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JUNE 2002 and SUMMER 2002 RECOMMENDED JEWISH BOOKS

[beachball]



BOOK READINGS

May 15, 2002: Jenna Weissman Joselit reads from A PERFECT FIT..., B&N, 22nd and 6th, NYC 7 PM
May 16, 2002: Han Ong reads from FIXER CHAO, B&N, Brooklyn Pk Slope 7:30
May 28, 2002: Rabbi Shmuely Boteach reads from JUDAISM FOR EVERYONE, B&N, W 82nd, NYC 7:30
May 29, 2002: Rabbi Shmuely Boteach reads from JUDAISM FOR EVERYONE, B&N, Paramus NJ 7:30
June 13, 2002: Rich Cohen reads from LAKE EFFECT, B&N, Skokie IL 7:30
June 15, 2002: Morton Kandracke reads from SAVING MILLY. LOVE POLITICS AND PARKINSONS DISEASE, B&N, Arlington VA 1 PM
June 19. Readings from “Route 66 AD” at B&N Astor Place
June 20, 2002: James Cramer reads from CONFESSIONS OF A STREET ADDICT (watch out for tantrums), B&N, Springfield NJ 7:30
July 11, 2002: Jennifer Belle reads from HIGH MAINTENANCE, B&N, W 82nd, NYC 7:30

[summerreading]





JUNE 2002 BOOKS WITH BOOK COVERS OF GOOD SUMMER BEACH, LAKE, and PORCH READS

HEY.. NOW YOUR CAN SEARCH OUR SITE, INSTEAD OF JUST SEARCHING AMAZON. TRY IT OUT…




[book] SIX DAYS OF WAR:
JUNE 1967 AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST
by Michael Oren

June 2002. Oxford University Press
512 Pages with over 70 pages of footnotes, and 20 pages of each interview and source used. This is already being hailed as the most definitive and complete history of the Six Day War of June 1967 between Israel and its neighboring enemies. Walter Laqueur (author of The Road To Jerusalem) writes of it: “Michael Oren, a Senior Fellow at the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center, has written a book that is as close to a definitive history as we are likely to get.... Oren does an outstanding job of explaining the political, military, communications, and accidental catalysts for the war's outbreak. The Syrians were shelling Israeli settlements in the Galilee, even though the Egyptians warned them not to provoke Israel, because Cairo was not yet ready for war. On the Egyptian front, Oren makes clear - perhaps more strongly than before - Nasser's ineptitude and bad judgment. Nasser was a great bumbler. His rhetoric often got the better of his judgment. His half-baked ideas - such as the union with Syria - and other judgments did great harm to his own cause. He got involved in unnecessary intra-Arab affairs and conflicts - a war in Yemen, for instance.”
Oren, a Princeton and Columbia grad, and a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, attacks the post-Zionist theorists by uncovering documents and stating that Israel was actually reactive and filled with self-doubt, and its attacks were not as planned out as some would have us believe. New research on Egypt's "Operation Dawn" is included in the book as well. From the cover: "In Israel and the West it is called the Six Day War. In the Arab world, it is known as the June War, or simply as "the Setback." Never has a conflict so short, unforeseen and largely unwanted by both sides so transformed the world. The Yom Kippur War, the war in Lebanon, the Camp David accords, the controversy over Jerusalem and Jewish settlements in West Bank, the intifada and the rise of Palestinian terror: all are part of the outcome of those six days of intense Arab-Israeli fighting in the summer of 1967. Michael B. Oren's Six Days of War is the most comprehensive history ever published of this dramatic and pivotal event, the first to explore it both as a military struggle and as a critical episode in the global Cold War. Oren spotlights all the participants--Arab, Israeli, Soviet, and American--telling the story of how the war broke out and of the shocking ways it unfolded. Drawing on thousands of top-secret documents, on rare papers in Russian and Arabic, and on exclusive personal interviews, Six Days of War recreates the regional and international context which, by the late 1960s, virtually assured an Arab-Israeli conflagration. Also examined are the domestic crises in each of the battling states, and the extraordinary personalities--Moshe Dayan and Gamal Abdul Nasser, Hafez al-Assad and Yitzhak Rabin, Lyndon Johnson and Alexei Kosygin--that precipitated this earthshaking clash." Some items revealed in the book are the role of Israel’s nuclear capacity during the 1967 war; the threat of a military COUP in Israel prior to the war since Golda Meir’s government was not reacting in a timely manner; the USA’s inability to honor its secret commitment to Israel; the USA’s plan to run a Soviet blockade; the Arab plans to destroy Israel’s coastal cities and ports; the devastating failure of America’s Ambassador to Israel to deliver a secret message from King Hussein to Israel; the road to UN Res 242; Syria’s belief that Israel would overrun Damascus through Lebanon and Suweidani’s order to move three brigades from the Golan; additional information on the confrontation between the U.S. and Soviet fleets in the Mediterranean; the infighting in Israel over the violation of the cease-fire in Golan; Johnson’s irritation on Day 5 at Eshkol’s (calling him “that old coot”) misquoted hubris; and Israel’s secret “Focus Plan” for aerial combat.
In an interview, Oren said, “I am not a deconstructionist or relativist who argues that you can't get over your prejudices, so why try? "New historian" Avi Shlaim says, "I don't pretend to write history, I write my history." I reject that. If I indulge my prejudices, I will never understand the Six Day War. In writing history, I am trying to rise above my prejudices.” He recommends, “Richard Parker's The Politics of Miscalculation in the Middle East.”… Does the book have a message? “Yes. About the unintended, unpredictable, unstable nature of Middle East politics. Had [US] ambassador [Walworth] Barbour delivered [in time] King Hussein's letter of explanation to [prime minister Levi] Eshkol for a deadly infiltration, there would not have been an Israeli retaliation. That one letter which didn't arrive, triggered a whole series of events. You can trace the outbreak of the Six Day War to this one failure. [Israel's heavy retaliation into the West Bank led to] Palestinian riots against Jordan. Hussein tried to deflect blame on Nasser by saying Nasser was hiding behind the UN. And Nasser looked for an excuse to get rid of the UN. Everyone misinterprets everybody! It was all a series of misunderstandings.” The hero of the book? “Levi Eshkol. I am deeply enamored of him. He had a Jewish soul. Not at all flashy. He stands up to the entire illustrious general staff. There are hardline demonstrations in the street. He's got a chief of staff [Yitzhak Rabin] who collapses, but you don't see Levi Eshkol collapsing. He was right about waiting [before launching the war] until Israel had made the case that we tried every non-violent solution.” As for Dayan? “Dayan is the most inscrutable. He is the ambivalent hero. Evil and good at the same time.”






[book] THE WOMAN WHO DEFIED KINGS
The Life and Times of Doña Gracia Nasi
A Jewish Leader During the Renaissance
by Andree Aelion Brooks

June 2002. This is the first biography of Doña Gracia Nasi to be based upon original 16th century documents. The other books on her have either been fiction or based upon secondary sources. Her main efforts were to save the lives of thousands of victims of the Inquisition by supporting an escape network. Doña Gracia Nasi (Beatrice de Luna Mendes), a Jewish woman (1510-1569) in the 16th Century, fled from the Inquisition (to Lisbon to Antwerp to Venice to Ferrara to Venice to Constantinople) and became one of the top businesspeople of the period. She loaned to the Church and monarchs, and set up an Underground railroad for escaping converso Jews.







[book] War Without End: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for a Promised Land
by Anton La Guardia (editor of the Daily Telegraph)

June 2002. Publishers Weekly writes, “[Italian born], British journalist Anton La Guardia, diplomatic editor for the Daily Telegraph and for eight years its Middle East correspondent, offers an informed and objective history of the Middle East battles in War Without End: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for a Promised Land. Tracing the Zionist movement back to its 19th-century roots, as well as the birth of national identity of the Palestinians among whom the Zionists settled, La Guardia offers general readers a balanced background to what many fear may well be a war without end.” The Washington Post writes, “[his] analysis will not sit well with admirers of Israel. He largely debunks the image of plucky creative Jews building a productive society in a vacuum left by the backward locals” Anton writes, “The land was opened up to extensive settlement by Jews, its water resources were harnessed for Israel’s benefit, and its Arab population exploited as a source of cheap labor… Settlers enjoyed the privileges of Israel civil law while Palestinians around them languished under military rule….. the ineptly led Palestinians nuture unrealistic visions of return.. Jews fear losing the exclusive Jewish claim to suffering… the Palestinians persist in actions guaranteed to reinforce the very fears that drive Israel to repress them” It is about fear, revenge, self-delusion, arrogance, incompetence and the inescapable limitations of geography…. (war with the Arabs restores a unity within Israel among the strife ridden Jews)…







[book] The Russian Debutante's Handbook
by Gary Shteyngart

June 2002. A first novel with great critical acclaim. Born in Leningrad in 1972, Gary came to the USA at age 7 with his family of Russian Jewish émigrés. This is a comic novel of not a immigrant success story, but that of a failure. The Russian Debutante's Handbook is infused with energy and wit and a brilliant use of language. Hilarious, extravagant, yet uncannily true to life, it follows the adventures of Vladimir, a young Russian-American immigrant, whose capitalist dreams and desires for a girlfriend lead him off the straight and narrow and into uncharted territory. It takes us from the dreary confines of New York City's Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society (Gary used to work for NYANA) to the hip frontier wilderness of Prava-the Eastern European Paris of the nineties-whose grand and glorious beauty is marred only by the shadow of the looming statue of Stalin's foot. A client, Rybakov, bribes Vladimir to get him American citizenship, confiding that his son, the Groundhog, is a leading businessman (in prostitutes and drugs) in Pravathe Paris of the nineties in the fictional Republika Stolovaya. Vladimir fakes a citizenship ceremony for Rybakov in order to curry favor with the Groundhog. Then, because he has unwisely repelled the sexual advances of crime boss Jordi while trying to make some illicit bucks to keep his girlfriend, Francesca, in squid and sake dinners in Manhattan, Vladimir leaves abruptly for Prava. Once there, and backed by the Groundhog, Vladimir embarks on a scheme to fleece the American students who have flocked to Prava's legendary scene. The Russian Debutante's Handbook is both a madcap adventure and a serious look at what it means to be an outsider in America, and what it means to be an American. Vladimir's picaresque adventures satirize Americans' and Russians' preconceptions about their former cold war enemies and send up their illusions about themselves. Raised in Russia, schooled in America, Vladimir is a knowledgeable but itchy outsider wherever he goes. "Vladimir was 50 percent functional American, and 50 percent cultured Eastern European in need of a haircut and a bath," Mr. Shteyngart writes. "He was the best of both worlds. Historically, a little dangerous, but, for the most part, nicely tamed by Coca-Cola" and "blue-light specials." In New York, college Marxists and politically correct liberals adopt Vladimir as their pet, and he soon becomes an avatar of "Immigrant Chic," embraced by his girlfriend Francesca's parents and courted by her Slavophile friend Frank, who says things like, "Don't forget that Vladimir has an expansive Russian soul," and "Camaraderie and salvation, that's his game." In Eastern Europe, where he is regarded as an expert on America, Vladimir sets about giving the Groundhog's troops "American Lessons," goading his students to rid themselves of their kitschiest possessions: "the nylon track suits, the Rod Stewart compilations, the worn Romanian sneakers, everything that had qualified the Groundhog's vast crew as Easterners, Soviets, cold war losers." To Vladimir, "Americans were too keen to invent their own troubles," Mr. Shteyngart writes. "To paraphrase an old Russian expression, they were wild with their own fat." As for Russians like the Groundhog, Vladimir sees them as history's casualties: "Everything they grew up with is gone. So what are their options now? They can either shoot their way through the gray economy or make $25 a month driving a bus in Dnepropetrovsk."







