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SUMMER 2005 RECOMMENDED JEWISH BOOKS

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SUMMER 2005 BOOK READINGS

May 26, 2005: Israel Festival til May 31, Israel-Festival.org.IL
June 01, 2005: Gigi Anders reads from JUBANA!.. Jewish Cubana Goddess. B&N Chelsea NYC
June 02, 2005: Hillel Hal;kin reads from A STRANGE DEATH. B&N UWS NYC
June 06, 2005: ROBERT KLEIN reads from THE AMOROUS BUSBOY OF DECATUR AVENUE. B&N Lincoln Triangle NYC
June 08, 2005; NOVEL JEWS presents Dave Deutsch and Joshua Neuman, Editors of HEEB: The New Jew Review. They will be reading from The Big Book of Jewish Conspiracies. KGB BAR NYC
June 10, 2005: JEFFREY SACHS reads from THE END OF POVERTY. B&N UWS NYC
June 12, 2005: TIKKUNny.ORG Tikkun Leil Shavuot, across the country, including readings and classes by authors
June 13, 2005: Books of Ruth and Song of Songs, read worldwide in your local synagogue
June 13, 2005: MICHAEL EISNER reads from CAMP. B&N Rock Center NYC
June 14, 2005: SAM APPLE reads from SCHLEPPING THROUGH THE ALPS. Coliseum Books NYC. 6:30 PM
June 16, 2005: DEREK RUBIN and FRIENDS read from WHO WE ARE: ON BEING OR NOT BEING A JEWISH AMERICAN WRITER. B&N Lincoln Center NYC
June 20, 2005: Andrew Furman and Tova Mirvis appear at SCRIBBLERS ON THE ROOF, www.anschechesed.org, NYC 7PM
June 21 2005: ELI WALLACH reads from THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND ME. B&N UWS NYC
June 21, 2005: ChickLit - Love, Marriage and Relationships in the 21st Century with Amy Sohn, Tova Mirvis, Rachel Kadish, and Isabel Rose. NYC JCC of the UWS jccManhattan.org
June 27: Lara Vapnyar and Pearl Abraham appear at SCRIBBLERS ON THE ROOF, www.anschechesed.org, NYC 7PM
June 28, 2005: DAVID PLOTZ reads from THE GENIUS FACTORY. B&N Chelsea NYC
June 28, 2005: JANICE KAPLAN reads from MINE ARE SPECTACULAR. B&N UWS NYC
July 4, 2005: A Celebration of Saul Bellow with readings by Melvin Jules Bukiet, Joshua Hanft and April Mosolino at SCRIBBLERS ON THE ROOF, www.anschechesed.org, NYC 7PM
July 10-14, 2005: 16th Annual Jewish Choral Festival. ZaminFdn.org
July 11, 2005: Sharon Dolin, Alicia Ostriker and Mark Rudman appear at SCRIBBLERS ON THE ROOF, www.anschechesed.org, NYC 7PM
July 18, 2005: Cynthia Ozick appears at SCRIBBLERS ON THE ROOF, www.anschechesed.org, NYC 7PM
July 25, 2005: Steve Stern and Lynne Sharon Schwartz appear at SCRIBBLERS ON THE ROOF, www.anschechesed.org, NYC 7PM

Aug 11, 2005: CHUCK BARRIS reads from YOU AND ME BABE, B&N Astor NYC 7:00
Aug 21, 2005: YIDSTOCK 2005. Monticello Raceway. See YidStock.com
Aug 23, 2005: CYNTHIA OZICK reads from HEIR TO A GLIMMERING WORLD, B&N UWS 82nd NYC 7:00
Aug 23, 2005: JewBilation, 14th St Y, NYC: The Big Jewish Quiz Thing
Aug 24, 2005: ELIE WIESEL reads from THE TIME OF THE UPROOTED, B&N Union Sq NYC 7:00
Aug 24, 2005: STEVEN ROBERTS reads from MY FATHERS HOUSES, West Hampton Synagogue NY
Aug 25, 2005: JewBilation, 14th St Y, NYC: Kosher Chixxx
Aug 27, 2005: JewBilation, 14th St Y, NYC: Stronger Than God. 2 Gangsta Tales from Sholem Asch

Sep 11, 2005: 9/11 Interfaith Memorial Service, NY Jewish Healing Center, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue 7PM
Sep 14, 2005: BRUCE FEILER reads from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, B&N Lincoln Center NYC 7:00
Sep 17, 2005: BRUCE FEILER reads from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, B&N Savannah GA 2:00
Sep 20, 2005: JENNIFER WEINER reads from GOODNIGHT NOBODY, B&N Lincoln Center NYC 7:00
Sep 21, 2005: PEARL ABRAHAM reads from THE SEVENTH BEGGAR, B&N GV NYC 7:30
Sep 21, 2005: ROBERT PINSKY reads from THE LIFE OF DAVID, B&N Union Sq NYC 7:00
Sep 22, 2005: LAURIE GUNST reads from OFF-WHITE, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 12 Noon
Sep 22, 2005: Njop.org Finals for the National Great Shofar Blast Off
Sep 28, 2005: MYLA GOLDBERG reads from WICKETT's REMEDY, B&N Astor NYC 7:00

Oct 10, 2005: DAVID RAKOFF reads from DON'T GET TOO COMFORTABLE, B&N Chelsea NYC 7:00
Oct 17, 2005: JOSHUA BRAFF reads from THE UNTHINKABLE THOUGHTS OF JACOB GREEN, B&N GV NYC 7:30
Oct 18, 2005: JENNIFER WEINER reads from GOODNIGHT NOBODY, B&N San Mateo Hillsdale 7:00
Oct 18, 2005: JOSHUA BRAFF reads from THE UNTHINKABLE THOUGHTS OF... , B&N Menlo Park NJ 7:00
Oct 19, 2005: JENNIFER WEINER reads from GOODNIGHT NOBODY, B&N Santa Mopnica 7:30

November 2005: National Adoption Day. Nationaladoptionday.org


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









[summerreading]





BOOKS FOR SUMMER BEACH, LAKE, and PORCH READS

[mirvis in paperback] [crossing California in paperback] [lost tribe in discount paperback] [plot against america]













[the plot will eisner] [sedaris in paperback] [red tent paperback] [kavalier and clay]













[bee season] [coffee trader in paperback] [missing peace paperback] [after such knowledge ]














JUNE 2005

[book cover click here] Texas Hold 'Em
How I Was Born in a Manger, Died in the Saddle,
and Came Back as a Horny Toad
by Kinky Friedman
June 2005. St martin's press
"As the first Jewish governor, I'll reduce the speed limit to 54.95!" Big laughs. "I'm a Jew. I'll hire good people!" Bigger laughs.
From Publishers Weekly: The Kinkster, "Kinky's term of endearment for himself," has been busy churning out the pages (three books last year; two so far this year), even as he prepares to run for governor of Texas in 2006. Given the successes of Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Kinkster figures he could be a governor, too; since governors don't do any "heavy lifting," he could do "some spiritual lifting," perhaps referring to his vow "to fight the wussification" of Texas. Apart from arguing for know-nothings in politics, Friedman supplies his readers with a great number of lists: Texas cheerleaders, Texas inventions, Texas oddities, Texas prison slang, etc. He even tries his hand at a bit of pop sociology, pondering the number of former Eagle Scouts on Texas's death row: "The Boy Scouts don't allow non-Christians or gays in their organization. You would think that would weed out the nutters but apparently not." Although in the end, it's clear Friedman doesn't have much to say about anything, his many fans will probably set aside a couple of nights' beer money for this latest collection, enhanced by the cartoons of John Callahan. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] CAMP
A MEMOIR
by Michael Eisner, (Disney Corp)
June 2005. Warner Books
Excerpt: Chapter 1: It was the summer of 1949, and I was seven. Some forty miles north of New York City, my family had a summer home on sixty acres, "in the back" (as we called it) of my grandfather's gentleman's farm. I was attending a day camp, Camp Mohawk, to do what kids in Bedford Hills and Mount Kisco and Chappaqua and Armonk and White Plains did when their parents wanted every minute accounted for during the summer. I had been at Mohawk just one week, already the survivor of a lost baseball mitt and my sister's throwing up in the bus, when the subject of overnight camp came up.
We were sitting at dinner on the screened porch of the house when the voice of God (God was my father) said, "I thought I'd take you up to Camp Keewaydin to see if you might want to go there next summer."
I was excited and paralyzed. As far as I can now remember, I had never gone on an overnight trip with my father alone, without a sister or mother. He was a father I called by his first name, Lester. Yes, he was my real father, and no, I cannot imagine why he liked that. They said it was because my sister couldn't say "Daddy," but I doubt it. For much of the first three years of my life, he had been flying planes in the "war" (World War II), and, since then, had remained the man who inspired enduring respect, love, admiration, envy, and fear, and all that was fatherhood to me.
My father was a man of adventure. After the war, he had started an airline in Ecuador that he scraped together from two army air force planes. Flying to South America with your father as the pilot was certainly an adventure. But then he had settled down as a lawyer in the world of New York City. Surely everyone thinks their father is unique, and at a young age, the impression I had of my father was no different. He was athletic, a bold entrepreneur, clever humorist, attentive husband, matinee idol to my sister's friends and simply bigger than life to my friends. The women loved him, and children were awed by him. As a seven-year-old, I saw all this, and was at once respectful and impressed and mesmerized and sometimes daunted by his power.

PW writes: ".... Eisner is a man of powerful charm and if one knew nothing else about him, this valentine to a place that is clearly his Rosebud might win the reader over (though an attempt to bring current interest to the account by following two disadvantaged youngsters transported to Keewaydin-thanks in part to the largesse of the Eisner family-doesn't really work). The account intercuts between Eisner's experience and the experience of Keewaydin campers today, with a healthy salting of lessons learned, along with a sprinkling of Eisner family history. Eisner perhaps unwittingly paints an unflattering portrait of his father, whom he calls Lester instead of Dad, while paying extensive homage to Lester's stand-in, Waboos, longtime Keewaydin director. Anyone lucky enough to have a happy, hokey place like Keewaydin in his life-a place of simple, steadfastly unchanging charms-can sense Eisner's manifestly genuine love of the experience. But as it happens, we know quite a lot about Eisner and much of it isn't flattering. So it's hard to stay focused on the Camp text when one's eyes keep rolling. (As when he writes, "Working in business can be another canoe trip.") Eisner tells us the Keewaydin code calls for a camper to be honest, loyal and "willing to help the other fellow." When he then says, "Many of my principles were Keewaydin principles," it's easy to wonder what other Keewaydin alumni might make of that statement.Eisner seems irresistibly drawn to write. That much came through during the Katzenberg trial (notes from Eisner's previous book-Work in Progress-were the source of his famous "I hate the little midget" quote). It happened again in last year's shareholder suit over the hiring and firing of Ovitz as Disney's president. On the witness stand, Eisner had to explain away his own memos calling his former pal a "psychopath" and a liar, among other things.Eisner could not stop himself then, and he cannot stop himself now. Camp was delayed last year, in the midst of the Disney drama, and Eisner comments tartly in his prologue that he was distracted by "people who could have used a few summers at camp earlier in their lives."Perhaps it would have helped if that Keewaydin code had included an admonition to "know thyself."
Click the book cover above to read more.


[book cover click here] BAR MITZVAH / BAT MITZVAH
PLANNING THE PERFECT DAY
by Amy Nebens
June 2005. Stewart Tabori Chang
Planning the Perfect Day outlines the history of the bar and bat mitzvah, offers options for menus, entertainment, decorations, and activities, and addresses the etiquette of hosting the event. With beautiful photographs that provide the party-giver with creative examples, this must-have primer will lead celebrants and their parents through the entire planning process. AUTHOR BIO: Amy Nebens, a former editor for Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, writes articles for a variety of lifestyle, women's, and shelter publications, including Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, Home, and Shop, Etc.. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Shadows of Berlin
The Berlin Stories of Dovid Bergelson
by Dovid Bergelson (1884-1952), Joachim Neugroschel (Translator)
June 15, 2005. City Lights Books, SF
George Cohen writing in Booklist wrote: "*Starred Review* Neugroschel relates in his informative introduction that Bergelson, a notable Yiddish writer from Ukraine, spent 1922 to 1929 in Berlin, where his prolific output of stories included some set in that city. At that time, Berlin was a place of exile for many Yiddish intellectuals, and living there, Bergelson, whose fiction had previously focused on the bleak and wistful decay of the shtetl and on the frustrations of the Jewish bourgeoisie in the czarist realm, now focused on what Neugroschel describes as "individuals trapped in their own isolation and alienation." There are eight stories in this remarkable collection. One, "For 12,000 Bucks He Fasts Forty Days: Scenes of Berlin," deals with a young man sealed under glass in a restaurant, existing only on seltzer and cigarettes. "Among Refugees" concerns a Jewish terrorist tracking the notorious Ukrainian pogromist. "One Night Less" is the tale of a poet who roams the streets of Berlin at night, observing the lonely eccentrics. "The people in this forceful city do not fall into different types and characters--but the streets do," he observes. Bergelson was killed in 1952 in Stalin's final purge of Soviet Yiddish culture. Despite their bleakness, the stories contain some malicious humor. More importantly, they reveal the indomitable Jewish spirit in the face of past suffering and the tragedy to come." Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] THE AMOROUS BUSBOY OF DECATUR AVENUE
A MEMOIR
by ROBERT KLEIN
June 2005. S&S
You remember Robert Klein's old routine of being at Alfred University and playing in The Merchant of Venice, and he sayd "does not a Jew have eyes?" and the audience shouting of JEWBOY, JEWBOY... Well here is the whole story. This took him over 5 years to write. It is a great story of a kid from NYC who makes it to Yale Drama School and the start of SECOND CITY. It stops at 25, before he becomes a famous actor and comedian, and before those Wendy Wassserstein plays. From Publishers Weekly: Best known for his unique brand of observational humor-seen on Broadway and in film and television-Klein details his life from ages nine to 25 as seen "through the gauze of time." Uproarious opening chapters about his 1950s Bronx childhood and his overly cautious parents ("Never touch a light switch with wet hands! My God, don't cut that bagel toward your neck!") give way to a recollection of seeing a feared fourth-grade teacher go beyond her usual verbal venom and hit a student in the face. Klein's theme park of memories alternates dark moments with sunlit humor. Teenage frustrations prompted a visit to a Harlem prostitute, which filled Klein with "shame and triumph and guilt." He encountered individual and institutional anti-Semitism at Alfred University, yet led the frat house fun, moving on to the Yale School of Drama, Chicago's Second City, New York theater and a variety of romances. Along the way, Klein had successes and failures, both in bed and on stage. Probing not only his own psyche but also the evolution of sexual mores during the 1950s and '60s, he unfurls an array of captivating anecdotes, writing with wry wit and honesty. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] THE OSLO SYNDROME
DELUSIONS OF A PEOPLE UNDER SIEGE
by KENNETH LEVIN
June 2005. SMITH AND KRAUS
PW writes: While the subject of this study is specific-"the delusional thinking that underlay Israel's attempt to achieve peace with its neighbors through the so-called Oslo process"-the author's interests and conclusions are wide-ranging. Levin, a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a commentator on Israeli politics, attempts to analyze why many Israeli Jews chose to believe in the peace negotiations of the early 1990s, even when Yasser Arafat was refusing calls to publicly renounce terrorism. Levin analyzes this through both historical and psychoanalytic lenses, mapping out how people who have lived under siege are likely to internalize the hatred they encounter and become "delusional" about their own self-interest. Levin also discusses European and American anti-Semitism and its effect on Jewish identity, from the mid-19th century to 1948, with some background material on the emergence of Zionism and the British Mandate. While the word "delusional" may be too strong, Levin's psychoanalytic arguments about the "corrosive impact of... besiegement" are fascinating and generally persuasive. But once stated, their truth becomes self-evident and their explanatory application over 600 pages of Jewish and Israeli history begins to feel thin. Levin's documentation of the Arab-Israeli conflicts of the past three decades is exhaustive, but while there is mention of the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks, Levin might have spent more time exploring how his ideas affect other countries or political situations. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] JUBANA !
THE AWKWARDLY TRUE AND DAZZLING ADVENTURES OF A JEWISH CUBANA GODDESS
By GIGI ANDERS
June 2005. Raya
Let's light Hanukkah candles and then eat some roast pork.
From Publishers Weekly: Castro's regime began in 1959, and Anders's family fled a year later, arriving in Maryland when Anders was a toddler. At this memoir's heart is Anders's relationship with her mother, Mami, whom the author alternately worships and scorns (leading to decades of therapy for Anders as an adult). Mami prepared Anders early for the life she should have: that of pampered wife. Standing over her infant's crib, Mami murmured, " 'Tafetán color champán.' " Anders writes, "It took about a year of hearing this bizarre mantra over and over before I was old enough to finally understand what... my mother was talking about: the color and fabric of my wedding dress." Mami is a complex woman who does puzzling things, like bringing four-year-old Anders to her job at a mental hospital every day because she doesn't believe in summer camp. But Anders doesn't sufficiently explain Mami's reasonings, and much of what she complains about is average adolescent angst. When Anders does find herself in serious situations, she resorts to humor, keeping the tone so light, readers are kept at a distance..."
From the Jewish Journal: Three years ago, Gigi Anders found herself down and out in Hackensack, N.J. Her fiancé couldn't go through with their wedding, she had quit a job at a nearby newspaper and her friends lived elsewhere. "I was alone and without a safety net," she recalls. "Then there was my hair, my weight, etc. Writing was the only noninsecurity I had." Surviving on cases of TaB and cartons of cigarettes, Anders spent the ensuing years squeezing memoir material out of her childhood, adolescence and Byzantine relationship with her larger-than-life mother. Due out next week, "Jubana! The Awkwardly True and Dazzling Adventures of a Jewish Cuban Goddess" simultaneously reads like a classic coming-of-age tale, Jewish history lesson and stand-up comedy routine. Born in Havana, the now 47-year-old Anders left Cuba and an upper-middle-class life of wealth and privilege before her third birthday. After a brief period in Miami, her family settled in Washington, D.C., where her doctor father and social worker mother tried to rebuild their lives. Though Anders' tribulations and the legacy of Fidel Castro's regime certainly loom large in the story, the highly glamorous and opinionated "Mami Dearest" frequently steals the show. "She's my best material," admits Anders about her mother. "If I had a boring mom, I'd having nothing to write about."
Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] THE WONDER SPOT
By MELISSA BANK
June 2005. VIKING
Melissa Bank's runaway bestseller, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, charmed readers and critics alike with its wickedly insightful, tender look at a young woman's forays into love, work, and friendship. Now, with The Wonder Spot, Bank is back with her signature combination of devilishly self-deprecating humor, seriousness and wisdom. Nothing comes easily to Sophie Applebaum, the black sheep of her family trying to blend in with the herd. Uneasily situated between two brothers, Sophie first appears as the fulcrum and observer of her clan in "Boss of the World." Then, at college, in "The Toy Bar," she faces a gauntlet of challenges as Best Friend to the dramatic and beautiful Venice Lambourne, curator of "perfect things." In her early twenties, Sophie is dazzled by the possibilities of New York City during the Selectric typewriter era -- only to land solidly back in Surrey, PA after her father's death. The Wonder Spot follows Sophie's quest for her own identity -- who she is, what she loves, whom she loves, and occasionally whom she feels others should love -- over the course of 25 years. In an often-disappointing world, Sophie listens closely to her own heart. And when she experiences her 'Aha!' moments -- her own personal wonder spots - it's the real thing. In this tremendous follow-up to The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing, Bank again shares her vast talent for capturing a moment, taking it to heart, and giving it back to her readers. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here][book cover click here] Mine Are Spectacular!
A Novel
by LYNN SCHNURNBERGER, JANICE KAPLAN
Ballantine Books (June 28, 2005)
A follow up to the Botox Diaries. A light hearted look at plastic surgery in the suburbs. Ms. Kaplan said an inspiration came from her own next-door neighbor in Larchmont, a woman physician. "My wonderful neighbor is just a few years younger than I am, but she was having a baby at about the same time I was sending my first baby off to college. I realized that we all create a different rhythm for our lives-and age doesn't mean much anymore." One of the characters in the novel, Sara, a divorced single mom newly engaged to a rich Wall Street executive, has to deal with a jealous ex-wife, a snippy teenage stepdaughter, and her own amorous ex-husband. On top of everything, she suddenly finds herself the star of a show on the Food Network. Ms. Kaplan particularly enjoyed coming up with the recipes Sara could make on her TV show. "The idea is that Sara becomes a star making only desserts that use popular candies," Kaplan explained. "So I invented a chocolate pudding with Grand Marnier and M&Ms. And a Key lime pie-with a crust of Kit Kat bars and a filling healthy with Skittles. Lime ones, of course." Kaplan joked that she enjoyed eating her own concoctions for dinner. "But unfortunately, my husband started eating out a lot."
About affluent divorced women friends living in a Westchester-style suburb of New York City. Sara, a caterer in her early 40s whose first husband, James, ran off to Patagonia eight years ago, has moved into her fiancé Bradford's house in Hadley Farms with her young son, Dylan. Sara's best friend, Kate, a fancy Manhattan dermatologist, is having an affair with a wealthy married man, Owen, while their other friend Berni, pregnant with twins, has relocated from the West Coast, having left her job as a successful Hollywood agent to embrace motherhood. Complications ensue for all: Bradford's snide ex-wife drops in, and their rude 14-year-old daughter, Skylar, makes hell for Sara, just when James reappears to win Sara back. However, Sara's catering career takes off after a cable TV appearance, while Owen decides to leave his blond trophy wife. Predictably, Sara and Skylar become friends, Bradford and Sara prove a lasting match and even Kate makes a sage decision regarding Owen. "Getting older and smarter and more confident isn't that bad," the ladies collectively decide. Click the book cover above to read more.










