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October 15, 2001: Nomi Eve reads The Family Orchard, B&N E 86th St, NYC
October 17, 2001: Jon. Kirsch reads The Woman Who Laughed at God, Santa Monica.
October 18, 2001: Nomi Eve reads The Family Orchard, B&N 1805 Walnut, Phila.
October 18, 2001: Marvin Kalb reads One Scandalous Story, B&N E54th, NYC
October 24, 2001: Marvin Kalb reads One Scandalous Story, B&N Bethesda

October 22, 2001: Washington DC, JCC 800-494-8497. Selected Shorts. Readings by Barbara Barrie, Jack Davidson and Isaiah Sheffer

October 23, 2001: David Kertzer reads from The Popes Against The Jews. Washington DC JCC. 6:30 PM
October 23, 2001: Leonard Rogoff reads from Homelands: Southern Jewish Identity in Durham and Chapel Hill NC. Washington DC JCC. 8:30 PM
October 24, 2001: David Rakoff reads from FRAUD. Washington DC JCC. 6:30 PM
October 24, 2001: Michael Alexander shows and discusses The Jazz Singer. Washington DC JCC. 7:30 PM
October 25, 2001: Lily Brett and Marc Fisher read from Too Many Men and discuss the Holocaust and Fiction. Washington DC JCC. 6:30 PM
October 25, 2001: Amy Wilentz reads from Martyr's Crossing. Washington DC JCC. 8:15 PM
October 26, 2001: Miriam Weinstein reads from YIDDISH: A NATION OF WORLDS. Washington DC JCC. 11 AM
October 27, 2001: Larry Tye reads from HOMELANDS. Portraits of the New Jewish Diaspora, in the Literary Café with Nefrit El-Or. Washington DC JCC. 8 PM
October 28, 2001: Sheila Jelen lectures on Yehuda Amichai. Washington DC JCC. 2 PM
October 28, 2001: Steven Rosenthal reads from Irreconcilable Differences. The Waning of the American Jewish Love Affair With Israel. Washington DC JCC. 4 PM
October 28, 2001: Eden Paris closes the DCJCC Literary Festival with a lecture on Truth, Lies and History. She is the author of The End of Day: Tolerance, Tyranny and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Washington DC JCC. 8:15 PM

Attention readers and K-mart shoppers: On October 21-23, 2001, Princeton University will host an International Conference Celebrating the Jewish-American Writer. Harold Shapiro will open the conference on Sunday October 21, along with Tony Kushner, Grace Paley, Marge Piercy, Robert Pinsky, Susan Sontag, and CK Williams. Wendy Wasserstein will delivery the opening lecture.
On Monday, October 22, speakers will include Robert Alter, Sidra Dekoven Ezrahi, Alvin Rosenfeld, Kathryn hellerstein, Hana Wirth-Nesher, Irena Klepfisz, Jeffrey Shandler, Max Apple, Rebecca Goldstein, Alan Isler, Alicia Ostriker, Jonathan Wilson, with a keynote by E.L. Doctorow on "Literature as Assimilation." Ben Katchor will delivery an illustrated lecture.
On Tuesday, October 23, speakers will include James Atlas, Daniel Mendelsohn, Morris Dickstein, Leslie Epstein, Melvin Jules Bukiet, Thane Rosenbaum, Will Eisner, Jules Feiffer, Art Spiegelman, James Young, and Michael Wood.
For more information, go to www.PRINCETON.EDU/~jwst/writers or call 609-258-0394.



Attention readers and K-mart shoppers: On October 21-23, 2001, Princeton University will host an International Conference Celebrating the Jewish-American Writer. Harold Shapiro will open the conference on Sunday October 21, along with Tony Kushner, Grace Paley, Marge Piercy, Robert Pinsky, Susan Sontag, and CK Williams. Wendy Wasserstein will delivery the opening lecture. Click here to see our page devoted to the authors at this international conference.
On Monday, October 22, speakers will include Robert Alter, Sidra Dekoven Ezrahi, Alvin Rosenfeld, Kathryn hellerstein, Hana Wirth-Nesher, Irena Klepfisz, Jeffrey Shandler, Max Apple, Rebecca Goldstein, Alan Isler, Alicia Ostriker, Jonathan Wilson, with a keynote by E.L. Doctorow on "Literature as Assimilation." Ben Katchor will delivery an illustrated lecture.
On Tuesday, October 23, speakers will include James Atlas, Daniel Mendelsohn, Morris Dickstein, Leslie Epstein, Melvin Jules Bukiet, Thane Rosenbaum, Will Eisner, Jules Feiffer, Art Spiegelman, James Young, and Michael Wood.
For more information, go to www.PRINCETON.EDU/~jwst/writers or call 609-258-0394.

The Story of Jewish Comedians in America

October 2, 2001. Public Affaris. 356 Pages
From vaudeville to the movies to television: The complete (and often hilarious) history of how Jewish comedians transformed American entertainment. Lawrence J. Epstein's The Haunted Smile tackles a subject both poignant and delightful: the story of Jewish comedians in America. For the past century and more, American comedy has drawn its strength and soul from the comic genius of Jewish performers and writers. Even an incomplete listing of names makes the point: the Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, Fanny Brice, George Burns, Milton Berle, Jackie Mason, Joan Rivers, Rodney Dangerfield, Mel Brooks, Mort Sahl, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Andy Kaufman, Richard Belzer, Jerry Seinfeld. These men and women, among others, form the canon of American Jewish comedy, and in The Haunted Smile Epstein offers us a deep and subtle understanding of how Jewish culture and American openness gave birth to a new style of entertainment. Epstein writes, "Jewish comedians in each generation were able to find in Jewish tradition, culture, and history a way to express the feelings of the wider American culture in which they lived. They drew on their heritage in ways they themselves didn't always understand. As they used that heritage to find ways to express truths about America, they transformed American culture, making Jews and Jewishness acceptable, even enviable." And what kind of book about comedy would be complete without a few laughs? Epstein frequently uses the comedians' own routines to illustrate his points, making this thoughtful work of history a great deal of fun to read.
In one chapter, Epstein distinguishes the Catskills comic stances of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen.