BEACH READS
Please click some of these summer paperback book cover and read the reviews. But better yet, browse our pages from prior months and find a more cerebral beach read.

[ultimate journey] [ibm and holocaust] [walking the bible] [warriors of god]









[way home] [chicken soup jewish] [turb souls] [jewish fiction]









[Jew Boy Alan Kaufman] [Lake Effect ] [a fortune teller told me] [a year off by david elliot cohen]









[good in bed] [allegro goodman1] [allegro goodman2] [kavelier]









[shiksa] [fraud rakoff] [thisbe] [high maintenance]









[Supercargo lonely planet] [Lets Go Israel 2002] [ blue guide] [mel levine]









[wedding] [Skinned knee] [ adventure restaurant] [ route 66 AD]













[ the BONE WEAVER by Victoria Zackheim] [ It’s Sid Bernstein Calling by Sid Bernstein Beatles] [swimming toward the ocean by carole l. glickfield] [book cover click here]













MORE JUNE 2002 BOOKS

[book] NUREMBERG – The Reckoning
by WILLIAM F BUCKLEY JR

June 2002. Harcourt. A NOVEL
Nuremberg's Palace of Justice, 1945: the scene of a trial without precedent in history, a trial that continues to haunt the modern world. Leading the reader into the Palace is Sebastian, a young German-American whose fate is to be intimately involved with the lives and deaths of others: the father who disappeared mysteriously, the ancestors whose stories become vitally relevant, and some of the towering figures of twentieth-century legal history, including Justice Robert Jackson, Albert Speer, Hermann Goering, and the dark, untried shadow of Adolf Hitler. In a gripping account of warmakers who must face the consequences of their actions, Nuremberg: The Reckoning flows through Warsaw, Berlin, Lodz, Munich, Hamburg, and finally Nuremberg, as Sebastian, an interpreter-interrogator, comes to terms with his family legacy (is he part Jewish?) and his national identity. With his customary authority and audacity, William F. Buckley Jr. has taken a pivotal moment in history and shaped it into absorbing and original fiction. The result is a riveting novel of insight and deep understanding exploring the characters and issues that made history..







[book] THE WOMAN WHO DEFIED KINGS
The Life and Times of Doña Gracia Nasi
A Jewish Leader During the Renaissance
by Andree Aelion Brooks

June 2002. This is the first biography of Doña Gracia Nasi to be based upon original 16th century documents. The other books on her have either been fiction or based upon secondary sources. Her main efforts were to save the lives of thousands of victims of the Inquisition by supporting an escape network. Doña Gracia Nasi (Beatrice de Luna Mendes), a Jewish woman (1510-1569) in the 16th Century, fled from the Inquisition (to Lisbon to Antwerp to Venice to Ferrara to Venice to Constantinople) and became one of the top businesspeople of the period. She loaned to the Church and monarchs, and set up an Underground railroad for escaping converso Jews.







[book cover, click here] THE VICTIM’S FORTUNE. Inside the Epic Battle over the Debts of the Holocaust
By John Authors and Richard Wolffe (The Financial Times)

June 2002. Harper Collins. The history from 1995 on the battle for compensation for survivors.









[the scout book] THE SCOUT
By Steven E. Plaut

June 2002. Gefen Books. In an Israeli hospital, two men battle with death. Two men who could not be more different - Salim Saadi, the legendary Arab Bedouin scout, and author Steven Plaut, an American-Israeli professor. They lie together in the ward, one next to the other, sharing their life stories, unearthing layer upon layer of the history of the Bedouin scouts, a history enshrouded in biblical themes and rich folklore. The Scout centers on the extraordinary true story of Salim Saadi, yet at the same time reaches outward, to embrace a broader examination of Bedouin-Jewish relations in Israel. Plaut skillfully and tenderly arranges the numerous fragments of narrative to produce a richly variegated, mosaic-like portrayal of Bedouin history that is steeped in adventure, honor and spirit









[music, click here] YIDDISHBBUK GOLIJOV
By St Lawrence String Quartet

June 2002. EMI Classics 70 Minutes. What is all the fuss over this guy Golijov? Well listen to this CD and find out. This has been Graded an “A” by all the major critics. To paraphrase Pierre Ruhe, Composer Osvaldo Golijov, born in 1960, “was raised in Argentina in a Jewish household of Eastern European immigrants. He is a well educated sensualist who mixes themes and styles of latin, Jewish, Klez, and classical. This CD is a lament of Jewish treasures that were lost.” Lullaby and Doina mixes Yiddish lullaby with Gypsy melody. He is the composer in residence at Spoleto in SC in Summer 2002 and can be heard on Kronos latest CD. In “Lullaby and Doina,” Golijov hauntingly adapts a piece from the score to the film, “The Man Who Cried.” The highlight of the CD is “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac The Blind,” for strings and clarinet. Maybe you have heard others (Krakauer) perform it. Well listen to this version and you can see how sensual it can be. see also uenyc.com/golijov.htm









THE SECOND MOST CONTROVERSIAL BOOK OF THE 2002:

[click here for more reviews] Tod eines Kritikers.
DEATH OF A CRITIC
by von Martin Walser

JUNE 2002. Andrew Nagorski, writing in Newsweek POLAND(June 2002) wrote, “[Walser’s] new book “Death of a Critic” is an unsparing parody of a character modeled on Marcel Reich-Ranicki, a Holocaust survivor and Germany’s most powerful postwar literary critic whose judgments often demolished writers’ reputations. The narrator-writer fantasizes about KILLING THE JEWISH CRITIC, which prompted the outrage of much of the German media. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung refused to serialize the novel, claiming it was “full of anti-Semitic cliches.” But I found other writers and publishers, even those who disagree with Walser’s nationalist leanings, rejecting this zealous political correctness. A rival publisher, who is a strong supporter of the Social Democrats, told me after reading the manuscript: “There’s not one anti-Semitic sentence in the book. It’s total hysteria.” Ironically, the controversy probably guarantees that it will be a bestseller. Walser has stirred controversy before. In 1998, he complained about “the ritualized way” his country’s politicians spoke about the Holocaust. Sitting in his study at his home in Lake Constance, he summed up his feelings to me then by declaring: “This chapter of history can never be closed; it’d be crazy to think so. But you cannot prescribe how Germans should deal with this country’s shame.” In other words, it’s better to have honest discussion rather than facile declarations.
The FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine) wrote: “In an interview with the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki has spoken out publicly for the first time about Martin Walser's latest novel, Tod eines Kritikers (Death of a Critic). The book is about a wounded author's supposed murder of a high-profile Jewish book reviewer, obviously modeled on Reich-Ranicki. After first reading the book, the real critic said it was "outrageous" and called it "a truly patent anti-Semitic outburst." He went on to deride it as "atrocious literature," saying that it was "the worst writing Walser has ever produced." The FAZ's decision not to preprint excerpts from Walser's novel because of the anti-Semitic clichés it contains found wide support in the media. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung wondered whether German literature was now facing an "anti-Semitism scandal" to match the one currently roiling national politics. The newspaper Die Welt summed up the controversial statements made by Walser since his speech accepting the 1998 German publishing industry's Peace Prize by concluding that it was no longer only the "politically correct faction" that now had cause to condemn the author. Welt wrote: "Even liberals and the very tolerant, who have taken the position that they may not have agreed with his opinion, but would do anything to defend his right to freely express it; even they now question whether they were perhaps standing up for someone lacking in understanding."
In interviews, Walser has repeatedly rejected accusations that his book is a hate document about an execution. Speaking to the taz newspaper, the author said his novel was not about a murder fantasy, but "a book about the use of power in the television age -- seen from the point of view of the author." He went on to say that he could never write a book with execution as its central theme because he can't "write without love." He also rejects as "crazy" the criticism that he has broken a taboo and taken up old anti-Semitic stereotypes. Speaking on the nightly news program heute journal, Walser said that he never expected readers to link his book in any way to the Holocaust. He also told the Welt that the murder of a Holocaust survivor was not the subject of the novel: "I'm not insane, I would never do that." Together with Günter Berg, the director of Suhrkamp publishers, Walser has accused the F.A.Z. of commenting on a book that has not yet been published. Suhrkamp is scheduled to publish the novel in June. The Tagespiegel newspaper reported that there were "fierce discussions" going on at the publishing house, sparked by, among other things, the fact that "a barely disguised Siegfried Unseld character, as opposed to the Reich-Ranicki character, really does die in the book."
Meanwhile, speaking to Welt, Berg rejected the suggestion that it is an obvious roman à clef with the words "comparing literature to reality has nothing to do with literary criticism, only with malice." Bernd Lunkewitz, director of the Aufbau publishing house, has accused Walser of deliberately provoking a "sensation to increase sales." Speaking to the dpa news agency, he called it "cool calculation on the author's part." Lunkewitz went on to say that if the F.A.Z. had quietly rejected the book without giving reasons, there would have been an immediate public outcry about a "Jewish lobby" trying to prevent the book from being published Click the icon above or title to read dozens of reviews.







