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Staying in for the Glorious Revolutionary Summer? Preparing for the Conventions, Elections, Olympics? Don't wait for a sandy beach vacation to start reading a good Jewish book.
Join the revolution and grab a Jewish book and enjoy a good read.


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June 02, 2004: Stephanie Wellen Levine reads from Mystics Mavericks and Merrymakers: An Intimate Journey Among Hassidic Girls. Museum of Jewish Heritage In NYC
June 03, 2004: Craig Seligman Reads from OPPOSITES ATTRACT ME. B&N Lincoln Center, NYC
June 03, 2004: Italian Dinner night with JDC . NYC UES
June 03-06: Book Expo America in Chicago IL
June 04, 2004: Evan Bachner reads from AT EASE. B&N Chelsea, NYC
June 07, 2004: George Tabb reads from Playing Right Field: A Jew Grows in Greenwich. B&N Greenwich Village, with an after party at Continental Divide ** 6PM
June 09, 2004: Novel Jews (formerly Rough Cuts) monthly literary series presented by The 14th Street Y and The JCC in Manhattan featuring KGB Bar on East 4th St., 7-9 PM
June 09, 2004: Novel Jews (formerly Rough Cuts) monthly literary series KGB Bar on East 4th St., 7-9 PM
June 14, 2004: Naama Goldstein reads from THIS PLACE WILL COMFORT YOU. B&N. UWS NYC 7 PM
June 14, 2004: Scribblers on The Roof at Ansche Chesed 100/WEA NYC presents: GERALD STERN (past Poet Laureate of NJ) and HAL SIROWITZ (past Poet Laureate of Queens) NYC 8 PM
June 16, 2004: Adam Langer reads from CROSSING CALIFORNIA. B&N. UWS NYC 7 PM
June 16, 2004: End of Year Boat Cruise in NYC
June 17, 2004: JONAH & SARAH: JEWISH STORIES OF RUSSIA AND AMERICA - with David Shrayer-Petrov and Maxim D. Shrayer. Manhattan JCC
June 17, 2004: DICK MORRIS reads from REWRITING HISTORY. B&N Lincoln Square NYC
June 20, 2004: Trip to Cuba
June 21, 2004: Scribblers on The Roof at Ansche Chesed 100/WEA NYC presents: MATT SHARPE, RACHEL COHEN, and RACHEL KADISH NYC 8 PM
June 23, 2004: RACHEL PASTAN reads from THIS SIDE OF MARRIED. B&N Park Slope NYC
June 27, 2004: Light One Candle. 40th anniversary of the Freedom Summer. Hosted by peter Yarrow with Letty Cottin Pogrebin, as well as Ben Cheney (as in James Cheney), and Dr. Carolyn Goodman (Andrew Goodman's mother). Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC
June 28, 2004: Scribblers on The Roof at Ansche Chesed 100/WEA NYC presents: VIVIAN GORNICK and BINNIE KIRSHENBAUM NYC 8 PM

July 05, 2004: Scribblers on The Roof at Ansche Chesed 100/WEA NYC presents: MICHAEL SHAPIRO and HOWARD EISENBERG NYC 8 PM

July 11-15, 2004: Isaac Bashevis Singer Anniversary Conference at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst Mass. Featuring Justin D. Cammy (Smith); Aaron Lansky; Max Rudin; Howard Schwartz; Isaiah Sheffer (NPR's Selected Shorts Live); Kirk Simon; Ilan Stavans (Amherst); and Devorah Telushkin
July 14, 2004: Novel Jews (formerly Rough Cuts) monthly literary series KGB Bar on East 4th St., 7-9 PM
July 12, 2004: Scribblers on The Roof at Ansche Chesed 100/WEA NYC presents: NESSA RAPOPORT and LYNNE SHARON SCHWARTZ and JONATHAN ROSEN NYC 8 PM
July 18, 2004: trip to Istanbul and Kishinev.
July 19, 2004: Scribblers on The Roof at Ansche Chesed 100/WEA NYC presents: AARON HAMBURGER and PAUL GREENBERG NYC 8 PM
July 22, 2004: Opening night of San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
Aug 11, 2004: Novel Jews (formerly Rough Cuts) monthly literary series KGB Bar on East 4th St., 7-9 PM



Beach Reads new in paperback (and some hardbacks, too)
Click on a cover for a larger picture and reviews

[CLINTON] [Cross California] [Tova Mirvis] [BINNIE KIRSHENBAUM]

JUNE 2004

June 3, 2004. Riverhead Books.
Get out your 'Heart' and 'Boston' albums. Crossing California is a novel about two generations of family and friendship in Chicago from November 1979 through January 1981. (Langer, a former drama critic for the Chicago Reader, grew up in West Rogers Park and Evanston) In 1979, California Avenue, in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood, separates the upper-middle-class Jewish families from the mostly middle-class Jewish residents on the east of the divide. This by turns funny and heartbreaking first novel tells the story of three families and their teenage children living on either side of California, following their loves, heartaches, and friendships during a memorable moment of American history. Langer's captivating portraits, his uncanny and extraordinarily vivid re-creation of a not-so-past time and place, and his pitch-perfect dialogue all make Crossing California certain to evoke memories and longing in its readers-as well as laughter and anxiety. PW WRITES "Langer's brilliant debut uses that divide as a metaphor for the changes that occur in the lives of three neighborhood families: the Rovners, the Wasserstroms and the Wills. There are two macro-stories-the courtship of Charlie Wasserstrom and Gail Shiffler-Bass, and the alienation of Jill Wasserstrom from her best friend, Muley Wills-but what really counts here is the exuberance of overlapping subplots. One pole of the book is represented by Ellen Rovner, a therapist whose marriage to Michael dissolves over the course of the book (much to Ellen's relief: she's so distrustful of Michael that she fakes not having an orgasm when they make love). If Ellen embodies cool, intelligent disenchantment, her son, Larry, represents the opposite pole of pure self-centeredness. As Larry sees it, his choice is between becoming a rock star with his band, Rovner!, and getting a lot of sex-or going to Brandeis, becoming successful and getting a lot of sex. The east side Wasserstrom girls exist between these poles: Michelle, the eldest, is rather slutty, flighty and egotistical, but somehow raises her schemes (remaining the high school drama club queen, for instance) to a higher level, while Jill, a seventh-grade contrarian who shocks her Hebrew School teachers with defenses of Ayatollah Khomeini and quotes Nkrumah at her bat mitvah, is still emotionally dazed from her mother's death." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] [book] NATASHA
by David Bezmozgis
Farrar Straus & Giroux; 1st edition (June 9, 2004)
Few readers had heard of David Bezmozgis before last May, when Harper's, Zoetrope, and The New Yorker all printed stories from his forthcoming collection. In the space of a few weeks, these magazines introduced America to the Bermans - Bella and Roman and their son, Mark - Russian Jews who have fled the Riga of Brezhnev for Toronto, the city of their dreams. Told through Mark's eyes, and spanning the last twenty-three years, Natasha brings the Bermans and the Russian-Jewish enclaves of Toronto to life in stories full of big, desperate, utterly believable consequence. In "Tapka" six-year-old Mark's first experiments in English bring ruin and near tragedy to the neighbors upstairs. When Tapka is hit by a car, it is symbolic of the injury of the past. There will no longer be any stability. In "Roman Berman, Massage Therapist," Roman and Bella stake all their hopes for Roman's business on their first, humiliating dinner in a North American home. As they wait for someone to respond to his ad.. well as everyone wait and wonders if anyone will call, Bella bakes a cake for Dr. Kornblum, their Toronto Jewish potential benefactor. But he rejects it, since maybe it isn't kosher enough for him. Even though they spent so much on the ingredients. Critics has anointed "The Second Strongest Man" as one of the best crafted short stories in several years. Later, in the title story, a stark, funny anatomy of first love, we witness Mark's sexual awakening at the hands of his fourteen-year-old cousin, a new immigrant from the New Russia, and a former, yes you guessed it, child kiddie porn star. You will notice that as Mark ages in the stories, he differs in each. This is refreshing, since it shows how people change over time and shed their old selves. In "Minyan," Mark and his grandfather watch as the death of a tough old Odessan cabdriver sets off a religious controversy among the poor residents of a Jewish old-folks' home. Two old Jewish widowers move in together. Are they just lonely, or are they a pair of latent homosexual Holocaust survivors? When Itzik dies, Herschel's eulogy, well his walk to the pulpit with his slowness, defeat, and crooked back, is itself a eulogy of pain and unspeakable grief. The stories in Natasha capture the immigrant experience with a serious wit as compelling as the work of Jhumpa Lahiri, Nathan Englander, Babel, Malamud, or Adam Haslett. At the same time, their evocation of boyhood and youth, and the battle for selfhood in a passionately loving Jewish family, recalls the first published stories of Harold Brodkey, Leonard Michaels, and Philip Roth. Click the book cover above to read more.

