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Welcome to our Summer 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2017, Fall 2016, Summer 2016, Spring 2016, Winter 2016, Fall 2015, Summer 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2015, Fall 2014, and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com
SOME SUMMER 2017 BOOK READINGS
May 23, 2017: Author Avivah Zornberg on the tpic of redemtpion. Streicker Center. NYC 7PM
May 31, 2017: Senator Al Franken (D, MN) reads from Al Franken, Giant of the Senate
B&N Union Square NYC 7PM
June 03, 2017: Senator Al Franken (D, MN) reads from Al Franken, Giant of the Senate B&N Rochester MN
June 10, 2017: Alan Alda reads from If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face: Relating to and Communicating with Others, from the Boardroom to the Bedroom. B&N Union Square NYC 7PM
June 21, 2017: Jewish Songs and Dances: Music from the Archive of Lazare Saminsky. NYC. YIVO. 7PM
July 10, 2017: Elinor Lipman reads from On Turpentine Lane. Scribblers on the Roof. NYC UWS Ansche Chesed rooftop.
July 10, 2017: Randy Susan Meyers reads from The Widow of Wall Street. Scribblers on the Roof. NYC UWS Ansche Chesed rooftop.
July 16 2017: Gabriel Allon is back, along with his faithful scribe, Daniel Silva, who's in town to promote his latest thriller, House of Spies: A Novel. Author Daniel Silva in Conversation… features a convo with Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider. Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston. 5601 South Braeswood. erjcchouston.org. HOUSTON TX
July 17, 2017: Owen Lewis reads from Marriage Map. And Yehoshua November reads from Two Worlds Exist. Scribblers on the Roof. NYC UWS Ansche Chesed rooftop.
July 24, 2017: Michelle Brafman reads from Bertrand Court. And Rachel Cantor reads from Good On Paper. Scribblers on the Roof. NYC UWS Ansche Chesed rooftop.
July 30, 2017: Jennifer Brown reads from Modern Girls. And Rachel Kadish reads from the best selling The Weight of Ink. Scribblers on the Roof. NYC UWS Ansche Chesed rooftop.
August 07, 2017: Tova Mirvis reads from The Book of Separation. Sure to be highly talked about. Scribblers on the Roof. NYC UWS Ansche Chesed rooftop.
August 07, 2017: Lara Vapnyar reads from Still Here. Scribblers on the Roof. NYC UWS Ansche Chesed rooftop.
ARE YOU ANYBODY
BY JEFFREY TAMBOR
May 9, 2017
I could not put it down. Anyone who mentions Clem Kadiddlehopper and Jan Peerce in a memoir in the same chapter is a genius who must be read. It is a Mootzian triumph.
“Are You Anybody...” the line he heard after leaving his Broadway theatre, said to him by an autograph seeker
From the Jewish kid with a lisp who was kicked out of Hebrew School for asking a pointed question... to becoming a celebrated actor
The book opens with letters to his manager and others about an offer he gets to write a book and how he says no, no, no.... until... well.. here is the book
It's rare that an actor embodies even one memorable character over the arc of a career. Jeffrey Tambor has managed to create three, beginning with Hank "Hey Now!" Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, the series created by Garry Shandling, Jeffrey’s first mentor in television. He went on to find two more show creators, Mitch Hurwitz of Arrested Development and Jill Soloway of Transparent, who shared a love of actors and taught him a lot about acting along the way.
Are You Anybody is Tambor's chance to discuss his creative process and immense accomplishments from a life lived onscreen. He has taught acting for decades and we learn from him. Drawing from his formative childhood years; his dropping by a university drama program as a preteen on his walks home from school, (he describes himself as a fat Hungarian-Jewish kid with a lisp): growing up with a depressive father who was a boxer turned contractor; and a mother who dosed him with a “Milltown/Xanax” before his bar mitzvah speech/torah reading;... to how he drew inspiration from his life to create these characters, Tambor's memoir is funny, insightful, and uplifting, touching on comedy and the enduring chutzpah required to make it through life. His memoir is so very real and it also contains sad family tales about his older brother and mother that may be the kernel of his pathos.
By Gerald Stern
WW Norton & Company
Galaxy Love showcases the voice of a beloved and acclaimed poet, celebrating the passions and rhythms of life.
The poems in this new volume by the winner of the National Book Award span countries and centuries, reflecting on memory, aging, history, and mortality. “Hamlet Naked” traverses Manhattan in the 1960s from a Shakespeare play on 47th Street to the cellar of a Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village; “Thieves and Murderers” encompasses musings of the medieval French poet François Villon and Dwight Eisenhower; “Orson” recounts a meeting of the poet and Orson Welles, exiled in Paris. Gerald Stern recalls old cars he used to drive-
“the 1950 Buick /
with the small steering wheel /
and the cigar lighter in the back seat”
-as well as intimate portraits of his daily life “and the mussel-pooled and the heron-priested shore” of Florida.
These are wistful, generous, lively love poems and elegies that capture the passage of time, the joys of a sensual life, and remembrances of the past.
JBC writes: An example of a joyful, sorrowful elegy is the poem “Larry,” most likely about the late poet Larry Levis. Levis’s name is never stated in the poem, but Stern travels from Utah to France to New Orleans in jocular quatrains that conjure Levis’s spirit and poetry. It is not until the final stanza that Stern delivers, to a woman both he and Levis had loved (and to the reader) “the bad news” of Levis’s death. Her response serves as the last line of the poem: “Now I’m going upstairs to read every word he ever wrote.” After a life—and a poem—full of action, image, friendship, excitement, love, and loss, what remains, Stern seems to be saying, is the writing. Part of the pleasure of reading Galaxy Love is the generosity and range of its references, which move wittily from personal to popular to historical to intellectual. The poem “Bess, Zickel, Warhol, Arendt” slyly devotes a stanza to each figure mentioned in its title: Stern’s Aunt Bess, who “died from forgetting,” his “bewildered cousin” Zickel, and Stern’s friend Andy, with whom the poet
used to resort to walking across the 7th Street Bridge
now the Warhol Bridge—the Allegheny River—
though there is no Gerald Stern Bridge anywhere
nor Michel Foucault nor Jacques Derrida.
Devoting the final stanza of the poem to Hannah Arendt doesn’t seem so strange, despite how far Stern has taken us, in just a few stanzas, from Aunt Bess’s bowls of Rice Krispies. “I’m sure you remember her,” Stern writes of Arendt, as if she, too, were a family member. Here is yet another pleasure of Galaxy Love: Stern’s easy way of collapsing seemingly impossible distances of time and space. Another way to say this is that Stern has vision. His perspective, and his way of accessing religious, political, and literary history, have earned him a place among great American poets.
Giant of the Senate
by U.S. Senator Al Franken (D, MN)
May 30, 2017
AL FRANKEN, GIANT OF THE SENATE is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect. It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it. It's a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast. In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.
THE BEGINNING OF POLITICS
Power in the Biblical Book of Samuel
By Moshe Halbertal and
Princeton University Press
The Book of Samuel is universally acknowledged as one of the supreme achievements of biblical literature. Yet the book's anonymous author was more than an inspired storyteller. The author was also an uncannily astute observer of political life and the moral compromises and contradictions that the struggle for power inevitably entails. The Beginning of Politics mines the story of Israel's first two kings to unearth a natural history of power, providing a forceful new reading of what is arguably the first and greatest work of Western political thought.
Moshe Halbertal and Stephen Holmes show how the beautifully crafted narratives of Saul and David cut to the core of politics, exploring themes that resonate wherever political power is at stake. Through stories such as Saul's madness, David's murder of Uriah, the rape of Tamar, and the rebellion of Absalom, the book's author deepens our understanding not only of the necessity of sovereign rule but also of its costs--to the people it is intended to protect and to those who wield it. What emerges from the meticulous analysis of these narratives includes such themes as the corrosive grip of power on those who hold and compete for power; the ways in which political violence unleashed by the sovereign on his own subjects is rooted in the paranoia of the isolated ruler and the deniability fostered by hierarchical action through proxies; and the intensity with which the tragic conflict between political loyalty and family loyalty explodes when the ruler's bloodline is made into the guarantor of the all-important continuity of sovereign power.
The Beginning of Politics is a timely meditation on the dark side of sovereign power and the enduring dilemmas of statecraft. Moshe Halbertal is the Gruss Professor of Law at New York University, the John and Golda Cohen Professor of Jewish Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and professor of law at IDC Herzliya in Israel. Stephen Holmes is the Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law at New York University.
Falling Over Sideways
by Jordan Sonnenblick
From Penn grad Sonnenblick..... Claire's life is a joke . . . but she's not laughing. While her friends seem to be leaping forward, she's dancing in the same place. The mean girls at school are living up to their mean name, and there's a boy, Ryder, who's just as bad, if not worse. And at home, nobody's really listening to her -- if anything, they seem to be more in on the joke than she is.
Then into all of this (not-very-funny-to-Claire) comedy comes something intense and tragic -- while her dad is talking to her at the kitchen table, he falls over with a medical emergency. Suddenly the joke has become very serious -- and the only way Claire, her family, and her friends are going to get through it is if they can find a way to make it funny again.
I think readers and Jewish communical workers and neighbors and everyone should read this this better understand our relationship to food or abuse or seat sizes or not feeling that we neeed to go up to every fat person and give them food advice. Your ideas are not invalid because you have a large body. Resist the temptation to quiet your voice just because you are overweight.
A Memoir of (My) Body
by Roxane Gay
From the New York Times best-selling author of Bad Feminist, a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.
“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”
New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.
With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.
Fools, Frauds and Firebrands:
Thinkers of the New Left
by Roger Scruton
In Fools, Frauds and Firebrands, UK professor and philosopher Roger Scruton asks: what does the Left look like today, and how has it evolved since 1989? What can replace radical egalitarianism and the dominance of antinomian attitudes in the intellectual world? Can there be any foundation for resistance to the leftist agenda without religious faith?
To answer these questions, Scruton, one of the leading critics of leftist orientations in modern Western civilization, examines the thinkers who have been most influential on the attitudes of the New Left. Scruton begins with a ruthless analysis of New Leftism and concludes with a critique of the key strands in its thinking. He conducts a reappraisal of such major left-wing thinkers as: E. P. Thompson, Ronald Dworkin, R. D. Laing, Jurgen Habermas, Gyorgy Lukacs, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Zizek, Ralph Milliband and Eric Hobsbawm. In addition to assessments of these thinkers' philosophical and political contributions, the book contains a biographical and bibliographical section summarizing their careers and most important writings.
Scruton's exploration of these important issues is written with skill, perception and at all times with pellucid clarity. The result is a devastating critique of modern left-wing thinking.
Destined for War:
Can America and China
Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
by Graham Allison
(Harvard / Kennedy)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The hottest read in Beijing, Palo Alto, DC, Tel Aviv and places in between
A NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE
“Thucydides’s Trap identifies a cardinal challenge to world order: the impact of a rising power on a ruling power. I read the book with great interest. I can only hope that the US-China relationship becomes the fifth case to resolve itself peacefully, rather than the 13th to result in war.” — HENRY KISSINGER, former United States Secretary of State
“Graham Allison is one of the keenest observers of international affairs around. He consistently brings his deep understanding of history’s currents to today’s most difficult challenges and makes our toughest foreign policy dilemmas accessible to experts and everyday citizens alike. That’s why I regularly sought his counsel both as a senator and as vice president. In Destined for War, Allison lays out one of the defining challenges of our time—managing the critical relationship between China and the United States.” — JOE BIDEN, former Vice President of the United States
CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS. The reason is Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. This phenomenon is as old as history itself. About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred sixteen times. War broke out in twelve of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the seventeenth case looks grim. Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war.
In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S.-China relations in the twenty-first century. Through uncanny historical parallels and war scenarios, he shows how close we are to the unthinkable. Yet, stressing that war is not inevitable, Allison also reveals how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past — and what painful steps the United States and China must take to avoid disaster today.
City on a Hilltop:
American Jews and the
Israeli Settler Movement
by Sara Yael Hirschhorn
Harvard University Press
Since 1967, more than 60,000 Jewish-Americans have settled in the territories captured by the State of Israel during the Six Day War. Comprising 15 percent of the settler population today, these immigrants have established major communities, transformed domestic politics and international relations, and committed shocking acts of terrorism. They demand attention in both Israel and the United States, but little is known about who they are and why they chose to leave America to live at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In this deeply researched, engaging work, Sara Yael Hirschhorn unsettles stereotypes, showing that the 1960s generation who moved to the occupied territories were not messianic zealots or right-wing extremists but idealists engaged in liberal causes. They did not abandon their progressive heritage when they crossed the Green Line. Rather, they saw a historic opportunity to create new communities to serve as a beacon?a “city on a hilltop”?to Jews across the globe. This pioneering vision was realized in their ventures at Yamit in the Sinai and Efrat and Tekoa in the West Bank. Later, the movement mobilized the rhetoric of civil rights to rebrand itself, especially in the wake of the 1994 Hebron massacre perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein, one of their own.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 war, Hirschhorn illuminates the changing face of the settlements and the clash between liberal values and political realities at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
JUNE 2017 BOOKS
You Don't Look Your Age...
and Other Fairy Tales
by Sheila Nevins
“Thank you to Sheila Nevins for putting all this down for posterity. Women need this kind of honest excavation of the process of living.” -Meryl Streep
Sheila Nevins is the best friend you never knew you had. She is your discreet confidante you can tell any secret to, your sage mentor at work who helps you navigate the often uneven playing field, your wise sister who has “been there, done that,” your hysterical girlfriend whose stories about men will make laugh until you cry. Sheila Nevins is the one person who always tells it like it is.
In You Don’t Look Your Age, the famed documentary producer (as President of HBO Documentary Films for over 30 years, Nevins has rightfully been credited with creating the documentary rebirth) finally steps out from behind the camera and takes her place front and center.
In these pages you will read about the real life challenges of being a woman in a man's world, what it means to be a working mother, what it’s like to be an older woman in a youth-obsessed culture, the sometimes changing, often sweet truth about marriages, what being a feminist really means, and that you are in good company if your adult children don’t return your phone calls.
So come, sit down, make yourself comfortable, (and for some of you, don’t forget the damn reading glasses). You’re in for a treat.
The Chalk Artist:
by Allegra Goodman
The Dial Press
June 13, 2017
A tender affair and the redemptive power of art are at the core of this compelling novel from National Book Award finalist Allegra Goodman, “a romantic realist who dazzles with wit [and] compassion” (The Wall Street Journal).
Collin James is young, creative, and unhappy. A college dropout, he waits tables and spends his free time beautifying the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his medium of choice: chalk. Collin’s art captivates passersby with its vibrant colors and intricate lines—until the moment he wipes it all away. Nothing in Collin’s life is meant to last. Then he meets Nina. . . .
The daughter of a tech mogul who is revolutionizing virtual reality, Nina Lazare is trying to give back as a high school teacher—but her students won’t listen to her. When Collin enters her world, he inspires her to think bigger. Nina wants to return the favor—even if it means losing him.
Against this poignant backdrop, Allegra Goodman paints a tableau of students, neighbors, and colleagues: Diana, a teenage girl trying to make herself invisible; her twin brother, Aidan, who’s addicted to the games produced by Nina’s father; and Daphne, a viral-marketing trickster who unites them all, for better or worse.
Wise, warm, and enchanting, The Chalk Artist is both a finely rendered portrait of modern love and a celebration of all the realms we inhabit: real and imagined, visual and virtual, seemingly independent yet hopelessly tangled.
“Enjoyably sharp dialogue and convincing portraits of multiple mindsets and terrains . . . One can’t help but marvel at how Goodman has captured the atmosphere of this virtual fantasy land so effectively in words.”—NPR
Pritzker Edition, Volume Twelve
Translated by Nathan Wolski and
Stanford University Press
Sefer ha-Zohar (The Book of Radiance) has amazed readers ever since it emerged in Spain over seven hundred years ago. Written in a lyrical Aramaic, the Zohar, the masterpiece of Kabbalah, features mystical interpretation of the Torah, from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The twelfth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition presents an assortment of discrete Zoharic compositions. The first two chapters contain different versions of the Zoharic Heikhalot, descriptions of the heavenly halls or palaces that the soul of the kabbalist traverses during prayer. Piqqudin, or Commandments, is a kabbalistic treatment of the mystical reasons for the commandments. Raza de-Razin (Mystery of Mysteries) is a diagnostic manual for the ancient and medieval science of physiognomy, determining people's character based on physical appearance. Sitrei Otiyyot (Secrets of the Letters) is a mystical essay that maps out the emergence of divine and mundane reality from the tetragrammaton, YHVH. Qav ha-Middah (Line of Measure) is another mystical essay that describes the divine instrument used by God to gauge the mystical overflow to the ten sefirot. The commentary on Merkevet Yehezqel (Ezekiel's Chariot) interprets the details of the prophet Ezekiel's chariot-vision. Beginning with the description of the four creatures, the Zohar demonstrates how Divinity and the cosmos comprise a series of quaternities that pervade all Being. The last main chapter includes Zoharic commentary to various portions of the Torah. The volume closes with a short appendix of passages that printers have labeled Tosefta despite their not fitting into that genre-a suitable end to the Zohar whose parameters and composition will remain ever mysterious.
The Origin of the Jews:
The Quest for Roots
in a Rootless Age
by Steven Weitzman
(University of Pennsylvania)
Princeton University Press
Quest for Roots, not Robots
The Jews have one of the longest continuously recorded histories of any people in the world, but what do we actually know about their origins? While many think the answer to this question can be found in the Bible, others look to archaeology or genetics. Some skeptics have even sought to debunk the very idea that the Jews have a common origin. In this book, Steven Weitzman takes a learned and lively look at what we know--or think we know--about where the Jews came from, when they arose, and how they came to be.
Scholars have written hundreds of books on the topic and come up with scores of explanations, theories, and historical reconstructions, but this is the first book to trace the history of the different approaches that have been applied to the question, including genealogy, linguistics, archaeology, psychology, sociology, and genetics. Weitzman shows how this quest has been fraught since its inception with religious and political agendas, how anti-Semitism cast its long shadow over generations of learning, and how recent claims about Jewish origins have been difficult to disentangle from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He does not offer neatly packaged conclusions but invites readers on an intellectual adventure, shedding new light on the assumptions and biases of those seeking answers--and the challenges that have made finding answers so elusive.
Spanning more than two centuries and drawing on the latest findings, The Origin of the Jews brings needed clarity and historical context to this enduring and often divisive topic.
Steven Weitzman is the Abraham M. Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures and Ella Darivoff Director of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Solomon: The Lure of Wisdom and Surviving Sacrilege: Cultural Persistence in Jewish Antiquity.
The Jewish Wedding NOW
by Anita Diamant
Newly revised and updated, the definitive guide to planning a Jewish wedding, written by bestselling novelist Anita Diamant—author of The Red Tent and The Boston Girl—and one of the most respected writers of guides to contemporary Jewish life.
This complete, easy-to-use guide explains everything you need to know to plan your own Jewish wedding in today’s ever-changing world where the very definition of what constitutes a Jewish wedding is up for discussion.
With enthusiasm and flair, Anita Diamant provides choices for every stage of a wedding—including celebrations before and after the ceremony itself—providing both traditional and contemporary options. She explains the Jewish tradition of love and marriage with references drawn from Biblical, Talmudic, and mystical texts and stories. She guides you step by step through planning the ceremony and the party that follows—from finding a rabbi and wording the invitation to organizing a processional and hiring a caterer. Samples of wedding invitations and ketubot (marriage contracts) are provided for inspiration and guidance, as well as poems that can be incorporated into the wedding ceremony or party and a variety of translations of traditional texts.
“There is no such thing as a generic Jewish wedding,” writes Anita Diamant, “no matter what the rabbi tells you, no matter what the caterer tells you, no matter what your mother tells you.” Complete, authoritative, and indispensable, The Jewish Wedding Now provides personalized options—some new, some old—to create a wedding that combines spiritual meaning and joyous celebration and reflects your individual values and beliefs.