[book cover click here] Performing Israel's Faith
Narrative and Law in Rabbinic Theology
by Jacob Neusner
June 2005, Baylor University Press
Rabbi Neusner introduces the complexities of rabbinic thought. If law alone yields legalism, then religious belief, by itself, fails to create justice. In Performing Israel's Faith, Jacob Neusner shows how Jewish Halakhah (law) and Aggadah (narrative) fit together to form a robust and coherent covenant theology one directly concerned about this world. Neusner's careful and thorough examination of several key issues within Rabbinic Judaism the nations, idolatry, sin, repentance, and atonement demonstrates that neither Halakhah nor Aggadah can be fully and rightly understood in isolation from each other. Performing Israel's Faith thus effectively reveals that Rabbinic Judaism's true pattern of religion was constituted by a covenant theology comprised by both law and story a covenant theology whose aim was to restore the sanctification of God's original creation. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] COMPANY C
An American's Life as a Citizen Soldier in Israel
By Haim Watzman
June 2005. FS&G Farrar Strauss & Giroux
Tom Segev (Elvis in Jerusalem) calls this book compelling. PW writes: Watzman, a writer and translator, served in the reserve infantry of the Israeli army, one month a year, from 1984 to 2002. On one level this thoughtful and absorbing book is a frank (and often funny) barracks-room memoir, capturing the tedium, terror and grinding discomfort of military life, with a sharp eye (and gifted memory) for details of character and place. The periodic nature of Watzman's service gives the book a serial viewpoint into the tumultuous events of the years from before the rise of the first intifada to the re-occupation of the West Bank, always from a unique front-line perspective. We also come to know the other men in Watzman's unit, representative of Israeli society only in their disparateness. As an observant Jew and patriot who is also vocally opposed to the West Bank and Gaza settlements, Watzman himself defies easy stereotyping, and his depiction of the motivations and opinions of his comrades and countrymen, especially as they shift over time, is likewise unclichéd, affectionate but critical.
Sol Schindler writes: "..Life in the army was not easy for the author. As a teenager like so many of his generation he had demonstrated against the Vietnam war and developed an anti-military attitude; and like many urban liberals he did not particularly like guns. He was also a self-styled klutz, unathletic and uncoordinated. The one physical activity he did enjoy was running, which perhaps made the infantry with its long hikes the least inappropriate service for him. Politically Haim Watzman was of the left and felt the Israeli presence in the occupied territories morally wrong and politically foolish. He was also a staunch feminist which put him at odds with some of the more traditional Orthodox practitioners. Wherever he looked, he was the odd man out. How these contradictions resolved themselves, and although he does not say so, made him a valuable member of his community, both army and civilian, is what this book is about.
Every veteran of the Israeli Defense Force is required to serve one month each year in the reserves. Since the date of service may vary according to national needs a great deal of personal hardship could be involved in a call-up, but exceptions are frequently made. Nevertheless some veterans made a political issue of refusing to serve because they might be required to police the occupied territories. Mr. Watzman was faced with this same moral problem. He was against his government's policy towards the Palestinians but at the same time could not turn his back on his fellow reservists in Company C. He arrived at a truly rabbinical decision by saying it was not where you served that counted, but rather how you served, and reported for duty.
As was inevitable the time came when the author's unit was required to serve in the territories and because through time of service he had become an NCO he was one of the leaders of foot patrols in their area. The company commander conducted his patrols by the book. Anti-Israel graffiti had to be erased as soon as discovered, either by the owner or residents of the building so defaced. Schoolboys throwing stones were immediately apprehended, (not always easy for overweight middle-aged reservists), warned, and turned over to their elders; but the Palestinians were not bullied though there was no fraternization. The Company Commander's patrols evolved into relatively quiet walks through town. .. " Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Next Year in Jerusalem
Everyday Life in a Divided Land
by Daphna Golan-Agnon, Janine Woolfson (Translator)
Summer 2005, New Press
From Publishers Weekly: At once a memoir and a plea for a better understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma, this poignant offering from Golan-Agnon, instructor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and co-founder of the human rights organizations B'Tselem and Bat Shalom, decries human rights violations perpetrated against Palestinians. "The most frightening similarity" between the apartheid in South Africa and the Israelis' persecution of Palestinians, she writes, is "the precise and consistent use of the legal system to normalize the abnormal state of discrimination." The author describes how many of her Palestinian friends and interview subjects have faced the demolition of their homes by Israeli authorities, the reduction of funding for their children's schools and abrupt, unexplained deportations that separate husbands and wives. Regardless of whether Palestinians or Israelis have the right to claim Jerusalem as their own, Golan-Agnon asserts that it is unacceptable that, "in the realpolitik of the Middle East, the validity of international laws and resolutions" meant to ensure human rights "seems not to apply to Palestinians." Golan-Agnon relates the tragic stories of several Palestinians and candidly shares her own heartbreak in having to raise her two children in a land ruled by fear, violence and discrimination. In so doing, she delivers her humanitarian message in a deeply moving, meaningful way. HAARETZ SAID IT SHOULD BE READ BY EVERYONE. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Genius Factory
The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank
by DAVID PLOTZ
June 7, 2005. Random House
PW writes: Building on a series of articles he wrote for Slate, Plotz investigates the legacy of the Repository for Germinal Choice, a California sperm bank that was to have been stocked exclusively by Nobel laureates. Very few donors in the institution's 19-year run really had Nobels, and the one publicly acknowledged laureate was William Shockley, a notorious racist. Plotz has fun poking holes in the eugenic vision of the repository's founder, self-made millionaire Robert Graham, and his ambition to collect "the Godiva of sperm." More captivating, however, is Plotz's recounting of the efforts of the women who visited the repository to discover the identities of their donors. As he gets to know a cluster of families and donors, Plotz reaches insightful conclusions about the unforeseen emotional consequences of artificial insemination. The "reunions" his research helps bring about include the elderly scientist who adopts a grandfatherly role in a young girl's life and a teenager who takes his wife and infant son along to meet his "dad" and finds him sharing a house with Florida drug dealers. The attempt to breed genius babies may have an aura of surreal humor, but the sensitive narration always reminds us of the real lives affected-and created-through this oddball utopian scheme. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] TRUE STORY
MURDER MAYHEM AND MEA CULPA
By Michael Finkel
June 2005, HarperCollins
Finkel wrote a story for The New York Times, in 2001. He fabricated the story, was discovered, and left in shame and filled with despair. Would he have to write fiction for the rest of his life? Who could trust him? Speaking of liars, he found out that his identity was being used by a MASS MURDERER. So begins the tale of Finkel's journalistic crimes, the murderer's (Christian Longo's) crimes and run from the law, and their growing relationship. Is it all true? Who knows. But it is a great read. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Neoconservative Revolution
Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping of Public Policy
by Murray Friedman
Cambridge University Press (June 30, 2005)
This book suggests that Jews and Jewish intellectuals have played a considerable role in the development of modern American conservatism. The focus is on the rise of a group of Jewish intellectuals and activists known as neoconservatives who began to impact on American public policy during the Cold War and in the lead up to and invasion of Iraq. It presents a portrait of the life and work of the original small group of neoconservatives including Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Sidney Hook. Irt reminds readers of the godfathers: Eugene Lyons (1898-1985), Ralph de Toledano, Morrie Ryskind, Frank Chodorov, the funder Alfred Kohlberg, Murray N. Rothbard, Milton and Rose Friedman, William S. Schlamm, Will Herberg, Ayn Rand (born Alissa Rosenbaum), and others.
This group has grown into a new generation who operate as columnists in conservative think-tanks like The Heritage and The American Enterprise Institute, in education, and in government including such figures as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Elliot Abrams. The book suggests the neo cons have been so significant in reshaping modern American conservatism and public policy that they constitute a neoconservative revolution.
Friedman is a historian and a prolific writer, Murray Friedman was appointed as vice chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in Washington, DC by Preisdent Ronald Reagan and acting chair following the death of the chairman. In 2003, he served in a State Department delegation representing the US in Vienna at a Conference on Racism, Xenophobia, and Discrimination. Dr Friedman has written and edited numerous books including What Went Wrong? The Creation and Collapse of the Black Jewish Alliance (1995, The Free Press).Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Boy Vey!
The Shiksa's Guide to Dating Jewish Men
by Kristina Grish
Simon Spotlight Entertainment (June 1, 2005)
A piece of crap. Oops. Did I write that? It is so filled with crap and stereotypes that is lacks humor, and I am sorry for any guy who ever had the misfortune of dating this idiot. As for her chapter titled, "The First Shtup," well... if u run into her in Manhattan, I think you would be better off pleasuring yourself alone than investing any time dating the author. But we jest. Click the book cover above to read more.










[book cover click here] The Sky's the Limit
Passion and Property in Manhattan
by Steven Gaines
June 2005. Little Brown
I came to this book with indifference. By page three, I was a convert and engrossed in this vuyeuristic story of opulence and property on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, an area the contains the greatest concentration of personal wealth on Earth. I never knew the names behind these social register families, the newly rich strivers, the real estate brokers who serve these super rich co-op owners. Gaines throw in the juicy stories of how Nixon was rejected by a building, how Vanderbilt sued for entry into on GB (Good Building), how Streisand got stuck with her place for years, and how the powerful and wealthy are brought low by dictatorial co-op boards. Gaines used the story of Tommy Hilfiger and his "board package" to show the evolution of upper east side real estate - namely the acceptance of some "garmentos" in to the best buildings. Of course, when Hilfiger finally got a place, his divorce forced the apartment to be flipped and flipped again. When people say a book a juicy, this is the sort of book they mean. It is hard to put down, and it illuminates a world few of us will ever experiences.
PW writes: Buying real estate in Manhattan is like buying real estate nowhere else in the world: a hoity-toity book called the Social Register dictates who can live where; co-op boards in luxury buildings often require a buyer to have at least 20 times the price of the apartment in assets; and the cost of an apartment rarely holds any relationship to the true value of the space. Indeed, Manhattan real estate is a cutthroat, baffling but thrilling world, and Gaines takes readers on a spectacular ride through it. The author of Philistines at the Hedgerow profiles some of the game's influential brokers, with a roving eye for detail (e.g., Linda Stein, who's sold homes to Bruce Willis, Steven Spielberg and Andrew Lloyd Webber, "has a brash, husky voice with the delivery of a red-hot mama, and her expressive face telegraphs the subtlest of emotions"). Gaines is at once intrigued and appalled by the excesses of this world, gloriously rehashing, for example, the juicy details of how Gloria Vanderbilt sued the board of directors of River House, a posh Upper East Side building, for rejecting her as a buyer. But Gaines isn't just concerned with modern-day foibles: throughout this addictive narrative, he weaves a captivating history of the city and its toniest neighborhoods.
WHAT MAKES THIS A JEWISH BOOK?? Raines states in the book that many buildings have quotas for Jewish residents. Jews are "red flags" for some co-op boards. Buildings that tip too Jewish can injure resale values. One interviewee in the book remarks that the Jewish member of the co-op board is the one who will veto the Jewish applicant, thus keeping the non-Jewish neighbors' hands clean. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] AND HEAVEN SHED NO TEARS
by HENRY ARMIN HERZOG
June 2005, Wisconsin
Henry Herzog survived the liquidation of the Rzeszow ghetto in Poland and endured terrible hardships in forced labor camps. He documents the increasing severity of Nazi rule in Rzeszow and the complicity of the Jewish council (the Judenrat) and Jewish police in the round-ups for deportation to the Belzec concentration camp. One of these deportations took his parents to their deaths. His brothers were caught, tortured,, and killed by the Gestapo. Herzog and his sister escaped to Hungary where--although she found refuge--he was betrayed, arrested, and finally put on a train to the concentration camps. Escaping by jumping off the train and fleeing into the Tatra Mountains, he joined a group of Russian partisans to fight the Nazis. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] My China Eye:
Memoirs of a Jew and a Journalist
by Israel Epstein (1915-2005), editor of China Today
Long River Press. April 2005
JUST AS his latest magnum opus was published, Israel Epstein passed away at 90. He was born in Warsaw (under Russian control) in 1915. His father, a labor organizer was imprisoned by the Czar; his mother was exiled to Siberia. The family moved to Tianjin in China when he was 2, in order to espace progroms. Israel Epstein was buried at Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing. Epstein was a special Chinese son, who was also a Jew and life-long journalist of more than 70 years. His colleagues, and those who have been touched by his series of books about China and about his life in the country, will undoubtedly be moved at the ceremony remembering the unique man who witnessed and documented all the dramatic events that shaped the modern and contemporary history of China. "Eppy was an intellectual, a serious scholar with a wide range of interests," said Sidney Shapiro, an American lawyer and writer who became a Chinese citizen in 1963, in an interview with China Daily. "But what he accomplished in his long and fruitful life was predicated essentially on his heart. No one loved China more, no one was more devoted to the cause of the Chinese revolution," Shapiro said.The film documentary entitled "Round Eyes in the Middle Kingdom," a "first person" account starred Epstein as the protagonist. This sweeping memoir by veteran journalist Israel Epstein--eyewitness to the Chinese Communist Revolution--spans over eighty years and offers an unprecedented, highly personal look into one of the most fascinating and controversial social struggles of the twentieth century. A must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Chinese history








[book cover click here] A STRANGE DEATH
by HILLEL HALKIN
June 2005, Public Affairs
Jay Freeman wrote in Booklist: The community of Zichron Ya'akov is located in the southern foothills of the Carmel Mountains near Haifa. Today, this picturesque village is a tourist attraction for both Israelis and foreigners, but in 1917 this Zionist settlement was at the heart of an enduring espionage mystery that still haunts its inhabitants. Halkin is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and has lived in Zichron Ya'akov since 1970. During World War I, the settlement sheltered a spy ring that passed information to the British about Ottoman military capabilities and maneuvers. The ring was uncovered; the Turks executed two members, and a third committed suicide to avoid torture. Who betrayed them and why? What happened to the supposed informants? In probing the mystery, Halkin uses the tools of an expert novelist and a skilled investigative journalist. His narrative moves smoothly back and forth in time, from pre-Mandate Palestine to contemporary Israel. His book is both a tale of intrigue and a sociological survey of the evolution of a small community over nine decades. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] THE jGirl's Guide
A Young Jewish Woman's Handbook for Coming of Age
By Penina Adelman, Ali Feldman, and Shula Reinharz
June 2005, Jewish Lights
What does it mean to become a Jewish woman? Did you ever think that Judaism had any advice on how to deal with pressure from your friends? Arguing with your parents? Feeling stressed out? Well, this book shows you that Judaism can help you deal with all these things-and a whole lot more. The JGirl's Guide is a first-of-its-kind book of practical, real-world advice using Judaism as a compass for the journey through adolescence. A fun survival guide for coming of age, it explores the wisdom and experiences of rabbis, athletes, writers, scholars, musicians, and great Jewish thinkers, as well as lots of girls just like you-girls who share your worries and concerns, and your joys. Here's a place to turn to for honest, helpful discussion about the things that really matter to you: Friendship / Eating Health / Sexuality / Getting involved / Dealing with authority / Coping with stress / Self-esteem / Communication / Jewish Identity. Now's the time when you are thinking: Who am I? What do I believe in? Who will I become? The JGirl's Guide provides Jewish writings, traditions, and advice that can help. Click the book cover above to read more.










