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SUMMER 2006 RECOMMENDED JEWISH BOOKS



SUMMER 2006 BOOK READINGS

Jun 01, 2006: Author BRUCE FEILER leads a session for Shavuot at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, NYC. Swfs.org 7:30 PM
Jun 01, 2006: RAMI KLEINSTIEN, JUDY GOLD, DEBBI FRIEDMAN, and more at TIKKUN LEIL SHAVUOT at the JCC UWS and 92ND ST Y, NYC TikkunNY.org
Through Jun 30, 2006: Art Show featuring fifteen contemporary Israeli artists. Horan Gallery, NYC UES
Jun 07, 2006: Beit Rabban - Manna From Heaven featuring authors Susie Fishbein, Sandee Brawarsky, and Naftali Citron. NYC
Jun 07, 2006: COMING TO AMERICA: Noted authors Akhil Sharma, Gary Shteyngart and Edgardo Vega Yunqué, born in India, Russia, and Puerto Rico, respectively, read from their work and share insights on the immigrant experience in the 21st century. Join us afterwards for drinks and conversation. Eldridge St Sysnagogue, NYC
Jun 10, 2006: Craigslist Foundation Non Profit Boot Camp, NYU, NYC
Jun 11, 2006: Egg Creams and Egg Rolls. Eldridge St NYC
Jun 11, 2006: Faranak Margolese reads from OFF THE DERECH: Why Observant Jews leave Judaism (DevorahPublishing.com), NYC
Jun 11, 2006: Scribblers on the Roof: Book Launch Party, 5 PM NYC
Jun 14, 2006: Novel Jews at KGB Bar. KGB BAR, NYC. Novel Jews features contributors from Half/Life Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes, an anthology of personal stories, written by authors who have all shared the experience of being raised in a half-Jewish home. Featuring: Jeff Sharlet is co-author of Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible; Laurel Snyder is the editor of Half/Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes; Katharine Weber is the author of Triangle.
Jun 16, 2006: Wayne Hoffman reads from HARD, his novel. KGB BAR, NYC
Jun 18, 2006: Edah.org conference in Nyc on History of Modern Orthodoxy
June 19, 2006: Dara Horn and Norman Barzman read at Scribblers on the Roof., 251 W 100th, NYC 8PM
June 19, 2006: Annual Gala for Yiddish Theatrical Alliance, featuring Barry Sister, Mina Bern, Fyvush Finkel (MC), and more. $25. Sutton Place Synagogue 8pm NYC
June 22, 2006: Lights! Camera! JEWS! - Jewish screen Kisses. Pioneer Theater NYC 7 PM
June 26, 2006: Jerome Charyn and Joan Silber read at Scribblers on the Roof., 251 W 100th, NYC 8PM
Jun 28 - Jul 06, 2006: New Israel Fund Study Tour of Israel.

July 10, 2006: Myla Goldberg and Victoria Redel read at Scribblers on the Roof., 251 W 100th, NYC 8PM
July 10, 2006: Joseph Epstein reads from FRIENDSHIP AN EXPOSE. B&N UES NYC 7PM
July 12, 2006: CYNTHIA OZICK reads from THE DIN IN THE HEAD. B&N UES NYC 7PM
July 13, 2006: ELISA ALBERT reads from HOW THIS NIGHT IS DIFFERENT. B&N Park Slope Brooklyn 7PM
Jul 15, 2006, Wayne Hoffman reads from HARD, Now Voyager Books, Ptown Cape Cod
July 17, 2006: ARI GOLDMAN reads from LIVING A YEAR OF KADDISH. B&N UWS NYC 7PM
July 17, 2006: Shalom Auslander and Katharine Weber read at Scribblers on the Roof., 251 W 100th, NYC 8PM
July 19, 2006: JIM LEBENTHAL reads from CONFESSIONS OF A MUNICIPAL BOND SALESMAN. B&N UWS NYC 7PM
July 19, 2006: Summer of Shmaltz: HE'BREW Beer's NYC 10th Anniversary Release Party, 6pm Spuyten Duyvil 395 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn. All The Chosen Beers on draft including, Genesis 10:10
July 24, 2006: Barbara Finkelstein and Scott Snyder read at Scribblers on the Roof., 251 W 100th, NYC 8PM
July 25, 2006: DANIEL SILVA reads from THE MESSENGER. B&N Lincoln Center NYC 7PM
July 31, 2006: Ron Rosenbaum and Rafi Zabor read at Scribblers on the Roof., 251 W 100th, NYC 8PM
HEY.. NOW YOUR CAN SEARCH OUR SITE, INSTEAD OF JUST SEARCHING AMAZON. TRY IT OUT...









JUNE 2006


[book] Scribblers on the Roof
Contemporary Jewish Fiction
Edited by Melvin Jules Bukiet and David G. Roskies
June 2006. Persea
To paraphrase the always colorful Melvin Jules Bukiet, from his introduction, Jews are good at being killed and writing about it. Instead of "they tried to kills us, some of us lived, let's eat"... it is actually, "let's write." And write we do. Based on the writers who appeared on the rooftop of Congregation Ansche Chesed on Manhattan's Upper West Side (a few blocks south of MyJewish Books.com's world headquarters) this is an intelligently prepared anthology of American Jewish writings. It includes some masters and some of the newest generation of gifted storytellers. Scribblers on the Roof brings together revered masters, such as Cynthia Ozick, Lore Segal, and Max Apple, with gifted newcomers, including Pearl Abraham, Jon Papernick, and Dara Horn. Whether set in New York, Jerusalem, Moscow, or in Paradise, their stories-funny, tragic, sensuous, surprising-sparkle with originality, vitality, and chutzpah. Among the other contributors are Jonathan Ames, Myra Goldberg, Ken Kalfus, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Jonathan Levi, Mary Morris, Sonia Pilcer, Jonathan Rosen, Norma Rosen, Lucy Rosenthal, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Steve Stern, and Aryeh Lev Stollman.
Writing in The Forward, Professor Emeritus Sanford Pinsker wrote, "...With the exception of two stories set in Israel (Papernick's "An Unwelcome Guest" and Stollman's "Mr. Mitochondria") and Ken Kalfus's "Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies" (set in present-day Russia), the fictions take place in America, and often in Manhattan. Among the many occasions to say "Mazel Tov" are Ozick's "Stone," a story about a statue of Mohammed that has not been republished since its initial appearance in 1957; the fact that Norma Rosen and her son, Jonathan, both have selections in the anthology, and a reminder that Steve Stern was the first scribbler to read on Ansche Chesed's roof. Nonetheless, "Scribblers on the Roof" must make its way into the literary world as more than an elaborate way of celebrating an Upper West Side landmark and the readings hosted by a synagogue. What Bukiet's introduction promises is an anthology that puts the best contemporary American Jewish writing between covers - not only stories or sections of novels with overt Jewish content, but also stories that demonstrate the truth of a quip by the late Irving Howe about Jewish literature being easy to recognize but hard to define; indeed, in this anthology, Kalfus's nightmarish tale about a nuclear disaster in Russia, with nothing explicitly "Jewish" about its content, is allowed to coexist with a selection from Rosen's "Joy Comes in the Morning," about the travails of a female rabbi, and Sonia Pilcer's "Paskudnyak," a story about children of Holocaust survivors.
Other stories seek out their own imaginative territory. Take, for example, the eye-catching opening lines of Janice Eidus's "Elvis, Axl, and Me": "I met Elvis for the first time in the deli across the street from the elevated line on White Plains and Pelham Parkway in the Bronx.... I could tell it was him right away, even though he was dressed up as a Hasidic Jew." From the popular culture of Elvis sightings and pop star worship, Eidus fashions a very contemporary - and I would add, very American Jewish - story that yokes together disparate elements into a satisfying whole. Apple's "The Eighth Day," a fall-down funny story about circumcision, and Abraham's "The Seven Fat Brides," an ambitious remodeling of a parable by Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, are also wonderful - this despite the enormous differences in attitude and execution..."
Click the book cover to read more.







[book] Living a Year of Kaddish
A Memoir (Paperback)
by Ari Goldman
Now in Paperback. 2006.
When Ari Goldman was six, his parents divorced. They were as different as the North and South poles. Goldman remained part of each of their lives through his commitment to 1950's-style Orthodox Judaism. In September 1999, Ari Goldman turned fifty. He had a party. The next morning he got a call. His father, 77, was dead in Jerusalem. The funeral would be in a few hours, since Shabbat would soon begin in Israel. Goldman tore his shirt and began to mourn. He sat shiva for his father only one day, since Sukkot started the next day. He went on to mourn for his father for the required 30 days, and then the full 11 months. Ari inherited his father's tallit (which he wore and made his own). In this memoir, he tells the reader about the people he touched and those who touched him during his year of saying kaddish. He writes that while the kaddish will not bring back the dead, it will bind one to the community horizontally, and redeem a death vertically. Ari finds that so many people have their own kaddish stories to share with him, and he shares some with us. In this book, he knits a story being an "avel", of mourning, of loss (loss of parents, loss of one's regular seat in the synagogue). He writes about mentoring, on modeling an upright life to his kids, and his brand of Fifties-style Judaism. There are also asides on the various people he meets when he seeks out shuls in which to say kaddish on the road. He explores his daughter's conflicts when she is forced to move to the women's side of the mechiza at the age 12. He reflects upon the power of the kaddish and how the passage of time changes his approach to the prayer and the process. He honestly asks himself why he tells people he is mourning. Is it a badge on his lapel? Is he seeking some sort of status? Comfort? Honor? It is a story of loss, of growth, as well as the fascinating story of how his neighborhood shul became resurrected. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] Let It Be Morning
by Sayed Kashua, Miriam Shlesinger (Translator)
Paperback. June 2006. Grove Press, Black Cat
Kashua's second novel (after Dancing Arabs) illuminates the lives of Israel's Arab minority. An unnamed Israeli Arab journalist returns from Tel Aviv to his home village with his wife and infant daughter, in search of cheaper living. There, residents flip anxiously between Hebrew news and al-Jazeera to make sense of daily life, and high school students wear both the latest Western clothes and veils in increasing numbers. The journalist's cosmopolitan wife hates their parochial hometown, and when the protagonist finds himself eased out of his position at a prominent Jewish newspaper (surmising that "the privilege of criticizing government policy was an exclusively Jewish prerogative"), he has to hide his unemployment from her. Then one morning, the journalist finds that the Israelis have cordoned the town, cutting off all communication with the outside world. The town is plagued by infighting, mutual suspicion and rekindled feuds, revealing fault lines in the Arab community. Kashua is a journalist for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, and he writes about the Israeli Arabs' balancing act with knowledge and passion. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] Triangle
A Novel
by Katharine Weber
June 2006. FSG
Esther Gottesfeld is the last living survivor of the notorious 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire and has told her story countless times in the span of her lifetime. Even so, her death at the age of 106 leaves unanswered many questions about what happened that fateful day. How did she manage to survive the fire when at least 146 workers, most of them women, her sister and fiancé among them, burned or jumped to their deaths from the sweatshop inferno? Are the discrepancies in her various accounts over the years just ordinary human fallacy, or is there a hidden story in Esther's recollections of that terrible day? Esther's granddaughter Rebecca Gottesfeld, with her partner George Botkin, an ingenious composer, seek to unravel the facts of the matter while Ruth Zion, a zealous feminist historian of the fire, bores in on them with her own mole-like agenda. A brilliant, haunting novel about one of the most terrible tragedies in early-twentieth-century America, Triangle forces us to consider how we tell our stories, how we hear them, and how history is forged from unverifiable truths. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] KRISTALLNACHT
PRELUDE TO DESTRUCTION
BY MARTIN GILBERT
June 2006. HarperCollins
From Publishers Weekly: An acclaimed Churchill biographer and Holocaust scholar, Gilbert makes a strong case in this elegant volume that Kristallnacht was the watershed moment that laid the groundwork for the Holocaust. Known as "the Night of Broken Glass," the "coordinated, comprehensive rampage" that began on the night of November 9, 1938, saw Nazi-inspired thugs ransack synagogues and Jewish-owned property across Germany and Austria. Gilbert maintains a tight focus on the individual experiences of Jewish men, women and children during the 24-hour spree of destruction, as well as on Germans and Austrians who rioted, opposed the riot or simply looked the other way. The book begins with a harrowing account of that night's events, using accounts from news sources of the day: " 'Terrified children were turned sobbing out of their beds, which were then smashed to pieces.'" Gilbert devotes a chapter each to eyewitness accounts from Berlin and Vienna, where some of the worst destruction occurred. As Felix Rinde, then an Austrian-Jewish teenager, later wrote, "Jewish life in Vienna came to a virtual end." A third chapter offers similar accounts from other cities. Gilbert's commanding account then traces the origins of Kristallnacht in the years of mounting Jewish discrimination that began when Hitler came to power in 1933, and shows how Kristallnacht pointed the way toward the events to come. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] The Din in the Head
Essays
by Cynthia Ozick
JUNE 2006. Houghton Mifflin.
One of America's foremost novelists and critics, Cynthia Ozick has won praise and provoked debate for taking on challenging literary, historical, and moral issues. Her new collection of spirited essays focuses on the essential joys of great literature, with particular emphasis on the novel. With razor-sharp wit and an inspiring joie de vivre, she investigates unexpected byways in the works of Leo Tolstoy, Saul Bellow, Helen Keller, Isaac Babel, Sylvia Plath, Susan Sontag, and more. In a posthumous and hilariously harassing "(Unfortunate) Interview with Henry James," Ozick's hero is shocked by a lady reporter. In "Highbrow Blues" and in reflections on her own early fiction, she writes intimately of "the din in our heads, that relentless inner hum," and the curative power of literary imagination. The Din in the Head is sure to please fans, win new readers, and excite critical controversy and acclaim. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] JEWISH JOURNEYS
By JEREMY LEIGH
SPRING 2006. Haus.
Leigh, the son of a UK (Stanmore) rabbi, is a Jerusalem tour guide and quotes well. Sure this is filled with cliches, but nevertheless, it is an interesting story of Jewish journeys. The 'journey' is at the heart of the Jewish experience. The first description of the earliest 'Hebrew' is Abraham journeying from one land and culture in search of another. Later, when the Jews became a nation, they journeyed together from slavery in Egypt to freedom in their own land of Israel. In both cases it seems the journey was a point of transition, not just from place to place, but through worlds of culture and ideas. Away from Biblical legends, later historical journeys still manage to convey deep stories. This book invites the contemporary reader to consider the vastness of the Jewish journey, to enjoy the reflections of those who recorded their experiences and to place themselves somewhere in the continuum. The book is primarily an anthology of Jewish 'travel writing' from earliest time until the present. Material is drawn from Biblical sources, travel chronicles, biographies, and modern literary reflections. Each selection is introduced, explained and contextualized by the author. The opening and closing chapters link the idea of Jewish travel as well as personal reflections/ experiences of the author's own Jewish journeys. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Gucci Gucci Coo
A novel
by Sue Margolis
JUNE 2006. Bantam
From Booklist: Ruby Silverman's boutique caters to London mothers who treat their tots like the latest fashion accessories. And the type of celebrities whose pregnancy bumps miraculously disappear the minute they're holding their new bundles of joy. But when she accidentally catches a pregnant star sporting a prosthetic belly, she suspects something fishy is going on at London's best maternity ward. Just to make things interesting, Ruby has recently begun dating a handsome American doctor at that very hospital. Margolis deftly takes on pregnancy, relationships, body image, and medical ethics all in one hilarious and quick-paced package. Who knew baby brokering could be such a riot? This popular British author keeps turning out fun and witty novels that readers will grab off the shelves. Though her previous books have drawn many Bridget Jones comparisons, her writing may become the new standard for the chick-lit genre. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Introducing . . . Sasha Abramowitz
A young adult novel
by Sue Halpern
FSG
Ages 9 - 12
Meet Sasha Abramowitz: smart, funny, resourceful. Aspiring writer and pastry chef. Good listener (usually), good talker (when she feels like it), good friend (most of the time). Good sister? Well, that's more complicated. You see, her brother has Tourette's syndrome, which is really his problem, but in a way it's Sasha's, too (he can be pretty embarrassing at times). Let's just say she's working on it. Anyway, he's away at a special school (until a fire sends the students home, unexpectedly). But with her baseball-loving professor dad, a mom who teaches neuroscience, a babysitter who's the star shortstop for the Krieger Cats and doubles as a magician and card trickster, an ex-babysitter who becomes her substitute teacher, and an on again-off-again best friend, Sasha is not alone. As she struggles with changing friendships and feelings about her older brother, learns her lines for her part in Cheaper by the Dozen, gets to know James, the quiet boy who plays opposite her, and helps the doctors solve a medical mystery, she comes to see herself and her life in a different light. In this original novel, Sasha tells her story, complete with footnotes, card tricks, appendixes, and all her best vocabulary words, with brio. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] The King of Mulberry Street
by Donna Jo Napoli
Ages 9 - 12
In 1892, nine-year-old, Italian-Jewish, Dom's mother puts him on a ship leaving Italy, bound for America. He is a stowaway, traveling alone and with nothing of value except for a new pair of shoes from his mother. In the turbulent world of homeless children in Manhattan's Five Points, Dom learns street smarts, and not only survives, but thrives by starting his own business. A vivid, fascinating story of an exceptional boy, based in part on the author's grandfather. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] The King of the Sunset Strip
Hangin' With Mickey Cohen And the Hollywood Mob
by Steve Stevens and Craig Lockwood
2006. Cumberland
Who would have thought that an acting career that began as a teenage star in the "Annette" series on The Mickey Mouse Club, Walt Disney's Zorro, The Roy Rogers Show, and That's My Mom would lead to the role of confidante and assistant to Southern California crime-boss Mickey Cohen? King of the Sunset Strip is a pistol-to-the-side-of-your-head Hollywood story. Beginning with the parties, boozing, and sex and the "good-time" macho whoring and gambling of the mob, the story covers the action in Sunset Boulevard penthouses, Beverly Hills mansions, Brentwood estates, and across state lines to Las Vegas. Steve Stevens takes his readers down the palm-lined streets of Hollywood to meet film and entertainment giants like Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Louis Prima, Robert Mitchum, and many more. Stevens's relationship with Cohen began as a friendship and deteriorated into witnessing bloody beatings by Cohen, crime-scene drive-bys, and much more. Peppered with familiar celebrity names and faces from film, TV, and organized crime, this classic Hollywood tale reads like a box-office script. After Mickey Cohen was arrested on charges of income-tax evasion, gangsters hustled Stevens out of California to a remote ranch in Nevada and ordered him to stay in hiding. During Cohen's trial, Stevens remained quiet while Cohen was eventually sentenced to Alcatraz. Beginning with the casting call that resulted in Stevens's association with Cohen, King of the Sunset Strip takes readers through the exciting story to the curtain call that eventually led him out of the life of crime. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Weight of the Sky
A young adult novel
by Lisa Ann Sandell
Viking Juvenile
Ages 9 - 12
Written in free verse by a fellow Upper West Sider and Jer Report alum.
Sarah, like every college-bound junior, deals with constant pressure from teachers, friends, and parents. Besides that, she's a marching band geek and the only Jew in her class. So when she gets a chance to spend the summer on a kibbutz in Israel, Sarah jumps at the opportunity to escape her world. But living in Israel brings new complications, and when the idyllic world Sarah creates suddenly shatters, she finds herself longing for the home she thought she'd outgrown. This lyrical novel beautifully captures the experience of leaving behind a life that's too small, and the freedom of searching for a place with a perfect fit. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Mendel in the Kitchen
A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Foods
by Nina V. Fedoroff, Nancy Marie Brown
JUNE 2006. J. Henry Press
I AM SO EMBARRASSED. I thought this was a Jewish cookbook. MENDEL in the Kitchen? I thought it was by a chef named Mendel, not about some MONK who liked playing with peas.
From Publishers Weekly: Is genetically engineered Golden Rice (enriched with vitamin A) a dangerous "Frankenfood" or a safe, nutritionally enhanced food that could fill a major vitamin deficiency in the Third World? Fedoroff, a molecular biologist and member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and science writer Brown (A Good Horse Has No Color) argue forcefully for the latter view, saying we should embrace most of the advances genetic engineering has made in the agricultural arena. In an extremely accessible style, they take readers through the basics of genetics and genetic engineering to demonstrate why they believe that the risks associated with this technology are trivial. They also contend that the use of modern molecular technology to insert genes from one species into another isn't very different from the hybrid crosses that agriculturalists have been doing for millennia. Taking on concerns voiced by environmentalists, the authors articulate how genetically modified crops could reduce the amount of pesticides and fertilizers used and increase the yield of crop plants to keep up with a growing world population that could reach eight or nine billion in this century. Though likely to be controversial, the authors' clear and rational presentation could well change the opinions of some readers Click the book cover to read more.






