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Jun 01-03, 2007: Book Expo America in NYC
Jun 05, 2007: John Updike reads from The Terrorist, BN Union Square, NYC
Jun 06, 2007: Josh Wolk reads from Cabin Pressure. BN Park Slope NYC
Jun 07, 2007: Sylvain Cypel reads from WALLED: Israeli Society at an Impasse. BN UWS NYC
Jun 18, 2007: 8th Season of Scribblers on The Roof at NYC's Ansche Chesed synagogue. "Writing and Seeing" a panel, NYC UWS 8PM
Jun 22: A Mighty heart film opens in USA
Jun 23: Tal Ben Shahar (Harvard) reads from Happier. B&N Bethesda MD
Jun 25, 2007: 8th Season of Scribblers on The Roof at NYC's Ansche Chesed synagogue. Elizabeth Frank (Cheat and Charmer) and Wvan Eisenberg (The Recording Angel) with Alicia Svigals, NYC UWS 8PM
Jun 26, 2007: Gunter Grass reads from PEELING THE ONION. B&N Union Square NYC 7 PM
Jun 26, 2007: Lucette Lagnado reads from THE MAN IN THE SHARKSIN SUIT, B&N Lincoln Center, NYC, 7PM

Jul 02, 2007: 8th Season of Scribblers on The Roof at NYC's Ansche Chesed synagogue. Jill Kargman (Monzillas, The Right Address) and Alisa Kwitney (On the Couch), NYC UWS 8PM
Jul 07, 2007: Lucette Lagnado reads from THE MAN IN THE SHARKSIN SUIT, Chabad of Southhampton, NY
Jul 09, 2007: 8th Season of Scribblers on The Roof at NYC's Ansche Chesed synagogue. Esther Schor (Emma Lazarus) and Shuly Rubin Schwartz (The Rabbi's Wife), NYC UWS 8PM
Jul 11, 2007: Lucette Lagnado reads from THE MAN IN THE SHARKSIN SUIT, Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC BPC 7 PM
Jul 12, 2007: Wet Hot American Summer. Up On The Roof film. NYC JCC UWS
Jul 14, 2007: Zohar, DJ Handler, Pharoah's Daughter and more in concert. Highline Ballroom. NYC
Jul 15, 2007: Frank London's Yidish Carnival with Fyvush Finkel, Klazmatics, and more. Prospect Park Brooklyn, NY 4PM
Jul 16, 2007: 8th Season of Scribblers on The Roof at NYC's Ansche Chesed synagogue. Poetry: Anna Rabinowitz (Darkling) and Adam Kirsch (The Thousand Wells), NYC UWS 8PM
Jul 19, 2007: Borat. Up On The Roof film. NYC JCC UWS
Jul 25, 2007: New York's Best Emerging Jewish Artists. Museum of Jewish Heritage. 7 PM
Jul 30-31, 2007: Faigele Film Festival. Up On The Roof film. NYC JCC UWS

Aug 29, 2007: Rabbi David Aaron reads from Inviting God In: Celebrating the Soul-Meaning of the Jewish Holy Days. B&N UWS NYC, 7 PM



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[book] 1967
Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East
by Tom Segev, Translated by Jessica Cohen
June 2007. Metropolitan Books
Tom Segev's acclaimed works "One Palestine, Complete" and "The Seventh Million" overturned accepted views of the history of Israel. Now, in 1967, a number-one bestseller in Hebrew, he brings his masterful skills to the watershed year when six days of war reshaped the country and the entire region. Going far beyond a military account, Segev re-creates the crisis in Israel before 1967, showing how economic recession, a full grasp of the Holocaust's horrors, and the dire threats made by neighbor states combined to produce a climate of apocalypse.
He depicts the country's bravado after its victory, the mood revealed in a popular joke in which one soldier says to his friend, Lets take over Cairo; the friend replies, Then what shall we do in the afternoon? Drawing on unpublished letters and diaries, as well as government memos and military records, Segev reconstructs an era of new possibilities and tragic missteps. He introduces the legendary figures: Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Gamal Abdul Nasser, and Lyndon Johnson, and an epic cast of soldiers, lobbyists, refugees, and settlers. He reveals as never before Israel's intimacy with the White House as well as the political rivalries that sabotaged any chance of peace. Above all, he challenges the view that the war was inevitable, showing that a series of disastrous miscalculations lie behind the bloodshed. A vibrant and original history, 1967 is sure to stand as the definitive account of that pivotal year.
Click the book cover to read more review or to purchase the book
Segev reveals that Shimon Peres considered a nuclear option to prevent the war. Segev reveals that, 6 months prior to the war, the intelligence agencies warned that if Israel occupied the West Bank, it would ruin the country. He writes that Israel had secret meetings with Jordan's King Hussein regarding Jerusalem, but the talks failed. After the war, Moshe Dayan and Menachem Begin pushed for Jewish settlements and squashed plans to resettle Palestinian refugees on the West Bank. Segev also includes information on Yitzhak Rabin's talks in 1967/1968 with Palestinian leaders in order to set up an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank. The talks failed.
Ethan Bronner, writing in The NYT, wrote: "Tom Segev, an Israeli columnist and historian, sums up the meaning for Israel of the 1967 war with two jokes. The first, heard in the months before the war, when Israelis feared a second Holocaust at the hands of their Arab neighbors, is of a sign hanging near the boarding gate at the national airport, asking the last one out of the country to turn off the lights. The second, told after the six days in which Israel defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan and quadrupled the territory under its control, involves two officers talking about how to spend their day. " 'Let's conquer Cairo,' one proposes. The other replies, 'But what will we do after lunch?'" The Israelis quickly named the June 1967 event the Six-Day War to echo biblical creation. Like many historical watersheds, its origins and consequences have been intensely analyzed and debated, especially in recent weeks as its 40th anniversary was marked. Mr. Segev illuminates his two jokes with more than 600 pages of social history. His argument, in the end, is this: Anxiety, much of it Holocaust related, was so overpowering that Israel went to war against saber-rattling Egypt and Syria when diplomacy might have sufficed, and the rout of its neighbors caused such irrational exultation in Israel that it foolishly became an occupier, a role that continues to drag it and the region down.
Mr. Segev is part of the new historians of Israel, as they are known, who have challenged what they consider their country's founding myths, largely with newly released or uncovered archival material. Young (and not-so-young) societies tell heroic stories of themselves, and Israel's new historians seek to reshape those stories, not only to make them more accurate, but also to help Israelis see themselves as outsiders do and thereby find a way to compromise.
If you are weak and noble and your enemy strong and evil, there is little to discuss. But if it turns out you are more powerful and your neighbor weaker than you had understood, and your actions less high-minded than you believed, you may rethink your next move.
Click the book cover above to read more

MANY OF YOU are reading SUITE FRANCAISE by Irene Nemirovsky.
And you have been wondering..
even though she was born Jewish, and killed by the Nazis, was she an indifferent of even anti Jewish writer? Is there any truth to this idea?
Now, in time to answer your questions comes two books that Jason Warhof of the SF Chronicle brought to our attention. They are IRENE NEMIROVSKY by JONATHAN WEISS (Colby College), and BAD FAITH by CARMEN CALLIL. According to Weiss, Irene grew up in Kiev as a non observant upper class Jew, and was more focused on France than on Russian culture or Jewishness. Her early writings portrayed Jews in a strangely racist (hooked nose) language, but in her unfinished novel, Suite, her language changed and her attacks were directed towards Vichy life. Click a book cover to read more.

[book cover click here][book cover click here] WHERE GOD WAS BORN
William Morrow (September 2005)
Where God Was Born combines the adventure of a wartime chronicle, the excitement of an archaeological detective story, and the insight of personal spiritual exploration. Taking readers to biblical sites not seen by Westerners for decades, Feiler's journey uncovers little-known details about the common roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and affirms the importance of the Bible in today's world. In his intimate, accessible style, Feiler invites readers on a never-in-a-lifetime experience: In Israel, Feiler takes a perilous helicopter dive over Jerusalem, treks through secret underground tunnels, and locates the spot where David toppled Goliath; In Iraq, after being airlifted into Baghdad, Feiler visits the Garden of Eden and the birthplace of Abraham, and makes a life-threatening trip to the rivers of Babylon; in Iran, Feiler explores the home of the Bible's first messiah and uncovers the secret burial place of Queen Esther. Clock to read more

[book cover click here] BORN TO KVETCH
Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods
by Michael Wex
September 2005. St martins press
From Publishers Weekly: Fortunately, despite its title and cover photo, this is not a kitschy book about a folksy language spoken by quaint, elderly Jews. It is, rather, an earthy romp through the lingua franca of Jews, which has roots reaching back to the Hebrew Bible and which continues to thrive in 21st-century America. Canadian professor, translator and performer Wex has an academic's breadth of knowledge, and while he doesn't ignore your bubbe's tsimmes, he gives equal time to the semantic nuances of putz, schmuck, shlong and shvants. Wex organizes his material around broad, idiosyncratic categories, but like the authors of the Talmud (the source for a large number of Yiddish idioms), he strays irrepressibly beyond the confines of any given topic. His lively wit roams freely, and Rabbi Akiva and Sholem Aleichem collide happily with Chaucer, Elvis and Robert Petrie. Academics, and others, will be disappointed at the lack of source notes, and a few errors have crept in (the fifth day of Sukkot is not Hoshana Rabba, for instance). Overall, however, this treasure trove of linguistics, sociology, history and folklore offers a fascinating look at how, through the centuries, a unique and enduring language has reflected an equally unique and enduring culture. Click to read more. [book cover click here] ALSO NOW IN AUDIO CD: BORN TO KVETCH AUDIO CD: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods by Michael Wex

A novel
By Joyce Carol Oates
Late Spring 2007. Ecco Press
NOTES TO FILE: It was only years after the death of Joyce Carol Oates grandmother that the family learned that she was actually Jewish, and her father killed himself violently, and her grandmother had an abusive husband, and her grandmother hid her past, hid the tragedies, and remade herself. And this was the kernel for the following novel
People tend to focus on family and individual violence while ignoring the wholesales violence of governments
This is her 36th published novel.
From Publishers Weekly: "Starred Review. At the beginning of Oates's 36th novel, Rebecca Schwart is mistaken by a seemingly harmless man for another woman, Hazel Jones, on a footpath in 1959 Chatauqua Falls, N.Y. Five hundred pages later, Rebecca will find out that the man who accosted her is a serial killer, and Oates will have exercised, in a manner very difficult to forget, two of her recurring themes: the provisionality of identity and the awful suddenness of male violence. There's plenty of backstory, told in retrospect. Rebecca's parents escape from the Nazis with their two sons in 1936; Rebecca is born in the boat crossing over. When Rebecca is 13, her father, Jacob, a sexton in Milburn, N.Y., kills her mother, Anna, and nearly kills Rebecca, before blowing his own head off. At the time of the footpath crossing, Rebecca is just weeks away from being beaten, almost to death, by her husband, Niles Tignor (a shady traveling beer salesman). She and son Niley flee; she takes the name of the woman for whom she has been recently mistaken and becomes Hazel Jones. Niley, a nine-year-old with a musical gift, becomes Zacharias, "a name from the bible," Rebecca tells people. Rebecca's Hazel navigates American norms as a waitress, salesperson and finally common-law wife of the heir of the Gallagher media fortune, a man in whom she never confides her past. Oates is our finest novelistic tracker, following the traces of some character's flight from or toward some ultimate violence with forensic precision. There are allusions here to the mythic scouts of James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, who explored the same New York territory when it was primeval woods. Many of the passages are a lot like a blown-up photo of a bruise-ugly without seeming to have a point. Yet the traumatic pattern of the hunter and the hunted, unfolded in Rebecca/Hazel's lifelong escape, never cripples Hazel: she is liberated, made crafty, deepened by her ultimately successful flight. Like Theodore Dreiser, Oates wears out objections with her characters, drawn in an explosive vernacular. Everything in this book depends on Oates' ability to bring a woman before the reader who is deeply veiled-whose real name is unknown even to herself-and she does it with epic panache."
Click the book cover to read more review or to purchase the book

[book] To My Dearest Friends
A novel
By Patricia Volk
Spring 2007. Knopf
From Publishers Weekly - Fans of Volk's critically acclaimed memoir, Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family, will be pleased to find her effortlessly amusing and wise voice behind her accomplished second novel. Alice Vogel, a 62-year-old married Upper West Sider (and proprietress of an Upper East Side boutique), meets, for the first time, Nanny Wunderlich, a 59-year-old widowed therapist-turned-real estate agent, when the two are made co-executrixes of their dead friend Roberta's safe deposit box. In it, they discover a letter from an unnamed lover (Roberta was married) and team up to discover just with whom it was that their dear friend had been clandestinely sleeping. Alice and Nanny's sleuthing is perfunctory, and their voices, in alternating first-person chapters (and some in third person), aren't distinct. But the two are still fully realized New Yorkers, and-beyond frequenting Zabar's and the Metropolitan Opera, and using words like "gazillion"-they have real, stinging insights into later life in the big city: "Charles laughs. If smell had form and color, I would be enveloped in puce haze the size of a hassock," says Alice of the husband she loves. It's Volk's easy depth that makes this book, perhaps the first piece of empty nest chick lit, a winner. Click the book cover to read more review or to purchase the book

Recommended to us by A. B. Yehoshua:
[book] DARK HOPE:
Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine
by David Shulman
June 1, 2007. The University of Chicago Press
For decades, we've been shocked by images of violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. But for all their power, those images leave us at a loss: from our vantage at home, it's hard for us to imagine the struggles of those living in the midst of the fighting. Now, American-born Israeli David Shulman takes us right into the heart of the conflict with Dark Hope, an eye-opening chronicle of his work as a member of the peace group Ta'ayush, which takes its name from the Arabic for "living together." Though Shulman never denies the complexity of the issues fueling the conflict-nor the culpability of people on both sides-he forcefully clarifies the injustices perpetrated by Israel by showing us the human dimension of the occupation. Here we meet Palestinians whose houses have been blown up by the Israeli army, shepherds whose sheep have been poisoned by settlers, farmers stripped of their land by Israel's dividing wall. We watch as whip-swinging police on horseback attack crowds of nonviolent demonstrators, as Israeli settlers shoot innocent Palestinians harvesting olives, and as families and communities become utterly destroyed by the unrelenting violence of the occupation. Opposing such injustices, Shulman and his companions-Israeli and Palestinian both-doggedly work through checkpoints to bring aid, rebuild houses, and physically block the progress of the dividing wall. As they face off against police, soldiers, and hostile Israeli settlers, anger mixes with compassion, moments of kinship alternate with confrontation, and, throughout, Shulman wrestles with his duty to fight the cruelty enabled by "that dependable and devastating human failure to feel." Watch for the film in the coming decade.

