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Welcome to our pages of Winter2009 and Fall 2008 Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com

SOME SUMMER 2009 BOOK READINGS


May 28-31, 2009: Book Expo America, NYC
June 22, 2009: Scribblers on the Roof. Benjamin Taylor (Tales out of School) and Michael Greenberg (Hurry Down Sunshine), Ansche Chesed, NYC 8 PM
June 25, 2009. Rabbi Jill Jacobs in conversation with Rabbi Jose Rolando Matalon, on the topic of the book "There Shall Be No Needy. Pursuing Social Justice Through Jewish Law and Tradition. Barnes & Noble NYC UWS.
June 29, 2009: Scribblers on the Roof. Joshua Halberstam (A Seat at the Table) and Dara Horn (The World To Come), Ansche Chesed, NYC 8 PM
June 30, 2009: Chandler Burr reads from his new book. B&N UWS
July 06, 2009: Scribblers on the Roof. Anya Ulinish (Petropolis) and Elisa Albert (How is this Night Different), Ansche Chesed, NYC 8 PM
July 12-16, 2009: Zamir Presents the North American Jewish Choir Festival. Hudson Valley Resort. ZamirFDN.org
July 13, 2009: Scribblers on the Roof. Eileen Pollack (paradise) and Nelly Reifler (See Through), Ansche Chesed, NYC 8 PM
July 20, 2009: Scribblers on the Roof. Rivka Galchen (Atmospheric Disturbances) and Diana Spechler (Who By Fire), Ansche Chesed, NYC 8 PM
August 5-12, 2009: Klezkamp Roadshow. Visit LivingTraditions.org
Aug 10, 2009: Scribblers on the Roof. Daris Strauss (eng and Cheng; More Than it Hurts You) and Sana Krasikov (One More Year), Ansche Chesed, NYC 8 PM
Aug 11, 2009: Daniel Levin reads from The Last Ember - Border Wynnewood PA
Aug 11, 2009: Ang Lee and James Schamus discuss TAKING WOODSTOCK B&N Lincoln Triangle NYC
Aug 17, 2009: Elizabeth Bettina reads from IT HAPPENED IN ITALY. UNTOLD STORIES... HOLOCAUST. B&N Lincoln Triangle NYC
Aug 19-20, 2009. Tanglewood. Michael Tilson Thomas performs The Thomashefskys, a Yiddish piece in honor of his grandparents, the famous Yiddish impresarios.
Aug 29 - Sep 27: DCJCC presents Zero Hour. Washington DC
Sep 28, 2009: Madeleine Albright reads from READ MY PINS. B&N EAST 86th St NYC
Oct 07, 2009: Michael Chabon reads from MANHOOD FOR AMATEURS. B&N Union Square NYC






Are you visiting Israel this Summer?
Consider the following programs
MASA: MasaIsrael.org
Career Israel internships: CareerIsrael.org
Teach English and Study: Tasp.org.IL
Tikkun Olam Programs: TikkunOlamIsrael.org
And be sure to take some books with you for gifts and your own pleasure


[book] THERE SHALL BE NO NEEDY
PURSUING SOCIAL JUSTICE THROUGH JEWISH LAW AND TRADITION
BY RABBI JILL JACOBS
April 2009, Jewish Lights
How can a Jewish approach to social justice offer positive change for America? Confront the most pressing issues of twenty-first-century America in this fascinating book, which brings together classical Jewish sources, contemporary policy debate and real-life stories. Rabbi Jill Jacobs, a leading young voice in the social justice arena, makes a powerful argument for participation in the American public square from a deeply Jewish perspective, while deepening our understanding of the relationship between Judaism and such current social issues as: Poverty and the Poor; Collection and Allocation of Tzedakah; Workers, Employers and Unions; Housing the Homeless; The Provision of Health Care; Environmental Sustainability; and Crime, Punishment and Rehabilitation
By creating a dialogue between traditional texts and current realities, Jacobs presents a template for engagement in public life from a Jewish perspective and challenges us to renew our obligations to each other. Rabbi Jill Jacobs is rabbi-in-residence at Jewish Funds for Justice, a national public foundation dedicated to mobilizing the resources of American Jews to combat the root causes of domestic social and economic injustice. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] MUSIC: MAZEL TOV, MIS AMIGOS
Juan Calle and his Lati Landsmen
A reissue from 1961
This 1961 Riverside Records album is one of the greatest ruses of 20th century American pop music, a forgotten masterpiece of cross-cultural disguise and masquerade. Neither Juan nor his Latin Lantzmen were actually Lantzmen, and only some were actually Latin. Juan was John Cali, an Italian-American banjo picker and radio veteran best known for his work with the Vincent Lopez Orchestra and a string of solo banjo outings. His Latin Lantzmen included some of the biggest names in 50s and 60s Latin music conguero Ray Barretto, timbales guru Wilie Rodriguez, pianist Charlie Palmier playing alongside African-American jazz greats Clark Terry, Doc Cheatham, Lou Oles, and Wendell Marshall. The sole Lantzmen was Yiddish vocalist Ed Powell. Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos was far more musically vivid than many of its Latin-Jewish ancestors, laced with flashes of jazz improvisation and montuno vamping. Papirossen, a usually mournful ode to cigarettes, is done as a blazing, quickstep mambo. Yossel, Yossel had become popular as Joseph! Joseph!, a crossover swing-era hit for the Andrews Sisters and Glenn Miller, but the Lantzmen stick with the original Yiddish version only to turn it into a cha-cha. Havah Nagila also gets the cha-cha treatment, and Die Greene Koseene, the classic 1920s Abe Schwartz ode to a greenhorn cousin on the Lower East Side, conjures different 1960s New York immigrant worlds with its makeover as a Dominican merengue
Click the link to listen to the CD
Click the CD cover to read more.






[book] PAUL NEWMAN
A LIFE
BY SHAWN LEVY
SoHo House
Film critic and biographer Shawn Levy (Rat Pack Confidential, The Oregonian film critic) embarks on a respectful, thoroughgoing survey of Newman's long life (1925-2008) and massive film career without lingering on emotional and psychological factors. A kind of accidental hero, Newman recognized that his blue-eyed good looks would open doors for him, but by sheer determination and work ethic he muscled his way to the Olympian heights of America's finest actors. Born to middle-class Jewish parents in Shaker Heights, Ohio, he eventually enlisted in the navy then attended Kenyon College on the GI Bill; his early first marriage and dabbling in theater seemed to be a way to avoid having to return home and take over his father's sporting-goods store. He enrolled in Yale's drama department, then in 1952 gave himself a year in New York to prove himself: he hustled small, paying parts and gradually became a part of the Actors Studio, where he claimed to have learned everything he knew about acting. From then on, using his connections shrewdly, he moved from success on Broadway (Picnic, where he met Joanne Woodward, whom he married in 1958) to TV (Our Town) and Hollywood (Somebody Up There Likes Me). From there, the professional accolades began piling up, while Levy also chronicles Newman's stunning success as a race-car driver, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Levy doesn't shy from discussing Newman's shortcomings as a father and husband, yet he leaves a glowing assessment of this legend's career. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] THE GOOD JEWISH HOME
HOW OLD TRADITIONS ENRICH YOUR FAMILY'S LIFE
BY EMILY HAFT BLOOM
The Good Jewish Home offers thoughts, ideas, and guidance on how to celebrate your Jewish heritage in a modern family setting. Track the origins of the Jewish faith, understand the events in the Jewish life cycle from the bris or baby naming to the rituals of shiva, how-to hold a Jewish wedding and what to do during the major festivals throughout the year, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover, Purim and Hanukkah. The Good Jewish Home includes a brief history of Jewish thought, passages and ideas from biblical text and how they can guide modern daily life, inspiration from great Jewish thinkers and leaders, a discussion of Jewish family roles as they appear in the Torah, and Shabbat's importance as a weekly ritual to reinforce Jewish tradition. As a special bonus throughout the book, Emily Haft Bloom has included simple recipes for traditional Jewish dishes that the modern family can create in their own kitchen: everything from a traditional Shabbat dinner menu to holiday dishes like latk es, honey cake, vegetable kugel, hamantaschen, brisket, stuffed cabbage and tzimmes. The Good Jewish Home gives recommendations on how to meld established religious observance with practical contemporary practices. Let this book guide your family to good Jewish living.
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] THE WISDOM OF LOVE
Woman and God in Jewish Canonical Literature
BY Rabbi NAFTALI ROTHENBERG
Although the rabbis borrowed stories from Greek and Roman culture, they changed them and rejected the denigration of sexual coupling. The rabbis see coupling as a harmonious union and unification of body and spirit. Challenging the public's negative perception of the Jewish religion's views on love, Naftali Rothenberg shows his readers the fundamental ways in which love forms the foundation of Scriptural meditations on wisdom and achieving nearness with God. Rather than seeking to repress love as a significant part of human interaction, Rothenberg examines how Scripture celebrates love -- particularly love between men and women -- and uses this celebration to deepen our understanding of the love of people for their fellow man and God's love for his people. Rabbi Professor Naftali Rothenberg is a senior research fellow and Jewish Culture and Identity chair at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute who also serves as the town Rabbi of Har Adar, Israel.
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] COOKING WITH LOVE
VENTURES IN TO THE NEW ISRAELI CUISINE
BY RUTH MILSTEIN
Tate
Did you ever think there could be 'nothing new under the sun'? Ruth Milstein dispels this notion with her new book for American cuisine. Little is known about the wide array of exotic yet comfortable and easy-to-make food associated with the Mediterranean and Israeli cuisine, so Ruth Milstein sheds light on this unknown delight. Exploring this expansive gourmets heaven with recipes that are eye openers for the experienced chef as well as the novice cook, Cooking With Love brings New Israeli Cuisine to the States. Cooking With Love offers an amalgam of dishes to meet every connoisseurs desire, including specific sections like Lamb, Lamb Stew with Black Olives; Pies, like Cheese and Spinach Pie; Rice, showing how to make Rice with Green Peas; and Breads, like the American favorite Glazed Banana Bread. So throw out those boring, tired weeknight recipes and make your meals sizzle with these enticing Mediterranean ideas. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] ISHMAEL ON THE BORDER
RABBINIC PORTRAYALSOF THE FIRST ARAB
BY CAROL BAKHOS (UCLA)
SUNY
A IN-depth study of the rabbinic treatment of Abraham's first born son. This book examines Ishamel's conflicted portrayal over a 1000 year period and ytaces the shifts and nuances in his representation within the Jewish traditions before and after the emergence of Islam. She explores the tensions of membership in and expulsion from Abraham's household. Like Esau he is portrayed in antipodal terms in many cases. He is the "Other." But in the 7th Century, in the Near East, with the rise of Islam, the rabbinic commentators changed their portrayals. This is where the book shines and the explorations will interest you. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] CROSSING THE HUDSON
A NOVEL
BY PETER STEPHAN JUNGK
2009, Paperback Handsel Books
From Publishers Weekly: A Viennese fur dealer confronts his lifes failures in this pleasantly bizarre novel from the author of The Perfect American. Gustav Rubin, a historian turned fur dealer, has returned from Europe to Manhattan to fetch his mother for a vacation at his lake house, but the trip goes awry at every turn, culminating in an epic traffic jam on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Lending a note of urgency is Gustavs need to arrive at his lake house by dusk; as an Orthodox Jew (a faith his mother neither shares nor much respects), he must cease driving before the Sabbath begins. Mother and son bicker and reminisce about Ludwig Rubin, the familys recently deceased patriarch, until Ludwigs gigantic body appears beneath the bridge, lolling in the Hudson River. Marveling at his fathers enormous presence as he and his mother hammer out the many disappointments of his life, Gustav becomes increasingly aware of his parents power over his life. An unusual and inventive work, Jungks refreshingly strange images give some air to the otherwise claustrophobic narrative confines
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] THE KOREN SACKS SIDDUR
A HEBREW/ENGLISH PRAYERBOOK, STANDARD SIZE
Edited by Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, London
May 2009, Orthodox Union
The Koren Sacks Siddur is an inspiring Hebrew/English Jewish prayerbook. The siddur marks the culmination of years of rabbinic scholarship, exemplifies the tradition of textual accuracy and innovative graphic design of the renowned Koren Publishers Jerusalem publishing house, and offers an illuminating translation, introduction and commentary by one of the world's leading Jewish thinkers, Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks. Modern orthodox halakhic guides to daily, Shabbat, and holiday prayers supplement the traditional text. Prayers for the State of Israel, its soldiers, and national holidays, and for the American government and its military reinforce the siddur's contemporary relevance. Standard (Yehuda) size, Ashkenaz, with dark slate Skivertex hardcover binding. Ideal for synagogue use.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] A JEWISH WOMAN'S PRAYER BOOK
BY ALIZA LAVIE
Spiegel & Grau, Winter 2009
A beautiful and moving one-of-a-kind collection that draws from a variety of Jewish traditions, through the ages, to commemorate every occasion and every passage in the cycle of life, including: Special prayers for the Sabbath, holidays, and important dates of the Jewish year; Prayers to mark celebratory milestones, such as bat mitzva, marriage, pregnancy, and childbirth; Prayers for companionship, love, and fertility; Prayers for healing, strength, and personal growth; Prayers for daily reflection and thanksgiving; Prayers for comfort and understanding in times of tragedy and loss; On the eve of Yom Kippur in 2002, Aliza Lavie, a university professor, read an interview with an Israeli woman who had lost both her mother and her baby daughter in a terrorist attack. As Lavie stood in the synagogue later that evening, she searched for comfort for the bereaved woman, for a reminder that she was not alone but part of a great tradition of Jewish women who have responded to unbearable loss with strength and fortitude. Unable to find sufficient solace within the traditional prayer book and inspired by the memory of her own grandmother's steadfast knowledge and faith, Lavie began researching and compiling prayers written for and by Jewish women. A Jewish Woman's Prayer Book is the result-a beautiful and moving one-of-a-kind collection that draws from a variety of Jewish traditions, through the ages, to commemorate every occasion and every passage in the cycle of life, from the mundane to the extraordinary. This elegant, inspiring volume includes special prayers for the Sabbath and holidays and important dates of the Jewish year; prayers to mark celebratory milestones, such as bat mitzva, marriage, pregnancy, and childbirth; and prayers for comfort and understanding in times of tragedy and loss. Each prayer is presented in Hebrew and in an English translation, along with fascinating commentary on its origins and allusions. Culled from a wide range of sources, both geographically and historically, this collection testifies that women's prayers were-and continue to be-an inspired expression of personal supplication and desire. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] THE SCENIC ROUTE
A novel
By Binnie Kirschenbaum
May 2009, Ecco Harper Perennial
It takes skill and assurance to pull off this beguiling narrative-by-digression, a love story-cum-family history-cum-confession of sins, and Kirshenbaum (An Almost Perfect Moment) has both in plentiful supply. A romantic affair begins in Fiesole when narrator Sylvia Landsman, an out-of-work, 42-year-old New York divorcée, meets debonair Henry Stafford, a Southern-born expatriate with expensive tastes and a good nose for wine. At the outset, Henry reveals that he is married to a rich woman who permits his lavish expenditures, and yet Sylvia-cynical, wry and imbued with Jewish guilt-dares to hope that Henry will be the man who changes her life. While the lovers enact a contemporary Two for the Road in his green Peugeot, Sylvia entertains Henry with stories about her eccentric family, meanwhile disclosing her own foibles and hang-ups-including some portents about betraying her best friend, Ruby. Sylvia segues from comedic quips to sad aperçus, and from cultural markers to historical vignettes, finally confessing the sin of omission that ended her friendship with Ruby. What's crushing isn't Sylvia's secret-it's how knowledge hasn't made her wiser. There are no happy endings here; instead, Kirshenbaum delivers capital-T truths. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] FIFTY IS THE NEW FIFTY
TEN LIFE LESSONS FOR OWMEN IN SECOND ADULTHOOD
By Suzanne Braun Levine
2009, Viking Adult
From Publishers Weekly: In a time when “How Not to Look Old” is a bestseller, and the women who came of age during the 1960s are now in their 60s, outspoken women's movement veteran Levine (Inventing the Rest of Our Lives) advises women 50-plus to reject the desire to recapture youth and acknowledge their great good fortune in arriving at a point where they can creatively enhance the rest of their lives. Citing Madeleine L'Engle's observation, the great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been, Levine uses this book to air and explore her own feelings, and those of other women, about moving from the Fuck-You Fifties to a pleasanter, stress-defusing outlook characterized by a growing ability to not take lesser things too seriously. She offers a 10-step strategy for avoiding a descent into The Fertile Void, where late-midlife women find themselves in a state of confusion and lost self-confidence. The self-help lessons are nothing new: be your age, not your stage; take responsibility for your physical and emotional life; accept that you are not who you were, only older; use what you already know. Advertising-style jargon and nonsensical slogans get in the way of an otherwise promising positive message.
Click the book cover to read more.