[book] THE STRAND OF A THOUSAND PEARLS
by Dorit Rabinyan, Translated from the Hebrew from Yael Lotan

June 2002. Random House. A Novel. From the author of PERSIAN BRIDES. How should I put this? If you like storytelling, this is the book to buy for for Summer read. Solly Azizyan has brought his family, his four daughters from Persia/Iran to Israel. There are Sofia, Matti, Lizzie, and Marcelle. The book moves back and forth between the eleventh birthday party for a crazy Matti (who has the energy of two: herself and her dead twin brother), and the history and future of the family and the loves of the daughters..







[book] Contemporary Jewish Writing in Germany. An Anthology
by Leslie Morris (Editor) and Karen Remmler (Editor)

June 2002. Works by prominent Jewish writers in Germany today...







[book] The Evolution of Converso Literature: The Writings of the Converted Jews of Medieval Spain
by Gregory B. Kaplan

May 2002. Draws on semiotic theory in a study that documents an evolving code of alienation among converses; focuses on three stages of religious and social disenfranchisement, beginning with the advent of legal discrimination in 1449.







[book] Constructing Ottoman Beneficence: An Imperial Soup Kitchen in Jerusalem (Suny Series in Near Eastern Studies)
by Amy Singer, Tel Aviv University

2002. Ottoman charitable endowments (waqf) constituted an enduring monument to imperial beneficence and were important instruments of policy. One type of endowment, the public soup kitchen (>imaret) served travelers, pious mystics, and local indigents alike. Constructing Ottoman Beneficence examines the political, social, and cultural context for founding these public kitchens. It challenges long-held notions of the nature of endowments and explores for the first time how Ottoman modes of beneficence provide an important paradigm for understanding universal questions about the nature of charitable giving.







[book] Jewish Themes in Spinoza's Philosophy (Suny Series in Jewish Philosophy)
by Heidi M. Ravven (Editor), Lenn E. Goodman (Editor)

2002. Breaking new ground in the study of Spinoza's philosophy, the essays in this volume explore the extent to which Spinoza may be considered a Jewish thinker. The rich diversity of Spinoza scholarship today is represented here by a wide range of intellectual methods and scholarly perspectives-from Jewish philosophy and history, to Cartesian-analytic and Continental-Marxist streams of interpretation, to the disciplines of political science and intellectual history. Two questions underlie all the essays: How and in what measure is Spinoza's a Jewish philosophy, and what is its impact on the project of Jewish philosophy as a living enterprise now and for the future? The contributors' varied perspectives afford a highly nuanced vision of the multifaceted Judaic tradition itself, as refracted through the Spinozist lens. What draws them together is the quest for enduring insights that emerge from the philosophy of Spinoza.







[book] The Politics of Sacred Space: The Old City of Jerusalem in the Middle East Conflict
by Michael Dumper, University of Exeter

Dumper analyzes the religious dynamics in the Old City in political terms, investigating rivalries and tensions at three interrelated levels: among regional and international interests, among the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish establishments, and among sects and factions within the religions. A revealing portrait emerges of an ancient city in the context of contemporary change, central to the attainment of a lasting peace in the region. Dumper, whose work frequently appears in the Journal of Palestinian Studies, focuses on the Awqaf, the patriarchates, and Jewish settlers.







[book] The Jews of Britain, 1656 to 2000
(Jewish Communities in the Modern World, No 3)
by Todd M. Endelman, Professor of Modern Jewish History at University of Michigan.

In Todd Endelman's spare and elegant narrative, the history of British Jewry in the modern period is characterized by a curious mixture of prominence and inconspicuousness. British Jews have been central to the unfolding of key political events of the modern period, especially the establishment of the State of Israel, but inconspicuous in shaping the character and outlook of modern Jewry. Their story, less dramatic perhaps than that of other Jewish communities, is no less deserving of this comprehensive and finely balanced analytical account. Even though Jews were never completely absent from Britain after the expulsion of 1290 (by King Edward I), they were readmitted under Cromwell, and it was not until the mid- seventeenth century that a permanent community took root. Endelman, calmly and without controversy, devotes chapters to the resettlement; to the integration and acculturation that took place, more intensively than in other European states, during the eighteenth century; to the remarkable economic transformation of Anglo-Jewry between 1800 and 1870; to the tide of immigration from Eastern Europe between 1870 and 1914 and the emergence of unprecedented hostility to Jews; to the effects of World War I and the turbulent events up to and including the Holocaust; and to the contradictory currents propelling Jewish life in Britain from 1948 to the end of the twentieth century (the population was 400,000 Jews after the war, and 300,000 today). We discover not only the many ways in which the Anglo-Jewish experience was unique but also what it had in common with those of other Western Jewish communities.
While I found the book fine, British Jews may want more. In a review by Jeff Barak of the Jewish Chronicle of London, he writes, “THE MAJOR drawback of Endelman's The Jews of Britain 1656 to 2000 is that he fails to tackle head-on this question of Anglo-Jewry's decline and growing irrelevancy, preferring instead to plot a simple chronological narrative of British Jewry, spiced with a smattering of sociological insights. … Endelman also notes that though nominally Orthodox, the majority of these immigrants "while not rejecting the authority of traditional Judaism, adopted a selective attitude toward its customs and laws." Unfortunately for Anglo-Jewry, this slippage in observance was not balanced by a growth in other forms of Jewish identification, a point on which Endelman does not engage.”







[be my knife david grossman] [saul bellow collected stories] [ Babel] [ summer in baden baden by leonid tsypkin]













[10th grade] [tepper isn’t going out] [ a life in pieces] [ discovering natural israel]













[click book cover] In Lands Not My Own:
A Wartime Journey
by Reuben Ainsztein

June 4, 2002. Random House. He was born in Wilno Poland; he died in 1981. He served in the RAF and worked for the BBC after WWII. This is his posthumously published memoir, about how he escaped anti Jewish riots in Poland, crossed the Pyrenees into Spain on foot after he was denied exit from Calais and Marseilles. He was swindled by Spanish officers, and imprisoned in Franco’s Spain for over a year before exiting Miranda de Ebro for the UK and the Isle of Man. In Lands Not My Own is one man’s personal testimony to the horrors that gave birth to war and were nurtured by it. Along the way, cast in spare, elegant prose, are the musings of a poet and philosopher on the goodness of man, the nature of evil, and the moral underpinnings of humanity Click the book cover to read more







[click book cover] KING OF CAPITAL
SANDY WEILL AND THE MAKING OF CITIGROUP
By Amey Stone and Mike Brewster

June 14, 2002. Wiley. Bio on CItigroup chair, Sandy Weill, 69, from his start as a runner on Wall Street to “Corned Beef with Lettuce at Berlind, Weill and Levitt” to the acquisition of Hayden, Stone, and Shearson Hamill, and Loeb Rhoades… to the head of Citigroup (Citibank, Travelers, etc). Click the book cover to read more







FIRST THE RAVEN
by Leora Krygier

June 2002. Against the backdrop of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the rift between secular and Orthodox Jews, FIRST THE RAVEN explores the repercussions of loss and the power of small acts of forgiveness. It is the story of a Holocaust survivor who becomes the spiritual guide for an Israeli ex-paratrooper in a tale of reconciliation. An encounter with a strange, bearded man on a motorcycle on a Los Angeles street foretells a journey of redemption for Amir, a veteran of two Middle East wars and the first Intifada. His marriage and his relationship with his troubled teenage daughter both fraying, he secretely longs to parachute again, but worries his new life in America has made him go soft, too weak to return to the skies. One rainy afternoon, he finds respite in a restaurant run by expatriate Israelis. There, he find an unlikely friend in Rosenberg, an elderly Holocaust survivor who makes his living conducting funerals. Estranged from his own family, Rosenberg makes the rounds of convalescent homes and mortuaries, picking up lonely strangers like wounded birds. When Amir's daughter is implicated in a shooting, Rosenberg becomes Amir's spiritual compass as the men come to terms with devastating events long buried in their pasts







[book] RESCUING THE CHILDREN
by Vivette SAMUEL
JUNE 2002. Univ of Wisconsin Press. Ms Samuel recounts her work in France saveing Jewish children as part of the OSE (Society for Assistance to Children). Translated by one of the children she saved, Charles B. Paul. Foreword by E Wiesel. Rescuing the Children is the autobiography of an extraordinary woman, the history of a remarkable organization she worked for in World War II France, and a portrait of children in severe psychological distress. The organization was the Œuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE, or Society for Assistance to Children), which saved thousands of Jewish children in France from deportation to Nazi extermination camps. These children were either hidden among non-Jewish families, placed in the eighteen children’s homes run by the OSE, or selected to escape clandestinely to the neutral countries of Switzerland or Spain. Due to the efforts of the OSE and like-minded organizations, both Jewish and non-Jewish, about 86 percent of the Jewish children in France survived the Holocaust. One of the outstanding representatives of the OSE was Vivette Samuel. At the age of twenty-two she accepted the position of resident social worker in the camp of Rivesaltes, set up by the Vichy government to intern foreign "undesirables." Her daunting task was to obtain the interned parents’ written consent that would permanently separate them from their children so that the latter would live. In a period of six months, she was thus able to liberate nearly 400 foreign-born children from the camp. Click to read more.







[book] DEAR FRIENDS
A Prophetic Journey Through Great Events of the 20th Century
by Rabbi Jacob Pressman
JUNE 2002. Ktav. A collection of sermons by Rabbi Pressman. Pressman began his career at 13, teaching a Hebrew school class at Temple Beth Am in Philadelphia. At 19, he was principal of the Hebrew school and a member of the Conservative synagogue’s board. By 24, he was the rabbi of a 1,000-family congregation in Forest Hills, N.Y. To Los Angelenos, Pressman is best known for his 50-year association with Temple Beth Am, where he was rabbi until 1985. Looking back on a 57-year career in the rabbinate, Pressman, 82, has published this collection of sermons, culled from some 4,000 that he has given over the years. The book reads like a pocket history of the 20th century and the role that Jewish social and political activism played in it. Pressman started preaching weekly sermons in 1944 — and hasn’t stopped. Through the years, his sermon topics have included the Holocaust, the White Paper, the establishment of the state of Israel, Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Montgomery, the Vietnam War, Watergate and Sept. 11. What next? Pressman is working on "Sex and the Singular Rabbi," a selection of reminiscences and musings of his encounters with sexual matters as a rabbi. Click to read more.