In a review in The Wall Street Journal, comedian Harry Shearer found the book fascinating, precise, and evocative, but also took issue with the book's "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" feeling of "Oh you know, she's a Jew," or "He's a Jew." As well as Epstein's failure to mention Shearer, as well as his discounting of the Burns and Allen show, and his failure to mention that Redd Foxx's albums predated those of Mort Sahl; that Woody Allen actually based his nebbish routines on those of Bob Hope; and that Jwes may rule prime time sitcoms, but have failed in late-night talk shows. Shearer writes that Professor Epstein is "advocating a particular kind of Jewish-American identity, emphasis on the front end of the hyphen, and the potential role of comedians in furthering that identity." Shearer continued, "For example, in a chapter titled "The Cost of Victory"..... [Epstein] urges: "Some of the stock jokes of Jewish comedians, though, will have to be carefully tempered for a new, positive identity to be forged. It is healthy for a people to laugh at itself, to see its own foibles, to be able to laugh at its own weaknesses. Some of the humor of Jewish comedians, though, crosses the line, not so much into self-hatred as a continuing sense of inferiority." It's remarkable how much this prissy prescriptiveness [by Epstein], this kibbitzing from the commune, sounds like African American activists lecturing Richard Pryor and his colleagues a quarter century ago."
Shearer adds: "Mr Epstein's eagerness to view comic material through the prism of ethnicity leads to some strange lapses of common sense. He digs Adam Sandler, who epitomizes for him the modern "dilemma" of how to balance Jewish and American identities.... But in writing about Mr Sandler's willingness to identify himself publicly as Jewish (as expressed in "The Hanukkah Song"), he puzzles over 'a great irony' [writing]: "Earlier generations had a much more intimate relationship with their Jewishness... Yet, with all that, they were... reluctant to express their identity in a public forum. This new generation, with far more tenuous Jewish connections, has been freed to express just such as identity." Yes, hmm, [writes Shearer] ironic indeed: The less "strange" you appear to the mainstream public, the less you need to hide. Ask America's Muslims or Sikhs. P.S. - Shearer (who is not mentioned in the book) adds that he was once offered a job on SNL, and the Canadian born Jewish producers said, "Up to now, I have stayed away from hiring male Jews, I've gone more for that Chicago Catholic thing."

WOW THAT WAS LONGWINDED... LET'S get back to the other October 2001 book...:


October 10, 2001, Steerforth Press. With its rich history, comic-stoic worldview, and unforgettable phrases, Yiddish has become part of the world's culture. In Yiddish: A Nation of Words, Miriam Weinstein takes the reader on a witty romp through a language and a lifestyle that has mostly vanished. Weinstein consulted everyone from language mavens to her own relatives to trace the crucial part Yiddish has played in keeping alive a culture often under siege. Through its daily use across the globe, it linked European Jews with their heroic past, their spiritual universe, and their increasingly far-flung relations. Impoverished and marginalized by much of the world, Yiddish speakers created their own alternate reality. Weinstein doggedly tracks that reality, from the early days when Yiddish was spoken only by women and the untutored, to the present, when chutzpah is part of everyone's vocabulary and Americans of all ethnic backgrounds shrug dramatically and say, What am I, chopped liver?

I was conflicted before I added the book below. If the publisher was not so well respected, I would have thrown this book in the trash. But since the publisher and author are respected, and the book will be highly controversial, discusses the annihilation of European Jewry, and will be published in over a dozen countries on October 10, 2001, I have added it. Please let me know if the addition of this book to the site irritates you. Thank you.


October 9, 2001, BASIC BOOKS. 448 Pages, 40 pages of footnotes.
Ian Kershaw (1998/2000) looked at Hitler from the vantage of the intentionalists and the functionalists. Joachim Fest (1973) focused on Hitler and the educated middle classes. Alex Bullock (1952) recreated Hitler's politics. Lothar Machtan in this book seeks to OUT Hitler and explain some of his actions from the perspective of his sexuality. Machtan states that Hitler's powerful gay friends aided his entry into power. The book documents Hitler's early years in Vienna (1906-1911), his service in the army and entry into politics (1912-1920), the taunts he received from others in the army, his inability to rise above the rank of Corporal, Hitler's relationship with Ernst Schmidt, and his friendships with Rudolph Hausler, August Kubizek, Reinhold Hanisch, Captain Ernst ROHM, Dietrich ECKART (a virulent anti-Semite and lover of art), Rudolf Hess, Putzi Hanfstaengl, Kurt Ludecke, Erich Ebermeyer, and Emil Maurice (Hitler's chauffeur and fiancé to Hitler's niece, who later killed herself) . The book theorizes why Hitler had Ernst ROHM assassinated, along with over 100 other men in 1934 (and probably including Reinhold Hanisch, who lived with Hitler from 1909-1911). Machtan is a filmmaker and an Associate Professor at Bremen University in Germany and has taught at Humboldt in Berlin. He is the author of "Bismarck's Death and Germany's Tears" (1998), and "Bismarck and the German National Myth" (1994) and two other books on Bismarck and the social reformer Theodor Lohman. Several years ago, he was working on a book on the collaboration between Hitler and Germany's higher nobility. He dug through the papers of the Sicherheitdienst (Germany's secret service) and the British secret service. These papers documented the pattern of homosexuality and homo-sociality of the people close to Hitler. This was a time, in the 1920's and 1930's when the word "gay" was not in existence; homosexuality was hidden and seen as morally corrupt and deviant. Professor Machtan came across the autobiographical papers (ROMA NAZISTA) of Eugen Dollman, one of the Third Reich's most influential representatives in Rome from 1938 to 1945, a confidant of Himmler and Hitler and Eva Braun, as well as a close friend of a Weimar Republic general who kept a secret file on Hitler's private life. In the memoir, Dollman OUTS Hitler. After this, Machtan, using biographies, meetings with Hans Med (a WWI colleague of Hitler) interviews, the files on Ernst Hanfstaengl (a friend of Hitler in the 1920s), private papers, and the lives of Hitler's close friends, began to research the topic of Hitler and his hidden homosexual tendencies, his hiding and camouflaging of his life in pre-war Vienna, and his outright murders of those who knew too much of his pre-war life and could expose and disgrace him.