[book] SAFE HAVEN
HARRY S. TRUMAN AND THE FOUNDING OF ISRAEL
BY ALLIS RADOSH AND RONALD RADOSH
May 2009, Harper
On May 14, 1948, under the stewardship of President Harry S. Truman, the United States became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel-just moments after sovereignty had been declared in Jerusalem. But it was hardly a foregone conclusion that America would welcome the creation of this new country. While acknowledging this as one of his proudest moments, Truman also admitted that no issue was "more controversial or more complex than the problem of Israel." As the president told his closest advisers, these attempts to resolve the issue of a Jewish homeland had left him in a condition of "political battle fatigue." Based on never-before-used archival material, A Safe Haven is the most complete account to date of the events that led to this historic occasion. Allis and Ronald Radosh explore the national and global pressures bearing on Truman and the people-including the worldwide Jewish community, key White House advisers, the State Department, the British, the Arabs, and the representatives of the new United Nations-whose influence, on both sides, led to his decision. Impeccably researched, brilliantly told, A Safe Haven is a suspenseful, moment-by-moment re-creation of this crossroads in U.S.-Israeli relations and Middle Eastern politics. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] SHIFTING SANDS
BEDOUIN WOMEN AT THE CROSSROADS
BY DR RUTH WESTHEIMER AND GIL SEDAN
2009, lantern
Dramatic events in the Middle East are frequently in today's headlines. Behind those headlines, however, a quiet revolution is taking place that may reshape that volatile part of the world in fundamental ways. The Bedouin people of Palestine and Israel represent one of the most traditional cultures in that area. Only a generation ago, they were nomads wandering the Nagev Desert on camels, migrating with their herds of sheep and moving households with the seasons. As a polygamous, male-dominated society, women have had little control over the course of their own lives and destiny. This is beginning to change. For millennia, Bedouin culture remained essentially unchanged, until several decades ago when the Israeli government demanded that they leave behind their nomadic ways and settle down in state-sanctioned townships. Adapting to new conditions has brought numerous changes for a population accustomed to freedom in the desert. One such challenge is the result of the Bedouin's increased contact with Western-oriented Israeli society, leading many young women to look beyond the constraints of traditional culture to seek greater independence and equality with men. Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Gil Sedan set out to discover how those changes have affected Bedouin society and to meet the women who have courageously followed their own path. Through personal stories and encounters, Shifting Sands shows how Bedouin men and women have dealt with their changing society and how the clash between modernity and tradition leads to turmoil, as well as to social and individual transformation. The authors also offer glimpses of how this desert revolution may change attitudes and interactions among the Arab and Jewish peoples of Israel. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] How to Shop for a Husband
A Consumer Guide to Getting a Great Buy on a Guy
by Janice Lieberman and Bonnie Teller
2009, St Martin's Press
While far from romantic, this common sense dating guide from NBC's Today show consumer reporter offers some charming-if simple-advice for spotting good deals on the dating market. For example, research on marital success indicates that "shoppers" should seek someone as similar in social status and background as possible; Lieberman makes this her Mirror-Image Rule (i.e, "Be Sure to Use the Mirror in the Dressing Room"). A chapter on "Good User Interface" asserts that "the killer app when it comes to guys is good communication." Some may be turned off by the hyper-practical (some might say "traditional") tone: "Marriers are guys who like to be married. They need a woman who will coordinate their social lives... their homes and just generally provide support." Still, Lieberman provides enough hints and data to prove she's done her comparison shopping; a careful analysis of modern methods for mate-finding (online, group events, professional matchmakers, flying solo) is exceedingly helpful and demystifying; the shocker is that face-to-face speed dating is the best option for busy professionals interested in high-quality dating candidates. Though at times familiar, this rational dating primer makes a solid, sound and self-aware alternative to The Rules."--Publishers Weekly
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] APPASSIONATA
A novel
BY EVA HOFFMAN
May 2009, Other Press
From Booklist: *Starred Review* Concert pianist Isabel Merton travels solo and practices and performs alone. As she takes the stage in Paris, Sofia, Berlin, Budapest, Prague, and Barcelona, we became acutely aware of her isolation, grief, and vulnerability. Hoffman, the author of indelible memoirs about the lost worlds of European Jewry and the psychology of exile, was studying to be a pianist when her family was forced to flee Kraków. In her second novel-an exquisite and disquieting story of love, terror, and loss, with geopolitical resonance and a profound moral calculus-she writes ecstatically about how it feels to bring the glorious music her protagonist cherishes to life. Introduced under curious circumstances to Anzor, a mysterious Chechen, Isabel is passionately attracted. But in scenes of escalating menace and suspense, his rage and embrace of violence put her faith in beauty and music to the test. Brilliantly improvising on the famous story of how Lenin loved the Appassionata, Beethoven's tumultuous piano sonata, yet refused its call for mercy and transcendence, Hoffman asks what defines humankind, bloodshed or art? Her answer? Suffice it to say that when disciplined and devoted pianist Isabel compares her hands to Anzor's, she realizes that hers are stronger. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Tropical Zion
General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sosúa
By Allen Wells
2009 Duke University
Seven hundred and fifty Jewish refugees fled Nazi Germany and founded the agricultural settlement of Sosúa in the Dominican Republic, then ruled by one of Latin America’s most repressive dictators, General Rafael Trujillo. In Tropical Zion, Allen Wells, a distinguished historian and the son of a Sosúa settler, tells the compelling story of General Trujillo, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and those fortunate pioneers who founded a successful employee-owned dairy cooperative on the north shore of the island.
Why did a dictator admit these desperate refugees when so few nations would accept those fleeing fascism? Eager to mollify international critics after his army had massacred 15,000 unarmed Haitians, Trujillo sent representatives to Évian, France, in July, 1938 for a conference on refugees from Nazism. Proposed by FDR to deflect criticism from his administration’s restrictive immigration policies, the Évian Conference proved an abject failure. The Dominican Republic was the only nation that agreed to open its doors. Obsessed with stemming the tide of Haitian migration across his nation’s border, the opportunistic Trujillo sought to “whiten” the Dominican populace, welcoming Jewish refugees who were themselves subject to racist scorn in Europe. The Roosevelt administration sanctioned the Sosúa colony. Since the United States did not accept Jewish refugees in significant numbers, it encouraged Latin America to do so. That prodding, paired with FDR’s overriding preoccupation with fighting fascism, strengthened U.S. relations with Latin American dictatorships for decades to come. Meanwhile, as Jewish organizations worked to get Jews out of Europe, discussions about the fate of worldwide Jewry exposed fault lines between Zionists and Non-Zionists. Throughout his discussion of these broad dynamics, Wells weaves vivid narratives about the founding of Sosúa, the original settlers and their families, and the life of the unconventional beach-front colony.
Click the book cover to read more.








JUNE 2009 BOOKS

[book] Myths, Illusions, and Peace
Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East
by Dennis Ross and David Makovsky
June 2009, Viking
Two experts debunk misconceptions about the Middle East and set clear-eyed policies for the future. Why has the United States consistently failed to achieve its strategic goals in the Middle East? According to Dennis Ross and David Makovsky, two of America's leading experts on the region, it is because we have been laboring under false assumptions, or mythologies, about the nature and motivation of Middle East countries and their leaders. In Myths, Illusions, and Peace, the authors debunk these damaging fallacies, held by both the right and the left, and present a concise and far-reaching set of principles that will help America set an effective course of action in the region. Among the myths that the authors show to be false and even dangerous is the idea that Israeli-Palestinian peace is the key to solving all the Middle East's problems; that regime change is a prerequisite for peace and democracy; and that Iran's leadership is immune from diplomatic and economic pressure. These and other historic misunderstandings have generated years' worth of failed policies and crippled America's ability to make productive decisions in this volatile part of the world, a region that will hold the key to our security in the twenty-first century. Ross and Makovsky offer a critical rethinking of American perceptions at a time of great import and change. Dennis Ross is special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Gulf and Southwest Asia. He is the author of the bestselling The Missing Peace. Analyst and former journalist David Makovsky is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author of Making Peace with the PLO.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Inheritance
The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power
by David E. Sanger
2009, Harmony
Readers of The New York Times know David Sanger as one of the most trusted correspondents in Washington, one to whom presidents, secretaries of state, and foreign leaders talk with unusual candor. Now, with a historian's sweep and an insider's eye for telling detail, Sanger delivers an urgent intelligence briefing on the world America faces. In a riveting narrative, The Inheritance describes the huge costs of distraction and lost opportunities at home and abroad as Iraq soaked up manpower, money, and intelligence capabilities. The 2008 market collapse further undermined American leadership, leaving the new president with a set of challenges unparalleled since Franklin D. Roosevelt entered the Oval Office. Sanger takes readers into the White House Situation Room to reveal how Washington penetrated Tehran's nuclear secrets, leading President Bush, in his last year, to secretly step up covert actions in a desperate effort to delay an Iranian bomb. Meanwhile, his intelligence chiefs made repeated secret missions to Pakistan as they tried to stem a growing insurgency and cope with an ally who was also aiding the enemy-while receiving billions in American military aid. Now the new president faces critical choices: Is it better to learn to live with a nuclear Iran or risk overt or covert confrontation? Is it worth sending U.S. forces deep into Pakistani territory at the risk of undermining an unstable Pakistani government sitting on a nuclear arsenal? It is a race against time and against a new effort by Islamic extremists-never before disclosed-to quietly infiltrate Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. At once a secret history of our foreign policy misadventures and a lucid explanation of the opportunities they create, The Inheritance is vital reading for anyone trying to understand the extraordinary challenges that lie ahead. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] YOU OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU
A NOVEL
BY CHANDLER BURR
June 2009, Ecco
What can be said of the author, the fragrance critic of The New York Times. Well, I once did attend a fragrance smelling sampling seminar led by him in New York City, and I noted a specific character trait he has. And this lends itself to creating these vibrant characters in his novel. One more thing... Burr was backpacked through many countries. He visited Jerusalem and the Kotel, where he was invited by a man to visit a yeshiva. When they found out that only Burr's father was born into the Jewish faith, they unceremoniously booted him out of the yeshiva. This has the potential to leave a bitter psychic taste in one's olfactory system. No?
And now for the novel: Anne Rosenbaum leads a life of quiet Los Angeles privilege, the wife of Hollywood executive Howard Rosenbaum and mother of their seventeen-year-old son, Sam. Years ago Anne and Howard met studying literature at Columbia-she, the daughter of a British diplomat from London, he a boy from an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Now on sleek blue California evenings, Anne attends halogen-lit movie premieres on the arm of her powerful husband. But her private life is lived in the world of her garden, reading books. When one of Howard's friends, the head of a studio, asks Anne to make a reading list, she casually agrees-though, as a director reminds her, "no one reads in Hollywood." To her surprise, they begin calling: screen-writers; producers, from their bungalows; and agents, from their plush offices on Wilshire and Beverly. Soon Anne finds herself leading an exclusive book club for the industry elite. Emerging gradually from her seclusion, she guides her readers into the ideas and beauties of Donne, Yeats, Auden, and Mamet, with her brilliant and increasingly bold opinions. But when a crisis of identity unexpectedly turns an anguished Howard back toward the Orthodoxy he left behind as a young man, Anne must set out to save what she values above all else: her husband's love. At once fiercely intelligent and emotionally grip-ping, You or Someone Like You confronts the fault lines between inherited faith and personal creed, and, through the surprising transformation of one exceptional, unfor-gettable woman, illuminates literature's power to change our lives.
Burr has said that when writing this novel, he knew that when Anne Rosenbaum's husband leaves her to become religious. That it would be controversial among readers. The author and the character Anne are irritated how organized Judaism as it is practiced today rejects outsiders. When San Rosenbaum , 17, is rejected, it is a replay of what really happened to the author in Jerusalem many years ago. The scene where Sam goes to Israel, goes to the moshav, then to Jerusalem, is invited to the yeshiva by a guy doing kiruv (outreach), the details of how he's expelled, are completely autobiographical. In the novel a rabbi says that teaching Judaism to non Jews is forbidden. The author wrote this because a rabbi at the Jerusalem yeshiva said to him when he was expelled that,"You caused us to sin by teaching Torah to a non-Jew."
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NOT JEWISH, BUT FUN:
[book] Pineapple Culture
A History of the Tropical and Temperate Zones
by Gary Y. Okihiro
June 2009, University of California Press
Few other images convey the nature of the tropics as effectively as the pineapple, yet this now-commonplace fruit was once a much-sought-after rarity, one that signified elegance and hospitality while it simultaneously destroyed cultures and launched empires. Continuing the eclectic cultural history of the Hawaiian Islands he began in Island World (2008), Okihiro traces the impact this one commodity has exerted throughout time and around the globe, aided by the vagaries of geography, ambitions of governments, heroics of explorers, and vanities of businessmen. Though he focuses on the predominance of James Dole's Hawaiian Pineapple Company, Okihiro also constructs a thorough time line for the pineapple's rise to influence and acceptance that ranges from the species' genesis in a remote corner of South America, to its temptation of European botanists and its unwitting role in the overthrow of Hawaii's royal government. Seamlessly fusing geography with anthropology, horticulture with international politics, Okihiro draws a comprehensive portrait of how a singular fruit can unite a world.
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[book] Street Fighters
The Shocking Demise of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street
by Kate Kelly
June 2009, Portfolio
A WSJ reporter reports on the downfall of this firm. Click the book cover to read more.














[book] THE RISE AND FALL OF BEAR STEARNS
BY ALAN "ACE" GREENBERG
June 2009, Simon and Schuster
Tell all, or tell what he wants to tell, by the firm's former CEO. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] REPEAT AFTER ME
A NOVEL
BY RACHEL DeWOSKIN
June 2009, Overlook Press
Rachel DeWoskin is a writer who has been lauded for her "razor-sharp descriptions" (The Wall Street Journal), her considerable cultural and linguistic resources" (The New Yorker), and her rare ability to offer a "real insider's look at life in modern China" (The Economist). Now DeWoskin, author of the laughout-loud funny and poignant Foreign Babes in Beijing, returns with a new novel about modern China and one American girl's struggle to find herself there.
Aysha is a twenty-two-year-old New Yorker putting the pieces of her life back in place after her parents' divorce and her own nervous breakdown when a young Chinese student named Da Ge flips her world upside-down. In a love story that spans decades and continents, from the Tiananmen Square incident to 9/11, New York City's Upper West Side to the terraced mountains of South China, Repeat After Me gives readers an alternately funny and painful glimpse of life and loss in between languages. Click the book cover to read more.












NOW IN PAPERBACK
[book] LORDS OF THE LAND
THE WAR OVER ISRAEL'S SETTLEMENTS IN
THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES, 1967-2007
BY IDITH ZERTAIL and AKIVA ELDAR
June 2009, Nation Books
Zertal will work at NYU in 2009, and Eldar writes for Ha'aretz. A bestseller in Israel and translated into over half-a-dozen languages, this highly-acclaimed book is the definitive history of the settlements in Israel. The 1967 Arab-Israeli War, a brief battle whose effects was a devastating triumph for Israel, which immediately began to establish settlements in the newly conquered territories. These settlements and the movement that made them possible, have utterly transformed Israel, and yet until now the full history of the occupation has never been told. An international bestseller, "Lords of the Land" is the first book to tell that tragic story, revealing what a catastrophe it has been for both Israel and the Palestinians.Based on years of research, and written by one of Israel's leading historians and one of its best-known journalists, this compelling narrative focuses on the settlers themselves - their messianic religious zeal, their politics and their cult of death. It shows also how they were inspired and empowered by the earlier, secular Zionist movement, and it demonstrates the deep involvement of the State of Israel and its most sacred institutions in this illegal endeavour. Click the book cover to read more.






NOW IN PAPERBACK
NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD WINNER
The paperback comes with a reading group guide and Author Q&A
[book] SONGS FOR THE BUTCHER'S DAUGHTER
A NOVEL
BY PETER MANSEAU
June 2009, Free Press
From Publishers Weekly: Known for Vows, his memoir of growing up the son of a former priest and nun, Manseau uses an alter ego to tell the story of fictional Yiddish poet Itsik Malpesh, born in the Moldovan city of Kishinev in 1903. Itsik's story is told through his Yiddish memoirs, which he helps a young American Catholic (working, like Manseau once did, as a Yiddish archivist) translate. Inspired by the image of Sasha, the brave butcher's daughter who was present at his birth, Itsik reaches America in young adulthood through haphazard luck, a taste for troublemaking and the inventiveness of a printer. Sasha continually inspires and confounds Itsik throughout his life, becoming an apt symbol for Yiddish humor, sorrow and idealism. As Itsik's darkly picaresque immigrant narrative unfolds, it competes with the translator's modern romance and with insights into the art of translation and the history of Yiddish. Occasional narrative missteps are not enough to undercut this rich, often ironic homage to Yiddish culture and language. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] The Ramen King and I
How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life
by Andy Raskin
2009, Gotham
Approaching 40 and still single, Raskin decides he needs help to figure out why he is incapable of being faithful in romantic relationships. He joins a self-help group and, guided by his mentor, begins to write a series of letters exploring his past failures. The man he chooses to address the letters to is Momofuku Ando, the creator of instant ramen noodles, who built an extremely successful empire after losing everything. Raskin's personal journey takes him to Japan several times, as he tries to cut through endless red tape in order to meet his idol. Along the way, Raskin's passion for Japanese food takes him to exclusive sushi restaurants with forbidding owners and a ramen restaurant that is known for the perilous nature of its cuisine. Raskin finds his answer in Ando's philosophy and realizes that in order to quell his demons he is going to have to face them and reassess how he looks at his life. Mixing humor and raw honesty, Raskin's introspective journey is inspiring and entertaining. Click the book cover to read more.