[book] [book] HARD
A novel
by WAYNE HOFFMAN
JUNE 2006. Carroll and Graf
Taking place over the course of a single year, HARD periodically stops the action to delve into the sexual psyche of its main characters, exploring what motivates them, what turns them on, what defines their identity - what makes them hard. As FAGGOTS explored the 1970s sexual universe of gay men in New York, Hard takes a serious look a generation later, taking readers into adult theaters, online chat rooms, bedrooms, and into the minds of the gay men who have sex there. But while Faggots was written before AIDS, the characters in Hard are very much affected by the epidemic: Frank lost his lover to the disease, Gene is HIV-positive, Aaron's lover unwittingly puts them both in danger, and Moe Pearlman's sexual politics are deeply informed by AIDS. There's nobody in Hard who hasn't had his sexuality and politics shaped by the epidemic. There's also a motley crew of activists and sex partners, co-workers and family members, porn stars and B-list celebrities. The complex web of characters and subplots create a rich portrait of New York in the 1990s. And, like Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, Hard does it with edgy humor, snappy dialogue, and a scene-driven episodic structure.
Mr. Hoffman, the author, is an editor at THE FORWARD. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Hidden
A novel
by Victoria Lustbader
JUNE 2006. Forge
From Publishers Weekly: Lustbader's debut novel, set in roaring '20s New York, updates the Rich Man, Poor Man plot with a Brokeback Mountain twist. David Warshinski, 18, leaves his Jewish family's Lower East Side tenement to join the army, where he meets Jed Gates, grandson of a Manhattan business mogul. When the two friends return from WWI, David cuts off family ties, abandons his religion and changes his name to Shaw, while Jed refuses to acknowledge that he is in love with David. Instead, Jed dutifully marries, fathers a son and goes to work in the family business, keeping David, a financial and marketing genius bent on getting ahead, by his side. Meanwhile, David's sister Sarah, a seamstress still mourning their sister Rose (lost in the Triangle Factory fire) stealthily keeps track of David, and Jed's sister Lucy, a Henry Street Settlement nurse, knows all about David's desires. Lustbader, long time fiction editor at Harper & Row and Putnam, and the spouse of novelist Eric, skillfully envisions history in the making during a time of economic and social change. She falls prey to a few family saga clichés (fraternal feuds, maternal manipulation), but is terrific in depicting her characters' work lives. She transcends the miniseries story line to reveal a promising talent in historical fiction. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] [book] Lonely Soldier
The Memoir of an American in the Israeli Army
by Adam Harmon
JUNE 2006. Presidio Press
Adam grew up in NH and graduated from American University in 1989. Ever since visiting Israel as a teen in 1984 with his Jewish teen tour, he planned to move to Israel. He is an American citizen and an Israeli soldier. In this book, he recounts his service with the IDF. Harmon moved to Israel and joined the military. Without family in the country, he was designated a chayal boded, or lonely soldier. One of the few nonnatives to become an Israeli paratrooper-and already an "old man" in a country where service is compulsory after high school- Harmon describes the tough training and strict standards that define the Israeli combatant. From the very first push-up to ambushes in Lebanon and operations in the West Bank, readers march alongside Harmon and discover the value of having retsach bi'anigh (murder in your eye) and learn why "time is holy." The Israeli military culture surprised Harmon. It was very different from the one he expected to find. As within the U.S. military, Israeli soldiers avoid punishment only by being perfectionists, but the Israeli military has an unusually high regard for individualism. Commanders rely more on achieving consensus than on issuing orders; and every soldier is free to disobey an order he finds immoral. Over the next thirteen years, Harmon was in the ranks of a military that was adapting to ever-changing threats. In 1990 killing was always used as a last resort, but by 2002 targeted assassinations were employed to "decapitate" terrorist gangs. Harmon's own wish for a separate Palestinian state never wavered, but his dismay at the increasing violence by Palestinians, desperate to achieve independence, mirrors the growing belief in Israel that a true rapprochement is not on the horizon. Lonely Soldier, completed as Israel was beginning to disengage from Gaza, is a unique and thrilling glimpse into a revered yet misunderstood institution that is integral to Middle East peace. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] THE CANTOR'S DAUGHTER
STORIES
By SCOTT NADELSON
JUNE 2006. HawthorneBooks.com
The Cantor's Daughter is the compelling new collection from Oregon Book Award Winner and recipient of the GLCA's New Writers Award for 2005, Scott Nadelson. In his follow-up to Saving Stanley, these stories capture Jewish New Jersey suburbanites in moments of crucial transition, when they have the opportunity to connect with those closest to them or forever miss their chance for true intimacy. In "The Headhunter," two men develop an unlikely friendship at work, but after twenty years of mutually supporting each other's families and careers their friendship comes to an abrupt and surprising end. In the title story, Noa Nechemia and her father have immigrated from Israel following a tragic car accident her mother did not survive. In one stunning moment of insight following a disastrous prom night, Noa discovers her ability to transcend grief and determine the direction of her own life. And in "Half a Day in Halifax" Beth and Roger meet on a cruise ship where their shared lack of enthusiasm for their trip sparks the possibility of romance. Nadelson's stories are sympathetic, heartbreaking, and funny as they investigate the characters' fragile emotional bonds and the fears that often cause those bonds to falter or fail.
From Publishers Weekly: The most authentic pieces in Nadelson's collection of eight careful stories about suburban New Jersey Jews (after Saving Stanley: The Brickman Stories) turn on the inescapable mix of love and destruction in father-son or father-daughter relationships. In "Model Rockets," Nadelson's most affecting story, three well-drawn generations are locked in an uncomfortable familial embrace: Benny tries to protect, control and punish his misfit 16-year-old son, Steven, while his father-in-law-and employer-undermines his authority. But Nadelson overloads the title story, about a 16-year-old girl hemmed in by her widowed father's grief and her boyfriend's clichéd, self-serving romantic fantasies until she arrives at a feminist epiphany that feels unearned. Elsewhere, Nadelson diagrams ugly undercurrents to family dynamics or depicts lonely people yearning to connect while their relationships stall on resentment and self-doubt, as in "Half a Day in Halifax," about a doomed affair between two homely singles on a Carnival cruise. Nadelson bears unflinching witness to his characters' darkness-murderous sibling rivalry, self-loathing, selfishness-but he telegraphs too much. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Eternally Eve
Images of Eve in the Hebrew Bible, Midrash, And Modern Jewish Poetry
(Brandeis Series on Jewish Women
by Anne Lapidus Lerner, JTS
JUNE 2006. Brandeis University Press.
A fascinating analysis of the story of Eve, using modern poetry in conversation with biblical texts and rabbinic rewritings to reveal new layers of meaning The biblical accounts of Eve's life are central to Western culture, occupying a privileged place in our literature and art, culture, and society. For both Judaism and Christianity, these stories involving Eve have for centuries been entangled with the religious and social construction of gender. The ambiguous biblical record of her life from the two versions of her creation, through her encounter with the forbidden fruit, to her expulsion from Eden, and followed by the tantalizing glimpses of her life in the real world has served through the ages as a mirror of commonly held views about women. For Jewish readers, Eve's role as metonym -- signifying womanhood, or Jewish womanhood, as a whole -- is of prime importance. By tracing the imagined character of Eve from ancient times to the present, Eternally Eve opens a window on the transmission and persistence of cultural and social values. Eternally Eve takes as its subject the many ways these stories can be read, interpreting the biblical narratives as well as their iteration by rabbinic midrashists and modern poets. Anne Lapidus Lerner argues that we must set aside, or at least rethink, a series of assumptions about Eve that have been dominant in Jewish thought for centuries and instead return to the original texts to rediscover meanings implicit in them. Using modern poetry about Eve as a touchstone for reinterpreting older texts, Lerner discovers that Genesis is often more open to contemporary values than are later rabbinic texts. Linking sacred texts to works of the classical and modern imagination, Lerner restores to her sources meanings suppressed or neglected over many years and demonstrates their power to speak today. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Let It Be Morning
by Sayed Kashua, Miriam Shlesinger (Translator)
June 2006. Grove Atlantic
In his debut, "Dancing Arabs," Sayed Kashua established himself as one of the most daring voices of the Middle East. In his searing new novel, a young Arab journalist returns to his hometown - an Arab village within Israel - where his already vexed sense of belonging is forced to crisis when the village becomes a pawn in the never-ending power struggle that is the Middle East. Hoping to reclaim the simplicity of life among kin, the prodigal son returns home to find that nothing is as he remembers: everything is smaller, the people are petty and provincial. But when Israeli tanks surround the village without warning or explanation, everyone inside is cut off from the outside world. As the situation grows increasingly dire, the village devolves into a Darwinian jungle, where paranoia quickly takes hold and threatens the community's fragile equilibrium. With the enduring moral and literary power of Camus and Orwell, "Let It Be Morning" offers an intimate, eye-opening portrait of the conflicted allegiances of the Israeli Arabs, proving once again that Sayed Kashua is a fearless, prophetic observer of a political and human quagmire that offers no easy answers. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] FEAR
Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz
by Jan Gross
JUNE 2006. RANDOM HOUSE
Poland suffered an exceedingly brutal Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Close to five million Polish citizens lost their lives as a result. More than half the casualties were Polish Jews. Thus, the second largest Jewish community in the world-only American Jewry numbered more than the three and a half million Polish Jews at the time-was wiped out. Over 90 percent of its members were killed in the Holocaust. And yet, despite this unprecedented calamity that affected both Jews and non-Jews, Jewish Holocaust survivors returning to their hometowns in Poland after the war experienced widespread hostility, including murder, at the hands of their neighbors. The bloodiest peacetime pogrom in twentieth-century Europe took place in the Polish town of Kielce one year after the war ended, on July 4, 1946. Jan Gross's Fear attempts to answer a perplexing question: How was anti-Semitism possible in Poland after the war? At the center of his investigation is a detailed reconstruction of the Kielce pogrom and the reactions it evoked in various milieus of Polish society. How did the Polish Catholic Church, Communist party workers, and intellectuals respond to the spectacle of Jews being murdered by their fellow citizens in a country that had just been liberated from a five-year Nazi occupation? Gross argues that the anti-Semitism displayed in Poland in the war's aftermath cannot be understood simply as a continuation of prewar attitudes. Rather, it developed in the context of the Holocaust and the Communist takeover: Anti-Semitism eventually became a common currency between the Communist regime and a society in which many had joined in the Nazi campaign of plunder and murder-and for whom the Jewish survivors were a standing reproach. Jews did not bring communism to Poland as some believe; in fact, they were finally driven out of Poland under the Communist regime as a matter of political expediency. In the words of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Czeslaw Milosz, Poland's Communist rulers fulfilled the dream of Polish nationalists by bringing into existence an ethnically pure state. For more than half a century, what happened to the Jewish Holocaust survivors in Poland has been cloaked in guilt and shame. Writing with passion, brilliance, and fierce clarity, Jan T. Gross at last brings the truth to light. Click the book cover to read more.
PW Adds: ... LipstadtRarely does a small book force a country to confront some of the more sordid aspects of its history. Jan T. Gross's Neighbors did precisely that. Gross exposed how in 1941 half the Polish inhabitants of the town of Jedwabne brutally clubbed, burned and dismembered the town's 1,600 Jews, killing all but seven.The book was greeted with a terrible outcry in Poland. A government commission determined that not only did Gross get the story right but that many other cities had done precisely the same thing. Now Gross has written Fear, an even more substantial study of postwar Polish anti-Semitism. This book tells a wartime horror story that should force Poles to confront an untold-and profoundly terrifying-aspect of their history. Fear relates, in compelling detail, how Poles from virtually all segments of society persecuted the poor, emaciated and traumatized Holocaust survivors. Those who did not actually participate in the persecution, e.g., Church leaders and Communist officials, refused to use their influence to stop the pogroms, massacres and plundering of the Jews. The Communists used the anti-Semitism to consolidate their rule. Church leaders justified the blood libel charges. Even Polish historians have either ignored or tried to justify this anti-Semitism. Gross builds a meticulous case. He argues that this postwar persecution is "a smoking gun," which proves that during the war Poles not only acquiesced but, in many cases, actively assisted the Nazis in their persecution of the Jews ...






