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MORE FALL 2006 RECOMMENDED JEWISH BOOKS
MORE FALL 2006 BOOK READINGS
Nov 01, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost. JCC of Houston
Nov 02, 2006: Dr. Daniel Hillel speaks on the Natural History of the Bible. HUCJIR. NYC 6:30PM huc.edu
Nov 05, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost. JCC of San Francisco
Nov 12, 2006: UJC General Assembly GA starts in Los Angeles.
Nov 12, 2006: Bikur Cholim 19th Annual Conference in NYC. See BikurCholimCc.org
Nov 12, 2006: The Art of Synagogue Music. Park Avenue Synagogue, NYC, 8 PM
Nov 13, 2006: The Art of Synagogue Music. Temple Emanu-El, NYC, 8 PM
Nov 15, 2006: Einstein Medical School seminar on Organ Donation and Jewish Law. See Hods.org
Nov 16, 2006: Dr. Martin Cohen speaks on the Talmud as a Political Text. HUCJIR. NYC 6:30PM huc.edu
Nov 17-19, 2006: Miami International Book Fair featuring Alan Berger, Elie Wiesel and the Art of Storytelling; Andy Borowitz; Orly Castel-Bloom, Human Parts; Rich Cohen, Sweet and Low; Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck; Neal Gabler, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination; Jennifer Gilmore, Golden Country; Jeffrey Goldberg, Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide; Melissa Fay Greene, There Is No Me Without You; Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants; Amir Gutfreund, Our Holocaust; Hank Klibanoff, The Race Beat; Mark Kurlansky, Nonviolence: Twenty-Five Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea; Lawrence Kushner, Kabbalah: A Love Story; Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million; David Rakoff, Don't Get Too Comfortable; Francine Prose; Joann Sfar, Klezmer; Leora Skolkin-Smith, Edges: O Israel O Palestine; Ilan Stavans, The Disappearance: A Novella and Stories.
Nov 19, 2006: Lishmah in NYC. 9:30am-8pm. AlmaNY.org at NYU
Nov 21, 2006: Dr. David N. Myers (UCLA) and Atty Nomi Steinberg (USC) lecture on Satmar's Kiryas Joel and Liberalism in America. NY Kollel, NYC, 7:30 PM at Huc-JIR visit HUC.edu
Nov 21, 2006: Koret Book Awards. NYC, 92nd St Y. 8:15 PM
Nov 23, 2006: Thanksgiving in the USA
Nov 30, 2006: Bruce Feiler speaks on the Bible, NYC 92ndsty.org
Nov 30, 2006: JCC Manhattan Lit Café. 7:30 PM. JCC Manhattan
Dec 04, 2006: Amanda Vaill reads from her biography of Jerome Robbin. Makor NYC 12-1pm
Dec 06, 2006: Panel of Jewish Detective Novel Authors featuring SJ Rozan, Michael Simon, and Marissa Piesman. Makor NYC
Dec 07, 2006: Jeffrey Goldberg reads from PRISONERS and speaks on Middle East journalism. Park East Synagogue. NYC 7:30 PM
Dec 08, 2006: Jewish bloggers roudtable, featuring Jewlicious, Jewschool, Kesher Talk, Blogs of Zion, and others. Town & Village, NYC 6PM
Dec 13, 2006: Sotheby's NYC auction of Judaica. Sothebys.com NYC 10AM
Dec 11, 2006: Lee Bollinger (Columbia Univ., President) and John Sexton (NYU, President) in a panel discussion moderated by Richard Joel (Yeshiva Univ., President) on the topic of Academic Integrity, the Middle East, and the State of the Academy. JewishCenter.org
Dec 16-23, 2006: Hannukah
Dec 17, 2006: Judy Gold and Jackie Hoffman on What's So Funny About the Jews, NYC 92ndsty.org
Dec 18, 2006: Baila Shargel speaks on Henrietta Szold, NYC 92ndsty.org
Dec 19, 2006: Abigail Pogrebin and Aaron Brown speaks on Stars of David, NYC 92ndsty.org
Dec 18/21, 2006: Rebbitzen Hadassah Gross unplugged at Joe's Pub, NYC
Dec 24, 2006: Zamir Chorale, Merkin Concert Hall, NYC
Dec 19, 2006: Zamir Chorale and Open Sing, including Handel's Judas Maccabeus. JCC NYC UWS
Jan 07, 2007: The Sunshine Boys. One time performance in Yiddish starring Fyvush Finkel and Theodore Bikel, Symphony Space, NYC
Jan 11-15, 2007: Limmud NY. See www.LimmudNY.org and JewFusion
Jan 15, 2007: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Day
Jan 19, 2007: Schmoozedance 2007 in Park City UT
HEY.. NOW YOUR CAN SEARCH OUR SITE, INSTEAD OF JUST SEARCHING AMAZON. TRY IT OUT...
KOSHER BY DESIGN
SHORT ON TIME:
FABULOUS FOOD FOREVER
By SUSIE FISHBEIN, KosherbyDesign.com)
November 2006, Mesorah
From Publishers Weekly: Keeping kosher might put a few restrictions on one's choice of ingredients and require a little extra thought to be given to preparation, but in this latest in her series, Fishbein shows there are plenty of shortcuts available to meals that are tasty yet observant of Jewish law. Following the popular formula of a Rachael Ray or Sandra Lee, she uses small proportions of canned or prepared goods to cut down on time. The well-chosen recipes span the courses using a good mix of the elegant (Maple Walnut Chicken with Sweet Potato Aioli) and the simple crowd-pleasers (Pulled Barbecue Beef; Penne Florentine ŕ la Vodka); many reflect international influences (colorful Thai Quinoa, for instance, or Gyros with Rajita), and Fishbein puts some nice spins on a few Jewish favorites, yielding dishes like Mulliga Cholent and the delectable, moist Frosted Chocolate Honey Cake. Fishbein successfully demonstrates that adding the kosher variable to the mix with the current need for speed and ease with old-fashioned recipes doesn't throw the equation out of whack. Color photos throughout. Click the book cover to read more.
The Secret Life of Houdini
The Making of America's First Superhero
by William Kalush, Larry Sloman
November 2006, Atria
Ehrich Weiss was the poor son of a poor rabbi. He was born in 1874. He had a huge head and small feet, and he became the most famous celebrity, handcuff king, escape artist, magician, superstar. And by 1926, 80 years ago, he was dead. Now, magic expert William Kalush and best-selling writer Larry Sloman team up to find the man behind the myth. Drawing from millions of pages of research, they describe in vivid detail the passions that drove Houdini to perform ever-more-dangerous feats, his secret life as a spy, and a pernicious plot to subvert his legacy. After years of struggling on the dime museum circuit, Harry Houdini got a break that put him on the front page of a Chicago newspaper. He never looked back. Soon Houdini was performing for royalty, commanding vast sums, and exploring the new power of Hollywood to expand on his legend. At a time when spy agencies frequently co-opted amateurs, Houdini went to London and developed a relationship with a man who would run MI-5. For the next several years, the world's most famous magician traveled to Germany and Russia and routinely reported his findings. After World War I was successfully concluded, Houdini embarked on a battle of his own. He created a group of disguised field operatives to infiltrate the seamy world of fake spirit mediums. In doing so, Houdini triggered the wrath of fanatical Spiritualists, led by the esteemed British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Death threats became an everyday occurrence, but the group would pose an even greater danger to Houdini's legacy. Rigorously researched, and as exciting as a good thriller, The Secret Life of Houdini traces the arc of the master magician's life from desperate poverty to worldwide legend, initiating the reader along the way into the arcane world of professional magic. In this remarkable book, Kalush and Sloman decode a life based on deception, providing an intimate and riveting portrayal of Houdini, the man and the legend. Click the book cover to read more.
The book that Carter says describes the "unbelievable abuse" against Palestinians by Israel, and how Israel has colonized Palestinian land how they have forced Palestinians from their homes, land, hilltops, groves. Carter says the WALL does not protect Israel, but is merely there do expropriate Palestinian land. "If it wasn't for the Israel Lobby in America, there would probably be peace." He says the news reporters all agree with him, but their editors, (like at the NYT) only print Israel's side of the story. He states that Hamas never attacked an Israeli since August 2004... Where is his brain? He states Israel never offered any real peace talks. The book has caused an uproar. Alan Dershowitz has discredited the book and the ADL has placed ads criticizing it. Read it and figure out how you would criticize or agree with him
Palestine Peace Not Apartheid
by Jimmy Carter
November 2006. Simon and Schuster
The New York Times reviewd this as, "This is a strange little book about the Arab-Israeli conflict from a major public figure. It is premised on the notion that Americans too often get only one side of the story, one uncritically sympathetic to Israel, so someone with authority and knowledge needs to offer a fuller picture. Fine idea. The problem is that in this book Jimmy Carter does not do so. Instead, he simply offers a narrative that is largely unsympathetic to Israel. Israeli bad faith fills the pages. Hollow statements by Israel's enemies are presented without comment. Broader regional developments go largely unexamined. In other words, whether or not Carter is right that most Americans have a distorted view of the conflict, his contribution is to offer a distortion of his own.....This book has something of a Rip van Winkle feel to it, as if little had changed since Carter diagnosed the problem in the 1970s. All would be well today, he suggests, if his advice then had been followed. Forget Al Qaeda (the name does not appear in this book), the nuclear ambitions of Iran and the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. If Israel had "refrained from colonizing the West Bank," he asserts, there would have been "a comprehensive and lasting peace." The debate about the Israeli occupation "will shape the future of Israel; it may also determine the prospects for peace in the Middle East - and perhaps the world."
This is an awfully narrow perspective...... ..."
Carter states: "It is a crime what is being done to the Palestinians;" "Israel has violated international law and colonized Palestinian land;" " ...