[book cover click here] ANNE FRANK
by Josephine Poole, Angela Barrett (Illustrator)
Hutchinson (June 2, 2005) Ages 4 - 8
The life of Anne Frank, from birth until being taken from the hidden attic by the Nazis, is presented in this haunting, meticulously researched picture book. It is a compelling yet easy-to-understand "first" introduction to the Holocaust as witnessed by Anne and her family. The stunningly evocative illustrations by Angela Barrett are worth a thousand words in capturing for young Americans what it must have felt like to be Anne Frank, a spirited child caught in the maelstrom of World War II atrocities. A detailed timeline of important events in Europe and in the Frank family is included. Click the book cover above to read more.
To read the book online, go to http://www.realread.com/pageview/browse.cgi?site=06172708&book=0375832424






[book cover click here] DAD ARE YOU THE TOOTH FAIRY
by Jason Alexander
Ages 4 - 8
Orchard. June 2005
When Gaby overhears some older kids on the playground saying that the tooth fairy is just make-believe, he goes straight to his father to find out the truth. The enchanting tale his dad tells him of a time long ago when mysterious and magical creatures lived on the earth will delight and entertain children and adults alike. For any child who has ever wondered about the existence of the tooth fairy, this original and reassuring story will satisfy their curiosity and give them the power to believe magical things can happen. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] In God's Hands
by Lawrence Kushner, and Gary Schmidt,
MATTHEW J. BAEK (Illustrator)
Ages 5 and up
Jewish Lights Publishing (June 27, 2005)
"When the sun sets and stars fill the sky, the square in the little town grows quiet and still. The cool air of distant hills mingles with the sweet scent of baking bread. The moon rises and glows softly. It's the sort of place where miracles could happen." David and Jacob live in the same little, ordinary town, but it's almost as if they're from different worlds. David is so poor he can barely feed his family. Jacob is so consumed with staying rich he thinks about nothing but money. But the two men have one thing in common: they both believe that miracles are big, magical things that can only happen somewhere else, to someone else. But when Jacob wakes up from a nap in synagogue one day, sure that God has demanded twelve loaves of bread from him, all this changes in amazing ways you'd never expect. A delightful, timeless legend based on Jewish tradition, In God's Hands tells of the ordinary miracles that occur when we really, truly open our eyes to the world around us. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] The 2000 Year Old Man Goes To School
by Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner,
James Bennett (Illustrator)
Ages 4 and up
HarperCollins, June 2005
Publishers Weekly: Didn't dinosaurs and cave dwellers exist separately, a bit longer than 2,000 years ago? Never mind. In this loose interpretation of history, based on the authors' skit, Reiner (Tell Me a Scary Story) visits an elementary classroom with the 2000 Year Old Man, a skinny fellow in a snow-white caftan that matches his blowdried mane and beard. "Kids, this is your chance to ask the oldest man in the world anything you want," Reiner announces, prompting earnest, misinformed grade-schoolers to inquire, "How did you know how old you were? There were no calendars!" The Man says he attended "primitive" (not primary) school, where he is pictured with a pterodactyl and woolly mammoth. His wrinkly teacher Mrs. Weinstein, sporting a furry wrap, "was so old that her father was a Neanderthal. In the winter, she wore him to class." The hero went on to Vesuvius University and "got great marks" (from the volcanic eruption). He later met Robin Hood and Shakespeare ("Don't tell me he was a good writer! He had the worst penmanship I ever saw"). Caricaturist Bennett, who illustrated Reiner's and Jerry Seinfeld's picture books, paints naturalistic settings and exaggerates characters' features. His slapstick portraits emphasize the punch lines, while the gags take evident liberties with facts. Die-hard fans will be tempted by this celebrity package, which includes an eight-minute CD of the duo's shtick, but discerning comedians must admit that the preposterous gags lose a bit of their oomph in print. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] The Bastard On The Couch
27 Men Try Really Hard To Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood, And Freedom
by Daniel Jones (Editor)
Summer 2005, paperback edition
Last year's much-ballyhooed The Bitch in the House, edited by Hanauer, collated essays by women on their frustration and rage. Now Jones (Hanauer's husband and a novelist and journalist) offers the male version, wherein guys discuss how they feel about their standing in today's shifting cultural landscape (that is, if they care at all). As Jones notes, "The fact that women are in charge of their own birth control and reproduction may be a gigantic cultural shift, but I've yet to hear a single man complain about it." Divided into sections on "Hunting and Gathering," "Can't Be Trusted With Simple Tasks," "Bicycles for Fish" and "All I Need," the essays vary from somewhat revelatory to unsurprising, but they are almost uniformly entertaining and well written. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] Cross Bones
a thriller novel by Kathy Reichs
Summer 2005
From Booklist: In the eighth entry in Reichs' popular mystery series, forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan spends more time contemplating biblical history than modern-day murder. A preface sets the stage, providing a bit of factual context for the puzzle that emerges when Tempe is given a photo of an articulated skeleton, which she is told is the key to the suspicious death of a slightly shady Orthodox Jewish merchant. The legend on the back of a photo leads to the bones themselves, 2,000-year-old remains that excite not only Tempe but also her friend Jake Drum, a biblical archaeologist, who suggests that the bones might even belong to Jesus himself! Unlike Tempe's previous forays into the world of crime, this episode isn't long on thrills. Instead, we get a fairly complicated lesson in biblical history, some radical theory to ponder, and the itch to read real-life religion professor James Tabor's upcoming book about Masada and ancient bones, The Jesus Dynasty, to which Reichs refers in an afterword. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] Mafia Summer
The Ballad of Sidney Butcher
a novel by E.Duke Vincent
Summer 2005, Bloomsbury
Booklist writes: Based loosely on events from his own life, veteran TV producer Vincent's novel is set in the summer of 1950, at the dawn of a new age of organized crime in the U.S. A Mob boss has hatched a plan to install himself as the new capo di tutti capi (boss of all bosses) of the New York crime families, and a deadly gang war results. The story is told from the perspective of two friends, Vinny Vesta, a young Sicilian mobster on the way up, and an Orthodox Jewish boy, the bookish Sidney Butcher. This unlikely duo lands in the middle of the gang struggle. The author, known for such melodramatic TV fare as Melrose Place, turns out to be a talented novelist. Vincent uses his memories and experiences to give us plenty of you-are-there atmosphere. By placing his two central characters on the periphery of the gang war, caught up in something much bigger than they are, he adroitly avoids direct comparisons to The Godfather. Still, fans of that classic will find much to enjoy here Click the book cover above to read more.







Achot Ktana (LITTLE SISTER)
by Ram Oren
Keshet Publishing, 352 pages, NIS 89
In Hebrew
A student from a respected seminar for ultra-Orthodox girls is raped by a gang of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) boys in the heart of Bnei Brak, and almost no one notices. Her brother, a gifted scholar at a prestigious yeshiva, plots his revenge against the rapists. He ambushes them one at a time, beats them up, strips off their clothes and inflicts damage on their private parts, severe enough to require long-term hospital care. The dead bodies of a Haredi man and woman are found in their bed, a suicide note lying nearby. A yeshiva student falls for a female undercover agent, who sings songs by the poet Rachel under his window. A young Haredi man, enlisted by the police, escapes from drug dealers who want to murder him at sea. He manages to jump off their boat, to swim, although he has never learned to, and to be rescued by a passing ferry. On the deck he meets his would-be seductress, the biblical Potiphar's wife reincarnated as a Dutch mother nursing her son in plain sight. At the last moment he manages to flee from her, too. These are only some of the plot twists encountered by the Haredi characters of Ram Oren's new book.





Bemota natna li et chayay
by Menucha Beckerman,
Hebrew, Israel
A Haredi girl stumbles onto the discovery that her birth mother is a non-Jewish woman, a Londoner who became pregnant while young and unmarried. After giving birth, she chose to pass the baby on to a Haredi couple, whose stillborn daughter was delivered at the same hospital. The couple had no idea that their baby was born dead, and they certainly did not know of the switch, arranged with the help of the midwife. When the truth comes out, the family finds itself in a profound crisis. Ultimately the daughter chooses to convert to Judaism and re-embrace her Haredi identity, this time fully and out of choice.




Kav hashever (Fault Line)
By Hava Rosenberg
Israel, Hebrew
A secular Jewish girl who inadvertently learns that she has been raised by adoptive parents. Her Haredi mother, it turns out, was newly widowed when she had her. A childless secular couple took advantage of the mother's predicament, and in some shady way "bought" the baby from her. The secular identity with which the girl has grown up is therefore a false one. She barely hesitates before choosing the biological mother and her Orthodox family.




[book cover click here] Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?
YIDDISH TRIVIA
By Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
2005
DID YOU KNOW THAT: There are more than 300 Yiddish and Hebrew words all officially acceptable in Scrabble? A 1997 Elderhostel course was titled, "Dress British, Think Yiddish"? Molly Picon taught Kate Smith and Carol Channing to sing in Yiddish? Billy Cystal ("700 Sundays") said that "Yiddish is a combinaton of German and phlegm? In show business, a "shtick" is a special bit of acting? The great Flydini is a hysterial Steve Martin "shtick." NU, SHOYN? HURRY UP! READ THE BOOK IT'S 'VUNDERLICH"--WONDERFUL.




[book cover click here] RAYMOND AND HANNAH
A NOvEL
By STEPHEN MARCHE
Harvest/Harcourt, 2005
This is a short postmodern novel of short sentences and fragments, but larger ideas.
Raymond is..... not a Jew.
Toronto is a city of multiculturalism, and Jerusalem is a city of... well.... Let's see
Marta Segal writing in Booklist: "A week before leaving for an intense course of study in Israel [at an egalitarian Orthodox institute,] the Jewish Hannah picks up the Gentile Raymond [at a party in Toronto.] What is meant to be a one-night stand turns into an intense, weeklong affair. The assimilated Hannah is going to Israel to try to discover her roots and herself. Raymond is trying to avoid writing his dissertation on Robert Burton [on the topic of melancholy and depression.] They decide to continue the affair via e-mail and phone calls. This lyrical first novel is written in brief passages, each with its own subtitle. At first this might seem like an Internet-age or postmodern writing gimmick, but the technique suits the subject matter well. The intellectual journeys of both protagonists are perhaps a little overexplained, since what is compelling here is their relationship with each other. The characters are likable and believable, and their romantic dilemma will resonate with many readers."
... As Hannah get deeper and deeper in her study of Judaism in Jerusalem, and the enclaves of Jerusalem and their unique entitlements, her relationship with Raymond becomes more and more threatened. And their love affair becomes more and more about what they think than about what they actually physically do. Is it any wonder that they retreat to Jerusalem, a city of differences? Hehe. Click the bookcover to read more





[book cover click here] The Task of This Translator (Paperback)
by Todd Hasak-Lowy
Harvest Books. June 2005
From Booklist: Newcomer Hasak-Lowy has a disarming style: pared-down, ineluctably male, confidingly first-person, and intelligently ironic. His characters are vexed and desperate; his stories are transparently structured, yet events escalate quickly and unpredictably. A job interview yields oddly therapeutic yet potentially damaging disclosures. A demoralized Israeli journalist ends up working as a snack-shop cashier at Jerusalem's Holocaust memorial. Another floundering journalist gets overly involved in his investigation into a weight-watcher company that provides bodyguards to enforce its rules. In the tense yet darkly funny title story, a poseur finds himself playing the role of translator at a violent confrontation instigated by the Bosnian War. In this altogether powerful and provocative collection's most far-reaching story, "The End of Larry's Wallet," a shattering tale about helplessness and the limits of empathy, one man's life unravels against the backdrop of the confused, insipid, suddenly shockingly personal TV coverage of a nuclear "exchange" between India and Pakistan. Timely, perceptive, magnetic, and real in the way only fiction can be, Hasak-Lowy's tales reflect the paradoxes of the global village. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Woman from Hamburg and Other True Stories
(Hardcover)
by Hanna Krall, Madeline G. Levine (Translator)
Other Press (NY) (June 14, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: The grim and the surreal portentously collide in Krall's 12 genre-bending pieces, all shadowed by the brutal facts of the Holocaust. In "Hamlet," Andrzej Czajkowski, a Polish piano impresario and composer who survived WWII as a child hiding in wardrobes, bequeaths his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the supernatural "Dybbuk," an American professor of architecture tries to exorcise the tormented spirit of his half-brother, who disappeared in a Jewish ghetto. "Phantom Pain" draws the life of Alex von dem B., a German officer who lost a leg on the Eastern front and plotted to assassinate Hitler after witnessing a massacre of Jews. Conspiracies resurface in "The Back of the Eye"-backlit by Cold War terrorism and the violence of the Baader-Meinhof Gang-in which Stefan, the son of a concentration camp survivor, serves a life sentence for a 1977 abduction and murder. A lineage mystery centers the fine folkloric title tale, though digressive genealogies obfuscate and confuse minor and major characters elsewhere. These investigations are stitched with information culled from diverse sources: interviews, an encyclopedia, state archives, diary entries, photographs and letters. Krall's (Shielding the Flame, etc.) prose is compressed, unadorned and journalistic. Braiding history with imagination, she produces necessary accounts that incisively unveil and interrogate the ruptured historical legacy of Jews after WWII. Click the book cover above to read more.



[book cover click here] INHERITING SYRIA
BASHAR's TRIAL BY FIRE
by FLYNT LEVERETT

2005, Brookings Institute Press
The repressive Alawite leader, Hafez Assad, groomed his son, Basil, to take over the dictatorship of Syria. But just as the future leaders of Lebanon died violently, Basil died in a auto crash in 1994. The elder Assad then designated Bashar, a British-trained ophthalmologist -- to carry on the family's rule. At first, one would think that a man who studied medicine in the UK would be normal and not a beast. Leverett argues that the Hafez spent the his last six years tutoring a reluctant Bashar in the skills he would need and the policies he should follow upon becoming president. Since taking over after his father's death in 2000, Bashar has essentially followed a script written by his more skillful father -- trying to manage Syria's noxious domestic politics and its stagnant economy, the violence and unpredictability of the Middle East, and Damascus's troubled relations with the great powers, especially the United States. This is a great study of Israel neighbor and a must read for an understanding of the politics of the region. Click to read more.









