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Welcome to our pages of Sprin 2010 and Winter 2010 and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit


May 24, 2010: Kai Bird reads from Crossing Mendelbaum‘s Gate. Museum of Jewish Heritage NYC
May 24, 2010: Book Launch party for KEEP YOUR WIVES AWAY FROM THEM – Anthology of Orthodox Jewish Lesbians. JCC UWS NYC
May 25, 2010: DanI Shapiro and Judith Shulevitz on Rest and Restlessness. Congregation BJ, NYC UWS
May 26, 2010: Joshua Braff reads from Peep Show, a novel. B&N NYC UWS 7PM
May 26, 2010: Barbra Streisand and her memoirs. Keynote at BEA in NYC
May 27-28, 2010: BEA in NYC

June 5-12, 2010: Trip to Israel. Israel Behind the Headlines w/ Gary Rosenblatt, Editor and Publisher of The NY Jewish Week newspaper.
June 10, 2010: YIVO reception for the Yivo Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe
June 21: Scribblers on the Roof. Authors Andre Aciman and Pearl Abraham read from their works. Ansche Chesed 100th and WEA in NYC. 8 PM
June 28: Scribblers on the Roof. Authors Daniel Menaker and Jonathan Rosen read from their works. Ansche Chesed 100th and WEA in NYC. 8 PM
July 05: Oren Harman of Bar Ilan Univ speaks on his book, The Price of Altruism. Politics and Prose, Washington DC.
July 06: Allegra Goodman speaks on her book, The Cookbook Collector. Politics and Prose, Washington DC.
July 08: Jerusalem Film Festival 2010 begins
July 10: SF JFF presents free Dirty Dancing screening, Union Sq, San Francisco with pre-film dance lessons.
July 08: Afif Safieh, for PLO ambassador to the USA, reads from “The Peace Process, From Breakthrough to Breakdown.” at the Palestine Center, Washington DC. See it on
July 12: Scribblers on the Roof. Authors Joan Leegant and Tova Mirvis read from their works. Ansche Chesed 100th and WEA in NYC. 8 PM
July 24: San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2010 begins
July 25: First Annual Sephardic BOOK Fair. NYC. CJH. 15W16thSt NYC
July 26: The owners of BaoHaus, Chinatwon Ice Cream, and the kosher Donut Planet chat with Jennifer 8. Lee at the NY Tenement Museum, Orchard St, NYC 6:30PM
July 26: Scribblers on the Roof. Authors Howard Altmann and Trudy Balch read from their works. Ansche Chesed 100th and WEA in NYC. 8 PM
July 27: Conference on the Future of Jewish Non Profits, #Fojnp at NYU, NYC 8-5
July 28: NYC Jewish Week Daughters and Lovers Literary Salon featuring Allegra Goodman and Cathleen Shine Rodeph Shalom 7PM
August 03, 2010: Klezmatics. Lincoln Center free concert. NYC 7PM
August 11, 2010: Golem and Mlotek. Cunnigham Park, Queens NYC 7PM
August 15, 2010: Golden Land Klemer Orchestra. Madison Ave at East 47th St Street Fair, NYC, 1-4PM
August 27-30, 2010: Camp Jewlicious in Malibu, CA

Still a best seller after half a year:
[book] Have a Little Faith
A True Story
By Mitch Albom
September 2009, Hyperion
First some background from the book. Mitch Albom was on track for Jewish scholarship. He studied Hebrew and Aramaic, Rashi and the RaMBaM. He knew Jewish texts and history. He went to Brandeis University and led Jewish youth groups. After graduation, his sports writing career began to blossom and he had a lack of need for Jewish study and practice. Then came marriage, and other events and he left his religious spirituality tucked away in a corner.
And now for the book
What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together? In “Have a Little Faith,” Mitch Albom offers a story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds--two men, two faiths, two communities. The book opens with an unusual request: an 82 year old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof. Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat. As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds--and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.
In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi's last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself. The book is about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story. Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.

A Practical Handbook from Traditional & Contemporary Sources
Now in paperback
Edited By Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman
April 2010, Jewish Lights
The first comprehensive resource for pastoral care in the Jewish tradition—and a vital resource for counselors and caregivers of other faith traditions. The essential reference for rabbis, cantors, and laypeople who are called to spiritually accompany those encountering joy, sorrow, and change—now in paperback. This groundbreaking volume draws upon both Jewish tradition and the classical foundations of pastoral care to provide invaluable guidance. Offering insight on pastoral care technique, theory, and theological implications, the contributors to Jewish Pastoral Care are innovators in their fields, and represent all four contemporary Jewish movements. This comprehensive resource provides you with the latest theological perspectives and tools, along with basic theory and skills for assisting the ill and those who care for them, the aging and dying, those with dementia and other mental disorders, engaged couples, and others, and for responding to issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and disasters.
Contributors: Barbara Eve Breitman, MSW, LSW • Anne Brener, MAJCS, MA, LCSW • Rabbi Amy Eilberg, MSW • Rabbi Nancy Flam, MA • Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MAJCS, BCC • Gus Kaufman, Jr., PhD • Rabbi Myriam Klotz, MA • Rabbi Yaacov Kravitz, EdD • Rabbi Ellen Jay Lewis, NCPsyA • Wendy Lipshutz, LMSW • Rabbi Sheldon Marder • Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, DMin • Simcha Paull Raphael, PhD • Rabbi Stephen Roberts, BCC • Rabbi Rochelle Robins • Rabbi Drorah Setel, MTS • Rabbi Jeffery M. Silberman, DMin • Marcia Cohn Spiegel, MAJCS • Rabbi Karen Sussan • Rabbi Bonita E. Taylor, MA, BCC • Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, CSW • Rabbi David J. Zucker, PhD, BCC
Click the book cover to read more.

April 2010, Alfred Knopf Schocken
One of the most admired religious thinkers of our time issues a call for world Jewry to reject the self-fulfilling image of “a people alone in the world, surrounded by enemies” and to reclaim Judaism’s original sense of purpose: as a partner with God and with those of other faiths in the never-ending struggle for freedom and social justice for all. We are in danger, says Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of forgetting what Judaism’s place is within the global project of humankind. During the last two thousand years, Jews have lived through persecutions that would have spelled the end of most nations, but they did not see anti-Semitism written into the fabric of the universe. They knew they existed for a purpose, and it was not for themselves alone. Rabbi Sacks believes that the Jewish people have lost their way, that they need to recommit themselves to the task of creating a just world in which the divine presence can dwell among us. Without compromising one iota of Jewish faith, Rabbi Sacks declares, Jews must stand alongside their friends–Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and secular humanist–in defense of freedom against the enemies of freedom, in affirmation of life against those who desecrate life. And they should do this not to win friends or the admiration of others, but because it is what a people of God is supposed to do. Rabbi Sacks’s powerful message of tikkun olam–of using Judaism as a blueprint for repairing an imperfect world–will resonate with people of all faiths. Sir Jonathan Sacks is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
Click the book cover to read more.

2010, Alfred Knopf Schocken
Lily Kovner could not have dreamed that research for a magazine assignment would resurrect a searing memory from her childhood. A fleeting glimpse of a family treasure looted by the Nazis launches "Afikomen" --her quest for justice and restitution spanning three continents. Along the way threats, murder, and the revelation of a diabolical secret deal thrust Lily onto an emotional rollercoaster further complicated by the thrill of new romance
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Akkadian Lexicon Companion for Biblical Hebrew Etymological, Semantic and Idiomatic Equivalence
By Hayim ben Yosef Tawil / Hayim Tawil
The Companion does not confine its interest solely to etymological equivalents with Akkadian but also embraces semantic and idiomatic relationships. It helps uncover meanings for Hebrew words that have eluded clear definition in particular contexts, but which have either Akkadian cognates or vocable euivalents employed in a similar context. It proposes nuances for Hebrew words suggested by similar Akkadian usages. It illuminates idioms from related expressions in Akkadian. It corrects certain understandings of Hebrew words and expressions in light of their Akkadian equivalents. It shows that the large resource of Akkadian literature, though geographically and temporally somewhat remote and linguistically somewhat different from Hebrew, can, offer a large number of insights for the task of understanding and interpreting Biblical Hebrew.
Click the book cover to read more.

On April 4, the New York Times published a critical or controversial essay on Roman Vishniac which asserted that he created myths of shtetl life in his photos. A show of his works will be mounted in NYC in 2012. Want to see the essay? Click HERE.

[book][book]Want to see the books? Click the covers to the right

Did you hear that YIVO has launched their free of charge ONLINE EDITION OF THE YIVO ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWS IN EASTERN EUROPE? The two volume set in 2008 retailed for $400. Now you can brose it for free. Visit it at YivoEncyclopedia.ORG

A Book That Has Been In The News In the Past Few Weeks and had withstood the test of half a century:
[book] Reveille for Radicals
by Saul Alinsky
The Best scene from this book is when a group dressed as Nazis and Klan members and held up signs in support of the speaker QUIETLY.
First published in 1946 and updated in 1969 with a new Introduction and Afterword, this volume represents the fullest statement of the political philosophy and practical methodology of one of the most important figures in the history of American radicalism. Like Thomas Paine before him, Saul Alinsky, through the concept and practice of community organizing, was able to embody for his era both the urgency of radical political action and the imperative of rational political discourse. His work and writing bequeathed a new method and style of social change to American communities that will remain a permanent part of the American political landscape.. Saul Alinsky was born in Chicago in 1909 and educated first in the streets of that city and then in its university. Graduate work at the University of Chicago in criminology introduced him to the Al Capone gang, and later to Joliet State Prison, where he studied prison life. He founded what is known today as the Alinsky ideology and Alinsky concepts of mass organization for power. His work in organizing the poor to fight for their rights as citizens has been internationally recognized. In the late 1930s he organized the Back of the Yards area in Chicago (the neighborhood made famous in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle). Subsequently, through the Industrial Areas Foundation which he began in 1940, Mr. Alinsky and his staff helped to organize communities not only in Chicago but throughout the country. He later turned his attentions to the middle class, creating a training institute for organizers. He died in 1972, but his works I used by Democrats and Republicans nationwide to organize and get their messages out (and to disrupt).

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, 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 til after she left, 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. Should you buy this book and rewards 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.

Books by Robert Novak and Don Hewitt who were each raised in Jewish households as children; and William Safire; and a newly released CD, reissued after 50 years of Mambo style Jewish music, titled "Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos."
The CD includes "Beltz, Mein Shtetele Beltz" in Pachanga style, "Havah Nagllah" as a Cha-Cha, "O, Momme! Bin Ich Farliebt" as a Samba, "Die Greene Koseene" as a Merengue, "Papirossen" as a Mambo, and so much more

[book] [book] [book] [book]

A novel
By Sam Munson
April 2010, Doubleday
PW: “Munson's funny, stoner-friendly debut follows high school senior Addison Schacht as he stumbles through the Washington, D.C., teenage underworld to investigate a classmate's unsolved murder. Schacht—a small-time pot dealer, consummate anti-social, and Jewish collector of Holocaust jokes—makes for a poor but entertaining detective, and when he places a stoned phone call to his prime suspect, Addison and his friends become caught up in the mystery he set out to solve. As Addison's sleuthing begins to unravel and his life crumbles along with it, his ramblings offer an interesting counter to, and often context for, his misguided attempt to discover the truth. Munson keeps things lightly dark, though his weakness for wandering asides—Addison is just as likely to riff on the Aeneid, Latin syntax, or his favorite movies as he is to discuss his investigation and efforts to outsmart the police—trips up the pace, even if they are what one would expect from a self-absorbed adolescent. The plotting could use some work, but Munson nails the voice.”
Click the book cover to read more.

MAY 2010 BOOKS (see Spring 2010 Page)

Crap! The guy moves home, tweets his father’s comments, and gets a pilot contract from CBS Television.
We should start Shit My Jewish Mother Says. Drek My Bubbe Says, or Stuff My Damn Rabbi Says… but probably no pilot contract.
Please note.. although the book seems very Jewish, the religion of the family is not actually discussed until near the end of the book. Justin’s paternal Halpern grandfather was a tobacco farm sharecropper in Burlington/Boone Kentucky. Justin’s father, Sam, grew up quite poor; his father bought the farm; and Sam proceeded to go to college in Kentucky and received his medical degree. For our Jewish readers, Justin, who grew up without any organized religion, discusses Xmas gifts, and the class his mother sent him to for kids of mixed religion families. Justin lasted in that class for just 3 sessions. Justin’s mother grew up poor and Italian and was orphaned as a young teen. So what can I say? The book feels very Jewish, Sam’s comment are very realistic and forthright and has no pretentions or passive aggressiveness. Justin’s father imparts these words of wisdom on him when he has to select a doctor from his new insurance plan: ‘choose a doctor with a Jewish sounding last name.’

In my opinion, Sam Halpern is a regular Rabbi Hillel.

[book] [book] SH*T MY DAD SAYS
May 2010
Halpern, a star on, posts crazy things he says that his father, Samuel, says. Are the true? Edited? Who knows? Whatever they are, they are compiled in this book. At 28, Justin moved from LA back home with his parents home in San Diego. Once a day, Halpern, started to post a memorable quote that his dad, Samuel, had said the day before. More than 200,000 users subscribe to get their daily dose of Sam. Actually, 1.4 million now do. Many of the comments are quite profane. Sam Halpern, 73, retired, is frustrated by his three sons’ lives. Sam did not know he was an internet star. Growing up, Justin and his two brothers were pretty scared of Sam. They're still scared of him. He worked in nuclear medicine and cancer research for UCSD and is good at keeping secrets and keeping mum. He is the least passive aggressive person in the USA. CBS is developing a pilot based on the tweets of an angry old man. William Shatner is set to play the well-intentioned curmudgeon in the production based on Justin Halpern's Twitter account called "Stuff My Dad Says." Justin Halpern, who's co-penning the show about his cranky dad with long-time writing partner Patrick Schumacker, says he hopes the network lands on a name like "S#&% My Dad Says" -- bleeping the first word during spoken-word promotions. “Will and Grace's" Max Mutchnik and David Kohan are producing the show.
Let me ad this about the book. If your think it is just a collection of funny quote, you are wrong. A short chapter precedes each set of quotes, and focuses on Justin’s youth with his father and the family’s life. From Little league coaching to family dinners to doing quite poorly in math class to his parents finding his porn take in their bedroom VCR.. you get the picture… it is a slice of life memoir. It is hilarious and sweet, and I feel sorry for Sam for getting stuck with such a dweeb screw up, but nice, son

Note: If you are squeamish about reading that the author masturbated a couple of times and told his father about it, then you should avoid two of the chapters.

"I lost 20 pounds...How? I drank bear piss and took up fencing. How the fuck you think, son? I exercised."
"A parent's only as good as their dumbest kid. If one wins a Nobel Prize but the other gets robbed by a hooker, you failed."
"Nah, we don't celebrate it. Don't know who St. Valentine was, don't give a shit, and doubt he wants people screwing in his memory."
"STOP apologizing. You're sorry, he gets it, Jesus. You spilled a glass of wine, not fucked his wife."
"Sprain, huh? Did you go to medical school?... Well I did, so spare me your dog-shit diagnosis and lemme look at your ankle."
"No, I'm not a pessimist. At some point the world shits on everybody. Pretending it ain't shit makes you an idiot, not an optimist."
"Can we talk later? The news is on... Well, if you have tuberculosis it's not gonna get any worse in the next 30 minutes, jesus."
“Yes I got him a gift. He had a kidney stone. You piss a rock through your pecker, you deserve more than just a pat on the fucking back."
"You can watch the house while I'm gone. Just don't call me unless something's on fire, and don't screw in my bed."
On Justin getting married: "Pressure? Get married when you want. Your wedding's just one more day in my life I can't wear sweat pants."
On the longevity of the human race: "No. Humans will die out. We're weak. Dinosaurs survived on rotten flesh. You got diarrhea last week from a Wendy's."
On being a proud parent: "A parent's only as good as their dumbest kid. If one wins a Nobel Prize but the other gets robbed by a hooker, you failed."
On tailgating in traffic: "You sure do like to tailgate people. ... Right, because it's real important you show up to the nothing you have to do on time."
When Justin got to the final round of the Disney Screenwriting Fellowship and didn’t get it. His friends said, “You must be crushed!” His dad said, “You’re gonna fail much more than you succeed. It’s only when you’re not getting closer to your goal that you worry about.” It helped him get through that time
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Showing Up for Life
Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime
Bill Gates Sr. with Mary Ann Mackin
Bill Gates, Jr. (Foreword)

May 2010, Broadway
From Publishers Weekly: Gates, attorney, philanthropist and father of the Microsoft scion, shares thoughts and family memories in this warm collection of short essays. Counting his children-Kristi, Libby, and son Bill--among his proudest achievements, Gates stays close to home and largely abstains from name dropping, though the Gates keep some impressive company (Gates prizes a photograph of himself, Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter at the Zola Clinic in South Africa). With a conversational tone, Gates enumerates his tenets for successful life-hard work, generosity and curiosity-along with what he's learned from people like his scoutmaster Dorm Braman, his son Bill, his late wife, Mary, and his current wife, Mimi, as well as friends from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. government. Along with some impressive moments from exotic locations, such as his many trips to Africa, Gates's cascade of small, private moments build to an impressive and very personal life survey.
Click the book cover to read more.


May 2010, URJ PRESS
For most American Jews, Israel is only seen through the lens of the political debate, the impressions of the news report, or the windows of a tour bus. Begun as a weekly online essay in response to the Second Intifada in 2000, Galilee diary goes beyond the headlines to provide an insider's view of the rich and complex reality that is Israel. First time readers and long-time fans of the series will enjoy this multidimensional look at Israel, which includes revised and updated highlights from the popular online series.
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] JEWISH U

