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FALL 2004 BOOK READINGS
Oct 01, 2004: First Day of Sukkot
Oct 03, 2004: Dennis Ross speaks on THE MISSING PEACE. Washington DC JCC
Oct 04, 2004: A J Jacobs speaks on THE KNOW IT ALL. Washington DC JCC
Oct 04, 2004: Steve Oney speaks on AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE. Washington DC JCC
Oct 05, 2004: Ellen Cassedy speaks on RADIANT AS THE STARS. Washington DC JCC
Oct 05, 2004: Jonathan Rosen reads from JOY COMES IN THE MORNING, B&N UWS NYC, 7PM
Oct 05, 2004: Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (A CODE OF JEWISH ETHICS), NYC JCC UWS 7 PM
Oct 09, 2004: National Book Festival, Washington DC 10 AM -5PM www.loc.gov
Oct 09, 2004: Roya Hakakian speaks on WITNESS TO THE REVOLUTION. Washington DC JCC Literary Festival
Oct 10, 2004: Shulamit Elson speaks on KABBALAH OF PRAYER. Washington DC JCC Literary Festival
Oct 10, 2004: Jewish Food Conference at GWU, "Are We What We Eat? Jewish Foodways since 1654." Keynote Address: Joan Nathan: "From Bumuelos to Bagels and Beyond: 350 Years of Jewish Cooking in America." Featuring David M. Gitlitz, (Rhode Island) and Linda Kay Davidson; Marcie Cohen Ferris (UNC); Hasia Diner (NYU); Jonathan Sarna (Brandeis) (Not By White Bread Alone) (How Matzah Became Square); Eve Jochnowitz (Rutgers University); Yael Raviv (NYU) (Pita, Hummus and Lox: The Evolution of a Jewish-American Identity); Stephen Joel Trachtenberg (GWU); Mimi Sheraton; Jenna Weissman Joselit (Princeton); Barbara Haber; Ruth Abusch-Magder (Yale University); Shulamit Reinharz (Brandeis); Susan Weidman Schneider (Lilith Magazine) and Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz. Washington DC. See gwu.edu
Oct 11, 2004: Deborah Dash Moore speaks on G. I. JEWS: How WWII Changed a Generation. Washington DC JCC Literary Festival
Oct 11, 2004: Jules Feiffer reads. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Oct 12, 2004: Jules Feiffer reads. Part of the Nextbook series. Fairfax VA
Oct 12, 2004: Robert Alter (THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES), NYC 92nd St Y
Oct 13, 2004: Aaron Lansky (OUTWITTING HISTORY. HOW YIDDISH WAS RESCUED), NYC JCC UWS 7 PM
Oct 13, 2004: Novel Jews reading series. KGB Bar, 85 E 4th St, East Village NYC 7PM
Oct 14, 2004: Elie Wiesel speaks on American Jewry at 350, NYC 92nd St Y
Oct 18, 2004: Nancy Reisman reads from THE FIRST DESIRE, B&N Astor Place NYC, 7PM
Oct 20, 2004: Discussion of Henry Roth's CALL IT SLEEP, NYC 92nd St Y
Oct 21, 2004: Lawrence Summers (Harvard University, President), NYC 92nd St Y
Oct 21, 2004: Bennett Muraskin (LET JUSTICE WELL UP LIKE WATER), NYC JCC UWS 7 PM
Oct 21, 2004: Etgar Keret (The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God) reads. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Oct 22, 2004: David Mizner reads from POLITICAL ANIMAL, B&N Gr. Village NYC, 7PM
Oct 24, 2004: Orly Castel-Bloom, Israeli Novelist of HUMAN PARTS and DOLLY CITY, speaks at UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. 7:30. UCLA. Living and Writing in Uncertain Times.
Oct 26, 2004: Dr. Jenna Wesiman Joselit (A PERFECT FIT) with Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Devorah Zlochower and Rev Dr. Katherine Henderson, on Pants Wigs and Headscarves, NYC JCC UWS 7 PM
Oct 26, 2004: The Moth: Who's Your Daddy? Stories of Fatherhood. At Crash Mansion, NYC, 199 Bowery.
Oct 27, 2004: Aryeh Lev Stollman (THE FAR EUPHRATES), Aaron Hamburger (THE VIEW FROM STALIN'S HEAD), T Cooper (SOME OF THE PARTS), and Bruce Shenitz (THE MAN I MIGHT BECOME: GAY MEN WRITE ABOUT THEIR FATHERS), NYC 92nd St Y
Oct 31, 2004: A day of learning. NYC. www.LishMah.Org
Nov 01, 2004: Daniel Mendelsohn (Desire and the Riddle of Identity). Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Nov 04, 2004: Isaac B. Singer at 100 event with Chip McGrath and Devorah Telushkin and Isaiah Sheffer, NYC JCC UWS 8 PM
Nov 04, 2004: Maggie Glezer chats about Jewish breads. Jccgw.org in DC
Nov 06, 2004: Rich Cohen chats about MACHERS AND ROCKERS. Jccgw.org in DC
Nov 09, 2004: Joseph Ellis (HIS EXCELLENCY - GEROGE WASHINGTON), NYC 92nd Street Y
Nov 07, 2004: Kickoff of the Jewish Book Fair of Greater Washington. See JccGW.Org
Nov 10, 2004: Novel Jews reading series. Ted Soloatroff and Jennifer traig. KGB Bar, 85 E 4th St, East Village NYC 7PM
Nov 11, 2004: Richard Ben Cramer (HOW ISRAEL LOST), NYC 92nd Street Y
Nov 12, 2004: Botox Brunch with Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger, authors of BOTOX DIARIES, Jewish Book Fair of Greater Washington DC
Nov 15, 2004: Allegra Goodman reads. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Nov 17, 2004: Atina Grossmann speaks on Jews and Germans in Occupied Germany, 1945-1949. UCLA 7:30 PM
Nov 17, 2004: Discussion of Abrham Cahan's THE RISE OF DAVID LEVINSKY, NYC 92nd St Y
Nov 21, 2005: The Body as Sacred Gateway. 14th St Y of NYC, edalliance.org with Myrian Klotz of Torah Yoga
Nov 27, 2004: Klezmatics and Arlo Guthrie at Carnegie Hall, NYC, sing HOLY GROUND, the Jewish Songs of Woody Guthrie
Nov 29, 2004: Stephanie Wellen Levin (MYSTICS MAVERICKS AND MERRYMAKERS... Hasidic Girls), NYC JCC UWS 7 PM
Nov 29, 2004: Jonathan Rosen reads from JOY COMES IN THE MORNING. Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Nov 30, 2004: Amoz Oz speaks on the State of Israel, NYC 92nd St Y
Nov 30, 2004: Deadline for AmericanJewishVoices.org essay contest. First prize is $5000 for writers under 30.
Dec 01, 2004: Discussion of Cynthia Ozick's THE PAGAN RABBI AND OTHER STORIES, NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 01, 2004: Jews... 350 Years with Professors Nathan Glazer and Esther Fuchs ..., NYC JCC UWS 7 PM
Dec 02, 2004: Rabbis Lawrence Kushner and Nehemia Polen, NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 05, 2004: Irshad Manji and Asra Nomani, NYC 92nd St Y
Dec 08, 2004: Novel Jews reading series. Myla Goldberg and Sana Krasikov. KGB Bar, 85 E 4th St, East Village NYC 7PM
Dec 12, 2004: Alan Dershowitz (RIGHTS FROM WRONGS), NYC 92nd Street Y
Dec 14, 2004: Dara Horn speaks on SIBLING REVIVALry - The Singers of Warsaw (I.B>, I.J. and their sister Esther Kreitman). Part of the Nextbook series. Washington DCJCC
Dec 26, 2004: Klezkamp 20, 20th Annual Yiddish Afolk Arts Festival. Hudson Valley Resort and Spa. NY, see LivingTraditions.org
Jan 13, 2005: Novel Jews reading series. Cynthia Ozick. KGB Bar, 85 E 4th St, East Village NYC 7PM
HEY.. NOW YOUR CAN SEARCH OUR SITE, INSTEAD OF JUST SEARCHING AMAZON. TRY IT OUT...
FINALLY AFTER A TEN YEAR WAIT...
THE PACIFIC AND OTHER STORIES
by MARK HELPRIN
October 2004, Penguin Press.
PW writes, "As ambitious and imaginative as any of Helprin's past works (Memoir from Antproof Case; Winter's Tale; etc.), the 16 stories collected in the author's first book in nearly a decade are gloriously rich and varied. In "Perfection," Helprin's fabulist skills glitter as a Hasidic boy from 1958 Brooklyn makes a pilgrimage to "the house of Ruth" in the Bronx, believing that he must save Mickey Mantle and the "New York Yenkiss." Other tales explore loss, regret, retribution and time's passage, their exotic locations-Italy, France, Israel, the orange grove-era Pacific coast-imbuing them with exuberant life. In "Il Colore Ritrovato," a bookkeeper-turned-impresario, who years ago discovered one of the world's greatest (and unhappiest) opera singers, happens upon another untrained but perfect soprano and wrestles with his conscience about introducing her to the professional world. In "Monday," an honorable contractor willing to sacrifice other contracts and his own reputation to renovate the home of a woman whose husband was killed on September 11 learns "the power of those who had done right." "Passchendaele," a story of unrequited passion between a Canadian rancher and his neighbor's mute wife, is tender and moving, as are "Last Tea with the Armorers" and "Prelude," each demonstrating immense faith in the power of love. These are sturdy, rewarding stories from a master of the form."
In another story, a British paratrooper jumps into occupied territory in order to reconnoiter enemy positions and direct artillery fire, but a roof breaks his fall; shattered physically and fully alone, he must decide the extent of his devotion to his mission. An opera impresario who has made his career on and ruined the life of a laundress-turned-diva now considers whether he ought to pluck from obscurity a soprano singing on a side street in Venice. A novelist in the 1940s, completely forgotten within the vast bureaucracy at U.S. Steel, constructs for himself a lifesaving sinecure. A September 11 widow receives an astonishing gift from the contractor working on her new apartment. In 1972, a female reservist in the Israeli Army who has despaired of love finds it at the very last minute and in its finest expression, while floating in the sea off Haifa. Click the book cover above to read more.
FROM ANCIENT CANAAN TO MODERN ISRAEL
By ERIC H. CLINE
October 2004, University of Michigan Press.
A MUST READ
The City of Peace has seen 118 conflicts in four millennia. Eric Cline, the Associate Professor of Ancient History and Archeology at GWU in Washington DC, chronicles the 4000 year old struggle over Jerusalem and put the battles and conflicts into context. He refers to ten major conflicts in and around Jerusalem, the Jews (Bayt ha-Miqdash, ha-Kodesh), Romans (Aelia), Moslem (Iliya, al-Maqdis, el-Qodesh, el-Quds), Crusader (French Franks and later ones), Byzantine, Ottoman, Western, Arab, and Israeli fights over the land, and cites how the battles of the past have influences the propaganda/truth of today. Even under Moslem rule, Shiites, Sunnis, Fatimids (followers of Fatima, daughter of the Prophet), and new Central Asian converts to Islam fought of the city, which by then reported to the capital of Ramla. Professor Cline avoids polemics, and in light of the current conflict in Iraq and elsewhere, a military POV book on the Middle East is unique and interesting. Most excitingly for our readers, Cline debunks many of the current myths and he disproves the currently chic denial of a Jewish historic attachment to the city. Includes over 80 pages of notes, 400 pages, 10 color illustrations, and countless maps. Cline has participated in seventeen seasons of excavations and surveys in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, Crete, and the United States, and is currently a Senior Staff Archaeologist at the ongoing excavations of Megiddo. A former Fulbright scholar, Dr. Cline has advanced degrees from Dartmouth College, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Click the book cover above to read more.