[book cover click here] Sleepaway (Paperback)
by Eric Simonoff
Riverhead Trade (June 7, 2005)
I went to Camp Pinemere where I was a camper, then I was Camp Rabbi at the age of 17. Working in the kitchen and living in the kitchen bunk, I got to see our beloved cook up close, and saw the reality behind the perception. I also lived in terror as if I were one of the teens from the ghetto of having my eyebrows shaved off by some of our drunken grounds-crew bunkmates. I was also a counselor for a Jewish travel camp. And I read Michael Eisner's book on his pseudo Jewish canoe trip based camp. So I was refreshed by reading this book
Margaret Atwood tells of a girl swallowed up by the woods and lost forever. Mark Oppenheimer experiences leftist utopia in a nature camp. David Sedaris avoids having a bowel movement for a month. ZZ Packer teaches a lesson in black and white to the girls of Brownie Troop 909. These are among the stories and essays in this anthology featuring eighteen diverse writers remembering with nostalgia--as well as dread--the childhood days of summer camp. Ah, camp, where a bullied young girl with limp hair and three names will do anything to meet the demands of being popular; where Woody Guthrie is no longer a folk icon, but rather a cabin for young nudists; and where, in that Kumbaya solitude, homesickness, independence, and the need for healthy revenge all stick like s'mores to the heart and soul. Featuring stories, essays, and cartoons by: James Atlas, Margaret Atwood, Kevin Canty, DIANE TRILLING, Terry Galloway, LEV GROSSMAN, CYNTHIA KAPLAN, JOSH LAMBERT (former editor of JBOOKS.com, The Brief Summer of Amir and Ariella-An Allegory at Camp Halutzim), Andrea Lee, Ursula K. LeGuin, Thisbe Nissen, MARK OPPENHEIMER (Commie and Quaker camper), ZZ Packer, Steven Rinehart, ELLEN UMANSKY (How to Make It to the Promised Land," at Camp Shalom), and David Sedaris. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] THE COLLECTED POEMS
MURIEL RUKEYSER
Edited by Jan Levi
by Janet E. Kaufman, Anne F. Herzog, Jan Heller Levi (Editors)
University of Pittsburgh Press. June 2005
What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) asked in her great poem "Käthe Kollwitz." And she answered: The world would split open. Rukeyser held a visionary belief in the human capacity to create social change through language. She earned an international reputation as a powerful voice against enforced silences of all kind, against the violence of war, poverty, and racism. Her eloquent poetry of witness-of the Scottsboro Nine, the Spanish Civil War, the poisoning of the Gauley Bridge laborers-split the darkness covering a shameful world, and brought her to the attention of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Yet her expansive, nonpartisan vision often rankled the political Left. Who will speak these days, she asked famously in "Speed of Darkness," if not I, / if not you? Her poetry broke silences about sex, motherhood, daughterhood, breast-feeding, lesbian erotics, menstruation-all common experiences not deemed suitable for poetry until her emergence on the American literary scene in 1935. Much lauded (and criticized) during her lifetime, Rukeyser's place in modern American poetry is now secure. In addition to the complete texts of her twelve previously published books, this volume also features new poems discovered by the editors; Rukeyser's translations, including the first English translations of Octavio Paz's work; early work by Rukeyser not previously published in book form; and the controversial book-length poem Wake Island. An introduction by the editors that traces Rukeyser's life and literary reputation complements discerning annotations and textual notes to the poems. Click the book cover above to read more.



Speaking about poetry... as you do each day/ as you do each day/ when a new life beings for you:

[book cover click here] The Wild Braid
A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden
by Stanley Kunitz, Genine Lentine, Marnie Crawford Samuelson (Photographer)
W. W. Norton & Company (2005)
From his celebrated seaside garden, a beloved poet-in his one-hundredth year-speaks about life, poetry, and the kindred spirit in all living things. Throughout his life Stanley Kunitz has been creating poetry and tending gardens. This book is the distillation of conversations-none previously published-that took place between 2002 and 2004. Beginning with the garden, that "work of the imagination," the explorations journey through personal recollections, the creative process, and the harmony of the life cycle. A bouquet of poems and a total of twenty-six full-color photographs accompany the various sections. In the spring of 2003, Kunitz experienced a mysterious health crisis from which, miraculously, he emerged in what he called a "transformed state." During this period, his vision of the garden-constant source of solace and renewal-propelled him. The intimate, often witty conversations that followed this time are presented here in their entirety, as transcribed. Their central themes, circling mortality and regeneration, attest to Kunitz's ever-present sagacity and wit. "Immortality," he answers when asked. "It's not anything I'd lose sleep over." 26 color photographs. Click the book cover above to read more.





[book cover click here] Second Chances
Transforming Bitterness to Hope and the Story of Ruth
by Rabbi Levi Meier,
Rabbi at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles
URIM. June 2005
Deep feelings of depression and giving up hope are often part of the human experience. Second Chances explores strategies that serve as models for a more positive and optimistic life, transforming tragic cir­cum­stances into a force for healing. Drawing upon years as a clinical therapist and spiri­tual chaplain, Rabbi Levi Meier (author of the best-selling book, Ancient Secrets) paints a fresh approach to the Bible and draws relevancy and sage advice from an ancient text.
[click book cover click here] [book cover click here] Rabbi Levi Meier, Ph.D., is Jewish Chaplain of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and a marriage, family and child therapist. He has authored numerous books on psychology and spirituality. His award-winning book, Ancient Secrets, was nominated as a finalist in the National Books for a Better Life Awards in the Spiritual category. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] The Letters of Abigaill Levy Franks, 1733-1748
by Edith B. Gelles (Editor) , Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Stanford University
Winter 2005, Yale University Press
These letters were acquired at an auction in Britain for their postage stamps. But then the letters were read and quite a treasure was found. Letters by a Jewish mother in America, filled with good wishes and concerns. She sends pickles to her son who has left for Britain. Why didn't he stay in NYC? Why did he have to go so far from his mother. His two siblings have married non Jews. But there were only 20 Jewish families in New York at the time. Abigaill Franks' letters are among the earliest extant by a woman in colonial New York City. They are also the earliest known letters by a Jewish woman in British America and probably the Western colonies. Thirty-five letters survive, all written to her son Naphtali between 1733 and 1748. These letters represent a rare resource for the study of family life during the colonial period as well as of the life of a lively and articulate woman. In this fascinating book, Edith B. Gelles carefully edits all of Abigaill Franks' letters to make them accessible to modern readers. Gelles' substantial introduction provides a portrait of New York City at the time, describes typical colonial family life, and discusses the Jewish immigrant experience in New York. Abigaill's spontaneously written letters tell of one Jewish family's assimilation in eighteenth-century America; it is a story that resonates with other stories of assimilation that permeate the pages of American history. Click the book cover above to read more. PS ... we spell is Abigail Levy Franks or Abigail Franks, but she used two 'l's actually.
"Abigaill Franks' letters are essential to the study of American Jewish history and the best single collection of Colonial era correspondence from a Jewish family that we possess."-Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism: A History


[book cover click here] Jewish High Society In Old Regime Berlin
(Modern Jewish History)
by Deborah Hertz (Univ California at San Diego)
Syracuse University Press (June 30, 2005)
During the quarter century between 1780 and 1806, Berlin's courtly and intellectual elites gathered in the homes of a few wealthy, cultivated Jewish women to discuss the events of the day. Princes, nobles, upwardly mobile writers, actors, and beautiful Jewish women flocked to the salons of Rahel Varnhagen, Henriette Herz, and Dorothea von Courland, creating both a new cultural institution and an example of social mixing unprecedented in the German past. Deborah Hertz is Herman Wouk Chair in Modern Jewish Studies at the University of California at San Diego.
"Engaging, intelligently written. . . . The focus of her interest is the nine Jewish women who presided over salons, whose lives she has painstakingly reconstructed. . . . Hertz appears to be in full command of the dimensions of the salon phenomenon, including the social bases of intellectual life, the economic problems of the Prussian nobility, Berlin's urban history, and the position of Berlin Jews. . . . The author has provided us a fine study of a limited subject which, fully and suggestively explored, illuminates the broad field around it."--Lloyd P. Gartner, Journal of Modern History
Click the book cover above to read more.




[book cover click here] Atta Girl!
A Memoir (Paperback)
by Genie Zeigler
Sherman Asher (2005)
The authentic, funny and entertaining voice of an adolescent Jewish girl growing up in the 1950's--a decade that demanded restraint and repression in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Appealing to adults, especially baby boomers, but also to young adult audiences, Atta Girl! asks all the questions, explains all the thoughts, and wonders all the wonder of an adolescent stuck in her world. Her unrestrained words are a breath of fresh air extending back in time and towards the future. Genie Zeiger was born and raised in NYC, underneath the takeoff and landing routes for LGA Airport. She attended PS2 and JHS 141. She went to the CEJWIN Summer camp and attended Hebrew School on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. By the time she was 13, she had read the Diary of Ann Frank three times. She earned a BA, an MEd and an MFA. A writer and former psychotherapist, she gives readings and workshops on death and dying. Her poems and essays have appeared in The NYT Book Review, Tikkun, and many other publications. Click the book cover above to read more.




[book cover click here] White House Nannies
True Tales from the Other Department of Homeland Security
by Barbara Kline
Tarcher (2005)
This hilarious tell-all from the president and owner of White House Nannies, a nanny placement agency that caters to a host of influential people in our nation's capital. Ah, to experience parenthood as the rich and powerful who have only to call in their Mary Poppinsesque nannies to pick up the pieces. But it's not all smooth ailing for those precious few either-and Barbara (GOLDSTEIN) Kline should know. In the twenty years since she founded White House Nannies, Kline has handpicked and delivered nannies to elected officials, cabinet members, advisers to the President, and the media who report on their every move. White House Nannies is her laugh-out-loud account of what happens when these powerful parents find themselves at the mercy of tiny tyrants-and the nannies who offer their only hope of salvation. From finding the "perfect nanny" to firing the "perfect nanny," from refereeing Mommy-nanny disputes to keeping mum about family secrets, Barbara Kline has seen it all. In this hilarious page-turner she takes readers on a delightful ride through the bottle-and-bib-strewn beltway. Click the book cover above to read more.




[book cover click here] My Fathers' Houses
Memoir of a Family
by Steven Roberts
William Morrow (2005)
The DC based journalist and husband to journalist Cokie Roberts is best known to us for his book on making "intermarriages" work. In this new book, BOOKLIST writes, "Roberts' first newspaper job was at the Times--the Bayonne Times--and the well-known journalist recalls his childhood and adolescence in that often-disparaged New Jersey city. Thematically, his memoir traces acculturation, beginning with that of his immigrant grandparents, and extending to his own education about the world beyond Bayonne. The majority of this memoir focuses on two people: Roberts' father, Will, and Will's father, Abe, an opinionated eccentric whose businesses hovered between the legal and the illegal. The author expresses loyal and warm feelings about his father, without sentimentalizing his struggles to make it. A cache of his parents' premarital letters allows Roberts to reconstruct their youthful ambitions and anxieties, and their traditional relationship sets the stage for the 1950s adventures of Roberts and his twin, who was afflicted with polio. Set against Bayonne's population, made up of Eastern European Catholics and Jews, Roberts' affecting recollections of sports, girls, and family seldom omit an ethnic component, and fairly burst with his feelings about his family's lore. A singular saga of assimilation." Click the book cover above to read more.




[book cover click here] [book cover click here] Journey from the Land of No
A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran
by Roya Hakakian
June 28, 2005, Three Rivers
From Publishers Weekly: Political upheavals like the fall of the Shah of Iran and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism may be analyzed endlessly by scholars, but eyewitness accounts like Hakakian's help us understand what it was like to experience such a revolution firsthand. The documentary filmmaker and poet was born to a prominent Tehran Jewish family in 1966, two years after the Shah had exiled Islamic fundamentalist leader Ayatollah Khomeini. As Jews in a largely Muslim world, the family knew how to live respectfully with their neighbors. With powerful illustrations, Hakakian relates how, in 1979, when the Shah fled and Khomeini returned triumphant, she joined the cheering crowds. Khomeini's revolution seemed liberating, but before long, the grip of the Islamic extremists tightened. Women were put under strict surveillance; books and speech were censored. Anti-Jewish graffiti appeared. As the targeting became more visible-being made to use separate toilets and drinking fountains, being required to identify their businesses as non-Muslim-many Jews emigrated. After Hakakian describes the teacher who risked her job to give her high marks on a "subversive" paper or grips readers with the tale of how she and her teen buddies barely evaded the morality police, readers just want her to leave, too, which her family did, in 1984. Hakakian's story-so reminiscent of the experiences of Jews in Nazi Germany-is haunting. Click the book cover above to read more.




[book cover click here] My Bar/Bat Mitzvah
A Memory And Keepsake (Spiral-bound)
by Edward Hoffman, Ph.D.
2005, Chronicle
A bar or bat mitzvah is the traditional Jewish ceremony for welcoming a boy or girl into Jewish adulthood-a time for blessing, celebration, and reflection. This beautiful journal, by the author of The Kabbalah Deck and the Jewish Holiday & Sabbath Journal, captures the emotions and events surrounding this special time. With fill-in and paste-in activities that are fun, festive, and thoughtful, it's the perfect way to preserve memories of the momentous occasion. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book cover click here] In the Promised Land
Lives of Jewish Americans
by Doreen Rappaport, Cornelius Van Wright (Illustrator)
2005, HarperCollins
Booklist writes: Ages Gr. 4-7. Rappaport presents an eclectic group of Jewish Americans whose lives show what has been achieved in "the promised land." Biographies of one page (the rest of the spread is taken up with art) have a you-are-there feeling: "Ten thousand people were jammed together near the Mississippi River for a free performance" begins the introduction to Harry Houdini, for instance. There's a good mix of well- and lesser-known people here, including Asser Levy, who fought against anti-Jewish laws put into place by New Amsterdam's Peter Stuyvesant; Jacob Davis, who helped invent blue jeans; and Steven Spielberg. Although the brevity of the profiles leads to gaps (readers will need to extrapolate the exact year of Olympic gold-medalist Lillian Copeland's win), and there are some awkward transitions, children will come away with an idea of how Jews and the U.S. have benefited one another. The watercolor art is attractive and adds flavor to the biographies. A short reading list and lists of Web sites and selected resources are appended. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book cover click here] Zayda Was A Cowboy
(Paperback)
by June Levitt Nislick.
2005, JPS
Ages 9 - 12 Grades 4 - 6
"The year was 1980. Fifty-two Americans were being held hostage in Iran, and President Carter's efforts to rescue them were not successful ... Ronald Reagan got elected president, John Lennon of the Beatles was shot dead, I drove everyone nuts singing the Doobie Brothers hit 'What a Fool Believes' night and day, and Zayda came to live with us." And so begins the extraordinary story of how one family, and one young boy in particular, are changed forever when Zayda (Yiddish for "grandfather") comes to live with them. At first the young narrator, Bill, is resistant to all the changes in the house: Zayda spooks his friends, tries to get Bill to speak Yiddish, and demands strange foods like herring. But as Zayda starts telling Bill and his brother Danny the fascinating story of his life, a story filled with many extraordinary dangers and adventures, the boys begin to see their grandfather in a whole new light. From why, as a young boy, he was forced to flee his Russian village for America to how he eventually became a cowboy, Zayda holds the boys captive with his amazing tale. Like Zayda's grandsons, young readers -- and their parents and teachers -- will also be entranced by Zayda's saga. While the characters are fictional, Zayda's experiences are historically correct and are a colorful retelling of a fascinating yet little-known time of Jewish-American history. This book, like Zayda himself -- funny, touching, and memorable -- is destined to be a favorite of Jewish and non-Jewish children alike, teachers, librarians, and educators for many years to come. Click the book cover above to read more.



[book cover click here] Edges
O Israel, O Palestine
by Leora Skolkin-Smith, Grace Paley
Glad Day (June 1, 2005)
The JBC writes: Edges was selected by Grace Paley for "Glad Day Books", a new publishing house founded by Ms. Paley and Robert Nichols. "Edges" takes the reader to an Israel before high walls formed a border, when, instead, metal wires hung "like hosiery lines" across the land. Liana Barish is fourteen years old when the suicide of her American father forces her mother, mourning, in despair back to her family--to Jerusalem where she grew up. For Liana it is the place where the powerful interdependence of mother and daughter--physical and spiritual--ends. It is the place of her sexual awakening. This can happen when Liana escapes across the border with the missing son of an American diplomat. They are made closer by the death of a young Palestinian boy. They move deeper into the world of Palestinian fields, olive orchards, villages. The novel is set in the Israel of the early '60's. Liana's mother and aunt tell lively stories about the 1940's, their young guerilla-like struggles against the British particularly, the mother's memories of growing up in a shared land in the old city before it was divided. Growing into a womanhood forever formed by the boundary-less spaces of a lost geography and people, Liana's coming of age brings this tumultuous region into startling light and relief. Click the book cover above to read more.




[book cover click here] [book cover click here] NO FIREWORKS
A Novel
by Rodge Glass
Gardners, June 30, 2005
"No Fireworks is both thoughtful and brave, offering a bleakly humorous and moving take on one man's final struggle to restore his faith - in himself, his family, and ultimately, his God." "A superb debut...the plot oozes confidence and somehow seems to seep into the story rather than standing outside, like scaffolding holding the whole thing together." No Fireworks is an unusual first novel for a 27-year-old: enjoyably unpredictable, its 61-year-old protagonist is a Jewish alcoholic teacher going through his third divorce. Like the best tragi-comedies, it is written with a pin-sharp sense of character, isn't afraid to take a swing at the deepest subjects and can spin between the two modes at will. Abe Stone knows that he's wasted his life, that his mother is right in the letters he receives from her after her death that tell him to stand for something so that when he, too, dies he won't have regrets. But stand for what? For being something more than a "pretend Jew", getting to know the rabbi, going back to the faith of his fathers? Or what about spreading his spiritual bets and helping out with the multi-cultural bunch of Christians in the charity shop? Or forgetting about faith and just healing his own fractured family? Above all, which is better: believing in something that you know is flawed or believing in nothing at all? As Abe stumbles ever closer to the grave, there are a whole host of comedic hooks to pull the reader alongside him. Sometimes it's the dialogue, as in the string of faux pas Abe, a non-observing Jew, makes during the funeral service for his mother; sometimes it's the tease of dropped hints about shocking incidents to come. Either way, the plot oozes confidence and somehow seems to seep into the story rather than standing outside, like scaffolding holding the whole thing together. Click the book cover above to read more.