[book] Troubling the Waters
Black-Jewish Relations in the American Century
(Politics and Society in Twentieth Century America)
by Cheryl Lynn Greenberg
June 2006. Princeton
The eloquent J. Sarna writes: The best-researched and most comprehensive account yet of Black-Jewish relations in the twentieth century. The messy complexities of the relationship, the insensitivities displayed on all sides, are here revealed for all to see. Sobering, realistic, and definitive. Stephen Steinberg, author of "Turning Back: The Retreat from Racial Justice in American Thought and Policy" : For readers who puzzle about what happened to the fabled alliance between Blacks and Jews, Troubling the Waters provides the authoritative answer. It is testament to Cheryl Lynn Greenberg's discipline as a historian, as well as her personal acumen and devotion to justice, that she is able to take up so fraught a subject and to give us such an illuminating account. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] The Jews in Mussolini's Italy
From Equality to Persecution (George L. Mosse Series)
by Michele Sarfatti, John Tedeschi and Anne C. Tedeschi (Translators)
June 2006. Wisconsin
From Publishers Weekly: Tracking the plight of Italian Jews from Fascism's rise to power in 1922 to its defeat in 1945, historian Sarfatti asserts that Mussolini and his regime, rather than being passive participants in Hitler's master plan, were actively responsible for passing and enacting anti-Jewish legislation in Italy. Jews, who numbered from 40,000 to 50,000, had been so fully integrated as equals into Italian society since the second half of the 19th century and held such diverse political views that in two key 1921 rampages that birthed Fascism-in Pisa and Modena-Jews figured prominently among the sparring Fascists, Socialists and monarchists. Yet the Fascist government that was established in October 1922 and headed by the pragmatically anti-Semitic Mussolini immediately gave dominance to Catholicism over minority religions, and in 1927, Mussolini announced his intention to "nurture the Italian race." By 1937, various industries were aryanized; Mussolini initiated a search for Jewish surnames among the higher army officers; and a new anti-Semitic weekly humor magazine began publishing. By 1943, Italy was confiscating Jewish property and partnering with the Nazis in the Final Solution. Although this tome is prodigiously documented and definitive, its dry, opaque prose and high price tag unfortunately preclude a lay readership. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] HILLS OF SPICES
Poetry from the bible
Edited by Rena Potok
JUNE 2006. JPS.
Beautiful verse from the world's greatest book In the concluding lines of the Song of Songs, one lover beckons the other to hurry to the "hills of spices," a place rich in fragrances and flavors, a feast for the senses. This lovely new collection invites us all to feast our senses on poetry from the Song of Songs and from many other passages of the Bible. Some of these, like The Song of the Sea and David's Lament are well-known classics; others, such as surprising poetic moments in Isaiah and Ezekiel, will, for many, be delightful new discoveries. Verses from the pages of Genesis, Exodus, Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Proverbs, Psalms, and many other biblical books are here, with the JPS English translation sitting across the page from the original biblical Hebrew. The poems are organized thematically-Blessings and Curses, Laments, Love Songs, Prayers and Songs of Praise, among others-making it easy to find the right verse to fit the mood or need. There is an appendix listing the poems by biblical book, chapter, and verse, and another listing Psalms by their everyday use. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] An Unlikely Prophet
A Metaphysical Memoir by the Legendary Writer of Superman and Batman
by Alvin Schwartz
2006.
A profound investigation into the shifting nature of identity and reality Looks at the ways thought is embodied and how it takes on a life of its own; Shows how Superman, an archetype of popular culture, is a perfect example of the nonlocality of quantum physics. Writer Alvin Schwartz received a great deal of attention from fans when he began talking publicly about his seventeen-year stint writing Superman and Batman comics. One of the individuals who contacted him was no ordinary fan, but a seven-foot Buddhist monk named Thongden, a tulpa or individual who was thought into being by a Tibetan mystic. Thongden put Alvin Schwartz on the path without form, an amazing journey he took in the company of Hawaiian kahunas, quantum physicists, and superheroes. Superman, as it turns out, is also a tulpa, a being created by thought that takes on a life of its own and, in Mr. Schwartz's words, is an archetype expressing the sense of nonlocality that is always present in the back of our minds--that capacity to be everywhere instantly. Superman is one of the specific forms that embodies our reality when we're at our highest point, when we're truly impermeable, indestructible, totally concentrated, and living entirely in the now, a condition each of us actually attains from time to time. Alvin Schwartz's story is a personal journey through a lifelong remembrance of synchrony, inspiration, accident, and magic. As it unfolds it puts into vivid clarity the saving grace that inhabits every moment of our lives. The author travels as a stranger in a strange land, whose greatest oddity is that this land is our own. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] LILAH
A FORBIDDEN LOVE, A PEOPLE'S DESTINY
A NOVEL
BY MAREK HALTER
JUNE 2006. CROWN.
From Publishers Weekly: In his final installment of the Canaan Trilogy (Sarah; Zipporah), Halter ambitiously tackles portions of the complicated biblical book of Ezra, which centers on the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple and calls Israel to ethnic and religious purity. In the Persian town of Susa, the beautiful Lilah dreams of marrying her Persian lover and childhood sweetheart, Antinoes. However, her beloved brother Ezra, who has immersed himself in studying the laws of God, refuses to approve of their union since Antinoes is not a Jew. As the story unfolds, with scenes full of rich detail, Lilah becomes the unlikely instrument of gaining royal approval for the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the holy city. However, once there, Ezra orders all non-Jewish wives and children driven away in what is surely one of the most heart-wrenching episodes directly from scripture. A horrified Lilah repudiates her brother and leaves with them. As the cast-off women wander unprotected outside the city, rape, murder and mayhem ensue. (It's confusing that Lilah narrates one violent scene, but readers are unsure how she survives it.) As in Sarah and Zipporah, there is plenty of highly charged sexuality and some imaginative storytelling..... Click the book cover to read more.






[book] TERRORIST
A novel
By John Updike
JuNE 2006. Knopf
From Publishers Weekly: Ripped from the headlines doesn't begin to describe Updike's latest, a by-the-numbers novelization of the last five years' news reports on the dangers of home-grown terror that packs a gut punch. Ahmad Mulloy Ashmawy is 18 and attends Central High School in the commuter city of New Prospect, N.J. He is the son of an Egyptian exchange student who married a working-class Irish-American girl and then disappeared when Ahmad was three. Ahmad, disgusted by his mother's inability to get it together, is in the thrall of Shaikh Rashid, who runs a storefront mosque and preaches divine retribution for "devils," including the "Zionist dominated federal government."The list of devils is long: it includes Joryleen Grant, the white trash slut with a heart of gold; Tylenol Jones, a black tough guy with whom Ahmad obliquely competes for Joryleen's attentions (which Ahmad eventually pays for);
Jack Levy, a Central High guidance counselor who at 63 has seen enough failure, including his own, to last him a lifetime (and whose Jewishness plays a part in a manner unthinkable before 9/11); Jack's wife, Beth, as ineffectual and overweight (Updike is merciless on this) as she is oblivious;
and Teresa Mulloy, a nurse's aide and Sunday painter as desperate for Jack's attention, when he takes on Ahmad's case, as Jack is for hers. Updike has distilled all their flaws to a caustic, crystalline essence; he dwells on their poor bodies and the debased world in which they move unrelentingly, and with a dispassionate cruelty that verges on shocking. Ahmad's revulsion for American culture doesn't seem to displease Updike one iota. But Updike has also thoroughly digested all of the discursive pap surrounding the post-9/11 threat of terrorism, and that is the real story here. Mullahs, botched CIA gambits, race and class shame (that leads to poor self-worth that leads to vulnerability that leads to extremism), half-baked plots that just might work" all are here, and dispatched with an elegance that highlights their banality and how very real they may be. So smooth is Updike in putting his grotesques through their paces" effortlessly putting them in each others' orbits" that his contempt for them enhances rather than spoils the novel. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Shooting Water
A Memoir of Second Chances, Family, and Filmmaking
by Devyani Saltzman, with an afterword by Deepa Mehta
Spring 2006.
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Saltzman's mother, Deepa Mehta, is a filmmaker who attempts to shoot the final installment of her trilogy, Water (after Fire and Earth), in India. In 1999, the author, then 19, accompanies her mother to work as a third assistant cameraperson. A series of politically motivated attacks shut down the film's production. Four years later, shooting restarts in Sri Lanka, with Saltzman onboard as a still photographer. With the film's production as a backdrop, Canadian Saltzman delves into her past. When she was 11, her father, a Jewish Ukrainian, and her mother, a [Hindu] Indian, divorced. Saltzman was forced to choose with whom she would live. Picking her father, she created a rift with her mother that would take more than a decade to repair: "most of our relationship had to be reconstructed through fragmented pieces of memory, like shards of glass, some reflecting light, others opening deep wounds." Saltzman longs for stability, which she discovers in the world of film. "Film was my second language, even before Hindi.... It was the common culture both my parents had raised me in, beyond being Jewish or Indian." Saltzman never loses any of the threads she delicately weaves together, creating a lush, evocative memoir that is emotional but never cloying. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Using And Abusing the Holocaust
by Lawrence L. Langer
Spring 2006. Indiana
In this new volume, Langer-one of the most distinguished scholars writing on Holocaust literature and representation-assesses various literary efforts to establish a place in modern consciousness for the ordeal of those victimized by Nazi Germany's crimes against humanity. Essays discuss the film Life Is Beautiful, the uncritical acclaim of Fragments, the fake memoir by Benjamin Wilkomirski, reasons for the exaggerated importance still given to Anne Frank's Diary, and a recent cycle of paintings on the Old Testament by Holocaust artist Samuel Bak. Lawrence L. Langer is Professor of English Emeritus at Simmons College, Boston. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Standing With Israel
by David Brog
Spring 2006.
This book is by David Brog, Princeton and Harvard Law grad, and the former Chief of Staff to Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). It is the story of Christian Zionism.. Many people do not understand or know how to explain Christian Zionism. Some question why evangelicals should support Israel. Based on theological and historical research, David Brog makes persuasive appeals to Christians to embrace Israel and to Jews to overcome their fears of Christian Zionists. Focusing on a subject that has been covered by various national media, including the Wall Street Journal, 60 Minutes, and Nightline, Standing With Israel goes beyond politics to: Profile leading Christian Zionists and detail the views and motives that drive their politics. Spotlight Jews who have been at the forefront of forming a budding alliance with Israel's Christian allies. Explain why so many American Jews are deeply uncomfortable with this outpouring of Christian support. David Brog went behind the headlines to find the truth about Christian Zionism. By spending time with Christian Zionists, attending their churches and events, and reading their books and publications, Brog discovered the real motives and goals of an increasingly powerful political movement. In the process, Brog became convinced he was tapping into something far deeper than politics. Brog, a Jew, came to believe that he was witnessing the birth pangs of a Christian/Jewish reconciliation that has been over two millennia in the making. In this important book, David Brog stands the conventional wisdom about Christians and Jews on its head. In so doing, he helps to further the very reconciliation he seeks to chronicle. This book is required reading for anyone who cares about the future of Christian/Jewish relations and the State of Israel. Brog explains how and why "evangelical Christians have become a powerful pro-israel force in America." He also challenges the american Jewish community to recognize the change and take it to heart. Click the book cover to read more.




Speaking of Christians... here is a very interesting biography of a forgotten leader
[book] The Most Famous Man in America
The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher
by Debby Applegate
June 2006. Doubleday
Abraham Lincoln freed men's bodies, but Beecher freed their minds. How many times did I walk past Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights and not know its history. Sure I had heard of his sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, but what of her brother Henry Ward Beecher, of whom I had a vague notion. Here is the story of a man born during the "Second Great Awakening" in 1813 to a strict Christian family. His father was the last great Puritan minister. Becoming a frontier preacher (when Indianapolis was the frontier), he rose to prominence in Brooklyn as the preacher of the Gospel of Love instead of the fire and brimstone pulpit messages. Fighting against slavery, he becomes more famous than Holmes and Emerson, and as an abolitionist, the rifles he says to Kansas become known as Beecher Bibles (how many preachers do you know who buy and distribute guns?) This is a fascinating story of a zig-zagging life as an evangelical. When he was accused of adultery in 1870, at age 57, his deadlocked trial created more headlines than the entire Civil War.
From Publishers Weekly: Now nearly forgotten, Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) was an immensely famous minister, abolitionist and public intellectual whose career was rocked by allegations of adultery that made nationwide headlines. In this engaging biography, American studies scholar Applegate situates this curiously modern 19th-century figure at the focus of epochal developments in American culture. Beecher's mesmerizing oratory and fiery newspaper columns made him one of the first celebrities of the nascent mass media. His antislavery politics, though often tepid and vacillating, Applegate argues, injected a note of emotionalism into the debate that-with his sister Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin-galvanized Northern public opinion. And by preaching a loving God instead of a wrathful one, the author contends, Beecher repudiated the dour Calvinism of his youth and made happiness and self-fulfillment, rather than sin and guilt, the centerpiece of modern Christian ideology. (The implicit moral anarchy of his creed, critics charged, evinced itself in his sexual indiscretions.) Although marred by occasionally facile psychoanalysis (Applegate describes Beecher, the seventh of 12 siblings, as a classic "middle child" personality), this assessment of Beecher is judicious and critical. Applegate gives an insightful account of a contradictory, fascinating, rather Clintonesque figure who, in many ways, was America's first liberal . Click the book cover to read more.




[book] MOHR
A NOVEL
by FREDERICK REUSS
Spring 2006. Unbridled
When a solitary man stumbles upon a cache of photographs, sometimes-and only sometimes-he can sense the lives of the people in them. Sometimes he can find in their faces and in the way they hold themselves or the way they perform before the camera, the light trace of their story. Following just that path, acclaimed novelist Frederick Reuss has created a love story of historic proportions. Mohr: A Novel is about a man and wife whose life together is marked irreparably by a deeply troubled and world-testing era. With the sort of enthralling narrative step that always marks his work, Reuss allows their story to rise from a cache of photographs he uncovered in Germany-photographs from the 1920s and '30s of the exiled Jewish playwright and novelist Max Mohr; Käthe, the beautiful wife he left behind; and Eva, their daughter, who would live through it all but would never really understand what had happened. The interplay between Reuss's revealing prose and the real faces in nearly 50 photographs offers a reading experience that may be unprecedented in novels. From the first paragraph and that first creased image, which Eva may have taken, of the Mohrs at their table in Germany just before Max walked away from their lives, this beautiful and powerful novel works as deeply on the reader as a family photo album. Click the book cover to read more.