If you like the book above, see also:
THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY
Christendom - Islam - Pilgrimage - War
Edited By Thomas F. Madden
2004, University of Michigan Press.
The Story of a Life
by AHARON APPELFELD
Schocken; (October 5, 2004)
PW writes: Only the most artful writer could relate nearly seven decades of life-a life that encompasses the Holocaust, resettlement in Palestine, army service, university studies with the likes of Gershom Scholem and Martin Buber, finding his writer's voice-in barely more than 200 pages and leave the reader feeling that nothing essential has been omitted. But spareness and elegant simplicity have always characterized the writing of Appelfeld, whom one hesitates to call a great novelist of the Holocaust (Badenheim 1939; Tzili; etc.) after reading that he shuns the designation as "annoying": "A writer... writes from within himself and mainly about himself, and if there is any meaning to what he says, it's because he's faithful to himself." Most surprising in this exquisite, and at times exquisitely sad, memoir is to find the source of Appelfeld's spare style: He is, it seems, a man of silence, of contemplation (the pleasure of which "is that it's devoid of words") who yet feels compelled to express himself in words and so weighs each one carefully. Appelfeld keenly feels both the inadequacy of language ("Words are powerless when confronted by catastrophe; they're pitiable, wretched, and easily distorted)" and their inescapable necessity. But the spareness, one feels, is a residue of the war years that obliterated an idyllic childhood spent in his hometown of Czernowitz, in Romania, with his assimilated parents, and vacations with his religious grandparents in the lush, green Carpathians mountains. His mother shot, seven-year-old Appelfeld and his father are sent on a two-month-long forced march, in mud so deep children drown in it. Placed in a camp, young Aharon manages to escape and for the rest of the war hides alone, or with a friend, in the forests, where he can sit peacefully and silently and relive the happy past in his imagination. The difficulty of adjusting to life in Palestine (soon Israel) also revolved around language-Appelfeld's sense that he has none: that his mother tongue, German, is fading, yet he has difficulty absorbing Hebrew. Without a language, he feels a loss of identity.The finding of his voice, his eventual acceptance of Hebrew, comes for Appelfeld only with learning that-despite the orders he and other young survivor-immigrants have been given to forget the past and build a new life-he must cling to his past and remain rooted in it. He relates many painful scenes; the most heartrending image is of the ghetto's blind children, urged on by their guardian, singing in unison as they are pushed onto the cattle cars for deportation. And so this great memoir-sure to be a classic-is about much more than the Holocaust. It tells of the genesis of an artist; his struggle with his medium, language; and the difficulty of learning to trust his own instincts and his inimitable voice as a writer. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
by PHILIP ROTH
Houghton Mifflin Company; (October 1, 2004)
The most anticipated book of Fall 2004.
The Jewish best seller of Fall 2004
Although well reviewed around the country, The NYT reviewer, Michiku Kakutani called it a little contrived and "provocative but lumpy." All I can tell you is that she read it from a set of eyes that are not mine. I found it provocative, metaphorical, believable, gripping, and impelling. It was amazing to read this during the RNC Convention.... Shudder.
The book opens in 1940. June. (or is it 2004?). [yes, I know that Roth says it has nothing to do with 2004, but it is out of his hands, and the reader, namely me, found it a reflection of current times]
A nine year old Philip Roth, his older brother, and his parents are living in a small Newark apartment in a Jewish neighborhood. Philip's father is selling insurance for Met Life; he declines an offer for a position in management, which would require him to manage some drunk Christians and move his family to a non-Jewish area of NJ. It is 1940, an election year, FDR is running for reelection. It is a hot night, when the deadlocked Republicans offer up Lindbergh as their Presidential candidate to run against FDR. The family listens to their radio closely. Lindbergh had just given an awful speech criticizing the evil Jews, just like Henry Ford and Reverend Coughlin. Walter Winchell, the greatest Jew after Einstein in 1940, lashes out against Lindbergh; the Jews feel relieved. But when the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide in the 1940 presidential election, fear invades every Jewish household in America. Not only had Lindbergh, in a nationwide radio address, publicly blamed the Jews (OR NEOCONSERVATIVES AND UPPER WEST SIDERS) for selfishly pushing America towards a pointless war with Nazi Germany, but upon taking office as the thirty-third president of the United States, he negotiates a cordial "understanding" with Adolf Hitler, whose conquest of Europe and virulent anti-Semitic policies Lindbergh appeare to accept without diffculty.
What then followed in America is the historical setting for this startling new book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Philip Roth, who recounts what it was like for his Newark family - and for a million such families all over the country - during the menacing years of the Lindbergh presidency, when American citizens who happened to be Jews had every reason to expect the worst.
Best among the chapters is LOUDMOUTH JEW, in which the Roth family visits Washington DC after Lindbergh has entered the White House. Roth delivers powerful, supremely crafted sentences. His portrayal of splits in families and the Jewish leadership are on target. Lindbergh smartly sets up JUST FOLKS, to assimilate Jewish youth into Christian America; a revered rabbi, a confidant of Lindbergh runs the program (kind of like Nixon's rabbi). It reminded me of the film CSA (Confederate States of America, in which the Confederacy wins and they send Jews to Canada and set up a Jewish reservation on Long Island). Philip's family becomes a microcosm for the nation, as his older brother, his celebrity enamoured Aunt, and Lindbergh-befriending rabbi side with Lindbergh; his cousin is maimed in the war fighting for Canada, and his father remains committed against Lindbergh. Roth wisely puts a bitter, injured nephew, (a thin as a death camp survivor), as well as a Lindbergh loving son under Herman Roth's roof.
Roth is right on the mark in his portrayal of the Roth family, the uncles, the optimistic views of the wealthier Jews, the pessimism of the poorer Jews, and, tell me that the coke, smelting, and coal plants of West Virginia do not evoke a certain feel of Southern Poland in your mind's eye. In 1997 Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House, and in 2002 received the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction. Click the book cover above to read more.
Click here for the Audio Book for those who would rather listen to it
The Book of Customs
A Complete Handbook for the Jewish Year
by Scott-Martin Kosofsky
HarperSanFrancisco, October 2004
Kosofsky was a little estranged from organized Jewish religion, just as many Jews feel foreign in a synagogue, until about 15 years ago, when he was asked to design some illustrations for the Harvard Hillel Sabbath Songbook. While researching the project at a Cambridge library, he came across some old woodcuts. It was bashert. The source was a "populist" Amsterdam 1645 Sefer Minhagim, or Book of Customs. He was intrigued by these day by day, Jewish farmers' almanac sort of books that existed for 400 years. The "Customs Book" was a beautifully designed and illustrated guide to the Jewish year written in Yiddish, the Jewish people's vernacular language. Captivated, he investigated further and learned that from 1590 to 1890, this cross between a prayer book and a farmer's almanac was immensely popular in households all across Europe (the Rabbi Eyzik Tyrnau text dates back to about 1410, or to the time after the Black Death of 1348-1350). This predated Yosef Karo's BET YOSEF (1520-1550) or Shulhan Arukh, and Moshe Isserles 1564 MAPAH. Published in dozens of editions and revised over the centuries in Venice, Prague, Amsterdam, and throughout Germany before moving eastward in the nineteenth century to Poland and Russia, these books detail the evolution of Jewish custom over three hundred years. Households had a prayer book, a haggadah, and a book of customs. But by the 1890s, as Jewish practice became polarized between the secularist and traditionalist views, the Minhogimbukh disappeared. Poof. Maybe it was the fragmentation of Jews between Orthodox and Reform, or nationalism, or urbanization, but there are no works quite like the historical customs books available today and none so thorough and concise, intuitive in organization, and beautiful. In the foreward, Lawrence Kushner reminds us that there are 613 commandments, but there are 7 customs that are not found within them. But the customs of lighting Sabbath candles, observing Hanukkah, reading the Megillah, and setting Sabbath boundaries are not found in the Torah. Sometimes customs become like laws, and laws become commandments, and customs are proto-mitzvot and in utero-commandments..
Inspired by the originals, Kosofsky set out to make his own, adapting the books for modern use, adding historical perspective and contemporary application. The result is the reappearance of the Minhogimbukh after more than a hundred-year absence, and the first complete showing of ALL THE ORIGINAL WOODCUTS -- a visual vocabulary of Jewish life -- since the 1760s. Faithfully based on the earlier editions, The Book of Customs is an updated guide to the rituals, liturgies, and texts of the entire Jewish year -- from the days of the week and the Sabbath to all the months with their festivals, as well as the major life-cycle events of wedding, birth, bar and bat mitzvah, and death. With the revival of this lost cultural legacy, The Book of Customs can once again become every family's guide to Jewish tradition and practice.
Note: He also reproduces the title page from a 1593 edition that promises to teach readers "how to live like a good person" and boasts its superiority to all previous versions. Kosofsky's book is interesting both as a history lesson-12 of the woodcuts depict monthly farming activities, for example, showing how agricultural Jewish life was a few centuries ago-and a spiritual guide for modern readers. Click the book cover above to read more.
A Blessing Of Bread
The many rich traditions of Jewish bread baking around the world
by Maggie Glezer
The author is a certified, award winning baker who knows that there is more than one way to braid a challah. Included in this book of oral histories, historical notes, and bread related anecdotes and folk stories, are the best discussions I have read of Jewish bread and challah histories, as well as fascinating recipes. It is manna min shama-yim. The book opens with an intro on challah and bread, and a listing of recipes by type of bread (including holiday breads, 6-hour or less breads, crusty breads, flavorful breads, etc.) This is followed by a chapter on the Genesis of Challah; and a Primer on bread preparation (fermenting, punching, kneading, dividing, proofing, glazing..). There is even a chapter just for a mixed multitude of challah braids and shapes with step by step braiding photos, including a hand challah, a shlissel (key) challah, a string of pearls, and a ladder challah also. There are then chapters for breads of the Ashkenazi Jews, Sephardim, North African, Near Eastern, and New Tradition Jewish people.
Among the recipes are -- Ashkenazi: Czernowitzer Challah, Guatamalen Challah (with cardamon), Russian Challah, a ring challah, a Lithuanian Challah (no eggs, low sugar), bagels, a babka, rye bread, Lekach honey cake, and Hungarian Makos; Sephardic: Churak of Rhodes, Greek Rolls with Zante currants, Salonika style country bread, Pande Calabazi Pumpkin Bread, and Roscas with cloves; North African: Ethiopian Bereketei Sabbath Bread, Moroccan Purim Bread (chubzei), some Muffleta just for Mimouna, and Egyptian Rarifal Rarif; and Near Eastern: Iranian Barbari, various pitas, Azerbaijani Noon, Bukharan Nooni, Yemeni Kubana, Lachuch, and Samneh.