Little Brown; (June 1, 2004)
DRESS your mishpacha in such schmattas? What kind of Jewish book is this?
With Dress Your Family in Courduroy and Denim, David Sedaris returns to his deliriously twisted domain, hilarious childhood dramas infused with melancholy; the gulf of misunderstanding that exists betwen people of different nations or members of the same family; and the poignant divide between one's best hopes and most common deeds. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist
(Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist)
by Michael Chabon
Spring 2004. Dark Horse.
Master of Elusion, foe of tyranny, and champion of liberation - The Escapist! Operating from a secret headquarters under the boards of the majestic Empire Theater, the Escapist and his crack team of charismatic associates roam the globe, performing amazing feats of magic to aid all those who languish in oppression's chains. The history of his creators, Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, was recently chronicled in Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. The best of the Escapist's adventures are now collected into one volume for all to enjoy! This thrilling volume of Michael Chabon Presents... The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist collects the first two issues of the comic book and features an original story penned by Michael Chabon, the comics debut of novelist Glen David Gold, a new story written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, the painted artwork of Bill Sienkiewicz, and a wraparound cover by Chris Ware. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew about Judaism
by Robert Schoen (
Spring 2004. Loyola Press. paperback
PW writes, "Written in a breezy, conversational style and laced with humor, this primer on Judaism delivers precisely what the title indicates. Schoen describes himself as "a layman" and an "average Jewish American." He is actually an accomplished musician whose compositions have been played in recital and appear on two CDs. Schoen claims that he wrote the book to present a systematic response to questions about Judaism that were posed by his Christian friends. Schoen begins his guidebook with a clear explanation of the streams of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist. He then discusses what goes on inside the synagogue, followed by an examination of the Jewish holidays. The final sections deal with Jewish life cycle events, home life and beliefs and Judaism in the world. The book concludes with a plea for inter-faith cooperation. What is truly remarkable about this compendium is its thoroughness and lucidity. Schoen manages to touch briefly on practically all aspects of Judaism-from Israel, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism to the role of women, Jewish symbols, Jewish art and appropriate behavior at a bar or bat mitzvah, Jewish weddings and Jewish funerals. Although Schoen says he wrote the book as a manual for Christians, Jews can also benefit from this masterful overview of their religion, either as a refresher or as a quick source of new information." Click the book cover above to read more.

June 2004. Soft Skull Press.
One of a handful of Jews in the WASPish enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut, which was nearly restricted, and undersized at that, George Tabb was routinely kicked around by the other kids - one blind, another one with one arm - as well as by his father. He was born in Brooklyn, but was exiled to Connecticut when his parents separated. Playing Right Field refers to an early experience of the author and his brother, Lloyd, who played Little League together; they were forced to share one team T-shirt because their father the multimillionaire was too cheap to buy one for each of them. George and Lloyd chose right field because hardly any balls ever got hit out there and they thought it would be safe and provide them with lots of space. This book is a series of vivid remembrances - morality tales with an absurdist edge - that trace Tabb's growing sense of isolation and rebellion. Best among them are the time he threw a bully from the back of a school bus, and the time he retaliated against a first baseman and sparked a Little League brawl. Tarb later became a top punk musicianEach is illustrated by noted underground cartoonist Fly. Click the book cover above to read more.

June 2004. Simon and Schuster
Glatt writes smoothly
PW writes: "A girl becomes a comma like that, with wrong boy after wrong boy," muses the narrator of Glatt's keenly observed debut. "She becomes a pause, something quick before the real thing." Rachel Spark, a 30-ish university poetry teacher, is looking for the real thing - but she's also living in L.A with her mother, "because she was sick and because I was poor.... It was love, yes, but need was part of it too." As her mother slowly succumbs to breast cancer, Rachel seeks solace - and escape - in the arms of various unsuitable men. Glatt's tone shifts through comic, pensive and mournful as she also explores the lives of Rachel's newlywed student, Ella Bloom; her lovelorn, allergy-challenged best friend, Angela Burrows; and Georgia Carter, a promiscuous 16-year-old patient at the health clinic where Ella works and where Rachel later seeks an abortion. Repeated references to breasts, limbs and organs in discomfort and disease foreground these women's uneasy relationships with their bodies and their lives; drunken and sorrowful sex abounds; connections with men are made and then broken. Rachel loves her mother, but disapproves of her shedding her wig, ordering a vibrator and falling in love in the face of death. As the dying woman - Glatt's liveliest character - evicts Rachel from her hospital room, readers may sympathize: much earlier, mother has diagnosed daughter, "You're thirty. Of course you need connection." Glatt's clear-eyed rendering of the complexities of relationships between friends and family enriches a story in which the steps toward healing are small and tentative, but moving nevertheless. Click the book cover above to read more.

By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer
Summer 2004. Jewish Lights
Leads those with new or limited knowledge of Jewish ritual through the basics of Jewish wedding rituals. Especially good for interfaith relationships. Wedding planning can be a stressful experience. Keeping track of all the details-deciding who to invite, choosing a caterer, arranging the reception-can sometimes lead to a couple forgetting about the bigger picture and the significance of this day in their lives: A joyous occasion that should reflect not only your personality, but your values, as well. The Creative Jewish Wedding Book brings your complete wedding planning into focus. Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer helps you express your individuality and spirituality on your wedding day. Whether your plans are traditional or alternative, whether you are planning your first or second marriage, she provides the tools you need to look at and think about ritual and tradition in new and innovative ways. Insights and reflections from a broad range of couples who have created their own distinctive weddings Practical hands-on techniques and ideas for creating many of the ritual objects connected to a Jewish wedding-from designing your own ketubah, to making paper for invitations, to fashioning the chuppah How to express your spiritual life and values through your ceremony An up-to-date guide to wedding resources in the Jewish world. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Jewish Fathers
A Legacy of Love
by Paula Ethel Wolfson, Lloyd Wolf, and Harold S. Kushner
Summer 2004. Jewish Lights
The 44 fathers profiled here represent a cross-section of contemporary American Jewish men. There's entertainer Theodore Bikel, best-selling author Shmuley Boteach, a senator, professors, rabbis, musicians, doctors, and lawyers. In their own words they tell how they meet the challenges of parenting. Most of the younger men interviewed spoke about trying to be equal partners with their wives in caring for children and making a living. In researching the book, Wolfson and Wolf crisscrossed the country, from Cape Cod to Hawaii, L.A. to Brooklyn, Colorado to South Carolina, and from Texas to Florida. The men are young, old, Reform, Hasidic, secular, converts, and Holocaust survivors. Wolfson and Wolf earlier collaborated on the book Jewish Mothers: Strength, Compassion, and Wisdom (2000). Click the book cover above to read more.