Book Description from cover: Former president, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, offers an assessment of what must be done to bring permanent peace to Israel with dignity and justice to Palestine. ....In this book President Carter shares his intimate knowledge of the history of the Middle East and his personal experiences with the principal actors, and he addresses sensitive political issues many American officials avoid. Pulling no punches, Carter prescribes steps that must be taken for the two states to share the Holy Land without a system of apartheid or the constant fear of terrorism. The general parameters of a long-term, two-state agreement are well known, the president writes. There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy, and the international "road map" for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians. Except for mutually agreeable negotiated modifications, Israel's official pre-1967 borders must be honored. As were all previous administrations since the founding of Israel, U.S. government leaders must be in the forefront of achieving this long-delayed goal of a just agreement that both sides can honor. Click the book cover to read more.
What Dershowitz has said of the book:
His bias against Israel shows by his selection of the book's title: "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid."
The reality is that other Arab and Muslim nations do in fact practice apartheid. In Jordan, no Jew can be a citizen or own land. The same is true in Saudi Arabia, which has separate roads for Muslims and non-Muslims. Even in the Palestinian authority, the increasing influence of Hamas threatens to create Islamic hegemony over non-Muslims. Arab Christians are leaving in droves.
Carter emphasizes that "Christian and Muslim Arabs had continued to live in this same land since Roman times," but he ignores the fact that Jews have lived in Hebron, Tzfat, Jerusalem, and other cities for even longer. Nor does he discuss the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries since 1948.
Carter repeatedly claims that the Palestinians have long supported a two-state solution and the Israelis have always opposed it... He barely mentions Israel's acceptance, and the Palestinian rejection, of the U.N.'s division of the mandate in 1948.
He claims that in 1967 Israel launched a preemptive attack against Jordan. The fact is that Jordan attacked Israel first.....
Carter faults Israel for its "air strike that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor" without mentioning that Iraq had threatened to attack Israel with nuclear weapons if they succeeded in building a bomb.
Carter faults Israel for its administration of Christian and Muslim religious sites, when in fact Israel is scrupulous about ensuring every religion the right to worship as they please--consistant, of course, with security needs.
Carter blames Israel, and exonerates Arafat, for the Palestinian refusal to accept statehood on 95% of the West Bank and all of Gaza pursuant to the Clinton-Barak offers of Camp David and Taba in 2000-2001. He accepts the Palestinian revisionist history, rejects the eye-witness accounts of President Clinton and Dennis Ross and ignores Saudi Prince Bandar's accusation that Arafat's rejection of the proposal was "a crime" and that Arafat's account "was not truthful"--except, apparently, to Carter. The fact that Carter chooses to believe Yasir Arafat over Bill Clinton speaks volumes.
Carter's description of the recent Lebanon war is misleading. He begins by asserting that Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. "Captured" suggest a military apprehension subject to the usual prisoner of war status. The soldiers were kidnapped, and have not been heard from--not even a sign of life. The rocket attacks that preceded Israel's invasion are largely ignored, as is the fact that Hezbollah fired its rockets from civilian population centers.
For more.. just google Dershowitz and Carter
Jeffrey Goldberg, writing in the Washington Post, adds: "Jimmy Carter tells a strange and revealing story near the beginning of his latest book, the sensationally titled Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. It is a story that suggests that the former president's hostility to Israel is, to borrow a term, faith-based. On his first visit to the Jewish state in the early 1970s, Carter, who was then still the governor of Georgia, met with Prime Minister Golda Meir, who asked Carter to share his observations about his visit. Such a mistake she never made."
" "With some hesitation," Carter writes, "I said that I had long taught lessons from the Hebrew Scriptures and that a common historical pattern was that Israel was punished whenever the leaders turned away from devout worship of God. I asked if she was concerned about the secular nature of her Labor government."
"Jews, in my experience, tend to become peevish when Christians, their traditional persecutors, lecture them on morality, and Carter reports that Meir was taken aback by his "temerity." He is, of course, paying himself a compliment. Temerity is mandatory when you are doing God's work, and Carter makes it clear in this polemical book that, in excoriating Israel for its sins -- and he blames Israel almost entirely for perpetuating the hundred-year war between Arab and Jew -- he is on a mission from God."
"Carter's interest in the Middle East is longstanding, of course; he brokered the first Arab-Israeli peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1979, and he has been rightly praised for doing so. But other aspects of his record are more bothersome. Carter, not unlike God, has long been disproportionately interested in the sins of the Chosen People. He is famously a partisan of the Palestinians, and in recent months he has offered a notably benign view of Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization that took power in the Palestinian territories after winning a January round of parliamentary elections.
There are differences, however, between Carter's understanding of Jewish sin and God's. God, according to the Jewish Bible, tends to forgive the Jews their sins. And God, unlike Carter, does not manufacture sins to hang around the necks of Jews when no sins have actually been committed.
This is a cynical book, its cynicism embedded in its bait-and-switch title. Much of the book consists of an argument against the barrier that Israel is building to separate Israelis from the Palestinians on the West Bank. The "imprisonment wall" is an early symptom of Israel's descent into apartheid, according to Carter. But late in the book, he concedes that "the driving purpose for the forced separation of the two peoples is unlike that in South Africa -- not racism, but the acquisition of land."
In other words, Carter's title notwithstanding, Israel is not actually an apartheid state. True, some Israeli leaders have used the security fence as cover for a land-grab, but Carter does not acknowledge the actual raison d'etre for the fence: to prevent the murder of Jews. The security barrier is a desperate, deeply imperfect and, God willing, temporary attempt to stop Palestinian suicide bombers from detonating themselves amid crowds of Israeli civilians. And it works; many recent attempts to infiltrate bombers into Israel have failed, thanks to the barrier...."
To read more of his review: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/07/AR2006120701835.html
PHILIP ROTH'S RUDE TRUTH
THE ART OF IMMATURITY
By ROSS POSNICK, Columbia University professor of English
November 2006, Princeton University Press
Has anyone ever worked harder and longer at being immature than Philip Roth? The novelist himself pointed out the paradox, saying that after establishing a reputation for maturity with two earnest novels, he "worked hard and long and diligently" to be frivolous--an effort that resulted in the notoriously immature Portnoy's Complaint (1969). Three-and-a-half decades and more than twenty books later, Roth is still at his serious "pursuit of the unserious." But his art of immaturity has itself matured, developing surprising links with two traditions of immaturity--an American one that includes Emerson, Melville, and Henry James, and a late twentieth-century Eastern European one that developed in reaction to totalitarianism. In Philip Roth's Rude Truth--one of the first major studies of Roth's career as a whole--Ross Posnock examines Roth's "mature immaturity" in all its depth and richness. Philip Roth's Rude Truth will force readers to reconsider the narrow categories into which Roth has often been slotted--laureate of Newark, New Jersey; junior partner in the firm Salinger, Bellow, Mailer, and Malamud; Jewish-American regionalist. In dramatic contrast to these caricatures, the Roth who emerges from Posnock's readable and intellectually vibrant study is a great cosmopolitan in the tradition of Henry James and Milan Kundera. Click the book cover to read more.
The Great American Novel (1973)
My Life as a Man (1974)
The Professor of Desire (1977)
Edited By ROSS Miller, Univ of Connecticut
2006, The Library of America
This third volume in The Library of America's definitive edition of Philip Roth's collected works presents three markedly different novels that together trace a crucial period in the bold evolution of one of America's indispensable novelists. Surely the funniest novel ever written about baseball, The Great American Novel (1973) turns our national pastime into unfettered picaresque farce.
The cast of improbable characters includes: Gil Gamesh, the pitcher who actually tried to kill the umpire; John Baal, the ex-con first baseman, "The Babe Ruth of the Big House," who never hit a home run sober; and the House Un-American Activities Committee. My Life as a Man (1974), Roth's most blistering novel, presents the treacherous world of Strindberg nearly a century later in the story of a fierce marital tragedy of obsession and blindness and desperate need. The Professor of Desire (1977)-the novel that prompted Milan Kundera to proclaim Roth "a great historian of modern eroticism"-follows an adventurous man of intelligence and feeling into and out of the tempting wilderness of erotic possibility. Click the book cover to read more.
My Mother's Holocaust Story
by Ann Kirschner
November 2006, Free Press
In rare moments of retrospection, my mother would tell us about her arrival in the United States.... But even as a child, I was unconvinced. My mother was substituting a happy ending for an untold story."
For nearly fifty years, Sala Kirschner kept a secret: she had spent five years in seven Nazi work camps. It was not until 1991 that she showed her daughter a priceless collection of more than 350 letters and a diary that revealed the astonishing story of her survival in Hitler's Germany. After volunteering to take her older sister's place for what she thought was a six-week stay in one of the first Nazi work camps in 1940, Ann Kirschner's mother left her parents and a large extended family of siblings, nieces, nephews, and in-laws, to take a train away from the Polish city that had been her entire world. Little did she know that the six weeks would stretch into five years of slavery. She survived thanks to extraordinary luck, and help, and by the war's end only she and two sisters remained alive. Sala Kirschner's odyssey, documented in precious letters, photographs, and keepsakes, lay hidden in a cardboard box as she built a new life in America. Only when faced with heart surgery did she make a gift to her daughter: of letters, of memories, and of an identity whose rediscovery has challenged and deepened their relationship in surprising ways. One of the last great survivor narratives, Sala's Gift is as moving and unforgettable as The Diary of Anne Frank. Click the book cover to read more.