It is not the author's goal to humanize Hitler or apologize in any way for his heinous evil crimes against humanity. It is not to reduce any guilt. The author declares that Hitler's sexuality is NOT the universal key to his career, but knowledge of his sexuality only aids in interpreting some of his actions, such as his power struggle with Ernst Rohm, the gay SA chief of staff, and Hitler's fanatical anti-Semitism in light of Philipp, Prinz zu Eulenburg, a homosexual friend of the German emperor who was attacked by a German Jewish journalist in the early 1900's. The author hypothesizes that when Magnus Hirschfeld (a Jewish sexologist) and Max Harden (a Jewish journalist) accused Eulenberg of "influence" over Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler traumatically turned to the writings of Theodore Fritsch, a virulent anti-Semite, who saw the criticisms of the Kaiser as an international Jewish conspiracy.

by Patricia Volk (Morgen's Restaurant)

October 2, 2001. Knopf. The sleeper success of this Fall. A meoir of growing up in a quirly family of foodies and restauranteurs. Patricia's great grandfather, Sussman Volk, brought Pastrami from Lithuania in 1887 to NYC. He opened the first deli in Manhattan. Her grandfather Jacob was known as "the Most Destructive Force on Wall Street" and was memorialized by E. B. White as "the greatest wrecker of all time" for his innovative method of demolition. Uncle Albert was the first man to stir scallions into cream cheese. The last of Grandfather Herman Morgen's fourteen restaurants was a famous garment center hangout. One grandmother won the 1916 trophy for "Best Legs in Atlantic City." The other was a three-hundred-pound calendar girl. Ms. Volk's handsome, demanding restaurateur father invented the Six-color Retractable Pen and Pencil Set and the Double-sided Cigarette Lighter (so you never have to worry which end is up). Her family owned many restaurants in NYC including Morgen's in Manhattan's garment district. This is filled with great stories and amazing personalities.

[book cover] In My Brother's Image : Twin Brothers Separated by Faith After the Holocaust by Eugene Pogany
NOW IN PAPERBACK - 352 pages (October 2, 2001) Penguin. Eugene Pogany is a Boston based clinical psychologist. His father and uncle were identical twins, born to Jewish parents in Hungary. But they were raised a Catholic converts prior to WWII. The conversion did not save them from the death camps. Their mother died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, clutching her crucifix. Miklos (the author's father) was sent to Bergen Belsen. He returned to Judaism in the camps and even secretly celebrated Pesach. He survived. Gyorgy, the author's uncle, became a Catholic priest and monsignor, and was sheltered during the war in an Italian monastery. After the war, the brothers emigrated to america and lived only a few miles from each other. Yet they clung to their estrangement, each blaming the other as a traitor to the family religious tradition. Only after his Uncle Gyorgy's death did Eugene learn the full story from his father, and his Aunt in Australia. This is a profound story of family, survival, and Hungarian Catholic and Jewish history.

By the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism and JPS

October 12, 2001. 1,520 PAGES
The latest Jewish commentary on the Torah in Conservative Judaism in SEVENTY years. A replacement for the HERTZ commentary. It was a 10 Year project (you know how slow committees work...). 78,000 copies already SOLD.
MONUMENTAL AND PRODIGIOUS ACHIEVEMENT, A commentary that reflects the beliefs and ideology of the Conservative movement, reflects the secure position of Jews in American culture (is not apologetic in tone), and uses standard modern English. This commentary does not sugar coat the actions of the early Hebrews, and it does not hide from the belief in redactors and an evolving Torah.
Contributors include Rabbis Chaim Potok, Harold Kushner, Elliot Dorff, Susan Grossman, Michael Fishbane, and dozens of others. Rabbi Grossman led a team of five female rabbis who reviewed early drafts to give voice to d'rash's by women. Include commentaries not only on the Torah portion, but on the Haftorah as well. For each chapter, the Hebrew and English translation is published. A p'shat commentary which is based on the JPS five volume commentary (by Tigay, Sarna, Levine, and Milgrom) follows under the text and was edited by Chaim Potok. A D'rash section of commentary, edited by Harold Kushner, is also included for each test. It will provide the deeper moral meanings of the passage. A third running commentary is included, edited by Rabbi Dorff and Rabbi Grossman, and it will show how various biblical verses served as the basis for Jewish laws and Conservative practices. In the back of the chumash are 41 essays by leading scholars and rabbis. The commentaries for the Haftorahs have been edited by Michael Fishbane. Of the book, Ellen Frankel, CEO of Jewish Publication Society, said, "It may spark conversation with in the Conservative laity about approaches to the Bible they may not have been aware of or thought of."Click to read more
P.S. Also, stay tuned for the New Reform Chumach on Bereshit, titled THE BOOK OF GENESIS: A CONTEMPORARY VIEW, by E. Gunther Plaut and Chaim Stern (UAHC Press, May 2002, which uses gender neutral terms and more feminist POV commentaries)

The story of a 10 Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers
by David Edmonds and John Eidinow

October 2001. Ecco. On Friday, October 25, 1946, in the H3 Room at Cambridge University, The Moral Science Club met. Many epistemologist who study the nature of truth were present. Dr Karl Popper was there to delivery a keynote address (Are There Philosophical Problems?). After ten minutes, Ludwig Wittgenstein (Chairman of the club, his stomach stuffed with some dime store tomato sandwiches) brandished a fireplace poker, shouting "Popper, you are wrong." Bertrand Russell is rumored to have said, "Wittgenstein, put that poker down at once!" Both Popper and Wittgenstein are famous for their rudeness to others, especially in debates. You may ask me, "Why is this a Jewish book?" Because Wittgenstein was trying to show off against Popper before his mentor Russell; because both Popper and Wittgenstein were Viennese Jews who were raised Christian. The middle class, long-eared Popper, (a name dropper who listed Russell, Einstein and Niels Bohr as references on an application) was surprised that Hitler thought he could be Jewish. He fled to New Zealand; Wittgenstein and his family fled to Britain with their huge, and I mean huge, fortune. This a short fascinating story of the debate between the philosophy of language (Wittgenstein) and the philosophy of science (Popper)

