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LATE FALL 2003 RECOMMENDED JEWISH BOOKS
Fall BOOK READINGS
Oct 01, 2003: Al Franken reads from Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them...A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, B&N Skokie 7:30 PM
Oct 02, 2003: Peter Duffy on his book, The Bielski Brothers. NYC 92nd St Y / Steinhardt W 67th
Oct 04, 2003: Al Franken reads from Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them...A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, B&N Austin 7 PM
Oct 07, 2003: Binnie Kirshenbaum and Ellen Miller read from LOST TRIBE: JEWISH FICTION FROM THE EDGE. Bluestockings. NYC 7 PM.
Oct 08, 2003: Phyllis Chesler reads from The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It, B&N NYC 7:30 PM
Oct 08, 2003: Professor Franklin Toker on his exciting book, Frank Lloyd Wright, E. J. Kaufman, and America's Most Extraordinary House, Falling Water. NYC 92nd St Y / Steinhardt W 67th
Oct 14, 2003: Richard E. Rubenstein reads from Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Dark Ages, B&N NYC 7:30 PM
Oct 15, 2003: Gabriel Brownstein, Joan Leegant, and Jon Papernick read from LOST TRIBE: JEWISH FICTION FROM THE EDGE. JCC of UWS NYC 7 PM.
Oct 15, 2003: Norman F. Cantor (NYU Emeritus) reads from Antiquity: The Civilization of the Ancient World, B&N Miami 7:30 PM
Oct 16, 2003: Anita Diament reads from PITCHING MY TENT, B&N Framingham 7:30 PM
Oct 21, 2003: Anita Diamant on Reinventing the Jewish Woman. NYC 92nd St Y
Oct 22, 2003: Norman F. Cantor (NYU Emeritus) reads from Antiquity: The Civilization of the Ancient World, B&N Miami 7:30 PM
Oct 22, 2003: Anita Diament reads from PITCHING MY TENT, B&N NYC 7:30 PM
Oct 22, 2003: Rabbi Leon A. Morris and author Than e Rosenbaum lead a Beit Midrash for WRITERS, each Wednesday evening at 7 PM at the Skirball Center in NYC, see adultjewishlearning.Org
Oct 23, 2003: Phyllis Chesler reads from The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It, B&N Livingston NJ 7 PM
Oct 23, 2003: Ari Goldman and Charles Strum in Dialogue on Death and Mourning. NYC 92nd St Y
Oct 28, 2003: Al Franken reads from Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them...A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, B&N NYC 7 PM
Oct 30, 2003: Rochelle Krich reads from DREAM HOUSE, B&N Encino 7 PM
Oct 30, 2003: Intimacy and Geography. NAA Poetry Festival. CUNY NYC
Nov 04, 2003: TOVA MIRVIS and SUZAN SHERMAN talk with Anne Roiphe about LOST TRIBE: JEWISH FICTION FROM THE EDGE. Jewish Womens Foundation of NYC.
Nov 06, 2003: Elie Wiesel on War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition. NYC 92nd St Y
Nov 07-11, 2003: Only In America. A Celebration of 350 Years of American Jewry. Jewish Music in a Land of Freedom. Five Day Conference. See www.jtsa.edu or MilkenArchive.org
Nov 09, 2003: Eric Kimmel (Gershon's Monster), Jane Breskin Zalben (Pearl's Passover) and Karen Levine (Hana's Suitcase) and others sign their book at Temple Sinai's Jewish Children's Literature Conference, 10400 Wilshire, Los Angeles 5 PM. They will also explain why their books all begin with the character's name
Nov 13, 2003: Young Authors Showcase. The Last Frontier. Stories from Eastern Europe. Readings by Arthur Phillips (Prague), Paul Greenberg, Josip Novaovich, Boris Fishman, and Jon Beckman. Makor NYC 7:30 PM
Nov 17, 2003: Andre Aciman converses with A. B. Yehoshua. NYC 92nd St Y
Nov 17, 2003: Abraham Foxman (ADL) reads from NEVER AGAIN?: THE THREAT OF THE NEW ANTI SEMITISM. B&N NYC Lincoln Triangle 7 PM
Nov 18, 2003: Jane Leavy reads from SANDY KOUFAX: A LEFTY's LEGACY. B&N UES NYC 7 PM
Nov 19, 2003: Tony Kushner and Maurice Sendak read from BRUNDIBAR. B&N Union Square NYC 7 PM
Nov 19, 2003: UK Chief Rabbi Joanthan Sacks speaks on Toward the Dignity of Difference (hmm really?). NYC 92nd St Y
Nov 20, 2003: Zohar (the book not the pop singer) Celebration and Study with Rabbis Poupko and Arthur Green and Prof Daniel C. Matt. NYC 92nd St Y
Nov 20, 2003: Mohels from Mars, Jewish Sci Fi. Jewish Sci Fi Science Fiction with Marlene Barr (Oy, Pioneer) , Paul Levinson, and Esther Freisner (Turn the Other Chick). NYC 92nd St Y / Steinhardt W 67th
Nov 23, 2003: JEWISH CHILDREN'S BOOKWRITERS CONFERENCE. NYC 92nd St Y $75
Nov 28, 2003: Arthur Gelb and former NYT reporters and Maureen Dowd discuss Gelb's CITY ROOM, Department of Agriculture, Washington DC
November 30, Click here to watch Al Franken on BookTV
November 30, Click here to watch Pushing Time Away: My Grandfather and the Tragedy of Jewish Vienna by Peter Singer on BookTV
Dec 01, 2003: Dr. Leon R. Kass on L'Chaim and Its Limits. NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 03, 2003: Steve Almond, Aryeh Lev Stollman, Nelly Reifler, Ellen Miller and Liz Swados read from LOST TRIBE: JEWISH FICTION FROM THE EDGE. Museum of Jewish Heritage. NYC
Dec 03, 2003: Growing up Hasidic. With author Stephanie Wellen Levine, Professor Samuel Heilman, filmmaker Pearl Gluck, and Nina Hurwitz. Makor NYC 7:30 PM
Dec 04, 2003: Rabbi Tirzah Firestone on Jewish Women's Wisdom. NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 04, 2003: The Burbs. David Amsden (Important Things That Don't Matter), Jennifer Natalya Fink (BURN), and Jill Bialosky (House Under Snow). Makor NYC 7:30 PM
Dec 10, 2003: Discussion. The Day the Rabbi Went to Jail. Abuse in the Rabbinate, with Rabbi Yosef Blau, Arthur Magida, Dr. Michelle Friedman, and the NY Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt. Makor NYC 7:30 PM
Dec 14, 2003: Ted Solotaroff converses on Alfred Kazin. NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 20, 2003: Klezmatics perform The Yiddish Woody Guthrie. NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 23-29, 2003: 19th Annual KlezKamp - Swan lake Hotel, Swan Lake, NY see LivingTraditions.ORG
HEY.. NOW YOUR CAN SEARCH OUR SITE, INSTEAD OF JUST SEARCHING AMAZON. TRY IT OUT...
AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE
THE MURDER OF MARY PHAGAN AND THE LYNCHING OF LEO FRANK
By Steve Oney
October 2003. Pantheon Books.
Oney, a former writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution Magazine has written this masterful exhaustive thick history on the 1913 lynching of the Northern Jew in Atlanta. When Mary Phagan was found dead in the pencil factory on April 26, 1913, Leo Frank was arrested. He was convicted of murder, but when his sentence was reduced from death to life in prison, he was abducted and lynched. In this history, Oney explores the case, and the Jewish community of Atlanta. He analyzes the trial mistakes, and the influence of Jewish leaders from New York City (and Chicago based Albert Lasker, the inventor of orange juice and the head of Lord & Thomas, a plain named Jewish agency that became FC&B). The American Jewish Committee pondered, if they publicize the case, there would be a backlash against "jewish interference." But if they remained silent, then what was the purpose of an organization that was supposed to combat anti-Semitism (they voted not to interfere, but secretly worked behind the scenes). HE ALSO EXPLORES who made of the lynch mob and their lives and motivations. Some of them later became political leaders. Click the book cover above to read more.
ORDINARY PEOPLE IN AN EXTRAORDINARY LAND
by DONNA ROSENTHAL
October 7, 2003. Free Press
In the style of Smith, "The Russians" and Barzini's "The Italians", Rosenthal (former Jerusalem Post reporter), explores the people of Israel. PW writes, "Today's headlines leave the impression there's little to know about Israel outside of its conflict with the Palestinians. ..... Rosenthal, with years of experience in and knowledge of the Middle East, [gives..] an in-depth look at the rich variety of people in the Jewish state. Relying on dozens of interviews, she gives a lively, variegated portrait of all facets of Israeli life. Terrorism and relations with the Palestinians are covered, but so are secular-religious tensions, Ashkenazi-Sephardi divisions, Israeli Arabs and Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia and Russia. Throughout, Rosenthal stresses the contradictions in Israel: a country steeped in historical and religious tradition that is trying to develop a high-tech economic future; a democracy that many see as favoring its Jewish citizens above its Arab ones; a country ruled in some ways by a rigid religious establishment that also maintains thriving gay and lesbian communities. Rosenthal displays prodigious reporting and allows the people themselves-whether Jewish or Arab, men or women, religious or secular-to speak, and their voices are alternately despairing and hopeful, defiant and conciliatory. As a result, she captures an entire country, one full of flux and drama, in as vivid and nuanced a way as possible: a former male model turns Orthodox; an Ethiopian who "had never used electricity... until he was twelve" now designs computers. With the huge interest in Israel among the reading public, this is likely to find a sizable audience." INCLUDES AN AMUSING DISCUSSION ON 'Kippology" among the Orthodox. Click the book cover above to read more.
You can see Ms. Rosenthal speak at the following places: October 9: Borders in DC; October 14: KGB Bar in NYC; October 19: Book Passage in Corte Madera; October 25: Pasadena; November 2: Austin Jewish Book Fair; November 4: Houston Jewish Book Fair; November 6: Atlanta Jewish Book Fair; November 11; Contra Costa Jewish Book Fair; November 18: San Francisco Jewish Book Fair at Sherith Israel; November 20: Borders Union Square San Francisco.
by ARTHUR GELB
October 9, 2003. Putnam Publishing Group.
When Arthur Gelb joined The New York Times in 1944, manual typewriters, green eyeshades, spittoons, floors littered with cigarette butts, and two bookies were what he found in the city room. Gelb was twenty, his position the lowliest-night copy boy. When he retired forty-five years later, he was managing editor. On his way to the top, he exposed crooked cops and politicians; mentored a generation of our most talented journalists; was the first to praise such yet undiscovered talents as Woody Allen and Barbra Streisand; and brought Joe Papp public recognition. As metropolitan editor, Gelb reshaped the way the paper covered New York, and while assistant managing editor, he launched the paper's daily special sections. From D-Day to the liberation of the concentration camps; from the agony of Vietnam to the resignation of a President; from the fall of Joe McCarthy to the rise of the Woodstock Nation, Gelb's time at the Times reveals his intimate take on the great events of the past fifty years. The raffish early days are long gone, the hum of computers has replaced the clatter of typewriter keys, but the same ambition, passion, grandstanding, and courage Gelb found at twenty still fill the city room.
Click the book cover above to read more.
Click here to watch an interview with Gelb and his former reporters (Maureen Dowd, Neil Sheehan, Bernard Kalb, Richard Reeves, David Burnham & Martin Tolchin) on BookTV
Feast from the Mideast
250 Sun-Drenched Dishes from the Lands of the Bible
by Faye Levy
October 7, 2003. HarperCollins.
PW writes, "...Delivering another winner, Levy (1,000 Jewish Recipes; Faye Levy's International Vegetable Cookbook) turns her attention to the Middle East, where she lived for many years, and draws not only on her heritage but also on the customs and traditional variations that shape the region. Distinguishing a dish as Egyptian or Syrian rather than Persian, for example, she takes home cooks on a culinary odyssey, explaining the history and geography of each region. Starting with the Middle East pantry and carefully offering substitutes where necessary, she addresses the specialized ingredients that the user may not be familiar with. Each recipe is carefully described with its provenance and attributes from the traditional main course, such as Yemenite Beef Soup with Curry Spices and Potatoes ("the centerpiece of the traditional Yemenite diet"); the rich, sweet flaky Nut-filled Baklava ("the first records we have come from Syria near the Turkish border"); and the ubiquitous Middle Eastern Diced Salad, which has a different name in each country...." Click the book cover to read more.
