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Welcome to our pages of Summer 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2011, Fall 2010, and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com

SOME SUMMER 2011 BOOK READINGS


May 2011: IsraelFilmFestival.com in NYC
May 23, 2011: Jewish Book Council Meeting for Jewish Book Fair leaders
May 24-26, 2011: Book Expo America in NYC
May 26, 2011: Catherine McKinley reads from INDIGO. At Amerindian, 31 Howard Street, NYC with a dyeing demo by ABoubakar Fofani 7PM
May 31, 2011: Sami Rohr Book Awards, Center for Jewish History, NYC
June 7, 2011: Tikkun Leil Shavuot. Worldwide. 10PM – next morning at 7 AM
June 09, 2011: Nora Ephron speaks on her latest books. 92StY NYC
June 13-22, 2011: The Montreal International Yiddish Theatre Festival. SegalCentRe.org
June 16, 2011: The 29th Annual Lehmann lecture. at Fifth Avenue Synagogue. 7PM
June 18, 2011: Catherine McKinley reads from INDIGO. Harlem Textile Works, 1677 Amsterdam, NYC
June 20, 2011: Scribblers on the Roof presents Jon Papernick and Lara Vapnyar. 251 West 100th St Rooftop at WEA, NYC 8PM
June 27, 2011: Scribblers on the Roof presents Matthue Roth and Risa Miller. 251 West 100th St Rooftop at WEA, NYC 8PM
July 11, 2011: Scribblers on the Roof presents Janice Eldus and Myla Goldberg. 251 West 100th St Rooftop at WEA, NYC 8PM
July 11, 2011: Michael Levy reads from KOSHER CHINESE. Tattered Cover, Denver CO
July 15, 2011: Michael Levy reads from KOSHER CHINESE. Book Court, Court St in Cobble Hill Brooklyn NY
July 18, 2011: Scribblers on the Roof presents Shari Goldhagen (Family and Other Accidents) and Elinor Lipman (The Family Man; The Inn at Lake Devine). 251 West 100th St Rooftop at WEA, NYC 8PM
July 19, 2011: Daniel Silva reads from Portrait of a Spy. B&N Union Sq NYC
July 19, 2011: Sandra Beasley reads from Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl. B&N UES NYC
July 20, 2011: Catherine McKinley reads from INDIGO. Smithsonian Museum, African Art. Washington, DC. 6:30 PM

July 25, 2011: Scribblers on the Roof presents Naama Goldstein (The Place Will Comfort You) and Lynne Sharon Schwartz (The Writing on the Wall; Leaving Brooklyn). 251 West 100th St Rooftop at WEA, NYC 8PM
August 01, 2011: Scribblers on the Roof presents Joshua Cohen (Witz; A Heaven of Others) and Sonia Taitz (In the King’s Arms (forthcoming); Mothering Heights). 251 West 100th St Rooftop at WEA, NYC 8PM

August 17, 2011: Amy Waldman reads from her novel, The Submission Court Street Books in Cobble Hill Brooklyn
August 30, 2011: Andre Aciman (Our of Egypt) and Lucette Lagnado (The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit) in an amazing reading and conversation about “From Cairo and Alexandria to Brooklyn and Beyond: Exile, Identity, Assimilation, and Jewish Identity” Congregation Rodeph Shalom, NYC

September 15, 2011: Raiding the Shelves of the Jewish Book Council. 6 PM through 8:30 PM. Jewish Book Council 520 Eighth Ave. (between 36th & 37th), 4th Fl. New York, NY. Bring your own tote bag. Limit of five free books at first, and then 10 when it gets late

October 23 – Nov 02, 2011: Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival Washington DC JCC




JUNE 2011 (and some scattered other) BOOKS

[book] Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance
Edited by Judith Brin Ingber
May 2011 Wayne State University Press
In Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance, choreographer, dancer, and dance scholar Judith Brin Ingber collects wide-ranging essays and many remarkable photographs to explore the evolution of Jewish dance through two thousand years of Diaspora, in communities of amazing variety and amid changing traditions. Ingber and other eminent scholars consider dancers individually and in community, defining Jewish dance broadly to encompass religious ritual, community folk dance, and choreographed performance. Taken together, this wide range of expression illustrates the vitality, necessity, and continuity of dance in Judaism.
This volume combines dancers’ own views of their art with scholarly examinations of Jewish dance conducted in Europe, Israel, other Middle East areas, Africa, and the Americas. In seven parts, Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance considers Jewish dance artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; the dance of different Jewish communities, including Hasidic, Yemenite, Kurdish, Ethiopian, and European Jews in many epochs; historical and current Israeli folk dance; and the contrast between Israeli and American modern and post-modern theater dance. Along the way, contributors see dance in ancient texts like the Song of Songs, the Talmud, and Renaissance-era illuminated manuscripts, and plumb oral histories, Holocaust sources, and their own unique views of the subject. A selection of 182 illustrations, including photos, paintings, and film stills, round out this lively volume. Many of the illustrations come from private collections and have never before been published, and they represent such varied sources as a program booklet from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and archival photos from the Israel Government Press Office.
Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance threads together unique source material and scholarly examinations by authors from Europe, Israel, and America trained in sociology, anthropology, history, cultural studies, Jewish studies, dance studies, as well as art, theater, and dance criticism. Enthusiasts of dance and performance art and a wide range of university students will enjoy this significant volume.
Contributors include:
Gaby Aldor,
Felix Fibich,
Zvi Friedhaber,
Jill Gellerman,
Ayalah Goren-Kadman,
Yehuda Hyman (Hey, he is the celebrated writer and choreographer of THE MAD 7 that was performed nationwide!),
Judith Brin Ingber,
Naomi M. Jackson, Elke Kaschl, Sara Levi-Tanai,
Dawn Lille, Giora Manor, Josh Perelman,
Dina Roginsky, Janice Ross, Barbara Sparti,
Nina S. Spiegel,
And Shalom Staub (Hey, I think I sat next to him in Arabic 1 class with Professor Roger Allen at Penn)










[book] JOURNEY TO HEAVEN
Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife
By Leila Leah Bronner
June 2011 URIM
I am always happy when URIM publishes a new title. Of the Jewish publishers I follow, I find the Urim management creative, friendly, professional and helpful. More than the others... that is for sure
Leila Leah Bronner has taught in South Africa, at Harvard, Bar Ilan, and elsewhere. It is easier to understand than other books, (Neil Gillman, hint hint) that I have read on a similar theme.
Bronner was told that not until the much later Book of Daniel is the idea of an afterlife mentioned in the Jewish religion. Her book sets out to show that this myth is wrong. She systematically goes through the bible, mishnah, and later writings to show Jewish concepts of the afterlife.
What is the idea of the afterlife in Judaism? Is there bodily resurrection? Immortality? Has the modern Holocaust affected Jewish thought on the issue? Is there reincarnation ? or transmigration?
Journey to Heaven invites readers to rediscover some of the basic tenets of Jewish belief concerning the hereafter: resurrection, immortality, judgment, messianism, and the World to Come. Starting with the Bible's references to Sheol and allusions to resurrection, this comprehensive survey explores immortality and bodily resurrection in Second Temple literature; the Mishnah's discussions of olam ha-ba, the World to Come, and how to merit entering it; and the Talmud's depictions of Gan Eden (paradise), Gehinnom (hell), and the soul's journey through these metaphysical landscapes. Bronner also explores the views of medieval scholars such as Maimonides and Nahmanides, Jewish mystical teachings about reincarnation, and modern views of faith and belief. A separate chapter is devoted to views of the Messiah over the course of Jewish history. Bronner demonstrates that the afterlife is indeed a vital part of Judaism, as she reveals how generations of Jews, from biblical times to the present, have grappled with its core ideas and beliefs about the hereafter.






Did you attend TRIBEFEST in Las Vegas in March 2011? Four Jewish books and their authors were present there:

Sharon Pomerantz’s award-winning novel Rich Boy
Josh Braff’s bittersweet novel, Peep Show
Benyamin Cohen,heart-warming memoir My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith
Gregory Levey’s memoir on How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment








Speaking of a journey to heaven… Lisa Baron Tell All DC book:
Who made this book cover? Seems a little suggestive with a phallic capitol building heading toward a flag
[book] LIFE of the PARTY
A POLITICAL PRESS TART BARES All
By Lisa Baron
June 2011, Citadel Press
Lisa Baron dreamed of becoming a White House press secretary. She didn’t make it to the White House yet, but this self described “Jewish political junkie” was the next best pretty young thing. She was the press spokesmodel for Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. Lisa was also the third best thing in DC. She was a sex columnist.
And now she is the fourth best thing in DC: a published author. (and also, she is now married to a DOCTOR! In Georgia
Her memoir is filled with Republican and other sex stories. Of Christine Todd Whitman, for whom she worked as a press aide, she says the former NJ governor treated the staff like crap. Of Ralph Reed: she admires him, although they parted ways when it was learned that Jack Abramoff funneled $4 million to him. Of Ari Fleischer, a fellow Jewish political junkie, she is still peeved that he never called her the day after they shared an intimate encounter in a hotel room during the 2000 South Carolina presidential primary.
The Washington Post says: "We have it as a fact now, thanks to Lisa Baron, that Republicans have raunchy sex, too...filled with material sure to interest columnists who trade in the gossip of this town's bold-faced names." Politico says, if you think that “Republicans are... more stiff… Lisa Baron goes a long way to dispute that." And Suzi Parker writes, “Lisa Baron blows the lid off of the right-wing Godaphiles' sexual antics with wicked humor and God-fearing truth. Sex, drugs, interns--rock stars have nothing on Bible-thumping politicos."
Yes, but is it good for the Jews?
Behind our political leaders-yes, even the "moral” ones-is an army of young, horny, professional staffers scrapping it out. Lisa Baron should know-she used to be one of them. With the unerring candor of George Stephanopoulos and the uncensored wit of Chelsea Handler, Baron gives good anecdote on a world where Godaphiles and Press Tarts work together to keep their politicos from imploding…and reveals how a not-so-nice Jewish girl became spokeswoman for the head of the Christian Coalition until she had to kiss that career and its perks-a drunken night with Wayne Newton and a seemingly endless supply of narcotics-good-bye.






[book] Transparent
Don Lemon
May 2011. Farah Gray Foundation Press
In this memoir, Primetime CNN anchor Don Lemon takes readers behind the scenes of journalism, detailing his own struggle to become one of the most prominent African American men in television news in the United States media market. Lemon digs deep, exposing his own history with wealth and lack of funds, with family secrets and painful revelations. Maybe it was the years of sexual abuse at the hands of a teenage neighbor; or how everyone knew who his biological father was except him; or the disdain he received from old white LSU professors; or his perseverance to get his college degree even if it took nearly a decade, but all these painful early experiences shaped his ambitions and gave him the tools of empathy and fearlessness that he brings to his work as a news anchor.
Then Lemon turns the same searing honesty on the news industry itself, taking the reader behind the scenes of September 11, 2001, the DC Snipers, the epidemic of AIDS in Africa, Hurricane Katrina, the election of Barack Obama, and the death of Michael Jackson among other events.
With his clear and compelling storytelling and the rich detail of an Emmy-winning journalist, Lemon reveals his own painful journey from a little boy who dreamed of broadcasting in segregated Baton Rouge in the early 70s, to his current perch at CNN in a fascinating and compelling look at the world of television news and his own experiences reporting in it.
Oh, and he also discusses his homosexuality and his decision to be a gay, out broadcaster on national television (As James Baldwin wrote, living a secret life usually is just a secret to yourself, while everyone around you already knows the secret)
A Jewish book? Well, his boyfriend/partner is white, Jewish, and from Scarsdale. And Lemon spent Rosh Hashana with Ben’s family in 2010, so I can count this as a Jewish book.
So Don… when you going to visit Israel on a UJA Mission? Click on the cover for more info








[book] Like Me
Confessions Of A Heartland Country Singer
By Chely Wright
May 2011. Hal Leonard
Chely Wright is an acclaimed singer and songwriter. Her seven albums have sold over 1 million copies. Wright has given concerts around the world and has performed hundreds of times for US and NATO troops in the US, Europe and SEVEN trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. She was the first singer to arrive in Iraq with the USO. IT IS THEREFORE IRRITATING to learn that after this book was planned, the USO has never invited Chely Wright to perform on tour since.
In this book, Wright writes a moving, telling memoir about her life and her career; about growing up in America's heartland and about barely remembering a time when she didn't know she was different. The youngest of three children, Wright would ascend the ladder to the top of the country-music world, only to find herself trapped in a place she hadn't foreseen, but had to face.
She was her high-school homecoming queen. Her first hit single, "Shut Up and Drive," made her a stat. But Wright's journey was dictated by keeping the truth of who she was closeted in a world in which country music stars had never been - and could not be - openly gay. (KD Lang is a pop star, not a country singer. Wright is the only out male or female country star performer). Working with the biggest names in Nashville, she navigated these treacherous waters until the charade took too great a toll. Ultimately, as she reveals in this candid and outspoken work, Wright found the courage to untangle herself from the image of the country music star she'd become, an image steeped in long-standing ideals and notions about who - and what - a country artist is, and what fans expect that artist to be.
SO.. why is this book on MyJewishBooks??>BR? Cuz… in August 2011, Wright will marry her partner… her Jewish partner. Mazel tov.
Click on the cover for more info








[book] THE SECRET KNOWLEDGE
On the Dismantling of American Culture
By David Mamet
June 2011. Sentinel
Mamet writes that the West sees the Middle East conflict as entertainment
Mamet writes that the West sees Jews as humans only when it suits them
Mamet writes, "My interest in politics began when I noticed that I acted differently than I spoke, that I had seen 'the government' commit sixty years of fairly unrelieved and catastrophic error nationally and internationally, that I not only hated every wasted hard-earned cent I spent in taxes, but the trauma and misery they produced..."
I know Mamet based only on a few of his plays,the stereotype of his obscenity laced words, his focus on anti-Semitism, and his bible commentaries.
For the past thirty years, Mamet was a champion for liberal values; his characters have explored the ethics of the business world, embodied the struggles of the oppressed, and faced the flaws of the capitalist system. But in recent years Mamet has had a change of heart. He realized that the so-called mainstream media outlets he relied on were irredeemably biased, peddling a hypocritical and deeply flawed worldview. In 2008, he wrote a hugely controversial op-ed for The Village Voice, "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain- Dead Liberal,'" in which he methodically eviscerated liberal beliefs. Now he goes much deeper, employing his trademark intellectual force and vigor to take on all the key political and cultural issues of our times, from religion to political correctness to global warming.

A sample: The problems facing us, faced by all mankind engaged in Democracy, may seem complex, or indeed insolvable, and we, in despair, may revert to a state of wish fulfillment-a state of "belief" in the power of the various experts presenting themselves as a cure for our indecision. But this is a sort of Stockholm Syndrome. Here, the captives, unable to bear the anxiety occasioned by their powerlessness, suppress it by identifying with their captors. This is the essence of Leftist thought. It is a devolution from reason to "belief," in an effort to stave off a feeling of powerlessness. And if government is Good, it is a logical elaboration that more government power is Better. But the opposite is apparent both to anyone who has ever had to deal with Government and, I think, to any dispassionate observer. It is in sympathy with the first and in the hope of enlarging the second group that I have written this book.”

Mamet is a former left side liberal who has converted to the right side of the aisle.









With great sadness we learned of the passing of Debbie Friedman in Orange County CA on Sunday morning, January 9, 2011. She had led song at LimmudUK at the end of December 2010, just weeks before her passing. Her funeral was at Temple Beth Sholom of Santa Ana, CA on 1/11/11 at 11 AM PST. May her memory live on in our hearts and minds each time we pray with her music. MyJewishBooks.com pledged all January net revenue to the O.S.R.U.I. Deborah Lynn Friedman Memorial Fund


[book] [book]











Mazel Tov to Nicole Kraus, author of GREAT HOUSE, for being named a Finalist in October 2010 for the U.S. National Book Award, and to Howard Jacobson for receiving the Man Booker Prize in the UK in October 2010. (Do you know what winning the Booker prize does for book sales? In the USA, his publisher first printed about 20,000 copies, and after the prize, they printed 100,000 more)

Speaking of best sellers... there are several titles on the current top ten lists that are of Jewish interest. They include I REMEMBER NOTHING BY NORA EPHRON, SH*T MY DAD SAYS, and WAR.


And also, mazel tov to the winners of the Washington Institute Book Prize for Nonfiction Books on the Middle East, including Meir Litvak and Esther Webman for FROM EMPATHY TO DENIAL: Arab Responses to the Holocaust (Columbia University Press) and Jeffrey Herf for NAZI PROPAGANDA FOR THE ARAB WORLD (Yale University Press), and THE GHOSTS OF MARTYRS SQUARE by Michael Young (Simon and Schuster)


TAREK WARNS OF COMING PROBLEMS IN EGYPT. I GUESS WE SHOULD HAVE READ IT THE WEEK IT GOT PUBLISHED
[book] Egypt on the Brink
From Nasser to Mubarak
BY Tarek Osman
January 2011. Yale
Famous until the 1950s for its religious pluralism and extraordinary cultural heritage, Egypt is now seen as an increasingly repressive and divided land, home of the Muslim Brotherhood and an opaque regime headed by the aging President Mubarak. In this immensely readable and thoroughly researched book, Tarek Osman explores what has happened to the biggest Arab nation since President Nasser took control of the country in 1954.
He examines Egypt’s central role in the development of the two crucial movements of the period, Arab nationalism and radical Islam; the increasingly contentious relationship between Muslims and Christians; and perhaps most important of all, the rift between the cosmopolitan elite and the mass of the undereducated and underemployed population, more than half of whom are aged under thirty. This is an essential guide to one of the Middle East’s most important but least understood states. Born and raised in Egypt, Tarek Osman was educated at the American University in Cairo and Bocconi University in Italy.
Click the book cover to read more.









SOME OLD NEWS
IT IS ONLY OLD IF YOU ALREADY READ IT

Mazel Tov to the finalists and winners of the National Jewish Book Awards for 2010. The awards ceremony was free and open to the public. Wednesday March 9, 2011, Center for Jewish History in Manhattan at 8PM. Check our awards page on the left to see a listing of nominees and winners.


Mazel Tov to the finalists for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature. Winners get a certificate, oh, and they get $100,000 as well. The Jewish Book Council announced on February 10, 2011, that the five finalists for the Sami Rohr Prize in fiction are:
Allison Amend for "Stations West" (Louisiana State University Press)
Nadia Kalman for "The Cosmopolitans" (Livingston Press)
Julie Orringer for "The Invisible Bridge" (Knopf)
Austin Ratner for "The Jump Artist" (Bellevue Literary Press)
Joseph Skibell for "A Curable Romantic" (Algonquin Books)

The winner and runners-up received their awards at a New York City ceremony on May 31, 2011. May I say, not only were the books fabulous, but the kosher sushi and turkey sandwiches were fabulous






[book] The SPHAS
The Life and Times of Basketball's Greatest Jewish Team
By Doug Stark
2011. Temple University Press
Founded in 1918, the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association's basketball team, known as the SPHAS, was a top squad in the American Basketball League-capturing seven championships in thirteen seasons-until it disbanded in 1959. In The SPHAS, the first book to chronicle the history of this team and its numerous achievements, Douglas Stark uses rare and noteworthy images of players and memorabilia as well as interviews and anecdotes to recall how players like Inky Lautman, Cy Kaselman, and Shikey Gotthoffer fought racial stereotypes of weakness and inferiority while spreading the game's popularity. Team owner Eddie Gottlieb and Temple University coach Harry Litwack, among others profiled here, began their remarkable careers with the SPHAS.
Stark explores the significance of basketball to the Jewish community during the game's early years, when Jewish players dominated the sport and a distinct American Jewish identity was on the rise. At a time when basketball teams were split along ethnic lines, the SPHAS represented the Philadelphia Jewish community. The SPHAS is an inspiring and heartfelt tale of the team on and off the court.








[book] THE FROZEN RABBI
a novel by Steve Stern
June 2011 Algonquin paperback
From Booklist. *Starred Review* Stern’s uproarious and trouncing romp through the anguish and ironies of the Jewish diaspora matches mysticism with mayhem, beatitude with organized crime, creativity with crassness. The madcap, at times, surreal action revolves around Rabbi Eliezer ben Zephyr, whose out-of-body journeys to the realm of the divine result in his being frozen in a block of ice in the Jewish Pale in 1889, a frigid relic that becomes one family’s problematic inheritance. In scenes of vivid drama and burlesque comedy on the same epic scale as Stern’s Angel of Forgetfulness (2005), the rabbi-on-ice is transported through a pogrom and across the Atlantic under the guardianship of a raven-haired woman protectively disguised as a man, who finds sanctuary with the sweet-natured, hunchbacked inventor Shmerl Karp in the roiling Lower East Side. Finally, in 1999, the “great thaw” brings the reanimated rabbi and misfit teen Bernie Karp together in a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, where the holy man, enthralled by America’s TV-stoked capitalism, opens his profitable and controversial House of Enlightenment. Stern elevates his virtuoso storytelling and whirling magical satire to cosmic heights in this lovingly irreverent and revelatory novel of the timeless conflict between the sacred and the profane, and the perpetual search for home and meaning







A Must read for any Penn grad of the Food and Folkways Department.
[book] FROM THE JEWISH HEARTLAND
Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways
(Heartland Foodways)
By Ellen F. Steinberg, Jack H. Prost (A
June 2011 University of Illinois Press
JOAN NATHAN writes that this is “a fascinating overview of historic Jewish foodways throughout the Midwest, with many examples of recipes brought to the Midwest by Jewish immigrants. I know of no other work on Jewish American food with this concentration and breadth."

Listen to the author on WBEZ RADIO in CHICAGO at http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-19/exploring-200-years-jewish-food-midwest-85381

Ginger? Ginger is Jewish cooking?? Yes!
Have you been to Kaufman's bakery in Skokie?
Foodways is like Folkways. It isn't just the food, but the way you eat it, prepare it, store it, buy it, personal interactions, etc.
The German Jews and others tried to domesticate and Americanize the Eastern European Jews who arrived in the late Nineteenth century in the Midwest. They tried to change everything about the new Jews, change their spices, change their kashrut, assimilate them. But most of the new Jews did not change. Although the environment changed, they adapted to the Midwestern foods that were available.
Professor Steinberg scored a Midwestern Jewish cookbook on eBay. It was from St. Louis is 1910, from the B'nai Emunah shul. So begins this story
From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways reveals the distinctive flavor of Jewish foods in the Midwest and tracks regional culinary changes through time. Exploring Jewish culinary innovation in America's heartland, Ellen F. Steinberg and Jack H. Prost examine recipes from numerous midwestern sources, both kosher and non-kosher, including Jewish homemakers' handwritten manuscripts and notebooks, published journals and newspaper columns, and interviews with Jewish cooks, bakers, and delicatessen owners. Settling into the cities, towns, and farm communities of Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota, Jewish immigrants incorporated local fruits, vegetables, and other comestibles into traditional recipes. Such incomparable gustatory delights include TZIZEL BAGELS and rye breads coated in Midwestern cornmeal, baklava studded with locally grown cranberries, tangy ketchup concocted from wild sour grapes, rich Chicago cheesecakes, and savory gefilte fish from Minnesota northern pike. Steinberg and Prost also consider the effect of improved preservation and transportation on rural and urban Jewish foodways and the efforts of social and culinary reformers to modify traditional Jewish food preparation and ingredients.
Includes dozens of sample recipes. The authors had a busy spring with interviews scheduled on WGN-TV (May 31, 2011), WGN radio (June 8, 2011), a presentation at the Chicago Printers Row Lit Fest (June 4-5, 2011), and more.
NOTE: This Professor and author Ellen F. Steinberg is not the same person as sex educator Annie Sprinkle (nee Ellen F Steinberg)
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[book] Waltzing With the Enemy
A Mother and Daughter Confront the Aftermath of the Holocaust
Displacement and the Search for the Psychological Home
By Rasia Kliot and Helen Mitsios
June 2011 Peninah Press
This memoir, an intimate recounting of two very different lives and times, is one of the most honest and life-affirming books I've ever read. It teaches us how the past informs the present and helps explain the world around us today. --Howard C. Cutler, M.D.