After reading Crossing California and the Human Stain... how about reading this
[book] We Jews and Blacks
Memoir With Poems
by Willis Barnstone, Yusef Komunyakaa
Summer 2004. Indiana University Press
PW writes: "This moving, and at times astonishing, memoir is a meditation on the thorny politics of racial and ethnic identity and how they have shaped American life and culture. Barnstone, a professor of comparative literature at Indiana University and the author of two earlier memoirs, was born in the 1920s to a Jewish family (originally Bornstein) but from an early age was taught to "pass" as "white"-i.e., Christian and acceptable to mainstream U.S. culture. The assimilationist messages from his mother were so strong he even slept with his nose braced on his pillow so it would grow a "permanent upward curl." Barnstone is fascinated with the idea of "passing" and how destructive it is. At heart, his memoir is a cry against "the absurdity of those distinctions in ethnicity, religion, and nation when they seem to justify the destruction of the other." And while the memoir's subtext is political, Barnstone melds it neatly with his personal history. From how it felt to be an assimilated American Jew during the Holocaust to contemplating the Nazi extermination of Greek Jews when he lives and teaches in Crete in the 1950s to discussing the similarities of anti-Semitism and racism in his experiences in the U.S. army, Barnstone weaves together life stories with a broad range of history, political analysis and literary criticism. Often his views of geopolitics sound naïve ("The gang battles of West Side Story are global"), and he tends at times to the cliché. This is a curious book-half literary autobiography, half political treatise-but it sparkles and informs with intelligence and good intentions." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Do You Remember Me?
A Father, a Daughter, and a Search for the Self
by Judith Levine
Summer 2004. Free Press
In her award-winning Harmful to Minors, Judith Levine radically disturbed our fixed ideas about childhood. Now, the poignantly personal Do You Remember Me? tackles the other end of life. The book is both the memoir of a daughter coming to terms with a difficult father who is sinking into dementia and an insightful exploration of the ways we think about disability, aging, and the self as it resides in the body and the world. In prose that is unsentimental yet moving, serious yet darkly funny, complex in emotion and ideas yet spare in diction, Levine reassembles her father's personal and professional history even as he is losing track of it. She unpeels the layers of his complicated personality and uncovers information that surprises even her mother, to whom her father has been married for more than sixty years. As her father deteriorates, the family consensus about who he was and is and how best to care for him constantly threatens to collapse. Levine recounts the painful discussions, mad outbursts, and gingerly negotiations, and dissects the shifting alliances among family, friends, and a changing guard of hired caretakers. Spending more and more time with her father, she confronts a relationship that has long felt bereft of love. By caring for his needs, she learns to care about and, slowly, to love him. Click the book cover above to read more.

Six Great American Jewish Plays
Compiled and Edited by Ellen Schiff
Applause, 2004
Jewish playwrights and plays of Jewish interest intended for general audiences have been increasingly conspicuous on the American stage since the early 20th century. No wonder. The evolution of Jewish life in America teems with richly dramatic material: immigration, "making it," intergenerational family relationships, the impact of the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Holocaust, the establishment of Israel, and the emergence of feminism and alternative life styles. And pre-eminently and enduringly, the dilemma of identity: how to acculturate without losing one's Jewish identity. A retrospective of the American Jewish repertoire of the last 80 years tells us a good deal about how Jews have perceived themselves and America and how America has perceived Jews.Schiff's collections, Awake and Singing (1995) and Fruitful and Multiplying (1996) were the first ever to represent the magnitude and importance of the American Jewish repertoire. This new edition brings together five plays from those pioneering anthologies: Elmer Rice's Counsellor-at-Law; Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing!; Sylvia Regan's Morning Star; Paddy Chayefsky's The Tenth Man; and Herb Gardner's Conversations with My Father. They are joined by Broken Glass, Arthur Miller's first play to focus specifically on deeply disturbing American Jewish problems: assimilation, self-hatred and terrified awareness of the Nazi threat to European co-religionists. The introductory essay provides a cultural and historical overview and there are generous headnotes to each play. Click to read more.

American popular music has always drawn on a wide variety of cultural sources; numerous studies, for instance, have explored the African roots and wide influence of jazz and blues. Little, however, has been written about the musical traditions of another group of immigrants who fused old-world practice with American popular idioms. With wit, intelligence, and lucidity, Jack Gottlieb chronicles how Yiddish folk and theater songs as well as synagogue modes and melodies were transformed by Jewish immigrants into the music of pop, Broadway, and film. In Funny, It Doesn't Sound Jewish, Jack Gottlieb chronicles how Jewish songwriters and composers transformed the popular music of mid-twentieth-century America. Although many critics, historians, and musicians have alluded to the Jewish influence on American popular song, this is the first book ever to support such assertions with comprehensive musical examples. Drawing on a variety of historical and archival sources, as well as his own experiences as a composer of synagogue, popular, and concert music, Gottlieb carefully and compellingly documents how a minority culture infused a majority culture, enriched it, and still retained its own identity. He does this with the support of a companion CD that includes previously unrecorded songs as well as some surprising rarities performed by the likes of Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, and Leonard Bernstein.
Chapters topics include: Pathways of Americanization; Adaptation; Adoption; Absorption; Acculturation; The Charm of the Flatted Sixth--Jewish Coloration; Yingish Novelties--Minor Verse/Major Chorus; "Yiddle, On Your Fiddle, Play Some Ragtime"; "Moon Shine"; Sacred Roots: modes of Adonai malakh; Magein avot; Hatikvah; Eli, Eli; Ahava raba: The Freygish Factor; a look at the sons of cantors: Kurt Weill, Jacques Offenbach, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Sammy Fain; Cantors' Sons as Performers; Symbols of Faith in the Music of Leonard Bernstein; Cole Porter's Trunk; and The Affinities Between Jewish Americans and African Americans: Exploitation, Blackface, Pastiche, The Ukrainian Dorian Mode; Jungle Fever, Blues, and Jews; and Davenen--Jewish Prayer Style. Click to read more.

A Play
by William Gibson
Applause, 2004
The sold out off-Broadway smash has moved to Broadway! The rise of Golda Meir from impoverished Russian schoolgirl to Prime Minister of Israel is one of the most amazing stories of the 20th century. Now her life has been transformed into a one-woman play of overwhelming power and triumph by William Gibson, author of The Miracle Worker. Golda's Balcony earned actress Tovah Feldshuh a 2003 Drama Desk award."Enlightening ... Now, hearing from someone who was there at the birth of the country, who sacrificed to make that happen, helps remind us where the Middle East standoff came from and why it never seems to end." Click to read more.

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[book] The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters
by James D. McCawley
University of Chicago Press; (May 1, 2004)
Did you ever go to a Chinese restaurant and see the menu items in Chinese characters posted on the wall. This book, after much study, can help you figure out if the chicken legs are actually chicken feet, if the bun is pork filled or not, and if the items are steamed and fried. The book includes a Chinese character dictionary focusing on words likely to be used in menus. The pronunciations are given in Mandarin. Click to read more.

[book] Northern Exposure
The Complete First Season (1990)
May 2004
In season 1, we meet Dr. Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow), an urban New York yuppie who consents to four years of rural servitude after Alaska pays his medical-school tuition. Joel's fish-out-of-water adventures drive the show, but it's the quirky ensemble of characters--Chris, the DJ/philosopher (John Corbett), Holling, the bartender (John Cullum), Maurice, the town patriarch (Barry Corbin), Ed, the filmmaker (Darren E. Burrows), and Maggie, the bush pilot (Janine Turner), among others--that keeps the series consistently entertaining. The town develops its own offbeat personality as well, a Mayberry-meets-Twin-Peaks blend of Native mysticism, Aurora Borealis-induced dreams, unlikely tales of long-lost family members, and rumors of a Bigfoot-like creature known simply as "Adam." A mid-season replacement, season 1 consists of just eight episodes on two DVDs. Each episode includes 5-10 minutes of outtakes and deleted scenes. Click to read more.

[book] The Student's Encyclopedia of Judaism
by Geoffrey Wigoder, Fred Skolnick, Shmuel Himelstein, Barbara Sutnick
2004. NYU Press.
The Student's Encyclopedia of Judaism is one of the most important Jewish reference books available to any student. Specially designed for students ages 12-18, the articles in The Student's Encyclopedia of Judaism cover a vast spectrum of topics. There are biographical entries on biblical figures, rabbis, and others whose thoughts and actions have influenced the development of Judaism. From traditions and ceremonies to foods and historical leaders, special attention is given to contemporary issues and women's roles in Judaism. Also emphasized are the customs and folk traditions of Jewish cultures throughout the world. For students in grades 7 through 12 with over over 900 entries. . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] The Eternal Journey
Meditations on the Jewish Year
by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, New North London Synagogue
Spring 2004. Aviv.
In this series of essays organized around the Jewish calendar, Jonathan Wittenberg engages with moral and theological questions -- the relationship between God and the Holocaust, humanity's responsibility for its actions, the transience of life -- in language that is both precise and passionate. His meditations on the wonders of the natural world and the impact of intergenerational memory invite readers to consider the religious essence of everyday life. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] THE X IN SEX
By David Bainbridge
2004. Paperback. Harvard University Press.
Why are girls more likely to be twins and develop arthritis as adults? Why do boys develop color blindness and asthma more than girls? A tiny scrap of genetic information determines our sex; it also consigns many of us to a life of disease, directs or disrupts the everyday working of our bodies, and forces women to live as genetic chimeras. The culprit--so necessary and yet the source of such upheaval--is the X chromosome, and this is its story. An enlightening and entertaining tour of the cultural and natural history of this intriguing member of the genome, The X in Sex traces the journey toward our current understanding of the nature of X. Examples throughout the animal kingdom and instances of humans with anomalous chromosome lineups (like XXY or XO) show X's role in sex determination, autoimmune and sex-linked diseases. Bainbridge also reveals how women's cells "deal with the double bounty of X chromosomes," why girl identical twins are less identical and less rare than boy identical twins, and how studying women's tumors showed scientists that cancer begins in a "lone, fatal" cell. From its chance discovery in the nineteenth century to the promise and implications of ongoing research, David Bainbridge shows how the X evolved and where it and its counterpart Y are going, how it helps assign developing human babies their sex--and maybe even their sexuality--and how it affects our lives in infinitely complex and subtle ways. X offers cures for disease, challenges our cultural, ethical, and scientific assumptions about maleness and femaleness, and has even reshaped our views of human evolution and human nature. Click the book cover above to read more.