A Century of Architecture and Jewish Community
by Samuel Gruber, Syracuse Univ (PhD Arch History, Columbia Univ)
October 2003. Rizzoli.
American Synagogues is the first book to explore the exceptional architecture of modern American synagogues in the twentieth century, and this intriguing book relates the fascinating history of the Jewish people in America and how it is expressed in twentieth-century synagogue design. The book features all new photography of synagogues in many styles from a dozen states, many never before published in any form. The 36 profiled synagogues were designed by European masters, the best-known modern American architects, and by important contemporary architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson, Walter Gropius, and Minoru Yamasaki (who did the WTC).
In his introduction, Dr. Gruber examines the nature and history of synagogues from biblical times, through European, and contemporary American forms. He notes that the earliest mention of a synagogue in America is on a map of New York dated 1695, and describes the Touro synagogue in Newport, RI, which dates from 1753 and is an austerely classic building still in use today. Throughout this new book he illustrates how changing architectural conceptions of the synagogue both reflect and influence dramatic changes in the structure and identity of the American Jewish community. The 19th century saw a rise in ambitiously designed temples ranging from Greek ancient and medieval revival styles to the Moorish forms embraced by German Jews starting in the 1860s. In the 20th century, on which American Synagogues entirely focuses, congregations started to commission classically influenced designs using columns, pediments, and arched windows resulting in monumental temples with a timeless dignity. For examples, one can look at Arnold Brunner's Temple Society of Concord in Syracuse, NY or Ely Blount's Stone Avenue Temple in Tucson, both from 1910. The subsequent adoption of Classical forms in the boom years of the 1920s led to the building of some the most ambitious and sometimes ostentatious synagogues of the century. Includes Frank Lloyd Wright's well-known Beth Sholom Synagogue (1957); Eric Mendelsohn's Park Synagogue (1953) in Cleveland; Percival Goodman's Beth El (1954) in Providence, RI; Sidney Eisenshtat's Temple Sinai (1962) in El Paso, TX; Kenneth Triester's Gumenick Chapel at Temple Israel of Greater Miami (1969); and Minoru Yamasaki North Shore Congregation Israel (1960). Click the book cover to read more.
See also: The Nation Without Art: Examining Modern Discourses in Jewish Art
See also: The Artless Jew ... Affirmations and Denials of the Visual
See also: Jewish Icons. Art and Society in Modern Europe.
by Tony Kushner, Maurice Sendak, Michael di Capua
Over six decades ago, the opera Brundibar (Czech slang for bumblebee) was written. When the writer (Adolf Hoffmeister) was imprisoned by the Nazis in Terezin, the opera he and Hans Krasa wrote was smuggled into the camp. The children performed the opera; it kept their minds off the impending doom. The Nazis even filmed one of the 55 performances for a propaganda film, showing Terezin to be a model city for the Jews. Kushner and Sendak collaborated for over three years on this book, which recreates the opera in book form. At one point, Sendak even tore up all his drawings and started over. This is a masterpiece for children as well as adults. The prose is lyrical in tempo and style; the drawings are exquisite. The use of colored and Italian pencils evoke the crayons that the children of Terezin used (under the teaching direction of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who was deported to Terezin in 1942, and then murdered at Auschwitz in 1944.) In the story, a brother and sister (Aninku and Pepicek) are sent by a doctor to the village's market square to fetch milk for their ill mother. Here they meet the milkman, the baker, and the ice cream maker. But without money, they can buy no milk. They spy Brundibar, a child-hating, loud, brash, mean, street musician, dressed in a Napoleon hat and old medal filled uniform. With him around, they can make no money singing to pay for the milk. But with the help of some talking animals and other children, they perform a lullaby and earn the needed funds to help their mother. Brundibar is defeated (When performed as an opera, the children and audience understood that Brundibar represented their jailers.) Adults will note the added last page, in which Brundibar writes a final note. Bullies and Brundibar vow to return one day. The note is written on the replica of a crumbled invitation, the actual party invitation that the Nazis used to invite dignitaries and Red Cross officials in 1944 to the actual performances. It is replete with a dancing man who wears a Jewish star on his costume (who is recreated in the role of the doctor).
Click the book cover above to read more.
Pictured above are: The book cover; A drawing of the milkman; Tony Kushner and Maurice Sendak sign a copy of Brundibar for MyJewishBooks.com, which we will use for a contest prize; Ela Stein Weissberger shows her Jewish star which she war at Terezin, where she was imprisoned, and where she performed the role of the "cat" in Brundibar. Ela was saved by a farmer, who hired her from Terezin' kommandant to work in the fields. Only 4 of the 64 members of her family survived the war.
THE OPERA CD from a 1993 production
by Composer: Hans Krasa, Frantisec Domazlicky
Czech composer Hans Krása wrote the children's opera Brundibar before his World War II incarceration in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The opera not only became a big hit in the camp, but its theme of good against seemingly insurmountable evil served to reassure the doomed prisoners. This essential, lovingly produced recording is the first authentic and complete version, in the original Czech.
THE OPERA CD from a 1999 production
by Composer: Hans Krasa
Czech composer Hans Krása wrote the children's opera Brundibar before his World War II incarceration in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The opera not only became a big hit in the camp, but its theme of good against seemingly insurmountable evil served to reassure the doomed prisoners.
TREMBLING BEFORE G-D
A film/DVD by Sandi Simcha DuBowski
2001 film (Sundance); DvD Released October 2003.
New Yorker Video (Distributor). Trembling Before G-d is an unprecedented feature documentary that shatters assumptions about faith, sexuality, and religious fundamentalism. Built around intimately told personal stories of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who are gay or lesbian, the film portrays a group of people who face a profound dilemma religious identity and tradition in the world. In addition to the 2 discs of the celebrated, award winning film, the dvd version includes the Theatrical trailer; a mini featurette - "TREMBLING ON THE ROAD": A look at the life-changing movement of the film around the world; the Director's Short Film - TOMBOYCHIK; an interview with the Director, Sandi Simcha Dubowski; a conversation with Editor/Creative Collaborator, Susan Korda; More With Rabbi Steve Greenberg: The First Openly Gay Orthodox Rabbi; More interviews With the featured Rabbis; a look Behind the Silhouettes; a profile of Petach Lev: The Trembling Israeli Education Project; Mark: The Musical; a Deleted Scene: Sara and Her Kids who came to do the silhouette lightings; a discussion of What is the Atonement Ceremony for Sexual Sins?, and a list of International Resources, Links and Glossary. Number of discs: 2.
Click to read more.
It Is Necessary to Give. It Is More Necessary to Know How
by Julie Salamon and Suzanne Wickham-Beaird
October 2003. Workman.
Will you be judged by what you have or by what you give? Maimonides (RaMBaM) developed his levels of charitable giving in the 12th Century CE. This book explores the levels of giving and recent thoughts on each level. For example, is it okay to shame a recipient of charity? The publisher adds: How do we become better people? Through helping others. Nearly a thousand years ago the Jewish philosopher and physician Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, known to the Greeks as Maimonides and to Hebrew scholars as Rambam, gave much thought to righteousness. Out of his philosophical exploration came what is known as the Ladder of Charity, and elegantly simple half-page of wisdom spelling out the eight steps of giving. Written with compassion and common sense, the rules are as vital today as they were in the 12th century. Julie Salamon, a New York Times culture writer, creates a short, inspirational book that motivates every reader to get a toehold on the ladder and start climbing, from the bottom rung--"To give begrudgingly," as we often will to a panhandler--to the top, where the gift is such that the receiver becomes self-reliant. In eight chapters, one for each rung, the book helps us navigate the world of giving. How much to give? How do we know if our gifts are being used wisely? Is it better to give anonymously? If giving overly benefits the giver, is somehow corrupt? And it reminds us of the deep vein of charity and goodness that runs through America. With interviews of foundation presidents and small-business owners, multi-millionaires and the homeless who poured out of a Bowery shelter on 9/11 to help straggling survivors, RAMBAM'S LADDER is an uplifting book with a timeless message: give better, and live better. Click the book cover to read more. (visit Tzedaka.ORG)
Hitler's Second Book
by Gerhard L. Weinberg
October 2003. Enigma 10018.
PW writes: "In 1958, while directing the microfilming and organization of a trove of archives that the U.S. forces had taken from the Nazis at the end of WWII, historian Weinberg (A World at Arms) discovered the manuscript of a second book that Hitler had written but never published. The manuscript was published in German in 1961, accompanied by Weinberg's annotations, but this is the first authoritative English version (a pirated and poor translation appeared in the 1960s). The text bears all of Hitler's hallmarks: rambling thoughts, half-baked ideas, pedantic writing-along with a terrifying, sustained belief in war and violence as the means to ensure that Germans would flourish. Compared to Mein Kampf, there are fewer pages devoted to Jews. Nonetheless, what comes across most strongly is Hitler's abiding commitment to the principle of race and his identification of Jews as the enemy that threatened to undo all that Germans had created. Hitler dwells at length on foreign policy, and outlines a strategy of alliance with Fascist Italy and Great Britain. (He actually believed that Britain would accept a German-dominated European continent so long as Germany did not challenge the overseas British empire.) He also foresees an inevitable clash with the United States. This provides solid historical background on Hitler's thinking in the late 1920s, when his party was nothing more than a tiny, radical sect. Weinberg provides helpful notes and a very informative introduction. Click the book cover to read more.
IN SPEECH AND IN SILENCE
The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Living
God In All Moments
Inspirational Teachings for Today's Seeker from the Hasidic Masters
Edited and translated by Or Rose with Ebn D. Leader
October 2003. Jewish Lights.
Teachings on how to be mindful in religious practice, how to behave ethically, and to deepen spirituality in our relationships. Captures Hasidic HANHAGOT. The Hasidic masters often shared short lists of spiritual advice for everyday living with their followers. These notes were copied, carried from place to place, held as treasures, and shared with others. These teachings profoundly summarized how to be mindful in religious practice, how to cultivate everyday ethical behavior, and how to deepen spirituality in our relationships. Practical and personal, these brief teachings are contemplative, and many are designed as visualization exercises, meditations, and mantras. Includes 75 poetic translations of aphorisms from 18th Century Hasidic leaders (as well as one by Arthur Green and one by Hillel Zeitlin). Click the book cover above to read more.
The Man and His Battle for Israeli Conquest
By Efraim Karsh (Kings College, University of London)
October 2003. Grove Press
Professor Karsh writes: .. [The] first comprehensive account of the collapse of the most promising peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and its deterioration into the most violent war between them since their fateful confrontation in 1948. The uniqueness of this book derives from its intention to address these questions from the Arab, and in particular, the Palestinian perspective. Up to this point both scholarly and personal accounts of the Oslo process have by and large emanated from Israeli (and to a lesser extent American) sources, with various architects of the process, former and present political appointees, and commentators assessing Oslo's birth, short term successes and recent failings from a purely Israeli perspective and apportioning blame, praise, guilt and honor on the basis of preconceived positions. Yet Oslo was a bilateral relationship and there can be no real understanding of its essence without a thorough examination of the Palestinian approach to, and role in, the process, not least since it was Arafat who decided to abandon the negotiations and to revert to war. As such, the book will trace the vicissitudes in Palestinian attitudes towards Israel since the establishment of the PLO in the mid-1960's, with a special emphasis on the organization's gradual shift towards the political course following its expulsion from Lebanon in 1982. It will then examine the specific causes underlying Arafat's endorsement of the Oslo process and his subsequent use of this process as a guise for the preparation of the ultimate confrontation with Israel. Throughout the book, the main question to be addressed is whether this shift, and the attendant Oslo Accords, reflected a genuine change of heart toward real acceptance of Israel's existence, or rather a 'Trojan Horse' aimed at bringing the PLO closer to its historic goal of a Palestinian state in place of Israel. This book is neither an indictment nor an apologetic. It is based on the conviction that it is possible to apply the historian's method of detached and systematic inquiry to contemporary international affairs, without losing the sense of drama inherent in such events." Click the book cover above to read more.