PW: Mitsios and her mother, Kliot, deliver a dual memoir documenting how past tragedies reverberate through the years to affect children of Holocaust survivors ... In the book's second half, Helen writes about seeking her own identity and learning of her mother's, while struggling to change her mother's fear that being Jewish would make them ''outcasts.'' These mirrored memories provide an intimate portrait, compelling and compassionate.
Filled with insight and humor, this dual memoir by Rasia, born in Vilnius, Lithuania (who survived the Holocaust on a false identity), and her daughter Helen, born in Montreal, Canada, examines the long-term implications of being a survivor of the Holocaust and the unique pressures and anxieties the children of survivors inherit from their parents. Rasia, determined to protect Helen from anti-Semitism, continues to pose as a Christian and raises her daughter in the Catholic faith, forbidding her from mentioning her Jewish identity. This compassionate memoir addresses the unspoken tension that complicated a mother-daughter relationship, follows Helen on her journey to embrace Judaism, and is a heart-stopping story of escape and survival from Nazi terror.
The title refers to the time, when in hiding, Rasia danced with a Nazi
Helen says she never experienced anti-Semitism until she was an adult and moved to Manhattan for an MFA at Columbia. She met a man who invited her to a party, but no blacks or Jews were allowed to the party
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[book] A Philosophical Retrospective
Facts, Values, and Jewish Identity
By Alan Montefiore
2011 Columbia University Press
As a young lecturer in philosophy and the eldest son of a prominent Jewish family, Alan Montefiore faced two very different understandings of his identity: the more traditional view that an identity such as his carried with it, as a matter of given fact, certain duties and obligations, and an opposing view, emphasized by his studies in philosophy, according to which there can be no rationally compelling move from statements of fact-whatever the alleged facts may be-to "judgments of value." According to this second view, individuals must in the end take responsibility for determining their own values and obligations.
In this book, Montefiore looks back on his attempts to understand the nature of this conflict and the misunderstandings it may engender. In the process, he illustrates through personal experience the practical implications of a characteristically philosophical issue. Montefiore finally settles on the following: while everyone has to accept that facts, including those of their own situation, are whatever they may be, both the "traditional" assumption that individuals must recognize certain values and obligations as rooted in those very facts, and the contrary view that individuals are ultimately responsible for determining their own values, are deeply embedded in differing conceptions of society and its relation to its members.
Montefiore then examines the misunderstandings between those for whom identity constitutes in effect a conceptual bridge connecting the facts of who and what a person may be to the value commitments incumbent upon them, and those for whom the very idea of such a bridge can be nothing but a confusion. Using key examples from the notoriously vexed case of Jewish identity and from his own encounters with its conflicting meanings and implications, Montefiore depicts the practical significance of the differences between these worldviews, particularly for those who have to negotiate them.





[book] EINSTEIN BEFORE ISRAEL
ZIONIST ICON OR ICONOCLAST?
BY Ze'ev Rosenkranz
June 2011 Princeton
Einstein appears on Israeli currency.
Einstein's name adorns hospital and Jewish institutions
But what is the possible backstory?
According to Rosenkranz, the senior editor for Einstein's papers and the former curator of Einstein's archives at Hebrew University, Albert Einstein was initially skeptical and even disdainful of the Zionist movement, yet he affiliated himself with what he aw as a controversial political ideology and today is widely seen as an outspoken advocate for a modern Jewish homeland in Palestine.
What enticed this renowned scientist and humanitarian, who repeatedly condemned nationalism of all forms, to radically change his views?
Was he a Zionist?
Einstein Before Israel traces Einstein's involvement with Zionism from his initial contacts with the movement at the end of World War I to his emigration from Germany in 1933 in the wake of Hitler's rise to power. Drawing on a wealth of rare archival evidence--much of it never before published--this book offers the most nuanced picture yet of Einstein's complex and sometimes stormy relationship with Jewish nationalism.
Ze'ev Rosenkranz sheds new light on Einstein's encounters with prominent Zionist leaders, and reveals exactly what Einstein did and didn't like about Zionist beliefs, objectives, and methods. He looks at the personal, cultural, and political factors that led Einstein to support certain goals of Jewish nationalism; his role in the birth of the Hebrew University; his impressions of the emerging Jewish settlements in Palestine; and his reaction to mounting violence in the Arab-Jewish conflict. Rosenkranz explores a host of fascinating questions, such as whether Zionists sought to silence Einstein's criticism of their movement, whether Einstein was the real manipulator, and whether this Zionist icon was indeed a committed believer in Zionism or an iconoclast beholden to no one.

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You may not agree with a thing he says as he walks in the city, but his skills with words is pleasurable and something from which we can
[book] ALFRED KAZIN'S JOURNALS
Selected and Edited by Richard M.Cook
June 2011. Yale
At the time of his death in 1998, Alfred Kazin was considered one of the most influential intellectuals of postwar America. What is less well known is that Kazin had been contributing almost daily to an extensive private journal, which arguably contains some of his best writing. These journals collectively tell the story of his journey from Brooklyn's Brownsville neighborhood to his position as a dominant figure in twentieth-century cultural life. To Kazin, the daily entry was a psychological and spiritual act. To read through these entries is to reexperience history as a series of daily discoveries by an alert, adventurous, if often mercurial intelligence. It is also to encounter an array of interesting and notable personalities. Sketches of friends, mistresses, family figures, and other intellectuals are woven in with commentary on Kazin's childhood, early religious interests, problems with parents, bouts of loneliness, dealings with publishers, and thoughts on the Holocaust. The journals also highlight his engagement with the political and cultural debates of the decades through which he lived. He wrestles with communism, cultural nationalism, liberalism, existentialism, Israel, modernism, and much more.
Judiciously selected and edited by acclaimed Kazin biographer Richard Cook, this collection provides the public with access to these previously unavailable writings and, in doing so, offers a fascinating social, historical, literary, and cultural record.
So... what did I do when reading his journals? Remember that this is MyJewishBooks.com? I turned to May of 1948:
paraphrasing:
“March 25, 1948: On my way home about 5:30 stopped into Emanu-El on a sudden whim, and on even more of a whim found myself enduring an evening service in the chapel. If there is anything more depressing, unctuous, and insincere than this kind of high-church Reform Jewish service, I have never seen it. The 'reader,' a fat and oily looking business man or Ethical Culture type, read out the words with such deliberation that whenever he would come to GOD, he would stop, prepare himself for the ordeal, and pronounce the word as if he [had] taken on new dignity merely by being in its neighborhood....”
“...The trance-like amiability if weak-chinned people. The shallow kindness and expectancy imposed on certain face by the lack of harmony in the bony structure...”

“May 15, 1948: Eretz Israel is the “State of Israel.” I have always been against the idea of a Jewish state, and now that it is here, I find myself as moved by it and as eager to defend it as if I had been a Zionist. Unable to read any of the newspaper articles without bursting into tears. Yet I keep thinking a) that history is made by acts, and the consequences follow often from the facts of particular people; b)that nothing shows up so clearly the nature of our time, for this new nationalism is the greatest possible proof that for millions of Jews throughout the world the promise of “modern histroy” in the Dispersion is over. What it will do to Jews outside of Palestine is a muddled and possible tragic business...”

May 16, 1948: Hannah Arendt's remark on the Palestine Situation refreshed me morally...” (To Save The Jewish Homeland There is Still Time, Commentary magazine)

June 25, 1967: Drove with Papa to the cemetery. Almost eight years since that Saturday night in Octobers when I saw Mama, already skeletal, heaving her last breaths. I was there. And now, in the Workman's Circle Plot, the graves so thick around hers. That day in 1959, the gashed earth for her grave stood out in the new cemetery fields. Yet it gives me some comfort to walk in the cemetery to see all those familiar, touchingly comic, made-up Jewish names. Everyday since the Israeli victory early in June, I go to bed thinking: we are not as fit for killing as we were – we can be proud...... Khazak Khazak, we have endured.... her immigrant generation, with all that feebleness and misery, have somehow been redeemed, blessed, RECOGNIZED, in this mighty persistence of the Jewish people. They won't kill us as easily as the once did.....”
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THE E-BOOKS / KINDLE EDITION OF THIS BOOK IS AMONG THE TOP TEN NON FICTION BEST SELLING E-BOOKS IN THE UNITED STATES
[book] Auschwitz
A Doctor's Eyewitness Account
By Miklos Nyiszli
Translated by Tibere Kremer and Richard Seaver
Introduction by Bruno Bettelheim
Spring 2011, Skyhorse
240 Pages
“The best brief account of the Auschwitz experience available.”—The New York Review of Books
When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared from death for a grimmer fate: to perform “scientific research” on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the infamous “Angel of Death”: Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele’s personal research pathologist. Miraculously, he survived to give this terrifying and sobering account.
Miklos Nyiszli was a Jewish prisoner/doctor along with his wife and young daughter, who was transported to Auschwitz in June 1944. He died in 1956.
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[book] SEASON TO TASTE
HOW I LOST MY SENSE OF SMELL AND FOUND MY WAY
BY MOLLY BIRNBAUM
June 2011 Ecco Harper
In college, Molly Birnbaum found that she enjoyed cookbooks, baking, and cooking more than other coursework. She prepared to become a chef. After graduation, Molly Birnbaum spent her nights savoring cookbooks and her days working at a Boston bistro. But shortly before starting at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), she was hit by a car, an accident that fractured her skull, broke her pelvis, tore her knee to shreds, and destroyed her ability to smell — a sense essential to cooking... a sense essential to taste. Devastated, Birnbaum dropped her cooking school plans, quit her restaurant job, and sank into depression.
Season to Taste is the heartwarming story of what came next: how she picked herself up and set off on a grand quest to understand and overcome her condition. With irresistible charm and good cheer, Birnbaum explores the science of olfaction, pheromones, and Proust’s madeleine. She meets leading experts, including writer Oliver Sacks, scientist Stuart Firestein, and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. And she visits a pioneering New Jersey flavor lab, eats at the legendary Chicago restaurant Alinea, and enrolls at a renowned perfume school in the South of France. Through Birnbaum we rediscover the joy of smell — from the pungency of cinnamon and cedarwood to the subtle beauty of fresh bagels and lavender — fall in love, and recapture a dream.
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NOW IN PAPERBACK WiTH NEW COVER ART
[book] Dreyfus
Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century
By Ruth Harris
June 2011 Picador paperback
Booklist: “It is just over a century since the final exoneration of Alfred Dreyfus, after “L'affaire Dreyfus” convulsed France for a dozen years. Yet historical analysis and re-examination continues. Of course, no serious historians question Dreyfus' innocence, but the significance of various elements of the affair remains fertile ground for historical debate. Oxford fellow Harris' recounting of the case from inception to conclusion is comprehensive and offers some original and provocative insights. The conventional view that the affair pitted assorted reactionaries and anti-Semites against a coalition of liberals and progressives is rejected as simplistic. Rather, both the defenders and attackers of Dreyfus were motivated by a complex series of emotions and political stances, including nationalism, religion, republicanism, and nostalgia for a France that never existed. Much like the Rosenberg case in the U.S., the guilt or innocence of Dreyfus became almost irrelevant to the causes he symbolized. This is a well-written and well-researched analysis of a great miscarriage of justice.”
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[book] The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz
A True Story of World War II
By Denis Avey and Rob Broomby
FOREWORD BY SIR MARTIN GILBERT
June 2011, De Capo Press
FROM THE BOOK COVER: The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz is the extraordinary true story of a British soldier who marched willingly into the concentration camp, Buna-Monowitz, known as Auschwitz III. In the summer of 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a British POW labour camp, E715, near Auschwitz III. He had heard of the brutality meted out to the prisoners there and he was determined to witness what he could. He hatched a plan to swap places with a Jewish inmate and smuggled himself into his sector of the camp. He spent the night there on two occasions and experienced at first-hand the cruelty of a place where slave workers, had been sentenced to death through labor. Astonishingly, he survived to witness the aftermath of the Death March where thousands of prisoners were murdered by the Nazis as the Soviet Army advanced. After his own long trek right across central Europe he was repatriated to Britain. For decades he couldn't bring himself to revisit the past that haunted his dreams, but now Denis Avey feels able to tell the full story—a tale as gripping as it is moving—which offers us a unique insight into the mind of an ordinary man whose moral and physical courage are almost beyond belief..

Avey first began disclosing these events seven years ago when invited to appear on the BBC to talk about war pensions. "The memories suddenly started tumbling out, and the TV hosts could scarcely believe the extraordinary tale they were hearing. Avey states that "Auschwitz III was like nothing else on earth; it was hell on earth. This is what I had come to witness, but it was a ghastly, terrifying experience.” The BBC began production of a documentary about his story, and also discovered the name of the young Jewish prisoner Avey had befriended in Auschwitz, Ernst Lobethal. A spokesperson for the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation stated, "We feel that his story is genuine," Lobethal himself was interviewed as part of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education and spoke about the efforts of a British prisoner of war he called "Ginger" to help him; Avey identifies himself as "Ginger". In 2010, Avey was named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the British Governnment. Reaction from the mainstream media to his story 2009 and 2010 were positive. But the World Jewish Congress asked his publishers to verify the historical accuracy of the book.

In my opinion, if Sir Martin Gilbert wrote the foreword, then the story is factual







[book] The Science of Evil
On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty
By Simon Baron-Cohen
June 2011 Basic Books
At age 9, Baron-Cohen’s father told him how the Nazis used Jews to make soap and lampshades. His neighbor was a victim of Nazi doctors who severed her hands and reattached them backwards. Baron-Cohen has recalled that his entire life, and it drives his research into empathy.
Borderline personality disorder, autism, narcissism, psychosis, Asperger's: All of these syndromes have one thing in common--lack of empathy. In some cases, this absence can be dangerous, but in others it can simply mean a different way of seeing the world.
In “Cruel or Unusual (The Science of Evil)” Simon Baron-Cohen, an award-winning British researcher who has investigated psychology and autism for decades, develops a new brain-based theory of human cruelty.
A true psychologist, however, he examines social and environmental factors that can erode empathy, including neglect and abuse. Based largely on Baron-Cohen's own research, Cruel or Unusual (The Science of Evil) will change the way we understand and treat human cruelty. Simon Baron-Cohen is a Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge.
His cousin is comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen
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[book] Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume
Cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean
By Silvena Rowe
June 2011, Universe
Cover photo: Chilled sweet pea and watercress soup with rose petal cream
Silvena Rowe, executive chef of London's exquisite restaurant Quince at the May Fair Hotel, invites you on a journey through Eastern Mediterranean history and its culinary secrets. Here, the olive oil, rosemary, and basil of the West meet the exotic spices of the East for a contemporary cuisine of surprising lightness and variety. From tempting starters such as creamy feta and caramelized leek filo pastries to sumptuous entrÉes such as spiced pilaf with duck confit, raisins, and pine nuts to heavenly desserts like maple-glazed roasted figs with pistachio praline, this is food for celebrating, for healthy living, and, above all, for sharing. Rowe offers a modern twist on the classic recipes of a rich tradition, following in the footsteps of the great Ottoman chefs who combined the sweet and the sour, the fresh and the dried, the flavors of honey and cinnamon, saffron and sumac, scented rose and orange flower water. Filled with mouthwatering recipes that can be made using surprisingly simple and easy-to-find ingredients, and illustrated with stunning photographs, Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume brings to life the natural beauty and irresistible flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Silvena Rowe was born and raised in the ancient city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, just three hundred miles from Istanbul. Her Turkish father instilled in her a love of cooking, and he passed down, as generations had before him, the traditions of the Ottoman cuisine. Her first book, Feasts, won the Glenfiddich Food and Drink Award.
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PS – If you are looking for the famous “Georgian Meatballs with Pine Nuts and Sour Cherries” recipe that Silvena first ate in Djvary, a small Jewish-Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi (contains dried fruit and meat, a favorite marriage in the cuisines of Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, and Hungary), it is not in the book. You have to get her Central European cookbook (or just google the recipe; it will pop up)






[book] THE CONVERT
A Tale of Exile and Extremism
By Deborah Baker
May 2011, Graywolf
From Publishers Weekly: “Starred Review. Pulitzer finalist Baker (A Blue Hand) unravels the often contradictory life of an American woman who became one of the pre-eminent voices of Islamic revivalism, in this stellar biography that doubles as a meditation on the fraught relationship between America and the Muslim world. Margaret Marcus was a secular Jew in Mamaroneck, N.Y., before she became fascinated with Islam and moved to Pakistan in 1962 and took the name Maryam Jameelah. Baker, who discovered the archive of Marcus's papers in the New York Public Library, carefully reconstructs her movements after her arrival in Lahore, Pakistan, using letters Marcus sent to her parents and articles she published in various Islamic magazines. Jameelah's criticism of the West is unwavering: she denounces American foreign policy, particularly its support of Israel, and secularism in general, insisting that law be derived from the Qur'an. As Baker digs deeper into her subject's difficult life — Jameelah's time in Pakistan grew increasingly strained — she ponders the effect Jameelah's writings on global jihad may have on today's al-Qaeda and Taliban. This is a cogent, thought-provoking look at a radical life and its rippling consequences.”

Deborah Baker sought to see if she could create a biography based on the letters of Maryam Jameelah. After researching and reading, she thought she had a pretty good idea of the woman. But when she met her in Pakistan, cloistered in a room, surrounded by books, she saw that her perception was not reality. This is a spellbinding story of renunciation, conversion, and radicalism. Why did Marcus, a young woman raised in a postwar New York City suburb to convert to Islam, abandon her country and Jewish faith, and embrace a life of exile in Pakistan? How did WW2 and the pictures of death camps affect the young Marcus? The Convert tells the story of how Margaret Marcus of Larchmont and Mamaroneck become Maryam Jameelah of Lahore, one of the most trenchant and celebrated voices of Islam’s argument with the West. (I wonder if she grew up with Joan Rivers??) What drove Margaret Marcus to renounce Western civilization and scorn her family’s Judaism? How did the book, "The Road to Mecca," by a Jewish convert to Islam, affect Marcus after she found it in her local library and read and re-read it? Who was the mysterious figure of Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi, both Maryam’s “adoptive” Pakistani father and the man who laid the intellectual foundations for militant Islam. Why did she start to correspond with him and why did he invite her to Pakistan? Why did she move to his house at 27? Is Maryam’s story just another chapter in a so-called clash of civilizations? Or does it signify something else entirely? And then there’s this: Is the life depicted in Maryam’s letters home and in her books an honest reflection of the one she lived? Was she a problem child and adult? Why was she considered a misfit and expelled from the University of Rochester and NYU? Did she suffer from mental breakdowns because of her attraction to absolutes, or was there an underlying medical condition? How did Maryam react after arriving in Pakistan, expecting to play a valuable role in Islamic society, yet be treated like a woman in a conservative society abd seen as too outspoken. She became a 2nd junior wife and the mother of children she never wanted. Like many compelling and true tales, The Convert is stranger than fiction. It is a gripping account of a life lived on the radical edge and a profound meditation on the cultural conflicts that frustrate mutual understanding.
Read an excerpt here: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/Story/165/The-Convert-.html
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[book] JERUSALEM MAIDEN
A NOVEL
BY TALIA CARNER
May 31, 2011. Harper
Esther Kaminsky knows that her duty is to marry young and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah’s arrival: that is what expected of young ultra-Orthodox women in Jerusalem at the end of the Ottoman Empire’s rule. But when her French teacher catches Esther's extraordinary doodling and gives her colored pencils and art lessons, Esther wonders if God has a special destiny for her: maybe she is meant to be an artist, not a mother; maybe she is meant to travel to Paris, not stay in Jerusalem. However, when tragedy strikes her family, Esther takes it as His warning. Sacrificing her yearning for painting, she devotes herself instead to following God’s path as an obedient “Jerusalem maiden.”
In the coming years, Esther struggles between comfort and repression in God’s decrees, trusting the rituals of faith while suppressing her desires—until a surprising opportunity forces itself into her pre-ordained path. As her beliefs clash with the passions she has staved off her entire life, Esther must confront the hard questions: What is faith? Is there such thing as destiny? And to whom must she be true, to God or to herself?
Talia Carner is formerly the publisher of Savvy Woman magazine and a lecturer at international women economic forums. Carner’s addictions include chocolate, ballet, hats—and social justice.







[book] MISS ETTA AND DR CLARIBEL
BRINGING MATISSE TO AMERICA
WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY SUSAN FILLION
June 2011, Godine
Ages 9 – 12
What could be more unlikely than this tale of two unmarried sisters from a German-Jewish family in Baltimore amassing one of the major collections of modern art in America? But Etta and Claribel Cone saw the potential of young artists like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso when few people, or institutions, in America even knew they existed.
Etta had fallen in love with art on her first trip to Italy under the exuberant encouragement of Leo Stein, an old family friend from Baltimore. During their travels, including an arduous journey around the world in 1906, the sisters began amassing Japanese prints, antiques, textiles, and jewelry. Buying without professional advice or counsel, trusting their eyes and instincts, they soon were concentrating on the avant-garde, befriending and supporting artists, and building one of the foremost collections of Matisse's work in the world.
For decades, their treasures remained hidden in their Baltimore apartment. Claribel died in 1929, and in 1934 Etta published a catalog of the stunning collection she would ultimately bequeath to The Baltimore Museum of Art in 1949. Only then was the amazing breadth of their vision revealed. In this touching story, fully illustrated with the work they collected -- Picasso, Matisse, Vuillard, Cezanne, and Gauguin, -- we can trace the contours of their lives, made more vivid by the informative and colorful paintings of the author, created especially for this book to display the world of the Cone sisters, active participants in the decades that changed art forever.







[book] Lipman Pike
America's First Home Run King
By Richard Michelson and Zachary Pullen
2011, Sleeping Bear Press
Ages 5 and up
In the mid 1800s the sport of baseball was working its way across the United States. Amateur teams were springing up and in 1858 the National Association of Base Ball Players was formed. Young men were eager to show their prowess on the field and in the batter's box. Lipman Pike's father, a Dutch immigrant, runs a small haberdashery in Brooklyn, New York, though Lip is more interested in watching the ball players than working behind the counter. His mother doesn't approve -- Jewish boys should be paying attention to more sensible matters. But when Lip is barely a teenager, he's invited to join the Nationals Junior Club and play first base. When he hits his first pitch over the right fielder's head, Lip knows baseball is the sport for him.







[book] OyMG
A novel
By Amy Fellner Dominy
Walker and Company
Young Adult
Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's sure that if she wins the final tournament, it'll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot-literally. His name is Devon and, whether she likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she's confident enough to take on the challenge-until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship's benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream? Debut author Amy Fellner Dominy mixes sweet romance, surprising secrets, and even some matzo ball soup to cook up a funny yet heartfelt story about an outspoken girl who must learn to speak out for herself.







[book] AN IMPROVISED LIFE
A MEMOIR
BY ALAN ARKIN
March 2011, De Capo Press
I am really loving this book. He is so interesting and honest. His life in the arts is so interesting and I am glad that he, and not I, lived it, since it was so filled with stress and doubt and mishigas
From Publishers Weekly: More a reflection on acting than a straightforward memoir, Academy Award–winner Arkin's musing on the creative process is a welcome window into the mind of an artist. After declaring to his father at age five that he wanted to be an actor, Arkin spent his Brooklyn childhood absorbing as much as he could from both everyday life and any opportunity he had to see films and plays. A move to L.A. in junior high cemented Arkin's performer dreams. As a student at Bennington's theater program, Arkin also performed with the earliest incarnation of Chicago's now famous Second City troupe, where he learned to appreciate the power of improvisation. Broadway and film roles followed, with Arkin integrating improvisation into his performances whenever possible, a skill he would hone over the years and later teach. The improv workshops—which Arkin taught and stresses were not "acting" workshops—began at Bennington and were also held at the Institute for American Indian Arts in New Mexico, where Arkin now lives. In this engaging and instructive book, he describes his own intuitive approach to acting and the ways in which he coaxed tentative workshop participants out of their shells.