May 2010, URJ PRESS
Jewish U is a hands-on guide to living Jewishly on campus. How to observe your first high holidays away from home. How to decide if you should join a fraternity or sorority. How to find the right place to eat during Passover. How to talk to non-Jewish roommates about Judaism. How to find common ground with Jewish students from different backgrounds. How to find a Jewish home for yourself on campus. College is about diversity, offering up countless options, choices that YOU will now have to make on your own. Jewish U: A Contemporary Guide for the Jewish College Student is an invaluable resource for those about to be presented with these myriad choices
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Keep Your Wives Away from Them
Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires
Edited by Miryam Kabakov
May 11, 2010, North Atlantic Mifflin
Reconciling queerness with religion has always been an enormous challenge. When the religion is Orthodox Judaism, the task is even more daunting. This anthology takes on that challenge by giving voice to gender queer Jewish women who were once silenced—and effectively rendered invisible—by their faith. Keep Your Wives Away from Them tells the story of those who have come out, who are still closeted, living double lives, or struggling to maintain an integrated "single life" in relationship to traditional Judaism—personal stories that are both enlightening and edifying. While a number of films and books have explored the lives of queer people in Orthodox and observant Judaism, only this one explores in depth what happens after the struggle, when the real work of building integrated lives begins. The candor of these insightful stories in Keep Your Wives Away from Them makes the book appealing to a general audience and students of women’s, gender, and LGBTQ studies, as well as for anyone struggling personally with the same issue.
Contributors include musician and writer Temim Fruchter, Professor Joy Ladin, writer Leah Lax, nurse Tamar Prager, and the pseudonymous Ex-Yeshiva Girl.
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Orthodox by Design
Judaism, Print Politics, and the ArtScroll Revolution
By Jeremy Stolow
2010, University of California Press
The story of ArtScroll Press and its success in sales and redefining Orthodox Judaism
An exploration of religion and media, examines ArtScroll, the world's largest Orthodox Jewish publishing house, purveyor of handsomely designed editions of sacred texts and a major cultural force in contemporary Jewish public life. In the first in-depth study of the ArtScroll revolution, Jeremy Stolow traces the ubiquity of ArtScroll books in local retail markets, synagogues, libraries, and the lives of ordinary users. Synthesizing field research conducted in three local Jewish scenes where ArtScroll books have had an impact--Toronto, London, and New York--along with close readings of key ArtScroll texts, promotional materials, and the Jewish blogosphere, he shows how the use of these books reflects a broader cultural shift in the authority and public influence of Orthodox Judaism. Playing with the concept of design, Stolow's study also outlines a fresh theoretical approach to print culture and illuminates how evolving technologies, material forms, and styles of mediated communication contribute to new patterns of religious identification, practice, and power.
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May 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
This JPS ethics series confronts some of the most critical moral issues of our time. In the newest addition to the Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices series, co-editors Elliot Dorff and Danya Ruttenberg have brought together a diverse group of Jews to comment on how Judaism affects their views and actions regarding sex. Contributors range from adult movie actor Ron Jeremy, to renowned feminist scholar Martha Ackelsberg, to noted writer and blogger Esther Kustanowitz, as well as rabbis, doctors, social workers, and activists. They discuss issues of monogamy, honesty, and communication in dating and marriage; testing for and disclosure of STDs; abortion, sex education, sex work, and sexuality.
In the fourth volume of this acclaimed Jewish Voices, Jewish Choices series, Jews of various ages and backgrounds examine sensitive issues such as monogamy, honesty, and communication in dating and marriage; testing for and disclosure of STDs; abortion, sex education, sex work, and sexuality. The opinions are as diverse as the contributors: from adult movie actor Ron Jeremy, to renowned feminist scholar Martha Ackelsberg, to noted writer and blogger Esther Kustanowitz, as well as rabbis, doctors, social workers and activists. Hypothetical case studies and Jewish source texts provide additional insights into personal, yet thought-provoking topics as they are considered in a whole new light.
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[book] Hunting Evil
The Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and
the Quest to Bring Them to Justice
2010, Broadway
Already acclaimed in England as "first-rate" (The Sunday Times); “a model of meticulous, courageous and path-breaking scholarship"(Literary Review); and "absorbing and thoroughly gripping… deserves a lasting place among histories of the war.” (The Sunday Telegraph), Hunting Evil is the first complete and definitive account of how the Nazis escaped and were pursued and captured -- or managed to live long lives as fugitives. At the end of the Second World War, an estimated 30,000 Nazi war criminals fled from justice, including some of the highest ranking members of the Nazi Party. Many of them have names that resonate deeply in twentieth-century history -- Eichmann, Mengele, Martin Bormann, and Klaus Barbie -- not just for the monstrosity of their crimes, but also because of the shadowy nature of their post-war existence, holed up in the depths of Latin America, always one step ahead of their pursuers. Aided and abetted by prominent people throughout Europe, they hid in foreboding castles high in the Austrian alps, and were taken in by shady Argentine secret agents. The attempts to bring them to justice are no less dramatic, featuring vengeful Holocaust survivors, inept politicians, and daring plots to kidnap or assassinate the fugitives. In this exhaustively researched and compellingly written work of World War II history and investigative reporting, journalist and novelist Guy Walters gives a comprehensive account of one of the most shocking and important aspects of the war: how the most notorious Nazi war criminals escaped justice, how they were pursued, captured or able to remain free until their natural deaths and how the Nazis were assisted while they were on the run by "helpers" ranging from a Vatican bishop to a British camel doctor, and even members of Western intelligence services. Based on all new interviews with Nazi hunters and former Nazis and intelligence agents, travels along the actual escape routes, and archival research in Germany, Britain, the United States, Austria, and Italy, Hunting Evil authoritatively debunks much of what has previously been understood about Nazis and Nazi hunters in the post war era, including myths about the alleged “Spider” and “Odessa” escape networks and the surprising truth about the world's most legendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. From its haunting chronicle of the monstrous mass murders the Nazis perpetrated and the murky details of their postwar existence to the challenges of hunting them down, Hunting Evil is a monumental work of nonfiction written with the pacing and intrigue of a thriller.
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[book] Renewal
A Guide to the Values-Filled Life
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
2010, Basic Books
From the cover: Our culture is showing the cracks of a growing fracture. Soaring divorce rates; a crippled economy that rewards the few and punishes the many; religious-fueled hatred; record rates of depression—the headlines paint a grim picture. We inhabit a society that desperately needs fixing. But as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach reveals in his new book, Renewal, our society can made whole again when we as individuals make the choice to live a life based on values. For too long, conversations about values have been derailed by political movements trying to score points over hot-button issues like gay marriage or abortion. Boteach, one of our wisest and most respected counselors and spiritual experts, reaches deep into our history and into our shared religious legacy to revive the key universal values of Judaism for our struggling world. He presents these age-old ideas as guideposts for the challenges of modern times. These values, whose roots are in the Bible and thousands of years of Jewish spiritual living, can be applied to anyone in the modern world—from Christians and Muslims to atheists and agnostics—who want to renew their existence and recommit themselves to the most precious things in life. Renewal shows everyone how to use the timeless values of the Hebrew Bible and Judaism to live a more fulfilling, modern life.
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Spring 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
In this fascinating book, Ora Wiskind-Elper introduces us to a figure who was ahead of his time: the Hasidic leader Rabbi Ya`akov Leiner of Izbica-Radzyn. Her translations and interpretation of his writings present the Rabbi's central ideas in a compelling form to modern readers. Though Rabbi Ya`akov lived a full century and a half ago, his teaching weaves midrash, medieval commentary, Kabbalah, and Hasidic thought together to create an innovative perspective on long-established Jewish concepts. His works, known as the Beit Ya`akov fill four large volumes of commentary on the weekly Torah portions and the cycle of Jewish festivals--the traditional genre known as derashot.
In exploring the diversity of the sources Rabbi Ya`akov used for his reflections on Jewish life and spirituality, the author suggests he devoted uncommon attention to emotion, human, relationships, and gender issues. Thus, in many ways, Rabbi Ya`akov's thought was extraordinary for its time and even for ours. Wiskind-Elper's insights touch readers on many different levels--intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically
Rabbi Ya`akov Leiner (1818-1878) was a brilliantly innovative 19th century Hasidic figure. The discourses and insights he shared throughout his life were gathered by his sons and grandson in four large volumes entitled Beit Ya`akov (The House of Jacob). They are a powerful testimony to the richness and depth of Hasidic teaching, and to the authentic spiritual quest that is its driving force.
Wisdom of the Heart introduces this masterpiece of Jewish thought to the modern reader. Ora Wiskind-Elper makes use of current modes of literary and philosophical criticism to achieve coherent readings of these complex, multi-layered discourses, while remaining attentive to the subtleties they convey. The author makes clear that Rabbi Leiner's works are vital to an authentic understanding of the revolutionary and controversial Izbica tradition founded by his father, R. Mordecai Joseph.
Within the framework of traditional Jewish interpretation, interweaving textual allusions to a vast library of revealed and concealed wisdom, Rabbi Ya`akov explored themes far beyond convention. His reflections on selfhood and personal growth, failure, sin, death, and emotional relationships between people and with God are of enduring significance.
This book presents the strikingly original nature of Rabbi Ya`akov's insights as part of a living tradition, with profound implications for every person in search of spiritual meaning.
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June 2010, Norton
Henry Roth wrote CALL IT SLEEP, one of the great American novels in 1934. He died in 1995. Among his papers, there were nearly 2000 unpublished items, was found this novel. Set in 1938, An American Type reintroduces us to Roth’s alter ego, Ira, who abandons his controlling lover, Edith, in favor of a blond, aristocratic pianist at Yaddo, the retreat for writers. The ensuing conflict between his Jewish ghetto roots and his high-flown, writerly aspirations forces Ira, temporarily, to abandon his family for the sun-soaked promise of the American West. Fast-paced but wrenching, set against a backdrop of crumbling piers, bedbug-infested SROs, and skyscrapers in glimmering Manhattan and seedy L.A., An American Type is not only, perhaps, the last firsthand testament of the Depression but also a universal statement about the constant reinvention of American identity and, with its lyrical ending, the transcendence of love. This posthumous work was edited by Willing Davidson, a former fiction editor at The New Yorker.
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May 2010, Algonquin
And what happens when Bernie Karp, the impressionable fifteen-year-old son of the couple in whose home the rabbi lies frozen, inadvertently thaws out the ancient man? Such are the questions raised in this wickedly funny and ingenious novel by author Steve Stern, who, according to the Washington Post Book World, belongs in the company of such writers as Stanley Elkin, Cynthia Ozick, Michael Chabon, Mark Helprin, and Philip Roth, all of them "innovative and restless practitioners of contemporary American-Jewish fantasy." When the rabbi comes fully and mischievously to life, Bernie finds himself on an unexpected odyssey to understand his heritage (Jewish), his role in life (nebbish hero), and his destiny (to ensure the rabbi’s future). and the reader enters the lives of the people who struggled to transport the holy man’s block of ice, surviving pogroms, a transatlantic journey (in steerage, of course), an ice-house fire in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and finally, a train trip to the city on the Mississippi.
An epic novel in the spirit of Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Steve Stern's The Frozen Rabbi is a wildly entertaining yet deeply thoughtful look at the burdens inherent in handing down traditions from one generation to the next.
Steve Stern, winner of the National Jewish Book award, is the author of several previous novels and novellas. He teaches at Skidmore College in upstate New York.
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June 2010, HArPER
Hailed as the "Israeli Kite Runner" (The Bookseller), this international bestseller and publishing phenomenon is the bittersweet story of one family, one home, and the surprising arc of one woman's life, from the poverty of her youth to the glowing love and painful losses of her adult years. Braiding together past and present, Every House Needs a Balcony tells the story of a young Jewish girl—a child of Romanian immigrants—who lives with her family in the poverty-stricken heart of 1950s Haifa, Israel (WADI SALIB neighborhood). Eight-year-old Rina, her older sister, Josefa,(to whom the book is dedicated), and their parents inhabit a cramped apartment with a narrow balcony that becomes an intimate shared stage on which the joys and dramas of the building's daily life are played out. It is also a vantage point from which Rina witnesses the emergence of a strange new country, born from the ashes of World War II. Later, after years of living abroad with her wealthy Spanish husband in Barcelona, Rina, longing for the simple life she has missed, returns to the Haifa of her boisterous youth, a move that soothes her soul but ultimately endangers her marriage.
Beautifully told, rich with questions of identity, love, and survival, Every House Needs a Balcony is an unforgettable social and historical portrait of a neighborhood and a nation. Steeped in the colors and smells, laughter and tears, of Rina Frank's own childhood memories, it is a heartbreaking tale about the deepest meanings of home.
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[book] DELLA
This surprisingly candid, often funny, and entirely moving memoir is Chuck Barris’s story about life with his only child, Della. Born on Christmas Eve in 1962, Della was a lovable charmer like her father, an adventurous and quick-witted kid. She had a carefree suburban childhood, even while her father was fast becoming an entertainment superstar, inventing, hosting, and producing his legendary game shows. When Barris and his wife eventually divorced, Della was shuttled between parents in New York and California, then moved from boarding school in Switzerland to Beverly Hills High, among other places.
Bored, lonely, and often depressed, she discovered drugs and petty crime early in adolescence, and her escapades soon took on a far more alarming and dangerous aspect. She was lost, yearning for attention and guidance, and growing up in Los Angeles amid temptation everywhere. Her father felt helpless: caring for a daughter was more than Barris had bargained for. Ranging from late-night phone calls from the neighbors to emergency room visits, Della’s behavior was out of control.
When Della decided at age sixteen to move out on her own, Barris didn’t object. He gave her a trust fund and let her go out into the world alone, a regret that he shares with readers here in heartbreaking and clear-eyed detail as he chronicles Della’s descent into addiction and her eventual death from an overdose at age thirty-six. But Della is not just a grief-stricken story. Filled with loving memories and spontaneous humor, it is a brave and hard-earned reflection on fatherhood and a tribute to innocence lost.
Chuck Barris is a former television show creator and producer, whose credits include The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, The Gong Show, and Treasure Hunt. He is the author of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind in which he recounts his life as a government assassin.
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[book] LIFE OF IRENE NEMIROVSKY, 1903-1942
Translated from the French
2010, Knopf
From Publishers Weekly: French biographers Philipponnat and Lienhardt draw on heretofore unexamined archives to present the turbulent, tragic life of Irène Némirovsky, author of the posthumous bestseller Suite Française. Némirovsky (1903–1942) lived through two great persecutions of the 20th century: the pogroms of her native Kiev and Odessa and, having fled Russia for France after the Russian revolution, the Holocaust. As WWII raged, with the Germans' relentless oppression of so-called stateless people, her conversion to Catholicismdid not save her. Némirovsky was taken to a concentration camp in the Loiret, then shipped to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she died with Suite Française uncompleted. This book elegantly balances her life and the work, painting a portrait (if at some distance) of a spirited young asthmatic writer, daughter, wife, and mother. Descended from cultural rather than religiously observant Jews, Némirovsky's artistic sensibility survived an early monotonous environment formed by her commercial-banker father and the scorn of her vain, spiteful mother. The authors nicely cover the French publishing industry during the high-flying days of success when Némirovsky's bestselling and controversial 1929 novel, David Golder, was published as well as the upper-crust émigré Parisian lifestyle of the Jazz Age.
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[book] ZILCH
June 2010, Portfolio
After years of being told to emulate the corporate world, not-for-profit CEOs like Nancy Lublin now find the shoe on the other foot. Tough times have forced businesses to slash their headcount, marketing budgets, and other resources. Managers at small startups and Fortune 100 companies alike are now expected to do more with less-but how? No one is more qualified to answer that question than the leaders who always thrive on a shoestring. Take Nancy Lublin, for instance. She learned firsthand how much you can accomplish with zilch (or close to it). As the founder of Dress for Success, which provides low-income women with interview suits and career development training, she turned a $5,000 inheritance into a global franchise. Then, as CEO of, she helped turn a struggling startup into one of the largest and most successful youth volunteer groups in the world. Now she draws on her experiences as well as interviews with other "rock star" leaders of flourishing not-for-profits-including Wendy Kopp of Teach For America, Darell Hammond of KaBOOM!, Greg Baldwin of, and John Lilly of Mozilla. Their examples prove the power of zero in business by teaching us how to:
* Motivate and retain good people without offering huge financial incentives
* Use the power of bartering to leverage every asset and minimize your liabilities
* Create cherished brands without throwing money at studies and focus groups
* Market your goods or service without paying a penny
Lublin's tone is a unique mix of "let's have some fun" and "here's the straight dope." Her expert advice will help any business or organization to get ahead through the power of zero.
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[book] PEEP SHOW
June 2010, Algonquin
Joshua Braff, brother of actor Zach Braff, wrote THE UNTHINKABLE THOUGHTS OF JACOB GREEN, a few years ago, which I thought was one of the best and funniest Jewish novels of the decade. Now he has prepared a second novel for us.
A kid who likes photos… is it any wonder that his name is Arbus?
David Arbus will be graduating from high school in the spring of 1975. His divorced parents offer two options: embrace his mother’s Hasidic sect or go into his father’s line of work, running a porn theater in the heart of New York’s Times Square. He joins the family business. What else would a healthy seventeen-year-old with an interest in photography do? But he didn’t think it would mean giving up his mother and sister altogether. Peep Show is the bittersweet story of a young man torn between a mother trying to erase her past and a father struggling to maintain his dignity in a less-than-savory business. As David peeps through the spaces in the screen that divides the men and the women in Hasidic homes, we can’t help but think of his father’s Imperial Theatre, where other men are looking at other women through the peepholes. As entertaining as it is moving, Peep Show looks at the elaborate ensembles, rituals, assumed names, and fierce loyalties of two secret worlds, stripping away the curtains of both.
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Twilight at the World of Tomorrow
Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World's Fair
on the Brink of War
By James Mauro
June 2010, Ballantine
From Publishers Weekly: Former Cosmopolitan executive editor Mauro tries to underscore the irony of the 1939–1940 New York World's Fair, with its theme of world unity, opening on the brink of world war. But Mauro has multiple narratives, moving erratically between the evolution of the fair, with its slogan Building the World of Tomorrow; war brewing in Europe; and Germany gobbling up territory (Hitler refused the invitation to have a pavilion at the fair). As, one by one, European nations closed their pavilions, due to the war, the fair's theme rang increasingly hollow. During the fair's run, Einstein famously wrote to President Roosevelt expressing concern over Germany's stockpiling of uranium, giving rise to the Manhattan Project. To this unwieldy narrative Mauro adds the story of two NYPD bomb squad detectives killed when a bomb detonated on the fairgrounds on July 4, 1940. Aiming for another Devil in the White City, Mauro fails to pull all his threads together coherently, falling short of the mark.
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Who wants to collaborate with me on a book called “F IS FOR FALAFEL?”
Not Jewish (below), but a cute cover:
BY Bronwyn Bancroft
June 2010, Little Hare
Ages 1 – 3
The selection of colors, animals, and words and the new format makes this the perfect book for toddlers. Each page will depict an Australian word taken from the original book, creating a captivating reference that celebrates the uniqueness of Australia and its language. Wombats. Koala. Platypus. Click the book cover to read more.