Fantagraphics; 2004
Tory Miki is an award winning manga writer and author. This is a compilation of his best work from two of his volumes. His work usually appears in TV BROS magazine in Japan, they are Zen-like, worldless cartoons. The lead character is nameless. He owns a bookstore, but finds himself in unusual circumstances. Click to read more.

[book] Our Haven and Our Strength
The Book of Psalms
by Rabbi Martin Samuel Cohen (Shelter Rock Jewish Center)
Spring 2004. Aviv.
This edition of the Book of Psalms features the Hebrew text with a fresh gender-neutral translation, inviting readers to experience the poetry of each psalm. Rabbi Martin S. Cohen's probing commentary focuses on the spiritual intent of each psalm and bridges the worldview of the psalmist with the perspective of the modern reader. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] The Scimitar and Veil
Extraordinary Women of Islam
by Jennifer Heath
Spring 2004. Paulist Press.
The Scimitar and the Veil portrays over thirty extraordinary Muslim women from the birth of Islam through the 19th century. From scholars to warriors to concubines and queens, The Scimitar and the Veil gathers scholarship about the women of Islam into one fascinating book presented for a general readership. Based on sources ranging from Swahili lore to Persian pageant plays to Muslim feminist writings to the explorations of Western scholars of Islam, The Scimitar and the Veil is written in a poetic, sometimes humorous, energetic and contemporary style that will appeal to a broad range of readers. Muhammad was born to a widowed mother, tended by a slave woman, and fostered by a Bedouin woman. His marriage to Khadija, a wealthy businesswoman from Mecca was long, fruitful, and faithful. She was the first to convert to Islam. From Barakah, Muhammad's surrogate mother, and Fatima, his cherished daughter, to the Sufi mystic Rabi'a, The Scimitar and the Veil is the first popular history and overview of Muslim women and their great accomplishments. While there are other books about women in Islam, The Scimitar and the Veil is the most comprehensive and written in a style meant to appeal to a general audience. . Click the book cover above to read more.

Spring 2004. REGAN BOOKS.
Should be titled REWRITING HER-STORY... Morris takes issue with Hillary Rodham Clinton's book, LIVING HISTORY. DICK MORRIS, who a Washington Post columnist termed "A RASPUTIN WHORE MONGER," is a political consultant who has known the Clintons for over two decades, is famous for advising the Clinton's, whoring around with lots of whores while he worked in The White House and OEOB, bringing disgrace to his boss, has now written his third book in which he uses his experience to bash his former employers. After the Clintons fired him, he worked for The NY POST, where most of his column predictions were WRONG. Tell me.. who would hire this guy if you know that one day he will either embarrass you with his taste for adultery or slam you with a tell all book. It is like your therapist going on TV to tell your secrets to the highest bidder. Sounds rather whorish, doesn't it? Anyway... in this book, Morris takes issue with Hillary's autobiography, says her intentions are not honest, says she is a liar, and also says she is anti-Semitic (even though her step father was Jewish), cuz she didn't want to doer Kosher food for guests. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Our Mothers' War
American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II
by Emily Yellin
Spring 2004. The Free Press
WOMEN's HISTORY is not written down.. it is passed down. Luckily Yellin has written these stories down. Yellin, motivated by the discovery of a journal her mother kept while serving in the Red Cross in Saipan during World War II, began researching the experiences of a wide cross section of women during the war years. Women from a variety of social, financial, religious, and cultural backgrounds answered the call to serve their families and their country in heretofore unthinkable ways. In the Maerican mind, the three most famous women of WWII are Betty Grable, Betty Crocker, and Wonder Woman. But Yellin writes the stories of the real women during WWII. Proving themselves to be equal partners in the fellowship of the "greatest generation," these wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, and friends forged new identities for themselves while breaking down significant gender barriers for subsequent generations of women. Drawn from letters, diaries, and interviews, these first-person accounts and reminiscences are woven together and placed into historical context by Yellin's unobtrusive narrative. Allowing her subjects' eloquent voices to speak for themselves, she provides a fascinating slice of social history. In PART THREE of the book, YELLIN explores the DARK SIDE of the 1940's. The chapters are titled The "Wrong Kind" of Woman; Prostitutes, Unwed Mothers, and Lesbians; A War Within the War; Right-Wing, Anti-Semitic Mothers' Groups (who were Nazi Sympathizers who tried to get war widows and mothers of dead soldiers to lobby the government to end the war; Jewish-American Women during WWII; Inside the Secret City; and Wives and WACs in Los Alamos. In her moving epilogue, "Their Legacy," Yellin quotes from a speech her mother gave to a church group, "The Humanization of Emily: Some Thoughts on Women's Liberation and My Daughter." She describes a moment when she is driving a car pool, thinking about all the things that she has to do, when something Emily and her friends are saying catches her attention, so she asks her daughter to explain: "Well you know, we play the land of opposites at school. And there is this boy there who keeps saying, 'son of a gun, son of a gun.' So we just say, 'daughter of a first aid kit.' "Well, I thought . . . here is the descendant of all the women in my family, the ongoing continuum. Here is this young female person. Maybe she will get the chance. Maybe she will know a day when the daughter of the first-aid-kit will be as valued in our society and our culture as the son of a gun." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] MY LIFE
by BILL CLINTON (William Jefferson Clinton)
June 2004.
Former President Bill Clinton's hotly anticipated memoir, My Life, will be published in late June 2004. In what is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year, My Life is a "riveting personal drama as well as a fascinating look a the American political arena," chronicling Clinton's life through his White House years. An abridged audiobook, read by President Clinton, will also be available.
Regarding the Rabin - Arafat meeting, he describes how he kept Arafat from kissing himself or Rabin, as well as the machinations at Camp David.
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Paul Volcker
The Making of a Financial Legend
by Joseph B. Treaster
Spring 2004.
Treaster is one of The New York Times' most respected, intelligent, and clear-thinking reporters. Having heard so many things about how Volcker saved America under Carter, and how Volcker was squeaky clean and above reproach, Treaster decided to investigate further. In Treaster's book, we find that Volcker is the real thing. It is refreshing to read about this honest intelligent man, especially after reading the "Best Business Crimes of 2003" book that was published last year. Volcker is so cleab, he was chosen to recover $$ from the Swiss banks.
Paul Volcker is a living legend of finance. He established himself as one of the world's most influential economic thinkers and is regarded as both a figure of integrity and an instinctive leader who--throughout his career--has invariably done what he has thought was right, regardless of the consequences. Volcker is that rare financial titan who never sought to amass great personal wealth. Throughout his career, it is evident that he had no greater goal than doing the best job he could in the public interest, leading organizations from both the public and private sector to seek out his advice when crises of confidence arose. The book takes you through the most compelling moments of Volcker's fifty years in finance and public service--documenting his days as one of the most powerful voices in America as chairman of the Federal Reserve, as well as his more recent endeavors, including a mission to revive the Arthur Andersen accounting firm and efforts to recover billions in lost savings of Holocaust victims from Swiss banks. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Secret History of the Iraq War
by Yossef Bodansky
June 15, 2004. Regan Books
For over 10 years, the author was the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. In this books, he details Iraq's relationship with Syria, Egypt, and al Quaeda; he discusses what actually happened to the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Distraction; and he reports on Islamist movements in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] From the Lower East Side to Hollywood
Jews in American Popular Culture
by Paul Buhle
June 2004. Verso Books
The contribution by Jews to American popular culture is widely acknowledged yet scarcely documented. This is the first comprehensive investigation of the formative Jewish influence upon the rise and development of American popular culture, drawing upon extensive oral histories with several generations of Jewish artists, little-utilized Yiddish scholarship, and the author's own connections with today's comic-strip artists. Buhle shows how the rich legacy of Yiddish prepared would-be artists to absorb the cultures of their surrounding environments, seeing the world through the eyes of others, and producing the talent required for theater, films, television, popular music and comics. Buhle suggests that "pre-modern" and "postmodern" are arbitrary designations here, because the self-reflective content has always radiated an inner Jewishness. From Sholem Aleichem (who died in the Bronx) to Gertrude Berg, Woody Allen and Tony Kushner, from John Garfield to Roseanne Barr and Rube Goldberg to Cyndi Lauper, the cutting edge is never too far from home and humane antidotes to the pains of a troubled world. Contradictions between Jewish avant-garde and kitsch, mogul and artist, orthodoxy and heresy are given new sense here in the scope of cultural output adopted by ordinary Americans as their own. Illustrated with the work of Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Ben Katchor, Trina Robbins and others, From the Lower East Side to Hollywood is full of humor and insight into the power of popular art to spark insight and encourage the endless quest for freedom. 25 b/w illustrations. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] From Babel to Dragomans
Interpreting the Middle East
by Bernard Lewis
Oxford University Press; (May 1, 2004)
Bernard Lewis is recognized around the globe as one of the leading authorities on Islam. Lewis has been hailed by right wing Wester papers as 'the world's foremost Islamic scholar' (Wall Street Journal), as 'a towering figure among experts on the culture and religion of the Muslim world' (Baltimore Sun); and by The New York Times as a more non committal 'doyen of Middle Eastern studies' (New York Times). In this book, he has brought together writings and lectures that he has written over four decades, featuring his reflections on Middle Eastern history and foreign affairs, the Iranian Revolution, the state of Israel, the writing of history, and much more. The essays cover such urgent and compelling topics as 'What Saddam Wrought,' 'Deconstructing Osama and His Evil Appeal,' 'The Middle East, Westernized Despite Itself,' 'The Enemies of God,' and 'Can Islam be Secularized?' The collection ranges from two English originals of articles published before only in foreign languages, to previously unpublished writings, to his highly regarded essays from publications such as Foreign Affairs and The New York Review of Books. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Introducing My Faith and My Community
The Jewish Outreach Institute Guide for the Christian in a Jewish Interfaith Relationship
by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky
June 2004. Jewish Lights.
PW writes: The premise of this welcome wagon for Christians with Jewish partners or relatives derives from the Jewish value of welcoming the stranger. In a personable, accessible manner, Olitzky, author and director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, explains the profound concepts that differentiate Judaism from other religions, from its diverse views of God and perspectives on resurrection to its holidays and food. The basic concepts he outlines can be a first step to sharing a "common language for family conversations, celebrations and ceremonies," creating a sense of comfort instead of alienation. The book is divided into four chapters that Olitzky describes as the cornerstones of Judaism: faith, values, culture and community. Because some Jews may identify only with one aspect of Judaism, non-Jews don't often understand why Jewishness remains critical to those who don't practice it faithfully, "probably the biggest disconnect about Judaism for non-Jews." He outlines the differences in observance among the denominations of Judaism and calls community both a powerful force of goodness as well as a potentially forbidding and difficult place to enter. "Next steps" for deeper understanding and a glossary round out the basics. Olitzky's inviting take on Judaism-especially its theological underpinnings- makes for engrossing reading. Click the book cover above to read more.