[book] THE ART AND POLITICS OF ARTHUR SZYK
by Steven Luckert

June 2002. Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) was one of the most creative and determined political activists of his time. A gifted book illustrator and illuminator, a skillful caricaturist, and a crusader for causes, this multifaceted artist ceaselessly defended the rights of Jews and advocated on their behalf. Skilled in medieval and Persian miniature painting, Szyk redirected his artistry during World War II into political cartoons that unmasked the face of the Nazi enemy and mobilized popular opinion. His caricatures became daily fare in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. In 1942 alone, Szykís war-driven cartoons were published in Esquire, Collierís, Look, Liberty, Time, the Saturday Review of Literature, and the Saturday Evening Post. One magazine reported that Szyk cartoons were as popular as Betty Grable pin-ups for troops heading overseas. Click to read more.









[book] The Fly Swatter : How My Grandfather Made His Way in the World
by Nicholas Dawidoff

June 2002. A man who read political theory while sitting in the gutters of Vienna, Alexander "Shura" Gershenkron never relented in his pursuit of truth. In this moving memoir, Gershenkron's grandson suggests that, in part, his grandfather's intellectual restlessness resulted from his uprootings--first from Odessa (the son of a Jewish tobacco factory manager) when the Communists came to power and again from Vienna when the Nazis took over. Yet more than dispossession lifted Gershenkron into academic prominence as a professor of economics at Harvard, where his maverick approach to scholarship earned him the title of "Mr. UnHarvard." As comfortable quoting poetry as expounding his pioneering theory of economic backwardness, Shura often embarrassed colleagues by outshining them in their own fields. And outside academe, Shura insisted on proving himself as a patriot by helping shipyard roughnecks build Liberty ships, as a sports fan by swapping yarns with Ted Williams, and as a true chevalier by enchanting Marlene Dietrich. A father surrogate for Dawidoff (who lost his father to divorce and insanity), Shura nurtured in his grandson the capacity to explore a dozen humane fields--and to write one marvelous memoir. Click to read more.









[book] PRAGUE. A novel
by Arthur Phillips

June 2002. Random House. A detached, youthful, clever first novel, Prague depicts an intentionally lost, ironic Lost Generation (these guys are a dime a dozen, being airlifted into Budapest in 1990) as it follows five North American expats who come to Budapest (not Prague) in the early 1990s to seek their fortune—financial, romantic, and spiritual—in an exotic city newly opened to the West. They play a game called Sincerity, in which they lie or tell the truth, and collect points if they get others to believe them. There is Charles Gabor from Cleveland, whose father is Hungarian. Charles wants to cash in on his Hungarian background with a big business score. Mark is a gay Canadian working on his thesis who needs some Prozac. Emily comes from the Midwest; Scott Price is a blond surfer Jew from California, in BudaPest to teach English; and John Price is Scott’s brother who longs for Emily. John, a virgin to sex and life, scores a job at BudapesToday, the expat paper. They all harbor the vague suspicion that their counterparts in Prague, where the atmospheric decay of post–Cold War Europe is even more cinematically perfect, have it better. Still, they hope to find adventure, inspiration, a gold rush, or history in the making. What they actually find is a deceptively beautiful place that they often fail to understand. What does it mean to fret about your fledgling career when the man across the table was tortured by two different regimes? How does your short, uneventful life compare to the lives of those who actually resisted, fought, and died? What does your angst mean in a city still pocked with bullet holes from war and crushed rebellion? Click to read more.









[book] TRAINS OF THOUGHT. MEMORIES OF A STATELESS YOUTH
by Victor Brombert

June 2002. Professor Brombert, Princeton Professor and Flaubert authority, reminisces about is youth in France, and escape to America. During WWII, he ended up on Omaha Beach and survived. Poignantly he recalls his first crush, on Danielle Wolf (he wooed her with poems by Alfred de Musset); she ended up on a death train to Auschwitz where neither she nor her two year old daughter survived. Click to read more.







[book] Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People
by S. Truett Cathy

June 2002. Mr. Truett Cathy’s memoir on building a Christian evangelical faith based chain of chicken fast food restaurants, Chick-Fil-A. Growing up in a boarding house his mother operated during the Great Depression, he learned the principles of hard work, honesty, loyalty, and respect. When he opened a small restaurant in 1946 with his brother Ben, he put those principles to work and immediately began to experience their rewards. Twenty-three years later Cathy opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant, which was unique in America in two ways: it served the first boneless breast chicken sandwhich, and it was the first fast-food restaurant to operate in a shopping mall. Today there are more than one thousand Chick-fil-A restaurants with more than $1 billion in sales annually while adhering to a policy unknown in the fast-food business - Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, the Christian Sabbath. Not a Jewish Book. Click to read more.







[book] Cursed is the Peacemaker:
The American Diplomat Versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982
by John Boykin, with former Secretary of State George Shultz

According to the publisher: WINNER 2002 American Academy of Diplomacy Book Award. This is the story of America's most extraordinary diplomat and master of high-stakes crisis diplomacy, Philip Habib. It reveals for the first time how he worked out a peaceful end to the 1982 Israeli siege of Beirut. The architect of the siege was Israel's then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon. While Sharon raced to conclude the siege violently, Habib raced to conclude it peacefully. Thwarted at every turn and risking his life to fight impossible odds, Habib pulled off what George Shultz calls a miracle. The story took seven years to piece together from thousands of pages of declassified documents and over 150 hours of interviews with participants. Though exhaustively researched and documented, it reads like a novel. This book is the declassified tale of how Philip Habib worked out a peaceful end to the 1982 Israeli siege of Beirut, after Sharon threatened a ground war and bloodbath for both sides. (listen at www.diplomatbook.com/pres.html ). Includes stories of how Israelis and American Marines almost attacked each other. Click to read more.







[book] GIDGET
by by Frederick Kohner, his daughter Kathy Kohner (Zuckerman), and Deanne Stillman

reissue from 1957, based on the diaries of then Kathy Kohner (now aged 61). I'm not quite five feet but if it hadn't been for that year-round swimming I'd have probably stayed a dwarf," writes the teenage surfer chick. The kitschy, American pop culture classic was written in 1957, hit Hollywood in 1959 and returns for summer 2001, brimming with tales of guys, waves, hopes and dreams. Kohner based the novel on the life of his then 16-year-old daughter, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, the charming young thing who penetrated what was previously a male-dominated sport with gusto. She writes a foreword for this version, which has a splashy cover that will appeal to teens and older fans alike. Gidget was short for Girl Midget, a name she was given by surfers. So friends, Sandra Dee’s adventures were actually those of a Jewish girl, the child of post War refugees (she lived in Berlin from 1954-56, returning with her family to Germany after the War.) Click to read more.








JULY 2002

[book] THE ASCENT OF ELI ISRAEL: And Other Stories
by Jon Papernick

July 2002. You could not ask for a better timed book. It is surreally dark in nature. Papernick, a journalist in Israel (a Canadian who now lives in Brooklyn), offers unique insights into Israeli life through his collection of stories (nearly as manic as the works of Etgar Keret). In “The Art of Correcting” a rabbi gets converted by a chiropractor. In “The King of The King of Falafel,” there is a competition between Jerusalem falafel shops o King George Street, but then the kids of an unsuccessful shop owner take matters into their own hands. In “an Unwelcome Guest”.. well let’s just say, it is an awful nightmare about Yossi Bar-Yosef, living on the West Bank, having moved from America with his wife Devorah, who wakes in the middle of the night and finds some unwanted visitors (one named Youssif), while his wife is asleep in the bedroom. He must enter into an intense backgammon game with the man in his kitchen as the number of unwelcome guests grow. In “Lucky Eighteen”, a photographer photographs the grisly remains of a murderous bus bombing. In “The Ascent of Eli Israel”, a soldier, speaking to Eli Haller, a West Bank settler, remarks, “Why is it that all the scum of the world [read Brooklyn] comes to Israel?” Click to read more.







[book] THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JUDAISM
Edited by Geoffrey Wigoder (encycl. Judaica) and Fred Skolnick and Shmuel Himelstein

July 2002. NYU PRESS. 250 new entries, 1200 updated entries. 300 illustrations. Click to read more.








[book] The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Crisis in the Middle East
by Journalists of Reuters

July 1, 2002. Prentice Hall. 240 Pages of Photos, graphics and text from Reuters. Using pictures, evocative text and detailed graphics, Reuters journalists report from the front line of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and offer a unique insight into one of the world's most intractable conflicts. The book examines the failures of diplomacy and the dashed hopes that have scarred generations of Israelis and Palestinians. Top Reuters foreign correspondents, who have witnessed every twist and turn in Arab-Israeli history, provide unmatched perspective and analysis. Award-winning Reuters photographers illustrate the turmoil from both sides, capturing dignity and hope as well as rage and revenge. One chapter carries vivid images of those caught in the crossfire of today's violence; another looks at key leaders through the eyes of those correspondents who witnessed defining moments of the past decades. The book examines the roots of the current Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, illustrates the dedication of those who are working for peace and paints a portrait of the city of Jerusalem. Click to read more.











[book] IN THE CATSKILLS:
A CENTURY OF THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE IN “THE MOUNTAINS”
Edited by Phil Brown

July 2002. How exciting… a book by the official guy who runs those Catskills Institute workshops each August! Collected here are 34 essays, songs, memoirs, and stories of life in the Catskills in the Twentieth Century. Includes the words to Shoot the Shtrudel to Me Yudel (1941) which was dedicated to Yudel Slutzky; an excerpt from Joey Adam’s 1966 autobiography on the Borsht Belt; a reprint of “Jewish Farmers of the Catskills”; and even a piece from Cahan’s “The Rise of David Levinsky.” The book has seven main sections: history; boarding house, bungalow, and kuchalayn life; hotel life; entertainment; romance; religion; and food. Additional standouts include an excerpt from Kaaterskill Falls (by Allegra Goodman); I. B. Singer’s “The Yearning Heifer”; Thane Rosenbaum’s “Bingo in the Bungalow”; Herman Wouk’s “Marjorie at South Wind”; and Tania Grossinger’s “Growing Up at Grossinger’s.” The book is also filled with photos of Catskill’s life, signage, and even old hotel menus Click to read more.







[book] JEWISH LIFE IN THE AMERICAN WEST
Edited by Ava F Kahn et al., UC Berkeley

July 2002. Jews west of the Mississippi River between 1850 and 1920. Click to read more.