This means war and battle counter insurgency.. Not cosmetics counter insurgency
June 2010, Oxford University Press
David Kilcullen is one of the world's most influential experts on counterinsurgency and modern warfare. A Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to General David Petraeus in Iraq, his vision of war powerfully influenced America's decision to rethink its military strategy in Iraq and implement "the Surge," now recognized as a dramatic success. In Counterinsurgency, Kilcullen brings together his most salient writings on this key topic. At the heart of the book is his legendary "Twenty-Eight Articles." In it, he shows company leaders how to practice counterinsurgency in the real world, "at night, with the GPS down, the media criticizing you, the locals complaining in a language you don't understand, and an unseen enemy killing your people by ones and twos." Reading this piece is like reading a modern-day Sun Tzu--an essential read for officers in the field, and not infrequently an excellent source of wisdom for readers of all stripes, military or civilian. In such pithy adages as "Rank is nothing: talent is everything" or "Train the squad leaders--then trust them," Kilcullen offers advice that any leader would be wise to consider. The other pieces in the book include Kilcullen's pioneering study of counterinsurgency in Indonesia, his ten-point plan for "the Surge" in Iraq, and his frank look at the problems in Afghanistan. He concludes with a new strategic approach to the War on Terrorism, arguing that counterinsurgency rather than traditional counterterrorism may offer the best approach to defeating global jihad.
Counterinsurgency is a picture of modern warfare by someone who has had his boots on the ground in some of today's worst trouble spots--including Iraq and Afghanistan--and who has been studying the topic since 1995. Filled with down-to-earth, common-sense insights, this book is indispensable for all those interested in making sense of our world in an age of terror.
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The Lives and Time of Siegmund WARBURG
By Niall Ferguson, Harvard B School
June 2010, Penguin
Success from the financial and from the prestige point of view . . . is not enough; what matters even more is . . . adherence to high moral and aesthetic standards." -Siegmund Warburg, 1959
In this pathbreaking new biography, based on more than ten thousand hitherto unavailable letters and diary entries, bestselling author Niall Ferguson returns to his roots as a financial historian to tell the story of Siegmund Warburg, an extraordinary man whose austere philosophy of finance offers much insight today. A refugee from Hitler's Germany, Warburg rose to become the dominant figure in postwar City of London and one of the architects of European financial integration. Seared by the near collapse and then "Aryanization" of his family's long-established bank in the 1930s and then frustrated by the stagnation of its Wall Street sister, Kuhn Loeb, in the 1950s, Warburg resolved that his own firm of S. G. Warburg (founded in 1946) would be different. An obsessive perfectionist with an aversion to excessive risk, Warburg came to embody the ideals of the “haute banquet“ - also known as high finance- always eschewing the fast buck in favor of gilt-edged advice. O mean, look at him. He decided to invest in Canada instead of the U.S. after WWII, since Canada had less risk and more intelligent and experienced technocrats. (that was a mistake in terms of profit generation) He was not only the master of the modern merger and founder of the eurobond; he was also a key behind-the-scenes adviser to governments in London, Tokyo, and Jerusalem-to his critics, a "financial Rasputin." Like a character from a Thomas Mann novel, Warburg was a complex and ambivalent man, as much a psychologist, politician, and actor-manager as he was a banker. In High Financier Niall Ferguson shares the first book-length examination of a man whose life and work suggest an alternative to the troubled business principles that helped shape our current financial landscape.
Niall Ferguson is currently the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University
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June 2010, Reagan
Dr. Solomons based this novel on the lives of her grandparents. It is a bittersweet love story and the film rights were already sold. Solomons spent her English summers in a cottage that her grandparents purchased with restitution money from Germany. And the recipes in the book are from her grandmother’s book.
The novel: It was at the outset of WWII that Sadie and jack Rosenblum and their infant daughter escaped Berlin. They land in London, where they receive a pamphlet on how to act English. Jack follows it closely. His suits are from Saville Row, he watches the BBC, he drives a Bentley (they are prosperous). But what he cannot do is join a gold club. In post-war England, no club will admit a Rosenblum. He therefore decides to build his own club in the Dorset countryside. As he goes off on this comical project, Sadie mourns the life they lost in Germany. Whose dream will be pursued?
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[book] RADICAL
June 2010, Perseus Nation Books
You probably recall Nicholas von Hoffman fro early episodes of 60 MINUTES. In this book, he looks back on his work in Chicago and meeting Alinsky and what he learned from the master of radical organization and hijinx. But most importantly he reminds us that the best organizer gets other people to organize, and events without money or power are worthless. Organization is all about getting money or power.
Hundreds of organizations have been founded in the United States and abroad on Saul Alinsky’s principles. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis on Alinsky; President Barack Obama cites him as a major influence. Yet, until the publication of Mastermind, Alinsky—who strove to reinvigorate and expand democracy through groups that enabled people to control the shape of their own lives—has not been given the recognition he deserves. What Freud is to psychoanalysis, Alinsky is to community organizing. In fact, Alinsky coined the phrase “community organizer”—which Sarah Palin lampooned at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
In Mastermind, Nicholas von Hoffman—a former Washington Post columnist, 60 Minutes commentator, and New York Times best-selling author—tells the story of Alinsky and his remarkable legacy. Written by someone who worked for him for years, Mastermind combines von Hoffman’s Boswellian sketches of his mentor—often in indiscreet, hilarious, and moving detail—with a rigorous historical analysis of what made Alinsky’s contribution to grassroots American democracy so vital.
Nicholas von Hoffman is the author of thirteen books, including Citizen Cohn, Hoax, and The Devil’s Dictionary of Business. He lives in Tenant’s Harbor, Maine.
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June 2010, Doubleday
A shattering account of war and disillusionment from a young woman reporter on the front lines of the war on terror. A few weeks after the planes crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11, journalist Megan K. Stack, a  twenty-five-year-old national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, was thrust into Afghanistan and Pakistan, dodging gunmen and prodding warlords for information. From there, she traveled to war-ravaged Iraq and Lebanon and other countries scarred by violence, including Israel, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, witnessing the changes that swept the Muslim world and laboring to tell its stories. Every Man in This Village Is a Liar is Megan K. Stack’s riveting account of what she saw in the combat zones and beyond. She relates her initial wild excitement and her slow disillusionment as the cost of violence outweighs the elusive promise of freedom and democracy. She reports from under bombardment in Lebanon; records the raw pain of suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq; and, one by one, marks the deaths and disappearances of those she interviews. Beautiful, savage, and unsettling, Every Man in This Village Is a Liar is a memoir about the wars of the  twenty-first century that readers will long remember
Note: check out the anti Jewish words in the poetry slam in Yemen.
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SADLY, the book is a hunk of crap, a polemic, and not of the balanced quality one would expect from a Rice University professor. I was told it would dispel a one dimensional picture of US-Arab relations dating back to 1820, but be provides just his own one dimensional picture. But read it for yourself…
BY USSAMA MAKDISI (Rice University)
June 2010, PUBLICAffairs Books
PW writes, “A history of foreign policy gone wrong, Makdisi™s study argues convincingly that Americans have rarely engaged with the Arab nations as autonomous peoples with cultures and histories of their own--they have preferred "glib generalizations"--and that such myopia is at the core of much of the Middle East’s animosity toward the U.S. In his history of the Middle East, Makdisi (Artillery of Heaven) privileges Arab voices and, for the most part demonstrates an impressive ability to render societies and individuals as multifaceted. He efficiently debunks the Huntingtonian belief in an inevitable clash of civilizations and resurrects a forgotten history of mutual curiosity and cultural cross-pollination between the East and West. It is unfortunate, then, that he reduces Zionism and Zionists to a cog in the machinations of Western power politics, rather than presenting a more complex, messy, and accurate picture of competing narratives and their impact on American policy making. His pat simplification undermines his otherwise commendable effort to defuse the "mutual incomprehension" and "mutual demonization" between the U.S. and the Arab world.”
Makdisi is an American born Lebanese Christian who teaches at Rice.
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By the anonymous hedge fund manager, and editor of N+1 magazine, Keith Gessen
June 2010, Harper Perennial
Publishers Weekly: Expanding on a 2007 interview in the literary magazine n+1, editor and interviewer Gessen draws together two years' worth of interviews with a despairing anonymous hedge fund manager. HFM, as Gessen calls him, didn't go to business school or major in economics, but has been working successfully in hedge funds for over a decade. With some context provided by Gessen, HFM schools readers in the stories behind the death of Bear Stearns, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the plunging dollar, the bailouts, the Madoff scandal, and, finally, the upswing. Though it's interesting to have a personal take on the tumultuous past two years—and HFM ends the interviews when the stress finally drives him to take a semisabbatical—the decision to tell this story in an interview format is tricky and ultimately unsuccessful; the choppy transcription format distances readers from the ideas at hand, and the points lose their punch. Fans of the original article will find this expansion compelling, but other readers curious about the factors behind the crash will do better elsewhere
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June 2010, Doubleday
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose. The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender’s place as “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language” (San Francisco Chronicle).
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Now in Paperback
June 2010, Anchor paperback
PW Starred Review. It is 1985. In what Whitehead describes as his Autobiographical Fourth Novel (as opposed to the more usual autobiographical first novel), the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist John Henry Days explores the in-between space of adolescence through one boy's summer in a predominantly black Long Island neighborhood. Benji and Reggie, brothers so closely knit that many mistake them for twins, have been coming out to Sag Harbor for as long as they can remember. For Benji, each three-month stay at Sag is a chance to catch up with friends he doesn't see the rest of the year, and to escape the social awkwardness that comes with a bad afro, reading Fangoria, and being the rare African-American student at an exclusive Manhattan prep school filled with Jewish stoners getting high. As he and Reggie develop separate identities and confront new factors like girls, part-time jobs and car-ownership, Benji struggles to adapt to circumstances that could see him joining the ranks of Those Who Don't Come Out Anymore. Benji's funny and touching story progresses leisurely toward Labor Day, but his reflections on what's gone before provide a roadmap to what comes later, resolving social conflicts that, at least this year, have yet to explode.
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June 2010, Gefen
At one time or another every person of faith asks himself questions like these: What must I do to deserve some Divine intervention in my life? Is there anyone really listening to my prayers? When do miracles happen, and when do they not? Where s my miracle? Am I not worthy? Here is a fresh, new, thought-provoking approach to the eternal mystery of the miracle, based on the multiple texts found in Jewish tradition as well as lessons learned from experience. The Al Aksa Intifada and its bloody consequences serve as backdrop for the many important messages about belief contained in this book. The Intifada forced Jews and rabbinic leaders to actively confront the difficult philosophical questions that arose in the wake of continual, random acts of violence in Israel. Having made aliyah just weeks before the onset of the bloody violence, the author took note of the reactions of survivors and spiritual leaders throughout the years of violence and was struck with the pat, simplistic, and often not-well-thought-out reactions and explanations offered by Israeli spiritual leaders to give meaning and purpose to the violence. Rabbi Morey Schwartz, an only child, orphaned by age twenty, has spent more than twenty years searching for a satisfying answer to his personal misfortune. Searching traditional Jewish responses, he never found a response that addressed his need to believe in a benevolent, merciful and all-powerful divine being, while simultaneously honoring what he considers his right to understanding. To believe in a God that was less than all-powerful seemed pointless, and to accept that we just cannot understand seemed to be meaningless. The author, is a graduate of Yeshiva University and Bernard Revel Graduate School, and musmach of the Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan Theological Seminary. During his twelve years in the American rabbinate, helping others to deal with suffering and loss, the author found himself expressing a refreshing theological approach to this question, one which has helped countless individuals work through these difficult issues in their own lives. The book provides a look at the way the sages dealt with the suffering of the innocent throughout the centuries, providing the reader with easy to read rabbinic texts arranged in a text and counter-text format, for the purpose of presenting multiple Jewish approaches to some very difficult questions. In addition, the author provides a new, inspiring way of looking at the whole business of miracles. The age-old idea that miracles arise for those who deserve them is reconsidered, and a whole new perspective on the function and incidence of miracles is proposed. Any person of any faith will want to read these words and ponder the Divine s role in our lives, in the good times and the bad. This book will become a source of great comfort to Jews looking for alternative Jewish approaches to suffering and to God s role in suffering. This book is a must for those who counsel, for they above all need to be sympathetic to the deep sensitivities of those who seek consolation.
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[book] The Jews in Poland and Russia
Vol. 2: 1881-1914
By Antony Polonsky
June 2010,
In his three-volume history, Antony Polonsky provides a comprehensive survey-socio-political, economic, and religious-of the Jewish communities of eastern Europe from 1350 to the present. Until the Second World War, this was the heartland of the Jewish world: nearly three and a half million Jews lived in Poland alone, while nearly three million more lived in the Soviet Union. Although the majority of the Jews of Europe and the United States, and many of the Jews of Israel, originate from these lands, their history there is not well known. Rather, it is the subject of mythologizing and stereotypes that fail both to bring out the specific features of the Jewish civilization which emerged there and to illustrate what was lost. Jewish life, though often poor materially, was marked by a high degree of spiritual and ideological intensity and creativity. Antony Polonsky recreates this lost world-brutally cut down by the Holocaust and less brutally but still seriously damaged by the Soviet attempt to destroy Jewish culture. Wherever possible, the unfolding of history is illustrated by contemporary Jewish writings to show how Jews felt and reacted to the complex and difficult situations in which they found themselves. This second volume covers the period from 1881 to 1914. It considers the deterioration of the position of the Jews during that period and the new political and cultural movements that developed as a consequence: Zionism, socialism, autonomism, the emergence of modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature, Jewish urbanization, and the rise of popular Jewish culture. Galicia, Prussian Poland, the Kingdom of Poland, and the Tsarist Empire are all treated individually, as are the main towns of these areas.
[book] See also:
Volume 1 covers the period 1350-1881; Volume 3 covers 1914-2005
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A year ago, a boo kwas released that said the leader of Bear Stearns was well loved and blameless, and the firm was destroyed by a vicious cabal. Ace Greenberg wants his version told now, and with the slight of hand of an excellent magician, he has quickly brought to market another version of the firm’s history, success, and collapse. It is an exciting read, and after the first few chapters, I was wishing I had worked on Wall Street…
June 2010, Harper Perennial
Alan C. Greenberg is the former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bear Stearns and current vice chairman emeritus of JP Morgan Chase (and author of Memos from the Chairman, collector of paper clips, contact bridge player, and the man who reads pledge cars at the annual UJA Wall Street journal in NYC), tells a tale of how and why Bear Stearns rose and then failed. -- With Mark Singer a staff writer for The New Yorker -- In 1949, Greenberg moved to NYC (got a room at 77th and Bway in what turned out to be a brothel) and joined the firm as a clerk ($135 a week. The Dow was at 180). There were 125 employees. By the time he was 40, he became its CEO (1978) and its Chairman in 1985. At the peak, there were 15,000 employees. He remained the Chairman of the ExCom until the bitter end. So perhaps he is intimate to the reasons why the firm collapsed? The book is anticipated and controversial. He says he will name names and tell all. He might even criticize himself. (more info to come)

Bear Stearns has that image as the scrappy second tier bank, the place that hired guys from St John’s and not the Ivies, kids who would have chips on the shoulders. On March 16, 2008, Greenberg was at his office. It was unusual since it was a weekend and he had not worked on a weekend since the 1950s. It was a gray rainy Sunday and there was an emergency meeting at 383 Madison, his HQ. That week, Moody’s downgraded the firm and it’s stick fell. A Billion in the firm’s market value evaporated. They had $18 billion in cash reserves, but the rumors would not stop of the coming failure. Within a day, hedge funds closed their accounts and the cash reserves dropped to $15 Billion. The stock, which had traded at $172 was down to the $30’s. A shotgun marriage was needed Alan Schwartz, the CEO, told the board to brace for an offer of $4 a chare from JP Morgan Chase. James E. (Jimmy) Cayne wanted to just file for bankruptcy protection and liquidation, which would put 14,000 out of work, and render all the employees and investors who had the bulk of their savings in stock, much poorer.
How did they get to this point and destroy 85 years of firm history? This is Greenberg‘s side of the story.
PS - Greenberg wanted to be a sports star in HS, but several days of after school Hebrew School cut into that ambition. The name “Ace” came from his half hearted very temporary attempt to be Ace Gainesboro at Univ of Missouri to attract more women. He went back to Greenberg quickly, but the name Ace remained. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] HITCH-22
June 2010, Twelve
Booklist. *Starred Review* In this memoir, we learn that Hitchens recently learned that his late mother was jewish, but kept it a secret from her children, until after her death,
Hitchens, who, in his earlier books, has expressed contempt for both God and Mother Teresa (although not in that order), is often described as a contrarian. In fact, in his book Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001), he himself noted that he “can appear insufferable and annoying,” albeit without intending to. This memoir, bracing, droll, and very revealing, gives him yet another description: storyteller. He writes with a voice you can hear clearly, warmed by smoke and whiskey, and draws readers into his story, which proves as personal as it is political. As with many memoirs, it is not the public moments that are so fascinating, though there are plenty of those. Hitchens takes readers with him to Havana and Prague, Afghanistan and Iraq; tests himself by being waterboarded (he was disappointed in his early capitulation); and hobnobs with politicians and poets. He almost gets himself beaten up by defacing a poster in Iraq with a Hitler mustache. But the most intriguing stories are the personal ones, both from his early days, at home and at boarding school, and from his later life, when he learns that his mother was Jewish, which, if only technically, makes him Jewish as well. This revelation leads Hitchens on a quest to learn the story of his family, many of whom died in the Holocaust. How this new identity squares with his oft-proclaimed atheism sheds a different light on the meaning of religious identity. (He struggles mightily with his political identity as well.) Few authors can rile as easily as Hitchens does, but even his detractors might find it difficult to put down a book so witty, so piercing, so spoiling for a fight. He makes you want to be as good a reader as he is a writer.
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June 2010, Viking
A majestic history of the summer of '64, which forever changed race relations in America. In the summer of 1964, with the civil rights movement stalled, seven hundred college students descended on Mississippi to register black voters, teach in Freedom Schools, and live in sharecroppers' shacks. But by the time their first night in the state had ended, three volunteers were dead, black churches had burned, and America had a new definition of freedom. This remarkable chapter in American history, the basis for the controversial film Mississippi Burning, is now the subject of Bruce Watson's thoughtful and riveting historical narrative. Using in- depth interviews with participants and residents, Watson brilliantly captures the tottering legacy of Jim Crow in Mississippi and the chaos that brought such national figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and Pete Seeger to the state. Freedom Summer presents finely rendered portraits of the courageous black citizens-and Northern volunteers-who refused to be intimidated in their struggle for justice, and the white Mississippians who would kill to protect a dying way of life. Few books have provided such an intimate look at race relations during the deadliest days of the Civil Rights movement.
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Read the Washington Post review at

June 2010, Crown
You know what happened during the financial crisis … now it is time to understand why the financial system came so close to falling over the edge of the abyss and why it could happen again. Wall Street has been saved, but it hasn’t been reformed. What is the problem? Suzanne McGee provides a penetrating look at the forces that transformed Wall Street from its traditional role as a capital-generating and economy-boosting engine into a behemoth operating with only its own short-term interests in mind and with reckless disregard for the broader financial system and those who relied on that system for their well being and prosperity. Primary among these influences was “Goldman Sachs envy”: the self-delusion on the part of Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers, Stanley O’Neil of Merrill Lynch, and other power brokers (egged on by their shareholders) that taking more risk would enable their companies to make even more money than Goldman Sachs. That hubris—and that narrow-minded focus on maximizing their short-term profits—led them to take extraordinary risks that they couldn’t manage and that later severely damaged, and in some cases destroyed, their businesses, wreaking havoc on the nation’s economy and millions of 401(k)s in the process.
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[book] The Ninth
Beethoven and the World in 1824
By Harvey Sachs
June 2010, Random House
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. “Beethoven wasn't always a cultural icon. At least one critic attending the 1824 premiere of his Symphony No. 9 in D Minor likened what he heard to a hideously writhing wounded dragon. Just why the composer and his works endure is the question behind this absorbing book by music historian Sachs (Toscanini). Through detailed musical analysis and condensed readings of cultural politics and 19th-century history, Sachs ponders what role so-called high culture played, plays, and ought to play in civilization. Using the year 1824 and the premiere of the Ninth as ground zero, Sachs reviews the literary, artistic, and social movements of the time, noting how Beethoven's innovative symphony (the first with a vocal score) and its themes of equality and redemption no doubt challenged the resurgent conservatism among Europe's monarchies. Sachs places Beethoven alongside Pushkin, Byron, and other prominent romantics, whose talents he finds linked to a common quest for freedoms—political, artistic, and above all of the mind and spirit. After first presenting the Ninth as a Viennese social event and then as emblematic of Beethoven's artistic process, Sachs shines with a close reading of the Ninth's musical score, interpreting its techniques and emotive narrative. Readers will want a recording nearby. In the book's last chapter, Sachs deals with the impact and legacy of Beethoven's masterwork and explains what makes his music universal.”
What is Jewish about the book? Lots. The author discusses Heine, who was born middle class and Jewish, while Beethoven was born 40 miles away, lower class and Catholic. Heine, a poet, converted to Chistianity to obtain status, and later moved to Paris, where he was a fish in water, or as the fish would say, I feel like Heine in Paris. Also discussed in the book is the role of Giacomo Meyerbeer, born German Jewish as Jakob Liebmann Meyer Beer, was the great French opera composer of the time.
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2010, Broaday
Rootless and restless in New York working for the Week, Steil accepted an opportunity to travel to Yemen, ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, to teach Western journalism to the staff of the Yemen Observer. The staff of untrained reporters, who barely spoke English, nonetheless hungered for her guidance on setting deadlines and professional standards of objectivity, reviving her own love of journalism. The short-term arrangement turned into a yearlong—but surreptitious—assignment as editor because it is illegal for foreigners to run a Yemeni paper. Steil prepared herself to deal with cultural differences—the women cannot interview or travel with men or stay out past dark—as well as suspicions that the paper was little more than a mouthpiece for the president, a friend of the publisher. Steil clashed with her editor and publisher, formed genuine friendships with her staff—chewing khat and visiting with families—and helped lead coverage of everything from presidential elections to kidnappings and bombings. Along the way, she gained a fresh perspective on journalism, Middle Eastern culture, and her own personal life
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A Historical Novel
By Daniel Friedenberg
2010, Prometheus
In this vividly told historical novel, author Daniel M. Friedenberg reconstructs the conflicted life of one of the most paradoxical figures of ancient Jewish history --Tiberius Julius Alexander. Tiberius was the nephew of the renowned neo-Platonist philosopher Philo Judaeus and the son of the wealthiest man in the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria. Unlike his father, who was a pious Jew and a generous contributor to the temple in Jerusalem, Tiberius showed little interest in his Jewish heritage and soon became an apostate. Pursuing military ambitions, he rose in the ranks of the Roman army and spent his career as a loyal Roman soldier in military and civil service. Ironically, he served as second in command to the future emperor Titus during one of the most catastrophic events of Jewish history-- the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, when the Roman army destroyed the city and its magnificent temple. Piecing together the historical evidence for the life of Tiberius, Friedenberg creates a fictional memoir based on the facts known about the real historical figure. He skillfully brings to life Roman society in the Near East of the first century, with all its luxurious refinements, brutal realities, competing religious cults, and social unrest.
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[book] THE PARTY
June 2010, Harper
With Israel’s pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo such a big hit, as it its Consul office, and with many Jewish youth studying Chinese and moving to China for work, this is a good book to read. I found it gripping, and it captures the read China behind the official smiles and banquets and U.S. treasury purchases.
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. McGregor, a journalist at the Financial Times, begins his revelatory and scrupulously reported book with a provocative comparison between China’s Communist Party and the Vatican for their shared cultures of secrecy, pervasive influence, and impenetrability. The author pulls back the curtain on the Party to consider its influence over the industrial economy, military, and local governments. McGregor describes a system operating on a Leninist blueprint and deeply at odds with Western standards of management and transparency. Corruption and the tension between decentralization and national control are recurring themes--and are highlighted in the Party’s handling of the disturbing Sanlu case, in which thousands of babies were poisoned by contaminated milk powder. McGregor makes a clear and convincing case that the 1989 backlash against the Party, inexorable globalization, and technological innovations in communication have made it incumbent on the Party to evolve, and this smart, authoritative book provides valuable insight into how it has--and has not--met the challenge.
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[book][book] The Most Musical Nation:
Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire,
By James Loffler (Univ of Virginia)
June 2010, Yale
Drawing on a mass of unpublished writings and archival sources from prerevolutionary Russian conservatories, this book offers an insightful account of the Jewish search for a modern identity in Russia through music, rather than politics or religion
“With this solid, savvy, and satisfying book, Loeffler advances Jewish studies, music history, and Russian studies by shedding new light on the stage of a twentieth-century social and musical drama.”—Mark Slobin, author of Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World
“The Jews’ remarkable place in the modern history of music – classical, popular and folk – is well known, but rarely subjected to serious analysis. Loeffler’s sophisticated and deeply researched book casts new light both on the Jewish contribution to music in general and to the emergence of specifically ‘Jewish music’ in the Russian Empire, home to the largest and most vital Jewish community in the world. “ –Ezra Mendelsohn, The Hebrew University
“James Loeffler’s new book is both fascinating and pathbreaking. This important and original contribution to scholarship must be read by students of music, Russian culture, and Jewish history.”—Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, and Music Director and Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra

With all these books below
Let’s publish our own book and call it
101 Things I Learned in….. Rabbinical School…. Cantorial School… Hebrew School… etc.
Although they trademarked the title, we can call it “36 Things I Learned… “
What do you think?