[book cover, click here] UNCLE TUNGSTEN: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood
by Oliver W. Sacks

October 2001. Sacks, a neurologist perhaps best known for his books Awakenings (which became a Robin Williams/Robert De Niro vehicle) and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, invokes his childhood in wartime England and his early scientific fascination with light, matter and energy as a mystic might invoke the transformative symbolism of metals and salts. The "Uncle Tungsten" of the book's title is Sacks's Uncle Dave, who manufactured light bulbs with filaments of fine tungsten wire, and who first initiated Sacks into the mysteries of metals. The author of this illuminating and poignant memoir describes his four tortuous years at boarding school (shere as a Jew he was alone on Sunday mornings) during the war, where he was sent to escape the bombings, and his profound inquisitiveness cultivated by living in a household steeped in learning, religion and politics (both his parents were doctors and his aunts were ardent Zionists, his father was a Yiddish speaking physician who was allowed to practice at London hospital).

[book] By the Sweat of Your Brow : Reflections on Work and the Workplace in Jewish Thought
by David J. Schnall

August 2001. Professor Schnall summarizes the primary attitudes and values of Jewish religious culture as it confronts and responds to the role of work and the workplace. He insists that the place of the worker and the mutual obligations that tie worker and employer to a vision of ethics and morality are "ordained by the word of God." Schnall draws from such sources as the Hebrew Bible and its classical commentaries, the Talmud, the rulings of early Jewish authorities and their reasoning in response to specific cases and petitions brought before them, the codes of Jewish law and tradition collected during the last 15 centuries, and modern works that apply this tradition to new economic structures and technologies that support them

[book] Shylock's Children
Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe
by Derek J. Penslar

2001. Throughout much of European history, Jews have been strongly associated with commerce and the money trade, rendered both visible and vulnerable, like Shakespeare's Shylock, by their economic distinctiveness. Shylock's Children tells the story of Jewish perceptions of this economic difference and its effects on modern Jewish identity. Derek Penslar explains how Jews in modern Europe developed the notion of a distinct "Jewish economic man," an image that grew ever more complex and nuanced between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. Penslar persuasively demonstrates that economic issues, or 'political economy,' had a profound impact on the shape and character of Jewish self-understanding. . . . It will be required reading for all scholars . . . . [and] will also capture the attention of a general audience

[book] Israeli Planners and Designers
Profiles of Community Builders (Suny Series in Oral and Public History
by John Forester (Editor), Raphael Fischler (Editor), Deborah Shmueli (Editor)

2001. This book documents the goals, lives, experiences, and practice of planners, architects, and community organizers who have contributed to the physical and social development of the modern state of Israel. In their own words, these "community builders" share their professional experiences of how they protect and rebuild cities and neighborhoods, how they overcome stereotypes and bureaucratic inertia, how they protect the natural environment and the public health as well. The stories illustrate the practical world of community change in which aesthetics and politics, ethnicity and tradition, commitment and inspiration, hard work and hope all play a part. Students of urban and community life in many countries will be able to draw elements and themes from these particular stories that resonate with their own concerns, experience, and future work

[book] Cain and Abel
Finding the Fruits of Peace
by Joani Keller Rothenberg (Illustrator), Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

October 2001, Jewish Lights Publishing. Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover - 32 pages. A springboard for talking to kids about anger and anger management. Rabbi Sasso (the second woman to be ordained as a rabbi in 1974) served congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis with her husband. Rabbi Sasso recasts the biblical tale of Cain and Abel in a way that invites adults and kids to a conversation about anger and our power to deal with it in positive ways. Cain and Abel, the first children, the first brothers, they were so much alike yet so different: Cain a shepherd, Abel a farmer. They lived side by side, surrounded by trees where wonderful, exotic fruits of many kinds grew: orapples, rasdew, and banangerines ripened all on a single branch. The air was sweet with the smell of pinango, limeberry, and waterloupe. But jealousy, anger, and fear took all this away. Cain and Abel's happiness came to an end, and with it, the trees' ability to grow these special fruits. In a world often hurt by violence, this retold biblical story gives children and adults a starting point for discussing anger and its effects on those around us. By harnessing the power we have to deal with our emotions in positive ways, we can once again cultivate the fruits of peace and change the world for the better.

By Edward Fox (The Sunday Telegraph)

October 10, 2001, Metropolitan/Holt. Fox, a British journalist for The Times, the Independent, and The Sunday Telegraph, investigates the murder of Albert Glock, an American Christian archeologist and Bir Zeit University professor, who was shot and killed on January 19, 1992. Who killed him? Why was nobody arrested? Did the cause he loved ultimately kill him? Did he know something about the trade in stolen antiquities? Or was it zealous Jews, zealous Islamists, Mossad agents, israeli hit squads, rival professors, university administrators, a lover, or others? Who is lying? Can the truth ever be discovered in the Middle East?

Edited By Danya Ruttenberg (contributing editor to Lilith Magazine)
Introduction by professor Susannah Heschel

October 2001. Twenty writers discuss a range of issues, including feminist parenting, transgender theory, Zionism, Jewish identity, rituals, why some criticize Judaism as patriarchic but embrace Eastern religions without criticism, tefillin, prayer, Mizrahi/Sephardi/European condescension, etc. Click to read more

The Levy Family's Epic Quest to Rescue the House That Jefferson Built
by Marc Leepson