[book] Harry Haft
Auschwitz Survivor, Challenger of Rocky Marciano
(Religion, Theology, and the Holocaust)
by Alan Scott Haft
Spring 2006. Syracuse
An unflinching account of a young Jewish boy's will to survive, chronicling his unimaginable journey from Nazi death camps to the professional boxing arena, eventually fighting Rocky Marciano. Alan Scott Haft provides the first-hand testimony of his father, Harry Haft, a holocaust victim with a singular story of endurance, desperation, and unrequited love. Hertzka Haft (as he was known in Belchatow) has a Holocaust story that stands out from so many others because of the uniquely destructive psychological impact his horrific experiences inflicted upon him. Like so many other Jews of his generation, Haft was starved, tortured, worked half to death, and made to witness the casual murders of his closest friends and relatives. In this cruelest era of our cruel world that was, tragically, par for the course. But Haft's story grows worse. As a strong and angry young man, he served a special use for the Nazis. Just as many enterprising and heartless young men raise vicious dogs for sport, so a Nazi commandant trained and fattened the young Haft. Forced to fight other Jews in bare-knuckle bouts for the perverse entertainment of SS officers. The guards gave him the nickname "The Jew Animal of Jaworzno," which, when you think about it, reveals much more about his German tormenters than it does about him. He was made to box, bare-knuckled, for the entertainment of his captors. These were fights until one man couldn't stand up, and Haft was well aware of what the Nazis would do to a Jew who couldn't stand up. Harry quickly learned that his own survival depended on his ability to fight and win. IN most cases, his opponents were to be "killed" in the ring prior to being executed. Haft details the inhumanity of the "sport" in which he must perform in brutal contests for the officers. Ultimately escaping the camp, Haft's experience left him an embittered and pugnacious young man. Determined to find freedom, Haft traveled to America and began a career as a professional boxer, quickly finding success using his sharp instincts and fierce confidence. In a historic battle, Haft fights in a match with Rocky Marciano, the future undefeated heavyweight champion of the world. Haft's boxing career takes him into the world of such boxing legends as Rocky Graziano, Roland La Starza, and Artie Levine, and he reveals new details about the rampant corruption at all levels of the sport. In sharp contrast to Elie Wiesel's scholarly, pious protagonist in Night, Harry Haft is an embattled survivor, challenging the reader's capacity to understand suffering and find compassion for an antihero whose will to survive threatens his own humanity. Haft's account, at once dispassionate and deeply absorbing, is an extraordinary story and an invaluable contribution to Holocaust literature. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Water for Elephants
A Novel
by Sara Gruen
August 1, 2006. HarperCollins
To replicate the salty vernacular of a Depression-era circus, Gruen, in her third novel, did extensive research in archives and in the field, and her work pays off admirably. The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth is a roving fleabag ensemble of "cooch tents," "kinkers," and "hay burners," whose tyrannical m.c. is always on the lookout for "born freaks." Unfortunately, Jacob Jankowski, the novel's narrator and protagonist, carries less conviction than the period idiom. Recalling, near the end of his life, his work as a veterinarian for the circus and his love for a colleague's wife, he comes off as so relentlessly decent-an unwavering defender of animals, women, dwarves, cripples, and assorted ethnic groups-that he ceases to be interesting as a character. Click the book cover to read more.








[book][book] Going Dirty
The Art of Negative Campaigning
by David Mark (former editor, Campaigns and Elections magazine)
2006. Rowman
Going Dirty is a history of negative campaigning in American politics and an examination of how candidates and political consultants have employed this often-controversial technique. The book includes case studies on notable races throughout the television era in which new negative campaign strategies were introduced, or existing tactics were refined and amplified upon. The book includes case studies on notable races throughout the television era in which new negative campaign strategies were introduced, or existing tactics were refined and amplified upon. Strategies have included labeling opponents from non-traditional political backgrounds as dumb or lightweight, an approach that got upended when a veteran actor and rookie candidate named Ronald Reagan won the California governorship in 1966, setting him on a path to the White House. The negative tone of campaigns has also been ratcheted up dramatically since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001: Campaign commercials now routinely run pictures of international villains and suggest, sometimes overtly, at other times more subtly, that political opponents are less than resolute in prosecuting the war on terror. The book also outlines a series of races in which negative campaigning has backfired, because the charges were not credible or the candidate on the attack did not understand the political sentiments of the local electorate they were trying to persuade. The effective of newer technologies on negative campaigning is also examined, including blogs and Web video, in addition to tried and true methods like direct mail. Click the book cover to read more.










JULY 2006


[book] The Tent of Abraham
Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims
by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Sister Joan Chittister (OSB), and Saadi Shakur Chishti
July 2006, Beacon.
In recent years there has been an explosion of curiosity and debate about Islam and about the role of religion, both in the world and in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The numerous books published on these questions speak to issues of politics, history, or global security. None speaks to the heart and the spirit, and yet millions of people experience these issues not as political, economic, or intellectual questions but as questions of deep spiritual, emotional, and religious significance. The Tent of Abraham provides readers with stories that can bring all the faiths together. Written by Saadi Shakur Chishti, a Scottish American Sufi, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, an American Jew, and Joan Chittister, a Benedictine sister, the book explores in accessible language the mythic quality and the teachings of reconciliation that are embedded in the Torah, the Qur'an, and the Bible. It also weaves together the wisdoms of the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions into a deeper, more unified whole. The Tent of Abraham is the first book to tell the whole story of Abraham as found in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sources and to reenergize it as a basis for peace. Joan Chittister, OSB, is a best-selling writer and lecturer. She lives in Erie, Pennsylvania. Rabbi Arthur Waskow is the director of The Shalom Center in Philadelphia and author of numerous books, including Seasons of Our Joy and Down-to-Earth Judaism. Saadi Shakur Chishti (Neil Douglas-Klotz) is an internationally known Sufi scholar and writer. His most recent book is The Sufi Book of Life. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] Up, Up, and Oy Vey!
How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero
by Simcha Weinstein
July 2006. Leviathan.
From the birth of Krypton in Cleveland to the Caped Crusader, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and more, Up, Up, and Oy Vey chronicles the uncanny story behind the story about the origins of the planet's most famous superheroes. While the Jewish contribution to film, theater, music, and comedy has been well-documented, the Jewish role in the creation of the All-American superhero has not been--until now! The official publication date of this book is June 27, 2006, which is two weeks after the 3rd X-Men movie is released and three days before Superman Returns hits the theaters. Additionally, Geppi's Entertainment Museum will be opening in Baltimore on July 4th as well, and this museum is being touted as a one-of-a-kind, fun, interactive museum. . .with a focus on pop culture in all media, toys, and comic characters. . Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Friendship
An Exposé
by Joseph Epstein
July 2006. Houghtin Mifflin.
How has marriage affected friendship?
How has internet chats and IM's affected friendships?
Must a spouse and co-parent be a best friend?
Do men still have nights out with the boys?
Was adolescence the greatest period of time for friendships? Or is in old age?
Can joyous friendships occur later in life? Does success destroy old friendships?
Has the growth of women in the workplace increase the number of female friends men have?
How has the growth of free long distance calls on cell phones expanded the closeness of friends?
Just as his best-selling Snobbery argued that contemporary American snobbery isn't what it used to be, Friendship: An Exposé begins with Joseph Epstein's feeling that friendship, too, is somehow different today. From the idealization of "family time" to the acceptance of gender equality, from technological leaps like e-mail and instant messaging to the (very recent) assumption that your spouse will be your best friend, Epstein charts the unexpected and surprising forces that have squeezed and shaped friendship. In the process, he sketches a witty and incisive anatomy of the modern version: its duties and requirements ("Reciprocity, or Is It Obligation?"), the various kinds of friendships ("A Little Taxonomy of Friends"), the differences between male and female friendships, the complications marriage creates ("Friendship's New Rival"), even what happens when sex enters the equation. (you know, as in FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS?) Moving easily from Aristotle to Seinfeld, and drawing on his own experiences with people great (Saul Bellow and Ralph Ellison) and unknown (an army bunkmate), Epstein uncovers the surprising and hidden truths of friendships and so inspires us to reconsider our own.
As for being a Jewish book... pages 155-156 deal with Jews and Jewishness with the chapter on cliques and clans, in addition to some gossip on Click the book cover to read more.






[book] COOKING JEWISH
652 GREAT RECIPES FROM THE RABINOWITZ FAMILY
BY JUDY BART KANCIGOR
July 2006. Workman.
Grandma Sera Fritkin's Russian Jewish brisket, gefilte fish, 17 kugels, 12 cheesecakes. Originally piblished as a gift to her family, this has four generations of recipes. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Straight Up & Dirty
A Memoir
by Stephanie Klein
July 2006. Regean
Stephanie had it all. Young, a husband, a newborn, a nice apartment. Then her husband divorced her. Taken from her blog and expanded on, this is the story of divorce in New York, court, dating, online dating, and therapy. See www.StephanieKlein.blogs.com. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] WHAT ISRAEL MEANS TO ME
EDITED by ALAN DERSHOWITZ
JULY 2006. WILEY.
From Publishers Weekly: "Harvard law professor Dershowitz is out to defend Israel again"this time, with a little help from his friends. In this volume, some 80 writers, scholars and journalists, many of them prominent figures, most of them Jewish, contribute short pieces about the meaning of Israel in their lives. The breadth of authors is impressive, from Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and the Rev. Pat Robertson to the actresses Natalie Portman (Jewish, born in Israel) and Christina Applegate (not Jewish, visited Israel). As might be expected, many of the pieces emphasize the writer's emotional connection to the Jewish state. Some are prone to hyperbole (former Cabinet member William Bennett counts himself "among the millions of Americans who see America's fate and Israel's fate as one"), while others are overly sentimental. But to Dershowitz's credit, the collection includes selections from more nuanced and critical thinkers. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts points out the importance of Israel as a haven for Palestinian gays and lesbians, while noting that Israel has a way to go in ridding itself of homophobia. Some authors oppose Israel's existence or, like Israeli politician Shulamit Aloni and American Jewish activist Michael Lerner, are critical of Israeli policy in the West Bank, in essays that may expand the readership for this collection beyond the usual pro-Israel suspects."
Includes Erica Jong, Jonathan Kellerman, Barney Frank, Tovah Feldshuh, David Harris (AJC), Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Larry King, David Mamet, Michael B. Oren, and many more. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] WEIMAR IN EXILE
EXILE IN EUROPE, EXILE IN AMERICA
By Jean-Michel Palmier, Transl. From French by D. Fernbach
July 2006. VERSO.
The artists and writers who left when the Nazis came to power were "the best of Germany"-Palmier weaves their diverse stories into a history of magisterial scope. In 1933 thousands of intellectuals, artists, writers, militants and other opponents of the Nazi regime fled Germany. They were, in the words of Heinrich Mann, "the best of Germany," refusing to remain citizens in this new state that legalized terror and brutality. They emigrated to Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Oslo, Vienna, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Mexico, Jerusalem, Moscow. Throughout their exile they strove to give expression to the fight against Nazism through their work, in prose, poetry and painting, architecture, film and theater. Weimar in Exile follows these lives, from the rise of national socialism to the return to their ruined homeland, retracing their stories, struggles, setbacks and rare victories. This absorbing history covers the lives of Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, Hans Eisler, Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann, Anna Seghers, Ernst Toller, Stefan Zweig and many others, whose dignity in exile is a moving counterpoint to the story of Germany under the Nazis. Click the book cover to read more.






IS THIS BOOK KOSHER?
A KOSHER PIG?
[book] The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten
100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher
by Julian Baggini
JULY 2006. PLUME.
Pub Weekly: For Stelios, the teletransporter is the only way to travel." So begins one of the 100 philosophically based brain teasers in Baggini's clever book. Each entry includes an imagined scenario, which is based on sources from Plato to Sir Bernard Williams, followed by commentary that introduces a series of mind-bending questions and broadens the possible contexts: e.g., if Stelios's body is disintegrated and then recomposed by the transporter, is Stelios still the same person he was? Is it ever ethical to eat animals, even if they want to be eaten? Is there really an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving God? Is it right to do something wrong if it doesn't hurt anyone? Is torture ever a good option? Baggini, the editor of the U.K.'s Philosopher's Magazine, offers no firm answers, only hints as to where the discussion might go next. The conceit of the volume forces some repetitiveness and some simplification, but overall, it effectively explores aesthetics, ethics, language, logic, religion, mind and the self. More importantly, it's hugely entertaining. Any one of these thought experiments would serve as a great party game, keeping the conversation going for hours.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] My Einstein
Essays by the World's Leading Thinkers on the Man, His Work, and His Legacy
by John Brockman (Editor)
JULY 2006. PANThEON.
From Publishers Weekly: For "generations of ambitious young Jewish kids like me," observes Lawrence M. Krauss, Albert Einstein provided the inspiration to pursue the study of theoretical physics. Several of these scientists share their thoughts in an anthology edited by Brockman, a literary agent and editor of popularizing science books (What We Believe but Cannot Prove). But not every contributor is a physicist, and not every piece relates directly to Einstein: historian George Dyson (son of physicist Freeman Dyson) was babysat by the great man's personal secretary, while New York Times science writer George Johnson looks back at the books that introduced him to relativity. For some, Einstein looms as an iconic figure, while others actually met Einstein during his later years at Princeton. The overall tone is respectful, even reverential. The Einstein who emerges possesses no surprising characteristics, making the book seem a light afterthought to a year of celebrating 2005 as the centenary of Einstein's world-changing papers on relativity.Click the book cover to read more.








[book] HOW THIS NIGHT IS DIFFERENT
STORIES
BY ELISA ALBERT
JuLY 2006. FREE PRESS
From Publishers Weekly Titled to reflect the customary question asked at Passover, these 10 stories by debut writer Albert explore traditional Jewish rituals with youthful, irreverent exuberance as her characters transition into marriage and child-rearing. In "Everything But," dutiful daughter Erin finds herself, after her mother's death, disturbed by the lovelessness of her marriage. In "So Long," Rachel has become "born again" as an Orthodox Jew and resolved to have her head shaved before her marriage, as per custom; the narrator, Rachel's maid of honor, struggles to suppress her sarcastic disbelief. "The Mother Is Always Upset" plays on the familial chaos of ritual circumcision (the bris): tearful mother Beth cowers in the bedroom, while exhausted new father Mark takes his cue from the sanguine mohel. And Albert, writing as nice Jewish girl Elisa Albert, becomes a cocksure writer determined to have the last word in the hilariously vulgar postmodern final story, "Etta or Bessie or Dora or Rose"" an unabashed autobiographical fan letter to Philip Roth, "the father of us all." Click the book cover to read more.