How to Be a Muslim:
An American Story
by Haroon Moghul
A young Muslim leader’s memoir of his struggles to forge an American Muslim identity
Haroon Moghul was thrust into the spotlight after 9/11, becoming an undergraduate leader at New York University’s Islamic Center forced into appearances everywhere: on TV, before interfaith audiences, in print. Moghul was becoming a prominent voice for American Muslims even as he struggled with his relationship to Islam. In high school he was barely a believer and entirely convinced he was going to hell. He sometimes drank. He didn’t pray regularly. All he wanted was a girlfriend.
But as he discovered, it wasn’t so easy to leave religion behind. To be true to himself, he needed to forge a unique American Muslim identity that reflected his beliefs and personality. How to Be a Muslim reveals a young man coping with the crushing pressure of a world that fears Muslims, struggling with his faith and searching for intellectual forebears, and suffering the onset of bipolar disorder. This is the story of the second-generation immigrant, of what it’s like to lose yourself between cultures and how to pick up the pieces.
Reading the Buczacz Stories
of S.Y. Agnon
by Alan Mintz
Stanford University Press
Written in pieces over the last fifteen years of his life and published posthumously, S. Y. Agnon's A City in Its Fullness is an ambitious, historically rich sequence of stories memorializing Buczacz, the city of his birth. This town in present-day Ukraine was once home to a vibrant Jewish population that was destroyed twice over-in the First World War and again in the Holocaust. Agnon's epic story cycle, however, focuses not on the particulars of destruction, but instead reimagines the daily lives of Buczacz's Jewish citizens, vividly preserving the vanished world of early modern Jewry. Ancestral Tales shows how this collection marks a critical juncture within the Agnon canon. Through close readings of the stories against a shifting historical backdrop, Alan Mintz presents a multilayered history of the town, along with insight into Agnon's fictional transformations. Mintz relates these narrative strategies to catastrophe literature from earlier periods of Jewish history, showing how Agnon's Buczacz is a literary achievement at once innovative in its form of remembrance and deeply rooted in Jewish tradition.
by Jill Eisenstadt
Thirty years after “From Rockaway” ("A great first novel" --Harper's Bazaar), Jill Eisenstadt returns with a darkly funny new work of fiction that exposes a city and a family at their most vulnerable.
When Sue Glassman's family needs a new home, Sue relents, after years of resisting, and agrees to convert to Judaism. In return, Sue's father-in-law, Sy, buys the family--Sue, Dan, and their two daughters--a capacious but ramshackle beachfront house in Rockaway, Queens, a world away from the Glassmans' cramped Tribeca apartment.
The catch? Sy is moving in, too. And the house is haunted.
On the weekend of Sue's conversion party, ninety-year-old Rose, who (literally) got away with murder on the premises years earlier, shows up uninvited. Towing a suitcase-sized pocketbook, having escaped an assisted living facility in Forest Hills, Rose seems intent on moving back in. Enter neighbor Tim--formerly Timmy (see From Rockaway), a former lifeguard, former firefighter, and reformed alcoholic--who feels, for reasons even he can't explain, inordinately protective of the Glassmans.
The collective nervous breakdown occasioned by Rose's return SWELLS LIKE THE OCEAN’S RISING TIDE to operatic heights in a novel that charms and surprises on every page as it unflinchingly addresses the perils of living in a world rife with uncertainty.
The Lost Letter:
by Jillian Cantor
A historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. A heart-breaking, heart-warming read for fans of The Nightingale, Lilac Girls, and Sarah's Key.
Austria, 1938. Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. When his teacher disappears during Kristallnacht, Kristoff is forced to engrave stamps for the Germans, and simultaneously works alongside Elena, his beloved teacher's fiery daughter, and with the Austrian resistance to send underground messages and forge papers. As he falls for Elena amidst the brutal chaos of war, Kristoff must find a way to save her, and himself.
Los Angeles, 1989. Katie Nelson is going through a divorce and while cleaning out her house and life in the aftermath, she comes across the stamp collection of her father, who recently went into a nursing home. When an appraiser, Benjamin, discovers an unusual World War II-era Austrian stamp placed on an old love letter as he goes through her dad's collection, Katie and Benjamin are sent on a journey together that will uncover a story of passion and tragedy spanning decades and continents, behind the just fallen Berlin Wall.
A romantic, poignant and addictive novel, The Lost Letter shows the lasting power of love.
June 2017, five decades after the war:
The Six-Day War:
The Breaking of the Middle East
by Guy Laron
Yale University Press
Before I list the cover blurb below, I will say that the book is controversial.
The Soviets were busy and didnt want Egypt messing stuff up. The U.S. Was busy with Vietnam, and the Pentagon and State did not want Israel using up resources. The U.S. could not get support for an Armada through the Suez.
It is sort of revisionist in attitude. It asserts that Egypt's best troops were in Yemen. The troops in Sinai were crap and ill trained, plus the Russians never gave Egypt enough jets to actually destroy Israel. According to Laron, the Six-Day War was fairly well settled within hours of its onset. He says that the CIA felt that no matter who attacked whom, Israel would win in six days. The Israeli air force wiped out the entire air fleet of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq within the first three hours (based on equipment and French NATO strategy against Soviet planes, which Israel had bought to comply with Israel's nuclear strategy) and then, over less than a week, Israel’s army pushed the nation’s borders further out. The war had massive repercussions, shifting power away from Egypt to Palestine and Jordan, and it quickened the rise of Islamist and Ba'athist forces alike, to say nothing of many local sectarian militias. On the Arab side, the Baathist military wanted border conflicts, if not outright war, with Israel primarily to “wrongfoot Nasser,” as Laron writes of the Egyptian dictator. Internationally, both the United States and the Soviet Union took great interest in a war that by some respects was between them by proxy. The author looks beyond Cold War maneuvering to examine the conflict in other lights, including the economic: none of the nations of the region was doing well, and indeed, as he notes, in January 1967, Egypt had defaulted on loans from the International Monetary Fund. In Israel, too, there was internal tension among factions led by David Ben-Gurion and his rivals, the former of whom had considered the earlier borders as “unbearable” but perhaps was not entirely prepared for the vastly expanded territory. Though readers are left to read between some of the lines, Laron connects many of those events to current trends and developments, including Israel’s “cult of the offensive,” by which Israeli forces strike hard and decisively—and often first, even as the Israeli military “remains the most powerful institution in Israeli society.”
Laron also writes that it was not American material that saved Israel. Most of the equipment was from Europe (France and UK mostly). He also writes that as early as 1963, the IDF planned to occupy the West Bank, set up courts and judges and districts and translated Jordanian law books, thinking that Hussein would fall from power.
Laron comes across in book readings as arrogant when comparing his book to Michael Oren's book on the Six Day Way. You can google Oren versus Laron to see the differences between the two books.
He also tries to make an Economic argument about the cause of the war. Parties needed a war to help their economies
BOOK COVER: An enthralling, big-picture history that examines the Six-Day War, its causes, and its enduring consequences against its global context
One fateful week in June 1967 redrew the map of the Middle East. Many scholars have documented how the Six-Day War unfolded, but little has been done to explain why the conflict happened at all. As we approach its fiftieth anniversary, Guy Laron refutes the widely accepted belief that the war was merely the result of regional friction, revealing the crucial roles played by American and Soviet policies in the face of an encroaching global economic crisis, and restoring Syria’s often overlooked centrality to events leading up to the hostilities.
The Six-Day War effectively sowed the seeds for the downfall of Arab nationalism, the growth of Islamic extremism, and the animosity between Jews and Palestinians. In this important new work, Laron’s fresh interdisciplinary perspective and extensive archival research offer a significant reassessment of a conflict—and the trigger-happy generals behind it—that continues to shape the modern world.
Six Days of War:
June 1967 and the Making of the
Modern Middle East
by Ambassador Michael B. Oren
Though it lasted for only six tense days in June, the 1967 Arab-Israeli war never really ended. Every crisis that has ripped through this region in the ensuing decades, from the Yom Kippur War of 1973 to the ongoing intifada, is a direct consequence of those six days of fighting. Michael B. Oren’s magnificent Six Days of War, an internationally acclaimed bestseller, is the first comprehensive account of this epoch-making event.
Writing with a novelist’s command of narrative and a historian’s grasp of fact and motive, Oren reconstructs both the lightning-fast action on the battlefields and the political shocks that electrified the world. Extraordinary personalities—Moshe Dayan and Gamal Abdul Nasser, Lyndon Johnson and Alexei Kosygin—rose and toppled from power as a result of this war; borders were redrawn; daring strategies brilliantly succeeded or disastrously failed in a matter of hours. And the balance of power changed—in the Middle East and in the world. A towering work of history and an enthralling human narrative, Six Days of War is the most important book on the Middle East conflict to appear in a generation.
The Battle for Jerusalem:
An Unintended Conquest
(50th Anniversary Edition)
by Abraham Rabinovich
Including a chapter on post-war Jerusalem
Abraham Rabinovich arrived in Jerusalem five days before the Six Day War as a reporter for an American newspaper. He covered the battle for the city and was on the Temple Mount a few hours after its capture. To understand the momentous events he had witnessed, he subsequently interviewed 300 soldiers, officials and civilians.
The conquest of the Old City, a major event in modern Middle East history, was something that Israel’s leaders had not planned and that some of them did not want.
The book was written soon after the war, when memories were fresh. The current revised edition expands the context, political and military, and offers new perspective from both sides of the battlefield.
With the outbreak of war with Egypt, Israel sought to avoid a second front. Hours after Jordan opened artillery fire, Israel refrained from substantive retaliation as it sought a cease-fire. Only after Jordanian troops penetrated the Jewish city did Israel respond on the ground, and even then in measured stages.
The Israeli cabinet was divided over capture of the Old City. It was, surprisingly, the religious ministers who argued against it most vigorously. They feared that Israel could not stand up to international pressure if it annexed an entity that was not just the cradle of Jewish history but also sacred to Christianity and Islam. However, events created a vacuum on the West Bank into which Israel was inexorably pulled, step by step.
We witness the heated debate in Jordanian military headquarters where King Hussein had handed over command of his army to an Egyptian general. The latter’s strategy was designed to meet Egypt’s needs, not Jordan’s. It would cost Jordan the West Bank.
The book begins with a description of Jerusalem as a divided city, split between Israel and Jordan since Israel’s War of Independence. With the onset of the crisis in 1967, anxiety grips Israeli Jerusalem which had been besieged for months in the earlier war and elaborate emergency measures are set into motion. On the Arab side of the city, by contrast, there is euphoria and anticipation of an easy victory. Virtually nothing is done to prepare the civilian sector.
The Israeli general staff pushes for a pre-emptive air strike against Egypt but the government resists. Tensions reach a point where at least one general, Ariel Sharon, considers the possibility of a putsch. The appointment of Moshe Dayan as defense minister opens the way to war.
Defense of Israeli Jerusalem is entrusted to the Jerusalem Brigade, made up of local reservists. The greatest concern is Mount Scopus, an Israeli enclave behind Jordanian lines. An Israeli armored brigade is dispatched from the coastal plain with orders to reach Scopus by flanking the Jordanian line. It would have to breach thick minefields and scale difficult terrain as it races a brigade of Jordanian tanks coming up from Jericho. With time pressing, a paratroop brigade is ordered to relieve Scopus by driving through the center of the Jordanian defenses.
The reader follows the grueling battles in the trenches of Ammunition Hill and the streets of east Jerusalem through the eyes of the men who fought there. We see the growing isolation of the Jordanian garrison in the Old City, their last bastion. In a room lit only by distant flares, the Jordanian commander informs the local governor that he is pulling his troops out. A number of soldiers choose to remain and engage the Israeli troops from the alleys and ramparts of the walled city. A classic tale.
by Hala Alyan
From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past, between displacement and home
On the eve of her daughter Alia’s wedding, Salma reads the girl’s future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children; she also sees travel, and luck. While she chooses to keep her predictions to herself that day, they will all soon come to pass when the family is uprooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967.
Salma is forced to leave her home in Nablus; Alia’s brother gets pulled into a politically militarized world he can’t escape; and Alia and her gentle-spirited husband move to Kuwait City, where they reluctantly build a life with their three children. When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait in 1990, Alia and her family once again lose their home, their land, and their story as they know it, scattering to Beirut, Paris, Boston, and beyond. Soon Alia’s children begin families of their own, once again navigating the burdens (and blessings) of assimilation in foreign cities.
Lyrical and heartbreaking, Salt Houses is a remarkable debut novel that challenges and humanizes an age-old conflict we might think we understand—one that asks us to confront that most devastating of all truths: you can’t go home again.
The Life and Works of Claude Cahun
by Jennifer L. Shaw
(Sonoma State Univ)
June 15, 2017
In the turmoil of the 1920s and ’30s, Claude Cahun challenged gender stereotypes with her powerful photographs, montages, and writings, works that appear to our twenty-first-century eyes as utterly contemporary, or even from the future. She wrote poetry and prose for major French literary magazines, worked in avant-garde theater, and was both comrade of and critical outsider to the Surrealists. Exist Otherwise is the first work in English to the tell the full story of Claude Cahun’s art and life, one that celebrates and makes accessible Cahun’s remarkable vision.
Jennifer L. Shaw embeds Cahun within the exciting social and artistic milieu of Paris between the wars. She examines her relationship with Marcel Moore—Cahun’s stepsister, lover, and life partner—who was a central collaborator helping make some of the most compelling photographs and photomontages of Cahun’s oeuvre, dreamscapes of disassembled portraiture and scenes that simultaneously fascinate and terrify. Shaw follows Cahun into the horrors of World War II and the Nazi occupation of the island of Jersey off the coast of Normandy, and she explores the powerful and dangerous ways Cahun resisted it. Reading through her letters and diaries, Shaw brings Cahun’s ideas and feelings to the foreground, offering an intimate look at how she thought about photography, surrealism, the histories of women artists, and queer culture.
Offering some of Cahun’s writings never before translated into English alongside a wide array of her artworks and those of her contemporaries, this book is a must-have for any fan of this iconic artist or anyone interested in this crucial period in artistic and cultural history.
MY GLORY WAS I HAD SUCH FRIENDS
By Amy Silverstein
In this moving memoir about the power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit, Amy Silverstein tells the story of the extraordinary group of women who supported her as she waited on the precipice for a life-saving heart transplant.
Nearly twenty-six years after receiving her first heart transplant, Amy Silverstein’s donor heart plummeted into failure. If she wanted to live, she had to take on the grueling quest for a new heart—immediately.
A shot at survival meant uprooting her life and moving across the country to California. When her friends heard of her plans, there was only one reaction: “I’m there.” Nine remarkable women—Joy, Jill, Leja, Jody, Lauren, Robin, Valerie, Ann, and Jane—put demanding jobs and pressing family obligations on hold to fly across the country and be by Amy’s side. Creating a calendar spreadsheet, the women—some of them strangers to one another—passed the baton of friendship, one to the next, and headed straight and strong into the battle to help save Amy’s life.
Empowered by the kind of empathy that can only grow with age, these women, each knowing Amy from different stages of her life, banded together to provide her with something that medicine alone could not. Sleeping on a cot beside her bed, they rubbed her back and feet when the pain was unbearable, adorned her room with death-distracting decorations, and engaged in their “best talks ever.” They saw the true measure of their friend’s strength, and they each responded in kind.
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is a tribute to these women and the intense hours they spent together—hours of heightened emotion and self-awareness, where everything was laid bare. Candid and heartrending, this once-in-a-lifetime story of connection and empathy is a powerful reminder of the ultimate importance of “showing up” for those we love.
The Weight of Ink
by Rachel Kadish
An intellectual and emotional jigsaw puzzle of a novel for readers of A. S. Byatt’s Possession and Geraldine Brooks’s People of the Book
Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.
As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a cache of seventeenth-century Jewish documents newly discovered in his home during a renovation. Enlisting the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and in a race with another fast-moving team of historians, Helen embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents’ scribe, the elusive “Aleph.”
Electrifying and ambitious, sweeping in scope and intimate in tone, The Weight of Ink is a sophisticated work of historical fiction about women separated by centuries, and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.
The Joys of Jewish Preserving:
Modern Recipes with Traditional
Roots, for Jams, Pickles,
Fruit Butters, and More –
for Holidays and Every Day
by Emily Paster
Harvard Common Press
Learn about one of the most vital subtopics in Jewish cooking: preserved foods, from Attorney Paster, a food swap specialist and producer of West of the Loop blog
Jewish cooks, even casual ones, are proud of the history of preserved foods in Jewish life, from the time of living in a desert two millennia ago to the era in which Jews lived in European ghettos with no refrigeration during the last century. In a significant sense, the Jewish tradition of preserved foods is a symbol of the Jewish will to survive.
About 35 of the 75 recipes in this book are for fruit jams and preserves, from Queen Esther's Apricot-Poppyseed Jam or Slow Cooker Peach Levkar to Quince Paste, Pear Butter, and Dried Fig, Apple, and Raisin Jam.
About 30 are for pickles and other savory preserves, including Shakshuka, Pickled Carrots Two Ways, and Lacto-Fermented Kosher Dills. The remaining 10 recipes bear the tag "Use Your Preserves," and these cover some of the ways that preserves are used in holiday preparations, like Sephardic Date Charoset, Rugelach, or Hamantaschen. The book often highlights holiday cooking, because there are many Jewish readers who cook "Jewish food" only on holidays.
Many recipes are the author's own creations and have never appeared before in print or online. With terrific color photos by the Seattle photographer Leigh Olson, rich and detailed background info about Jewish food traditions, and, above all, with terrific and tasty recipes both sweet and savory, this book is a celebration of some of the best foods Jewish cooks have ever created.
If I Understood You,
Would I Have This Look on My Face?:
My Adventures in the Art and
Science of Relating and Communicating
by Alan Alda
From iconic actor and bestselling author Alan Alda, an indispensable guide to communicating better—based on his experience with acting, improv, science, and storytelling
I read this book after a day of not speaking up. It resonated. And lo and behold, the Intro tells the story of Alda not speaking up one day -- at his dentist. The dentist performed a procedure, but did not explain it well, and even bullied the actor into pretending he understood it. It resulted in a temporary inability to smile.. which for an actor can be a problem. Later we learn that Alda, who started out in acting and improv, realized that he was a poor communicator
Alda (not Jewish, but since his last name is that of a city in Italy.... who knows?) shares fascinating and powerful lessons from the art and science of communication, and teaches readers to improve the way they relate to others using improvisation games, storytelling, and their own innate ability to read what’s probably going on in the minds of others.
With his trademark humor and frankness, Alan Alda explains what makes the out-of-the-box techniques he developed after his years as the host of Scientific American Frontiers so effective. This book reveals what it means to be a true communicator, and how we can communicate better, in every aspect of our lives—with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond.
The New Science of Eating
by Charles Spence
(University of Oxford)
Why do we consume 35 percent more food when eating with one other person, and 75 percent more when dining with three?
Why is a berry sweeter on a white plate than on a black plate
How do we explain the fact that people who like strong coffee drink more of it under bright lighting? And why does green ketchup just not work?
Why does pasta eaten with Italian music and posters taste better than without
Do small plates reduce your food intake by 10%
Coffee tastes twice as intense from a white mug than from a clear glass one
Why cant 1% of the population smell vanilla?
Why does 20% of the population think cilantro tastes of soap?
Why did Coke in a white can in 2011 taste different than when placed in a red can
The science behind a good meal: all the sounds, sights, and tastes that make us like what we're eating—and want to eat more.
The answer is gastrophysics, the new area of sensory science pioneered by Oxford professor Charles Spence. Now he's stepping out of his lab to lift the lid on the entire eating experience—how the taste, the aroma, and our overall enjoyment of food are influenced by all of our senses, as well as by our mood and expectations.
The pleasures of food lie mostly in the mind, not in the mouth. Get that straight and you can start to understand what really makes food enjoyable, stimulating, and, most important, memorable. Spence reveals in amusing detail the importance of all the “off the plate” elements of a meal: the weight of cutlery, the color of the plate, the background music, and much more. Whether we’re dining alone or at a dinner party, on a plane or in front of the TV, he reveals how to understand what we’re tasting and influence what others experience.