Fall 2001. When Thomas Jefferson died on the Fourth of July 1826 -- the nation's fiftieth birthday -- he was more than $100,000 in debt. Forced to sell thousands of acres of his lands and nearly all of his furniture and artwork, in 1831 his heirs bid a final goodbye to a Monticello itself. The house their illustrious patriarch had lovingly designed in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, his beloved "essay in architecture," was sold to the highest bidder. It was in disrepair. Saving Monticello offers the first complete post-Jefferson history of this American icon and reveals the amazing story of how one Jewish family saved the house that became a family home to them for 89 years -- longer than it ever was to the Jeffersons. Twice it was saved, by two different generations of the Levy family. Monticello's first savior was the mercurial U.S. Navy Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, a colorful and controversial sailor, celebrated for his successful campaign to ban flogging in the Navy and excoriated for his stubborn willfulness. He was court-martialed many times. After passing from Levy control at the time of the commodore's death, Monticello fell once more into hard times, cattle being housed on its first floor and grain in its once elegant upper rooms. Again, remarkably, a member of the Levy family came to the rescue. Uriah's nephew, the aptly named Jefferson Monroe Levy, a three-term New York congressman and wealthy real estate and stock speculator, gained possession in 1879. After Jefferson Levy poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into its repair and upkeep, his chief reward was to face a vicious national campaign, with anti-Semitic overtones, to expropriate the house and turn it over to the government. Only after the campaign had failed, with Levy declaring that he would sell Monticello only when the White House itself was offered for sale, did Levy relinquish it to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1923. Click to read more.

Comrade Shoppers... did you hear about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's new book?
It is titled "Two Hundred Years Together" a history of Russian-Jewish Relations."
Could you think of a better author for this? I can't. I mean, Aleks, may I call you Aleks, is a friend. Some of his best friends are Jewish and his mother in law was Jewish. The 82 year old author writes that yes, Jewish were persecuted in Russia, but so were peasants, serfs, and Russians. Although some expected him to blame Jews for the revolutions, this Russian nationalist writes that although Jews played large roles in the anti tsarist movement, it was Russia's own fault for the downward vector of collapse. Stay tuned for the U.S. publication of this book.

By the way, Anita Diamant has written a new novel, titled "GOOD HARBER" This October 2001 book from Scribners . See Below:
A novel by Anita Diamant.

October 2001. Scribners. A novel. Kathleen, a Jew by choice (born Catholic) and Joyce, a secular Jew, befriend each other in their middle age; they meet in a synagogue in Gloucester and go for walks and talks along the beach. Kathleen, 59, is facing a struggle with breast cancer and radiation treatment (a disease that killed her sister), while Joyce, 42, is having a crisis as her 12 year old daughter rebels and her husband grows distant.

by Marc Maron

October 2001. The Gospel according to Maron: a spiritual memoir of your average hyperintelligent, ultraneurotic, superhip Jewish standup comedian and seeker. The Jerusalem Syndrome is a genuine psychological phenomenon that often strikes visitors to the Holy Land_the delusion that they are suddenly direct vessels for the voice of God. Marc Maron seems to have a distinctly American version of the Jerusalem Syndrome, which has led him on a lifelong quest for religious significance and revelation in the most unlikely of places. Maron riffs on Beat phenomena with its sacred texts, established rituals, and prescribed pilgrimages. He spends some time exploring the dark side of things, as his obsessions with cocaine (known to Maron as "magic powder"), conspiracy theories, and famous self-destructive comedians convince him that the gates of hell open beneath Los Angeles. As his quest matures, he reveals the religious aspects of Corporate America, pontificating on the timeless beauty of the Coca-Cola logo and even taking a trip to the Philip Morris cigarette factory, where the workers puff their own products with a zealot-like fervor. The culmination of Maron's Jerusalem Syndrome comes during his own tour of the Holy Land, where, with Sony camcorder glued to his eye socket, he comes face-to-face with his own ambiguous relationship to Judaism and reaches the brink of spiritual revelation_or is it nervous breakdown?


October 15, 2001. Kirsch is the author of KING DAVID: THE REAL LIFE OF THE MAN WHO RULED ISRAEL, and THE HARLOT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. In this book he writes about diversity in Judaism. Thesis=Jews are Diverse, Judaism grows and changes. He portrays the serious matriarch SARAH, who laughed when she was told she would give birth at her old age. He writes about the Maccabees, who were heroes, but were excommunicated by the rabbinate; and Yohanan Ben Zakkai (hero or traitor?). Meet those who study mysticism within a serious religion, and those people who raise pigs in what some though was a kosher country.

[book] ZIGAZAK! A Magical Hanukkah Night
by Eric A Kimmel. Illustrated by Job Goodell

October 2001. Ages 4-8. Doubleday. It just isn't a Jewish holiday without a new book by Mr Kimmel. Kimmel (the author of Gershon's Monster) tells the story of how there are sparks of good in all things, even in the tricks of little mischievous demons.


[book] Rivka's First Thanksgiving
by Elsa Okon Rael, Maryann Kovalski (Illustrator)

October 2001. Ages 4-8. Publishers Weekly wrote, "After learning about Thanksgiving in school in the 1910s, nine-year-old Rivka succeeds in persuading her immigrant family and her rabbi that it is a holiday for all Americans even Jewish families. Rivka's case to her rabbi (and six of his peers) is impassioned, although some readers may have trouble believing that none of these learned men has heard of the holiday. Kovalski (Queen Nadine) is at her best with scenes of the Lower East Side's bustling streets, but her cartoonish illustrations often clash with Rael's (What Zeesie Saw on Delancy Street) moving message."

by Deborah Da Costa, Illustrated by C Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

October 2001. Ages 6-10. Avi lives in the Jewish Qurter of the Old City in Jerusalem. Hamudi lives in the Muslim Quarter. A cat visits both boys homes, scrounging for food. When the cat doesn't appear for several weeks at either boy's home, Hamudi and Avi become alarmed. When the trimmed down cat visits Avi, Avi follows her to Hamudi's. The boys argue over the cat, it begins to snow, and the boys stop arguing and follow the cat to her alley and a box of her kittens. The boys must work together to save her and her brood from freezing, and they learn that peace is better than argument. A glossary at the end of the book defines the Hebrew and Arabic words sprinkled into the text.

by Arthur Yorink. Illustrated by David Small

October 2001. Ages 5-9. Shirley and Moe bid farewell to their visitors from outer space, as well as all the family members and FBI agents and military personnel who came for dinner. Maybe Shirley wouldn't mind catering the aliens' sister's wedding near Uranus with her meatballs? When Shirley and Moe go to visit the planet Nextoo (Next too Uranus), all heck breaks loose, and the alien-Uncle-Irving thinks that Shirley is an invader and not the caterer.