[book] REFLECTIONS AND SHADOWS
by Saul Steinberg (the artist, not the Financier), translated from Italian

July 2002. We all grew up in Saul Steinberg’s America, a place he envisioned for us in his drawings and cartoons for The New Yorker. The most famous was a New Yorker’s view of the world, with New York streets at the center, and the rest of the earth as extra flyover space. In this eccentric and unpredictable memoir, one of the twentieth century’s most intellectually nimble artists shares his view of the world, of America and his place in it. A Romanian by birth (1914), restless by inclination, Steinberg lived a peripatetic existence. In Reflections and Shadows, he introduces us to his family - his uncle Moritz, a sign painter, and his father (also named Moritz), a bookbinder whose small factory produced cardboard boxes and ribbons for funeral wreaths. We meet other uncles, like the croupier, and the watchmaker. He tells us how he dodged the police in fascist Italy in 1940, but was arrested for being Jewish, detained for a year, and how he came to America in 1941, where he became a citizen, an officer in the U.S. Navy, and the foremost visionary satirist of his time. In this playful meditation, based on a series of interviews with Aldo Buzzi in the 1970s, that has never before been published in English, and interwoven with more than twelve drawings. Click to read more.









[book] From Fear To Eternity
by A. Lefkowitz

July 2002. Andy Lefkowitz thought he was living the American dream. His mother was a college homecoming queen and his father played in the NBA after being highly decorated in World War II. Andy was a competitive athelete who became the youngest partner at one of Wall Street's largest law firms. But then a hurricane that bore his name, Andrew, truned his life upside down and inside out. As if by chance, he found himself in an introductory class on the Five Levels of Pleasure available to learned Jews. And he began to cry. What he learned was that living according to the Torah is the only way to maximize the many pleasures of being Jewish, and for that matter, the day-to day pleasures of life in general. From Fear to Eternity is a road map for any Jew who is seeking to acquire or intensify the pleasures of being Jewish. It is a conversation between Andy and Avi. It provides easy to understand answers to the questions that any Jew raised to call himself reform, conservative, or secular would ask a friend or relative who decided to become more observant. Click to read more.









[book] Reading the Women of the Bible
by Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Professor, University of Chicago.

July 30 2002. Schocken. BLURB: “You'll never see the women of the Bible in quite the same way after reading Tikva Frymer-Kensky's excellent new book. In her able hands, these women emerge from the ancient texts with new strength and vigor. Frymer-Kensky is a dazzling thinker who presents her ideas with unusual energy and clarity.” Reading the Women of the Bible, a study of the many stories about biblical women, moves beyond the reading of individual stories and figures (“the great women of the Bible”) to look at what purpose those stories served. It uses them to get at the image of women in the mind of Israel and the significance of these stories today. “Most of the stories,” she explained, “cluster around four different themes: women as victors, victims, virgins and woman as voice. I found out that the stories about women as victors and saviors came from before the rise of the Israelite monarchy and after the monarchy’s fall. That’s the time when there is no central power and the locus of authority is closer to home so that women can arrive in positions of power or step into the breach with saving actions. “Interestingly, the victim stories have the same distribution. They, too, come from before and after the centralization of the monarchy. The state seems to interpose between women and male heads of households. So on the one hand, the horror stories don’t seem to happen as much, but does the same potential for female leadership exist? But the stories are all paradigmatic because Israel used them to understand its own plight among the nations.” Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky's areas of specialization include Assyriology and Sumerology, biblical studies, Jewish studies, and women and religion. Her most recent books are Reading the Women of the Bible; In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth; and Motherprayer: The Pregnant Woman's Spiritual Companion. She is also the English translator of From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven by Ari Elon (Alma Dee, original Hebrew). In progress are a commentary on Ruth and a book on biblical theology. Click to read more.





[book] Stone Kiss
by Faye Kellerman

July 2002. Warner Books. Rina Lazarus has some shocking news for her husband, LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker. A horrible murder has occurred in the family of his half-brother, Rabbi Jonathan Levin. The rabbi's brother-in-law was found slain in a seedy hotel room in upper Manhattan, and the victim's 15-year-old niece, with whom he was spending the day, is missing. Decker, with Rina at his side, immediately heads out to New York to assist in the investigation. But what starts out as simple inquiries soon evolves into a twisted and perilous journey-from the darkened slums of New Jersey and the deserted industrial streets of New York to the recesses of sexual perversity and the hidden meeting places of Hasidic outcasts. Thrust into a deadly maze of deceit, lies, and danger, the couple can no longer trust anyone-friend or family. And when salvation is finally within Decker's grasp, it can only be delivered by a depraved lone wolf, hell-bent on his own personal vengeance. Click to read more.





[book] BRONX BOY. A MEMOIR
by Jerome Charyn

July 2002. St Martins. Let me save you some time… after reading the book, you discover that most of his memories in this memoir are “made up.” Jerome Charyn's three-part memoir of his boyhood in the Bronx has all the imagery and color of an enchanting and entertaining novel -- someone has said that it captures the author's world so accurately that it can't possibly be true. Bronx Boy, like The Dark Lady of Belorusse and The Black Swan, both selected by The New York Times as Notable Books of the Year, is a tour de force of memory and imagination. In this third and final installment, the higher truths of a masterly writer's art render moot the question of exactly where the real world ends and Charyn's imagined world begins. Click to read more.







[book] DAEMONS AND ANGELS
A Life of Sir Jacob Epstein
by June Rose

July 2002. Caroll & Graf. Epstein (1880-1959) was a celebrated sculptor in England. The father of five children with women other than his wife of 40 years, Epstein, who was born to Jewish parents, created a controversy when he created a nude sculpture for the grave of Oscar Wilde in 1912. Click to read more.







[book] THE BOXER
a novel
by Jurek Becker (1937-1997), translated from the German

July 2002. Arcade. Originally published in 1976, Becker is mainly known for his novel, JAKOB THE LIAR. Released from a concentration camp after the war, Aron Blank looks for and eventually finds the only surviving member of his family, his son Mark, who he was forced to abandon when Mark was only two years old. Working first in the black market and later as a Russian interpreter, Aron tries to rebuild a normal life for himself and his son in East Berlin. Decades later, with Mark lost in the Arab-Israeli war, Aron tells his story to a young interviewer-the flow of his poignant narrative occasionally interrupted by their brief exchanges, which are peppered with humor. Merle Rubin, writing in the LA Times, wrote that the author’s father survived a death camp and settled in East Berlin after the War. The author, himself, was bron in 1937, and miraculously survived the war and the Lodz Ghetto as a child.







[book] The Kid's Cartoon Bible
by Chaya M. Burstein

July 2002. JPS. Award-winning author-illustrator Chaya Burstein combines her talents as a storyteller and an artist to bring alive the Bible for young readers. Opening with the Five Books of Moses, her colorful and imaginative drawings vividly tell the story of the earth's creation, Moses' triumphs over Pharoah's magicians, God's blessing of Joshua before the deliverance to the Promised Land, and more. Burstein continues with artful depictions of the works of the Prophets and Writings, including the popular stories of Ruth, Esther, and Daniel. Children and adults will appreciate her Bible people-finder, an index locating dozens of personalities within the text.






[book] THE MARTIN BUBER READER
by Asher Biemann

July 2002. Paperback edition. Palgrave Press. Buber on Hasidism, Judaism, the Bible, and Zionism.








AUGUST 2002

[book] ZEN JUDAISM
FOR YOU, A LITTLE ENLIGHTENMENT
by David Bader

August 2002. Master Bader, neither a Kohen, a Cohen, or a Koan, provides a new book of chuckles and koans, announcing the Arthur Buddha changed his name to Siddartha Buddha. He teaches that you should become one with your whining, ..







[book] TALKING TO GOD
Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle, and Celebration
by (Rabbi) NAOMI LEVY

August 2002. From the author of the best selling, tear jerking, hopeful “TO BEGIN AGAIN,” offers us this collection of personal prayers for people of all faiths for all occasions. TRUE PRAYERS LEAD US TO ACTION. Some find that traditional prayers are unfulfilling or alienating. This book provides simple, direct and intimate prose, as if you are chatting with a loved one, God. Many of the prayers are preceded by a poignant story from Rabbi Levy’s life in the rabbinate. The prayers are sectioned as follows: In Part 1, there are Daily Prayers for Morning, Driving, Difficult Days, Food on Our Table, Seeking the Ability to Pray, Finding mentors in the least likely places (learning from others humbly), nighttime, and a prayer for the parent to say to a child at night. Her prayer for Bad Days is preceded by the story of the day she moved homes, had a car accident, had to bid farewell to a dying congregant, and found the tallis given to her by her dean being used as a drop cloth by painters. Part 2 contains prayers for love and marriage, including prayers for finding love, sexuality, rekindling passion, breakups, marriage, troubles, anniversaries, guidance after unfaithfulness, healing from divorce, preparing for the wedding ceremony, and the second marriage. The prayer for fighting sexual temptation is preceded by a hilarious story about how the rabbi’s phone number became confused with that of an internet prostitute. She decides to call back one of the men who leaves her a message, who turns out to be a Jewish studio exec seeking some post-partum sexual release. God works in mysterious ways, and she counsels him to greater fidelity. In Part 3 are prayers for Pregnancy and Childbirth, including prayers for conception, pregnancy and strength, and birth. In Part 4, there are prayers for parenthood and adoption, and a story about how the rabbi learns to face the challenges of parenting a special needs child. In Part 5, there are prayers for healing, healers, overcoming illnesses and addictions, overcoming breast cancer, surgery, and living with disabilities. Part 6 contains prayers for work and employment unemployment, career changes, interviews, and the incumbent challenges. The Prayer Before a Big Challenge is preceded by a Talmudic story of Rabbi Eliezer and his mentor Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai. Eliezer feels like an imposter and must gather up confidence to teach a class in front of his teacher. Part 7 contains prayers for comfort and strength in difficult times, embracing silence, and being resilient. A prayer to be said after losing a pet is preceded by a story about Martin Buber. In Part 8, there are prayers for special occasions, new homes, birthdays, rests, and brushes with death. In Part 9, there are prayers for Aging, including retirement, menopause, the fear of retirement, the fear of becoming dependent or a burden to others, and a prayer for the child who must care for an aging parent. In Part 10, there are prayers of Death and Mourning, including prayers for those who succumb to violence and prayers for those murdered on 9/11/2001. Part 11 contains prayers for Living Up to the Best in Our Souls, including a prayer to abstain from gossip, overcoming jealousy, prayers for wrongdoing and repair, healing troubled relationships, and for guidance and wisdom. The final chapter, Part 12, has prayers for Peace, Tolerance, our Country and the World. After each chapter, there are a couple of pages in which to joy down your own words and prayers for yourself and posterity. I started browsing through the book in a doctor’s waiting room while awaiting test results. A prayer for that wait is probably the only prayer I didn’t find in the book. :) Click for more information.