[book] JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM
HOW THE ANCIENT CITY IGNITED OUR MODERN WORLD
BY JAMES CARROLL
March 2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
James Carroll’s urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem uncovers the ways in which the ancient city became, unlike any other in the world—reaching deep into our contemporary lives—an incendiary fantasy of a city. In Carroll’s provocative reading of the deep past, the Bible’s brutality responded to the violence that threatened Jerusalem from the start. Centuries later, the mounting European fixation on a heavenly Jerusalem sparked both anti-Semitism and racist colonial contempt. The holy wars of the Knights Templar burned apocalyptic mayhem into the Western mind. Carroll’s brilliant and original leap is to show how, as Christopher Columbus carried his own Jerusalem-centric worldview to the West, America too was powerfully shaped by the dream of the City on a Hill—from Governor Winthrop to Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan. The nuclear brinksmanship of the 1973 Yom Kippur War helps prove his point: religion and violence fuel each other, with Jerusalem the ground zero of the heat.
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[book] No Biking in the House Without a Helmet
By Melissa Fay Greene
April 2011, FSG
From the author of “The Temple Bombing” and “There is no Me Without You.”
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. With four children of their own, Atlanta journalist Greene (There Is No Me Without You) and her husband, a criminal defense attorney, gradually adopted five more—one from Bulgaria and four from Ethiopia—to create a roiling, largehearted family unit. In her whimsical, hilarious account, she pokes fun at her own initial cluelessness regarding the adoption process, which the couple began after Greene suffered a miscarriage in her mid-40s; they procured an "adoption doctor" to advise them on the risks of adopting institutionalized babies from Russian and Bulgarian orphanages (e.g., the baby's head measurements and appearance in videos might indicate developmental problems). After several trips to a rural Bulgarian orphanage, they brought home a four-year-old Roma boy they renamed Jesse; Greene writes frankly about her own moments of "post-adoption panic" and doubts about attachment. Subsequently, as her older children headed out to college, new ones arrived: the humanitarian HIV/AIDS crisis in Ethiopia resolved the couple to adopt healthy, five-year-old Helen, orphaned when her family was decimated by the disease; then nine-year-old Fisseha, and two brothers, Daniel and Yosef, whom Greene's older biological son Lee befriended while working at another Ethiopian orphanage. The family often felt like a "group home," as Greene depicts engagingly, yet despite periods of tension and strife, such as the discovery of living parents and sibling rivalry, Greene captures the family's triumphant shared delight in one another's differences.











[book] THE GOD WHO HATES LIES
CONFRONTING AND RETHINKING JEWISH TRADITION
By Rabbi Dr. David Hartman with Charlie Buckholtz
April 2011, Jewish Lights
What is the weight of tradition when it conflicts with your own deep moral sense? The world’s leading Modern Orthodox Jewish theologian probes the deepest questions at the heart of what it means to be a human being and a Jew. This is a deeply personal look, by one of the founders of Shalom Hartman Institute, at the struggle between commitment to Jewish religious tradition and personal morality. Renowned Jewish philosopher Dr. David Hartman, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, draws on a lifetime of learning, teaching and experience to present an intellectual framework for examining covenantal theology as it is applied to religious life. Tracking his own intellectual and spiritual development as an Orthodox Jew and spiritual thinker, he probes some of the most profound questions of inner religious conflict:
How does a person justify commitment to Jewish law when it conflicts with a person’s deep moral sense?
Does personal intuition have a place in Jewish tradition?
Is making choices that favor moral convictions equivalent to stepping out of the tradition?
What is lost personally, communally and religiously when a person squelches his or her ethical impulse in adherence to religious tradition?
As much an expression of his impassioned commitment to Jewish law as it is testament to a lifetime of intellectual questioning and courage, this bold examination of the halakhic system offers fresh insights into Judaism and the quest for spiritual nourishment. translates and teaches at the Faculty of Philosophy in Rijeka.










[book] In the Garden of Beasts
Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
By Erik Larson
May 2011. Crown
Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power. The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. FDR asked several others to be the diplomat to Berlin. They declined the offer. Dodd, a Chicago professorr, accepted. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha.
At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels.
But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. Dodd, a Jeffersonian liberal, URGE HITLER to stop the Jew hatred. It would be better if he ADOPTED mild anti-Semitism, similar to America's version of discrimination
As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.








[book] Generation Freedom
The Middle East Uprisings and the Remaking of the Modern World
By Bruce Feiler
June 28 2011. Perennial
Timely and provocative, Generation Freedom looks at the historic youth uprisings sweeping the Middle East and what they mean for the future of peace, coexistence, and relations with the West. At a time when the world is asking how the Arab Spring and the death of Osama bin Laden will reshape our times, Bruce Feiler, bestselling author of Walking the Bible and Abraham, offers a vivid behind-the-scenes portrait of history in the making. He marches with the daring young organizers in Liberation Square, confronts the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, and witnesses the dramatic rebuilding of a church at exactly the moment sectarian violence threatens the peaceful movement. Drawing on fifteen years of travels across the region, from Egypt to Israel, Iraq to Iran, Feiler brings his unprecedented experience to the most pressing questions: how the rise of freedom will affect terrorism; Middle East peace; and relations among Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide. Eloquent and thoughtful, Generation Freedom offers a hopeful vision of how this unrivaled upheaval will transform the world.
Bruce Feiler is the author of five consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including Walking the Bible, Abraham, and America's Prophet.








[book] It's Always Darkest Before Dawn
By Jeremy Kost (Photographer), with Eric C. Shiner and Ladyfag
June 2011. Powerhouse
Jeremy Kost was an overweight kid in Jewish summer camp in Texas(He is from Corpus Christi) … he was ostacized..but he grew up to be a cool photographer. For nearly a decade, through his enigmatic and compelling Polaroids, Jeremy Kost has been telling the stories of New York nights from within its hottest party spots. In 2002, while staying with friends in Chelsea, Kost borrowed the camera of one of his hosts and took it to The Cock, a gay bar in the East Village. Ever since that fateful night, year after year, Kost has been the sole photographer to capture a complete millennial portrait of New York’s famed drag queens, go-go boys, transsexuals, and wild-partying celebrities. It’s Always Darkest Before Dawn (title from a fortune cookie) puts you on the guest list for a world of vivacious creativity, performance, costume, and evidence (if you needed it) that a certain kind of fabulous madness ain’t dead yet, and was around way before Lady Gaga!








[book] How to Avoid Being Killed in a War Zone
The Essential Survival Guide for Dangerous Places
By Rosie Garthwaite
June 2011. Bloomsbury
Whether you're a war correspondent or an aid worker, a tourist worried about an increasingly hostile world or an armchair traveler concerned that your own backyard is fast becoming a war zone, How to Avoid Being Killed in a War Zone will help you survive some of the world's most volatile environments. Well-traveled journalist Rosie Garthwaite offers practical advice drawn from her own personal experience and that of others, including many seasoned colleagues, who have worked in some of the world's most hostile regions. Topics covered include everything from avoiding land mines and hostage situations to amputating a limb and foraging for safe food. The book is a true survival manual (all medical advice has been vetted by doctors from Doctors Without Borders), but it is also a transporting read, filled with vicarious thrills and written with brio and humor by a woman who has seen it all. Perfect for those planning short trips or extended stays in dangerous destinations, or-much like the popular Worst-Case Scenario handbooks-for readers who simply prefer to be thoroughly prepared, wherever life may take them. Rosie Garthwaite began her journalistic career as a freelance reporter in Basra, Iraq, just after graduating from college,and learned about survival in dangerous regions firsthand. She wrote this book to answer some of the questions her colleagues seemed to face daily in the field. Garthwaite works as a television journalist in the Middle East and is based in Doha, Qatar.







[book] STORIES MY FATHER TOLD ME
NOTES FROM THE LYONS DEN
BY JEFFREY LYONS
FOREWORD BY CHARLES OSGOOD
June 2011. Abbeville
This amazing collection of choice anecdotes takes us right back to the Golden Age of New York City nightlife, when top restaurants like Toots Shor’s, “21,” and Sardi’s, as well as glittering nightclubs like the Stork Club, Latin Quarter, and El Morocco, were the nightly gathering spots for great figures of that era: movie and Broadway stars, baseball players, champion boxers, comedians, diplomats, British royalty, prize-winning authors, and famous painters. From Charlie Chaplin to Winston Churchill, from Ethel Barrymore to Sophia Loren, from George Burns to Ernest Hemingway, from Joe DiMaggio to the Duke of Windsor: Leonard Lyons knew them all. For forty glorious years, from 1934 to 1974, he made the daily rounds of Gotham nightspots, collecting the exclusive scoops and revelations that were at the core of his famous newspaper column, “The Lyons Den.”
In this entertaining volume Jeffrey Lyons has assembled a considerable compilation of anecdotes from his father’s best columns, and has also contributed a selection of his own interviews with stars of today, including Penélope Cruz and George Clooney, among others. Organized chronologically by decade and subdivided by celebrity, Stories My Father Told Me offers fascinating, amusing stories that are illustrated by approximately seventy photographs. He so captured the tenor of those exciting times that the great Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg said: “Imagine how much richer American history would have been had there been a Leonard Lyons in Lincoln’s time.”







[book] Nom de Plume
A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms
By Carmela Ciuraru (her real name???)
June 2011. Harper Collins
What's in a name? In our "look at me" era, privacy now seems a quaint relic. Everyone's a brand. Self-effacement is a thing of the past. Yet as Nom de Plume reminds us, it wasn't always like this. Carmela Ciuraru (yes, her real name) explores the fascinating stories of more than a dozen authorial impostors across centuries and cultures, plumbing the creative process and the darker, often crippling aspects of fame.
Biographies have chronicled the lives of individual pseudonymous authors such as Mark Twain, Isak Dinesen, and George Eliot, but never before have the stories behind many noms de plume been collected into a single volume. These are narratives of secrecy, obsession, modesty, scandal, defiance, and shame. A shy, half-deaf Victorian mathematician at Oxford felt free to let his imagination run wild only through the protective guise of Lewis Carroll. The "three weird sisters" (as the poet Ted Hughes called them) from Yorkshire--the Brontës--produced instant bestsellers, transforming them into literary icons, yet they wrote under the cloak of male authorship. Emily and Anne were dead by the age of thirty, tragically never having achieved fame under their own names. Bored by her aristocratic milieu, a cigar-smoking, cross-dressing Baroness rejected the rules of propriety by having sexual liaisons with men and women alike, publishing novels and plays as George Sand......Nom de Plume is part detective story, part exposé, part literary history, and an absorbing psychological meditation on identity and creativity.







[book] On the Road to Babadag
Travels in the Other Europe
By Andrzej Stasiuk . Translated from Polish by Michael Kandel
Summer 2011. Harper Collins
Stasiuk is a restless and indefatigable traveler. His journeys take him from his native Poland to Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Albania, Moldova, and Ukraine. By car, train, bus, ferry. To small towns and villages with unfamiliar-sounding yet strangely evocative names. “The heart of my Europe,” Stasiuk tells us, “beats in Sokolow, Podlaski, and in Husi, not in Vienna.” Where did Moldova end and Transylvania begin, he wonders as he is being driven at breakneck speed in an ancient Audi—loose wires hanging from the dashboard—by a driver in shorts and bare feet, a cross swinging on his chest. In Comrat, a funeral procession moves slowly down the main street, the open coffin on a pickup truck, an old woman dressed in black brushing away the flies above the face of the deceased. On to Soroca, a baroque-Byzantine-Tatar-Turkish encampment, to meet Gypsies. And all the way to Babadag, between the Baltic Coast and the Black Sea, where Stasiuk sees his first minaret, “simple and severe, a pencil pointed at the sky.” A brilliant tour of Europe’s dark underside—travel writing at its very best.
He did not visit museums. He would just walk the streets and visit pubs. He is the type of guy who reads travel books only after he gets home, to see what he missed.






[book] Home in the Morning
A novel
By Mary Glickman
Jackson is a white Jewish lawyer born and raised in Mississippi. Stella Godwin is his wife. She ia also Jewish and from Boston. Katherine Marie: Jackson’s boyhood sweetheart who is black. Li'l Bokay: his first friend, and later Katherine's husband. To say more about how these four central characters relate would be to spoil the experience of reading Mary Glickman's Home in the Morning. For its very structure—the intimate interweaving of character and story, the accomplished non-linear unraveling of the plot—provides the book's distinct charisma. Spanning the Civil Rights-era through the late 1990s, Home in the Morning deals in the personal politics of its time, of its place, and of love itself in generous detail that culminates in a memorable debut.








[book] The Linen Queen
A Novel
By Patricia Falvey
2011, Center Street
Abandoned by her father and neglected by her self-centered, unstable mother, Sheila McGee cannot wait to escape the drudgery of her mill village life in Northern Ireland. Her classic Irish beauty helps her win the 1941 Linen Queen competition, and the prize money that goes with it finally gives her the opportunity she's been dreaming of. But Sheila does not count on the impact of the Belfast blitz which brings World War II to her doorstep. Now even her good looks are useless in the face of travel restrictions, and her earlier resolve is eroded by her ma's fear of being left alone.
When American troops set up base in her village, some see them as occupiers but Sheila sees them as saviors--one of them may be her ticket out. Despite objections from her childhood friend, Gavin O'Rourke, she sets her sights on an attractive Jewish-American army officer named Joel Solomon, but her plans are interrupted by the arrival of a street-wise young evacuee from Belfast.
Frustrated, Sheila fights to hold on to her dream but slowly her priorities change as the people of Northern Ireland put old divisions aside and bond together in a common purpose to fight the Germans. Sheila's affection for Joel grows as she and Gavin are driven farther apart. As the war moves steadily closer to those she has grown to love, Sheila confronts more abandonment and loss, and finds true strength, compassion, and a meaning for life outside of herself.








[book] Many Days, One Shabbat
Fran Manushkin and Maria Monescillo
Summer 2011. Cavendish
Ages 3 – 8
One light. Many candles. One challah. Many slices. A family gets ready to celebrate the Sabbath. It welcomes guests, enjoys a nice meal, and savors a few quiet moments together. Shabbat Shalom! Appealing watercolors add just the right touch to the festivities. MANY and ONE is repeated on each two page spread. (one box, many colors; one shirt, many buttons…)












[book] Estie the Mensch
By Jane Kohuth and Rosanne Litzinger
Summer 2011.
Ages 3 – 8
Estie does not always like people. So when her grandmother reminds her to be a mensch, she'd rather not. She'd rather be a dog. Or a turtle. Or a seagull. Being a monkey can even make another kid laugh! But it can also make another kid cry, and that's when Estie and her grandmother find out what a mensch Estie can really be!












JULY 2011 BOOKS

[book] PORTRAIT OF A SPY
A Suspense Thriller Mystery Novel
By Daniel Silva
July 19, 2011, Harper
Gabriel Allon is a spy, assassin, artist, angel of vengeance, and an international operative who will stop at nothing to see justice done. Sometimes he must journey far in search of evil. And sometimes evil comes to him. For Gabriel and his wife, Chiara, it was supposed to be the start of a pleasant weekend in London — a visit to a gallery in St. James’s to authenticate a newly discovered painting by Titian, followed by a quiet lunch. But a pair of deadly bombings in Paris and Copenhagen has already marred this autumn day. And while walking toward Covent Garden, Gabriel notices a man he believes is about to carry out a third attack. Before Gabriel can draw his weapon, he is knocked to the pavement and can only watch as the nightmare unfolds.
Haunted by his failure to stop the massacre of innocents, Gabriel returns to his isolated cottage on the cliffs of Cornwall, until a summons brings him to Washington and he is drawn into a confrontation with the new face of global terror. At the center of the threat is an American-born cleric in Yemen to whom Allah has granted “a beautiful and seductive tongue.” A gifted deceiver, who was once a paid CIA asset, the mastermind is plotting a new wave of attacks.
Gabriel and his team devise a daring plan to destroy the network of death from the inside, a gambit fraught with risk, both personal and professional. To succeed, Gabriel must reach into his violent past. A woman waits there—a reclusive heiress and art collector who can traverse the murky divide between Islam and the West. She is the daughter of an old enemy, a woman joined to Gabriel by a trail of blood
Set against the disparate worlds of art and intelligence, Portrait of a Spy moves swiftly from the corridors of power in Washington to the glamorous auction houses of New York and London to the unforgiving landscape of the Saudi desert. Featuring a climax that will leave readers haunted long after they turn the final page, this deeply entertaining story is also a breathtaking portrait of courage in the face of unspeakable evil—and Daniel Silva’s most extraordinary novel to date.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] Sarah's Key
(Movie Tie-in paperback edition)
Tatiana de Rosnay
July 5, 2011, St Martin’s Griffin
PW Starred Review. De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt








[book] HERE COMES MRS. KUGELMAN
A NOVEL
BY MINKA PRADESKI
Translated from the German by Philip Boehm
July 2011 Metropolitan
An enchanting novel of listening and telling, of the silence between Holocaust survivors and their children, and the power of stories to mend broken bonds
When feisty young Tsippy Silberberg of the curious eating habits receives word from Tel Aviv that a distant aunt has left her a mysterious inheritance—an incomplete fish service in a battered brown suitcase—she decides to break her rigid routine and go collect it in person. But before she is even able to settle into her hotel room, an odd old woman bangs at her door and invites herself in. Her name is Bella Kugelman, and she is determined to talk. Talk she does, with wondrous effect. Soon the room is filled with people—residents of the Polish town of Bedzin before the war, who now live on, if only in Mrs. Kugelman's stories. Flirtatious girls and sly shopkeepers, rich industrialists and a family so poor that their necks are bent over from looking for coins—in tale after tale, a town magically returns to life, even as its grim future looms darkly. And under the thrall of Mrs. Kugelman's words, Tsippy finally pieces together her aunt's strange bequest, as well as her own place in the story unfolding before her.








JUST IN TIME FOR SHAVUOT…. Well… of SHAVUOT 2012…
[book] THE JPS Bible Commentary:
RUTH
Edited by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Tikva Frymer-Kensky
July 2011 The Jewish Publication Society
The moving story of Ruth, with its themes of loyalty, lovingkindness (hesed), and redemption, is one of the great narratives of the Bible. Socially, the Israelites were aware of their responsibility to protect the weak and unprotected among them. Redemption secures the life of the people as a community, not just as individuals. In this story, Boaz fills the familial obligation to marry the widow of a deceased relative who never was able to father children, both to continue the family line and protect an otherwise vulnerable woman. The authors provide a critical, line-by-line commentary of the biblical text, presented in its original Hebrew, complete with vocalization and cantillation marks, as well as the 1985 JPS English translation. The extensive introduction places the book within its historical, literary, and critical context, discusses contemporary interpretations of the story of Ruth, and examines its major motifs and themes, among them: family, marriage and levirate marriage in biblical and ancient Israel, redemption and inheritance, hesed, and the book's connection with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
The authors provide a critical, line-by-line commentary of the biblical text, presented in its original Hebrew, complete with vocalization and cantillation marks, as well as the 1985 JPS English translation. The extensive introduction places the book within its historical, literary, and critical context, discusses contemporary interpretations of the story of Ruth, and examines its major motifs and themes, among them: family, marriage and levirate marriage in biblical and ancient Israel, redemption and inheritance, hesed, and the book’s connection with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
The editors are: Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, professor of Bible at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. She is the first woman appointed as professor to the rabbinical faculty in HUC-JIR’s history. She co-founded the Jewish Women Resource Center in Denver. Dr. Eskenazi is the co-editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, the winner of the 2008 Jewish Book of the Year Award; and Professor Tikva Frymer-Kensky of the University of Chicago. Her areas of specialization included Assyriology and Sumerology, biblical studies, Jewish studies, and women and religion. She was the author of Reading the Women of the Bible (which received a Koret Jewish Book Award in 2002 and a National Jewish Book Award in 2003), In the Wake of the Goddesses, and Motherprayer.








[book] Rene Blum and The Ballets Russes
In Search of a Lost Life
By Judith Chazin-Bennahum
July 2011
The biography of a fascinating cultural hero, René Blum and the Ballets Russes uncovers the events in the life of the enigmatic and brilliant writer and producer who perished in the Holocaust. Brother of Léon Blum, the first socialist prime minister of France, René Blum was a passionate and prominent littérateur. He was the editor of the chic literary journal Gil Blas where he met such celebrated figures as Claude Debussy, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, André Gide, and Paul Valéry. As author Judith Chazin-Bennahum's research illustrates, Blum actually arranged for the publication of Proust's Swann's Way. But Blum's accomplishments and legacy do not end there: after enlisting in World War I, he won the Croix de Guerre and became a national hero. And Blum resurrected the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo after Diaghilev's death. Tragically, he was arrested in 1941 during a roundup of Jewish intellectuals and ultimately sent to Auschwitz.
Based on a treasure trove of previously undiscovered letters and documents, this thoroughly researched narrative not only tells the poignant story of Blum's life but also illustrates Blum's central role in the development of dance in the United States. Indeed, Blum's efforts to save his ballet company eventually helped to bring many of the world's greatest dancers and choreographers--among them Fokine, Balanchine, and Nijinska--to American ballet stages, shaping the path of dance in the United States for years to come.
The New York Times review of the bookin July 2011 added, “Who was René Blum? Today, he is perhaps best known as the brother of Léon Blum, who in 1936 became the first Socialist and Jewish prime minister of France. But René, who was close to his brother, also had his own wide-ranging and impressive life, in literature, art, theater and ballet. Consider: It was René who first saw the originality of Proust’s “Swann’s Way” and helped arrange for its publication. He was an editor of the fashionable literary journal Gil Blas at the turn of the 20th century and known for his lively theater criticism. When the First World War came, Blum served at the Somme, risked his life saving artwork from Amiens Cathedral and received the Croix de Guerre for displaying courage under fire. Above all, René Blum was, or became, a ballet impresario. He learned from the best. In 1924 he was appointed artistic director of the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo, where Serge Diaghilev’s celebrated Ballets Russes was based: Blum admired, watched and worked alongside Diaghilev, even if the two were sometimes at odds. When Diaghilev died in 1929 his ballet company largely dispersed, but by 1932 Blum had established a new Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, and in the course of the 1930s he brought back the best of Diaghilev’s dancers and ballet masters... … Chazin-Bennahum reports on her research, and the chapters often have a plodding, “one darned document after another” feel. Just as regrettable is the superficiality of her discussions of such topics as the Dreyfus affair, “Jewish heritage” and Proust’s idea of memory. None of this brings us closer to Blum. When she gets to his involvement with ballet, however, Chazin-Bennahum is more at ease, and it is here — in her descriptions of the demands and details of running a dance troupe — that we learn most about Blum and why he mattered. It’s easy today to forget the extraordinary disorientation and disarray that followed Diaghilev’s death; he really was a sun, and an entire sphere of culture lost its bearings with his passing. The ballerina Alexandra Danilova later recalled: “The ground collapsed beneath my feet. It seemed that I didn’t belong anywhere...”







[book] ROGUE
An Ike Schwartz Mystery
By Frederick Ramsay
July 2011 Poisoned Pen
Ike Schwartz and Ruth Harris had to delay a vacation in Las Vegas because at the last moment, Ruth was required to go to Scone Island, Maine to settle an estate. But that task is soon complicated by one, and then another suspicious death. First, a long term resident slips off a cliff. Was he pushed? Then the woman, who found the body, is, in turn, discovered on a foot path dead from an apparent heart attack, but also with a not easily explained head wound. Ruth finds herself briefly cast as a person of interest in the last death. When things seem to be slipping out of hand, Ike arrives just in time to witness the discovery of a third body—Simon Weiss. Weiss had come to the island to purchase properties with an eye to turning it into a high-end resort. His tactics and personality so alienated the residents that it is no surprise his body is found under the community pier, with a very professionally placed bullet hole in his forehead. As his plans were allegedly financed by the New York mafia, it seems obvious who ordered the hit. This brings the FBI into play, to the distress of the local police. With an array of suspects, motives, and even the island's history to confound the investigation, Ike, with the aid of local Deputy Sheriff, Tom Stone, and the able, if quirky, assistance of Ruth, unravel these three deaths, but not without heavy costs to villains, residents, and their children.