[book] Where on Earth is My Bagel?
by Frances Park, Ginger Park, Grace Lin

October 2001. Ages 4-8.
Dear New York,
I would like to order one bagel to go.
Please send it to me as soon as possible.
Respectfully yours,
Yum Yung in Korea
No one knows how the idea of a New York bagel popped into Yum Yung's head -- perhaps it was inspired by a dream, or by listening to sparrows' songs. Yum Yung lives in a part of Korea where there are no New York bagels, and one day he just knows he has to have one. How a New York bagel popped into Yum Yung's head was a mystery. Perhaps it came to him in a dream, smothered with cream cheese. Or maybe he heard sparrows singing of bagel crumbs in Central Park. However it happened, Yum Yung could not stop thinking about a golden brown bagel with a curious hole in the middle. The very idea made his tummy growl and his mouth water. Yum Yung declared: "I want a bagel!" His village in Korea might have many things - lilacs and waterfalls, streams of daring fish. -- but there were no New York bagels. He sends a message from his Korean village via pigeon to New York City for someone to send him one. While he waits, he asks the farmer, the fisherman, and the honeybee keeper for help, but none of them have ever heard of a bagel. They are experts in their craft, but it is not a plow wheel, a life ring, or a circle of bees. When Yum Yung knows just where to get flour, sea salt, and honey. As Yum Yung reaches Oh's Heavenly Bakery, the bird returns without a bagel, but with the recipe. The baker gets the required ingredients from the boy's new friends and makes one huge bagel. "It was so heavenly he could even taste the curious hole in the middle." This timeless fable will make readers giggle with delight and satisfaction as Yum Yung, with the help of his friends, fulfills his bagel dream. The tale illustrates the power of perseverance. With charming gouache illustrations that evoke the intricate and colorful patterns found in Korean fabrics, this story mixes up cultures quite nicely. Bagel shapes abound, including a full moon with a cloud providing the hole in the middle. By the way, Frances and Ginger are sisters, one born in Cambridge, the other in DC.

[book] THE SAME SEA.
By Amos OZ, translated by Nicholas De Lange

October 2001. A POETIC (in verse) novel about mortality, and a time to make peace, and more. Albert, an accountant has been made a widower when his wife, Nadia, passes away. Their son, Rico, has gone off to Bangladesh, Tibet, and places in the East, where his mother visits him in visions. An elderly widow is interested in Albert, but Albert desires Dita, the young girlfriend of his absent son; she has moved in with Albert in Rico's absence. Click to read more

[book cover] Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge: Conversations with the Torah
by Michael Rosenak

Fall 2001. What is worth knowing? How do we distinguish what is worth knowing from what is not? In Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge: Conversations with the Torah, Michael Rosenak applies the discipline of Torah study to the philosophy of education more generally. Although the book is a bit too scholarly to reach the parents and teachers to whom it is directed, it is also provocative, drawing on Torah commentators such as Hillel and Rashi and addressing important issues in Jewish education.

Edited by Roanne Carey (The Nation)
With an intro by NOAM CHOMSKY

October 2001. The intro is by Noam Chomsky, need I type more... Blah blah blah, Palestinians are good, Israel is bad, the US media is biased against Palestinians, the US and Israel are neo colonialists, the P.A. is authoritarian and corrupt but also great and noble. Zzzzzz.

[book] UNFINISHED PEOPLE. Eastern European Jews Encounter America

October 2001. Nearly three million Jews came to America from Eastern Europe between 1880 and WW One. The were filled with hope. Ruth Gay narrates the tale of the daily rituals and trials of these immigrants, their vitality, shops, markets, schools, synagogues, and tenements.

a novel
By W.G. SEBALD, translated from German (Rings of Saturn; The Emigrants)

October 2001, Random House. Austerlitz... what kind of name is that? Isn't it the name of a train staion? Maybe it is close to the name of Auschwitz? Hmm..., this is a scholarly novel about a character named Jacques Austerlitz, an architectural historian. Halfway through the book, the depressed Austerlitz, who was raised in a stoic Welsh family (with a name of Jacques??), discovers that he was actually born to joy filled Prague Jews. His mother was killed by the Nazis, and his father might be living somewhere in Paris. Jacques was saved by sending him to England and Wales. A uniquely crafted story by a writer with a growing cult readership. Wer ist Austerlitz? Ein rätselhafter Fremder, der immer wieder an den ungewöhnlichsten Orten auftaucht: am Bahnhof, am Handschuhmarkt, im Industriequartier ... Und jedes Mal erzählt er ein Stück mehr von seiner Lebensgeschichte, der Geschichte eines unermüdlichen Wanderers durch unsere Kultur und Architektur und der Geschichte eines Mannes, dem als Kind Heimat, Sprache und Name geraubt wurden.

By Dr. Ruth Westheimer with Dr. Stephen Kaplan (Hebrew University)

October 2001, Madison Books. Like Henry Kissinger said, paraphrasing Napoleon, "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." Why else do political leaders and celebrities get a lot of sex? Why else does the alpha male get all the fertile females? Since biblical times, this has been in recorded human history. King David impregnates a married woman and then has her husband killed; Jacqueline Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis; women flung themselves at the Kennedy brothers (and sons); Eva Peron slept her way to the top; Madame de Pompadour made her way in the French court; Queen Elizabeth I used virginity to advantage; Cleopatra was a magnet for men; Catherine the Great was a magnet for men and horses; Delilah was attracted to Samson; Clinton (need we say more?); Condit; etc. This book is an entertaining and informative tale of the link between power and sex in human history. It also includes a chapter on non heterosexuals, such as Cristina, Eugene of Savoy; Monsieur Phillip, Duc d'Orleans (a great military leader, he feared no battle or army but didn't want to mess his hair); and Prince Phillip zu Eulenburg (but no mention of Barney Frank).