Bread is central to Jewish celebrations. Ideally before each meal, and certainly before holiday meals, a blessing is recited, thanking God for bringing forth bread, and by implication all food, from the earth. "At Rosh Hashanah, my family likes the same breads each year," says Glezer, an Atlanta mother of two children who bakes huge batches of sweet honey challahs and freezes them. She serves some of these airy challahs at Rosh Hashanah. But her family breaks the fast with her homemade honey cake - which Glezer considers bread. Knowing that challah braiding is a dying art, what inspired Glezer to write a book about baking Jewish bread? "I'm a bread fanatic and a Jew - that's how I came to this," she said, adding that she's been seriously studying bread baking for 15 years. An American Institute of Baking-certified baker, Glezer specializes in teaching bread techniques to both amateurs and professionals. This is her second book about bread, and she writes on the subject for culinary magazines. "A Blessing of Bread is accessible to less experienced bakers," she says. Glezer's goal was not to include every bread recipe in the Jewish repertoire - which would take two lifetimes. Her aim was to give readers a thumbnail sketch by highlighting some recipes from Sephardi, North African, Near Eastern and Ashkenazi cultures. She also includes lively oral histories, anecdotes and passages from folk tales. For Rosh Hashana, she has a apple Challah recipe. It calls for huge chunks of apples. "One of the best parts of the Holidays is Sephardic pumpkin bread," said Glezer, explaining that her recipe was inspired by one from Gilda Angel, author of Sephardic Home Cooking. Angel explains that among Sephardi Jews, pumpkin is popular at Rosh Hashanah because it expresses "the hope that as this vegetable has been protected by a thick covering, God will protect us and gird us with strength." "My favorite part of writing A Blessing of Bread was listening to bakers and others talk about their lives," she said. "Their stories are the fabric of Jewish life; their recipes the carriers of our tradition."
This multifaceted guide to Jewish baking harbors a wealth of recipes for challahs from around the world, as well as for babkas and honey cakes, bagels and matzoh, crackers and everyday breads such as deli rye. Working with bakers from Guatemala to Russia, Maggie Glezer perfected these recipes, many of which had never been written down. Recollections from Jewish grandmothers and great-grandmothers all over the world remind us of life as it once was, and riveting oral histories, ancient legends, shtetl folktales, aphorisms, and proverbs throughout will delight and inspire the baker in us all. There is a special urgency to record, learn, and pass on culinary history if we are to preserve our traditional foods and customs. How fortunate that Maggie Glezer has taken the challenge. Click the book cover above to read more.
Scream Queens of the Dead Sea
by Gilad Elbom
Thunder's Mouth Press October 10, 2004
Brazenly searching out black humor and even satire amid the political quagmire of the Holy Land, this debut novel offers a startling departure from the elegiac tone once so common in Israeli fiction. The affably irreverent narrator, an ex-soldier who now works in a mental institution, regales us with tales from the psych-ward patients; reflections on his dueling obsessions, heavy metal and linguistics; and blow-by-blow accounts of sexual trysts with his married lover. What is sanity? The novel is set in a Jerusalem mental hospital, Israeli writer Elbom searches for an answer (via a first-person narrator and literary proxy also named Gil Elbom) and burrows through sensitive subjects (sex, politics, religion, mental illness) with frank honesty and dark humor. Working as an assistant nurse on a psychiatric ward, the author-as-narrator transcribes his life into his book, serving up diverse characters that include his sardonic girlfriend who is awaiting her sick husband's death ("Sorry I couldn't make it last night. He's still alive") and an impersonal doctor who says that the "best thing to do when dealing with the mentally ill is to keep a distance." As far as patients go, there's an intelligent murderer who claims that atheism is a psychiatric illness called "Faith Deficit Disorder"; a man obsessed with writing purple love poems to a porn star; and a woman who's convinced she's dead. Elbom's lively, present-tense narrative pulls the reader into the story; at the same time, Elbom steps outside to include a considerable amount of detailed self-criticism, such as when he interrupts his tale to comment on the ineffectiveness of his use of asterisks between sections. The result is a multifaceted, hilarious and excruciatingly honest novel. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE MAIDEN AND THE JEW
THE STORY OF A FATAL FRIENDSHIP IN NAZI GERMANY
by CHRISTIANE KOHL (der Spiegel)
October 2004, Steerforth.
PW writes: "Kohl, a correspondent for Süddeutsche Zeitung, recounts with the cadence of a Greek tragedy a case of perverted justice in Nazi Germany. The case, made famous by the film Judgment at Nuremberg (with Judy Garland and Burt Lancaster), involved the friendship between Irene Scheffler, a pretty 22-year-old Christian photographer, and 60-year-old Leo Katzenberger-a successful Jewish entrepreneur, and colleague of Irene's father, who asked him to keep an eye on Irene in Nuremberg-is captured in harrowing detail. Kohl describes how neighbors in Katzenberger's building, where he had found Irene an apartment, spied on her. They concluded, without any evidence, that Katzenberger's visits to Irene signaled an affair. The neighbors' malevolence resulted in Katzenberger's 1942 trial and conviction for racial offenses. He was sentenced to death by Judge Oswald Rothaug, motivated, as Kohl reveals, by virulent anti-Semitism and ruthless ambition. At Rothaug's postwar trial in Nuremberg, Irene endured a cruel cross-examination by Rothaug's defense attorney, but Rothaug was sentenced to life imprisonment; his sentence was commuted, however, and he was released on probation in 1956." Click the book cover above to read more.
AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE
THE MURDER OF MARY PHAGAN AND THE LYNCHING OF LEO FRANK
by Steve Oney
Now in paperback, October 12, 2004
On April 27, 1913, the bludgeoned body of thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan was discovered in the basement of Atlanta's National Pencil Factory. The girl's murder would be the catalyst for an epic saga that to this day holds a singular place in America's collective imagination-a saga that would climax in 1915 with the lynching of Leo Frank, the Cornell-educated Jew who was convicted of the murder. The case has been the subject of novels, plays, movies and even musicals, but only now, with the publication of And the Dead Shall Rise, do we have an account that does full justice to the mesmerizing and previously unknown details of one of the most shameful moments in the nation's history. In a narrative reminiscent of a nineteenth-century novel, Steve Oney recounts the emerging revelations of the initial criminal investigation, reconstructs from newspaper dispatches (the original trial transcript mysteriously disappeared long ago) the day-to-day intrigue of the courtroom and illuminates how and why an all-white jury convicted Frank largely on the testimony of a black man. Oney chronicles as well the innumerable avenues that the defense pursued in quest of an appeal, the remarkable and heretofore largely ignored campaign conducted by William Randolph Hearst and New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs to exonerate Frank, the last-minute commutation of Frank's death sentence and, most indelibly, the flawlessly executed abduction and brutal lynching of Frank two months after his death sentence was commuted. And the Dead Shall Rise brings to life a Dickensian cast of characters caught up in the Frank case-zealous police investigators intent on protecting their department's reputation, even more zealous private detectives, cynical yet impressionable factory girls, intrepid reporters (including a young Harold Ross), lawyers blinded by their own interests and cowed by the populace's furor..... Click the book cover above to read more.
One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
by A. J. Jacobs
Simon & Schuster; October 1, 2004
33,000 pages... 44 million words... 10 billion years of history... 1 obsessed man. Part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), The Know-It-All chronicles NPR contributor A.J. Jacobs's hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z. To fill the ever-widening gaps in his Ivy League education, A.J. Jacobs sets for himself the daunting task of reading all thirty-two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His wife, Julie, tells him it's a waste of time, his friends believe he is losing his mind, and his father, a brilliant attorney who had once attempted the same feat and quit somewhere around Borneo, is encouraging but, shall we say, unconvinced. With self-deprecating wit and a disarming frankness, The Know-It-All recounts the unexpected and comically disruptive effects Operation Encyclopedia has on every part of Jacobs's life -- from his newly minted marriage to his complicated relationship with his father and the rest of his charmingly eccentric New York family to his day job as an editor at Esquire. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Jewish Century
by Yuri Slezkine
October 2004. Princeton University Press.
In modern times.. we are all Jews.
PW wrotes, "The provocative argument that underlies this idiosyncratic, fascinating and at times marvelously infuriating study of the evolution of Jewish cultural and political sensibility is that the 20th century is the Jewish Age because "modernization is about everyone becoming urban, mobile, literate, articulate, intellectually intricate.... Modernization, in other words, is about everyone becoming Jewish." A professor of history at UC-Berkeley, Slezkine plays a delicate game here. Knowing that his grand statements are more metaphorical than supportable with historical fact, he maps out a new history of Jewish culture over the past 100 years in four radically diverse but cohesive chapters. In a history of Jewish group identity and function, Slezkine depicts Jews as a nomadic tribe that functions as a promoter of urban cultural and economic change. The book's last chapter ("Hodel's Choice") uses the image of the daughters of Sholem Aleichem's famous milkman Tevye to discuss the three great recent Jewish immigrations-to America in the 1890s, from the Pale of Settlement to the Russian cities after the revolution and to Palestine after the birth of Zionism. Through these migrations, Slezkine argues, the modernism of Jewish culture spread throughout the world. Nearly every page of Slezkine's exegesis presents fascinating arguments or facts-e.g., that "secular American Jewish intellectuals felt compelled" to become more Jewish when they were allowed into traditional American institutions. While not strictly a traditional history, Slezkine's work is one of the most innovative and intellectually stimulating books in Jewish studies in years." Click the book cover above to read more.
Jews and the American Soul
How Jewish Thinkers Changed American Ideas of Human Nature
by Andrew R. Heinze
October 2004. Princeton University Press.
From Ann Landers to Dr. Joyce Brothers to Adler and Freud and Erich Fromm.. What do Joyce Brothers and Sigmund Freud, Rabbi Harold Kushner and philosopher Martin Buber have in common? They belong to a group of pivotal and highly influential Jewish thinkers who altered the face of modern America in ways few people recognize. So argues Andrew Heinze, who reveals in rich and unprecedented detail the extent to which Jewish values, often in tense interaction with an established Christian consensus, shaped the country's psychological and spiritual vocabulary. Jews and the American Soul is the first book to recognize the central role Jews and Jewish values have played in shaping American ideas of the inner life. It overturns the widely shared assumption that modern ideas of human nature derived simply from the nation's Protestant heritage. Heinze marshals a rich array of evidence to show how individuals ranging from Erich Fromm to Ann Landers changed the way Americans think about mind and soul. The book shows us the many ways that Jewish thinkers influenced everything from the human potential movement and pop psychology to secular spirituality. It also provides fascinating new interpretations of Siegmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Western views of the psyche; the clash among Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish moral sensibilities in America; the origins and evolution of America's psychological and therapeutic culture; the role of Jewish women as American public moralists, and more. A must-read for anyone interested in the contribution of Jews and Jewish culture to modern America. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Ten Commandments of Character
Essential Advice for Living an Honorable, Ethical, Honest Life
by Rabbi JOSEPH TELUSHKIN
Now in paperback. October 2004, Harmony.
Here is a wealth of astute and warmhearted counsel on many of life's most difficult ethical dilemmas. Joseph Telushkin outlines his ten commandments of character, explaining why each one is so vital, and then addresses perplexing issues that can and often do crop up in our lives relating to family, friends, work, community, medical ethics, and money, such as: How honest should you be when you are asked to give a reference? How much assistance should you give your son with his college application essay? Is it wrong to receive a kidney from an executed prisoner in China? What should you do if your father begs you to end his life rather than allow him to descend into the hell of Alzheimer's? Should a brother give up part of his inheritance if his sister has children and considerable expenses and he doesn't? Should a dying woman reveal to her husband that their son is not really his? Many of us are finding it increasingly hard to tread the fine line between right and wrong. In The Ten Commandments of Character, Telushkin faces these issues squarely and shows us how to live a life of true integrity. Click the book cover above to read more.