Army of Roses
Inside the World of Palestinian Women Suicide Bombers
by Barbara Victor with a foreward by Christopher Dickey
October 2003. Rodale.
An indictment against Palestinian society which exploits women and the culture of martyrdom and death, religious extremism, deprivation, nationalistic fervor and the occupation. Her accusations against the male relatives of these women are devastating, they and Arafat reward and encourage this murderous behavior. After Wafa Idris blew herself up in order to murder Israeli civilians, the author spent a year interviewing families and scholars. . Click the book cover above to read more.
The Fate of Zionism
A Secular Future for Israel & Palestine
by Arthur Hertzberg
October 14, 2003. HarperSF
One of our greatest Jewish thinkers today's plots out a secular course for Zionist and Israel and Palestine. Click the book cover to read more.
A JEW IN AMERICA
by Arthur Hertzberg (DARTMOUTH)
October 14, 2003. Now in Paperback from HarperSF
George Cohen writes, "After an early childhood in Poland, the author came to the U.S. in 1926 as a five-year-old. His family lived in New York for a year, then moved to Youngstown, Ohio, then to Baltimore. There, as a lonely teenager, he was schooled in the Talmud and Hasidic literature by his father, a Hasidic rabbi. Hertzberg himself became a rabbi, an activist, a historian, a professor, and a renowned Jewish scholar; the author of four other books, he is considered in some circles the moral conscience of American Jews. He writes in the prologue to this engaging autobiography that "like my father, I do have the bitterness of someone who has fought for principles in a world that has resisted them, but this is not the book of a bitter rabbi. I have won more battles than I have lost." Click the book cover to read more.
The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism)
By Abraham Foxman (ADL, Bnai Brith)
October 21, 2003. HarperSF
As national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman fights against the menace of intolerance every day. As a result of the disturbing events of the last few years, he is convinced that we currently face as great a threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as we faced in the 1930s. Foxman writes: "Within living memory, we've seen what can happen when a nation or a continent experiences an unrestrained outbreak of anti-Semitism. The Jews of the world -- and all people of goodwill who share their desire for a just and free society -- learned a series of critical lessons from the tragic history of the twentieth century. Today, we understand how important it is to recognize the emergence of new forms of anti-Semitism so that we can warn the world and stave off the worst effects." Anti-Semitism remains a pernicious form of ethnic and religious intolerance, with consequences for all of humankind. In communities from the United States to the Middle East, Europe to South Africa and Latin America, Jews are being persecuted in old and new ways. Exploring the history of anti-Semitism and providing the first comprehensive examination of the new rampant anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide, Never Again? offers a crucial discussion of the steps that must be taken to prevent this century from witnessing a replay of the horrors of the last. Click the book cover to read more.
by Ayelet Waldman
October 2003. Sourcebooks.
Daughter's Keeper is an important, engaging and at times heartbreaking novel about mothers, daughters and justice. Ayelet Waldman mixes family psychology with courtroom tension in a story that catapults self-sufficient Elaine Goodman and her headstrong daughter Olivia into a nightmarish scenario when Olivia falls victim to the ferocity of the war on drugs. Not only does Olivia's Mexican illegal immigrant lover get arrested in a drug deal, but she is pregnant with his child. At the same time, Elaine finally finds a good man to love and with whom to share her life, but the whole incident with Olivia threatens to break up their engagement. A compelling novel that exposes the inequities of U.S. drug laws and the justice and penal system that sees only in black and white, Daughter's Keeper truly shines as a testament to the unshakable bond between mothers and daughters. Click the book cover above to read more.
A Spiritual Guide to Rising Above Life's Financial Ups and Downs
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Yeshiva University
October 2003. AMACOM.
Rabbi Blech has written three books in the "idiot" guides series. Rabbi Blech was a poor rabbi, but he played the market in the Nineties. HE WAS A PAPER MILLIONAIRE. When the market crashed, when the internet bubble burst, he wiped out. His nest egg disappeared. His self worth was measured by the market. He worshipped the golden calf of the DJIA and NASDAQ. He fell into a depression. Who wouldn't? But he looked at cemetery headstones and realized they said good father and son, and not millionaire. He bounced back from his depression and wrote this book. What is it about money that not only makes us feel secure but also drives us to measure our true worth by our financial standing? Whether we've experienced unmet monetary goals, job loss, or outright financial crisis, too many of us have let the stress of financial issues obscure our higher priorities. Taking Stock is a revelatory book filled with the wisdom and practical tools to move toward a view of life in which success is defined by spiritual clarity, not by the promises money seldom delivers. The author has been through his own rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags saga, through which he learned money's true place and value. Examples from his own experience and from community and business life are sprinkled with teachings from the world's religions -- not to mention a healthy dose of common sense. To the religious and nonobservant alike, Taking Stock reveals: the role money plays in our lives; why we envy others for things we don't need; the difference between failure and failing; and how to "start over" using new definitions of success and happiness. The book closes with Prescriptions for Each Day of the Week, each one an inspiring and beautiful story with a gentle, clear moral. With compassion, humor, and profound wisdom, Taking Stock gives readers not only a way to cope, but also a deep appreciation for what they have -- not what they're missing.
The promotional lit for the book promotes the idea that the Bible is Better Than Buffet. Well... I would go with Buffet, since he has a proven track record, and it is easy to pull out biblical quotes to justify any investment. I, for one, enjoyed Chapter 11 the best. Click the book cover above to read more.
CYCLES OF JEWISH LIFE
by Harvey Goldberg, Hebrew University
October 2003. Univ of California Press
Goldberg, a Hebrew University anthropologist, looks at Jewish life sycles with the eye of his chosen field. Looking at classic rites of passage such as circumcision and marriage, along with emerging life-milestone practices like pilgrimage and identity-seeking tourism, Jewish Passages aptly reflects the remarkable cultural and religious diversity within Judaism. This work offers a new view of Jewish culture and history with the individual firmly situated at their center by blending anecdote and historical vignettes with rabbinic, midrashic, and anthropological insights; by exploring Sephardi and Ashkenazi traditions as well as modern ideologies; and by bringing into sharp relief the activities of women and relations with Gentile neighbors. As such, this book provides a unique window on the particulars--and the significance--of personal and communal acts of identification among Jews past, present, and future. You will never look at a BRIS the same way again after reading the book. Click the book cover to read more.
How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Dark Ages
by Richard E. Rubenstein
October 15, 2003. Harcourt.
Pw writes, "..In 12th-century Toledo, in Spain, a group of Christian monks, Jewish sages and Muslim teachers gathered to study a new translation of Aristotle's De Anima (On the Soul). In Rubenstein's dazzling historical narrative, this moment represents both the tremendous influence of Aristotle on these three religions and the culmination of the medieval rediscovery of his writings. In the fourth century B.C., Aristotle fashioned a new system of philosophy, focusing on the material world, whose operations he explained by a series of causes. As Rubenstein (When Jesus Became God) explains, in the second and third centuries A.D., Western Christian scholars suppressed Aristotle's teachings, believing that his emphasis on reason and the physical world challenged their doctrines of faith and God's supernatural power. By the seventh century, Muslims had begun to discover Aristotle's writings. Islamic thinkers such as Avicenna and Averroes, in the 11th and 12 centuries, embraced Aristotle's rationalist philosophy and principles of logic..." Click the book cover above to read more.
POSITION OF THE DAY
SEX EVERYDAY IN EVERY WAY
Edited By nerve.com
October 2003. Chronicle Books.
366 of their very best erotic scenarios into one gloriously chunky, deeply inspiring, and hilarious compendium. Yes, that's 366 - one for each day of the year plus a little something special for leap year! Illustrated with anatomically correct drawn figures, the positions run the lusty gamut from plausible to creative to Honey, get my weight belt, this is going to require some heavy lifting!. Click the book cover above to read more.
JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh
by Jewish Publication Society of America
August 2003. JPS.
Now, for the first time, a pocket version of The JPS Hebrew-English TANAKH is available, with the exact same text and number of pages as our standard edition. The type, though small, is clearly readable, and the letters, Hebrew vowels, and cantillation marks are crisp and clear. The sturdy, coated paperback cover embossed in black with gold lettering is made to endure heavy, constant use. Fitting easily into a backpack, handbag, or briefcase, the new pocket JPS Hebrew-English TANAKH will appeal to students and others who need a lightweight, compact version of this essential JPS text. Click the book cover above to read more.
A LIFE THROUGH SONG
By Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer
October 2003. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Music plays an important role in Westheimer's life, hope and memories, and it can be used to improve your life as well. As the Psalm says, Your laws were like songs to me as I wandered. In this memoir through song, Dr. Ruth invites us to share her story from a uniquely musical perspective. By the time she was thirty, Ruth Westheimer had lived in five countries, each with a distinctive musical culture, each with a different hold on her sensibility. For the first ten years of her life, the comforting melodies of childhood helped drown out the anthems of Nazism to be heard elsewhere in her native Germany; as an adolescent refugee in Switzerland, she came to be aware that, however loudly she sang the patriotic songs of the land that gave her shelter, she could never truly be at home there. Present at the creation of the modern state of Israel, she sang and danced to the new music of a new nation; as a young woman eagerly absorbing all that Paris had to offer in the way of romance and worldliness in the early 1950s, the songs of Edith Piaf, Mouloudji, and Yves Montand were her tutors. An almost accidental emigration to America brought new challenges and new stability, as she became a wife, mother, and professional; tremendous and unforeseen celebrity came later, and with it the giddy opportunity to indulge her love of music as never before. Always, the classical repertoire of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Brahms has drawn Westheimer to a German culture that has belonged-and not belonged-to her throughout her life. And always, the music of the Jewish tradition has given her strength and comfort beyond words.
Affording a view of Dr. Ruth from a rare private vantage point, Musically Speaking offers wondrous testimony to the resilience of the human spirit. This is a book full of color, verve, humor, and wisdom, unfolding gracefully through the beloved music of the Jewish holidays, the lullabies of childhood, the songs that sustained an orphan and roused the courage of a young woman, the melodies that enable a widow grieving for her husband to recall, from deep within the years of love, companionship, and happiness.
Click the book cover above to read more.
THE JEWISH APPROACH to GOD
A Brief Introduction for Christians
By Rabbi Neil Gillman (JTS)
October 2003. Jewish Lights.
A window in to the Jewish understanding of God throughout history: God is Echad (one); God is power; God is Person; God is Nice (sometimes); God is Not Nice (sometimes); God Can Change; God Creates; God Redeems; and God Reveals. How does sin stand in the way of knowing God? What does Judaism teach about the coming of God in the future? Click the book cover above to read more.
My People's Prayer Book, Volume 7
Shabbat at Home
Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries
Edited by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
October 2003. Jewish Lights. The Seventh volume in the eight volume series of My People's Prayer Book.
Essay Authors include Marc Brettler, Michael Chernick, Elliot Dorff, David Ellenson, Ellen Frankel, Alyssa Gray, Joel M. Hoffman, Lawrence A. Hoffman, Lawrence Kushner, Daniel Landes, and Nehemia Polen.
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 6: Tachanun and Concluding Prayers. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 5: Birkhot Hashachar, Morning Blessings. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 4: Seder K'Riat HaTorah. The Shabbat Torah Service. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 3: The Morning Psalms. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 2: The Amidah. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
Click here for: My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 1: The Shma and It's Blessings. by Rabbi Lawrence H Hoffman
ADAM AND EVE'S FIRST SUNSET
GOD'S NEW DAY
By Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (rabbi of Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis)
Fall 2003. Jewish Lights. For ages 4 and up
The sky grew dark and the sun began to set on the first day of Adam and Eve, together. Why was God taking away the sun? How would the plants grow, how would Adam and Eve stay warm? With their first sunset, Adam and Eve must face fear, and feel hope and faith, goodness, and protection. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE FIRST STEPS TO A NEW JEWISH SPIRIT
Reb Zalman's Guide to Recapturing Intimacy and Ecstasy in Your Relationship To God
By Rabbi Zalman M. Schacter-Shalomi with Donald Gropman
October 2003. Jewish Lights.