[book] THE MEMORY OF ALL THAT
GEORGE GERSHWIN, KAY SWIFT,
AND MY FAMILY’S LEGACY OF INFIDELITIES
BY KATHERINE WEBER
July 2011 Crown
Weber’s great-grandfather was Paul Warburg, the financier, and her great grandmother was Nine Loeb (Warburg). Katherine Weber’s grandfather was James Paul Warburg, and her maternal grandmother was Kay Swift, who was known both for her own music (Fine and Dandy) and for her ten-year romance with George Gershwin. But, you see, that decade long love affair occurred while Kay Swift was married to J. P. Warburg, the banker and FDR advisor. In this book, Weber creates an intriguing and intimate group portrait of the renowned Warburg family, and illuminates her beloved grandmother’s life and many love affairs. Weber also considers the role the psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg played in her family history, along with the ways the Warburg family has been as celebrated for its accomplishments as it has been vilified over the years by countless conspiracy theorists (from Henry Ford to Louis Farrakhan), who labeled Paul Warburg the ringleader of the so-called international Jewish banking conspiracy.
Her mother, Andrea Swift Warburg Kaufman, married Sidney Kaufman, but their unlikely union, Weber believes, was a direct consequence of George Gershwin’s looming presence in the Warburg family. A notorious womanizer, Kaufman was a filmmaker who made propaganda and training films for the OSS during World War II before producing the first movie with smells in AromaRama. The FBI has him under surveillance for more than forty years, and even noted Katharine’s birth in a memo to J. Edgar Hoover.
This is a colorful, evocative, insightful, and funny story. Weber is the author of True Confections, The Music Lesson, and Object in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear.








Jewish? Well.. it is still a fun story…
[book] Dog Days
A Year in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile
By Dave Ihlenfeld
July 2011 Union Square Press
Oh, I Wish I were
An Oscar Mayer Wiener…
Isn’t that what you would truly like to be?
Would everyone actually be in love with you?
Is this like On The Road meets sausage casings?
It was the ultimate post-college road trip: a year-long journey in a 27-foot-long fiberglass hotdog across the US and Europe. Rife with breakdowns, meaty puns, the burdens of instant celebrity and more Wiener Whistles than anyone could ever hope for, Ihlenfeld's uproarious recounting of his time behind the wheel is a coming-of-age story-as irreverent as it is touching-of learning about life, love, and (sausage) links, ultimately arriving at the realization that that the future is anything but a straight road, nor is it a curved piece of sausage meat either.
Dave Ihlenfeld has written scripts of Malcolm in the Middle, and Family Guy. He is currently is an assistant to the executive producers of Family Guy, and gets them wieners when they need them.








[book] A NEW VOICE FOR ISRAEL
REWRITING THE RULES OF ADVOCACY
by JEREMY BEN-AMI
(J STREET)
July 2011 Palgrave Macmillan
Many Americans who care about Israel’s future are questioning whether the hard-line, uncritical stances adopted by many traditional pro-Israel advocates really serve the country’s best interests over the long-term. Moderate Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder of J Street, the new pro-Israel, pro-peace political movement, punctures many of the myths that have long guided our understanding of the politics of the American Jewish community and have been fundamental to how pro-Israel advocates have pursued their work including: that leaders of established Jewish organizations speak for all Jewish Americans when it comes to Israel; that being pro-Israel means you cannot support creation of a Palestinian state; that American Jews vote for candidates based largely on their support of Israel; that talking peace with your enemies demonstrates weakness; that allying with neoconservatives and evangelical Christians is good for Israel and good for the Jewish community.
Ben-Ami, whose grandparents were first-generation Zionists and founders of Tel Aviv, tells the story of his own evolution toward a more moderate viewpoint. He sketches a new direction for both American policy and the conduct of the debate over Israel in the American Jewish community.
Click the book cover to read more or to purchase the book.








[book] Precious Objects
A Story of Diamonds, Family, and a Way of Life
Alicia Oltuski
July 2011 Scribner
A fascinating look at one family's journey from diamond dealing in Communist Siberia, to the historic diamond district on New York’s 47th street. Alicia Oltuski received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in writing from Columbia University, where she was awarded a David Berg Foundation Fellowship. The diamond trade has long been as shrouded in mystery as the precious gem itself. Oltuski, daughter of a diamond dealer, brings clarity in this study of the industry, with a special emphasis on New York's diamond district, the small neighborhood that handles 90% of the diamonds entering the U.S., its ties to the Hasidim and their unique bargaining vocabulary. Hers is a workmanlike account of the various aspects of the trade--its South African origins, the intricacies of mining and grading, and the growing online commerce in stones--sparked by her own desire to better understand her father's business. Oltuski diligently covers the darker side of diamonds--how the brutal conflicts in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, and Angola were financed by and fought over the gemstone--leavening it with precisely observed accounts of the delicate, almost balletic haggling among the New York dealers. Oltuski makes a commendable effort at literary journalism, with revealing observations on the centuries-old link between Jews and the diamond industry, and sparkling accounts of her familial ties to the business.












[book] The Beginning of Infinity
Explanations That Transform the World
By David Deutsch
July 2011 Viking
A bold and all-embracing exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge from one of today's great thinkers. Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe. They have unlimited scope and power to cause change, and the quest to improve them is the basic regulating principle not only of science but of all successful human endeavor. This stream of ever improving explanations has infinite reach, according to Deutsch: we are subject only to the laws of physics, and they impose no upper boundary to what we can eventually understand, control, and achieve. In his previous book, The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch describe the four deepest strands of existing knowledge-the theories of evolution, quantum physics, knowledge, and computation-arguing jointly they reveal a unified fabric of reality. In this new book, he applies that worldview to a wide range of issues and unsolved problems, from creativity and free will to the origin and future of the human species. Filled with startling new conclusions about human choice, optimism, scientific explanation, and the evolution of culture, The Beginning of Infinity is a groundbreaking book that will become a classic of its kind.
Born in Haifa, Israel, David Deutsch was educated at Cambridge and Oxford universities. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a professor of physics at the University of Oxford, where he is a member of the Centre for Quantum Computation. His many honors include the Institute of Physics' Paul Dirac Prize and Medal. The author of The Fabric of Reality, he lives in England.










[book] Four Kitchens
My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris
BY Lauren Shockey
July 2011 Grand Central
At the French Culinary Institute, Lauren Shockey learned to salt food properly, cook fearlessly over high heat, and knock back beers like a pro. But she also discovered that her real culinary education wouldn't begin until she actually worked in a restaurant. After a somewhat disappointing apprenticeship in the French provinces, Shockey hatched a plan for her dream year: to apprentice in four high-end restaurants around the world. She started in her hometown of New York City under the famed chef Wylie Dufresne at the molecular gastronomy hotspot wd-50, then traveled to Vietnam, Israel, and back to France. From the ribald kitchen humor to fiery-tempered workers to tasks ranging from the mundane (mincing cases of shallots) to the extraordinary (cooking seafood on the line), Shockey shows us what really happens behind the scenes in haute cuisine, and includes original recipes integrating the techniques and flavors she learned along the way. With the dramatic backdrop of restaurant life, readers will be delighted by the adventures of a bright and restless young woman looking for her place in the world.
I recall from a 2009 piece she wrote in The Atlantic that she spent two months working as a kitchen apprentice in Tel Aviv, a place known only for Hummus, falafel, poultry schnitzel, and cucumber-tomato salad diced finely. There is also sabich, one of her favorite foods, it is an Iraqi Jewish food, made by stuffing cold, fried eggplant slices into a pita along with preserved hard boiled eggs, tehina, hummus, chopped salad, and amba, which is a mango pickle, and is said to have been brought to the Middle East by spice traders in India. She writes of jachnun, a traditional Yemenite dish of rolled dough served with grated tomatoes and harissa, and shakshuka, a dish of poached eggs in tomato sauce originally eaten in North Africa and brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews. The place she worked was Daniel Zach's Carmella Bistro, located in one of T.A.'s oldest buildings, a few steps from the Carmel Shuk. It is listed in many guides and is a sophisticated restaurant, with a pastry chef, which exhibited a clear French influence and focused on terroir locavore trends of Israel. Shockey found her flat, sight unseen, using craigslist, and it was a real dive with two hot plates and a small fridge. The Israelis she meets are very direct. They immediately ask her of her Jewish status (one asks if she is a J.A.P.). They excuse themselves for being blunt (her mother is Jewish, her father a presby aathiest) Shockey immediately realizes she cant read the Hebrew letters or words that label all the foods in the kitchen. On her first day she makes carpaccio from fish; her second is focused on steamed potato gnocchi. The stories are a joy to read. The recipes includes ones for Hummus with Olive oil and Friend Onions, Pomegranate and Herb Salad, Sweet potato Soup with Feta and Zaatar Oil, Red-Wine Braised Brisket, Carmella's Chicken Liver Pate, Cheese Bourekas with Zhug, Mascarpone Ice Cream with Honey and Pistachios, Carmella's Gnocchi with Tomato-Eggplant Sauce, Chicken Schnitzel with Roasted Eggplant Mashed Potatoes, Dried Mediterranean Fruit Medley, and Halvah Ice Cream








[book] The Commentators' Bible
The JPS Miqra'ot Gedolot Numbers
Translated by Michael Carasik
July 2011 The Jewish Publication Society
The third volume in the series
First published 500 years ago as the "Rabbinic Bible," the biblical commentaries known as Miqra'ot Gedolot have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers. With this edition, the voices of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nahmanides, Rashbam, and other medieval Bible commentators come alive once more, speaking in a contemporary English translation annotated and explicated for lay readers.

Each page of this third volume in The Commentators' Bible series contains several verses from the Book of Numbers, surrounded by both the 1917 and 1985 JPS translations, and by new contemporary English translations of the major commentators. The book also includes an introduction, a glossary of terms, a list of names used in the text, notes on source texts, a special topics list, and resources for further study.

This large-format volume is beautifully designed for easy navigation among the many elements on each page, including explanatory notes and selected additional comments from the works of Bekhor Shor, Hizkuni, Abarbanel, Sforno, Gersonides, and others. Click on the book cover for more information.
[book] [book]



















Geez, Does everyone who does the Peace Corp think they have to write a book about it? Not everyone can produce “Iron and Silk” material. But actually this one is very good. Michael and his Jewfro (think Peter Frampton meets Lester Thurow) served as an English teacher at Guizhou University from 2005-2007. The original title was Kosher Dog Meat. Thank god they changed it.
[book] KOSHER CHINESE:
LIVING, TEACHING, AND EATING WITH CHINA’S OTHER BILLION
BY MICHAEL LEVY
July 2011 Holt
You've heard of protectzia?? China has guanxi
Guanxi can get you a job, or it can require opposing teams to avoid blocking your basketball shots. It can score you a western toilet instead of a squat toilet
Michael is from Chicago but moved with his mishpacha to Philly before he became a Bar Mitzvah. A graduate of Cornell, he planned to spend a year in Israel and study in a yeshiva, but then some buses blew up, and his trip was cut short. He moved to Manhattan. After 9/11, he wanted to join the USMC Marines, but decided to serve in another way: The Peace Corps.
Here is an irreverent tale of an American Jew serving in the Peace Corps in rural (well maybe not rural, but Western, fly-over) China, which reveals the absurdities, joys, and pathos of a traditional society in flux.

In September of 2005, the Peace Corps sent Michael Levy to teach English in the heart of China's heartland. His hosts in the city of Guiyang found additional uses for him: resident expert on Judaism, romantic adviser, and provincial basketball star, to name a few.
Michael questioned his identity. He was a gefilte fish out of his comfortable jarred gel. He was kosher and vegetarian in a land where pork is the basic meal three times a day. Guiyang is the capital city of one of China’s poorest provinces. He lived about a half hour away from the city center of this SMALL town of 3 million people; but it has two Wal-Marts and a Pizza Hut. The town put the RED in RED CHINA. If China had a red state, this would be it. The college at which he taught had about 40,000 students, and no football team, and no glee club. But he, as the “Friendship Jew” is asked to lead the Jewish Friday Night English and Cooking Corner Club. They make challah; they make pizza; they make lechaim's; they practice English. Mike eats kugua (melon) instead of kugels. And he must decide whether to eat all the parts of a pig except the “oink” or a dog.
He also visits a small village of Bouyi people. Upon his arrival, on a “Standing room only” airplane, he was offered sweet flavored insects to eat (cuz Americans love sweet things). He declined the offer to eat the bugs, since he is Jewish, he explained. Ohhhhh...Jewish.... like Marx and Einstein.
Levy is a funny writer, and a joy to read. David Sedaris should watch his back. I mean, was one of his worst students actually named “Moron?” Was the effeminate student really named “Dandy?”
His account of overcoming vast cultural differences to befriend his students and fellow teachers is by turns poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. It took perhaps 18 months of living on campus before anyone would have a real “political” conversation with him.
While reveling in the peculiarities of life in China's interior, the author also discovered that the "other billion" (people living far from the Eastern cities of Shanghai and Beijing that are covered by the American media). They have a complex relationship with both their own traditions and the rapid changes of modernization. Lagging behind in China's economic boom, they experience the darker side of "capitalism with Chinese characteristics," daily facing the schizophrenia of conflicting ideologies.
He wasn’t planning to be the city’s resident Jew, but the Jewish holidays were a source of comfort for him during his sojourn in China. Since he was most likely one one of perhaps 2 Jewish people in the entire province, he was sort of the Chief Rabbi of Guizhou Province. Envious? His friends and students were interested in his Jewish rites, or maybe the Jewish secrets to wealth (around 2006, the best seller in China was. “How To Make Money Like The Jews.”) Can Yom Kippur be a dieting method?
Kosher Chinese is an illuminating account of the lives of the residents of Guiyang, particularly the young people who will soon control the fate of the world.
He teaches/has taught at St Paul’s in NH and St Ann's in Brooklyn. He has appeared in The Forward, so he’s good.
Click the cover for more info.








[book] Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust
A Jewish Family's Untold Story
By Rebecca Boehling and Uta Larkey
July 31, 2011. Cambridge University Press
A family's recently-discovered correspondence provides the inspiration for this fascinating and deeply-moving account of Jewish family life before, during and after the Holocaust. Rebecca Boehling and Uta Larkey reveal how the Kaufmann-Steinberg family was pulled apart under the Nazi regime and left divided between Germany, the US and Palestine. The family's unique eight-way correspondence across two generations brings into sharp focus the dilemma of Jews in Nazi Germany facing the painful decision of when and if they should leave Germany. The authors capture the family members' fluctuating emotions of hope, optimism, resignation and despair as well as the day-to-day concerns, experiences and dynamics of family life despite increasing persecution and impending deportation. Headed by two sisters who were among the first female business owners in Essen, the family was far from conventional, and their story contributes a new dimension to our understanding of life in Germany during these dark years.







YOU REALIZE THAT THIS BOOK WILL BE ON EVERY FOX NEWS SHOW IN THE NATION.
Why is this a Jewish book?
Come on… you know why…
Cuz Obama Sr.’s third wife was… JEWISH and from a suburb of Boston

[book] The Other Barack
The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama's Father
Sally H. Jacobs
July 2011. PublicAffairs
In September 2008, Sally Jacobs wrote an extensive profile of President Obama’s father for The Boston Globe. Now we have a full, rich version.
Barack Obama, father of the American president, was part of Africa's "independence generation" and in 1959 it seemed his star would shine brightly. He came to the U.S. from Kenya and was given a university scholarship. While in the Hawaii, he met Ann Dunham in 1961, and his son Barack was born. He left his young family to gain a master's degree from Harvard. Raised in rural poverty near Lake Victoria in western Kenya, Obama was a highly talented student and one of an elite group of young.
After that, Obama's life became progressively more complicated. He was a brilliant economist, yet never held the coveted government job he felt SHOULD have been his. He was a polygamist (polygamy was common among ethically LUO people from Kenya), an alcoholic, and an ardent African nationalist unafraid to tell truth to power at a time when that could get you killed. His mentor was Tom Mboya in Nairobi. Obama, Sr., a father of eight, nurturer of none, was an unlikely person to father the first African American president of the United States. Yet he was; and like that son, whom he met just briefly, he was a man moved by the dream of a better world.
Sally Jacobs attempts to tell his story.
Tidbits: Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., claimed to have earned a PhD from Harvard. But according to federal immigration records, Obama was forced to leave the school by administrators alarmed at his freewheeling personal life and finances. In May 1964, an immigration inspector wrote that Obama passed his exams and was entitled to stay and complete the requirements for a PhD in economics. But Harvard administrators, including the chairman of the Economics department, “are going to try and cook something up to ease him out.”
Harvard admin (Harvard denies this, but INS file state it) wrote: we’re having difficulty with his financial arrangements and can’t seem to figure out how many wives he has/had.
For Obama, then 28 and widely expected to be a key player back in his native Kenya, which had attained independence the year before, Harvard’s decision was disastrous. Lacking the degree for which he so yearned, he embarked on an erratic career path and never lived up to his early promise.
Obama insisted he be called Dr. Obama. He did not fully recover from disappointment over his failure to get the PhD. He was dismissed from jobs at the Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya Tourist Development Corp. by 1970. After four years of no work, he landed a low level position at the Ministry of Finance and Planning. Not long after he married his third wife, Ruth Ndesandjo, in 1964, he said his thesis papers had been stolen by burglars who had broken into their home. Ruth is Jewish and from a suburb of Boston
Ruth Nidesand (Ndesandjo, after marrying a Tanzanian businessman) ran a school in Kenya for 3 decades. She had two sons with Obama Sr. She also had a son with Ndendjo. Pianist Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo runs WorldNexus, an Internet company that helps Chinese corporations reach customers around the world. He’s a Brown University graduate and studied physics at Stanford.





[book] The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen
Glorious Meals Pure and Simple
By Lévana Kirschenbaum with Lisa R. Young Ph.D. RD
July 2011 Skyhorse
The right natural foods are not only better for you, they are tastier, too—these 250 remarkable recipes prove it! Eat your way to health! proclaims Lévana Kirschenbaum, longtime chef of Manhattan’s kosher gourmet restaurant Levana. Not only can you treat ailments such as arthritis with the appropriate nutrition, but you can also achieve a healthy weight just by eating. With dishes like Iced Minted Honeydew and Kiwi Soup, Balsamic Roasted Chicken Breasts, Chinese Meatloaf, and Molten Chocolate Cake, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen makes cooking healthily both easy and delicious. This veritable volume is chock-full of more than 250 recipes, plenty of color illustrations, and advice on which foods are (or aren’t) okay when powdered, canned, or frozen. Lévana promises your new superfood diet will taste so good, you won’t ever go back. 50 color illustrations. Lévana Kirschenbaum has twenty-five years of experience as a chef, caterer, and teacher and is the author of Lévana Cooks Dairy Free! Natural and Delicious Recipes for Your Favorite “Forbidden” Foods and The Whole Foods Kitchen. She lives in New York City.








[book] The Cookbook Collector
A Novel
By Allegra Goodman
July 2011 Paperback Edition
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.









[book] The Missing Martyrs
Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists
Charles Kurzman
July 2011, Oxford University Press
Why are there so few Muslim terrorists? With more than a billion Muslims in the world--many of whom supposedly hate the West and ardently desire martyrdom--why don't we see terrorist attacks every day? Where are the missing martyrs? In this startlingly counterintuitive book, a leading authority on Islamic movements demonstrates that terrorist groups are thoroughly marginal in the Muslim world. Charles Kurzman draws on government sources, public opinion surveys, election results, and in-depth interviews with Muslims in the Middle East and around the world. He finds that young Muslims are indeed angry with what they see as imperialism--and especially at Western support for local dictatorships. But revolutionary Islamists have failed to reach them, as can be seen from the terrorists' own websites and publications, which constantly bemoan the dearth of willing recruits. Kurzman notes that it takes only a small cadre of committed killers to wreak unspeakable havoc. But that very fact underscores his point. As easy as terrorism is to commit, few Muslims turn to violence. Out of 140,000 murders in the United States since 9/11, Islamist terrorists have killed at most three dozen people. Of the 150,000 people who die each day, worldwide, Islamist militants account for fewer than fifty fatalities--and only ten per day outside of the hotspots of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. The real bulwark against Islamist violence, Kurzman finds, is Muslims themselves, who reject both the goals of the terrorists and their bloody means. With each bombing, the terrorists lose support among Muslims. Incisive and authoritative, The Missing Martyrs provides much-needed corrective to deep-seated and destructive misconceptions about Muslims and the Islamic world. The threat of Islamist terrorism is real, Kurzman shows, but its dimensions are, so far, tightly confined.










[book] A.M.
CONFIDENTIAL
The Untold Story of Arnon Milchan
The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon - Arnon Milchan
By Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman
July 2011, Gefen
Arnon Milchan has produced many classic films such as Once Upon a Time in America (1984) (in which he also makes a cameo appearance as the chauffeur), Brazil (1985), Pretty Woman (1990), Under Siege (1992), Natural Born Killers (1994), Boys on the Side (1995), L.A. Confidential (1997), Unfaithful (2002), and Knight and Day (2010). But he also led a double life, just like many other men in Hollywood. His secret double life was that of an agent for a foreign government. “Confidential” details with suspense how producer Arnon Milchan evolved from his youth into one of the most important covert agents that Israeli intelligence has ever fielded. From Iran to South Africa, from Poland to Taiwan and the US, Confidential casts a global net to expose the legendary producer of blockbusters like Pretty Woman, LA Confidential, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman methodically unveil Arnon Milchan's role as a key player in many of Israel s most important intelligence operations. Confidential is packed with stunning new revelations and opens a window into the world of a key covert operative, who evolved into a genuine member of Hollywood's royal elite.











[book] THE NEWLYWED’S GUIDE TO PHYSICAL INTIMACY
BY JENNIE RESONFELD AND DAVID S. RIBNER
July 2011, GEFEN
As a young couple about to embark on one of life s most important journeys, may you have only joy and success. An important part of this journey is developing physical intimacy the unique pleasure of the sexual experience. Your enjoyment as sexual partners is more than just physical; you can feel closeness with another person that no other experience can provide. Your sharing of physical intimacy creates an emotional bond that should include feelings of trust, acceptance, caring, and mutuality. Your intimate relationship is the glue that binds your marriage together. Yet advice about the sexual experience that was once passed from parent to child is no longer, and as a result many couples are left to face this critical area of their lives with little guidance or information. This instructive and easy-to-read guide can help you navigate this new and uncharted area of your lives. For chassan (groom) and kallah (bride), as well as for teachers, rabbis, and anyone with questions about sexuality coming from the Torah observant community. It is user-friendly, with clear and descriptive language, and the information and guidance found in this book is not available anywhere else in the religious world.
Jennie Rosenfeld received a doctorate in English from the City University of New York Graduate Center, and has performed research on contemporary Modern Orthodox sexual ethics. Previously, she served as the cofounder and director of Tzelem, a Special Project of Yeshiva University, whose goal was to bring more sexual education resources to different constituents within the Orthodox community. Rabbi David S. Ribner has an MSW from Yeshiva University and his doctorate from Columbia University. He is the founder and director of the Sex Therapy Training Program, School of Social Work, Bar-Ilan University and is certified as a sex therapist in Israel and the United States. He is in private practice as a sex and marital therapist in Jerusalem and writes and lectures extensively on Judaism and sexuality. You probably remember his 2008 piece on “Intimacy, Modesty and Secrecy” on the role of the watermelons, hamataschen, and madrichim (advisors) during the premarital information session (taharat hamishpacha (laws of family purity))










[book] Echoes of Eden
Insights into the weekly Torah parshiot
By Rabbi Ari D. Kahn
Gefen
What was the pre-sin world like, and what is the way of return? How could God have demanded that Avraham sacrifice his son? Why would Yaakov favor Yosef when he saw the jealousy it created? Drawing upon the vast reservoir of rabbinic literature from Talmud to Midrash, from Zohar to the hasidic masters Rabbi Ari Kahn combines the mystical explorations of kabbalah and hasidism with a highly intellectual and broad-minded approach to Torah study. Plumbing the depths of Jewish sources, Rabbi Kahn provides fascinating answers to age-old questions, infusing the parshah with fresh significance. Through provoking questions and intriguing insights, Rabbi Kahn continually inspires us to seek the Godly in our lives.
Rabbi Ari Kahn received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, where he studied with Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik. He graduated Yeshiva University with a BA in psychology and an MS degree in Talmud. He is the director of Foreign Student Programs at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and is a senior educator at the Aish HaTorah College for Jewish Studies and Matan.