Pee Wee's Playhouse
And Season 2
Now you can see Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Jambi the Genie, Reba the Mail Lady, Captain Carl, Tito, the King of Cartoons and the rest of the gang for the first time ever on DVD! Join the fun and scream the secret word to every great episode! It's side-splitting hilarity in never-before-seen clarity! Hey, that rhymes! Get #em while they're hot if you wanna be cool! Winner of an amazing 22 Emmy« Awards! During its six-year run, this show has enchanted millions of children and adults alike! Starring Paul Reubens, Larry Fishburne, S. Epatha Merkerson, Lynne Stewart VOL. 1 EPISODES: Ice Cream Soup, The Gang's All Here, Luau for Two, Party, Rainy Day, Open House, Now You See Me, Now You Don't, Puppy in the Playhouse, Just Another Day, Store, Beauty Makeovers, Pee-wee Catches a Cold, The Restaurant, Why Wasn't I Invited, Ants in Your Pants, Tons of Fun, Monster, School, Cowboy and the Cowntess, Spring, Stolen Apples, Playhouse in Outer Space Includes 2 Never-Before-Seen Lost Episodes! Click the photo to read more.
Secrets of the City
by ANNE ROIPHE
Now in paperback. Three Rivers Press; October 26, 2004.
From the pages of The Forward comes celebrated author Anne Roiphe's episodic and brilliant novel of a big-city mayor and the struggles that shape the fortunes of his city, the life of his family, and the condition of his soul. Mel Rosenberg is the mayor of a city uncannily similar to New York, which is being terrorized by a string of unusual attacks. Hundreds of ducks are found dead in the park; animals mysteriously die at the zoo; dozens of people are killed by poisoned food; all of the elevator operators in one building are murdered; and the mayor is kidnapped. In addition to handling the city's multiple crises, Mel must also contend with the pressures of his imperfect family-a daughter-in-law who is a compulsive shoplifter; an ungrateful son obsessed with status; an insecure daughter with a troubled marriage-not to mention a sexy, aggressive newspaper reporter who aims desperately to be his mistress. On top of it all, he becomes entangled in a high-profile political scandal that could ambush his aspirations of being elected the first Jewish president of the United States. With Secrets of the City, Anne Roiphe has delivered a fast-paced, engaging story written with humor, shrewd insight, and tenderness. Her characters explore issues that are as contemporary as they are timeless, and the plot has as many unexpected twists and turns as the West Village streets. This is an insider's peek at life in the fast lane in the most brilliant and brutal city in the world, with all its secrets laid bare. Click the book cover above to read more.
HOW ONE MAN RESCUED A MILLION BOOKS AND SAVED A CIVILIZATION
By AARON LANSKY
Algonquin; October 2004.
The man who spearheaded the rescue of Yiddish books and created the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst Massachusetts tells the story of how he did it. In 1980, Yiddish books faced extinction. Precious volumes that survived Hotler and Stalin were passed from grandparents to grandchildren, to a generation who could not understand or read Yiddish ,to children who were throwing the books out as they cleaned out the homes of deceased ancestors. Aaron Lansky, age 23, started an appeal to save these books. His passion led him from house to house. He found books in the garbage, attics, a Dumpster, and in baements. He rented a van to pick up the books. He collected books, and along with the books, the stories of these Jewish refugees and others, stories about their lives and the vibrant intellectual worlds in which they lived. To date, 1.5 million volumes have been saved and collected. This book is filled with priceless stories, some hilarious and inspirational. Click on book cover above to read more.
See also Lansky's tour of JCC's all around the USA this Fall 2004
KING MATT THE FIRST
By Janusz Korczak
Introduction by Esme Raji Codell, Translated by Richard Lourie
Algonquin; October 2004.
Janusz Korczak (1898 - 1942) died in 1942, with his Warsaw Ghetto orphans. He could have left, escaped, but he refused to abandon his children. They were killed at Treblinka. In his life, Dr. Korczak wrote 20 books. His fiction in Poland was as widely known and read as Peter Pan was in the U.S. and Britain. King Matt is his beloved story of a boy who becomes a king and sets out to reform the land. He decrees that each child is to be given a piece of chocoalte at the end of each day. He visits other kingdoms and lands and befriends cannibal kings. Whenever ministers tell him that something is impossible, he throws them into jail. He disguises himself as a soldier and becomes a hero. But fantasy is tempered by reality. Matt's fellow kings become jealous of him. In the end, Matt falls, even though he is the greatest king there ever was.
Now this tale is available again. Click on book cover above to read more.
Prix Renaudot 2004
de Irène Némirovsky, Myriam Anissimov (Préface)
October 2004. France
This has already sold 120,000 copies in France in the Fall 2004. It is the bestseller in Paris and France. Yet it was written 1942 in German occupied France. The author was murdered at Auschwitz. It will be published in the USA in 2006 by Knopf. But if you cannot wait, you can order it from France. In November 2004, it won the Renaudot literary prize, 62 years after it was written. Irene Nemirovsky was born in the Ukraine to a Jewish family. Her banker father took the family to France where he became very successful. Irene married Michel Epstein, and she wrote DAVID GOLDER, a critical success in 1929. When the German entered France in 1940, Irene fled to Issy-l'Eveque. In this book (SUITE FRANCAISE), she planned an epic War and Peace -like novel. But she was arrested and deported by French police to Aushwitz after she finished only two of her planned 5 parts. She died of typhus; her husband was gassed. Her two daughters were hidden and survived. One of them carried the manuscript to safety. Only in the 1990's did they ralize that the suitcase contained the unfinished novel of their mother.
Ecrit dans le feu de l'Histoire, Suite française dépeint presque en direct l'Exode de juin 1940, qui brassa dans un désordre tragique des familles françaises de toute sorte, des plus huppées aux plus modestes. Avec bonheur, Irène Némirovsky traque les innombrables petites lâchetés et les fragiles élans de solidarité d'une population en déroute. Cocottes larguées par leur amant, grands bourgeois dégoûtés par la populace, blessés abandonnés dans des fermes engorgent les routes de France bombardées au hasard... Peu à peu l'ennemi prend possession d'un pays inerte et apeuré. Comme tant d'autres, le village de Bussy est pays alors contraint d'accueillir des troupes allemandes. Exacerbées par la présence de l'occupant, les tensions sociales et frustrations des habitants se réveillent... Roman bouleversant, intimiste, implacable, dévoilant avec une extraordinaire lucidité l'âme de chaque Français pendant l'Occupation (enrichi des notes et de la correspondance d'Irène Némirovsky), Suite française ressuscite d'une plume brillante et intuitive un pan à vif de notre mémoire.
See also: Le mirador
by Elisabeth Gille (her daughter)
Click on book cover above to read more.
Jewish Displaced Persons In Camp Bergen-Belsen 1945-1950
The Unique Photo Album Of Zippy Orlin
(Samuel and Althea Stroum Book)
by Erik Somers, Rene Kok
University of Washington Press; Fall 2004.
In 1986, fifty-one year-old Chaim Orlin visited the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, visibly exhausted from lugging a large, heavy photograph album. Orlin explained that he had intended to entrust this photograph collection to a historic archive for some time. The impressive thirty-three pound album had been composed by his sister Cecila "Zippy" Orlin from photographs taken during the period when the former concentration camp Bergen-Belsen was used as a Displaced Persons camp for Jewish survivors of the Nazi atrocities. Containing over one thousand photographs, the album provides a detailed reflection of daily life at the DP camp in the years following the end of World War II. Zippy Orlin had been a volunteer for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee at the DP camp Bergen-Belsen. The history of Bergen-Belsen camp includes two extremes: death and survival. During the final months that Bergen-Belsen was used as a concentration camp under the Nazis, it was plagued by death. Upon liberating the camp on April 15, 1945, British troops found over 60,000 emaciated, desperate survivors of various nationalities, and until 1950, Bergen-Belsen, which was in the British Zone of Occupation in Germany, was one of Europe's largest internally autonomous communities of Holocaust survivors. The album of Zippy Orlin features illustrative and often compelling scenes depicting the tentative efforts of the survivors to recover and resume normal lives after the horrors of the Holocaust. Click on book cover above to read more.
WOMEN I HAVE DRESSED
By Arnold SCAASI
Scribner; October 2004.
For over fifty years, Scaasi has dressed celebrities and other women. So? So? Why should this be a Jewish Book? Cuz... SCAASI is ISAACS spelled backwards. Mr. Scaasi is a nice Jewish boy from Montreal. In this book, Scaasi kisses (or dresses) and tells and dishes about the famous women he dressed and designed for. A fascinating read of personal experiences from the famed fashion designer that showcases the lives and contributions of iconic women -- from Jackie Kennedy to Elizabeth Taylor to Laura Bush to Princess Diana. Arnold Scaasi has been dressing legends for almost five decades. His enduring tenure as one of the world's premier fashion designers and tastemakers has afforded him vast stores of insider knowledge and firsthand perspectives on an array of illustrious personalities who -- in their disparate arenas of high-wattage celebrity and influence -- have defined our contemporary notions of female power and glamour. Here, for the first time, Scaasi invites readers into his glittering A-list realm as he recounts his intimate experiences and interactions with larger-than-life female icons who made their mark in spheres as varied as politics, Hollywood, the music industry, and high society. Scaasi devotes each chapter to a specific woman or to a group of women, including "Broadway Girls," "New York Girls," and "Hollywood Girls." He shares dozens of behind-closed-doors anecdotes exploring what makes these women tick. In candid prose, he recalls what they said and how they acted, and most important, offers keen observations of who they really are underneath his creations. Using a privileged entrée into their private and public lives, Scaasi takes the measure of their impact on the world at large Click on book cover above to read more.
MY LIFE BEHINDS THE SEAMS IN THE HIGH-STAKES WORLD OF FASHION
By JOSEPH ABBOUD with ELLEN STERN
Harper Collins; Fall 2004.
A book from my favoriate and most bespoke Levantine Jew. I used to attend runway shows, and Mr. Abboud was always the most real and "menschy" designer and leader I came across.
Mr Abboud writes, "Designers are great white sharks, and we roam the waters ourselves. We often pretend to like and admire each other, but sometimes we don't even bother to fake it. The fashion industry is as hardworking, incestuous, and political as any other, and it's virtually impossible, given the size of designers' egos, to sincerely wish someone else well, because behind every false tribute is 'It should have been me.'"
Joseph Abboud fell in love with style at five. There in the dark of the movie house, he wasn't just some Lebanese kid with a babysitter. He was the hero, in tweeds and pocket squares. That's where he learned that clothes represented a better life -- a life he wanted, and would grab, for himself. From his blue-collar childhood in Boston's South End to his spread-collar success as one of America's top designers, he has forged a remarkable path through the unglamorous business of making people look glamorous. He transformed American menswear by replacing the traditional stiff-shouldered silhouette with a grown-up European sensuality. He was the first designer to win the coveted CFDA award as Best Menswear Designer two years in a row. The FBI questioned him after 9/11 because he fit a profile. He's soared and sunk more than a few times -- and lived to tell the tales. He takes the reader to Louis Boston, where he came of age and learned the trade, and to the seductive domain of Polo Ralph Lauren, where he became associate director of menswear design. He reveals the mystique of department-store politics, what's what at the sample sale, and who copies whom. He explains the process of making great clothes, from conception and sketch to manufacturing and marketing.