By MICHAEL w. PREIS with Matthew Frederick
May 2010, Grand Central
101 THINGS I LEARNED IN BUSINESS SCHOOL will cover a wide range of lessons that are basic enough for the novice business student as well as inspiring to the experienced practitioner. The unique packaging of this book will attract people of all ages who have always wondered whether business school would be a smart career choice for them. Judging by the growing number of people taking the GMATs (the entrance exam for business school) each year, clearly more people than ever are thinking about heading in this direction. Subjects include accounting, finance, marketing, management, leadership, human relations, and much more - in short, everything one would expect to encounter in business school. Illustrated in the same fun, gift book format as 101 THINGS I LEARNED IN ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL, this will be the perfect gift for a recent college or high school grad, or even for someone already well-versed in the business world.
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[book] [book] [book]

[book] The Anne Frank Case
Simon Wiesenthal's Search for the Truth
By Susan Goldman Rubin and Bill Farnsworth (Illustrator)
June 2010, Holiday House
Ages 9 - 12
From Booklist *Starred Review* Despite the title and the glowing front- and back-cover portraits of Anne Frank, she is just the hook to draw readers into this picture-book biography of a famous Holocaust survivor. Even those who have heard of Wiesenthal will be thrilled by this account of his miraculous escape story and then his lifetime goal to bring Nazi war criminals to justice and to create a historical record of Nazi crimes. In the opening spread, a crowd of Austrian neo-Nazi kids in 1958, supported by their parents and teachers, deny that the Holocaust existed and break up a theater performance of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. The episode sets Wiesenthal on the hunt to prove the truth and find the Gestapo officer who arrested Anne. Then Rubin tells Wiesenthal’s personal Holocaust experiences of hiding under floorboards; being saved three times, at the very last minute, from firing squads; and surviving the camps. Farnsworth’s stirring full-page oil paintings are filled with emotion, from the close-up portraits of those who do not survive to the depiction of Wiesenthal’s reunion with his wife. Extensive back matter includes detailed source notes, a long biography of Wiesenthal, a bibliography, and a glossary.
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[book] The Club No One Wanted To Join
Madoff Victims In Their Own Words
Twenty Nine Authors and Edited by Erin Arvedlund
June 2010, Massachusetts School of Law
Who were the Madoff victims? How did they get sucked in? Were they just greedy? Did they trust him because he sat on the board of so many Jewish groups? Were they all rich and deserving of their fate? How could they not see the clues? Weren;t they all millionaires? These are the stories of some of the victims, many of them average. Do they blame themselves? Or do they blame the SEC? What happened to their lives? Their families? What lessons did they learn from which we can learn?
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[book] 97 ORCHARD
An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement
By Jane Ziegelman
June 2010, Smithsonian
PW: Ziegelman (Foie Gras: A Passion) puts a historical spin to the notion that you are what you eat by looking at five immigrant families from what she calls the "elemental perspective of the foods they ate." They are German, Italian, Irish, and Jewish (both Orthodox and Reform) from Russia and Germany--they are new Americans, and each family, sometime between 1863 and 1935, lived on Manhattan™s Lower East Side. Each represents the predicaments faced in adapting the food traditions it knew to the country it adopted. From census data, newspaper accounts, sociological studies, and cookbooks of the time, Ziegelman vividly renders a proud, diverse community learning to be American. She describes the funk of fermenting sauerkraut, the bounty of a pushcart market, the culinary versatility of a potato, as well as such treats as hamburger, spaghetti, and lager beer. Beyond the foodstuffs and recipes of the time, however, are the mores, histories, and identities that food evokes. Through food, the author records the immigrants™ struggle to reinterpret themselves in an American context and their reciprocal impact on American culture at large.
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June 2010, HMH Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Booklist: *Starred Review* - Epstein writes nonfiction of stinging clarity, thrust, and wit, while his fiction tends to be at once funny, tender, and trenchant. But in his newest short story collection, Epstein is at his skewering best, audaciously combining his incisive take on Jewish life in Chicago with acerbic views of academia and, most arrestingly, the writing life. The title's nod to T. S. Eliot's “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a tip-off, even though the story itself, a knockout, is about a doctor who lost his beloved wife and is now being aggressively courted by an extremely wealthy widow. Further piquant inquiries into what truly matters in life follow as Epstein's skeptical characters weigh art and money, integrity and fame, love and ambition. He considers the arrogance and sacrifice of writers in stories of spiky complexity and outrageous satire, including “My Brother Eli,” which chronicles the shenanigans of a Saul Bellowesque figure, and “Beyond the Pale,” a tale of an elderly Yiddish writer, his tenacious wife, and a young, railroaded translator. As cutting as his stories of the literary world are, Epstein is also a master at capturing the happenstance of urban life and at dramatizing the bewildering fact that we understand so little about each other. Perfectly executed, bold, and unforgettable
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[book] Inheriting Anne Frank
By Jacqueline Van Maarsen
June 2010, Arcadia
In this follow-up to her previous memoir, Anne Frank’s childhood friend, Jacqueline van Maarsen, focuses on the reception of Anne’s legacy by her contemporaries and the inevitable commercialization of that legacy of which she is boldly critical. Running throughout the narrative is a literary parallel with an inheritance question that dominated a significant portion of van Maarsen's life and that of her mother's—a courageous woman who confronted the Nazis in Amsterdam and saved her two daughters from the concentration camps by providing evidence of their non-Jewish status. This story documents how both the van Maarsen family inheritance and the inheritance left by Anne Frank became the subject of unwarranted and tragic exploitation by outsiders, often with those charged with guarding both legacies turning a blind eye to the truth. The narrative also provides a subtle commentary on memory and the effects of time. In interweaving personal memories of her own childhood and early adult life with personal memories of Anne Frank and the use and abuse of her legacy, van Maarsen demonstrates how time filters what individuals inherit from their past, sometimes creating parallel worlds in which the historical truth loses significance, pushed aside by dreams of personal status and financial gain.
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July 2010, Hill and Wang
Drawing on the unique historical sites, archives, expertise, and unquestioned authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, New York Times bestselling authors Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón have created the first authorized and exhaustive graphic biography of Anne Frank. Their account is complete, covering the lives of Anne’s parents, Edith and Otto; Anne's first years in Frankfurt; the rise of Nazism; the Franks' immigration to Amsterdam; war and occupation; Anne's years in the Secret Annex; betrayal and arrest; her deportation and tragic death in Bergen-Belsen; the survival of Anne's father; and his recovery and publication of her astounding diary.
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BY OREN HARMAN, Bar Ilan University
June 2010, Norton
The moving tale of one man's quest to crack the mystery of altruism, an evolutionary enigma that has haunted scientists since Darwin. Survival of the fittest or survival of the nicest? Since the dawn of time man has contemplated the mystery of altruism, but it was Darwin who posed the question most starkly. From the selfless ant to the stinging bee to the man laying down his life for a stranger, evolution has yielded a goodness that in theory should never be. Set against the sweeping tale of 150 years of scientific attempts to explain kindness, The Price of Altruism tells for the first time the moving story of the eccentric American genius George Price (1922–1975), as he strives to answer evolution's greatest riddle. An original and penetrating picture of twentieth century thought, it is also a deeply personal journey. From the heights of the Manhattan Project to the inspired equation that explains altruism to the depths of homelessness and despair, Price's life embodies the paradoxes of Darwin’s enigma. His tragic suicide in a squatter’s flat, among the vagabonds to whom he gave all his possessions, provides the ultimate contemplation on the possibility of genuine benevolence.
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The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home
Dan Ariely
Summer 2010, Harper
Ariely (Predictably Irrational) expands his research on behavioral economics to offer a more positive and personal take on human irrationality's implications for life, business, and public policy. After a youthful accident left him badly scarred and facing grueling physical therapy, Ariely's treatment required him to accept temporary pain for long-term benefit—a trade-off so antithetical to normal human behavior that it sparked the author's fascination with why we consistently fail to act in our own best interest. The author, professor of behavioral economics at Duke, leads us through experiments that reveals such idiosyncrasies as the IKEA effect (if you build something, pride and sentimental attachment are likely to give you an inflated sense of its quality) and the Baby Jessica effect (why we respond to one person's suffering but not to the suffering of many). He concludes with prescriptions for how to make real personal and societal changes, and what behavioral patterns we must identify to improve how we love, live, work, innovate, manage, and govern. Self-deprecating humor, an enthusiasm for human eccentricities, and an affable and snappy style make this read an enriching and eye-opening pleasure.
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The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting The World
by David Kirkpatrick
June 2010, Simon and Schuster
PW writes: There's never been a Web site like Facebook: more than 350 million people have accounts, and if the growth rate continues, by 2013 every Internet user worldwide will have his or her own page. And no one's had more access to the inner workings of the phenomenon than Kirkpatrick, a senior tech writer at Fortune magazine. Written with the full cooperation of founder Mark Zuckerberg, the book follows the company from its genesis in a Harvard dorm room through its successes over Friendster and MySpace, the expansion of the user base, and Zuckerberg's refusal to sell. The author is at his best discussing the social implications of the site, from the changing notions of privacy to why and how people use Facebook—increasingly it's to come together around a common interest or cause (the eponymous Facebook Effect). Though significantly more informative, thoughtful, and credible than Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires, it may be hamstrung by its late entry; the furor over Facebook has more or less subsided, and potential readers are more likely to be using the site than to be reading about its origins.
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Don't Cry For Me, Oh Loch Sheldrake... (only $5000 for a 3 week session)
[book] Theater Geek
The Real Life Drama of a Summer at Stagedoor Manor
the Famous Performing Arts Camp
Mickey Rapkin
June 2010
Note to readers: I recommend that while you read this book, you go to YouTube and find the SDM Stage Door Manor uploads that Star Harry Katzman. It is a real treat.
Rapkin is 31. He was a theater geek in high school. He knew all the shows and actors. He kept his playbills. He cried at shows. He didn’t want to act, but he wanted to be an usher, maybe. Think of a young Jeffrey Self and Cole Escola trapped in the suburbs, but close to Broadway. Now he is a senior editor for GQ (a magazine that is probably read by many former geeks who now get excited by apparel instead). But how big a geek was he if he did not even know, as a kid, about Stagedoor Manor, the camp where MOTs Jon Cryer, Zach Braff, Lea Michelle, Natalie Portman, as well as Michael Ian Black (we didn’t swim or play soccer, we just acted and looked for girl with whom to make out), Felicity Huffman, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mary Stuart Masterson, Josh Charles, Amy B. Harris, Frances Bean Cobain, Julia Murney, Ben Foster, Jon Foster, Shawn Levy, Jennifer Rudin, Sebastian Stan, Mandy Moore, Aaron Albert, and Robert Downey Jr., and so many other current actors went to study and play? (Remember the film CAMP?)
Rapkin indulges his inner theater geek by spending a session at Stagedoor Manor, a celebrated performing-arts summer camp for kids. His account of the experience is a chatty, stage-struck combination of history—the camp has been a Catskills fixture for more than three decades—and human interest: that is, his fly-on-the-wall observation of the final session three talented teens will spend there before heading off to college.
He captures the teen angst, nervous adrenaline, and breathless joyful hormones of the place
Rapkin brings a leavening of seriousness to his mix by stressing the importance of Stagedoor Manor as a place that provides a haven for any child with a love of the arts who... feels other. (a camp of mini seth rudetsky’s) He also writes of the changes that this age of American Idol and YouTube have visited on the Stagedoor culture. But overall this is an unabashed love letter to a facility that remains a microcosm of the New York theater scene. Definitely not for cynical readers, but theater geeks will, well,... geek out over it.
You might as well pair this book with the CDs from GLEE as a Bar Bat Mitzvah gift, although any true geek already owns the CDs and DVD
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[book] [book]



July 2010, Random House
The author of two critically acclaimed novels, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart has risen to the top of the fiction world. Now, in his hilarious and heartfelt new novel, he envisions a deliciously dark tale of America’s dysfunctional coming years—and the timeless and tender feelings that just might bring us back from the brink.
In a very near future—oh, let’s say next Tuesday—a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don’t that tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, the thirty-nine-year-old son of an angry Russian immigrant janitor, proud author of what may well be the world’s last diary, and less-proud owner of a bald spot shaped like the great state of Ohio. Despite his job at an outfit called Post-Human Services, which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn’t it? Lenny’s from a different century—he totally loves books (or “printed, bound media artifacts,” as they’re now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel twenty-four-year-old Korean American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. After meeting Lenny on an extended Roman holiday, blistering Eunice puts that Assertiveness minor to work, teaching our “ancient dork” effective new ways to brush his teeth and making him buy a cottony nonflammable wardrobe. But America proves less flame-resistant than Lenny’s new threads. The country is crushed by a credit crisis, riots break out in New York’s Central Park, the city’s streets are lined with National Guard tanks on every corner, the dollar is so over, and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Undeterred, Lenny vows to love both Eunice and his homeland. He’s going to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, in a world where single people can determine a dating prospect’s “hotness” and “sustainability” with the click of a button, in a society where the privileged may live forever but the unfortunate will die all too soon, there is still value in being a real human being.
A book in which falling in love just may redeem a planet falling apart.
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[book] Comedy in a Minor Key
A Novel
By Hans Keilson, Translated from Dutch by Damion Searls
July 2010, FS&G
A penetrating study of ordinary people resisting the Nazi occupation—and, true to its title, a dark comedy of wartime manners—Comedy in a Minor Key tells the story of Wim and Marie, a Dutch couple who first hide a Jew they know as Nico, then must dispose of his body when he dies of pneumonia. This novella, first published in 1947 and now translated into English for the first time, shows Hans Keilson at his best: deeply ironic, penetrating, sympathetic, and brilliantly modern, an heir to Joseph Roth and Franz Kafka. In 2008, when Keilson received Germany’s prestigious Welt Literature Prize, the citation praised his work for exploring “the destructive impulse at work in the twentieth century, down to its deepest psychological and spiritual ramifications.” Published to celebrate Keilson’s hundredth birthday, Comedy in a Minor Key—and The Death of the Adversary, reissued in paperback—will introduce American readers to a forgotten classic author, a witness to World War II and a sophisticated storyteller whose books remain as fresh as when they first came to light.
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[book] Red Hook Road
A novel
By Ayelet Waldman
July 2010, Doubleday.
From Publishers Weekly: Waldman (Love and Other Impossible Pursuits) delivers a dense story of irreparable loss that tracks two families across four summers in Maine. After John Tetherly and Becca Copaken die in a freak car accident an hour after their wedding, their families are left to bridge stark class and cultural divides, and eventually forge deep-rooted bonds thanks to the twin deities of love and music. Becca's family is well off, from New York, and summers in Red Hook, Maine, a small coastal town where John's blue-collar single mother, Jane, cleans houses for a living. They interact, awkwardly, over how to bury the couple, the staging of an anniversary party, and over Jane's adopted niece, whose amazing musical talent makes a connection to Becca's ailing grandfather, a virtuoso violinist, who agrees to give her lessons. Becca's younger sister, Ruthie, a Fulbright scholar, meanwhile, falls in love with John's younger brother, Matt, the first Tetherly to go to college, before he drops out to work at a boatyard and finish restoring his brother's sailboat, which he plans on sailing to the Caribbean. Though Waldman is often guilty of overwriting here, the narrative is well crafted, and each of the characters comes fully to life