[book] JUDAISM
RELIGION OF REASON
By Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim
Mesorah
Judaism has become tainted by man-made religions, mysticism, and pop-kabbalistic beliefs. Relying on the Sages' writings and 10 years in the making, Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim addresses these false notions, also deciphering cryptic areas in Talmud and Torah revealing beautiful insights. Judaism is the sole religion based on proof and reason, not blind faith and superstitions. Intelligence is the single key that unlocks God's wisdom. Readers will quickly distinguish authentic Judaism from false, popular beliefs, and be astonished at the Torah's brilliance.
Free PDF preview: https://www.Mesora.org/ReligionofReason
BRIEF: Jews have succumbed to man-made religion, mysticism and pop-kabballa. Ten years in the making, Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim cites Torah's authorities, unveiling the fallacy of widespread beliefs. He focuses on Torah's brilliance and method of decryption; unraveling many Talmudic metaphors and interpreting texts to reveal hidden gems. "Judaism is the only religion based on intelligence: the only key that unlocks God's wisdom." Readers will enjoy a long overdue, rational expose of cultural beliefs, and a unique look at Torah's deep insights.
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim is the founder of www.Mesora.org and publisher of the JewishTimes.







[book] TRUTHS DESIRED BY GOD
AN EXCURSION INTO THE WEEKLY HAFTARAH
BY RABBI MEIR TAMARI
Gefen
By utilizing the vehicle of the weekly haftarah, familiar to many at least in the abstract, Dr. Meir Tamari is able to introduce the reader to the wider world of the sifrei Nevi im and the valuable lessons contained therein. This volume should serve to familiarize readers with the lives and messages of the prophets, an understanding of Jewish history, and a solid foundation in the important ethical teachings communicated through these oft-overlooked books of Tanach. --Rabbi Steven Weil, Chief Executive Officer, Orthodox Union
Truths Desired by God offers an engaging entry point into the weekly haftarah portion. In so doing, it provides as well an insightful view of the weekly parshah (Torah portion) as well and highlights the variety and richness of the Tanach. This book will serve both the initiate and the newcomer to the yearly haftarah cycle. Meir Tamari s deep knowledge of economics informs this book at numerous points, adding a new and often ignored dimension.















[book] A Woman Of Heart
Kindle Edition
A novel
By Marcy Alancraig
Mazo Publishers, Summer 2011
After breaking her hip, 78-year-old Rheabie Slominski realizes that it's finally time to share the secrets of her life with her granddaughter, Shoshana. In this novel, "A Woman of Heart", the left-wing politics of Petaluma, California's thriving community of Jewish chicken ranchers of the 1920s is recreated as Rheabie Slominski tells the "true" story of her life to granddaughter Shoshana. Rheabie's tales about the chicken ranchers, a vibrant cluster of Zionists, anarchists and communists struggling to survive the Depression, are populated by the most surprising characters: unhappy family ghosts, mysterious Guardian spirits of the land, and strange Uncle Mas.
"Could Grandma be slipping into Alzheimer's?" Shoshie wonders. Yet, when the Guardians begin to show themselves to Shoshana and she stumbles on even deeper family secrets, everything she knows about herself and her history is called into question.
Shoshana struggles to believe her grandmother's strange tales. As she discovers her own abilities to see ghosts and Guardians, Shoshana also uncovers deeper family secrets about alcoholism, domestic violence, adultery and homosexuality. When Rheabie is beset by illness and begins to die, Shoshana tries to heal what has been revealed. "A Woman of Heart" will attract those drawn to history, politics and family drama; contemporary literary fiction; and Jewish culture.
The presence of the family ghosts and, in particular, the Guardians (as the living essence of the land) resonates with ecologically-minded readers, while the relationships in the book appeal to a wide female audience. "Listen up! You know, dolly, in this life we are not always given the expected stories."







[book] In Her Wake
A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide
In Paperback
By Dr. Nancy Rappaport
July 2011, Basic Books.
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. In a fearless memoir of loss and grief, this Harvard Medical School assistant professor, veering between being a detective and... a realist, delves into a complex family history haunted by the 1963 death of her mother, a Boston socialite, from an overdose when the author was only four. Using her mother's words from newspaper clippings, notes and a novel she was writing at the time of her death, Rappaport, the youngest of six children, reconstructs a vivacious and deeply troubled wife and mother. Didn't she know that she would leave all these shattered children wondering if it was their fault? son Jerry laments 44 years later. Yet in pushing through her parents' turbulent marriage and troubled family history, Rappaport weaves a stunning narrative of perspective, profound sadness and unrelenting hope: I keep trying to follow in her wake, moving in and out of my grief buoyed by the voyage of exploring her dark reality as a way of helping myself to understand her.... She has also mapped an inspiring course for anyone to dissect family dynamics and mental illness, hoping to understand and, finally, accept.
William Feigelman, Ph.D., in a review adds: Rappaport, offers a richly rewarding read as the author fearlessly places her family life up for public scrutiny as she struggles with the difficult and necessary task of trying to understand her mother’s suicide. Rappaport’s mother took her life with an overdose of sleeping pills in 1963 when the author was 4 years old. The narrative starts from her mother’s headlined death. At the time of her death Rappaport’s mother, a prominent Bostonian socialite from an Irish Catholic family, was engaged in a bitter custody battle with her ambitious, successful, lawyer-politician husband, of New York Jewish parentage, as they struggled contentiously for parental control over their six children, who ranged from 4 to 11 years of age. The author was drawn into this important task of sense-making of the death by several reasons. Bearing her mother’s name and having a striking physical resemblance to her mother, she feared a possible recurrence to the death cycle in the absence of having a clear understanding of the particular “whys” leading to her mother’s death. As a mother herself, Rappaport wanted to be able to satisfy the curiosities of her three children who would inevitably be puzzled by their grandmother’s suicide. In addition, as a child psychiatrist, working with adolescents and families facing mental illness crises much like those of her own, she was keenly aware that a deeper knowledge of how her family dealt with their demons would be helpful in becoming a more astute and capable clinician. In Her Wake reads much like a mystery story as Rappaport gains access to a trunk containing letters written by her mother, her mother’s unpublished novel (written near the time of her death), newspaper articles written about the family and its custody battles, and the legal records pertaining to the custody disputes---the author draws on all these things to make better sense of the death and its effects on the family. She also interviews anyone with data to better illuminate her mother’s personality and her death. All family members, family friends, her mother’s ex-lover and best friends, even the attending physician at the death are all called upon as Rappaport painstakingly follows up any lead to flush out the ‘why she died story’ and to examine its effects on her family and herself. For many families, when a suicide occurs, members find it convenient to say and share little together about the deceased in the years after the loss. Each draws a circle around themselves holding their own private reveries about the event and the deceased. Rappaport’s inquiry stirs up this pot in helpful ways, though not all family members were ready to participate in this sometimes painful analysis.












NOT A JEWISH BOOK… BUT WITH SO MANY READERS WITH ALLERGIES…
[book] Don't Kill the Birthday Girl
Tales from an Allergic Life
By Sandra Beasley
July 2011, Crown
A beautifully written and darkly funny journey through the world of the allergic. Like twelve million other Americans, Sandra Beasley suffers from food allergies. Her allergies—severe and lifelong—include dairy, egg, soy, beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamias, pistachios, cashews, swordfish, and mustard. Add to that mold, dust, grass and tree pollen, cigarette smoke, dogs, rabbits, horses, and wool, and it’s no wonder Sandra felt she had to live her life as “Allergy Girl.” When butter is deadly and eggs can make your throat swell shut, cupcakes and other treats of childhood are out of the question—and so Sandra’s mother used to warn guests against a toxic, frosting-tinged kiss with “Don’t kill the birthday girl!”
It may seem that such a person is “not really designed to survive,” as one blunt nutritionist declared while visiting Sandra’s fourth-grade class. But Sandra has not only survived, she’s thrived—now an essayist, editor, and award-winning poet, she has learned to navigate a world in which danger can lurk in an unassuming corn chip. Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is her story.
With candor, wit, and a journalist’s curiosity, Sandra draws on her own experiences while covering the scientific, cultural, and sociological terrain of allergies. She explains exactly what an allergy is, describes surviving a family reunion in heart-of-Texas beef country with her vegetarian sister, delves into how being allergic has affected her romantic relationships, exposes the dark side of Benadryl, explains how parents can work with schools to protect their allergic children, and details how people with allergies should advocate for themselves in a restaurant.
Sandra writes that if you are planning a birthday or a bat mitzvah, here are ways to help out those who have food allergies :
Start with the invite
Including a sentence asking that the RSVP include any dietary restrictions.
Easy food fixes
Consider serving some nondairy sorbet or gluten-free pastries.
Accept help
If contacted by the parent of an allergic child who wants to bring a safe dish, accept it graciously and place it amid the buffet. Do not stress that it doesn't match your food theme. Inclusiveness is more important. You might even allow that child to go first so they can be sure to get some of their special dish.
Building trust
Don't assume that kids who are old enough to be dropped off will always make the right choices. Have a quiet conversation with the parent about a child's allergies in front of the child at drop-off.
Party games
If you have a piñata or games with prizes, include nonfood prizes.
Party favors
If any guests have severe allergies, make sure the gift bag snacks are wrapped, so they don't contaminate nonfood treats. Or consider going food-free in the gift bags.










AUGUST 2011 BOOKS

[book] Morality for Muggles
Ethics in the Bible and the World of Harry Potter
By Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg
August 2011. KTAV
Whether you are a student of religious learning, a fan of Harry Potter or just someone who likes to consider the important questions of life this book is for you! Moshe Rosenberg, a rabbi and educator, uses Jewish tradition and Harry Potter as the twin prisms through which to examine everything from friendship to free choice, prejudice to prophecy and rule-breaking to repentance. Along the way he demonstrates how popular literature like Harry Potter can be used to teach timeless, ethical concerns, from coping with loss to affirming human dignity in ourselves and others.
Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg is the spiritual leader of Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills, New York, and a Judaic Studies educator at SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York. His Harry Potter Club at SAR was featured in the New York Times. He lives in Queens with his wife Dina and their seven, count ‘em, 7 muggle children.






[book] THE SUBMISSION
A NOVEL
BY AMY WALDMAN
August 2011. Farrar Straus Giroux
Don't you love the title? Submission... as in submitting to Islam. Submission as in submitting a design. Submission as in defying or submitting to public pressure
Remember when Amy Lin was selected as the designer of the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington DC? Keep that in mind
Claire Harwell hasn’t settled into grief; events haven’t let her. Cool, eloquent, raising two fatherless children, Claire has emerged as the most visible of the widows who became a potent political force in the aftermath of the catastrophe. She longs for her husband, but she has found her mission: she sits on a jury charged with selecting a fitting memorial for the victims of the attack. Of the thousands of anonymous submissions that she and her fellow jurors examine, one transfixes Claire: a garden on whose walls the names of the dead are inscribed. But when the winning envelope is opened, they find the designer is Mohammad Khan—Mo—an enigmatic Muslim-American who, it seems, feels no need to represent anyone’s beliefs except his own. When the design and its creator are leaked, a media firestorm erupts, and Claire finds herself trying to balance principles against emotions amid escalating tensions about the place of Islam in America.
A remarkably bold and ambitious debut, The Submission is peopled with journalists, activists, mourners, and bureaucrats who struggle for advantage and fight for their ideals. In this deeply humane novel, the breadth of Amy Waldman’s cast of characters is matched by her startling ability to conjure individual lives from their own points of view. A striking portrait of a city—and a country—fractured by old hatreds and new struggles, The Submission is a major novel by an important new talent.
PS said: “plausible.. tight... Waldman keenly focuses on political and social variables, including an opportunistic governor... Mo refuses to demean himself by explaining the source of his design, seen by many as an Islamic martyr's paradise.... Waldman addresses with a refreshing frankness throny moral questions and ethical ironies without resorting to hyperbole” Amy Waldman was co-chief of the South Asia bureau of The New York Times and a national correspondent for The Atlantic. She was born in Los Angeles, studied English at Yale, and now lives in Brooklyn.






[book] Sleeping with the Enemy
Coco Chanel's Secret War
By Hal Vaughan
August 2011. Knopf
CAN YOU BUY A CHANEL AFTER THIS BOOK? Let’s ask Isaac Mizrahi? If a brand and style are discovered to be associated with a murky history, what do you do? Let’s discuss.
Judith Warner, in her review of this book in the NYT Book Review (9/4/2011), wrote “Gabrielle Chanel – better known as Coco – was a wretched human being, Anti-Semitic, homophobic, social climbing, opportunistic, ridiculously snobbish and given to sins of phrase-making like, “If blonde, use blue perfume.” She was addicted to morphine and actively collaborated with the Germans during the Nazi occupation of Paris. And yet her clean, modern, kinetic designs which brought a high society look to low regarded fabrics, revolutionized women’s fashion, and to this day have kept her name synonymous with the most glorious notions of French taste and elan.

In 1998, John Updike wrote in The New Yorker that “all the available evidence points to Chanel’s total indifference to the fate of her Jewish neighbors in Paris – or indeed the lesser deprivations and humiliations suffered by the vast majority of Parisians.”
At the age of 58, she was happy with her German lover and cared nothing of those in the Jewish Quarter, a 15 minute walk from her perch at The Ritz.
No one mentions how she used the German Aryanization laws to gain control if Les Parfum Chanel (No. 5) and Societe de Parfums Chanel from the Jewish Wertheimers. This book does, however.
Coco Chanel created the look of the modern woman and was the high priestess of couture. She believed in simplicity, and elegance, and freed women from the tyranny of fashion. She inspired women to take off their bone corsets and cut their hair. She used ordinary jersey as couture fabric, elevated the waistline, and created bell-bottom trousers, trench coats, and turtleneck sweaters.
In the 1920s, when Chanel employed more than two thousand people in her workrooms, she had amassed a personal fortune of $15 million and went on to create an empire. Jean Cocteau once said of Chanel that she had the head of “a little black swan.” And, added Colette, “the heart of a little black bull.”
At the start of World War II, Chanel closed down her couture house and went across the street to live at the Hôtel Ritz. Picasso, her friend, called her “one of the most sensible women in Europe.” She remained at the Ritz for the duration of the war, and after, went on to Switzerland. But, Chanel’s wartime life, from 1941 to 1945 and then on to 1954 has been shrouded in vagueness and rumor, mystery and myth. Neither Chanel nor her many biographers have ever told the full story of these years.
Now Hal Vaughan, in this explosive narrative—part suspense thriller, part wartime portrait—fully pieces together the hidden years of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s life, from the Nazi occupation of Paris to the aftermath of Vichy and World War II. Vaughan reveals the truth of Chanel’s long-whispered collaboration with Hitler’s high-ranking officials in occupied Paris from 1940 to 1944. He writes in detail of her decades-long affair with Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage, “Spatz” (“sparrow” in English), described in most Chanel biographies as being an innocuous, English-speaking tennis player, playboy, and harmless dupe—a loyal German soldier and diplomat serving his mother country and not a member of the Nazi party. In Vaughan’s absorbing, meticulously researched book, Dincklage is revealed to have been a Nazi master spy and German military intelligence agent who ran a spy ring in the Mediterranean and in Paris and reported directly to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, right hand to Hitler.
The book pieces together how Coco Chanel became a German intelligence operative; how and why she was enlisted in a number of spy missions; how she escaped arrest in France after the war, despite her activities being known to the Gaullist intelligence network; how she fled to Switzerland for a nine-year exile with her lover Dincklage. And how, despite the French court’s opening a case concerning Chanel’s espionage activities during the war, she was able to return to Paris at age seventy and triumphantly resurrect and reinvent herself—and rebuild what has become the iconic House of Chanel.






[book] Three Cups of Deceit
How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way
By Jon Krakauer
Summer 2011. Anchor
When of the best books of 2011.
We all know of Greg Mortenson, the bestselling author of Three Cups of Tea. He built a global reputation as a selfless humanitarian and children’s crusader, and he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama even sent him a large check in support of his work of Stones Into Schools.
But, as Jon Krakauer demonstrates in this extensively researched and penetrating book, he is not all that he appears to be.
Sentence by sentence, Krakauer reveals the lies and falsehoods, and the theft, yes, theft
Based on wide-ranging interviews with former employees, board members, and others who have intimate knowledge of Mortenson and his charity, the Central Asia Institute, Three Cups of Deceit uncovers multiple layers of deception behind Mortenson’s public image. Was his crusade really inspired by a desire to repay the kindness of villagers who nursed him back to health when he became lost on his descent down K2? Was he abducted and held for eight days by the Taliban? Has his charity built all of the schools that he has claimed? This book is a passionately argued plea for the truth, and a tragic tale of good intentions gone very wrong.
100% of Jon Krakauer’s proceeds from the sale of Three Cups of Deceit will be donated to the “Stop Girl Trafficking” project at the American Himalayan Foundation






[book] GHOST IN THE WIRES
My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker
By Kevin Mitnick with William Simon
With a foreword by Steve Wozniak
AUGUST 2011. Anchor
At the age of twelve, Kevin Mitnick was sent for Bar Mitzvah lessons in Sherman Oaks, a suburb of Los Angeles. He was expelled for goofing off. His parents hired a cantor to teach him one on one, so he could not sneak a tech book under the desk. He made it through his bar mitzvah and read a portion of Hebrew, but he mimicked the rabbi subconsciously or unconsciously from the bimah. And that is when he realized how he could be a chameleon or get what he needed by social manipulation. He spent some of his gift money at the “underground” Survival Bookstore (The Art of Intrusian; The Big Brother Game), but I digress.
Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world's biggest companies--and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable. But for Kevin, hacking wasn't just about technological feats-it was an old fashioned confidence game that required guile and deception to trick the unwitting out of valuable information.
Driven by a powerful urge to accomplish the impossible, Mitnick bypassed security systems and blazed into major organizations including Motorola, Sun Microsystems, and Pacific Bell. But as the FBI's net began to tighten, Kevin went on the run, engaging in an increasingly sophisticated cat and mouse game that led through false identities, a host of cities, plenty of close shaves, and an ultimate showdown with the Feds, who would stop at nothing to bring him down.
Ghost in the Wires is a thrilling true story of intrigue, suspense, and unbelievable escape, and a portrait of a visionary whose creativity, skills, and persistence forced the authorities to rethink the way they pursued him, inspiring ripples that brought permanent changes in the way people and companies protect their most sensitive information.





[book] The Long Night
William L. Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
By Steve Wick, Newsday
August 2011. Palgrave
The story of legendary American journalist William L. Shirer and how his first-hand reporting on the rise of the Nazis and on World War II brought the devastation alive for millions of Americans When William L. Shirer started up the Berlin bureau of Edward R. Murrow’s CBS News in the 1930s, he quickly became the most trusted reporter in all of Europe. Shirer hit the streets to talk to both the everyman and the disenfranchised, yet he gained the trust of the Nazi elite and through these contacts obtained a unique perspective of the party’s rise to power. Unlike some of his esteemed colleagues, he did not fall for Nazi propaganda and warned early of the consequences if the Third Reich was not stopped. When the Germans swept into Austria in 1938 Shirer was the only American reporter in Vienna, and he broadcast an eyewitness account of the annexation. In 1940 he was embedded with the invading German army as it stormed into France and occupied Paris. The Nazis insisted that the armistice be reported through their channels, yet Shirer managed to circumvent the German censors and again provided the only live eyewitness account. His notoriety grew inside the Gestapo, who began to build a charge of espionage against him. His life at risk, Shirer had to escape from Berlin early in the war. Show More When he returned in 1946 to cover the Nuremberg trials, Shirer had seen the full arc of the Nazi menace. It was that experience that inspired him to write The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich—the magisterial, definitive history of the most brutal ten years the modern world had known—which has sold millions of copies and has become a classic. Drawing on never-before-seen journals and letters from Shirer’s time in Germany, award-winning reporter Steve Wick brings to life the maverick journalist as he watched history unfold and first shared it with the world.






[book] EMPEROR OF LIES
A NOVEL
BY STEVE SEM-SANDBERG
August 2011. Farrar Straus Giroux
Winner of the August Prize, Sweden’s most important literary award
In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second-largest Jewish ghetto, in the Polish city of Lódz. The leader they appointed was Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish businessman and orphanage director—and the elusive, authoritarian power sustaining the ghetto’s very existence.
A haunting, profoundly challenging novel, The Emperor of Lies chronicles the tale of Rumkowski’s monarchical rule over a quarter-million Jews for the next four and a half years. Driven by a titanic ambition, he sought to transform the ghetto into a productive industrial complex and strove to make it—and himself—indispensable to the Nazi regime. These compromises would have extraordinary consequences not only for Rumkowski but for everyone living in the ghetto. Drawing on the detailed records of life in Lódz, Steve Sem-Sandberg, in a masterful feat of literary imagination and empathy, captures the full panorama of human resilience and probes deeply into the nature of evil.
Through the dramatic narrative, he asks the most difficult questions: Was Rumkowski a ruthless opportunist, an accessory to the Nazi regime motivated by a lust for power? Or was he a pragmatist who managed to save Jewish lives through his collaboration policies? How did the inhabitants of the ghetto survive in such extreme circumstances?
A critically acclaimed breakout bestseller in Sweden, The Emperor of Lies introduces a writer of great significance to American readers. The archives detail daily life in the Lodz ghetto, under the reign of Rumkowki, but it takes a writer with Sem-Sandberg’s singular talent to help us understand the truth of this chilling history.






[book] Just One Catch
A Biography of Joseph Heller
By Tracy Daugherty, Oregon State University
August 2011. St Martin
In time for the 50th anniversary of Catch-22, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New Yorker and New York Times Notable book), illuminates his most vital subject yet in this first biography of Joseph Heller. Joseph Heller was a Coney Island kid, the son of Russian immigrants, who went on to great fame and fortune. His most memorable novel took its inspiration from a mission he flew over France in WWII (his plane was filled with so much shrapnel it was a wonder it stayed in the air). He flew 60 missions during WW2 and survived. One out of every 20 crews were lost, on average. SO he was a very lucky airman. Heller wrote seven novels, all of which remain in print. Something Happened and Good as Gold, to name two, are still considered the epitome of satire. His life was filled with women and romantic indiscretions, but he was perhaps more famous for his friendships—he counted Mel Brooks, Zero Mostel, Carl Reiner, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Mario Puzo, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, and many others among his confidantes. In 1981 Heller was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a debilitating syndrome that could have cost him his life. Miraculously, he recovered. When he passed away in 1999 from natural causes, he left behind a body of work that continues to sell hundreds of thousands of copies a year.
Just One Catch is the first biography of Yossarian’s creator, with cooperation by the estate







[book] Yossarian Slept Here
When Joseph Heller Was Dad
the Apthorp Was Home
and Life Was a Catch-22
by Erica Heller
August 2011. Simon & Schuster
THROUGHOUT ERICA HELLER’S LIFE, when people learned that Joseph Heller was her father, they often remarked, “How terrific!” But was there a catch? Like his most famous work, her father was a study in contradictions: eccentric, brilliant, and voracious, but also mercurial, competitive, and stubborn, with a love of mischief that sometimes cut too close to the bone. Being raised by such a larger than- life personality could be claustrophobic, even at the sprawling Upper West Side apartments of the Apthorp, which the Hellers called home—in one way or another—for forty-five years.
Yossarian Slept Here is Erica Heller’s wickedly funny but also poignant and incisive memoir about growing up in a family—her iconic father; her wry, beautiful mother, Shirley; her younger brother, Ted; her relentlessly inventive grandmother Dottie—that could be by turns caring, infuriating, and exasperating, though anything but dull. From the forbidden pleasures of ordering shrimp cocktail when it was beyond the family’s budget to spending a summer, as her father’s fame grew, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Erica details the Hellers’ charmed—and charmingly turbulent— trajectory. She offers a rare glimpse of meetings with the Gourmet Club, where her father would dine weekly with Mel Brooks, Zero Mostel, and Mario Puzo, among others (and from which all wives and children were strictly verboten). She introduces us to many extraordinary residents of the Apthorp, some famous—George Balanchine, Sidney Poitier, and Lena Horne, to name a few—and some not famous, but all quite memorable. Yet she also manages to limn the complex bonds of loyalty and guilt, hurt and healing, that define every family. Erica was among those present at her father’s bedside as he struggled to recover from Guillain-Barré syndrome and then cared for her mother when Shirley was diagnosed with terminal cancer after the thirty-eight-year marriage and intensely passionate partnership with Joe had ended.
Witty and perceptive, and displaying the descriptive gifts of a born storyteller, this authentic and colorful portrait of life in the Heller household unfolds alongside the saga of the family’s moves into four distinctive apartments within the Apthorp, each representing a different phase of their lives together—and apart. It is a story about achieving a dream; about fame and its aftermath; about lasting love, squandered opportunities, and how to have the best meal in Chinatown.