[book cover click here] ALMONDS TO ZHOOF
Collected Stories
by Richard Stern
June 10, 2005. triquarterly
From Booklist: Chicago writer Stern has a number of potent novels to his credit, but his name would be etched indelibly in American letters for his short stories alone. The phenomenal range of his storytelling acumen is mapped in this robust collection of 49 short stories and novellas published from 1949 to today. Like a gifted dancer in a small space, Stern has tremendous grace and ease on the page, executing dynamic turns and dips with a fine economy of motion and without sacrificing nuance. And there's a toughness here, a fighter's willingness to face life's cruelty even as he appreciates its resiliency and pleasures. Unexpected and revelatory confrontations, impossible infatuations, failed negotiations, and bumbling compromises abound in stories about teachers, psychologists, a dentist, salesmen, songwriters, and a freelance journalist. Stern's intensely observed characters work hard but expect little, crave love but botch up relationships, vow to be hard but end up doing the decent thing. Set in Chicago, New York, and Europe, and considering everything from misplaced sexual desire to the awkwardness between fathers and their grown children, these great American short stories subtly track the social changes of the past half century while cherishing the surpassing strangeness and wonder of the human psyche. Click the book cover above to read more.
Peter Orner, writing in The Forward wrote: "In story after story, characters struggle for a modicum of dignity in a country where there is only one true sin: lack of success. These people fail in their careers (Stern's landscape is littered with souls who never have lived up to their own potential or to anybody else's). They fail as parents, particularly late in life when they are no longer able to quite recognize the children they brought into the world. Most often, though, they fail in love. Love is ever-present in these stories, but always, somehow, just over the edge of the page. However, none of this defeat is for lack of trying, and it's the trying that creates the wrenching lyric intensity and humor of so many of these stories. Typical Stern characters (and they are an extremely wide-ranging bunch) have education (often too much), much wit (thankfully) and even, at times, a sufficient amount of money. Still, it's never enough. Something is always missing, and Stern's characters are forever seeking ways to fix the gaping hole in their hearts.... In the mournfully beautiful "The Ideal Address," Winnie (two children, two degrees, supports herself selling real estate in Chicago) must fly to Denver to comfort her daughter, Nora, who finds herself unable to have her own children. Winnie "had never been close to Nora," but in Colorado, she makes a connection to her daughter - only to find that this newfound love, as so often happens in these stories, is eventually undermined by a past that continually rises up and spoils things....



[book cover click here] CROSSING CALIFORNIA
A Novel
by Adam Langer
Summer 2005, now in paperback
Set in Chicago's Jewish neighborhood of West Rogers Park, this is the story of three families--adults and children alike--coming of age during the tumultuous, turbulent days of the Iran hostage crisis. At the close of the 1970s, the Rovners, the Wasserstroms, and the Wills-Silvermans will have to shed their pasts to cross into that new, shining decade of hope: the 80s. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] Young Turk
A Novel (Hardcover)
by Moris Farhi
Arcade Publishing (June 8, 2005)
In his latest novel, Farhi weaves together 13 short tales to tell a powerful story of Turkey just before, during, and after World War II. On the eve of war, people still believe in a Turkish culture that can accommodate any number of races and religions. But Hitler's march through Europe makes this an increasingly dicey proposition for the nation's Jews and the Turks who wish to stand by them. As Turkey begins to unravel, a cross-section of young Turks race toward adulthood in an increasingly polarized world, each in turn telling a piece of the country's beautiful and savage tapestry. In the luminous "Lentils in Paradise," two young boys find honest delight in the pleasures of the body, but soon discover that they can't be children forever after what they discover in the women's bathhouse. In "A Tale of Two Cities," a group of foolhardy teens embark on a plan to save their friend's relatives from persecution in Greece. The story is imbued with the tragedy of a doomed mission. Its honesty captures the ephemeral, sensual and often brutal process of becoming an adult as the book's haunting tone walks the line between a novel of ideas and an extended coming of age story. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Five
A Novel Of Jewish Life In Turn-of-the-century Odessa
by Vladimir Jabotinsky, translated by Michael R. Katz
Cornell, Spring 2005
The Five is an captivating novel of the decadent fin-de-siècle written by Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880-1940), a controversial leader in the Zionist movement whose literary talents, until now, have largely gone unrecognized by Western readers. The author deftly paints a picture of Russia's decay and decline-a world permeated with sexuality, mystery, and intrigue. Michael R. Katz (Professor of Russian) has crafted the first English-language translation of this important novel, which was written in Russian in 1935 and published a year later in Paris under the title Pyatero. The book is Jabotinsky's elegaic paean to the Odessa of his youth, a place that no longer exists. It tells the story of an upper-middle-class Jewish family, the Milgroms, at the turn of the century. It follows five siblings as they change, mature, and come to accept their places in a rapidly evolving world. With flashes of humor, Jabotinsky captures the ferment of the time as reflected in political, social, artistic, and spiritual developments. He depicts with nostalgia the excitement of life in old Odessa and comments poignantly on the failure of the dream of Jewish assimilation within the Russian empire. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] Always Up Front
by Helen Fried Kirshblum Goldstein, Myrna Katz Frommer
June 2005, Gefen Books
From the time she followed her big brother to kindergarten and got herself accepted a year ahead of time, Helen Fried Kirshblum Goldstein has pursued her goals with pluck, verve, and determination. In this forthright and engaging memoir, Helen looks through a lens that encompasses most of the last century and moves into the present one, telling the story Always Up Front. As president of Womens League for Conservative Judaism and a leader in the Jewish organizational world the author encountered such figures as Nelson Rockefeller, Golda Meir, Abraham Heschel, David Ben-Gurion, Teddy Kollek, Arthur Goldberg, Menachem Begin, Elie Wiesel, and involvement in such events as the creation and development of the State of Israel, the Civil Rights Movement, the Feminist Movement and its impact on Conservative Judaism, and open admissions policies in higher education were consequences of that MOVE and are described here with vivid recall. Helen Fried Kirshblum Goldstein was for many years a speech professor at the City University of New York. She lectured on Jewish observance and culture throughout the United States and was a leading figure in Conservative Judaism. Her endowment of the Helen Fried Kirshblum Goldstein Chair of Practical Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America is her ongoing legacy, pairing her belief in the importance of communication skills with her lifelong commitment to Conservative Judaism. Myrna Katz Frommer is the coauthor of the oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, and It Happened in Manhattan. Her articles, many of which focus on Jewish history, life, and culture throughout the world, have appeared in Haaretz, the New York Times, Midstream, the Forward, and the Jewish Monthly. She holds a Ph.D. in communications and is a professor at Dartmouth College, teaching in the Master of Liberal Studies program. . Click the book cover above to read more.




[book cover click here] News from the New American Diaspora
and Other Tales of Exile
Edited by Jay Neugeboren
University of Texas Press (June 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: From Ukraine to Brooklyn and from Brooklyn to western Massachusetts and Florida, wandering Jews stray far from their geographical, cultural and spiritual homes in Neugeboren's assured third collection of stories (after Corky's Brother and Don't Worry About the Kids). His characters exhibit complex symptoms of their displacement, self-imposed or otherwise, in these tales about memory and dislocation, many of which are framed as reminiscences. In "Poppa's Books," one of the collection's most moving stories, two sons, age five and eight, are buffeted between their immigrant parents, an impoverished book peddler who was an honored and learned man in the old country and a woman warped with bitterness over her husband's failure to achieve the American dream. A desolate, modern-day Amherst, Mass., is the setting for "Good in Bed," in which a middle-aged, Brooklyn-born academic finds comfort in the arms of an Italian-Catholic grad student when his gentile wife demands a divorce. In "Lev Kogan's Journey," Neugeboren eloquently captures another Massachusetts man's conflicted sense of peoplehood when a charming Soviet refusenik seduces him and his family in more ways than one. Though a few pieces (e.g., the title story) read as more labored and self-conscious, this is an evocative collection from a confident storyteller. Click the book cover above to read more.








JULY 2005

THE HOT BEACH READ FOR JULY:

[book cover click here] Triple Identity
An Intelligence Thriller (Dan Gordon Thrillers)
by Haggai Carmon
Steerforth Press, July 5, 2005
I met Attorney Carmon in New York City on the June 4, 2005. The foreword of this book is by a secret former head of the Mossad. This book is a best seller in Israel, and given his background and contacts (I MEAN REAL CONTACTS, PEOPLE), this is as close you will get to a non fiction book and mystery, but still remain in the fiction category. Carmon (sounds like Gordon, doesn't it) has worked closely with intelligence agencies around the world. You get my drift, right?
Dan Gordon, the book's lead character, specializes in asset recovery cases. He is a former Mossad-nik. Gordon is on the trail of $90 million stolen from a failed California bank. He discovers that Iran plans to use the missing money to buy nuclear weapons. (this is not a far fetched story, okay?) This is when the mysteries and deceptions begin. Shortly after Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, investigating attorney Dan Gordon, an Israeli native and a veteran of the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service, is working for a unit of the U.S. Department of Justice that combats money launderers outside the United States. His assignment: track them down and bring them - and the stolen money - back to the United States. Gordon follows the trail of one Raymond DeLouise, an American banker with a secret past who has absconded with ninety million dollars from his failed California bank. But when Gordon arrives in Munich, DeLouise's case presents immediate and unforeseen problems. A seemingly routine investigationdevelops into a complex international plot involving murder, espionage, kidnapping, conspiracy, and romance. Gordon, an indefatigable bloodhound, calls on his innate shrewdness, as well as his Mossad training, to ferret out the truth, and DeLouise's real identities. In this first novel - already a best seller in Israel - attorney Haggai Carmon weaves an ingenious plot that around the Byzantine, subterranean methods by which rogue states - in this case the theocracy of Iran - seek to acquire nuclear materials. If you want to understand how the CIA and the Mossad work, alone and together, you'll get no better picture than the one told in this plausible, compulsively readable intelligence thriller. If what you require is sheer entertainment with a timely context, Triple Identity delivers that, too.
A former director of the Mossad wrote that Carmon "has managed to surprise even my skeptical mind with his seamless weaving of fact and fiction that has left me wondering which is which. He found the gentle balance between the dull plodding image and the peaks of ingenuity that makes this story so riveting. . . . Dan Gordon's maneuvering tactics, self-motivation, and deceitful manners fit the profile of a successful undercover agent." Click the book cover above to read more.






THE HOT SUBWAY BEACH READ FOR JULY
[book cover click here] [book cover click here]
To be read on subways
in Brooklyn in time for
the yahrzeit of the Lubavitch'er
Rebbi, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died 11 years ago):







[book cover click here] TALKING TO THE ENEMY
STORIES
BY AVNER MANDELMAN
Seven Stories Press, July 5, 2005
THIS BOOK WON THE JEWISH BOOK PRIZE IN CANADA... and now thanks to SEVEN STORIES PRESS, we can grab them in the lower 48. Born in Israel in 1947, Avner Mandelman has for four decades split his time between Paris, California and Canada. His stories have been widely published throughout Israel and North America, including in Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize anthology. Mandelman, an Israeli living in Toronto, complicates the underside of Israeli culture, teasing out the roots of violence and prejudice in this alternately dark and humorous collection, which won the Jewish Book Award when first published in Canada. Mickey, a Mossad agent and son of Holocaust survivors, narrates several pieces spanning his lifetime, including "Terror," in which he betrays his five-year-old brother and suffers a beating from his father, learning the hard way that "family comes first," a lesson that morphs into his reigning ideology: "Is it good for my people?" "Pity" details the disastrous results-and the chink in Mickey's hardened, vengeful bluster-when he and his colleagues botch a two-week stake-out of a Nazi war criminal in Paris. In "Black," the young narrator recalls his Ashkenazi family's unlovely rejection of his cousin's dark-skinned Moroccan bride. Mandelman strikes a lighter note with the hilariously convoluted "Mish-Mash," about Uncle Nathan Berkovitch's polygamous household-his concubine, his two wives and one of their lovers-and their conflict over a winning lottery ticket. With these agile, vernacular stories, Mandelman takes a clear-sighted yet empathetic view of a fraught nation Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] THE EZEKIEL OPTION
A novel
BY JOEL ROSENBERG
Tyndale, July 2005
Rosenberg was raised in an observant Jewish household, then became an evangelical Christian, and is now a top writer in the Christian series of Left Behind genre mysteries.
New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg brings readers this thrilling new novel. When Russia's richest oil baron is killed, Moscow suddenly teeters on the verge of political chaos. Tehran races to complete its nuclear arsenal. Washington finds herself dangerously divided from her European allies. And in the dead of night, in the hills overlooking Jerusalem, a senior White House advisor uncovers a chilling ancient conspiracy as real as the morning's headlines. Woven through the writings of the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel, more than 2,500 years old, are eerily prescient descriptions of modern countries then unborn, modern alliances then unformed, and an imminent day of unspeakable terror. Now, with the clock ticking down to war, two Americans are caught in the crossfire, wondering, Is the last judgment at hand? Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America
(And Al Franken Is #37)
by Bernard Goldberg
HarperCollins (July 2005)
The author of BIAS writes about who he thinks are screwing of the America he loves. OF COURSE.. YOU KNOW WHAT I AM GOING TO SAY about this book... Here are some of the people Goldberg says are screwing up America... Out of the 100... oh let's say 20% are you-know-what or of you-know-what PARTIAL heritage.... ... (97) Todd Goldman, (96) Eve Ensler (91) Barbra Streisand (82) Laurie David (78) Norman Mailer, (77) Linda Hirshman, (69) Matt Kunitz, (62) Howard Stern, (61) Michael Savage, (54) Neal Shapiro, (42) Gloria Steinem, (27) Al Franken (32) Jerry Springer, (31) Maury Povich, (19) George Soros, (11) Noam Chomsky, (8) Paul Krugman, (2) Arthur Sulzberger Jr ...
The book description: "No preaching. No pontificating. Just some things that have made this country great -- and the culprits who are screwing it up. Bernard Goldberg takes dead aim at the America Bashers (the cultural elites who look down their snobby noses at "ordinary" Americans) ... the Hollywood Blowhards (incredibly ditzy celebrities who think they're smart just because they're famous) ... the TV Schlockmeisters (including the one whose show has been compared to a churning mass of maggots devouring rotten meat) ... the Intellectual Thugs (bigwigs at some of our best colleges, whose views run the gamut from left wing to far left wing) ... and many more.Goldberg names names, counting down the villains in his rogues' gallery from 100 all the way to 1 -- and, yes, you-know-who is number 37. Some supposedly "serious" journalists also made the list, including the journalist-diva who sold out her integrity and hosted one of the dumbest hours in the history of network television news. And there are those famous miscreants who have made America a nastier place than it ought to be -- a far more selfish, vulgar, and cynical place..."
Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] 98 reasons for being
by Clare Dudman
Viking Books (July 21, 2005)
From Booklist: After the success of her stunning One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead (2004), Dudman turns her interest in biographical fiction to progressive nineteenth-century psychiatrist Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann, longtime superintendent of a Frankfurt insane asylum who is best remembered today as the author of Struwwelpeter, a set of cautionary tales for children published 160 years ago. In 1852, as he treats Hannah Meyer, a young Jewish woman diagnosed with nymphomania, Dr. Hoffmann uses methods from electrodes to leeches. When these methods fail, he persists (particularly because Hannah has captured his interest) by talking, revealing his own personal and professional problems and gradually uncovering Hannah's secrets and the story of the man she loves, as revealed in her mesmerizing italicized interior monologue. While Hoffmann and Hannah are primary, all of the patients and staff at the asylum are exceptionally well drawn, and through them Dudman explores the nature of madness, PREJUDICE, [THE HATRED OF JEWS], and love; and at the end of some chapters, she adds pertinent tales from Struwwelpeter. A beautifully written, emotionally powerful biographical novel." Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] WHEN HEROES LOVE
THE AMBIGUITIES OF EROS IN THE STORIES OF GILGAMESH AND DAVID
(Gender Theory and Religion)
by SUSAN ACKERMAN, Dartmouth
Columbia University Press, July 2005
How can the sexual and homoerotic language found in ancient Near Eastern and biblical literature best be understood? In this illuminating study, Susan Ackerman offers close, original readings of the imagery found in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the biblical story of David and Jonathan. Ackerman focuses on the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu and David and Jonathan. Ackerman cautions against applying modern conceptions of homosexuality in understanding the nature of these relationships. Instead, she analyzes the stories of David and Gilgamesh in terms of the sexual relations and gender roles prevalent at the time. Ackerman´s study makes crucial contributions to Mesopotamian and biblical scholarship as well as to feminist, literary, and queer theory. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Love Me Later
by Julie Baer
Ages 4 - 8
Bollix Books (July 1, 2005)
32 pages. Rachel Kamin writes: "In a stream-of-consciousness narrative, Abe interacts with a butterfly in his backyard, talks to his mother about what he wanted to be when he grew up "when he was little," kisses the mezuzah on his front door, eats a banana, spies on his cat and the squirrels outside, accidentally steps on an ant, and watches his dad cook dinner. The text rambles and the short vignettes about Abe's made-up Hebrew word "Punkyum," his Mom's made-up saying "Fredding me," and an incident with a baby-sitter are like inside family jokes that readers will have difficulty relating to and understanding. As with I Only Like What I Like (Bollix, 2003), Baer's cut-paper collages, using found materials, are intricate and unique. The list of hidden items to find is a nice touch, but the endnote and resources about monarch butterflies seem disconnected from the rest of the book. Some readers may admire and appreciate Love Me Later for its creative and experimental artistic approach, but it is unlikely to appeal to the masses.". Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] Lost in America
by Marilyn Sachs
Ages 9 - 12
Roaring Brook Press (2005)
Hozel Rochman in Booklist write: Whether dealing with the harrowing story of a Holocaust survivor or with the daily details of trying to be a real American girl, Sachs' story, based on the real-life experience of a Jewish teenager, unfolds quietly. In 1943 Nicole, 14, is at a friend's when the Gestapo arrests her family in her small French town. After the war she waits for their return, until, in an absolutely unforgettable scene, a weeping survivor tells Nicole that her parents and baby sister died in Auschwitz. At 17, Nicole emigrates to join relatives in the Bronx--not that they really want her--and she struggles to find work, friends, and a home of her own. The history is authentic; in fact, there may be too much about how Nicole shops, talks, and dates. It's the big picture that leaves the deepest impression, revealing that many Americans felt untouched by the war and didn't want to know about it. Without rhetoric, this novel ensures that readers learn the real history Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] The Other Shulman
A Novel
by ALAN ZWEIBEL
Villard (July 5, 2005)
Read the book that Larry David and Billy Crystal read and enjoyed. From Publishers Weekly: "Told via flashbacks as its protagonist runs the New York City marathon, this very likable effort from a former Saturday Night Live writer is the story of T.O. Shulman, New Jerseyan, stationary store owner and father of three who's gained and lost enough pounds to make "another Shulman." The novel takes its cues from the same green lawns of suburbia that have enchanted writers from John Updike to Chang-rae Lee, but it is Tom Perrotta, with his more quotidian approach to the problems of suburbanites, to whom this work owes its biggest debt. Shulman, in a rut, has decided that his path to salvation is 26 miles long. A fading marriage, absent children and the imminent failure of his business are further complicated by his discovery of a doppelgänger, a real "other Shulman," owner of a mega-stationery store who symbolizes the decline of the Capra-esque smalltown ideal in which displays of vanity and ambition are suspect. But as Shulman's legs grow stronger, his nascent will begins to assert itself in his escalating battle against the cynical manipulations and spiritual falsity that his twin represents. The book wavers by adopting a kind of last-minute ad hoc magical realism that muddles questions about exactly how real Shulman's enemy is, but it nevertheless tells a winning tale." Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] Courtesan
A Novel
by Dora Levy Mossanen
Touchstone (July 2005)
From Publishers Weekly - A sweeping romance with intrigues in both fin de siècle Paris and repressive Persia, Mossanen's engrossing second novel (after Harem) follows the sentimental education of a young seductress. Though Simone knows from a young age that she's too romantic to follow her courtesan mother, Françoise, into the family business, her grandmother, famed Parisian madam Gabrielle (née Ester Abramowicz), isn't so convinced. A really handsome man, she figures, can seduce Simone, and thus initiate her into the habits of wealthy courtesans. Gabrielle sets upon Cyrus, a handsome Persian jeweler, and Simone is intrigued by the man who supplies only the rarest diamonds to the shah's court ("Was the origin of red diamonds the blood of mistreated diggers, the blazing eyes of dragons guarding illicit mines, or the tears of children forced into hard labor?" she wonders). She succumbs to his charms-but then they fall in love. Simone moves with her new husband to the rugged mountains of Persia to make a quiet life living as Jews in a Muslim country, but her happiness is short-lived. Abrupt shifts between times and locations confuse, but the engaging plot wins out. And while the sex scenes are a bit overcooked (Simone "directed the creamy gaze of her breasts" at a suitor), readers will find themselves gripped by spirited Simone's many adventures. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Laughing Jesus
Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom
by Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy
Harmony (July 12, 2005)
An attack on Jewish, Christian, and Islamic fundamentalist beliefs. Click the book cover above to read more.