An updated reissued classic handbook that restores psychic and physical vigor by introducing readers to new models and alternative, meditative, contemplative, prayer-filled, and active ways of practicing Judaism. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE DIVINE SYMPHONY
THE BIBLE'S MANY VOICES
By Israel Knohl (Hebrew University, Hartman Institute)
October 2003. Jewish Publication Society. The author of "The Messiah Before Jesus," Knohl shares his understanding of how the Torah was edited into its final form. He bridges the gap between ancient Israel (c. 1400 - 586 BCE) and Second Temple period (c. 536 BCE - 70 CE) by showing the continuity between those eras and the gradual evolution of the biblical worldview, which formed the foundation of later Rabbinic Judaism. Click the book cover above to read more.
(Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture and Life)
Edited by Ava F. Kahn, Marc Dollinger, Moses Rischin
October 2003. Brandeis University.
In the nineteenth century, a Jewish resident of Hunsch Romania, was told to go to New York or California, where in 1948, gold was found. The illustrated volume is a look at 150 years of Jewish life in California. Essays are on Jews and the gold rush, Jews in Venice, Latino-Jewish relations, kibbutzniks in San Fernando, Jews in Hollywood, the Jewish response to the incarceration of Japanese in WWII, Jews and Catholics in the post-War Bay area, the SDSU and San Diego Jewish life, Jewish women's activism, the Brandeis Camp Institute, and styles of Jewish art. Click the book cover above to read more.
WHEN THE KAISER ROLL WAS KING
By Marvin Korman
October 2003. Korman, a retired VP at Columbia Pictures, provides song suggestions and recipes from his father's Jewish bakery in the Bronx. Chapters include: Uncle Menashe's Magic Challah; Sweet Onion Rolls; Kaiser Rolls; Variation on My Father's Health Bread; Albert's Devil's Food Cake; Amelis Billingsley's Chocolate Pudding; Home-Front Butter Cookies; Brisket of Beef (at a bakery??); and more. Click the book cover above to read more.
JOINING THE SISTERHOOD
YOUNG JEWISH WOMEN WRITE THEIR LIVES
Edited By Tobin Belzer and Julie Pelc
October 2003. SUNY
Essays and poems that offer insight into what it means to be a young Jewish woman today. Young Jewish women engage in almost every aspect of religious and cultural Jewish life, yet their unique perspectives have remained largely invisible. Through poetry and personal essays, Joining the Sisterhood sheds light on the lives of these young women as they search for both personal and universal truths. By writing about their thoughts and experiences, the women in this anthology join the sisterhood of women who work toward justice in their homes, synagogues, and communities. Click the book cover above to read more.
It's a Miracle!
A Hanukkah Storybook
by Stephanie Spinner (Author), Jill McElmurry (Illustrator)
Atheneum; (October 2003)
Every night of Hanukkah, after 7 year old Owen -- the OCL - The Official Candle Lighter -- lights the menorah, Grandma Karen kicks off her cowboy boots and tells him a bedtime story. On the first night there's the inspiring story of a girl who dreams of becoming a rabbi (just like Owen's cousin, Shira). There is a story about a dentist who trains a parrot named Dreidel. On the fourth night there's the amazing story of the alien who gets lost in a little girl's backyard. And on the seventh night there's the silly story about a boy who wants to be a baby...and whose parents let him! Join Owen in discovering how each of these stories is also a celebration of his own heritage in this heartwarming book about faith, family, and the miracle of Hanukkah. Includes Hanukkah prayers at the end and backgrounder. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Stone Lamp
Eight Stories Of Hanukkah Through History
by Karen Hesse, Brian Pinkney)
Hyperion. Fall 2003
The story of Hanukkah is the story of triumph of light over darkness, of the small miracles that give hope to an entire people. In a series of eight powerful and evocative free-verse poems, award-winning author Karen Hesse captures the resilient spirit of the Jewish people through the voices of eight children at Hanukkah. The children-from Tamara in 12th-century England and Jeremie in 13th-century France to Havva in 17th-century Turkey and Ori in 20th-century Israel-have all experienced loss and hardship. But they are united by love, family, and their cherished stone lamp. The stone lamp provides each with comfort and hope, for every time its wicks are lit, the endurance of the Jewish people is re-illumined. Click the book cover above to read more.
by Roni Schotter and Marylin Hafner
This National Jewish Book Award recipient is now available as a BOARD BOOK for Ages 0 to 3. The perfect way to introduce preschoolers to the Festival of Lights, this irresistible package comes with a chubby board book about Hanukkah and two wooden dreidels. The brightly illustrated book describes the many ways Hanukkah is celebratedClick the book cover above to read more.
by Roni Schotter and Marylin Hafner
THE NON BOARD VERSION AND AWARD WINNER
This National Jewish Book Award recipient is now available as a BOARD BOOK for Ages 0 to 3. The perfect way to introduce preschoolers to the Festival of Lights, this irresistible package comes with a chubby board book about Hanukkah and two wooden dreidels. The brightly illustrated book describes the many ways Hanukkah is celebrated. Click the book cover above to read more.
LOTS OF LATKES
A HANUKKAH STORY
by Sandy Lanton. Illus Vicki Jo Redenbaugh
October 2003. kar-ben
Long ago in a faraway village, an old woman, Rivka-Leah, invites four friends to a Hanukkah dinner. Each guest plans to bring something to share. Moshe, a dairy farmer, will bring sour cream. Chana, who works in an apple orchard, will come with applesauce. Others will bring fish and jelly doughnuts. But then a cow kicks over the sour cream. The apples of the orchard are rotten. All these problems result in each of the four friends coming with latkes instead (not even a prune Danish?). Everyone has a good time. Cartoon illustrations in soft colors are appropriate for the lighthearted story. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE LIGHTS OF HANUKKAH
A BOOK OF MENORAHS
By Barbara Rush
October 2003. 62 color photos of Menorahs. Click the book cover above to read more.
Click here for The Jewish Spirit
Click here for The Jewish Year
Click here for Levana's Table
Click here for Mazal Tov!
Click here for Jewish Holidays Year Round
In Black and White
The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr.
by Wil Haygood
October 7, 2003. Knopf.
Based on over 250 interviews, this is an exhaustive study of Davis, an identity shifter and entertainer. Sammy Davis Jr. was, for decades, one of the most recognizable figures in the cultural landscape, his image epitomizing a golden age of American show business. His career spanned a lifetime, but for years he has remained hidden behind the persona he so vigorously generated, and so fiercely protected. Four-year-old Sammy ran onto a vaudeville stage one night and stole the show. From then on it was a motherless childhood on the road, singing and dancing his way across a segregated America with his father and the formidable showman Will Mastin (Will Mastin Trio), struggling together to survive the Depression and the demise of vaudeville itself. With an obsessive need for applause, Sammy drove his way into the nightclub circuit of the 1940s and 1950s, when, his father and Mastin aging and out of style, he slowly began to make a name for himself, hustling his way to top billing and eventually to recording contracts. From there, he was to stake his claim on Broadway, in Hollywood, and, of course, in Las Vegas. Haygood brings Sammy's showbiz life into full relief against the backdrop of an America in the throes of racial change. He made his living entertaining white people but was often denied service in the very venues he played. In his broad and varied friendships and alliances (with Frank Sinatra; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Richard Nixon; Sidney Poitier; Marilyn Monroe, to name just a few), not to mention his romances (his relationship with Kim Novak and his marriage to the blond beauty May Britt drew death threats), he forged uncharted paths across racial lines.... .Click the book cover above to read more.
THE SLEEPING FATHER
By Matthew Sharpe
October 2003. Soft Skull Press
The Sleeping Father begins with a divorced dad who inadvertently combines two incompatible anti-depressant medications, goes into a coma, has a stroke, and emerges with brain damage. His teenage son-the protagonist of the book, Chris-and his teenage daughter-Cathy-inherit money from their grandfather and decide to rehabilitate him on their own. Absent an adequate father, the children decide to make one, bringing with it a host of difficulties and opportunities. Chris tries everything from sex to capitalism in his search for guidance on the path to adulthood and Cathy, believing her secular Jewishness inadequate in the provision of a benign & divine Father, looks to Catholicism for solace and meaning. The Sleeping Father explores the shift in the way Americans think about mental health: away from regarding ourselves as being shaped by our upbringings and toward regarding ourselves as being shaped by the chemicals in our bloodstreams. The American family, in this novel, emerges as a microcosm of larger social institutions; Moms and Dads as in-home teachers, priests, presidents, and CEOs. In focusing on the Schwartz family in crisis, Sharpe addresses the larger crisis in faith and authority in contemporary American life. Click the book cover above to read more.
IN MY FATHER'S BAKERY
A BRONX MEMOIR
By Marvin Korman
October 2003. Korman, a retired VP at Columbia Pictures, restores to life the lives of his family in the Bronx, bakeries, Yankees, cards, Jews, ethnics. Filled with precious vignettes. Click the book cover above to read more.
EXODUS TO BERLIN
THE RETURN OF JEWS TO GERMANY
by PETER LAUFER
October 2003. Dee
Laufer writes of the resurgence of the Jewish community in Germany, which began after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, and the simultaneous rise of neo-Nazi, racist, nationalistic, and anti-Semitic violence. At the beginning of this century, Germany became the nation with the fastest-growing population of Jews in the world. Laufer informs us "this unexpected surge of Jews into a reunified Germany not only surprised both Jews and Germans, it occurred without much of the world noticing." He explains that thousands of mostly Russian and Ukrainian Jews are seeking and receiving sanctuary from the anti-Semitism, violence, and economic chaos "that distort the former Soviet Union and its former satellites." By 2003, more than 100,000 Jews had gone to Germany. Laufer's research includes dozens of interviews with Jews and neo-Nazis. Although government-provided benefits help the Jews establish themselves in Germany, the idea of Jews moving there remains repugnant for some. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE SECRETS OF THE JEWS
Author of Les Secrets de l'Exode : l'origine égyptienne des Hébreux
by Roger Sabbah
October 2003. Carnot
One of the most peculiar books of the year. It comes from the publisher of a series of books on UFO's, the "truth" of 9-11, and crop circles, and moon landings, if you catch my drift...... Sabbah is the grandson of Rabbi Lahmi of Morocco (meknes) and he practiced medicine in Abidjian Ivory Coast. He then got involved in export-import and traveled a lot to Egypt. I met with the publisher and author. But their French inflected English was too difficult for me to understand. This is the first of a trilogy that will show the links between ancient Egypt and the creation of the Hebrew Bible. Sabbah's claim is that Egyptologists have failed to link the stories of Genesis with ancient Egyptian history. Book One shows the link between the story of Moses and Ramses. Click the book cover above to read more.
The House of Jacob
by Sylvie Courtine-Denamy, Julia Kristeva
William Sayers (Translator)
October 2003. Cornell University Press
In this touching and beautifully written book, Sylvie Courtine-Denamy traces her family's exile after their expulsion in 1492 at the time of Spanish unification. Their journey leads her to the exotic ports of Salonika, Constantinople, Bayonne, and Varna, to the cosmopolitan centers of Vienna and Paris, to America and Israel, and to Auschwitz. As she notes, while place and time separate us from those we love or never knew, something continues to link us. For Courtine-Denamy this "something" is, in part, language-the Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) that is still spoken, whether on the banks of the Danube, on the Aegean Sea, or along the quays of the Seine. This powerful and moving Sephardic history of one woman's family will strike a chord with those who have experienced exile and displacement. Julia Kristeva's foreword, which describes the book as being like a "refreshing spring shower," unearths a political intention in this carefully crafted story. One of the undercurrents in The House of Jacob, she notes, seems to be an implied criticism of the language policies of the State of Israel, in particular the imposition of the "sacred" language of Hebrew as a medium of everyday exchange, of domesticity, and of intimacy. Courtine-Denamy presents Sephardic culture as a counterpoint to the perceived prevalence of Ashkenazi culture in forming Jewish identity. Click the book cover above to read more.