This is accessible science at its best, fascinating to anyone in possession of an appetite. Crammed with discoveries about our everyday sensory lives, Gastrophysics is a book guaranteed to make you look at your plate in a whole new way.
CANCELED ++++++++ Was scheduled for March 2017 and then June 2017, but was canceled in February 2017
by Milo Yiannopoulos
(Breitbart dot com)
Amazon says this is in the “Political Humor” genre of books
Maybe they don;t have a section for racist tracts
The author got notoriety by writing for Breitbart.com and being a vocal supporter of Donald Trump. He has made odious statements against liberals and non whites; he appears to enjoy provocations. He suggests that he is not racist since he mainly has sex with men who are non white (perhaos he fetishizes black gay men). The former writer for a British Catholic media site suggests that he isnt anti_jewish since his mother was raised Jewish. He says that saying Jews control the bank and media is not anti_jewish since it is a fact.
And now he has a book deal
The cover blurb says: (well it doesnt say anything yet. It just says there will be a June book by this author.
Mapping Israel, Mapping Palestine:
How Occupied Landscapes
Shape Scientific Knowledge
by Jess Bier
Maps are widely believed to be objective, and data-rich computer-made maps are iconic examples of digital knowledge. It is often claimed that digital maps, and rational boundaries, can solve political conflict. But in Mapping Israel, Mapping Palestine, Jess Bier challenges the view that digital maps are universal and value-free. She examines the ways that maps are made in Palestine and Israel to show how social and political landscapes shape the practice of science and technology.
How can two scientific cartographers look at the same geographic feature and see fundamentally different things? In part, Bier argues, because knowledge about the Israeli military occupation is shaped by the occupation itself. Ongoing injustices -- including checkpoints, roadblocks, and summary arrests -- mean that Palestinian and Israeli cartographers have different experiences of the landscape. Palestinian forms of empirical knowledge, including maps, continue to be discounted. Bier examines three representative cases of population, governance, and urban maps. She analyzes Israeli population maps from 1967 to 1995, when Palestinian areas were left blank; Palestinian state maps of the late 1990s and early 2000s, which were influenced by Israeli raids on Palestinian offices and the legacy of British colonial maps; and urban maps after the Second Intifada, which show how segregated observers produce dramatically different maps of the same area. The geographic production of knowledge, including what and who are considered scientifically legitimate, can change across space and time. Bier argues that greater attention to these changes, and to related issues of power, will open up more heterogeneous ways of engaging with the world.
Hell and Its Rivals:
Death and Retribution among
Christians, Jews, and Muslims
in the Early Middle Ages
by Alan E. Bernstein
(University of Arizona)
Cornell University Press
The idea of punishment after death-whereby the souls of the wicked are consigned to Hell (Gehenna, Gehinnom, or Jahannam)-emerged out of beliefs found across the Mediterranean, from ancient Egypt to Zoroastrian Persia, and became fundamental to the Abrahamic religions. Once Hell achieved doctrinal expression in the New Testament, the Talmud, and the Qur'an, thinkers began to question Hell’s eternity, and to consider possible alternatives-hell’s rivals. Some imagined outright escape, others periodic but temporary relief within the torments. One option, including Purgatory and, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Middle State, was to consider the punishments to be temporary and purifying. Despite these moral and theological hesitations, the idea of Hell has remained a historical and theological force until the present.
In Hell and Its Rivals, Alan E. Bernstein examines an array of sources from within and beyond the three Abrahamic faiths-including theology, chronicles, legal charters, edifying tales, and narratives of near-death experiences-to analyze the origins and evolution of belief in Hell. Key social institutions, including slavery, capital punishment, and monarchy, also affected the afterlife beliefs of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Reflection on hell encouraged a stigmatization of "the other" that in turn emphasized the differences between these religions. Yet, despite these rivalries, each community proclaimed eternal punishment and answered related challenges to it in similar terms. For all that divided them, they agreed on the need for-and fact of-Hell.
Where the Line Is Drawn:
A Tale of Crossings,
Fifty Years of Occupation
by Raja Shehadeh
June 13, 2017
An account of one man’s border crossings — both literal and figurative — by the award-winning author of Palestinian Walks, published on the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War in 1967
In Where the Line Is Drawn, Shehadeh explores how occupation has affected him personally, chronicling the various crossings that he undertook into Israel over a period of forty years to visit friends and family, to enjoy the sea, to argue before the Israeli courts, and to negotiate failed peace agreements.
Those forty years also saw him develop a close friendship with Henry, a Canadian Jew who immigrated to Israel at around the same time Shehadeh returned to Palestine from studying in London. While offering an unforgettably poignant exploration of Palestinian-Israeli relationships, Where the Line Is Drawn also provides an anatomy of friendship and an exploration of whether, in the bleakest of circumstances, it is possible for bonds to transcend political divisions.
The Power of Likability
in a Status-Obsessed World
by Mitch Prinstein
(UNC Chapel Hill)
Penguin Random House
Freudians were said to look to the mother's role in a child's development. After WWII, Army studies found tht something else was a major influence on children and adults. Likability and Popularity. Middle grade/Grammar School roles were a great predictor of future success. The author recalls a playground “tag – like” game, in which the solution when offered by the unpopular child were ignored, and only accepted from the popular boy and girl. By first grade, the popularity hierarchy is already established in school.
Is this why popularity matters to adults as much as it did when they were in high school? Is this why people try to show off in their school reunions? Is popularity a major motivator of behavior?
How we all can avoid the pitfalls that come with the wrong type of popularity
Popular examines why popularity plays such a key role in our development and, ultimately, our happiness. Surprisingly, the most conventionally popular people are often not among the happiest. There is more than one type of popularity, and many of us still wish for the wrong one. As children, we strive to be likable, which can offer real benefits throughout our lives. In adolescence, however, a new form of popularity suddenly emerges that reflects status, power, influence, and notoriety that can be quantified by Facebook likes or YouTube hits and is often addictive. Children can be Accepted, Rejected, Neglected, Controversial, or Average. Adolescents might behave in wrong and dangerous ways just to obtain or maintain their level of popularity.
We cannot realistically ignore our natural human social impulses to be included and well regarded by others, but we can learn to manage them in beneficial and gratifying ways. Popular shows how to achieve the healthy type of popularity, not only for yourself but also for your children. Some believe that popularity can affect DNA, in which a DNA that is hyper-sensitive to social rejection grows in number.
More than childhood intellect, family background, or prior psychological symptoms, psychology has begun to discover that it’s our genuine popularity and likability in our early years that predict how happy we grow up to be. Adults who have memories of being well liked in childhood are the most likely to report that their marriages are better and their work relationships are stronger, and they feel like flourishing members of society. Likable children also grow up to have greater academic success, get married earlier, make more money, and even live longer while those who were consumed with status are at much greater risk for substance abuse, poor quality relationships, and even loneliness.
Tokyo Geek's Guide:
Manga, Anime, Gaming,
Cosplay, Toys, Idols & More
by Gianni Simone
Tokyo is ground zero for Japan's popular "Geek" or otaku culture—a phenomenon that has now swept across the globe.
This is the most comprehensive guide ever produced to Tokyo's geeky underworld. It provides a comprehensive run-down on each major Tokyo district where geeks congregate, shop, play and hangout—from hi-tech Akihabara and trendy Harajuku to newer and lesser-known haunts like chic Shimo-Kita and working-class Ikebukuro.
Dozens of iconic shops, restaurants, cafes and clubs in each area are described in loving detail with precise directions how to get to each location. Maps, URLs, opening hours and over 400 fascinating color photographs bring you around Tokyo on an unforgettable trip to the centers of Japanese manga, anime and geek culture. Interviews with local otaku experts and street people let you see the world from their perspective and provide insights on what is currently happening in Tokyo now which will eventually impact the rest of the world!
Japan's geek culture in its myriad forms is more popular today than ever before—with Japanese manga filling every bookstore; anime cartoons on TV; transformer toys and video games like Pokemon Go played by tens of millions of people. Swarms of visitors come to Tokyo each year on a personal quest to soak in all the otaku-related sights and enjoy Japanese manga, anime, gaming and idol culture at its very source. This is the book they have to get!
Unlocking the Hidden Mathematics
in Video Games
by Matthew Lane
(Co-founder of RITHM)
Princeton University Press
Did you know that every time you pick up the controller to your PlayStation or Xbox, you are entering a game world steeped in mathematics? Power-Up reveals the hidden mathematics in many of today's most popular video games and explains why mathematical learning doesn't just happen in the classroom or from books--you're doing it without even realizing it when you play games on your cell phone.
In this lively and entertaining book, Matthew Lane discusses how gamers are engaging with the traveling salesman problem when they play Assassin's Creed, why it is mathematically impossible for Mario to jump through the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Bros., and how The Sims teaches us the mathematical costs of maintaining relationships. He looks at mathematical pursuit problems in classic games like Missile Command and Ms. Pac-Man, and how each time you play Tetris, you're grappling with one of the most famous unsolved problems in all of mathematics and computer science. Along the way, Lane discusses why Family Feud and Pictionary make for ho-hum video games, how realism in video games (or the lack of it) influences learning, what video games can teach us about the mathematics of voting, the mathematics of designing video games, and much more.
Power-Up shows how the world of video games is an unexpectedly rich medium for learning about the beautiful mathematical ideas that touch all aspects of our lives--including our virtual ones.
The Calculus of Happiness:
How a Mathematical Approach
to Life Adds Up to Health,
Wealth, and Love
by Oscar E. Fernandez
Princeton University Press
What's the best diet for overall health and weight management? How can we change our finances to retire earlier? How can we maximize our chances of finding our soul mate?
In The Calculus of Happiness, Oscar Fernandez shows us that math yields powerful insights into health, wealth, and love. Using only high-school-level math (precalculus with a dash of calculus), Fernandez guides us through several of the surprising results, including an easy rule of thumb for choosing foods that lower our risk for developing diabetes (and that help us lose weight too), simple "all-weather" investment portfolios with great returns, and math-backed strategies for achieving financial independence and searching for our soul mate. Moreover, the important formulas are linked to a dozen free online interactive calculators on the book's website, allowing one to personalize the equations.
Fernandez uses everyday experiences--such as visiting a coffee shop--to provide context for his mathematical insights, making the math discussed more accessible, real-world, and relevant to our daily lives. Every chapter ends with a summary of essential lessons and takeaways, and for advanced math fans, Fernandez includes the mathematical derivations in the appendices.
A nutrition, personal finance, and relationship how-to guide all in one, The Calculus of Happiness invites you to discover how empowering mathematics can be.
Love in a Time of Hate:
The Story of Magda and Andre
Trocme and the Village That
Said No to the Nazis
by Hanna Schott
Love in a Time of Hate tells the gripping tale of Magda and AndrE TrocmE, the couple that transformed a small town in the mountains of southern France into a place of safety during the Holocaust. At great risk to their own lives, the TrocmEs led efforts in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon to hide more than three thousand Jewish children and adults who were fleeing the Nazis. In this astonishing story of courage, romance, and resistance, learn what prompted AndrE and Magda to risk everything for the sake of strangers who showed up at their door. Building on the story told in Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, German journalist Hanna Schott portrays a vivid story of resisting evil and sheltering refugees with striking resonance for today.
I Was Told to Come Alone:
My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad
by Souad Mekhennet
June 13, 2017
“I was told to come alone. I was not to carry any identification, and would have to leave my cell phone, audio recorder, watch, and purse at my hotel. . . .”
For her whole life, Souad Mekhennet, a reporter for The Washington Post who was born and educated in Germany, has had to balance the two sides of her upbringing – Muslim and Western. She has also sought to provide a mediating voice between these cultures, which too often misunderstand each other.
In this compelling and evocative memoir, we accompany Mekhennet as she journeys behind the lines of jihad, starting in the German neighborhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalized and the Iraqi neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shia turned against one another, and culminating on the Turkish/Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence. In her travels across the Middle East and North Africa, she documents her chilling run-ins with various intelligence services and shows why the Arab Spring never lived up to its promise. She then returns to Europe, first in London, where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISIS executioner “Jihadi John,” and then in France, Belgium, and her native Germany, where terror has come to the heart of Western civilization.
Mekhennet’s background has given her unique access to some of the world’s most wanted men, who generally refuse to speak to Western journalists. She is not afraid to face personal danger to reach out to individuals in the inner circles of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, and their affiliates; when she is told to come alone to an interview, she never knows what awaits
at her destination.
Souad Mekhennet is an ideal guide to introduce us to the human beings behind the ominous headlines, as she shares her transformative journey with us. Hers is a story you will not soon forget.
by Mandy Berman
The quintessential summer read: a sharp, poignant coming-of-age novel about the magic of camp and the enduring power of female friendship, for readers of Stephanie Danler, Anton DiSclafani, Jennifer Close, and Curtis Sittenfeld
At what point does childhood end and adulthood begin? Mandy Berman’s evocative debut novel captures, through the lens of summer camp both the thrill and pain of growing up.
Rachel Rivkin and Fiona Larkin used to treasure their summers together as campers at Camp Marigold. Now, reunited as counselors after their first year of college, their relationship is more complicated. Rebellious Rachel, a street-smart city kid raised by a single mother, has been losing patience with her best friend’s insecurities; Fiona, the middle child of a not-so-perfect suburban family, envies Rachel’s popularity with their campers and fellow counselors. For the first time, the two friends start keeping secrets from each other. Through them, as well as from the perspectives of their fellow counselors, their campers, and their mothers, we witness the tensions of the turbulent summer build to a tragic event, which forces Rachel and Fiona to confront their pasts—and the adults they’re becoming.
A seductive blast of nostalgia, a striking portrait of adolescent longing, and a tribute to both the complicated nature and the enduring power of female friendship, Perennials will speak to everyone who still remembers that bittersweet moment when innocence is lost forever.
The Boy Who Loved Too Much:
A True Story of
by Jennifer Latson
Simon & Schuster
The poignant story of a boy’s coming-of-age complicated by Williams syndrome, a genetic disorder that makes people biologically incapable of distrust.
What would it be like to see everyone as a friend? Twelve-year-old Eli D’Angelo has a genetic disorder that obliterates social inhibitions, making him irrepressibly friendly, indiscriminately trusting, and unconditionally loving toward everyone he meets. It also makes him enormously vulnerable. Eli lacks the innate skepticism that will help his peers navigate adolescence more safely—and vastly more successfully.
Journalist Jennifer Latson follows Eli over three critical years of his life as his mother, Gayle, must decide whether to shield Eli entirely from the world and its dangers or give him the freedom to find his own way and become his own person.
By intertwining Eli and Gayle’s story with the science and history of Williams syndrome, the book explores the genetic basis of behavior and the quirks of human nature. More than a case study of a rare disorder, however, The Boy Who Loved Too Much is a universal tale about the joys and struggles of raising a child, of growing up, and of being different.
Is it OK to Laugh About it?:
Satire and Parody in
by Liat Steir-Livny
Dr. Liat Steir-Livny is a Senior lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the Department of Culture, Sapir Academic College, Israel.
She is a tutor and course coordinator at the M.A program in Cultural Studies and at the department of literature, language and the arts, and the academic coordinator of the M.A program in Cultural Studies, the Open University, Israel.
by Hans Keilson
Translated by Damion Searls
In 2010, FSG published two novels by the German- Jewish writer Hans Keilson: Comedy in a Minor Key-written in 1944 while Keilson was in hiding in the Netherlands, first published in German in 1947, and never before in English-and The Death of the Adversary, begun in 1944 and published in 1959, also in German. With their Chekhovian sympathy for perpetrators and bystanders as well as for victims and resisters, Keilson’s novels were, as Francine Prose said on the front page of The New York Times Book Review, “masterpieces” by “a genius” on her list of “the world’s very greatest writers.” Keilson was one hundred years old, alive and well and able to enjoy his belated fame.
1944 Diary, rediscovered among Keilson’s papers shortly after his death, covers nine months he spent in hiding in Delft with members of a Dutch resistance group, having an affair with a younger Jewish woman in hiding a few blocks away and striving to make a moral and artistic life for himself as the war and the Holocaust raged around him. For readers familiar with Keilson’s novels as well as those new to his work, this diary is an incomparable spiritual X-ray of the mind and heart behind the art: a record of survival and creativity in what Keilson called “the most critical year of my life.”
Offering further insight into Keilson are the sonnets he wrote for his lover, Hanna Sanders, which appear in translation at the back of this volume.
The Trial of Adolf Hitler:
The Beer Hall Putsch
and the Rise of Nazi Germany
by David King
The never-before-told story of the scandalous courtroom drama that paved the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
On the evening of November 8, 1923, the thirty-four-year-old Adolf Hitler stormed into a beer hall in Munich, fired his pistol in the air, and proclaimed a revolution. Seventeen hours later, all that remained of his bold move was a trail of destruction. Hitler was on the run from the police. His career seemed to be over.
The Trial of Adolf Hitler tells the true story of the monumental criminal proceeding that followed when Hitler and nine other suspects were charged with high treason. Reporters from as far away as Argentina and Australia flocked to Munich for the sensational four-week spectacle. By its end, Hitler would transform the fiasco of the beer hall putsch into a stunning victory for the fledgling Nazi Party. It was this trial that thrust Hitler into the limelight, provided him with an unprecedented stage for his demagoguery, and set him on his improbable path to power.
Based on trial transcripts, police files, and many other new sources, including some five hundred documents recently discovered from the Landsberg Prison record office, The Trial of Adolf Hitler is a gripping true story of crime and punishment-and a haunting failure of justice with catastrophic consequences.
JULY 2017 BOOKS
House of Spies
A Gabriel Allon Novel
by Daniel Silva
July 11, 2017
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Black Widow comes the thrilling new summer blockbuster featuring legendary spy, assassin and art restorer Gabriel Allon.
A heart-stopping tale of suspense, Daniel Silva’s runaway bestseller, The Black Widow, was one of 2016’s biggest novels. Now, in House of Spies, Gabriel Allon is back and out for revenge – determined to hunt down the world’s most dangerous terrorist, a shadowy ISIS mastermind known only as Saladin.
Four months after the deadliest attack on the American homeland since 9/11, terrorists leave a trail of carnage through London’s glittering West End. The attack is a brilliant feat of planning and secrecy, but with one loose thread.
The thread leads Gabriel Allon and his team of operatives to the south of France and to the gilded doorstep of Jean-Luc Martel and Olivia Watson. A beautiful former British fashion model, Olivia pretends not to know that the true source of Martel’s enormous wealth is drugs. And Martel, likewise, turns a blind eye to the fact he is doing business with a man whose objective is the very destruction of the West.
Together, under Gabriel’s skilled hand, they will become an unlikely pair of heroes in the global war on terror.
Written in seductive and elegant prose, the story moves swiftly from the glamour of Saint-Tropez to the grit of Casablanca and, finally, to an electrifying climax that will leave readers breathless long after they turn the final page.
But House of Spies is more than just riveting entertainment; it is a dazzling tale of avarice and redemption, set against the backdrop of the great conflict of our times. And it proves once again why Daniel Silva is “quite simply the best” (Kansas City Star).
Overmapped and Uncharted
This is Not a Border
Ten Years of Writing and
Reportage and Reflection from
The Palestine Festival of Literature
Edited by Ahdaf Soueif
Writers from Richard Ford to Alice Walker, Michael Ondaatje to Claire Messud share their thoughts.
The Palestine Festival of Literature was established in 2008 by authors Ahdaf Soueif, Brigid Keenan, and Omar Robert Hamilton. Bringing writers from all corners of the globe, it aimed to strengthen artistic links with the rest of the world, and to reaffirm, in the words of Edward Said, "the power of culture over the culture of power."
Obviously there is a political reason for this for all things distill to this, and they have a POV, namely they are against Israel, indentify with Palestine, want to show solidarity with Palestine and they see Israel as a military occupier.