Tales of a Cynical Species
by Laura Flanders
Verso Books; (2004)
PW writes: "The thesis of radio host Flanders's searing, incisive polemic is that prominent female conservatives in the current administration are the candy coating in which George "W. Is for Women" Bush enrobes a bitter, radical policy. Devoting a chapter to each, Flanders (Real Majority, Media Minority) takes to task women like National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao for betraying the causes-affirmative action, civil rights and feminism-that helped them rise to prominence, while allowing the Republican Party to use them as identity politics puppets for expanding its minority voting base. They, along with former EPA head Christine Todd Whitman, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman and Secretary of the Interior Gale Ann Norton, have, Flanders contends, been given an easy ride by national media more interested in their fashion choices and family history than in the jobs, lands and freedoms they've eliminated during their tenure. Then there are what Flanders says are the Bushwomen's conflicts of interest and government valentines to corporate concerns, such as destroying previously protected grizzly bear habitat to please logging interests. Along the way, Flanders provides a powerful account of how the government's social agencies have been systematically disabled-or so she claims-over the past 20 years by the very people hired to head them. Fierce, funny and intelligent, Bushwomen fills in an important gap left by other anti-Bush books." Click the book cover above to read more.

Spring 2004. Devorah Publishing.
In 1742, there was a definite process to force Jews to assimilate into Russia. During Nicholas I (1825-1855) , about 50,000 Jewish children and 20,000 Jewish adults were taken into the Tsar's Army. Kahals were set up in the Jewish communities to give children up, and Chappers were paid for each child the abducted and delivered. Rich Jews paid the Kahals to volunteer other Jewish children to take their sons' places. Some kahals profited, in a form of Jew on Jew violence. More families were willing to marry off their children at young ages rather than to enroll them in to yeshivas (another exemption). The author discusses the process, the law, and how Jewish families tried to get around the laws (for example, changing surnames, amputating fingers, eye removal). The Cantonist era was a terrifying episode in Jewish history, and one that is etched in the collective memory of the Jewish people. Tsar Nicholas of Russia conscripted thousands of Jewish children - some as young as 6 years old - into his army for up to 25 years! The Tsar's declared goal was nothing less than to convert these children to Christianity; for him, their baptism was of the highest priority. This book reveals the struggle of these youngsters to maintain their Judaism against impossible odds. Many failed. But some, like Golda Meir's grandfather, succeeded in reclaiming their heritage and reconnecting the chain of Jewish tradition. Today, thousands of Jews are descendants of those stalwart Cantonists. The Cantons were areas where Peter the Great established barracks to house Jewish children. Click the book cover above to read more.

July 2004. HarperCollins.
At age 81, Rabbi Besser, a scholar of classical music, Hassidism and Jewish law, still holds a daily Torah class at 6:30 am at a very tiny shtibl on Manhattan's Upper West Side. This is the story of this remarkable and loved man. Click the book cover above to read more.

A Jewish Journey to Belief in Afterlife, Past Lives & Living With a Purpose
by Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz
2002. Jewish Lights.
Spitz, a Conservative rabbi, sets out to convince readers that it's kosher to be Jewish and believe in reincarnation and the afterlife. He details his personal journey from skepticism to belief in the reality of the soul, distilling along the way the work of pioneering mediums like Brian Weiss and James van Draagh. Spitz discusses one seminar he attended in which he found himself revealing images of a previous life as a Native American, and another in which his wife's deceased grandparents "communicated" with her. Spitz employs an array of Jewish sourcesAparticularly mystical textsAthat affirm a faith in the survival of the soul, although the concept remains controversial in traditional Judaism. He claims that this faith can provide comfort to those struggling with death. "Letting go is easier when one believes death is not final," he says. He offers the personal example of coping with his mother's death, followed by dramatic instances of how he has used guided imagery to ease congregants into accepting death. While we are alive, our "homework assignment" is to nurture our souls through good deeds and to express gratitude to God, "rooting us more deeply in living this life each day as a precious gift." Spitz's compelling arguments may cement the beliefs of Jewish readers already receptive to the existence of the supernatural and open a doorway for doubters to reconceptualize life and death (PW). Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] ISAIAH BERLIN LETTERS 1928-1946
July 2004. Cambridge University Press.
PW writes: This first selected volume of the celebrated philosopher's prodigious correspondence reveals an intimately charming "Shaya" (as he familiarly signed himself) to match the erudite Oxford don and brilliant conversationalist. The two decades covered here take the Baltic-born Berlin (1909-1997) from his adopted homeland of England, where he wholeheartedly assimilated himself in the scholarly world, to diplomatic postings in wartime Washington, D.C., and Soviet Russia on the eve of the Cold War; he also reports from holidays and tours in Austria, Italy and Palestine during the mounting tensions in the 1930s. Throughout, the facets of Berlin's character scintillate, whether indulging in Bridesheadesque banter with fellow philosophers J.L. Austin and A.J. Ayer; critiquing Tolstoy and Henry James with Stephen Spender and Elizabeth Bowen; debating Zionism with Jewish grandees Felix Frankfurter and Victor Rothschild; or reassuring his parents about his health. Despite the sheer number of letters, there are gaps in the biographic record, including, disappointingly, his watershed stay in Leningrad in 1945-1946. With Berlin's sizable social circles, penchant for name-dropping and ubiquitous scholarly allusions, Hardy's numerous footnotes are indispensable (and sometimes wryly amusing). Likewise, his choice of supplementary material, from interviews to Berlin's early school essay on freedom, enriches a collection already overflowing with Berlin's favorite subjects: intellectual insights and indiscreet gossip. Click the book cover above to read more.