Stories from the Last Frontier
by Boris Fishman (editor)
Wild East: Stories From the Last Frontier is a unique and timely anthology of great writing about one of the most fractious, mercurial, maladjusted and misunderstood corners of the globe in a generation. Eastern Europe since 1990 has been a crossroads of iron rule, cowboy commerce, old hatreds and new licentiousness. In other words, a place where literature thrives, as it does in the wake of all great upheavals. Wild East collects the most urgent dispatches from some of our most gifted cultural correspondents. Drug-addled New Russians preaching business-speak and "empowerment" on Nevsky Prospect. A curious and pressing need for a Parisian blowtorch in the fields of fire in Sarajevo. The romantic assignment of a particularly fetching Czech intelligence officer. These are the subjects of Wild East, a lusty and raucous anthology of stories about the bohemians, danger junkies, and thrill-seekers reveling in the cultural, social, political and sexual renaissance that followed the fall of the iron curtain. Twelve of today's best young writers, including Arthur Phillips, Gary Shteyngart, Aleksandar Hemon, Charlotte Hobson, Paul Greenberg and John Beckman brilliantly explore the proposition "Prague in the 90s was like Paris in the 20s." With a dozen new and selected stories, Wild East showcases fresh and fascinating work by some of the brightest young literary lights writing today. Click the book cover above to read more.
An Anthropology of the Jews
by Melvin Konner (Emory University)
Fall 2003. Viking
In this intellectually rich and passionately written history, anthropologist Melvin Konner takes the whole sweep of Western civilization as his canvas and onto it places the Jewish people and faith. Drawing on archaeological findings, census data, religious texts, diaries, poetry, oral histories, and more, Konner shows how the Jews shaped the world around them and how this largely hostile but at times accepting world shaped Jewish practice, culture, and success. We see how the facts of oppression and ongoing diaspora led to the rise of Jewish literacy, education, trade, and influence that continue to make their mark today. Konner takes the reader from the pastoral tribes of the Bronze Age to enslavement in the Roman Empire, from the converses fleeing the Spanish Inquisition to eighteenth-century European villages, from the darkness of the Holocaust to the creation of Israel and the flourishing of Jews in America. The result is a unique and comprehensive portrait of the major events, people, traditions, and turning points of the Jewish people and faith. Filled with vivid images and fresh historical interpretations, Unsettled promises to take its place next to Paul Johnson's History of the Jews and Thomas Cahill's The Gifts of the Jews. Stuart Schoffman calls it a "labor of love... seems much more an athology than an anthropology of the Jews, with an emphasis on literature no less than on social behavior." Click the book cover above to read more.
JEWISH NEW YORK
By Ira Wolfman
A beautifully illustrated guide to Jewish life in the metropolis: Jewish New York celebrates Jewish life in New York City from the seventeenth century to the present through a selection of photographs, memorabilia, souvenirs, manuscripts, postcards, maps, and much more. Each chapter is illustrated with photographs, paintings, quotes, and ephemera that bring to life different aspects of Jewish life in New York, past and present. Beautifully packaged as a gift book, yet handy, practical, and inspiring, Jewish New York is of equal interest to tourists, newcomers, native New Yorkers, or anyone captivated by the history and culture in the "capital" of Jewish life in America. The book takes the reader on a visual journey behind the scenes and covers such topics as: Who Are the New York Jews? Where They Lived; How They Made a Living; a Tradition of Philanthropy; the Joys of New York Jewish Food; Yiddish Theater, Artists, Musicians, and Comedians; Synagogues and Celebrations. Click the book cover above to read more.
By the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Reissue. Fall 2003.
One of the greatest Jewish books of the Twentieth Century is reissued for Fall 2003 with a new cover. One of the country's most widely respected and loved religious leaders offers a profound, scholarly, and beautiful meditation on the nature and celebration of the Seventh Day, rooted in the thesis that Judaism is a religion of time, not space, and that the Sabbath symbolizes the sanctification of time. Click the book cover above to read more.
Wise Men and Their Tales
Portraits of Biblical, Talmudic, and Hasidic Masters
by Elie Wiesel
Schocken. October 2003.
In Wise Men and Their Tales, a master teacher gives us his fascinating insights into the lives of a wide range of biblical figures, Talmudic scholars, and Hasidic rabbis. The matriarch Sarah, fiercely guarding her son, Isaac, against the negative influence of his half-brother Ishmael; Samson, the solitary hero and protector of his people, whose singular weakness brought about his tragic end; Isaiah, caught in the middle of the struggle between God and man, his messages of anger and sorrow counterbalanced by his timeless, eloquent vision of a world at peace; the saintly Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, who by virtue of a lifetime of good deeds was permitted to enter heaven while still alive and who tried to ensure a similar fate for all humanity by stealing the sword of the Angel of Death. Elie Wiesel tells the stories of these and other men and women who have been sent by God to help us find the godliness within our own lives. And what interests him most about these people is their humanity, in all its glorious complexity. They get angry-at God for demanding so much, and at people, for doing so little. They make mistakes. They get frustrated. But through it all one constant remains-their love for the people they have been charged to teach and their devotion to the Supreme Being who has sent them. In these tales of battles won and lost, of exile and redemption, of despair and renewal, we learn not only by listening to what they have come to tell us, but by watching as they live lives that are both grounded in earthly reality and that soar upward to the heavens. Click the book cover above to read more.
A Woman's Story of Conversion to Judaism
by Linda M. Shires
October 2003. Westview Press
A beautifully personal and engaging story of the wonders and struggles of life as a "newly" Jewish wife and mother.
She grew up in an upper-middle-class Protestant family in New England. She can trace her father's family back to the Mayflower. Yet, "Judaism was to be my bashert, my destiny," claims Linda Shires-wife, mother, professor, and author. For almost twenty years, she lived the life of a Jewish wife, passing as a Jew when it was most important to her Jewish husband and his family. When she wanted to be, she was Christian. But after years of questioning, raising her husband's three children as Jews, and finally trying to ground her child in one religious tradition, Shires discovered her own. Coming Home tells the story of why Shires traded a central cultural position-WASP Debutante-for a position at the margins: a Jew-by-Choice. She became committed to a life of religious rebirth and observance. Her book is a quietly passionate and spiritual one, leading the reader from the privileged halls of Princeton to the Holocaust camps of Germany and back again. This richly felt story of conversion to Judaism expands the reader's idea of what constitutes a spiritual journey and a religious practice. Click the book cover above to read more.
IN THE IMAGE
by DARA HORN
Fall 2003. WW Norton. Paperback edition
A young woman's coming of age, a romantic love story, and a spiritual journey-each infused with the lessons of history. In the Image is an extraordinary first novel illuminated by spiritual exploration, one that remembers "a language, a literature, a held hand, an entire world lived and breathed in the image of God." Bill Landsmann, an elderly Jewish refugee in a New Jersey suburb with a passion for travel, is obsessed with building his slide collection of images from the Bible that he finds scattered throughout the world. The novel begins when he crosses paths with his granddaughter's friend, Leora, and continues by moving forward through her life and backward through his, revealing the unexpected links between his family's past and her family's future. Not just a first novel but a cultural event-a wedding of secular and religious forms of literature-In the Image neither lives in the past nor seeks to escape it, but rather assimilates it, in the best sense of the word, honoring what is lost and finding, among the lost things, the treasures that can renew the present. Reading group guide included. Click the book cover above to read more.
by MARLEEN S. BARR
Fall 2003. Univ of Wisconsin Press
What would happen if a feminist Jewish wit and scholar invaded David Lodge's territory? Marleen S. Barr, herself a pioneer in the feminist criticism of science fiction, provides a giddily entertaining answer in this feisty novel. Oy Pioneer! follows professor Sondra Lear as she makes her inimitable way through a world of learning-at times fantastic, at times all too familiar, often hilarious, and always compulsively interesting. As if Mel Brooks and Erica Jong had joined forces to recreate Sex and the City for the intellectual set, the story is a heady mix of Jewish humor, feminist insight, and academic satire. Lear is a tenured radical and a wildly ambitious intellectual, but is subject nonetheless to the husband-hunting imperatives of her Jewish mother. Her adventures expand narrative parameters according to Barr's term "genre fission." Mixing elements of science fiction, fantasy, ethnic comedy, satire, and authentic experience of academic life, Oy Pioneer! is uncommonly fun-a Jewish feminist scholar's imaginative text boldly going where no academic satire has gone before-and bringing readers along for an exhilarating ride. Click the book cover above to read more.
A MATCH MADE IN HELL
THE JEWISH BOY AnD THE POLISH OUTLAW WHO DEFIED THE NAZIS
by LARRY STILLMAN from the testimony of Morris Goldner
Fall 2003. Univ of Wisconsin Press
When Moniek (Morris) Goldner and his family were uprooted from their Polish farming village during a German aktion, the child-sized sixteen-year-old fled into the forests. He eventually met up with his father, who had also escaped, and together they managed to survive until a former friend betrayed the pair. Wounded and left for dead beneath his father's murdered body, Goldner was rescued by the enigmatic outlaw Jan Kopec, who was also in hiding, looking for ways to profit from his criminal expertise. For eighteen months Kopec hid the boy with him, moving from one area to another, often staying in hideouts he had fashioned years earlier. At first Kopec trained Goldner simply to serve as his accomplice in robberies and black market activities. But before long he pushed the training to a whole new level, making it possible for him to sell Goldner's services to a shadowy resistance group which was becoming interested in the daring young saboteur. And through it all, these two disparate personalities-the quiet, small-framed boy and the stocky, callous mercenary-forged an remarkable friendship and co-dependency born of need and desperation in a hellish time and place. Click the book cover above to read more.
by LETTY COTTIN POGREBIN
Fall 2003. Penguin. Paperback edition
The Wasserman sisters couldn't be more different-but somehow, they must find a way to come together. Shoshanna, the control freak, falls to pieces in the shadow of an impending big birthday. Leah, the brilliant English professor, crusading feminist, and passionately conflicted wife and mother, faces the prospect of losing the husband she has always taken for granted. Rachel, who has papered over her losses with an athlete's discipline and a pragmatism bordering on self-sacrifice, watches her world crumble but finds her destiny in the ruins. Confronting old wounds and forging new bonds, these three daughters of a complicated, charismatic father slowly unite as a force to be reckoned with as they struggle to break their parents' silence and understand their past. Click the book cover above to read more.
TEN THOUSAND LOVERS
by EDEET RAVEL
Fall 2003. Perennial. Paperback edition
Israel, 1970s. Lily, a young emigrant student exploring the wonders and terrors of her new land, finds the man of her dreams -- Ami, a former actor. Handsome, intelligent, and exciting, but like his beautiful, disintegrating country, Ami has a terrible flaw -- he is an army interrogator. As Ami and Lily's unexpected passion grows, so too does the shadow that hangs over them. They must face the unspeakable horrors of Ami's work and their uncertain future.
While set in the '70s, Ten Thousand Lovers is a brilliant and terrifyingly contemporary tale of passion, suffering, and the transcending power of love. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE TRUE STORY OF HANSEL AND GRETEL
A NOVEL OF WAR AND REMEMBRANCE
by LOUISE MURPHY
2003. Penguin Paperback edition
In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed "Hansel" and "Gretel." They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called "witch" by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children. Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story. Click the book cover above to read more.
Desire and Delusion
by Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931), Margret Schaefer (Translator)
October 2003. Ivan R Dee
Dying, Flight into Darkness, and Fräulein Else reveal the depths of Schnitzler's psychological and moral understanding of life as well as the masterful storytelling techniques that immerse the reader into the very center of his characters' thoughts and emotions. "The tales of Arthur Schnitzler--especially as rendered in Margret Schaefer's clear, uncluttered translations--are many suggestive, allusive, and dreamlike things. But they are most certainly not the work of a period writer. (Wash Post)" The third novella, ''Fraulein Else'' (1924), makes it into the literary histories as the earliest sustained example of stream of consciousness writing in German. Else is a pretty woman, not yet 21, on holiday in Tyrol with wealthier cousins. When the story begins, she's just abandoning a tennis match to go back to the hotel, where she's been told by telegram to expect an express letter from her mother. The news is dire: her father is in sudden urgent need of a large sum of money; the parents have tried all the avenues open to them in Vienna, without any success; then it occurs to her mother that one Herr von Dorsday, a wealthy art dealer staying at the same hotel, who might even be thought to owe them a favor, could be approached (NYT). Click the book cover above to read more.