Among the Righteous
Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands
by Robert Satloff
Fall 2006, Public Affairs
From Booklist: The central question of his book, Satloff posits in the introduction, is "Did any Arabs save any Jews during the Holocaust?" To find answers, the author drew on the expertise of archivists, translators, interviewers, and researchers knowledgeable in the history of that tragic event. Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, describes his book as part history, part travelogue, and part memoir. Two months after the 9/11 attacks, he and his family moved to Rabat, Morocco, where he began a four-year, 11-country search for an "Arab Schindler." He discovered, for example, that the head of a mosque in Paris saved up to 100 Jews by helping them pass as Muslims, that Muslim religious clerics in Algeria refused to turn in Jews stripped of their jobs and property, and that a Tunisian Arab provided shelter to 60 Jewish escapees from a German labor camp. With an eight-page black-and-white photo insert, this account is bound to be controversial.
Deborah Lipstadt, writing in the Washington Post, adds: "...The book tells of [Satloff's] quest to track down the historyof thse Arabs' deeds [Arabs who rescued Jews during WWII]..." Satloff begins by relating the often ignored story of Nazi labor and concentration camps in North Africa. While some Arabs served as torturers and guards, there were others who performed "noble, selfless deeds." Sadly, contemporary Arab media never discuss the courageous acts of those who saved Jews. Modern Arab governments battle Israel by denying that their citizens ever helped Jews. The also deny the Holocaust, so by admitting the selfless acts would admit to actual Nazi and Vichy laws against Jews in North Africa. Vichy French administrators in Algeria could find no Algerian Arabs who would take over Jewish property, but found as many French Algerians as they needed to do the same deed. At the end of the review, Lipstadt adds, "Satloff has told an important story and told it well, but he has done so for noble by misguided reasons." Click the book cover to read more.
A Family of Strangers (Paperback)
by Deborah Tall
November 2006, Sarabande
From Publishers Weekly: Tall, poet and editor of the Seneca Review, has long championed a form called the lyric essay, which employs the associative movement and lyrical suggestiveness of poetry while also maintaining the familiar narrative structures and conventional organization of prose. In a singular extended work in this form, Tall (Summons) constructs a powerful account of her search for the origins of her Ukrainian Jewish family; her parents and other relatives emigrated to the U.S. around WWII and proceeded to disavow their past in an effort to overcome traumatic memories of pogroms and Nazi genocide. Throughout her upbringing, Tall's parents maintained a strict, if suspicious, silence about their relatives and lives before emigrating, leaving Tall, now a wife and mother of two daughters, desperate for information about her family history. In short chapters bearing repeated titles ("Anatomy of Secrecy," "The Dream of Family"), Tall movingly traces her genealogical quest, which leads her to the discovery of her family's pre-Ellis Island name (Talesnick), the revelation of a forgotten uncle abandoned to a mental institution and, finally, a meeting with her family's last ailing matriarch near Ladyzin, Ukraine. This deeply affecting account offers new formal avenues for memoir while providing a necessary piece of the ever-unfolding puzzle of 20th-century Jewish diaspora. Click the book cover to read more.
A novel By Marc Estrin
November 2006, Unbridled
By some incalculable force of human attraction, Alan Krieger has two lovers. A man of his girth and compulsion, a man who cannot stop talking, a man to whom the entire world seems completely irrational, should not take one woman for granted, much less two. Companions who can tolerate his anger, his obsessions, and his antic clowning all at the same time are not easy to come by. But when the thought arises in Alan that he's been "chosen" to deliver Jewish America from the threat of Anti-Semitism, then all his connections to reality fall away, including those to his lovers and his family. Recalling the folktale of the Golem - the Frankensteinian giant of clay that saved the Jews in 16th Century Prague - Alan lays out a plan of attack and then sets to making the most outrageous of preparations in the culture wars. Like each of the acclaimed Estrin novels that have preceded it, Golem Song is a brilliant, allusive, manic, and wildly comic approach to some of the most serious and difficult cultural questions of our time. Click the book cover to read more.
THE PERFECT BOOK FOR THIS AUTUMN AND WINTER.. GET IN TOUCH YOUR SOUL AND PERSONALITY AND JUDAISM. FOR ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO STUDY KABBALA, THEY WOULD be smarter to study Mussar, and have a functional ego and perfect MIDDOT, and highly developed ethics, before embarking on mysticism.
A Responsible Life
The Spiritual Path of Mussar
by Rabbi Ira F. Stone, Temple Beth Zion Beth Israel, Philadephia
November 25, 2006, Aviv Press
Mussar, a late 19th century Jewish renewal movement, focused on a spirituality of ethics. This book explores how Mussar principles are relevant to contemporary life, discusses the challenges of making moral choices, and explains how to use Mussar principles to develop a meaningful spiritual practice that is based on the needs of others, rather than the self. The book will inform you how Mussar can transform the qualities of your soul; improve your personal behavior (patience, humiitym truth, gratitude, equanimity); lead to greater awareness of personality habits that obstruct you on your quest to higher holiness; and channel the destructive power of anger into positive or less negative behavior. Mussar insists that one can only begin piety when one discovers and transforms the worst qualities about oneself, and when one has an intact ego and personality. . Click the book cover to read more. Rabbi Stone's work is based on the writings of Rabbi Simcha Zissel, Elder of Kelm, who was one of the three students of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter (Rabbi Israel Lipkin of Salant).
A NEW BOOK BY ONE OF OUR FAVORITE INSIGHTFUL AND LUCID AUTHORS !!!
FROM THE AUTHOR OF TASTING THE DISH --
History, Tradition, Practice
by Michael L. Satlow
November 2006, Columbia University Press
What is "Judaism"? What, if anything, unites ancient Rabbis, Maimonides, the authors of the Zohar, and modern secular Jews in Israel? In Creating Judaism Michael L. Satlow offers a new way of understanding Judaism that recognizes both its immense diversity and its unifying features. He argues that, despite changing definitions of Judaism, Jews have continued to see themselves as a "Jewish family," linked by shared traditions and texts.
Presenting a series of portraits of Judaism throughout time and from around the globe, Satlow explores how communities shaped Jewish tradition in light of historical circumstances. He discusses communities such as the Karaites and the geonim, who viewed Jewish tradition through the lens of Islam, the Jews of medieval Spain, the Hasidim of nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, and Jews in the United States. Satlow pays close attention to how communities define and see themselves as Israel, their relationship to biblical and rabbinic textual traditions, and their ritual practices. Click the book cover to read more.
LIFE IS A TEST
BY REBBETZIN ESTHER JUNGREIS
November 2006. Mesorah
For over forty years, Rebbitzen Esther Jungreis has been a globetrotting spokeswoman for Judaism. Whether counseling a searching soul or addressing a packed house in Madison Square Garden, her message is elegantly universal. In Life Is A Test, the Rebbitzen's insights on faith, her soul-stirring wisdom, and her palpable love of all people saturate every page. Life Is A Test is really three books in one, each bearing a particular focus to help readers look for the message embedded in any difficulty. The book begins with tests of self-discovery and then examines the challenging realm of interpersonal relationships, concluding with a section on perceiving the Divine Design in the big picture of global events, as well as in one's own world. Regardless of age or experience, people of all persuasions will find meaningful substance in Life Is A Test. Rebbitzen Jungreis has captured so many of our deep-seated questions, and has graciously provided us with a decipherable answer key. Click the book cover to read more.
Streets of Jerusalem
Who, What and Why?
by Ronald L. Eisenberg
Fall 2006, Devorah Press
An up-to-date guide to the winding, wonderful, whimsical streets of the greatest city on earth, Jerusalem. Whether you are visiting Jerusalem, live in this Golden City, or just want to learn the history of this "crossroads of the world,"
Click the book cover to read more.
THE CROOKED INHERITANCE
BY MARGE PIERCY
November 2006. Knopf
From Publishers Weekly: Piercy's 16 books of accessible, sometimes outspokenly feminist poetry, along with her many novels and nonfiction books, have gained a wide and loyal following. This big collection of somewhat talky new poems may not disappoint her devotees, but seems unlikely to add to her reputation. Familiar subjects-political injustice, familial inheritance, Jewish heritage, the pleasures of cooking and gardening, the troubles of later life-get treated, mostly, in predictable, low-pressure ways. When Piercy (Colors Passing Through Us, 2003) takes clothes that don't fit from her "closet of doom," "The resale shop/ is already waiting.../ ...and I feel my own unplanned/ obsolescence creep into my flesh." Antiwar poems focus on an oblivious America, where "shopping is our favorite entertainment." As for Hurricane Katrina, "Baby is crying/ Grandma is dying/ and that dirty water is getting higher." Reminiscences of Detroit, where Piercy grew up, and a sequence of poems on Jewish liturgical occasions (meant, perhaps, for a congregation to use) stand out, and Piercy's honesty is always welcome. Click the book cover to read more.
THE GREAT ESCAPE
Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World
by Kati Marton
November 2006. Simon and Schuster
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Noted journalist and bestselling author Marton (Hidden Power) offers a haunting tale of the wartime Hungarian diaspora. The nine illustrious Hungarians she profiles were all "double outsiders," for, as well as being natives of a "small, linguistically impenetrable, landlocked country," they were all Jews. Fleeing fascism and anti-Semitism for the New World, each experienced insecurity, isolation and a sense of perpetual exile. Yet all achieved world fame. The scientists Leo Szilard, Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner, along with game theorist and computer pioneer, John von Neuman, spurred Albert Einstein to persuade Franklin Roosevelt to develop the atomic bomb. Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz became legendary photojournalists.
Audio Book to the right.
Alexander Korda was the savior of the British film industry, and Michael Curtiz directed Casablanca. Arthur Koestler penned the monumental anti-Communist novel Darkness at Noon. Marton intricately charts each man's career in the context of WWII and Cold War history. Herself Hungarian-born, the daughter of journalists who escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary in 1957, Marton captures her fellow Hungarians' nostalgia for prewar Budapest, evoking its flamboyant cafes, its trams, boulevards and cosmopolitan Jewish community. Marton writes beautifully, balancing sharply defined character studies of each man with insights into their shared cultural traits and uprootedness. Click the book cover to read more.