[book] Terror
How Israel Has Coped and What America Can Learn
by Leonard A. Cole
JUNE 2007. Indiana Univ Press
This consultant tells the story of why Israel is good at combatting Terror and what Americans can learn. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology
Now in Paperback
Edited by Steven T. Katz, Boston University
JUNE 2007. New York Univerity Press
The theological problems facing those trying to respond to the Holocaust remain monumental. Both Jewish and Christian post-Auschwitz religious thought must grapple with profound questions, from how God allowed it to happen to the nature of evil. The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology brings together a distinguished international array of senior scholars--many of whose work is available here in English for the first time--to consider key topics from the meaning of divine providence to questions of redemption to the link between the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel. Together, they push our thinking further about how our belief in God has changed in the wake of the Holocaust. Contributors include Yosef Achituv, Yehoyada Amir, Ester Farbstein, Gershon Greenberg, Warren Zev Harvey, Tova Ilan, Shmuel Jakobovits, Dan Michman, David Novak, Shalom Ratzabi, Michael Rosenak, Shalom Rosenberg, Eliezer Schweid, and Joseph A. Turner. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Holocaust Restitution
Perspectives on the Litigation and Its Legacy
Now in Paperback
Edited by Michael J. Bazyler and Roger P. Alford
JUNE 2007. New York Univerity Press
Holocaust Restitution is the first volume to present the Holocaust restitution movement directly from the viewpoints of the various parties involved in the campaigns and settlements. Now that the Holocaust restitution claims are closed, this work enjoys the benefits of hindsight to provide a definitive assessment of the movement. From lawyers and state department officials to survivors and heads of key institutes involved in the negotiations, the volume brings together the central players in the Holocaust restitution movement, both pro and con. The volume examines the claims against European banks and against Germany and Austria relating to forced labor, insurance claims, and looted art claims. It considers their significance, their legacy, and the moral issues involved in seeking and receiving restitution. Contributors: Roland Bank, Michael Berenbaum, Lee Boyd, Thomas Buergenthal, Monica S. Dugot, Stuart E. Eizenstat, Eric Freedman and Richard Weisberg, Si Frumkin, Peter Hayes, Kai Henning, Roman Kent, Lawrence Kill and Linda Gerstel, Edward R. Korman, Otto Graf Lambsdorff, David A. Lash and Mitchell A. Kamin, Hannah Lessing and Fiorentina Azizi, Burt Neuborne, Owen C. Pell, Morris Ratner and Caryn Becker, Shimon Samuels, E. Randol Schoenberg, William Z. Slany, Howard N. Spiegler, Deborah Sturman, Robert A. Swift, Gideon Taylor, Lothar Ulsamer, Melvyn I. Weiss, Roger M. Witten, Sidney Zabludoff, and Arie Zuckerman. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Golden Dreydl
by Ellen Kushner and Ilene Winn-Lederer

June 2007, Charlesbridge
Sara finds Chanukah celebrations boring. When her Tante Miriam arrives and gives her a Golden Dreydl, everything changes. The dreydl, an enchanted princess in disguise, takes Sara on a journey to a magical world. When the princess is taken by the Demon King, who possesses the power of the Tree of Life, it is Sara who must use her wit to save the princess and return her to her parents -- King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. A delightful holiday tale that weaves together threads of Jewish folklore and tradition with fantasy and humor.

His book will cause a lot of debate on his role as a soldier during WWII:
[book] Peeling the Onion
A memoir
by Gunter Grass, Translated by Michael Henry Heim
From Publishers Weekly: The German edition of this memoir by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Grass caused a stir with its revelations about the author's youthful service in the Waffen SS combat unit during the last months of WWII. According to his deliberately disjointed, impressionistic account of the war, Grass never fired a shot and spent his time fleeing both the Russians and German military police hunting for deserters, but he dutifully shoulders a joint responsibility for Nazi war crimes and a guilt and shame that gnaw, gnaw, ceaselessly. With less to repudiate in his postwar life as a budding sculptor and poet up to his 1959 breakthrough with The Tin Drum, he grows more engaged in his story as he recounts love affairs, bohemian idylls (he once played in an impromptu jazz quartet with Louis Armstrong) and his attempts to sift emotional wreckage from the past. Along the way, Grass notes people and events that he reworked into fictional characters and plots, and does quirky profiles of influential figures, including his penis and typewriter. In this otherwise very novelistic memoir, there's not much of a narrative arc, beyond the satisfaction of the author's perpetual hungers for food, sex and art, but Grass's powerfully evocative memories are spellbinding

[book] Mordecai Richler Was Here
Selected Writings
by Mordecai Richler
Edited by Jonathan Webb, with Aislin, and Adam Gopnik (Intro)
JUNE 2007. Carroll and Graf
With a cover illustration of a Montreal neighborhood, (the six streets west of St. Lawrence, bounded by Laurier and St. Viateur) place that shaped Richler and starred in his stories, this book features selected stories by one of Canada's greatest writers. Click the book cover to read more.

JUNE 2007. Crown
The syndicated columnist who outed Valerie Plame and loves to kick Israel tells the inside story of his career and the life of reporters and critics over the past 5 decades. Novak tells why he walked off the CNN set on August 4, 2005, after James Carville verbally attacked him. Novak was born in Joliet, Illinois in a Jewish family, His father was a chemical engineer and the only Republican on either side of the family. Novak arrived in DC in 1957 and has been a reporter/columnist/pundit there for 50 years, from Eisenhower to Cheney, I mean Bush. Novak was seen as arrogant and evil by many American Jews for the anti_israel columns under the Evan (Rollay) and Novak byline. (Novak says Evans wrote 98% of those columns on Israel). Novak admits he has "few heroes," and apparently none of them have been political leaders. Since leaving the sports reporting of his youth, he has consistently found politicians "less impressive" than the athletic coaches he covered as a teenager. Jimmy Carter is described as a "habitual liar," Nixon a "bad man," Gore a "phony," and Gerald Ford as the "nicest person to be president during my career, [but] was ill equipped for the job." One hundred pages into the book, Novak writes, "Little in Washington is on the level."
Novak's also discusses his love of Catholicism. Novak converted to Christianity several years ago. Pat Moynihan and Pat Buchanan were at his baptism. Novak says, "I knew I wasn't an atheist or an agnostic, but I had no formal religion. And I think it was need. My wife, who was a Methodist, and I moved into Washington, and she started going to Catholic St. Patrick's Church, which was walking distance from our apartment. She asked me if I'd like to go, and I was really moved by the--by the--by the liturgy. And I... moved ...along the path to conversion. People say, `What caused you to convert?' And I say it was the Holy Spirit. If you're not a Catholic, maybe you have a little difficulty understanding what that means. But I do believe it is a mystery how things like that happen, but I know it's been a great joy for me in my life and enabled me to get through some difficult times."
"I am not a person it is easy for a lot of people to like. No stirrer-up of strife is ever very popular." (stirrer of strife is a reference to Bertrans de Born in Canto XVIII of Dante's Inferno).
Jack Shafer in The New York Times added, "Little in Washington is on the level", Novak writes, but [the book] reads convincingly because it's so unflattering to its author. He confesses to lying about the source of a memo to protect the leaker... He regrets having neglected his family. Until a near fatal [disease] killed his taste for alcohol, he was a lush, drinking cocktails as fast as he could swizzle them and draining bottles of Scotch... In 1978, he was wagering $1,000 a day on sports ($3,200 in today's dollars).."
Click the book cover to read more.

One Man's Desperate Attempt to Recapture His Youth as a Camp Counselor
by Josh Wolk
JUNE 2007. Hyperion
Alredy optioned for a film by Hyperion's parent, Disney, this is the true story by EW reporter, Josh Wolk, who, three months before his wedding to gf Christine, decides to return to his boyhood camp in Maine for an 8 week Summer, and share his cabin with the wunderman camp leader who every kid worships, only to create the same self doubt that he felt as a teen. In these eight hilarious, uncomfortable, enlightening weeks, Josh readjusts to life teaching swimming and balancing on a thin metal cot in a cabin of shouting, wrestling, wet-willie-dispensing fourteen-year-olds who, contrary to the warnings of doomsaying sociologists, he finds indistinguishable from the rowdy fourteen-year-olds of his day in any way other than their haircuts. With his old camp friends gone, he finds himself working alongside guys who used to be his campers. Moments of feeling cripplingly old are offset by the corrosive insecurities of his youth when he's paired in the cabin with Mitch, the forty-two-year-old jack-of-all- extreme-sports whose machismo intimidated Josh so much fifteen years earlier, and whom their current campers idolize. And throughout all this disorienting regression, Josh's telephone conversations with his fiancée, Christine, grow increasingly intense as their often comical discussions over the wedding become a flimsy cover for her worries that he's not ready to relinquish his death-grip on the comforts of the past. A hilarious and insightful look at the tenacious power of nostalgia, the glory of childhood, and the nervous excitement of taking a leap to the next unknown stage in life, Cabin Pressure will appeal to anyone who's ever been young, wishes he was young again, but knows deep down it probably isn't a good idea. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Foxbats Over Dimona
The Soviets' Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War
by Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez
JUNE 28, 2007. Yale
Fearing an imminent invasion, Israel launched a preemptive air attack on Egypt in June 1967 and it achieved such staggering devastation that in just six days the war was won and the future of the Middle East was forever changed. But have our assumptions about the genesis of the Six-Day War been misguided? What was the involvement of the Soviet Union? Were the Israelis planning to use nuclear weapons? Were the Soviets? This book provides an account that is startlingly different from all previous histories of the Six-Day War. Award-winning Israeli journalists Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez investigate newly available documents and testimonies from the former Soviet Union, cross-check them extensively against Israeli and Western sources, and arrive at fresh and frightening conclusions. Filled with astonishing new information about this crucial week in history, the book paints a disturbing picture of Cold War aggression, deception, and calculated willingness to precipitate a global crisis. Thomas R. Pickering wrote: "This fascinating new book brings to light new, original research on the origins of the 1967 War. The Soviet role appears to be larger and more intensive than many of us may have realized, including possible plans for air and seaborne attacks on the Israeli coast, and at Dimona in a serious effort to block Israel's nuclear program; major steps to induce an Israeli attack; and a hoped for overwhelming Arab riposte. That it all failed seems to have once again, after Cuba, been a bad misjudgment in Moscow. While data and facts are still coming in and skeptics may scoff, the book is a solid work worthy of serious attention." Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Judaism
An Introduction to the Beliefs and Practices of the Jews
by Michael Maher
JUNE 2007. Columba Press
A primer on Judaism for Christians, especially his students in Dublin. Maher has an MA from HUC and a PhD in Semitic Languages from University College in Dublin. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Jewish King Lear Comes to America
by Jacob Gordin, Sophie Glazer, translated by Ruth Gay
JUNE 2007. Yale
The Jewish King Lear, written by the Russian-Jewish writer Jacob Gordin, was first performed on the New York stage in 1892, during the height of a massive emigration of Jews from eastern Europe to America. This book presents the original play to the English-speaking reader for the first time in its history, along with substantive essays on the play's literary and social context, Gordin's life and influence on Yiddish theater, and the anomalous position of Yiddish culture vis-à-vis the treasures of the Western literary tradition. Gordin's play was not a literal translation of Shakespeare's play, but a modern evocation in which a Jewish merchant, rather than a king, plans to divide his fortune among his three daughters. Created to resonate with an audience of Jews making their way in America, Gordin's King Lear reflects his confidence in rational secularism and ends on a note of joyful celebration. Click the book cover to read more.

[book][book] Not a Happy Camper
A Memoir
by Mindy Schneider
JUNE 2007. Grove Press
Remember those long sultry summer days at camp, the sun setting over the lake as you sang Kumbaya? Well, Mindy Schneider remembers her summer at Camp Kin-A-Hurra in 1974 just a wee bit differently. Not a Happy Camper chronicles a young girl's adventures at a camp where the sun never shines, the breakfast cereal dates back to the summer of 1922, and many of the counselors speak no English. For eight eye-opening and unforgettable weeks, Mindy and her eccentric band of friends - including Autumn Evening Schwartz, the daughter of hippies who communicates with the dead, and the sleep-dancing, bibliophile Betty Gilbert - keep busy feuding in color wars, failing at sports, and uncovering the camp's hidden past. As she focuses on landing the perfect boyfriend and longs for her first kiss, Mindy unexpectedly stumbles across something infinitely grander: herself. Hilarious, charming, and glowing with nostalgia, Mindy Schneider's memoir is a must-read for anyone who's ever been to summer camp, or wishes they had. Click the book cover to read more.