This book honors the tenth anniversary of PalFest
Contributing authors include J. M. Coetzee, China Miéville, Alice Walker, Geoff Dyer, Claire Messud, Henning Mankell, Michael Ondaatje, Kamila Shamsie, Michael Palin, Deborah Moggach, Mohammed Hanif, Richard Ford, Gillian Slovo, Adam Foulds, Susan Abulhawa, Ahdaf Soueif, Jeremy Harding, Brigid Keenan, Rachel Holmes, Suad Amiry, Gary Younge, Jamal Mahjoub, Molly Crabapple, Najwan Darwish, Nathalie Handal, Omar Robert Hamilton, Pankaj Mishra, Raja Shehadeh, Selma Dabbagh, William Sutcliffe, Atef Abu Saif, Yasmin El-Rifae, Sabrina Mahfouz, Alaa Abd El Fattah, Mercedes Kemp, Ru Freeman.
by Joshua Cohen
A propulsive, incendiary novel about faith, race, class, and what it means to have a home, from Joshua Cohen, “a major American writer” (The New York Times)
One of the boldest voices of his generation, Joshua Cohen returns with Moving Kings, a powerful and provocative novel that interweaves, in profoundly intimate terms, the housing crisis in America’s poor black and Hispanic neighborhoods with the world's oldest conflict, in the Middle East.
The year is 2015, and twenty-one-year-olds Yoav and Uri, veterans of the last Gaza War, have just completed their compulsory military service in the Israel Defense Forces. In keeping with national tradition, they take a year off for rest, recovery, and travel. They come to New York City and begin working for Yoav’s distant cousin David King—a proud American patriot, Republican, and Jew, and the recently divorced proprietor of King’s Moving Inc., a heavyweight in the tri-state area’s moving and storage industries. Yoav and Uri now must struggle to become reacquainted with civilian life, but it’s not easy to move beyond their traumatic pasts when their days are spent kicking down doors as eviction-movers in the ungentrified corners of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, throwing out delinquent tenants and seizing their possessions. And what starts off as a profitable if eerily familiar job—an “Occupation”—quickly turns violent when they encounter one homeowner seeking revenge.
Leaving Family and
by Jessica Berger Gross
Simon & Schuster
A powerful, haunting memoir about one woman’s childhood of abuse and her harrowing decision to leave it all behind that redefines our understanding of estrangement and the ability to triumph over adversity.
To outsiders, Jessica Berger Gross’s childhood—growing up in a “nice” Jewish family in middle class Long Island—seemed as wholesomely American as any other. But behind closed doors, Jessica suffered years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father, whose mood would veer unexpectedly from loving to violent.
At the age of twenty-eight, still reeling from the trauma but emotionally dependent on her dysfunctional family, Jessica made the anguished decision to cut ties with them entirely. Years later, living in Maine with a loving husband and young son, having finally found happiness, Jessica is convinced the decision saved her life.
In her powerful memoir reminiscent of Jeannette Walls’s bestseller The Glass Castle, Jessica breaks through common social taboos and bravely recounts the painful, self-defeating ways in which she internalized her abusive childhood, how she came to the monumental decision to break free from her family, and how she endured the difficult road that followed. Ultimately, by extracting herself from the damaging patterns and relationships of the past, Jessica has managed to carve an inspiring path to happiness—one she has created on her own terms. Her story, told here in a careful, unflinching, and forthright way, completely reframes how we think about family and the past.
What Makes Us Curious
by Mario Livio
Simon & Schuster
Mario Livio is an Israeli-American astrophysicist and an author of works that popularize science and mathematics. From 1991 till 2015 he was an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates the Hubble Space Telescope. In this book, he investigates perhaps the most human of all our characteristics—curiosity—as he explores our innate desire to know why.
Experiments demonstrate that people are more distracted when they overhear a phone conversation—where they can know only one side of the dialogue—than when they overhear two people talking and know both sides. Why does half a conversation make us more curious than a whole conversation?
In the ever-fascinating Why? Mario Livio interviewed scientists in several fields to explore the nature of curiosity. He examined the lives of two of history’s most curious geniuses, Leonardo da Vinci and Richard Feynman. He also talked to people with boundless curiosity: a superstar rock guitarist who is also an astrophysicist; an astronaut with degrees in computer science, biology, literature, and medicine. What drives these people to be curious about so many subjects?
Curiosity is at the heart of mystery and suspense novels. It is essential to other forms of art, from painting to sculpture to music. It is the principal driver of basic scientific research. Even so, there is still no definitive scientific consensus about why we humans are so curious, or about the mechanisms in our brain that are responsible for curiosity.
Mario Livio—an astrophysicist who has written about mathematics, biology, and now psychology and neuroscience—explores this irresistible subject in a lucid, entertaining way that will captivate anyone who is curious about curiosity.
The Netanyahu Years
by Ben Caspit
Translated by Ora Cummings
Binyamin enjamin Netanyahu is currently serving his fourth term in office as Prime Minister of Israel, the longest serving Prime Minister in the country’s history. Now Israeli journalist Ben Caspit puts Netanyahu’s life under a magnifying glass, focusing on his last two terms in office.
Caspit covers a wide swath of topics, including Netanyahu’s policies, his political struggles, and his fight against the Iranian nuclear program, and zeroes in on Netanyahu’s love/hate relationship with the American administration, America’s Jews, and his alliances with American business magnates.
A timely and important book, The Netanyahu Years is a primer for anyone looking to understand this world leader.
Sons and Soldiers:
The Untold Story of the Jews
Who Escaped the Nazis and
Returned with the U.S. Army
to Fight Hitler
by Bruce Henderson
July 25, 2017
Joining the ranks of Unbroken, Band of Brothers, and Boys in the Boat, the little-known saga of young German Jews, dubbed The Ritchie Boys, who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s, came of age in America, and returned to Europe at enormous personal risk as members of the U.S. Army to play a key role in the Allied victory.
In 1942, the U.S. Army unleashed one of its greatest secret weapons in the battle to defeat Adolf Hitler: training nearly 2,000 German-born Jews in special interrogation techniques and making use of their mastery of the German language, history, and customs. Known as the Ritchie Boys, they were sent in small, elite teams to join every major combat unit in Europe, where they interrogated German POWs and gathered crucial intelligence that saved American lives and helped win the war.
Though they knew what the Nazis would do to them if they were captured, the Ritchie Boys eagerly joined the fight to defeat Hitler. As they did, many of them did not know the fates of their own families left behind in occupied Europe. Taking part in every major campaign in Europe, they collected key tactical intelligence on enemy strength, troop and armored movements, and defensive positions. A postwar Army report found that more than sixty percent of the credible intelligence gathered in Europe came from the Ritchie Boys.
Bruce Henderson draws on personal interviews with many surviving veterans and extensive archival research to bring this never-before-told chapter of the Second World War to light. Sons and Soldiers traces their stories from childhood and their escapes from Nazi Germany, through their feats and sacrifices during the war, to their desperate attempts to find their missing loved ones in war-torn Europe. Sons and Soldiers is an epic story of heroism, courage, and patriotism that will not soon be forgotten.
Revenge of the Nerd:
Or . . . The Singular Adventures of
the Man Who Would Be Booger
by Curtis Armstrong
Risky Business. Revenge of the Nerds.
Better Off Dead. Moonlighting.
Supernatural. American Dad. New Girl. Ray.
Clan of the CaveBear
The Curb Your Enthusiasm S8E2 missing laptop scene (which took 8 hours to shoot 20 seconds).
What do all of these movies and television shows have in common?
(The Jewish Clint Howard ) haha
A legendary comedic second banana to a litany of major stars, Curtis is forever cemented in the public imagination as Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. A classically trained actor, Curtis began his incredible 40-year career on stage but progressed rapidly to film and television. He was typecast early and it proved to be the best thing that could have happened.
But there’s more to Curtis’ story than that.
Born and bred a nerd, he spent his early years between Detroit, a city so nerdy that the word was coined there in 1951, and, improbably, Geneva, Switzerland. His adolescence and early adulthood was spent primarily between the covers of a book and indulging his nerdy obsessions. It was only when he found his true calling, as an actor and unintentional nerd icon, that he found true happiness.
With whip-smart, self-effacing humor, Armstrong takes us on a most unlikely journey-one nerd’s hilarious, often touching rise to the middle. He started his life as an outcast and matured into…well, an older, slightly paunchier, hopefully wiser outcast. In Hollywood, as in life, that counts as winning the game.
Note: this publication has the “Risky Business” Tom Cruise/Sean Penn alleged quotes removed.
The Chickenshit Club:
Why the Justice Department
Fails to Prosecute Executives
by Jesse Eisinger
Simon & Schuster
From Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jesse Eisinger, a blistering account of corporate greed and impunity, and the reckless, often anemic response from the Department of Justice.
Why were no bankers put in prison after the financial crisis of 2008? Why do CEOs seem to commit wrongdoing with impunity? The problem goes beyond banks deemed “Too Big to Fail” to almost every large corporation in America—to pharmaceutical companies and auto manufacturers and beyond.
The Chickenshit Club—an inside reference to prosecutors too scared of failure and too daunted by legal impediments to do their jobs—explains why. A character-driven narrative, the book tells the story from inside the Department of Justice. The complex and richly reported story spans the last decade and a half of prosecutorial fiascos, corporate lobbying, trial losses, and culture shifts that have stripped the government of the will and ability to prosecute top corporate executives.
The book begins in the 1970s, when the government pioneered the notion that top corporate executives, not just seedy crooks, could commit heinous crimes and go to prison. The book travels to trading desks on Wall Street, to corporate boardrooms and the offices of prosecutors and F.B.I agents. These revealing looks provide context for the evolution of the Justice Department’s approach to pursuing corporate criminals through the early aughts and into the Justice Department of today.
Exposing one of the most important scandals of our time, The Chickenshit Club provides a clear, detailed explanation as to how our Justice Department has come to avoid, bungle, and mismanage the fight to bring these alleged criminals to justice.
AUGUST 2017 BOOKS
The Last Palestinian:
The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas
by Grant Rumley and Amir Tibon
Mahmoud Abbas rose to prominence as a top Palestinian negotiator, became the leader of his nation, and then tragically failed to negotiate a peace agreement. This is the first book in English that focuses on one of the most important fixtures of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Filled with new details and based on interviews with key figures in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Washington, this book weaves together a fascinating story that will interest both veteran observers of the conflict and readers new to Israeli-Palestinian history.
The authors, one a research fellow at a nonpartisan Washington think tank and the other an award-winning diplomatic correspondent for Israel's largest news website, tell the inside story of Abbas's complicated multi-decade relationship with America, Israel, and his own people. They trace his upbringing in Galilee, his family's escape from the 1948 Israeli-Arab war, and his education abroad. They chart his rise to prominence as a pivotal actor in the Oslo peace process of the 1990s and his unsuccessful attempt to offer a nonviolent alternative to the Second Intifada.
The authors pay special attention to the crucial years of 2005 to 2014, exploring such questions as: How did Abbas lose control of half of his governing territory and the support of more than half of his people? Why was Abbas the most prominent Palestinian leader to denounce terrorism? Why did Abbas twice walk away from peace offers from Israel and the U.S. in 2008 and 2014? And how did he turn himself from the first world leader to receive a phone call from President Obama to a person who ultimately lost the faith of the American president?
Concluding that Abbas will most likely be judged a tragic figure, the authors emphasize that much of his historical importance will depend on the state of the peace process after he is gone. Only the future will determine which of the emerging schools of Palestinian political thought will hold sway and how it will affect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Arbitrary Stupid Goal
by Tamara Shopsin
Arbitrary Stupid Goal is a completely riveting world-when I looked up from its pages regular life seemed boring and safe and modern like one big iPhone. This book captures not just a lost New York but a whole lost way of life.” -Miranda July
The kind of family where when a child came to school late, the teachers didnt freak out, since the kid was a Shopsin. Or when Tamara's brother took the subway alone as a child to an Upper West Side museum, and called his mother from a pay phone, she did not freak out, but just gave the young boy instructions on which train to take to get home.
In Arbitrary Stupid Goal, Tamara Shopsin takes the reader on a pointillist time-travel trip to the Greenwich Village of her bohemian 1970s childhood, a funky, tight-knit small town in the big city, long before Sex and the City tours and luxury condos. The center of Tamara’s universe is Shopsin’s, her family’s legendary greasy spoon, aka “The Store,” run by her inimitable dad, Kenny-a loquacious, contrary, huge-hearted man who, aside from dishing up New York’s best egg salad on rye, is Village sheriff, philosopher, and fixer all at once. All comers find a place at Shopsin’s table and feast on Kenny’s tall tales and trenchant advice along with the incomparable chili con carne.
Filled with clever illustrations and witty, nostalgic photographs and graphics, and told in a sly, elliptical narrative that is both hilarious and endearing, Arbitrary Stupid Goal is an offbeat memory-book mosaic about the secrets of living an unconventional life, which is becoming a forgotten art.
A Dictionary of RAF Slang
By Eric Partridge
from 1945. reprint
Drop your visiting cards, put aside your beer-lever, stop being a half-pint hero and discover the gloriously funny slang which was part of everyday life in two world wars. Passion-killers: Airwomen's service knickers, whether twilights (the lighter, summer-weight variety) or black-outs (the navy-blue winter-weights). A wise directive has purposely made them as unromantic in colour and in design as a wise directive could imagine. Thanks to the work of Eric Partridge in 1945, the hilarious slang of the Royal Air Force during the first two World Wars has been preserved for generations to come. While some phrases like 'chocks away!' have lasted to this day, others deserve to be rediscovered... Beer-lever: From pub-bars, meaning the 'Joystick' of an aircraft. Canteen cowboy: A ladies' man. Half-pint hero: A boaster. One who exemplifies the virtue of Dutch courage without having the trouble of going into action. Tin fish: A torpedo. Umbrella man: A parachutist. Visiting-card: A bomb. Wheels down: Get ready - especially to leave a bus, tram, train. From lowering the wheels, preparatory to landing. Whistled: In a state of intoxication wherein one tends to whistle cheerfully and perhaps discordantly. The Dictionary of RAF Slang is a funny and fascinating insight into the lives of our RAF heroes, in a time gone by.
The Power of Onlyness:
Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty
Enough to Dent the World
by Nilofer Merchant
Penguin Random House
An innovation expert illuminates why your power to make a difference is no longer bound by your status. If you’re like most people, you wish you had the ability to make a difference, but you don’t have the credentials, or a seat at the table, can’t get past the gatekeepers, and aren’t high enough in any hierarchy to get your ideas heard.
In The Power of Onlyness, Nilofer Merchant, one of the world’s top-ranked business thinkers, reveals that, in fact, we have now reached an unprecedented moment of opportunity for your ideas to “make a dent” on the world. Now that the Internet has liberated ideas to spread through networks instead of hierarchies, power is no longer determined by your status, but by “onlyness”—that spot in the world only you stand in, a function of your distinct history and experiences, visions and hopes. If you build upon your signature ingredient of purpose and connect with those who are equally passionate, you have a lever by which to move the world.
This new ability is already within your grasp, but to command it, you need to know how to meaningfully mobilize others around your ideas. Through inspirational and instructive stories, Merchant reveals proven strategies to unleash the centrifugal force of a new idea, no matter how weird or wild it may seem.
Imagine how much better the world could be if every idea could have its shot, not just the ones that come from expected people and places. Which long-intractable problems would we solve, what new levels of creativity would be unlocked, and who might innovate a breakthrough that could benefit ourselves, our communities, and especially our economy. This limitless potential of onlyness has already been recognized by Thinkers 50, the Oscars of management, which cited it one of the five ideas that will shape business for next twenty years.
Why do some individuals make scalable impact with their ideas, regardless of their power or status? The Power of Onlyness unravels this mystery for the first time so that anyone can make a dent. Even you.
(A Book for Just About Anyone)
by Devorah Baum
Yale University Press
In this sparkling debut, a young critic offers an original, passionate, and erudite account of what it means to feel Jewish—even when you’re not.
Self-hatred. Guilt. Resentment. Paranoia. Hysteria. Overbearing Mother-Love. In this witty, insightful, and poignant book, Devorah Baum delves into fiction, film, memoir, and psychoanalysis to present a dazzlingly original exploration of a series of feelings famously associated with modern Jews. Reflecting on why Jews have so often been depicted, both by others and by themselves, as prone to “negative” feelings, she queries how negative these feelings really are. And as the pace of globalization leaves countless people feeling more marginalized, uprooted, and existentially threatened, she argues that such “Jewish” feelings are becoming increasingly common to us all.
Ranging from Franz Kafka to Philip Roth, Sarah Bernhardt to Woody Allen, Anne Frank to Nathan Englander, Feeling Jewish bridges the usual fault lines between left and right, insider and outsider, Jew and Gentile, and even Semite and anti-Semite, to offer an indispensable guide for our divisive times.
Was the Cat in the Hat Black?:
The Hidden Racism of Children's
Literature, and the Need
for Diverse Books
by Philip Nel
Oxford University Press
Racism is resilient, duplicitous, and endlessly adaptable, so it is no surprise that America is again in a period of civil rights activism. A significant reason racism endures is because it is structural: it's embedded in culture and in institutions. One of the places that racism hides-and thus perhaps the best place to oppose it-is books for young people.
Was the Cat in the Hat Black? presents five serious critiques of the history and current state of children's literature tempestuous relationship with both implicit and explicit forms of racism. The book fearlessly examines topics both vivid-such as The Cat in the Hat's roots in blackface minstrelsy-and more opaque, like how the children's book industry can perpetuate structural racism via whitewashed covers even while making efforts to increase diversity. Rooted in research yet written with a lively, crackling touch, Nel delves into years of literary criticism and recent sociological data in order to show a better way forward. Though much of what is proposed here could be endlessly argued, the knowledge that what we learn in childhood imparts both subtle and explicit lessons about whose lives matter is not debatable. The text concludes with a short and stark proposal of actions everyone-reader, author, publisher, scholar, citizen- can take to fight the biases and prejudices that infect children's literature. While Was the Cat in the Hat Black? does not assume it has all the answers to such a deeply systemic problem, its audacity should stimulate discussion and activism.
Losing an Enemy:
Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy
by Trita Parsi
Georgetown Walsh School and Johns Hopkins SAIS
Yale University Press
From the author of the 2008 book, Treacherous Dealings: Israel, Iran, and the USA, comes what some people say is the definitive book on Obama’s historic nuclear deal with Iran from the author of the Foreign Affairs Best Book on the Middle East in 2012
This timely book focuses on President Obama’s deeply considered strategy toward Iran’s nuclear program and reveals how the historic agreement of 2015 broke the persistent stalemate in negotiations that had blocked earlier efforts.
The deal accomplished two major feats in one stroke: it averted the threat of war with Iran and prevented the possibility of an Iranian nuclear bomb. Trita Parsi, a Middle East foreign policy expert who advised the Obama White House throughout the talks and had access to decision-makers and diplomats on the U.S. and Iranian sides alike, examines every facet of a triumph that could become as important and consequential as Nixon’s rapprochement with China. Drawing from more than seventy-five in-depth interviews with key decision-makers, including Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, this is the first authoritative account of President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement.
The Modern Jewish Table:
100 Kosher Recipes from
around the Globe
by Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn
August 15, 2017
The Modern Jewish Table is the new, essential kosher cookbook for every Jewish home, whether you are a reluctant cook or a dedicated balabusta. Bringing their fun, upbeat, and infectious brand of energy to the kitchen, self-proclaimed Jewish Princesses Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn don their high heels and aprons to revamp the kosher kitchen and raise the culinary bar. It’s no longer just chopped liver, chicken soup, and matzo bread; instead, learn to make Mock Chopped Liver, Sephardi Saffron Chicken Soup, and Princess Pitta Bread!
Writing from the point of view of the average home cook, the Jewish Princesses dish out their witty know-how and inspire amateur cooks to create simple and hip recipes, with all the short cuts included, even as they entice “professional” home cooks to revitalize traditional Jewish fare with uniquely global flavors. Drawing inspirations from Turkish, Iranian, Japanese, Chinese, French, German, American, and Mexican cooking, to name a few, The Modern Jewish Table boasts globe-trotting recipes that include:
• Street Food Gefilte Fish Bites
• Crème Fraiche Vegetable Latkes
• Cohen-Tucky Baked Chicken
• Princess Pad Thai
• Kunafa Middle Eastern Cheese Cake
• Cuban Sweet Corn Soufflé, and more!