[book] HAREM:
by Dora Levy Mossanen

August 2002. a novel. A seductive and intriguing journey from the humble Persian Jewish quarter to the fascinating world of shahs, soothsayers, eunuchs, and sultanas, Harem follows three generations of strong-willed and cunning women: Rebekah -- a poor girl married to the abusive blacksmith, Jacob the fatherless -- who emerges from her disastrous match with a mysterious brand between her breasts; Gold Dust, Rebekah's treasured daughter, who enters the opulent and perilous world of the harem and captivates the shah with her singing bones; and Gold Dust's daughter, the revered and feared albino princess Raven, who will one day rule the empire. Click to read extensive reviews







[book] Kabbalah Month by Month:
A Year of Spiritual Practice and Personal Transformation
by Melinda Ribner

August 7, 2002. A Jewish Kabbalistic month-by-month guide to celebrating and transforming one’s life









[book] SHARON
ISRAEL’S WARRIOR-POLITICAN
by Anita Miller, Jordan Miller, and Sigalit Zetouni

August 2002. a basic hodgepodge biography of Ariel Sharon, lacking insight, but filled with facts.







[book] THE JOURNEY HOME
DISCOVERING THE DEEP SPIRITUAL WISDOM OF THE JEWISH TRADITION
by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

August 2002. Beacon Press. An exploration of the Jewish relationship to God and questioning of human purpose. Rabbi Hoffman (HUC) redefines Judaism as the system of connectedness by which we make sense of our lives. This is an important book to read during ELUL.. you can learn to map your life, map your reality to find shape and direction to your existence. Marc Chagall’s Asher window adorns the book’s front cover, and draws you in. What you find inside is a map to authentic Jewish wisdom. Is Judaism merely ritual and tradition? Is a seder about going throught the written etxt and tastings? Where is the spirituality? Can the mystical be added back to the sacred, the sterile, and the mundane? And, readers, Rabbi Hoffman isn’t talking about Cabala and New Age bullshit in which popularizers use Cabalistic equations that are meaningless, that are jabberwocky to those not grounded in medieval Jewish thought. This is authenticity. Chapters include Returning Home-Jewish Integrity; followed by the Spirituality of Metaphor; Stewardship; Discovery; Landedness; Translation; Suffering; and Community.







[book] THE NEW RABBI
A CONGREGATION SEARCHES FOR ITS LEADER
by Stephen Fried

August 20, 2002. Who got Einstein Office at Princeton? Oops, I mean, Who got Rabbi Gerald Wolpe’s Office at Har Zion? If an “etrog is a lemon on steroids”, then this book is Paul Wilkes’ “And They Shall Be My People” on Viagra. HAR ZION is one of the most prestigious, innovative (scholar-in-residence) and famous Conservative Jewish synagogues on the East Coast of the US, nestled in suburban Philadelphia. With 1400 family membership units, a budget of $4 Million, and a highly rated Heder, the tenure of the famed Rabbi Gerald Wolpe is coming to an end (he is the father of the other Rabbi Wolpe’s in Orlando and Los Angeles). The synagogue has had only three rabbinical leaders in its nearly 80 years of existence. This is the exciting, and I mean excitingly juicy, story of how Congregation Har Zion chose their next rabbi (no, there is no Lashon Ha-Ra). But wait.. you get more. Not only is it the story of a congregation and its evolution, but it is the story of Rabbi Wolpe’s thirty years on the pulpit. It is also a story of Kaddish. The author became interested in the synagogue while saying Kaddish for his father, at the age of 40. And Rabbi Wolpe became interested in the rabbinate in response to his own father’s untimely death, when Wolpe was eleven years old, and his mother’s unrelieved sorrow overt the death of 42 of her family members during WWII. (Rabbi Naomi Levy, above, also became interested in the rabbinate after her own father was murdered when she was a child). But back to the story… Rabbi Wolpe is retiring, and the search committee ends up spending three years to find a replacement. The Rabbinical Assembly becomes involved, and intrigue occurs at a local Flyers hockey game, when the committee hints at a job offer to the Assistant Rabbi Jacob Herber, which is contrary to the rules of the Rabbinical Assembly. Do you think a high powered, wealthy, Philadelphia lawyer is going to fear a pronouncement from the Rabbinical Assembly in New York? And what will Rabbi Wolpe’s reaction be to an offer to his assistant, instead of a national rabbinical leader? Along the way, we learn more about the Conservative movement, the lives of rabbis and boards, and the battle between the young and old members as to whether children should be “seen and not heard” or “seen and heard” in the main sanctuary. Note to file: Yes, some readers may wince at the mention of high holiday services being “fashion shows” to be seen at, but this is the real world, blemishes and all, and a congregation has the right to choose the leader that is right for it, whether s/he be a scholar, a schmoozer, or schmaltzy.







[book cover, click here] Hotel Kid: A Times Square Childhood
by Stephen Lewis

August 2002. PaulDryBooks. Lewis is the founder of a memoir writing workshop in New Mexico, and he follows his teachings and creates a sweet sugary memoir that recreates an vanished Manhattan in the 1930s and 1940s, when he grew up in the extinct Hotel Taft in midtown Manhattan. (I was cleaning out my closet while reading this book, and found a coat hanger from the Hotel Taft.) Reading his prose, you can feel the summer heat of Manhattan, the hot asphalt, the bright sunlight, and the cool large drinks offered at the hotel bar. His father was the general manager of the Taft Hotel for decades, at Seventh Avenue of West 50th Street (now a TGIF, Roy Rogers, and Michaelangelo hotel); and Stephen and his younger brother, Peter, played in the halls, ate at the grills, had their birthdays with the hotel’s band leaders, and grew up in an environment where the porters were Irish and the elevators operators were black. Outside was the depression, but inside the hotel, he, his brother and mother were royalty. Best parts… the real Barney Greengrass has a cameo; and while Stephen never became a Bar Mitzvah, his brother had one for the presents. The rabbi inveighed against the evils of Times Square, and the temptations a boy being raised in the neighborhood would face. The author’s mother never returned to a synagogue, but his father did go to the Actor’s Temple every Yom Kippur (where Toots Shor would always contribute a cool $2000). A great read for anyone who wants to be transported back to a different age (yet only 50 years ago)









[pardes] Dear Readers: The explosion at Hebrew University at the end of July 2002 killed two students at Pardes, a school close to our hearts at MyJewishBooks.com and SeferSafari.com. We therefore will send profits from August’s sales to scholarship funds at Pardes.





[book] From Fear To Eternity
Ten Steps to Achieving the Benefits of Being Jewish
by A. Lefkowitz

July 2002. From Fear to Eternity is a road map for any Jew who is seeking to acquire or intensify the pleasures of being Jewish. It is a conversation between Andy and Avi. It provides easy to understand answers to the questions that any Jew raised to call himself reform, conservative, or secular would ask a friend or relative who decided to become more observant. For those born into observant homes, it provides a unique insight into the personal side of the journey. For those curious about living according to the Torah, it chronicles the path of least resistance. For the family and friends of those who have started to attend Torah classes or take on mitzvahs, it explains what their loved ones are going through, ans what can be expected down the road. Andy Lefkowitz thought he was living the American dream. Andy was a competitive athlete who became the youngest partner at one of Wall Street's largest law firms. But then a hurricane that bore his name, Andrew, turned his life upside down and inside out. As if by chance, he found himself in an introductory class on the Five Levels of Pleasure available to learned Jews. And he began to cry. What he learned was that living according to the Torah is the only way to maximize the many pleasures of being Jewish, and for that matter, the day-to day pleasures of life in general. Click to read more.







[book cover, click here] The Butcher's Tale : Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town
by Helmut Walser Smith, Vanderbilt University

August 2002. One of the most dramatic explorations of a German town in the grip of anti-Semitic passion ever written. In 1900, in a small country town of Konitz Germany, in the eastern reaches of the German Austro Prussian Empire, a German boy is found frozen beneath the ice. He has been brutally murdered, the blood drained from his dismembered body. The crime resembles in form traditional blood libel accusations against the Jews—the kind dramatized in Bernard Malamud's classic The Fixer. When a Jewish butcher is accused of committing the murder, the town explodes in an anti-Semitic fervor. Using vast amounts of previously undiscovered material, Helmut Walser Smith has pieced together the web of false stories and accusations, the abundance of rumor and malice that engulfed this Prussian town. A true historical thriller. Click to read more.









[book] ONE PEOPLE, TWO WORLDS.
AN ORTHODOX RABBI AND A REFORM RABBI IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUNDS
by Rabbi Yosef Reinman (o) and Rabbi Amiel Hirsch (r)
Yes, I know that the book doesn’t call either men Rabbi, since Rabbi Reinman said that he would not do a book if the cover called Rabbi Hirsch a “rabbi”, but I will call both rabbis

August 2002. Schocken. Two rabbis examine whether Reform and Orthodoxy are two branches of a common tree or offshoots that grow more distinct and separate. Each rabbi spoke for 20 months (January 21, 2000 – October 1, 2001), and learned more about each other's misconceptions of the other. The Editorial Director of this book at Schocken, Ms. Altie Karper, wrote that this book is "unprecedented" collaboration between two camps that usually try to delegitimize each other than engage each other. Both are articulate and learned, even brilliant, warm and loving. I, personally, was turned off at the beginning of the book by their language which I found false and forced. I was also perturbed at the beginning when the Orthodox rabbi mentioned how he, BORG-like, had to consult other rabbis for permissions and corroboration. But by the time I finished their 39 lengthy exchanges of mutual rejection I learned more about the two sides. Sometimes they agree; more often than not they disagree — and quite sharply, too. But the important thing is that, as they keep talking to each other, they discover that they actually like each other, and, above all, they say that they respect each other (with all due respect…). Their journey from mutual suspicion to mutual regard is an extraordinary one; from it, both Jews and non-Jews of all backgrounds can learn a great deal about the practice of Judaism today and about the continuity of the Jewish people into the future. Look for these two rabbis on the Jewish Book Fair circuit in Fall 2002.
A NOTE TO READERS. THE TWO AUTHORS WERE SUPPOSED TO GO ON A BOOK TOUR TOGETHER ACROSS THE USA FOR JEWISH BOOK MONTH. But in the last week of October 2002, Rabbi Reinman cancelled the 17 day, 17 city trip. Bowing to what some reported to be intense coercion, and pressure from leaders (“the advice of people older and wiser than I am”) in his Lakewood, NJ, haredi Orthodox community (threatened him with cherem/ostracism by The Moetzes Gedolei haTorah), he cancelled. The reactionary JEWISH PRESS wrote two editorials denouncing the book this Autumn (although they asked Schocken to place ads in the newspaper, what chutzpah).