[book] AN IMPROVISED LIFE
A MEMOIR
BY ALAN ARKIN
March 2011, De Capo Press
I am really loving this book. He is so interesting and honest. His life in the arts is so interesting and I am glad that he, and not I, lived it, since it was so filled with stress and doubt and mishigas
From Publishers Weekly: More a reflection on acting than a straightforward memoir, Academy Award–winner Arkin's musing on the creative process is a welcome window into the mind of an artist. After declaring to his father at age five that he wanted to be an actor, Arkin spent his Brooklyn childhood absorbing as much as he could from both everyday life and any opportunity he had to see films and plays. A move to L.A. in junior high cemented Arkin's performer dreams. As a student at Bennington's theater program, Arkin also performed with the earliest incarnation of Chicago's now famous Second City troupe, where he learned to appreciate the power of improvisation. Broadway and film roles followed, with Arkin integrating improvisation into his performances whenever possible, a skill he would hone over the years and later teach. The improv workshops—which Arkin taught and stresses were not "acting" workshops—began at Bennington and were also held at the Institute for American Indian Arts in New Mexico, where Arkin now lives. In this engaging and instructive book, he describes his own intuitive approach to acting and the ways in which he coaxed tentative workshop participants out of their shells.









[book] The Warsaw Anagrams
A Novel
By Richard Zimler
August 2011. Overlook Press
From the Chief Jew of Porto, (not really) and the author of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon comes a new novel.. Place and Time..It is Warsaw, 1941. As The Guardian said, “Erik, a distinguished elderly psychoanalyst, has to leave his comfortable flat and move into the Warsaw Ghetto,... In the tiny flat of his niece, Stefa, and her nine year-old son Adam, he must not just adapt to a frozen, starving life on the edge of death, but learn to overcome his selfishness. It is the child Adam who sets the old man on this road. In his eighth novel, Richard Zimler reaches the very heart of his essential theme: the Holocaust itself. It is as if, in his previous books dealing with the persecutions of Jews in the 16th, 18th and 20th centuries, he had been approaching, in narrowing circles, this extraordinarily painful moment.
This book is set in 1940-41 inside the Ghetto itself. It is narrated by a dead man. How could it be otherwise? This is no story of heroic struggle and escape. The Warsaw Anagrams is about the everyday frailties and courage of a varied cast of ordinary Jews. They stink, their teeth fall out, children risk their lives to steal rotting vegetables, young women sell themselves. Almost all died and the dead man, Erik, an "ibbur" or spirit wandering the world, is the fitting recorder of their lives.
The Warsaw Anagrams is a highly realist (despite being narrated by an ibbur) murder mystery. As in The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Zimler's 1998 bestseller, the narrator sets out in the midst of massacre to solve one killing. The murder of Adam, whom Erik loved and was responsible for protecting, removes all future from his life. One might wonder, why bother with one person's death, when slaughter is all around? "We owe uniqueness to our dead" is the imperative that Erik comes to understand. By remembering the uniqueness of each dead person, that person's humanity is maintained and the Nazis defeated in their desire to reduce the Jews to nameless ash.... Surprisingly perhaps, Zimler's book has an optimistic feel. If you look squarely at brutality and find that even in the harshest situations people are capable of kindness and loyalty, then optimism can sprout... The Warsaw Anagrams is both a fast-moving, very readable mystery novel and a rich, serious book, in which Zimler makes us face the worst and pays tribute to those who died in the Holocaust.







[book] WENDY AND THE LOST BOYS
The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein
BY Julie Salamon
August 2011. Penguin
This is the authorized biography of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein.
Julie Salamon (Rambam’s Ladder, Hospital (Maimonides), and lots of other books) explores the life of playwright Wendy Wasserstein's most expertly crafted character: herself. The first woman playwright to win a Tony Award, Wendy Wasserstein was a Broadway titan. But with her high- pitched giggle and unkempt curls, she projected an image of warmth and familiarity. Everyone knew Wendy Wasserstein. Or thought they did.
Born on October 18, 1950, in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish Jewish immigrant parents, Wendy was the youngest of Lola and Morris Wasserstein's five children. Lola had big dreams for her children. They didn't disappoint: Sandra, Wendy's glamorous sister, became a high- ranking corporate executive at a time when Fortune 500 companies were an impenetrable boys club; and Bruce became a billionaire superstar of the investment banking world. Yet behind the family's remarkable success was a fiercely guarded world of private tragedies.
Wendy perfected the family art of secrecy while cultivating a densely populated inner circle. Her friends included theater elite such as playwright Christopher Durang, Lincoln Center Artistic Director André Bishop, former New York Times theater critic Frank Rich, and countless others. And still almost no one knew that Wendy was pregnant when, at age forty-eight, she was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital to deliver Lucy Jane three months premature. The paternity of her daughter remains a mystery. At the time of Wendy's tragically early death less than six years later, very few were aware that she was gravely ill. The cherished confidante to so many, Wendy privately endured her greatest heartbreaks alone.
In Wendy and the Lost Boys, Salamon assembles the fractured pieces, revealing Wendy in full. Though she lived an uncommon life, she spoke to a generation of women during an era of vast change. Revisiting Wendy's works-The Heidi Chronicles and others-we see Wendy in the free space of the theater, where her many selves all found voice. Here Wendy spoke in the most intimate of terms about everything that matters most: family and love, dreams and devastation. And that is the Wendy of Neverland, the Wendy who will never grow old.






[book] The Penguin and the Leviathan
How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest
By Yochai Benkler
August 2011 Crown Business
What do Wikipedia, Zip Car’s business model, Barack Obama's presidential campaign, and a small group of lobster fishermen have in common? They all show the power and promise of human cooperation in transforming our businesses, our government, and our society at large. Because today, when the costs of collaborating are lower than ever before, there are no limits to what we can achieve by working together.
For centuries, we as a society have operated according to a very unflattering view of human nature: that, humans are universally and inherently selfish creatures. As a result, our most deeply entrenched social structures – our top-down business models, our punitive legal systems, our market-based approaches to everything from education reform to environmental regulation - have been built on the premise that humans are driven only by self interest, programmed to respond only to the invisible hand of the free markets or the iron fist of a controlling government. In the last decade, however, this fallacy has finally begun to unravel, as hundreds of studies conducted across dozens of cultures have found that most people will act far more cooperatively than previously believed. Here, Harvard University Professor Yochai Benkler draws on cutting-edge findings from neuroscience, economics, sociology, evolutionary biology, political science, and a wealth of real world examples to debunk this long-held myth and reveal how we can harness the power of human cooperation to improve business processes, design smarter technology, reform our economic systems, maximize volunteer contributions to science, reduce crime, improve the efficacy of civic movements, and more.
For example, he describes how:
By building on countless voluntary contributions, open-source software communities have developed some of the most important infrastructure on which the World Wide Web runs
Experiments with pay-as-you-wish pricing in the music industry reveal that fans will voluntarily pay far more for their favorite music than economic models would ever predic
Many self-regulating communities, from the lobster fishermen of Maine to farmers in Spain, live within self-regulating system for sharing and allocating communal resources
Despite recent setbacks, Toyota’s collaborative shop-floor, supply chain, and management structure contributed to its meteoric rise above its American counterparts for over a quarter century.
Police precincts across the nation have managed to reduce crime in tough neighborhoods through collaborative, trust-based, community partnerships.
A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics of cooperation in 21st century life, The Penguin and the Leviathan not only challenges so many of the ways in which we live and work, it forces us to rethink our entire view of human nature.
Benkler is the Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, and was a Professor of Law at Yale. In 1995-96 he was a Law Clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer, United States Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Harvard Law and Tel Aviv University, and a member of Kibbutz Shizafon.








You Don’t Have to Keep Kosher to Like this book
[book] THE KOSHER CARNIVORE
The Ultimate Meat and Poultry Book
By June Feiss Hersh
August 2011, St Martin’s
A meat-only kosher cookbook, with 120 recipes designed to appeal to cooks of all faiths who are turning to kosher meat for superior flavor and results.
Experienced home cooks have long praised the virtues of kosher meat, prized for high quality and humane and well-supervised raising, butchering, and trimming. The innovative recipes in The Kosher Carnivore will delight families who keep kosher as a fresh and modern alternative to traditional kosher preparations and will appeal to a broader group as well—including the lactose-intolerant--with the author’s terrific mixture of classic, elegantly ethnic and just-a-little-bit-fashionable entries, such as:
In Beef: Classic Pot Roast, Grilled Steak Chimichurri, Slow-day BBQ Brisket
In Veal and Lamb: Veal Meatballs, Grilled Lamb Riblets, Lamb Sliders
In Chicken: Simple Roast Chicken, Simpler Roast Chicken, Simplest Roast Chicken, Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders, Moroccan Chicken. Chicken with Prunes Tsimmes, Chicken in Red Wine Sauce, Peach and Ginger-Glazed Chicken
In Turkey and Duck: Country-style Turkey Meatloaf, Oven-roasted Spicy Turkey Sausage, Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Figs and Madiera
In Tur Duck en…. There is none
In Soup and Stock: Creamy?? Mushroom Soup, Hungarian Bean Soup with Smoked Turkey, Beef & Barley Soup
The Kosher Carnivore also features around forty recipes for side dishes, creatively reinventing standards such as Creamed Spinach (without the butter or cream), condiments and sauces. It also provides instructions on how to grill, roast, braise, stew, pan-seer — and even fry - perfect crispy chicken without a buttermilk soak along with tips from expert butchers and chefs across the country. For example, for Skewered chicken thighs, the advice is what to tell your butcher.
Click the book cover to read more.









And You Don’t Have to be Iranian to Like this book
[book] Persian Food from the Non-persian Bride
And Other Sephardic Kosher Recipes You Will Love
By Reyna Simnegar
2011
This new Kosher cookbook is unlike anything you have seen before. It offers an enticing collection of Persian and Middle Eastern recipes, from simple snacks to a full-blown feast! With over 100 stunning color photos and clear step-by-step instructions, you will be able to produce with ease a lavish spread of dishes from traditional well known Persian favorites to outright exotic. This book also offers sample Persian menus for all Jewish holidays and customs (minhagim) Persian Jews practice. More than just a cookbook, Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride is the odyssey of a Venezuelan woman venturing into the unknown and mysterious world of Persian Jewry through marriage. This book is full of hilarious, and at times ironic, accounts of what happens when soul mates are not from the same origin. This book is a celebration of Jewish cultural diversity.
Mr. Drazin writes, “Reyna Simnegar is not Persian, but when she married her "dear husband," who is Persian, he insisted that she learn how to cook Persian foods. "Persians," she writes, "love their food" and "their music." She soon became "enamored with Persian culture. I loved all the Middle Eastern flavors, the smell, the music, the color.... I had no idea that this people with such a vibrant culture existed." She introduces the book with a description of Iranian Jews, how this book is kosher, six pages of what things the non-Persian woman must have in her Persian kitchen, and a page on "It's my kitchen and I'll marinate if I want to!" …She [follows up as she] does for all her recipes, with a section describing the ingredients followed by a step by step procedure on how to combine them and produce the desired dip. Her presentation is clear that even a non-cook can follow it. The ingredients that she mentions are easy to obtain. She presents many of her recipes as if she were telling stories in the Persian Thousand and One Nights.”
Click the book cover to read more.









[book] Gustav Mahler
By Jens Malte Fischer
Translated from German by Stewart Spencer
August 2011, Yale University Press
A best seller when first published in Germany in 2003, Jens Malte Fischer's Gustav Mahler has been lauded by scholars as a landmark work. He draws on important primary resources—some unavailable to previous biographers—and sets in narrative context the extensive correspondence between Mahler and his wife, Alma; Alma Mahler's diaries; and the memoirs of Natalie Bauer-Lechner, a viola player and close friend of Mahler, whose private journals provide insight into the composer's personal and professional lives and his creative process.
Fischer explores Mahler's early life, his relationship to literature, his achievements as a conductor in Vienna and New York, his unhappy marriage, and his work with the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic in his later years. He also illustrates why Mahler is a prime example of artistic idealism worn down by Austrian anti-Semitism and American commercialism. Gustav Mahler is the best-sourced and most balanced biography available about the composer, a nuanced and intriguing portrait of his dramatic life set against the backdrop of early 20th century America and fin de siècle Europe.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Beauty Pays
Why Attractive People Are More Successful
By Daniel S. Hamermesh
August 2011, Princeton University Press
Most of us know there is a payoff to looking good, and in the quest for beauty we spend countless hours and billions of dollars on personal grooming, cosmetics, and plastic surgery. But how much better off are the better looking? Based on the evidence, quite a lot. The first book to seriously measure the advantages of beauty, Beauty Pays demonstrates how society favors the beautiful and how better-looking people experience startling but undeniable benefits in all aspects of life. Noted economist Daniel Hamermesh shows that the attractive are more likely to be employed, work more productively and profitably, receive more substantial pay, obtain loan approvals, negotiate loans with better terms, and have more handsome and highly educated spouses. Hamermesh explains why this happens and what it means for the beautiful--and the not-so-beautiful--among us.
Exploring whether a universal beauty standard exists, Hamermesh illustrates how attractive workers make more money, how these amounts differ by gender, and how looks are valued differently based on profession. The author wonders whether extra pay for good-looking people represents discrimination, and, if so, who is discriminating. He investigates the commodification of beauty in dating and how this influences the search for intelligent or high-earning mates, and even considers whether government programs should aid the ugly. Hamermesh also discusses whether the economic benefits of beauty will persist into the foreseeable future and what the "looks-challenged" can do to overcome their disadvantage.
Reflecting on a sensitive issue that touches everyone, Beauty Pays proves that beauty's rewards are anything but superficial.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] ALL THESE VOWS
KOL NIDRE
Edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD
August 2011, Jewish Lights
People who attend no other services go out of their way to be present on Yom Kippur eve just to hear Kol Nidre chanted. Yet the prayer is in medieval Aramaic, which no one understands, and may not even have a translation supplied, since the prayer's content defies moral logic. Kol Nidre is a blanket request that God hold us guiltless for vows we make and do not honor! Judaism demands, however, just the reverse. We must honor promises we make. How then did this prayer come into being? Why was it retained? How did it attract the most haunting chant in all of Jewish tradition? All These Vows--Kol Nidre examines the prayer's theology, authorship and history through a set of lively essays, all written in accessible language by over thirty contributors who span three continents and all major Jewish denominations. They are men and women, scholars and rabbis, artists and poets. Introductory essays trace the actual history of the prayer and attempts through the ages to emend it, downplay it and even do away with it--all in vain. Kol Nidre remains despite them all, an annual liturgical highlight that is regularly attended even by Jews who disbelieve everything the prayer says.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture
Edited by Judith R. Baskin
August 2011. hmm.. I guess Cambridge Univ Press
The Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish History, Religion, and Culture is an authoritative and accessible reference work for a twenty-first-century audience. Its entries, written by eminent scholars, define the spiritual and intellectual concepts and religious movements that distinguish Judaism and the Jewish experience; they discuss central personalities and places, formative events, and enduring literary and cultural contributions, and they illuminate the lives of ordinary Jewish men and women. Essays explore Jewish history from ancient times to the present and consider all aspects of Judaism, including religious practices and rituals, legal teachings and legendary traditions, and rationalism, mysticism, and messianism. This reference work differs from many others in its broad exploration of the Jewish experience beyond Judaism. Entries discuss secular and political movements and achievements and delineate Jewish endeavors in literature, art, music, theater, dance, film, broadcasting, sports, science, medicine, and ecology, among many other topics from the Bible to the Internet.









[book] SWEET LIKE SUGAR
a novel
By Wayne Hoffman
August 2011. Kensington paperback
In Yiddish, there is a word for it: bashert - the person you are fated to meet. Twenty something Benji Steiner views the concept with skepticism. But the elderly rabbi who stumbles into Benji's office one day has no such doubts. Jacob Zuckerman's late wife, Sophie, was his bashert. And now that she's gone, Rabbi Zuckerman grapples with overwhelming grief and loneliness. Touched by the rabbi's plight, Benji becomes his helper - driving him home after work, sitting in his living room listening to stories. Their friendship baffles everyone, especially Benji's sharp-tongued, modestly observant mother. But Benji is rediscovering something he didn't know he'd lost. Yet the test of friendship, and of both men's faith, lies in the difficult truths they come to share. With each revelation, Benji learns what it means not just to be Jewish, but to be fully human - imperfect, striving, and searching for the pieces of ourselves that come only through another's acceptance
Includes a great list of questions in the back for Reading Groups to ponder








[book] The Mitzvah Project Book
Making Mitzvah Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah
and Your Life
By Liz Suneby and Diane Heiman
August 2011 Jewish Lights
More and more families, teens and pre-teens are searching for meaningful and fun mitzvah projects as a growing number of synagogues embrace Bar/Bat Mitzvah service projects and Mitzvah Day. This inspiring book is packed with ideas to help boys and girls connect something they love to a mitzvah project or tikkun olam initiative they can be passionate about. It is filled with information, ideas and activities to spark young imaginations, as well as a planning guide to get organized and off to a good start.
To further inspire their actions, kids will love reading stories from young people around the country who have completed rewarding projects in the following categories:
Creativity and Compassion -- Arts & Crafts * Clothes & Fashion * Computers & Technology * Food & Cooking * Movies & Drama * Reading & Writing Putting Mitzvot in Motion--Animals * Camp * Fitness * Health * Music & Dance * Sports Your World, Our World--Environment * Family * Friends, Neighbors & Your Community * Global Community * Israel * Your Jewish Heritage
Liz Suneby and Diane Heiman are co-authors of the Children's Choice Award winner See What You Can Be: Explore Careers That Could Be for You! Preface and Forewords by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, author of the bestseller Putting God on the Guest List and Rabbi Sharon Brous







[book] AROUND THE WORLD IN ONE SHABBAT
Jewish People Celebrate the Sabbath Together
BY Durga Yael Bernhard
2011 Jewish Lights
* Beginning in an old Jerusalem market Friday morning, shopping for foods to make Shabbat meals special
* Lighting Shabbat candles with a family in Turkey
* Singing zemirot with relatives at Shabbat dinner in Russia
* Making Kiddush as a congregation in the United States
* Parading the Torah scrolls at Shabbat morning services in a synagogue in Germany
From Israel to Thailand, from Australia to Canada, and from Ethiopia to Argentina, you and your children are invited to share the diverse Sabbath traditions that come alive in Jewish homes and synagogues around the world each week--and celebrate life with Jewish people everywhere.







[book] Discovering Jewish Meditation
Instruction & Guidance for Learning an Ancient Spiritual Practice
By Nan Fink Gefen
August 2011 Jewish Lights
From Publishers Weekly: Gefen, cofounder of Tikkun magazine and codirector of Chochmat HaLev, a Jewish meditation center in Berkeley, Calif., declares that although we may think that meditation belongs to the Buddhists, it is authentically Jewish. Indeed, Gefen finds references to meditation in Genesis (when Jacob spent time alone before his reconciliation with Esau, for example) and the Psalms. By the Middle Ages, Jewish mediation had "gone underground," though it was practiced by some Kabbalists and later claimed by the Hasidim. But readers don't need to become black-hatted mystics to take advantage of the tradition: this book encourages Jews of all persuasions to give meditation a shot. Gefen maintains a strict view of what is, and is not, meditation. In prayer, the goal is to communicate directly with God, whereas meditation attempts "to move into a spiritually open state, and then we experience whatever is there. This may include directly sensing God's presence. Or, it may not." Gefen teaches 13 basic meditations, from the Hineni meditation to a thankfulness meditation. This book is a worthwhile addition to the Jewish library, but it will never replace Aryeh Kaplan's Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide (reprinted in 1995) as the essential reading on the subject







[book] The Persistence of the Color Line
Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency
By Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School
August 2011. Pantheon
Timely—as the 2012 presidential election nears—and controversial, here is the first book by a major African-American public intellectual on racial politics and the Obama presidency.
Renowned for his cool reason vis-à-vis the pitfalls and clichés of racial discourse, Randall Kennedy—Harvard professor of law and author of the New York Times best seller Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word—gives us a keen and shrewd analysis of the complex relationship between the first black president and his African-American constituency. Kennedy tackles such hot-button issues as the nature of racial opposition to Obama, whether Obama has a singular responsibility to African Americans, electoral politics and cultural chauvinism, black patriotism, the differences in Obama’s presentation of himself to blacks and to whites, the challenges posed by the dream of a postracial society, and the far-from-simple symbolism of Obama as a leader of the Joshua generation in a country that has elected only three black senators and two black governors in its entire history.
Eschewing the critical excesses of both the left and the right, Kennedy offers a gimlet-eyed view of Obama’s triumphs and travails, his strengths and weaknesses, as they pertain to the troubled history of race in America










[book] God, No!
Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales
By Penn Jillette
August 2011 Simon & Schuster, the heathen publishers
Not only can the man rant, he can write.
From the larger, louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of The Ten Commandments. They are The Penn Commandments, and they reveal one outrageous and opinionated atheist's experience in the world. In this rollicking yet honest account of a godless existence, Penn takes readers on a roller coaster of exploration and flips conventional religious wisdom on its ear to reveal that doubt, skepticism, and wonder -- all signs of a general feeling of disbelief -- are to be celebrated and cherished, rather than suppressed. And he tells some pretty damn funny stories along the way. From performing blockbuster shows on the Vegas Strip to the adventures of fatherhood, from an on-going dialogue with proselytizers of the Christian Right to the joys of sex while scuba diving, Jillette's self-created Decalogue invites his reader on a journey of discovery that is equal parts wise and wisecracking.

How Dare This be on a Jewish Book site?
Well, Mr. Jillette discusses his wife and children in the book. He met his wife, Emily ZOlten, after a performance, when she walked up to him and wanted to discuss… Richard Dawkins, the author of books on god as a hoax and Atheism. She is Jewish, or as he says, she is a non believer in God whose forebears happened to be of the Jewish faith. Jillette says his kids (Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette and Zolten Penn Jillette) are being raised atheist and that their culture is “Vegas” (and even that is too much tribalism for him.
I wonder that is why, when he has Atheist Baptism parties at his Vegas house, there is lots of bacon eating.





