and children and parents, about the things we give up in the face of adversity, about what endures when life turns out differently from what we thought we signed up for.

[book] The Vixen:
A Novel
by Francine Prose
JUNE 29, 2021

“Francine Prose is a powerhouse. The Vixen will fascinate and complicate the histories that haunt our present moments. Like Coney Island’s Cyclone, this story tumbles and tangles a reader’s grip of reality. It’s told with the heart, humor and daring of a true artist. Prose’s Vixen is a triumph and a trip though the solid magic that books make real.”—Samantha Hunt

“A rollicking trickster of a novel, wondrously funny and wickedly addictive.”—Maria Semple

Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Francine Prose returns with a dazzling new novel set in the glamorous world of 1950s New York publishing, the story of a young man tasked with editing a steamy bodice-ripper based on the recent trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg—an assignment that will reveal the true cost of entering that seductive, dangerous new world.

It’s 1953, and Simon Putnam, a recent Harvard graduate newly hired by a distinguished New York publishing firm, has entered a glittering world of three-martini lunches, exclusive literary parties, and old-money aristocrats in exquisitely tailored suits, a far cry from his loving, middle-class Jewish family in Coney Island.

But Simon’s first assignment—editing The Vixen, the Patriot and the Fanatic, a lurid bodice-ripper improbably based on the recent trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, a potboiler intended to shore up the firm’s failing finances—makes him question the cost of admission. Because Simon has a secret that, at the height of the Red Scare and the McCarthy hearings, he cannot reveal: his beloved mother was a childhood friend of Ethel Rosenberg’s. His parents mourn Ethel’s death.

Simon’s dilemma grows thornier when he meets The Vixen’s author, the startlingly beautiful, reckless, seductive Anya Partridge, ensconced in her opium-scented boudoir in a luxury Hudson River mental asylum. As mysteries deepen, as the confluence of sex, money, politics and power spirals out of Simon’s control, he must face what he’s lost by exchanging the loving safety of his middle-class Jewish parents’ Coney Island apartment for the witty, whiskey-soaked orbit of his charismatic boss, the legendary Warren Landry. Gradually Simon realizes that the people around him are not what they seem, that everyone is keeping secrets, that ordinary events may conceal a diabolical plot—and that these crises may steer him toward a brighter future.

At once domestic and political, contemporary and historic, funny and heartbreaking, enlivened by surprising plot turns and passages from Anya’s hilariously bad novel, The Vixen illuminates a period of history with eerily striking similarities to the current moment. Meanwhile it asks timeless questions: How do we balance ambition and conscience? What do social mobility and cultural assimilation require us to sacrifice? How do we develop an authentic self, discover a vocation, and learn to live with the mysteries of love, family, art, life and loss?

[book] The Cult of We:
WeWork, Adam Neumann, and
the Great Startup Delusion
by Eliot Brown, Maureen Farrell
JUNE 1, 2021
The definitive inside story of WeWork, its audacious founder, and what the company's epic unraveling exposes about Silicon Valley's delusions and the financial system's desperate hunger to cash in--from the Wall Street Journal reporters whose scoops hastened the company's downfall.

In 2001, Adam Neumann arrived in New York after five years as a conscript in the Israeli navy. Just over fifteen years later, he had transformed himself into the charismatic CEO of a company worth $47 billion--at least on paper. With his long hair and feel-good mantras, the 6-foot-five Neumann, who grew up in part on a kibbutz, looked the part of a messianic Silicon Valley entrepreneur. The vision he offered was mesmerizing: a radical reimagining of work space for a new generation, with its fluid jobs and lax office culture. He called it WeWork. Though the company was merely subleasing "amenity"-filled office space to freelancers and small startups, Neumann marketed it like a revolutionary product--and investors swooned.

As billions of funding dollars poured in, Neumann's ambitions grew limitless. WeWork wasn't just an office space provider, he boasted. It would build schools, create WeWork cities, even colonize Mars. Could he, Neumann wondered from the ice bath he'd installed in his office, become the first trillionaire or a world leader? In pursuit of its founder's grandiose vision, the company spent money faster than it could bring it in. From his private jet, sometimes clouded with marijuana smoke, the CEO scoured the globe for more capital. In late 2019, just weeks before WeWork's highly publicized IPO, a Hail Mary effort to raise cash, everything fell apart. Neumann was ousted from his company--but still was poised to walk away a billionaire.

Calling to mind the recent demise of Theranos and the hubris of the dotcom era bust, WeWork's extraordinary rise and staggering implosion were fueled by disparate characters in a financial system blind to its risks, from a Japanese billionaire with designs on becoming the Warren Buffet of tech, to leaders at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs who seemed intoxicated by a Silicon Valley culture where sensible business models lost out to youthful CEOs who promised "disruption." Why did some of the biggest names in banking and venture capital buy the hype? And what does the future hold for Silicon Valley "unicorns"? Wall Street Journal reporters Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell explore these questions in this definitive account of WeWork's unraveling.