July 2004. Berkley.
Fifth in a series of murder mysteries starring Juliet Applebaum. Juliet goes house hunting. One place she looks at really stands out-the one with the body in the bath. It seems a solution is at hand to both problems: if Juliet and Al can solve the murder, then Juliet and her family can buy the house. But who would kill a washed-up, bit-part actress? The deeper Juliet and Al dig, the more motives they find for the victim to have murdered someone herself. Juliet is a wonderful invention, warm, loving and sympathetic to those in need, but unintimidated by the L.A. entertainment industry she must enter to search for clues. An underlying theme concerns the extraordinary lengths to which people go to look beautiful, and the great weight put on physical appearance in determining success in Hollywood. The suspense builds slowly-it takes almost the full length of the book before a motive for the vicious killing becomes clear-but what a motive, what a resolution and how clever of Juliet to figure everything out. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Phantom Pain
by Arnon Grunberg
July 2004. The Other Press.
A one-time literary novelist of some respectability, now brought low by the double insult of obscurity and crippling debt, Robert G. Mehlman is a man in need of money and recognition, fast. But Mehlman's publisher is only interested in his long overdue novel, since the people don't want short stories, and his portfolio was liquidated months ago. So, it is to culinary writing that he turns. A practiced decadent, a habitual spendthrift, and a serial womanizer, he has, ostensibly, all the right qualities. But the path to fame is never a smooth one. Phantom Pain is the bitterly funny but unpublished manuscript of Mehlman's autobiography. In it, he tells the parallel stories of his decaying marriage and his puzzling affair with a woman he meets by chance and who accompanies him on the road. Their journey takes them on a chaffeur-driven, midnight run away from New York City to Atlantic City where they gamble away most of Mehlman's remaining funds and then North, to Albany, where he finds unlikely salvation and the inspiration for his book, Polish-Jewish Cuisine in 69 Recipes. Framed by Mehlman's son's account of his famous father, this novel-within-a-novel is a darkly hilarious tale of a writer's fall and his subsequent rise. Phantom Pain has all the characteristic mixture of slapstick and stark despair that has made Arnon Grunberg one of the most interesting, certainly the funniest, and arguably the best Dutch writer working today. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Rising from the Muck
The New Anti-Semitism in Europe
by Pierre-Andre Taquieff, with Patrick Camiller
July 2004. Ivan R. Dee.
Frederic Krome writes, "Concurrent with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence in Europe. How does a geographically localized conflict translate into increased anti-Semitism outside the Middle East? According to Taguieff (research director, National Center for Scientific Research, France), violence against Diaspora communities is rationalized by the anti-Semitic canards, extremely popular in the Muslim world, purporting that Jews are engaged in a conspiracy of evil. Muslim immigrants then inculcate these ideas into the minds of Europeans. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Taguieff's book is his accusation that a number of European intellectuals seek to justify anti-Semitic hostility by claiming that it results from Israeli actions and the consequent "disenfranchisement" of Muslim immigrants. According to Taguieff, support for the Palestinian cause and the demonization of Israel have become the cause célèbre among many liberals across the Western world in the past 30 years. Many public figures, especially politicians and scholars, have assimilated hostility toward Jews and Zionism into their own ideology, making the Israeli-Palestinian conflict emblematic of all first world-third world clashes. Although Taguieff's assessment is intended to be pan-national, he is strongest when discussing developments in France." Click the book cover above to read more.

By BYRON L. SHERWIN, PhD (Spertus)
Spring 2004. Ivan R. Dee.
An illuminating look at the issues of accelerating developments in biotechnology through the Jewish legend of the Golem and how this legend can be used as a metaphor to discuss the theological and ethical affects of those developments. Imagine a world where the normal human life span is 150 years, where worn-out vital organs are routinely replaced by spares, where after death you will retain consciousness for eternity in cyberspace, where nanotechnology will enable you to transform a plastic bottle into a filet mignon for you to share with your android spouse. Scientists anticipate such a world within a century. Even now many signs of such biotech "progress" are with us. Accelerating developments in Genomics, reproductive biotechnology, bionics, artificial life, genetic engineering, and related fields are compelling us to reexamine our most deeply held beliefs about ourselves and our world. As we do, the figure of Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created looms large: many people today see our predicament through the lens of the Frankenstein story, whose lesson is that humans should not "play God" or tinker with the toolbox of nature, at the risk of tragedy and catastrophe. Yet there is an available alternative both to the Frankenstein vision and to the ebullient enthusiasm of those who anticipate a riskless future. It is the most famous and influential post-biblical Jewish legend, the story of the golem - the creation of an anthropoid by mystical and magical means. Retold and embellished in twentieth-century literature, art, music, drama, film, science, technology, and popular culture, the golem legend has become a metaphor for our times, a resource for applying the wisdom of the past to the perplexities of the present and the challenges of the future. In Golems Among Us, Byron Sherwin briefly traces the fascinating history of the golem legend in Western culture, then shows what lessons it holds for us in navigating a safe journey - philosophically, theologically, ethically, and in public policy - through the minefield of social and biological engineering in which we now stand. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] The Dog Walker
A Novel
by Leslie Schnur
July 2004. Atria.
As Schnur's titular protagonist is well aware, being dragged at the end of a leash is hard work. Nina Shepard's life isn't proceeding as planned. After leaving a thankless publishing job, she takes up what she intends to be a temporary dog-walking gig catering to rich and busy New York dog owners, feeling clueless about the direction of her life and even who she is. Given the keys to her trusting clients' homes, she develops a serious snooping habit. Of particular interest is 32-year-old Daniel Maguire, a hot lawyer, or so she thinks. When she finally meets him, he's not at all what she expected (in fact, he's Daniel's twin brother, Billy), but she falls head over heels anyway. Billy likes her, too, but will they be able to forgive each other's secrets? Schnur is a former editor in chief of Delacourt Press. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Two Nations Under God
Why Should America Care About Israel and the Middle East
by Tom Doyle
July 2004. Broadman and Holman.
Why Evangelical Christians in America should care about Israel... The author writes: "Israel is the place, and the Jews are the people that God promises to love unconditionally forever. This produces an enormous amount of tension with the region. The nations of the world are given an opportunity to bless or curse God's chosen covenant people. Their choice decides the health of the nation and determines its destiny. Though off to a shaky start, America made a conscious effort to bless Israel and since that time has enjoyed the promised blessing of God. This has resulted in the United States soaring to the top of the most favored nation list in all of recorded history." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Why Care About Israel
How the Jewish Nation Is the Key to Unleashing God's Blessings in the 21st Century
by Sandra Teplinsky
July 2004. Chosen Books / Baker Publishing Group.
A woman who was born Jewish writes for fellow Christians on why they should support Israel in order to bring a messianic age. Click the book cover above to read more.

July 2004. Carroll and Graf
Shimshon Eizik Ovitz had ten kids, seven had the gene for dwarfism. At Auschwitz, Dr Josef Mengele loved to torment them. Therefore they lived. Through research and interviews with the youngest Ovitz daughter, Perla, the troupe's last surviving member, and other relatives, the authors weave the tale of a beloved and successful family of performers who were famous entertainers in Central Europe until the Nazis deported them to Auschwitz in May 1944. Descending into the hell of the concentration camp from the transport train, the Ovitz family-known widely as the Lilliput Troupe- was separated from other Jewish victims. When Josef Mengele was notified of their arrival, they were assigned better quarters and provided more nutritious food than other inmates. Authors Koren and Negev chronicle Mengele's experiments upon this family and the creepy fondness he developed for them. Finally liberated by Russian troops, the family eventually found their way to a new home in Israel where they became wealthy and successful performers. In Our Hearts We Were Giants is a powerful testament to the human spirit, and a triumphant tale that no reader will forget. Click the book cover above to read more.

July 13, 2004. HARMONY
Nessa, who has written for Jewish weeklies, travels back with her family to their Summer cottage in Ontario, and reminisces about Summer Sabbaths, library books, and Summer lake life and time. Click the book cover above to read more.