Pat Conroy writes, “In her latest novel, Red Hook Road, Ayelet Waldman has nailed the indelible mark that the state of Maine leaves on all visitors who fall for its subtle, insinuating glamour. Red Hook Road is a terrific novel, and might even be a great one. The structure of the book seems perfect to me; the first sentence sets up and readies us for the immense powers of the last one. It tells the stories of two families as different as the Montagues and the Capulets, but with the same tragic and irreversible destines playing out around them. The hardscrabble, working-class Hewins are native Mainers, the kind of family that keeps Maine vibrant during the cold months when the summer people return to their big-city homes. The Kimmelbrods are a sophisticated Jewish family from Manhattan; they are as cultured and passionate as the Hewins are no-nonsense and taciturn, as taciturn as lichens growing on the rocks of a church garden. Jane Hewins is a quintessential woman of Maine with an unviable sense of self and a home-bound integrity that could earn her a place on a Maine license plate along with a moose, a lobster, or a loon. Her big-city counterpart is Iris Copaken, a character who represents the highest level of Jewish culture. Iris has been vacationing with her family in Red Hook since birth, and Jane Hewins has cleaned the Copaken’s summer house for many years. The novel begins when Jane’s admirable son marries Iris’ delectable daughter; and great storm clouds form on the far horizon as Down East Maine meets the Upper East Side in a glorious clash of the Titans. Ayelet Waldman’s prose style is lovely and fresh. There is a brilliant scene that I’ve returned to again and again: The great violinist, Emil Kimmelbrod, finds the undiscovered talent of a small girl, Samantha Phelps, and brings out her instinctive mastery of rhythm, modulation, and perfect pitch. With language and example, Ayelet teaches me everything I didn’t know and can never know about music. It was like discovering a lost part of my life where I’m not only untalented, but unteachable. Each encounter of Kimmelbrod and Samantha in the book was exciting for me. Had I not read this book, I wouldn’t have understood that I’ve never really "heard" classical music before.”
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Everything You Need to Know to Be a Really Jewish Jew
By Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman
July 2010, Plume
A funny compendium of traditional wisdom, recipes, and lore from the authors of the bestselling Yiddish with Dick and Jane. Modern Jews have forgotten cherished traditions and become, sadly, all- too assimilated. It's enough to make you meshugeneh. Today's Jews need to relearn the old ways so that cultural identity means something other than laughing knowingly at Curb Your Enthusiasm- and The Big Jewish Book for Jews is here to help. This wise and wise-cracking fully-illustrated book offers invaluable instruction on everything from how to sacrifice a lamb unto the lord to the rules of Mahjong. Jews of all ages and backgrounds will welcome the opportunity to be the Jewiest Jew of all, and reconnect to ancestors going all the way back to Moses and a time when God was the only GPS a Jew needed.
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July 2010, Harpers
In the early morning of December 3, 1999, Lily Safra (nee Watkins) stood shivering in her nightgown on the grounds outside her sumptuous Monte Carlo penthouse, where just hours before, her fourth husband, reclusive billionaire Jewish banker and philanthropist, Edmond Safra, died of smoke inhalation, unable to escape when flames swept through their residence. Even though Safra hired Mossad trained security guards and was paranoid about security, his security detail were all gone that night. Though an American nurse employed by the Safra family was eventually convicted, there remains much speculation about exactly what really happened. With Safra’s death, Lily stood to inherit four billion dollars. (She had already inherited $300 million when her second husband met an untimely death. She called upon the Syrian Jewish Safra’s to help her manage that moeny). Yet the Brazilian-born Lily Safra was no stranger to tragedy and intrigue. In 1969, her second husband, multi-millionaire businessman Freddie Monteverde, died from two gunshot wounds to the chest; the authorities ruled his death a suicide. And then in 1989, her eldest son and four-year-old grandson died in a car accident. She divorced her first husband, Mario Cohen, back in 1965, after 13 years of marriage. He was a hosier tycoon.
But just who is Lily Safra? While she is a fixture in society columns for her charity work and lavish parties attended by royalty, the elegant and enigmatic widow has successfully kept her past hidden. Gilded Lily tells Lily’s full story for the first time. Using archival sources, court documents, and interviews with childhood friends, former employees, and family in South America—many of whom have never gone on the record before—investigative journalist Isabel Vincent chronicles Safra’s rise from a lower middle class family in Brazil to fabled wealth in London and New York, and revisits the mysterious deaths of her two husbands.
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[book] Siegel and Shuster's Funnyman
The First Jewish Superhero, from the Creators of Superman
Edited Thomas Andrae, Mel Gordon, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
July 2010, feral House
Here is a kaleidoscopic analysis of Jewish humor as seen through Funnyman, a little-known super-heroic invention by the creators of Superman. Included are complete comic-book stories and daily and Sunday newspaper panels from Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s creative fiasco. Siegel and Shuster, two Jewish teenagers from Cleveland, sold the rights to their amazing and astonishingly lucrative comic book superhero to Detective Comics for $130 in 1938. Not only did they lose the ownership of the Superman character, they also agreed to write and illustrate it for ten years at ten dollars per page. Their contract with the DC publishers was soon heralded as the most foolish agreement in the history of American popular culture. After toiling on workman’s wages for a decade, Siegel and Shuster struggled to come up with a new superhero, one that would right their wrongs and prove that justice, fair-play, and zany craftsmanship was the true American way and would lead to ultimate victory. But when the naïve duo launched their new comic character Funnyman in 1947, it failed miserably. All the turmoil and personal disasters in Siegel and Shuster’s postwar life percolated into the comic strip. This book tells the back story of the unsuccessful strip and Siegel and Shuster’s ambition to have their funny Jewish superhero trump Superman.
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May 2010. Three Rivers Press
In one shimmering paragraph in the memoir Opposite Field, you almost begin to believe that award-winning writer Jesse Katz might be the luckiest man on earth. In it, he stands looking across a little league baseball complex in Monterey Park, a million gray parking lots from Hollywood, from the Pacific. But these fields are his oasis. Even the name is lovely: La Loma. Here, he will coach his own son, his prodigy, year after year. "It was a natural stadium, geologically perfect... the homerun fence curling through a wall of green. The effect was at once lush and windswept.. you could stand here and watch... five-year-olds lost in clover at this corner, ten-year-olds spitting seeds at the other, fifteen-year-olds brandishing metal spikes... I would guide Max through that circuit... in this one extraordinary park, I would see him grow into a young man." And that is where the perfection ends. Life, love, fatherhood, and baseball, come flying at him spikes high and gouge him straight through the heart--and sometimes the groin. He tells it all in a rich story that is in places warm and in others raw, where a stepson almost dies from a gunshot to his face, and the special man in a beloved’s life is somebody else. The baseball is almost an antidote to life here, where, after one spirit-numbing loss, the coach raises the lid on a cooler filled with water balloons.
And if you love the game you will love it displayed here, a sweet, sad, poignant and sometimes hysterical drama in the dirt, a world where coaches plot, scheme and go on meth binges, outfielders with medical conditions twitch from the sparse grass, and monogrammed Louisville Sluggers splinter on the first pitch. But it is also an unflinching story written by a great writer about failed marriage, and not some small amount of hanky panky. It is a wrenching story of a son who watches a strong mother battle cancer to a stand-still. And, through it all, it is a story of a father who watches his son shift and change in delightful and heart-searing ways, hoping that his decisions do more good than harm, hoping that at the end of the day his son will know... what? That his father loves him above all things. This is not a pat story, not a neat one. People are not that way.
It is much better than that.
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Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World
By Rita Goldman Gelman
July 2010, Crown
She first published her story of life as a female nomad nearly 10 years ago. She had sold all her possessins and embarked on travels around the world as a nomad. In this sequel, she writes about her further adventures and includes essays by writers and readers that celebrate the connections they made traveling through the world. It is about taking risks, traveling, and connecting. It also includes recipes for ho mok (Thai fish coconut custard), chiles en nogada, and more.
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[book][book] HEAT AND LIGHT
July 13, 2010, Three Rivers Press
Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes, recipient of 21 Emmy Awards, joins Emmy Award winning journalism professor, Beth Knobel, Phd (CBS Moscow Bureau Chief) to fill this book with practical wisdom and anecdotes on how to create good journalism. A story needs HEAT, an emotional pull and drama for the reader/listener, and LIGHT, or information. This tell you how to bring both together.
I challenge you to read this, and then look at your writing and see how you could use the lessons of this book to re-create your essay into one that is HEAT AND LIGHT.
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Many of you love the novels by Jennifer Wiener, in the genre I call semi zaftig fiction. Here is her newest one:
July 2010, Atria
Sometimes all you can do is fly away home . . .
When Sylvie Serfer met Richard Woodruff in law school, she had wild curls, wide hips, and lots of opinions. Decades later, Sylvie has remade herself as the ideal politician’s wife—her hair dyed and straightened, her hippie-chick wardrobe replaced by tailored knit suits. At fifty-seven, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than she was in her twenties and tending to her husband, the senator.
Lizzie, the Woodruffs’ younger daughter, is at twenty-four a recovering addict, whose mantra HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) helps her keep her life under control. Still, trouble always seems to find her. Her older sister, Diana, an emergency room physician, has everything Lizzie failed to achieve—a husband, a young son, the perfect home—and yet she’s trapped in a loveless marriage. With temptation waiting in one of the ER’s exam rooms, she finds herself craving more.
After Richard’s extramarital affair makes headlines, the three women are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the press conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.
Written with an irresistible blend of heartbreak and hilarity, Fly Away Home is an unforgettable story of a mother and two daughters who after a lifetime of distance finally learn to find refuge in one another.
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July 2010, DC Comics
A new era begins as Batwoman is unleashed on Gotham City! Marked by the blood-red bat emblem, Kate Kane is a soldier fighting her own private war - one that began years ago and haunts her every waking moment. In this first tale, Batwoman battles a madwoman known only as Alice, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, who sees her life as a fairy tale and everyone around her as expendable extras! Batwoman must stop Alice from unleashing a toxic death cloud over all of Gotham City -- but Alice has more up her sleeve than just poison, and Batwoman's life will never ever be the same again. Also, witness the origin of Batwoman in the shocking and tragic story "Go," in which young Kate Kane and her family are kidnapped by terrorists, and Kate's life - and the lives of her family - will never be the same!
Oh… did I mention that the new Batwoman is Jewish and Lesbian.
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[book] THE DEBBA
July 2010, The Other Press. In paperback
In Middle East lore the Debba is a mythical Arab hyena that can turn into a man who lures Jewish children away from their families to teach them the language of the beasts. To the Arabs he is a heroic national symbol; to the Jews he is a terrorist. To David Starkman, “The Debba” is a controversial play, written by his father the war hero, and performed only once, in Haifa in 1946, causing a massive riot. By 1977, David is living in Canada, having renounced his Israeli citizenship and withdrawn from his family, haunted by persistent nightmares about his catastrophic turn as a military assassin for Israel. Upon learning of his father’s gruesome murder, he returns to his homeland for what he hopes will be the final time. Back in Israel, David discovers that his father's will demands he stage the play within forty-five days of his death, and though he is reluctant to comply, the authorities’ evident relief at his refusal convinces him he must persevere. With his father’s legacy on the line, David is forced to reimmerse himself in a life he thought he’d escaped for good.The heart-stopping climax shows that nothing in Israel is as it appears, and not only are the sins of the fathers revisited upon the sons, but so are their virtues—and the latter are more terrible still. Disguised as a breathtaking thriller, Avner Mandelman’s novel reveals Israel’s double soul, its inherent paradoxes, and its taste for both art and violence. The riddle of the Debba—the myth, the play, and the novel— is nothing less than the tangled riddle of Israel itself.
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A Mystery Novel
By Susan Isaacs
July 2010, Scribner
A rare mix of wit, social satire, and suspense, along with characters who leap from the page to speak directly to the reader -- a moving story about a love that just won't give up, As Husbands Go is the latest from critically acclaimed, bestselling author, Susan Isaacs.
Call her superficial, but Susie B. Anthony Rabinowitz Gersten assumed her marriage was great -- and why not? Jonah Gersten, M.D., a Park Avenue plastic surgeon, clearly adored her. He was handsome, successful, and a doting dad to their four-year-old triplets Dashiell, Evan, and Mason. But when Jonah is found in the Upper East Side apartment of second-rate "escort" Dorinda Dillon, Susie is overwhelmed with questions left unanswered. It's bad enough to know your husband's been murdered, but even worse when you're universally pitied (and quietly mocked) because of the sleaze factor. None of it makes sense to Susie -- not a sexual liaison with someone like Dorinda, not the "better not to discuss it" response from Jonah's partners. With help from her toughtalking, high-style Grandma Ethel who flies in from Miami, she takes on her snooty in-laws, her husband's partners, the NYPD, and the DA (is the person arrested for the homicide the actual perp, or just an easy mark for a prosecutor who hates the word "unsolved"?), as she tries to prove that her wonderful life with Jonah was no lie. Susan Isaacs brilliantly turns the conventions of the mystery on end as Susie Gersten, suburban mom, floral designer, and fashion plate, searches not so much for answers to her husband's death as for answers to her own life.
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2010, Yale
How do we articulate a religious vision that embraces evolution and human authorship of Scripture? Drawing on the Jewish mystical traditions of Kabbalah and Hasidism, path-breaking Jewish scholar Arthur Green argues that a neomystical perspective can help us to reframe these realities, so they may yet be viewed as dwelling places of the sacred. In doing so, he rethinks such concepts as God, the origins and meaning of existence, human nature, and revelation to construct a new Judaism for the twenty-first century. Rabbi Arthur Green is professor and rector of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, MA, and former leader of the RRC and past professor of Religion at Penn.
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July 2010, Norton
A debut novel by a writer who brings “matter and spirit together . . . with unsuspected, unquantifiable meaning.”—New York Times Book Review This powerful, emotionally wrenching story opens in Jerusalem one steamy September when three Americans, unknown to each other, seek personal salvation in a foreign land. Yona Stern longs to make amends with her estranged sister who lives in a radical Jewish settlement (named for Baruch Goldstein). Mark Greenglass, a Talmud teacher, has inexplicably lost his once fierce devotion to Orthodox Judaism and now wonders if he’s done with God. Enter Aaron Blinder, an unstable college dropout whose famous father endlessly—some say obsessively—mines the Holocaust for his best-selling, melodramatic novels (an indictment against American Jewry’s Holocaust fatigue or obsession?). In a sweeping, beautifully written story of the lengths to which we will go in search of spiritual fulfillment, Joan Leegant weaves together the stories of three lives in the grip of a volatile, demanding faith, and ultimately bound together by a tragic act of violence. Haunting and wise, Wherever You Go is a gripping and prescient debut novel.
Review the book in The New York Times, Tikkun editor Alana Newhouse, wrote, the Leegant had a flair for description as well as insight. But that nothing can save this book from its clichéd principal characters. She adds the Legant – whose story collection “an Hour In Paradise” was filled with small gems – seems to have fallen victim to an artistic strain of Jerusalem Syndrome, whereby a previously good wirter exhibits signs of imbalance in reaction to the Holy Land. On the other hnad, may Nwehouse just doesn’t like the type of novels in which plots come together and portic kismet occur at just the right time.
Joan Leegant, author of An Hour in Paradise, won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for the best book of Jewish-American fiction and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award.
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July 2010, Dial Press
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. If any contemporary author deserves to wear the mantel of Jane Austen, it's Goodman, whose subtle, astute social comedies perfectly capture the quirks of human nature. This dazzling novel is Austen updated for the dot-com era, played out between 1999 and 2001 among a group of brilliant risk takers and truth seekers. Still in her 20s, Emily Bach is the CEO of Veritech, a Web-based data-storage startup in trendy Berkeley. Her boyfriend, charismatic Jonathan Tilghman, is in a race to catch up at his data-security company, ISIS, in Cambridge, Mass. Emily is low-key, pragmatic, kind, serene—the polar opposite of her beloved younger sister, Jess, a crazed postgrad who works at an antiquarian bookstore owned by a retired Microsoft millionaire. When Emily confides her company's new secret project to Jonathan as a proof of her love, the stage is set for issues of loyalty and trust, greed, and the allure of power. What is actually valuable, Goodman's characters ponder: a company's stock, a person's promise, a forest of redwoods, a collection of rare cookbooks? Goodman creates a bubble of suspense as both Veritech and ISIS issue IPOs, career paths collide, social values clash, ironies multiply, and misjudgments threaten to destroy romantic desire. Enjoyable and satisfying, this is Goodman's (Intuition) most robust, fully realized and trenchantly meaningful work yet.
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July 2010, St. Martin’s Grffin
Now in the updated Paperback
From Publishers Weekly: Returning to familiar terrain in her third novel (she has written seven, including (1) Jephte's Daughter and (2) Sotah), Ragen again examines the lives of ultra-orthodox Jews and the severe consequences that can befall even the most faithful when they take a serious, albeit human misstep. Most of the story takes place in a Brooklyn neighborhood resembling Borough Park, although, as in her previous books, dramatic fanfare occurs in Israel, too. Pious Tamar both adores and is in awe of her warm and brilliant husband, Josh. She is looking forward to an intimate evening after her ritual visit to the mikvah (here Ragen offers a tediously detailed description about Jewish conjugal laws), but that evening she is raped by a black man. She does not tell her husband about the attack, and when she discovers she is pregnant, she does not abort the fetus, because she is not sure whether the rapist or Josh is the father. In trying to make the reader understand why Tamar would choose silence and sustain the pregnancy, Ragen flashes back to Tamar's youth, particularly her relationship with two friends who play pivotal roles throughout her life: Hadassah, the beautiful, rebellious daughter of the neighborhood's primary religious leader, and Jenny, who comes from a secular background but easily adapts to Orthodox observance. The interplay between the girls as they take tentative steps into the secular world of the late 1960s provides some charming scenes, and the final chapters prove moving and dramatic when later consequences of Tamar's deceptive silence shatter her family's life. While Ragen is an able storyteller and handles dialogue deftly, her plots are becoming hackneyed. It's an insular and provincial world that she has chosen to portray, and here she adds little that is new or eye-opening to the reader.
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May 2010, Pantheon
BOOKLIST: “The arrival of an envelope, mailed anonymously, forces Professor Anka Pappas to recall the “thrilling and terrible time” when she and five mismatched colleagues taught English composition in a Detroit university and occupied a shared office known as the Bullpen. The envelope’s contents show that she and other Bullpenners were under surveillance for antiwar activities during the late 1960s. The Red Squad is an insightful, affecting, and often funny tale of higher education, as seen by “academic Okies”—adjunct faculty—struggling to finish their PhDs while America was engaged in another war disapproved of by many and enduring ham-handed repression of dissent. It’s also an engaging tale of a small group of lonely young people whose shared experiences bind them for a lifetime. Broner’s writing is concise yet pithy, as she limns Anka’s interest in fellow Bullpenner Kevin, a Jesuit seeking release from his priestly vows, and charts the decline of Detroit. This is one of those books that will grow in readers’ estimation long after they’ve finished reading it.”
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[book] There Is No Other
By Jon Papernick
July 2010, Exile Editions
From the streets of modern Israel to the barrooms of Brooklyn to a suburban New England synagogue, the characters in these nine stories search for love and acceptance in a world scarred by loss and loneliness. In "The Madonna of Temple Beth Elohim," an Iraq war veteran sees a vision of the Virgin Mary on the eve of the Jewish high holidays. In "My Darling Sweetheart Baby," a working-class drunk waits on his stoop for his disability check and the courage to proclaim his love to a local prostitute. And in the title story "There Is No Other," a rage-filled Jewish boy, tormented by his African lineage, arrives at a school Purim party dressed as the prophet Mohammed. Magical, erotic, spiritually penetrating and terrifyingly realistic, these provocative tales continue the storytelling tradition of Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, and Nathan Englander.
DARA HORN says: "It would be enough to say that Jonathan Papernick is an utterly original writer--one who doesn't rely on gimmicks, but rather on amazingly real characters and consistently page-turning plots. But There Is No Other is even better than that: every single story here delivers a knockout punch that will leave you reeling--and revising your thinking on what life and love really mean."
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Working in Intel’s manufacturing site in Israel and then its development site in Silicon Valley exposed Menachem Horev to some of the best processes in the world. So when he overcame a critical barrier to a new technology problem, his managers noticed. “They told me that my way of looking into technical problems was something I should teach others. I think that was the exact point when I decided to put my experience on paper,” Horev says. The book describes how anomalies get introduced into highly controlled and automated process in the first place, and then provides methods for moving from an initial symptom to a sharply defined problem with a known cause. Horev lives in Israel and dedicates much of his time to training engineers and team leaders
A delay in identification of the real cause for process problems in process-based industries means a loss of production material and revenue, and sometimes even loss of company reputation and market share. It is the intention of this book to save costly learning from experience and to provide a structured guide to team-leaders, engineers and anyone dealing with cause analysis on the way to Problem Solving. The Root Cause Analysis methodology with its basic supporting tools appears in three chapters: Problem Characterization, Model Building XE "Model Building", and Model Validation. The described methodology explains the importance and the ways to properly characterize the problem.
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[book] Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.
Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman
By Sam Wasson
July 2010, Harper
It was 5 AM, October 2, a Sunday in 1960, in front of Tiffany's. And the first shot was filmed for the iconic film. Who were the players? How did it get made? Why did Hepburn not want to do it? Did it make Givenchy a household name? How did Capote's desire for a mother affect the story? How did the film affect a young Jewish woman named Letty Pogreben?
Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Wasson, who wrote on the career of writer-director Blake Edwards in A Splurch in the Kisser, tightens his focus for a closeup of Edwards's memorable Breakfast at Tiffany's, which received five Oscar nominations (with two wins). Interviewing Edwards and others, he skillfully interweaves key events during the making of this cinema classic. He begins (and ends) with Truman Capote, whose novel was initially regarded as unadaptable by the producers, since they hadn't the faintest idea how the hell they were going to take a novel with no second act, a nameless gay protagonist, a motiveless drama, and an unhappy ending and turn it into a Hollywood movie. The flow of Wasson's words carries the reader from pre-production to on-set feuds and conflicts, while also noting Hepburn's impact on fashion (Givenchy's little black dress), Hollywood glamour, sexual politics, and the new morality. Always stingy with praise, Capote dismissed the finished film as a mawkish valentine to New York City, but one feels he would have been entranced by Wasson's prismatic approach as he walks a perilous path between the analytic interpretation and the imaginative one. The result deserves Capote's nonfiction novel label. Recapturing an era, this evocative factual re-creation reads like carefully crafted fiction.
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[book] Elijah and the Rabbis
Story and Theology
By Kristen H. Lindbeck
July 2010, Columbia
Through an innovative synthesis of narrative critique, oral-formulaic study, folkloric research, and literary analysis, Kristen H. Lindbeck reads all the Elijah narratives in the Babylonian Talmud and details the rise of a distinct, quasi-angelic figure who takes pleasure in ordinary interaction. During the Talmudic period of 50-500 C.E., Elijah developed into a recognizable character quite different from the Elijah of the Bible. The Elijah of the Talmud dispenses wisdom, advice, and, like the Elijah of Jewish folklore, helps people directly, even with material gifts. Lindbeck highlights particular features of the Elijah stories, allowing them to be grouped into generic categories and considered alongside Rabbinic literary motifs and non-Jewish traditions of late antiquity. She compares Elijah in the Babylonian Talmud to a range of characters& mdash;angels, rabbis, wonder-workers, the angel of death, Christian saints, and even the Greek god Hermes. She concludes with a survey of Elijah's diverse roles from medieval times to today, throwing into brilliant relief the complex relationship between ancient Elijah traditions and later folktales and liturgy that show Elijah bringing benefits and blessings, appearing at circumcisions and Passover, and visiting households after the Sabbath.
Kristen is an Asst Professor of Jewish Studies at Florida Atlantic University
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[book] The Body Shop
Parties, Pills, and Pumping Iron --
Or, My Life in the Age of Muscle
By Paul Solotaroff
July 2010, Little Brown
As a scrawny Jewish college freshman in the mid-1970s, just before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a hero to boys everywhere and Pumping Iron became a cult hit, Paul Solotaroff discovered weights and steroids at SUNY.
In a matter of months, he grew from a dorky Jewish beanpole into a hulking behemoth, showing off his rock hard muscles first on the streets of New York City and then alongside his colorful gym-rat friends in strip clubs and in the homes of the gotham elite. It was a swinging time, when "Would you like to dance?" turned into "Your place or mine?" and the guys with the muscles had all the ladies--until their bodies, like Solotaroff''s, completely shut down.
His emotional profile skewed; he became poly-addicted to Valium, Benzedrine, Ludes, and lots of Cocaine. His friends who did not flame out were much worse off.
He dropped out of the Iowa’s graduate Writers Program, the Yale’s graduate writing program, the NYU School of Social Work and more
Here he was, the son of one of New York’s top Jewish intellectuals and editors, and he was becoming a JUICING, below the neck, muscle head.
Solotaroff looks back at even his lowest points with a wicked sense of humor, and he sends up the disco era and its excess with all the kaleidoscopic detail of Boogie Nights or Saturday Night Fever. Written with candor and sarcasm, THE BODY SHOP is a memoir with all the elements of great fiction and dazzlingly displays Paul Solotaroff's celebrated writing talent.
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To Mellify in the land adjacent to the Land of Milk and Honey, is to embalm in honey. Here is a book on ancient science and medicine... perhaps the medicine that Moses knew.
[book] How To MELLIFY a Corpse
And Other Human Stories of Ancient Science & Superstition
Vicki Leon
July 2010, Walker
From the author of Working IX To V
PW writes, “In this delightful follow-up to IX to V, her entertaining look at work in the ancient world, León explores the tangled webs of science and superstition in Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and other ancient societies. With her characteristic deadpan humor, verve, and wit, she brings to life the practices of ordinary folks as they sought practical ways to avoid the evil eye, battle stronger enemies, and understand strange and marvelous astronomical events. Copulating during a strong north wind and ingesting magical potions were believed to guarantee a male child. Greeks and Romans placed gouty limbs on electric eels in order to ease their pain. Scythian warriors dipped their arrows in snake venom, human blood, and feces to ensure their targets would die a slow and gruesome death. Many ancient cultures touted the antiseptic properties of honey, using honey-soaked bandages to bind wounds. Many Greeks attributed the visions of soothsayers and diviners to "mad honey" made from the nectar of laurel and oleander plants. León™s rollicking tour helps us see that the daily lives and worries of the ancients were not far removed from our own.”
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July 2010
DwellStudio's exquisite designs are featured in full color on the front of each placemat, so kids can count and learn. On the reverse side, black-and-white illustrations invite them to color.
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[book] There Is No Other
By Jon Papernick
July 2010, Exile
From Publishers Weekly: A second collection of powerful stories by Papernick (The Ascent of Eli Israel) pursues the conflicted inner turmoil of Jews caught in a modern maelstrom. The chilling title story, set during Purim in a New York City Jewish school, pits a well-meaning, beleaguered young teacher against one of his disaffected charges, the angry half-Haitian Junius Barker, who comes to class dressed as a suicide-bombing prophet Mohammed and challenges the teacher to explain why the Jews are the chosen people. In "A Kiss for Mrs. Fisch," a 40-year-old businessman on his first trip to Israel and his first time away from his mother, decides to get a wife, but finds himself swimming uncomfortably between American materialism and ritualistic Judaism. In "The Madonna of Temple Beth Elohim," a shell-shocked Iraqi war victim offered work at a Boston-area synagogue believes he sees the imprint of the Madonna in a pulpit, setting off a firestorm between Christian pilgrims and bewildered Jews. And in "The Last Five-Year Plan," the millionaire developer protagonist hits on a brilliant idea to establish accord between Israelis and Palestinians: he'll introduce them to baseball. Papernick's new collection is tight and fearless.
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Crisis and Discontent in the History of Hasidism
Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry Series
By David Assaf
July 2010, Brandeis
David Assaf here uncovers some fascinating and little-known events in the tumultuous history of Hasidism. A fascinating peek into the 'closet' of what may still turn out to be modern Judaism's most important religious movement." (Arthur Green, Rector, Rabbinical School, Hebrew College)
This fascinating volume reveals some of the dark, dramatic episodes concealed in the folds of the hasidic cloak--shocking events and anomalous figures in the history of Hasidism. Using tools of detection, Assaf extracts historical truth from a variety of sources by examining how the same events are treated in different memory traditions, whether hasidic, maskilic, or modern historical, and tells the stories of individuals from the hasidic elites who found themselves unable to walk the trodden path. By placing these episodes and individuals under his historical lens, Assaf offers a more nuanced historical portrayal of Hasidism in the nineteenth-century context.
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QUESTION: Dear – Did President Obama read a Jewish Book on his Martha’s Vineyard vacation?