[book] MOTHER AND ME:
ESCAPE FROM WARSAW 1939
By JULIAN PADOWICZ
July 2006, Academy Chicago.
From Booklist: Padowicz, a Polish Jew, was seven when he and his mother escaped from Warsaw at the start of World War II when the Germans began bombing the city. The author chronicles their escape, first going to Ukraine in a frightful journey by truck and farm wagons, and then--in 1940--crossing the border into Hungary on foot through the Carpathian Mountains. Padowicz describes how his mother and other adults spent hours foraging for supplies--mostly food and firewood. He details his relationship with his mother, a Warsaw socialite who left his upbringing to Kiki, a Catholic governess who he loved. At the start of the war, Kiki returned to her family in Lodz; the author's stepfather joined the Polish army and was killed. Kiki taught the author about God and Mary, "their little boy Jesus, and the Holy Ghost." He learned the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Act of Contrition, "all of which I recited fervently at bedtime." Much of the book deals with Padowicz's struggle over his religious identity as he and his mother stayed one step ahead of the Germans. There is too much dialogue here--Padowicz could not have remembered verbatim conversations from more than 60 years ago--but Mother and Me recounts a chilling journey during the war. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich
A Son's Memoir
by Howard Reich
Summer 2006, Public Affairs.
From Booklist: *Starred Review* Reich's Jewish mother lived in the town of Dubno, Poland, as a child. In 1941, when she was 11, she began a four-year journey of running and hiding from the Nazis, coming to the U.S. when she was 16 (having never been educated beyond the third grade). She worked in candy and clothing factories in Chicago and met the author's father, a survivor of a death march to Buchenwald, on a blind date. On February 15, 2001, when she was living in Skokie, Illinois, she packed some clothes in two shopping bags and fled, believing that someone was trying to kill her, "to put a bullet in my head." She was diagnosed as having late-onset post-traumatic stress disorder, was admitted to a psychiatric ward, and then to an assisted-living facility. "In the midst of my mother's stunning soliloquy of rage and delusion, of anger and fear and accusation," Reich writes, "I finally, belatedly, incredibly realized that this was all about the war, and what awful things must have happened to my mother when she was a child, pursued because she was a Jew." Reich is the Chicago Tribune jazz critic, a correspondent for Downbeat magazine, and the coauthor of Jelly's Blues: The Life, Music, and Redemption of Jelly Roll Morton (2003). His book is a compelling and compassionate memoir, a moving story of a loving relationship between a mother and son.
From the Washinton Post: Howard Reich, for many years jazz critic for the Chicago Tribune, grew up in that city -- first in Germantown where his parents owned a bakery, and then in the primarily Jewish suburb of Skokie. His parents were immigrants, survivors of the Holocaust, but they didn't talk about it. For a while young Howie was told to keep the whole thing a secret, and he did. The past his parents had lived through didn't mean a thing to him. He was a kid with his own life, growing up, first above that bakery, then in a "tiny" two-bedroom house with a little sister. None of it seemed to be material for a horrifying memoir. Howard's father, Robert, was amiable but explosive, and after they moved to Skokie he perpetually argued with his ill-tempered relatives, many of them concentration-camp survivors as well. Howard's mother, Sonia, a wisp of a woman less than five feet tall, worked hard for the family. Except for his parents' thick Middle European accents, everything seemed normal enough. The home one grows up in -- however strange or off-the-wall -- defines "normal" for the child who grows up in it. So this routine didn't seem strange to Howie: "At night, my father slept in one bedroom, I in another, my sister on the living-room sofa, and my mother watched the hours go by in the kitchen, sipping black coffee late into the night. . . . My mom then moved into the living room, near my sister's sofa, seated herself on the floor at the picture window and peered through the narrow space between the frill of the window shade and the sill underneath." And there she stayed. "I did not consider any of this unusual," Reich writes, and why should he have? He was busy growing up, going through his bar mitzvah, getting more and more fed up with the never-ending dramas and feuds of his dad's relatives, discovering his own love for music and then journalism, trying -- as do we all -- to find an identity for himself that would separate him (in an appropriate way) from his family. His parents were high-strung and overprotective.... When Howie got older, his father traveled with some of the family back to Poland, to face down some of his demons: back to Sosnowiecz, his old home town. Howie was so clueless about the real meaning of this journey that he asked his dad to bring him back a souvenir that had something to do with Chopin. Sonia went along, but they didn't visit Dubno, the Eastern Polish town where she had lived as a child before the war. "We didn't go," she said. "Why do I want to go there?" Life rolled by. Howie married. His father died. The mean relatives drifted off. His mother lived alone, getting a little strange, taking a gallon of water with her wherever she went. And then one night she ran away, insisting that there was a man in her house who wanted to put a bullet through her head. That's when this memoir turns horrifying, almost beyond belief. His mother isn't "crazy" in the conventional sense. She knows what day it is and who's the president, and the names of all the police and psychiatrists and social workers who now become part of her life. But she's institutionalized and lives in a constant state of rage and fear, stuffing slices of bread into her fanny pack, hoarding her water, always on the lookout for the man who wants to put the bullet through her head. Events converge. A relative of his mother's turns up and tells an awful tale. Sonia, who has used several other names during this narrative, was never in a concentration camp. Instead, it turns out, Dubno was the scene of constant massacres during the war, a place where 12,000 Jews were brutally murdered by Poles, Germans and Ukrainian police, and only a few dozen survived. Sonia, just a girl, was one of them. The author is new to this material. He learns it in stages and through the lens of being a journalist. He approaches the awful, the unendurable, the unbearable by "chasing the story," making his own journey to Dubno, conducting interviews with one of Sonia's surviving relatives -- interviews that age them both and give them nightmares. Little Sonia survived as a feral child, with other children who watched their parents be slaughtered; these children fled to the forest with other relatives, who abandoned them. They were hunted for years like animals by soldiers and police. What Reich's mother suffers from, then, is post-traumatic stress disorder. The man who wants to put a bullet through her head was there when she was a child, threatening to do just that. Reich broadens this one horrible story to include all Holocaust survivors. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] Just One More Thing
by Peter Falk
July 2006, Carroll & Graf
Yes. Peter Falk was born Jewish and even had his MPA degree. In Just One More Thing Peter Falk - award-winning actor - takes us behind-the-scenes into his professional and private life. Starting in Hartford, where he worked as a management analyst for the Connecticut State Budget Bureau., Falk was no more successful than at an earlier attempt to work with the CIA. He then turned to an old college interest: acting. Falk came to prominence in 1956 in the successful Off-Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh. Although he worked continuously for the next three years, a theatrical agent advised him not to expect much work in motion pictures because of his glass eye. Surgeons had removed his right eye, along with a malignant tumor, when he was three years old. But in 1958, Falk landed his first movie, Murder Incorporated, and was nominated for an Oscar. A Pocketful of Miracles garnered his second Oscar nomination, but it was through his collaboration with filmmaker John Cassavetes that Falk entered into his most creative period in 1970 when movies such as A Woman Under the Influence helped launch the independent film movement. Through television, however, Falk reached his widest audience - portraying the inimitable Lieutenant Columbo throughout the 1970s and winning four Emmys. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] Jewish Ethics And the Care of End-of-Life Patients
A Collection of Rabbinical, Bioethical, Philosophical, And Juristic Opinions
Edited by Peter Joel Hurwitz, Jacques Picard, and Avraham Steinberg, and Translated by Dr. Benjamin Sklarz
July 2006, KTAV.
From Publishers Weekly: Ethical dilemmas multiply as medical advances intensify the complexity of decision making at the end of life. A basic issue often arises from the conflict between two highly esteemed values: reverence for life and patients' right to self-determination. This collection of essays tries to address the Jewish approach to such problems. Steinberg, an Israeli physician and ethicist, chaired a 59-member committee that worked from 2000 to 2002 to produce a law regulating the care of dying patients in Israel. The law was enacted in 2005. Steinberg's description of the committee's work, its report and the actual law are the most useful parts of the book. His contributions detail an approach that carefully tried to codify into law a significant version of the Jewish view of death and dying. Lack of consensus on the subject from biblical and Talmudic times to the present made the task difficult. Disagreement is amply documented in the book's other essays that offer different Jewish perspectives on such knotty subjects as assisted suicide, euthanasia, death on demand and the withholding or withdrawal of treatment. Despite the unevenness of the presentations, the anthology sheds useful light on a subject that is of universal concern. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] HEBREW ETHICAL WILLS
Selected and Edited by Israel Abrahams
Foreword by Judah Golden
JULY 2006. Jewish Publication Society JPS, 750 pages
Facsimile of the 1926 edition
The renewed and growing interest in ethical wills today speaks to the attraction they have to people who want to reflect on the deeper meaning of their own lives and share what they have learned with those they love. These very personal documents, with origins in the Bible, grew into a particularly Jewish custom. Hebrew Ethical Wills can teach us much about the past and gives us food for thought for the present. First published in 1926, this expanded edition includes new material: Lawrence Fine's excellent introduction, passages from the autobiography of Gluckl of Hameln (to give expression to a Jewish women's voice), and a bibliography of state-of-the-art scholarship on the issues and themes of ethical wills. The texts included, by Judah ibn Tibbon, Maimonides, the Baal Shem Tov, and the Gaon of Vilna, among others, with Hebrew facing pages, provide us with rich and intriguing evidence of premodern notions of parenthood and childhood. And they offer special insights into the faith and feelings of Jews across the centuries, as well as inspiration for those who want to write their own ethical wills today Click the book cover to read more.








[book] How to Lose a Battle
Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders
by Bill Fawcett
JULY 2006. Harper.
A remarkable compendium of the worst military decisions and the men who made them. The annals of history are littered with horribly bad military leaders. These combat incompetents found amazing ways to ensure their army's defeat. Whether it was a lack of proper planning, miscalculation, ego, bad luck, or just plain stupidity, certain wartime stratagems should never have left the drawing board. Written with wit, intelligence, and eminent readability, How to Lose a Battle pays dubious homage to these momentous and bloody blunders, including: Napoleon's retreat from Moscow in 1812; Cannae, 216 B.C.: the bumbling Romans lose 80,000 troops to Hannibal's forces. The Second Crusade: an entire Christian army is slaughtered when it stops for a drink of water. The Battle of Britain: Hitler's dreaded Luftwaffe blows it big-time. Pearl Harbor: more than one warning of the impending attack is there, but nobody listens. How to Lose a Battle includes more than thirty-five chapters worth of astonishing (and avoidable) disasters, both infamous and obscure -- a treasure trove of trivia, history, and jaw-dropping facts about the most costly military missteps ever taken. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A Crazy Occupation
Eyewitness to the Intifada
by Jamie Tarabay
2006. A&U.
The unforgettable experiences of a young Australian journalist posted in Israel to report on the conflict in the occupied territories are documented in this compelling memoir. Unafraid, or perhaps just stunningly naïve, Jamie Tarabay, an Arabic-speaking Australian of Lebanese descent, dove headfirst into the thick of Middle Eastern politics. From the great optimism following the Camp David summit in 2000 to the start of the intifada in 2001, Jamie was in the thick of it-Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron, suicide bombers, hard-line Jewish settlers, Palestinians living under curfew, and the arrival of the new millennium after a Christmas in Bethlehem. This entertaining, unique, and highly illuminating memoir chronicles a transitional period in the Middle East and traces the author's experiences as she redefines her sense of nationality, morality, heritage, and religion. Click the book cover to read more.








TWENTY YEARS AGO, PROFESSOR AJAMI WROTE ABOUT MUSA AL SADR, THE VANISHED IMAM. IT WAS AN ASTUTE OBSERVATION THEN. HE CONTINUES TO AMAZE WITH THIS CURRENT BOOK:
[book] The Foreigner's Gift
The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq
by Fouad Ajami
JULY 2006. Free Press.
The fall of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime brought the first glimpse of freedom for Iraq and unleashed elation, resentment, and chaos. On the one hand, there is hope: the Iraqi people have their first chance at independence. On the other hand, there is despair: the country is exploding with violent sectarian and political power struggles. Through it all, Iraq has remained an enigma to much of the world. What is it about this country that makes for such a seemingly intractable situation? How did Iraq's particular history lead to its present circumstances? And what can we fear or hope for in the coming years? Fouad Ajami, one of the world's foremost authorities on Middle Eastern politics, offers a brilliant, illuminating, and lyrical portrait of the ongoing struggle for Iraq and of the American encounter with that volatile Arab land. Ajami situates the current unrest within the context of Iraq's recent history of dictatorship and its rich, diverse cultural heritage. He applies his incisive political commentary, his broad and deep historical view, his mastery of the Arabic language and Arabic sources, and his lustrous prose to every aspect of his subject, wresting a coherent, fascinating, and textured picture from the media storm of fragmented information. In the few years after the Iraq war began, Ajami made many trips to that country and met Iraqis of all ethnicities, religions, politics, and regions. Looking beneath the familiar media images of Iraq and the war, Ajami visits with individuals representing the breadth of Iraq's populace, from Sunni leaders and Shia clerics to Kurdish politicians and poets, Iraqi policemen, and ordinary people voting for the first time in their lives. He also hears from American soldiers on the ground, and the result of all his encounters is an astonishing portrayal of a land that has emerged as a crucial battleground between American power and the wider forces of Arab religious and political extremism. With his unrivaled access -- he has been granted an audience with the great, reclusive Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and been admitted into the sacred shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf for a discussion with its religious scholars -- Ajami provides an intimate portrait that draws on both his learning and his lifelong interest in the traditions and the history of Iraq. With his commentator's eye, his scholarly depth of understanding, his poetic ear, and his abiding love for the Middle East, Fouad Ajami is an essential voice for our times. The Foreigner's Gift is the book we all need to read in order to understand what is happening in Iraq today and what the future might hold for all of us. Click the book cover to read more.











AUGUST 2006


What is it with Harvard Law grads.. they can't just be attorneys, they also have to write novels:
[book] Anonymous Lawyer
A Novel
by Jeremy Blachman, Esq.
AUGUST 2006. Henry Holt.
I first started to read the ANONYMOUSLAWYER.blogspot blog in 2004, when the author wrote this hilarious posting:
".....You know what I hate? The Jewish holidays. It's defensible to make someone work on their kid's birthday. It's defensible to make them work when their dad's having surgery. It's defensible to make them come back in three weeks after they have a baby. But for some reason, you call it a holiday - and it's not just the Jewish holidays I'm talking about; it's any holiday - and people want to guilt you into letting them take time off. Our clients don't care if it's the American New Year, the Jewish New Year, or the Chinese New Year. I hate hearing that someone wasn't planning on coming into the office on Presidents Day, or Labor Day, or July 4th: what are you celebrating, and why can't you be here? You want an hour off on Christmas Eve to go to mass? I'm willing to let you do that. Two hours to go to temple on Yom Kippur? Fine. I won't schedule the meeting right at sundown. An hour to take your daughter to the doctor for a pregnancy test? I'm willing to be flexible. But you don't need four days off in two weeks for the Jewish holidays, especially right when everyone's getting back into the swing of things after their August vacations; you don't need a 4-day weekend to give thanks for the Pilgrims, especially less a month before Christmas; and you can take your wife out to dinner the day after Valentine's Day when the restaurants are less crowded. Children go to school on their birthdays; you can come to work on George Washington's birthday, Martin Luther King's birthday, and Jesus's birthday...."
Yes, this is the blog of the fictitious hiring partner at one of the world's largest law firms. Brilliant yet ruthless, he has little patience for associates who leave the office before midnight or steal candy from the bowl on his secretary's desk. He hates holidays and paralegals. And he's just started a weblog to tell the world about what life is really like at the top of his profession.
Meet Anonymous Lawyer-corner office, granite desk, and a billable rate of $675 an hour. The summer is about to start, and he's got a new crop of law school interns who will soon sign away their lives for a six-figure salary at the firm. But he's also got a few problems that require his attention. There's The Jerk, his bitter rival at the firm, who is determined to do whatever it takes to beat him out for the chairman's job. There's Anonymous Wife, who is spending his money as fast as he can make it. And there's that secret blog he's writing, which is a perverse bit of fun until he gets an e-mail from someone inside the firm who knows he's its author. Written in the form of a blog, Anonymous Lawyer is a spectacularly entertaining debut that rips away the bland façade of corporate law and offers a telling glimpse inside a frightening world. Hilarious and fiendishly clever, Jeremy Blachman's tale of a lawyer who lives a lie and posts the truth is sure to be one of the year's most talked-about novels. Click the book cover to read more.