[book][book] The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit
My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World
by Lucette Lagnado
June 2007. HarperCollins
Read his piece in the WSJ on Yom Kippur:
A Memoir. Lucette recreates the glamour of growing up in Cairo between the World Wars, and life as a Jewish family. Her father, Leon, was a businessman who conducted business from the posh Nile Hilton. But when King Fariouk was deposed by Nasser and the young officers, and businesses were nationalized, Leon and his family lost their economic base. The fled to Paris and then to New York, and moved from opulence to poverty, from ease to hardship. A vivid and graceful story.
Alana Newhouse, writing in The New York Times, wrote, "In her new memoir, "The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit," Lucette Lagnado relates how her father, Leon, first reacted upon escaping the dangerous anti-Semitic environment of Nasser's Egypt in 1962: "Ragaouna Masr," he cried, as their boat left the Alexandria harbor - "Take us back to Cairo." It's a sad moment, but one would be forgiven for finding it melodramatic. After all, we know how the story ends: the family settles in America and, judging at least by the ascent of Lucette, their youngest daughter, as a prize-winning Wall Street Journal reporter, they presumably enjoy success and happiness. That this assumption is so far off the mark - that the reality of the Lagnados' fate is so far from the triumphalism that Americans have come to expect from immigrant narratives - is one of many reasons to read this crushing, brilliant book.
Lagnado traces the story of a family so connected to Cairo that they held on until they were forced out, thankfully alive. "Alas, what no one could stop was the cultural Holocaust - the hundreds of synagogues shuttered for lack of attendance, the cemeteries looted of their headstones, the flourishing Jewish-owned shops abandoned by their owners, the schools suddenly bereft of any students." Some will blanch at her use of the word "Holocaust" here, arguing that only the World War II murders of European Jews are worthy of this term. But the wholesale destruction of Middle Eastern Jewish life, along with the even more devastating evisceration of individual lives, was nothing short of a catastrophe - and not only for the Jews. Leon Lagnado, like many others, had a love affair with his city, and "The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit" is a story about what happens when two such lovers are torn apart.
The man of the title is, of course, Leon. Fluent in seven languages and full of charisma, he was the consummate man-about-town. He spent his days immersed in a web of discreet business deals - all conducted in such privacy that even family members couldn't describe his profession - and his nights gallivanting at the city's hot spots, like L'Auberge des Pyramides, where "on a good night, the king was almost certain to drop by with both an entourage and a determination to seduce the prettiest woman there, or whoever appealed to him the most."
But Leon was also a good Jew, as it were, one who went to synagogue every morning. "It was as if two people resided within one sharkskin suit," Lagnado writes, "one who was pious and whose vestments resembled those of the priests at the Great Temple, all white and sparkling and pure, and the very different creature who led a secret, intensely thrilling life."
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] All Q, No A
More Tales of a 10th-Grade Social Climber
by Lauren Mechling and Laura Moser
June 2007. Graphia
Grade 9 and Up
Mimi Schulman, first introduced in The Rise and Fall of a 10th-Grade Social Climber (Houghton, 2005), is back at New York City's Baldwin School after spending a week in the Dominican Republic doing charity work with her rich and ritzy friends. She is plagued by typical teen problems: an unrequited crush, divorced parents and their new relationships, and low self-confidence. However, she's quickly repairing the friendships she strained last semester as well as meeting some new and quirky people. When she gets the chance to go after the first big story for the school newspaper, an article on Baldwin parent and art-world king Serge Ziff, who has made a major donation, she is determined to prove herself worthy of the assignment. Chasing after Ziff for an interview doesn't leave much time for her friends, though, and chasing down the elusive truth about his true character proves even more difficult. With the help of friends and their contacts, Mimi writes a revealing article-but then the angry headmaster insists on killing the story. The trials of this middle-class teen in an upper-class world are entertaining and light. The writing style is breezy, but the vocabulary is occasionally complex and may challenge low-level readers. Though there are mentions of hookups and underage drinking, the details are sparse. Instead, friendships and self-worth are the center of attention. This sequel can be read as a stand-alone, but be prepared for requests for the first book. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] God's Gold
A Quest for the Lost Temple Treasures of Jerusalem
by Sean Kingsley
June 2007. HarperCollins
"God's Gold" charts the fate of the greatest religious treasure in history, the key symbols of the Jewish faith -- looted from the Temple of Jerusalem. The golden candelabrum, silver trumpets and bejewelled Table of the Divine Presence were ransacked by the Roman emperor Vespasian and his son, Titus, in AD 70. They were cast adrift in Mediterranean lands, which saw 550 years of turbulent history and the rule of four different civilisations. Now, only an intriguing trail of clues remains as to their whereabouts. The Temple treasure is an immeasurably precious hoard, but it has yet greater significance as a symbol of man's communications with God. The gold is central to Israel's dreams for messianic redemption and it's discovery could signify the return to an age of biblical sacrifice. Using untapped historical texts and new archaeological sources, Sean Kingsley reveals the incredible history of this treasure, its composition and religious, political and financial meaning across the ages. Unexpected discoveries send him on a physical pilgrimage to trace the treasure's destiny, which exposes facts more astonishing than fiction. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] I Will Wake the Dawn
Illuminated Psalms
Commentary by Arnold Band (UCLA), Illustrated by Debra Band
June 2007. JPS, Jewish Publication Society
Professor Arnold Band has been at UCLA for nearly five decades.
From the acclaimed author and artist who created The Song of Songs: The Honeybee in the Garden, this breathtakingly beautiful book fuses the artist Debra Band's stunning illuminated interpretation of selected psalms with the scholar Arnold Band's insightful analysis of the text. In shimmering gold and brilliant color this book invites contemporary readers to experience the intense emotion embodied within the ancient verses. It features 36 of the most well-known and moving psalms, including songs of personal and communal joy, prayers for healing and redemption in times of desperation, expressions of love and longing for Jerusalem, and prayers of comfort traditionally included in mourning rites. Band ingeniously interprets each psalm through two illuminations on facing pages: one that brings to life the Hebrew text; the other that illustrates the JPS English translation. Each pair of full-page illuminations is followed by an analysis of the psalm by Arnold Band and an explanation of the symbolism of the artwork by Debra Band. This beautifully bound book can be used for prayer and study, as well as aesthetic enjoyment, and, it makes an unforgettable gift for weddings, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Included in the volume is a foreword by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner and an appendix with the text of all 150 psalms in Hebrew and in English. Click the book cover to read more.

by Peter Charles Melman
June 2007. Counterpoint
From Booklist: Can a man expect justice from the world if he has spent his life inflicting injustice? Elias Abrams ponders this quandary while sitting in a Missouri field. Having fled New Orleans in the wake of a murder and seeking refuge in the Confederate army, Abrams begins to analyze the elements leading to his conscription: the Jewish son of an indentured servant roaming the brothels and alleys of Civil War New Orleans fueled by whiskey, gambling, and brawling. This carousing finds him the accomplice to a brutal murder and on the run from the law and his fellow carousers. Throughout the narrative, Melman crafts searing images: the physical degradation of Civil War infantrymen, the underbelly of 1860s New Orleans, burgeoning love, and one man's unplanned introspection. This novel gallops across prairies and battlefields as Elias Abrams writes letters to his Nora Bloom and struggles to make sense of his past, all while trying to carve out the future he desires. At times ribald and always real, Melman creates a rich and authentic story. Click the book cover to read more.

BY TALAL ASAD, CUNY professor of anthropology
June 2007. Columbia
Like many people in America and around the world, Talal Asad experienced the events of September 11, 2001, largely through the media and the emotional response of others. For many non-Muslims, "the suicide bomber" quickly became the icon of "an Islamic culture of death"-a conceptual leap that struck Asad as problematic. Is there a "religiously-motivated terrorism?" If so, how does it differ from other cruelties? What makes its motivation "religious?" Where does it stand in relation to other forms of collective violence? Drawing on his extensive scholarship in the study of secular and religious traditions as well as his understanding of social, political, and anthropological theory and research, Asad questions Western assumptions regarding death and killing. He scrutinizes the idea of a "clash of civilizations" and its identification of "Islamic jihadism" as the essence of modern terrorism. He critically engages with a range of explanations of suicide terrorism, exploring many writers' preoccupation with the motives of perpetrators and the attempt to understand the act in relation to politics. In conclusion, Asad examines our emotional response to suicide and the horror it invokes. On Suicide Bombing is an original and provocative analysis critiquing the work of intellectuals from both the left and the right. Though fighting evil is an old concept, it has found new and disturbing expressions in our contemporary "war on terror." For Asad, it is critical that we remain aware of the forces shaping the discourse surrounding this new mode of violence. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Darfur's Sorrow
A History of Destruction and Genocide
by M. W. Daly
June 2007. Cambridge University Press
Darfur is a region set apart, huge, remote and poverty stricken. Its people are today locked in conflict, terrorised by the lawless Arab militia known as janjawid. As M.W. Daly explains, the roots of the crisis lie deep in Darfur's past. Tracing the story from the origins of the Fur state in the seventeenth century to Darfur's annexation by the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, he shows how years of neglect left the region unprepared for independence. This complex story is told with compassion, insight and a strong sense of place. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] HOOK
by Haya Pomrenze
June 2007.
Haya grew up in DC and is the daughter of a former intelligence officer. She found a passion for writing at Barnard in the Eighties, but, given the pressure of conforming to Orthodox ways, she pursued a career in OT: Occupational Therapy. But then, her spark for writing was reignited and the poems came pouring out like honey on Rosh Hashana, Haya Pomrenze's "Hook" conveys the complexities of the Jewish Modern Orthodox female experience. The narrator is an insider and an outsider, dependent and contemptuous, a follower and a free spirit. Like the child in "Straddle" hooking her feet into the stirrups of a carousel horse, the heroine labors to stand on solid ground while staking her claim in a world further complicated by the push and pull of the mother-daughter relationship, explored throughout the book and masterfully portrayed in the title poem. You'll struggle not to laugh and cry at the same time while reading this poetry debut. Click the book cover to read more.

Spring 2007.
From Publishers Weekly: Alderman draws on her Orthodox Jewish upbringing and current life in Hendon, England, for her entertaining debut, which won the Orange Prize for New Writers after it was published in the U.K. in March. In writing about the inhabitants of this small, gossipy society, Alderman cleverly uses a slightly sinister, omniscient "we" to represent a community that speaks with one voice, and her descriptions of Orthodox customs are richly embroidered. Alternating with this perspective is the first-person narrative of Ronit Krushka, a woman who has left the community and is now a financial analyst in New York. After the death of her estranged father, a powerful rabbi, Ronit returns to England to mourn her father and to confront her past, including a female lover. But Ronit's shock that an Orthodox lesbian would marry a man rings false, as does her casually condescending attitude toward the community. By the time of the theatrical, unrealistic climax, Ronit's struggle between religious and secular imperatives gets reduced to cliché ("all we have, in the end, are the choices we make"), but Ronit works well as a vehicle for the opinion that even the most alienated New York Judaism is preferable to the English version, where "the Jewish fear of being noticed and the natural British reticence interact." Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Ishmael on the Border
Rabbinic Portrayals of the First Arab
by Carol Bakhos
June 2007. SUNY
Ishmael on the Border is an in-depth study of the rabbinic treatment of Abraham's firstborn son, Ishmael. This book examines Ishmael's conflicted portrayal over a thousand-year period and traces the shifts and nuances in his representation within the Jewish tradition before and after the emergence of Islam. In classical rabbinic texts, Ishmael is depicted in a variety of ways. By examining the biblical account of Ishmael's life, Carol Bakhos points to the tension between his membership in and expulsion from Abraham's household-on the one hand he is circumcised with Abraham, yet on the other, because of divine favor, his brother supplants him as primogenitor. The rabbis address his liminal status in a variety of ways. Like Esau, he is often depicted in antipodal terms. He is Israel's "Other." Yet, Bakhos notes, the emergence of Islam and the changing ethnic, religious, and political landscape of the Near East in the seventh century affected later, medieval rabbinic depictions of Ishmael, whereby he becomes the symbol of Islam and the eponymous prototype of Arabs. With this inquiry into the rabbinic portrayal of Ishmael, the book confronts the interfacing of history and hermeneutics and the ways in which the rabbis inhabited a world of intertwined political, social, and theological forces. The author is Professor of Late Antique Judaism at the University of California at Los Angeles and is the editor of Ancient Judaism in its Hellenistic Context Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Seducing the Rabbi
a novel
by Jala Pfaff
Seducing the Rabbi is anathema to the traditional romance novel. When linguistics professor Aviva Goldberg is recovering from the end of a steady relationship, her two best friends come up with a salacious challenge - for her to bed thirty new men in the next year. Eager to experience new pleasures Aviva accepts. Yet Murphy's Law rears its cynical head: when you're not interested, you have to beat potential candidates off with a stick, but when you're looking, they're nowhere to be found! A somewhat risque, tongue-in-cheek romp told through Aviva's eyes, sporting a witty and often wicked sense of humor. However, this book is heavy on stereotypical descriptions and light on the really juicy stuff. For example, Aviva muses, "I've always wanted to have sex with a Native American. They have great skin, great coloring, nice beaky noses, good cheekbones. Like tribal members without their hirsute-ness." Another one of her men tells her outright he doesn't like "vanilla sex" and makes her squeeze his ... er ... downstairs fellas. Another shaves the aforementioned region to make himself look bigger, and she has to deal with prickly pubic hair. And, of course, there's the guy she compares to a pencil. HEY IT IS CHICK LIT!! She anticipates her encounter with another Native American man: "There's something majorly sexy about the thought of him naked except for a loincloth and fringed soft knee-high boots, shuffling and chanting around a bonfire. Damn! It's a good thing it's time to bag another guy." As for the to-be-rabbi.... You have to read til the end to find out Click the book cover to read more.

[book] New Girl On the Job
Advice from the Trenches
by Hannah Seligson
June 2007.
Let's face it--the work world is tough. There are a million other young women out there who do what you do, just as well as you do it. Competition for the best jobs is fierce, office politics are tougher than you thought, and the road to success is not always an easy one. So how will you handle the pressure of your first real job and climb the ladder to success? Through interviews with some of the best and brightest businesswomen in the country such as Soledad O'Brien, anchor of CNN's American Morning, and Jill Herzig, executive editor of Glamour magazine, meticulous research, and one-on-one chats with hundreds of New Girls starting out in their careers, New Girl on the Job provides you with all of the information you always wanted to know about workplace success but were afraid to ask. Inside, you'll find valuable tips and information you can put to use right away: Assistantized--How not to get stuck with all the administrative tasks; The Sweet Spot--Finding the middle ground between bitch and doormat; It's Just Business--How to develop the ultimate office tool--a thick skin; Mistakes Happen--How to deal with them when they do; Perpetual Perfectionist--Why staying late at the office could sabotage your career." Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Life Stories
How I Came Into My Inheritance & Strangers in the House
by Dorothy Gallagher, with an intro by Daniel Mendelsohn
June 2007, Random House paperback
Here are two acclaimed memoirs in one remarkable volume. In an extraordinarily compelling voice, Dorothy Gallagher tells stories taking us from her parents' beginnings in the Ukraine to her own childhood in 1940s New York, through the many adventures of her extended family and into her own adult life. Her themes are universal: the fragility of friendship, the power of love, the marital crisis brought on by chronic illness, the role of dumb luck at the heart of life-Gallagher dramatizes her stories with acute insight, strong feeling, and edgy wit. Click to read more.

[book] Statecraft
And How to Restore America's Standing in the World
by Dennis Ross
June 2007, FS&G
From Booklist: Ross was the U.S. chief Middle East envoy in the Bush I and Clinton administrations, an experience he chronicled in The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace(2004). His latest book examines more broadly the practice of strategic diplomacy, the pragmatic exercise of which he considers absolutely crucial for global security in the twenty-first century. Adopting a pedagogical tone, Ross uses case studies (including the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations) to illustrate statecraft in practice. His chapters on negotiation and mediation likewise blend description of what has worked in the past with instructional advice on how to wield the tools of the trade effectively. ("Employ the good cop-bad cop approach carefully," for example.) Ross also profitably invokes the foreign policy of the Bush II administration as an antimodel. A cogent call for a return to what Francis Fukuyama has called "realistic Wilsonianism," this account is apparently aimed at the foreign-policy professionals of the future and those who might appoint them.

[book] All-star Season
by Tovah Yavin
Ages 10 plus
2007, Kar Ben
School Library Journal: Brothers Avi and Reuven share a love of baseball, and they both hope to make the local All-Star team. Eighth-grader Avi approaches the game and life with a laid-back attitude, while worrywart Reuven, a ninth grader, injures himself trying to get ahead by learning to throw a curveball. He reluctantly learns to find satisfaction in his brother's success. Fans of the game will be intrigued by this jargon-laden story, but it won't attract other readers. Non-baseball elements of the tale all have a secondary feel, and characters are not well-rounded. There is some detail about the siblings' Orthodox Jewish school and family life, but faith has little impact on the characters' choices or actions. Reuven is so painfully self-conscious and surly that he strains readers' sympathy, and he grows very little through the course of the novel. This book seems to set out to be "a Jewish baseball story," and it fulfills that role without going beyond this simple description. For a Jewish baseball story with more likable characters and more interesting social implications, try Carol Matas's Rosie in Chicago [book]

[book] How to Succeed in Hollywood Without Really Trying P.S. - You Can't!
by Melville Shavelson
Spring 2007, Bear Manor Media
Mel Shavelson, a famed screenwriter, producer and director who worked with some of Hollywood's biggest, brightest and most temperamental stars (Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas, Bob Hope, Sophia Loren, Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Yul Brynner, James Cagney, Vittorio De Sica, Angie Dickinson, Robert Duvall, Clark Gable, Charlton Heston, Danny Kaye, Jack Lemmon, Paul Newman, Lee Remick, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, and Joanne Woodward to name a few), passed away in early August 2007 at the age of 90, just a few months after publishing this memoir. He came to Hollywood as a writer at the age of 21 in 1938 with Bob Hope. A specialist in comedy, Mr. Shavelson earned two Oscar nominations for writing "The Seven Little Foys" in 1955 and "Houseboat" in 1958 (in which, while shooting the film, Grant fell for Lorean, and Loren fell for the producer Carlo Ponti.. all of whome were in orther marriages or relationships). He also directed both pictures. He also wrote and directed "Yours, Mine and Ours" and "Cast a Giant Shadow." He was named Melville because his mother loved Moby Dick. One of his earlier books was "How to Make a Jewish Movie" (Prentice-Hall, 1971), a memoir of the big-budget fiasco that was "Cast a Giant Shadow."
The most important lesson he learned is: "There are no rules." He On Shavelson's first day in town, Hope asked to borrow his apartment key, promising to return it by midnight. He agreed, puzzled as to why the successful comedian would need to use his place, as Hope already had a rented home in the Valley. When Shavelson returned home that night, he saw TWO sets of wet footprints leading from the shower to his already bed. Hope was gone. After writing jokes for Hope for years, he penned some srceenplays, and then wrote the first commercial TV broadcast for KTLA in 1947. A few years later, he created a program for Danny Thomas, . "Make Room for Daddy.". The theme song for "Gilligan's Island" was recorded by the Wellingtons in Shavelson's living room while his late wife, Lucy, and a full crew of waiters attempted to prepare for a charity event to be hosted in the room that evening. He was also a three-time president of the Writers Guild of America, West
Chock full of stories

[book] Sarah's Key
by Tatiana de Rosnay
June 2007, St. Martin's Press
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers-especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive-the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down.