Complete with stunning photography, outrageous tips, and a dash of chutzpah, The Modern Jewish Table introduces innovative dishes that will soon become Jewish traditions for the future.
I'll Have What She's Having:
How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic
Films Saved the Romantic Comedy
by Erin Carlson
A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron's revered trilogy--When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle--which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.
In I'll Have What She's Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Reiner, Hanks, Ryan, and Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron's New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron--who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it--ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.
Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron's fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail's Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless' Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing ... in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America's most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I'll Have What She's Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.
The Making of an American
by David Thomson
Jewish Live Series
Yale University Press
Behind the scenes at the legendary Warner Brothers film studio, where four immigrant brothers transformed themselves into the moguls and masters of American fantasy
Warner Bros charts the rise of an unpromising film studio from its shaky beginnings in the early twentieth century through its ascent to the pinnacle of Hollywood influence and popularity. The Warner Brothers—Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack—arrived in America as unschooled Jewish immigrants, yet they founded a studio that became the smartest, toughest, and most radical in all of Hollywood.
David Thomson provides fascinating and original interpretations of Warner Brothers pictures from the pioneering talkie The Jazz Singer through black-and-white musicals, gangster movies, and such dramatic romances as Casablanca, East of Eden, and Bonnie and Clyde. He recounts the storied exploits of the studio’s larger-than-life stars, among them Al Jolson, James Cagney, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Doris Day, and Bugs Bunny. The Warner brothers’ cultural impact was so profound, Thomson writes, that their studio became “one of the enterprises that helped us see there might be an American dream out there.”
The Knish War on Rivington Street
by Joanne Oppenheim
Illustrated by Jon Davis
Albert Whitman Books
Ages 4 – 8
Benny's family owns a knishery and sells delicious round dumplings. Then the Tisch family opens a store across the street—selling square knishes—and Benny's papa worries. So he lowers his prices! But Mr. Tisch does too. As each knishery tries to outdo the other, Benny helps his papa realize there's room on Rivington Street for more than one knishery.
Sukkot Is Coming!
by Tracy Newman
Ages 1 – 4
Kids will learn about the Jewish fall harvest holiday of Sukkot from building the sukkah, to the tradition of shaking the lulav and etrog. Don't know what those things are? Read the book!
The Best Sukkot Pumpkin Ever
by Laya Steinberg
and Colleen Madden (Illustrator)
Ages 4 – 8
It's almost Sukkot, and Micah and his family are heading to Farmer Jared's pumpkin patch. Micah wants to find the very best pumpkin to decorate his family's sukkah, but Farmer Jared says his pumpkins can also go to a soup kitchen, to feed people who need a good meal. What will Micah decide to do with the best Sukkot pumpkin ever?
The Cholent Brigade
by Michael Herman
and Sharon Harmer (Illustrator)
Ages 4 – 8
When a big snowstorm hits, Monty Nudelman happily shovels his neighbors' sidewalks, driveways, cars, and steps—until he hurts his back. Now he can barely move! He can't even make his Shabbat lunch. Luckily, his neighbors have all made cholent—a delicious Shabbat stew. The neighborhood kids form a "cholent brigade" to bring Monty Nudelman a tasty feast. Cholent to the rescue!
Drop by Drop:
A Story of Rabbi Akiva
by Jacqueline Hechtkopf
Ages 4 – 8
Akiva is just a poor shepherd living an ordinary life, until he falls in love with Rachel. Rachel thinks her husband could become a great man of learning—but Akiva can't even read! Is he too old to be a scholar or can he follow the example of the water in the nearby brook? Water is soft, yet drop by drop, it can soften the hardest stone.
Engineer Arielle and the
Israel Independence Day Surprise
by Deborah Cohen
Ages 4 – 8
Engineer Arielle drives a train in Jerusalem, just like her great-great-grandfather, Engineer Ari. Except she drives a light rail train, and today is a special day. It's Israel's Independence Day! Arielle works all day taking people to their holiday destinations—but how will Arielle celebrate? Her brother Ezra, a pilot in the Israeli Air Force, has something special in mind.
by Laura Gehl
Illustrated by Maria Mola
Ages 4 – 8
Lila's older sisters both have jobs to help their family get ready for Shabbat. Lila wants to help too, but she can't figure out the perfect job, and everything she tries just ends in a gigantic mess. Then Lila has an idea. Maybe she can make the most beautiful, most special, most delicious challah ever! At least she can try....
The Missing Letters:
A Dreidel Story
by Renee Londner
Illustrated by Iryna BodnarUK
Ages 4 – 8
It's almost Hanukkah and the dreidel-maker's shop is busy. But all is not well for the four Hebrew letters that will soon go on the wooden tops. The Heys, the Nuns, and the Shins are jealous of everyone's favorite letter, the Gimel. They decide to hide the Gimels so that the dreidel-maker can't use them. But then the other letters learn that the Hanukkah story wouldn't be complete without the Gimels! Is it too late for the missing letters to be found?
Moti the Mitzvah Mouse
by Vivian Newman
Illustrated by Inga Knipp-Kolpert
Ages 4 – 8
Moti, the busy little mitzvah mouse, works all night, secretly doing good deeds for his human family and his animal friends. Who will do a mitzvah for Moti?Vivian Newman has an M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education and a certificate in Jewish Early Childhood Education from Hebrew College. In addition to writing, she is an Educational Consultant for PJ Library, an initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Her previous chldren s books include Ella sTrip to Israel and Tikkun Olam Ted.
Rosie Saves the World
by Debbie Herman
Illustrated by Debbie Herman
Ages 4 – 8
Rosie can't wait to start doing good deeds to save the world. But as she helps the people in her neighborhood, she is soon so busy saving the world that she doesn't have time for her own family! It turns out, though, that the greatest acts of tikkun olam—repairing the world—start in her own home.
Way Too Many Latkes:
A Hanukkah in Chelm
by Linda Glaser
Illustrated by Aleksander Zolotic
Ages 4 – 8
Faigel makes the best Hanukkah latkes in Chelm, but somehow, this year she's forgotten how to make them! She sends her husband, Shmuel, to ask the rabbi for help. And in Chelm, the village of fools—oy vey!—this becomes a recipe for disaster!
Polish Jews and the Rise of
by Daniel Kupfert Heller
Princeton University Press
How interwar Poland and its Jewish youth were instrumental in shaping the ideology of right-wing Zionism
By the late 1930s, as many as fifty thousand Polish Jews belonged to Betar, a youth movement known for its support of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of right-wing Zionism. Poland was not only home to Jabotinsky's largest following. The country also served as an inspiration and incubator for the development of right-wing Zionist ideas. Jabotinsky's Children draws on a wealth of rare archival material to uncover how the young people in Betar were instrumental in shaping right-wing Zionist attitudes about the roles that authoritarianism and military force could play in the quest to build and maintain a Jewish state.
Recovering the voices of ordinary Betar members through their letters, diaries, and autobiographies, Jabotinsky's Children paints a vivid portrait of young Polish Jews and their turbulent lives on the eve of the Holocaust. Rather than define Jabotinsky as a firebrand fascist or steadfast democrat, the book instead reveals how he deliberately delivered multiple and contradictory messages to his young followers, leaving it to them to interpret him as they saw fit. Tracing Betar's surprising relationship with interwar Poland's authoritarian government, Jabotinsky's Children overturns popular misconceptions about Polish-Jewish relations between the two world wars and captures the fervent efforts of Poland's Jewish youth to determine, on their own terms, who they were, where they belonged, and what their future held in store.
Shedding critical light on a vital yet neglected chapter in the history of Zionism, Jabotinsky's Children provides invaluable perspective on the origins of right-wing Zionist beliefs and their enduring allure in Israel today.
Wrestling with Life:
From Hungary to Auschwitz
by George Reinitz and
George Reinitz was twelve years old when he and his family were taken from Szikszó, Hungary, and deported to Auschwitz, where many of his family members were killed. He experienced the horrors of a Nazi death camp as a boy on the brink of adolescence. Following his liberation he returned to his hometown where he remained for a few years before immigrating to Montreal in 1948 as part of the Canadian Jewish Congress’s War Orphans Project. In Wrestling with Life, George Reinitz recounts his vivid memories of childhood and his experiences in one of the worst places humans ever created. He recalls being tattooed with an unclean needle, eating raw potato skins to stave off hunger, watching his father get whipped in the face, and looking after the horses of SS officers. In Auschwitz he learned and used survival skills that he later applied in the commercial realm. George settled in Montreal and became a world-class wrestler, competing internationally and carrying the flag for the Canadian team at the 1957 Maccabiah Games in Israel. After working in a number of jobs he found his calling in the furniture business, eventually founding Jaymar Furniture, a leading manufacturer and a company that still operates successfully in Quebec. Wrestling with Life is a moving account of a child’s survival under the most difficult of circumstances. It tells the story of one man’s hard-won success as a businessman and athlete.
How to Behave in a Crowd:
by Camille Bordas
Tim Duggan Books
An absorbing, darkly comedic novel that brilliantly evokes the confusions of adolescence and marks the arrival of an extraordinary young talent.
Isidore Mazal is eleven years old, the youngest of six siblings living in a small French town. He doesn't quite fit in. Berenice, Aurore, and Leonard are on track to have doctorates by age twenty-four. Jeremie performs with a symphony, and Simone, older than Isidore by eighteen months, expects a great career as a novelist--she's already put Isidore to work on her biography. The only time they leave their rooms is to gather on the old, stained couch and dissect prime-time television dramas in light of Aristotle's Poetics.
Isidore has never skipped a grade or written a dissertation. But he notices things the others don't, and asks questions they fear to ask. So when tragedy strikes the Mazal family, Isidore is the only one to recognize how everyone is struggling with their grief, and perhaps the only one who can help them—if he doesn't run away from home first.
Isidore’s unstinting empathy, combined with his simmering anger, makes for a complex character study, in which the elegiac and comedic build toward a heartbreaking conclusion. With How to Behave in a Crowd, Camille Bordas immerses readers in the interior life of a boy puzzled by adulthood and beginning to realize that the adults around him are just as lost.
Gone To Dust
by Matt Goldman
Tim Duggan Books
Set in Minnesota, Gone to Dust is the debut private eye murder mystery from Emmy Award-winning Seinfeld (and Ellen) writer Matt Goldman.
A brutal crime. The ultimate cover-up. How do you solve a murder with no useable evidence?
Private detective Nils Shapiro is focused on forgetting his ex-wife and keeping warm during another Minneapolis winter when a former colleague, neighboring Edina Police Detective Anders Ellegaard, calls with the impossible. Suburban divorcee Maggie Somerville was found murdered in her bedroom, her body covered with the dust from hundreds of emptied vacuum cleaner bags, all potential DNA evidence obscured by the calculating killer.
Digging into Maggie’s cell phone records, Nils finds that the most frequently called number belongs to a mysterious young woman whose true identity could shatter the Somerville family--but could she be guilty of murder?
After the FBI demands that Nils drop the case, Nils and Ellegaard are forced to take their investigation underground, where the case grows as murky as the contents of the vacuum cleaner bags. Is this a strange case of domestic violence or something with far reaching, sinister implications?
by Adam Abramowitz
Adam teaches at a Charter School in Myt Vernon, NY. This is his first nationally published novel
Zesty Meyers is Bosstown’s fastest bike messenger-caffeine fueled, wise-cracking and reckless-accustomed to hurtling through Boston’s kamikaze streets at breakneck speed, always just a bumper or car door away from disaster.
Will Meyers is Zesty’s father, Beantown’s former backroom poker king and political fixer, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and a growing dread that the Big Dig, carving its way through some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods, will expose the bodies and secrets he’d assumed were buried forever.
When the heist of an armored truck goes violently wrong, Zesty is forced to navigate a gritty underworld of gangsters and blood money, desperately trying to outrace his family’s criminal past and stay alive in a changing city where death loiters on every corner and the odds of survival have narrowed to pulling a straight flush on the river. Adam Abramowitz's Bosstown, a local treat, is a story of harrowing high speeds, desperately high stakes and more twists than a Boston street. For Zesty, it’s the toughest ride yet-and every path leads home.
A Rosh Hashanah Tall Tale
by Eric A. Kimmel and
Jim Starr (Illustrator)
Apples & Honey Press
How does Big Sam make a GIANT-sized challah for Rosh Hashanah?
He digs an enormous hole in the ground to use as a mixing bowl. (It's still there today we call it the Grand Canyon.)
He adds mountains of flour, thousands of eggs, and other good things.
He whittles a massive California redwood tree into a mixing spoon. He flattens the hills of West Texas as he kneads the dough. And he bakes it inside Mount Saint Helens.
But when it's time to celebrate the holiday, the eagles call out, "Not so fast, Big Sam!" Rosh Hashanah is about fixing the world, and Big Sam has some MAJOR cleaning up to do.
Yom Kippur Shortstop
by David A. Adler and
Andre Ceolin (Illustrator)
Apples & Honey Press
Bam! It's a speedy drive over second base. I jump and catch it. My whole team shouts, 'Jacob, you saved the game!';
It's Jacob's third year in Little League, and he's never missed a game. The championship game is coming up, and his team is counting on him. But then he finds out the game is scheduled on the holiday of Yom Kippur. The game is important. and Jacob has a decision to make.
Jacob's story was inspired by the Los Angeles Dodgers' star pitcher Sandy Koufax, who sat out a 1965 World Series game on Yom Kippur. He was a hero to people everywhere who have made difficult decisions in order to observe their religious holidays.
Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor
by Ann D. Koffsky
and Talitha Shipman (Illustrator)
Apples & Honey Press
More than anything, Judah wants to be a good big brother to his baby sister, Hannah. He even uses his new Maccabee shield to protect her from danger!
On the last day of Hanukkah, during a visit to the doctor, Judah refuses to have his shot. Surely, his shield can protect him from germs, too!
SEPTEMBER 2017 BOOKS
What Is It All but Luminous:
Notes from an Underground Man
by Art Garfunkel
From the golden-haired, curly-headed half of Simon & Garfunkel--a memoir (of sorts): artful, moving, lyrical; the making of a musician; the evolution of a man, a portrait of a life-long friendship and collaboration that became one of the most successful singing duos of their time.
Art Garfunkel writes about his life before, during, and after Simon & Garfunkel . . . about their folk-rock music in the roiling age that embraced and was defined by their pathbreaking sound. He writes about growing up in the 1940s and '50s (son of a traveling salesman), a middle class Jewish boy, living in a red brick semi-attached house in Kew Gardens, Queens, a kid who was different--from the age of five feeling his vocal cords "vibrating with the love of sound" . . . meeting Paul Simon in school, the funny guy who made Art laugh; their going on to junior high school together, of being twelve at the birth of rock'n'roll, both of them "captured" by it; going to a recording studio in Manhattan to make a demo of their song, "Hey Schoolgirl" (for $7!) and the actual record (with Paul's father on bass) going to #40 on the national charts, selling 150,000 copies . . .
He writes about their becoming Simon & Garfunkel, taking the world by storm, ruling the pop charts from the time he was sixteen, about not being a natural performer, but more a thinker . . . touring; sex-for-thrills on the road, reading or walking to calm down (walking across two continents--the USA and Europe). He writes of being an actor working with directors Nicolas Roeg (Bad Timing) and Mike Nichols ("the greatest of them all") . . . getting his masters in mathematics at Columbia; choosing music over a PhD; his slow unfolding split with Paul and its aftermath; learning to perform on his own, giving a thousand concerts worldwide, his voice going south (a stiffening of one vocal cord) and working to get it back . . . about being a husband, a father and much more.
Dinner at the Center
of the Earth:
by Nathan Englander
The best work yet from the Pulitzer finalist and best-selling author of For the Relief of Unbearable Urges--a political thriller that unfolds in the highly charged territory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pivots on the complex relationship between a secret prisoner and his guard.
A prisoner in a secret cell. The guard who has watched over him a dozen years. An American waitress in Paris. A young Palestinian man in Berlin who strikes up an odd friendship with a wealthy Canadian businessman. And The General, Israel's most controversial leader, who lies dying in a hospital, the only man who knows of the prisoner's existence.
From these vastly different lives Nathan Englander has woven a powerful, intensely suspenseful portrait of a nation riven by insoluble conflict, even as the lives of its citizens become fatefully and inextricably entwined--a political thriller of the highest order that interrogates the anguished, violent division between Israelis and Palestinians, and dramatizes the immense moral ambiguities haunting both sides. Who is right, who is wrong--who is the guard, who is truly the prisoner?
A tour de force from one of America's most acclaimed voices in contemporary fiction.
The Great Shift:
Encountering God in Biblical Times
by James L. Kugel, PhD
September 12, 2017
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
A world-renowned scholar brings a lifetime of study to reveal how a pivotal transformation in spiritual experience during the Biblical Era made us who we are today
Why does the Bible depict a world in which humans, with surprising regularity, encounter the divine—wrestling an angel, addressing a burning bush, issuing forth prophecy without any choice in the matter? These stories spoke very differently to their original audience than they do to us, and they reflect a radically distinct understanding of reality and the human mind. Yet over the course of the thousand-year Biblical Era, encounters with God changed dramatically. As James L. Kugel argues, this transition allows us to glimpse a massive shift in human experience—the emergence of the modern, Western sense of self.
In this landmark work, Kugel fuses revelatory close readings of ancient texts with modern scholarship from a range of fields, including neuroscience, anthropology, psychology, and archaeology, to explain the origins of belief, worship, and the sense of self, and the changing nature of God through history. In the tradition of books like The Swerve and The Better Angels of Our Nature,The Great Shift tells the story of a revolution in human consciousness and the enchantment of everyday life. This book will make believers and seekers think differently not just about the Bible, but about the entire history of the human imagination.
Einstein and the Rabbi:
Searching for the Soul
by Rabbi Naomi Levy
A bestselling author and rabbi’s profoundly affecting exploration of the meaning and purpose of the soul, inspired by the famous correspondence between Albert Einstein and a grieving rabbi.
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings as something separate from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness...” -Albert Einstein
When Rabbi Naomi Levy came across this poignant letter by Einstein it shook her to her core. His words perfectly captured what she has come to believe about the human condition: That we are intimately connected, and that we are blind to this truth. Levy wondered what had elicited such spiritual wisdom from a man of science? Thus began a three-year search into the mystery of Einstein’s letter, and into the mystery of the human soul.
What emerges is an inspiring, deeply affecting book for people of all faiths filled with universal truths that will help us reclaim our own souls and glimpse the unity that has been evading us. We all long to see more expansively, to live up to our gifts, to understand why we are here. Levy leads us on a breathtaking journey full of wisdom, empathy and humor, challenging us to wake up and heed the voice calling from within-a voice beckoning us to become who we were born be.
Modern Jewish Baker:
Bagels & More
by Shannon Sarna
Step-by-step instructions for the seven core doughs of Jewish baking.
Jewish baked goods have brought families together around the table for centuries. In Modern Jewish Baker, Sarna pays homage to those traditions while reinvigorating them with modern flavors and new ideas. One kosher dough at a time, she offers the basics for challah, babka, bagels, hamantaschen, rugelach, pita, and matzah. Never one to shy away from innovation, Sarna sends her readers off on a bake-your-own adventure with twists on these classics. Recipes include:
Chocolate Chip Hamantaschen
(hey.. her dog is named babka
Detailed instructions, as well as notes on make-ahead strategies, ideas for using leftovers, and other practical tips will have even novice bakers braiding beautiful shiny loaves that will make any bubbe proud.
THE BOOK OF SEPARATION
by Tova Mirvis
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
OMG... WHO KNEW?
The memoir of a woman who leaves her faith and her marriage and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a newly map-less world.
Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. After all, to observe was to be accepted and to be accepted was to be loved. She married a man from within the fold and quickly began a family.