[book] HOLY UNEXPECTED
MY NEW LIFE AS A JEW
BY ROBIN CHITZINOFF
AUGUST 2006. Public Affairs.
Raised a born-again agnostic, Robin Chotzinoff had no interest in religion-and practically no experience in it- until she turned forty. When she suddenly discovered a belief in God, she had no idea what to do next. In Holy Unexpected she describes her journey from a privileged New York childhood through years of unhappiness, drugs, and drift. She investigates what she believed in before she believed in God (the healing power of junk food, music, psychopharmacology), and how a happy marriage impelled her toward a higher power. When she discovers that Judaism embraces arguing with God, hot sex, and acts as opposed to beliefs, she embarks on a journey to reconstruct her Jewish heritage and forge a relationship with her faith. Robin wrestles with the meaning of Torah, discovers how to keep the Sabbath and still go to Walmart for duct tape, and learns to pray while snowboarding. But her real education in the meaning of Judaism occurs as she rides the ups and downs of day-to-day life, and prepares both for her bat mitzvah and for her father's death. Writing with enormous humor and intimacy, Chotzinoff takes readers on an unexpected religious journey lit by humor and grace.
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. .... The cadence of every conversion narrative is one of lost-and-found, and this edgy memoir by Chotzinoff, a freelance writer and convert to Judaism, does not disappoint. We learn of her rarefied and decidedly secular New York childhood, where music and free-flowing liquor framed intellectual discussions late into the night. This led to a wandering adolescence and young adulthood marked by drugs, sexual promiscuity, depression and binge eating. But Chotzinoff's conversion narrative eschews the traditional sudden epiphany for a gradual, postmodern transformation; when she discovers Judaism at an eclectic Denver synagogue, the change comes across less as a bolt of lightning than a long-desired and tentative homecoming. Her story is also refreshingly devoid of the usual convert's fervor-she considers herself observant, but does not strive to keep every jot and tittle of halakah... Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Messenger
A novel by Daniel Silva
AUGUST 2006. Putnam.
Gabriel Allon, art restorer and spy, has been widely acclaimed as one of the most fascinating characters in the genre and now he is about to face the greatest challenge of his life. Allon is recovering from a grueling showdown with a Palestinian master terrorist, when a figure from his past arrives in Jerusalem. Monsignor Luigi Donati is the private secretary to His Holiness Pope Paul VII, and a man as ruthless as he is intelligent. Now, however, he has come to seek Allon's help. A young Swiss guard has been found dead in St. Peter's Basilica, and although Donati has allowed the official inquiry to determine that it is suicide, his instinct tells him that it is murder-and that his master is in grave danger. He has trusted Allon in the past, and he is the only man he trusts now. Allon reluctantly agrees to get involved, but once he begins to investigate he concludes that Donati has every right to be concerned, as, following the trail from the heart of the Vatican to the valleys of Switzerland and beyond, he slowly unravels a conspiracy of lies and deception. An extraordinary enemy walks among them, with but one goal: the most spectacular assassination ever attempted. Filled with remarkable characters and breathtaking double and triple turns of plot, The Messenger solidifies Silva's reputation as his generation's finest writer of international thrillers.
[book] [book]
Click the book covers to read more.












[book] I Feel Bad About My Neck
And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
by Nora Ephron
AUGUST 2006. KNOPF
With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself. The woman who brought us When Harry Met Sally . . . , Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, and Bewitched, and the author of best sellers Heartburn, Scribble Scribble, and Crazy Salad, discusses everything-from how much she hates her purse to how much time she spends attempting to stop the clock: the hair dye, the treadmill, the lotions and creams that promise to slow the aging process but never do. Oh, and she can't stand the way her neck looks. But her dermatologist tells her there's no quick fix for that. Ephron chronicles her life as an obsessed cook, passionate city dweller, and hapless parent. She recounts her anything-but-glamorous days as a White House intern during the JFK years ("I am probably the only young woman who ever worked in the Kennedy White House that the President did not make a pass at") and shares how she fell in and out of love with Bill Clinton-from a distance, of course. But mostly she speaks frankly and uproariously about life as a woman of a certain age. Utterly courageous, wickedly funny, and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, I Feel Bad About My Neck is a book of wisdom, advice, and laugh-out-loud moments, a scrumptious, irresistible treat. Click the book cover to read more.








One of our favorite books for late Summer:
[book] Golden Country
A Novel
by Jennifer Gilmore
August 15, 2006. Scribner
Golden Country, Jennifer Gilmore's masterful and irreverent reinvention of the Jewish American novel, captures the exuberance of the American dream while exposing its underbelly -- disillusionment, greed, and the disaffection bred by success. As Gilmore's charmingly flawed characters witness and shape history, they come to embody America's greatness, as well as its greatest imperfections. Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Golden Country vividly brings to life the intertwining stories of three immigrants seeking their fortunes -- the handsome and ambitious Seymour, a salesman-turned-gangster-turned-Broadway-producer; the gentle and pragmatic Joseph, a door-to-door salesman who is driven to invent a cleanser effective enough to wipe away the shame of his brother's mob connections; and the irresistible Frances Gold, who grows up in Brooklyn, stars in Seymour's first show, and marries the man who invents television. Their three families, though inex-tricably connected for years, are brought together for the first time by the engagement of Seymour's son and Joseph's daughter. David and Miriam's marriage must endure the inheritance of not only their parents' wealth but also the burdens of their past. Epic and comic, poignant and wise, Golden Country introduces readers to an extraordinary new voice in fiction. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Murder in Jerusalem
A Michael Ohayon Mystery
by Batya Gur
August 1, 2006. HarperCollins
Modern Israel is a place filled with contradictions: the beautiful landscape often rife with human conflict; the tranquil and the peaceful in constant struggle with terrible destruction; and amazing human love and kindness set against a backdrop of civil strife. Through the eyes of a writer like Batya Gur and her finest creation, Chief Superintendent Michael Ohayon, these complexities are treated with an intimate familiarity and rare depth of understanding. When a woman's body is discovered in the wardrobe warehouses of Israel Television, the brooding Ohayon embarks on a tangled and bloody trail of detection through the corridors and studios of Israel's official television station and, especially, through the relations, fears, loves, and courage of the people who make the station what it is. It is a journey that brings into question the very ideals upon which Ohayon -- and indeed the entire nation -- was raised, ideals that may have led to terrible crimes. Chief Superintendent Ohayon has spent his career surrounded by perplexing and horrific cases, but perhaps nothing disturbs him more deeply than what this mysterious woman's murder reveals. For the media, often at the center of the Israeli consciousness -- a place where political tensions; hostility; corruption; and the ethnic, social, and religious divisions that shake the nation come together -- may indeed be at the root of an unspeakable evil. Murder in Jerusalem is the crowning achievement of a magnificent career, this final installment in the Michael Ohayon series a wonderful parting gift from the incomparable Batya Gur -- one last fascinating visit to an always tumultuous land, in the company of a writer and a detective so many devoted readers have loved so well. . Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Inviting God In
The True Meaning of the Jewish Holy Days
by Rabbi David Aaron (Isralight, Dean)
AUGUST 2006. Shambhala Trumpeter.
From Publishers Weekly: Aaron, a teacher of mysticism in Jerusalem, focuses on one word not usually used to describe Jewish holiday themes and observances: love. Yes, he says, Rosh Hashanah is about accountability and Hanukkah is about hope. Yes, Yom Kippur is about forgiveness and Purim is about trust. But every holiday shares one unifying ingredient not usually stirred into the Jewish recipe for the holidays: God's love. A Jewish holiday, called a mo'ed, a fixed time or date, allows us a "date with God" so that we can remember a dramatic moment in God's loving presence. Each chapter describes the "soul-meaning"-a term Aaron doesn't define-of a different holiday, an aspect of God's unconditional love. Aaron's accessible explanations make difficult mystical concepts easy to understand, especially when he offers clever, offbeat analogies. The Torah is like a love letter you read and reread. Revelation is like the traffic report on the radio, with God as the traffic helicopter deciphering patterns from above. The tragedy, says Aaron, is that today many of us are not even looking for God. For those who are, Aaron's book will provide sincere guidance toward uncovering a tender, untarnished meaning of the Jewish holidays. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Contemporary Torah
A Gender-sensitive Adaptation of the Jps Translation
Edited by David E. S. Stern with Carol L. Meyers, Adlee Berlin, and Ellen Frankel
AUGUST 2006. Jewish Publication Society JPS, 424 pages
Offers readers new perspectives on the role gender plays in Bible translation This adaptation of the JPS translation of the Torah (1962) will appeal to readers who are interested in a historically based picture of social gender roles in the Bible as well as those who have become accustomed to gender-sensitive English in other aspects of their lives. Many contemporary Bible scholars contend that the Bible's original audience understood that the references to God as male simply reflected gendered social roles at the time. However, evidence for this implicit assumption is ambiguous. Accordingly, in preparing this new edition, the editors sought language that was more sensitive to gender nuances, to reflect more accurately the perceptions of the original Bible readers. In places where the ancient audience probably would not have construed gender as pertinent to the text's plain sense, the editors changed words into gender-neutral terms; where gender was probably understood to be at stake, they left the text as originally translated, or even introduced gendered language where none existed before. They made these changes regardless of whether words referred to God, angels, or human beings. For example, the phrase originally translated in the 1962 JPS Torah as "every man as he pleases" has been rendered here "each of us as we please" (Deut. 12:8). Similarly, "man and beast" now reads "human and beast" (Exod. 8:14), since the Hebrew word adam is meant to refer to all human beings, not only to males. Conversely, the phrase "the persons enrolled" has been changed to "the men enrolled" (Num. 26:7), to reflect the fact that only men were counted in census-taking at this time. In most cases, references to God are rendered in gender neutral language. A special case in point: the unpronounceable four-letter name for the Divine, the Tetragammaton, is written in un-vocalized Hebrew, conveying to the reader that the Name is something totally "other"-- beyond our speech and understanding. Readers can choose to substitute for this unpronounceable Name any of the numerous divine names offered by Jewish tradition, as generations have before our time. In some instances, however, male imagery depicting God is preserved because it reflects ancient society's view of gender roles. David Stein's preface provides an explanation of the methodology used, and a table delineates typical ways that God language is handled, with sample verses. Occasional notes applied to the Bible text explain how gender is treated; longer supplementary notes at the end of the volume comment on special topics related to this edition. In preparing this work, the editors undertook a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the Torah's gender ascriptions. The result is a carefully rendered alternative to the traditional JPS translation. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Jewish Book of Days
A Companion for All Seasons
by Rabbi Jill Hammer
AUGUST 2006. Jewish Publication Society JPS, 400 pages
Discover the divine every day, through study of sacred text and awareness of the natural world Throughout the ages, Jews have connected legends to particular days of the Hebrew calendar. Abraham's birth, the death of Rachel, and the creation of light are all tales that are linked to a specific day and season. The Jewish Book of Days invites readers to experience the connection between sacred story and nature's rhythms, through readings designed for each and every day of the year. These daily readings offer an opportunity to live in tune with the wisdom of the past while learning new truths about the times we live in today. Using the tree as its central metaphor, The Jewish Book of Days is divided into eight chapters of approximately forty-five days each. These sections represent the tree's stages of growth--seed, root, shoot, sap, bud, leaf, flower, and fruit--and also echo the natural cadences of each season. Each entry has three components: a biblical quote for the day; a midrash on the biblical quote or a Jewish tradition related to that day; and commentary relating the text to the cycles of the year. The author includes an introduction that analyzes the different months and seasons of the Hebrew calendar and explains the textual sources used throughout. Appendixes provide additional material for leap years, equinoxes, and solstices. A section on seasonal meditations offers a new way to approach the divine every day. Click the book cover to read more.








NOW IN PAPERBACK
[book] Born to Kvetch
Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods (P.S.)
by MICHAEL WEX
Harper Perennial (August 1, 2006) Paperback edition
This book, as Wex points out, is more than just bupkes and tukhes. It is intelligent and funny, and left me with a greater understanding of the collective (un)Conscious of the Jews of Yiddish heritage, as well as Jewish toilet paper, and also why you schlog a rooster for Yom Kippur (cuz they are lighter than cows and scapegoats). Leo Rosten... move over. Kveching has a deep history, and it didn't begin in Eastern Europe. The author reminds us that the Hebrews kvetched (k'vetch... like sitting on a toilet after eating lots of matzah) at the Red Sea (what? there werent enough graves in Egypt, you had to bring us to the desert?), and in the desert they kvetched about the food. (Moses responded: you want meat? you'll have meat not just a day or a week, but for a month ... so long that you'll get sick of it (and they did)). Mr. Wex tells us the quintessential Yiddish kvetch; A Jewish man is on a train and kvetches non stop, "oy am i thirsty".. "oy, Am i thirsty." An annoyed, put-upon passenger gets him some water -- not out of kindness, but out of irritation. The Jewish man drinks and begins to kvetch again, "oy, WAS i thirsty!" This is the deep deep idea of pleasurable kvetching and one's lot in life. Chapters include ones on Yiddish Curses; Poultry; Luck Misery and Money; Yiddish and Nature; Courtship and Marriage; Sex; Death; and Birth. Guess what the Jewish pastry called a sheygets looks like? Did you know what St Paul said about shiksas? Why does realistic Yiddish disagree with nominalist Juliet's sweet smelling roses? Why did the hun, hon, and litvish hin become a chicken in America? SO many things to learn. SO many references to Greece, Orwell, Shakespeare and world history. After reading it, i was lakhn mit yashtsherkes, and i felt like (or looked like) oyszen vi a hon nokh tashmish.
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Oy!
The Ultimate Book of Jewish Jokes
by David Minkoff
Thomas Dunne Books (August 22, 2006)
From Publishers Weekly: Minkoff began collecting jokes almost 50 years ago when he was 13. Six years ago, he launched his U.K.-based Web site awordinyoureye.com as "a repository for my vast collection of Jewish jokes." When Minkoff's jocularity brought popularity, his avocation turned into "a full-time job which required a lot of maintenance." With the site mushrooming to more than 1,760 jokes, it became the main source for this comprehensive collection, first published in London last year by Robson/Chrysalis. These Jewish japes and jests run the gamut from deft definitions, one-off one-liners, pithy puns, quizzes and ribald riddles to satirical songs and full-page humorous stories. Fresh, familiar or unfamiliar, all the jokes have been rewritten by Minkoff into his own style, and he has grouped gags thematically into various categories and subcategories. Spanning birth to death, the 86 topics feature more than 1,000 jokes: On circumcision: " 'It won't be long now,' said the rabbi as he circumcised the little boy." Marriage: "Q: Why are many Jewish girls still single these days? A: They have not yet met Dr. Right." Jewish telegram: "Begin worrying. Details to follow." On the 23rd Psalm for Jewish princesses: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He leadeth me into Bloomingdale's." The lack of cartoons may disappoint some readers, but even they will find that this clever kosher compilation generates giggles galore. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] Outsider in the Promised Land
An Iraqi Jew in Israel
by Nissim Rejwan (Hebrew Univ)
AUGUST 2006. University of Texas Press UtexasPress.com.
In 1951, Israel was a young nation surrounded by hostile neighbors. Its tenuous grip on nationhood was made slipperier still by internal tensions among the various communities that had immigrated to the new Jewish state, particularly those between the politically and socially dominant Jewish leadership hailing from Eastern Europe and the more numerous Oriental Jews from the Middle East and North Africa. Into this volatile mix came Nissim Rejwan, a young Iraqi Jewish intellectual who was to become one of the country's leading public intellectuals and authors. Beginning with Rejwan's arrival in 1951 and climaxing with the tensions preceding Israel's victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, this book colorfully chronicles Israel's internal and external struggles to become a nation, as well as the author's integration into a complex culture. Rejwan documents how the powerful East European leadership, acting as advocates of Western norms and ideals, failed to integrate Israel into the region and let the country take its place as a part of the Middle East. Rejwan's essays and occasional articles are an illuminating example of how minority groups use journalism to gain influence in a society. Finally, the letters and diary entries reproduced in Outsider in the Promised Land are full of lively, witty meditations on history, literature, philosophy, education, and art, as well as one man's personal struggle to find his place in a new nation. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen
Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger
by Amy Wilentz
AUGUST 2006. Simon and Schuster
We enjoyed Amy's book on Haiti, and then we read her book from her stay in Israel and the Occupied Territories (MARTYRS' CROSSING), and now she has settled in California, and this is her book about life in this Western state. Check out Chapter Five, in which the Resnick's play a starring role.
This is an irreverent, inventive portrait of the edge of America, where the highways end in the Pacific Ocean. A lifelong easterner and an outsider in the West, takes the reader on a picaresque journey from exclusive Hollywood soirees to a fantasy city in the Mojave desert, from the La Brea Tar Pits to celebrity-besotted Sacramento, from the tents of Skid Row to surf-drunk Malibu, from a snowbird retreat near Mexico to the hippie preserve of tide-beaten Big Sur, along the way offering up sharp observations on politics, fund-raising, the water supply, the Beach Boys, earthquake preparedness, home economics, catastrophism, movie-star politicians, political movie stars, Charlie Manson, and location scouts who want to rent your house in order to make television commercials for bathroom wall cleansers or Swedish banks. Wilentz moved to Los Angeles from a Manhattan wounded by September 11, only to discover a paradise marred by fire, flood, and mudslides. In what seemed like a joke to her, a Democratic governor nicknamed Gumby was about to be ousted by an Austrian muscleman in a bizarre election promoted by a millionaire whose business was car alarms. Intrigued, she set out to find the essence of the quirky, trailblazing state. During her travels, she spots celebrities but can't quite place them, drops in on famous salons with habitués like Warren Beatty and Arianna Huffington, and visits the neglected office of one very special 9,000-year-old woman. Plunging into the traffic of California, Wilentz noodles out meaning in some of the least likely of places; she sees the political in the personal and the personal in the political. By now an expert on tremors real and imagined, she offers readers on both coasts insights into where California stands today, and America as well. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Overcoming Life's Disappointments
by Harold S. Kushner
AUGUST 2006. Knopf.
Barbara Jacobs, writing for From Booklist, wrote: "Rabbi emeritus Kushner, author of, among other titles, When Bad Things Happen to Good People (1981), scores another hit with book number 10, which is based on the theme and philosophy of his previous best-sellers. His idea is to explain the inexplicable in terms that turn negatives into ways of coping. Kushner skillfully uses the tale of Moses to manage the oh-so-true statement, "Nobody gets everything he or she yearns for." Forbidden to enter the Holy Land? Having wandered for 40 years and endured complaints and rebels, Moses was tired; another leader deserved to take the lead. Plus, reading into the Bible and other religious tomes, the author finds that Moses ignored his family--a critical element comprising the complete life. Moses is not the only example used. Abraham Lincoln was weighed down by depression--or, in his case, what doesn't kill us makes us strong. Sondheim's second act of Into the Woods underscores the importance of assessing broken dreams and forging new ones. Joseph Campbell of mythology fame is cited, as are Tevye and wife from Fiddler on the Roof, among many others. In all, the universal lessons for overcoming disappointment remain simple yet profound: remember who you're working for, substitute new dreams for old, keep promises, be humble, maintain life's priorities, forgive and forgive, and always dare to dream. Amen." Click the book cover to read more.