STRANGERS AND NEIGHBORS
WHAT I HAVE LEaRNED ABOUT CHRISTIANITY BY LIVING AMONG ORTHODOX JEWS
By Maria Poggi Johnson
November 2006. W Publishing
Maria Poggi Johnson grew up in Scotland and has studied at Oxford University and the University of Virginia. She currently lives with her husband and four children in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and teaches theology at the University of Scranton, one of the holy cities of MyJewishBooks.com. Her research and teaching interests include the history of Christianity with an emphasis on Victorian England, and the interaction between Christianity and culture, in particular art and literature.
You can read her essay in firstthings at:
Johnson lives near a small community of ultra-Orthodox Jews. She explores the ways friendships with her neighbors have subtly reshaped her own Christian commitments. She finds the Jewish practice of reading Torah alongside Talmudic commentary enjoyable and recognizes that she, too, likes to study the Bible with "partners"-be they the ancient church fathers or her husband. In the Jewish dietary codes, Johnson finds a model of bodily spirituality, a useful antidote to the Gnosticism that has historically infected the church. Johnson isn't moved by every aspect of Jewish life; while she shares the goal of imparting religious convictions to her children, she worries that her neighbors' approach-more or less cutting their children off from wider American culture-carries too great a cost. Still, she sees life in her neighborhood as "elementary preparation for civilized participation in the global village." At times, the book is thin-her ruminations on Jewish suffering are so brief as to seem glib, for example. But on the whole, this is a welcome contribution to the literature of Jewish-Christian relations. Click the book cover to read more.
Killing Mr. Lebanon
The Assassination of Rafik Hariri and its Impact on the Middle East
by Nicholas Blanford
November 2006. Tauris
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, known as "Mr. Lebanon," was killed by a massive explosion as he drove along the Beirut seafront on Valentine's Day in 2005. A business entrepreneur, who rose from nothing to become one of the most powerful men in Lebanese politics, Hariri's assassination has incited outrage and suspicion. Nicholas Blanford investigates Hariri's past, inextricably linked with that of Lebanon, and uncovers a murky world of shifting alliances between businesses, the military, politicians and diplomats. Based on exclusive interviews with key players, he traces the last weeks of Hariri's life, and reveals who stood to gain from his death. He assesses its impact on Lebanese politics including the withdrawal of Syrian troops, Hezbollah and the peace process. Full of intrigue, shady characters, and suspense, Killing Mr Lebanon brings to light what the Lebanese people have clamored for since Valentine's Day 2005: 'al haqiqa' - the truth. Click the book cover to read more.
The Mystery of the Kaddish
Its Profound Influence on Judaism
by Leon Charney with Saul Mayzlish
October 2006, Barricade Books
Leon Charney, pundit, tv host, attorney, real estate investor, and former advisor to President Jimmy Carter, is best known, to me, for frequently singing a song of mourning on his TV program. So I was not surprised when he wrote a book on the kaddish. It is more accessible than Leon Wieseltier's book on the Kaddish. The Kaddish is considered by millions to be a special prayer one recites for the dead. It isn't. This mystical ritual was created during the Crusades as a homage to God. Those who have lost a loved one and recite the prayer faithfully on 52 Friday nights may have wondered why there is no place in the prayer for the name of the lost loved one. This book contains much new information as it traces the evolution of the Kaddish. Click the book cover to read more.
A Thriller Novel of Complicity
by Robert Littell
October 2006, Overlook Press
From Booklist: Littell's latest brainy thriller probes very near the heart of the time-worn conflict over a land made and kept holy through regular libations of martyrs' blood. All the world holds its breath (including the second President Clinton) when--only nine days before an unprecedented Arab-Israeli settlement that will establish an autonomous Palestinian state and de-escalate tensions between East and West--Rabbi Isaac Apfulbaum, an extreme Zionist, is taken hostage by an Islamic Fundamentalist doctor known as Abu Bakr, whose "Christian name" is Ishmael. Both nearly blind, with foreheads bruised from fervent prayer to the one God, these oddly paired messianic sons of Ibrahim/Abraham engage in a curious summit in Jerusalem, even as hostile forces converge on the eve of Ramadan to save or ruin all. An American diplomat serves as chorus, providing discrete pragmatic perspectives on the swiftly evolving action, while a leftist journalist serves as witness and wild card. Holding his protean cleverness in check, Littell presents a physical and mental landscape of stark beauty and ugliness, spinning a tale fit to hold its own with Eric Ambler's The Levanter, John le Carre's The Little Drummer Girl, David Ignatius' Agents of Innocence, and Robert Stone's Damascus Gate. Must reading for fans of high-end thrillers.
Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Alex Berenson wrote, "For the especially dense reader, Littell helpfully spells out the connection in a comment from Apfulbaum: "For God's sake, do I have to write it on the wall in capital letters? You have to be blind to not see it. We're both children of Abraham." And yes, Isaac and Isma'il are both nearly blind. They believe they can see God, and yet they can't even see the world before their eyes. Get it? Get it? If nothing else, Littell deserves credit for daring to believe he can convince readers that the rabbi and the doctor, who have been enemies almost from birth, can fall in something like love over the course of a week. ...
Click the book cover to read more.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AN AMERICAN
By RICHARD S. TEDLOW, HBS
November 2006. Portfolio
I feel a wave of paranoia coming over me....
The definitive biography of an enigmatic business legend. Andy Grove, the CEO of Intel during its years of explosive growth, is on the shortlist of America's most admired businesspeople, along with Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates. Brilliant, brave, and willing to defy conventional wisdom, Grove is, according to Harvard Business School professor Richard S. Tedlow, "the best model we have for leading a business in the twenty-first century." Grove gave Tedlow unprecedented access to his private papers, along with wide-ranging interviews and access to his closest friends and key business associates. Nothing was off limits, and Tedlow was free to draw his own conclusions. The result is not just a gripping life story but a fascinating analysis of how Grove attacks problems. Born a Hungarian Jew in 1936, Andras Istvan Grof survived the Nazis only to face the Soviet invasion of his country. He fled to America at age twenty, studied engineering, and arrived in Silicon Valley just in time for a historic opportunity. He became the third employee of Intel, working for the legendary Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce. As talented as he was as an engineer, Grove became an even better manager, as we learn from exclusive excerpts from his secret management diaries. Tedlow shows us exactly how that penniless immigrant taught himself to lead a major corporation through some of the toughest challenges in the history of business.
This is an inspiring biography that will enthrall anyone who cares about technology or leadership. Click the book cover to read more.
PUTUMAYO WORLD CUTURE TRAVEL JOURNAL
ISN'T THIS CUTE?
PUTUMAYO PUBLISHES A TRAVEL JOURNAL TO TAKE NOTES ON YOUR TRIP
WILL SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE ONE FOR ISRAEL?
Just think... in thirty years people could pass down their Israel memory books from their first trips to Israel, etc,
Includes blan k pages, cultural information, photos, maps, conversion charts (to convert measurements, not faiths), and other travel aids. Click the book cover to read more.
WHY SIZE MATTERS
FROM BACTERIA TO CLUE WHALES
BY JOHN TYLER BONNER, Professor Emeritus
November 2006. Princeton
The role of size in Biology. Size is the supreme and universal determinant of what any organizsm can be and can do.. Large beast deal with gravity, small items face the force of cohesion, a fly can walk on a wall, a man cannot. Size also influences longevity. Click the book cover to read more.
I LIKE YOU
Hospitality Under the Influence
By Amy Sedaris
November 2006. Warner
An entertaining book on entertaining from America's funniest non-Jewish (sigh...) female. Lots of recipes, anecdotes, and arts and crafts projects. Click the book cover to read more.
A DAY OF SMALL BEGINNINGS
By Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum
November 2006. Little Brown
A story of redemption that begins in 1906, when a 14 year old boy (Itzik Leiber) accidentally kills a Pole who is whipping three children. Fleeing a mob, Itzik runs into a Jewish cemetery and falls into the grave of Freidl Alterman, who awakes from the dead to become his protector. And so begins this story that spans three generations and two continents, as Itzik's granddaughter returns to Zokof.
PW writes: Rosenbaum's debut sets The Lovely Bones to strains of Fiddler on the Roof. In rural Zokof, Poland, in 1906, young Itzik Leiber protects three small Jewish boys from a beating, resulting in the accidental death of a menacing Polish peasant. Itzik hides in a Jewish cemetery where he unknowingly draws the soul of Friedl Alterman-who died the previous year at 83. Friedl, childless in life, protects Itzik as he flees Zokof for Warsaw, then America. Fast forward 86 years as Itzik's son, Nathan Linden (name change), a scholar of international law, is a guest of the Polish government. He is drawn to his father's hometown (via a still-protective Friedl), and there he comes upon Rafael Bergson, "the last Jew in Zokof," who forces Nathan to confront his ambiguous feelings about religion and begs him to help restore Friedl's spirit through prayer and ritual. But it may be up to Ellen, Nathan's free-spirited choreographer daughter, to come to Poland to liberate Friedl's soul. Friedl's voice retreats after the early chapters, and Rosenbaum handles the shifts in voice, time and place smoothly. She packs a lot of Jewish history, recent and otherwise, into this luminous tale, as well as joy in the arts and in prayer. Click the book cover to read more.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Modern Cosmology and Kabbalah, a New Conversation Between Science and Religion
By Howard Smith, PhD
November 2006. New World
Smith, a former Chairman of the Astronomy Department at the National Air and Space Museum, and a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smothsonian Center of Astrophysics, is a traditionally observant Jewish man. IN this book he explores how modern scientific understandings of the cosmos complement Judaism's kabbalah. He argues that science and religion are not only compatible, but that a healthy, productive dialogue between the two sheds light on ethics, free will, and the nature of life, while at the same time rejecting fundamentalist misinterpretation and the pseudoscience of creationism. Written for a general audience, yet supported by the most current and accurate scientific research, the book discusses topics such as modern quantum mechanics and mystical notions of awareness; how Kabbalah's ten sefirot mirror the developing phases of an inflationary universe; and the surprising parallels that exist between the Big Bang theory and Kabbalah's origin theory. Smith delves into complex ideas without resorting to jargon or mathematical equations, creating an intelligent, authoritative work accessible to all readers. Click the book cover to read more.