But over the years, her doubts became noisier than her faith, and at age forty she could no longer breathe in what had become a suffocating existence. Even though it would mean the loss of her friends, her community, and possibly even her family, Tova decides to leave her husband and her faith.
After years of trying to silence the voice inside her that said she did not agree, did not fit in, did not believe, she strikes out on her own to discover what she does believe and who she really is. This will mean forging a new way of life not just for herself, but for her children, who are struggling with what the divorce and her new status as “not Orthodox” mean for them.
This is a memoir about what it means to decide to heed your inner compass at long last. To free the part of yourself that has been suppressed, even if it means walking away from the only life you’ve ever known. Honest and courageous, Tova takes us through her first year outside her marriage and community as she learns to silence her fears and seek adventure on her own path to happiness.
One Long Night
A Global History of Concentration Camps
by Andrea Pitzer
A groundbreaking, haunting, and profoundly moving history of modernity's greatest tragedy: concentration camps
For over 100 years, at least one concentration camp has existed somewhere on Earth. First used as battlefield strategy, camps have evolved with each passing decade, in the scope of their effects and the savage practicality with which governments have employed them. Even in the twenty-first century, as we continue to reckon with the magnitude and horror of the Holocaust, history tells us we have broken our own solemn promise of "never again."
In this harrowing work based on archival records and interviews during travel to four continents, Andrea Pitzer reveals for the first time the chronological and geopolitical history of concentration camps. Beginning with 1890s Cuba, she pinpoints concentration camps around the world and across decades. From the Philippines and Southern Africa in the early twentieth century to the Soviet Gulag and detention camps in China and North Korea during the Cold War, camp systems have been used as tools for civilian relocation and political repression. Often justified as a measure to protect a nation, or even the interned groups themselves, camps have instead served as brutal and dehumanizing sites that have claimed the lives of millions.
Drawing from exclusive testimony, landmark historical scholarship, and stunning research, Andrea Pitzer unearths the roots of this appalling phenomenon, exploring and exposing the staggering toll of the camps: our greatest atrocities, the extraordinary survivors, and even the intimate, quiet moments that have also been part of camp life during the past century
Reflections on Music, Musicians,
and the Music Industry
by Leonard Slatkin
Leading Tones is a glimpse into several aspects of the musical world. There are portions devoted to Leonard Slatkin's life as a musician and conductor, portraits of some of the outstanding artists with whom he has worked, as well as anecdotes and stories both personal and professional. Much of the book discusses elements of the industry that are troubling and difficult during this first part of the 21st century. Auditions, critics, fiscal concerns, and labor negotiations are all matters that today's conductors must be aware of, and this book provides helpful suggested solutions. Leading Tones is intended not only for musicians, but also for the music lover who wishes to know more about what goes into being a conductor.
Slatkin also delves into his relationships with Eugenne Ormandy, Isaac Stern, Gilbert Kaplan, John Browning, John Williams, and Nathan Milstein
Putting Wealth to Work:
Philanthropy for Today or
Investing for Tomorrow?
by Joel L. Fleishman
PublicAffairs (not Mesorah)
During the next twenty years, as part of the largest transfer of wealth in history, more than $500 billion is expected to pour into the philanthropic sector. Some of it will come from retiring baby boomers, but even more will come from newly rich Silicon Valley billionaires. Since 2006, the appeal of "giving while living" has grown, so much so that many philanthropic donors now expect not just to give money during their lifetimes, but to create organizations or ventures-some for profit, others not for profit-whose missions are expected to be completed within the lifetime of the donors. The combination of these two trends has transformed the not-for-profit sector in scale and dynamism, attracting some skeptical scrutiny along the way.
Philanthrocapitalism has acquired some of the trappings of financialization, and has the potential to deliver ever greater impact. But will it? And will the demand that the impact be quickly realized mean that longer-term institution-building missions will be neglected?
Joel L. Fleishman is one of the wisest of wise men in philanthropy whose advice is routinely sought by organizations and individuals across the country. In Putting Wealth to Work, he tells the story of a uniquely American financial sector, all but created by Andrew Carnegie's example, that since 1995 has become more dynamic with every passing year. Staggering personal fortunes are made and given away, from Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg, as in no previous era since the golden age of American capitalism. America currently leads the world in this trend-of the 138 signers of the giving-while-living pledge, 110 were American-but the world is following in its footsteps. This movement of socially motivated capital is unprecedented and its consequences are potentially transformative for the American economy and the world at large.
Did I mention that Professor Fleishman has been a leader of Artscroll and Mesorah? He also wrote about Wine for Vanity Fair for nearly a decade, and serves on the Board of Ralph Lauren Inc.
The Undercover Surveillance
of Nazis in Los Angeles
(Goldstein-Goren Series in
American Jewish History)
by Laura B. Rosenzweig, PhD
Tells the remarkable story of the Jewish moguls in Hollywood who established the first anti-Nazi Jewish resistance organization in the country in the 1930s
In April 1939, Warner Brothers studios released the first Hollywood film to confront the Nazi threat in the United States. Confessions of a Nazi Spy, starring Edward G. Robinson, told the story of German agents in New York City working to overthrow the U.S. Government. The film alerted Americans to the dangers of Nazism at home and encouraged them to defend against it.
Confessions of a Nazi Spy may have been the first cinematic shot fired by Hollywood against Nazis in America, but it by no means marked the political awakening of the film industry’s Jewish executives to the problem. Hollywood’s Spies tells the remarkable story of the Jewish moguls in Hollywood who paid private investigators to infiltrate Nazi groups operating in Los Angeles, establishing the first anti-Nazi Jewish resistance organization in the country—the Los Angeles Jewish Community Committee (LAJCC).
Drawing on more than 15,000 pages of archival documents, Laura B. Rosenzweig offers a compelling narrative illuminating the role that Jewish Americans played in combating insurgent Nazism in the United States in the 1930s. Forced undercover by the anti-Semitic climate of the decade, the LAJCC partnered with organizations whose Americanism was unimpeachable, such as the American Legion, to channel information regarding seditious Nazi plots to Congress, the Justice Department, the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department.
Hollywood’s Spies corrects the decades-long belief that American Jews lacked the political organization and leadership to assert their political interests during this period in our history and reveals that the LAJCC was one of many covert "fact finding" operations funded by Jewish Americans designed to root out Nazism in the United States
The Rise and Fall of
Adam and Eve
by Stephen Greenblatt, PhD
Stephen Greenblatt-Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning author of The Swerve and Will in the World-investigates the life of one of humankind’s greatest stories.
Bolder, even, than the ambitious books for which Stephen Greenblatt is already renowned, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve explores the enduring story of humanity’s first parents. Comprising only a few ancient verses, the story of Adam and Eve has served as a mirror in which we seem to glimpse the whole, long history of our fears and desires, as both a hymn to human responsibility and a dark fable about human wretchedness.
Tracking the tale into the deep past, Greenblatt uncovers the tremendous theological, artistic, and cultural investment over centuries that made these fictional figures so profoundly resonant in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds and, finally, so very “real” to millions of people even in the present. With the uncanny brilliance he previously brought to his depictions of William Shakespeare and Poggio Bracciolini (the humanist monk who is the protagonist of The Swerve), Greenblatt explores the intensely personal engagement of Augustine, Dürer, and Milton in this mammoth project of collective creation, while he also limns the diversity of the story’s offspring: rich allegory, vicious misogyny, deep moral insight, and some of the greatest triumphs of art and literature.
The biblical origin story, Greenblatt argues, is a model for what the humanities still have to offer: not the scientific nature of things, but rather a deep encounter with problems that have gripped our species for as long as we can recall and that continue to fascinate and trouble us today.
by Nicole Krauss
"A brilliant novel. I am full of admiration." —Philip Roth
"One of America’s most important novelists" (New York Times), the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The History of Love, conjures an achingly beautiful and breathtakingly original novel about personal transformation that interweaves the stories of two disparate individuals—an older lawyer and a young novelist—whose transcendental search leads them to the same Israeli desert.
Jules Epstein, a man whose drive, avidity, and outsized personality have, for sixty-eight years, been a force to be reckoned with, is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, his divorce from his wife of more than thirty years, and his retirement from the New York legal firm where he was a partner, he’s felt an irresistible need to give away his possessions, alarming his children and perplexing the executor of his estate. With the last of his wealth, he travels to Israel, with a nebulous plan to do something to honor his parents. In Tel Aviv, he is sidetracked by a charismatic American rabbi planning a reunion for the descendants of King David who insists that Epstein is part of that storied dynastic line. He also meets the rabbi’s beautiful daughter who convinces Epstein to become involved in her own project—a film about the life of David being shot in the desert—with life-changing consequences.
But Epstein isn’t the only seeker embarking on a metaphysical journey that dissolves his sense of self, place, and history. Leaving her family in Brooklyn, a young, well-known novelist arrives at the Tel Aviv Hilton where she has stayed every year since birth. Troubled by writer’s block and a failing marriage, she hopes that the hotel can unlock a dimension of reality—and her own perception of life—that has been closed off to her. But when she meets a retired literature professor who proposes a project she can’t turn down, she’s drawn into a mystery that alters her life in ways she could never have imagined.
Bursting with life and humor, Forest Dark is a profound, mesmerizing novel of metamorphosis and self-realization—of looking beyond all that is visible towards the infinite.
TO LOOK A NAZI IN THE EYE
A Teen's Account of a War Criminal Trial
by Kathy Kacer and Jordana Lebowitz
September 12, 2017
Second Story Press
The true story of nineteen-year-old Jordana Lebowitz's time at the trial of Oskar Groening, known as the bookkeeper of Auschwitz, a man charged with being complicit in the death of more than 300,000 Jews. A granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Jordana was still not prepared for what she would see and hear.
Listening to Groening's testimony and to the Holocaust survivors who came to testify against him, Jordana came to understand that by witnessing history she gained the knowledge and legitimacy to be able to stand in the footsteps of the survivors who went before her and pass their history—her history—on to the next generation.
Kathy Kacer – a psychologist - has won many awards for her books about the holocaust for young readers, including Hiding Edith, The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser, Clara’s War and The Underground Reporters.
My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts
by Torill Kove
It is Norwegian, not Jewish, but I like to think of it as a Jewish tale.
You can find the animated film on Youtube from NFB (National Film Board of Canada)
This tall tale of Kove's Norwegian grandmother was nominated for an Academy Award when first produced as an animated short film. Torill Kove's grandmother often told stories to Torill when she was a young girl. One in particular revolved around ironing shirts for the King of Norway.
When Norway gained independence, they needed a king. They placed an ad for royals and interviewed candidates. They hired a royal from Denmark who had a British royal wife. They became the king and queen but did not know how to iron. SO they sent their clothes (Shirts) out. In My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts, Kove follows a thread of family history, embroidering it with playful twists along the way, imaginatively rendering her grandmother's life and work in Oslo during World War II.
In Kove's retelling, her grandmother leads a Norwegian resistance to the invading German Army who had forced the King to flee for his safety.
When the task of ironing the King's shirts was replaced by those of the German Army officers, Kove's grandmother and her shirt pressing sisters sabotage the enemy uniforms until morale among the Germans is so low that they lose the war and head home without a thing to wear!
Full of sharp humor and myth making, My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts is a great example of how small contributions to the greater good count for a whole lot.
My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts was nominated for an Oscar in 2000 and won 17 awards in all. It has also been produced as a book in Norway.
Holocaust Memory in the Digital Age:
Survivors’ Stories and New
by Jeffrey Shandler
Stanford University Press
Smart Family Fellow at the Allen and Joan
Bildner Center for Study of Jewish Life
Holocaust Memory in the Digital Age explores the nexus of new media and memory practices, raising questions about how advances in digital technologies continue to influence the nature of Holocaust memorialization. Through an in-depth study of the largest and most widely available collection of videotaped interviews with survivors and other witnesses to the Holocaust, the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive, Jeffrey Shandler weighs the possibilities and challenges brought about by digital forms of public memory. The Visual History Archive's holdings are extensive-over 100,000 hours of video, including interviews with over 50,000 individuals-and came about at a time of heightened anxiety about the imminent passing of the generation of Holocaust survivors and other eyewitnesses. Now, the Shoah Foundation's investment in new digital media is instrumental to its commitment to remembering the Holocaust both as a subject of historical importance in its own right and as a paradigmatic moral exhortation against intolerance. Shandler not only considers the Archive as a whole, but also looks closely at individual survivors' stories, focusing on narrative, language, and spectacle to understand how Holocaust remembrance is mediated.
The Ken Commandments:
My Search for God
by Ken Baker
September 12, 2017
Do the Kardashians believe in God?
An E! News star mixes memoir and investigative journalism in his own rollicking, poignant, and masterful version of A.J. Jacobs’ A Year of Living Biblically, chronicling his own spiritual journey as he investigates the religious lives of the rich and famous in Hollywood.
Ken Baker, the popular L.A.-based senior correspondent for E! News and E! Online, has worked in Hollywood for over twenty years—hobnobbing with multimillionaires and interviewing movie, music and TV stars such as George Clooney, Britney Spears, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Kim Kardashian, day in and day out. In that time, and in the land of fairy tales and double-dealing, Baker had become one of the materialistic, carnal people he never wanted to be, abandoning his Christian heritage and losing his spiritual center in the process. Finding himself alone and confused one day in Vegas, he has an awakening that puts him on a journey to find God, not only in himself, but in the celebrities whose lives intersect with his both professionally and personally.
In The Ken Commandments, Ken sets off on an experiment that will bring him closer to the spiritual lives of such diverse luminaries as Deepak Chopra, Tom Cruise, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Joel Osteen and Gwen Stefani and in the process help to reveal the light and dark of Hollywood in new ways. From New Age spirituality, to Bible-based Christianity, to Scientology, to Buddhist retreats, to meditation classes, to Atheism studies, to the mega-church of the nation's top TV preacher, to “Jewish POWER TEMPLES,” Baker immerses himself in a range of spiritual practices side by side with the celebrity set, revealing a world that is deeper, more questioning and more God-centered than you'd ever imagine.
by Richard Elliott Friedman
The Exodus has become a core tradition of Western civilization. Millions read it, retell it, and celebrate it. But did it happen?
Biblical scholars, Egyptologists, archaeologists, historians, literary scholars, anthropologists, and filmmakers are drawn to it. Unable to find physical evidence until now, many archaeologists and scholars claim this mass migration is just a story, not history. Others oppose this conclusion, defending the biblical account.
Like a detective on an intricate case no one has yet solved, pioneering Bible scholar and bestselling author of Who Wrote the Bible? Richard Elliott Friedman cuts through the noise — the serious studies and the wild theories — merging new findings with new insight. From a spectrum of disciplines, state-of-the-art archeological breakthroughs, and fresh discoveries within scripture, he brings real evidence of a historical basis for the exodus — the history behind the story. The biblical account of millions fleeing Egypt may be an exaggeration, but the exodus itself is not a myth.
Friedman does not stop there. Known for his ability to make Bible scholarship accessible to readers, Friedman proceeds to reveal how much is at stake when we explore the historicity of the exodus. The implications, he writes, are monumental. We learn that it became the starting-point of the formation of monotheism, the defining concept of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Moreover, we learn that it precipitated the foundational ethic of loving one’s neighbors — including strangers — as oneself. He concludes, the actual exodus was the cradle of global values of compassion and equal rights today.
Why Write? Collected Nonfiction
(The Library of America)
by Philip Roth
America’s most celebrated writer returns with a definitive edition of his essential statements on literature, his controversial novels, and the writing life, including including six pieces published here for the first time and many others newly revised.
Throughout a unparalleled literary career that includes two National Book Awards (Goodbye, Columbus, 1959 and Sabbath’s Theater, 1995), the Pulitzer Prize in fiction (American Pastoral, 1997), the National Book Critics Circle Award (The Counterlife, 1986), and the National Humanities Medal (awarded by President Obama in 2011), among many other honors, Philip Roth has produced an extraordinary body of nonfiction writing on a wide range of topics: his own work and that of the writers he admires, the creative process, and the state of American culture. This work is collected for the first time in Why Write?, the tenth and final volume in the Library of America’s definitive Philip Roth edition. Here is Roth’s selection of the indispensable core of Reading Myself and Others, the entirety of the 2001 book Shop Talk, and “Explanations,” a collection of fourteen later pieces brought together here for the first time, six never before published. Among the essays gathered are “My Uchronia,” an account of the genesis of The Plot Against America, a novel grounded in the insight that “all the assurances are provisional, even here in a two-hundred-year-old democracy”; “Errata,” the unabridged version of the “Open Letter to Wikipedia” published on The New Yorker’s website in 2012 to counter the online encyclopedia’s egregious errors about his life and work; and “The Ruthless Intimacy of Fiction,” a speech delivered on the occasion of his eightieth birthday that celebrates the “refractory way of living” of Sabbath’s Theater’s Mickey Sabbath. Also included are two lengthy interviews given after Roth’s retirement, which take stock of a lifetime of work.
Why Judaism Matters:
Letters of a Liberal Rabbi
to his Children and
the Millennial Generation
by Rabbi John Rosove
Temple Israel of Hollywood
Presented in the form of letters from a rabbi to his sons, Why Judaism Matters is common sense guidance and a road map for a new generation of young men and women who find Jewish orthodoxy, tradition, issues, and beliefs impenetrable in 21st Century society. By intimately illustrating how the tenets of Judaism still apply in our modern world, Rabbi John Rosove gives heartfelt direction to the sons and daughters of reform Jews everywhere
The Heart of Torah,
Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion,
Genesis and Exodus
by Rabbi Shai Held (Mechon Hadar)
Foreword by Rabbi Yitz Greenberg
In The Heart of Torah, Rabbi Shai Held s Torah essays two for each weekly portion open new horizons in Jewish biblical commentary.
Held probes the portions in bold, original, and provocative ways. He mines Talmud and midrashim, great writers of world literature, and astute commentators of other religious backgrounds to ponder fundamental questions about God, human nature, and what it means to be a religious person in the modern world. Along the way, he illuminates the centrality of empathy in Jewish ethics, the predominance of divine love in Jewish theology, the primacy of gratitude and generosity, and God s summoning of each of us with all our limitations into the dignity of a covenantal relationship.
The Heart of Torah,
Volume 2 :
Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion,
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
by Rabbi Shai Held (Mechon Hadar)
Foreword by Rabbi Yitz Greenberg
JPS – Jewish Publication Society
In The Heart of Torah, Rabbi Shai Held s Torah essays two for each weekly portion open new horizons in Jewish biblical commentary.
Held probes the portions in bold, original, and provocative ways. He mines Talmud and midrashim, great writers of world literature, and astute commentators of other religious backgrounds to ponder fundamental questions about God, human nature, and what it means to be a religious person in the modern world. Along the way, he illuminates the centrality of empathy in Jewish ethics, the predominance of divine love in Jewish theology, the primacy of gratitude and generosity, and God s summoning of each of us with all our limitations into the dignity of a covenantal relationship.
A Father, a Son,
and an Epic
by Daniel Mendelsohn
From award-winning memoirist and critic, and bestselling author of The Lost: a deeply moving tale of a father and son's transformative journey in reading--and reliving--Homer's epic masterpiece.
When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual.
For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician's unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his "one last chance" to learn the great literature he'd neglected in his youth--and, even more, a final opportunity to more fully understand his son, a writer and classicist. But through the sometimes uncomfortable months that the two men explore Homer's great work together--first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son's interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus's famous voyages--it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: Jay's responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn's narrative comes to echo the Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home. Rich with literary and emotional insight, An Odyssey is a renowned author-scholar's most triumphant entwining yet of personal narrative and literary exploration.
The Eternal City
by Ilan Greenfield
Ten measures of beauty descended to the world; nine were taken by Jerusalem.
Talmud, Kiddushin 49b
Ever since King Solomon built the Holy Temple on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, Jews around the world have seen the holy city as the core of their lives. Jews from every continent on the globe have always prayed three times a day facing Jerusalem. Jews from Yemen, Ethiopia, and Lithuania; Jews from Morocco, Spain, India, Poland, and Russia. No matter where they are born, no matter where they die, all Jews have Jerusalem in common.