Proust saw a piece a food, and remembered things past
Rachel rediscovered her sister and repaired a relationship in her earlier book on riding a bus
And now a house, a bayit, forces her to re-evaluate her past relationships
French pastries are not perfect, houses all have flaws, and perhaps, so do relationships.
[book] Building a Home with My Husband
A Journey Through the Renovation of Love
by Rachel Simon
Spring 2009, Dutton
From the author of RIDING THE BUS WITH MY SISTER...
People who renovate homes are usually in transition. That is why they are renovating, to make space for changes, or some other event. So perhaps the stress of changing a house is combined with the stress of transition
The bestselling and highly acclaimed author of Riding the Bus with My Sister returns with an illuminating and tenderhearted memoir about the unexpected ways a home renovation can change a life. Rachel Simon's historic home on a charming tree- lined street was hardly ideal. It was too small, too dark, and there was a gaping hole in the dining room ceiling. So when the house is burglarized, Rachel and her husband, Hal, agree it's time to sell. But in a difficult housing market, and with Hal being an architect, they soon realize: Why leave when they can renovate?
The money from the Hallmark TV production of her first book could pay a little towards the renovations.
Rachel prepares herself for the disagreements and disasters that can accompany a major home renovation. But what she isn't prepared for is the emotional journey that will blow open the seal around everything she thinks she knows about herself, about family, and about the misunderstandings and resilience of love. From Hal's first design sketch to the last stroke of paint, memories of a difficult childhood, friendships left behind, challenges with siblings, and an improbable path to marriage come bursting out. Once the dust settles, Rachel is astonished by the many gems revealed along the way-and comes to discover profound insights about the construction, demolition, and renovation of personal connections. Featuring beloved characters from Riding the Bus with My Sister and written with Simon's signature breathtaking prose, Building a Home with My Husband is a wise and poignant reflection on love's endless possibilities and the extraordinary endurance of the human spirit.
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[book] THE VISION REVOLUTION
BY MARK CHANGIZI, RPI
June 2009, Ben Bella
Primates evolved binocular vision (both eyes facing forward) so that they can see in three dimensions, critical as they jumped from branch to branch. Higher primates developed color vision to better hunt out ripe fruit. Optical illusions succeed because they exploit the limitations of our visual processing. Wrong! All of these beliefs are false, as groundbreaking research by evolutionary scientist and neurobiologist Mark Changizi now reveals. Changizi's research centers on the "why" of human vision. Why do we have binocular vision? Why do we see in color the way we do? Why do optical illusions work? And why are we able to absorb information by reading?a very new invention from an evolutionary perspective?more readily than by hearing, which we've evolved to do over hundreds of thousands of years? The Vision Revolution answers these questions, and proves, with the detailed results of Changizi's fieldwork, that the answers are very different than traditionally believed. A radically new perspective of human vision is now emerging. The Vision Revolution is upon us.
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[book] Kinship by Covenant
A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises
by Scott Hahn, David Noel Freedman (Foreword)
June 2009, Yale
While the canonical scriptures were produced over many centuries and represent a diverse library of texts, they are unified by stories of divine covenants and their implications for God's people. In this deeply researched and thoughtful book, Scott Hahn shows how covenant, as an overarching theme, makes possible a coherent reading of the diverse traditions found within the canonical scriptures. Biblical covenants, though varied in form and content, all serve the purpose of extending sacred bonds of kinship, Hahn explains. Specifically, divine covenants form and shape a father-son bond between God and the chosen people. Biblical narratives turn on that fact, and biblical theology depends upon it. With meticulous attention to detail, the author demonstrates how divine sonship represents a covenant relationship with God that has been consistent throughout salvation history. A canonical reading of this divine plan reveals an illuminating pattern of promise and fulfillment in both the Old and New Testaments. God's saving mercies are based upon his sworn commitments, which he keeps even when his people break the covenant. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] ADMISSION
A NOVEL
BY JEAN HANFF KORELITZ
June 2009, Grand Central
From The New Yorker: Portia Nathan is a thirty-eight-year-old admissions officer at Princeton University, a place so discriminating that it can afford to turn down applicants who are "excellent in all of the ordinary ways" in favor of the utterly extraordinary-"Olympic athletes, authors of legitimately published books, Siemens prize winners, working film or Broadway actors, International Tchaikovsky Competition violinists." Portia compares her job to "building a better fruit basket" and achieves career success by helping her institution pluck the most exotic specimens, but her personal life is permanently on hold because of a traumatic incident from her own college years that she has never come to terms with. Although the reader may unravel the mystery of Portia's past before the plot does, the novel gleams with acute insights into what most consider a deeply mysterious process.
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The last time I read a book about Kissinger, it was Matti Golan's "The Secret Conversations of Henry Kissinger: Step-by-Step Diplomacy in the Middle-East" But now it is over three decades later, and I am ready for newly revealed information about 1973, the Yom Kippur War, Nixon, facing down the Russians, and more
[book] KISSINGER
1973, THE CRUCIAL YEAR
BY ALISTAIR HORNE
June 2009, Simon and Schuster
Kissinger: 1973, The Crucial Year is the gripping history of one of America's most enigmatic and influential foreign policy advisers during a pivotal year in the country's postwar history. By any measure, 1973 was not an ordinary year. It should have been Kissinger's year of triumph -- a time to bask in his hard-won achievements and build on his successes. Kissinger's strategy of opening the door to China and détente with the Soviet Union had been judged an overwhelming success. After furthering his policy of realpolitik through backchannel diplomacy during Nixon's first term, Kissinger was finally awarded the plum position of secretary of state. But then major events shattered whatever peace and calm America had attained in the early part of the decade: first came defeat in Vietnam; then Watergate, culminating in the president's resignation; war in the Middle East; and finally an economic collapse caused by the Arab oil embargo. All of these momentous blows to the country's security occurred on Henry Kissinger's watch. Rather than progressing on all fronts, as he had expected, Kissinger would confront some of the most critical policy challenges of his career. Based on full access to the subject and his papers, Kissinger is an intimate portrait of a man, a country, and a presidency at a critical point. From the blowup in the Middle East, to détente with Russia, to the opening of the door to China, the United States' response to the pivotal events of 1973 -- and Kissinger's crucial role in the formulation of that response -- continues to shape and influence United States foreign policy today.
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Taking stock of a happening 40 years later
(now a major motion picture)
And based on this memoir:
[book] TAKING WOODSTOCK
A TRUE STORY OF A RIOT, A CONCERT, AND A LIFE
BY ELLIOT TIBER WITH TOM MONTE
June 2009, Square One
Before there was a Woodstock concert, there was Elliot Tiber, trying to make his parents' upstate New York motel profitable. The old Jewish clientele styopped coming to the Catskills, and went to Florida instead. Tourism was dying. Eliot was creative, ummm... he was crazy artistic, I guess you would say. He put on plays and events; he was the area's issuer of permits for events. In Manhattan, he earned money as an interior designer. It was the Summer of 1969. Elliot was hanging in Greenwich Village and rubbing shoulders with Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and a photographer named Robert Mapplethorpe. Elliott was a closeted gay man, until June 28 when he witnessed a riot at the Stonewall Inn. It was the birth of the modern gay rights movement. Two weeks later, July 15, he read that some Woodstock concert promoters sould not get a permit for their event in Walkill NY. Elliott offered them another venue, Max Yasgur's farm (a nice Jewish farmer). Max was Elliot's dairyman. Elliot thus became the man behind the concerts, and was swept up into the vortex that changed his life forever. This is the story of the concerts and how the happened, and the story of a nice creative Jewish guy and his times. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] MAX SAID YES!
THE WOODSTOCK STORY
BY ABIGAIL YASGUR AND JOSEPH LIPNER
Illustrated by Barbara Mendes
2009, Ages 4 - 8
A relative of Max Yasgur has created a children’s book. Lushly illustrated tale sharing the generosity of dairy farmer Max Yasgur, who rented his property and opened his farm to a generation of flower children for three days of peace and music in August 1969. This became the Woodstock Festival. Click the book cover to read more.











[book] WALTZ WITH BASHIR
AN ANIMATED FILM BY ARI FOLMAN
DVD Release June 23, 2009
Nominated for an Academy Award, 2009
Amazon writes: Waltz with Bashir presents an intriguing riddle: is a documentary still a documentary if it's animated? Taking over where fact-based animations like Waking Life and Chicago 10 left off, Israel's Ari Folman tries to wrap his head around 1982's Lebanon War (the title refers to Lebanese leader Bashir Gemayel). Why do disturbing dreams plague his former army colleagues, while he remembers nothing? Folman meets with nine of them to find out. As they speak, animators recreate their experiences, but instead of rotoscoping or video-capture, Folman first shot his film on video and then assembled an animated version from the resulting storyboards. This graphic-novel approach suits their strange, surrealistic stories and parallels the work of Black Hole's Charles Burns, who tends to walk on the shadowy side (as opposed to Marjane Satrapi's more fanciful Persepolis). War may be hell, but moments of grace and beauty shine through, best exemplified by Roni Dayag's recollection of a late-night swim away from the scene of a beachfront battle. Decades later, he still remembers the soothing peacefulness of the water. These reminiscences nudge Folman's repressed memories back to the surface, culminating in a horrific massacre to which he bore witness. Arguably, he didn't need to include actual footage of the deceased when stylized graphics get the point across fine. If Waltz with Bashir isn't a documentary in the conventional sense, it doesn't resemble most animated efforts either. What matters more is the harrowing narrative he constructs from out of the minds of these haunted men.
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
[book] THE BAND'S VISIT
AN FILM BY ERAN KOLIRIN
DVD Release: July 2008













JULY 2009 BOOKS


[book] THE DEFECTOR
A MYSTERY NOVEL
BY DANIEL SILVA
July 2009, Putnam
In the #1 New York Times bestseller Moscow Rules, Gabriel Allon brought down the most dangerous man in the world. But he made one mistake. Leaving him alive... Over the course of a brilliant career, Daniel Silva has established himself as the "gold standard" of thriller writers (Dallas Morning News), a "master writer of espionage and intrigue" (The Cincinnati Enquirer), and the creator of "some of the most exciting spy fiction since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond" (Rocky Mountain News). Now Silva takes that fiction-and his hero, the enigmatic art restorer and assassin Gabriel Allon-to a whole new level, delivering a riveting tale of vengeance that entertains as well as enlightens. Six months after the dramatic conclusion of Moscow Rules, Gabriel has returned to the tan hills of Umbria to resume his honeymoon with his new wife, Chiara, and restore a seventeenth-century altarpiece for the Vatican. But his idyllic world is once again thrown into turmoil with shocking news from London. The defector and former Russian intelligence officer Grigori Bulganov, who saved Gabriel's life in Moscow, has vanished without a trace. British intelligence is sure he was a double agent all along, but Gabriel knows better. He also knows he made a promise. Do you know what we do with traitors, Gabriel? Many things have changed in Russia since the fall of Communism. But the punishment for betrayal remains the same. Promise me one thing, Gabriel. Promise me I won't end up in an unmarked grave. In the days to come, Gabriel and his team of operatives will find themselves in a deadly duel of nerve and wits with one of the world's most ruthless men: the murderous Russian oligarch and arms dealer Ivan Kharkov. It will take him from a quiet mews in London, to the shores of Lake Como, to the glittering streets of Geneva and Zurich, and, finally, to a heart-stopping climax in the snowbound birch forests of Russia. Faced with the prospect of losing the one thing he holds most dear, Gabriel will be tested in ways he never imagined possible. And his life will never be the same.
Click the book cover to read more.
See also: [book]













[book] THE HEBREW TUTOR OF BEL AIR
A NOVEL
BY ALLAN APPEL
July 2009, COFFEE HOUSE PRESS
From Publishers Weekly: Appel (High Holiday Sutra) offers up another of his humorous takes on religion and spirituality, this one set in 1963 Los Angeles. Norman Plummer, the 17-year-old scholarly son of a chronically out-of-pocket compulsive gambler, is hired to tutor spoiled, wealthy 16-year-old Bayla Adler for her belated bat mitzvah. Bayla is determined to refuse to be bat mitzvahed; she is also gorgeous and seductive. A rocky alliance that has little to do with Hebrew ensues, one that doesn't escape the attention of Bayla's parents. When Norman isn't scared away by his pupil's surly refusal to learn anything, he is rewarded with exorbitant cash tips, and Bayla's father promises her $20,000 if she goes through with the ceremony. But Bayla has other plans for both Norman and the money. Appel renders the relationships between Norman and each of his parents with heartbreaking intimacy, but the Adlers, including Bayla, are so superficial that their actions are unconvincing. In the end this bittersweet exploration of love from Norman's 17-year-old perspective-love for Bayla, for his parents, for knowledge and for God-leaves too much unresolved
In his application to become the spiritual leader of the King Solomon Motorcycle Club, Norman Plummer recalls the momentous events that shaped his life during one sultry Los Angeles summer. Set in 1963-after the Cuban Missile Crisis, but before JFK's assassination-Norman begins to prepare Bel Air heiress Bayla Adler for a bat mitzvah she doesn't want. The studious teenage son of a ne'er-do-well gambler, Norman finds himself in a strange new world of trophy wives, pool boys, and plastic surgeons-a world where anything might be bought, except the cooperation of the beautiful Bayla. Under threat of nuclear war and the gorgeous California sun, the two forge a tentative truce. They may not be learning Hebrew, but through the miracle of motorcycles and the epiphanies of the road, Bayla and Norman just might learn to shape their own destinies. And-for a few momentous hours-become a latter-day Bonnie and Clyde searching for a Reverse Jewish Nose Job in the City of Angels. In an unforgettable story of lost innocence and found passion-of love and motorcycles-readers will be rooting for this unlikely couple and their bid to change the world.
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See also<
[book] HIGH HOLIDAY SUTRA
A NOVEL
BY ALLAN APPEL
COFFEE HOUSE PRESS
Planning a Yom Kippur sermon to impress a new congregation and, he hopes, earn a new position, Rabbi Jonah Grief begins a narrative confession/philosophical memoir, or sutra, reminiscent of his Buddhist leanings. An unconventional rabbi who occasionally employs Buddhist meditation methods, Jonah frankly describes his 1960s childhood and adolescence, his first marriage, his second wife's death, and his mature experiences trying to uphold Jewish morality as he sees it in a 1990s world. Desperately searching to "find" himself and his own spirituality, Rabbi Grief gains a new maturity while grappling with some of life's mysteries...









JENNIFER WEINER IS A FAVORITE OF JEWISH READERS
[book] BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
A NOVEL
BY JENNIFER WEINER
July 14, 2009, Atria
Addie Downs and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. That's what Addie believes after Valerie moves across the street when they're both nine years old. But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popular crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school's scapegoat. Flash-forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weathergirl at the local TV station. Addie Downs lives alone in her parents' house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, caring for a troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the Internet. She's just returned from Bad Date #6 when she opens her door to find her long-gone best friend standing there, a terrified look on her face and blood on the sleeve of her coat. "Something horrible has happened," Val tells Addie, "and you're the only one who can help." Best Friends Forever is a grand, hilarious, edge-of-your-seat adventure; a story about betrayal and loyalty, family history and small-town secrets. It's about living through tragedy, finding love where you least expect it, and the ties that keep best friends together.












Home is the place where
when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.
-Robert Frost, “The Death of the Hired Man“
[book] What Else But Home
Seven Boys and an American Journey Between the Projects and the Penthouse
by Michael Rosen
July 2009, PublicAffairs
Michael Rosen’s seven-year-old son Ripton one day decided to join a pick-up game of baseball with some older kids in the park. At the end of the game Ripton asked his new friends if they wanted to come back to his house for snacks and Nintendo. Over time, five of the boys—all black and Hispanic, from the impoverished neighborhood across the park—became a fixture in the Rosens’ home and eventually started referring to Michael and his wife Leslie as their parents. When I say the Rosen’s home, I mean a five level penthouse apartment in the Cristadora House on Thompkins Square Park in the East Village or more specifically Alphabet City. The boys began to see the Rosens as more than just an arcade of middle-class creature comforts; the Rosens began to learn the full stories of the boys’ fractured lives. Some were the produycts of date rape, few had fathers, many had siblings who dealt drugs. Soon Michael and Leslie, and their adopted sons, Ripton and Morgan, decided that their responsibility, like that of parents everywhere, was to help all their boys get a start in life. So began a turbulent learning experience all round, beautifully and movingly depicted in What Else But Home. Five of the oldest boys moved in with the Rosens. Rosen and his wife (Leslie Gruss) gave the kids lessons, pushed them read and excel in school, went on trips, and get them to graduate and aspire to college. Their Chinese food bills were about $800 a month, and the grocery bills were $200 a month. It’s a quest to escape the previously inevitable, a test of the resilience of a newly assembled family, a love story unlike any other, and a celebration of the fact that, whatever our differences, baseball and commitment can help us bridge them








[book] JPS ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S BIBLE
Retold by Ellen Frankel
Illustrated by Avi Katz
July 2009, JPS
Acclaimed storyteller and Jewish scholar Ellen Frankel has masterfully tailored 53 Bible stories that will both delight and educate today's young readers. Using the 1985 JPS translation (NJPS) of the Hebrew Bible as her foundation, Frankel retains much of the Bible's original wording and simple narrative style as she incorporates her own exceptional storytelling technique, free of personal interpretation or commentary. Included in the volume is an "Author's Notebook," in which Frankel shares with rabbis, parents, and educators the challenges she faced in translating and adapting these stories for children, such as how she deals with adult language in the original Bible text and themes inappropriate for most young readers. With his enticing, full-page color illustrations of each Bible story, award-winning artist Avi Katz ignites readers' imaginations. His brush captures the vivid personalities and many dramatic moments in this extraordinary collection.