Mythography of a City
By Maoz Azaryahu, University of Haifa
November 2006, Syracuse
Founded in 1909 as a "garden suburb" of the Mediterranean port of Jaffa, Tel Aviv soon became a model of Jewish self-rule and was celebrated as a jewel in the crown of Hebrew revival. Over time the city has transformed into a lively metropolis, renowned for its architecture and culture, openness and vitality. A young city about to celebrate its 100th anniversity, the mythic Tel Aviv continues to represent a fundamental idea that transcends the physical texture of the city and the everyday experiences of its residents.
Combining historical research and cultural analysis, Maoz Azaryahu explores the different myths that have been part of the vernacular and perception of the city. He relates Tel Aviv's mythology to its physicality through buildings, streets, personal experiences, and municipal policies. With critical insight, he evaluates specific myths and their propagation in the spheres of both official and popular culture. Azaryahu explores three distinct stages in the history of the mythic Tel Aviv: "The First Hebrew City" assesses Tel Aviv as Zionist vision and seed of the actual city; "Non-Stop City" depicts trendy, global post-Zionist Tel Aviv; and "The White City" describes Tel Aviv's architectural landscape, created in the 1930s and imbued with nostalgia and local prestige. Tel Aviv: Mythography of a City will appeal to urban geographers, cultural historians, scholars of myth, and students of Israeli society and culture. . Click the book cover to read more.
Be the Change!
Change the World. Change Yourself
by Michelle Nunn (Editor),
November 2006. Hands On Network
Be the Change celebrates the personal transformations of men and women who, by working to change the world, changed themselves. Featuring interviews with over 1,000 volunteers, from everyday people to business and community leaders to celebrities, the book combines hands-on advice on ways to get involved with enlightening real-life stories from those who did. Inspirational yet practical, it's the perfect companion for readers who want to stop daydreaming about a more fulfilling life and a better world and take action to do so.
Oh guess what.. Senator Sam Nunn contributed to the book. How did she swing getting him to help out?
But seriously... Michelle graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia with a minor in religion. She studied in the UK (Oxford) and in India. Michelle was a Kellogg National Fellow through which she explored the connection of spirituality, social action and leadership in countries ranging from Israel to Namibia., and she has an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Of course we are envious! We should stop sitting on our butts and make some changes. Look at the org she built on HandsOnNetwork.org in Atlanta Click the book cover to read more.
The Life of Jerome Robbins
by Amanda Vaill
November 2006. Broadway Books
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Robbins (1918-1998) was the choreographic genius behind the 1957 Broadway hit West Side Story and other musical classics, in addition to such great ballets as Fancy Free and Dances at a Gathering. Vaill (Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story) was given unprecedented access to Robbins's personal papers after his death, and the result is a critically sophisticated biography that's as compulsively readable as a novel. As she traverses Robbins's growth as an artist, his ambivalence about his Jewish heritage, his bisexuality and his relationships with other artists from Balanchine, to Bernstein to Baryshnikov, she writes with both passion and compassion. More than Deborah Jowitt in her recent Robbins bio, Vaill delves into Robbins's personal life, quoting frequently from his diary and letters. But the result isn't salacious; rather, it allows a more vibrant and vital rendering of the man. Known for being very harsh on dancers, Robbins was called everything from "genius and difficult to tyrant and sadist," says Vaill, "yet the work... was marked by an ineffable sweetness and tenderness." In her balanced, sensitive portrait of an American theatrical genius, Vaill captures these contradictions elegantly. The book is essential reading for lovers of theater and dance. Click the book cover to read more.
For Those I Loved
by Martin Gray
November 2006. Hampton Roads
Far surpassing any thriller novel, this is the amazing, true story of a man who epitomizes the indomitable human spirit. When fourteen-year-old Martin Gray finds himself and his family looting their own Warsaw factory, scrambling out of the ruins carrying sackfuls of gloves after its bombing by the Germans, his talent for quietly observing what is going on around him becomes his secret weapon. He watches, brick by brick, as his beloved neighborhood is sealed off from the rest of Warsaw, imprisoning everyone inside. He watches who wears blue; who wears white armbands, the Star of David; yellow armbands. He studies the streetcars passing through the ghetto gates to the outside. He creates a smuggling operation, hopping on and off streetcars, hiding his armband in his shirt, knowing who to bribe, creating false papers, speaking German or Polish, flirting with death, in and out, in and out, everyday. All for those he loves. This story follows Martin as he is captured with his family and taken by train to the Treblinka Concentration camp, and details his escape and heroic efforts to build a new life. This remarkable man is alive today, and his riveting story speaks to the enduring triumph of the human spirit. For Those I Loved was first published by Little, Brown & Co. in 1972, and was a New York Times bestseller as well as a bestseller in 20 languages. Including two other books in English and nine others in French, Martin Gray's books have been read by an estimated 30 million people worldwide. He was awarded the United Nations "Dag Hammarskjöld" award.
. Click the book cover to read more.
Getting Our Groove Back
How to Energize American Jewry
by Scott Shay
November 2006. Devorah Publishing
Should you have your bar/bat mitzvah at 13, and then wipe your hands of Jewish commitment? Shay recommends that we have a new rite in which we reaffirm our commitment every 18 years. Also, every Jewish organization should reevaluate itself every ten years and determine whether they are serving a purpose and whether they should close shop or merge. In this provocative book, Scott Shay takes on the major obstacles facing American Jewry today. He examines the current state and future prospects of American Jewry and finds a Jewish community that is dangerously adrift and on an overall downward trajectory, due to a community-wide lack of shared purpose, focus, and mutual concern. To counter this downward spiral, the author presents a platform of ten practical and achievable mini-manifestos that can reinvigorate American Jewry as a whole. Casting away conventional wisdom and political correctness, this book carefully brings to bear extensive research as it deals with the most controversial and essential issues facing American Jews. Click the book cover to read more.
Thus Saith the Lord
The Revolutionary Moral Vision of Isaiah and Jeremiah
by Richard E. Rubenstein, George Mason University
November 2006. Harcourt
Isaiah and Jeremiah were not fundamentalists. They were sophisticated innoative thinkers who seized upon the ideas emanating from imperial centers, they criticized both sides, and charted a new ethical course for their people. They focused on a Third Way, a path that did not force them into the new world order and lose their identity, a path that did not force them into violent resistance that would lead to massacres. Isaiah was a prophet active in Jerusalem in the eighth century BCE, during the reigns of four kings of Judah. Jeremiah (born circa 645 BCE) was a prophet during and following the last years of the kingdom of Judah. Rubenstein proposes that his ambition here is "to tell the stories of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and their contemporaries by situating them in their own time and place, and to discover on that basis what they might have to say to us more than 2,500 years later
From Publishers Weekly: The history of the ancient nation of Israel is marked by conflict and compromise, rebellion and repentance. Often at war with surrounding nations as well as with the God who brought Israel into existence, the people needed strong, authoritative voices calling them back to lives of holiness. In this clear and eminently readable account, Rubenstein studies two of those prophetic voices and demonstrates their unique place in history. Describing them as "influential political advisers as well as recipients of divine messages about history's inner meaning and direction," the author puts flesh on the stories of Isaiah and Jeremiah, who emerge as remarkable messengers of God. Rubenstein depicts their faults as well as their assets: Isaiah, bold and decisive, and Jeremiah, sometimes petulant but deeply committed and finally hopeful in the ultimate triumph of God's providence and plan for the chosen nation. ...., this is beautifully written, offering the general reader as well as the scholar a compelling account of a turbulent time in Israel's history. Click the book cover to read more.
A novel By FRED SNYDER
November 2006. GEFEN BOOKS
Animates the controversy over Jewish continuity. Novelist Fred Snyder weaves the divinations of ancient prophet Ezekiel into a suspenseful story of family conflicts, international unrest, and deliverance in Ezekiel's Vision.
Robert Zadok is a young American college graduate determined to make aliyah despite pressures from his family to assimilate. The grandson of a scholar of the prophet Ezekiel, Zadok identifies with his ancestors' Zionist principles, and believes he will always be conflicted between those ideals and his connections to his parents. His dream of contributing to Israel's rebirth is so strong that he defies his family's wishes, and sacrifices both his lover and his material comforts to emigrate. Once there, he discovers a city where his grandfather's teachings are still followed, and he begins to study a forgotten manuscript that unlocks the mysteries of Ezekiel's often misunderstood prophecy. Zadok learns the secrets passed down through generations of mystics, but does not yet realize how powerful this knowledge would come to be. Click the book cover to read more.
DECEMBER 2006 BOOKS
The Jews and the Passion from the Bible to the Big Screen
by Jeremy Cohen, Tel Aviv University
December 2006, Oxford.