Jerusalem Day 2017 marks fifty years since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, allowing worshipers of all religions to freely worship and pray in their holy places for the first time in hundreds of years. In honor of this great anniversary, this unique photo essay brings together the thoughts and reminiscences of those who love the holy city.
MY JERUSALEM features a unique collection of photos by one of Israel's most recognized photographers, Ziv Koren. Here are the people of Jerusalem: the real, everyday people who live in Jerusalem; those who work in Jerusalem; those who worship in Jerusalem; and those who exercise their freedom to demonstrate in Jerusalem. This stunning book is a must-have for everyone whose heart beats to the rhythm of the world's holiest city.
Features personal essays on Jerusalem by 36 personalities, among them:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, Mike Huckabee, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, Dr. Ruth R. Wisse, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Pastor John Hagee and many more.
Reflections on The Book of Numbers
NOW IN PAPERBACK
By Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
Through the magnificent literary, scholarly, and psychological analysis of the text that is her trademark, Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg tackles the enduring puzzlement of the book of Numbers. What should have been for the Israelites a brief journey from Mount Sinai to the Holy Land becomes a forty-year death march. Both before and after the devastating report of the Spies, the narrative centers on the people's desire to return to slavery in Egypt. At its heart are speeches of complaint and lament. But in the narrative of the book of Numbers that is found in mystical and Hasidic sources, the generation of the wilderness emerges as one of extraordinary spiritual experience, fed on miracles and nurtured directly by God: a generation of ecstatic faith, human partners in an unprecedented conversation with the Deity. Drawing on kabbalistic sources, the Hasidic commentators depict a people who transcend prudent considerations in order to follow God into the wilderness, where their spiritual yearning comes to full expression.
Is there a way to integrate this narrative of dark murmurings, of obsessive fantasies of a return to Egypt, with the celebration of a love-intoxicated wilderness discourse? What effect does the cumulative trauma of slavery, the miracles of Exodus, and the revelation at Sinai have on a nation that is beginning to speak? In Bewilderments, one of our most admired biblical commentators suggests fascinating answers to these questions.
FROM A LEADING
By Sivan Rahav Meir
Translated from Hebrew
OCTOBER 2017 BOOKS
The Story of the Jews
by Simon Schama
In the second of three volumes of this magnificently illustrated cultural history, the tie-in to the PBS and BBC series The Story of the Jews, Simon Schama details the story of the Jewish people from 1492 through the end of nineteenth century
Simon Schama’s great project continues and the Jewish story is woven into the fabric of humanity. Their search for a home where a distinctive religion and culture could be nourished without being marginalized suddenly takes on startling resonance in our own epoch of homelessness, wanderings, persecutions, and anxious arrivals.
Volume 2 of The Story of the Jews epic tells the stories of many who seldom figure in Jewish histories: not just the rabbis and the philosophers but a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a general in Ming China; a boxer in Georgian England, a Bible showman in Amsterdam; a teacher of the deaf in eighteenth-century France, an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California. It sails in caravels, rides the stagecoaches and the railways, trudges the dawn streets of London with a pack load of old clothes, hobbles along with the remnant of Napoleon’s ruined army.
Through Schama’s passionate and intelligent telling, a story emerges of the Jewish people that feels as if it is the story of everyone, of humanity packed with detail, this second chronicle in an epic tale will shed new light on a crucial period of history.
A Serious History
by Jeremy Dauber
October 31, 2017
A celebrated scholar’s rich account of Jewish humor: its nature, its development, and its vital role throughout Jewish history.
In a major work of scholarship both erudite and very funny, Jeremy Dauber traces the origins of Jewish comedy and its development from biblical times to the age of Twitter. Organizing his book thematically into what he calls the seven strands of Jewish comedy (including the Satirical, the Witty, and the Vulgar), Dauber explores the ways Jewish comedy has dealt with persecution, assimilation, and diaspora through the ages. He explains the rise and fall of popular comic archetypes such as the Jewish mother, the JAP, and the schlemiel and schlimazel. He also explores an enormous range of comic masterpieces, from the Book of Esther, Talmudic rabbi jokes, Yiddish satires, Borscht Belt skits, Seinfeld, and Curb Your Enthusiasm to the work of such masters as Sholem Aleichem, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Philip Roth, Sarah Silverman, and Jon Stewart.
by Amy Emberling and
and Photos by Antonis Achilleos
This is the must-have baking book for bakers of all skill levels. Since 1992, Michigan's renowned artisanal bakery, Zingerman's Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, has fed a fan base across the United States and beyond with their chewy-sweet brownies and gingersnaps, famous sour cream coffee cake, and fragrant loaves of Jewish rye, challah, and sourdough. It's no wonder Zingerman's is a cultural and culinary institution. Now, for the first time, to celebrate their 25th anniversary, the Zingerman's bakers share 65 meticulously tested, carefully detailed recipes in a beautiful hardcover book featuring more than 50 color photographs and bountiful illustrations. Behind-the-scenes stories of the business enrich this collection of best-of-kind, delicious recipes for every "I can't believe I get to make this at home!" treat.
Golda Meir and the
Nation of Israel
by Francine Klagsbrun
Klagsbrun has been working on this for three decades. A biography of Meir is hard, she left no diaries, and did not write letters much. She swore those closest to her to keep her secrets and closest opinions. Klagsbrun has interviewed them all, and most have now passed away. This is THE definitive biography of Golda Meir. Meir was the the iron-willed leader, chain-smoking political operative in Israel, and tea-and-cake-serving grandmother who became the fourth prime minister of Israel and one of the most notable women of our time. As Ben Gurion quipped, she had the most balls of anyone on his cabinet
Golda Meir was a world figure unlike any other. Born in czarist Russia in 1898, she immigrated to America in 1906 and grew up in Milwaukee, where from her earliest years she displayed the political consciousness and organizational skills that would eventually catapult her into the inner circles of Israel's founding generation. She left home as a teen to escape her overbearing parents and moved in with her married sister. There she fell in love with the man she would marry. Together they moved to British Mandate Palestine in 1921. The passionate socialist joined a kibbutz but soon left for Tel Aviv with her husband and two children, and was hired at a public works office by the man who would become the great love of her life: David Remez who was Secretary of the Histadrut trade unions organization and Israel’s first minister of transportation. (Meir was also romantically involved with Zalman Shazar, who would become Israel’s third president; and linked to other powerful lovers in the United States and Israel.)
A series of public service jobs brought her to the attention of David Ben-Gurion, and her political career took off. Fund-raising in America in 1948, secretly meeting in Amman with King Abdullah right before Israel's declaration of independence, mobbed by thousands of Jews in a Moscow synagogue in 1948 as Israel's first representative to the USSR, serving as minister of labor and foreign minister in the 1950s and 1960s, Golda brought fiery oratory, plainspoken appeals, and shrewd deal-making to the cause to which she had dedicated her life—the welfare and security of the State of Israel and its inhabitants.
As prime minister Golda negotiated arms agreements with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, agonized over the mixed signals being sent by newly installed Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, and had dozens of clandestine meetings with Jordan's King Hussein in the unsuccessful pursuit of a land-for-peace agreement with Israel's neighbors. But her time in office ended in tragedy, when Israel was caught off guard by Egypt and Syria's surprise attack on Yom Kippur in 1973. Resigning in the war's aftermath (critics were calling her an old lady, and a murderer), Golda spent her final years keeping a hand in national affairs and bemusedly enjoying international acclaim. Francine Klagsbrun's superbly researched and masterly recounted story of Israel's founding mother gives us a Golda for the ages.
Note: For those of you expecting some unique intimate details from Lou Kadar, Meir's confidante and secretary for over 30 years, you will have to look elsewhere.
In 2018, we will have to check out Pnina Lahav's Gender Based biography of Meir)
A New History of
by Daniel Siemens
Yale University Press
The first full history of the Nazi Stormtroopers whose muscle brought Hitler to power, with revelations concerning their longevity and their contributions to the Holocaust
Germany’s Stormtroopers engaged in a vicious siege of violence that propelled the National Socialists to power in the 1930s. Known also as the SA or Brownshirts, these “ordinary” men waged a loosely structured campaign of intimidation and savagery across the nation from the 1920s to the “Night of the Long Knives” in 1934, when Chief of Staff Ernst Röhm and many other SA leaders were assassinated on Hitler’s orders.
In this deeply researched history, Daniel Siemens explores not only the roots of the SA and its swift decapitation but also its previously unrecognized transformation into a million-member Nazi organization, its activities in German-occupied territories during World War II, and its particular contributions to the Holocaust. The author provides portraits of individual members and their victims and examines their milieu, culture, and ideology. His book tells the long-overdue story of the SA and its devastating impact on German citizens and the fate of their country.
REPAIRING THE WORLD
By Hasia Diner, PhD
Jewish Live Series
Yale University Press
Everyone remembers Sears & Roebuck, and even James Cash (JC) Penney
Rarely does anyone mention Julius Rosenwald
The portrait of a humble retail magnate whose visionary ideas about charitable giving transformed the practice of philanthropy in America and beyond
Julius Rosenwald (1862–1932) rose from modest means as the son of a peddler to meteoric wealth at the helm of Sears, Roebuck. Yet his most important legacy stands not upon his business acumen but on the pioneering changes he introduced to the practice of philanthropy. While few now recall Rosenwald’s name—he refused to have it attached to the buildings, projects, or endowments he supported—his passionate support of Jewish and African American causes continues to influence lives to this day.
This biography of Julius Rosenwald explores his attitudes toward his own wealth and his distinct ideas about philanthropy, positing an intimate connection between his Jewish consciousness and his involvement with African Americans. The book shines light on his belief in the importance of giving in the present to make an impact on the future, and on his encouragement of beneficiaries to become partners in community institutions and projects. Rosenwald emerges from the pages as a compassionate man whose generosity and wisdom transformed the practice of philanthropy itself.
Retail's Seismic Shift:
How to Shift Faster,
Respond Better, and Win
by Michael Dart
St. Martin's Press
Compared to 25 years ago, today’s retail experience is a world apart. Almost anything can be ordered, delivered and picked up rapidly, often customized to personal preferences at no extra cost. The smartphone has created a world of limitless consumer expectation and logistical possibility. So how much further can it go? What will the retail experience look like in ten, twenty, or even fifty years–and how should companies, big and small, be preparing?
Amazon may still loom large, say industry experts Robin Lewis and Michael Dart, but now they’ll actually be profitable, as mobile shopping becomes the norm. More importantly, the primacy of access over ownership, and experience over material goods, will force retailers to transform their offerings. Demographic trends, like the glut of seniors and the declining marriage rate, and societal trends, like income polarization and continued urbanization, will have surprising effects on which brands and products take center stage. And the double-edged sword of technology will be fully apparent: no more cards or cash, but pervasive fear of fraud and surveillance from the dark Web and the rise of A.I..
In their previous book, The New Rules of Retail, Lewis and Dart predicted nearly every defining characteristic of today’s marketplace–and the industry snapped it up in two editions. Now, in Retail's Seismic Shift, they do the same for the next era, where retailers will have to be ready for anything.
The United States of Hobby Lobby
by Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden
Princeton University Press
How the billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make America a “Bible nation”
Like many evangelical Christians, the Green family of Oklahoma City believes that America was founded on a “biblical worldview as a Christian nation.” But the Greens are far from typical evangelicals in other ways. The billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby, a huge nationwide chain of craft stores, the Greens came to national attention in 2014 after successfully suing the federal government over their religious objections to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. What is less widely known is that the Greens are now America’s biggest financial supporters of Christian causes-and they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in an ambitious effort to increase the Bible’s influence on American society. In Bible Nation, Candida Moss and Joel Baden provide the first in-depth investigative account of the Greens’ sweeping Bible projects and the many questions they raise.
Bible Nation tells the story of the Greens’ rapid acquisition of an unparalleled collection of biblical antiquities; their creation of a closely controlled group of scholars to study and promote their collection; their efforts to place a Bible curriculum in public schools; and their construction of a $500 million Museum of the Bible near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Bible Nation reveals how these seemingly disparate initiatives promote a very particular set of beliefs about the Bible-and raise serious ethical questions about the trade in biblical antiquities, the integrity of academic research, and more.
Bible Nation is an important and timely account of how a vast private fortune is being used to promote personal faith in the public sphere-and why it should matter to everyone
What's the Future and
Why It's Up to Us
by Tim O'Reilly
Harper Business Press
Silicon Valley’s leading intellectual and the founder of O’Reilly Media explores the upside and the potential downsides of our future—what he calls the "next economy."
Tim O’Reilly’s genius is to identify and explain emerging technologies with world shaking potential—the World Wide Web, Open Source Software, Web 2.0, Open Government data, the Maker Movement, Big Data. "The man who can really can make a whole industry happen," according to Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, O’Reilly has most recently focused on the future of work—AI, algorithms, and new approaches to business organization that will shape our lives. He has brought together an unlikely coalition of technologists, business leaders, labor advocates, and policy makers to wrestle with these issues. In WTF he shares the evolution of his intellectual development, applying his approach to a number of challenging issues we will face as citizens, employees, business leaders, and a nation.
What is the future when an increasing number of jobs can be performed by intelligent machines instead of people, or only done by people in partnership with those machines? What happens to our consumer based societies—to workers and to the companies that depend on their purchasing power? Is income inequality and unemployment an inevitable consequence of technological advancement, or are there paths to a better future? What will happen to business when technology-enabled networks and marketplaces are better at deploying talent than traditional companies? What’s the future of education when on-demand learning outperforms traditional institutions? Will the fundamental social safety nets of the developed world survive the transition, and if not, what will replace them?
The digital revolution has transformed the world of media, upending centuries-old companies and business models. Now, it is restructuring every business, every job, and every sector of society. Yet the biggest changes are still ahead. To survive, every industry and organization will have to transform itself in multiple ways. O’Reilly explores what the next economy will mean for the world and every aspect of our lives—and what we can do to shape it.
A DEADLY LEGACY
German Jews and the Great War (WWI)
By Tim Grady
(University of Chester, reader)
Yale University Press
I don't get the point... but you might like it
A groundbreaking reassessment of the crucial but unrecognized roles Germany’s Jews played at home and at the front during World War I
This book is the first to offer a full account of the varied contributions of German Jews to Imperial Germany’s endeavors during the Great War. Historian Tim Grady examines the efforts of the 100,000 Jewish soldiers who served in the German military (12,000 of whom died), as well as the various activities Jewish communities supported at home, such as raising funds for the war effort and securing vital food supplies. However, Grady’s research goes much deeper: he shows that German Jews were never at the periphery of Germany’s warfare, but were in fact heavily involved.
The author finds that many German Jews were committed to the same brutal and destructive war that other Germans endorsed, and he discusses how the conflict was in many ways lived by both groups alike. What none could have foreseen was the dangerous legacy they created together, a legacy that enabled Hitler’s rise to power and planted the seeds of the Holocaust to come.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
TRAVELING THE WORLD IN SEARCH OF A GOOD DEATH
By Caitlin Doughty
The best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with “dignity.”
Fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for their dead. In rural Indonesia, she observes a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body. Grandpa’s mummy has lived in the family home for two years, where the family has maintained a warm and respectful relationship. She meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette- smoking, wish- granting human skulls), and introduces us to a Japanese kotsuage, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved- ones’ bones from cremation ashes. With curiosity and morbid humor, Doughty encounters vividly decomposed bodies and participates in compelling, powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in America. Featuring Gorey-esque illustrations by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity introduces death-care innovators researching green burial and body composting, explores new spaces for mourning- including a glowing- Buddha columbarium in Japan and America’s only open-air pyre- and reveals unexpected new possibilities for our own death rituals. 45 illustrations
What You Did Not Tell:
A Russian Past and the Journey Home
by Mark Mazower
Uncovering their remarkable and moving stories, Mark Mazower recounts the sacrifices and silences that marked a generation and their descendants. It was a family which fate drove into the siege of Stalingrad, the Vilna ghetto, occupied Paris, and even into the ranks of the Wehrmacht. His British father was the lucky one, the son of Russian-Jewish emigrants who settled in London after escaping the Bolsheviks, civil war, and revolution. Max, the grandfather, had started out as a socialist and manned the barricades against Tsarist troops, never speaking a word about it afterwards. His wife Frouma came from a family ravaged by the Terror yet making their way in Soviet society despite it all.
In the centenary of the Russian Revolution, What You Did Not Tell revitalizes the history of a socialism erased from memory--humanistic, impassioned, and broad-ranging in its sympathies. But it is also an exploration of the unexpected happiness that may await history's losers, of the power of friendship and the love of place that made his father at home in an England that no longer exists.
A Contemplative Community at Work in the Desert
by Ariel Glucklich
(Georgetown, Prof of Theology)
Yale University Press
A scholar’s experiences inside a contemplative working community in Israel’s Negev desert
In this thoughtful and enlightening work, world renowned religion scholar Ariel Glucklich recounts his experiences at Neot Smadar, an ecological and spiritual oasis that has been thriving in the arid Southern Israeli desert for a quarter century. An intentional community originally established by a group of young professionals who abandoned urban life to found a school for the study of the self, Neot Smadar has thrived by putting ancient Buddhist and Hindu ideas into everyday practice as ways of living and working. Glucklich provides a fascinating detailed portrait of a dynamic farming community that runs on principles of spiritual contemplation and mindfulness, thereby creating a working environment that is highly ethical and nurturing. His study serves as a gentle invitation to join the world of mindful work, and to gain a new understanding of a unique form of mystical insight that exists without exoticism.
by Yotam Ottolenghi and
Ten Speed Press
A collection of over 110 recipes for sweets, baked goods, and confections from superstar chef Yotam Ottolenghi.
Yotam Ottolenghi is widely beloved in the food world for his beautiful, inspirational, and award-winning cookbooks, as well as his London delis and fine dining restaurant. And while he's known for his savory and vegetarian dishes, he actually started out his cooking career as a pastry chef. Sweet is entirely filled with delicious baked goods, desserts, and confections starring Ottolenghi's signature flavor profiles and ingredients including fig, rose petal, saffron, orange blossom, star anise, pistachio, almond, cardamom, and cinnamon. A baker's dream, Sweet features simple treats such as Chocolate, Banana, and Pecan cookies and Rosemary Olive Oil Orange Cake, alongside recipes for showstopping confections such as Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream and Fresh Figs and Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee, Walnut, and Rosewater.
THE WALL AND THE GATE
ISRAEL, PALESTINE< AND THE
LEGAL BATTLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
By Michael Sfard
From renowned human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, an unprecedented exploration of the struggle for human rights in Israel's courts
A farmer from a village in the occupied West Bank, cut off from his olive groves by the construction of Israel’s controversial separation wall, asked Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard to petition the courts to allow a gate to be built in the wall. While the gate would provide immediate relief for the farmer, would it not also confer legitimacy on the wall and on the court that deems it legal? The defense of human rights is often marked by such ethical dilemmas, which are especially acute in Israel, where lawyers have for decades sought redress for the abuse of Palestinian rights in the country’s High Court-that is, in the court of the abuser.
In The Wall and the Gate, Michael Sfard chronicles this struggle-a story that has never before been fully told- and in the process engages the core principles of human rights legal ethics. Sfard recounts the unfolding of key cases and issues, ranging from confiscation of land, deportations, the creation of settlements, punitive home demolitions, torture, and targeted killings-all actions considered violations of international law. In the process, he lays bare the reality of the occupation and the lives of the people who must contend with that reality. He also exposes the surreal legal structures that have been erected to put a stamp of lawfulness on an extensive program of dispossession. Finally, he weighs the success of the legal effort, reaching conclusions that are no less paradoxical than the fight itself.
Writing with emotional force, vivid storytelling, and penetrating analysis, Michael Sfard offers a radically new perspective on a much-covered conflict and a subtle, painful reckoning with the moral ambiguities inherent in the pursuit of justice. The Wall and the Gate is a signal contribution to everyone concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and human rights everywhere.