[book] GONE TO THE DOGS
A NOVEL
BY MARY GUTERSON
July 2009, ST Martin's Griffin
From Booklist: Guterson's latest (following We Are All Fine Here, 2005, delivers another wacky chick-lit heroine, twentysomething Rena, part-time Jew and full-time waitress, depressed and moping after being dumped for another woman. In a mad moment, she steals her ex's dog, and in the process of caring for Big Guy, she starts to recover from her depression and realizes it's time to move on from her college apartment, job, and lifestyle. Stealing someone else's dog and not responding to the lost posters may be too much for some dog lovers to stomach, and the book's lack of resolution may bother those otherwise committed to the story. At the same time, there are many zany and refreshingly realistic characters, from big sister Aviva-a dope dealer turned both stay-at home-mom and Orthodox Jew-to possible love interest and amateur moviemaker Chuck. Suggest this one to Jennifer Weiner's many fans and to readers of Julie Powell's nonfiction Julie and Julia (2005) about another young woman struggling to find a life that
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[book] YOU ARE HERE
Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon,
but Get Lost in the Mall
by Colin Ellard
July 2009 Doubleday
We Jews focus on directions (face East) and land locations are quite important to some people. Therefore, it cannot hurt to read a book on cartography and location location and location
It is more than known that Reno is West of Los Angeles, the Chicago lines up the the Western coast of South America, that Seattle is more North than Montreal, or Windsor is South of Detroit, or that the top five cities where RESIDENTS of those cities get lost are London, Paris, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Beijing.
PW writes: “This delightful, dense and illuminating book by Ellard, an experimental psychologist, explores how we navigate space and hone our sense of direction, despite being paradoxically spatially primitive and overly evolved. All animals, monocellular and multicellular alike, find their way to their basic needs—heat, light and nourishment—but while ants, for example, don't get lost and amoebas are guided by an internal toolkit, most human beings face unique difficulties. Unlike the Inuit, who have a superb sense of direction, most people find that the more sophisticated their environments, the weaker their grasp of space and direction. Ellard offers insights into how humans navigate their own homes and why they select certain spots for refuge—preferences influenced by gender, culture and history. He emphasizes the importance of orienting children to natural space as well as virtual spaces, and his chapter on cities serves as an excellent primer on urban planning and psychogeography, the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographic environment on the emotions.” Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE ISRAEL TEST
by George Gilder
July 2009 Vigilante Books
Israel is the crucial battlefield for Capitalism and Freedom in our time. George Gilder's global best-seller Wealth and Poverty made the moral case for capitalism. Now Gilder makes the case for Israel, portraying a conflict of barbarism and envy against civilization and creativity. Gilder reveals Israel as a leader of human civilization, technological progress, and scientific advance. Tiny Israel stands behind only the United States in its contributions to the hi-tech economy. Israel has become the world's paramount example of the blessings of freedom. Hatred of Israel, like anti-Semitism through history, arises from resentment of Jewish success. Rooted in a Marxist zero-sum-game theory of economics, this vision has fueled the anti-Semitic rantings of Hitler, Arafat, Osama, and history's other notorious haters. Faced with a contest between murderous regimes sustained by envy and Nazi ideology, and a free, prosperous, and capitalist, Israel —whose side are you on?
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A CHOICE OF ENEMIES
AMERICA CONFRONTS THE MIDDLE EAST
BY LAWRENCE FREEDMAN
July 2009, Public Affairs
It is in the Middle East that the U.S. has been made to confront its attitudes on the use of force, the role of allies, and international law. The history of the U.S. in the Middle East, then, becomes an especially revealing mirror on America's view of its role in the wider world. In this wise, objective, and illuminating history, Lawrence Freedman shows how three key events in 1978-79 helped establish the foundations for U.S. involvement in the Middle East that would last for thirty years, without offering any straightforward or bloodless exit options: the Camp David summit leading to the Israel-Egypt Treaty; the Iranian Islamic revolution leading to the Shah's departure followed by the hostage crisis; and the socialist revolution in Afghanistan, resulting in the doomed Soviet intervention. Freedman makes clear how America's strategic choices in those and subsequent crises led us to where we are today. A Choice of Enemies is essential reading for anyone concerned with the complex politics of the region or with the future of American foreign policy. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] ISRAEL IS REAL
An OBSESSIVE Quest to UNDERSTANDING the JEWISH NATION and its PEOPLE
BY RICH COHEN
July 2009, FS&G
I read several books by Rich Cohen: Tough Jews, The Avengers, Sweet and Low and even the story about his father and the Lake House. He has a thing for those tough Jews and former Jewish mobsters, but in a nostaligic way, sort of like the way Larry King thinks of himself as rubbing shoulders with former toughies, but in a good way. In this book he looks at Israel
The book open with a quote from Proverbs: It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contenious and angry [woman]. Interesting? Now you need to read the book to see why he opened with this quote. There are chapters on the Jerusalem Syndrome, The Ghetto Jew, Israel is TOO Real, the Ninth of Av, The Night Squads, The New Jew, and more. Seriously, though, this needs to be read and should be a gift to bar and bat mitvah kids. In a hilarious insight, Cohen asks why few Jews get the Jerusalem Syndrome. Mostly just Christian pilgrims get it. They come to Jerulsaem, a place where the past and future overwhelm the present, and they think they are god’s messenger or a prophet of biblical hero. Why Don’t Jews get it? Because Jews already have it! LOL
And now the cover blurb: ..... he looks to Israel. Israel Is Real is a fresh voice, a tale of people and ideas, of the background of present-day Israel. Cohen relates Israel's story as that of a place long ago destroyed and transformed into an idea . . . and which, sixty years ago, was retransformed into a place, and therefore into something that can once again be destroyed. From the medieval false prophets, to the nineteenth-century Zionists, and on to presentday figures like Ariel Sharon, Cohen tells the stories of the people obsessed with this fine line between place and idea, creation and destruction. He reclaims from obscurity a multitude of figures marginalized by history, but whose lives are key to any real understanding of Israel. Unlike dozens of books about Israel published each year, Israel Is Real won't be irrelevant a month after it comes out. Indeed, it promises to be an instant classic: a rich, strange, moving masterpiece.
Guess what? Cohen succeeds in retelling the tale of Israel in a refreshing way. This should become a new bar/bat mitzvah gift
Click the book cover to read more.








Is Europe becoming “EurABIA?” half euro and half Arabia?
[book] Reflections on the Revolution In Europe
Immigration, Islam, and the West
by Christopher Caldwell
July 2009, Doubleday
From Publishers Weekly: Caldwell frames the issue of Muslim immigration to Europe as a question of whether you can have the same Europe with different people. The author, a columnist for the Financial Times and a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, answers this question unequivocally in the negative. He offers a brief demographic analysis of the potential impact of Muslim immigration-estimating that between 20% and 32% of the populations of most European countries will be foreign-born by the middle of the century-and traces the origins of this mass immigration to a postwar labor crisis. He considers the social, political and cultural implications of this sea change, from the banlieue riots and the ban on the veil in French public schools to terrorism across Europe and the question of Turkey's accession to the E.U. Caldwell sees immigration as a particular problem for Europe because he believes Muslim immigrants retain a Muslim identity, which he defines monolithically and unsympathetically, rather than assimilating to their new homelands. This thorough, big-thinking book, which tackles its controversial subject with a conviction that is alternately powerful and narrow-minded, will likely challenge some readers while alienating others
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE LOST CELLOS OF LEV ARONSON
BY FRANCES BRENT
July 2009, Atlas
A chronicle of the life and fate of Lev Aronson, the world-renowned cellist and Holocaust survivor, and the quest for his lost cello. To a musician, his instrument is a partner, an extension of himself. Frances Brent explores the fate of Lev Aronson and the prized instruments that passed through his hands as a way of understanding what was lost and preserved during the Holocaust. Born in Germany, but raised in Russia and Latvia, Aronson traveled through the music world of Europe with great expectations and encountered its cultural collapse first hand. In the Riga Ghetto and in German concentration camps Aronson is forced to reshape his own identity in order to survive. He loses his lover but marries a young dancer who helps him rebuild his life as a musician. In the camps, he "think-sings" the concertos he knows from memory, establishing a sense of time and patience that gives him the strength to survive. After the war, he became the principal cellist in the Dallas symphony, renowned worldwide as a teacher of cello. Brent paints a moving portrait of a Jewish musician who transcended his own personal losses to transmit the culture of musical Europe to a generation of Americans. 16 black & white illustrations.
Click the book cover to read more.








I used to have a moustache
I used to look like Dore Gold
I once went to a Mimouna party where the host expected Ambassador Gold to arrive
At first, in my suit and tie, they thought I was he
I wasn't; I'm not; but they sure did treat me well for a few minutes
[face of guy][book cover] Deadly Engagement
How Western Diplomacy With Iran Is Failing to Halt Its Race for a Nuclear Weapon
by Dore Gore
July 2009, Regnery
Across the Western alliance, liberal politicians and pundits are calling for renewed diplomatic engagement with Iran, convinced that Tehran will respond to reason and halt its nuclear weapons program. Yet, according to bestselling author and former U.N. Ambassador Dore Gold, countries have repeatedly tried diplomatic talks--and utterly failed. In Deadly Engagement, Gold traces these past failures and explains why diplomacy will continue to backfire--no matter who is president or which party is in power. Deadly Engagement also shows how: Western policymakers underestimate Iran's hostility towards the U.S. and Europe; Iran employed strategic deception to hide its intentions from the West; Iran played for time while completing critical aspects of its nuclear program. As the U.S. changes administrations, Obama will inherit the problem of Iran's nuclear program. In his shocking new book, Gold shows why engaging Iran through diplomacy is not only futile, but could also be deadly. Dore Gold is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Hatred's Kingdom and The Fight for Jerusalem. From 1997 through 1999 he served as Israel's U.N. ambassador. Gold was also a foreign policy advisor and diplomatic envoy to Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. He has written numerous articles on the Middle East,which have appeared in leading publications such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Gold lives in Jerusalem with his wife and two children. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] DRAWING IN THE DUST
A NOVEL
BY ZOE KLEIN
July 2009, Pocket
Brilliant archaeologist Page Brookstone is convinced bones speak, yet none of the ancient remnants she has unearthed during her twelve years of toiling at Israel's storied battlegrounds of Megiddo has delivered the life-altering message she so craves. Which is why the story of Ibrahim and Aisha Barakat, a young Arab couple who implore Page to excavate the grounds beneath their house in Anatot, instantly intrigues her. The Barakats claim the ghosts of two lovers haunt their home, overwhelming everyone who enters with love and desire. Ignoring the scorn of her peers, Page investigates the site, where she is seduced by an undeniable force. Once Ibrahim presents Page with hard evidence of a cistern beneath his living room, she has no choice but to uncover the secret of the spirits. It is not long before Page makes miraculous discoveries -- the bones of the deeply troubled prophet Jeremiah locked in an eternal embrace with a mysterious woman named Anatiya. Buried with the entwined skeletons is a collection of Anatiya's scrolls, whose mystical words challenge centuries-old interpretations of the prophet's story and create a worldwide fervor that threatens to silence the truth about the lovers forever. Caught in a forbidden romance of her own, and under constant siege from religious zealots and ruthless critics, Page risks her life and professional reputation to deliver Anatiya's passionate message to the world. In doing so, she discovers that to preserve her future in the land of the living, she must shake off the dust of the dead and let go of her own painful past. As poignant and thought-provoking as the beloved bestsellers The Red Tent and People of the Book, Zoë Klein's historically rich debut novel is a lyrical and unexpected journey that will stay with readers forever. Click the book cover to read more.








DON'T BUY THIS BOOK FOR RETAIL!!! BUY AT DISCOUNT
[book] CHEAP
THE HIGH COST OF DISCOUNT CULTURE
BY ELLEN RUPPEL SHELL
July 2009, Pocket
From the shuttered factories of the rust belt to the look-alike strip malls of the sun belt-and almost everywhere in between-America has been transformed by its relentless fixation on low price. This pervasive yet little examined obsession is arguably the most powerful and devastating market force of our time-the engine of globalization, outsourcing, planned obsolescence, and economic instability in an increasingly unsettled world. Low price is so alluring that we may have forgotten how thoroughly we once distrusted it. Ellen Ruppel Shell traces the birth of the bargain as we know it from the Industrial Revolution to the assembly line and beyond, homing in on a number of colorful characters, such as Gene Verkauf (his name is Yiddish for "to sell"), founder of E. J. Korvette, the discount chain that helped wean customers off traditional notions of value. The rise of the chain store in post-Depression America led to the extolling of convenience over quality, and big-box retailers completed the reeducation of the American consumer by making them prize low price in the way they once prized durability and craftsmanship.
The effects of this insidious perceptual shift are vast: a blighted landscape, escalating debt (both personal and national), stagnating incomes, fraying communities, and a host of other socioeconomic ills. That's a long list of charges, and it runs counter to orthodox economics which argues that low price powers productivity by stimulating a brisk free market. But Shell marshals evidence from a wide range of fields-history, sociology, marketing, psychology, even economics itself-to upend the conventional wisdom. Cheap also unveils the fascinating and unsettling illogic that underpins our bargain-hunting reflex and explains how our deep-rooted need for bargains colors every aspect of our psyches and social lives. In this myth-shattering, closely reasoned, and exhaustively reported investigation, Shell exposes the astronomically high cost of cheap.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE DEAD OF WINTER
A NOVEL
BY RENNIE AIRTH
July 2009, Viking
The murder of a young Polish girl in wartime London puts John Madden on the trail of a ruthless hired killer On a freezing London night in 1944, Rosa Novak is brutally murdered during a blackout. The police suspect she was the victim of a random act of violence and might have dropped the case if former police investigator John Madden hadn't been the victim's employer. Madden's old colleagues at Scotland Yard are working on it, but their scant clues lead them to Europe, where the ravages of the war halt their inquiries. Madden feels he owes it to Rosa to find her killer and pushes the investigation until he stumbles upon the dead girl's connection to a murdered Parisian furrier, a member of the Resistance, and a stolen cache of diamonds. With rich psychological insights and vivid historical details, this riveting third novel in the Madden series promises to expand Airth's readership among discerning fans of crime fiction. Click the book cover to read more.








(Weaver is a Hebrew, as if the father of… )
[book] THE DEVIL‘S COMPANY
A Novel
By DAVID LISS
2009, Random House
Washington Post's Book World: "The Devil's Company," a treat for lovers of historical fiction, sees the return of Benjamin Weaver in his third exciting romp through the varied and sometimes surreal landscape of 18th-century London. Weaver is an endearing protagonist, a former pugilist and investigator for hire whom we first met in David Liss's "A Conspiracy of Paper" (1999). His underlying humanity saves him from the macho posturing that ultimately undermines the moral authority of most action-adventure heroes. And he is a Jew, which imbues him with the romance of an outsider and permits Liss to show us how anti-Semitism was expressed in the relatively unfamiliar context of Hanoverian England. The story begins simply enough, when Weaver is engaged by the enigmatic Jerome Cobb to be his agent in a card game to humiliate an old adversary. Although the game is rigged, things do not go as planned, and Weaver finds himself owing Cobb a large sum of money. Weaver is forced to work as Cobb's spy and break into the fortresslike headquarters of the British East India Company to steal documents. From this point, a plot of devilish complexity begins to unfold. Weaver is never properly informed of Cobb's ultimate purpose, and one of the pleasures of this book is a deepening sense of mystery combined with a growing awareness that the stakes are very high indeed. At the heart of events is the disappearance of a handsome but ingenious bigamist whose lost notebooks contain plans for a machine that -- if constructed -- will injure the joint interests of the East India Company and the British government. Along the way, the narrative keeps us fully engaged with phaeton and boat chases, explosions, seductions and a colorful visit to a brothel for homosexual cross-dressers. Liss's 18th-century London is one that James Bond would have felt at home in. The action is fast and full of surprises -- so many, in fact, that the suspension of disbelief is sometimes sustained by only a thread. But the narrative momentum inclines us to be indulgent -- and rightly so, because there is much to enjoy. These characters are particularly well drawn, with even the minor players given care and attention. Another virtue of "The Devil's Company" is its timely subtext, which explores the beginnings of corporate culture and globalization. Liss cleverly refers to the works of Charles Davenant and Josiah Child and their theory of free trade that "benefits all nations" -- a phrase that is echoed in the debate still raging. You'll also recognize a number of other issues that are as relevant today as they were in the 18th century. Does the promise of sharing the proceeds of economic growth justify an interim period of social inequality? At what point does international trade become a form of mercantile conquest? And should governments have a relaxed attitude toward large corporations that increase the nation's prosperity? Liss demonstrates -- with a light touch -- that the political, economic and social problems we worry about now have a venerable provenance. Moreover, the solutions chosen by those in power -- past and present -- usually favor pragmatism over justice. "Politics," says one of Liss's characters, "cannot always be about what is moral and right and good for all men and for all time. It must be about what is expedient now, and what is the lesser evil." Historical fiction is mostly smoke and mirrors. Modern writers really don't know what it was like to live in the past -- no matter how much research they do -- so the success of the enterprise depends largely on creating a convincing illusion. In this respect, the novelist's principal tool is language, which must sound authentic but never drag or test the reader's patience. Liss rises to this challenge with great skill in this accomplished, atmospheric and thoughtful novel.
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] GETTING IT THROUGH MY THICK SKULL
WHY I STAYED, WHAT I LEARNED
AND WHAT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
INVOLVED WITH SOCIOPATHS NEED TO KNOW
BY MARY JO BUTTAFUOCO
July 2009, HCI
Not a Jewish book. So why did I add this?
Because when I met Mary Jo in May 2009, she said, that she married an Italian and look what happened to her. She got shot in the face. Now she is engaged to a Jewish man. Mary Jo told me, "they know how to treat women."
Okee dokee
Mary Jo Buttafuoco's anonymous life as a suburban wife and mother in sleepy Massapequa, New York, on Long Island, ended in May 1992, when she was shot in the head on her own front porch. The 'Long Island Lolita' saga sparked a media frenzy that has not died to this day. As the years passed and Mary Jo steadfastly stood by her man while Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher continued to make headlines, one question lingered in the minds of women everywhere: Why did she stay for so long? In Getting It Through My Thick Skull, Mary Jo finally answers that question fully and convincingly. The answer is simple, yet it took almost three decades of turmoil: She was married to a sociopath. And while Mary Jo's face and story are known all over the world, she's just one of countless women who have become similarly enmeshed with a partner who wreaks utter havoc on the lives around them. Using her own experiences, Mary Jo helps readers determine if they are indeed involved with a sociopath and offers hope and help for them through her tragic and triumphant life lessons. In addition, readers will be inspired by Mary Jo's comeback: A true reclamation and re-creation of her life from the inside out.
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[book] THE NIGHT COUNTER
A NOVEL
BY ALIA YUNIS
July 2009, Shaye Areheart
Not a Jewish book. But… looks good
From Publishers Weekly In this captivating debut, Yunis takes readers on a magic carpet ride examining the lives of Fatima Abdullah and her huge dysfunctional family. Imitating Scheherazade, Fatima—in a clever twist—spins her own tales to the legendary storyteller. And she has plenty of material: Fatima is dying, and more interested in her prized possessions—including a house in Lebanon—than in reuniting her splintered offspring and her estranged husband, Ibraham. Fatima Abdullah is 85 years old and close to death. She's more than half blind, quite deaf and has trouble with arthritis, but her worst ailment is the systematic neglect of her many adult children. They call her every week or so but give her nothing except weather reports from where they live; they don't want to tell her anything about themselves, and that's probably wise. Fatima is not a very charming old lady. She's repetitive; she gets things wrong, refuses to listen and obsesses on things her kids don't care about: her mother's old letters (even though she, Fatima, never learned to read), her wedding dress (although nobody seems to want it) and especially the old family home in Lebanon, which she hasn't seen in 70 years. Which one of her children should she leave it to? (Her children, and the reader, know it would be a miracle if this house has survived the wars and bombing raids that have transpired through the years.) Fatima's family is all over the country, all with issues, including daughter Laila battling breast cancer in Detroit, openly gay actor grandson Amir in Los Angeles and pregnant great-granddaughter Aisha in Minneapolis. Gradually, Fatima learns that her true treasure isn't the house in Lebanon that she's pined after for decades, but her imperfect, loving family. Add in a bumbling neophyte FBI agent seeing al-Qaeda smoke where there is no fire and the result is a sometimes serious, sometimes funny, but always touching tale of a Middle Eastern family putting down deep roots on U.S. soil.
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[book] The Woman Who Named God
Abraham's Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths
By Charlotte Gordon
July 2009, Little Brown and Company
PW: “The story of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah stands at the threshold of the three great Western religions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam—although each appropriates the story differently. Although God's command of Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, is an oft-told story, his expulsion of his concubine, Hagar, and the son he had by her, Ishmael, is often ignored. In this sometimes provocative, though often pedestrian, rereading of the Hagar story, Gordon (Mistress Bradstreet) gives new power to a woman often left in the shadows. Focusing on Hagar's vision of God in the desert (Genesis 16:13), Gordon argues that Hagar is a prophet and a mystic who names God El-Roi, or the God of my seeing. Because of her experience of God, Gordon argues, Hagar's relationship with God is one that Abraham might envy, for God offered Hagar clear and direct guidance, while God offered Abraham no clarity or guidance about his future but simply expected Abraham to obey. Although her prose is often plodding, Gordon provides some glimpses of the power of Hagar's story for modern religions.”
As a side comment, Gordon was raised as a devoit Episcopalian and later converted to Judaism when she learned that her father was born and raised Jewish but never told her until she was 12. This initiated her deeper study of Torah and Talmud. Long before she converted, she came across the word VEYERA. What does this word mean, she asked her teacher. It means “depressed, divided” was the response. It was about Abraham. And this is how she felt, She wanted to be Jewish, but she loved the church and did not want to insult her family. It was then that she followed the model of Abraham, and chose Judaism. Gordon was drawn to Abraham and Sarah and Hagar. Hagar, she writes, named God El Roi … He Who See Me… Hagar has a personal relationship with God, an emotional exchange, and not one based on a contract. . Click the book cover to read more.