[book] Shalom On The Range
by Michael S. Katz
June 2007, Strider Nolan
A young man from an affluent Philadelphia family, David Goldstein is proud to be Jewish. As a detective for the Kansas-Pacific Railroad, he has demonstrated his mental acuity as well as his ability to handle himself in a physical confrontation. In September of 1870, David is assigned to investigate a train robbery near Denver, Colorado. For the first time in his life he travels to the mythical "Wild West" he has only read about in dime novels. Understandably out of his element, he hires local bounty hunters to help him track the vicious band of outlaws. His companions include Red Parker, the moody ex-Union soldier; Jake Becket, the equal-opportunity bigot with the roguish good looks; and Harvey White Crow, the taciturn Ute Indian whose silent demeanor conceals a piercing intelligence. Along the way they meet a mysterious woman named Elizabeth, a Southern belle who claims to be a Pinkerton detective also assigned to the case. David's journey exposes him to different forms of anti-Semitism, from his own employer to complete strangers, and makes him question his own preconceived notions of what it means to be a Jew and a human being.

June 2007, Drawn and Quarterly
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Tel Aviv--based Modan gives American comics readers a sharp sense of Israeli life in this brilliant and moving graphic novel. The story follows Koby Franco, a young taxi driver and lost soul, as he searches for his missing father, a man who long ago left the family and may or may not have been killed in a suicide bomb attack. Assisting and prodding him is Nuni, a young soldier who was romantically involved with the missing father. Modan takes her characters across Israel and through a variety of different Israeli social strata as the search progresses. Along the way it becomes clear that Koby's father's identity is in flux-he leaves all those that he loves, but touches on everything it means to be an Israeli: family man, soldier, religious practitioner and, perhaps, victim. Modan is a deft and subtle storyteller, and her meditation on Israeli identity and the possibilities of love and trust (between father and son, woman and man) are finely wrought. Her loose, expressive drawing is both tremendously evocative and precise-always enhancing the plot. The stellar combination makes this one of the major graphic novels of 2007.

[book] A Year Without "Made in China"
One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy
by Sara Bongiorni
June 2007, Wiley
From Publishers Weekly: Journalist Bongiorni, on a post-Christmas day mired deep in plastic toys and electronics equipment, makes up her mind to live for a year without buying any products made in China, a decision spurred less by notions of idealism or fair trade-though she does note troubling statistics on job loss and trade deficits-than simply "to see if it can be done." In this more personal vein, Bongiorni tells often funny, occasionally humiliating stories centering around her difficulty procuring sneakers, sunglasses, DVD players and toys for two young children and a skeptical husband. With little insight into global economics or China's manufacturing practices, readers may question the point of singling out China when cheap, sweatshop-produced products from other countries are fair game (though Bongiorni cheerfully admits the flaws in her project, she doesn't consider fixing them). Still, Bongiorni is a graceful, self-deprecating writer, and her comic adventures in self-imposed inconvenience cast an interesting sideways glance at the personal effects of globalism, even if it doesn't easily connect to the bigger picture

[book] NOT ME
2007, Random House Paperback
From Booklist: *Starred Review* Lavigne carves a new portal into the depthless mystery of the Holocaust, writing insightfully and imaginatively about the survival instinct and the thorny love between fathers and sons in a debut even more accomplished than Nicole Krauss' much-hailed Holocaust novel The History of Love (2005). Michael Rosenheim, a smart and endearingly self-deprecating stand-up comic, hides within a fortress of jokes in the wake of the early deaths of his sister and mother and his divorce. Now Heshel, his father, is in a Florida nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's. Holed up in his father's Judaica-festooned apartment, Michael feels as though he has gone through the looking glass as he starts reading a set of old journals. Lavigne alternates with increasing drama between the ruefully funny "live" scenes and the utter hell the blunt diarist describes in chronicling the life of Heinrich Mueller, an SS death camp accountant. As the Allies approach, he steals the identity of a dead Jewish inmate named Heshel Rosenheim and ends up in Israel, where Holocaust survivors fight heroically for a homeland. Performing a phenomenal balancing act between light and dark, past and present, guilt and forgiveness, Lavigne sets in motion profoundly complex moral dilemmas in a vivid, all-consuming, paradoxical, and quintessentially human story.

JULY 2007

FIRST... Who wants to go to camp?? Zum Gali Gali Gali .. Zum Gali Gali.. Please, sir, may I have s'more?

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[book] The Jerusalem Book of Quotations
A 3,000 Year Perspective
by Jack Friedman, CUNY
JULY 2007. Gefen
Perhaps no other city has been spoken of as often or as passionately as Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Book of Quotations brings together the kaleidoscopic impressions and perspectives of a representative group of those who have responded to the wonder of the Holy City from the biblical period to the present: Jews, Christians, and Muslims; pilgrims as well as skeptics, travelers, conquerors, scholars, and statesmen. The work gives expression to the discordant notes of contrasting perspectives about the meaning of Jerusalem. At the same time, it reflects the city s unique distinction as the embodiment of mankind s highest ethical and spiritual aspirations. Click the book cover to read more.

BY RAPHAEL GROSS, Leo Baeck Institue
JULY 2007. University of Wisconsin Press
A reexamination of Carl Schmitt, his life, the antisemitism that was at the core of his work, his writings in which the Jew was the adversary, and how he influenced Nazi and Nazi Legal thought and policies. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Warsaw Ghetto
A Guide to the Perished City
by Barbara Engelking and Jacek Leociak
July 2007. Yale
The establishment and liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto has become an icon of the Holocaust experience. Remarkably, a full history of the Ghetto has never been written, despite the publication over some sixty years of numerous memoirs, studies, biographical accounts, and primary documents. The Warsaw Ghetto: A Guide to the Perished City is this history, researched and written with painstaking care and devotion over many years and now published for the first time in English. The authors explore the history of the ghetto's evolution, the actual daily experience of its thousands of inhabitants from its creation in 1941 to its liquidation following the uprising of 1943. Encyclopedic in scope, the book encompasses a range of topics from food supplies to education, religious activities to the Jundenrat's administration. Separate chapters deal with the mass deportations to Treblinka and the famous uprising. A series of original maps, along with biographies, a glossary, and a bibliography, completes this masterful work. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Henry Kissinger and the American Century
by Jeremi Suri
July 2007. Harvard
Publishers Weekly : Suri endeavors to explore the philosophical roots of Henry Kissinger's actions as national security adviser and secretary of state under President Nixon, finding those roots in a Jewish boy's experiences of a weak Weimar regime's fall to genocidal Nazism. At the end of the day, in Suri's account, Kissinger's philosophy boiled down to the need to back democracy with muscle...Kissinger did not support the brutality of the "regimes he supported in Chile, South Africa, and other parts of the Third World," Suri writes. But, the author acknowledges, he did "nurture personal relations with their leaders as strongmen who could mobilize force effectively against threats to themselves and the United States." At the close of that statement, Suri stumbles into the unpleasant truth of Kissinger's realpolitik.
The Washington Post review added, " ...With his gravelly Germanic mumble, horn-rimmed glasses, cold-blooded espousal of realpolitik, and a head that Oriana Fallaci likened to that of a sheep, Kissinger has become a most improbable American icon. Like his equally complex and controversial benefactor, Richard Nixon, he has generated reams of chitchat, psychobabble and lore, from his 383-page undergraduate thesis to his rumored liaisons with starlets. (One favorite tale: when thanked by an admirer for "saving the world," Kissinger replied: "You're welcome.") If only for his Strangelovean presence in American culture, he warrants explication. Suri comes at Kissinger in two ways. In the book's first part, he explores Kissinger's formative experiences in their bi-national context -- the Bavarian Jew living under the Nazis, the immigrant in New York's Washington Heights, the army administrator returning to postwar Germany. In each trying situation, Kissinger learned to leverage his status as an outsider into influence -- a practice that soon became a Kissingerian trademark. In the book's second part, Suri puts forth a close reading of Kissinger's scholarship, finding in it elaborations of the distrust of popular passions first instilled in interwar Germany. In the two final chapters he highlights these traits within Nixon's international policies. Some readers, it should be warned, may bristle at the author's undisguised admiration for his subject, particularly the words "brilliant," "genius" and "revolutionary," which pepper the prose. And Suri surprisingly omits discussion of Kissinger's well-known role in the original sin of Watergate -- the illegal wiretapping of journalists and White House aides -- and his alleged perjury in hushing it up..." Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Lawrence and Aaronsohn
T. E. Lawrence, Aaron Aaronsohn, and the Seeds of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
by Ronald Florence
July 23, 2007. Viking
How Lawrence of Arabia and a Jewish agronomist from Palestine mapped the land and conflicts of the modern Middle East. As Lloyd George wrote, The British gave assurances to both the Arabs and the Jews, essentially selling the same horse twice. In 1905, Negib Azoury wrote, the national movements are awakended and will claim the same land. For 100 years, this issue has continued. On June 5, 1916, After Lord Kichener was killed by a German mine while en route to Russia on the HMS Hampshire. The Arab revolt had started the day before, and General Archibald Murray was focused on defeating Germany in France. He cared less about the young Turks even after Gallipoli and Mesopotamia. He was focused on Suez. And he cared even less for the Palestinian Jews, and less for the Arab revolt which was deemed a ragtag band of Bedouins. It was in this environment that Lt Lawrence lived, and the young blond Aaronsohn persevered with Sir Basil Thomson, Scotland Yard and others... .
In the turmoil of the First World War, while the Great Powers secretly plotted the future of the Middle East, a second lieutenant from Oxfordshire and a Jewish agronomist from Palestine audaciously imagined new nations-Arab and Jewish-rising from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. T. E. Lawrence, who would later become the iconic Lawrence of Arabia, used his assignment of coordinating Arab support for British war strategies to advance the dreams of an Arab state. Aaron Aaronsohn gave up a distinguished career in science and, with his sister Sarah, established a secret spy network in wartime Palestine, providing the intelligence that enabled the British victory over the Turks. Their arguments in wartime Cairo and at the Peace Conference in Paris presaged the political battles of the Middle East today. In this gripping narrative history, Ronald Florence resurrects the exploits and sacrifices of an unsung Zionist hero, deconstructs the legend of Lawrence of Arabia, and provides new perspectives on the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Aaronsohn's Maps
The Untold Story of the Man Who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East
by Patricia Goldstone
September 10, 2007. Harcourt
While some may focus on whether Lawrence of Arabia (T. E. Lawrence) was the lover of Aaronsohn's sister, most readers will focus on the life of this peace lanner. Goldstone (Making the World Safe for Tourism) has written a biography of Aaron Aaronsohn (1876-1919), a founder of NILI, a group that spied for the British in Palestine during WWI, and a pioneering agronomist and hydrologist. Goldstone describes the workings of British talks and intra-Jewish politics and diplomatoc moves that led up to the Balfour Declaration in 1917. In 1916, Aaronsohn wrote about on Palestine's potential to absorb a million Jews. Goldstone's thesis is that Aaronsohn's plan for the sharing of water resources between Palestinian Jews (Israel) and the Arab states would have prevented the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Churchill's Promised Land
Zionism and Statecraft
by Michael Makovsky, PhD (Bipartisan Policy Center)
July 2007. Yale
This book is the first to explore fully the role that Zionism played in the political thought of Winston Churchill. Michael Makovsky traces the development of Churchill's positions toward Zionism from the period leading up to the First World War through his final years as prime minister in the 1950s. Setting Churchill's attitudes toward Zionism within the context of his overall worldview as well as within the context of twentieth-century British diplomacy, Makovsky offers a unique contribution to our understanding of Churchill. Moving chronologically, the book looks at Churchill's career within the context of several major themes: his own worldview and political strategies, his understanding of British imperial interests, the moral impact of the Holocaust, his commitment to ideals of civilization, and his historical sentimentalism. While Churchill was largely sympathetic to the Jews and to the Zionist impulse, he was not without inconsistencies in his views and policies over the years. Makovsky's book illuminates key aspects of Middle Eastern history; Zionist history; and British political, imperial, and diplomatic history; and further helps us understand one of the pivotal figures of the twentieth century. Click the book cover to read more.

July 2007. Other Press LLC
In 1984, Daniel Cil Brecher, then a reservist in the education corps of the Israeli army, refuses to cross into occupied Lebanon to deliver a morale-boosting lecture to Israeli troops fighting there. This small act of rebellion against an unjustified war marks the critical turning point in a lifelong search for identity. Brecher grew up in postwar Germany as the son of Austrian Holocaust survivors. Caught between an unwelcoming German society and a weary and isolated Jewish community, Brecher witnessed the rise of Jewish nationalist thinking-the weakening of Jewish intercultural identity and the hardening of attitudes toward the non-Jewish world-attitudes that helped to justify the violent creation of a Jewish homeland, and to trivialize its consequences. After moving to Israel in search of personal fulfillment, Brecher served as a historian in the reserves, where he lectured troops about the official history of the country. Gradually, Brecher came to recognize this official history as myth and to feel that his homeland was not the liberal democracy it purported to be. Weaving lucid political and historical argument into a passionate account of his life in Europe and Israel, Brecher explores both the private and public dimensions of the modern Jewish narrative-integration and displacement, the Holocaust, the Jewish colonization of Palestine, and attitudes towards Arabs and other non-Jews. He concludes: Equating the experience of Anti-Semitism in the Diaspora with the suffering of Jews in Israel radicalizes the Middle East conflict, fuels distrust of the non-Jewish world and deepens the injustices committed against the Palestinians. Click the book cover to read more.