Speaking of life's disappointment... Not getting into the college of your choice can be a majorone. So to help to get those Jewish kids of yours into the colleges of their (or your) choice... :
[book] What Colleges Don't Tell you
(And Other Parents Don't Want You to Know)
272 Secrets for Getting Your Kid into the Top Schools
by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross
August 2006.
From Publishers Weekly A self-styled "educational strategist" and mother of two high achievers, journalist Wissner-Gross has found a keenly sought after niche in helping parents "package" their children for college admission. The author's approach is to endow the student's advocate, usually a parent who has the most time to devote to the task, with the skills to elicit and enhance the student's natural accomplishments, rendering him or her desirable to colleges. Through sound experience, and the use of scattered case profiles, Wissner-Gross demonstrates that even students with extremely unlikely prospects for admission to good colleges can succeed handsomely when they are wisely packaged-i.e., when their specific academic passions ("the current buzzword") are extracted and polished. The author highlights 272 "secrets" to winning at the college application process, from answering the Big Question of why a specific college would take one's son or daughter to preparing for standardized testing and interviews with college admissions officers. Most helpful is the author's advice gleaned from admissions officers about the best and worst kinds of application essays ("Avoid writing an essay about a luxury tour"), and her reminder to stay persistent even when a student is waitlisted at her college of choice. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] What Colleges Don't Tell you
(And Other Parents Don't Want You to Know)
272 Secrets for Getting Your Kid into the Top Schools
by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross
August 2006.
From Publishers Weekly A self-styled "educational strategist" and mother of two high achievers, journalist Wissner-Gross has found a keenly sought after niche in helping parents "package" their children for college admission. The author's approach is to endow the student's advocate, usually a parent who has the most time to devote to the task, with the skills to elicit and enhance the student's natural accomplishments, rendering him or her desirable to colleges. Through sound experience, and the use of scattered case profiles, Wissner-Gross demonstrates that even students with extremely unlikely prospects for admission to good colleges can succeed handsomely when they are wisely packaged-i.e., when their specific academic passions ("the current buzzword") are extracted and polished. The author highlights 272 "secrets" to winning at the college application process, from answering the Big Question of why a specific college would take one's son or daughter to preparing for standardized testing and interviews with college admissions officers. Most helpful is the author's advice gleaned from admissions officers about the best and worst kinds of application essays ("Avoid writing an essay about a luxury tour"), and her reminder to stay persistent even when a student is waitlisted at her college of choice. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Jewish Cooking For All Seasons
Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day
by Laura Frankel (Skokie IL, chef/co-owner of Shallots)
AUGUST 2006. WILEY.
From Publishers Weekly: "You can say one thing for this collection of modern kosher recipes"it ain't chopped liver. That fatty, flavorful favorite is replaced with fancy-schmancy fare like Artichoke Confit and Fava Bean Salad. Frankel, owner of Shallots restaurant in Chicago, deserves credit for widening the horizons of kosher cooking, as she incorporates novelties such as venison (Ginger-Marinated Venison Loin with Purple Sticky Rice and Spring Pea Salad) and bison (Bison, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches). Dishes are grouped by season, but despite the promising subtitle, there are no holiday menus included. Chatty prose abounds in sidebars ("It may sound a little silly to say that I am passionate about salmon. Nevertheless... I am!"). There's nothing especially Jewish about Grilled Marinated Short Ribs with Spicy Fruit Barbecue Sauce or Herbed Roasted Chicken with Quinoa-Mushroom Pilaf except that they can be prepared to meet the laws of kashrut. Even without a strong hook, though, bubbe would approve, and the two million kosher households in the U.S., as the publisher figures, will likely be grateful for these new recipes." There are now two million kosher consumers in the U.S., but even cooks who don't keep kosher will love these inspired recipes for Jewish holiday feasts and everyday meals. Grouped by seasons, the 150 recipes in Jewish Cooking For All Seasons reflect a refreshing approach to Jewish cooking and emphasize freshness and real, flavorful ingredients. Recipes range from Braised Veal Shanks with Acorn Squash Gnocchi (Autumn) to Dry-Roasted Short Ribs with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Caramelized Onions (Winter) to Herb-Crusted Sock-Eye Salmon (Spring) to Chilled English Pea and Mint Soup (Summer); 16 gorgeous color recipe photos tantalize. This chef and mother of three has creatively adapted her restaurant classics for the home cook, offering inspiration and guidance for memorable meals with family and friends. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors
by Bernice Eisenstein
August 17, 2006, Riverhead.
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Children of Holocaust survivors carry an unusual burden, but you don't come across many who consider their status a form of "cachet" that they can "socially trade on." Yet not only does Eisenstein freely admit to just that, she does it with an eloquent irreverence and a blend of self-absorption and self-awareness that make her debut captivating. The daughter of Polish refugees who settled in Toronto in the late 1940s, Eisenstein is a gifted artist as well as a wordsmith, and her color illustrations take over here when words are insufficient. She grasps that it was her parents who suffered through the Holocaust, but in describing herself as "some Jewish Sisyphus, pushing history and memory uphill, wondering what I'm supposed to be," she neatly articulates her struggle to understand their suffering and get to know them as human beings. Eisenstein treasures the rare moments when her reticent parents share their past. She seeks connections through relatives, books and other survivors. Her frustration and confusion are palpable, but what emerges most strongly is a deep and abiding love for her parents. "Never forget" is a central tenet of Judaism. In this beautiful tribute, Eisenstein shows she's taken that lesson to heart. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] A Boy in Hiding
Surviving the Nazis Amsterdam 1940-1945
by Stan Rubens
Summer 2006
Waqlly Amos of Hawaii writes: A Boy in Hiding is a very real, up close and personal view of what it felt like to live in Holland during the German Occupation. Reading this book, which is written through the eyes of a child, will give you an idea what courage really is. You will not want to put it down. The Hawaiian main paper wrotes: This book is a must read for school students all across the country and would be a great addition to any school library. Rubens' story of his childhood flight from the Nazis, shows how a boy's courage and resilience can overcome even the most horrifying circumstances. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] My Parents Went Through the Holocaust and All I Got Was This Lousy Tshirt
by S. Hanala Stadner
Spring 2006.
See www.MyParentsWent.com
When I met the author, sorry everybody, I sort of thought of Tammy Faye or Charo or a publicist on speed or someone who experienced tremendous pain.
Tortured by a past filled with Nazis and the parents who fled them, Hanala escaped from Montreal, headed for Hollywood and changed her name to something not Jewish. She became Suzan Stadner, the creator and star of the number one show in the history of L.A.'s public access TV, The Suzan Stadner Show. But not right away. When she first arrived, instead of getting into acting, she got into drugs, alcohol and limos with strange men. After several overdoses, she became sober and an aerobics instructor. Now she is a spin instructor. This autobiography is a Traumedy (Tragedy+Time=Comedy). A little bit Auschwitz, a little bit Brady Bunch... Roots- with a smaller family. The book is filled with anecdotes of growing up to the present day. From getting to Hollywood and scoring drugs, having sex and over eating and drinking, ... During the 1980s, she appeared in a number of films including Return of the Living Dead Part II and Ruthless People where she appeared in both films as an aerobics instructor. Her writing and story telling is compelling. She mixes her life with a good sense of humor that has helped her overcome all her downs in life and shows how she bounced back with vigor and confidence.
She says : "Being raised by Holocaust parents, I learned that my silly feelings should be ignored. I had no right to feel bad, "Is a Nazis chasing you?" As I said in the book, Hitler spoiled my parents for regular suffering. So, in therapy I learned that my feelings WERE important, therefore I was important. After all, if we're not our feelings, what are we here for, to be money-making robots?" Click the book cover above to read more.







[book] A Woman in Jerusalem
by A. B. Yehoshua, with Hillel Halkin (Translator)
AUGUST 2006. Harcourt.
A woman in her forties is a victim of a suicide bombing at a Jerusalem market. Her body lies nameless in a hospital morgue. She had apparently worked as a cleaning woman at a bakery, but there is no record of her employment. When a Jerusalem daily accuses the bakery of "gross negligence and inhumanity toward an employee," the bakery's owner, overwhelmed by guilt, entrusts the task of identifying and burying the victim to a human resources man. This man is at first reluctant to take on the job, but as the facts of the woman's life take shape-she was an engineer from the former Soviet Union, a non-Jew on a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and, judging by an early photograph, beautiful-he yields to feelings of regret, atonement, and even love. At once profoundly serious and highly entertaining, A. B. Yehoshua astonishes us with his masterly, often unexpected turns in the story and with his ability to get under the skin and into the soul of Israel today. Click the book cover to read more. You can read an excerpt by clicking the book cover above.








Speaking of Friday night chickens and chicken soup and Jews, and how the Yiddish Hen, Hin, and Hun, and melded on the Lower East Side to be a chicken... here is a chicken related, non-Jewish, yet unique, book:
[book] Building Houses out of Chicken Legs
Black Women, Food, and Power
by Psyche A. Williams-Forson)
2006. UNC PRESS.
Despite stereotypes of black people as chicken lovers to the point of thievery, Williams--Forson offers a fresh perspective, one that features chickens at the center of acts of affection and self-identity as well as efforts at advancement. As the preparers of the chicken for families, church dinners, activist meals, and commercial enterprises of all sizes, black women have managed to express and self-identify through food beyond nourishment. Acknowledging that women's cooking is often marginalized in the greater society, Williams-Forson explores the complexities of food, gender, and race. Along with fascinating interviews with black women, Williams-Forson relies on travel narratives, film, art, literature, and historic documents and ephemera, including racist depictions in advertisements. She recalls chicken dinners prepared to feed families on long trips when they could not stop to eat in restaurants, dinners sold to support families and communities, and communities that developed among black women in the kitchen. Beyond the place of chicken as racial stereotype and in soul-food gatherings, Williams-Forson offers intriguing interpretations of black history, culture, and feminism.








[book] Witnesses to the One
The Spiritual History of the Sh'ma
by Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler, Rabbi Elyse Goldstein (Foreword)
Summer 2006. Jewish Lights
Can we understand the essence of Judaism using a single verse of the Sh'ma? "Hear O Israel, the Eternal is Our God, the Eternal is One!" There is arguably no more important statement in Judaism than the Sh'ma. Its words-calling us to hear, to listen, to pay attention-defy direct translation and have meant different things throughout history. In a deeply personal exploration of this sacred proclamation, command and prayer, Rabbi Joseph Meszler delves into the spiritual history of the Sh'ma, inspiring you to claim your own personal meaning in these enduring words. By examining how the Sh'ma has been commented upon by ancient sages and contemporary thinkers, he opens the doors between each generation that has found a different dimension of truth in the Sh'ma. Each chapter focuses on a major historical figure and includes a sacred story, an exploration into the story's many meanings and a suggestion for a new way of "hearing" the voice in the story. The reader will experience the Sh'ma through the lives of: Moses-Fighting Idolatry // Akiba ben Joseph-The Sages Offer Their Lives // Saaida Gaon-Proving the One // Moses Maimonides-Nothing Like God // Haim Vital-Communing with the One // Moses Haim Luzzatto- "Master of the Universe" // Abraham Isaac Kook-A Nation Reborn // Leo Baeck-One Moral Standard // Abraham Joshua Heschel-A Prophecy: "One World or No World" Click the book cover to read more.