October 2001. Knopf. 304 pages. Chaos Theory Meets The Novel
Chaim Potok, the master of the fictional clashes between cultures and countries (My Name is Asher Lev, The Chosen, the one about Kyoto, Wanderings), JTS Grad, and celebrated author, has written three related novellas about one woman who touches the lives of three men (remember Davita's Harp?) (But is the story about the woman? Or is it actually about the stories of the men she meets?) Ilana Davita Dinn is the listener to whom three men relate their lives. In the first story (THE ARK BUILDER), it is 1947, and Ilana is as a young 17 year old woman. She listens to the story of Noah Stemim, the Ark Builder, a man who builds torah arks for synagogues and what happened when the Nazis invade his Polish town. He is the only survivor from his town, and was a friend to Reb Binyomin. In the next story (THE WAR DOCTOR), she is a newly minted teacher at Columbia University in the 1950's, and reads the story of a KGB agent, Leon Shertov, who as a young man during the Russian Civil War is saved by a doctor who he later meets during the Kremlin doctors' plot. Shertov sends Ilana three long letters. In the third story, Ilana is a famous writer and neighbor to an elderly, distinguished Professor of military warfare, Benjamin Walter (you mean Walter Benjamin?), who is trying to write his memoirs who gets distracted by Ilana's presence over the rhododendron hedge and the illness of his wife. Benjamin Walter is famous for being able to detect connections and patterns across historical periods and geographies (kind of like Potok). Yet he is unable to find the patterns and connections of his own life. But, secretly, as you read this novel, you find that you know little of Ilana; the portrait of her is withdrawing as you get deeper into the book. (Is she secretly the shechina? Should Leonard Nimoy take a picture of her female presence hahaha?)

A Novel By ALLAN APPEL (The Rabbi of Casino Boulevard)

October 2001. Coffee House. The story of three interfaith couples on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and how religion affects, disrupts, redeems or heals their lives. Publisher Weekly said of this novel, "When William Harp, the son of a Southern evangelist minister, opens a restaurant on the bottom floor of a brownstone owned by three old friends and their wives, they have no idea that he plans to make it a Christian-themed cafeteria that he hopes will entice the area's many Jewish residents to convert. All too conveniently, the distaff side of the three couples are all originally Christian (one is now Buddhist) who have accepted their husbands' religions by osmosis, wisecracking in Yiddish and otherwise feeling comfortable in a largely Jewish social milieu. Again, all too conveniently, none of the couples has had children, so the wives are entirely free to pursue their careers. But when Harp's proselytizing Christianity reawakens Marylee Jeffers Levine's longings for spiritual salvation, personal and domestic turmoil ensue for the Levines, the Klains and the Belkins."

by Alan M. Dershowitz

October 16, 2001. The art of mentoring series. A collection of short essays. A Practical Guide to young lawyers on career, law and life. He writes about the lure of money, fame, and power, as well as about the seduction of success. He discusses cheating and the corners that get cut. In the process, he conveys some of the "tricks of the trade" that have helped him win cases and become successful at the art and practice of "lawyering." If you like this book, please search for "Letters to a Young Contrarian (Christopher Hitchins); Letters to a Young Golfer (Robert Duvall); Letters to a Young Diva (Jessye Norman); Letters to a Young Doctor (Sherwin Nuland), Letters to a Young Poet (Rilke), and Letters to a Young Activist (Tod Gitlin)


October 16, 2001. Schocken. 368 Pages. 350 Photographs. Why am I not mentioned in this book?? A chronicle of Jewish life and practice in the twentieth Century.

[book] Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible
Edited by Ken Stone

October 2001. Biblical exegesis in the light of gay perspectives. This is a collection of essays that explore how 'Queer' reading makes a difference to biblical exegesis. As with feminism, theoretical questions arise such as whether these sorts of readings are characterized by certain questions or can only legitimately be done by gay or lesbian readers. The essays, by scholars from a range of backgrounds and a variety of interests - Jewish, Christian, agnostic, male, female, heterosexual, gay and lesbian - mostly concentrate on individual passages and books, but the volume also contains, and is intended to offer, some theoretical reflections. It ends with three 'critical responses' from scholars with interdisciplinary interests, commenting on the place of Queer reading of the Bible in broader contexts. Ken Stone is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois.

By Louise Steinman

October 2001. Algonquin Press
Cpl. Norman Steinman, the author's father, fought the Japanese in the Pacific Theater and the Philippines during WWII. He was a member of the 25th Infantry Division. After the war, for over 35 years, he worked as a Pharmacist in Culver City, dispensing medications for whatever ailed those around him. Her father despised Asian cuisine, camping out, and Japanese made products. He and his wife raised four children. He died in 1990, and his wife died 9 months later. Their daughter, preparing their condo for sale, found a box containing 400 of her father's letters home and a Japanese rising sun flag that he took as a souvenir. The flag had writing on it. Steinman stored it away for several months, her father never visited her in her dreams until a year after his death. Steinman had the flag translated and sought to find the Japanese family of the flag's prior owner. The flag said: "To Yoshio Shimizu given to him in the Great East Asian War to be fought to the end. If you believe in it, you win." Steinman sets out on a quest to learn what happened to her father in Asia and the men of his Twenty-fifth Infantry Division. Over the course of her exploration, Steinman decides to return the flag to the family of Yoshio Shimizu, the fallen Japanese soldier. She travels to the snow country of Japan and visits Luzon, the battlefield in the Philippines where her father's division fought-the place where Yoshio lost his life and his flag. In the end, Steinman discovers a side of her father she never knew, and, ASTONISHINGLY(?), she develops a kinship with the surviving family of his enemy. Weaving together her father's letters with the story of her own personal journey, Steinman presents a powerful view of how war changed one generation and shaped another. She makes many friends along the way and sees the war from the Japanese POV when she visits Hiroshima. She learns to understand her father's post-War behavior better (whistling kettles unnerved him, Asian food was banned from the house, and that she was never to cry in front of him).