[book] A BOOK OF LIFE. EMBRACING JUDAISM AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

August 2002. Schocken. The former co-editor of the Jewish Catalog, past rabbi at Cong Anschei Chesed in NYC, and writer of "Jewish Holidays', Strassfeld writes this book about creating a life with enriched values. For all the cycles of life – from waking in the morning to retiring at night, from the weekdays to Shabbat to Havdalah, from birth to death, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld presents traditional Jewish teachings as a guide to behavior and values. Rituals are described where they exist; and where rituals are sparse and nonexistent, he suggests new ones gleaned from his study and experience. Rabbi Strassfeld brings the principles of “insight meditation” – a spiritual discipline based on kavanah or mindfulness, thus infusing the practice of Judaism with an enhanced awareness of God, of ourselves, and of our place in the world.







[book] ACROSS THE SABBATH RIVER. IN SEARCH OF A LOST TRIBE OF ISRAEL
by Hillel Halkin

August 2002. Houghton Mifflin. First, before starting this book, I recommend that you take a look at his two page guide to pronunciation, to better understand the Hebrew, Mizo, Thado, and Burmese words. Halkin, the well known translator of Hebrew books, posits that a little-known ethnic group living along the Indian-Burmese border is descended from the ancient Jewish tribe of Manasseh. The fate of the ten lost tribes of Israel has haunted Jewish and Christian imaginations throughout the ages. Hillel Halkin has long been intrigued by the subject. And why not? Many American Jews of a certain age dreamed of an aboriginal, strong, warrior Jew, the type who could win fistfights on the way to and from junior high school. And so, with some cash from Tina Brown’s The New Yorker magazine, Halkin embarked on a journey. In 1998, he accompanied a Jerusalem rabbi and dedicated lost-tribes hunter to China, Thailand, and northeast India, where the rabbi hoped to discover traces of the lost tribes. None were found, and Halkin went with a very healthy dose of skepticism. Most would look at Rabbi Eliahu Avichail as a well meaning crackpot. Whatever the Rabbi is, he makes for an interesting story, having traveled to Marranos in Portugal, Karens in Burma, Tatars in Dagestan, Kananites in Kerala, and “Indians” in Manipur and Mizoram. The book captures your tantalizing interest from its first paragraph; the Sabbath is approaching as Halkin and the rabbi are searching out the non-Chinese Chiang’s in Western Szechuan. After a variety of these adventures and misadventures, Halkin returned several times to the Indian states of Manipur and Mizoram. Are these people the victims of a mass cultural delusion, having accepted a myth to promote and reinforce their distinct cultural identity? Or are the actually descendants of some Bnai Menashe? Halkin became convinced that a little-known ethnic group, the Kuki-Chin-Mizo, living along the Indian-Burmese border is descended from the ancient biblical tribe of Manasseh. He isn’t a scholar, linguist, or ethnographer, but neither am I, and the story is still fascinating. Why do they have a song about crossing the Red Sea while living in Northeast India, a song they have sung prior to any missionaries showing up? Why do they have a god named Yah(za), a history of brit milah on the eighth day after birth, a Spring festival of unleavened bread (among rice eaters), and the use of the word “selah” (noch einmal)? One or two similar words do not make a linkage, but are they any less Jewish than someone who makes aliyah from the former USSR? These “Bnai Menashe” people became aware of their “jewish roots” when Christians tried to convert them in the 1950’s, and they read the bible and noticed so many similarities between their native religion and the Jewish rituals and biblical history. Halkin interweaves the biblical and historical background of this centuries-old quest with a captivating account of his own adventures. Piece by piece, as in a tantalizing detective story, he amasses the evidence that finally persuades him that he has demonstrated-for the first time in history-the existence of a living remnant of a biblical lost tribe, a control group.







[book] SEINFELD
The Making of an American Icon
The Unauthorized Biography
By Jerry Oppenheimer

August 6, 2002. HarperCollins. The unauthorized biography of perfectionist comedian Jerry Seinfeld, from Massapequa Long Island NY to SUNY Oswego to Queens College to the comedy clubs to the hot show on NBC to car collecting to dating younger Jewish women to living with the teenaged Shoshanna Lonstein to dating and marrying Jessica Sklar (who divorced her husband of less than 12 weeks to be with Jerry Seinfeld). This book is salacious. The author says that Jerry’s gf in college was like Barbra Streisand. What gives his that idea? Because she had a big nose? It is too too over the top with “reaches” that are illogical.






HUSBAND AND WIFE
by Zeruya Shalev
translated by Dayla Bilu from Hebrew

August 2002. Grove Press. A novel from the author of LOVE LIFE. Udi is a nature guide who likes to take solitary hikes into nature away from his family. One morning he wakes up unable to walk. Thus begins the narrator’s tale, that of his wife Na’ama, a social worker. Should she take him to the hospital? If she leaves him home, he will be forced to stay in bed and have a relationship with her and their 9 year old daughter. A lyrical novel with great language and stream of consciousness prose.






[book] The Golden Land:
The Story of Jewish Migration to America:
An Interactive History With Removable Documents and Artifacts
by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

August 27, 2002. The Golden Land is a museum-in-a-book that devotes a double-page spread--complete with removable letters, documents, and personal effects--to each of the successive waves of Jewish immigration to America, from the Germans and Eastern Europeans in the 19th and early 20th centuries to the refugees from the Nazis in the 1930s and ’40s to the Soviet Jews in the 1970s and '80s.America was the first nation where Jews were regarded as citizens from the very beginning, and The Golden Land reveals how they converted opportunity to success in fields from commerce, medicine, and science to movies, music, and literature. The book includes facsimiles of George Washington’s letter to a community of Jews in Rhode Island, Emma Lazarus’s poem that was later inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, Irving Berlin’s handwritten lyrics for “God Bless America,” a quiz challenging readers to guess the original names of American-Jewish show-business celebrities, and plenty of other materials to give readers a real feel for how America changed the Jews and how the Jews changed America






[book] THE HUNT FOR THE ENGINEER
HOW ISRAELI AGENTS TRACKED AND KILLED THE HAMAS MASTER BOMBER
by Samuel M Katz

August 2002. His real name was Yehiya Ayyash, but he was known to the world as "the Engineer." During a twenty-four-month campaign of terror beginning on April 6, 1994, he killed 130 Israelis and wounded nearly 500. His first car bomb, detonated by a suicide bomber, killed eight people and wounded thirty; a week later a man devastated a crowded bus with fifty pounds of explosives strapped to his body. More bombings, all masterminded by the Engineer, followed with horrible regularity. As the carnage in the streets of Israeli cities mounted, the Engineer became the most wanted man in modern Israeli history. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered the state to mobilize all its resources to stop the bombings. The result was one of the largest manhunts in history, spreading over the entire globe. The search involved Britain's MI-5, the Royal Jordanian Special Forces, the FBI, and the New York City Police Department. In charge of catching Ayyash was the Shin Bet, the most secretive and elite of Israel's secret services. Here, Samuel Katz reveals how the Shin Bet conducted its search-and-destroy mission against an elusive genius. Truly an expert at disguise, Ayyash on one occasion escaped detection dressed as an old Arab woman and on another as an Orthodox Jewish student. As the search wore on and the killings continued, Ayyash became revered among Palestinians, more than 100,000 of whom turned out for his funeral.







[book] The Quest for the Red Prince:
The Inside Story of Israel's Relentless Manhunt for One of the World's Deadliest and Most Wanted Arab Terrorists
by Michael Bar-Zohar, and Eitan Haber

August/September 2002. Few terrorists have caused as much damage as Ali Hassan Salameh, a Palestinian and the son of a revolutionary of the same name. Overseeing Arafat's Black September Organization from 1970 until his murder by car bomb in 1979, Salameh masterminded 1972's hijacking of Flight 707, the killing of twenty-seven tourists at Israel's Lod airport, and the murder of the Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich. In 1973 he organized the murder of the American and Saudi ambassadors in Sudan. Such awful successes earned him the name "the Red Prince." Salameh was the son of a rebel who fought the British and the Israelis until his death in 1948, and a close ally of Arafat, who declared at his funeral that a martyr was being buried. But Salameh's story is also the story of General Aharon "Arale" Yariv, Golda Meir's choice to run Israel's counterattack, and Zvi Zamir, the head of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence unit. As The Quest for the Red Prince unfolds, Zamir and Yariv orchestrate a series of daring cross-border assassinations, picking off Black September members one by one, chasing down Salameh until the final reckoning in Beirut.







[book] Ruminations on College Life
by Aaron Karo

August 2002. No. Not Rabbi Yosef Karo who wrote the Shulchan Aruch. This is Penn student and recent grad, Aaron Karo. With hilarious insights, observations, and personal anecdotes on everything from partying all night, to learning to do laundry, to falling asleep in class, Aaron Karo has captured the college experience like never before. It took college freshman Aaron Karo only one week to realize that college was a joke -- an especially funny one that he could share with his friends in a regular email newsletter about life on campus. By his senior year, Ruminations on College Life had become an international phenomenon. Now, for the first time in print, here is the best of the original ezine, previously unpublished material, and brand new introductions to each section by the author. Share in the absurdity and insanity of the college experience with Karo as you read his outrageous inside account of scheming students, crazy professors, confused parents, and rowdy frat boys.







[book] FOUND TRIBE. Jewish Coming Out Stories
by Lawrence Schimel (Editor)

August 2002. Sherman Asher. Schimel compiles essays by members of a dual minority in America -- gay Jews, including essays by 3 converts to Judaism; a gay Orthodox rabbi’s struggles with halacha and desire; a man’s coming top terms about not providing his mother with grandkids.







[book] Raising Blaze: Bringing Up An Extraordinary Son in an Ordinary World
by Debra Ginsberg

August 2002. HarperCollins. Ginsberg writes about her battling public schools and tests and her life raising a child, BLAZE, who was termed above average, eccentric, or “special ed”.