By Light of Hidden Candles
by Daniella Levy
n a mud hut in the Jewish Quarter of 16th-century Fez, a dying woman hands her granddaughter a heavy gold ring-and an even heavier secret.
Five hundred years later, Alma Ben-Ami journeys to Madrid to fulfill her ancestor's dying wish. She has recruited an unlikely research partner: Manuel Aguilar, a young Catholic Spaniard whose beloved priest always warned him about getting too friendly with Jews. As their quest takes them from Greenwich Village to the windswept mountain fortresses of southern Spain, their friendship deepens and threatens to cross boundaries sacred to them both; and what they finally discover in the Spanish archives will force them to confront the truth about who they are and what their faiths mean to them.
At times humorous, at times deeply moving, this beautifully written and meticulously researched book will appeal to anyone interested in the history of Inquisition-era Spain, Sephardic Jews, or falling in love.
NOVEMBER 2017 BOOKS
Longhairs, and Revolutionaries
Changed the Way We Eat
by Jonathan Kauffman
An enlightening narrative history—an entertaining fusion of Tom Wolfe and Michael Pollan—that traces the colorful origins of once unconventional foods and the diverse fringe movements, charismatic gurus, and counterculture elements that brought them to the mainstream and created a distinctly American cuisine.
Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century—to the 1960s and 1970s—to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon’s America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food.
From the mystical rock-and-roll cult known as the Source Family and its legendary vegetarian restaurant in Hollywood to the Diggers’ brown bread in the Summer of Love to the rise of the co-op and the origins of the organic food craze, Kauffman reveals how today’s quotidian whole-foods staples—including sprouts, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and whole-grain bread—were introduced and eventually became part of our diets. From coast to coast, through Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Vermont, Kauffman tracks hippie food’s journey from niche oddity to a cuisine that hit every corner of this country.
A slick mix of gonzo playfulness, evocative detail, skillful pacing, and elegant writing, Hippie Food is a lively, engaging, and informative read that deepens our understanding of our culture and our lives today.
Jewish Food and Faith
by Lori Stein
and Ronald H. Isaacs
Rowman & Littlefield
The food that Jewish people eat is part of our connection to our faith, culture, and history. Not only is Jewish food comforting and delicious, it’s also a link to every facet of Judaism. By learning about and cooking traditional Jewish dishes, we can understand fundamentals such as kashrut, community, and diversity. And Jewish history is so connected to food that one comedian said that the story of Judaism can be condensed into nine words: They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.
Let’s Eat follows the calendar of Jewish holidays to include food from the many different Jewish communities around the world; in doing so, it brings the values that are the foundation of Judaism into focus. It also covers the way these foods have ended up on the Jewish menu and how Jews, as they wandered through the world, have influenced and been influenced by other nations and cuisines. Including over 40 recipes, this delicious review of the role of food in Jewish life offers a lively history alongside the traditions of one of the world’s oldest faiths.
The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah:
Fear and Love in the
Modern Middle East
by Adam Valen Levinson
Chronically questioning, funny, and bold, a young American writer explores the majority-Muslim lands that scare him most.
Armed only with college Arabic and restless curiosity, Adam Valen Levinson set out to “learn about the world 9/11 made us fear.” From a base in globalized and sterilized Abu Dhabi, he sets out to lunch in Taliban territory in Afghanistan, travels under the watchful eye of Aleppo’s secret police, risks shipwreck en route to Somalia, investigates Yazidi beliefs in a sacred cave, cliff-dives in Oman, celebrates New Year’s Eve in Tahrir Square, and, at every turn, discovers a place that matches not at all with its reputation.
While politicians and media eagerly stoke the flames of Islamophobia, Valen Levinson crosses borders with abundant humor and humanity. Seeking common ground everywhere, he finds that people who pray differently often laugh the same. And as a young man bar mitzvahed at twenty-one (instead of the usual thirteen), he slowly learns how childish it is to live by decisions and distinctions born of fear.
A Fifty-Year Romance
with Lessons Learned in Love,
Life & Business
by Suzanne Somers
November 14, 2017
In her most personal and inspiring book yet, New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Somers shows readers how to shape a healthy, lasting relationship through the lens of her fifty-year love affair with her husband, Alan Hamel. For the first time, Suzanne will expose the inner workings of her marriage: a winning combination of love, business, and family.
Starting from the very beginning, when a big-city guy from Toronto met a small-town girl from San Bruno, California, readers will get a behind-the-scenes perspective on Suzanne’s groundbreaking success as a TV star and Las Vegas diva, multiple-bestselling author, and successful entrepreneur and businesswoman, along with her more personal life as a mother, partner, and ultimately self-fulfilled woman.
Sharing stories of leaving home as a teenage mother, nearly dying when her son was five in a car accident, not having 50 cents for the toll to get to her audition in American Graffiti, how a chance meeting in the NBC Commissary with Johnny Carson scored her the Three's COMpany job, how she got a Vegas ig when she was fired, overomcing breast cancer... and more
Through fame, fortune, sickness and blended families, Suzanne and Alan have kept the vitality of their marriage alive— together 24/7 and combining business savvy in their constantly evolving relationship. Now, Suzanne reveals hard-won advice on how to rely on another person without sacrificing individual strengths.
In this mixture of love story, memoir, and practical guide, readers, too, will discover how to forge and maintain a true partnership that’s built to last.
A Return to Russian Cooking
by Bonnie Frumkin Morales and
Russian is the third-most-spoken language in Oregon. It’s no secret that large numbers of Russian and Eastern European families are sprinkled all throughout the metropolitan area. This no doubt proved to be an appealing fact for Bonnie Morales, owner of Kachka, a Russian restaurant in Southeast Portland. Kachka is actually a Belarusian word for “duck.” The story behind the name is both sobering and compelling. Morales’ family is Jewish and during World War II her father’s mother escaped a doomed ghetto in Germany and headed towards Russia. Along the way she was stopped by a German village warden who was convinced she was Jewish. After she told him that she was a Ukrainian peasant on a trip to visit family in Russia, he asked her how to say ‘duck’ in Ukrainian. Although she was Belarusian, Morales’ grandmother knew there was some overlap in the language and prayed as she said: “kachka.” Coincidentally, it was the same word for both languages. Not long after providing the correct answer, Morales’ grandmother was let go and she continued on her journey east, later meeting her husband and eventually giving birth to Bonnie’s father.
Bonnie Morales herself is a first-generation American with Russian parents. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Russia when it was still the Soviet Union. She grew up in Chicago and decided to pursue a career in food, eventually attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Upon finishing her stint in Culinary School, Bonnie returned to Chicago where she worked in several back- and front-of-house jobs. Though she viewed the food culture of her Russian heritage fondly, she had come to find it to be somewhat bland. She wanted to open a restaurant paying tribute to her heritage, but would potential customers find the food of her heritage to be as underwhelming as she did? Originally born Bonnie Frumkin, it wasn’t until she met her soon-to-be husband Israel Morales that her eyes were opened to the possibilities of her native cuisine. Israel was not familiar with food from former Soviet countries and it was in his delight that Bonnie saw the potential come alive.
In this book, Bonnie Frumkin Morales brings her acclaimed Portland restaurant Kachka into your home kitchen with a debut cookbook enlivening Russian cuisine with an emphasis on vibrant, locally sourced ingredients. From bright pickles to pillowy dumplings, ingenious vodka infusions to traditional homestyle dishes, and varied zakuski to satisfying sweets, Kachka the cookbook covers the vivid world of Russian cuisine. More than 100 recipes show how easy it is to eat, drink, and open your heart in Soviet-inspired style, from the celebrated restaurant that is changing how America thinks about Russian food.
The recipes in this book set a communal table with nostalgic Eastern European dishes like Caucasus-inspired meatballs, Porcini Barley Soup, and Cauliflower Schnitzel, and give new and exciting twists to current food trends like pickling, fermentation, and bone broths.
Kachka’s recipes and narratives show how Russia’s storied tradition of smoked fish, cultured dairy, and a shot of vodka can be celebratory, elegant, and as easy as meat and potatoes. The food is clear and inviting, rooted in the past yet not at all afraid to play around and wear its punk rock heart on its sleeve.
The Delights and Disasters
of Making My Paris Home
by David Lebovitz
Bestselling author and world-renowned chef David Lebovitz continues to mine the rich subject of his evolving ex-Pat life in Paris, using his perplexing experiences in apartment renovation as a launching point for stories about French culture, food, and what it means to revamp one's life. Includes dozens of new recipes.
When David Lebovitz began the project of updating his apartment in his adopted home city, he never imagined he would encounter so much inexplicable red tape while contending with the famously inconsistent European work ethic and hours. Lebovitz maintains his distinctive sense of humor with the help of his partner Romain, peppering this renovation story with recipes from his Paris kitchen. In the midst of it all, he reveals the adventure that accompanies carving out a place for yourself in a foreign country—under baffling conditions—while never losing sight of the magic that inspired him to move to the City of Light many years ago, and to truly make his home there.
By Adonis, the Syrian poet
Yale University Press
A cri de cœur or fully imagined poem on the myth and history of Jerusalem/Al-Quds from the author revered as the greatest living Arabic poet
At the age of 86, Adonis, a Syrian poet, critic, essayist, and devoted secularist, has come out of retirement to pen an extended, innovative poem on Jerusalem/Al-Quds. It is a hymn to a troubled city embattled by the conflicting demands of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Adonis’s city, as a coveted land, ought to suggest the universal love of humanity; as a land of tragedy, a place of contending history and beliefs, and a locus of bitterness, conflict, hatred, rivalry, and blood. Wrapping multiple voices, historical references, and political viewpoints within his ecstatic lyricism, Adonis has created a provocative work of unique beauty and profound wisdom, beautifully rendered in English by award-winning poet Khaled Mattawa.
Dollars and Sense:
How We Misthink Money and How
to Spend Smarter
by Dan Ariely and
Blending humor and behavioral economics, the New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational delves into the truly illogical world of personal finance to help people better understand why they make bad financial decisions, and gives them the knowledge they need to make better ones.
Why does paying for things often feel like it causes physical pain?
Why does it cost you money to act as your own real estate agent?
Why are we comfortable overpaying for something now just because we’ve overpaid for it before?
In Dollars and Sense, world renowned economist Dan Ariely answers these intriguing questions and many more as he explains how our irrational behavior often interferes with our best intentions when it comes to managing our finances. Partnering with financial comedian and writer Jeff Kreisler, Ariely takes us deep inside our minds to expose the hidden motivations that are secretly driving our choices about money.
Exploring a wide range of everyday topics—from credit card debt and household budgeting to holiday sales—Ariely and Kreisler demonstrate how our ideas about dollars and cents are often wrong and cost us more than we know. Mixing case studies and anecdotes with tangible advice and lessons, they cut through the unconscious fears and desires driving our worst financial instincts and teach us how to improve our money habits.
Fascinating, engaging, funny, and essential, Dollars and Sense is a sound investment, providing us with the practical tools we need to understand and improve our financial choices, save and spend smarter, and ultimately live better.
Regulating Sex in the Roman Empire:
Ideology, the Bible, and
the Early Christians (Synkrisis)
by David Wheeler-Reed
Yale University Press
A New Testament scholar challenges the belief that American family values are based on “Judeo-Christian” norms by drawing unexpected comparisons between ancient Christian theories and modern discourses
Challenging the long-held assumption that American values—be they Christian or secular—are based on “Judeo-Christian” norms, this provocative study compares ancient Christian discourses on marriage and sexuality with contemporary ones, maintaining that modern family values owe more to Roman Imperial beliefs than to the bible.
Engaging with Foucault’s ideas, Wheeler-Reed examines how conservative organizations and the Supreme Court have misunderstood Christian beliefs on marriage and the family. Taking on modern cultural debates on marriage and sexuality, with implications for historians, political thinkers, and jurists, this book undermines the conservative ideology of the family, starting from the position that early Christianity, in its emphasis on celibacy and denunciation of marriage, was in opposition to procreation, the ideological norm in the Greco-Roman world.
A Picture Book
by Gus Gordon
Roaring Brook Press
George has absolutely no interest in exploring the world. None at all.
He's far too busy enjoying his home life and baking delicious pastries. Or so he tells all his friends when they invite him along on their wonderful adventures.
But when George's friend Pascal digs a little deeper, the real reason George refuses to travel away from home is finally revealed
JANUARY 2018 BOOKS
Beyond the Baby Blues:
Anxiety and Depression
During and After Pregnancy
by Rebecca Fox Starr
Amy Wenzel (Contributor)
Rowman & Littlefield
Most people have heard of post-partum depression.
What many people do not know is that anxiety and depression can be experienced during pregnancy, as well, and the impact can be both debilitating and devastating.
This book is a unique combination of one woman’s story of her struggle with perinatal distress and actionable advice from a professional in the field. Rebecca Fox Starr shares her personal story of marriage, motherhood, prenatal anxiety and depression, severe postpartum anxiety and depression, recovery process and hope for the future. Woven throughout the narrative, Dr. Amy Wenzel, a specialist in the field of Perinatal Mood Disorders, provides readers with clinical information and advice, addressing risk factors, warning signs, definitions and recovery options.
Stories from other women who experienced prenatal anxiety or depression are included as well. No longer do women have to suffer in silence, question their mental symptoms, or try to hide their feelings. Here, readers will see themselves in the narrative and understand that the devastating effects of prenatal and post-partum depression can be confirmed, treated, and managed, giving them hope for a brighter future.
Read a New York Times chat with the author on a related topic HERE
This Narrow Space:
A Pediatric Oncologist, His
Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Patients,
and a Hospital in Jerusalem
by Elisha Waldman, MD
(Columbia Univ Medical Center)
I hope Hadassah has a book launch party / fundraiser (albeit the book deals with their financings)
A memoir both bittersweet and inspiring by an American pediatric oncologist who spent seven years in Jerusalem taking care of Israeli and Palestinian children with one tragic thing in common—a diagnosis of pediatric cancer
In 2007, Elisha Waldman, a New York–based pediatric oncologist and palliative-care specialist in his mid-thirties, was offered his dream job: attending physician at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center.
He had gone to medical school in Israel and spent time there as a teenager; now he was going to give something back to the land he loved. But in the wake of a financial crisis at the hospital that left him feeling unsure about his future, Waldman, with considerable regret, left Hadassah in 2014 and returned to America.
This Narrow Space is his deeply affecting and poignant memoir of the seven years he spent taking care of children—Israeli Jews, Muslims, and Christians; Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza—with one devastating thing in common: they had all been diagnosed with some form of pediatric cancer. Waldman’s years at Hadassah were filled in equal measure with a deep sense of accomplishment, with FRUSTRATION when regional politics sometimes got in the way of his patients’ care, and with tension over the fine line he would have to walk when the religious traditions of some of his patients’ families made it difficult for him to give these children the care he felt they deserved.
Navigating the baffling Israeli bureaucracy, the ever-present threat of war, and the cultural clashes that sometimes spilled over into his clinic, Waldman learned to be content with small victories: a young patient whose disease went into remission, brokenhearted parents whose final hours with their child were made meaningful and comforting.
As he sought to create both a personal and a professional life in his new home, Waldman struggled with his own questions of identity and belief, and with the intractable conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that had become a fact of his daily life. What he learned about himself, about the complex country that he was now a part of, and about the heartbreakingly brave and endearing children he cared for—whether they were from Me’ah She’arim, Ramallah, or Gaza City—will move and challenge readers everywhere.
The Stakes of History
On The Use and
Abuse of Jewish History for Life
by David N. Myers, PhD
Yale University Press
A leading scholar of Jewish history’s bracing and challenging case for the role of the historian today
Why do we study history? What is the role of the historian in the contemporary world? These questions prompted David N. Myers’s illuminating and poignant call for the relevance of historical research and writing. His inquiry identifies a number of key themes around which modern Jewish historians have wrapped their labors: liberation, consolation, and witnessing. Through these portraits, Myers revisits the chasm between history and memory, revealing the middle space occupied by modern Jewish historians as they work between the poles of empathic storytelling and the critical sifting of sources.
History, properly applied, can both destroy ideologically rooted myths that breed group hatred and create new memories that are sustaining of life. Alive in these investigations is Myers’s belief that the historian today can and should attend to questions of political and moral urgency. Historical knowledge is not a luxury to society but an essential requirement for informed civic engagement, as well as a vital tool in policy making, conflict resolution, and restorative justice.
Rise and Kill First:
The Secret History of
Israel's Targeted Assassinations
by Ronen Bergman
The page-turning, news-breaking, inside account of Israel’s state-sponsored assassination programs, from the man hailed by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter.”
Roller Coaster Grandma
by Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer
and Pierre Lehu
Edited by Ann D. Koffsky
Illustrated by Mark Simmons
Ages 8 – 12
Apples & Honey Press
This graphic novel for ages 8-12 depicts the ups and downs of Dr. Ruth's life from her escape from the Nazis at age 10 aboard a Kindertransport, to her training as a sniper with the Hagganah in Israel, through her immigration to the US where she started as a maid, became a college professor, and eventually a television star. Using a trip to an amusement park with her grandchildren as its framework, the story subtly demonstrates lessons of grit, resilience, and strength that readers can apply to their own lives.
DIY Rules for a WTF World
By Krista Suh
(w/ her friend Jayna Zweiman
The Post-Widget Society:
Economic Possibilities for
by Lawrence H. Summers
From Professors Anita and Bob Summers son, former U.S. Sec of Treasury Lawrence H. Summers, a presentation of a new paradigm for thinking about the current economic and technological revolution
We are buffeted by the sense that everything is accelerating: Digital technology is changing the way we work, shop, and socialize. And yet for all the talk about disruptive innovations, economic growth is largely stagnant. We are told that with new technologies average citizens are empowered as never before, and yet wide swaths of the population feel powerless and can no longer count on stable careers and a better life for their children. As Lawrence H. Summers shows in The Post-Widget Society, these are the paradoxes that define the economic revolution that is transforming our world.
At the heart of this revolution are two dramatic developments in Western economies: the declining significance of widgets (mass-produced goods) and the rise of design goods (products that cost a lot to design but little to produce); and the controversial prospect of secular stagnation, the long-term phenomenon of negligible economic growth and depressed employment in a dynamic market economy. Summers’s trenchant analysis of these trends reveals that they have profound implications not only for the future of jobs and widening income inequality but also for the nature of the state and the very stability of society.
A bold, pathbreaking book by one of our most important economists, The Post-Widget Society is necessary reading for every American concerned about our economic and political future.
This is the Year I
Put My Financial Life in Order
by John Schwartz
A New York Times columnist shares his financial successes and mishaps, offering an everyman’s guide to straightening out your money once and for all.
Money management is one of our most practical survival skills—and also one we’ve convinced ourselves we’re either born with or not. In reality, financial planning can be learned, like anything else. Part financial memoir and part research-based guide to attaining lifelong security, This Is the Year I Put My Financial Life in Order is the book that everyone who has never wanted to read a preachy financial guide has been waiting for.
John Schwartz and his wife, Jeanne, are pre-retirement workers of an economic class well above the poverty line—but well below the one percent. Sharing his own alternately harrowing and hilarious stories—from his brush with financial ruin and bankruptcy in his thirties to his short-lived budgeted diet of cafeteria french fries and gravy—John will walk you through his own journey to financial literacy, which he admittedly started a bit late. He covers everything from investments to retirement and insurance to wills (at fifty-eight, he didn’t have one!), medical directives, and more. Whether you’re a college grad wanting to start out on the right foot or you’re approaching retirement age and still wondering what a pension is, This Is the Year I Put My Financial Life in Order will help you become your own best financial adviser.
SADNESS IS A WHITE BIRD
A Novel by Moriel Rothman-Zecher
Spring 2018 is the expected date on an English translation of this debut novel by Moriel Rothman-Zecher, a MacDowell fellow. The novel concerns “a young Israeli man trying to reconcile his connection to two Palestinian siblings with his deeply ingrained loyalties to family and country as his military draft date approaches.” In 2015, the author published an op-ed in the New York Times about Israelis who refuse to serve in the nation’s military.
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