STORIES CAN SHAPE BEHAVIOR MORE THAN FACTS, STORIES CAN TRASCEND FACTUAL QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE NARRATIVE HAPPENED
Professor Cohen (Spiegel Family Chair for European Jewish History at TAU) writes that Christians believe that Christ's death redeems and forgives. Yet the same blood shed on the cross was used to stain Jews with lasting, incomparable guilt. The gospel narratives of the Passion cast the Jews as responsible, directly and indirectly, for the death of the Son of God. The stigma of "Christ killer"-the notion that all Jews, at all times and in all places, share in the collective responsibility for the Crucifixion-has plagued Jews ever since and is the source of much Christian anti-Semitism.
Jeremy Cohen traces the Christ-killer myth from ancient times to the present day, touching on the Gospels and their roots in Hebrew Scripture, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, and much in between. The greatest of the church fathers, the Crusades, the notorious blood libels of the Middle Ages, the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Christian mysticism, art, and popular piety, Passion plays, and modern film all have a place in this well-documented, richly illustrated volume. Cohen seeks neither to explain Jesus' death nor to pass judgment on anyone for it, but rather to understand how the identification of Jews as Christ killers has functioned as an edifying "myth" for the Christian community. His insightful analysis reveals the deep spiritual truth believers find in this aspect of the Passion story while simultaneously uncovering the remarkably far-reaching impact it has exercised on the Western world.
Cohen combines religious, historical, and political perspectives to understand how the Christ-killer myth has become a dominant factor in the way Christians and Jews perceive each other. While a great deal has been written about Christian anti-Semitism, its roots, and its horrific consequences, this is the first volume to provide an in-depth examination of the powerful story that has fueled the fires behind the hatred. Click the book cover to read more.
What Paul Meant
By Garry Wills
November 2006, Viking.
This is not a Jewish book, but may be of interest. Garry Wills tells readers that Paul has been maligned incorrectly. Scholars say that Paul was anti-Jewish, homophobic, hated women, and a convert to Christianity. Wills writes that this is all wrong. Writings against women are falsely attributed to Paul. His writing actually supported female congregational leaders. Wills states that had Paul, a Jew, known that his writings would become a New Testament, and take people away from Jewish practice, he would have objected. Paul was a Jew who wanted other Jews to accept non-Jews into the faith, and to accept Jesus as the messiah that the prophets predicted.
Wills attempts to acquit Paul of the charges of anti-Semitism. And though Paul is often tarred as a misogynist, Wills shows that he "believed in women's basic equality with men." (Since Wills focuses only on the seven letters that most scholars agree were written by Paul himself, the egalitarian Paul becomes credible; some of the most overtly sexist passages come from letters written later and ascribed to Paul.)
Click the book cover to read more.
Eretz Yisrael In The Parashah
by Moshe D. Lichtman
December 2006, Devorah Press
If the Land of Israel plays such an important role in Judaism, why do so many Jews still choose to live in the Diaspora?
To answer this question, and help the reader find his own answers, the author analyzes every reference to Eretz Yisrael in the 54 Torah portions read on Shabbat and the Jewish Holidays. Culling from the vast storehouse of Rabbinic literature, he shows us that living in the Holy Land is more than a dry, halachic question. It is a fulfillment of the deep yearnings of millennia of Jews - to come to the Land in order to perform all of God's commandments, especially those that depend on the Land. This is the true meaning of Zionism: loving and yearning for Zion - an ideal that all of our sages, throughout the generations, espoused. Rabbi Lichtman, a YU graduate, demonstrates the overriding importance of Eretz Yisrael to our religion and unabashedly encourages Diaspora Jews to at least consider making God's Chosen Land their permanent dwelling place. Blurbs from Rabbi Hershel Schachter Rosh Yeshiva,Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Rabbi Yaacov Marcus, Founder, Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim. Click the book cover to read more.
Time out... are you telling me that the Jews are responsible for Hanibal Lecter the Cannibal? Well... it seems as if his mentor growing up was Jewish, until the Nazi's murdered him... and...
by Thomas Harris
December 2006, Delacorte Press
From Publishers Weekly: Twenty-five years after Hannibal Lecter, a cross between Professor Moriarty and Jack the Ripper, first invaded the imaginations of countless readers worldwide in Red Dragon, bestseller Harris has crafted an unmemorable prequel that's intended to explain the origins of Lecter's evil. Fans of Harris's previous Lecter novel, Hannibal (1999), already know the major trauma that transformed the young Lecter's murder of his beloved younger sister, Mischa, during WWII&mdashwhich the author describes in more grisly detail. Lecter also has an unusual love interest, his uncle's Japanese wife, Lady Murasaki, but the bulk of the narrative focuses on Lecter's quest for revenge on those he holds responsible for Mischa's death. Unfortunately, the prose and plotting lack the suspenseful power of Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs, and will leave many feeling that with such a masterful monster as Lecter, less is more.
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Building Wealth in Israel
by Douglas Goldstein, CFP
Fall 2006, Devorah Press
THERE WAS AN OLD JOKE: HOW DO YOU GO TO ISRAEL, START A BUSINESS AND COME HOIME WITH $5 MILLION?? GO TO ISRAEL WITH $30 MILLION..
Financial columnist for The Jerusalem Post, Doug Goldstein, asks: HOW COME SOME PEOPLE "MAKE IT" FINANCIALLY AND OTHERS DON'T? The author presents a solid overview of practical strategies for achieving financial success in the Israeli market. Writing in an easy-to-understand manner, Goldstein teaches his readers how to get their financial houses in order and how to create, step-by-step, long-term plans for their wealth. Special Guest chapter on Taxation by Leon Harris, CPA, International Tax Partner, Ernst&Young, Israel. Click the book cover to read more.
A LIFE AT THE HEART OF HITLER'S BAYREUTH
By Brigitte Hamann
December 2006, Harcourt
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Viennese historian Hamann's important biography tells the complex story of Winifred Wagner (1897-1980), Richard Wagner's daughter-in-law, who headed the Bayreuth opera festival during Hitler's rule. An impressionable 18-year-old, British-born Winifred Williams married Wagner's middle-aged only son, Siegfried, in 1915, bearing him the heirs the Wagners so desperately wanted. When in 1923 Hitler solicited the Wagners for political support, an infatuated Winifred joined the Nazi Party, becoming Hitler's loyal devotee. Widowed in 1930, Winifred assumed directorship of Bayreuth amid rumors of future betrothal to Hitler, who, as Reich chancellor, put the festival center stage in his political campaigns. As increasing numbers of Jewish artists were exiled, Winifred bargained to gain exemptions for her friends and was gradually frozen out by Hitler. Without claiming heroic status for Winifred or denying her anti-Semitism, Hamann (Hitler's Vienna) meticulously places Winifred's aid in the context of the nationalist, anti-Semitic Wagners and their circle. Hamann describes the public denunciation of Winifred by her American émigré daughter, Friedelind; Winifred's equally problematic relationships with her other children; and her postwar openness about her affection for Hitler. This is a fascinating portrait not only of Winifred but of the Wagners and their milieu. Click the book cover to read more.
JEWISH IRELAND IN THE AGE OF JOYCE
A SOCIOECONoMIC HISTORY
BY CORMAC O GRADA, Professor, University College Dublin
December 2006. Princeton
Leopold Bloom was the son of an intermarriage in James Joyce's Ulysses. But in reality, Dublin's Jewish community had very very little intermarriage.. This book is the real story of Jews in Ireland from the 1870-1940's. Bu the start of WWI, Dublin's 2000 Jews made a large impact on the city and country. A story of acculturation and resilience. Click the book cover to read more.
Nice Jewish Felon
by Michael Eliot Mehler
December 2006. iUniverse
As the black sheep of a prominent family, author Michael Eliot Mehler endures a twisted, dysfunctional childhood. At the age of eleven he is molested, causing him to have thoughts of suicide. His overbearing mother's insistence on therapy leads him to a lifetime of analysis and does little to curb his tendency toward self-destruction. When he becomes an adult, Mehler embarks on a career of crime. His glitzy, gutsy world includes a tumultuous relationship with an exotic dancer, his friendship with the former alleged mob boss of the Bonanno/Massino crime family, and his federal court case involving his job, incarceration, and probation. Through it all, Mehler's drug of choice is to abuse the people for whom he cares the most. As Mehler's personality disorder becomes more apparent and threatening, the love of Mehler's dog, Madison, forces him to examine his life. Nice Jewish Felon tells Mehler's compelling story with brutal honesty and gripping emotion. Click the book cover to read more.
A Taxonomy of Barnacles
by Galt Niederhoffer
From Booklist -- *Starred Review* Charles Darwin studied barnacles before he used the Galapagos finch to illustrate his theory of evolution, a fact first-time novelist Niederhoffer parlays into a delightfully clever and romantic screwball comedy. Her Barnacles are an eccentric and well-off Manhattan family ensconced in an enormous apartment facing Central Park and bursting with natural--history collections. It's a hectic household, what with Barry, the droll and manipulative patriarch; his loopy ex-wife, Bella, who lives upstairs with Latrell, her adopted African American son; Bunny, Barry's current wife; and six headstrong daughters, all with names beginning with B. The Finches live next door, and romantic confusion ensues between the at-loose-ends twentysomething identical Finch twins, Billy and Blaine, and the two oldest Barnacle sisters, Bridget and Bell, who are similarly adrift, antics that elicit much ire from the quirky younger Barnacles. Then, as if life in his daffy kingdom wasn't contentious enough, Barry initiates a contest that throws his competitive if dysfunctional daughters into a frenzy. A filmmaker before she became a novelist, Niederhoffer pays sparkling homage to fairy tales, King Lear, Austen, and Nora Ephron in this charming and sly spoofing of the concept of the survival of the fittest, and the nature-versus-nurture debate. Click the book cover to read more.