[book] TORN AT THE ROOTS. JEWISH LIBERALISM IN CRISIS
by Michael E Staub

August 2002. Columbia University Press. Traces the ideological split in the Jewish community and its consequences on Jewish identity. When Jewish neoconservatives burst upon the political scene, many people were surprised. Conventional wisdom held that Jews were uniformly liberal. This book explodes the myth of a monolithic liberal Judaism. Michael Staub tells the story of the many fierce battles that raged in postwar America over what the authentically Jewish position ought to be on issues ranging from desegregation to Zionism, from Vietnam to gender relations, sexuality, and family life. Throughout the three decades after 1945, Michael Staub shows, American Jews debated the ways in which the political commitments of Jewish individuals and groups could or should be shaped by their Jewishness. Staub shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the liberal position was never the obvious winner in the contest. By the late 1960s left-wing Jews were often accused by their conservative counterparts of self-hatred or of being inadequately or improperly Jewish. They, in turn, insisted that right-wing Jews were deaf to the moral imperatives of both the Jewish prophetic tradition and Jewish historical experience, which obliged Jews to pursue social justice for the oppressed and the marginalized. Such declamations characterized disputes over a variety of topics: American anticommunism, activism on behalf of African American civil rights, imperatives of Jewish survival, Israel and Israeli-Palestinian relations, the 1960s counterculture, including the women's and gay and lesbian liberation movements, and the renaissance of Jewish ethnic pride and religious observance. Spanning these controversies, Staub presents not only a revelatory and clear-eyed prehistory of contemporary Jewish neoconservatism but also an important corrective to investigations of "identity politics" that have focused on interethnic contacts and conflicts while neglecting intraethnic ones. Revising standard assumptions about the timing of Holocaust awareness in postwar America, Staub charts how central arguments over the Holocaust´s purported lessons were to intra-Jewish political conflict already in the first two decades after World War II. Revisiting forgotten artifacts of the postwar years, such as Jewish marriage manuals, satiric radical Zionist cartoons, and the 1970s sitcom about an intermarried couple entitled Bridget Loves Bernie, and incidents such as the firing of a Columbia University rabbi for supporting anti-Vietnam war protesters and the efforts of the Miami Beach Hotel Owners Association to cancel an African Methodist Episcopal Church convention, Torn at the Roots sheds new light on an era we thought we knew well.







[book] BEST (or Most Significant) JEWISH WRITING 2002
edited by Michael Lerner
Jossey Bass. August 2002. Selections on Jewish identity, spirituality and culture, compiled by the controversial Lerner. Includes David Abram, Allen Appel, Uri Avnery, Michael Bader ,Nilton Bonder ,Aryeh Cohen ,David A. Cooper ,Leonard Felder ,Sylvia Barack Fishman , Shelly R. Fredman, Roger Gottlieb, Michael Gross, Leo Haber ,Bonna Devora Haberman ,Susan Hahn , Yossi Klein Halevi,Jill Hammer,Susannah Heschel,Loola Khazoom,Michael Kimmel, Binnie Kirshenbaum , Michael Lerner , Philip Levine , Jonathan Mark, Gail Mazur , Stanley Moss , Jacqueline Osherow , Alicia Ostriker , Amos Oz , Robert Pinsky , Judith Plaskow, Letty Cottin Pogrebin , Chaim Potok , Tanya Reinhart , Adrienne Rich , Jonathan Rosen, Danya Ruttenberg , Grace Schulman , Richard H. Schwarz , Jerome M. Segal , Rami Shapiro , David Suissa , Jonathan Tel , Tova , Galina Vromen , Paul Wapner , Rabbi Arthur Waskow , Wendy Wasserstein , Josh Weiner , C. K. Williams, Abraham Yehoshua , Rabbi Eric Yoffie , and David Zaslow







[book] PRISONER WITHOUT A NAME
CELL WITHOUT A NUMBER
by JACOBO TIMERMAN. Reissued with a intro by Ilan Stavans (Mexican not Argentinian, but who is complaining?) and a new foreword by Arthur Miller (I hope you saw the film, FOCUS)
August 2002. University of Wisconsin Press. A reissue of Timmerman’s (1923-1999) 1982 book about his life in Argentina, and his deportation by the junta to Israel.







[book] Inspired Philanthropy:
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan, 2nd Edition by Tracy Gary, Melissa Kohner

August 16, 2002. Jossey Bass. If you want to change the world, you'll want to read Inspired Philanthropy. Tracy Gary and Melissa Kohner show you how social change happens. No matter how much or little you have to give, you'll learn how to create a giving plan that will make your charitable giving catalytic. Then, through clear text and substantive exercises, you'll learn how to align your giving with your deepest values-- to help bring about the very changes you want







[book] THEO. AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
by Theodore BIKEL
AUGUST 2002. Univ of Wisconsin Press. An intimate memoir by the star of stage and screen, including his life in Austria and Palestine, Israel, England, California, CT, and the USA. Includes his survival of McCarthyism and the rise of the Third Reich. Recounts his success in Fiddler and The Defiant Ones, and The Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady. Click to read more.







[book] MAZEL
by Rebecca Goldstein
August 2002. University of Wisconsin Press. WITH A NEW AFTERWORD. A reissue of this 1995 book and winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. Click to read more






[book] STORIES OF AN IMAGINARY CHILDHOOD
by Miles Jules Bukiet
August 2002. University of Wisconsin Press. A reissue of this 1992 finalist of the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. Click to read more






[book] Finding God in the Garden: Backyard Reflections on Life, Love, and Compost by Rabbi Balfour Brickner
August 26, 2002. Grieving after the death of a beloved daughter, Rabbi Balfour Brickner (of the famed Stephen Wise Free Synagogue) struggled with his faith while preparing a flowerbed. One day the rabbi found himself writing down the thoughts that came to him as he turned the soil, and observing nature's abundant examples of order and renewal, miracles and beauty, Rabbi Brickner found his faith returning like a garden in spring. Using the garden as a sanctuary and springboard, Rabbi Brickner considers the lessons to be learned from the tasks of caring for the land, the wonder of a garden in full bloom, and the connections between Biblical teachings and botanical life. FINDING GOD IN THE GARDEN is a passionate, witty, and provocative celebration of mature religious faith derived through nature, reason, and the joys of everyday work. Click to read more








[book] The Judges: A Novel
by Elie Wiesel, Geoffrey Strachan (Translator)
August 2002. Several reviewers have said he should stick to non-fiction. Decide for yourself. A plane en route from New York to Tel Aviv is forced down by bad weather. A nearby house provides refuge for five of its passengers: Claudia, who has left her husband and found new love; Razziel, a religious teacher who was once a political prisoner; Yoav, a terminally ill Israeli commando; George, an archivist who is hiding a Holocaust secret that could bring down a certain politician; and Bruce, a would-be priest turned philanderer. Their host—an enigmatic and disquieting man who calls himself simply the Judge—begins to interrogate them, forcing them to face the truth and meaning of their lives. Soon he announces that one of them—the least worthy—will dieClick to read more








[book] Six Jewish Spiritual Paths:
A Rationalist Looks at Spirituality by Rifat Sonsino

August 2002. Jewish Lights. Isn’t Rationalism so refreshing?
There are various paths to Jewish Spirituality, and that each person should, after study, identify with the one that best represents his/her own religious yearnings. The quest for spirituality is universal, but with so many paths of spiritual nourishment to explore, how do we begin to find the one that is right for us? Rabbi Rifat Sonsino—a self-proclaimed rationalist—offers a candid, comprehensive discussion of the major paths to spirituality within the framework of Judaism, and the differing way each path can help us on our quest to nourish the soul and enlighten the mind. Acts of transcendence, prayer, meditation, study, ritual, relationship and good deeds…which is the best path for you? How can you follow it? There is no one correct way to Jewish spirituality; life just isn't that simple. Rabbi Rifat Sonsino is the Spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom, Needham, MA. He has a degree in law from the University of Istanbul and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.







[book] Sloan Kettering: Poems
by Abba Kovner, Eddie Levenston (Translator)
August 27, 2002. 96 pages. The world continues after one person’s death. The stars do not go out. Abba Kovner, hero of the Vilna Ghetto uprising, grizzled partisan fighter, and poet died in 1987, after spending time in the never ending halls and corridors of Sloan Kettering’s Cancer Center in NYC for throat cancer. A poet is rendered speechless by cancer and death. His poems are blunt and stripped bare. From the back cover: This translation unfolds a multi-leveled composition of personal stormy biography, a strong sense of a national and humane mission, and above all-the simplicity reached by a person of stature, on the eve of his death . . . He now knows that life is an unending quest, soaring above principles and wars, that being Jewish entails a constant search for meaning, that the milk a Holocaust survivor drinks is always red, that most questions have no answers . . . Here is a work of art, masterfully presented."
An abyss fine as a pinhead
In ambush,
With mysterious patience
Like the galaxies of emptiness
Beyond the black holes
Left behind in space
Lie a fateful seal
With no dawn --
Click to read more






[book] Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey
by Rachel Simon
August 26, 2002. Rachel Simon’s sister Beth is a spirited woman who lives intensely and often joyfully. Beth, who has mental retardation, spends her days riding the buses in her Pennsylvania city. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. One day, Beth asked Rachel to accompany her on the buses for an entire year. This wise, funny, deeply affecting book is the chronicle of that remarkable time. Rachel, a writer and college teacher whose hyperbusy life camouflaged her emotional isolation, had much to learn in her sister’s extraordinary world. These are life lessons from which every reader can profit: how to live in the moment, how to pay attention to what really matters, how to change, how to love—and how to slow down and enjoy the ride. Click to read more






[book cover] SMALL MIRACLES FOR THE JEWISH HEART
by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal
August 2002, 256 p., Adams Media. The fifth in the series. A Collection of tales and stories. Click to read more






[book] ON JEWISH LEARNING
by Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929). Edited by N.N. Glatzer
AUGUST 2002. Univ of Wisconsin Press. A return of the 1955 English translation of this classic on living Judaism; it includes an exchange of letters between Buber and Rosenzweig. Click to read more.







[book] A GAY SYNAGOGUE IN NEW YORK
By Moshe Shokeid, Tel Aviv University
August 2002. Reprinted. This Professor of Anthropology recounts the creation of a gay synagogue in New York City, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah. Click to read more.







[book] Bands Brands and Billions:
My Top Ten Rules for Success in Any Business
by Lou Pearlman, Wes Smith
August 2002. No, it wasn’t ghost written by Abba or Scandanavian writers. Lou Pearlman, of humble Jewish roots in Queens NY, created famous boy bands, such as Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and O-Town. At age 8 he had the lemonade stand, and at age 10 he employed local kids in a newspaper delivery scheme. As a teen he worked with blimps, and then later had an air charter business that made him a million dollars by age 21. He leased a jet to NKOTB (New Kids on the Block) and the rest is history. Like pop lyrics, the book is filled with crap aphorisms. But when it tells his life story, therein lies an interesting read. Click to read more








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