By John J. Clayton
July 2007. Permanent Press
Hi-tech entrepreneur Michael Kuperman discovers the illegal sale of chemical weapons abroad by a powerful American corporation. What does he do with this knowledge? Ultimately, the Kuperman family must flee Boston and hide their identity. Dealing with danger changes their life as a family. This is a novel about family. The many ways of being Jews in contemporary American society play themselves out in the tensions within Michael s family, a family at the edge of divorce. Kuperman struggles with his complex heritage as a Jew. He d like to hide in a sentimental version of his heritage, but becomes aware of its many real strands, including a passion for justice as well as religious faith. All of us are here by a miracle . . . A hundred years ago someone hid or someone fled . . . and his unborn children s children weren t buried in a killing pit, weren t forced into a shower of Zyklon B. Each of us is a precious distillate. Into present time, the story folds moments from the past that have made survival possible Michael Kuperman s ancestors fleeing the Rhine valley eastward into Poland in the fourteenth century; fleeing Poland into Bessarabia in the seventeenth century. And in a direct, literal way the legacy of his grandfather protects him and his family in his immediate danger. Kuperman s Fire explores evil not only monstrous narcissism, indifferent to life but also delight in destruction, a delight that can t be rationally explained. How are we to hold such evil in our minds? How can we cope with it emotionally, spiritually? While Kuperman s Fire celebrates the miracle of our survival, it insists on our responsibility to face evil and continue the miracle. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage
By Dr. William Glasser with Carleen Glasser
July 2007. Harper
Psychiatrist William Glasser, ( founder of an eponymous institute, and his wife, Carleen, who teaches relationship workshops there, follow earlier relationship books (Getting Together and Staying Together) by laying out the secrets to a happy marriage through what they refer to as choice theory, a simple enough, commonsense theory based on the premise that every action and reaction is a personal choice and can therefore be controlled. Many of the Glassers' tips are mere rehashings of what other books on the market already have to offer. The Glassers list the Seven Deadly Habits of marriage (criticism, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing and bribing) and recommend replacing them with positive habits like supporting and encouraging. Another concept the authors introduce is the quality world, which is defined as a feel good world created from our own most pleasurable feelings. It's necessary to know and negotiate around each other's quality worlds (he likes wine with dinner; she abhors it). At a mere 112 pages, this is a quick read, and the comics and case studies at the beginning of each chapter aid in illustrating the lessons in a way that makes them even easier to understand. Click the book cover to read more.

A novel
July 2007. Arcade
From Publishers Weekly: At the start of this gripping debut thriller set in 1994, a German-accented woman named Sophie Reiner appears at the desk of Marek Cain, a Nazi hunter in the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, and tells Marek that she can deliver smoking gun documents concerning Belzec, an extermination camp in Poland where half a million Jews were murdered in 1942. Marek is extremely interested, both professionally and personally: his own grandparents perished at Belzec. The next day, Sophie turns up dead in her hotel room, where the police find a CD of Argentinean baritone Roberto Delatrucha singing Schubert lieder. The possible Argentinean connection sets off alarms for the veteran investigator, and soon he's hot on the trail of the famous singer. Subplots involving neo-Nazis out to blow up Washington, and the newly elected Republican congress threatening to cut off OSI funding add suspense, but it's Marek's quest to expose Delatrucha's past that drives this compelling tale. Elsner is also the author of Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America's Prisons and Guarded by Angels, a Holocaust family chronicle. Click the book cover to read more.

By Angela Gluck Wood and Dan Stone
July 2007. DK
Ages 11 and Up
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. DK's signature editorial aesthetic, combined with the searing testimony of Holocaust survivors collected by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute of Visual History and Education, makes for a sobering and visually compelling work of history. An extraordinary array of materials-Nazi propaganda, documentary photos, artwork, artifacts-are employed in the service of a broadly sweeping chronicle, beginning with Jewish exile from Jerusalem in 70 CE after Roman occupation and ending with modern-day Holocaust denial and the creation of memorials around the world. Each chapter includes a two-page spread entitled Voices, devoted largely to excerpts from 23 interviews in the Foundation's video archives (an accompanying 40-minute DVD contains the actual interviews). One survivor recalls the horror of being herded onto dark, overcrowded trains en route to Auschwitz; another describes how her mother told her about every book she ever read, every movie she'd ever seen as they hid in a grave-like hole under a pigsty. Wood's prose is economical and reportorial, and she clearly wants to reclaim the individuality and humanity of those devastated by this enormity (In many ways, numbers, especially very large numbers, mean nothing to us. What matters is each and every human being who was murdered by the Nazis) and she never resorts to lecturing readers on how they should feel. The book's detailed charts and maps contain almost too much information at times, often demanding very close scrutiny to fully decipher. Overall, however, the visual sensitivity and expert pacing serves this vital subject very well. Click the book cover to read more.

July 2007. WILEY
Is the universe shaped like a donut? Homer proposed such a theory. Do three-eyed fish swim near nuclear power plants? Bart managed to catch one. Are perpetual-motion machines suitable for school projects? Lisa constructed a working model. The Simpsons is a treasure-trove of scientific ideas and a clever mixture of fact and fancy. In What's Science Ever Done for Us? you'll find answers to an amazing array of scientific questions raised in 26 classic episodes, including: Can genetics explain Homer's dimwittedness and Lisa's brains?; Are shrink-rays and teleportation devices possible along the lines of Professor Frink's inventions?; Could androids, like the one that replaced Bart in one episode, ever have consciousness?; Do toilets in North America and Australia flush in opposite directions?; If Earth were in peril, should we try to escape on a rocket, like Marge, Lisa, and Maggie did, and attempt to colonize Mars?; and Could we travel back in time, like Homer did, change the past, and find ourselves in a parallel reality? Click the book cover to read more.

[book] AWAY
August 2007. Random
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Life is no party for Lillian Leyb, the 22-year-old Jewish immigrant protagonist of Bloom's outstanding fifth novel: her husband and parents were killed in a Russian pogrom, and the same violent episode separated her from her three-year-old daughter, Sophie. Arriving in New York in 1924, Lillian dreams of Sophie, and after five weeks in America, barely speaking English, she outmaneuvers a line of applicants for a seamstress job at the Goldfadn Yiddish Theatre, where she becomes the mistress of both handsome lead actor Meyer Burstein and his very connected father, Reuben. Her only friend in New York, tailor/actor/playwright Yaakov Shimmelman, gives her a thesaurus and coaches her on American culture. In a last, loving, gesture after receiving word that Sophie is living in Siberia, Yaakov secures Lillian passage out of New York to begin her quest to find Sophie. The journey-through Chicago by train, into Seattle's African-American underworld and across the Alaskan wilderness-elevates Bloom's novel from familiar immigrant chronicle to sweeping saga of endurance and rebirth. Encompassing prison, prostitution and poetry, Yiddish humor and Yukon settings, Bloom's tale offers linguistic twists, startling imagery, sharp wit and a compelling vision of the past. Bloom has created an extraordinary range of characters, settings and emotions. Absolutely stunning. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Septembers of Shiraz
A novel
by Dalia Sofer
August 2007. HarperCollins Ecco
From Publishers Weekly: Sofer's family escaped from Iran in 1982 when she was 10, an experience that may explain the intense detail of this unnerving debut. On a September day in 1981, gem trader Isaac Amin is accosted by Revolutionary Guards at his Tehran office and imprisoned for no other crime than being Jewish in a country where Muslim fanaticism is growing daily. Being rich and having had slender ties to the Shah's regime magnify his peril. In anguish over what might be happening to his family, Isaac watches the brutal mutilation and executions of prisoners around him. His wife, Farnaz, struggles to keep from slipping into despair, while his young daughter, Shirin, steals files from the home of a playmate whose father is in charge of the prison that holds her father. Far away in Brooklyn, Isaac's nonreligious son, Parviz, struggles without his family's money and falls for the pious daughter of his Hasidic landlord. Nicely layered, the story shimmers with past secrets and hidden motivations. The dialogue, while stiff, allows the various characters to come through. Sofer's dramatization of just-post-revolutionary Iran captures its small tensions and larger brutalities, which play vividly upon a family that cannot, even if it wishes to, conform.
In real life, Dalia's father was jailed in Iran for being Jewish.
Note a subtheme in this novel, in which Isaac is discriminated against for being Jewish, while his son in Brooklyn is discriminated against for not being Jewish enough. Also, note the interplay of Sephardic heritage and Hasidic Ashkenaz backgrounds.
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Caspian Rain
A novel
by Gina B. Nahai
October 2007. MacAdam
From Publishers Weekly: In her stirring fourth novel, Nahai explores the struggles of an Iranian family in the tenuous decade before the Islamic revolution. Twelve-year-old Yaas narrates her family's story, beginning before her birth at her parents' unlikely meeting. Her mother, Bahar, lives in the Jewish slums with her less-than-respectable family-among them, a seamstress who can't sew, a cantor who can't sing, a Muslim convert and a ghost. Bahar's fortuitous encounter with Omid Arbab, the son of wealthy Iranian Jews, results in a marriage that quickly disintegrates, due to class pressures and Bahar's desire for a measure of independence. Yaas then embarks on what is, at times, an overly lyrical account of her difficult and lonely childhood. She senses that she is an unwelcome disappointment to her mother, whose behavior toward her daughter ranges from inattentive to cruel. When Omid becomes involved in a public affair with the wealthy and beautiful Niyaz and Yaas begins going deaf, the Arbab family spirals out of control. Despite a clunky subplot involving Bahar's ghost brother and a too-easy resolution, the novel is a poignant tale of a damaged family. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Saturday Wife
A novel
by Naomi Ragen
August 2007. St. Martin's Press
From Publishers Weekly Like Emma Bovary, Delilah Goldgrab longs for a better life. A Queens yeshiva girl, Delilah is prayerfully remorseful after fornicating with young, opportunistic Yitzie Polinsky, and quickly marries mediocre rabbinical student Chaim Levi, who is unable to provide her with a house, much less the glossy upper-middle-class life she longs for. When Chaim accepts a position as the rabbi of an affluent Connecticut congregation, Delilah has the opportunity to indulge her ideas about happiness as the congregation's rebbitzin, with deliciously disastrous consequences. It's hard to like selfish, clueless Delilah or anyone else here: the pleasure of this novel is in its mercilessness, with Ragen (The Covenant) raising the stakes until the very end. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] When We Were Bad
A novel
by Charlotte Mendelson
August 2007. Houghton Mifflin
A rising British star makes her American debut with an excoriatingly funny yet deeply humane novel about a glamorous London family that happens to be falling apart. Everything is in order in the house of Rubin. This marvelous, dynastic Jewish family is getting ready to marry off their perfect eldest son, Leo. History, community, even gastronomy all unite the guests lucky enough to attend this joyous occasion. But when the groom--one minute before exchanging vows--bolts with the wrong woman, the myths that have defined this family start to take on darker overtones. Mendelson's satiric eye, which in her two earlier novels has won her comparisons to the writing of Evelyn Waugh, is on full display here. But in these pages, she is also describing a world rarely explored in British society: the complicated, singular world of English Jews who often wear their Jewishness uneasily amidst an Anglican culture.
Claudia Rubin is in her heyday. Wife, mother, rabbi and sometime moral voice of the nation, it is she whom everyone wants to be with at her older son's glorious February wedding. Until Leo becomes a bolter and the heyday of the Rubin family begins to unravel . . . His calm, married, more mature sister, Frances, tries to hold the centre together but the stresses, for Frances, force her to re-examine her own middle way and lead to a decision as shocking in its way as Leo's has been. Meanwhile, Claudia's husband Norman has, uncharacteristically, a secret to hide - a secret whose imminent unveiling he can do nothing about . . . A warm, poignant and true portrayal of a London family in crisis, in love, in denial and - ultimately - in luck. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Muscular Judaism
The Jewish Body and the Politics of Regeneration
By Todd Presner
(London: Routledge Curzon, 2007).
This study analyzes the aesthetic dimensions of the strong Jewish body.
Providing valuable insights into an element of European nationalism and modernist culture, this book explores the development of the 'Zionist body' as opposed to the traditional stereotype of the physically weak, intellectual Jew.
At the end of the nineteenth century, when Max Nordau issued his call for the re-creation of a lost "muscular Judaism," there was probably no stereotype as deeply imprinted on the Jewish body as that of the cowardly and un-soldierly Jew. Because of their small chest size, their flat-footedness, their ungainly gait, their hunched-over backs, their susceptibility to certain diseases (diabetes, tuberculosis, alcoholism), their dietary restrictions, their inability or unwillingness to abandon the world of abstractions and speculations, and their inherent cowardice, Jews could never become good soldiers. Their unfit bodies, cowardly psychic disposition, and religious-cultural strictures supposedly prevented them from defending the countries in which they lived, consigning them to "unheroic conduct." In a scathing caricature from 1780, the year before Christian Wilhelm von Dohm published his famous treatise advocating, among other things, for the "military" improvement of the Jews, a Viennese caricaturist by the name of Johann L?schenkohl published an illustrated poem called "Jewish Recruits Complaining About Learning Military Drills." Condensing virtually all of the anti-Semitic stereotypes of the un-soldierly Jew, the poem consists of a dialogue between a Jewish recruit named "Mauschel" and a corporal who is overseeing his training. Mauschel says: "Look out, oh German world! Watch with wonder. We're going into the battlefield. Ach! Is this befitting? We have to become, all at once, a Mauschel and a soldier....