I thought it said Yiddish Nachos.. And almost tagged it as a cookbook…
[book] YIDDISH DRASHOS AND WRITING
BY RABBI JOSEPH B. SOLOVEITCHIK
July 2009, KTAV
Yiddish was for many years the primary medium in which Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik gave his shiurim and drashos. This volume consists of drashos, speeches, and essays, written by the Rav in Yiddish between 1949 and 1958, and prepared for publication by David E. Fishman. Included are ten drashos and two speeches which have been preserved in the Rav's handwritten manuscript, and which are published in their original language for the first time. The volume also contains a series of articles by the Rav on Jewish religious values and contemporary problems of Judaism, which he published in the Yiddish newspaper Tog-Morgn Zhurnal. As Julius Berman writes in his preface, "when we open up this volume, […] those who know Yiddish will come as close as is humanly possibly to capture the experience of sitting in his presence and listening to his brilliant expositions of halakha and aggadah, drush and makhshava".
Arnold Lustiger, PhD, wrote: “…I have published two books containing English summaries of the Rav's oral discourses, drashos that were originally presented in Yiddish. My goal was not only to transmit the substance, but the form as well - to do my best to reproduce the Rav's cadences. To a large extent, I did not succeed. One reason is that a pure transcription of any oral lecture is choppy and reads terribly – of necessity any oral lecture has to be rewritten to be readable. Secondly, English is not Yiddish – nuances of language are not readily transmitted.
In his hesped for the Rav, Rabbi Mordechai Willig aptly observed that when the Rav spoke in Yiddish, his lecture was poetry. If so, then Dr. David Fishman, editor of Drashos un Ksovim, has given us a book of poetry. The two limitations that I faced in writing my summaries are obviated here. In most of the book, he worked directly from transcripts written by the Rav himself, and faithfully reproduced them in their original language. In the remainder, he reproduced articles that the Rav himself wrote for the Yiddish newspaper Der Tog-Morgen Zhurnal from November 1954- January 1955. Julius Berman, in his preface to this book, writes that the reader “will come as close to humanly possible to capture the experience of sitting in [the Rav’s] presence and listening to his brilliant expositions...” I can personally attest that after having heard hundreds of tapes of the Rav in Yiddish, I could seemingly hear the Rav’s voice while reading this book. Interspersed through the book, Fishman reproduces a few pages of the Rav's handwritten transcripts, written in long hand. While the Rav's Yiddish may be poetry, his handwriting definitely is not art. I could not decipher ninety percent of the material on any of these pages. The efforts of Dr. Fishman and his assistants in reproducing the material seem just short of superhuman. While ellipses appear on a number of pages where even they could not make out the words, never was the continuity of the presentation compromised. And it is this continuity, the seamless transition from halacha to homiletics, that is the signature of the Rav's drashos in general. Dr. Fishman’s introduction contains some surprising revelations regarding the Rav’s relationship with secular Yiddishists. The Rav presented a number of lectures to the Workmen’s Circle (Arbeter-Ring) in the 1940’s, one of which, on the topic of tzedakah, appears in this book. The Rav also gave a public lecture in Yiddish for YIVO in 1944. …”
See his full review on http://www.ktav.com/product_info.php?products_id=2304
Click the book cover to read more.








AUGUST 2009 BOOKS

The secrets of women
The secrets of life
The secrets of love
And of purity...
[book] THE HOUSE OF SECRETS
THE HIDDEN WORLD OF THE MIKVEH
BY VARDA POLAK-SAHM
August 2009, Beacon Press
Varda is a seventh generation Jerusalemite and a recognized author of folklore.
Immersion in the mikveh - the ritual bath based on Jewish laws of purity - is the cornerstone of Orthodox family life. Jewish women are commanded by their religion to immerse in the mikveh before marriage, and to do so every month after their menstrual cycle before sexual relations with their husbands may resume.
Varda Polak-Sahm considers herself a secular person. But in Israel, as a Jew, you need to be married by the Orthodox rabbinate only, and to be married, you must have a certificate that proves you went to the mikvah. Varda viewed the mikveh as an intrusion of the religious establishment into the private domain. Yet she respected the traditions of her Sephardic family, who passionately believed in the sanctity and importance of the immersion ceremony before one's wedding. She had her visit before her first marriage (she was already pregnant but no one knew). She had an epiphany there. On the eve of her second marriage, she reluctantly returned to the same mikveh she had entered as a young bride years before. Initially she feared that her pre-marital pregnancy would be revealed that first time. She clung to her robe as her mother, aunts, female cousins and future female in-laws stood behind her at the mikveh. They were impatient. She was astonished by an immersion experience that felt hauntingly intimate and profound, like death and rebirth. The waters did not go "ploop ploop ploop" and announce that she was in her first tri-mester and not a virgin.

On her second visit, she went alone. The women there took pity on her. Perhaps she was an orphan bride. The revelatory nature of her experience, so at odds with her deep reservations about Judaism's purity laws, spurred Polak-Sahm to pursue a searching and wide-ranging investigation into what the mikveh is all about. As she discovered, despite the strict Orthodox roots of the practice, many women from all streams of Judaism use the mikveh, often for personal reasons that have more to do with faith than religion. The resultant narrative provides a richly nuanced, uncensored look at an experience that is for some holy and for others coercive. The House of Secrets gives voice to women from all branches of Judaism as they open up about what immersion means to them; how it fits in with their attitudes toward religion; its effect on their marriages and families as well as on their sexual, physical, and spiritual self-perception and on their relationship with God. Already widely praised in Israel, this English translation provides a firsthand account of the power of ritual immersion for the growing numbers of women reclaiming this practice.
The Jerusalem Post called it a "fascinating book."
Blu Greenberg said, "This work is totally honest and full of surprises.... Refreshingly, this writing is neither a Pollyanna version of the laws of family purity not a cheap shot at them."
Click the book cover to read more.








AND NOW FOR A MADOFF CORNER

And a book that will be famous for 15 minutes and then fade away:
[book] Madoff's Other Secret
Love, Money, Bernie, and Me
by Sheryl Weinstein
August 2009, St Martin‘s Press
Sheryl Weinstein, 60, former CFO of Hadassah, a member of their investment committee, a controller at Lincoln Center, and a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania has seen Bernie Madoff up close and personal for more than two decades.
Not only did she invest her family’s assets with Madoff, but she carried on a sexual affair with him for 20 years.
Did she send Hadassah’s endowment to his fund? Well, they did not allocate new funds to Madoff until after she left their employ, according to the book.
Madoff was groomed well, a big Jewish macher, a biggie on Wall Street, yet a sinister criminal who wiped out the life savings of so many people and institutions in a Ponzi scheme. The book is quite grotesque, since it also discusses Madoff’s penis which Weinstein, who was more accustomed to her husband and men with much larger penises (I mean, she did go to Penn, so what do you expect?), was shocked when she saw that Madoff’s erect penis was so small. Well, she writes, at least oral sex was easier.
Weinstein, who has been married for 37 years, who says she was Madoff’s mistress for 20 years, mentions his nervous blinking and his penis size, because she thinks that is what affected his ego and psyche. Oh really? I guess she got a clinical psych degree from Wharton as well?
Note: Mr. Madoff’s lawyer denies that Mr. Madoff had an affair with the book’s author
Should you buy this book and reward her? I mean, she also did get screwed by Madoff and lose her family’s assets, but it isn’t worth reading and I just told you all you need to know about this book.







[book] TOO GOOD TO BE TUE
THE RISE AND FALL OF BERNIE MADOFF
BY ERIN ARVELUND
August 2009, Portfolio
Despite all the headlines about Bernard Madoff, who pleaded guilty to running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, he is still shrouded in mystery. Why (and when) did he turn his legitimate business into a massive fraud? How did he fool so many smart investors for so long? Who among his family and employees knew the truth? The best person to answer these questions—and tell the full story of Madoff's rise and fall—is Erin Arvedlund. In early 2001, she was suspicious of the amazing returns of Madoff's hedge fund, which no one could explain. Her article in Barron's, based on more than one hundred interviews, could have prevented a lot of misery, had the SEC followed up. But almost no one was willing to believe anything bad about "Uncle Bernie"—so nice, so humble, so generous to charities. As Arvedlund shows, Madoff was no ordinary liar, but a master of the type of lies people really wanted to believe. He kept his clients at a distance and allowed handsomely paid friends to solicit new ones for him; playing hard to get created an irresistible mystique. Now, Arvedlund tackles the tough questions that are still unanswered in the wake of Madoff's collapse:
Did he start off as a legitimate money manager or was he a fraud from the beginning? Were there indications of larceny at the very start of his career?
Why did Madoff's biggest supporters within the industry, such as Walter Noel of Fairfield Greenwich and Ezra Merkin of Gabriel Capital, ignore the warning signs that were so apparent?
Did they choose to remain ignorant as long as their commissions rolled in?
Why did SEC investigations fail to catch Madoff's Ponzi scheme even though several people had voiced concerns about his operation?
Who else helped Madoff carry out his scam? His family and close associates have denied any involvement, but was it possible for one man to engineer a heist of such scope?
With her keen investigative eye, Arvedlund presents a sweeping narrative of Madoff's career—from his youth in Queens, New York, to his early days working for his father-in-law, to his time as chairman of the NASDAQ exchange, and finally to infamy as the world's most notorious swindler. She offers a riveting glimpse of Madoff the man—an indifferent student with little ambition who transformed himself into a star with a talent for trading, a reputation for innovation, and an unmistakably erratic nature. Readers will be fascinated by Arvedlund's portrayal of Madoff, his empire, and all those who never considered that he might be too good to be true.








MADOFF MADE OFF WITH THEIR MONEY…
[book] MADOFF WITH THE MONEY
BY JERRY OPPENHEIMER
August 2009, Wiley
An intriguing look at Bernie Madoff the man, and his scam. This book is a disturbing portrait of Bernie Madoff based on dozens of exclusive, news-making interviews. From the values Madoff was taught growing up in the working class town of Laurelton, Queens to his high-life on Wall Street and the super-rich enclaves of Palm Beach and the French Riviera, the reader sees Madoff work his way up the social and economic ladder, and eventually scams his trusting clients in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Through Oppenheimer's in-depth reporting, you'll discover new revelations in this startling case, and become familiar with the trusting victims-ranging from non-profit Jewish charities to the likes of seemingly sophisticated individuals such as actress Jane Fonda who would "like to shake Madoff until his teeth fall out," the scion of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire who lost a bundle and was forced to rent out rooms in his house, and New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg. There's even Madoff's own sister-in-law and talk show host Larry King, who apparently didn't ask the right questions when he invested. All lost their much-needed life savings, while others saw fortunes small and large evaporate in the greedy financial operations of one of history's all-time charlatans.
A snippet: “We thought he was a god; we trusted everything in his hands," said Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate whose foundation lost $15 million when Madoff's scheme collapsed. In a panel discussion in Manhattan, Wiesel called Madoff a "liar" and a "swindler" and a "scoundrel," but explained that "there was a myth that he created around him, that everything was so special, so unique, that it had to be secret. It was like a mystical mythology that nobody could understand."
Madoff carefully nurtured that mythology, his "velvet rope" image: Not just anyone could invest with him. "Bernie was the Studio 54 of money managers," Oppenheimer quips. He constantly turned down eager investors. The fund was closed, he'd say, or he would insist on a $2 million minimum.
….Investors, who included relatives and employees, routinely ignored the red flags that in hindsight seem so evident: Madoff's insistence that no one disclose their business relationship with him; his less-than-top-notch accounting firm, a one-man operation working out of a strip mall 45 minutes outside New York; and most of all, those insane returns, consistently reaching double digits and sometimes hitting 18 to 20 percent, year after year. The regularity of those bogus returns made Madoff seem like a safe investment; some called him the "Jewish T-bill."“
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[book] BETAYAL
THE LIFE AND LIES OF BERNIE MADOFF
BY ANDREW KIRTZMAN
August 2009, Dutton
When Bernie Madoff was a sophomore in high school, he stood up in English class and lied. Madoff and his classmates were each supposed to read a book and make an oral book report. Bernie never read the book. When the teacher called on him, Bernie announced that he would cover "Hunting and Fishing" by Peter Gunn and proceeded to lie and give a detailed account of the nonexistent book. When asked to show the class the book, Madoff turned his deceit into a virtue. He said he had already returned it to the library. What a saint.
Madoff's English teacher may have been duped (although some say the teacher knew it was a lie), but his fellow students knew he was lying. "After class," Kirtzman writes, Bernie's pals "all congratulated him." "Nobody could really get mad at Bernie," one friend recalled. "His put-on persona carried him through."
Kirtzman also investigates whether Madoff’s parents ran an illegal stock trading operation in their living room when he was growing up
This book is about the man who realized that he could have everything he wanted if he simply lied to the people who trusted him the most. Author Andrew Kirtzman tracked down more than a hundred people from Madoff's past, from the first girl he ever kissed to family members who played in his house as children; from his secretaries to his drivers; from traders at his company to his inner circle of friends. He pored through thousands of pages of court records; private e-mails; phone-conversation transcripts; and census, military, and immigration records. The result is a fascinating story about the rise of a deeply immoral man.
Kirtzman describes Madoff's feelings of inferiority and humiliation as a child, and his obsession with making money to prove himself worthy as he grew older. He reveals Madoff's construction of a criminal enterprise at a young age, long before he's ever claimed it began. He paints a picture of a loving yet strange family that ran a multibillion-dollar corporation like a small family restaurant. He offers an inside look at life within the company and the characters who worked on the infamous seventeenth floor. He reveals the details of an underground flow of cash that no one has known about until now. And he chronicles the desperate moments leading up to Madoff's fall, from the perspective of the people who spent the last hours with him before his house of cards collapsed. Click the book cover to read more.








From the author of PLAN B and HOW TO TALK TO A WIDOWER
Lisa Schwarzbaum, writing in EW, said, "I urge with all my heart and kishkes, Read This One! Read and weep with laughter"
[book] THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU
A NOVEL
BY JONATHAN TROPPER
August 2009, Dutton
From Publishers Weekly: Tropper returns with a snappy and heartfelt family drama/belated coming-of-age story. Judd Foxman's wife, Jen, has left him for his boss, a Howard Stern-like radio personality, but it is the death of his father and the week of sitting shivah with his enjoyably dysfunctional family that motivates him. Jen's announcement of her pregnancy-doubly tragic because of a previous miscarriage-is followed by the dramas of Judd's siblings: his sister, Wendy, is stuck in an emotionless marriage; brother Paul-always Judd's defender-and his wife struggle with infertility; and the charming youngest, Phillip, attempts a grown-up relationship that only highlights his rakishness. Presided over by their mother, a celebrated parenting expert despite her children's difficulties, the mourning period brings each of the family members to unexpected epiphanies about their own lives and each other. The family's interactions are sharp, raw and often laugh-out-loud funny, and Judd's narration is unflinching, occasionally lewd and very keen. Tropper strikes an excellent balance between the family history and its present-day fallout, proving his ability to create touchingly human characters and a deliciously page-turning story. Click the book cover to read more.








People say the best old Star Trek films were the even ones, 2, 4, and 6... And Meyer was involved in only 2, 4, and 6
[book] The View From the Bridge
Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood
by Nicholas Meyer
August 2009, Viking
The View from the Bridge is Nicholas Meyer's enormously entertaining account of his involvement with the Star Trek films: STII: The Wrath of Khan, STIV: The Voyage Home, and STVI: The Undiscovered Country, as well as his illustrious career in the movie business. The man best known for bringing together Sherlock Holmes and Sigmund Freud in The Seven Per-Cent Solution had ironically never been interested in Star Trek until he was brought on board to save the film series. Meyer, an Iowa writing program grad, shares how he created the script for The Wrath of Khan, the most revered Star Trek film of all, in twelve days-only to have William Shatner proclaim he hated it. He reveals the death threats he received when word got out that Spock would be killed, and finally answers the long-pondered question of whether Khan's chiseled chest is truly that of Ricardo Montalban. Meyer's reminiscences on everyone from Gene Roddenberry to Laurence Olivier will appeal not only to the countless legions of Trekkies, but to anyone fascinated by the inner workings of Hollywood.