A Path to Peace and Reconciliation
by Michael Lerner
October 2003. North Atlantic salmon press
Publishers Weekly wrote, "Rabbi Lerner, founder of the progressive Jewish journal Tikkun, may or may not have the answer to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but he does have answers for progressive Jews who are trying to find a way of understanding the conflict and find a stance that is pro-Israel without being anti-Palestinian. "The first step in the process of healing is to tell the story of how we got where we are in a way that avoids demonization," he writes. So he relates the history of Zionism and the state of Israel in a way that acknowledges both the rights, and the wrongs, of Jews and Palestinians alike. His evenhandedness may irritate readers who feel strongly for one side or the other, but his answers to tough questions (why should Israelis deal in good faith with the Palestinian people? How can the violence end when some Palestinians want to destroy Israel?) will aid many who are perplexed by the complexity of the region's long-lasting conflict." Click the book cover above to read more.
Israelis and Palestinians
Why do they fight?
Can they stop?
by Bernard Wasserstein
Fall 2003. Yale University Press
Publishers Weekly wrote, "As of this fall a professor of history at the University of Chicago, Wasserstein (Divided Jerusalem: The Struggle for the Holy City) finds that, despite reports to the contrary, "neither Jews nor Arabs, in their collective behaviour, are animated by crazed psychopathy. They fight over definable interests, motivated by comprehensible value-systems, in pursuit of identifiable goals." Both, Wasserstein argues, are focused on "population, land, work, security, and dignity," and the bulk of the book is devoted to clearly and substantively laying out the specifics. And with good reason, since each nationalism "is now near the end of its tether."" Click the book cover above to read more.
BEYOND THE PALE
by Elana Dykewomon
Beyond the Pale -winner of the Lambda Literary Award - tells the stories of two Jewish women living through times of darkness and inhumanity in the early 20th century, capturing their undaunted love and courage in luminous and moving prose. The richly textured novel details Gutke Gurvich's odyssey from her apprenticeship as a midwife in a Russian shtetl to her work in the suffrage movement in New York. Interwoven with her tale is that Chava Meyer, who was attended by Gurvich at her birth and grew up to survive the pogrom that took the lives of her parents. Throughout the book, historical background plays a large part: Jewish faith and traditions, the practice of midwifery, the horrific conditions in prerevolutionary Russia and New York sweatshops, and the determined work of labor unionists and suffragists. Click the book cover above to read more.
Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers
An Intimate Journey Among Hasidic Girls
by Stephanie Wellen Levine, Carol Gilligan
Just in time for Jewish Book Month comes this absorbing book. From the ardently religious young woman who longs for the life of a male scholar to the young rebel who visits a strip club, smokes pot, and agonizes over her loss of faith to the proud Lubavitcher with a desire for a high-powered career, Stephanie Wellen Levine provides a rare glimpse into the inner worlds and daily lives of these Hasidic girls. Levine spent a year living in the Lubavitch community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, participating in the rhythms of Hasidic girlhood. Drawing on many intimate hours among Hasidim and over 30 in-depth interviews, Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers offers rich portraits of individual Hasidic young women and how they deal with the conflicts between the regimented society in which they live and the pull of mainstream American life. Perhaps counterintuitively for those who envision meek, religious girls confined within very structured roles, Levine finds that on the whole, these young Hasidic women seem more confident and have a greater sense of self than many of their mainstream peers. Levine explores why this might be the case, and what we can learn from their example for girls' positive development more generally. Click to read more.
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BEHIND THE VEIL OF SILENCE
NORTH AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN JEWISH WOMEN SPEAK OUT
By Loolwa Khazzoom
See www.Sealpress.com or www.Loolwa.com
Loolwa brings to the public eye a world often hidden from view. Anthology contributors bridge divisions between Arab and Jew, East and West, and they are impacted directly by tensions between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Contributors possess the refreshing lens of those on the edge, insiders and outsiders to many different worlds. Pushed and pulled by the strong currents of today's identity politics, they remain steadfast and refuse to be defined as "other" or "less than" by any of the communities to which they belong. As such, their stories sweep readers into a surprising journey of discovery. Each essay unveils the rich, multi-colored texture of identities commonly portrayed as one-dimensional or black & white. Seventeen women share the joys and struggles of stepping forth from the shadows, demanding to be heard. Vivid, gripping narratives include the daring of a young Libyan woman who single-handedly rescued her family from assassination; the defiance of the first Yemenite woman in rabbinical school; and the sexual rebellion of a traditional Iranian woman who grew up wearing a veil. Includes: Farideh Dayanim-Goldin (Feathers and Hair); Ruth Knafo-Setton (The Life and Times of Ruth of the Jungle); Gina Bublil-Waldman (Souvenir From Libya); Julie Iny (Ashkenazi Eyes); Bahareh Mobasseri-Rinsler (Vashti); Yael Arami (A Synagogue of One's Own); Rachel Wahba (Benign Ignorance or Persistent Resistance; Ella Shohat, Tikva Levy, Mira Eliezer (Mizrahi Women in Israel); Mojgan Moghadam-Rahbar (Secrets); Kyla Wazana (Baby, You Are On Your Own); Hanriette Dahan-Calev (Illusion in Assimilation); Homa Sarshar (In Exile at Home); Caroline Smadja (The Search to Belong); Ella Shohat (Reflections of an Arab Jew); Lital Levy (The Flying Camel); and Loolwa Khazzoom (We Are Here, and This Is Ours).
Twelve Spiritual Practices I Learned from Judaism
By Lauren F. Winner
November 2003. In her groundbreaking book, Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner described her path from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity. Now, with characteristic wit, intellectual sharpness, and passion for authenticity, Winner illuminates twelve spiritual lessons that Judaism taught her. By reflecting deeply on these religious practices and how they shape and inform her faith as a Christian, Winner provides a fascinating guide for all Christians seeking to enrich their spiritual lives through a deeper understanding of Judaism. Chapter titles are: Shabbat, Kashrut, Avelut (Mourning), Kiddushin (weddings), Hachnassat Orchim (hospitality), Tzedakah, Tefillah, guf (body), tzum (fasting), hiddur pnai zeken (aging), hadlakat nerot (candle lighting), mezuzot (doorposts). Click the book cover above to read more.
My Life in Comedy, With Love and Laughter
by Sid Caesar, Eddy Friedfeld
November 2003. So many of our greatest comedy writers--Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Woody Allen--were part of Sid Caesar's creative troupe. Sid was a master not only of comedic performance, but also of developing characters that the audience could relate to, finding the humor in ordinary situations rather than through vaudeville-type gags. His was a comedy truly drawn from the human condition. Caesar's Hours is Sid Caesar 's artistic autobiography, his account of how these great routines were fashioned and performed, and the interactions that gave birth to them. He takes us inside the famed writers' room, the rehearsal studios, and onto the stage itself, where some of the funniest moments in television history came to life. To read his book is to learn why his intelligent and sensitive brand of humor resonates so much with us, even half a century later. Click the book cover above to read more.
Beautiful as the Moon, Radiant as the Stars
Jewish Women in Yiddish Stories
by Sandra Bark
November 2003. For fans of Jonathan Safran Foer, Nathan Englander, Cynthia Ozick, and Anita Diamant comes one of the first collections of stories about Yiddish women writers. Written by both male and female writers, the stories in this anthology focus on the female Ashkenazic experience during the 19th and 20th centuries. The women in these fascinating, often shocking, stories range from rebellious daughters and reluctant brides to cunning businesswomen and vengeful midwives. The issues they face, while particular to their place in history, will still resonate with modern readers. Assimilation and anti-Semitism are hot-button debate topics; themes of love, family, and loss are universal. This extensive collection contains the original stories that inspired Fiddler on the Roof and Yentl; an early Yiddish story by Dvora Baron, the first modern Hebrew writer; a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer and one by his sister, Esther Singer Kreitman. Click the book cover above to read more.
by Antonio Munoz Molina, translated from Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden
November/December 2003. Harcourt
Readers of MyJewishBooks.com will recall that a few years ago, we mentioned this hot new Spanish book that was tearing up the bookstores in Spain. Well the great editors at Harcourt knew a good thing when they smelled it, and we now have it in an English translation. So here, from one of Spain's most celebrated writers, an extraordinary, inspired book-at once fiction, history, and memoir-that draws on the Sephardic diaspora, the Holocaust, and Stalin's purges to tell a twentieth-century story. Shifting seamlessly from the past to the present and following the routes of escape across countries and continents, Muñoz Molina evokes people real and imagined who come together in a richly allusive pattern-from Eugenia Ginsburg to Grete Buber-Neumann, the one on a train to the gulag, the other to a Nazi concentration camp; from a shoemaker and a nun who become lovers in a small town in Spain to Primo Levi bound for Auschwitz. And others-some well known, others unknown-all voices of separation, nostalgia, love, and endless waiting. Written with clarity of vision and passion, in a style both lyrical and accessible, Sepharad makes the experience our own. A brilliant achievement. The Mercantile Library wrote, "Munoz Molina's second novel to be translated into English (after Prince of Shadows) is a brilliant series of literary meditations on the nature of memory and evil. Franz Kafka wanders like a phantasm throughout, and many other writers who have explored the persistence of the past serve as individual touchstones, Marcel Proust, Primo Levi, and Joseph Conrad among them. The chapters are individual tales of travel through time and space, during which the narrator meets someone who tells him a story of horror related to the major holocausts of the 20th century, in particular those perpetrated by Hitler and Stalin. Though Spanish Jews often did not suffer directly from such persecution, they are effectively linked through such devices as cultural or political ties, a disillusioned Communist, a displaced Hungarian shopkeeper now in Tangiers, and the author himself. A sad and perhaps unintended irony is that this book, originally published in Spain in 2001, ends in New York with a view of the World Trade Center. The richness of Munoz Molina's writing emerges from Peden's exemplary translation, and the book should take its place alongside such Holocaust-related works as Aharon Appelfeld's The Iron Tracks." Click the book cover above to read more.
The Liberated Bride
by A.B. Yehoshua (Author), Hillel Halkin (Translator)
November 3, 2003. Harvest Books.
Yohanan Rivlin, a professor at Haifa University, is a man of boundless and often naive curiosity. His wife, Hagit, a district judge, is tolerant of almost everything but her husband's faults and lies. Frequent arguments aside, they are a well-adjusted couple with two grown sons. When one of Rivlin's students-a young Arab bride from a village in the Galilee-is assigned to help with his research in recent Algerian history, a two-pronged mystery develops. As they probe the causes of the bloody Algerian civil war, Rivlin also becomes obsessed with his son's failed marriage. What is the roots of the divorce and what are the roots of Algerian terror. Rivlin's search leads to a number of improbable escapades. In this comedy of manners, at once deeply serious and highly entertaining, Yehoshua brilliantly portrays characters from disparate sectors of Israeli life, united above all by a very human desire for, and fear of, the truth in politics and life.
Okay readers.. take note.. notice how everything that starts never finishes.. a student's coursework doesn't get done, the marriage doesn't get fulfilled, a scholar's life is cut short, a pregnancy doesn't come to full term or maybe never was true, kind of like the Peace Process. No? Click the book cover above to read more.
by Yehoshua Kenaz, Dalya Bilu (Translator)
Fall 2003. Zoland Books.