ANSWER: HE READ THE NEW NOVEL FROM CELEBRATED WRITER, JONATHAN FRANZEN. It does include a character named Richard Katz, if that counts:

[book] FREEDOM
August 31, 2010, FS&G
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Nine years after winning the National Book Award, Franzen's The Corrections consistently appears on "Best of the Decade" lists and continues to enjoy a popularity that borders on the epochal, so much so that the first question facing Franzen's feverishly awaited follow-up is whether it can find its own voice in its predecessor's shadow. In short: yes, it does, and in a big way. Readers will recognize the strains of suburban tragedy afflicting St. Paul, Minn.'s Walter and Patty Berglund, once-gleaming gentrifiers now marred in the eyes of the community by Patty's increasingly erratic war on the right-wing neighbors with whom her eerily independent and sexually precocious teenage son, Joey, is besot, and, later, "greener than Greenpeace" Walter's well-publicized dealings with the coal industry's efforts to demolish a West Virginia mountaintop. The surprise is that the Berglunds' fall is outlined almost entirely in the novel's first 30 pages, freeing Franzen to delve into Patty's affluent East Coast girlhood, her sexual assault at the hands of a well-connected senior, doomed career as a college basketball star, and the long-running love triangle between Patty, Walter, and Walter's best friend, the budding rock star Richard Katz. By 2004, these combustible elements give rise to a host of modern predicaments: Richard, after a brief peak, is now washed up, living in Jersey City, laboring as a deck builder for Tribeca yuppies, and still eyeing Patty. The ever-scheming Joey gets in over his head with psychotically dedicated high school sweetheart and as a sub-subcontractor in the re-building of postinvasion Iraq. Walter's many moral compromises, which have grown to include shady dealings with Bush-Cheney cronies (not to mention the carnal intentions of his assistant, Lalitha), are taxing him to the breaking point. Patty, meanwhile, has descended into a morass of depression and self-loathing, and is considering breast augmentation when not working on her therapist-recommended autobiography. Franzen pits his excavation of the cracks in the nuclear family's facade against a backdrop of all-American faults and fissures, but where the book stands apart is that, no longer content merely to record the breakdown, Franzen tries to account for his often stridently unlikable characters and find where they (and we) went wrong, arriving at--incredibly--genuine hope
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First of all, let us wish the author, Marilyn Berger, a full recovery from a recent, critical, frightening illness, which she described in the pages of The New York Times. The book is below:

[book] This Is a Soul
The Mission of Rick Hodes
By Marilyn Berger
April 2010, William Morrow
Whoever Saves a Life, It Is Considered as If He Saved an Entire World"
Maybe you have met or heard Dr Hodes at JCC’s around the country for the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Dr. Rick Hodes arrived in Africa more than two decades ago to help the victims of a famine, but he never expected to call this extremely poor continent his home. Twenty-eight years later, he is still there. This Is a Soul tells the remarkable story of Rick Hodes's journey from suburban America to Mother Teresa's clinic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As a boy, Rick was devoted to helping those in need, and eventually he determined that becoming a doctor would allow him to do the most good. When he heard about famine in Africa, that's where he went, and when genocide convulsed Rwanda, he went into the refugee camps to minister to the victims. When he was told that Ethiopia was allowing its Jews to emigrate to Israel, he went to help. While there, he was drawn to Mother Teresa's mission in Addis Ababa. It was there that Rick found his calling when he began caring for the sickest children in one of the world's poorest countries. But he did more than that—he began taking them into his home and officially adopted five of them.
This Is a Soul is also a book filled with great joy and triumph. When Rick's kids return from surgery or life-saving treatments, he is exultant. "Seeing these people after surgery is like going to heaven," he says. Marilyn Berger went to Africa to write about Dr. Hodes, but while there, she became involved with the story. When she came upon a small, deformed, and malnourished boy begging on the street, she recognized immediately that he had the exact disease Rick could cure. She took him to Rick, who eventually arranged for the boy to have a complicated and risky surgery, which turned out to be incredibly successful. The boy's story—intertwined with Rick's, and Marilyn's as well—is unforgettable in its pathos and subtle humor.
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QUESTION: Dear – I feel like driving around the country in a pick up truck and interviewing people about men’s apparel. Sort of similar to What book should I take along to read?


[book] PEEP SHOW
June 2010, Algonquin
Joshua Braff, brother of actor Zach Braff, wrote THE UNTHINKABLE THOUGHTS OF JACOB GREEN, a few years ago, which I thought was one of the best and funniest Jewish novels of the decade. Now he has prepared a second novel for us.
A kid who likes photos… is it any wonder that his name is Arbus?
David Arbus will be graduating from high school in the spring of 1975. His divorced parents offer two options: embrace his mother’s Hasidic sect or go into his father’s line of work, running a porn theater in the heart of New York’s Times Square. He joins the family business. What else would a healthy seventeen-year-old with an interest in photography do? But he didn’t think it would mean giving up his mother and sister altogether. Peep Show is the bittersweet story of a young man torn between a mother trying to erase her past and a father struggling to maintain his dignity in a less-than-savory business. As David peeps through the spaces in the screen that divides the men and the women in Hasidic homes, we can’t help but think of his father’s Imperial Theatre, where other men are looking at other women through the peepholes. As entertaining as it is moving, Peep Show looks at the elaborate ensembles, rituals, assumed names, and fierce loyalties of two secret worlds, stripping away the curtains of both.
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QUESTION: Dear – I need a short book to read on the Jitney to East Hampton. One that will make me laugh so hard that everyone will notice me and want to date me. What book should I read on the bus?

ANSWER: You should take the train, but either mode, we recommend:

[book] [book] SH*T MY DAD SAYS
May 2010
Halpern, a star on, posts crazy things he says that his father, Samuel, says. Are the true? Edited? Who knows? Whatever they are, they are compiled in this book. At 28, Justin moved from LA back home with his parents home in San Diego. Once a day, Halpern, started to post a memorable quote that his dad, Samuel, had said the day before. More than 200,000 users subscribe to get their daily dose of Sam. Actually, 1.4 million now do. Many of the comments are quite profane. Sam Halpern, 73, retired, is frustrated by his three sons’ lives. Sam did not know he was an internet star. Growing up, Justin and his two brothers were pretty scared of Sam. They're still scared of him. He worked in nuclear medicine and cancer research for UCSD and is good at keeping secrets and keeping mum. He is the least passive aggressive person in the USA. CBS is developing a pilot based on the tweets of an angry old man. William Shatner is set to play the well-intentioned curmudgeon in the production based on Justin Halpern's Twitter account called "Stuff My Dad Says." Justin Halpern, who's co-penning the show about his cranky dad with long-time writing partner Patrick Schumacker, says he hopes the network lands on a name like "S#&% My Dad Says" -- bleeping the first word during spoken-word promotions. “Will and Grace's" Max Mutchnik and David Kohan are producing the show.
Let me ad this about the book. If your think it is just a collection of funny quote, you are wrong. A short chapter precedes each set of quotes, and focuses on Justin’s youth with his father and the family’s life. From Little league coaching to family dinners to doing quite poorly in math class to his parents finding his porn take in their bedroom VCR.. you get the picture… it is a slice of life memoir. It is hilarious and sweet, and I feel sorry for Sam for getting stuck with such a dweeb screw up, but nice, son

Note: If you are squeamish about reading that the author masturbated a couple of times and told his father about it, then you should avoid two of the chapters.

"I lost 20 pounds...How? I drank bear piss and took up fencing. How the fuck you think, son? I exercised."
"A parent's only as good as their dumbest kid. If one wins a Nobel Prize but the other gets robbed by a hooker, you failed."
"Nah, we don't celebrate it. Don't know who St. Valentine was, don't give a shit, and doubt he wants people screwing in his memory."
"STOP apologizing. You're sorry, he gets it, Jesus. You spilled a glass of wine, not fucked his wife."
"Sprain, huh? Did you go to medical school?... Well I did, so spare me your dog-shit diagnosis and lemme look at your ankle."
"No, I'm not a pessimist. At some point the world shits on everybody. Pretending it ain't shit makes you an idiot, not an optimist."
"Can we talk later? The news is on... Well, if you have tuberculosis it's not gonna get any worse in the next 30 minutes, jesus."
“Yes I got him a gift. He had a kidney stone. You piss a rock through your pecker, you deserve more than just a pat on the fucking back."
"You can watch the house while I'm gone. Just don't call me unless something's on fire, and don't screw in my bed."
On Justin getting married: "Pressure? Get married when you want. Your wedding's just one more day in my life I can't wear sweat pants."
On the longevity of the human race: "No. Humans will die out. We're weak. Dinosaurs survived on rotten flesh. You got diarrhea last week from a Wendy's."
On being a proud parent: "A parent's only as good as their dumbest kid. If one wins a Nobel Prize but the other gets robbed by a hooker, you failed."
On tailgating in traffic: "You sure do like to tailgate people. ... Right, because it's real important you show up to the nothing you have to do on time."
When Justin got to the final round of the Disney Screenwriting Fellowship and didn’t get it. His friends said, “You must be crushed!” His dad said, “You’re gonna fail much more than you succeed. It’s only when you’re not getting closer to your goal that you worry about.” It helped him get through that time
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[book] Keep Your Wives Away from Them
Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires
Edited by Miryam Kabakov
May 11, 2010, North Atlantic Mifflin
Reconciling queerness with religion has always been an enormous challenge. When the religion is Orthodox Judaism, the task is even more daunting. This anthology takes on that challenge by giving voice to gender queer Jewish women who were once silenced—and effectively rendered invisible—by their faith. Keep Your Wives Away from Them tells the story of those who have come out, who are still closeted, living double lives, or struggling to maintain an integrated "single life" in relationship to traditional Judaism—personal stories that are both enlightening and edifying. While a number of films and books have explored the lives of queer people in Orthodox and observant Judaism, only this one explores in depth what happens after the struggle, when the real work of building integrated lives begins. The candor of these insightful stories in Keep Your Wives Away from Them makes the book appealing to a general audience and students of women’s, gender, and LGBTQ studies, as well as for anyone struggling personally with the same issue.
Contributors include musician and writer Temim Fruchter, Professor Joy Ladin, writer Leah Lax, nurse Tamar Prager, and the pseudonymous Ex-Yeshiva Girl.
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Chasnoff made a lot of enemies among Penn alumni when he made fun of his fellow Jews, but that is the life of a comedian. His book is not as bad as his Penn Gazette essay:
A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah
A Memoir
February 2010, Free Press
Look at me. Do you see me? Do you see me in my olive-green uniform, beret, and shiny black boots? Do you see the assault rifle slung across my chest? Finally! I am the badass Israeli soldier at the side of the road, in sunglasses, forearms like bricks. And honestly -- have you ever seen anything quite like me? Joel Chasnoff is twenty-four years old, an American, and the graduate of Penn, an Ivy League university. But when his career as a stand-up comic fails to get off the ground, Chasnoff decides it's time for a serious change of pace. Leaving behind his amenity-laden Brooklyn apartment for a plane ticket to Israel, Joel trades in the comforts of being a stereotypical American Jewish male for an Uzi, dog tags (with his name misspelled), and serious mental and physical abuse at the hands of the Israeli Army.
The 188th Crybaby Brigade is a hilarious and poignant account of Chasnoff's year in the Israel Defense Forces -- a year that he volunteered for, and that he'll never get back. As a member of the 188th Armored Brigade, a unit trained on the Merkava tanks that make up the backbone of Israeli ground forces, Chasnoff finds himself caught in a twilight zone-like world of mandatory snack breaks, battalion sing-alongs, and eighteen-year-old Israeli mama's boys who feign injuries to get out of guard duty and claim diarrhea to avoid kitchen work. He is older and more mature than his comrades, he is a volunteer among conscripts. The life of a tank soldier in the event of war is very short. He finds out that although he is Jewish enough to die for Israel, the rabbinate determines he is not Orthodox or Jewish enough to marry in Israel (a shock to him and his fiancé)
More time is spent arguing over how to roll a sleeve cuff than studying the mechanics of the Merkava tanks. The platoon sergeants are barely older than the soldiers and are younger than Chasnoff himself. By the time he's sent to Lebanon for a tour of duty against Hezbollah, Chasnoff knows everything about why snot dries out in the desert, yet has never been trained in firing the MAG. And all this while his relationship with his tough-as-nails Israeli girlfriend (herself a former drill sergeant) crumbles before his very eyes. The lone American in a platoon of eighteen-year-old Israelis, Chasnoff takes readers into the barracks; over, under, and through political fences; and face-to-face with the absurd reality of life in the Israeli Army. It is a brash and gritty depiction of combat, rife with ego clashes, breakdowns in morale, training mishaps that almost cost lives, and the barely containable sexual urges of a group of teenagers. What's more, it's an on-the-ground account of life in one of the most em-battled armies on earth -- an occupying force in a hostile land, surrounded by enemy governments and terrorists, reviled by much of the world. With equal parts irreverence and vulnerability, irony and intimacy, Chasnoff narrates a new kind of coming-of-age story -- one that teaches us, moves us, and makes us laugh.
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[book] The Council of Dads
My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me
By Bruce Feiler
April 2010, William Morrow
Feiler’s cancer diary is at:
Bestselling author Bruce Feiler (WALKING THE BIBLE; WHERE GOD WAS BORN) was a young father of twin girls in Brooklyn NYC when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had made a living writing books about walking the Middle East, the Bible, and the life of Abraham; and profiled Nashville, Japan, and other places. He was pitching a new ten year project to walk America and American historical sites. But now, after a routine blood test, he found out that he had osteogenic sarcoma (the same disease Teddy Kennedy had as a kid, to which the Senator’s son lost past of his leg) in his left femur. Within the next year he would have neuropathy in his fingertips and would go through surgeries, chemotherapies, and more. The cancer was in the same place he broke his leg as a child in a bike-car accident (as a child after that accident, the young Bruce had to stay in bed in a body cast, so the family seder that year was in Bruce’s bedroom; the Afikomen was hidden under Bruce’s pillow)
Would Feiler end up with a limp just as the biblical Jacob did after wrestling an angel? Feiler had to take a year off - his lost year - to recover and lay fallow, as if he were the holy land in the Jubilee Year.
Feiler instantly thought he would not survive the cancer, he worried what his twin daughters' lives would be like without him. He wondered, "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?"
(As you might recall from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, Feiler’s mother and father both had cancer.)
Three days later, after his diagnosis, he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give his daughters his voice should he succumb to cancer. He would reach out to six men from all the passages in his life, and ask them to be present in the passages in his daughters' lives should he not survive his battle with cancer and chemotherapies. And he would call this group "The Council of Dads."
"I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives," he wrote to these men. "They'll have loving families. They'll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?"
The chapters jump back and forth between his cancer journal entries, his search for the council of dads, and most excitingly, the story of his family, parents, and his paternal grandfather.
Cancer and illness, he finds, gives one the excuse or the mandate to be wholly honest, bare, and intimate and emotional.
I think most readers will find that although the book is COUNCIL OF DADS, the story is most engrossing when Feiler shares the course of his illness, and the lives of his wife, parents, in-laws, and grandfather.
Blurb: The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Feiler, a grad of Cambridge and Yale, introduces the men in his Council and captures the life lesson he wants each to convey to his daughters, Eden and Tybee,--how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream. Linda, his wife, their mother, was already entrepreneurial, so they did not need a business educator. He mixes these with an intimate, highly personal chronicle of his experience battling cancer while raising young children, along with vivid portraits of his father, his two grandfathers, and various father figures in his life that explore the changing role of fathers in America. This is the work of a master storyteller confronting the most difficult experience of his life and emerging with wisdom and hope. The Council of Dads is a touching, funny, and ultimately deeply moving book on how to live life, how the human spirit can respond to adversity, and how to deepen and cherish the friendships that enrich our lives.
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[book] Son of Hamas
A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices
By Mosab Hassan Yousef and Ron Brackin
March 2010, SaltRiver, Tyndale Publishers
From the Inside Flap: Before the age of twenty-one, Mosab Hassan Yousef saw things no one should ever see: abject poverty, abuse of power, torture, and death. He witnessed the behind-the-scenes dealings of top Middle Eastern leaders who make headlines around the world. He was trusted at the highest levels of Hamas and participated in the Intifada. He was held captive deep inside Israel's most feared prison facility. His dangerous choices and unlikely journey through dark places made him a traitor in the eyes of people he loves--and gave him access to extraordinary secrets. On the pages of this book, he exposes events and processes that to this point have been known only by a handful of individuals... Mosab Hassan ("Joseph") Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding leader of Hamas, internationally recognized as a terrorist organization and responsible for countless suicide bombings and other deadly attacks against Israel. An integral part of the movement, Mosab was imprisoned several times by the Israeli internal intelligence service. After a chance encounter with a British tourist, he started a six-year quest that jeopardized Hamas, endangered his family, and threatened his life. He has since embraced the teachings of Jesus and sought political asylum in America. Ron Brackin has traveled extensively in the Middle East as an investigative journalist. He was in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Gaza, and Jerusalem during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. He was on assignment in Baghdad after the fall of Iraq and more recently with the rebels and refugees of southern Sudan and Darfur.
Tyndale writes: While the exclusive Son of Hamas story will appear in this Friday’s Haaretz Magazine, Yousef has a heavy schedule of press interviews in March 2010. In Son of Hamas, Yousef reveals new information about this dangerous terrorist organization and unveils the truth behind his own secret role. He also describes his journey to a new faith—one that instructed him to love his enemies. And he tells the story of the agonizing decisions that led him to walk away from his family, friends, and homeland. Click the book cover to read more.

Where else can you find a TV singing dramedy that has so many Jewish characters?
[book] [book]



[book] Confronting Scandal
How Jews Can Respond When Jews Do Bad Things
Erica Brown
August 2010, Jewish Lights
Jews seem to be in the news today for all of the wrong reasons. Whether it is Bernie Madoff or money laundering by rabbinic leaders, the Jewish community has yet to take stock of what these breaches of civil law and Jewish ethical teachings mean for us as a people. How do we manage collective discomfort and shame? How do we explain rabbis who commit sex offenses or other crimes yet stand at the pulpit week after week offering others moral guidance? And most importantly, how do we restore honor and dignity to our community by raising the ethical bar and adherence to it? This book explores the difficult and thorny issues surrounding scandals: airing dirty laundry in public, coming to terms with criminality among Jews, examining painful stereotypes of Jews and the difficult position of being a minority in society. A call for us to answer to a higher authority, it also addresses practical ways to strengthen ethical behavior and "do good things" to bring pride back, and to engender greater self-respect and the respect of others.
Dr. Erica Brown, a leading voice on subjects of current Jewish interest, consults for Jewish federations and organizations across the country. She is author of Inspired Jewish Leadership: Practical Approaches to Building Strong Communities, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.
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August 2010, Brandeis
The Kosher Baker is a fascinating look into the world of Jewish baking. While an incredible resource for those who eat kosher, it’s equally compelling for anyone interested in a tempting array of sweets and breads, from fast-and-easy to elegant party fare. Two thumbs up!
It is organized like a tutorial. Chapters includes (1) Quick and Elegant Desserts (15 minutes prep time) (2) Two Step Desserts (15-30 minute prep times) (3) Multiple Step Desserts and Breads (More than 30 minutes prep time) inclding Challah, mouses, tarts and puddings (4) Passover and No-Sugar and Other Special Diets
Highlights include basics, such as amaretto cookies, orange tea cake, and apple pastry. Next you graduate on to Chocolate Babka. As an expert, the book is also filled with tip on thawing and freezing , tips and techniques, and the point that if you boil caramel, don’t worry if the caramel forms into globs. Judy Lerner’s Apple Upside Down Cake; Pistachio Financiers (based on European almond gold bar shaped financiers); and Challah Beer Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce (based on a Brioche based dessert she once had, but she substitutes a challah
Paula is the owner of Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School in Washington DC. She was the editor of Susie Fishbein’s Kosher by Design cookbooks. She received her pastry degree from Ritz Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise in Paris in 1996. Click the book cover to read more.

[our smart car]Have you seen us driving around in our new delivery car? Like it? Wave when we drive by you. We'll give you a ride.