From Publishers Weekly: "All clothes make a statement. The right clothes make a statement that will open doors." With his user-friendly advice, Abboud, chairman emeritus and creative director of the men's clothier Joseph Abboud Company, revisits his past and, concurrently, shares fashion tips. Clients like Tom Brokaw and Wynton Marsalis are testaments to Abboud's elegance-with-an-edge style. His love affair with clothes started when he was growing up in Boston's South End in the 1950s and '60s, and he parlayed a passion for design into a job designing menswear at Polo/Ralph Lauren. When Abboud presented his own collection in 1987, he encountered the cutthroat practices of multimillion-dollar fashion empires. Abboud openly admits his career disappointments, including his foray into the lion's den of women's clothing and his trials launching a men's fragrance. Such honesty is refreshing, and Abboud's devotion to family and die-hard support for the Red Sox add to his charm. Readable and fun, the book offers lessons from Abboud's experiences to would-be designers. Bottom line: no element is inconsequential, whether it's a shoulder seam or the layout of a store display. For consumers, Abboud's credo is: "Style ought to be personal. It defines you to yourself, not to somebody else." Click on book cover above to read more.
ANY PLACE I HANG MY HAT
By Susan Isaacs
Scribner Book Company; (October 5, 2004)
An amusing story about Amy Lincoln and her search for parental roots. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE LIBERATED BRIDE
Now in paperback
by A.B. Yehoshua (Author), Hillel Halkin (Translator)
October 2004, Harvest paperback.
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.
Click the book cover above to read more.
NEGOTIATING OUTSIDE THE LAW
WHY CAMP DAVID FAILED
By RAY HELMICK, S.J. (jesuit)
with Forward by Reverend Jesse Jackson
Pluto Press; (October 2004)
Helmick, a mediator and Jesuit, gives his opinion on why Camp David failed to bring Arafat and Barak into a signed agreement, namely that scant attention was given to international law. Helmick argues that in looking at what will be needed to bring about a renewed peace process, attention should be given to the radical disparity of power between the sides. This is unlikely to be overcome so long as the underlying supposition to negotiations is that possession is granted by superior military force, with the result that everything is Israel's to give or not give as Israelis will choose. The alternative is to base the negotiation on a supposition of the rule of international law, which could only obtain if that were the expectation of the United States. Such a supposition would not disadvantage either side, Israeli or Palestinian, both of whose rights would command respect. Click the book cover above to read more.
ANCIENT POEMS FOR YOM KIPPUR
Translated and Edited by MICHAEL D. SWARTZ and JOSepH YAHALOM
PSU Press. October 2004
Avodah: Ancient Poems for Yom Kippur is the first major translation of one of the most important genres of the lost literature of the ancient synagogue. Known as the Avodah piyyutim, this liturgical poetry was composed by the synagogue poets of fifth- to ninth-century Palestine and sung in the synagogues on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Although it was suppressed by generations of Rabbis, its ornamental beauty and deep exploration of sacred stories ensured its popularity for centuries. Piyyut literature can teach us much about how ancient Jews understood sacrifice, sacred space, and sin. The poems are also a rich source for retrieving myths and symbols not found in the conventional Rabbinic sources such as the Talmuds and Midrash. Moreover, these compositions rise to the level of fine literature. They are the products of great literary effort, continue and extend the tradition of biblical parallelism, and reveal the aesthetic sensibilities of the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity. The book's format is innovative and appropriate for this complex, allusive genre of poetry. The Hebrew and English appear on facing pages with the references printed in a column to the side of the page. As the ancient listener would hear the poem chanted in the synagogue and recall the biblical references and legends based on them, the modern reader will read the body of the poem and be able to consult the references without being distracted by footnotes. The book contains an extensive introduction that not only describes the Avodah genre of piyyut but also places the poetry of the synagogue into the context of the art and civilization of the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity. Avodah: Ancient Poems for Yom Kippur is the first volume in The Penn State Library of Jewish Literature, overseen by Baruch Halpern and Aminadav Dykman. This series will constitute a library of primary source material for the Jewish and Hebrew literary traditions. The library will present Jewish and Hebrew works from all eras and cultures, offering both scholars and general readers original, modern translations of previously overlooked texts. Michael D. Swartz is Professor of Hebrew and Religious Studies at the Ohio State University. Joseph Yahalom is Professor of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalam. Click to read more.
SLAVES TO FASHION
POVERTY AND ABUSE IN THE NEW SWEATSHIPS
By ROBERT J. S. ROSS
October 2004, University of Michigan Press.
A provocative study of the reemergence of, the rebirth of, or the renewal of debate over, sweatshops, and their affect on workers. Click the book cover above to read more.
BAD NEWS FRoM ISRAEL
By GREG PHILO and MIKE BERRY
Pluto Press; 2004
Authors argue that the television media misinforms the public about the Israel Palestine conflict. They analyze how television portrays the conflict, portrays the parties, and how it shows casualties. It discusses motivations and rationales. The authors feel that if you call a bomber at a bus stop a "terrorist", that you are too pro-Israeli.
THE ECONOMIST reviewed this book writing, "BAD NEWS FROM ISRAEL... is a pretty DISMAL production... a WASTE of its producers' time and effort... After reviewing British TV programs...the researchers conclude that the Israeli point of view is over-represented... The method of the book is to label as "pro-Israeli" any piece that does not conform to the particular anti-Israeli narrative of the researchers from Glasgow ...it is taken for granted that the present intifada is a war of liberation against a brutal and illegal occupation and that any journalist who fails to hit the audience over the head with this point of view... is falling down on the job." Click the book cover above to read more.
However...... If you like the book above, you may also enjoy...
Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli Palestinian Struggle by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, who also heads the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (a tour de'forse, said Naseer Aruri; and an erudite work, said Dr. Hanan Ashrawi)
Or JEWISH Fundamentalism in Israel. New Edition by israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, with positive blurbs from the late Edward Said and Noam Chomsky
THE NAKED ROOMMATE
AND 100 OTHER THINGS YOU'LL ENCOUNTER IN COLLEGE
by HARLAN COHEN
FALL 2004. Sourcebooks
Expert advice on college life, and 100 issues including lying, stealling, klepto roommates, noisy, naughty, and nasty roommates, the boyfriend or girlfriend live here roommate, to go or not to go, the nice professor, and how to get an "A", Greek life tips, drinking on campus, safe sex and alchohol, money, laundry, grants, loans, credit card usage, and fabric softeners. Click the book cover above to read more.
Face Your Fears
Living with Courage in an Age of Caution
St Martins Press.
Advice for people who like pop generalizations.
Rabbi Boteach, friend to Michael Jackson, Uri Geller, and other B-list pop celebrities, writes on a new topic. Boteach turns his attention to America's present state of mind and comes to the conclusion that fear is crippling society with unprecedented force. The only way to escape this climate is to learn what fear is and how to overcome it. He tackles fear headlong and answers the following questions: What is fear? What is it doing to us? Why is it affecting us now more than ever before? How can we be so powerful a society yet so susceptible to fear? How can we conquer it? Why do we need to conquer it? Click the book cover above to read more.
THE BEST AMERICAN SPIRITUAL WRITING, 2004
Edited by Philip Zaleski
This sixth volume follows the expected format: some 25 essays and 10 poems that, according to the introduction, "address the eternal oppositions of good and evil, virtue and vice, creation and destruction; the sorrows and exaltations of heart, mind, and soul; the ceaseless quest for God." With approaches ranging from Seyyed Hossein Nasr's philosophical argument for the primacy of consciousness to Mark Doty's ecstatic vision of "fire [calling] its double down," the collection includes household names like Natalie Goldberg and Oliver Sacks alongside newer authors. Welcoming varied perspectives, Zaleski includes David Gelernter's summary of Judaism as well as a sprinkling of overt Buddhists and Christians, though most selections transcend religious categories. A large number, like David James Duncan's "Earth Music" and Allen Hoey's "Essay on Snow," focus on the natural world, while some, like B.K. Loren's "Word Hoard," resist classification. With few misses and many hits, the collection is a thought-provoking and often poignant read. Click the book cover above to read more.
A STUDY OF HER BORDERS AND A PLAN TOWARD PEACE
MARTIN VAN CREVELD
October 2004. St Martins
Israel is a tiny country. From tip to toe, it stretches 260 miles long but is only 60 miles at its widest point. Since the days of the British mandate, the question of "defensible borders" for the Jewish state has always been problematic. Yet considering the larger picture of what has happened in the Middle East over the last 25 years -- the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, the weakening of Syria as a result of the collapse of the USSR, the smashing of Iraq by the U.S -- Israel is, militarily speaking, stronger than ever before. The greatest remaining threats are terrorism and guerilla warfare; and those, this book argues, are best dealt with territorial concessions. This is a compact, incisive study that is certain to draw attention. Creveld (Moshe Dayan, etc.) argues effectively for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories-unilaterally, if necessary-on the grounds that it will make Israel more secure. A history professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he details the change in Israel's military thinking after its 1967 victory in the Six-Day War and claims it's time to change once again. Creveld proposes a "military revolution": more mobile forces and a more decentralized command system that will be more capable of countering terrorist threats. This should be accompanied by a withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, he contends, which are sapping Israel's military and moral superiority at levels that far outweigh their economic and ideological value. While he admits that an Israeli withdrawal will not completely rid the country of terrorism, he asserts that it will likely take away some of the motivation for suicide bombers. Click the book cover above to read more.
HOPE AND HONOR
By MAJOR GENERAL SID SHACHNOW (ret.) with JANN ROBBINS
October 2004. St Martins
PW Writes, "Part Holocaust memoir and part U.S. Army career narrative, this tale of an extraordinary life begins with young Schaja Shachnowski, a Lithuanian Jew, watching the Nazis march into his town. Taken with his family to a concentration camp, they survived by bribery, quick wits, the help of the Jewish camp police and the occasional assistance of local Lithuanians. Schaja was impressed by American GIs and remembered them after he and his family were eventually admitted to the U.S.: wanting to marry a Christian girl whom his family loathed and also unable to find a decent job, he enlisted in the army in 1955. This began a 40-year career, covered in the book's second half, that ended with him a much decorated major general, having spent most of his career in Special Forces, eventually becoming its commanding general. He served two tours in Vietnam, commanded the Berlin Brigade and fought for an enlarged role for Special Forces. He is also still married to his boyhood love, a remarkably enduring person in her own right. Schachnow's life certainly demonstrates the title qualities, as well as high professional integrity and a ferocious will to survive. His telling of it is not always graceful, but his story comes through clearly and with conviction." Click the book cover above to read more.
A Journey Through the Jewish Culture of Eastern Europe
by Yale Strom, Elizabeth Schwartz
October 22, 2004. Jossey Bass Wiley.
Filmmaker, musician, and author, Strom, journeys through current Jewish culture in Eastern Europe. Click the book cover above to read more.
Olive Trees and Honey
A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
October 4, 2004. Wiley.
A classic collection of traditional Jewish vegetarian recipes from around the world Throughout life, there are countless Jewish celebrations and meals for which meatless dishes are included, enjoyed, even preferred. Here is the only vegetarian resource Jewish cooks will ever need to prepare vegetarian dishes for any holiday or occasion as well as for everyday meals. The 300 recipes, which emphasize the signature flavors of time-honored dishes, span a tremendous range-soups, salads, grains and pastas, beans and legumes, egg dishes, savory pastries-and represent every part of the menu. The book also features practical cooking tips as well as in-depth essays on the cultural, historical, and religious relevance of traditional foods such as falafel, Sabbath stew, dumplings, kugel, and rice pilaf. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Power of Kabbalah for Teens
by Yehuda Berg
Kabbalah Centre publishing; (October 2004)
Well I guess it was bound to happen. First Madonna becomes Esther, and the Hollywood elite join the Jewish version of Scientology... and now... now.... This book. Don't tell me it is going to be the Bar Mitzvah Bat Mitzvah gift of choice this Fall??? Click the book cover above to read more.