[book] THE RABBI AND THE TWENTY-NINE WITCHES
BY MARILYN HIRSH
August 2009, Cavendish
From the late Hirsh (she passed away in 1988), this book is back in print. Once a month, when the moon is full, twenty-nine of the meanest, scariest, ugliest, wickedest witches that ever lived come out of their cave to terrify the villagers . . . until one day the wise rabbi invents a plan to rid his village of those wicked witches forever. The rabbi's clever plan works--with hilarious results! It seems a bit anti witch though. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE LAST EMBER
A NOVEL
BY DANIEL LEVIN
August 2009, Riverhead
From Booklist: Levin's religious and archaeological thriller has all the elements needed to appeal to Da Vinci Code fans: long-buried secrets, hidden puzzles based on ancient religious texts, and a race around the Mediterranean. Lawyer and former classics scholar Jonathan and UNESCO antiquities expert Emili chase a mysterious man known only as Salah al-din, who has been leading an illegal excavation under the Temple Mount and has now appeared in Rome. Jonathan and Emili's adventures start in the hidden tunnels under the Coliseum and continue across the Roman Forum into the Jewish ghetto and eventually to Jerusalem. Their fast-paced and exciting quest repeatedly finds them seeking clues in ancient maps and manuscripts, and then going underground to follow the trail. Levin gives readers plenty of background; even those not familiar with Roman and Judaic history and archaeology will be able to follow along easily. With its strong Roman atmosphere, this dramatic and complex debut novel will please fans of both European crime fiction and religious thrillers. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A DIFFERENT KID OF COURAGE
Gretel's Story
by Gretel Wachtel with Claudia Strachan
August 2009,
A Different Kind of Courage" is the spellbinding account by an attractive and feisty young woman who witnessed personally Hitler's racist spite at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and had to endure the shock of the disappearance of her best friend and her family during Kristallnact, the night of atrocities against the Jews. She allied herself to the German resistance fighters, passing on secrets learnt from her work on the Enigma decoding machines, and she received all the conflicting messages coming in on the day of the attempted assassination of Hitler in 1944 by Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators, many of whom she knew personally. Gretel stayed in Hamburg throughout the war, suffering the constant bombing of the city by the Allies, helping the local Catholic priest to protect those being hunted by the SS, and was almost exposed by a 'house spy', when hiding her Jewish doctor in the coal cellar of her own house. Arrested finally by the Gestapo in 1945 and taken to an internment camp, she was liberated by the British Army. When the Allies march towards Hamburg, the camp is dissolved and Gretel returns home. She falls in love with a handsome British officer, living life as best as she can in the ruins of Hamburg, until he asks her to come to England and marry him. Destined to be a classic in the tradition of "The Diary of Anne Frank", "A Different Kind of Courage" is a story of indomitable spirit and determination that will inspire and enthrall. Gretel Wachtel was born in Germany 1915 and was 24 years old when the Second World War broke out. She moved to England in 1945, where she remained until her death in 2005. Claudia Strachan was born in Germany and moved to England in 1993. After meeting Gretel, who shared with her stories about her time in Hamburg during the Second World War, she spent the next nine years researching the historical background of Gretel's story.
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[book] RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH
A MEMOIR
BY DANNY EVANS
August 2009, Penguin
Product Description In his early thirties, Danny Evans had a smokin' hot wife, a new baby boy, and the highest paying job he'd ever had. Then, in the span of one week, a sudden layoff and the events of 9/11 plunged Evans into a crushing depression. At turns poignant and uproarious, Rage Against the Meshugenah vividly traces Evans' journey through the minefield of mental illness from a modern man's point-of-view, including his no-holds-barred confrontations with infuriating sexual side effects, self-medication with beer and porn, and a therapist named Neil Diamond. Danny Evans is here to tell readers the truth about depression, in his own unique style. Skillfully combining self-deprecating humor, absurdly ridiculous insights, and astute pop culture references, Evans reveals his universal struggle to make himself feel happy in a world gone mad, and he's willing to let readers in on his rollercoaster ride of laugher, tears and a whole lot of meshugenah. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Jewish Husband
(Paperback)
by Lia Levi. Antony Shugaar(Translator from Italian)
August 2009, Europa
It is 1938 and fascist Italy has imposed its infamous race laws. A young Jewish professor entertains a tormented passion for the beautiful and enigmatic Sonia. She is everything that he is not: the privileged daughter of a family that is wealthy, prominent, and above all, gentile. He wins her affections, but the price is great. He must deny his origins in order to enter that jealously guarded circle of intimates composed of her family and their friends. It is a world that has no use for him and forces him into humiliating and painful compromises. Winner of the Moravia Prize for fiction, The Jewish Husband is a bittersweet story of passion and hatred, cruelty and oppression. It is an account of a country and a time about which too little has been written, and the terrible consequences of that periodÂ's race laws. Above all, however, it is a tender love story set at a time in which the world and its inhabitants appeared to have completely lost their ability to show tenderness. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Nixon and Israel
Forging a Conservative Partnership
(S U N Y Series in Israeli Studies)
BY NOAM KOCHAVI
August 2009, SUNY
Dr. Kochavi (Toronto, PhD) teaches in the Department of International Relations at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research focus is International History; History and Historiography of American Foreign Relations; the History of U.S.-China and U.S.-Israeli relations, and he teaches a course in China in the International Arena; Analyzing U.S. Foreign Policy; U.S.-China Relations During the 20th Century; and International Relations in the 20th Century. In this book he reviews foreign policy with Israel during the Nixon and Kissinger administration. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Muting Israeli Democracy
How Media and Cultural Policy Undermine Free Expression
BY Amit M. Schejter
August 2009, ILLINOIS
The result of years of critical analysis of Israeli media law, this book argues that the laws governing Israeli electronic media are structured to limit the boundaries of public discourse. Amit M. Schejter posits the theory of a 'mute democracy,' one in which the media are designed to provide a platform for some voices to be heard over others. While Israel's institutions may be democratic, and while the effect of these policies may be limited, this book contends that free speech in Israel is institutionally muted to ensure the continued domination of the Jewish majority and its preferred interpretation of what Israel means as a Jewish-democratic state. Analyzing a wide range of legal documents recorded in Israel from 1961 to 2007, "Muting Israeli Democracy" demonstrates in scrupulous detail how law and policy are used to promote the hegemonic national culture through the constraints and obligations set on electronic media
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[book] THE PUZZLE KING
A novel
By Betsy Carter
August 2009, Algonquin
On a gray morning in 1936, Flora Phelps stands in line at the American consulate in Stuttgart, Germany. She carries a gift for the consul, whom she will bribe in order to help her family get out of Hitler's Germany. This is the story of unlikely heroes, the lively, beautiful Flora and her husband, the brooding, studious Simon, two Jewish immigrants who were each sent to America by their families to find better lives. An improbable match, they meet in New York City and fall in love. Simon-inventor of the jigsaw puzzle-eventually makes his fortune. Now wealthy, but still outsiders, Flora and Simon become obsessed with rescuing the loved ones they left behind in Europe whose fates are determined by growing anti-Semitism on both sides of the Atlantic. Inspired by her family's legends, Betsy Carter weaves a memorable tale. In the tradition of Suite Française or Amy Bloom's Away, she explores a fascinating moment in history and creates a cast of characters who endure with dignity, grace, and hope for the future.
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[book] EVEN HIGHER
A ROSH HASHANAH STORY BY I. L. PERETZ
ADAPTED BY ERIC A. KIMMEL
August 2009, Holiday House
Grades 1 - 3.
Every year, just before Rosh Hashanah, the rabbi of Nemirov disappears. The villagers are certain their rabbi flies up to heaven to speak with God before the fate of every soul is decided for the coming year. But a skeptical Litvak scoffs at the villagers, claiming miracles cannot happen, and secretly follows the rabbi early one morning. What he witnesses--an enormous act of human compassion--changes his heart. Readers will be taken to a higher place in this celebration of the power of miracles.
Prolific children's author, Kimmel, scores another winner with this story that is based on a story by I. L. Peretz (1852-1915), titled "Oyb Nit Nogh Hekher", or "If Not Higher." In the original story, the miracle is that there are no miracles. You can save the world simply by being kind to others. In Kimmel's retelling of the story, we find ourselves in the colorful, simple country village of Nemirov. No one could find the rabbi, not among the hens, the homes, the pushcarts, or the shul before Rosh Hashanah. The villagers are convinced that their rabbi goes to heaven. It is Rosh Hashanh when God open the Book of Life. Obviously, the rabbi goes to heaven to plead the case of forgiveness for the villagers before God. Well, it so happens that a Litvak came to town. A religious man, of course, but a skeptic, since he was a Litvak. (note: Litvaks are from Lithuania. Nemirov is in the Ukraine today, and was the birthplace of Reb Noson the disciple of Nahman and Bratslav, and at one time, part of the Austro Hungarian empire, but i digress) He will prove the villagers wrong. He will follow the rabbi in secret and see where he disappears to. He follows the rabbi. The rabbi dresses as a peasant and heads to the forest. He cuts a load of wood and heads to the village to give it to an old, sickly woman. He poses as Vasilly the wood cutter. He gets this sickly woman to live life. Ah ha... the Litvak realized, the rabbi did go to heaven,... or maybe even higher
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[book] THE GRAND MOSQUE OF PARIS
A STORY OF HOW MUSLIM RESCUED JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST
BY KAREN GRAY RUELLE AND DEBORAH DURLAND DESAUX
August 2009, Holiday House
Ages 8 and up.
When the Nazis occupied Paris, no Jew was safe from arrest and deportation. Few Parisians were willing to risk their own lives to help. Yet during that perilous time, many Jews found refuge in an unlikely place--the sprawling complex of the Grand Mosque of Paris. Not just a place of worship but a community center, this hive of activity was an ideal temporary hiding place for escaped prisoners of war and Jews of all ages, especially children. Beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] PUPPET
A NOVEL
BY EVA WISEMAN
2009, Tundra
Ages 9 - 12 and up.
From School Library Journal: Grade 5-9 - The theme of anti-Semitism is at the center of this novel set during the Hungarian blood libel trial in 1883. Poverty, despair, and grueling physical work make up the lives of the adults and children in the village of Tisza-Eszlar, where the Jewish and Christian communities are segregated yet intertwined in daily business. Julie, a Christian teen, works as a servant in the local jailhouse and is concerned about her friend Esther, a poorly treated maid. When she disappears, her crazed mother claims that the rabbi and the kosher butcher killed her daughter for her blood to make matzoh for the upcoming Passover holiday. The ills of religious superstition, prejudice, and false accusations are told from a first-person perspective through Julie. Witnesses are produced, including Morris Scharf, the young son of the accused rabbi. Morris, like a puppet, is manipulated and coerced into falsely making claims of watching the alleged crime, until Esther's drowned body is discovered in the village's river with no physical evidence of her death by a slaughterer's knife. Taking her cues from the actual trial transcripts, Wiseman develops a dialogue-driven account ranging from emotional hysteria to serene justice. And while the crux of this event revolves around the trial, Julie's personal struggle with her own abusive father detracts from the realistic drama unfolding for the real victims in the case. Still this is a plausible retelling of a little-known episode in the long history of anti-Semitism
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SEE ALSO:
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[book] THE APPLE
A NOVEL
BY PENELOPE HOLT
August 2009, YorkHousePress.com
Okay. Let me get this straight. Herman Rosenblat told Oprah a tale of love in a concentration camp. He became a star. He wrote a book about it, about how a girl brought him an apple ad saved him and how after the war they met again, married, and lived happily ever after. But it was a fraud and caused monetary losses and embarrassments. Now, Penelope Holt has written a fictional novel based on the fictional story that was put across as a factual story. The Apple, first tells the story of a man's struggle to survive the camps and the girl he says helped him by tossing apples over the fence. It then uncovers the story behind the story: Why did an old man weave real love with a dream of love into an account that touched and inspired many, but also ignited a firestorm of criticism? Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Secret Shofar of Barcelona
by Jacqueline Dembar Greene and Douglas Chayka (Illustrator)
August 2009, Kar Ben
Ages 4 - 8. Musician Don Fernando longs to heat the sounds of the shofar on the High Holidays in Inquisition Spain. So when he is asked to perform a symphony celebrating the new workd, he and his son Rafael devise a daring plan to usher in the Jewish New Year in plain sight of the Spanish nobility. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Zvuvi's Israel
by Tami Lehman-Wilzig and Ksenia Topaz (Illustrator)
2009, Kar Ben
Ages 4 - 8. Can you find Zvuvi? On one page the busy fly is hiding somewhere in the Soreq Cave outside of Jewusalem. With clever text and pictures, Zvuvi takes young readers on a tour of Israel, buzzing through cities and ancient ruins and nature preserves from the North to the South. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Man Who Flies With Birds
by Carole G. Vogel and Yossi Leshem
2009, Kar Ben
Ages 10+. When Israeli Air Force jets collide with birds in the air, Yossi Leshem, an ornithologist finds a remarkable way to save the jets, the birds, and the pilots, and begins a peace program to bring the children of the Middle East together to help. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] Boker Tov!
Good Morning!
by Joe Black
2009, Kar Ben
Ages 3-8. Good Morning. Boker Tov! Join eager toddlers as they welcome a new day with smiles and energy. A colorful book comes with a CD of morning songs. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] ALEF-BET YOGA FOR KIDS
BY RUTH GOLDEN
2009, Kar Ben
Ages 3 - 8. Kids can learn the HEBREW ALEF BET (ALPHA BETA) through Yoga positions. Using traditional and modified yaga poses, kids create the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and stretch and strengthen themselves at the same time. Hebrew school will never be more fun? Bagels Blocks and Alef Bet Yoga??
Review: "Sneaking into Josh's backpack, the curious spider in this long-running series experiences his first day at his Jewish school. He hears the story of Noah's Ark, learns about being kind to animals, and observes the children painting, building with blocks, and enjoying a snack. When the youngsters return to the classroom after playing outside, Sammy is discovered. Their first instinct is to step on him, but Josh reminds them about their obligation to be kind to all creatures. This book is a departure from the previous "Sammy" titles in that Josh Shapiro actually sees the spider in this one. The bright cut-paper illustrations help to depict a typical school day. A welcome addition where the earlier titles are popular."
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[book] HANUKKAH AROUND THE WORLD
By Tami Lehman-Wilzig and Vicki Wehrman (Illust)
2009, Kar Ben
Ages 8 - 11. From Italy to the USA to Tunisia to Uzbekistan to in between and beyond, learn how Hanukkah is celebrated. From latkes to precipizi to jelly donuts to fried burmelos (it just isnt Hanukkah with a fried burmelos). Click the book cover to read more.










[book] MENORAH UNDER THE SEA
By Esther Susan Heller
2009, Kar Ben
Ages 5 to 8.5. Diving for sea urchins at the bottom of the cold sea, David Ginsburg, a marine biologist, brings Hanukkah to Antarctica with a very unusual celebration. (Pengiun Gadol Haya Po, a big penguin happened here??) Click the book cover to read more.










[book] WHY THIS WORLD
A BIOGRAPHY OF CLARICE LISPECTOR
BY BENJAMIN MOSER
August 2009, Oxford University Press
That rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf,
Clarice Lispector is one of the most popular but least understood of Latin American writers.
Now, after years of research on three continents, drawing on previously unknown manuscripts and dozens of interviews, Benjamin Moser demonstrates how Lispector's art was directly connected to her turbulent life. Born amidst the horrors of post-World War I Ukraine (chechelnick), her family moved to Brazil when she was only 2 months old. Clarice's beauty, genius, and eccentricity intrigued Brazil virtually from her adolescence. Communists said she was alienated, cerebral, initmist, and tedious, and worse a foreigner. A Foreigner? She arrived in brazil at 2 months old? She had a lisp, or actually, she spoke like her Yiddish speaking parents spoke Portuguese.
Did I mention that she got fired for being a Jew in 1973?
Why This World tells how this precocious girl, through long exile abroad and difficult personal struggles, matured into a great writer, and asserts, for the first time, the deep roots in the Jewish mystical tradition that make her both the heir to Kafka and the unlikely author of "perhaps the greatest spiritual autobiography of the twentieth century." From Ukraine to Recife, from Naples and Berne to Washington and Rio de Janeiro, Why This World shows how Clarice Lispector transformed one woman's struggles into a universally resonant art. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] GENIUS OF COMMON SENSE
JANE NACOBS AND THE STORY OF
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES
2009, Godine
Three books, all written by women in the early 1960s, changed the way we looked at the world and ourselves: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, and Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities. All three books created revolutions in their respective spheres of influence, and nothing affected city planning and architecture or the way we think about how life is lived in densely packed urban centers more than Jane Jacobs's far-sighted polemic. This was an era when the urban renewal movement was at its most aggressive, and Jacobs correctly perceived that the new structures that were being built to replace the aging housing of our older cities were often far worse, in both their impact on society and their architectural sterility, than what urban planners identified as the problem. She was ridiculed and pilloried by the establishment, but her ideas quickly took hold, and no one ever looked at what made for livable and viable neighborhoods the same way again. Here is the first book for young people about this heroine of common sense, a woman who never attended college but whose observations, determination, and independent spirit led her to far different conclusions than those of the academics who surrounded her. Illustrated with almost a hundred images, including a great number of photos never before published, this story of a remarkable woman will introduce her ideas and her life to young readers, many of whom have grown up in neighborhoods that were saved by her insights. It will inspire young people and readers of all ages and demonstrate that we learn vital life lessons from observing and thinking, and not just accepting what passes as conventional wisdom. ? Click the book cover to read more.