[book] Everything Is Going to Be Great
An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour
By Rachel Shukert
August 2010, Harper
When she lands a coveted nonpaying, nonspeaking role in a play going on a European tour, Rachel Shukert—with a brand-new degree in acting from NYU and no money—finally scores her big break. And, after a fluke at customs in Vienna, she gets her golden ticket: an unstamped passport, giving her free rein to “find herself” on a grand tour of Europe. Traveling from Vienna to Zurich to Amsterdam, Rachel bounces through complicated relationships, drunken mishaps, miscommunication, and the reality-adjusting culture shock that every twentysomething faces when sent off to negotiate "the real world"—whatever that may be.
The Los Angeles Times writes, “Two memoirs before Rachel Shukert even turns 30? She swears this is not the epitome of narcissism, but then tells us, "I love looking at myself in the mirror." And now, with the premiere of the much-anticipated movie "Eat Pray Love" but a few days away, Shukert's "Everything Is Going to Be Great" feels like a younger woman's version of Elizabeth Gilbert's bestseller — that is, if Gilbert were a Jewish, twentysomething, girl-does-everything-she-shouldn't survivalist. When last we left Shukert, she was matriculating into NYU's Tisch School of the Arts at the end of her first memoir, "Have You No Shame? And Other Regrettable Stories." In the opening of this second memoir, Rachel steps out into the world with a degree in acting. And the world is her oyster, an oyster recently harvested from the Gulf oil spill. When Rachel lands a nonpaying, nonspeaking role in a play with a European tour, she doesn't romp through Europe as a happy young woman should. Rachel thumps through Vienna, Zurich and Amsterdam as though she were sightseeing through a midlife crisis that started when she was 18. As she says, when she describes staying out every night until 4 a.m. with a group of "possible neo- Nazis," "[w]e're born sick, and life is the impossible struggle to get well."
During the play's run in Vienna, she dates a 46-year-old uncircumcised man (something new for this nice, sexually promiscuous Jewish girl), and then she begins to question his father's 1940s police job. But, in Shukert's unprotected "I just want someone to love me" way, she tells herself: "It didn't seem fair to force someone to confront their family's Nazi past until you'd been dating for at least six weeks." Her relationships and couplings careen downhill at an indeterminate speed from there: Men repeatedly mistake her for a prostitute, a need for a dentist to replace her crown puts her in the throes of an Italian threesome, and a sociopath sways her into thinking she's The One (only it turns out there's more than one). Shukert's storytelling veers close to going over the edge — still, universality exists in all the raunchiness, which makes her brand of humor amusing. But here's another talent Rachel, our terminally horny, accident-prone narrator, has that is unexpected: With the turn of a page, she can bring on the tears. Why waste good humor when the best trap it sets is to open up the heart of the reader to the widest swath of vulnerability? In one scene, she's at a Christmas parade where a skinny Dutch Santa Claus and his elves are dressed in blackface, dancing an improvised jungle dance and wearing kinky wigs. When Shukert's Dutch friends claim they are not racists like Americans, Rachel's tale screeches around a corner (her own corner of denial) and she comes face-to-face with — let's just say her shtick hits the fan. Shukert's humor has us clenching as though we're rollerblading the Alps without kneepads and helmets, plus this book should be R-rated for its sexually mature (though "mature" would be a misnomer) scenes. We laugh out loud as if our best friend is sitting in a bar telling us wicked tales of her pursuits, then we tear up when she sits lonely in her hotel room eating mustard from a squeeze tube.
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[book] Doing Jewish Theology
God, Torah & Israel in Modern Judaism
By Rabbi Neil Gillman (JTS)
August 2010, Jewish Lights
With clarity and passion, award-winning teacher, author and theologian Neil Gillman captures the power of Jewish theological claims and reveals extraordinary insights into Jewish identity, the purpose of religion, and our relationship with God. Drawing from Judaism's sacred texts as well as from great thinkers such as Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Paul Tillich, Gillman traces his theological journey over four decades of study, beginning with his own understanding of revelation. He explores the role of symbol and myth in our understanding of the nature of God and covenant. He examines the importance of community in both determining authority and sanctifying sacred space. Topics include: How can we know anything about God?; What can Judaism teach us about God?; What is the source of authority for what we believe?; What is Torah and how is it sacred?; What, if any, is God's role in human suffering?; What happens after we die?
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[book] HANGMAN
A Mystery novel
August 2010, Morrow
Murder, a missing woman, and a sociopath from the past sweep Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus into a labyrinth of mystery and danger in this electrifying new tale of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Faye Kellerman. . . .
Fifteen years ago, high school senior Chris Whitman went to jail for murdering his girlfriend, Cheryl Diggs. Propelled by a misguided sense of chivalry, he confessed, determined to save another classmate, the beautiful and vulnerable Terry McLaughlin, from having to testify at his trial. When the truth came out, Chris was released from prison, married Terry—pregnant with his child—and changed his last name to Donatti. He also became a professional killer. Peter Decker was the detective on the case, and over the years, he and Terry kept in touch. Now his friend is in L.A. and asking for a favor. Though Decker knows full well that getting involved will bring Terry's sociopathic husband back into his life, the obsessive and duty-bound LAPD lieutenant reluctantly agrees. The favor soon becomes complicated when Terry goes missing and Donatti disappears, leaving their fourteen-year-old son, Gabe, with no one to turn to except Decker and his wife, Rina Lazarus. Gabe is a piano prodigy, and although he is Catholic, he starts to go to the Jewish Day school with Rina's daughter.
But Peter's search for Terry must share center stage with a gruesome murder. Adrianna Blanc, a neonatal nurse at St. Timothy's Hospital, had signed off her night shift at eight a.m. Six hours later, a foreman supervising the construction of a house in a nearby suburb discovered her body swinging from the rafters, a cable wire around her neck. Her car was found where she had parked it the night before, with no signs of foul play.
A dedicated and conscientious professional, Adrianna had a circle of close friends. Yet as Decker and his able team soon learn, the young woman also had her share of detractors. A party-hearty girl, she enjoyed booze, kinky sex, and revenge-cheating on her boyfriend, Garth Hammerling, another nurse at St. Tim's. Suspicions heat up when Decker and his team find that one of Adrianna's last phone calls was a provocative and disturbing message to her vacationing boyfriend—who himself has vanished without a trace. Was Adrianna's death something personal because of her carefree lifestyle? Or was this unusually cruel and very dramatic murder the first signs of a serial killer? With lives hanging in the balance, Decker and his colleagues, Sergeant Marge Dunn and Detective Scott Oliver, need to find answers and fast. As if juggling two investigations weren't enough for the lieutenant (not to mention turning sixty!), things are becoming even more dangerous with his precarious home life. Ever the concerned parent, Decker wants to look after Terry's son, Gabe. Yet who will protect his own family? Because if there's one thing he knows for sure, with a sociopath like Donatti on the loose, no one is ever really safe.
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If a pig stuffs himself with challah and kosher pickles, will he be kosher?
What about with the Chief Rabbinate in Israel
[book] BAXTER
August 2010, Random House
Ages 4 - 8
While waiting for the bus, a man tells Baxter the pig about the joys of Shabbat dinner. But before Baxter can find out how he, too, can join in the fun, the man has boarded the bus. Soon after, Baxter learns that he certainly cannot be a part of Shabbat dinner because he's not Kosher. So begins one pig's misguided quest to become Kosher. Will Baxter succeed or will his dreams of taking part in Shabbat dinner remain unfulfilled? Readers will cheer as a series of misunderstandings leads to a warm message of welcome and community.
But wait, Baxter wants to be a guest, not the main course
And so a kindly rabbi steps in...
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August 2010, Morrow
In May 1945, Pavel Mandl (DO YOU THINK HIS NAME IS MANDL CUZ THE AUTHOR'S NAME IS SCHWARZ? Does the missing last letter add to one's psychic need to find a missing letter?), a Polish Jew recently liberated from a concentration camp, lands near a displaced persons camp in the British occupation zone of newly defeated Germany. Alone, possessing nothing but a map, a few tins of food, a toothbrush, and his identity papers, he must scrape together a new life in a chaotic community of refugees, civilians, and soldiers.
Gifted with a talent for black-market trading, Pavel soon procures clothing, false documents, and a modest house, where he installs himself and a pair of fellow refugees—Fela, a young widow who fled Poland for Russia at the outset of the war, and Chaim, a resourceful teenage boy whose smuggling skills have brought him to the Western zones. The trio soon form a makeshift family, searching for surviving relatives, railing against their circumscribed existence, and dreaming of visas to America.
Fifteen years later, haunted by decisions they made as "DPs," Pavel and Fela are married and living in Queens with their young son and daughter, and Chaim has recently emigrated from Israel with his wife, Sima. Pavel opens a small tailoring shop with his scheming brother-in-law while Fela struggles to establish peace in a loosely traditional household; Chaim and Sima adapt cheerfully to American life and its promise of freedom from a brutal past. Their lives are no longer dominated by the need to endure, fight, hide, or escape. Instead, they grapple with past trauma in everyday moments: taking the children to the municipal pool, shopping for liquor, arguing with landlords.
For decades, Pavel, Fela, and Chaim battle over memory and identity on the sly, within private groups of survivors. But as the Iron Curtain falls in the 1990s, American society starts to embrace the tragedy as a cultural commodity, and survivor politics go public. Clever and stubborn, tyrannical and generous, Pavel, Fela, and Chaim articulate the self-conscious strivings of an immigrant community determined to write its own history, on its own terms. In Displaced Persons, Ghita Schwarz reveals the interior despairs and joys of immigrants shaped by war—ordinary men and women who have lived through cataclysmic times—and illuminates changing cultural understandings of trauma and remembrance.
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BY MARTIN VAN CREVALD (LSE, Hebrew University)
August 2010, St, Martin’s Press
Martin Van Who?? Martin Van Crevald is taught at Hebrew University for four decades.
The definitive one-volume history of Israel by its most distinguished historian. From its Zionist beginnings at the end of the nineteenth century through the past sixty, tumultuous years, the state of Israel has been, as van Creveld argues, “the greatest success story in the entire twentieth century.” In this crisp volume, he skillfully relates the improbable story of a nationless people who, given a hot and arid patch of land and coping with every imaginable obstacle, founded a country that is now the envy of surrounding states. While most studies on Israel focus on the political, this encompassing history weaves together the nation’s economic, social, cultural and religious narratives while also offering diplomatic solutions to help Israel achieve peace. Without question, this is the best one-volume history of Israel and its people.
What I found most interesting and revealing were the complex historical and political forces that shaped Israel’s history. Such as the increase in real wages in incomes prior to 1973, and then the 73 war’s affect in the economy. The war cost over $4 Billion when GDP was only $6 Billion. The need to replenish the armed forces was outrageous. No wonder they were the Nightmare Years.
Chapters include (1) Forged in Fury 1897-1949; Full Steam Ahead 1949-1967; The Nightmare Years 1967-1980; New Challenges 1981 - 1995; Tragedy, Triumph and Struggle 1995-Present
MARTIN VAN CREVELD is the world’s leading Israeli military historian and theorist. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he has been on the faculty since 1971. He is the author of seventeen books on military history and strategy and has lectured or taught at virtually every strategic institute in the Western world.
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[book] Stalin's Genocides
Norman M. Naimark
August 2010, Princeton
Between the early 1930s and his death in 1953, Joseph Stalin had more than a million of his own citizens executed. Millions more fell victim to forced labor, deportation, famine, bloody massacres, and detention and interrogation by Stalin's henchmen. Stalin's Genocides is the chilling story of these crimes. The book puts forward the important argument that brutal mass killings under Stalin in the 1930s were indeed acts of genocide and that the Soviet dictator himself was behind them. Norman Naimark, one of our most respected authorities on the Soviet era, challenges the widely held notion that Stalin's crimes do not constitute genocide, which the United Nations defines as the premeditated killing of a group of people because of their race, religion, or inherent national qualities. In this gripping book, Naimark explains how Stalin became a pitiless mass killer. He looks at the most consequential and harrowing episodes of Stalin's systematic destruction of his own populace--the liquidation and repression of the so-called kulaks, the Ukrainian famine, the purge of nationalities, and the Great Terror--and examines them in light of other genocides in history. In addition, Naimark compares Stalin's crimes with those of the most notorious genocidal killer of them all, Adolf Hitler.
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[book] Heavenly Merchandize
How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America
Mark Valeri
August 2010 Princeton
Heavenly Merchandize offers a critical reexamination of religion's role in the creation of a market economy in early America. Focusing on the economic culture of New England, it views commerce through the eyes of four generations of Boston merchants, drawing upon their personal letters, diaries, business records, and sermon notes to reveal how merchants built a modern form of exchange out of profound transitions in the puritan understanding of discipline, providence, and the meaning of New England. Mark Valeri traces the careers of men like Robert Keayne, a London immigrant punished by his church for aggressive business practices; John Hull, a silversmith-turned-trader who helped to establish commercial networks in the West Indies; and Hugh Hall, one of New England's first slave traders. He explores how Boston ministers reconstituted their moral languages over the course of a century, from a scriptural discourse against many market practices to a providential worldview that justified England's commercial hegemony and legitimated the market as a divine construct. Valeri moves beyond simplistic readings that reduce commercial activity to secular mind-sets, and refutes the popular notion of an inherent affinity between puritanism and capitalism. He shows how changing ideas about what it meant to be pious and puritan informed the business practices of Boston's merchants, who filled their private notebooks with meditations on scripture and the natural order, founded and led churches, and inscribed spiritual reflections in their letters and diaries. Unprecedented in scope and rich with insights, Heavenly Merchandize illuminates the history behind the continuing American dilemma over morality and the marketplace.
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August 2010, Little Brown
Graham E. Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, in charge of long-range strategic forecasting. He is an adjunct professor of history. What if Islam was never created. IN this book, Fuller asks whether Islam is the root cause of current conflicts and crises. He analyzes the roots of terrorism, the conflict between Arab states and Israel, and the role of Islam in energizing the anti-Imperial struggle. Contrary to what you might expect, a world without Islam would not be a world of peace and it might not look vastly different from what it looks like today.
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Summer 2010, Clarkson Potter
Jewish humor from a New Yorker and Forbes cartoonist
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[book] Life, Love, Lox
Real-World Advice for the Modern Jewish Girl
Carin Davis
2010, Running Press
Like Manischewitz with a twist, this saucy book will show the young Chosen Ones how to mix their Jewish roots with their happenin’ lifestyles. Bursting with playful anecdotes and amusing advice, Life, Love, Lox is the essential companion for any Jew looking to squeeze a little style out of the ol’ Torah. Ten chapters in all—like “Challapalooza,” “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Plagues,” and “Lox, Stock, and Bagel”—dish on how to put together Shabbat dinner for the real world, how to meet the (observant) parents, and how to embrace the high holy days with style. Covering everything from Kosher Kissing and making matzah balls to Speed-Dating and the Dayenu Diet, Life, Love, Lox is the best thing to happen to modern Jews since the Glatt Kosher hot dog cart at Yankee Stadium. This is a humorous girlfriend’s guide to living the hip life while keeping it Jewish.
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August 2010, Random House
Issued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of “a National Home for the Jewish people,” and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history. With new material retrieved from historical archives, scholar Jonathan Schneer recounts in dramatic detail the public and private battles in the early 1900s for a small strip of land in the Middle East, battles that started when the governing Ottoman Empire took Germany’s side in World War I. The Balfour Declaration paints an indelible picture of how Arab nationalists, backed by Britain, fought for their future as Zionists in England battled diplomatically for influence. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to either side or even to most members of the British government, Prime Minister David Lloyd George was telling Turkey that she could keep her flag flying over the disputed territory if only she would agree to a separate peace.
The key players in this watershed moment are rendered here in nuanced and detailed relief: Sharif Hussein, the Arab leader who secretly sought British support; Chaim Weizmann, Zionist hero, the folksmensch who charmed British high society; T. E. Lawrence, the legendary “super cerebral” British officer who “set the desert on fire” for the Arabs; Basil Zaharoff, the infamous arms dealer who was Britain’s most important back channel to the Turks; and the other generals and prime ministers, soldiers and negotiators, who shed blood and cut deals to grab or give away the precious land.
A book crucial to understanding the Middle East as it is today, The Balfour Declaration is a rich and remarkable achievement, a riveting volume about the ancient faiths and timeless treacheries that continue to drive global events.
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August 2010, Thomas Dunne
From the acclaimed writer: a portrait of women in their element; funny, biting and poignant women’s lit. Eager to finally stand on her own two feet, New York photographer Rachel Solomon finally escapes the clutches of her crazy Midwestern Jewish family, and the twisted machinations of her kooky best friend, Elizabeth. All is well until Elizabeth marries her brother, moves to her hometown, and becomes the daughter Rachel’s mother always wanted: popping out babies named after her crazy dead Jewish relatives. In this comic novel, readers who delighted in Speed Shrinking will find amusement in Rachel’s desperate actions to prove herself worthy in the eyes of her traditional family—and navigate the precious waters between best friends.
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August 2010, Random House Bantam
First published in Spain in 1994 to wide acclaim.
I tend to avoid Holocaust novels. Non fiction is good enough and I don’t want the history muddled up by fiction.
Since Maria Angels Anglada is one of the foremost Catalan / Spanish writers, I am adding this to the site.
Daniel is a Jewish violin maker from Krakow. He survives at the death camp by working as a carpenter. The camp commander discovers Daniel’s special skills, and since he lives classical music, he assigns Daniel the task of making a violin Of course, if it is not made to perfection, Daniel will be executed.
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August 2010, Henry Holt
"Noam Shpancer portrays the oft-hidden world of psychotherapy with unparalleled authenticity, compassion, and wit . . . An astonishing debut."—Jonathan Kellerman
Noam Shpancer's stunning debut novel opens as a psychologist reluctantly takes on a new client—an exotic dancer whose severe anxiety is keeping her from the stage. The psychologist, a solitary professional who also teaches a lively night class, helps the client confront her fears. But as treatment unfolds, her struggles and secrets begin to radiate onto his life, upsetting the precarious balance in his unresolved relationship with Nina, a married former colleague with whom he has a child—a child he has never met. As the shell of his detachment begins to crack, he suddenly finds himself too deeply involved, the boundary lines between professional and personal, between help and harm, blurring dangerously.
With its wonderfully distinctive narrative voice, rich with humor and humanity, The Good Psychologist leads the reader on a journey into the heart of the therapy process and beyond, examining some of the fundamental questions of the soul: to move or be still; to defy or obey; to let go or hold on.
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[book] RICH BOY
August 2010, Twelve
Ten years in the making, Rich Boy is a well crafted novel of desire, money, grace, love, and class. It spans 4 decades, from the Sixties to the Nineties in the life of a young man, Robert Vishniak, who wants to escape his past. It is a story of rich and poor, and rich and wealthy.
Booklist writes: “*Starred Review* Pomerantz’s compelling, finely crafted debut novel chronicles one man’s journey from the blue-collar suburbs of 1950s Philadelphia to the high-society of 1980s New York. Robert Vishniak grows up in a working-class Jewish neighborhood, often at odds with his frugal, distant mother. Blessed with good looks and possessing an uncompromising ambition, Robert learns at an early age to use his physical appearance to his advantage. Eager to leave behind his humble upbringing, Robert is accepted to Tufts University, where he quickly falls in with a group of privileged students led by the enigmatic Tracey, Robert’s roommate and subsequent lifelong friend. Moving forward in time, Pomerantz chronicles Robert’s varied adventures as he copes with the panoramic complexities and rewards of rebellion, self-renewal, and heartache. Over the course of four decades, Robert becomes entrenched in the upper echelon of Manhattan’s elite, ultimately succeeding as a real-estate lawyer and marrying into a family of old money. He is finally enjoying the success he so desired as a young man, until a random encounter with a woman from his hometown begins to erode Robert’s carefully crafted persona. Pomerantz’s sweeping tale captures the intimate truths and hypocrisies of class, identity, and one man’s quintessential American experience.
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August 2010, Grand Central Publishing
It's the day after Labor Day, 2008, and the bottom is about the drop out of the economy. Hedge fund owner John Cutter is in the process of an ugly divorce and nearly in financial ruin, except for the assets he is hiding from his wife Mimi in the Cayman Islands. When he concocts a scheme to redeem himself, he enlists Lehman Brothers investment banker Blake Somerset as an accomplice. Blake is ripe for recruitment given that he too is on the verge of being in dire financial straits given Lehman's decline and imminent bankruptcy. Blake's socialite wife Grigsby is barely aware of her changing world to begin with, and has no idea of the perilous situation her husband is about to enter into. As autumn unfolds, Grigsby's fairytale life starts to unwind. Meanwhile, John and Blake's scheme comes to light when street-smart Renee Parker begins her new position as John's executive assistant. Convinced something is amiss, she enlists her friend Sasha Silver, CEO of Silver Partners, to help her decipher what is happening. This story of expulsion from a modern-day Garden of Eden captures what happens when economic decline spells ruin for Manhattan's pampered elite.
Alexandra Lebenthal is the socially prominent President and CEO of Lebenthal & Co, and its wealth management division, Alexandra & James Inc. Her father Jim Lebenthal and her grandmother, made their names in municipal bonds and documentary filmmaking. Alexandra serves on many boards. Perhaps you will recall that story a few years back on the lives and interactions between Lebenthal and her secretary assistant.
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August 2010, Jewish Encounters – Schocken Nextbook
A dual biography of the venerated Hasidic storyteller Rabbi Nachman and the iconic modern master Franz Kafka that uncovers surprising parallels between two tragically abbreviated lives, both spent in search of spiritual meaning.
Rodger Kamenetz, acclaimed author of The Jew in the Lotus, has long been engaged in the study and practice of Jewish spirituality. And he has for many years taught a course in Prague on Franz Kafka. The more he learned about the life and work of Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav (great-grandson of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism), the more aware he became of unexpected connections between the lives and works of Kafka, a secular artist fascinated by Jewish mysticism, and Rabbi Nachman, a religious mystic who reached out to secular Jews. Both men died young of tuberculosis. Both invented new forms of storytelling that explore the search for meaning in an illogical, unjust world. Both gained prominence with the posthumous publication of their writing. And most intriguing of all, both left strict instructions that their unpublished writings were to be burned after they died.
Kamenetz uses these episodes as points of departure on a journey into the spiritual quests of these two troubled and beloved figures. He concludes with an analysis of their major works that illuminates the remarkable similarities between them. In their attempts to understand the existence of a Supreme Being in an imperfect world, both men teach us a great deal about the role of imagination in the Jewish spiritual experience.
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August 24, 2010, Yale University Press
Sir Martin Gilbert has been collecting material for this book for decades. He was most surprised by the harmony of relative coexistence over the centuries. Here is a story of the children of Abraham/Ibraham.
The relationship between Jews and Muslims has been a flashpoint that affects stability in the Middle East and has consequences around the globe. In this absorbing and eloquent book Martin Gilbert challenges the standard media portrayal and presents a fascinating account of hope, opportunity, fear, and terror that have characterized these two peoples through the 1,400 years of their intertwined history. Harking back to the Biblical story of Ishmael and Isaac, Gilbert takes the reader from the origins of the fraught relationship—the refusal of Medina’s Jews to accept Mohammed as a prophet—through the ages of the Crusader reconquest of the Holy Land and the great Muslim sultanates to the present day. He explores the impact of Zionism in the first half of the twentieth century, the clash of nationalisms during the Second World War, the mass expulsions and exodus of 800,000 Jews from Muslim lands following the birth of Israel, the Six-Day War and its aftermath, and the political sensitivities of the current Middle East. In Ishmael’s House sheds light on a time of prosperity and opportunity for Jews in Muslim lands stretching from Morocco to Afghanistan, with many instances of Muslim openness, support, and courage. Drawing on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sources, Gilbert uses archived material, poems, letters, memoirs, and personal testimony to uncover the human voice of this centuries-old conflict. Ultimately Gilbert’s moving account of mutual tolerance between Muslims and Jews provides a perspective on current events and a template for the future.
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August 2010, Knopf
From the Nobel laureate and author of the masterly Night: a deeply felt, beautifully written novel of morality, guilt, and innocence.
Despite personal success, Yedidyah—a theater critic in New York City, husband to a stage actress, father to two sons—finds himself increasingly drawn to the past; as he reflects on his life, he longingly reminisces about the relationships he once had with the men in his family: his father, his uncle, his grandfather. But his longing takes on another aspect when he is assigned to cover the murder trial of a German expatriate named Werner Sonderberg. Sonderberg returned alone from a walk in the Adirondacks with an elderly uncle, whose lifeless body was soon retrieved from the woods. His plea is enigmatic: “Guilty . . . and not guilty.” But it strikes a chord in Yedidyah, plunging him into feelings that bring him harrowingly close to madness. As Sonderberg’s trial moves along a path of dizzying yet revelatory twists and turns, Yedidyah begins to understand his own family’s hidden past and finally liberates himself from the shadow it has cast over his life.
With his signature elegance and thoughtfulness, Wiesel has given us an enthralling psychological mystery, both vividly dramatic and profoundly emotional.. Click the book cover to read more.