July 2004. Warner
In 1973, Swiss-born Carmen fell in love with Yeslam bin Ladin, Osama's OLDER brother; after a fairy-tale courtship, including a semester together at USC, the two married in Saudi Arabia. Alas, it wasn't long before the fantasy turned sinister. By Saudi Wahhabi custom, women are usually confined to the home. Activities like listening to music or reading books other than the Koran are either sinful or shameful. Only Carmen's young daughters, occasional international trips and her dear, understanding husband helped her cope. Then, things worsened. The 1979 Saudi mobilization to support Afghan Muslims against the Soviet invasion gave religious hard-liners like Osama more clout. Carmen's husband, now a successful Geneva businessman, reverted to a more orthodox lifestyle. Finally, in 1988, Yeslam divorced Carmen, but by bringing charges against her in Saudi Arabia, made certain she feared for her life-and her daughters' freedom-if she ever again entered an Islamic country. Beyond Carmen's terrible story hovers the larger, later tragedy of 9/11. Remember, Carmen warns, the bin Laden brothers have always supported each other, financially and socially. When Osama dies, he'll certainly be replaced. The gravity of the events Carmen writes of, her insider's perspective and her engaging style make this memoir a page-turner. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Secret History of the Iraq War
by Yossef Bodansky
July 2004. Regan Books
Douglas Schoen, the man that David Garth remarked was like a.... well on second thought, let's pass over what he said. Schoen is a partner of Penn and Schoen and Berland Associates, and was a political consultants to Clinton, Corzine, Rockefeller, Bloomberg, Begin, Rabin, and candidates in Bermuda and the Domincan Republic, to name a few. He is also a past candidate for Congress. In this book, he has collected historic and memorable images from nearly 200 years of American political campaigns. Click the book cover above to read more.


[book] Eyewitness to Jewish History
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
John Wiley & Sons, Summer 2004
Rabbi Blech is a best selling, prolific Jewish author, and a respected teacher at Yeshiva University. In Eyewitness to Jewish History, Rabbi Benjamin Blech takes you aboard a literary time machine in which you'll do more than read about major events in Jewish history--you'll witness them, take part in them, and feel their deep and lasting impact. Featuring hundreds of excerpts from diaries, journals, letters, newspaper accounts, public testimony, official communications, and ancient documents such as the Torah, this unique chronicle provides memorable snapshots of daily life from biblical times to the modern day. These vivid and passionately written accounts, arranged in chronological order, transport you across space and time to witness: The birth of the Jewish people; The building and destruction of the two Temples; The struggle to survive in the early years of the Diaspora; The Golden Age of Spain; Persecutions and expulsions throughout Europe; The horrors of the Holocaust; The founding of the modern state of Israel; and much more. Traveling in this literary time machine, you'll meet Abraham and witness the birth of the Jewish people, flee with Moses from Egypt and ascend Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, and struggle with the prophet Samuel over the formation of the Kingdom of Judea. You'll be there the first time the Torah is translated from Hebrew into another language, labor with Talmudic scholars to preserve and interpret Judaic Oral Law, and revel in Jewish accomplishments during the Golden Age of Spain. A good Bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah gift. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] [mark borovitz] The Holy Thief
A Con Man's Journey from Darkness to Light
by Rabbi Mark Borovitz, and Alan Eisenstock
William Morrow; (August 17, 2004)
Save your "all rabbis are con artists" jokes for the sisterhood meetings, baby.
At the age of 14, (Rabbi) Borovitz began selling stolen goods for the Cleveland mob to help support his family after his father's death. At 20, he started carrying a gun, but his "weapon of choice was a checkbook." He got into insurance frauds, armed robbery, and kiting checks. When two mobsters he had scammed put a hit out on him, Borovitz moved to Los Angeles and continued his life of "hustling, drinking, and madness." From 1982 to 1988, Borovitz, a Jew, was in and out of prison. In 1987, in the state prison in Chino, California, he began studying the Torah, was married in 1990 (to the co founder of Beit Teshuva), and, in the mid-1990s, ordained as a rabbi (University of Judaism). (His older brother Neal is also a Rabbi) He's now the spiritual leader of the chaplaincy at Beit T'Shuvah, the Los Angeles treatment center lauded by President Bush as faith-based initiative at its best. It is an in-patient rehab center in Los Angeles, designed to serve Jewish drug and alcohol addicts. Reading like fiction, it's nevertheless a true story. Mark Oppenheimer, writing for NextBook, wrote, "Rabbi Mark Borovitz's memoir of how prison Torah study turned an alcoholic grifter and check-kiter into a successful rehabilitator of Jewish cokeheads, gamblers, and other addicts, is a blustering and grandiose book, marred by clichés and solecisms. And yet I liked The Holy Thief: A Con Man's Journey from Darkness to Light, very much. There have been so many bad recovery memoirs cultivating readers' cynicism that one can forget how amazing the redemption of a human soul is; something about the blunt, antiliterary voice of Borovitz (or, more probably, his co-writer, Alan Eisenstock) perfectly conveys the hustler, the tough Jew who turns his talent for persuasion to better ends." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] In the Beginning
A Short History of the Hebrew Language
by Rabbi Joel M. Hoffman
August 2004. NYU Press.
Hebrew as a language is just over 3,000 years old, and the story of its alphabet is unique among the languages of the world. Hebrew set the stage for almost every modern alphabet, and was arguably the first written language simple enough for everyone, not just scribes, to learn, making it possible to make a written record available to the masses for the first time. Written language has existed for so many years-since around 3500 BCE-that most of us take it for granted. But as Hoffman reveals in this entertaining and informative work, even the idea that speech can be divided into units called "words" and that these words can be represented with marks on a page, had to be discovered. As Hoffman points out, almost every modern system of writing descends from Hebrew; by studying the history of this language, we can learn a good deal about how we express ourselves today. Hoffman follows and decodes the adventure that is the history of Hebrew, illuminating how the written record has survived, the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient translations, and attempts to determine how the language actually sounded. He places these developments into a historical context, and shows their continuing impact on the modern world. This sweeping history traces Hebrew's development as one of the first languages to make use of vowels. Hoffman also covers the dramatic story of the rebirth of Hebrew as a modern, spoken language. Packed with lively information about language and linguistics and history, In the Beginning is essential reading for both newcomers and scholars interested in learning more about Hebrew and languages in general. Click the book cover above to read more.

by Rabbi Irwin Groner, Rabbi of Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Southfield MI.
August 2004. University of Michigan Press.
Lively. It addresses Jewish values and beliefs in a collection of sermons. In FOLK, the first section, the book addresses family, faith, freedom, forgiveness, and the future. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Spiritually Healing the Indigo Children
by Rabbi Wayne Dosick, and Ellen Kaufman
Jodere Group
Rabbi Wayne Dosick is the Spiritual Guide of The Elijah Minyan and an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including The Golden Rules: The Ten Ethical Values Parents Need to Teach Their Children and Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition, and Practice. A popular speaker and workshop leader, Rabbi Dosick speaks to the audience across the country about spiritual and ethical issues. In this book and manual, he and his wife, find solutions for raising the kids do not fit in, who are emotional and feeling, who are old souls, and who are pigeon-holed by others into ADD ADHD and ODD groupings and drugged with Ritalin. This books should be read by educators and anyone who knows an ADHD child or adult. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] The Jews of the United States, 1654 to 2000
by Hasia R. Diner
University of California Press; (August 1, 2004)
Since Peter Stuyvesant greeted with enmity the first group of Jews to arrive on the docks of New Amsterdam in 1654, Jews have entwined their fate and fortunes with that of the United States-a project marked by great struggle and great promise. What this interconnected destiny has meant for American Jews and how it has defined their experience among the world's Jews is fully chronicled in this work, a comprehensive and finely nuanced history of Jews in the United States from 1654 through the end of the past century. Hasia R. Diner traces Jewish participation in American history-from the communities that sent formal letters of greeting to George Washington; to the three thousand Jewish men who fought for the Confederacy and the ten thousand who fought in the Union army; to the Jewish activists who devoted themselves to the labor movement and the civil rights movement. Diner portrays this history as a constant process of negotiation, undertaken by ordinary Jews who wanted at one and the same time to be Jews and full Americans. Accordingly, Diner draws on both American and Jewish sources to explain the chronology of American Jewish history, the structure of its communal institutions, and the inner dynamism that propelled it. Her work documents the major developments of American Judaism-he economic, social, cultural, and political activities of the Jews who immigrated to and settled in America, as well as their descendants-and shows how these grew out of both a Jewish and an American context. She also demonstrates how the equally compelling urges to maintain Jewishness and to assimilate gave American Jewry the particular character that it retains to this day in all its subtlety and complexity. Click the book cover above to read more.