A Separate Reality
by Robert Marshall
2006. Carroll & Graf
From Publishers Weekly: In present-day Manhattan, a casual reference by his younger boyfriend to the ongoing popularity of Carlos Castaneda sends Mark Grosfeld into a reverie of growing up in Watergate-era Phoenix, Ariz. At 11 Mark is cannon fodder for schoolyard bullies. Mark's attempts to befriend Bruce Waterson, a fellow misfit, fall awry when Bruce's rudeness and crudity go over the top. But Mark secretly sees a psychiatrist; gets "a little extra help with some outdoor stuff," from his father's business associate; and escapes from his crisis of masculinity by studying poetry (and Castaneda) under the tutelage of a kindly teacher. He also suffers the loss of his grandmother. His grandparents, "Nanna" and "Posha" Grosfeld, Connecticut-based beacons of liberal Jewish antiwar politics, were part of FDR's brain trust, and Mark's father attempts to carry that legacy to conservative Phoenix, running for Congress in a vain attempt to impress Posha. The novel plods, but Marshall has a fine ear for schoolyard obscenity and an encyclopedic grasp of pop songs from 1974. Click the book cover to read more.
The Thrill of the Chaste:
Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On
A novel by by Dawn Eden
December 2006. W
Finally, a book for single women who, unsatisfied with living a worldly lifestyle, want to give their lives a new and godly direction. Author Dawn Eden, a Jewish-born rock journalist turned salty Christian blog queen, gives these readers the positive and uplifting message that they've been wanting to hear-that spiritual healing and a renewed outlook await them. Using her own experiences in the New York City singles jungle, she shows women how they too can go from insecurity to purity, and from forlorn to reborn. She tells women who have been around the block how to find their way home. Among inspirational books for single women, The Thrill of the Chaste is a pair of hip Ray-Bans in a field of rose-colored glasses. This isn't a book for dainty damsels in lacy white dresses patiently awaiting their handsome prince. This is for real women who need strong, motivational, and deeply moral messages to counter the ones they receive from a superficial, sex-obsessed world. Click the book cover to read more.
Family Survival, Resistance, and Mobility under Occupation
Edited by Lisa Taraki, Birzeit University
December 2006. Syracuse
Who said that social research does not get politicized and influenced or conformed by one's university...
This book wxamines processes of social reproduction, survival, and social mobility amid Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. This takes a deliberate look at how entire households, families, and individuals "cope," negotiate their lives, and achieve personal and collective goals in "Occupied Palestine." Contributors raise critical questions about tradition vs. modernity and the sociocultural consequences of emigration. Living Palestine establishes that household dynamics (i.e., kin-based marriage, fertility decisions, children's education, and living arrangements) cannot be fully grasped unless linked to the traumas of the past and worries of the present. Likewise, family strategies for survival and social mobility under occupation are swept up in the tide of history that engulfs the world in which Palestinians live and struggle as individuals, households, and as a society. Living Palestine is drawn from an expansive 1999 research project of the Institute for Women's Studies at Birzeit University in which two thousand households in nineteen communities were surveyed with an aim to examining the Palestinian household from multiple perspectives. Chapters include: "Modernity Aborted and Reborn: Ways of Being Urban in Palestine," Lisa Taraki and Rita Giacamen ; "Living Together in a Nation in Fragments: Dynamics of Kin, Place, and Nation," Penny Johnson; "Six Families: Survival and Mobility in Times of Crisis," Lamis Abu Nahleh; "Emigration, Conservatism, and Class Formation in West Bank and Gaza Strip Communities," Jamil Hilal; and "The Paradox of Women's Work: Coping, Crisis and Family Survival," Eileen Kuttab. Click the book cover to read more.
Of related interest is:
Resistance, Repression, and Gender Politics in Occupied Palestine and Jordan
By Frances Hasso, Oberlin
This book focuses on the central party apparatus of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Democratic Front (DF) branches established in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Jordan in the 1970s, and the most influential and innovative of the DF women's organizations: the Palestinian Federation of Women's Action Committees in the occupied territories. Until now, no study of a Palestinian political organization has so thoroughly engaged with internal gender histories. In addition, no other work attempts to systematically compare branches in different regional locations to explain those differences. Students of gender and Middle East studies, especially those with a specialty in Palestinian studies, will find this work to be of critical importance. This book will also be of great interest to those working on political protest movements and factional ties. Click the book cover to read more.
Of related interest is:
Global Liberalism, Local Populism
Peace and Conflict in Israel/Palestine and Northern Ireland
By Guy Ben-Porat, Ben Gurion University
In recent years the conflicts in Israel/ Palestine and Northern Ireland continue to oscillate between momentum for peaceful resolution and regression into new cycles of violence or political deadlock. To understand these shifts Guy Ben-Porat provides an in-depth analysis of the global environment and the profound effect it has on local conflicts. Because globalization affects localized social structures, institutions, and political divisions as well as international relationships between states and societies, it offers a unique perspective from which to examine the commonalities and differences between two regions laden with conflict. Ben-Porat reveals how the complex and often contradictory characteristics of globalization both constrain and promote the peace processes in Israel/ Palestine and Northern Ireland. Drawing on scholarship in the field of globalization and on archival research, including interviews with leading businessmen involved in the peace process, Ben-Porat believes that a critical interrogation of the interface between economic interests and policy makers is central to an understanding of the complex relationship between globalization and peace. In clear and convincing arguments, this book presents an important and innovative approach to two of the world's most intractable conflicts. Click the book cover to read more.
Of related interest is:
The Holy Land in Transit
Colonialism and the Quest for Canaan
By Steven Salaita, Virginia Tech
December 2006. Syracuse
Steven Salaita's work compares the dynamics of settler colonialism in the United States related to Native Americans with the circumstances in Israel related to the Palestinians, revealing the way in which politics influences literary production. The author's original approach is based not on similarities between the two disparate settler regions but rather on similarities between the rhetoric employed by early colonialists in North America and that employed by Zionist immigrants in Palestine. Meticulously examining histories, theories, and literary depictions of colonialism and interethnic dialects, Salaita identifies the commonalities in the myths employed by both groups as well as the "counter-discourse" cultivated in the literature of resistance by native peoples. He complements his analysis with personal observations of Palestinians in Lebanese refuge camps, where he encountered a sympathetic perception of American Indians. The Holy Land in Transit presents one of the first intercommunal studies to assess the ways in which indigenous authors react to analogous colonial dynamics. With great energy and perception the author offers a fresh contribution to an emerging frame of reference for historical, political, literary, and cultural investigation. Click the book cover to read more.
Of related interest is:
The Open Veins Of Jerusalem
Edited by Munir Akash and Fouad Moughrabi
The first comprehensive attempt to remedy the immense injury inflicted by mainstream ideology and triumphant mythomania on the historical and present realities of Jerusalem. Click the book cover to read more.
I SMELL A BLOCKBUSTER:
A MURDER IN LEMBERG
THE ASSASSINATION OF THE REFORM RABBI ABRAHAM KOHN
BY MICHAEL STANLISLAWSKI (Columbia)
December 2006, Princeton University Press
In 1848 in Lemberg (Galicia), a Reform Rabbi was murdered by an Orthodox Jew. Was it for reasons of religion? Financial issues? Was it political? Professor Atanislawski, an Associate Professor of Jewish History and Human Rights scholar explores what was the first political assassination in modern Jewish history.
From Publishers Weekly: Murder, intrigue, media spotlight, community in-fighting, police coverup, judicial malfeasance. O.J. Simpson? Jon-Benet Ramsey? No, it's the poisoning of Rabbi Abraham Kohn and his family by a fellow Jew, Abraham Ber Pilpel, in 1848, in the Ukrainian city of Lemberg (now Lviv). Stanislawski, professor of Jewish history at Columbia, uncovers a forgotten story as his fascinating book details the events surrounding the murder of the reformist (but not Reform) Rabbi Kohn and his four-year-old daughter (four other family members survived) after Pilpel sneaked into their kitchen and poured arsenic in the family's soup. While the twists and turns of the case make a compelling narrative, Stanislawski has a far more important story to tell. The assassination of Kohn was the result of roiling religious and political tensions between Lemberg's Orthodox community, which remained loyal to the Hapsburg empire, and Rabbi Kohn, allied with those demanding independence as revolution spread across Europe in 1848. While there is too much on Lemberg Jews' communal affairs for most readers, Stanislawski tells his story with a sharp eye for detail and plot, with the historical context and analysis that students of Jewish history will appreciate. Click the book cover to read more.
From one of America's top Hin-Jews.. I mean Jew-Bu's:
Words of Wisdom
By Lama Surya Das
December 2006, Koa Books
Surya Das was born "Jeffrey Allen Miller" to a Jewish family on Long Island. He is one of America's most popular non-Asian Buddhist spokespeople. He is a lama in the Dzogchen lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He firmly believes that adopting beliefs and practices from disparate sources can strengthen rather than dilute one's faith and spirituality. "So many of us grew up in families, towns, and neighborhoods that can be described as 'mix and match' that a spirituality that combines elements of several traditions makes sense," he writes. In this book, the author of Awakening the Buddha Within, and Schlepping Towards Enlightenment, has collected his wise sayings. You know... sayings like "Wisdom is as Wisdom Does." What a nugget! Tsk tsk... we are an evil bunch here. Is anyone reading this? Click the book cover to read more.
Yes.. Krav Maga.. Israel's answer to Tang Soo Du, Moo Du Kwan... :
COMPLETE KRAV MAGA
The Ultimate Guide to Over 200 Self-Defense and Combative Techniques
By Darren Levine and John Whitman
December 2006, Ulysses Press
Illustrates over 200 moves with hundreds of step by step photos. Darren is a 6th degree Black Belt and North America's chief instructor of Krav Maga. Plus he is good to his parents. Such nachas. Why? Cuz he is also a Deputy D.A. in Los Angeles. John is a 4th degree black belt. Not too shabby. All the moves, from yellow belt to black belt are described. Anyone, big or small, male or female, weak or strong, Reform or Orthodox, can practice self defense with Krav Maga techniques in order to protect, to exploit an assailant's weak vulnerabilities, and to turn an attcker's force against himself or herself. Click on the book cover to read more.