BY RAM OREN, Translated by Barbara Harshav
August 2010, Doubleday
Trapped in the horrors of World War II, a woman and a child embark on a journey of survival in this page-turning true story that recalls the power and the poignancy of Schindler’s List. Michael Stolowitzky, the only son of a wealthy Jewish family in Poland, was just three years old when war broke out and the family lost everything. His father, desperate to settle his business affairs, travels to France, leaving Michael in the care of his mother and Gertruda Bablinska, a Catholic nanny devoted to the family. When Michael's mother has a stroke, Gertruda promises the dying woman that she will make her way to Palestine and raise him as her own son.
Written with the invaluable assistance of Michael, now seventy-two and living in New York City, GERTRUDA’S OATH re-creates Michael and Gertruda’s amazing journey. Gripping vignettes bring to life the people who helped ensure their survival, including SS officer Karl Rink, who made it his mission to save Jews after his own Jewish wife was murdered; Rink’s daughter, Helga, who escaped to a kibbutz, where she lived until her recent death; and the Jewish physician Dr. Berman, who aided Michael and Gertruda through the worst of times. GERTRUDA’S OATH is a story of extraordinary courage and moral strength in the face of horrific events. Like Schindler’s List, it transcends history and religion to reveal the compassion and hope that miraculously thrives in a world immersed in war without end.
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[book] The Shanghai Moon
A Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novel
By S. J. Rozan
August 2010, Paperback, Minotaur
With The Shanghai Moon, S. J. Rozan returns to her award-winning, critically acclaimed, and much-loved characters Lydia Chin and Bill Smith in the first new novel in the series in seven years. Estranged for months from fellow P.I. Bill Smith, Chinese-American private investigator Lydia Chin is brought in by colleague and former mentor Joel Pilarsky to help with a case that crosses continents, cultures, and decades. In Shanghai, excavation has unearthed a cache of European jewelry dating back to World War II, when Shanghai was an open city providing safe haven for thousands of Jewish refugees. The jewelry, identifed as having belonged to one such refugee - Rosalie Gilder - was immediately stolen by a Chinese official who fled to New York City. Hired by a lawyer specializing in the recovery of Holocaust assets, Chin and Pilarsky are to find any and all leads to the missing jewels. However, Lydia soon learns that there is much more to the story than they've been told: The Shanghai Moon, one of the world's most sought after missing jewels, reputed to be worth millions, is believed to have been part of the same stash. Before Lydia can act on this new information, Joel Pilarsky is murdered, Lydia is fired from the case, and Bill Smith finally reappears on the scene. Now Lydia and Bill must unravel the truth about the Shanghai Moon and the events that surrounded its disappearance sixty years ago during the chaos of war and revolution, if they are to stop more killings and uncover the truth of what is going on today.
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August 2010, Harmony
From the author of HAIKUS FOR JEWS
Meet the Prophet Murray, son of Irving of the Tribe of Levi (Relaxed Fit) and his wife, Francine. Though a poor student and a disappointment to his parents, Murray cannot escape his destiny. Hearing God’s call, he wanders the lands with his cousin Lenny, preaching his unique brand of biblical wisdom (“Love the stranger, though not on the first date”), dispensing diet tips, and giving unsolicited advice. From the fertile mind of David M. Bader comes a loving and mirthful new take on the best biblical stories. We learn of Murray’s early years, the Healing of the Hypochondriac, the Virgin by the Well, the Writing on the Wall, the Ten (or So) Commandments, and the Dream of King Joe Bob. “In the modern world,” Bader writes, “the lives and teachings of biblical prophets often seem remote and dim in our consciousness. And of all these narratives, The Book of Murray may well be the dimmest.”
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Potter Style
August 2010, Crown
Losing one‘s baby teeth is a curious and exciting experience in every kid‘s life. Children and parents alike will enjoy filling out his keepsake book that captures all the details of this milestone on the path to becoming a big kid.
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Edited by Elliot N. Dorff, Danya Ruttenberg, and Louis E. Newman
August 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
How do we expand health care coverage to more Americans? Are hate crimes legislation and affirmative action fair? What sacrifices must we make to protect the environment? Is the death penalty morally acceptable? Contributors include Jill Jacobs, of Jewish Funds for Justice; Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center; and TV commentator and UCLA law professor Laurie Levenson.
Each volume in this series presents hypothetical cases on specific topics, followed by traditional and contemporary sources. Supplementing these are brief essays, written by contributors of various ages, backgrounds, and viewpoints to provoke lively thought and discussion. These voices from Jewish tradition and today's Jewish community present us with new questions and perspectives, encouraging us to consider our own moral choices in a new light.
Danya Ruttenberg, Rabbi (Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University), is the author of Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion (Beacon Press, 2008), and editor of The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism (NYU Press, 2009) and Yentl's Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism (Seal Press, 2001). Elliot N. Dorff, Rabbi (Jewish Theological Seminary), PhD (Columbia University), is rector and Sol and Anne Dorff Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism) in Los Angeles.
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New Perspectives on Jewish Masculinity
Edited by Harry Brod and Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit
Summer 2010
Brother Keepers: New Perspectives on Jewish Masculinity is an international collection of new essays on Jewish men by academics and activists, rabbis and secularists, men and women, on personal experience and congregational life, gendered bodies and Jewish minds, poetry and prayer, literature and film, and more. Simultaneously particular and universal, all engagingly illuminate how masculinities and Judaisms engage each other in gendered Jewishness. Rabbi Zevit is a teacher, performer, writer, and spiritual leader. He serves as a Senior Consultant and Director of Outreach and External Affairs for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
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August 2010, Doubleday
From Publishers Weekly: More Grisham lite than Turow weighty, Peacock's second legal thriller falls short of the standard set by his Edgar-finalist debut, A Cure for the Night. When Duncan Riley, a rising star at a prestigious New York City law firm, accepts a pro bono eviction case, he welcomes this relatively straightforward diversion from the tedium of litigation practice. Then a complication arises: Riley's client, Rafael Nazario, is charged with the murder of the security guard at Nazario's public housing project who'd falsely accused him of smoking pot. While Riley gets approval from his mentor to continue representing Nazario, he feels pressured to cut a deal for his client, whom he genuinely believes to be innocent. Meanwhile, the attorney is receiving a great deal of attention from another client, Leah Roth, heiress apparent to a large real estate empire under scrutiny for its role in a deadly accident at one of its buildings. Peacock underdoes his characters' psychology, while the deus ex machina Riley uses to prove a sinister plot undercuts the book's atmosphere of gritty realism.
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[book] Dave Tarras - The King of Klezmer
By Yale Strom
August 2010 Or Tov Music Pubs,
Hailed as "The Benny Goodman of klezmer," Dave Tarras is considered the most influential klezmer musician of the Twentieth Century. Scion of a musical family in Ternovke, Ukraine, Tarras played at weddings for Jews and non-Jews - even playing in the Czarist army - up to World War One. He immigrated to America and after a brief stint as a furrier, began to make a living with his clarinet. From 1925 until his death in 1989, Dave Tarras set the standard for klezmer musicianship and virtuosity. Even the great be-bop artists Charlie Parker and Miles Davis traveled to the Catskills to study the technique of this complex and compelling virtuoso. Author Yale Strom interviewed the people who knew Tarras best: His musical collaborators and family members. The first biography authorized by the Tarras family, this book reveals newly discovered personal and historical facts about Dave Tarras and the world in which he lived and played, as well as priceless photographs from the family archives. Twenty-eight of Tarras' melodies as written by Tarras and discovered in his manuscripts are presented in arrangements for C and B-Flat instruments. An important book for anyone interested in klezmer or Jewish cultural history.
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[book] FREEDOM
August 31, 2010, FS&G
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Nine years after winning the National Book Award, Franzen's The Corrections consistently appears on "Best of the Decade" lists and continues to enjoy a popularity that borders on the epochal, so much so that the first question facing Franzen's feverishly awaited follow-up is whether it can find its own voice in its predecessor's shadow. In short: yes, it does, and in a big way. Readers will recognize the strains of suburban tragedy afflicting St. Paul, Minn.'s Walter and Patty Berglund, once-gleaming gentrifiers now marred in the eyes of the community by Patty's increasingly erratic war on the right-wing neighbors with whom her eerily independent and sexually precocious teenage son, Joey, is besot, and, later, "greener than Greenpeace" Walter's well-publicized dealings with the coal industry's efforts to demolish a West Virginia mountaintop. The surprise is that the Berglunds' fall is outlined almost entirely in the novel's first 30 pages, freeing Franzen to delve into Patty's affluent East Coast girlhood, her sexual assault at the hands of a well-connected senior, doomed career as a college basketball star, and the long-running love triangle between Patty, Walter, and Walter's best friend, the budding rock star Richard Katz. By 2004, these combustible elements give rise to a host of modern predicaments: Richard, after a brief peak, is now washed up, living in Jersey City, laboring as a deck builder for Tribeca yuppies, and still eyeing Patty. The ever-scheming Joey gets in over his head with psychotically dedicated high school sweetheart and as a sub-subcontractor in the re-building of postinvasion Iraq. Walter's many moral compromises, which have grown to include shady dealings with Bush-Cheney cronies (not to mention the carnal intentions of his assistant, Lalitha), are taxing him to the breaking point. Patty, meanwhile, has descended into a morass of depression and self-loathing, and is considering breast augmentation when not working on her therapist-recommended autobiography. Franzen pits his excavation of the cracks in the nuclear family's facade against a backdrop of all-American faults and fissures, but where the book stands apart is that, no longer content merely to record the breakdown, Franzen tries to account for his often stridently unlikable characters and find where they (and we) went wrong, arriving at--incredibly--genuine hope
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Edited by Elliot N. Dorff, Danya Ruttenberg, and Louis E. Newman
August 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
Is it morally acceptable to use surveillance and profiling to protect national security? Should war only be used in self-defense? Is torture in times of war morally acceptable? Contributors include scholar Noam Chomsky, Lt. Col. Seth Milstein, and political philosopher Michael Walzer. Each volume in this series presents hypothetical cases on specific topics, followed by traditional and contemporary sources. Supplementing these are brief essays, written by contributors of various ages, backgrounds, and viewpoints to provoke lively thought and discussion. These voices from Jewish tradition and today's Jewish community present us with new questions and perspectives, encouraging us to consider our own moral choices in a new light.
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See also:
Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices on these topics
Sex and Intimacy

This story compels telling; but it is such a bald summary of a work that succeeds in several known genres: as family memoir, travel literature (De Waal's Japan is the nearest thing to being there, and over decades), essays on migration and exile, on cultural misperceptions, and on De Waal's attempt to define his relationship with his own kaolin creations. His book is also a new genre, unnamed and maybe unnameable. A thing-book, perhaps, or a Wunderkammer – cabinet of marvels – except they're both such German concepts.
[book] The Hare with Amber Eyes
A Family's Century of Art and Loss
Edmund de Waal
August 31, 2010, FS&G
From Publishers Weekly: In this family history, de Waal, a potter and curator of ceramics at the Victoria & Albert Museum, describes the experiences of his family, the Ephrussis, during the turmoil of the 20th century. Grain merchants in Odessa, various family members migrated to Vienna and Paris, becoming successful bankers. Secular Jews, they sought assimilation in a period of virulent anti-Semitism. In Paris, Charles Ephrussi purchased a large collection of Japanese netsuke, tiny hand-carved figures including a hare with amber eyes. The collection passed to Viktor Ephrussi in Vienna and became the family's greatest legacy. Loyal citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Vienna Ephrussis were devastated by the outcome of WWI and were later driven from their home by the imposition of Nazi rule over Austria. After WWII, they discovered that their maid, Anna, had preserved the netsuke collection, which Ignace Ephrussi inherited, and he settled in postwar Japan. Today, the netsuke reside with de Waal (descended from the family's Vienna branch) and serve as the embodiment of his family history
A somewhat rambling narrative with special appeal to art historians, this account is nonetheless rich in drama and valuable anecdote.
Veronica Horwell, reviewing the book in London, wrote that it overwhelmed her. De Waal inherited a collection of 264 netsuke from his great-uncle Iggie; they were used usually as toggles on a cord from which a container was slung, most often for medicine or tobacco. A man in traditional Japan tucked the cord behind his obi-sash. Charles Ephrussi, who later bought the Gazette des Beaux-Arts magazine acquired them in the first wave of Japonisme in Paris in the 1870s and his passion for his mistress at the time, who also collected them. (Charles paid Manet so amply for a painting of a bundle of asparagus that, a week later, Manet delivered an extra canvas with a single stalk, and the note: "This seems to have slipped from the bundle." Recognise the story? Proust borrowed it. Charles became one of the models for Swann in “In Search of Lost Time,” although by the year Proust began to write that, Charles had moved on from Japan). De Waal moderates the exchanges between art and life (the back of Charles's top hat, so out of place, in Renoir's informal canvas, The Boating Party Lunch; the anger of Renoir when Charles bought an auric Moreau painting, which Renoir regarded as a Jewish lapse of taste), and explores as close as he can get to Charles's apartment, its contents and their meaning. Charles on a whim gave the netsuke, and the vitrine that was their glass carapace, as a wedding present to his cousin Viktor, who married the Baroness Emmy Schey von Koromla in 1899. They were shipped to the marble burg of the Palais Ephrussi in Vienna, and being too intimate for its salons, were stashed in Emmy's dressing room. She made up stories about the netsuke as her children took them out for play, but otherwise they remained undisturbed for almost 40 years, while the Austro-Hungarian emperor died and his empire evaporated. Viktor and Emmy, confident in assimilation – his Russianness was vestigial, their Jewishness marginal – had invested in that empire and lost much of their fortune, but they lived on diminished in the palais. The central passage of this narration is overwhelming. Emmy's daughter Elisabeth fought her way through university to become a lawyer, then escaped Vienna to study further before a marriage to a Dutch businessman; son Iggie, in pursuit of a minor talent for couture, and a major discovery about his sexuality, slipped away to Paris, then America. De Waal's description of the Anschluss and after comes as an absolute shock aven though the reader knows what will happen next and when. The palais was breached by night. The Property Transactions Office sent in its appraisal valuation official to divest Viktor and Emmy of everything from the ownership of the Ephrussi bank to a bundle of umbrellas. Viktor and Emmy left with two suitcases for the limbo of a country estate in a Slovakia that no longer existed, and half their little luggage was confiscated on the way. Emmy committed discreet suicide; Elisabeth, by now a bicycling, observant Christian bringing up her own children in Tunbridge Wells, extricated her father. He arrived with the key to his case of books – all Aryanised by diktat into Austrian libraries – on his watchchain, and not much more. And the netsuke?
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By Yehuda Anner
September 2010, Toby Press
This intimate narrative takes the reader behind the scenes into the chambers of Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzchak Rabin, and Menachem Begin on whose personal staffs the author served. Employing time-honored literary devices of scene-setting, impressionistic description, and characterization, he restores to life episodes of war and peace as these amazing individuals, early leaders of Israel, grappled with one another and with the life-and-death decisions they were often called upon to make. In the author's eyes, Menachem Begin emerges as most exceptional, and much of the book is devoted to him. Based largely on personal notes, as well as on actual transcripts and correspondence, some of which are revealed here for the first time, the narrative reenacts how each of the leaders responded under conditions of acute stress - be it terror or war- and how their respective relationships unfolded with Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter. Inevitably, an autobiographical footprint tiptoes - sometimes stomps - through this remarkable account, though the actions and thoughts of the protagonists are frequently ratified by the viewpoint of the proverbial fly on the wall.
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[book] The Ten Commandments
How Our Most Ancient Moral Text Can Renew Modern Life
By David Hazony
September 2010, Scribner
Drawing on the Bible and classical rabbinical commentaries on the Bible, Israel based Rabbi David Hazony adds his own insights to illuminate the central significance the Ten Commandments possess for modern life. For example, In it original context, did you know that “Thou Shall Not Steal” was about kidnapping? It later came to mean stealing property and not people. Hazony suggest that the fourth commandment to keep the Sabbath be understood to be a commandment to promote connections between family and community. In this broad ranging work, Hazony addresses the most existentially pressing issues of human concern--community, integrity, relationships, values, repair of the world--and judiciously mines these central biblical directives for the guidance and inspiration they provide for human life both personal and communal. He concludes with a hopeful vision of a good society. This is a book of genuine wisdom."
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[book] The Third Seder
A Haggadah for Yom Hashoah
By Irene Lilienheim Angelico and Yehudi Lindeman
Summer 2010, Vehicule
Drawing from contemporary and traditional texts and music, this is a moving and uplifting guide to commemorating Yom Hashoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day. Enabling the growing audience of individuals, families, schools, and community groups to create new symbols in order to cope with this historic loss, this study illustrates the significance behind each part of the ritual, illuminating the rising worldwide movement among Jewish, Christian, interfaith, and secular groups to honor this meaningful occasion.
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[book] A Pigeon and a Boy
A Novel
by Meir Shalev, Evan Fallenberg (Translator)
October 2007. Schocken
From the internationally acclaimed Israeli writer Meir Shalev comes a mesmerizing novel of two love stories, separated by half a century but connected by one enchanting act of devotion. During the 1948 War of Independence--a time when pigeons are still used to deliver battlefield messages--a gifted young pigeon handler is mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one last pigeon. The bird is carrying his extraordinary gift to the girl he has loved since adolescence. Intertwined with this story is the contemporary tale of Yair Mendelsohn, who has his own legacy from the 1948 war. Yair is a tour guide specializing in bird-watching trips who, in middle age, falls in love again with a childhood girlfriend. His growing passion for her, along with a gift from his mother on her deathbed, becomes the key to a life he thought no longer possible. Unforgettable in both its particulars and its sweep, A Pigeon and A Boy is a tale of lovers then and now--of how deeply we love, of what home is, and why we, like pigeons trained to fly in one direction only, must eventually return to it. In a voice that is at once playful, wise, and altogether beguiling, Meir Shalev tells a story as universal as war and as intimate as a winged declaration of love. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Leveling the Playing Field
Advancing Women in Jewish Organizational Life
by Shifra Bronznick, Didi Goldenhar, and Marty Linsky, with Beverly Joel (Illustrator)
March 2008.
This guidebook is about how to create a particular kind of organizational change in a particular kind of organization -- advancing women and creating gender equity in Jewish organizations. If you believe that gender equity is vital to the health of Jewish communities and want to turn your beliefs into productive action, then this guidebook is for you. The strategies and tools in this guidebook will be relevant wherever you are positioned in your organization. The goals and tactics may vary depending on your formal and informal roles, but the opportunity for exercising leadership on gender equity is available to you whether you are sitting in the corner office or just getting started in your career. Published by a group that has long sought to advance the cause of gender equity in Jewish life, "Leveling the Playing Field" provides a how-to guide to gender equity for Jewish professionals and the organizations where they work.
As the commented, "...It's not that women are absent from Jewish life. They fill the pews of liberal synagogues and make up most of the staff at Jewish organizations. More than half the new non-Orthodox rabbis and most of the cantors are women. Jewish summer camps and youth groups are overwhelmingly female. In fact the liberal movements, particularly the Reform, are struggling to bring their boys and men back into religious life. But the top echelons of Jewish communal life -- the executives of major Jewish organizations and the leaders of the large federations -- are still male...... The book... provides concrete steps that women -- and men -- can take to move their own Jewish organizations onto a more gender-equal footing, from building alliances to setting up inhouse mentoring programs for promising young employees. In addition, Advancing Women Professionals will provide mentoring support and a conversation kit to help people trying to effect such organizational changes.... Shifra Bronznick, one of three authors of "Leveling the Playing Field," says the will to change is more prevalent now, but the change has to come from below -- the men and women coming up within these organizations. "People are ready to be part of a change initiative," she says. "This book is aimed at giving them the tools." Bronznick, who wrote the book with Didi Goldenhar and Marty Linsky, is the founding president of the 8-year-old advocacy group Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community. She has spent years working on gender inequity issues, devoting much of the early 2000s trying to convince Jewish CEOs and communal leaders to take the problem seriously. ..."
Many of the steps outlined in the new book have been piloted by key Jewish organizations, working together with Advancing Women Professionals. The group collaborated on a United Jewish Communities gender equity project involving 14 federations and worked with regional directors of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism to create rabbinic search criteria aimed at hiring more women rabbis.
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[nypd jew]The NY Post beat us to it. While every one was talking about a Yiddische Kopf, the Nypd Auxiliary was busy recruiting a Yiddische KOP. It is true that we at were already at work on scripts for
ADAM-18, and for
but now we will have to scrap those ideas. Sigh... Well, at least we are gladdened that this new cadet was influenced to 'protect and serve' by his Talmud studies and perhaps by copies of of [book] [book]
Criminal Kabbalah and
Mystery Midrash.

[Segway Human Transporter] [Segway Human Transporter] The Segway Human Transporter. Available on for less than $5000, not including about $99 for shipping. Only two allowed per person. Not for use on the Sabbath. Emissions free, powered by rechargeable NiMH battery packs. Fun to ride--a unique experience


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