[book] EXILES
A NOVEL
BY ELLIOT KRIEGER
June 2009,
O. Henry prize–winner Krieger follows in his compelling debut an American college student and Vietnam War dissenter who absconds to Sweden for asylum. Arriving in war-neutral Uppsala, Lenny Spiegel is welcomed into the American Resisters Movement, a group of spirited draft dodgers, AWOL soldiers and antiviolence protesters led by dynamic U.S. Army defector Aaronson, who looks so much like Spiegel that Spiegel was picked up in the states for a crime Aaronson committed. Now, reunited in northern Europe, Spiegel gets deeper into trouble after loaning Aaronson his passport to assist other defectors through Denmark. Stuck in Uppsala with no identification, Spiegel panics when he learns that Aaronson had other plans all along and is now in West Germany with no plans to return. Suspicions mount, friends emerge as duplicitous allies, and Spiegel yearns to return home to America while accusations of espionage and abdication surface against the exile leader. The plot is jumpy at the onset, but once Krieger kicks the narrative into high gear, a remarkable character study emerges of Spiegel and his quest for identity and deliverance. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] RASHI
(Jewish Encounters)
by Elie Wiesel
August 2009, Schocken
From Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, comes a magical book that introduces us to the towering figure of Rashi-Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki-the great biblical and Talmudic commentator of the Middle Ages. Wiesel brilliantly evokes the world of medieval European Jewry, a world of profound scholars and closed communities ravaged by outbursts of anti-Semitism and decimated by the Crusades. The incomparable scholar Rashi, whose phrase-by-phrase explication of the oral law has been included in every printing of the Talmud since the fifteenth century, was also a spiritual and religious leader: His perspective, encompassing both the mundane and the profound, is timeless. Wiesel's Rashi is a heartbroken witness to the suffering of his people, and through his responses to major religious questions of the day we see still another side of this greatest of all interpreters of the sacred writings.
Both beginners and advanced students of the Bible rely on Rashi's groundbreaking commentary for simple text explanations and Midrashic interpretations. Wiesel, a descendant of Rashi, proves an incomparable guide who enables us to appreciate both the lucidity of Rashi's writings and the milieu in which they were formed.
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[book] THE INVISIBLE KINGDOM
From the Tips of Our Fingers to the Tops of Our Trash, Inside the Curious World of Microbes
BY IDAN BEN-BARAK
August 2009, Basic
With the wit of Bill Bryson and the spirit of Natalie Angier, Idan Ben- Barak takes us on a fantastic voyage into the infinitesimal world of microbiology. In The Invisible Kingdom, he introduces us to the amazing lives and workings of genes, proteins, bacteria, and viruses, and the ways in which they interact to shape life on Earth. Exploring everything from radioactive waste and insect sex-change operations to the inner workings of antibiotics, Ben-Barak reveals how important these tiny critters are to all of us. He brings this largely unseen world to life with refreshing analogies and metaphors: cells “pop like bubbles” and bacteria “dream of rain.” On the journey, we learn about the teamwork required to rot human teeth, the origins of diseases, what really goes on inside cow stomachs, and the ways in which microbes benefit human life. An infectious and informative scientific exploration, The Invisible Kingdom will change the way we see the world around us. Idan Ben-Barak holds degrees in medical science and microbiology from the Hadassah School of Medicine. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] EVERY PATIENT TELLS A STORY
MEDICAL MYSTERIES AND THE ART OF DIAGNOSIS
BY LISA SANDERS, M.D. (The New York Times Magazine columnist)
August 2009, Broadway Books
PW: In her first book, internist and New York Times columnist Sanders discusses how doctors deal with diagnostic dilemmas. Unlike Berton Roueché in his books of medical puzzles, Sanders not only collects difficult cases, she reflects on what each means for both patient and struggling physician. A man arrives at the hospital, delirious, his kidneys failing. Batteries of tests are unrevealing, but he quickly recovers after a resident extracts two quarts of urine. An abdominal exam would have detected the patient's obstructed, grossly swollen bladder. The author then ponders the neglect of the physical exam, by today's physicians, enamored with high-tech tests that sometimes reveal less than a simple exam. Another patient, frustrated at her doctor's failure to diagnose her fever and rash, googles her symptoms and finds the correct answer. Sanders uses this case to explain how computers can help in diagnoses (Google is not bad, she says, but better programs exist). Readers who enjoy dramatic stories of doctors fighting disease will get their fill, and they will also encounter thoughtful essays on how doctors think and go about their work, and how they might do it better. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Born Round
The Secret History of a Full-time Eater
by Frank Bruni
August 2009
PW writes: Outgoing New York Times restaurant critic Bruni admits he was even a baby bulimic in his extraordinary memoir about a lifelong battle with weight problems. To his Southern Italian paternal grandmother, food equaled love. Cooking and parenting from Old World traditions, she passed these maternal and culinary principles on to her WASP daughter-in-law, whose own weight struggles her son eventually inherited. Through adolescence, puberty and into college, Bruni oscillated from gluttonous binges to adult bulimia, including laxative abuse. Vocationally, journalism called, first through the college paper, then a progression of internships and staff positions in Detroit and New York, including his stints as a Bush campaign reporter in 2000 and as the Times Rome correspondent. In tandem, Bruni's powerlessness over his appetite developed from cafeteria meals to Chinese delivery binges to sleep eating. While Bruni includes such entertaining bits as the campaign trail seen through Weight Watcher lens and ample meals from his years as the Times restaurant critic, in the end, his is a powerful, honest book about desire, shame, identity and self-image. Click the book cover to read more.








Not Jewish.. But nice cover. Also an idea…. In prep for Yom Kipper… is deceiving a deceiver deceitful?:
[book] Baking Cakes in Kigali
A Novel
by Gaile Parkin
2009, Delacourte
PW: “Set in an international apartment complex in Rwanda, Parkin's appealing but overstuffed debut throws together university professors, U.N. employees and CIA agents among a panoply of traditions and cultures. Heroine Angel Tungararza has moved from Tanzania with her husband, Pius, who's taken a job at the local university; before long, she develops a reputation as a masterful baker and a sagacious friend. Though haunted by the deaths of her grown daughter and son, Angel plunges back into motherhood, caring for her five grandchildren, tending to Pius, baking cakes and dispensing advice. Meanwhile, the sour undercurrents of AIDS and genocide play quiet but instrumental parts in shaping Angel's world. In Parkin's eagerness to introduce a rainbow of cultures and personalities, she crowds her enjoyable but terminally dedicated heroine, forcing Angel to take a saccharine supporting role in her own story; almost simultaneously, she's soothing survivors of Rwandan genocide, reconciling a local prostitute and her client, and serving as an honorary mother-of-the-bride.” Click the book cover to read more.








SEPTEMBER 2009

FIRST SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT ON THE 100 TH BIRTHDAY OF ISAIAH BERLIN
[book] ISAIAH BERLIN
A LIFE
BY MICHAEL INGATIEFF
Over the last 10 years of Isaiah Berlin's life (1909-1997), Ignatieff tape-recorded conversations with the philosopher in what he describes as "a virtuoso display of a great intelligence doing battle with loss." Because this biography is based primarily on these talks, as well as on interviews with Berlin's widow, friends, students and colleagues, the tone is informally conversational rather than pedantically authoritative. After a prosperous childhood in Latvia, Berlin's family was forced to move to London, where young Isaiah absorbed the British values of decency, the toleration of dissent and the importance of liberty over efficiency. At Oxford, he developed intellectually under the likes of Stephen Spender, W.H. Auden, R.G. Collingwood, Elizabeth Bowen and Virginia Woolf. Berlin did well at Oxford, he was elected Tutor at New College, Fellow of All Souls, but with war coming, he welcomed a chance to work for the Ministry of Information, first in the U.S., where his brilliant wartime dispatches (avidly read by Churchill) established his reputation in both Britain and America, and later as part of a Foreign Office team in Moscow (where he met Boris Pasternak) and Leningrad (where he began his transformative friendship with Anna Akhmatova).
[book] [book]Throughout the book, Ignatieff concentrates on his subject's conversation and flow of ideas. Berlin championed freedom but not dogmatically. In his view, to be true to human nature in its diversity, we have to embrace contradictory values; otherwise, we lose our humanity. Ignatieff's biography is worthy of its subject, lucidly explaining how this "Paganini of words" used philosophy to defend civilized society. Click the book cover to read more.












AND NOW THE FOOD FOR FOOD

[book] [book] SAVE THE DELI
BY DAVID SAX
In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen
Fall 2009,
As a journalist and life-long deli obsessive, David Sax was understandably alarmed by the state of Jewish delicatessen-- a cuisine that once sat at the very center of Jewish life had become endangered by assimilation, homogenization, and health food trends. He watched one beloved deli after another shut down, one institution after another shutter only to be reopened as some bland chain-restaurant laying claim to the very culture it just paved over. And so David set out on a journey across the United States and around the world in search of authentic delicatessen. Was it still possible to Save the Deli? Join David as he investigates everything deli-- its history, its diaspora, its next generation. He tells us about the food itself-how it's made, who makes it best, and where to go for particular dishes. And, ultimately, there there is for hope-- David finds deli newly and lovingly made in places like Boulder, traditions maintained in Montreal, and iconic institutions like the 2nd Avenue Deli resurrected in New York. So grab a pastrami on rye and sit down for a great read-- because Save the Deli is an energetic cultural history of Jewish food, a vibrant travelogue, and a rallying cry for a new generation of food lovers. David Sax is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in publications such as New York, GQ, Conde Nast Traveler, Rolling Stone, Wine Spectator, and The New Republic. He has written on everything from food, travel, and drink, to culture and politics. Sax has lived in Toronto, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro; he travels regularly and is always on the lookout for good deli. He lives in Brooklyn. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang
by Mordecai Richler and Dusan Petricic (Illustrator)
September 2009, Tundra
Ages 9 - 12
Poor Jacob Two-Two, only two plus two plus two years old and already a prisoner of The Hooded Fang. What had he done to deserve such terrible punishment? Why, the worst crime of all - insulting a grown-up. Not only must he say everything twice just to be heard over his four brothers and sisters, but he finds himself the prisoner of the dreaded Hooded Fang. What had he done to deserve such a punishment? The worst crime of all? Insulting a grown-up! Although he is small, Jacob is not helpless, especially when The Infamous Two come to his aid. Click the book cover to read more.

SEE ALSO:
[book] [book]












[book] THE POSSIBILITY OF EVERYTHING
A MEMOIR
BY HOPE EDELMAN
September 2009, Ballantine
In the autumn of 2000, best-selling author Hope Edelman was a woman adrift in a marriage heading slowly but steadily for trouble. Into her stagnant routine dropped Dodo, the increasingly aggressive, disruptive imaginary friend of her three-year-old daughter, Maya. Forced to confront the possibility that her family's history of mental illness may be back to haunt them, they sought mainstream psychological advice. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] TALES OF THE TEN LOST TRIBES
A COLLECTION
BY TAMAR YELLIN
September 2009, St Martin's Griffin
Readers will know Yellin from her "Kafka in Bronteland" and "TheGenizah at the House of Shepher." I think you will notice that the stories are in the birth order of the lost brothers, but do not relate to the nature of the brothers, but generally to displacement or loneliness.
From Publishers Weekly: In Yellin's 10 serenely crafted stories, the plight of the wandering Jew is manifested in various outsiders, adventurers or those who are simply restless and homesick. Each brief tale is named for one of Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, exiled in Assyria and scattered across the globe according to the Old Testament. The peripatetic narrator's first encounter with wanderlust is her world-traveling Uncle Edras, a swashbuckling version of her bookish father who claims his brother is a bum. While her father is content with his armchair search for the Lost Tribes' fate, the girl is smitten by travel. As she grows up and makes her way in the world, she meets memorable kindred spirits: Professor G., a polyglot whose longing for his lost language eventually renders him mute; an old lady who fled her family home to sail abroad 40 years ago, but never got farther than the port; or the narrator's sickly 12-year-old pupil, Jacky Mendoza, who does not feel he inhabits his own body. Each mournful, startling portrait proves that award-winning Yellin (Kafka in Brontëland and Other Stories) is a stylist to watch. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] STARDUST
A NOVEL
BY JOSEPH KANON
September 2009, Atria Books
It is 1945 and set in Hollywood. Ben Collier has arrived in California from the war in Europe and finds that is brother, Daniel, is dead, and the circumstances are mysterious. Did Daniel kill himself? Why would he? He was a hero, with a great career and wife. It is the time of the growing Cold War and the blacklist. Ben enters the studio system and tries to find out the truth behind the gloss of Hollywood. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] MAJOR FARRAN'S HAT
THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE STRUGGLE TO ESTABLISH THE JEWISH STATE
BY DAVID CESARANI
September 2009, Da Capo
In May 1947 a sixteen-year-old Jewish activist named Alexander Rubowitz was abducted in broad daylight from the streets of Jerusalem. At the abduction scene, a gray hat was found, purportedly belonging to Major Roy Farran, a decorated World War II officer who was in charge of British counterterrorism in Palestine. As evidence mounted against Farran, the Zionist underground swore vengeance. The episode precipitated a series of nail-biting twists and turns that had far-reaching consequences. An engaging mix of true crime and polemical narrative history, peopled by a cast of luminaries including Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, Menachem Begin, and Golda Meir, Major Farran's Hat investigates shady violence, scandaluos cover-ups, and political expediency. It also explores why Britain lost Palestine, as well as how its counterinsurgency and diplomatic strategies collided so disastrously. By exposing Britain's legacy in the Middle East, this historical thriller echoes today's war on terror and pointedly illustrates the circumstances surrounding the birth of the State of Israel.
Click the book cover to read more.








NOT A JEWISH BOOK... BUT OF JEWISH INTEREST AND AN INTERESTING READ:
[book] Read My Pins
Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box
by Madeleine Albright
September 2009, Harper
Before long, and without intending it, I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal. Former president George H. W. Bush had been known for saying "Read my lips." I began urging colleagues and reporters to "Read my pins." It would never have happened if not for Saddam Hussein. When U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright criticized the dictator, his poet in residence responded by calling her "an unparalleled serpent." Shortly thereafter, while preparing to meet with Iraqi officials, Albright pondered: What to wear? She decided to make a diplomatic statement by choosing a snake pin. Although her method of communication was new, her message was as old as the American Revolution-Don't Tread on Me. From that day forward, pins became part of Albright's diplomatic signature. International leaders were pleased to see her with a shimmering sun on her jacket or a cheerful ladybug; less so with a crab or a menacing wasp. Albright used pins to emphasize the importance of a negotiation, signify high hopes, protest the absence of progress, and show pride in representing America, among other purposes. Part illustrated memoir, part social history, Read My Pins provides an intimate look at Albright's life through the brooches she wore. Her collection is both international and democratic-dime-store pins share pride of place with designer creations and family heirlooms. Included are the antique eagle purchased to celebrate Albright's appointment as secretary of state, the zebra pin she wore when meeting Nelson Mandela, and the Valentine's Day heart forged by Albright's five-year-old daughter. Read My Pins features more than 200 photographs, along with compelling and often humorous stories about jewelry, global politics, and the life of one of America's most accomplished and fascinating diplomats. Click the book cover to read more.








NOW IN P A P E R B A C K
[book] BEAT THE REAPER
A NOVEL
BY JOSH BAZELL
September 2009, Ballantine
From Publishers Weekly: Making a hit man turned medical intern a sympathetic figure would be a tall order for most authors, but first-time novelist Bazell makes it look easy in this breezy and darkly comic suspense novel. The Locanos, a mob family, take in 14-year-old Pietro Brwna (pronounced Browna) after a couple of thugs gun down the grandparents who raised him in their New Jersey home. Bent on revenge, Pietro pursues the killers and executes them a year later. Impressed by Pietros performance, David Locano recruits Pietro as a hit man. After more traumas, Pietro tries to make a break from his past by entering the witness protection program. Now known as Peter Brown, he eventually lands a position as a doctor at a decrepit Manhattan hospital, where by chance a former Mafia associate turns up as a patient and threatens to rat him out. The hero's wry narrative voice, coupled with Bazells artful use of flashbacks to sustain tension and fill in Pietro's past, are a winning combination. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] YiDDiSH YOGA
By Lisa Grunberger, PhD
2009, Newmarket Press
A poignant and funny tale written in the voice of Ruthie, a recently widowed New York City Jewish grandmother, who accepts her granddaughter's gift of a year's worth of yoga lessons with surprising results. A Jewish Bubby like Ruthie doesn't necessarily come to yoga with the most open of minds. But when her granddaughter Stephanie gives Ruthie a year of yoga classes soon after she is widowed, she doesn't want to risk offending her. Ruthie is skeptical of yoga and its promise of renewal, healing, and transformation. She can't resist poking fun at some of the new words and rituals, often translating the foreign language of Yogic philosophy into the familiar idiom of her native Yiddish culture. As her journey progresses from week to week, subtle transformations occur. In spite of herself, Ruthie forges new paths, new postures, and unexpected friendships, slowly overcoming her grief. Written as a monologue, Yiddish Yoga is a poignant, witty, and human story of love in its many expressions-between granddaughter and grandmother, between an older woman and her younger yoga teacher, between a widow and her husband of fifty years. As Ruthie learns to let go of the past without forgetting, she shows us how to embrace the present with new vigor, strength, and courage, and above all, makes us laugh. This small-format gift hardcover features original illustrations, and glossaries of Yiddish and yoga terms. Lisa Grunberger's poems have been published in numerous literary journals, and she often performs original poetry and performance pieces in NYC and Philadelphia. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School and has been teaching yoga classes for many years..
Click the book cover to read more.