[book cover click here] ANTISEMITISM AND ITS OPPONENTS IN MODERN POLAND
by Robert Blobaum
Cornell University Press, July 2005
Examines the variations of prejudice. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] Jewish Scholarship And Culture In Nineteenth-century Germany
Between History And Faith
(Studies in German Jewish Cultural History and Literature)
by NILS H. ROEMER (hamburg, Columbia, Univ of Southampton)
July 2005, Wisconsin
German Jews were fully assimilated and secularized in the nineteenth century--or so it is commonly assumed. Nils Roemer challenges this assumption, finding that religious sentiments, concepts, and rhetoric found expression through a newly emerging theological historicism at the center of modern German Jewish culture. Modern German Jewish identity developed during the struggle for emancipation, debates about religious and cultural renewal, and battles against anti-Semitism. A key component of this identity was historical memory, which Jewish scholars had begun to infuse with theological perspectives. After German reunification in the early 1870s, Jewish intellectuals reevaluated their embrace of liberalism and secularism. Without abandoning their political alliance to the liberal camp, they asserted their cultural religious difference. A newly re-theologized understanding of the Jewish past, Roemer argues, helped German Jews fend off anti-Semitic attacks by strengthening their own sense of their culture and tradition. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] Divided by God: America's Church-State Problem--and What We Should Do About It
by NOAH FELDMAN (NYU School of Law)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (July 6, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: Feldman, [35] a legal rising star and author of After Jihad (a look at democracy and Islam), turns his attention to America's battle over law and religious values in this lucid and careful study. Those Feldman calls "legal secularists" want the state wholly cleansed of religion, while "values evangelicals" want American government to endorse the Christianity on which they say its authority rests. Feldman thinks both positions too narrow for America's tastes and needs. Much of his volume shows how those needs have changed. James Madison and his friends, Feldman writes, hoped to "protect religion from government, not the other way round." Debates in the 19th century focused on public schools, whose culture of "nonsectarian Christianity" (really Protestantism) created dilemmas for Catholics, and in the 20th century faced challenges from secularists and evangelicals-the former won in the courts until very recently; the latter, often enough, won public opinion. Feldman proposes a compromise: that government "[allow] greater space for public manifestations of religion" while preventing government from linking itself with "religious institutions" (by funding them, for example). The "values" controversy, as Feldman shows, concerns electoral clout, not just legal reasoning. His patient historical chapters will leave readers on all sides far more informed as matters like stem-cell research and the Supreme Court's forthcoming 10 Commandments decision take the headlines. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] MANEUVERING BETWEEN THE HEADLINES
AN AMERICAN LIVES THROUGH THE INTIFADA
By Helen Schary Motro, Lecturer, Tel Aviv Univ Law School
Summer 2005. Other Press
Life in today's Israel is perpetually shadowed by "the situation," the catchword for the Second Intifada enveloping every aspect of life since its eruption in 2000. Motro, an American writer, lawyer, and prizewinning columnist who has lived in Israel for 20 years, captures its unfiltered reality in this memoir of her life in the Middle East. The author's insulation from the lives of Palestinians was shattered by her personal connection to the very first child killed in the Second Intifada, shot before the world's eyes against a wall in Gaza while cradled in the arms of his wounded father. Stunned by the photo plastered across the front page, Motro realized that the father was a man she had known for years. Motro tells their personal story and the story of a peace that eluded the grasp of both famous and obscure Israelis. She chronicles courageous attempts to allow coexistence between the two nationalities and tests the values that first brought her to the country. Motro's American perspective will resonate with U.S. readers. Maneuvering between the Headlines speaks not only of the power of hatred, but to the ability of both Jews and Arabs to continue to reach out across the abyss. Motro is a daughter of a former United Nations refugee. In her desk drawer lies her mother's Displaced Person ID card signed by a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) officer in 1947 in Gauting, Germany. Having survived the war in Poland, stateless and penniless and with nowhere else to go, by default her mother made her home in a DP camp. Within a year, she had received a US visa, and by 1952, she was naturalized as a US citizen. Motro was born in New York, an American child of American citizens, far removed from the tangential existence of a stateless person in a relief camp. Yet her mother's refugee card remains, and she knows that while for her family it is a historical document, there are still millions today who hold one as their only identity document. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Proletpen
America's Rebel Yiddish Poets
by AMELIA GLASER (Editor), David Weintraub (Editor),
Dana Craft (Illustrator), Dovid Katz (Introduction)
July 2005, Wisconsin
Published in Association with the Dora Teitelboim Center for Yiddish Culture
This unique anthology translates for the first time a little-known body of Yiddish poetry by American Yiddish proletarian writers who identified politically and poetically with the American Left from the 1920s to the early 1950s. In his introduction, Dovid Katz explains how a McCarthy-era "American Yiddish Political Correctness" wrote these leftist poets out of the canon. Amelia Glaser and David Weintraub correct this erasure, recovering the work of thirty poets. Proletpen introduces the reader to an untold chapter of American's tumultuous history during the pre- and inter-war period, revealing the depth and power of Yiddish literature through the backdrop of twentieth-century world politics. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] Guardian of the Dawn
Paperback Novel
by Richard Zimler (Porto College of Journalism, Portugal)
Delta (July 26, 2005)
From Booklist: Zimler returns to the family of Berekiah Zarco, hero of the searing Last Kabbalist of Lisbon (1998), in his latest novel about the Portuguese Jews of the sixteenth century. The story picks up in the 1590s as Tiago Zarco, great-great grandchild of Berekiah, comes of age in Goa, India, where many Portuguese Jews have immigrated to escape forced conversion to Christianity. But the long arm of the Inquisition reaches even to colonial India, where resident Jews dodge the ruling Catholics and live together with the local Hindus. Zimler effectively juxtaposes another saga of horrifying religious persecution (Tiago narrates most of the novel from a prison cell) against a tender, multicultural love story that transcends the historical moment, touching readers with its similarity to contemporary tales of star-crossed lovers ("We were venturing forth from out of the mystery of ourselves"). The density of Zimler's prose may put off some, but his powerful evocation of a world not so very different from ours strikes a universal chord during yet another age of cultural and religious disharmony. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] Israeli Backpackers and Their Society
A View From Afar (S U N Y Series in Israeli Studies)
Edited by Chaim Noy, Erik Cohen
SUNY Press, July 2005
In the period after their military service, Jewish Israeli youth customarily embark on a unique touristic practice: the backpacking trip. Combining sociological, anthropological, and psychological research-based on innovative fieldwork conducted with Israeli backpackers in Israel and abroad-this book depicts the complex relationship between the traveling youth and their society of origin. Via a perspective the editors term "outside-in," we learn how social and cultural tensions and tenets, identities, fantasies, and preoccupations are acted out within a symbolic, touristic space by scores of Israeli youth. Contributions from teachers at Aix-en-Provence, Hebrew U, Ben Gurion U, UCLA. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here][book cover click here][book cover click here] What's Your Poison?
Addictive Advertising
Of The '40s - '60s
by Kirven Blount (Brooklyn)
Collectors Press, July 15, 2005
You've seen those ads in the flea markets, and pined to own them, to frame them, to hang them. Now Kirven, an author, basketball player and Brooklyn filmmaker, has collected hundred of these interesting ads. "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette," touted one ad in the days before lawsuits and warning labels. During the time when cigarettes and alcohol were advertised as a healthy way of life, liquor, beer, and cigarette companies strove to ensure their products were considered necessities. Through provocative print campaigns they made sure every possible market was reached-homemakers, working men, and college students. Long before lawsuits and warning labels, cigarettes and alcohol were advertised as part of a healthy way of life. From celebrity endorsements to doctor recommendations, an ill-informed nation zealously responded to persuasive advertising. Shocking by today's standards, these printed messages demonstrate the innocence and ignorance of drinking and smoking's golden age. A visual blast from the past, WHAT'S YOUR POISON? proves that we truly have come a long way, baby. Click the book cover above to read more.






AUGUST 2005

[book cover click here] The Time of the Uprooted
A novel
By Elie Wiesel and David Hapgood
August 10, 2005 Knopf
Nobel Prize-winner Wiesel (the decades long bestseller Night) considers the cost of exile for a writer and his circle of refugee friends in this meandering yet weighty new novel.
Library Journal writes: In 1939, Gamaliel Friedman and his parents flee Czechoslovakia and the Nazi pogroms for the safe haven of Hungary. When the persecutions encroach upon the family in Budapest a few years later, Gamaliel's parents leave him in the care of Ilonka, a young Christian cabaret singer who successfully disguises him and helps him survive the war. Eventually, he leaves Hungary and Ilonka, making his way through Vienna and Paris and ending up in New York. Now in his twilight years, Gamaliel spends his days swapping memories with five men whose experiences closely mirror his own. In a perplexing moment, a doctor seeking help in drawing out an elderly Hungarian woman summons Gamaliel to a local nursing home. Who is this woman? How is she related to Gamaliel? Could it be Ilonka? These events lead Gamaliel to ponder the nature of love and loss, memory and forgetting, despair and hope. His friends act much like Job's companions, offering contradictory explanations for his situation. While Wiesel's later works have seldom possessed the force of his early ones (e.g., The Night Trilogy), his reflections here powerfully capture the ways that we deal with the past and the ways that it imbues our lives with ambivalent feelings about our identities. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here][book cover click here] The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own
(Paperback)
by Periel Aschenbrand
Tarcher (August 4, 2005)
Publisher Weekly writes: Aschenbrand, who founded the T-shirt business, Body as Billboard, and identifies herself as "half Israeli and half New York Jew," shares some of her thoughts about the world, which-apart from the left-wing slogans-feature the type of humor appreciated by Howard Stern fans. Many of Aschenbrand's opinions pertain to religion. For example, she can't believe a friend is a Mormon: "I was like, insofar as I'm concerned, the Mormon missionaries are like serial killers in that they prey on people weaker than themselves." Christians? The "pope knows that God doesn't exist. That's the secret of his fucking power." At the airport, she won't board her flight because there's a "tall shady-looking fucking Arab who looks like a terrorist" in line. Aschenbrand also explains how she came up with the idea for her T-shirt business. "We should use our tits to make people think," she thought, so she printed up shirts with slogans like "drug dealer" for an organization that raises money to send AIDS medication to children in Africa. Readers may also enjoy Aschenbrand's witty confrontations with her mom over anal sex and her suspicions that her proctologist is aroused by examining her... Or maybe they'll just want to buy the T-shirt.
Periel Aschenbrand is also best friends with a Mormon, waits tables in Spanish Harlem, flirts with New York City cops, enjoys a good lap dance, gets revenge on snotty salespeople in an unconventional manner, and stayed in constant cell phone communication with her mother while protesting in her underwear at the Republican National Convention. "Are you provoking any policemen? You could be put in jail and get physically hurt by crack addicts who would see you as bait." Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF LOVE
A MEMOIR
by LEE SIEGEL
August 2005, University of Chicago Press
Siegel has written a delicious, page-turning memoir that spans those doctor-playing, sex-obsessed, hormone-drenched years from 5 to 15, taking his epic right up to the moment when young Lee's virginity is lost. It's witty, warm, terribly sweet in places, and there's never a dull moment on any single page. For those who can't imagine how sex could be on a young boy's mind so consistently for 10 years, well, they must not have been a young boy in a while. Siegel was born among the prosperous, 1950s Reform Jewish families of Beverly Hills who kept semi-kosher, were exuberantly American and fun-loving, and provided a proudly progressive upbringing for their children. Siegel was the son of a Hollywood doctor-to-the-stars and a pretty studio bit player (she was in "Phantom From Space"). A peek over a neighbor's fence might reveal '50s sex pot Debra Paget swimming nude in her pool. Long before TV's "The O.C." popularized Chrismukah, there was Suzie Krasny (one in a series of Siegel's childhood crushes), whose Jewish family liked to give the kids chocolate Easter eggs. Suzie's daddy, a musical director for Warner Brothers, had even written a song: "Here comes Moishe Shmattentail, Shleppin' down the bunny trail . . ." Suzie propagandized their class for a Jewish Easter Bunny because, " ' "Rabbit" comes right after "rabbi" in the World Book Encyclopedia.' " One of the charms of this memoir is watching Siegel and his bar mitzvah contemporaries make sense of the hyper-Christian, super patriotic 1950s. Siegel's thoroughly Californian parents entrusted him at 5 with a sex-education book, "In the Beginning: A Children's Book About Grown-Up Love," and he had found his bible, offering a host of preoccupations to loom over his idyllic childhood. Siegel proves Freud right--children have vivid sexual imaginations--and he gives Proust a run for his money on retrieving those peculiar excitements: the glimpse of panties during an air-raid drill, the giddy acquisition of newly learned dirty words, getting to touch a girl's hand in an elementary-school pageant. Siegel records dutifully all the hilarious misinformation--particularly about the mechanics of reproduction, disseminated by the older, know-it-all boys who know absolutely nothing. Lance Finkel predicts, for example, that sex in his case is imminent: His family is going on a vacation to France. One look at him and the French girls will perform all manner of services because, as everyone knows, that's what they do over there..... Click the book cover above to read more.