[book] Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex?
More Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Whiskey Sour
by Mark Leyner, Billy Goldberg, MD
AUGUST 2006. Three Rivers Press.
From the Jewish guys who gave you WHY DO MEN HAVE NIPPLES? Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Mindful Politics
A Buddhist Guide to Making the World a Better Place
by Melvin McLeod (Editor)
SUMMER 2006. Wisdom.
A Jewish book? No. Not really. But perhaps it has some essays you will find of interest. As Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: 'Men must act, and when they act, there are consequences...' It is hard for there to be some non violent utopia, but perhaps mindful politics can lead us to compromises that create a better, more engaged world. Some contributors include the Buddhists named Noah Levine, Joseph Golstein, Peter Coyote, Roshi Bernie Glassman, Sam Harris, and Rita Gross with essays on View, Practice, and Action. The main issue of this book is how we can make a positive difference in our political world. Policies are not touted here, there is no good or bad or political party bashing or coddling. How does one take direct action? How can you attain personal growth as well as effectively advocate for a cause in which you believe? The best line may have been from Jerry Brown, who is realistic and mindful. But The line I came away with was by Bernie Glassman, who approaches the issue as a carpenter with a broken door. You should not enter with a hammer, and start hammering away. We all have toolkits, but should enter from a stance of not knowing, move towards knowing, and then take action. Although one must be expected to be all knowing, the world would be better if leaders were open to ideas and learning before taking action. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A JEW AMONG THE EVANGELICALS
A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED
By Mark I. Pinsky
AUGUST 2006. Westminster John Knox.
From Publishers Weekly: "What's a nice Jewish boy doing at a Baptist church on Sunday? This is not the first line of a joke, but the raison d'être of Pinsky's account of American evangelicalism. Pinsky (The Gospel According to the Simpsons) is a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, and his beat-religion in the Sunbelt-draws him into close contact with evangelical Christians. Here, he examines evangelical pop culture and asks hard questions about evangelicalism's attitudes toward Judaism. But it is Pinsky's treatment of evangelicals in politics that distinguishes his book from countless other journalistic forays into the land of megachurches and Veggie Tales. Pinsky shows that evangelicalism is much more politically diverse than is often acknowledged. To illustrate, Pinsky takes readers to Calvin College, where a furor erupted when President Bush was invited to speak at graduation; many of the faculty and students at this decidedly evangelical school were appalled, and some boycotted commencement rather than give tacit approval of a president they disdained. Pinsky charts a growing evangelical environmental movement and shows that though many people who believe in a literal six-day Creation are evangelicals, many evangelicals do not hold to creationism. Kudos to Pinsky for offering nuanced reporting instead of stereotypes."
Mark Pinsky takes the curious reader on a tour of the fascinating world of Sunbelt evangelicalism. Pinsky, religion reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, uses his unique position as a Jew covering evangelical Christianity to help nonevangelicals understand the hopes, fears, and motivations of this growing subculture and breaks down some of the stereotypes that nonevangelicals have of evangelicals. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE TALMUD
WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT SAYS
by JACOB NEUSNER
August 2006. Rowman and Littlefield
Wherever Jews have settled and whatever languages they spoke, they created a community with a single set of common values. One law, one theology defined the community throughout their many migrations. A single book explains how this came about-the Talmud. Renowned scholar Jacob Neusner introduces readers to the Talmud, defining it, explaining its historical context, and illustrating why it remains relevant today Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A LIFE OF SECRETS
VERA ATKINS AND THE MISSING AGENTS OF WWII
BY SARAH HELM
AUGUST 22, 2006. DOUBLEDAY/TALESE
From Publishers Weekly: Vera Atkins (1908-2000) was the highest-ranking female official in the French section of a WWII British intelligence unit that aided the resistance. Atkins sent 400 agents into France, including 39 women she'd personally recruited and supervised. Many were caught by the Gestapo and subsequently disappeared and presumed dead. In 1945, after the war, Atkins, fiercely loyal to the memory of her missing agents, took it upon herself to spend a year interviewing concentration camp officials and survivors in order to piece together her agents' fates. Helm, a founding member of London's Independent, brilliantly reconstructs Atkins's harrowing detective work, shedding light in particular on the fate of missing agent Noor Inayat Khan, whose suitability for the job had been widely doubted. Helm's portrait of Atkins is acute, dwelling evocatively on her Romanian-Jewish origins and their social significance for Atkins within upper-crust British circles, and on Atkins's mysterious personal life. Drawing on interviews with relatives and friends of both Atkins and her agents, and on full access to Atkins's private papers, Helm has produced a memorable portrait of a woman who knowingly sent other women to their deaths and a searing history of female courage and suffering during WWII. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] The Disappearance
A Novella and Stories
by Ilan Stavans
AUGUST 2006. Northwestern University Press
From Publishers Weekly - Distinguished Latin American author and scholar Stavans (Dictionary Days; Spanglish) explores the Diaspora of Jewish Mexico in this slight but thoughtful collection. The title story concerns the obituary of Belgian actor Maarten Soëtendrop, who gained notoriety some years before by orchestrating his fake Fascist Youth League kidnapping. The narrator comes upon Soëtendrop's obituary by way of his childhood friend Yosee, now a lawyer specializing in Holocaust reparation cases, and whose obsession with the actor boils down to his theory of the Jew's chronic instability in exile. The novella, Morirse esta en hebreo, takes place during a week of sitting shivah at the home of Moishe Tartakovsky, a prominent Mexico City businessman, while a heated presidential election rages outside. Through the different sides of Moishe that emerge from his relatives' idle, grieving comments, the author suggests the Jew is an actor in a strange land-indecipherable and contradictory. "Xerox Man" traces the crimes of Reuben Staflovitch, a fanatical Argentinean Orthodox Jew who believes he can unleash divine chaos in New York City by destroying ancient documents after photocopying them. These provocative stories read almost like newspaper dispatches, conveying facts and stopping short of analysis. Fans of Stavans's expansive body of work won't be disappointed. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] Christians & Jews in Dialogue
Learning in the Presence of the Other
by Mary C. Boys and Sara S. Lee
AUGUST 2006. Skylight Paths
From Publishers Weekly: No one could find fault with the subject of this book, a story of two educators-a Catholic nun and a Jew-who have spent the past 20 years creating and leading projects in "interreligious learning" as a means of reconciling their traditions. Backed by their conviction that "religion must become a catalyst in reducing the world's conflicts," Boys and Lee tell their personal stories, detail projects that stress study and dialogue "in the presence of the other" and describe trips they took together to Auschwitz and Israel. As they confront issues like history and theology, their underlying concept of "textured particularism" denotes "a keen sense of the beliefs and practices of one's own religious tradition" as well as making space for other traditions. As inspiring as their journey is, however, their retelling of it reads more like a paper delivered at an academic conference than an engaging give-and-take. Those interested in learning about other traditions will find hope in Lee's words: that dialogue has served as a mirror through which she sees herself in a new light, a perspective which would be inaccessible without the "reflection in the image and faith of the other. Click the book cover to read more.












SEPTEMBER 2006


No! No!
Why, Larry, is MyJewishBooks.com highlighting this book below?
Don't tell me, say it isn't so... Yes, Yes, it's true
Jason Fogle is a MEMBER OF THE TRIBE:
Will he be going on a lecture tour of JCC's ??
Is he more than just a shill ofr the Subway franchise system?
[book] Jared, the Subway Guy
Winning Through Losing: 13 Lessons for Turning Your Life Around
by Jared Fogle, with Anthony Bruno
September 2006. St Martins
Jared S. Fogle, (b. 1978), a.k.a. "Jared the Subway Guy", is a spokesmodel for Subway. In the Spring of 1998, Fogle, a student at Indiana University, weighed 425 pounds. He began a 1,000 calorie a day diet consisting of nothing but the food available at his local Subway sandwich shop. Less than a year later he weighed 190 pounds. So at 6ft2 and 190, he was the same height and weight as the editor of MyJewishBooks.com (body mass index - 24.5). Subway sandwich company hired Fogle as its spokesman, and he appeared in countless commercials, was parodied, and even appeared in SUPERSIZE ME (which was directed by the Jewish filmmaker, Morgan Spurlock.
Now about the book: Jared Fogel has appeared thousands of times on national television as the spokesperson for Subway's Eat Healthy Platform; and he's slated to continue in this role indefinitely. In fact, Subway worried that he might be getting overexposed and decided to discontinue him. Sales fell off. Jared was quickly rehired. But to keep him from being overexposed, Subway's program runs Jared for six or eight weeks every three months. His book is not so much a diet book (his diet was pretty simple to grasp - eat Subway sandwiches) but it's more a motivational, self-help book which offers hope to people who want to change their lives. Jared's lessons include: Find Your Own Personal Spark, One Size Doesn't Fit All, Change Your Mind to Change Your Life, See the Big Picture, Change is for Life The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get. Click the book cover to read more.




[book] FORGIVE US OUR SPINS
MICHAEL MOORE AND THE FUTURE OF THE LEFT
By JESSE LARNER
September 2006. WILEY
A liberal writes why Michael Moore is just as bad as right wing pundits, when he bases his arguments on silliness and emotion and not facts.. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] TOLSTOY LIED
A LOVE STORY
BY RACHEL KADDISH
SEPTEMBER 1, 2006. Houghton Mifflin
FROM THE AUTHOR OF "From a Sealed Room" comes a new story. Tolstoy famously wrote, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." To Tracy Farber, thirty-three, happily single and headed for tenure at a major university, this celebrated maxim is questionable at best. Because if Tolstoy is to be taken at his word, only unhappiness is interesting. Happiness must be as placid and unmemorable as a daisy in a field of a thousand daisies. So Tracy sets out to prove that happiness and the search for happiness can be, must be, a complicated mission. But little does she know that her best proof will come when she meets George, who will sweep her off her feet and challenge all of her old assumptions. Love may be the ultimate cliché, but in Rachel Kadish"s hands, it is also a morally serious question, deserving of our sober attention as well as our delighted laughter. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] [book] [book] Klezmer
Tales of the Wild East
by Joann Sfar
SEPTEMBER 2006. First Second
From Publishers Weekly: In The Rabbi's Cat, Sfar showed a knack for slightly tweaked and jokey mystical fables, a talent he updates with a harsher edge in this first volume of a new series about a band of itinerant Klezmer musicians. While Cat reflected its drowsy, lugubrious North African setting, this tale is darker, edged with a tragic, Eastern European jocularity, a mix of the fantastic and cruel. In Sfar's expressive art, bright splotches of color overflow his wildly looping drawing. In the violent opening, Noah (nicknamed "The Baron of My Backside") narrowly escapes the massacre of his bandmates by rival musicians. Later in the book, after extracting some revenge, he puts a new band together with the misfits who roam through the intervening pages. They include a pair of former yeshiva students exiled for theft; the baron's voluptuous love interest, Chava; and Tshokola, a less than truthful gypsy on the run from Cossacks. Much of the book has the feel of a goofy, somewhat twisted vaudeville routine, with Sfar's characters meeting under bad circumstances and making light of it via some bad jokes. Deeply suffused with Jewish religious and ethnic identity, the book is profane, messy, jagged and wildly enthusiastic, much like klezmer itself. >BR> [book] [book] Click the book cover to read more.












[book] FOLKTALES OF THE JEWS
VOLUME 1: TALES FROM THE SEPHARDIC DISPERSION
Edited and with Commentary by Dan Ben-Amos
With Dov Noy as the Consulting Editor
SEPTEMBER 2006. Jewish Publication Society JPS, 600 pages
Tales from the Sephardic Dispersion begins the most important collection of Jewish folktales ever published. It is the first volume in Folktales of the Jews, the five-volume series to be released over the next several years, in the tradition of Louis Ginzberg's classic, Legends of the Jews. The 71 tales here and the others in this series have been selected from the Israel Folktale Archives (IFA), a treasure house of Jewish lore that has remained largely unavailable to the entire world until now. Since the creation of the State of Israel, the IFA has collected more than 20,000 tales from newly arrived immigrants, long-lost stories shared by their families from around the world. The tales come from the major ethno-linguistic communities of the Jewish world and are representative of a wide variety of subjects and motifs, especially rich in Jewish content and context. Each of the tales is accompanied by in-depth commentary that explains the tale's cultural, historical, and literary background and its similarity to other tales in the IFA collection, and extensive scholarly notes. There is also an introduction that describes the Sephardic culture and its folk narrative tradition, a world map of the areas covered, illustrations, biographies of the collectors and narrators, tale type and motif indexes, a subject index, and a comprehensive bibliography. Until the establishment of the IFA, we had had only limited access to the wide range of Jewish folk narratives. Even in Israel, the gathering place of the most wide-ranging cross-section of world Jewry, these folktales have remained largely unknown. Many of the communities no longer exist as cohesive societies in their representative lands; the Holocaust, migration, and changes in living styles have made the continuation of these tales impossible. This volume and the others to come will be monuments to a rich but vanishing oral tradition. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words
by Joyce Eisenberg, Ellen Scolnic
September 2006. Jewish Publication Society JPS, 250 pages
From one of the most trusted names in Jewish publishing comes an indispensable reference to the most common Jewish words and terms in use today derived from - Yiddish, Hebrew, Aramaic, and English. The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words contains over 1,000 entries for Jewish holidays and life-cycle events, culture, history, the Bible and other sacred texts, and worship. Organized in A to Z format for easy reference, words can be quickly found without having to know their meaning or exact spelling. Each entry has a pronunciation guide and is cross-referenced to other related terms. The introduction serves as an excellent primer on the history of Jewish words, their transliteration, and pronunciation. And the indexes at the back, arranged by categories, help you find the words you want. The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words is a very handy resource not just for Jews, but for anyone who encounters Jewish words and wants to check their meaning, spelling, and/or pronunciation.
For example:
mensch n. Yiddish (MENCH) Literally, "person." A caring, decent person-man or woman-who can be trusted. It refers in a much larger sense to acting in an honorable, proper way. The term is bestowed as a compliment on someone who has done the right thing without asking for thanks or credit. For example, "Larry is a real mensch. Before he returned Peter's car, he filled the tank with gas!
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Holy Vote
The Politics of Faith in America
by Ray Suarez
SEPTEMBER 2006. Rayo
An interesting story. An important read for any Jewish person who wants to understand the future of the national electorate. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] QUESTIONS CHRISTIANS ASK THE RABBI
By Rabbi Ron Isaacs
September 2006, KTAV.
Rabbi Isaacs pulls together questions and answers from the web site: www.RabbiRon.com . Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Love, with Noodles
An Amorous Widower's Tale
by Harry Freund
September 2006, Carroll & Graf
Stockbroker Dan Gelder (60) has a posh Fifth Avenue address, is two years a widower, and remains faithful to his deceased wife. Numbed by grief, he is annoyed-not flattered-by the attentions of the women introduced to him by friends. Then he meets Violet Finkel. And Susan Klein. And Myra Cox. And Tatiana Andrevsky. Violet tempts him with limitless luxury and then with truly profound affection, which he discovers on a journey with her to Jerusalem. But plumpish, pretty Susan offers him cookies in her kitchen, while Myra, an activist dedicated to the cause - and jewelry - of Native Americans, tests the strength of his lower back. Exotic Tatiana weds beauty to mystery, and grace to pride, as she strives to overcome a Russian immigrant's poverty for herself and her young son. Dan's son, Eric, meanwhile, is facing bankruptcy, which Dan can handle more readily than Eric's marriage proposal to the non-Jewish Carol Hoffman. Forced to examine this unexpected crisis in terms of his own faith and his Jewish heritage, Dan at sixty finds that more than his libido has been renewed. This comic, yet wise, delightful novel views the follies and fallibilities of romance at a certain age-serving up love deliciously, with noodles. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] Parenting With Fire
Lighting Up the Family with Passion and Inspiration
by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
SEPTEMBER 2006. NAL
According to Shmuley Boteach, father of eight, author of Kosher Sex and host of TLC's Shalom in the Home, transmitting passions, motivating children with shared goals, and getting them excited about values are the most important things any parent can do. With great humor and insight, Boteach shows parents how to take their child to life's mountaintop-and create a parent-child bond based on vitality, exuberance, and mutual respect. He recommends that parents firght vulgar popular culture, and that they themselves become the central figure in their children's lives. He focuses on PLANT: PROTECTION, LOVE ACTIVITY, NOVELTY, and TRADITION. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Inside Intermarriage
A Christian Partner's Perspective on Raising a Jewish Family
by James Keen
SEPTEMBER 2006. Union for Reform Judaism Press
The author of this much-needed book is a Christian father helping his Jewish wife raise Jewish children. Together, they have made many tough decisions. It's no secret that interfaith marriages are complicated, especially when both partners are connected to their own religious faiths and communities. Using a healthy dose of humor and insights gleaned from his own experience, Keen provides couples with practical advice and solutions for how to give children a clear Jewish identity while maintaining a comfort level for both parents. Any family, no matter what the faiths of its individual members, can find his approach relevant. Interfaith homes come in all shapes and sizes; no two are alike. However, the foundations that will help them thrive are the same, and Keen's straightforward ideas are sure to help. Includes perspectives from professionals who work with interfaith families.. Click the book cover to read more.

















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