PW writes, "Hailed as Kenaz's masterpiece when it was first published in 1986, this mammoth novel by one of Israel's leading novelists (The Way to the Cats; Musical Moment) is a powerful exploration of military life and Israeli society in microcosm. Set in 1955, a few years after the Israeli War of Independence, the novel follows recruits on the army's Training Base Four, a camp for those medically disqualified from ordinary service. United only by their weaknesses (" `Defective combat-worthiness! Medical Grade B!... We're going to get basic training for girls!' "), the soldiers are a mix of sabras, Arabs and European immigrants. Melabbes, the first-person narrator, is a socially awkward sabra who would rather observe than act. He becomes friends with Avner, a rash, gregarious romantic from a humble family who resents the rich, cliquish "Jerusalemites" on the base. Alon, a kibbutznik with a strong belief in collective responsibility, is disheartened by his instructors and struggles to live up to his ideals, gradually abandoning his dreams of being a military hero. The group's outcast is Ben-Hamo, an Israeli Arab, who is continuously ostracized, ridiculed and even beaten. The interactions of these and other characters reflect larger questions of weakness, loneliness, friendship, historical duty and the future of Israel. Kenaz builds his narrative out of countless conversations, meticulous descriptions of everyday life in 1950s Israel and searching observations of national dynamics. Though the novel may not have the moral weight of Solzhenitsyn's epics, it has their social sweep. Like the Soviet Union, Israel began as a daring social and political experiment, and Kenaz's exploration of its origins and nature is at once encyclopedic and tenderly human." Click the book cover above to read more.
The Faith of George W. Bush
by Stephen Mansfield
There are many one-issue voters who will vote to re-elect Dubya Bush, since he is so good for Israel. There are some who say that his faith and Christianity influence his views on Israel and the Presidency. In this first spiritual biography of George W. Bush, the author explores the role of evangelical Christianity on Bush and his policies. Although the author wrote it in 60 days and purposely never met the President, his book allows us to see how George W. Bush interjects his faith and belief in God into every detail of his life. From the President's devotional time alone each morning to his frequent incorporation of Scripture into his speeches, Bush relies upon his faith to direct his actions and goals. In 1986, Bush responded to the Biblical conversion story of the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus by asking Jesus to be his friend, and as a result he overcame a growing dependence upon alcohol and turned to the Bible to save his marriage and his family. During his presidential campaign, he brought leading pastors to his governor's mansion to lay hands on him and pray for his future, telling them that he had been "called" to seek higher office. He told someone, "I feel like God wants me to run for president. I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. . . . I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it." Mansfield also reports: "Aides found him face down on the floor in prayer in the Oval Office. It became known that he refused to eat sweets while American troops were in Iraq, a partial fast seldom reported of an American president. And he framed America's challenges in nearly biblical language. Saddam Hussein is an evildoer. He has to go." The author concludes: " . . . the Bush administration does deeply reflect its leader, and this means that policy, even in military matters, will be processed in terms of the personal, in terms of the moral, and in terms of a sense of divine purpose that propels the present to meet the challenges of its time." An interesting bio to skim. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness
A Storyteller's Story
by Joel Ben Izzy
November 2003. PW writes: "...After undergoing surgery to remove thyroid cancer, ben Izzy lost his voice-the instrument of not only his art, but also his livelihood [as a storyteller]. Telling himself that a return to the routine of performance would spark a recovery, ben Izzy accepted an offer to perform at a bar mitzvah, but only "whispers and gasps" emerged. Retreating into self-pity, anger, hopelessness and sullen solitude, the author searched, like the protagonists in the stories he used to tell, for a spiritual explanation of the loss. He reconnected with his estranged, cantankerous mentor, who offered support by telling dizzyingly enigmatic stories hinting at the idea that ben Izzy had been given a magical gift by losing his voice. When a doctor suggested he might be able to help ben Izzy speak again in a risky procedure, ben Izzy's wife told him she liked him better without it, an incident the author does not satisfyingly explain. But ben Izzy successfully translates the best elements of oral storytelling to the page; his memoir shines with brisk suspense as well as his unerring, precise eye for including only the elements of his hard-won wisdom that matter the most." Click the book cover above to read more.
A LIFE OF SALMAN SCHOCKEN 1877-1959
By Anthony David, PhD (Chicago)
November 2003. Metropolitan Books. Dr. David, a Gershom Scholem expert, tells the rags-to-riches story of one of Europe's great entrepreneurs and a founding father of modern Jewish secular culture, The name "Schocken"-now primarily associated with the prestigous publishing house-was once emblazoned over a vast commercial empire; across Europe, it stood for quality consumer goods and uplifting culture made available for working people.
A sweeping, colorful saga, The Patron is the first biography of Salman Schocken, founder of a large department store chain and Jewish philanthropic titan. We follow Schocken's transformation from an impoverished migrant selling textiles door-to-door to a captain of German industry, at once media magnate, collector, talent scout, and patron. The merchandizing millionaire then harnessed his fortune to a vision: to disseminate Jewish secular culture to the Jewish masses, in much the same way as he marketed well-designed coffeepots to the working class. His task, as he saw it, was not to spread culture but to create it, through publishing houses, newspapers, and the patronage of such influential modern thinkers such as Martin Buber and Thomas Mann. But as the Nazi regime closed in on Schocken's empire, the resilient tycoon transferred his energies and passions to Palestine and New York. The Patron fills in a missing piece of twentieth-century history, the towering life of a self-made man who, with courage and tenacity, helped fashion a people's national and cultural renaissance. Click the book cover above to read more.
SEARCHING FOR ANNE FRANK
Letters from Amsterdam to Iowa
By Susan Goldman Rubin
November 2003. Published with Wiesenthal Center. Few people know that Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, had pen pals in the USA; Juanita and Betty Wagner of Danville Iowa (Fall 1939). Although they corresponded only briefly, their letters capture a moment in history. Includes letters and interviews. Click the book cover above to read more.
Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict
Two-volume slipcase set
by F. E. Peters
November 2003. Princeton University press.
PW writes, "... Historian Peters has long been an astute and objective chronicler of the history and beliefs of the three great monotheistic religions-Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In this sprawling, majestic and elegant narrative, he offers the best study we presently have of the ways, words and wisdom of these religions. With straightforward prose and evenhanded examination, Peters devotes Volume 1 to an historical overview of the Abrahamic faiths, tracing each religion from its earliest expressions to the 17th century. Although he devotes separate chapters to each religion, Peters often points out the similarities and differences among them..." Click the book cover above to read more.
Gangsters and Gold Diggers
Old New York, the Jazz Age, and the Birth of Broadway
by Jerome Charyn
November 2003. Four Walls Eight Windows
Charyn, the prolific Jewish author of Bronx Boy, and 36 other books tells the story of old New York. Click the book cover above to read more.
Long Way Back to the River Kwai
Memories of World War II
by Leot Velmans
November 2003. Loet Velmans was 17 and Jewish when the Germans invaded his native Holland in 1940. Almost immediately, he and his family decided to escape to London, which they did on board the Dutch Coast Guard cutter, Seaman's Hope. Deciding they would be safer in the Far East, the family sailed to the Dutch East Indies-now Indonesia-where Loet joined the Dutch army. In March 1942, the Japanese invaded the archipelago, conquered it in a week, and made prisoners of the local Dutch soldiers. For the next three and a half years Loet and his fellow POW's were sent to slave labor camps to build a railroad through the dense jungle on the Burmese-Thailand border, to invade and conquer India. Some 200,000 POW's and slave laborers died in building this Railroad of Death. Loet, though suffering from malaria, dysentery, malnutrition, and unspeakable maltreatment, never gave up hope...and survived. That Velmans survived his days at Spring Camp was attributable partly to his luck, partly to his youth, partly to the optimism that he was determined to maintain. "The prospect of death was so unappealing that I chose to ignore it," he says; "life, I thought, was bound to go on somehow until my new and real life would start, after the war was over." Maintaining even the semblance of hopefulness became ever more difficult as friends and fellow workers died in the suffocating heat or from injuries inflicted by their Japanese guards, and as the camp was swept by malaria, dysentery, beriberi and other diseases, and eventually Velmans set aside optimism for grim resolve: "The despair was gradually replaced by a determination: one way or another, I was going to beat the horrors of this living hell."
He went on to become one of the greatest Public Relations Executives in the world. Fifty-seven years later, in February 2000, he returned to revisit the place where he should have died and where he had buried his closest friend. What he found was a place of surpassing beauty: "Standing in that pristine spot in the middle of nowhere, calm and lovely and empty, I felt no emotion," but later, driving back to the hotel, he felt irritation and then anger at Japanese tourists who had barged past them on the one surviving railroad bridge, and wondered, "How long would I continue to let these people walk all over me? Had nothing changed?" From that emotional visit came this stunning memoir. Click the book cover above to read more.
HASIDISM ON THE MARGIN
RECONCILIATION, ANTINOMIANISM, and MESSIANISM in IZBICA AND RADZIN HASIDISM
by Shaul Magid
November 2003. University of Wisconsin Press
Hasidism on the Margin explores one of the most provocative and radical traditions of Hasidic thought, the school of Izbica and Radzin that Rabbi Gershon Henokh originated in nineteenth-century Poland. Shaul Magid traces the intellectual history of this strand of Judaism from medieval Jewish philosophy through centuries of Kabbalistic texts to the nineteenth century and into the present. He contextualizes the Hasidism of Izbica-Radzin in the larger philosophy and history of religions and provides a model for inquiry into other forms of Hasidism. Click to read more.
by Tobias Wolff
November 2003. Knopf. Acclaimed short story and non fiction writer, Mr. Wolff's (Stanford), first Novel. Determined to fit in at his New England prep school (1960-1961), the narrator has learned to mimic the bearing and manners of his adoptive tribe while concealing as much as possible about himself. He is passing, he is an outsider, his father is Jewish, he is on scholarship, he is middle class in an elite school filled with the sons of rich men. His final year, however, unravels everything he's achieved, and steers his destiny in directions no one could have predicted. The school's mystique is rooted in Literature, and for many boys this becomes an obsession, editing the review and competing for the attention of visiting writers whose fame helps to perpetuate the tradition. Robert Frost, soon to appear at JFK's inauguration, is far less controversial than the next visitor, Ayn Rand. But the final guest, Ernest Hemingway, is one whose blessing a young writer would do almost anything to gain.
Note to readers. Tobias Wolff is of Irish and Jewish heritage. His father hid the fact that he was Jewish. Wolff stated, "...I think he [my father] was pretending, out of some deep sadness of self, that he was someone other than who he was. He had this sort of pathetic WASP fantasy. I used to think it was the prep schools he went to, where there was a lot of anti-Semitism. But as my brother was doing his research for a book about my father, it became his opinion that the most influential anti-Semitism my father encountered when he was growing up was from Jews, because his relatives were German Jews, and doctors. Our grandfather was a doctor and our great-grandfather was a doctor and our great-great grandfather was a doctor to Napoleon, and they were very proud and insular. When this great wave of immigrants came here at the turn of the century - Jews from Poland, from Russia - they were looked down on by the German Jews who called them Yids and Hebes and all this stuff. The German Jews were very secularized, very unobservant, very assimilationist. And my father picked up a lot of this stuff. It's a very strange business.
Click the book cover above to read more.
The 12 Secret Ingredients of Krispy Kreme's Sweet Success
By Kirk Kazanjian and Amy Joyner
November 2003. The history of the donut chain since 1937 and the highlights of its successful traits. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN
A Practical Encyclopedia of the Decorative Arts from the Renaissance to the Present
by Noel Riley
November 2003. Free Press.
From the people who gave us ELEMENTS OF STYLE, we now get ELEMENTS OF DESIGN. A visual reference book, which chapters on Queen Anne, Neo-Classicism, Gothic, Art Nouveau, Space Age, and all the other periods. Click the book cover above to read more.
Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood
How Lew and Edie Wasserman Created a Global Entertainment Empire
by Kathleen Sharp
December 2003. Carroll & Graf. Click the book cover above to read more.
Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness
by Estelle Frankel
December 9, 2003. Shambhala.
From Publishers Weekly: "There is nothing more whole than a broken heart," taught Hasidic master Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk. Frankel cites that paradoxical wisdom as well as other biblical, Hasidic, Talmudic and kabbalistic traditions to shape her thesis: healing begins with brokenness and leads to transformation, wholeheartedness and renewal. As a psychotherapist and teacher of Jewish mysticism, Frankel integrates the psyche and spirit so they "flow as two currents in a single stream, creating a synergistic healing power." She uses the kabbalistic myth of the shattered vessels to mirror the inevitability of brokenness in our lives, the broken tablets at Sinai as a metaphor for imperfection, the Exodus from Egypt as a reflection of change and self-liberation and the process of teshuvah (repentance) and the High Holiday cycle as paradigms for healing. "Locating ourselves in Jewish myth and metaphor," she says, can lessen the sense of isolation in suffering, as well as enlarge our identities through spiritual awareness. The book is divided into three parts: kabbalistic cosmology and healing; healing and birthing the self; and wholeness and integration. Client case studies and reflections on her own life focus on common psychological complaints: a broken heart, transition, loss, depression and illness. Suggestions for guided meditations and spiritual rituals give readers practical ways to be "healed by, or in spite of, whatever illnesses and difficulties we face in our lives." Those familiar with the concept of tikkun olam-repairing the world-will discover here its more personal and interconnected form-tikkun nefesh: healing our own souls." Click the book cover above to read more.