BLACK SUIT, WORN ONCE $45
TRUE STORIES
BY MICHAEL GREENBERG
September 2009, Other Press
From the author of HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE, a collection of true stories that are hilarious, complex, bittersweet, and always close to the bone.
Greenberg's trenchant columns appear in the UK Times Literary Supplement every two weeks. This book is a memoir in installments. It is a memoir of re-qriting awful film scripts, writing about golf even though he has never played, and other behaviors that are necessary to get by as a writer in NYC. Starring in this autobiography are his elegant mother, his father and his sfather's scrap metal business, his wife, whom he met in Greenwich Village, and their son, Aaron, as well as many other odd real characters. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE BIZARRE TRUTH
HOW I WALKED OUT THE DOOR MOUTH FIRST
AND CAME BACK SHAKING MY HEAD
BY ANDREW ZIMMERN (Travek Channel)
September 2009, Broadway Books
Andrew Zimmern, the host of The Travel Channel's hit series Bizarre Foods, grew up in a Jewish home (page 147), and ate Jewish foods. Not too bizarre. Actually his first memory of eating Chinese, as all Jews do, was with his father after seeing a film in Manhattan's Ziegfield Theater on West 54th St. and then taking a cab to Bobo's in Chinatown
He has an extraordinarily well-earned reputation for traveling far and wide to seek out and sample anything and everything that's consumed as food globally, from cow vein stew in Bolivia and giant flying ants in Uganda to raw camel kidneys in Ethiopia, putrefied shark in blood pudding in Iceland and Wolfgang Puck's Hunan style rooster balls in Los Angeles. For Zimmern, local cuisine - bizarre, gross or downright stomach turning as it may be to us -- is not simply what's served at mealtime. It is a primary avenue to discovering what is most authentic - the bizarre truth - about cultures everywhere. Having eaten his way around the world over the course of four seasons of Bizarre Foods, Zimmern has now launched Bizarre Worlds, a new series on the Travel Channel, and this, his first book, a chronicle of his journeys as he not only tastes the "taboo treats" of the world, but delves deep into the cultures and lifestyles of far-flung locales and seeks the most prized of the modern traveler's goals: The Authentic Experience. Written in the smart, often hilarious voice he uses to narrate his TV shows, Zimmern uses his adventures in "culinary anthropology" to illustrate such themes as: why visiting local markets can reveal more about destinations than museums; the importance of going to "the last stop on the subway" - the most remote area of a place where its essence is most often revealed; the need to seek out and catalog "the last bottle of coca-cola in the desert," i.e. disappearing foods and cultures; the profound differences between dining and eating; and the pleasures of snout to tail, local, fresh and organic food. Zimmern takes readers into the back of a souk in Morocco where locals are eating a whole roasted lamb; along with a conch fisherman in Tobago, who may be the last of his kind; to Mississippi, where he dines on raccoon and possum. There, he writes, "People said, 'That's roadkill!' 'No it's not,' I said. 'It's a cultural story.'" Whether it's a session with an Incan witch doctor in Ecuador who blows fire on him, spits on him, thrashes him with poisonous branches and beats him with a live guinea pig or drinking blood in Uganda and cow urine tonic in India or eating roasted bats on an uninhabited island in Samoa, Zimmern cheerfully celebrates the undiscovered destinations and weird wonders still remaining in our increasingly globalized world.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] I SOLD ANDY WARHOL (TOO SOON)
BY RICHARD POLSKY
September 2009, Other Press
In early 2005, Richard Polsky decided to put his much-loved, hard-won Warhol, "Fright Wig," up for auction at Christie's; the market for contemporary art was robust and he was hoping to turn a profit. His instinct seemed to be on target: his picture sold for $375,000. But if only Polsky had waited . . . Over the next two years, the art market soared to unimaginable heights with multimillion-dollar sales that became the norm and not the exception. Buyers and sellers were baffled, art dealers were being bypassed for auction houses, and benchmark prices were on a sharp ascent. Had the art market lost all reason? In I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon), Polsky leads the way through this tumultuous time in the art world when the market took off to meteoric proportions, when "a day late, a dollar short" were the words on everyone's lips. He delves into the behind-the-scenes politics of auctions, the shift in power away from dealers and galleries, and the search for affordable art in a rich man's market. Unlike most in the art world, Polsky is not afraid to tell it like it is as he negotiates deals for clients in New York, London, and San Francisco and seeks out a replacement for his lost "Fright Wig." This compelling backdoor tell-all about the strange and fickle world of art collecting will leave you nostalgic for the days when SoHo was an art mecca, interested in contemporary artists making their mark today, and knowledgeable about auction house strategies and the current market stakes. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] SOME MEASURE OF JUSTICE
THE HOLOCAUST ERA RESTITUTION CAMPAIGN OF THE 1990s
BY MICHAEL R. MARRUS (University of Toronto)
FOREWORD BY WILLIAM A. SCHABAS
Fall 2009, University of Wisconsin
Can there ever be justice for the Holocaust? During the 1990s-triggered by lawsuits in the United States against Swiss banks, German corporations, insurance companies, and owners of valuable works of art-claimants and their lawyers sought to rectify terrible wrongs committed more than a half century earlier. Some Measure of Justice explores this most recent wave of justice-seeking for the Holocaust: what it has been, why it emerged when it did, how it fits with earlier reparation to the Jewish people, its significance for the historical representation of the Holocaust, and its implications for justice-seeking in our time. Writings on the subject of Holocaust reparations have largely come from participants, lawyers, philosophers, journalists, and social scientists specializing in restitution. In Some Measure of Justice Michael Marrus takes up the issue as a historian deeply involved with legal issues. He engages with larger questions about historical understanding and historical interpretation as they enter the legal arena. Ultimately this book asks, What constitutes justice for a great historic wrong? And, Is such justice possible?
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] HOW TO BE A MENTSH
AND NOT A SHMUCK
BY MICHAEL WEX
September 2009, Harper
In a world where people want people to act with "common decency," comes a book that explores how to achieve this
This is a guide on how people should cooperate. Wise and hilarious, this is a book about happiness, your own and that of others. The principles outlined here will work for anyone, Jewish or not, who makes the effort to put them into practice. Drawing on the "wisdom of the ages," bestselling author Michael Wex shows readers how to figure out the right thing to do in any situation. First he describes the two words "mentsh" and "shmuck." The former refers most often to an adult who has learned to think of others first; the latter refers to someone who thinks he or she is someone special.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] INSIDE LARRY AND SERGEY'S BRAIN
BY RICHARD L. BRANDT
September 2009, Portfolio
You've used their products. You've heard about their skyrocketing wealth and "don't be evil" business motto. But how much do you really know about Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin? Inside Larry and Sergey's Brain skips past the general Google story and focuses on what really drives these men and where they will take Google in the future. Richard L. Brandt shows the company as the brainchild of two brilliant but individual men and looks at Google's business decisions in light of its founders' ambitions and beliefs. Larry is the main strategist, with business acumen and practical drive, while Sergey is the primary technologist and idealist, with brilliant ideas and strong moral positions. But they work closely together, almost like complementary halves of a single brain. Larry is more socially awkward and rarely volunteers to answer questions. Sergey is more poised but is also shy with outsiders. Through interviews with current and former employees, competitors, partners, and senior Google management, plus conversations with the founders themselves, Brandt demystifies the secret society that is Google, as well as clarifying a number of misconceptions. For instance, it may seem more and more that Google wants to be something other than a search company as it expands into e-mail, cell phones, Web browsers, wiki information sites, social networks, and photo editing. But actually, Larry and Sergey just define search a little differently from everyone else. They also like to act as catalysts for change in industries (such as telecommunications) that affect their business. Theoretically, any of half a dozen competitors could have gotten where Google is today. But in reality, none of them could have been Google, because they didn't have Larry and Sergey. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE BIG KAHN A GRAPHIC NOVEL
BY NEIL KLEID AND NICOLAS CONQUEGRANI
September 2009, NBM
Rabbi David Kahn has lived a forty-year lie: he is not, nor has he ever been, Jewish. When at his funeral, the rabbi s grifter brother reveals the truth, it forces the Kahn family to struggle with grief and betrayal as their congregation examines their every move and question their very faith. His son, Rabbi Avi Kahn, the heir apparent, spirals down in an affair with his rebellious sister Lea s non-Jewish roommate. Lea rethinks the religion she s run from, strong enough to alter her father s life, while Eli the youngest Kahn inherits his father s long-forgotten legacy. Somehow, with the help of the uncle he never knew and his slowly re-awakening sister, he attempts to return faith and order to his family and community and reinstate his father s good name. Neil Kleid, Xeric Award winning author of Ninety Candles and NBM s Brownsville, and illustrator Nicolas Cinquegrani offer a drama about loss, lies, belief and renewal in this dramatic graphic exploration of a family secret so well-hidden, it questions the very nature of faith. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Design-It-Yourself Clothes
Patternmaking Simplified
by Cal Patch
September 2009
If you've ever watched Project Runway and wished you were a contestant, or you're simply ready to take your sewing to a new level, Design-It-Yourself Clothes teaches you the fundamentals of modern patternmaking so that you, too, can create your own inspired clothing. Until now, the aspiring DIY fashionista has been hard-pressed to find self-teaching tools other than dry textbooks or books with outdated looks. Finally, in Design-It-Yourself Clothes, former Urban Outfitters designer Cal Patch brings her youthful aesthetic to a how-to book. If you want to wear something you can't find on store racks and make clothes that express your individual style, or if you've reached a sewing plateau and want to add pattern drafting to your repertoire, Design-It-Yourself Clothes is the book you have been waiting for. In five key projects (each with four variations)-a perfect-fitting dress, T-shirt, button-down shirt, A-line skirt, and pants-Patch shares the art of patternmaking. At its core, it's much simpler than you think. Patch covers everything an intermediate sewer needs to know in order to become a fabulous fashion designer, from designing the patterns, taking your own measurements, and choosing fabrics to actually sewing the clothing. You will also learn how to stylize patterns by using darts, waistbands, patch pockets, and ruffles. Patch offers tips, explanations, options, and exercises throughout that will make the design process that much easier. But besides showing you how to create clothing from scratch, she also teaches you how to rub off patterns from existing clothing-so if you have a pair of pants that you love but are worn out, or you have your eye on a piece in the store with a prohibitive price tag, you can figure out how to get the looks you want by using your own two hands. CAL PATCH was a clothing designer for Urban Outfitters and Free People before creating her own label, Hodge Podge. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] LAYLA'S HEAD SCARF
by Miriam Cohen, Ronald Himler (Illustrator)
September 2009, Star Bright
Ages 4 - 8
Miriam Cohen s timely story highlights a challenge that many children face in today s multicultural environment. Layla, a new girl in first grade, wears a headscarf but it does not take long for the others to welcome her. Ronald Himler s watercolor illustrations give the first graders distinct characteristics and provide a realistic portrayal of a first grade classroom. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] MAIMONIDES
TORAH AND PHILOSOPHICAL QUEST
EXPANDED EDITION
BY RABBI DAVID HARTMAN
September 2009, JPS
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in a new edition. Product Description In his 1976 Maimonides: Torah and Philosophical Quest, David Hartman departs from traditional scholarly views about Maimonides by offering a new way of understanding the great man and his work. This expanded edition contains Hartman's new postscript. A 12th-century rabbi, scholar, physician, and philosopher, Moses Maimonides is best known for his two great works on Judaism: Mishneh Torah and Guide to the Perplexed. They have often been viewed by scholars as having different audiences and different messages, together reflecting the two sides of the author himself: Maimonides the halakhist, who focused on piety through obedience to Jewish law; and Maimonides the philosopher, who advocated closeness with God through reflection and knowledge of nature. Hartman argues that while many scholars look at one aspect of Maimonides to the exclusion or dismissal of the other, the way to really understand him is to see both adherence to the law and philosophical pursuits as two essential aspects of Judaism. Hartman's 2009 postscript sheds new light on his argument and indeed on Judaism as Maimonides interpreted it. In it Hartman explains that while Maimonides never envisioned the integration of halakhah with philosophy, he did view them as existing in a symbiotic relationship. While the focus of the Mishneh Torah was halakha and obedience to Jewish law, Guide to the Perplexed spoke to individuals whose love of God grew through their passion, devotion and yearning to understand God's wisdom and power in nature. Both modes of spiritual orientation lived in the thought of Maimonides. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE CAKE MIX DOCTOR RETURNS
BY ANNE BYRN
September 2009, Workman
What could be better than a phenomenon? The return of a phenomenon. Ten years ago Anne Byrn's The Cake Mix Doctor began its extraordinary run as one of the most popular baking books of all time. Now Anne Byrn is back with the all-new Cake Mix Doctor Returns! From the beloved author who showed home bakers how adding a touch of sweet butter or a dusting of cocoa powder, a dollop of vanilla yogurt or flurry of grated lemon zest could transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Here are 160 brand-new recipes-that's right, 160 amazing cake mix recipes-for luscious layer cakes, sheet cakes, brownies, bars, cookies, and more. And the book is needed more than ever. Today 90 percent of home cooks use prepackaged mixes, while the economy is creating a perfect excuse to let them eat cake-cake equals happiness. And what cakes! 40 layer cakes, from Tiramisu Cake to The Best Red Velvet Cake, Strawberry Refrigerator Cake to Chocolate Swirled Cannoli Cake. 35 sheet cakes. 38 bundt and pound cakes. 16 cupcakes and muffins, plus the cult classic Whoopie Pie. And brownies, bars, and cookies, including Spice Drop Cookies, Angel Food Macaroons, and Chocolate Espresso Biscotti. There's even a wedding cake, a frequent request from the author's passionate online community. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] I‘M DYING UP HERE
HEARTBREAK AND HIGH TIMES IN STANDUP COMEDY‘S GOLDEN ERA
BY WILLIAM KNOEDELSEDER
August 2009, PublicAffairs
With a name like Knoedel Seder, u are destined for comedy
PW writes: In 1978, Knoedelseder (Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia) was a journalist assigned to cover newcomers transforming the comedy clubs: For the next two years, I had stage-side seats at the best show in show business.... I met and wrote about Jay Leno, David Letterman and Richard Lewis before the world knew who they were. Mitzi Shore, recently labeled the Norma Desmond of Comedy by the Los Angeles Times, took over L.A.'s Comedy Store in 1973 with a no-pay policy because she saw it as a training ground, a workshop, a college. It became a focal point for local comics, including Lewis, his friend Steve Lubetkin, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, Letterman, Leno and many more. Some were in desperate circumstances, surviving by living in their cars and eating bar condiments. Driving a silver Jaguar to her massive, cash-generating laugh factory, Shore was seen as cunningly manipulative, and her unfair payment policies led to an organized strike in 1979 by the CFC (Comedians for Compensation). This confrontation of comics vs. club owner (Not... one... red... fucking... cent) is the core of the book, with the suicide of Lubetkin taking the tone from comedy to tragedy. Filmmakers will eye this as a potential property similar to Bill Carter's The Late Shift (1996), about Letterman and Leno. Knoedelseder skillfully layers powerful dramatic details, and readers will shelve the book alongside those other key classics on comedy: Steve Allen's The Funny Men and Janet Coleman's The Compass
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[book] THE SISTERS OF SINAI
HOW TWO LADY ADVENTURERS DISCOVERED THE HIDDEN GOSPELS
BY JANET SOCKICE
August 2009, Knopf
The Washington Post Book World: “In early 1892, twin sisters Margaret and Agnes Smith, unschooled in paleography but possessed of keenly rebellious spirits, traveled from England to St. Catherine's Church, at the foot of Egypt's Mt. Sinai. There, in a "dimly lit little room below the prior's quarters," they discovered "an unpromising brick of parchment," its surfaces coated with dust. Despite the state of this "grimy codex," Agnes, the older of the sisters, was convinced that she had made a great discovery, and after 40 days of study she emerged with proof. As scholar Janet Soskice reveals in her luminous new study, "The Sisters of Sinai," Margaret and Agnes had nosed out nothing less than the earliest known copies of the Gospels -- an account written in Syriac, the language likely spoken by Jesus himself. At the time, Soskice writes, "the Bible remained an unquestioned compendium of truth, its immutable word conveyed supernaturally through the generations." And yet this codex -- so different in content from the modern edition of the Gospels -- indicated that Scripture was actually the product of years of careful revisions. The Bible, in other words, had evolved.
Of course, since Agnes and Margaret were only amateurs -- and female amateurs at that -- they needed experts to validate their find. Once recruited, those experts attempted to take the bulk of the credit, and soon the twins found themselves engaged in a series of very public rows. But neither woman ever backed down, and by the mid-1890s both were deservedly famous, honored by academics and laymen alike. "The Sisters of Sinai" is by turns a rattling adventure yarn -- thick with roving Bedouin and ancient tombs -- and a testament to the power of perseverance. In the end, Soskice writes, "it was the Smiths' fierce commitment to the truth that most impresses.”
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[book] THE TEN LOST TRIBES
A WORLD HISTORY
BY ZVI BEN-DOR BENITE
September 2009, Oxford University Press
The legendary story of the ten lost tribes of Israel has resonated among both Jews and Christians down through the centuries: the compelling idea that some core group of humanity was "lost" and exiled to a secret place, perhaps someday to return triumphant. In this fascinating book, Zvi Ben-Dor Benite shows for the first time the extent to which the search for the lost tribes of Israel became, over two millennia, an engine for global exploration and a key mechanism for understanding the world. As the book reveals, the quest for the missing tribes and the fervent belief that their restitution marked a necessary step toward global redemption have been threaded through countless historical moments--from the formation of the first "world" empires to the age of discovery, and from the spread of European imperialism to the rise of modern-day evangelical apocalypticism. Drawing on a wealth of sources and presenting a vast array of historical players--explorers, politicians, scientists, geographers, and theologians--the author traces the myth from its biblical formation up through the present day. We see how the lost tribes, long thought to lurk at the world's "edges," became a means for expanding those edges: as new oceans, islands, or continents were discovered, the ten tribes were used as an interpretive device that made the unknown seem known and the new, old. Thus, virtually every spot on earth, whether Argentina or Zululand, the American Southwest or Southeast Asia, has at some point been claimed as the true home of the missing peoples. More than a historical survey of an enduring myth, The Ten Lost Tribes offers a unique prism through which to view the many facets of encounters between cultures, the processes of colonization, and the growth of geographical knowledge. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE SHIKSA SYNDROME< BR> A NOVEL
BY LAURIE GRAFF
September 2009, Now in paperback
From Booklist: So does it really take a shiksa to get a Jewish man? Jewish Aimee Albert inadvertently finds out for herself. After she breaks up with her non-Jewish boyfriend, her family arranges for a makeover. Gone is the curly dark hair and glasses; in comes sleek, straight red hair and green contacts. When Aimee meets her non-Jewish friend Krista at a kosher wine tasting for Jewish singles, she meets handsome Josh Hirsch. Josh is under the impression that Aimee is not Jewish, so Aimee encourages this misconception, pretending to be a Protestant from Scranton instead of a native Jewish New Yorker. The lie begins to consume her as she removes every Jewish element from her apartment and her life. She knows this is wrong, but she is approaching 40 and must have a Jewish husband. But is it worth abandoning her Jewish roots to attain him? Graff's latest is by turns funny and poignant as she explores religious identity and modern relationships and finds that sometimes Mr. Wrong may be more right than Mr. Right. Click the cover to read more.










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