August 2007. University of Wisconsin Press
Rabbi Fackenheim (1916-2003) s[ent time in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp after 1938. After his release, he escaped to Scotland and Canada, and spent his professional career as a rabbi, author, and professor of Philosophy. This is his illuminating memoir, and the story of how can religion exist after the Holocaust. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] How to Date Men
Dating Secrets from America's Top Matchmaker
Paperback by Janis Spindel
August 2007. Plume
Janis says that if u r still single u r either picky or doing something wrong. Her book will correct this if it is something you want to change. But, you know what? 90% of men are also picky. You can do everything she writes, but if the guy isn't interested.
The goal of this book is NOT to change you into another person just so that you can meet more men. Men do not want that. They do not want to date one thing and then find out she is something else. Janis will educate you about what men look for so that that you can be more successful. A word of warning. She is blunt and a lot of it is common sense (yawning on dates, talking with food in the mouth, etc), but it is real.
The hardest part about dating is understanding the mysterious inner workings of a man's brain. How can women know what men are really looking for if men don't tell them? They can ask Janis. With over fourteen years of experience as a professional matchmaker, Janis Siderman Spindel has a unique insider's perspective on contemporary dating culture. All her clients are men, and they tell her exactly what they want in a relationship. Janis offers women a step-by-step plan for winning a man's heart, such as: It's okay to ask a guy for his number, as long as you do it with confidence; Don't wear your work clothes on a date, ever! Freshen up before meeting a guy; Pay him a compliment-he's human. He'll love it.
Entertaining and empowering, What Men Really Want is the next best thing to a private appointment with the nation's premier matchmaker. (The resource guide at the end of the book is quite paltry) Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Four Girls From Berlin:
A True Story of a Friendship That Defied the Holocaust
by Marianne Meyerhoff
August 2007. Wiley
The unique story of a Holocaust friendship and its precious legacy for the daughter of a survivor Richly illustrated with photos, mementos, and letters preserving a prominent German Jewish family's history, this moving memoir recounts how Lotte Meyerhoff's three best friends, none of them Jewish, risked their lives under the Nazis to save these objects and sent them to her after the war. Lotte had escaped from an internment camp, making her way to the U.S. as the sole survivor of her family. Written by her daughter, Marianne, Four Girls from Berlin vividly describes what life was like in Hitler's Germany and celebrates the unseverable bonds of friendship. Marianne Meyerhoff (Los Angeles, CA) is a writer, director, and producer of both television and feature films. She worked with Steven Spielberg as an interviewer for the Shoah Foundation's oral history project, Survivors of the Shoah. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] At Oma's Table
More than 100 Recipes and Remembrances from a Jewish Family's Kitchen
by Doris Schechter
August 2007. HP / Penguin Cookbook
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Ostensibly a Jewish family cookbook, Schechter's loving ode to her family, in particular her grandmother, achieves more than that, compiling in food and family lore a shining portrait of what it means to be an American. After fleeing Vienna for small-town Italy during the height of WWII, Grandma Schechter's family made the trip to America by troop ship, dodging Nazi planes and submarines along the way. Each stop in her family's pilgrimage influences the dishes Schecter offers in this nostalgic collection: traditional Jewish fare such as Cholent (a beef and bean stew) rests comfortably next to a classic Italian Pepper Ragout, Backhendl (a Viennese take on fried chicken) and a Turkey Pot Pie culled from Thanksgiving leftovers. Though her grandmother never wrote down a recipe in her life, Schechter dutifully recreates her most memorable dishes, ranging from Liptauer, a savory cheese spread so beloved it's offered in four variations, to hearty classics like Beef Goulash with Carrots and Potatoes, Brisket and Stuffed Cabbage. Supplemented throughout with vivid anecdotes of the family's pilgrimage and resettlement, this is a warm account of one family's journey to America and how food kept them close long after their arrival.
Unlike many in her generation, Doris Schechter was lucky enough to grow up knowing one of her grandparents. Polish by birth, Leah Goldstein-or Oma, as Doris called her-was a capable, nonsense woman and an amazing cook. Through times of great upheaval, fleeing Vienna for Italy, before eventually coming to America, Oma's table was always plentiful, with delicious home-cooked meals that brought together Viennese, Italian, and American flavors. Restaurateur, Doris Schechter (MY MOST FAVORITE ..) pays homage to her brave grandmother and the food traditions she fostered with this moving and appealing collection of recipes and remembrances. With dishes including classic favorites (matzo balls, tzimmes, borscht, and a beloved spread known as liptauer, as well as KRAUTFLECKERL, which is cabbage and onions with noodles) as well as more contemporary dishes, desserts (cinnamon twists), and tasting menus. Some recipes reflect the five years her family spent in Guardiagrele Italy as "free prisoners." Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Cooking Jewish
532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family
by Judy Bart Kancigor, Orange County Register
Summer 2007. Workman Publishing
Got kugel? Got Kugel with Toffee Walnuts? Now you do. Here's the real homemade Gefilte Fish - and also Salmon en Papillote. Grandma Sera Fritkin's Russian Brisket and Hazelnut-Crusted Rack of Lamb. Aunt Irene's traditional matzoh balls and Judy's contemporary version with shiitake mushrooms. Cooking Jewish gathers recipes from five generations of a food-obsessed family into a celebratory saga of cousins and kasha, Passover feasts - the holiday has its own chapter - and crossover dishes. And for all cooks who love to get together for coffee and a little something, dozens and dozens of desserts: pies, cakes, cookies, bars, and a multitude of cheesecakes; Rugelach and Hamantaschen, Mandelbrot and Sufganyot (Hanukkah jelly doughnuts). Not to mention Tanta Esther Gittel's Husband's Second Wife Lena's Nut Cake. Blending the recipes with over 160 stories from the Rabinowitz family-by the end of the book you'll have gotten to know the whole wacky clan-and illustrated throughout with more than 500 photographs reaching back to the 19th century, Cooking Jewish invites the reader not just into the kitchen, but into a vibrant world of family and friends. Written and recipe-tested by Judy Bart Kancigor, a food journalist with the Orange County Register, who self-published her first family cookbook as a gift and then went on to sell 11,000 copies, here are 532 recipes from her extended family of outstanding cooks, including the best chicken soup ever - really! - from her mother, Lillian. (Or as the author says, "When you write your cookbook, you can say your mother's is the best.") Every recipe, a joy in the belly. Judy Bart Kancigor started Cooking Jewish as a family project. She is a freelance food writer and columnist for the Orange County Register. A popular teacher of Jewish cooking and family life, she speaks at synagogues, women's organizations, and cooking schools. She lives with her husband, Barry, in Fullerton, California. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Aromas of Aleppo
The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews
by Poopa Dweck and Michael J. Cohen with photos by Quentin Bacon
Summer 2007. Ecco
COME ON.. a book by someone named Poopa-Dweck (poop deck) and a guy named bacon?
But anyone who knows the Halabi Syrian community of Brooklyn or Deal knows that Dweck is a name of authority. When the Aleppian Jewish community migrated from the ancient city of Aleppo (Halab) in historic Syria and settled in New York and South American cities in the early 20th century, it brought its rich cuisine and vibrant culture. Most Syrian recipes and traditions, however, were not written down and existed only in the minds of older generations. Poopa Dweck, a first generation Syrian-Jewish American, has devoted much of her life to preserving and celebrating her community's centuries-old legacy. Dweck relates the history and culture of her community through its extraordinary cuisine, offering more than 180 exciting ethnic recipes with tantalizing photos and describing the unique customs that the Aleppian Jewish community observes during holidays and lifecycle events. Among the irresistible recipes are:•Bazargan-Tangy Tamarind Bulgur Sala; Shurbat Addes-Hearty Red Lentil Soup with Garlic and Coriander; Kibbeh-Stuffed Syrian Meatballs with Ground Rice; Samak b'Batata-Baked Middle Eastern Whole Fish with Potatoes; Sambousak-Buttery Cheese-Filled Sesame Pastries; Eras bi'Ajweh-Date-Filled Crescents; and Chai Na'na-Refreshing Mint Tea... The dishes are filled with flavor and healthful ingredients-featuring whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and olive oil-but with their own distinct cultural influences. Includes a 12-course Passover seder menu. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Talking Hands
What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind
by Margalit Fox
August 2007. Simon & Schuster
The world of sign languages and cognitive research comes to life in this story of a remote Israeli village that's become a test bed for understanding how the human brain processes language. New York Times reporter Fox follows researchers, led by University of Haifa professor Wendy Sandler, to the Bedouin village of Al-Sayyid, where isolation, genetics and inbreeding have led to a higher than usual percentage of deafness in the population. In response, the villagers have created a home-brew sign language used by both the hearing and deaf. By studying this unique language, Sandler and her cohort hope to gain deeper insight into how the brain acquires and uses language. Chapters alternate between the painstaking work in Al-Sayyid and a history of sign language itself. Both are gracefully reinforced with vivid examples, from the early insistence of experts that proper sign language must produce words in one-to-one correspondence with spoken language to a lively gathering in Al-Sayyid where conversation flows freely in six languages: English, Hebrew, Arabic, American Sign Language, Israeli Sign Language and the local sign language. Fox takes readers on a fascinating tour of deaf communication, clearly explaining difficult concepts, and effortlessly introducing readers to a silent world where communication is anything but slow and awkward. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Power of Song
And Other Sephardic Tales
by Rita Roth and Alexa Ginsburg
August 2007. Jewish Publication Society
Ages 9 - 12
From Hanina, the daughter of a Jewish tailor who cures a sultan's only child by taming a lioness to get her milk, to Nahum Bilbas, the brave rabbi-in-training who dares to confront the great warrior El Cid in order to secure peace for the Jews of Valencia, the folktales in this delightful little collection contain lessons, truths, surprises, and happy endings. To add to the reader's enjoyment and understanding, each story is accompanied by Roth's own commentary on its origin and meaning and a definition of some of the foreign words that appear in the tale. The author's introduction gives a special insight into the history of Jewish folktales and specifically those of the Sephardic Jews. When the Jews fled the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 and scattered all over Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, they took with them the folktales that had become an integral part of their unique heritage. As they settled into their new homelands, they borrowed many of the literary devices and motifs from their adopted countries and added a unique flavor to the traditional Jewish story. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Inviting God In
Celebrating the Soul-Meaning of the Jewish Holy Days
by Rabbi David Aaron
August 2007. Now in paperback
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.

By Ruth Wisse
August 2007. Schocken Books, Nextbook
From King David to Oslo, Ruth Wisse offers a radical way to think about the Jewish relationship to power. Prior to the State of Israel, Jews had no army, and could pursue their religious mission from a moral plain, Jewish political weakness increased Jewish vulnerability to scapegoating and violence and pogroms and unwittingly goaded power-seeking nationals to make them targets of wrath.
From Publishers Weekly: This survey of Jewish history highlights the political aspect of Jewish experience, beginning with the observation that in the Hebrew Bible, Jewish power came through military heroics. By the time of the Roman conquest in A.D. 70, the Talmudic rabbis changed the narrative, blaming defeat on internal dissension, thus elevating the need for political discipline above military power. A Harvard professor of Yiddish and comparative literature, Wisse is keen to study how the politics of Jews occasions the politics of what she terms anti-Jews. For instance, she asserts that Allied leaders entered WWII not to save Europe's Jews but in order to defeat the Nazis, who were also anti-Jews. Similarly, the author says, President Bush was provoked to fight anti-Jewish terrorists by 9/11. Yet in both cases, isolationists accused the administration of caving in to Jewish demands that damaged American interests. Even the founding of Israel, she implies, has not normalized Jews' political position in the world. Palestinians, she says, have forged a national identity in obsessive opposition to Israel, and other nations have exploited Israel for their own political ends. Although her prose is sometimes opaque, Wisse is in fine form with well-reasoned, self-assured arguments bound to provoke heated debate among interested intellectuals. Click the book cover to read more.

A novel
August 2007. FS&G
From Publishers Weekly: Frau Professor Doktor Rother, the narrator of this brutally funny debut, is self-centered, cynical, sarcastic, fiercely proud of her Aryan heritage and incorrigibly anti-Semitic. As a German army nurse in WWI, Elizabeth Gierlich meets wealthy Jewish surgeon Carl Rother and marries him once he converts to Catholicism. They have a racially impure daughter, Renate, whom Elizabeth mocks and chastises relentlessly, even as she dotes on her. After the Nazis rise to power in Germany, life for Elizabeth's in-laws becomes precarious (forced labor was not a high-earning profession), and Carl's honorary Aryan status can't protect him from the SS once he irks them by protesting the forced sterilization of Jews. The Rothers flee to the less-civilized world of Weehawken, N.J., where Renate grows up, marries Jewish professor Dische, becomes a successful pathologist and has two children, a boy too intelligent for his own good and a rebellious daughter, Irene, whose adventures, tracked via letters and collect calls home, take her across the Middle East and Africa. Elizabeth dies in 1989, still outspoken and bigoted, and continues to meddle in her beloved daughter's life from Heaven. Dische evokes human failings so skillfully that readers will catch themselves laughing at mankind at its cruelest and darkest. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] A Hatred for Tulips
A novel
by Richard Lourie
August 2007. Thomas Dunne
From Publishers Weekly: According to Lourie's fictional account, the informant who turned Anne Frank and her family in to the Nazis was a mere adolescent, motivated more by a desire to feed his dying father, who was subsisting on tulip bulbs, than by an obsessive hatred for Jews or by an unalloyed greed. When the brother he hasn't seen for 60 years visits from America, self-pitying Joop confesses his terrible boyhood secret, which he claims prevented him from marrying, cultivating friendships or leading a normal life, and relives the war years. Events include Joop's brief play at sabotage (discovered by a Dutch Nazi uncle and reported to Joop's father, who savagely beats him); Joop surviving diphtheria (he's blamed when a similarly infected sibling dies); and Joop's parents' unhappy marriage and casual anti-Semitism, which cast shadows over his ordinary activities. Lourie's rendering of Anne Frank's fictional betrayer as a callous, misguided youth is stark and deftly written.
The NYT adds: "Starting with the question of who betrayed the Frank family's hiding place to the Nazis (the identity of the informer is still unknown, despite various theories), Lourie provides a fictional answer by placing this heavy load of guilt on an old man, Joop, who has lived with his terrible secret since his early teens.
This intriguingly ambiguous novel is in fact an uneasy dialogue between two Dutch brothers, Joop and Willem, who meet in present-day Amsterdam, having been out of touch for 60 years. Never close as children, they could not be more dissimilar as adults. Willem, the younger (now 65), was taken to America after the war by their mother, who left their father for a Canadian soldier; he ended up living the quintessential American dream, surrounded by a large family and friends. Joop stayed in Amsterdam with their father, never married and grew ever more bitter and isolated.
Willem's unexpected visit has been prompted by an urge to rediscover his Dutch roots, but the brothers' meeting turns into an occasion for Joop to unburden himself of a life's worth of difficult, untold memories: "People who don't have secrets imagine them as dark and hidden. It's just the opposite. Secrets are bright. They light you up. Like the bare lightbulb left on in a cell day and night, they give you no rest."
Most of the book consists of Joop's account of his boyhood in wartime Amsterdam. His portrait of a starving city under Nazi occupation (tulip bulbs were cooked when there was little else to eat) has all the plausibility and cool detachment of a well-researched and carefully edited documentary. It is skillfully done, with minimal, well-placed strokes, written in blunt yet elegant prose. The tensions in Joop's family - the fighting parents; the distant, angry, hard-drinking and sometimes violent father; the weak mother; the nasty uncle who is a member of the Dutch Nazi party; the boy's desperate desire, and failure, to please his parents - serve as a backdrop to Joop's betrayal of Anne Frank."
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Lost Years
Bush, Sharon, and Failure in the Middle East
by Mark Matthews
August 2007. Nation Books
From Publishers Weekly: Matthews, who covered the Middle East for the Baltimore Sun, documents the changes that the rise of George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon brought to the American-Israeli relationship in this ambitious journalistic effort. As earlier prospects for negotiations with Palestinians receded into the background, the two leaders pursued ambitious, sometimes conflicting and ultimately ill-fated plans to advance their interests unilaterally, a development which, in Matthews's analysis, reduced the chances for peace. Quoting extensively from politicians, military personnel and others in the U.S., Israel, the Palestinian territories and international organizations, Matthews offers a balanced, if opinionated, view of the conflict and of the major personalities that have shaped it. While the author paints relatively sympathetic portraits of Bush and Sharon, he is far less sanguine about the causes they have chosen to endorse, deploring missed opportunities to implement a two-state solution. He particularly faults Bush's grandiose visions of regime change and democracy promotion for weakening America's hand. Though numerous details and anecdotes provide more padding than relevance, Matthews's account remains readable and offers much of interest to the student of Israeli or American politics. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Lost
A Search for Six of Six Million
by Daniel Mendelsohn
August 2007. Harper Perennial paperback
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. As a boy in the 1960s, Mendelsohn could make elderly relatives cry just by entering the room, so much did he resemble his great-uncle Shmiel Jäger, who had been "killed by the Nazis." This short phrase was all Mendelsohn knew of his maternal grandfather Abraham's brother, who had remained with his wife and four daughters in the Ukrainian shtetl of Bolechow after Abraham left for America. Long obsessed with family history, Mendelsohn (The Elusive Embrace) embarked in 2001 on a series of journeys to learn exactly what had happened to Shmiel and his family. The result is a rich, ruminative "mythic narrative... about closeness and distance, intimacy and violence, love and death." Mendelsohn uses these words to describe the biblical story of Cain and Abel, for one of the book's most striking elements is the author's recounting of the book of Genesis in parallel with his own story, highlighting eternal themes of origins and family, temptation and exile, brotherly betrayal, creation and annihilation. In Ukraine, Australia, Israel and Scandinavia, Mendelsohn locates a handful of extraordinary, aged Bolechow survivors. Especially poignant is his relationship with novelist Louis Begley's 90-year-old mother, from a town near the shtetl, an irascible, scene-stealing woman who eagerly follows Mendelsohn's remarkable effort to retrieve her lost world. Click the book cover to read more.