[book] The Myth of Hitler's Pope
How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis
by Rabbi David G. Dalin
2005. Regenery
Rabbi Dalin teaches at the Catholic Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida. He refutes the books that say Pope Pius did not fight Nazism and the deportation of Jews. He thinks the smearing of Pope Pius XII is utterly bankrupt. He thinks Pope Pius XII is actually considered by some as a righteous gentile. He would rather the general public focus their gaze on Hitler's mufti instead of the pope, since the mufti met with more Nazis.
From the Inside Flap: Was Pope Pius XII secretly in league with Adolf Hitler? No, says Rabbi David G. Dalin-but there was a cleric in league with Hitler: the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini. As Pope Pius XII worked to save Jews from the Nazis, the grand mufti became Hitler's staunch ally and a promoter of the Holocaust, with a legacy that feeds radical Islam today. In this shocking and thoroughly documented book, Rabbi Dalin explodes the myth of Hitler's pope and condemns the myth-makers for not only rewriting history, but for denying the testimony of Holocaust survivors, hijacking the Holocaust for unseemly political ends, and ignoring the real threat to the Jewish people. In The Myth of Hitler's Pope, you'll learn: · The true history of Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust-how the Catholic Church did more than any other religious body to save Jewish lives · The real history of the Church and the Nazis-including the Nazi plan to kidnap the pope · The real agenda of the myth-makers: hijacking the Holocaust to attack the very idea of the papacy-especially the papacy of the late Pope John Paul II-as well as Christianity and traditional religion as a whole · Hitler's cleric-Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who advised and assisted the Nazis in carrying out Hitler's Final Solution · How Pope Pius XII rescued Jews-and deserves to be called a "righteous gentile"-while the grand mufti of Jerusalem called for their extermination Full of shocking and irrefutable detail, The Myth of Hitler's Pope is sure to generate controversy, and more important, to set the record straight. If you want the truth about Pope Pius XII, about the Catholic Church, the Jews, and the Holocaust, and about how the myth of Hitler's pope plays into the culture wars of our own time-and how the fact of Hitler's mufti is a vital source of radical Islam today-you must begin here.
Click the book cover above to read more.






[book] Righteous Gentiles
How Pius XII and the Catholic Church Saved Half a Million Jews from the Nazis
by Michael Novak (Foreword), Ronald J. Rychlak
Spence Publishing Company (September, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: In this often tedious follow-up to Hitler, the War, and the Pope, law professor Rychlak, at the University of Mississippi. defends Pius XII against critics, from James Carroll to Daniel Goldhagen and Susan Zuccotti, who accuse the pope of inaction against the Holocaust. Given access to closed Vatican archives, Rychlak amasses evidence to exonerate Pius, uncovering instances where the pope not only spoke out against Hitler but also acted in various ways to save Jews. For example, he wrote a letter that allowed 700 Jews safe passage in 1942 as they immigrated to the United States. In October 1943, the Vatican "vigorously protested the arrest of Jews, requesting the interruption of such action." The targets of Rychlak's criticism will surely have more to say in this ongoing exchange, and they're as likely to focus on his occasional manipulation of the evidence as he does on theirs. For instance, while Pius XII condemned the Germans' use of "asphyxiating and poison gases" in WWI, Rychlak reads it as a condemnation of the gas chambers. He presents evidence systematically and thoroughly, but much of it relates only indirectly to Pius himself and fails to fully convince. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book] The Case for Peace
How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved
by Alan Dershowitz
August 5, 2005. Wiley
Read chapter 1 and 16 here:
http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/dershowitz/Chapter_1.pdf
http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/dershowitz/Chapter_16.pdf
As the region reacts to the death of Yasir Arafat, Dershowitz outlines a new opportunity for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. All reasonable people, he argues, know what the end result will look like: two states, based on Israeli withdrawals from Gaza and most of the West Bank; a symbolic recognition by Israel of the rights of Palestinian refugees, with some compensation but no "right of return"; the division of Jerusalem; and a renunciation of violence, with the Palestinians taking all reasonable measures to stamp out terrorism. The problem: how to get there without more bloodshed. To that end, Dershowitz offers a plan that is bound to be controversial. Israel, he says, must take the lead in showing generosity of spirit. The Palestinians must take explicit, practical steps to turn their people against suicide bombers and hate. The U.S. must help bankroll the peace. And the polemical approach to Israeli-Palestinian relations must end-on university campuses, at the U.N., in Europe, and in the media. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] [book cover click here] Bagels and Bongos
A MUSIC CD
Irving Fields
Reboot Stereophonic August 23, 2005
See also... http://www.rebooters.net/rebootstereophonic/
REBOOT STEREOPHONIC IS A music label that is re-issuing Jewish music. This album was first released in 1959, and included Bei Mir Bis Du Schon (a la Latin swing) and Hava Nagila. Old hat now, but a breakthrough in 1959. In 2005-2006 the label will re-release six discs with copious liner notes and enhanced DVD footage. They are launching with a triple threat of releases: a re-issue of the 1959 Decca recording by The Irving Fields Trio's Bagels and Bongos (August 2005), Gershon Kingsley's Jewish Moog (November 2005), and Joe Quijano's Fiddler On The Roof Goes Latin (Spring 2006). Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Philip Roth: Novels 1967-1972
(Library of America) (Hardcover)
by Philip Roth, Ross Miller (Editor)
August 2005. Library of America
For the last half century, the novels of Philip Roth have re-energized American fiction and redefined its possibilities. Roth's comic genius, his imaginative daring, his courage in exploring uncomfortable truths, and his assaults on political, cultural, and sexual orthodoxies have made him one of the essential writers of our time. By special arrangement with the author, The Library of America now inaugurates the definitive edition of Roth's collected works. This second volume presents four extraordinarily diverse works displaying the range and originality of his fictional art. When She Was Good (1967) is the trenchant portrait of Lucy Nelson, a young midwestern woman whose perception of her own suffering turns her into a ferocious force, "enemy-ridden and unforgivingly defiant," as Roth would later describe her. A small-town 1940s America of restrictive social pressures and foreclosed opportunities provides the novel's background. The publication of the hilarious Portnoy's Complaint (1969) was a cultural event that turned Roth into a reluctant celebrity. The confession of a bewildered psychoanalytic patient thrust through life by his unappeasable sexuality yet held back by the iron grip of his unforgettable childhood, Portnoy unleashed Roth's comic virtuosity and opened new avenues for American fiction. In Our Gang (1971), described by Anthony Burgess as a "brilliant satire in the real Swift tradition," Roth effects a savage takedown of the administration of Richard Nixon (who figures here as Trick E. Dixon). Written before the revelations of the Watergate scandal, Our Gang continues to resonate as a broad and outraged response to the clownish hypocrisy and moral theatrics of the American political scene. The Kafkaesque excursion The Breast (1972) introduces David Kepesh in the first volume of a trilogy that continues with The Professor of Desire (1977) and The Dying Animal (2001). The Breast prompted Cynthia Ozick to remark, "One knows when one is reading something that will permanently enter the culture." Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Philip Roth: Novels and Stories 1959-1962
(Library of America) (Hardcover)
by Philip Roth, Ross Miller (Editor)
August 2005. Library of America
For the last half century, the novels of Philip Roth have re-energized American fiction and redefined its possibilities. Roth's comic genius, his imaginative daring, his courage in exploring uncomfortable truths, and his assaults on political, cultural, and sexual orthodoxies have made him one of the essential writers of our time. By special arrangement with the author, The Library of America now inaugurates the definitive edition of Roth's collected works. This first volume presents Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories, the book that established Roth's reputation on publication in 1959 and for which he won the National Book Award, and his first novel, Letting Go (1962). The title novella, Goodbye, Columbus, the story of a summer romance between a poor young man from Newark and a rich Radcliffe co-ed, is both a tightly wrought tale of youthful desire and a satiric gem that takes aim at the comfortable affluence of the postwar boom. Here and in the stories that accompany it, including "The Conversion of the Jews" and "Defender of the Faith," Roth depicts Jewish lives in 1950s America with an unflinching sharpness of observation. In Letting Go, a sprawling novel set largely against the backdrop of Chicago in the 1950s, Roth portrays the moral dilemmas of young people cast precipitously into adulthood, and in the process describes a skein of social and family responsibilities as they are brought into focus by issues of marriage, abortion, adoption, friendship, and career. The novel's expansiveness provides a wide scope for Roth's gift for vivid characterization, and in his protagonist Gabe Wallach he creates a nuanced portrait of a responsive young academic whose sense of morality draws him into the ordeals of others with unforeseen consequences Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Song of Hannah
A Novel (Paperback)
by Eva Etzioni-Halevy (Professor Emeritus, Bar Ilan University)
August 2005
Read an excerpt at:
http://www.evaetzionihalevy.com/excerpt.html
In the tradition of the international bestseller The Red Tent comes a beautiful, sexy novel featuring Hannah, one of the most well-known and beloved heroines of the Old Testament. Hannah and Pninah (SAMUEL 1), once close childhood friends, become rivals for the attention of Elkanah, the man who has married them both. Pninah, passionate and independent, easily bears Elkanah many children, but bitter that he has taken her friend as a second wife, seeks fulfillment with her own secret lover. Hannah, the epitome of goodness and grace, remains completely devoted to her husband, but remains childless for many years, until a promise to God brings her the son she has yearned for. Despite their differences, these two women must learn to live together, protecting their own interests as well as each other's, while sharing not only the love of their husband, but that of Hannah's son Samuel, who will become one of the great prophets of the Jewish people. THE SONG OF HANNAH is written from a feminist perspective, taking up a theme that is evident with respect to most of the women in the Bible: living in a patriarchal society, they were weak in their position, but strong in their character, and found ingenious ways of promoting their interests. By describing the wars between the Israelites and the Philistines, the book is also topical. It reminds the reader that the struggles over the same piece of land, the (somewhat enlarged), Gaza Strip is anything but new. It raises the question of what we may learn from what happened some three thousand years ago that may still be useful today. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Bible with Sources Revealed
by Richard E. Friedman (Professor, UCSD)
HarperSanFrancisco (August 1, 2005) paperback
David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion said: "An amazing work. It makes the theory of the Bible's origins available to all in a clear and concise way." In The Bible with Sources Revealed, Richard Elliott Friedman, author of the bestselling Who Wrote the Bible?, offers a new visual presentation of the Five Books of Moses -- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy -- unlocking their complex and fascinating tapestry of sources. Different colors and type styles allow readers to easily identify each of the distinct sources, showcasing Friedman's highly acclaimed and dynamic translation. This unique Bible provides a new means to explore the riches of scripture by: aking it possible to read the source texts individually, to see their artistry, their views of God, Israel, and humankind, and their connection to their moment in history; Presenting the largest collection of evidence ever assembled for establishing and explaining the Documentary Hypothesis; Showing visually how the Bible was formed out of these sources; and Helping readers appreciate that the Bible is a rich, complex, beautiful work as a result of the extraordinary way in which it was created. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] Confessions of a Nervous Shiksa
(Paperback)
by Tracy McArdle
Downtown Press (August 2, 2005)
When movie studio publicity V.P. Alexis Manning's fiancé -- Jewish bartender/actor David a.k.a. Deke -- goes home with her for a holly jolly Christmas in Vermont with her family, there's a chill in the air and it ain't just the weather. Overwhelmed by the Christianity of it all, David confesses that he can't marry Alexis unless she converts to Judaism. Alexis might not know exactly what she wants to do with her life...but she knows she doesn't want to spend it pretending to be something she's not. Alexis believes in only one religion -- movies. So with her well-scripted romance on the cutting-room floor, she begins replaying favorite film scenes in her head and breaking down her own life into dramatic clips, searching for the right ending. If only she were Julia, or Demi, or Meryl, things would be different. Click the book cover above to read more.






a new book by that controversial author, hated by some, revered by a couple others:

[book cover click here] Beyond Chutzpah
On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History
by Norman G. Finkelstein
University of California Press (August 1, 2005)
In this long-awaited sequel to his international bestseller The Holocaust Industry, Norman G. Finkelstein moves from an iconoclastic interrogation of the new anti-Semitism to a meticulously researched expose of the corruption of scholarship on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Bringing to bear the latest findings on the conflict and recasting the scholarly debate, Finkelstein points to a consensus among historians and human rights organizations on the factual record. Why, then, does so much controversy swirl around the conflict? Finkelstein's answer, copiously documented, is that apologists for Israel contrive controversy. Whenever Israel comes under international pressure, another media campaign alleging a global outbreak of anti-Semitism is mounted. Finkelstein also scrutinizes the proliferation of distortion masquerading as history. Recalling Joan Peters' book From Time Immemorial, published to great fanfare in 1984 but subsequently exposed as an academic hoax, he asks deeply troubling questions here about the periodic reappearance of spurious scholarship and the uncritical acclaim it receives. The most recent addition to this mendacious genre, Finkelstein argues, is Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz's bestseller, The Case for Israel.
The core analysis of Beyond Chutzpah sets Dershowitz's assertions on Israel's human rights record against the findings of the mainstream human rights community. Sifting through thousands of pages of reports from organizations such as Amnesty International, B'Tselem, and Human Rights Watch, Finkelstein demonstrates that Dershowitz has systematically misrepresented the facts. Thoroughly researched and tightly argued, Beyond Chutzpah lifts the veil of contrived controversy shrouding the Israel-Palestine conflict, enabling readers in search of a just and lasting peace to act on the basis of truth.
Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] FROM THE TEN COMMANDMENTS TO CHICKEN SOUP
A CELEBRATION OF JUDAISM AND ALL THINGS JEWISH
by Michael Shapiro
August 2005, Citadel Press
A tribute to Jewish heritage. From the Introduction: 'Judaism is more than religion. It encompasses a unique but varied contribution to world history and civilization. Jews should be proud of what their predecessors accomplished, often against the most difficult odds...Jewish pride in its best sense connotes a knowledge of Judaism's directive to its people to choose wisely, and in the choosing to benefit not just themselves but all of humanity.' In this engaging book, Michael Shapiro encourages all Jews to bask in the light of their people's historic contributions to religion, science, politics, and the arts. The diverse topics discussed here cover every facet of Jewish life-including festivals and High Holy Days, the Song of Songs, Klezmer music, world-famous Jewish comedians like Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers, the Talmud, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Kabbalah, Yiddish, and of course, chicken soup-often affectionately referred to as 'Jewish penicillin.' Each offers a unique reason to feel special pride in Jewish achievements and customs. Taken together, they reinforce the beliefs and clarify the traditions that have shaped Judaism for the past 5,000 years. By understanding how Judaism came to be and how it in turn moulded them, Jews can enrich their lives in countless ways. This indispensable and entertaining resource will encourage every reader-Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and non-Jewish-to look upon Judaism with new insight and appreciation. Michael Shapiro is the author of the bestselling The Jewish 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Jews of All Time. He is active in New York's Jewish community, including involvement with the American Jewish Committee.... Or is that the American Jewish Congress? Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] A Wall of Light
a novel
by EDEET RAVEL
August 2005, HarperCollins
Following on the heels of the critically acclaimed Ten Thousand Lovers (finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award) and Look for Me (winner of the Hugh MacLennan Prize), this last book of the Tel Aviv trilogy tells the poignant, humorous and heartbreaking story of three generations of an Israeli family. "I am Sonya Vronsky, professor of mathematics at Tel Aviv University, and this is the story of a day in late August. On this remarkable day I kissed a student, pursued a lover, found my father, and left my brother." So begins Edeet Ravel's captivating novel, which follows Sonya on a life-changing journey that leads her to the heart of Jerusalem, and to the heart of family secrets.
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Her day begins as any other, with an elaborate breakfast prepared by her brother. Kostya has always been the centre of their family, working part-time so he can look after everyone and trying to keep things in order - a near-impossible task in a place like Tel Aviv. His wife, a lawyer, is murdered in the course of an investigation she is conducting. His son, Noah, leaves Israel after his stint in the army to pursue art studies in Berlin. And his mother, formerly an actress and waitress at the famous Cassit café of bohemian Tel Aviv, loses her memory and is taken to a nursing home. Sonya is the only one left for Kostya to hover over and cook for. But her Sleeping Beauty existence comes abruptly to an end when she is roused by a kiss. Not only does she discover love, but she realizes that her family, who had promised to give her all they had, has kept the most valuable gift from her.
Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt
by Ruth Andrew Ellenson
Dutton Adult (August 18, 2005)
A hilarious and provocative collection of original essays by some of today's top Jewish women writers-including Aimee Bender, Daphne Merkin, and Rebecca Walker-exploring all the things that their rabbis warned them never to discuss in public.
Have you ever heard a grandmother's biological clock tick?
Are you certain that a piano is about to fall on your head, simply because too many good things have happened to you lately?
Would your own mother out you as a lesbian at her Yiddish club?
Do you substitute davening with sessions with a shrink?
Did your great grandparents suvive pogroms so that you can eat a bacon cheeseburger and shrimp cocktail?
How does cultural heritage shape who we are?
Is dating non Jewish men better than dating members of the tribe
How could you divorce the perfect Jewish man, and not produce enough children and become a baby factory for the Jewish people
The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt is a laugh-out-loud funny pull-no-punches collection of original essays on topics that aren't usually talked about-much like the recent bestselling anthology The Bitch in the House. Molly Jong-Fast, author of Normal Girl and daughter of Erica Jong, writes about displeasing her therapist in "Tell Me About Your Mother." In "Great, My Daughter Is Marrying a Nazi," editor and author Jenna Kalinsky takes readers inside her experience of falling in love with a German, marrying him and moving to Germany, only to feel like an exotic among the locals. Ayelet Waldman's "Land of My Father" tells of the author's return to her Israeli homeland after living for years in the United States. But then she realizes.. is she doing this for her father, or for herself. Whose dream is she living? Tova Mirvis, author of the bestselling novel The Ladies Auxiliary, writes about the pressure to be perfect in "What Will They Think?" In "Mercy" by novelist and USC professor Gina Nahai, we enter a powerful story of the author's childhood in Iran. Lori Gottlieb, author of the bestselling memoir Stick Figure, writes about trying to outwit her mother using caller ID in "Conversations with My Mother." There is a funny trip in one story to meeting Jewish men via JDate.com. There is the story the contains the game: Spot the Jew. Also includes pieces by: Jennifer Bleyer Pearl Gluck Rebecca Goldstein Lauren Grodstein Dara Horn Rachel Kadish Cynthia Kaplan Binnie Kirschenbaum Ellen Miller Katie Rophie Laurie Gwen Shapiro Susan Shapiro Ayelet Waldman, and many more. Click the book cover above to read more.
Bernadette Murphy, writing in the LA TIMES stated: ..."covers and titles can be deceptive. Rather than being just about "girls" and "guilt," the book is really a collection of strong and moving stories about what it means - culturally, spiritually and emotionally - to be a Jewish woman in today's world."