There Are Jews in My House
by Lara Vapnyar
December 2, 2003. Pantheon Books.
Innocence rounds the bend to experience in these beautifully shaped stories of Moscow and Brooklyn, which take up the worldview of the young and overlooked. The stunning Second World War story that opens the book is a masterpiece of ambivalence-about the simultaneous generosity and hypocrisy of Galina, a gentile Russian woman who offers safe harbor to a Jewish friend and her daughter during the German occupation. In "Love Lessons-Mondays, 9 A.M.," a young math teacher is assigned to teach a girls' sex education class, even though she herself is still awaiting her first kiss. And in "Mistress," a boy newly arrived in this country bears witness to the intimate details of his grandparents' new and diverging lives: his grandmother's doctors' appointments, where he is charged with translating her myriad complaints into English, and his grandfather's clandestine courtship of another woman. Adept at both snapshots and long exposures, Lara Vapnyar, herself a recent immigrant, writes of life's adventures and possibilities, its disappointments and unexpected turns, with delicate humor, brilliant timing, and striking emotional honesty. She is a writer to relish and to watch. Click the book cover above to read more.
I AM JEWISH
REFLECTIONS INSPIRED BY THE WORDS OF DANIEL PEARL
Edited By Ruth and Judea Pearl
January 2004. Jewish Lights.
Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl's last words were, "I am Jewish." Famous Jews reflect on these words in these very personal essays. With contributions from Bronfman, Dershowitz, Kitty Dukakis, Thomas Friedman, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Senator Lieberman, Peres, Rabbis Sasso and Schulweis, Wiesel, and dozens more. Click the book cover above to read more.
CLINTON AND ME
A REAL LIFE POLITICAL COMEDY
BY MARK KATZ (Former White House / Clinton Joke Writer)
January 2004. Miramax Books.
So... I was once sitting at a Barnes and Noble in Manhattan waiting for a book reading to begin, and the guy next to me was very humorous, and chatting with friends about submitting the final corrections for his book, etc. Lo and behold. This is the book he was talking about. And if the book is half as funny as he was just sitting in a bookstore, then this book is a must purchase. And if you buy enough books, I can ask him to try to get me a date with Cindy Chupack.
This book is the painfully funny adventures of President Clinton's in-house joke writer. Mark Katz, the son of an orthodontist, was the kid who cracked jokes from the back row of your seventh grade English class (but then he learned to self edit all his jokes and only voice the best ones) - but grew up to write humor speeches for nation's Chief Seventh Grader, Bill Clinton. Katz's job was to write Clinton's funny responses to the crises of the moment. You mean like "I did not inhale" and "I did not have sex with that woman"? Clinton & Me is a life-long coming-of-age story unlike any political memoir ever written. So.. what makes it a Jewish book?? Well, just look at the index entry below:
Jewish, Needlessly Reminding People I Am:
Reference to my Bar Mitzvah, Page 2
Synagogue attendance with Mom dressed like Jackie Kennedy, Page 9
Rabbi Frishman calls to wish me "Happy Hannukkah," Page 155
Click the book cover above to read more.
THE NEIGHBORS RESPOND
The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland
by Antony Polonsky (Editor), Joanna B. Michlic (Editor)
January 2004. Princeton University Press.
Neighbors--Jan Gross's stunning account of the brutal mass murder of the Jews of Jedwabne by their Polish neighbors--was met with international critical acclaim and was a finalist for the National Book Award in the United States. It has also been, from the moment of its publication, the occasion of intense controversy and painful reckoning. This book captures some of the most important voices in the ensuing debate, including those of residents of Jedwabne itself as well as those of journalists, intellectuals, politicians, Catholic clergy, and historians both within and well beyond Poland's borders. Antony Polonsky and Joanna Michlic introduce the debate, focusing particularly on how Neighbors rubbed against difficult old and new issues of Polish social memory and national identity. The editors then present a variety of Polish voices grappling with the role of the massacre and of Polish-Jewish relations in Polish history. They include samples of the various strategies used by Polish intellectuals and political elites as they have attempted to deal with their country's dark past, to overcome the legacy of the Holocaust, and to respond to Gross's book.
The Neighbors Respond makes the debate over Neighbors available to an English-speaking audience--and is an excellent tool for bringing the discussion into the classroom. It constitutes an engrossing contribution to modern Jewish history, to our understanding of Polish modern history and identity, and to our bank of Holocaust memory. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE YOM KIPPUR WAR
THE EPIC ENCOUNTER THAT TRANSFORMED THE MIDDLE EAST
By Abraham Rabinovich
January 2004. Schocken.
Not since the late General (President) Chaim Herzog's book on the Yom Kippur War have I read such an enlightening book on the period. It is 30 years later, and so many classified documents have now been declassified. Rabinovich (Abraham, not Itamar) not only delivers the information, but weaves a highly readable and adventurous story. He interviewed over 130 players in the war, and even snagged a chat with U.S. General (ret.) Donn A. Starry (who was sent in 1973 by the U.S. Army to Israel to study the war's lessons. It was 30 years ago, when on October 5, 1973, 100,000 Egyptian soldiers with 1,350 tanks waited at the Suez Canal facing 450 clueless Israeli soldiers and 229 tanks. In the Golan, five Syrian divisions faced Israel. Syria had an 8 to 1 advantage in tanks and armor. A few hours later the war began, and Rabinovich covered it for the Jerusalem Post... Click the book cover above to read more.
THE OTHER SIDE OF DESPAIR
JEWS AND ARABS IN THE PROMISED LAND
by DANIEL GAVRON
Brief profiles of Israelis and Palestinians. Some may not like the moral relativism, but it is these people's lives in their own words. Click the book cover above to read more.
A TASTE OF THE PAST
THE DAILY LIFE AND COOKING OF A NINETEENTH CENTURY HUNGARIAN JEWISH HOMEMAKER
By Andras Koerner, with 125 illustrations by the author
January 2004. Univ Press of New England.
A Taste of the Past is an entertaining reconstruction of the daily life and household of Therese (Riza) Baruch (1851-1938), the great-grandmother of the author, András Koerner. Based on an unusually complete cache of letters, recipes, personal artifacts, and eyewitness testimony, Koerner describes in loving detail the domestic life of a nineteenth-century Hungarian Jewish woman, with special emphasis on the meals she served her family.
Based on Riza's letters, part one offers an imaginative sketch of growing up in a religious middle-class family in the 1860s and 70s in an industrial town in western Hungary. Part one also describes Riza's reactions to the dilemmas posed by the early signs of Jewish assimilation. In part two, the heart of the book, Riza has married, moved to a smaller town near the Austrian border, and become the central figure of a large household. Koerner recreates a typical day in the life of Riza and her family, peppering his narrative with recipes of the food she served for breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon coffee-and-cake, and the much more modest evening meal.
Riza's family was religious, and Koerner also describes the special foods (pike in sour aspic, cholent, apple-matzo kugel, and much more) she served to celebrate the Sabbath and the six major Jewish holidays. Short introductions to the recipes describe the evolution of the dishes through the centuries, their role in Jewish culture, and how cultural influences and religious traditions shaped Riza's cooking.. Click the book cover above to read more.
Jews and the Broadway Musical
by Andrea Most (Toronto)
February 2004. Harvard University Press. From 1925 to 1951--three chaotic decades of depression, war, and social upheaval--Jewish writers brought to the musical stage a powerfully appealing vision of America fashioned through song and dance. It was an optimistic, meritocratic, selectively inclusive America in which Jews could at once lose and find themselves--assimilation enacted onstage and off, as Andrea Most shows. This book examines two interwoven narratives crucial to an understanding of twentieth-century American culture: the stories of Jewish acculturation and of the development of the American musical.
Here we delve into the work of the most influential artists of the genre during the years surrounding World War II--Irving Berlin, Eddie Cantor, Dorothy and Herbert Fields, George and Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, and Richard Rodgers--and encounter new interpretations of classics such as The Jazz Singer, Whoopee, Girl Crazy, Babes in Arms, Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific, and The King and I. Most's analysis reveals how these brilliant composers, librettists, and performers transformed the experience of New York Jews into the grand, even sacred acts of being American. Read in the context of memoirs, correspondence, production designs, photographs, and newspaper clippings, the Broadway musical clearly emerges as a form by which Jewish artists negotiated their entrance into secular American society. In this book we see how the communities these musicals invented and the anthems they popularized constructed a vision of America that fostered self-understanding as the nation became a global power.
Click the book cover above to read more.
How Young People Cope with Moral Dilemmas at Work
by Wendy Fischman, Becca Solomon, Deborah Greenspan and Howard Gardner
February 2004. Harvard University Press. You're young, ambitious, entering the field of your dreams; you're on your own, the competition is fierce--and then you see your chance: the big story, the big role, the big discovery. But you'll have to cut a few corners, bend the rules, cheat a bit. What choices will you make? After studying more than a hundred young people launching their careers, these longtime researchers of "good work"--work that is both skillful and honorable--find unsettling answers. Although young workers know what it takes to do good work, they don't always feel they can follow the ethical route. "Later, when I'm successful," is their implicit promise. Making Good explores the choices confronting young workers who join the ranks of three dynamic professions--journalism, science, and acting--and looks at how the novices navigate moral dilemmas posed by a demanding, frequently lonely, professional life. The authors also uncover striking comparisons between these young professionals and the veterans in their fields--most notably, older workers recall inspiring models and mentors, while today's beginners see themselves as on their own. With extensive insights into how young workers view their respective domains, the nature of their ambitions, the sacrifices they are willing to make, and the lines they are prepared to cross, this study will prove instructive to young employees and employers alike, as well as to those who wish to understand the shifting moral and social character of the working world. All four authors work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Click the book cover above to read more.
by MICHAEL CHABON
Late 2004. Pulitzer Prize winning Chabon is working on a new novel. Stuart Eskanazi (Seattle Times) writes that Chabon's newest novel will be about Jews in Alaska. He read about a proposal to provide a home in Alaska for Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler. "There was a passing mention to an 'ill-fated 1940 proposal to resettle Jews in Alaska.' I remember thinking, 'I've never heard of that.' And it just sort of stuck in the back of my mind." In the murder-mystery novel he is now writing, tentatively titled "Hotzeplotz," Chabon considers the obscure plan for a far-flung Jewish settlement and imagines a far-out Jewish destiny. In 1939, the U.S. Interior Department recommended that the Alaskan territory be developed through importing skilled laborers from around the world, including Jewish refugees from Europe who were escaping the Nazis. President Roosevelt backed the plan, but opposition in Alaska was enough to persuade Congress to reject the bill. In Chabon's "Hotzeplotz," the bill passed. "And since it did, Israel did not happen," he said. "So the book explores the idea of a world with no Israel, where Jews are moved completely onto a side track of history, unlike now, where ... this little country of 5 million people, dominates the headlines and gets an insanely disproportionate amount of world attention - and grief."
(NOTE TO MyJewishBooks.com readers.. Chabon's wife did high school in Israel).
In this alternate universe, millions of Jews are tucked away within the Alaska panhandle, or Hotzeplotz, which is a Yiddish expression meaning the "back of nowhere" or "ends of the earth." In researching the novel, Chabon spent a week in Southeast Alaska to absorb its landscape, climate and milieu. He said his familiarity with the Pacific Northwest environment - he once lived on Vashon Island - helped him appreciate Alaska's relationship to mountains and water Chabon said he hopes to finish the first draft of "Hotzeplotz" by February. Scott Rudin, who owns the rights to produce "Kavalier & Clay," has bought the film option on "Hotzeplotz. Click the book cover above to read more.
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