August 2007. Broadway Book/Random House
Sixty-two of the most accomplished Jews in America speak intimately-most for the first time-about how they feel about being Jewish. In unusually candid interviews conducted by former 60 Minutes producer Abigail Pogrebin, celebrities ranging from Sarah Jessica Parker to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Larry King to Mike Nichols, reveal how resonant, crucial or incidental being Jewish is in their lives. The connections they have to their Jewish heritage range from hours in synagogue to bagels and lox; but every person speaks to the weight and pride of their Jewish history, the burdens and pleasures of observance, the moments they've felt most Jewish (or not). This book of vivid, personal conversations uncovers how being Jewish fits into a public life, and also how the author's evolving religious identity was changed by what she heard. Dustin Hoffman, Steven Spielberg, Gene Wilder, Joan Rivers, and Leonard Nimoy talk about their startling encounters with anti-Semitism; Kenneth Cole, Eliot Spitzer, and Ronald Perelman explore the challenges of intermarriage; Mike Wallace, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ruth Reichl express attitudes toward Israel that vary from unquestioning loyalty to complicated ambivalence; William Kristol scoffs at the notion that Jewish values are incompatible with Conservative politics; Alan Dershowitz, raised Orthodox, talks about why he gave up morning prayer; Shawn Green describes the pressure that comes with being baseball's Jewish star; Natalie Portman questions the ostentatious bat mitzvahs of her hometown; Tony Kushner explains how being Jewish prepared him for being gay; Leon Wieseltier throws down the gauntlet to Jews who haven't taken the trouble to study Judaism; These are just a few key moments from many poignant, often surprising, conversations with public figures whom most of us thought we already knew. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Bearing the Body
A Novel
by Ehud Havazelet
August 2007. FS&G
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. The past wrecks the male members of the Mirsky family differently in story writer Havazelet's haunting debut novel, his first book since 1998's Like Never Before. Growing up in early 1970s Queens, Nathan Mirsky idolizes his older brother, Daniel, a student antiwar activist at Columbia University, but after Daniel moves to the West Coast and begins a downward spiral into addiction, the brothers grow apart. Twenty years later, Nathan, a medical resident in Boston, receives a letter from Daniel mailed the same day Daniel was murdered. Their father, Sol, a widower and Holocaust survivor compiling an archive of Holocaust stories, accompanies Nathan to San Francisco to learn more about Daniel's death. There they meet Daniel's lover, Abby, and her six-year-old son, Ben (who isn't Daniel's). The story reveals less about Daniel's death than about the accumulated grievances and regrets that comprise his, as well as his father's, legacies. Havazelet treats painful subjects-the death of an infant, concentration camp scenes-with wrenching understatement, and his depictions of Nathan's therapy sessions provide insight and levity. The novel ends on a surprisingly optimistic note, but what lingers are its portraits of people bearing the weight of their family history. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia, 4th Edition
by Mordecai Schreiber
August 2007. Schreiber
First published in 1957, this one-volume source for everything-Jewish has delighted and instructed several generations in the English-speaking Jewish world. Fully updated through 2007 (for example.. listing for Ariel Sharon discusses his hospitalization and stroke), it provides snapshots and in-depth entries on every important Jewish personality, place, concept, event and value in Israel, the United States, and all other parts of the world. CONTAINS a CD. The inside covers include a timeline of Jewish and World history. Check page 211, which has a list of Jewish populations by Country (7000 in New Zealand); Click the book cover to read more.

[book] What Do Muslims Believe?
The Roots and Realities of Modern Islam
by Ziauddin Sardar
August 2007, Walker & Co paperback
Islam is one of the great monotheistic religions of the world. Its teachings emphasize unity, humility, forgiveness, and love of God. The Qur'an sings the virtues of knowledge and rationality. The life of Muhammad demonstrates the importance of tolerance, social justice and brotherhood. So why is Islam so often associated with hatred, violence, obstinacy, and bigotry? What Do Muslims Believe? presents readers with an accessible and incisive explanation of the roots and beliefs of Islam, published at a time when more than ever we need an objective view of this often misinterpreted religion. Parsing fact from misstatement in elegant prose, Ziauddin Sardar gives a clear-eyed view of what makes a Muslim; where Muslims come from and who they are today; what, exactly, they believe and how they reflect those beliefs; where Islam is headed; and how you can apply Islam in your life. With a useful chronology of Islamic history from A.D. 632 to the present, a glossary of terms, selections from both the Qur'an and the Hadith, as well as a list of further reading, What Do Muslims Believe? is an ideal primer for anyone who wants to understand what it really means to follow Islam. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] My Dear Daughter
Rabbi Benjamin Slonik and the Education of Jewish Women in Sixteenth-Century Poland
Monographs of the Hebrew Union College
by Edward Fram
August 2007. HUC Press
The history of Yiddish printing and the roles of women in that society. Click the book cover to read more.


Note to file: Let's publish a series of books on Spiritual Journey;s with famous guides... for example, "36 Days with Heschel;" "36 Days with Soloveichik;" and "36 Days with Reb Nachman."... Would you buy it? Let us know.

[book] The Deadliest Lies
The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control
by Abraham H. Foxman
September 2007. Palgrave
From Publishers Weekly: In opposing the view that there is an Israel lobby with disproportionate influence on U.S. foreign policy (a view that Foxman says plays into the traditional anti-Semitic narrative about 'Jewish control'Â ), the national director of the Anti-Defamation League focuses on the controversial 2006 paper The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (their book of the same title will be published in September). Foxman demolishes a number of shibboleths about the lobby's power. Much of the book's second half then takes on what Foxman sees as the biases and distortions in former president Carter's Palestine Peace or Apartheid, offering evidence, for example, that Yasser Arafat, not Ehud Barak, was the obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement at the Taba negotiations. But Foxman never really defines what the Israel lobby is, paying more attention to the ADL than to that lobby's main instrument, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee. And many will find debatable his claim that Israel has proven to be the single greatest source of stability in the region. This book succeeds far more as a rebuttal of a pernicious theory about a mythically powerful Jewish lobby than as a look at the real institutions that lobby in support of Israel or at Israel's complex role in the Middle East. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Feminism Encounters Traditional Judaism
Resistance and Accommodation
by Tova Hartman
September 2007. Brandeis
University professor and social activist Tova Hartman, discouraged by failed attempts to make her modern Orthodox synagogue in Jerusalem more inclusive of women, together with other worshippers, set about creating their own own, Shira Hadasha ("a new song"). Since it opened in 2002, this new synagogue's mission--to develop a religious community that embraces halakhah (Jewish law), tefillah (prayer), and feminism--has drawn thousands to services. The courageous act of creating the synagogue--against amazing odds--is testimony to Hartman's own deeply felt commitment to both feminism and modern Orthodox Judaism. The story of the creation and ongoing development of similar "partnership minyans" in Jerusalem and elsewhere anchors and ties together this book's five essays, each of which explores a vital contact point between contemporary feminist thought and aspects of Jewish tradition. Hartman discusses three feminist analyses of Freudian psychology for reading Jewish texts; modesty and the religious male gaze; the backlash against feminism by traditional rabbis; the male imagery in liturgy; and Orthodox women and purity rituals. Throughout, Hartman emphasizes the importance of reinterpretation, asking her readers to view as "creative tensions" what seem like obvious and insurmountable contradictions between traditional and modern beliefs. Such tensions can offer unexpected connections as well as painful compromises. The conclusion revisits the construction of the synagogue as well as discusses its impediments and actualizing these types of social and religious changes. Hartman's book will speak directly to scholars and students of gender, religion, and psychology, as well as anyone interested in the negotiation of feminism and tradition. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Healthy Jew
The Symbiosis of Judaism and Modern Medicine
by Mitchell B. Hart
September 2007. Cambridge University Press
The Healthy Jew traces the culturally revealing story of how Moses, the rabbis, and other Jewish thinkers came to be understood as medical authorities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Such a radically different interpretation, by scholars and popular writers alike, resulted in new, widespread views on the salubrious effects of, for example, circumcision, Jewish sexual purity laws, and kosher foods. The Healthy Jew explores this interpretative tradition in the light of a number of broader debates over 'civilization' and 'culture,' Orientalism, religion and science (in the wake of Darwin), anti-Semitism and Jewish apologetics, and the scientific and medical discoveries and debates that revolutionized the fields of bacteriology, preventive medicine, and genetics/eugenics. The Healthy Jew ask that we rethink the place and value of Jews and Judaism in the Western medical, scientific and, ultimately, political imagination. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Beast That Crouches at the Door
Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, and Beyond
by D. Fohrman
September 2007. Devora Press
Rabbi David Fohrman directs the Hoffberger Foundation for Torah Studies, and is an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches Biblical Themes. In this book, he clarifies the meaning of early Genesis narratives. What are we to learn from the narratives in the Torah? A walking, talking snake. A tree that bears mysterious knowledge of Good and Evil. A mark upon Cain for all to see. The early narratives in the Book of Genesis are familiar to us from childhood, yet the meaning of these stories often seem maddeningly elusive. For example: By forbidding Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, did God really not want mankind to be able to distinguish right from wrong? This book examines the early stories in the Book of Genesis, calling attention to the big questions that bother us all, as well as to the hidden subtleties of text and language. As clues and questions are pieced together, deeper layers of meaning begin to emerge. In the end, the reader gains an experience in the richness and depth of Torah, and a profound confrontation with concepts that define the core of what it means to be a Jew. Click the book cover to read more.
See also:

[book] Righteous Indignation
A Jewish Call for Justice
Edited by Rabbi Or N. Rose, Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, and Margie Klein
Rabbi David Ellenson (Foreword)
September 2007. Jewish Lights
For the first time, and in time for the 2008 election season, the voices of leading progressive Jewish activists are gathered together in one groundbreaking volume as they seek meaningful intellectual and spiritual foundations upon which to base their social justice work. This important collection features broad discussions of the historical, political and theological dimensions of Jewish justice work. It also includes commentary on specific contemporary issues such as poverty, genocide, gay rights, stem cell research, and the environment. Informed by spirited activists, intellectuals, and religious leaders, this provocative book will: Articulate progressive Jewish positions on key contemporary issues that draw on tradition and modern thinking; Motivate Jewish communities to take action by demonstrating to readers the importance of activism and community organizing in Jewish life; Help reorient the contemporary discourse on religion and politics in America. Contributors include: Dr. Rebecca Alpert, Rabbi Saul Berman, Ellen Bernstein, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Michael Brown, Dr. Aryeh Cohen, Rabbi Fred Dobb, Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, Dr. Leonard Fein, Rabbi Steve Gutow, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Dr. Shaul Magid, Ruth Messinger, Jay Michaelson, Dr. Judith Plaskow, Rabbi David Saperstein, Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Rabbi Sidney Schwarz, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow. Click the book cover to read more.

From one of America's top bible scholars:
[book] How to Read the Bible
A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now
by James L. Kugel
September 2007, Free Press
Scholars from different fields have joined forces to reexamine every aspect of the Hebrew Bible. Their research, carried out in universities and seminaries in Europe and America, has revolutionized our understanding of almost every chapter and verse. But have they killed the Bible in the process? In How to Read the Bible, Harvard professor James Kugel leads the reader chapter by chapter through the "quiet revolution" of recent biblical scholarship, showing time and again how radically the interpretations of today's researchers differ from what people have always thought. The story of Adam and Eve, it turns out, was not originally about the "Fall of Man," but about the move from a primitive, hunter-gatherer society to a settled, agricultural one. As for the stories of Cain and Abel, Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob and Esau, these narratives were not, at their origin, about individual people at all but, rather, explanations of some feature of Israelite society as it existed centuries after these figures were said to have lived. Dinah was never raped -- her story was created by an editor to solve a certain problem in Genesis. In the earliest version of the Exodus story, Moses probably did not divide the Red Sea in half; instead, the Egyptians perished in a storm at sea. Whatever the original Ten Commandments might have been, scholars are quite sure they were different from the ones we have today. What's more, the people long supposed to have written various books of the Bible were not, in the current consensus, their real authors: David did not write the Psalms, Solomon did not write Proverbs or Ecclesiastes; indeed, there is scarcely a book in the Bible that is not the product of different, anonymous authors and editors working in different periods. Such findings pose a serious problem for adherents of traditional, Bible-based faiths. Hiding from the discoveries of modern scholars seems dishonest, but accepting them means undermining much of the Bible's reliability and authority as the word of God. What to do? In his search for a solution, Kugel leads the reader back to a group of ancient biblical interpreters who flourished at the end of the biblical period. Far from naïve, these interpreters consciously set out to depart from the original meaning of the Bible's various stories, laws, and prophecies -- and they, Kugel argues, hold the key to solving the dilemma of reading the Bible today. How to Read the Bible is, quite simply, the best, most original book about the Bible in decades. It offers an unflinching, insider's look at the work of today's scholars, together with a sustained consideration of what the Bible was for most of its history -- before the rise of modern scholarship. Readable, clear, often funny but deeply serious in its purpose....It offers nothing less than a whole new way of thinking about the Bible. Click the book cover to read more.

From Manhattan's premier toilet smasher:
[book] Craving the Divine
A Spiritual Guide for Today's Perplexed
by Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein
September 2007, Paulist Press
From Publishers Weekly: Covering a wide array of emotions and states of being-disorientation, panic, loneliness, yearning, anger, determination, surrender and emergence-Goldstein (Gonzo Judaism), founding rabbi of the New Shul in New York City, above all simply reminds readers that we are human. In his easygoing style, he uses an engaging mix of Bible tales, congregants' stories and personal anecdotes, as well as cultural references, to illustrate a sort of eight-step program for opening oneself spiritually. Some are extreme examples of life's pain-homelessness, suicide, terrorist bombings-and others all too common encounters with job loss, cancer and death. Each story is tempered with a corresponding example of hope, a reason to carry on. Goldstein comes across as neither smug nor cavalier, nor does he consider this a self-help book. Rather, he seeks to address not personal loss so much as the phenomenon of being lost, of becoming a wanderer, a soul unable to find its way. As a seasoned extreme traveler himself, he knows what it is to wander, and readers of all spiritual persuasions will appreciate his gentle prodding as a fellow traveler on the journey. Click the book cover to read more.