[book cover click here] Off-White
A Memoir
by Laurie Gunst (Harvard, Phd)
Soho Press (August 15, 2005)
Laurie Gunst is the youngest child of a well-to-do southern family of German-Jewish descent. Her primary source of care and love is Rhoda, a woman who had been her grandmother's maid. Summoned from New York City to Richmond, Virginia, childless Rhoda had taken charge of the new baby and raised her. The intimate relationship between caregiver and child is strong. So is Laurie's shame at aspects of her family's racially intolerant past: An ancestor fought for the South in the Civil War and another cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan in fomenting a race riot. As a vulnerable child, she witnesses firsthand the unfairness of segregation that consigns the woman who cares for her to a lesser status. Laurie's outrage at racial discrimination sets her apart from other white southerners, even her father. Love for Rhoda marks Laurie indelibly. Their relationship enables her to see the person and not just the color of her skin. Ultimately, she acknowledges Rhoda as a spiritual mother who shaped her life as much as her biological mother. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] AUSCHWITZ
A HISTORY
by Sybille Steinbacher (transl from German)
Ecco, August 2005
From Publishers Weekly: In concise and sober fashion, German historian Steinbacher traces the history of Auschwitz from a medieval trading town to the major extermination camp of the Holocaust. Like so many eastern European towns, Auschwitz for centuries had a mixed population of Germans, Poles, Jews, Ukrainians and others, who by and large managed to coexist. After the quick defeat of Poland by Germany in WWII, the Nazis first sought to establish a concentration camp for political prisoners, and Auschwitz's location on major rail lines and with access to mineral resources made it an ideal site. Quickly the camp became the setting for larger Nazi ambitions to establish German domination, which meant the exploitation of Polish labor and the elimination of Jews. The events that culminated in Auschwitz developing into a sprawling complex of human misery covering some 60 square miles are related based on extensive and up-to-date research. Steinbacher carefully depicts the alternate universe of Auschwitz, entering into the lives and the deaths of its inhabitants, including the businessmen and SS officers-who, with no apparent qualms, managed the camp-and their victims. Steinbacher, a visiting fellow for European studies at Harvard, avoids extensive analysis or morality tales; the meaning of Auschwitz is in the details, which she provides with clinical precision. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] THE WITCH OF COLOGNE
A novel
By Tobsha Learner
August 2005. FORGE
From Publishers Weekly: In a sensuous 17th-century saga set in German Catholic Cologne, Learner (Quiver) transports readers to a time when studying the ancient Kabbalah could prove deadly for a young Jewish midwife. Ruth bas Elazar Saul is the headstrong daughter of the chief rabbi of Deutz, Cologne's Jewish ghetto. She undertakes the forbidden course of mystical study, her Sephardic mother's legacy, before absconding to Amsterdam to escape an arranged marriage. There, Ruth acquires the contemporary midwifery skills she will combine with her sacred learning, and upon her return to Cologne she delivers wealthy burghers' babies using new lifesaving methods, earning a reputation for more than medical genius. Word of her skills travels quickly, and as the Spanish Inquisition stretches its tentacles to the Rhineland, Ruth is arrested for sorcery by the sadistic archbishop Carlos Vicente Solitario, whose persecution of her is fueled by a stymied youthful obsession with her mother. Ruth's keen intelligence and bravery in prison win her an ally, Canon Detlef von Tennen, who falls passionately in love with the "Jewess." The two marry, and Learner has readers rooting for the survival of their unlikely alliance. This steamy, riveting page-turner is also a paean to the triumph of a woman's spirit. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] A History of the Jews in the Modern World
by Howard M. Sachar
Knopf (August 9, 2005)
You can read the first chapter online for free by click the bookcover and clicking through to "editorial reviews"
The distinguished historian of the Jewish people, Howard M. Sachar, gives us a comprehensive and enthralling chronicle of the achievements and traumas of the Jews over the last four hundred years. Tracking their fate from Western Europe's age of mercantilism in the seventeenth century to the post-Soviet and post-imperialist Islamic upheavals of the twenty-first century, Sachar applies his renowned narrative skill to the central role of the Jews in many of the most impressive achievements of modern civilization: whether in the rise of economic capitalism or of political socialism; in the discoveries of theoretical physics or applied medicine; in "higher" literary criticism or mass communication and popular entertainment. As his account unfolds and moves from epoch to epoch, from continent to continent, from Europe to the Americas and the Middle East, Sachar evaluates communities that, until lately, have been underestimated in the perspective of Jewish and world history-among them, Jews of Sephardic provenance, of the Moslem regions, and of Africa. By the same token, Sachar applies a master's hand in describing and deciphering the Jews' unique exposure and functional usefulness to totalitarian movements-fascist, Nazi, and Stalinist. In the process, he shines an unsparing light on the often widely dissimilar behavior of separate European peoples, and on separate Jewish populations, during the Holocaust.







[book cover click here] The Cradle Robbers
(Mommy-Track Mysteries
by Ayelet Waldman
Berkley Hardcover (August 2, 2005)
Ayelet Waldman, one of the most famous Kfar Blum grads (hehe), with her latest Mommy Track mystery
From Publishers Weekly: Juliet Applebaum, ex-public defender and "self-employed mother," juggles the demands of her oversized four-month-old daughter and a case involving a female prisoner in her engrossing sixth outing (after 2004's Murder Plays House). Sandra Lorgeree, an inmate of California's isolated Dartmore prison, has surrendered her baby to foster care only to discover that the baby and the foster parents have disappeared. When Sandra is brutally murdered, Juliet is convinced that her death is not just the result of prison violence. While sleep-deprived Juliet schleps through L.A. and Northern California in search of the truth and Sandra's missing baby, her husband deals with his own legal problems, making for a less than blissful existence at their quirky home in the Hollywood hills. Waldman, herself a former public defender, vividly portrays life on the street and behind prison walls. Human and credible characters-in particular, a smart, sensitive sleuth-lift a mystery that should delight committed fans and attract new ones. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] THE PEOPLE'S TYCOON
HENRY FORD AND THE AMERICAN CENTURY
August 2005, Knopf
The great bio on Henry Ford. The chapter titled, BIGOT, focuses on Ford and his virilent Jew hatred. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] THE LEADERSHIP SECRETS OF BILLY GRAHAM
By Harold Myra (CEO of Christianity Today) and Marshall Shelley
August 2005,
In a project that draws together interviews with Graham's colleagues, written materials both by and about Graham and the insights of leadership classics such as Jim Collins's Good to Great, they provide an intriguing exploration of his skills. UNFORTUNATELY THERE IS NO MENTION OF HIS LEADERSHIP SKILLS WHEN HE TOLD THEN PRESIDENT NIXON THAT THE JEWS controlled porn and their influence had to be curbed before they ruin American values. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] A VISION OF HOLINESS
THE FUTURE OF REFORM JUDAISM
By Rabbi Richard N. Levy
August 2005, URJ Press
Where is Reform Judaism heading in the twenty-first century? This was the question before the Central Conference of American Rabbis as it undertook to write a Statement of Principles, the fourth in a series of comprehensive statements that the Reform rabbinate has adopted throughout its history to help inspire the thought and practice of Reform Judaism. A Vision of Holiness is an explication of the Pittsburgh Principles' vision, as seen through the lens of the rabbi who guided the process and shaped the document. It is a personal reflection of a communal vision, an attempt to explore the implications of the 1999 document. A Vision of Holiness will change all of its readers, Reform or not, to reflect on the nature of their religious lives and deepen their relationships with God, their absorption in Torah, and their critical commitment to the destiny of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. A Vision of Holiness illumines the manner in which this vibrant group of Jews envisions its purpose in the world and sets forth challenges for Reform Judaism's ongoing engagement with mitzvot. Click the book cover above to read more.







[book cover click here] THE STORY OF RUTH
By Maxine Rose Schur
August 2005, KAR BEN
For ages 5 - 9. A fresh story on Ruth and Naomi for kids. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book cover click here] REDEMPTION
THE LIFE OF HENRY ROTH
By Steven Kellman
August 15, 2005, Norton
If you have wondered about his writer's block or the stories of his sexual affairs with his sister, then this is the biography for you.
From Booklist: Many artists create out of a deep need to exorcise pain, but few suffer the burden of a secret as shameful, or self-loathing as smothering, as that of novelist Henry Roth. Born in Galicia in 1906, Roth grew up on the Lower East Side, a place he imbued with mythic dimensions in his acclaimed novel Call It Sleep (1934). Despite the novel's initial critical success and its phenomenal popularity after it was republished in 1964, Roth, a victim of arrested development and overly dependent on the support of trailblazing poet and teacher Eda Lou Walton (a fascinating subject in her own right), suffered an epic writer's block. As Roth's first biographer, Kellman explicates with great delicacy and unfailing sympathy the shocking source of Roth's miserable, decades-long silence--corrosive guilt over incest with his sister--and expertly shapes the sad and disturbing story of Roth's painfully austere, conflicted, and depressed life. Yet for all his grimness, Roth was blessed in friendship and marriage, and he miraculously recovered his writer's voice in his final years, completing the powerfully cathartic quartet, Mercy of a Rude Stream (1994-98). Judiciously detailed in fact and analysis, Kellman's profoundly involving portrait of a tormented artist deepens our perception of the mystery and significance of art. Click the book cover above to read more.









[book cover click here] THE WASHINGTON STORY
A Novel
by Adam Langer
Riverhead Hardcover (August 18, 2005)
A follow up to CROSSING CALIFORNIA. (see above for the paperback edition).
This is not about DC.. but about Harold Washington
More than a year and a half has passed since Jill Wasserstrom tried to catch up to Muley Wills in West Rogers Park. Now, they are high school students in love, but will their relationship survive as their world expands beyond the boundaries of West Rogers Park? Over the course of five years-from 1982 to 1987-Jill, Muley, and their families and friends will experience love, betrayal, re-unions, sex, death, and rebirth. They will live through years of triumph and despair-the deaths of Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, and Konstantin Chernenko and the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev; the death of the Chicago political machine and the rise and fall of Harold Washington; the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and the arrival of Halley's Comet. They will travel from Chicago to Cape Canaveral, Florida, to New York, Europe, and beyond. And once again, Jill and Muley will find themselves on a street corner in a very different Chicago from the one they first knew. Click the book cover above to read more.








[book cover click here] In God's Hands
by Lawrence Kushner, Gary D. Schmidt, Matthew J. Baek (Illustrator)
Summer 2005, JEWISH LIGHTS
Ages 6 and up
From Booklist *Starred Review* Gr. 1-3. Kushner, who has written many books for children and adults, teams with Schmidt, whose Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy was both a 2005 Newbery and Printz Honor Book, to create a meaningful tale that will open children's eyes to the ways in which one can become God's hands on earth. Jacob is rich, and much too busy thinking about money to consider miracles. David is poor; feeding his children takes precedence over miracles. One day, Jacob hears a Torah verse: Make 12 loaves and set them before Me. Jacob bakes the loaves and puts them in the ark with the Torah scrolls. That very day, David comes to the synagogue, pleading to God for food for his family; he opens the ark and finds the bread. When Jacob returns to the synagogue, the bread is gone. Both men think God performed a miracle. After months of giving and receiving, they learn the truth. At first they are disappointed, but their rabbi makes them understand that on earth God's miracles often come through His people. This lovely piece of bookmaking combines a good tale with a strong, easily understood message. Baek's artwork, set against buff-colored pages and highlighted in shades of blue, uses a variety of angles, placements, and design elements to invite interest. A great discussion starter. Click the book cover above to read more.






[book cover click here] JERUSALEM SKY
STARS, CROSSES, and CRESCENTS
By Mark Podwal
August 2005, RANDOM House
Ages 3 and up
Jerusalem-ancient home to Jews, Christians, and Muslims-is blanketed by a sky like no other. According to legend, the Jerusalem sky held off the rains for seven years while King Solomon built his temple. In the Jerusalem sky, the Bible tells us, a rising star announced the birth of Jesus. Through that same wondrous sky, Islamic belief holds, Muhammad climbed to heaven. In our own times, the Jerusalem sky fills with the sounds of worshippers praying for peace in the synagogues, churches, and mosques below. And each year new voices rise up to the Jerusalem sky, where so many miracles have been witnessed.
Booklist writes: STARRED REVIEW. The religious history of Jerusalem is as omnipresent in the sky above, as it is in the city itself. In short, with beautiful poems and vivid, impressionistic artwork, Podwal captures the hope and tears the city evokes among followers of the three monotheistic religions of the world. Calling on both history and myth ("Some believe that halfway between heaven and earth, the Jerusalem sky is home to a city with walls of silver, gates of pearl, and streets of gold"), Podwal paints word pictures of Jerusalem's special nature and explains why Judaism, Christianity, and Islam hold it holy. For instance, "Christians tell of a wondrous star in the Jerusalem sky . . . . And they tell how thirty-three years later, a spring afternoon's daylight blackened into a starless sky." The pictures hint of Chagall, with readers using their softer sight to make out the images. The colors, though, are vivid: the pinks and golds of the city's stones, the oranges and greens from the groves, and the myriad blues of the sky. Put this in the hands of children, and talk to them about hope rather than hostilities. Click the book cover above to read more.



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[book cover click here] [book cover click here] [book cover click here] [book cover click here] THE RABBI'S CAT
BY JOANN SFAR
Pantheon
(August 16, 2005)
Pw writes: Sfar, the French cartoonist behind the Little Vampire children's books, has come up with a hilarious and wildly original graphic novel for adults. The nameless, scraggly-looking alley cat who narrates the story belongs to an Algerian rabbi in the '30s. When the cat eats a parrot, he gains the power of speech and tries to convince his master to teach him the Torah, raising the question of whether the appropriate age for his bar mitzvah should be in human years or cat years. Of course, being a cat, he has plenty of impertinent opinions about Judaism. That's a delicious setup on its own, but it gets better when the cat loses his speech again halfway through, and the story becomes a broader, more bittersweet comedy about the rabbi's family and the intersection of Jewish, Arab and French culture. The rabbi's daughter Zlabya marries a young man from a nonobservant family in France. The Algerian family's visit with their Parisian in-laws is the subject of the final and funniest section of the book. Sfar's artwork looks as mangy and unkempt as the cat, with contorted figures and scribbly lines everywhere, but there's a poetic magic to it that perfectly captures this cat's-eye view of human culture and faith.
Leslie Camhi interviewed the author, an excerpt follows: "... French author Joann Sfar's erudite, charming, and hilarious graphic novel, set in 1930s Algeria, stars an earthy old rabbi and a hyperintelligent, scrawny feline. This learned but skeptical animal, having miraculously developed the power of speech, argues with his master against the existence of God and the inanities of French colonial bureaucracy, but his primary concern is his ability to snuggle uninterruptedly in the arms of the rabbi's beautiful young daughter. The cat narrates a tale that meanders from the medina of Algiers to desert oases where traveling Jews and Arabs make music together to the bohemian quarters of Paris, where Jewish assimilation is all the rage. Along the way, it richly illuminates a lost world, pulled between the lures of tradition and modernity. Published in three volumes in France, The Rabbi's Cat appears here this month, compiled into a single book and pungently translated by Alexis Siegel and Anjali Singh. Sfar, 34, says he began drawing comics at the age of 3, after his mother's death; since then, he has written or illustrated more than one hundred albums for adults and children, often drawing upon his dual Ashkenazi and Sephardic heritage. Born in Nice, he lives today in Paris, with his wife, children, and two cats, including the model for his book's hero.
Click the book cover above to read more.
Read the interview at http://www.nextbook.org/cultural/feature.html?id=192























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