I Love Female Orgasm
From "Right There" to "Oh, Yeah!"
and Everything in Between
by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller
December 2006, marlowe and company
From the stars of college campuses across the USA, these two coupled Brown University grads (95/96) have compiled this book that offers young women (and men) today - validation of their sexuality and accessible, witty, culturally informed sex education. Sex-educators Solot and Miller bring together a wide range of informative and instructive material, including first orgasm stories (the authors note that they've "quite possibly heard and collected more young women's female orgasm stories than anyone in the country"); advice for women looking to have their first orgasm and for helping a woman have an orgasm; discussions about orgasm during intercourse and about young women and masturbation; and all you ever wanted to know about vibrators, piercings, female ejaculation, lesbian and bi orgasm, and female orgasm from anal sex - all this and more in a tone that's at once friendly and feminist, funny and not at all sleazy. Beyond all of this, I "Love" Female Orgasm is validating - providing readers with experiences and information that are in tune with their own lives.. Click on the book cover to read more.
The Way of Splendor
Updated 25th Anniversary Edition
Jewish Mysticism and Modern Psychology
By Edward Hoffman
December 2006. Rowman and Littlefield
How Kabbalah influenced the growth of Western psychological thought. Click the book cover to read more.
The Great Kisser
by David Evanier
December 2006. Rager media
From Publishers Weekly: Author of several novels (including Red Love), biographies (Roman Candle: The Life of Bobby Darin) and the story collection The One-Star Jew, Evanier exhibits mastery in this new collection of eight stories. They unfurl as the ongoing spiel of New York writer Michael Goldberg, tortured by feelings of inadequacy in love, family and work. In the opening "The Tapes," middle-aged Michael, an editor at Jewish Punchers, unblocks the story of his life after his highly unorthodox psychiatrist dies, leaving him a trove of their taped sessions. Michael scrolls back 25-plus years through his marriage to the chronically self-effacing, alcohol-sodden Karen, whom he met as a young mother (and whose older first husband killed himself after her affair with Michael). In subsequent stories, such as "Scraps," a younger Michael casts about for a sympathetic surrogate family, such as the parents of his high school love Rachel, whose eventual rejection sets the tone for his future relations with women. Later in life, Michael attends his ailing parents ("borderline lunatics") and, in the title story, learns that his jealous mother kept a doting diary of his childhood. Evanier's stories boil with a satisfying sense of rage, stoked by sharp observation. Click the book cover to read more.
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION FOR CHRISTIANS
by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Rabbi Daniel Judson
December 2006. Jewish Lights
From Publishers Weekly: In this sequel to Jewish Rituals, rabbis Olitzky and Judson aim for a very specific audience: Christians who want to learn more about Judaism. The authors lay out the basics of each major holiday, explaining why Jews blow a shofar (ram's horn) on Rosh Hashanah, fast on Yom Kippur, refrain from eating leaven during Passover and commemorate the agricultural calendar during Sukkot. The authors also point out parallels between Christian and Jewish observances, discussions that help distinguish this book from introductory guides to Jewish holidays written for a broader readership. They note, for example, that the carnival atmosphere of Purim is similar to Shrove Tuesday, and they point out the relationship between Pentecost and Shavuot. In the chapter on Passover, Olitzky and Judson thoughtfully and delicately address why "historically Christian-Jewish tensions were exacerbated around Passover and Easter, making this a time of heightened danger for Jews." Curiously, they overlook some obvious parallels (for example, they don't connect Simchat Torah with the first day of Advent, when liturgical Christians start a new year's lectionary readings). All in all, the book could be a little longer and more fully fleshed out. Still, it is a helpful guide, and will be especially useful for interfaith families. Click the book cover to read more.
NOW IN CD OR IN BOOK FORM: FESTIVUS
SILENT NO MORE
Saving the Jews of Russia
The American Jewish Effort, 1967-1989
By Henry L. Feingold, Baruch College
December 2006. Syracuse
Leading scholar and author of the celebrated five-volume series, The Jewish People in America, Henry L. Feingold offers a fresh and inspiring look at the Russian/Soviet Jewish emigration phenomenon. Haunted by its sense of failure during the Holocaust, the Soviet Jewry movement set for itself an almost unrealizable goal of finding sanctuary for Jews from a hostile Soviet government. Working together with activists in Israel and Europe, and with a remarkable group of refuseniks that had been denied the right to emigrate, this courageous group mounted a relentless campaign lasting almost three decades. Although Feingold credits Israel with initiating the struggle for Soviet Jewry and fostering it within American Jewry, he maintains that it was the actions of a secure and confident American Jewry that finally delivered the Jews from the Soviet Union. Feingold's mastery of detail and broadness of scope provide a prodigious and sweeping account of the American Jewish movement. He finds early roots of the effort in the American Jewish involvement with Jewish emigration in late Tsarist Russia. He highlights both the human dimension of the exodus and the complex international ramifications of the movement, especially in the Middle East. "Silent No More" concludes by pondering the role of the movement's effective public relations campaign, which focused on the human right of freedom of movement in hastening the collapse of the Soviet empire. Feingold's rigorous scholarship sheds light on an important, yet rarely told episode in history, one that will enliven further examination of the subject. This book will be of interest to scholars of American Jewish history, the cold war, Israeli studies, and American ethnic and immigration history. Click the book cover to read more.
In the Footsteps of the Prophet
Lessons from the Life of Muhammad
by Tariq Ramadan, Oxford
December 31, 2006. Oxford
Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most important innovators of the century, Tariq Ramadan is a leading Muslim scholar, with a large following especially among young European and American Muslims. Now, in his first book written for a wide audience, he offers a marvelous biography of the Prophet Muhammad, one that highlights the spiritual and ethical teachings of one of the most influential figures in human history. Here is a fresh and perceptive look at Muhammad, capturing a life that was often eventful, gripping, and highly charged. Ramadan provides both an intimate portrait of a man who was shy, kind, but determined, as well as a dramatic chronicle of a leader who launched a great religion and inspired a vast empire. More important, Ramadan presents the main events of the Prophet's life in a way that highlights his spiritual and ethical teachings. The book underscores the significance of the Prophet's example for some of today's most controversial issues, such as the treatment of the poor, the role of women, Islamic criminal punishments, war, racism, and relations with other religions. Selecting those facts and stories from which we can draw a profound and vivid spiritual picture, the author asks how can the Prophet's life remain--or become again--an example, a model, and an inspiration? And how can Muslims move from formalism--a fixation on ritual--toward a committed spiritual and social presence? In this thoughtful and engaging biography, Ramadan offers Muslims a new understanding of Muhammad's life and he introduces non-Muslims not just to the story of the Prophet, but to the spiritual and ethical riches of Islam. Click the book cover to read more.
JANUARY 2007 BOOKS
THE MISUNDERSTOOD JEW
THE CHURCH AND THE SCANDAL OF THE JEWISH JESUS
BY AMY-JILL LEVINE, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt)
January 2007, Harper San Francisco.
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. It is a simple truth that Jews and Christians should be close friends, since they share common roots and a basic ethical system. But the gulf between the groups seems vast. Levine, professor of New Testament studies at Vanderbilt, presents a strong and convincing case for understanding Jesus as "a Jew speaking to Jews," and for viewing Christianity as a Jewish movement that ultimately swept the world in its influence and authority. But with this expansion came an insidious anti-Jewish sentiment, fed by some New Testament texts (wrongly understood, the author urges) and the emerging political power of the Christian church. Levine does a masterful job of describing the subtleties of anti-Semitism, across the years and across the religious spectrum, from the conservative evangelical mission to convert the Jews to the liberation theologians who picture Jews as adherents to an older, less merciful religion. In the end, Levine offers a prescription for healing and mutual understanding; a chapter titled "Quo Vadis?" outlines steps that can be taken by Jews and Christians alike to bridge the divide that has caused so much suffering over the centuries. Written for the general public, this is an outstanding addition to the literature of interfaith dialogue. Click the book cover to read more.
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWISH MYTH, MAGIC & MYSTICISM
By Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis
January 2007, Llewellyn.
A one volume reference guide. Click the book cover to read more.
Speaking of myth and magic... (just kidding... )
The Secret History of the Mossad
Updated for 2007 - Paperback
by Gordon Thomas
January 2007, St. Martin's Griffin.
From Publishers Weekly: Among the world's most respected and feared intelligence services, the Israeli Mossad encompasses shadowy networks of katsas (case officers) often operating undercover, from Washington to Tehran to Beijing. The third update of this well-received book adds expanded sections on postinvasion Iraq, the black market in nuclear material, and other topics, tying up several loose ends from the earlier editions. Large portions remain unchanged, however, giving the book an uneven quality, as some chapters were written in 1994, some in 1999, some in 2004 and some last summer. Thomas's engrossing stories about assassinations, target surveillance and other skullduggery keep the pages turning, but the serious student of the Middle East may be put off by some purple prose, for example, about Saddam in incarceration: "His shaggy salt-and-pepper beard is trimmed once a week, enhancing his sharp, penetrating eyes.... But he will have an opportunity to state his case-more than he had ever allowed those he murdered." Skeptics will wonder what ulterior motives inspired Thomas's many tight-lipped sources to open up to him and will question their information, particularly regarding the more incredible conspiracy theories he writes about. Overall, however, Thomas provides a rare and valuable glimpse at the inner workings of a very secretive organization. Click the book cover to read more.
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