Walking the Bible
An Illustrated Journey FOR KIDS Through the Greatest Stories Ever Told
by Bruce Feiler
October 2004. HarperCollins .
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THE TENEMENT SAGA
The Lower East Side and Early Jewish American Writers
By Sanford Sternlicht
October 2004. Wisconsin.
From 1882 to 1924, 2 million Jewish men, women and children passed through New York City Lower East Side. In this book, Sternlicht tells of his life there, as well as the stories of 14 others. Click the book cover above to read more.
ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER AND THE LOWER EAST SIDE
PHOTOS BY BRUCE DAVIDSON
Singers own New York
October 2004. Wisconsin.
Davidson was a neighbor of Singer. These are photos from 1957 to 1990, documenting the Lower East Side and Singer's trips there, as well as the film and photos Davidson shot in 1973 for a surreal film, Isaac Bashevis Singer's Nightmare and Mrs. Pupko's Beard. Click the book cover above to read more.
IN THE HEART OF THE SEAS
TWO TALES: BETROTHED and EDO AND ENAM
A GUEST FOR THE NIGHT
BY S. Y. AGNON
October 2004. Wisconsin.
Reprints of classic novels by Agnon. Click each separate book cover for more information more.
A LETTER TO HARVEY MILK
by LESLEA NEWMAN
October 2004. Wisconsin.
WITH A NEW PREFACE
These nine stories focus on an array of Jewish and lesbian concerns with a refreshing candor and lack of self-consciousness. The opening piece, "The Gift," introduces a theme that runs throughout the collectionthe conflicts between religious and sexual identity. Here, a simple, straightforward narrative escorts Rachel from the age of five through her 29th year. She alternately questions and embraces the Jewish heritage thrust upon her; endures the sexual advances and Jewish American Princess jokes of a college boyfriend; discovers both her lesbianism and that "being a lesbian is lonely. . . . Being a Jew is lonely. Being alive is lonely." Although pain plays a part in this volume, many of the tales celebrate with warmth and good humor the courageous maintenance of Jewish tradition in radical relationships. The title story takes a different twist as an old man finds both healing and grief in a writing course, while his Jewish lesbian teacher sees in her student an acceptance that her parents have denied her. "Flashback," another startling variation, tells of a young woman's obsession with the Holocaust. The work's immediate and genuine poignancy is sometimes marred by Newman's insistence on sprinkling Yiddish terms and speech patterns throughout the dialogue. The otherwise contemporary characters confront both timely issues, like AIDS, and eternal ones, such as a lovers' quarrel or a mother-daughter misunderstanding. Click the book cover above to read more.
by A.B. Yehoshua, Hillel Halkin (Translator)
Harcourt; October 2004
In the autumn, Molkho's wife dies and his years of loving attention are ended. But his newfound freedom is filled with the erotic fantasies of a man who must fall in love. Winter sees him away to the operas of Berlin and a comic tryst with a legal advisor who has a sprained ankle. Spring takes him to Galilee and an underage Indian girl. Jerusalem in the summer presents him with an offer from an old classmate to seduce his infertile wife. And the next autumn it is Nina (if only they spoke the same language!), whose yearning for her Russian home leads Molkho back to life Five Seasons is a finely nuanced, unabashedly realistic novel that provides immense reading pleasure. Click the book cover above to read more.
ONE FINE STOOGE
The Life of Larry Fine
By Steve Cox and Jim Terry
October 2004. Cumberland House Publishing.
An essential biography of the Stooge in the middle, Larry Fine, using materials never before made public. Click the book cover above to read more.
BECOMING GOD By Michael Berg
THE RED STRING BOOK By Yehuda Berg
Madonna is promoting these books... they have a lot of $$ behind them for marketing... well then, they must be great.. Nuff said. Okay more to say... if you are into superstition, then don't let us get in your way. Buy them through us. All proceeds to us from the sales of these books will be donated to Jewish anti-cult groups.
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A Young Girl's Journey from Hitler's Hate to War-Torn China
By URSULA BACON
Soon to be a major motion picture film. The story of a Jewish refugee in China. Against the backdrop of looming world war and Hitler's "Final Solution," 11-year-old Ursula Bacon and her family made the terrifying 8,000-mile voyage to Shanghai with its promise of freedom. Instead they found overcrowded ghettos filled with desperately poor Chinese and Japanese. Amid the city's abysmal conditions and its prostitutes, drug dealers, and rats, Ursula discovered a city of exotic, eccentric, and exciting humanity. Years later, when the fate of friends and family left behind in Germany became known and documented, the hard life endured by those in the Shanghai ghetto seemed to pale in comparison. As a result, the "Shanghai Jews" have been all but lost in history. Ursula's eight-year struggle is a story to be shared and remembered. As she watches her best friend die from fever, befriends a Buddhist monk, learns the lessons of street life, and aids an American airman, her remarkable memoir will resonate with readers long after the last page is read. Click the book cover above to read more.
How the Son of God Became a National Icon
by Stephen Prothero
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Fall 2004 paperback
A fascinating history of the role Jesus and a remade American Jesus iconography and imagery have played in American life. The first page just draws you in and keeps your attention. Great to read during the lection season. Even Thomas Jefferson was attacked in his run the the U.S. Presidency for not being Christian enough. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Fire That Changed America
By DAVID VON DREHLE
Grove Press paperback.
The story of the fire that changed labor laws forever. On a beautiful spring day, March 25, 1911, workers were preparing to leave the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York's Greenwich Village when a fire started. Within minutes it consumed the building's upper three stories. Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside. The final toll was 146-123 of them women. It was the worst disaster in New York City history until September 11, 2001. Harrowing yet compulsively readable, Triangle is both a chronicle of the fire and a vibrant portrait of an entire age. Waves of Jewish and Italian immigrants inundated New York in the early years of the century, filling its slums and supplying its garment factories with cheap, mostly female labor. Protesting their Dickensian work conditions, forty thousand women bravely participated in a massive shirtwaist workers' strike that brought together an unlikely coalition of socialists, socialites, and suffragettes. Von Drehle orchestrates these events into a drama rich in suspense and filled with memorable characters. Most powerfully, he puts a human face on the men and women who died, and shows how the fire dramatically transformed politics and gave rise to urban liberalism. Click the book cover above to read more.
To Jewish Life In America!
Celebrating from 1654 until Today
by Susan Goldman Rubin, Harry N Abrams, Jewish Museum
October 2004. Harry N Abrams.
Coinciding with the 350th anniversary of the first recorded Jewish settlement in North America, this lavishly illustrated introduction to Jewish life is a compilation of compelling first-person reports and well-documented facts. Brimming with photographs, paintings, memorabilia, and other artifacts from the renowned Jewish Museum and other sources, and with text by award-winning author Susan Rubin, this book provides readers with a wide range of examples of North American Jewish life all across the U.S. and Canada. This book continues the growing library of Abrams' high-quality, award-winning, and accessible Judaic-content books. Click the book cover above to read more.
WORDS ON FIRE
THE UNFINISHED STORY OF YIDDISH
by DOVID KATZ
October 2004. Basic Books.
PW WRITES: Yiddish was the common language of central European Jewry before the Holocaust. The catastrophic loss of millions of Yiddish speakers has led to the impression that Yiddish is a dying, if not dead, language. Not so, claims Katz, head of the Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University, and in this ambitious, comprehensive and entertaining history he makes clear not only its past but its future. Most scholars claim that Yiddish began around A.D. 900, but Katz argues that many elements can be found "in a continuous language chain that antedated ancient Hebrew, progressed through Hebrew, and then Jewish Aramaic." Katz clearly explicates not only Yiddish's linguistic history, but how it helped shape, and was shaped by, Jewish culture. Much of the history is fascinating-for instance, 16th-century rabbis, worried that the printing press would allow women access to secular popular European stories, offered sacred writings in popular forms (plays and prose based on biblical themes and midrashic tales) that shaped Yiddish literature for centuries. Katz argues that Yiddish will continue as a spoken language not because of conscious efforts to "save" it (which, he writes, can "border on the downright meshuga") but because of the rapid growth of Yiddish-speaking ultra-Orthodox movements. This scholarly work is quite readable and a strong contribution to the ongoing academic and popular interest in Yiddish. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
A TRANSLATION WITH COMMENTARY
by ROBERT ALTER
October 30, 2004. WW NOrTON.
This is the capstone of Alter's lifelong work to establish the literary identity to the Torah. Alter, a Comp Lit professor at Berkeley, has written this complete new translation with a probing insightful commentary which recovers the mesmerizing, literary effect that one who spoke biblical Hebrew would get. As a poet, he gets the cadences of the Hebrew Bible and conveys the musical lyrical nature of the Torah. Through a distinguished career of critical scholarship, Robert Alter's masterly new translation and probing commentary combine to give contemporary readers the definitive edition of The Five Books. Alter's translation recovers the mesmerizing effect of these ancient stories - the profound and haunting enigmas, the ambiguities of motive and image, and the distinctive cadences and lovely precision of the Hebrew text. Alter's translation conveys the music and the meaning of the Hebrew text in a lyrical, lucid English. His commentary illuminates it with learned insight and reflection on its literary and historical dimensions.
The NYT wrote, "Robert Alter, who has come up with this remarkable translation of the Five Books after decades of writing some of the most convincing analyses ever produced of the Hebrew Bible, is a critic with the strength of mind to resist the urge to uplift. Luckily for us, he is equally skeptical of what usually replaces homily in modern commentary, namely history. Scholars who study the Bible, of course, don't try to determine what ''really'' happened, as passionate amateurs do. Instead they attempt to reconstruct how the books must have been assembled. But Alter, along with critics like Frank Kermode, Harold Bloom, David Damrosch and Gabriel Josipovici, has spent the past quarter-century rejecting both the preacherly and the historicist approaches to the Bible and devising one that would allow us to grapple with it as literature. Not that Alter overlooks the Bible's moral and spiritual dimensions; he could hardly do so, given that roughly half the Five Books is made up of laws, and the other half -- the narrative half -- is concerned with working out the covenants made by God with his chosen people. Nor does he ignore the work of scholars who valiantly attempt to isolate historical voices in this blended text. As a matter of principle, though, he declines to chop stories into pieces, reassigning parts to ''J'' or parts to ''P'' for the purpose of resolving apparent contradictions. What Alter does with the Bible instead is read it, with erudition and rigor and respect for the intelligence of the editor or editors who stitched it together, and -- most thrillingly -- with the keenest receptivity to its darker undertones. In the case of the binding of Isaac, for instance, Alter not only accepts a previous translator's substitution of ''cleaver'' for the ''knife'' of the King James version but also changes ''slay'' (as in, ''Abraham took the knife to slay his son'') to ''slaughter.'' Moreover, in his notes, he points out that although this particular Hebrew verb for ''bound'' (as in, ''Abraham bound Isaac his son'') occurs only this once in biblical Hebrew, making its meaning uncertain, we can nonetheless take a hint from the fact that when the word reappears in rabbinic Hebrew it refers specifically to the trussing up of animals. Alter's translation thus suggests a dimension of this eerie tale we would probably have overlooked: that of editorial comment. The biblical author, by using words more suited to butchery than ritual sacrifice, lets us know that he is as horrified as we are at the brutality of the act that God has asked Abraham to commit."