From Manhattan's premier guy who had three-and-counting bris's:
[book] Shattered Tablets
Why We Ignore the Ten Commandments at Our Peril
by David Klinghoffer
September 2007, Doubleday
From Publishers Weekly: Contrary to Mel Brooks's humorous presentation of Moses and the 10 Commandments on film, Klinghoffer (The Lord Will Gather Me In; Why The Jews Rejected Jesus) does not think these biblical laws are a laughing matter. A writer and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Klinghoffer warns that America is ignoring the commandments and sinking deeper into a quagmire of immorality. Using the Northwest's urban environs in which he lives as a case study, he warns that Seattle suffers from an advanced case of moral retardation that could easily spread to the rest of the country. The main culprit is secularism, says Klinghoffer, a modern and resurgent paganism. Although this seems somewhat overstated, in light of religion's ascendancy in much of America, the author's argument that the U.S. has slighted a communitarian ethic in favor of increased individualism is compelling. Klinghoffer writes with passion and is genuinely concerned with the moral state of the union. However, he often slips into acerbic commentary that distracts from his more salient points. For every example given regarding the moral ineptitude of some residents of Seattle, there could be 10 provided about those who are fighting the good fight and living by God's word. Click the book cover to read more.

From Rabbi Paul Steinberg of Big "D", Dallas Texas (not to be confused with the late Rabbi Paul M. Steinberg of HUC)
[book] Celebrating the Jewish Year
The Fall Holidays -- Rosh Hashanah - Yom Kippur - Sukkot
by Rabbi Paul Steinberg.
And edited By Janet Greenstein Potter
September 2007, JPS. Jewish Publication Society
From Publishers Weekly: Steinberg, a rabbi and educator, calls the Jewish holidays fundamental expressions of our spirituality. In Judaism's holistic approach, he says, spirituality encompasses the interaction of a person's intellectual, emotional and physical aspects, so the holidays tie us to history, the earth, the Jewish people and God. This first of three volumes explores Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Each section discusses a holiday's biblical origins, ideology and customs, followed by writings from Jewish thinkers throughout history, contemporary perspectives and alternative meditations. What makes this volume stand out from other holiday guides is an additional section with sacred texts presented in and inspired by Talmudic format. Steinberg examines each text at three different levels-literal, interpretive and personal. He doesn't shy away from questioning practices that may seem outmoded, but challenges readers not to abandon them abruptly. His careful, thorough and reasoned explanations will deepen understanding of each holiday's history and tradition, allowing celebrations to become, in fact, more celebratory. Click the book cover to read more.
See the Table of Contents at
Read a sample chaper at

See also:
[book] Celebrating the Jewish Year
Winter Holidays -- Hanukkah, Tu B'shevat, Purim
by Rabbi Paul Steinberg.
And edited By Janet Greenstein Potter
Fall 2007, Jewish Publication Society
The second volume of JPS's new holiday series. JPS's new holiday books take us through the joys, spirit, and meaning of the seasons. Blending the old and the new, they ground us in the origins and traditions of each holiday and open up to us ways we can add our own expression to these special days. Although synagogue ritual is touched upon, the real focus here is on our personal connections to each holiday and our home observance. As we move from season to season, Paul Steinberg shares with us a rich collection of readings from many of the Jewish greats -- Maimonides, Rashi, Nachmanides, Shlomo Carlebach, Marge Piercy, Elie Wiesel, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Arthur Green, and others -- and he guides us in discovering for ourselves the many treasures within each text. The readings teach us about the history of each holiday, as well as its theological, ethical, agricultural, and seasonal importance and interpretation; others give us inspiration and much food for thought. These stories, essays, poems, anecdotes, and rituals help us discover how deeply Jewish traditions are rooted in nature's yearly cycle, and how beautifully season and spirit are woven together throughout the Jewish year. Click the book cover to read more.

From a soft-spoken former child actor:
September 2007. Harper
From Publishers Weekly: Drawing on his experience directing Friends, Benson offers in his debut a derivative parody of behind-the-scenes Los Angeles that fails to skewer any of its easy targets. Has-been sitcom director J.T. Baker, a passionate schmuck in a self-imposed exile from Hollywood, is picked to helm the hit show I Love My Urban Buddies (the biggest sitcom in eons) after his predecessor meets an unfortunate end via an unfaithful wife, a hot tub and a nail gun. Desperate for money and health insurance to cover his son's kidney dialysis treatment, J.T. accepts the assignment and flies to California. Upon his arrival, he clashes with Debbie, the voluptuous sexpot network liaison; Lance, the underqualified studio exec; and the married terrors Stephanie and Marcus Pooley, the show's creators. J.T.'s only ally on the lot is his friend Asher Black, who helps J.T. survive Marcus's lecherous casting sessions, puerile assistant directors, an on-set pederast and a cast of babied egoists. ..... Click the book cover to read more.

September 2007, KAR-BEN
Ages 4 - 8
Jules imagines Abraham, in this picture book, as a child who questions the idea that one should worship idols and have multiple gods. He questions the status quo, who made rainbows and clouds amd nature, and figures out that there must be one great power.. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] My First Ramadan
by Karen Katz
September 2007, Holt
Ages 2 - 5
Move over My First Chinese new Year and My First Kwanzaa and My First Rosh Hashana.. here is My First Ramadan. A young boy tells the story of his family, Islam, and the Ramadan period. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] A Dream of Zion
American Jews Reflect on Why Israel Matters to Them
Edited by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
Fall 2007. Jewish Lights
Contributors include: Samuel Bak Barbara Balser Eli N. Evans Sylvia Barack Fishman, PhD Abraham H. Foxman Jane Friedman Stanley P. Gold Dr. Arthur Green David A. Harris Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar David Klinghoffer Shulamit Reinharz, PhD Thane Rosenbaum Jonathan D. Sarna, PhD Alfred Uhry Michael Walzer, PhD, and Rabbi David Wolpe. Discover what Jewish people in America have to say about Israel-their voices have never mattered more than they do now. As anti-Israel sentiment spreads around the world-from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to former President Jimmy Carter-it has never been more important for American Jews to share their feelings and thoughts about Israel, and foster a connection to Israel in the next generation of Jewish and Christian adults. This inspirational book features the insights of top scholars, business leaders, professionals, politicians, authors, media personalities, scientists, artists, and community and religious leaders covering the entire denominational spectrum of Jewish life in America today. Presenting a diversity of views, it will encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to think about what Israel means to them and, in particular, help young adults jump start their own lasting, personal relationship with Israel. Powerful statements by contributors address: The role Israel has played in their lives; What keeps them connected to Israel, How Israel fits in their sense of what it means to be Jewish and American. Click the book cover to read more.

September 2007. Algonquin
The mostly middle class, Jewish Philadelphians of Schwarzschild's adept story collection (following the debut novel Responsible Men) lead clannish, semi-marginalized existences. The young boy of "No Rest for the Middleman" finds himself, on the holiest day of the Jewish year, a pawn in a questionable deal between his father and two shady businessmen. In "Reunion," the pregnant Kim exhausts her brother, sister-in-law and dying mother with her irresponsible search for perfect love. The longest and most dramatically satisfying story in the collection, "What to Expect," tells of early widower Claude, who must let go of his adult son, Larry, as the latter marries and expects a child of his own. Several other stories feature Charlie and Milly Diamond, an elderly married couple facing the indignities of old age together. All the stories are told in a naturalistic style, except for the last, "Irreversible," in which Charlie and Milly regain their youth to the puzzlement of the other residents at the Spring Garden Retirement Community. The bonds of love are alternately tenuous and tensile in Schwarzschild's acutely observed and quietly affecting stories. Click the book cover to read more.

September 2007. PLUME
Book 1 focused on Yocheved. In this second novel of the trilogy, we meet the second daughter. In is Troyes France in 1078. Shlomo ben Yitzhak (RaSHI) teaches his middle daughter the Talmud and she pushes the boundaries. She is mourning for her fiance. She wants to be a mohel as well as a midwife. When a new suitor arrives in Troyes, she must decide on her career path and family. See . Click the book cover to read more.

[book] I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski
Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You
by Bill Green, Ben Peskoe, Scott Shuffitt, and Will Russell
September 2007. Bloomsbury
To some, The Big Lebowski, is just a movie, to others it's THE MOVIE.
Over the past several years the movie has developed a massive and passionate cult following, led by the creation of Lebowski Fest, a traveling festival celebrating all things Lebowski. Held in a bowling alley, it features bowling, costume and trivia contests, live music, a screening of the movie, White Russians, and what-have-you. Attendance has grown exponentially and the Fest has been featured in virtually every national media outlet, from NPR to the New York Times. The Associated Press called it "kind of a 'Star Trek' convention, but without all the geeks." SPIN Magazine called it one of the "19 events you can't miss!" Now, at last, comes the book that the legion of Lebowski fans (aka Achievers) has been waiting for. I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski is a treasure trove of trivia and commentary, hilarious throughout and illustrated with photos from the film, including dozens taken on the set by Jeff Bridges. It includes interviews with virtually every major and minor cast member including John Goodman, Julianne Moore and John Turturro, as well as the real-life individuals who served as inspiration for the characters such as Jeff Dowd and John Milius. Fellow Achievers Patton Oswalt, Tony Hawk and Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken give their thoughts on the movie and the phenomenon that surrounds it. The book features a handy guide to speaking Achiever, tips on how to Dude-ify your car, office, and living space, Lebowski Fest highlights and so much more.
Also includes the addresses of so many scenes from the film, as well as Little Larry;s house, as well as the real Little Larry himself (Jaik Freeman), and the real Walter Sobchak (John Milius, the writer of Apocalypse Now, Conan The Barbarian, and Red Dawn; and the founder of Ultimate Fighting Championship) Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Letters from Nuremberg
My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice
by Senator Christopher Dodd with Lary Bloom
September 11, 2007. Crown
I met Senator Dodd (the younger one) when he spoke as a U.S. Presidential candidate before the NJDC, National Jewish Democratic Council's policy conference in April 2007. He spoke of his father (the Senator Dodd Senior) and Nuremberg. His father, a young attorney and soldier saved Judge Jackson with his cross examination of Hermann Goring. In 1990, the Dodd family found Atty. Dodd's letters from Nuremberg back home to his wife. This is his story.
"At times anguished and stimulating, always informative and insightful, Thomas Dodd's personal letters from the Nuremburg trial to his wife as presented by his son, Senator Christopher Dodd, constitute an important contribution to History. All those interested in the events resulting from the darkest zones of humanity will find this volume of great value." -Elie Wiesel
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Party of the First Part
The Curious World of Legalese
by Adam Freedman
September 2007. Holt
From Publishers Weekly: Freedman, who translates legal jargon into English for an investment bank and writes the Legal Lingo column for the New York Law Journal, offers a cornucopia of hilarious, offbeat and downright bizarre examples of simple concepts contorted into words that defy understanding, often retaining centuries-old lingo like Further affiant sayeth naught (which means: this is the end of the affidavit). Freedman is as much reformer as humorist, and he ably demonstrates that legal documents can be written in understandable prose. He also skewers the contingent of lawyers and academics who resist such changes in the name of precision and lampoons flaws in the legal system, such as judges' refusal to explain instructions to jurors who are mystified by phrases such as Circumstantial evidence is evidence that, if found to be true, proves a fact from which an inference of the existence of another fact may be drawn. Occasionally the three-jokes-a-page approach is more cute than clever, but this lighthearted farrago of the follies of the law is sure to amuse and to convince readers that legal language can be made plain. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Lost Years
Bush, Sharon, and Failure in the Middle East
by Mark Matthews
September 2007. Nation
From Publishers Weekly: Matthews, who covered the Middle East for the Baltimore Sun, documents the changes that the rise of George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon brought to the American-Israeli relationship in this ambitious journalistic effort. As earlier prospects for negotiations with Palestinians receded into the background, the two leaders pursued ambitious, sometimes conflicting and ultimately ill-fated plans to advance their interests unilaterally, a development which, in Matthews's analysis, reduced the chances for peace. Quoting extensively from politicians, military personnel and others in the U.S., Israel, the Palestinian territories and international organizations, Matthews offers a balanced, if opinionated, view of the conflict and of the major personalities that have shaped it. While the author paints relatively sympathetic portraits of Bush and Sharon, he is far less sanguine about the causes they have chosen to endorse, deploring missed opportunities to implement a two-state solution. He particularly faults Bush's grandiose visions of regime change and democracy promotion for weakening America's hand. Though numerous details and anecdotes provide more padding than relevance, Matthews's account remains readable and offers much of interest to the student of Israeli or American politics. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Aaronsohn's Maps
The Untold Story of the Man Who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East
by Patricia Goldstone
September 10, 2007. Harcourt
From Publishers Weekly: Journalist Goldstone (Making the World Safe for Tourism) puts scarce Mideastern water resources front and center in this flawed biography of Aaron Aaronsohn (1876-1919), a founder of NILI, a group that spied for the British in Palestine during WWI, and a pioneering agronomist and hydrologist. Goldstone is best at depicting British diplomacy and intra-Jewish politics leading up to the 1917 Balfour Declaration supporting a Jewish homeland in Palestine-a British declaration influenced, she shows, by a 1916 memo from Aaronsohn on Palestine's potential to absorb million of Jews. Goldstone makes errors (such as stating that Israel lost the Sinai Peninsula in the 1973 Yom Kippur War) and offers the tendentious, unsourced claim that in 2003, right-wing Jewish lobbyists hoped that a defeated Iraq would be used as a haven for persecuted Palestinians run out of Israel. Above all, she never makes a case for her thesis that Aaronsohn's plan for regional sharing of water resources could have prevented the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict. Click the book cover to read more.

September 2007. Kaplan
Walk into a liquor store today and you'll be faced with an unprecedented variety of vodka, gin, whisky, cognac, rum and even tequila. In the past decade, the amount of spirits sold in bars, stores and restaurants has climbed nearly sixty percent. Celebrating the acumen of the businessmen and craftsmen responsible for this phenomenal sales growth, The Business of Spirits: How Savvy Marketers, Innovative Distillers, and Entrepreneurs Changed How We Drink, is a cocktail of history and insight into a rapidly growing industry. Journalist Noah Rothbaum takes readers from the cellars of Cognac, France, to the Scottish Highlands to the agave fields of Mexico to find out what's now driving this age old industry. The book explores new production techniques, cutting-edge marketing campaigns and introduces a new crop of crafty entrepreneurs. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Volunteer
The Incredible True Story of an Israeli Spy on the Trail of International Terrorists
by Michael Ross and Jonathan Kay
September 2007. Skyhorse
From Publishers Weekly: It's not surprising for an ex-spy to have an uncomplicated, us-them worldview. Accordingly, Ross, former member of the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, allows for little nuance in this memoir, which maintains a nearly colonialist view of the Muslim world, positing Israel as a microcosm of the civilized world's struggle against a murderous ideology and drawing unsupported parallels between Palestinian nationalist Islamism and al-Qaeda's world-spanning nihilism. Canadian-born Ross is clearly proud of his service to his adopted homeland and accepts Israel's view of its place in the Middle East. He discusses Arab torture without mention of its Israeli (or Western) counterpart and claims Israel has given the Palestinians a state, though Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands remains intact. When describing his operations, Ross's tone is engaging, and details of spycraft remind readers that real spies don't live in movies-everyone, for instance, talks when tortured. Readers looking for such tales will be better served than those looking for a cogent analysis of the region. Click the book cover to read more.


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