The books series without free refills

[book] The Rational Bible:
by Dennis Prager
Expected on June 8, 2021

From the co author of Questions People Ask About Judaism, author of over a dozen other other books, and syndicated radio talk show host, come his latest volume in a series on bible commentary.

Is the Bible, the most influential book in world history, still relevant? Why do people dismiss it as being irrelevant, irrational, immoral, or all of these things?

This explanation of the Book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Bible, will demonstrate how it remains profoundly relevant—both to the great issues of our day and to each individual life.

Do you doubt the existence of God because you think believing in God is irrational? This book will cause you to reexamine your doubts.

The title of this commentary is The Rational Bible because its approach is entirely reason-based. The reader is never asked to accept anything on faith alone. In Dennis Prager’s words, “If something I write is not rational, I have not done my job.”

The Rational Bible is the fruit of Prager’s forty years of teaching to people of every faith and no faith at all. On virtually every page, you will discover how the text relates to the contemporary world in general and to you on a personal level.

His goal: to change your mind, and, as a result, to change your life.

[book] The Forest of Vanishing Stars:
A Novel
by Kristin Harmel
JULY 6, 2021

The New York Times bestselling author of the “heart-stopping tale of survival and heroism” (People) The Book of Lost Names returns with an evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis—until a secret from her past threatens everything.

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

Inspired by incredible true stories of survival against staggering odds, and suffused with the journey-from-the-wilderness elements that made Where the Crawdads Sing a worldwide phenomenon, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel from the #1 internationally bestselling author whose writing has been hailed as “sweeping and magnificent” (Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author), “immersive and evocative” (Publishers Weekly), and “gripping” (Tampa Bay Times).

[book] The Happiest Man on Earth
by Eddie Jaku
JULY 6, 2021
Macmillian Australia

Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you. Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed in November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested, and taken to a concentration camp. Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on a Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country. Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom, and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the "happiest man on earth." Published as Eddie turns 100, this is a powerful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful memoir of how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.

Rabbi Tony Bayfield, PhD
JULY 13, 2021
Bloomsbury Continuum

Reissued from 2019

This is a book which understands and faces the impact of modernity on the Jewish community today. Being Jewish Today gives an account of both the journey of a particular British Jew and the journey of millions of women and men through today's perplexing and difficult world. With honesty and integrity Rabbi Tony Bayfield breaks new ground in exploring the meaning of Jewish identity and its relationship to Jewish tradition and belief. He does so from the perspective of a person fully integrated into the modern Western world. The rigorous questions he asks of his Jewishness, Judaism and the Jewish God are therefore substantially the same as those asked by all faiths and none.

Beginning with an account of the journey of Jewish people and thought from ancient times to the present day, Bayfield goes on to consider Jewish identity, Israel as land and the scourge of anti-Semitism. He then turns to the twin concerns of Torah: Halakhah – practice, and Aggadah – ethics, along with the matter of belief in a world faced with global extinction. Finally, in addressing the manifest injustice of life, Rabbi Bayfield confronts the widely evaded questions of universal suffering and divine inaction.

Drawing on key religious and secular thinkers who contribute to the force of his argument, Bayfield's masterful, challenging and urgent book will appeal to all Jews, whether religious or cultural, and to anyone curious about the nature of Judaism and religion today.

August 10, 2021

The Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of All the President’s Men-the chronicle of the investigative report about the Watergate break-in and resultant political scandal which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation-recalls his formative years as a teenage newspaper reporter in JFK’s Washington-a tale of adventures, scrapes, clever escapes, and the opportunity of a lifetime.

With these words, the sixteen-year-old senior at Montgomery Blair High School set himself apart from the high school crowd and set himself on a track that would define his life. Carl Bernstein was far from the best student in his class-in fact, he was in danger of not graduating at all-but he had a talent for writing, a burning desire to know things that other people didn’t, and a flair for being in the right place at the right time. Those qualities got him inside the newsroom at the Washington Star, the afternoon paper in the nation’s capital, in the summer of 1960, a pivotal time for America, for Washington, D.C., and for a young man in a hurry on the cusp of adulthood.

Chasing History opens up the world of the early 1960s as Bernstein experienced it, chasing after grisly crimes with the paper’s police reporter, gathering colorful details at a John F. Kennedy campaign rally, running afoul of union rules, and confronting racial tensions as the civil rights movement gained strength. We learn alongside him as he comes to understand the life of a newspaperman, and we share his pride as he hunts down information, gets his first byline, and discovers that he has a talent for the job after all.

By turns exhilarating, funny, tense, and poignant, Chasing History shows us a country coming into its own maturity along with young Carl Bernstein, and when he strikes out on his own after five years at the Star, his hard-won knowledge and experience feels like ours as well.



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