Translators often win praise for their attention to nuance, but in the case of the Hebrew Bible subtlety has hurt more than it has helped. Biblical Hebrew has an unusually small vocabulary clustered around an even smaller number of three-letter roots, most of them denoting concrete actions or things, and the Bible achieves its mimetic effects partly through the skillful repetition of these few vivid words. The translators who gave us the King James version appear more or less to have understood this, but many 20th-century English-language translators have not. In their desire to convey shades of meaning brought out by different contexts or, perhaps, to compensate for what they perceived as the primitiveness of the ancient language, they replaced biblical Hebrew's restricted, earthy lexicon with a broad and varied set of often abstract terms.
"Not Alter. As he explains in his introduction -- an essay that would be worth reading even if it didn't accompany this book -- the Hebrew of the Bible is, in his view, a closed system with a coherent literary logic, ''a conventionally delimited language, roughly analogous in this respect to the French of the neoclassical theater,'' though plain-spoken where neoclassical French is lofty. Alter's translation puts into practice his belief that the rules of biblical style require it to reiterate, artfully, within scenes and from scene to scene, a set of ''key words,'' a term Alter derives from Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, who in an epic labor that took nearly 40 years to complete, rendered the Hebrew Bible into a beautifully Hebraicized German. Key words, as Alter has explained elsewhere, clue the reader in to what's at stake in a particular story, serving either as ''the chief means of thematic exposition'' within episodes or as connective tissue between them.
All this repetition would be merely repetitive if Alter didn't tie it to a precise notion of what's going on in nearly every passage. The art of the translator, like the art of the narrator, lies in knowing when to paraphrase and when not to. What makes Alter's ''Five Books'' more engrossing than most other modern translations is that he bases this decision on more than instinct. Like Rashi and Abraham Ibn Ezra and the other great commentators whose insights fill his superb commentary, Alter has thought these stories through to their shocking ends. Often enough his choice to be literal stems from the rare resolve not to look away from the text, even when it dismays us, or ought to. ..."
Michael Dirda, writing in The Washington Post, wrote: "...But seemingly no pattern goes unnoticed by Robert Alter. For me, the chief glory of this edition of The Five Books of Moses may actually lie in its abundant footnotes. To these he brings all his gifts as both a scholar of Hebrew and a major literary critic. The result is a kind of modern-day Midrash, commenting on language roots as well as laying bare some of the motifs and interlacings of this great foundational text. I don't know Hebrew, but it is good to be reminded that Adam draws his name from the word for soil and that his son Cain has a name meaning smith, or that 'arum (cunning) -- the adjective associated with the Garden of Eden's serpent -- puns on a word from the previous verse: 'arumin, which means naked. One starts to feel wiser just by paying attention to the words that Alter defines: ruah (breath, wind, spirit), marah (bitter), tsahaq (laugh). The last words of the the last book of Moses are appropriately "le'eyney kol-yisra'el" ("before the eyes of all Israel"). Alter's brief notes also recall the scholarly knowledge and critical insight displayed more fully in his three earlier studies: The Art of Biblical Narrative, The Art of Biblical Poetry and The World of Biblical Literature. Just look at two comments here about the few verses that relate the story of Cain and Abel. "The widespread culture-founding story of rivalry between herdsman and farmer," Alter points out, "is recast in a pattern that will dominate Genesis -- the displacement of the firstborn by the younger son." Once he says this, you see immediately how true it is, as the stories of Jacob and Esau, of Joseph and his brothers, of Absalom and Solomon rise up in your mind. Then, after Cain murders, Alter sensibly explains the famous "inconsistency" -- how could there be people around who might slay Cain once he turns into a "restless wanderer," and where in the world does he find a wife?.... Alter's notes deliver, I suppose, the quiet serenity and wisdom of Midrash. By reading him, we learn things we might have forgotten or never noticed: The mark of Cain was a sign of protection, not of stigma. Onan's crime was not in fact masturbation but coitus interruptus. As for Moses's destruction of the Commandments in anger over the Golden Calf, "There is also a good deal of evidence that in the ancient Near East smashing the tablets on which a binding agreement was written was a legal act of abrogating the agreement.".... Autumn, it seems to me, is the best time to read the Bible. The green world is turning mottled and brown, the evening grows dark ever more quickly, we feel the chill in the brisk morning air. In the fall we find ourselves turning naturally to mild philosophical meditation, reflecting in our vague way on the purposes of life, the passage of time, the petty affairs of humanity. For brief moments, we even view our own selves from a distance, sub specie aeternitatis. In such a mood one might profitably reread parts of either testament -- or take up Robert Alter's fine and thoughtful new version of the five books of Moses"
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THE MESSIAH OF BROOKLYN
UNDERSTANDING LUBAVITCH HASIDISM PAST AND PRESENT
by Rabbi Avrum M. EHRLICH
October 2004. KTAV.
PW writes, "This biography by Ehrlich, a rabbi and philosopher of religion, is an exhaustive and painstakingly researched study of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the charismatic Habad-Lubavitcher rebbe who died in Brooklyn in 1994. The book's first section uncovers the history of Hasidism and its influential subculture, Habad, as well as Schneerson's pre-rebbe life and his succession to leadership. Parts two and three deal with his activities as the rebbe, including a detailed examination of Habad institutions and Schneerson's unique style of managing them from his headquarters in Brooklyn. Finally, the book concludes by analyzing the contentious issues that have arisen since Schneerson's death; after 45 years in office, he left no apparent heir. The book contains many references to the question of whether Schneerson or his predecessor were (or are) the Messiah. Both this discussion and the entire presentation are marred by repetition, often preceded by tiresome reiterations of "as has been seen" and "as will be seen." Sensible editing might have rendered the book of interest to a wider readership by eliminating irksome duplication and broadening the subject. Its appeal is now limited to those who want to carefully study one important segment of Hasidism." Click the book cover above to read more.
by Faye Kellerman and Jonathan Kellerman
October 2004. Warner
Two Novellas, two authors, one book. two mystery novellas from a husband and wife whose separate writing careers have earned each a huge following. These stories, set at opposite ends of the country, give barely a hint as to who wrote what, providing a little tantalizing "real-life" mystery to the puzzlers on the page. "Double Homicide: Boston," the strongest of the pair, is also the grittier of the two. A city college basketball star is shot at a nightclub following a nasty incident on the court. The prime suspect is a loudmouth on the opposing team, but as detectives McCain and Breton find out, the crime isn't as straightforward as it seems. The backdrop of "Double Homicide: Santa Fe" is a tad more refined--though murder, after all, is still murder. A cutthroat art dealer is found dead, and there are plenty of suspects in his address book--including the ex-wife of one of the investigating cops. In both stories, the cops' personal lives add welcome texture to the fairly routine if still wholly entertaining plots. A diversion for the Kellermans but sure to be of interest to their respective fans. Click the book cover above to read more.
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber:
A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts
by Julian Rubinstein
Little, Brown, Fall 2004
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Attila Ambrus, the Robin Hood of Eastern Europe. He's the one-time pelt smugger, goalkeeper (possibly the worst in the history of professional hockey), pen salesman, Zamboni driver, grave digger, church painter, roulette addict, building superintendent, whiskey drinker, and native of Transylvania who's decided that the best thing to do with his time is to rob as many banks as possible. This is the true story of an Transylvnanian immigrant (and son of Jewish emigres who changed their family name when the "Jewish laws" were introduced in Transylvania in 1940) who escaped into Hungary in 1988 and is now regularly referred to as the "modern day Robin Hood" in Eastern Europe. Attila Ambrus (just 36 years old today) is a former animal pelt smuggler and pro hockey goalie who became an outrageous (and harmless) bank robber who handed flowers to tellers, mailed wine to investigators and once outswam police through the Danube River.
His rival: Lajos Varju, the Inspector Clouseau of the Iron Curtain, whose knowledge of police work comes from Hungarian-dubbed episodes of "Colombo." His deputy is nicknamed "Mound of Asshead" due to his propensity for crashing police cars. His forensics expert, known as "Dance Instructor" for his lucrative side career teaching ballet, wears top hat and tails on the job. Welcome to Julian Rubinstein's uproariously funny and unforgettable account of crime in the heart of the new Europe. With a cast of characters that includes car wash owners, exotic dancers, drunk Army generals, cocaine-snorting Hungarian rappers, the Johnnie Cochrane of Budapest, and a hockey team that seems to spend as much time breaking the law as they do practicing, BALLAD OF THE WHISKEY ROBBER gives us the most charming outlaw-hero since the Sundance Kid-and the Sundance Kid didn't play hockey. As the Eastern Bloc slips off its communist skin and replaces it with leopard-skin hot pants, BALLAD OF THE WHISKEY ROBBER is here to screw in the pink lightbulbs. Part UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING, part PINK PANTHER, and part SLAP SHOT, Julian Rubinstein's tale is a spectacular literary debut-and a story so outrageous that it could only be true.
PW writes: This story of a bank robber who captured a nation's sympathy in post-Communist Hungary is a rollicking tale told with glee and flair. Attila Ambrus sneaked over the border from Romania into Hungary in the waning days of Communist rule. After talking his way onto a Hungarian hockey team, he turned to robbery to make some cash in the Wild West atmosphere of the early 1990s in Eastern Europe. As journalist Rubinstein shows, Ambrus was quite good at it. Taking advantage of poor police work, he took in millions in Hungarian currency and became a headline-grabber. He managed to stay at large for several years while continuing in his role as a back-up goalie on the ice. Rubinstein has a knack for telling a good story, and he captures well both Ambrus's appeal and the atmosphere of the first few years of capitalism in Hungary. Along the way, he introduces readers to memorable characters in addition to the appealing, alcoholic protagonist: the women Ambrus attracts and a Budapest detective driven out of office by the crime spree. While Rubinstein (whose work has been collected in Best American Crime Writing) overwrites at times, he has a rootin'-tootin' style that's a perfect fit for this Jesse James-like tale, which has the chance to be a sleeper that transcends nonfiction categories. Click the book cover above to read more.
Ten Jewish Men In A World That Is Heartbroken
by ELIEZER SOBEL
University of Tennessee Press (October 1, 2004)
One of my favorite jokes: Two wise old rabbis are walking on the beach, contemplating life in companionable silence. Finally one rabbi says to the other, "I've been thinking..." "And what is it you've been thinking?""I've been thinking that the very best thing... is never to have been born at all." They walk a bit farther. The other rabbi finally replies, "Yes. But who has such luck? Not one in ten thousand." If you think this joke is funny, read this book. If you don't think this joke is funny, read this book. It is funny and sad and funny, but not so... existentially enigmatic... there is a taste of bitter herbs along with the sponge cake. And then a final vision - not so much one of happiness as of grace." Author Alan Wier wrotes: "...a delightful tale of a community of Jewish men trying to find meaning and love in contemporary society.... There are passages here so inventive, so lyrical, so downright funny, that readers will share them, going to get the book to read out loud.... This novel is not for a Jewish audience only. One learns things in any good novel, and among the things one learns in MINYAN are many things Jewish but, more importantly, one learns many things human.... MINYAN is one of those novels that makes its own, quirky way, extending the range of the boundary of the novel. Good readers will recognize here things they have never seen before." Click the book cover above to read more.
by IMRE KERTESZ, TIM WILKINSON (Translator)
Random House; (October 2004).