Speaking of Vegas…
[book] The Gift of Rest
Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath
By Senator Joe Lieberman and David Klinghoffer
August 2011 Howard Books
From the man who had three bris’s and then man who ran for VP in the USA comes a book on the Sabbath
The Sabbath is a gift that Senator Joe Lieberman, as an observant Jew, received from his parents who, in turn, received it from their parents, who received it from generations of Jews before them. According to ancient tradition, the line of transmission extends back to Moses at Mt. Sinai, who received the Sabbath as the fourth of the Ten Commandments. In this book, Lieberman will offer the gift of Sabbath observance—a gift that has anchored, ordered, and inspired his life—to readers of all faiths.
In the past century, the Sabbath has fallen on hard times. Few cities have blue laws which prohibit retail shopping on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is thought of as just another day or as a time to squeeze in some extra errands or recreation that you may have missed during the workweek.
The weekend passes in a blur of often meaningless activity. Combining personal and political memoir with history and broadly informed religious reflection, this book is a practical how-to guide, with simple suggestions for introducing the Sabbath into your own life. It will be a very personal book, yet also one animated by reflections on history and larger social trends. It will also include profound reflections of both classical and modern Jewish sages, from the Talmud and the ancient Jewish prayer book, the Siddur, to Maimonides, to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik.
“This charming, personal, and informative book by the popular Senator Joe Lieberman ‘is my love song to the Shabbat,’ the Jewish Sabbath, and what it can mean for non-Jews as well. This discovery and rediscovery of the Shabbat offers an intimate glimpse into the mind and heart of a decent and thoughtful person, written in non-technical prose, and which cannot fail to inspire a sensitive reader. Read it and cherish it. It will add a new dimension to your life.” —Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, Chancellor of Yeshiva University, Rosh Hayeshiva (Head) of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
“Senator Lieberman’s The Gift of Rest is itself a gift of faith. In these few pages, Senator Lieberman reminds us that the God-given day of rest—whether we call it Sabbath or Sunday—should be honored by all believers. As Pope John Paul II taught: we cannot work with God all week, if we do not rest with God on His Sabbath! Senator Lieberman’s reflections help each of us to remember just how to rest in God’s presence on His day.” —Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York
“What a beautiful book about a beautiful concept—a day of rest as a gift to humanity. Senator Lieberman’s account of the Sabbath brought back fond memories of my own past while inspiring me to try to return to the values embodied in the Sabbath.” —Attorney Alan Dershowitz






[book] In the Narrow Places
Daily Inspiration for the Three Weeks
By Dr. Erica Brown
Summer 2011 Maggid OU Press
Dr. Erica Brown is one of the foremost Jewish educators of our time. In her latest book, In the Narrow Places, she brings her extraordinary teaching skills to the subject of the Three Weeks, the period of mourning commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples. For each day of the Three Weeks, she presents a short, inspirational essay based on biblical texts followed by a kavana, a spiritual focus that involves reflection, imagination or action to transform these somber days of remembrance into a period of introspection and spiritual growth. Alongside the traditional prophecies of doom and consolation traditionally read during the Three Weeks, In the Narrow Places offers a new process for rebuilding and a re-affirmation of hope.
Dr. Brown is a writer and educator who lectures widely on subjects of Jewish interest. She is scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, DC and a consultant to other Jewish organizations. Dr. Brown is the author of Confronting Scandal, Spiritual Boredom and Inspired Jewish Leadership and co-author of The Case for Jewish Peoplehood. Her Weekly Jewish Wisdom column has appeared regularly in The Washington Post. She lives with her husband and four children in Silver Spring, MD.
Cantor Jonathan Friedmann wrote: “Following [a] detailed introduction are 23 chapters comprised of daily reflections to be read from the 17th of Tammuz to the day following Tisha B’Av. These concise essays — three to six pages each — are a seamless blend of text study, theology, history, and introspection, all packaged as a guidebook for enriching our involvement in this period. To illustrate how these chapters work, it will suffice to look at one representative example: the meditation for the Third of Av, “Personifying Tragedy” (pp. 93-95). In it, Brown explores the personification of Jerusalem in the Book of Lamentations, which shows the city as a “grieving mother crying over her lost children” (p. 93). Other images in Lamentations similarly take a female form: the wretched daughter of Zion, the maidens taken into captivity, a nursing mother who cannot produce milk, and so on. According to Brown, such depictions provide an entry point to a deeper, more personal experience of this distant loss: “A destroyed Jerusalem as a mourning mother is an image we may all sadly recognize. . . . On these days when our national history speaks to us in its most melancholy voice, it asks us to stretch the imagination and make what is animate, still, and what is not living, weep” (95). In the Narrow Places has much to recommend it. It is at the same time historically grounded and creative, analytical and impassioned, informative and inspirational, somber and hopeful, small in scope and rich in content. Readers will not only come away with a better understanding of the Three Weeks, but also with a sense of gratitude that Brown has applied her considerable talents to demystifying this important, though oft-neglected, topic.”






NEXT ON THE LIST… See how many pronouns your rabbi uses in his/her holiday sermon
[book] The Secret Life of Pronouns
What Our Words Say About Us
By James W. Pennebaker
University of Texas – Austin
August 2011 Bloomsbury Press
In reviewing this book for The New York Times Book Review, Ben Zimmer of Vocabulary.com showed how pundits love to point out how many times President Obama uses the word “I” or “Me.” Of course, they fail to mention how this compares to other recent Presidents. Compared to others, Obama uses the word “I” the least, yet he is neither insecure nor humble. He is quite self confident
We spend our lives communicating. In the last fifty years, we've zoomed through radically different forms of communication, from typewriters to tablet computers, text messages to tweets. We generate more and more words with each passing day. Hiding in that deluge of language are amazing insights into who we are, how we think, and what we feel.
In The Secret Life of Pronouns, social psychologist and language expert James W. Pennebaker uses his groundbreaking research in computational linguistics-in essence, counting the frequency of words we use-to show that our language carries secrets about our feelings, our self-concept, and our social intelligence. Our most forgettable words, such as pronouns and prepositions, can be the most revealing: their patterns are as distinctive as fingerprints.
Using innovative analytic techniques, Pennebaker X-rays everything from Craigslist advertisements to the Federalist Papers-or your own writing, in quizzes you can take yourself-to yield unexpected insights. Who would have predicted that the high school student who uses too many verbs in her college admissions essay is likely to make lower grades in college? Or that a world leader's use of pronouns could reliably presage whether he led his country into war? You'll learn why it's bad when politicians use "we" instead of "I," what Lady Gaga and William Butler Yeats have in common, and how Ebenezer Scrooge's syntax hints at his self-deception and repressed emotion. Barack Obama, Sylvia Plath, and King Lear are among the figures who make cameo appearances in this sprightly, surprising tour of what our words are saying-whether we mean them to or not.







Speaking of Language…Now in Paperback:
[book] Through the Language Glass
Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages
By Guy Deutscher, Cambridge
August 2011 Picador paperback
A New York Times Editor’s Choice
An Economist Best Book of 2010
A Financial Times Best Book of 2010
A Library Journal Best Book of 2010
The debate is ages old: Where does language come from? Is it an artifact of our culture or written in our very DNA? In recent years, the leading linguists have seemingly settled the issue: all languages are fundamentally the same and the particular language we speak does not shape our thinking in any significant way.
Guy Deutscher says THEY ARE WRONG.
From Homer to Darwin, from Yale to the Amazon, and through a strange and dazzling history of the color blue, Deutscher argues that our mother tongues do indeed shape our experiences of the world.
Audacious, delightful, and provocative, Through the Language Glass is destined to become a classic of intellectual discovery.
The book opens, “"There are four tongues worthy of the world's use," says the Talmud: "Greek for song, Latin for war, Syriac for lamentation, and Hebrew for ordinary speech." Other authorities have been no less decided in their judgment on what different languages are good for. The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, king of Spain, archduke of Austria, and master of several Europe an tongues, professed to speaking "Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse."” Thus there are opinions about languages and their uses.

Think of the word for neck in English and in Hebrew. If you say your neck hurts in English, people think of your whole neck. But in Hebrew, there are separate words for front of the neck and back of the neck. So already, perceptions are different due to language.
As an aside, Guy was asked how languages he speaks. It is not an easy question to answer. What does one mean by speaking a language. If you mean more than just ordering a coffee, then the modern languages he could speak at one time or other would add up to eight (but only four or five at any given time, as those I haven't used for a few years quickly rust). If you mean passing as a native, then none. His English doesn't sound native, and when he goes back to Israel, where he grew up, people ask him where he is from and claim he has a foreign accent in Hebrew, his mother tongue. He also knows Akkadian, the language of ancient Babylon and Assyria. But no one speaks it anymore, not for 1000 years. So there isn't much opportunity to practice small talk. Guy says he loves the sounds of spoken Norwegian, because it has such a beautiful intonation, and the poetry he loves most is in German. But if he had to give an overall favorite, then it would probably be Sumerian, where one word can express a whole sentence. He sometimes feels that every Sumerian speaker had to be a mathematics genius in order to produce those extremely complex sentence constructions. But it's precisely this strangeness, together with their amazing culture, which makes Sumerian so attractive.







[book] THE LEFTOVERS
A Novel
By Tom Perrotta
August 2011 St Martin’s
What if — whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished? The Jews, gays, Muslims, Hindus, and others are all taken to Heaven.
Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down? That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.
Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin’s own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne. Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.
With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta has written a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.











What might take all Jews off to Heaven is Heart Disease… and so:
[book] Wheat Belly
Lose the Wheat,
Lose the Weight,
and Find Your Path Back to Health
By William Davis MD
August 2011 Rodale Press
A renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems. Every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, over 100 million of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges that preventive cardiologist William Davis calls “wheat bellies.” According to Davis, that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter: It’s due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.
After witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat, Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic — and its elimination is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health. In Wheat Belly, Davis exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as “wheat”—and provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle.
Informed by cutting-edge science and nutrition, along with case studies from men and women who have experienced life-changing transformations in their health after waving goodbye to wheat, Wheat Belly is an illuminating look at what is truly making Americans sick and an action plan to clear our plates of this seemingly benign ingredient.
William Davis, MD, is a preventive cardiologist whose unique approach to diet allows him to advocate reversal, not just prevention, of heart disease. He is the founder of the TrackYourPlaque.com program. He lives in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and he is the father of tennis pro, Lauren Davis.











SEPTEMBER 2011 BOOKS

[book] Milk and Honey
A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry
Julie R. Enszer
September 2011. Paperback
In this land of Milk & Honey, poems flow.
Contemporary, Jewish, lesbian poets address an array of experiences relationships between and among women, family relationships, politics, solitude, ethical responsibilities, history, solidarity, and community.
Milk & Honey features poets like Ellen Bass, Robin Becker, Elana Dykewomon, Marilyn Hacker, Sharron Hass, Eleanor Lerman, Joan Nestle, Leslea Newman and Ellen Orleans, as well as new and emerging voices. With language and imagery that moves from the sensual and political to the tender and serene, Milk & Honey explores the vibrant, complicated, exhilarating experience of being Jewish and lesbian (or queer) in the world today.









[book] In My Time
A Personal and Political Memoir
By Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney
Summer 2011
A memoir by Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States in George W. Bush, I mean over, not under.

Of interest to our readers: Cheney urged former President George W. Bush to bomb Syria. Cheney advised Bush to bomb a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site in June 2008. Cheney’s advice was dismissed in favor of a diplomatic approach favored by other advisers. “I again made the case for U.S. military action against the reactor,” Mr. Cheney writes in the book, reported the Times. “But I was a lone voice. After I finished, the president asked, ‘Does anyone here agree with the vice president?’ Not a single hand went up around the room.” The Israeli Air Force eventually bombed the site in September 2008 after failed White House diplomatic attempts to get Syrian’s to abandon the secret project.












[book] Boxer, Beetle
A Novel
By Ned Beauman
September 2011. Bloomsbury USA
Kevin "Fishy" Broom has his nickname for a reason-a rare genetic condition that makes his sweat and other bodily excretions smell markedly like rotting fish. Consequently, he rarely ventures out of the London apartment where he deals online in Nazi memorabilia. But when Fishy stumbles upon a crime scene, he finds himself on the long-cold trail of a pair of small-time players in interwar British history. First, there's Philip Erskine, a fascist gentleman entomologist who dreams of breeding an indomitable beetle as tribute to Reich Chancellor Hitler's glory, all the while aspiring to arguably more sinister projects in human eugenics. And then there's Seth "Sinner" Roach, a homosexual Jewish boxer, nine-toed, runtish, brutish-but perfect in his way-who becomes an object of obsession for Erskine, professionally and most decidedly otherwise. What became of the boxer? What became of the beetle? And what will become of anyone who dares to unearth the answers?









[book] THE MIRADOR
Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky by her Daughter
By Elisabeth Gille (1937-1996)
Translated by Marina Harss
September 2011. NY Review Books
When Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française was first published, the world discovered a new great writer. Even in France, however, Némirovsky had been more or less forgotten for years, until her youngest daughter Élisabeth Gille, only five years old when her mother died in Auschwitz, wrote a book to bring her back to life. In 1992 Gille published this fictionalized autobiography of her mother, who had led a sparkling life in Paris as one of the most successful and prolific European 1930s writers before being arrested as a Jew and led to her death in 1942.
In the first section of the book, Irène looks back from 1929, the year of her first triumph with David Golder, to her privileged upbringing in Kiev and Saint Petersburg, the precocious only child of a warm, generous father and a vicious, preening, and distant mother. The family escapes Revolutionary Russia to arrive in France, a country of “moderation, freedom, and generosity” that Irène will embrace as her own. In the book’s second half, the writer, her husband and two children have fled Paris for a small town in Burgundy, where they must wear the yellow Star of David, come to some accommodation with the occupying German troops, and plead in vain with Irène’s illustrious fair-weather champions to intercede on the family’s behalf. She now sees her earlier self as vain and credulous, blinded by her success to the horribly changing political situation, but it is too late. As fully and deeply imagined as Irène Némirovsky’s novels, Gille’s mémoires rêvées will also prove indispensable to devotees of the nearly forgotten author for the new light it sheds on her.









NOW IN PAPERBACK.
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD
[book] When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone
The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry
Gal Beckerman
September 2011. Paperback version Mariner
When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone is the astonishing and inspiring story of their rescue. Journalist Gal Beckerman draws on newly released Soviet government documents as well as hundreds of oral interviews with refuseniks, activists, Zionist "hooligans," and Congressional staffers. He shows not only how the movement led to a mass exodus in 1989, but also how it shaped the American Jewish community, giving it a renewed sense of spiritual purpose and teaching it to flex its political muscle. He also makes a convincing case that the movement put human rights at the center of American foreign policy for the very first time, helping to end the Cold War. In cinematic detail, the book introduces us to all the major players, from the flamboyant Meir Kahane, head of the paramilitary Jewish Defense League, to Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky, who labored in a Siberian prison camp for over a decade, to Lynn Singer, the small, fiery Long Island housewife who went from organizing local rallies to strong-arming Soviet diplomats. This multi-generational saga, filled with suspense and packed with revelations, provides an essential missing piece of Cold War and Jewish history.









[book] Proverbs
Annotated and Explained
By Rabbi Rami Shapiro (
September 2011 Jewish Lights
More than commonplace truisms, the Book of Proverbs is an anthology of teachings designed to help you live with a sense of self-responsibility. Its wisdom, compiled in the seventh century BCE and credited to King Solomon, transcends nationality and politics, addressing instead the individual seeking the true satisfaction and tranquility that comes from living with an honest perception of reality. In this fresh translation of an ancient "how-to," Rami Shapiro unpacks the proverbs, demonstrating how these complex poetic forms are actually straightforward instructions to live simply, without rationalizations and excuses. He shows how unlike almost anything else in the Hebrew Bible, the truths claimed in the Book of Proverbs are testable and verifiable. They force us to examine our lives and how we are living them without the benefit of psychological sophistry and New Age babble: We are either doing good or doing bad; we are either disciplined or lazy; we are either students of wisdom or puppets of desire.
Now you can experience the Book of Proverbs and understand Solomon's teachings with no previous knowledge of the Hebrew Bible. This SkyLight Illuminations edition presents insightful commentary that shares the ancient king's timeless principles and encourages us to put them into practice in ways that are uniquely our own.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions. He is author of the award-winning The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice; The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature: Selections Annotated & Explained; and Ecclesiastes: Annotated & Explained









[book] THROUGH SOVIET JEWISH EYES
Photography, War, and the Holocaust
By David Shneer
Rutgers University Press
Most view the relationship of Jews to the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Focusing on an elite group of two dozen Soviet-Jewish photographers, including Arkady Shaykhet, Alexander Grinberg, Mark Markov-Grinberg, Evgenii Khaldei, Dmitrii Baltermants, and Max Alpert, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes presents a different picture. These artists participated in a social project they believed in and with which they were emotionally and intellectually invested-they were charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story of the unprecedented horror we now call the Holocaust. These wartime photographers were the first liberators to bear witness with cameras to Nazi atrocities, three years before Americans arrived at Buchenwald and Dachau. In this passionate work, David Shneer tells their stories and highlights their work through their very own images-he has amassed never-before-published photographs from families, collectors, and private archives. Through Soviet Jewish Eyes helps us understand why so many Jews flocked to Soviet photography; what their lives and work looked like during the rise of Stalinism, during and then after the war; and why Jews were the ones charged with documenting the Soviet experiment and then its near destruction at the hands of the Nazis.








[book] Yiddishkeit
Jewish Vernacular and the New Land
Edited by Paul Buhle and the estate of Harvey Pekar
with David Lasky, too
September 2011. Abrams (ComicArts division)
Yiddish is everywhere. We hear words like nosh, schlep, and schmutz all the time, but how did these words come to pepper American English? In Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land, Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle trace the influence of Yiddish from medieval Europe to the tenements of New York’s Lower East Side. This comics anthology contains original stories by notable writers and artists such as Barry Deutsch, Peter Kuper, Spain Rodriguez, and Sharon Rudahl. Through illustrations, comics art, and a full-length play, four major themes are explored: culture, performance, assimilation, and the revival of the language. The last fully realized work by Harvey Pekar, this book is a thoughtful compilation that reveals the far-reaching influences of Yiddish.








[book] LUCKY BRUCE
A Memoir
Bruce Jay Friedman
September 2011. Biblioasis
For decades Bruce Jay Friedman has charmed the glitziest industries of American golden-age culture. He’s been in publishing. He’s been in theater. He’s been in film. And now, this best-selling author is in his own head, re-illuminating the dazzle of post-war American life. With cameos by Mario Puzo, Richard Pryor, Warren Beatty, Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller, and many others, Lucky Bruce is a moving and scandalous memoir that brushes against the brightest of American luminaries. Friedman published his first novel Stern in 1962 and established himself as a writer and playwright, most famously known for his off-Broadway hit Steambath (1973) (TV) and his 1978 novel The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life. In addition to short stories and plays, Friedman has also published another seven novels, and has written numerous screenplays, including the Oscar-nominated Splash (1984).







[book] THE BIG DREAM
By Rebecca Rosenblub
September 2011. Biblioasis
At Dream Inc., a lifestyle magazine publisher, people are struggling not only to do their jobs—or even to keep them—but to fall in love and stay that way, to have friends, to be good parents and good children, to eat lunch and answer the phone and be happy. Which can be pretty interesting . . . even on company time. In The Big Dream, acclaimed short story writer Rebecca Rosenblum offers a suite of linked stories exploring the working world in all its dark and humorous complexity, creating an In Our Time for our time. Rebecca Rosenblum's debut collection Once drew comparison to Alice Munro's Dance of the Happy Shades" (Quill & Quire). She works in publishing in Toronto, Ontario.








[book] WHAT THEY SAVED
Pieces of a Jewish Past
BY NANCY K. MILLER
September 2011. University of NEBRASKA Press
After her father’s death, Nancy K. Miller discovered a minuscule family archive: a handful of photographs, an unexplained land deed, a postcard from Argentina, unidentified locks of hair. These items had been passed down again and again, but what did they mean? Miller follows their traces from one distant relative to another, across the country, and across an ocean. Her story, unlike the many family memoirs focused on the Holocaust, takes us back earlier in history to the world of pogroms and mass emigrations at the turn of the twentieth century. Searching for roots as a middle-aged orphan and an assimilated Jewish New Yorker, Miller finds herself asking unexpected questions: Why do I know so little about my family? How can I understand myself when I don’t know my past? The answers lead her to a carpenter in the Ukraine, a stationery peddler on the Lower East Side, and a gangster hanger-on in the Bronx. As a third-generation descendant of Eastern European Jews, Miller learns that the hidden lives of her ancestors reveal as much about the present as they do about the past. In the end, an odyssey to uncover the origins of her lost family becomes a memoir of renewal.
Click the cover to read more or to purchase the book on Amazon









[book] The Sabbath Soul
Mystical Reflections on the Transformative Power of Holy Time
By Eitan Fishbane Ph.d
September 2011 Jewish Lights
Explore the spiritual texture of Shabbat and its meaning for our lives today through the writings of mystical masters from the history of Hasidism. Drawing from the origins of the movement in late eighteenth-century Poland to late twentieth-century Jerusalem, Eitan Fishbane evokes the movement of the Sabbath experience--advancing from candle lighting and the donning of white clothing to the Friday night Kiddush and the act of sacred eating. Fishbane also translates and interprets sources that reflect the spiritual transformation that takes place for the mystic on the seventh day--one in which the person undergoes a radical shift in awareness, a journey into the realm that is all soul. Fishbane offers original translations from a wide landscape of Hebrew Hasidic sources and extended commentary to help you enrich your experience of the Sabbath. He also includes passages from the personal prayers of the Breslov (Bratzlav) Hasidic tradition, special writings that express the spiritual dimension of Shabbat in the language of devotional and individual yearning.
Eitan Fishbane, PhD, a frequent scholar-in-residence and guest speaker at congregations across North America, is assistant professor of Jewish thought at The Jewish Theological Seminary; author of As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist; and co-editor of Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections








[book] What's the Buzz?
Honey for a Sweet New Year
By Allison Ofanansky
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 4 – 8
Visit a bee farm and follow the bees as they carry kisses from flower to flower and return to their hives with their tummies full of nectar. Along the way, the honey is processed and used for apple dipping on Rosh Hashanah. Allison lives in Kaditah Israel near Safed.
Note. Young children who fear bees might be put off by the pictures of smarmy sweaty swarming bees









[book] JOSEPH AND THE SABBATH FISH
BY ERIC A.KIMMEL and MARTINA PELUSA
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 4 – 8
Joseph always welcomes guests to his Sabbath table. His neighbor scoffs at this. Even as Joseph gets poorer, he remains generous, his door remains open. And then his neighbors comes for help. Can a special fish help Joseph save the day? .














[book] Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap
By Deborah Bodin Cohen and Shahar Kober
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 4 – 8
Hurrying home to celebrate Hanukkah, Engineer Ari screeches his train to a halt to avoid hitting a camel sitting on the tracks. Ari gets invited to a Bedouin tent where Ari and his host have an unplanned Hanukkah celebration, and become friends as they wait for help.










[book] Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles
By Tami Lehman-Wilzig, Nicole Katzman, and Jeremy Tugeau
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 4 – 8
Jacob loves loves his brother, Nathan. His brother has autism. Jacob worries that Nathan is going to embarrass him at Hanukkah in front his Jacob;s new friend. But what happens when Nathan blows OUT the Hanukkah candles as if they are brithday candles?














[book] GREEN BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN
By Tami Lehman-Wilzig
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 8 - 11
Beginning with the story of creation, the Bible teaches to respect the land and the environment, conserve, and save energy. Here are the stories of Noah, Abraham, Joshua and others retold from a green perspective.
Includes activities that will help young readers understand how to nurture and protect the environment.















[book] Sadie's Sukkah Breakfast
for Sukkot & Simchat Torah
By Jamie S. Korngold
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 2 - 6
Rabbi Korngold is a rabbi and the founder and executive director of the Adventure Rabbi Program, based in Boulder, Colorado. She is nationally recognized for her innovative work combining religion and nature, as well as for her cutting-edge use of technology. Rabbi Korngold is an athlete and a scholar. She completed the Leadville Trail 100, a hundred-mile running race, in less than thirty hours and was ranked fourth in the nation for telemark mogul skiing.
Waking up early in the morning on Sukkot, Sadie or Ori decide to serve breakfast in the Sukkah hut. The table is set. The food is ready. But a sukkah needs guests. No one else is awake. So who should they invite?