Edited by Elaine Bernstein Partnow
August 2004. Jewish Lights.
The words of Jewish women to inspire, enlighten, and enrich your life. The Quotable Jewish Woman is the definitive collection of ideas, reflections, humor, and wit by Jewish women. Compiler Elaine Bernstein Partnow (The Quotable Woman) brings together the voices of over 300 (317) women-including women of the Bible, actors, poets, humorists, scientists, and literary and political figures-whose ideas, activism, service, talent, and labor have touched the world. Quoted women include: Bella Abzug, Hannah Arendt, Lauren Bacall, Aviel Barclay, Judy Blume, Susan Brownmiller, Judy Chicago, Jennifer Connelly, Gerty Theresa Cori, Deborah Anita Diamant Phyllis Diller(??) Delia Ephron, Marcia Falk, Dianne Feinstein, Anne Frank, Rosalind Franklin (miss dna), Anna Freud, Betty Friedan, Carol Gilligan, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Rebecca Gratz, Blu Greenberg, Erica Jong, Frida Kahlo, Donna Karan, Faye Kellerman (mysterious), Carole King (good beat and u can dance to it), Ann Landers, Estée Lauder, Emma Lazarus, Rosa Luxemburg Golda Meir Bette Midler Miriam Bess Myerson Cynthia Ozick Dorothy Parker Belva Plain Letty Cottin Pogrebin Ayn Rand Gilda Radner Adrienne Rich Joan Rivers Ethel Rosenberg Sandy Eisenberg Sasso Hannah Senesh Fanchon Shur Raven Snook Gertrude Stein Barbra Streisand Kerri Strug Henrietta Szold Barbara Tuchman, Barbara Walters, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Naomi Wolf, Rosalyn Yalow, and many more including Winona Ryder (can I pick something up for you?)
"Until we are all free, we are none of us free," wrote Emma Lazarus in American Hebrew toward the end of the nineteenth century. "Toughness doesn't have to come in a pinstripe suit," commented Senator Dianne Feinstein in Time magazine a century later. "God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me," states Sarah in the Book of Genesis. Humorist Dorothy Parker, in her poem "Inventory," also knows the power of laughter: "Four be the things I am wiser to know: / Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe. / Four be the things I'd be better without: / Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt." The book is organized into categories that address both timeless and timely topics, including: Age & Aging; Beauty & Appearance; Celebrations & Holidays; Children Death & Grief; Faith, Religion, the Bible & Spirituality; Feminism & Women's Liberation; Friendship , Humor & Comedy; Jews & Judaism; Love & Desire; Mothers & Motherhood; Politics, Politicians & Leadership; Success, Dreams & Achievement; and Work & Working. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Look for Me
A Novel
by Edeet Ravel
August 2004. Perennial .
In a love story framed by the vivid realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Edeet Ravel tenderly explores the complicated ways people connect when violence touches every aspect of their lives. Dana Hillman is a young Israeli woman whose humanity and passion for justice are obvious to all who meet her. On peace missions, she and other activists act as human shields in situations where the Israeli army tries to displace Palestinians. A gifted photographer, she documents the protests, and the faces of women and children caught in the seemingly endless struggle. To make a living, though, she churns out junky historical romances, well aware of the irony of her situation. Her own love story has turned into a heartbreaking mystery: why did her husband, Daniel, suddenly disappear and where has he been for the last eleven years? Every year Dana publishes a full-page ad addressed to her lost husband that says, ?I will never ever ever ever . . . stop waiting for you, with that forever multiplied to fill the whole page. Dana's hope and constancy fill the novel in the way that her forever fills up the page, as she holds fast to trust, love and a vision for the future that seems magical in this fractured place. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] On the Road to Armageddon
How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend
by Timothy P. Weber, President, Memphis Theological Seminary
August 2004. Baker Academic.
Evangelical support for Israel has fueled the current status of the parties in the Middle East. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Light Force
The Only Hope for Peace in the Middle East
By Brother Andrew and Al Janssen
August 2004. Baker
Authors argue that if everyone will just convert to Christianity and accept Jesus, there can be peace in the Middle East. As communism in Eastern Europe declined, Brother Andrew shifted his focus from smuggling Christian Bibles into communist countries to strengthening the Christian church within the Islamic world. In a time when a mass exodus of Christians has drained the Middle East of God's light, Brother Andrew headed into this war-torn land to bring hope and encouragement to those who remained. Light Force recounts the continuing saga of Brother Andrew's most recent mission. Through dramatic true stories, readers get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at real people affected by the centuries-old conflicts in this volatile part of the world. Now readers can join Brother Andrew and fellow Open Doors missionary Al Janssen in their quest to strengthen God's light in the Middle East. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] The Gospel According to Disney
Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust
by Mark I. Pinsky
August 2004. Westminster Books.
Pinsky, the religion writer for the Orlando Sentinel and author of the Gospel According to the Simpsons, has written this insightful look into Disney film and culture, religion, and the differences between early Disney under the Christian Disneys... and the later Jews of Michael and Jeffrey (Eisner and Katzenberg). Click the book cover above to read more.

by HAL SIROWITZ, former poet laureate of Queens
August 2004. Soft Skull Press.
Hal Sirowitz, the Poet Laureate of Queens, offers a funny and tender portrait of his father in this follow up to his acclaimed Mother Said and My Therapist Said. Sirowitz's mother may have dominated the household with her overly protective advice, but his father had a few bon mots to impart to his son as well. In Father Said, he teaches Hal important lessons such as "What to Do When You Burp" and "How to Avoid Being Idle." Mr. Sirowitz's cautionary tales are as idiosyncratic as his wife's:
When your mother tells me don't I think /
it's time we got a better washing machine, /
Father said, I tell her, Let it decide. /
If it breaks down, we'll get a better one."
He compares the young Hal to ants ("I've never seen them being idle. I/ wish I could say the same thing about you"), and his daughter and wife similarly frustrate, yet he remains philosophical: "getting my share of the unhappiness" is "the price you pay for being human." Indeed, "The only/ good thing about dying is that I/ won't be around if something goes wrong./ You'll have to take care of it."
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Eyewitness to Jewish History
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
August 2004. Wiley.
Click the book cover above to read more.

by Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
August 2004. Wiley NOW IN PAPERBACK
Updated since first published in 2003. Written in Alan Dershowitz's characteristic hard-hitting style, The Case for Israel defends Israel proactively, and its basic right to exist, to protect its citizens from terrorism, and to protect its borders from hostile enemies. This timely, impassioned, closely argued, and controversial analysis sets the record straight, addressing the accusations leveled against Israel in 32 chapters (even by liberal Jewish critics) by responding with hard facts and documentation. Lilke a updated Myths and Facts. Click to read more.

[book] [book] [book]

Attention New York City residents
The residents of The City of New York will, one day, be asked to read Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee or The Color of Water (A Black Mans Tribute to His White Jewish Mother) by James McBride. Or Maybe Time and Again by Jack Finney. Why not get a head start by clicking one of the book covers and reading them

Click to read more.

[book] CAMP
by Michael Eisner (DISNEY)
POSTPONED FROM JUNE 2004 to 2005. Warner Books.
Media visionary and business titan Michael Eisner presents a candid look back at one of the most formative experiences of his life--the time he spent at summer camp. For the millions who enjoyed childhood summers spent away from home at camp, that time is recalled with everything from dismay to nostalgic bliss. For Disney CEO Michael Eisner, the time he spent at Keewaydin summer camp, nestled in the mountains of Vermont, served as a cherished and invaluable starting point for an adult life that would include a career and family life filled with unparalleled success. From the first time his father took Michael to Keewaydin at the age of seven, he realized it would become an important part of his life. Over the years, as a camper and a counselor, Michael absorbed the life lessons that come from sitting in the stern of a canoe or meeting around a campfire at night. With anecdotes from his time spent at Keewaydin and stories from his life in the upper echelons of American business that illustrate the campís continued influence, Eisner creates a touching and insightful portrait of his own coming-of-age, as well as a resounding declaration of summer camp as an invaluable national institution. Click the book cover above to read more.


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