Finding Prayer, Perspective and Meaning in the Stories of Our Lives.
by Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar

October 2001. Just as a dolphin is a oxygen breathing mammal that lives in water, Kedar explains how to live in the worlds of the material/rational and the spiritual. I have not seen this book yet, but I doubt that it is about the Brazilian folktales of dolphins taking human forms and seducing fishermen. Ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985, Rabbi Kedar also holds a Master's degree in Hebrew Letters from the College-Institute and a Master's in Biblical Literature from Baltimore Hebrew University in Maryland. She has served congregations that include Temple Beth El in Boca Raton, Florida and Congregation B'nai Torah of Highland Park, Illinois. After ordination, she lived in Israel for 10 years to become the first woman rabbi in Jerusalem's history and worked to create Reform congregations and communities in Israel.

CLAL's Guide to Everyday and Holiday Rituals and Blessings.
by Irwin Kula and Vanessa Ochs

December 2001. Jewish Lights. Over 100 occasions are classified into 11 sections, including: tzedakah; parents and children; holy days; relationships; everyday life; learning; Israel; leadership; healing; life and death; special moments; and communal life. Decades of experience by CLAL--The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in connecting spirituality with daily life come together in this one comprehensive handbook. In these pages, you have access to teachings that can help to sanctify almost any moment in your day. Offering a meditation, a blessing, a profound Jewish teaching, and a ritual. Includes sacred practices for: Lighting Shabbat candles, Blessing your parents, Running a marathon, Visiting the sick, Building a sukkah, Seeing natural wonders, Moving into a new home, Saying goodbye to a beloved pet, and Making a shiva call. Drawing from both traditional and contemporary sources, The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices will show you how to make more holy any moment in your daily life. Click to read more.

By David Zagier

October 2001. Is Zagier a modern Sholom Aleichem and I B Singer??
He died at age 90 in 1998. This is his memoir. The book is best in his memories of his shtetl. Most of his family died in Treblinka. He fled his home in Botchki (a Polish shtetl) in the late 1930's for England. He joined the OSS/CIA and was tried by McCarthyism in the Fifties.

[book] The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children
by Wendy Mogel, Clinical Psychologist

October 2001. Paperback edition
Every parent hopes their child will be self-reliant, optimistic, and well mannered, a challenge in our current culture. Clinical psychologist and Jewish educator Wendy Mogel distills the ancient teachings of the Torah, the Talmud, important Jewish thinkers, and contemporary psychological insights into nine blessings that address key parenting issues such as: determining realistic expectations for each child; respect for adults; chores; mealtime battles; coping with frustration; developing independence and self-control; and resisting over-scheduling and over-indulgence. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee guides the reader towards effective, enlightened parenting in an increasingly speedy, material, and competitive age.

[book] MUSIC OF A DISTANT DRUM. Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew Pomes
Translated by Bernard Lewis (Princeton)

October 2001. Professor Lewis introduces and translates classical poems. Hebrew poets include Ibn Gabirol, Halevi, ha-Nagid, ibn Ezra, Yehuda al-Harizi, Todros ben Yehuda Abu'l-Afiya (a man who's hair has become white states, "nothing is changed in me but my appearance"). Other poets include but are not limited to Abu'l'Atahiya, Attar, Daqiqi, Baki, Al-Hallaj, ibn Quzman, Mehmed II, Mujir, Omar Khayyam, Rudagi, Sadi, and Yunus Emre.


October 2001. Princeton University Press. Jews as a part of American culture in the 1920s, the Jazz Age. New York City was teaming with Jewish immigrants, anti-Semitism abounded in American life, Jews were gaining in economic life, but they were still excluded socially. There were some major events that shaped attitudes towards Jews in the period that this book explores. Felix Frankfurter defended the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti (were Jews unpatriotic, could they be trusted, think Dershowitz and OJ Simpson); the scandal involving America's pasttime, baseball, the Black Sox Scandal and Jewish gamblers led by Arnold Rothstein; the Jazz Singer by Al Jolson became the first talkie film; Henry Ford financed anti_Semitism in America; F Scott Fitgerald in The Great Gatsby portrayed the Jew as a evil gangster; and Harvard instituted quotes to keep Jewish students out. I smell a Jewish Book Award here!

By Etgar Keret

October 2001. St Martins.
Insanely absurd Israeli stories of life in Israel. The stories are on average 5 pages long. Fun reading, like the story of the man who befriends a disguised angel, the merkolet grocery at the gate to Hell, the man named Goodman who becomes a badman in Texas, the obsessive bus driver who tries to stay on time, or the flight attendant who falls for a passenger. For example, In the title story, we meet a bus driver who doesn't open the doors for late passengers (why should 30 people lose 30 seconds each so 1 person doesn't have to wait an additional 15 minutes). But one of his passengers has a disease that makes him late, and he has finally found the love of his life, and cannot be late to the Dolphinarium to meet her. Oy. Includes stories from Keret's (TA School of Film) other books, Pipelines, and from Missing Kissinger

By Robert Cowley, Editor

October 2001. Famous historians ask "What if?" Includes "what is Pontius Pilate pardoned Jesus?" and how Christianity would have developed without a martyr focus; and "What is Germany in WWI had submarine technology?"; and "What is Japan had taken Australia during WWII?"; and Robert Katz asks "What is Pope Pius 12 had done more to Protest the Holocaust?"

[book] Evangelizing the Chosen People: Missions to the Jews in America, 1880-2000
by Yaakov S. Ariel

October Univ of N Carolina Press. Paperback. With this book, Yaakov Ariel offers a comprehensive history of Protestant evangelization of Jews in America to the present day. Based on unprecedented research in missionary archives as well as Jewish writings, the book analyzes the theology and activities of both the missions and the converts and describes the reactions of the Jewish community, which in turn helped to shape the evangelical activity directed toward it. Ariel delineates three successive waves of evangelism, the first directed toward poor Jewish immigrants, the second toward American-born Jews trying to assimilate, and the third toward Jewish baby boomers influenced by the counterculture of the Vietnam War era. After World War II, the missionary impulse became almost exclusively the realm of conservative evangelicals, as the more liberal segments of American Christianity took the path of interfaith dialogue.

By Frederick Crews

October 2001. FSG. The sequel to Crew's 1964 book (Pooh perplex) is a satire of lit crit theory using Pooh as the unifying theme. At least click the icon above to see the neat cover.


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