[book] TALIA AND THE RUDE VEGETABLES
BY LINDA ELOVITZ MARSHALL and FRANCESCA ASSIRELLI
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 3 – 8 Pre-K to Grade 2
How can a vegetable be rude? Talia wonders, when she incorrectly hears her grandmother asking her to gather ROOT VEGETABLES for a Rosh Hashanah stew. As Talia digs in the garden, she collects the twisted ones that look angry and rude: ornery onions, garish garlic, peculiarly petulant parsnips, rude-abagas, crooked carrots and more. These must be the RUDE ones. Linda, a Barnard alum, has four children and a flock of sheep and many bunny rabbits in upstate NY










[book] THE SHABBAT PRINCESS
BY AMY MELTZER AND MARTHA AVILES
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 3 – 8 PreK – Grade 2
Rosie likes queens
But she loves princesses
She asks her parents to invite the Sabbath queen, or Shabbat princess, to their dinner table one Friday night. As the family preps for Shabbat, they are reminded how beauty gets added to their Shabbat mitzvot. Meltzer blogs on HomeShuling on Beliefnet.org










Maybe he is Jewish??
[book] Domo in the World
A Board Book
By Kate T. Williamson and Iain Browne
September 2011. Abrams
32 Pages
He looks like a meat loaf with legs
Domo is the funny, square-ish, brown creature that began life as a mascot for a Japanese TV network, but who has blown up into a beloved international phenomenon. His fuzzy, grinning mug has appeared everywhere from plush toys to figurines, T-shirts to key-chains, as well as on more than one million fansites and on his official Facebook page, where he has made over 230,000 friends. But Domo has never had his own book . . . until now. Featuring original photography and haiku, Domo in the World shows our plush hero making his way through the world, whether flying a kite (or is the kite flying him?), wooing a pillow that looks suspiciously familiar, or eating anything in sight. At last, there’s a witty and quirky love letter to the inimitable little guy who’s dug by fans of all ages around the globe..








[book] THE ARROGANT YEARS
One Girl's Search for Her Lost Youth,
from Cairo to Brooklyn
By Lucette Lagnado
September 2011.
Lucette Lagnado is the author of THE MAN IN THE WHITE SHARKSKIN SUIT and the coauthor of Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz.
The author of the award-winning The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit—hailed by the New York Times book review as a “crushing, brilliant book”—returns with this, the extraordinary follow-up memoir
In The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, Lucette Lagnado offered a heartbreaking portrait of her father, Leon, a successful Cairo boulevardier who was forced to take flight with his family during the rise of the Nasser dictatorship, and of her family’s struggle to rebuild a new life in a new land.
In this much-anticipated new memoir, Lagnado tells the story of her mother, Edith, coming of age in a magical old Cairo of dusty alleyways and grand villas inhabited by pashas and their wives. Then Lagnado revisits her own early years in America—first, as a schoolgirl in Brooklyn’s immigrant enclaves, where she dreams of becoming the fearless Mrs. Emma Peel of The Avengers, and later, as an “avenging” reporter for some of America’s most prestigious newspapers. A stranger growing up in a strange land, when she turns sixteen Lagnado’s adolescence is further complicated by cancer. Its devastating consequences would rob her of her “arrogant years”—the years defined by an overwhelming sense of possibility, invincibility, and confidence. Lagnado looks to the women sequestered behind the wooden screen at her childhood synagogue, to the young coeds at Vassar and Columbia in the 1970s, to her own mother and the women of their past in Cairo, and reflects on their stories as she struggles to make sense of her own choices.












[book] Happy Accidents
A memoir
By Jane Lynch, Foreword by Carol Burnett
September 13, 2011 Hyperion
Not Jewish, but an interesting read
Lynch is famous for her work with ensemble comedies, Christopher Guest films (Best in Show) Second City Chicago, a recent marriage to a female physician/scientist, and GLEE. On GLEE she plays Sue Sylvester, the cheer-leading coach. The title is from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (where Malvolio thinks a fake love letter is for him) But the title, HAPPY ACCIDENTS, is ironic, since Lynch, an Irish Catholic from Dalton, IL, though a follower of horoscopes and rules, does not believe in accidents. She believes in preparation. As a teen, she wrote letters to casting agents in Hollywood. She wanted a role on the BRADY BUNCH. She got devastating rejections (one replied that we don't always get what we desire). After deciding to be an actress, she arrived in Chicago and sent out resumes for acting positions. (Did I mention that she dropped out of her first high school acting role during her Freshman year) The only role she got was with Second City, an improv group. Something she never desired, but ended up thriving at. She ran into Christopher Guest at a coffee shop, and landed roles in his films from that chance meeting. She scored a role in Steve Carell's films through Steve's wife. She was only supposed to be a recurring role on GLEE since she was committed to another pilot; but when that pilot failed, she joined GLEE to great success. She has been sober 20 years, and now has a wife (NYT wedding announcement) and parents her partner's child. Carol Burnett wrote the foreword.
MAIN IDEA: Find out what you do best, and do your best at it








[book] Love and Capital
Karl and Jenny Marx
and the Birth of a Revolution
By Mary Gabriel
September 2011 Little Brown
768 pages
I was frightened by this book.... 768 pages.
But after 5 pages, I was hooked.
It flows so well and is very interesting. Brilliantly researched and wonderfully written, LOVE AND CAPITAL is a heartbreaking and dramatic saga of the family side of the man whose works would redefine the world after his death. Drawing upon years of research, acclaimed biographer Mary Gabriel brings to light the story of Karl and Jenny (Jenny Von Westphalen) (Pressburg) Marx's marriage. We follow them as Karl Marx leaves Trier as a teen for college (he was the hope of the family; his father Herschel has converted from Judaism to help his law practice), and as Karl has a drunken inebriated Freshman year at school. We follow Karl as he secretly gets engaged to Jenny (a Romantic who marries several stations below her economic and social standing), and we follow their roaming around Europe. They run from governments amidst an age of revolution and a secret network of would-be revolutionaries, and the reader sees Karl not only as an intellectual, but as a protective father and loving husband, a revolutionary, a jokester, a man of tremendous passions, both political and personal. We also see Karl as immature, reckless, and selfish. We see him have an affair with a maid and father a child with her. Only three daughters survive, and two of them, avowed Atheists and dreamers commit suicide. We follow an egalitarian unmarried noble Engels as he funds the family and their mission
In LOVE AND CAPITAL, Mary Gabriel has given us a vivid, resplendent, and truly human portrait of the Marx family members - their desires, heartbreak and devotion to each other's ideals.









[book] SIDE BY SIDE
PARALLEL HISTORIES OF ISRAEL-PALESTINE
BY SAMI ADWAN, DAN BAR-ON, EYAL NAVEH, AND P.R.I.M.E.
September 20, 2011 New Press
In 2000, a group of Israeli and Palestinian teachers gathered to address what to many people seemed an unbridgeable gulf between the two societies. Struck by how different the standard Israeli and Palestinian textbook histories of the same events were from one another, they began to explore how to “disarm” the teaching of the history of the Middle East in Israeli and Palestinian classrooms. The result is a riveting “dual narrative” of Israeli and Palestinian history. Side by Side comprises the history of two peoples, in separate narratives set literally side-by-side, so that readers can track each against the other, noting both where they differ as well as where they correspond. The unique and fascinating presentation has been translated into English and is now available to American audiences for the first time. An eye-opening—and inspiring—new approach to thinking about one of the world’s most deeply entrenched conflicts, Side by Side is a breakthrough book that will spark a new public discussion about the bridge to peace in the Middle East.










[book] THE BOOK OF LIFE
Stories
By Stuart Nadler
September 2011 Reagan
Stuart Nadler’s In the Book of Life follows Abe as he finds himself attracted to the daughter of his best friend, and business partner. Abe had seen little of the girl—woman now—over the years. When young, she’d been awkward, bucktoothed, clad in orthodontics from the day after her bat mitzvah until the day she graduated high school. Abe was glad to see she’d changed. Yet, he was not the sort of man to cheat on his wife. This was something he knew, unquestionably, deep in his heart. And if he ever was to turn into one of these men, he would not do it with the daughter of his best friend. A literary suspense tale of longing and manipulation, with plot twists worthy of O’Henry. Stuart Nadler is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop..









N O W I N P A P E R B A C K
[book] A SECRET KEPT
A NOVEL
BY TATIANA DE ROSNAY
Paperback release in September 2011, Griffin
From Booklist: Frenchman Antoine Rey wants to do something special for his sister Melanie on her fortieth birthday, so he surprises her with a weekend trip to Noirmoutier Island, where the two spent many idyllic childhood summers until their mother’s untimely death. While the weekend itself goes well, on the drive back home to Paris, Melanie is overpowered by a memory of her mother and drives off the road. She suffers extensive injuries, and as she heals in the hospital, Antoine obsesses over just what it was that his sister recalled. He is determined to find answers, but where and how? There are few surviving family members, and those remaining resist his unsettling queries. Meanwhile, distractions abound, as Antoine takes up with the sexy hospital mortician (who wears black and drives a Harley-Davidson, ooh la la). He and his ex-wife must also deal with their badly behaving son, who’s recently landed in jail. Internationally best-selling French novelist de Rosnay renders swift, lucid prose and steady suspense (even though one of the novel’s big secrets is revealed mid-tale). Expect demand among fans of both literary mystery and high-end romance








[book] Feed Me Bubbe
Recipes and Wisdom from America's Favorite Online Grandmother
Bubbe and Avrom Honig
September 2011 Running Press
Feed Me Bubbe is all about taking you into Bubbe's kitchen. Based upon the popular online and televised kosher cooking show seen all over the world this book includes all of Bubbe's classic recipes, insights, and stories that are sure to touch the heart. Her voice and wisdom come across each page through a format that makes cooking fun and comfortable for any skill level. Discover Bubbe's favorite Yiddish songs and create menus that will be sure to please any palate. This is a must purchase for any fan of Feed Me Bubbe and anyone interested in experiencing the feelings, memories, and tastes of being a part of Bubbe's kitchen. So pull up a chair, sit down, have some chicken soup, and as Bubbe says at the end of every episode "Ess gezunterhait!" Eat in good health.
Picture sitting around the dining room table while your Bubbe, your grandmother, is in the kitchen cooking your absolute favorite treat. Be it the smell of chicken soup with matzo balls, the sounds of the sizzling oil as latkes are being prepared. And the smile on her face as she would bring in that meal to the table for all to enjoy. Those memories, feelings, and moments are what the highlights of our childhood was made of. Bubbe wants you to feel that connection, revealing only need to know information, making you feel like Bubbe is adopting you into her family. This is not your typical book, yes it includes recipes but this book has a "Yiddish Word of the Day", stories, words of encouragement amongst other surprises that makes any human soul want to know more. We worked very hard to get the results that we knew the fans expected to see at the end of the day. In addition we wanted to make this book accessible to those that may not have seen the show online or on TV through JLTV in which the book is based upon. If you have not seen the show for yourself take a closer look at Bubbe's incredible world up close and personal through this book in what our fans affectionately know of as Feed Me Bubbe.








[book] How Judaism Became a Religion
An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought
BY Leora Batnitzky
September 2011 Princeton University Press
Is Judaism a religion, a culture, a nationality--or a mixture of all of these? In How Judaism Became a Religion, Leora Batnitzky boldly argues that this question more than any other has driven modern Jewish thought since the eighteenth century. This wide-ranging and lucid introduction tells the story of how Judaism came to be defined as a religion in the modern period--and why Jewish thinkers have fought as well as championed this idea.
Ever since the Enlightenment, Jewish thinkers have debated whether and how Judaism--largely a religion of practice and public adherence to law--can fit into a modern, Protestant conception of religion as an individual and private matter of belief or faith. Batnitzky makes the novel argument that it is this clash between the modern category of religion and Judaism that is responsible for much of the creative tension in modern Jewish thought. Tracing how the idea of Jewish religion has been defended and resisted from the eighteenth century to today, the book discusses many of the major Jewish thinkers of the past three centuries, including Moses Mendelssohn, Abraham Geiger, Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Zvi Yehuda Kook, Theodor Herzl, and Mordecai Kaplan. At the same time, it tells the story of modern orthodoxy, the German-Jewish renaissance, Jewish religion after the Holocaust, the emergence of the Jewish individual, the birth of Jewish nationalism, and Jewish religion in America.
More than an introduction, How Judaism Became a Religion presents a compelling new perspective on the history of modern Jewish thought.








[book] Becoming Jewish
The Challenges, Rewards, and Paths to Conversion
By Rabbi Steven Reuben and Jennifer Hanin
With a foreword by one of America’s most obscene and funny comics, Bob Saget
September 2011 Rowman and Littlefield
Becoming Jewish is an inclusive, step-by-step guide to converting to Judaism. Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben and Jennifer S. Hanin, a convert to the faith, lead readers through every step of the process, from understanding and selecting the best-fitting denomination to celebrating holidays to talking with family and friends who may not be supportive. Throughout, the authors infuse a focus on developing a healthy spiritual life, while helping readers understand what it means to be Jewish, absorb Jewish teachings, and live a Jewish life.
Steven Carr Reuben is Senior Rabbi of the 60 year old, 1000 family membership units strong, Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation in California (3 rabbis, 1 cantor, no waiting). He lives in Pacific Palisades, CA. Jennifer S. Hanin is a freelance writer.







[book] Spirit Junkie
A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles
By Gabrielle Bernstein
September 2011 Harmony
GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN has been labeled by the New York Times as the next-generation guru. A motivational speaker, life coach, former druggie, and author, she is expanding the lexicon for the seekers of today and tomorrow. She gives talks and leads seminars throughout the country. She is on the Forbes list of the 20 Best Branded Women and is the author of Add More ~ing to Your Life. In this book, she guides readers through lessons she has learned. She wants readers to overcome fears, find tools to have peace and joy in your life, and teaches readers how to maintain happiness and share it with the world.








[book] Éminence
Cardinal Richelieu and the Rise of France
By Jean-Vincent Blanchard (Swarthmore)
September 2011 Walker Books
Chief Minister to King Louis XIII (the father of the Sun King, Louie the 14th), Cardinal Richelieu was the architect of a new France in the 17th century, and the force behind the nation's rise as a European power. One of the first statesmen to clearly understand the necessity of a balance of powers, he was one of the early realist politicians, practicing in the wake of Niccolo Machiavelli. (A notable advocate of realpolitik in our own time, Henry Kissinger, credits Richelieu with introducing a modern approach to international relations).
Forging a nation-state amidst the swirl of unruly, grasping nobles, widespread corruption, wars of religion, and an ambitious Habsburg empire, Richelieu's hands were full. Serving his king, however, and mastering the politics of absolute power provided Richelieu with his greatest challenge and ultimately determined his legacy to France and to all those who practice statecraft.
Jean-Vincent Blanchard's rich and insightful new biography brings Richelieu fully to life, at court, on the battlefield, at times cruel and ruthless, always devoted to creating a lasting central authority vested in the power of monarchy, a power essential to the hegemony of France on the European stage for the next two centuries. Especially interesting to contemporary readers will be Richelieu's careful understanding of politics as spectacle; much of what he accomplished was promoted strategically through the arts, through a "style," or romance of power. Richelieu's story offers us a keener understanding of the dark arts of politics.
And what I like about the book is that the author points out that after Richelieu's death, so many things fell apart and it took years for a war to end, that maybe Richelieu was not as great as everyone makes him out to be. By the way, under Richelieu, Jews were given added powers since they helped finance the Thirty Years War, etc.








[book] OF GUNS, REVENGE, AND HOPE
BY DAVID LAWRENCE YOUNG
September 2011 GEFEN Books
This is the story of Benny the son of David Levi, the central figure of Of Guns and Mules and the five-year period he spent serving with the British army in World War II. Volunteering in the summer of 1940, Benny becomes a driver in a Jewish-Palestinian unit and sees active service in Egypt and North Africa. After taking part in the defeat of Rommel s Afrika Corps, he is sent to Italy via Malta. There he undergoes combat training and, as a fighter in the newly formed Jewish Brigade, participates in the Allies final push against the Nazis. He also takes part in the unofficial revenge squads that hunt down and kill escaping SS officers. During the war Benny meets and falls in love with Tamar and also learns about the plight of Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. When not on duty, and with American support, Benny and his friends help those who survived the Holocaust, rescuing many concentration camp survivors and helping them reach Mandatory Palestine. After the war is over, the Brigade is sent to Belgium. Here, Benny continues to help the Jewish survivors before returning to Tel Aviv to begin a new life with Tamar.









[book] FLAGS OVER THE WARSAW GHETTO
THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING
BY MOSHE ARENS
September 2011 GEFEN Books
Moshe Areans served as Israel’s Foreign Minister, as its Ambassador to the USA, and also as one of its Defense Ministers. In this book, Professor Arens recounts the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It includes the Stroop Report.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising has become a symbol of heroism in Israel and in the Jewish community. It is part of the collective unconscious of many in Israel, and likely influences and informs government decisions and perceptions.
A short time before the uprising began, Pawel Frenkel addressed a meeting of the Jewish Military fighters: Of course we will fight with guns in our hands, and most of us will fall. But we will live on in the lives and hearts of future generations and in the pages of their history.... We will die before our time but we are not doomed. We will be alive for as long as Jewish history lives! On the eve of Passover, April 19, 1943, German forces entered the Warsaw ghetto equipped with tanks, flame throwers, and machine guns. Against them stood an army of a few hundred young Jewish men and women, armed with pistols and Molotov cocktails. Who were these Jewish fighters who dared oppose the armed might of the SS troops under the command of SS General Juergen Stroop? Who commanded them in battle? What were their goals? In this groundbreaking work, Israel s former Minister of Defense, Prof. Moshe Arens, recounts a true tale of daring, courage, and sacrifice that should be accurately told out of respect for and in homage to the fighters who rose against the German attempt to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto, and made a last-ditch fight for the honor of the Jewish people. The generally accepted account of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is incomplete. The truth begins with the existence of not one, but two resistance organizations in the ghetto. Two young men, Mordechai Anielewicz of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB), and Pawel Frenkel of the Jewish Military Organization (ZZW), rose to lead separate resistance organizations in the ghetto, which did not unite despite the desperate battle they were facing. Included is the complete text of The Stroop Report translated into English.









[book] The Scandal of Kabbalah
Leon Modena, Jewish Mysticism, Early Modern Venice
(Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World)
By Yaacob Dweck, Princeton University
September 2011 YALE
The Scandal of Kabbalah is the first book about the origins of a culture war that began in early modern Europe and continues to this day: the debate between kabbalists and their critics on the nature of Judaism and the meaning of religious tradition. From its medieval beginnings as an esoteric form of Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah spread throughout the early modern world and became a central feature of Jewish life. Scholars have long studied the revolutionary impact of Kabbalah, but, as Yaacob Dweck argues, they have misunderstood the character and timing of opposition to it. Drawing on a range of previously unexamined sources, this book tells the story of the first criticism of Kabbalah, Ari Nohem, written by Leon Modena in Venice in 1639. In this scathing indictment of Venetian Jews who had embraced Kabbalah as an authentic form of ancient esotericism, Modena proved the recent origins of Kabbalah and sought to convince his readers to return to the spiritualized rationalism of Maimonides. The Scandal of Kabbalah examines the hallmarks of Jewish modernity displayed by Modena's attack--a critical analysis of sacred texts, skepticism about religious truths, and self-consciousness about the past--and shows how these qualities and the later history of his polemic challenge conventional understandings of the relationship between Kabbalah and modernity. Dweck argues that Kabbalah was the subject of critical inquiry in the very period it came to dominate Jewish life rather than centuries later as most scholars have thought.











[book] HOW JUDAISM BECAME A RELIGION
AN INTRODUCTON TO MODERN JEWISH THOUGHT
BY LEORA BATNITZKY, Princeton
September 2011 Princeton University Press
I s Judaism a religion, a culture, a nationality--or a mixture of all of these? In How Judaism Became a Religion, Leora Batnitzky boldly argues that this question more than any other has driven modern Jewish thought since the eighteenth century. This wide-ranging and lucid introduction tells the story of how Judaism came to be defined as a religion in the modern period--and why Jewish thinkers have fought as well as championed this idea. Ever since the Enlightenment, Jewish thinkers have debated whether and how Judaism--largely a religion of practice and public adherence to law--can fit into a modern, Protestant conception of religion as an individual and private matter of belief or faith. Batnitzky makes the novel argument that it is this clash between the modern category of religion and Judaism that is responsible for much of the creative tension in modern Jewish thought. Tracing how the idea of Jewish religion has been defended and resisted from the eighteenth century to today, the book discusses many of the major Jewish thinkers of the past three centuries, including Moses Mendelssohn, Abraham Geiger, Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Zvi Yehuda Kook, Theodor Herzl, and Mordecai Kaplan. At the same time, it tells the story of modern orthodoxy, the German-Jewish renaissance, Jewish religion after the Holocaust, the emergence of the Jewish individual, the birth of Jewish nationalism, and Jewish religion in America. More than an introduction, How Judaism Became a Religion presents a compelling new perspective on the history of modern Jewish thought.











You know the Hebrew bible and the translations of it...check out Bloom's review of the King James' bible, from a literary perspective
[book] The Shadow of a Great Rock
A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible
By Harold Bloom
September 2011 YALE
The King James Bible stands at "the sublime summit of literature in English," sharing the honor only with Shakespeare, Harold Bloom contends in the opening pages of this illuminating literary tour. Distilling the insights acquired from a significant portion of his career as a brilliant critic and teacher, he offers readers at last the book he has been writing "all my long life," a magisterial and intimately perceptive reading of the King James Bible as a literary masterpiece. Bloom calls it an "inexplicable wonder" that a rather undistinguished group of writers could bring forth such a magnificent work of literature, and he credits William Tyndale as their fountainhead. Reading the King James Bible alongside Tyndale's Bible, the Geneva Bible, and the original Hebrew and Greek texts, Bloom highlights how the translators and editors improved upon—or, in some cases, diminished—the earlier versions. He invites readers to hear the baroque inventiveness in such sublime books as the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Job, and alerts us to the echoes of the King James Bible in works from the Romantic period to the present day. Throughout, Bloom makes an impassioned and convincing case for reading the King James Bible as literature, free from dogma and with an appreciation of its enduring aesthetic value.









[book] Here I Am
Using Jewish Spiritual Wisdom to Become More Present, Centered, and Available for Life
By Leonard Felder
September 2011 Trumpeter Shambhala
In these stressful times, it's easy to get caught up in feeling anxious, tense, foggy, overloaded, and unable to appreciate the simple gifts in your life. In this book, Leonard Felder, a popular psychologist, shares techniques for managing and rebalancing these emotions and helps you to find your calm, strong center. Felder draws from traditional Jewish prayers and blessings that have been used for centuries to refocus the mind; techniques that help you to reappraise a situation, manage an emotion, spend a moment in appreciation or contemplation, or to make a moment holy. Readers don't need to know Hebrew or have a Jewish education in order to find these techniques resonant and effective; the Hebrew words or phrases that Felder uses are simple and accessible.
Chapter topics include:
How to regain your equilibrium when you feel pulled in all directions
How to outsmart your moody, anxious brain
Knowing when to intervene and when to let go in a situation
Responding with wisdom when someone treats you harshly
Finding inner quiet and peace when you feel agitated

In each chapter, Felder includes examples drawn from his client base and explanations from mind-body psychology and neuroscience to support the effectiveness of this kind of mindfulness practice.
Leonard Felder, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in the Los Angeles metro area. has written twelve books on personal growth that have sold over 1 million copies.









[book] Religion in Human Evolution
From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age
By Robert N. Bellah
September 2011 Harvard
Religion in Human Evolution is a work of extraordinary ambition—a wide-ranging, nuanced probing of our biological past to discover the kinds of lives that human beings have most often imagined were worth living. It offers what is frequently seen as a forbidden theory of the origin of religion that goes deep into evolution, especially but not exclusively cultural evolution.
How did our early ancestors transcend the quotidian demands of everyday existence to embrace an alternative reality that called into question the very meaning of their daily struggle? Robert Bellah, one of the leading sociologists of our time, identifies a range of cultural capacities, such as communal dancing, storytelling, and theorizing, whose emergence made this religious development possible. Deploying the latest findings in biology, cognitive science, and evolutionary psychology, he traces the expansion of these cultural capacities from the Paleolithic to the Axial Age (roughly, the first millennium BCE), when individuals and groups in the Old World challenged the norms and beliefs of class societies ruled by kings and aristocracies. These religious prophets and renouncers never succeeded in founding their alternative utopias, but they left a heritage of criticism that would not be quenched. Bellah’s treatment of the four great civilizations of the Axial Age—in ancient Israel, Greece, China, and India—shows all existing religions, both prophetic and mystic, to be rooted in the evolutionary story he tells. Religion in Human Evolution answers the call for a critical history of religion grounded in the full range of human constraints and possibilities. .














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