A masterly new novel from the 2002 Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature: the story of a Hungarian writer whose death forces his circle of friends to confront their own terrible moment in history. "Fatelessness," Kertesz's novel that was singled out by the Nobel committee as his masterwork, mirrors Kertész's own experience of being imprisoned in Buchenwald and Auschwitz as a teenager, of surviving and then realizing that life in the world and life in the camps share the same philosophical problem: To live is to conform - so why live? Kertész has been pondering this question ever since he left Auschwitz, but it took him almost 30 years to find the form to express it in a book.
In this book, ten years have passed since the fall of Communism. B.-a writer of high literary reputation whose birth and survival in Auschwitz defied all probability-has taken his own life. Among his papers, his friend Kingbitter discovers a play titled Liquidation in which he reads an eerie foretelling of the personal and political crises that he and B.'s other friends now face: having survived the Holocaust and the years of Communist rule, having experienced the surge of hopefulness that rose from the rubble of the Wall, they are left with little but a sense of chaos and an utter loss of identity. Kingbitter, desperate to understand his friend's suicide, begins a furious search for the novel he believes might be among B.'s papers and might provide the key. But the search takes him in unexpected directions: deep into his own memories and into those of B.'s ex-wife, Judith, the hidden corners of their lives revealed-to themselves and to us-at the same time as the mystery of B.'s life is slowly unraveled. An intricately layered story of history and humanity-powerful, disturbing, lyrical, achingly suspenseful, brilliantly told. Click the book cover above to read more.
I LOVE LORD BUDDHA
A TRANSLATION WITH COMMENTARY
by HILLARY RAPHAEL
Creation Books; (October 15, 2004).
I LOVE LORD BUDDHA is the transgressive, transcendent first novel that some are calling the future of literature, and others are calling a post-pornographic revolution. Set in late-90's Tokyo, it recounts the history of the Neo-Geisha Organization, a sex-and-death cult with an anti-consumerist, pro-hedonist, sub-Buddhist ideology. The cult is led by Hiyoko, a leggy Westerner with a penchant for Eastern philosophy and drug-fuelled sex binges. Her followers are the young women whose curiosity and perfect bodies have taken them thousands of miles from home to work in Tokyo's neon-lit network of hostess bars. I LOVE LORD BUDDHA takes its inspiration from the classical Japanese literature of the first millennium, the AUM Shinrikyo subway-gas cult, and the esoteric texts of Buddhism, while recalling the ultra-modern iconography of films like Kill Bill 1. Reading like manga, sounding like hard techno, feeling like fetish, I LOVE LORD BUDDHA paves the way for a new literature of undiluted aesthetics and ecstasy. Hillary Raphael is 28 and lives in New York and Tokyo.
I met her in Chicago. A student of Japanese avant-garde dance, she is in such great shape, that when she became stranded on a hike in Mizpa Ramon crater in the Negev in Israel, she hiked so far, that rescuers were amazed she made it so far in such little time. I LOVE LORD BUDDHA is her first novel. If you ask me, F*king Jay McInnerney should take writing lessons from her. Click the book cover above to read more.
Hanukkah Menorahs Of The Jewish Museum
by Susan L. Braunstein
Yale University Press
A magnificent array of Hanukkah menorahs and lamps that shed light on the Jewish traditions that produced them The ceremonial kindling of lights each night during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah commemorates an ancient victory for religious freedom-the liberation and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. As their diversity and beauty attest, Hanukkah lamps are singularly important as a form of ceremonial art and are among Judaism's best-loved traditional objects. This superbly illustrated book showcases more than 100 Hanukkah lamps selected from the extensive collection of The Jewish Museum in New York. The featured lamps date from the Renaissance to our own time, and were created from a wide variety of materials in virtually every part of the world, including the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
HANUKKAH, OH HANUKKAH
by SUSAN L. ROTH
September 2004. DIAL
Ages 2 and Up. A familiar Hanukkah song gets a sweet, if surprising, treatment in a compact book that uses mice as characters (it's not every day one gets to see a mouse wearing a yarmulke). As the song "Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah" says, the family lights the menorah; has a party; and, in a clever, eye-catching spread, dances the hora. Roth's torn-paper collages work best when there are only a few characters on the page, but even though it's more difficult to see what's going on in the crowded spreads, the art still shines with holiday cheer. Here, the music is appended, and everyone will enjoy singing along. (booklist) Click the book cover above to read more.
by MICHELLE EDWARDS
October 2004. DIAL
Ages 5 to 7. For Selma and her little sister Dora, this is their first Chanukkah without Mama (she passed away last Summer). When Papa comes home with everything they need for latkes, Selma is worried. Mama always made the Chanukkah latkes. Can they make them without her? Click the book cover above to read more.
By JANE BRESKIN
Ages 3 to 5. Another in Zalben's growing list of holiday books about Beni the Bear and his Jewish family. Because Mama doesn't want to make the traditional potato pancakes this year, the scene is set for a latke-making contest. Goldie, Max, Rosie, Leo, Blossom, and Molly each take a turn, but it isn't until Papa takes over that Beni declares a winner--Papa's latkes are the best. Zalben adds a touch of light comedy to the story, which concludes with the family's gathering to enjoy a few other holiday traditions with their pancake feast. While still homey and beautifully executed, the pictures seem a trifle less ornate than in previous books in the series, and Zalben offers no background on the holiday. She does, however, supply words and music to the traditional song "O Chanukah," along with instructions for making Papa's pancakes. Click the book cover above to read more.
A Confused Hanukkah
An Original Story of Chelm
by Jon Koons, Illustrated by S. D. Schindler
September 2004, Dutton
Ages 5 and up. Hanukkah is fast approaching in the village of Chelm, but the Rabbi is away. Unfortunately, not one of the villagers remembers how Hanukkah is supposed to be celebrated. So they send Yossel, a simple young man, to the neighboring village to learn what he can. Yossel makes a wrong turn, but he does find some people celebrating a holiday. The question is: Is it the right holiday? Not really, since it involves an evergreen tree topped by a matzo ball and a chubby butcher dressed up as Hanukkah Hershel. This original story, based on the legendary town of fools, is perfect for interfaith families and anyone looking for a good chuckle at holiday time. Trust me, not even Chelm residents would be this confused, but it is funny nevertheless. Click the book cover above to read more.
Spin the Dreidel!
by Alexandra Cooper
October 2004, S&S
A plastic dreidel turns IN A window cut out of this board book's spine, allowing youngsters to play the game while reading rhymes that are also instructions . Click the book cover above to read more.
Holiday Poetry (I Can Read Book 2)
by Lee Bennett Hopkins
HarperCollins (October 1, 2004)
Lee Bennett Hopkins was born in the Holy Land of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1938. Mr. Hopkins began teaching sixth grade at a public school in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, in 1960. He became a resource teacher, providing curricular support materials for the elementary school teachers. It was while serving in this position that Mr. Hopkins first used poetry to help children with reading problems. In 1968 Mr. Hopkins became a curriculum and editorial specialist at Scholastic, Inc. Mr. Hopkins is widely recognized as the nation's spokesperson for Children's Poetry. In this book, he stresses poetry and not GIFTS. Each of the 12 poems captures the holiday spirit. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Nuremberg Interviews
by LEON GOLDENSOHN, ROBERT GELLATELY (Editor)
Knopf (October 2004)
In 1946 Goldensohn, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, conducted a series of interviews with many of the defendants and witnesses as the Nuremberg war-crimes trials unfolded. Until Gellately edited them, these interviews have been unavailable to the public. Virtually all of the top Nazi officials tried at Nuremberg are interviewed here, and their responses make for fascinating yet chilling reading. There are few surprises. Most of the defendants insist that they were unaware of the extermination camps, and many of them say they now realize the criminal nature of Hitler, Himmler, and Goebbels. What is striking about them is what Hannah Arendt called the sheer "banality of evil." These men, with the possible exception of Julius Streicher, don't come across as fire-breathing monsters or even fanatics. In fact, under other circumstances, some of them would be viewed as rather decent. Goering, who was the charismatic "star" of court proceedings, was clearly a man of considerable intelligence and charm. Yet most of these men willingly played integral parts in a machine that practiced atrocities as a matter of routine. Without necessarily intending to do so, these men reveal how easily totalitarian systems can induce acquiescence to or even enthusiastic participation in evil.
PW writes: "How did you figure a six-month-old Jewish infant must be killed-was it an enemy?" Goldensohn asked Otto Ohlendorf at Nuremberg. "In the child," explained the SS lieutenant general, "we see the grown-up." Goldensohn, an army psychiatrist, was assigned in 1946 to the Nuremberg trials. In his evaluations of the German defendants, he quickly got over his shock at their casual acceptance of Nazi doctrine and refusal to take personal responsibility for their acts. Goldensohn died in 1961, and recently his brother Eli collected the long-stored transcripts edited by historian Gellately (The Gestapo and German Society). Goldensohn tried to coax childhood memories from the men, seeking early motivations for later monstrousness, and found little to go on. Most were ordinary people who took unexpected opportunities in politically festering interwar Germany. Few expressed even meager repentance, blaming betrayal of the Nazi ideal for the thwarting of the Garden of Eden promised by Hitler, who remained for them a political and military genius. Goldensohn's conversations with these men are perturbing because most of the them seem like many of us except for the circumstances that lured them into opportunistic deviance. Goldensohn may not have left a headline-making legacy of belated revelations, but he has complicated further the tapestry of evil. Click the book cover above to read more.
A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS
A Novel By Amos Oz
Fall 2004, Harcourt
Publishers Weekly writes: This memoir/family history brims over with riches: metaphors and poetry, drama and comedy, failure and success, unhappy marriages and a wealth of idiosyncratic characters. Some are lions of the Zionist movement-David Ben-Gurion (before whom a young Oz made a terrifying command appearance), novelist S.Y. Agnon, poet Saul Tchernikhovsky-others just neighbors and family friends, all painted lovingly and with humor. Though set mostly during the author's childhood in Jerusalem of the 1940s and '50s, the tale is epic in scope, following his ancestors back to Odessa and to Rovno in 19th-century Ukraine, and describing the anti-Semitism and Zionist passions that drove them with their families to Palestine in the early 1930s. In a rough, dusty, lower-middle-class suburb of Jerusalem, both of Oz's parents found mainly disappointment: his father, a scholar, failed to attain the academic distinction of his uncle, the noted historian Joseph Klausner. Oz's beautiful, tender mother, after a long depresson, committed suicide when Oz (born in 1939) was 12. By the age of 14, Oz was ready to flee his book-crammed, dreary, claustrophobic flat for the freedom and outdoor life of Kibbutz Hulda. Oz's personal trajectory is set against the background of an embattled Palestine during WWII, the jubilation after the U.N. vote to partition Palestine and create a Jewish state, the violence and deprivations of Israel's war of independence and the months-long Arab siege of Jerusalem. This is a powerful, nimbly constructed saga of a man, a family and a nation forged in the crucible of a difficult, painful history. Click the book cover above to read more.
Murder in Tombstone
The Forgotten Trial of Wyatt Earp
by Steven Lubet
Northwestern University School of Law, Professor
November 2004. Harcourt
The gunfight at the OK Corral is legendary-but what happened once the shooting ended? The gunfight lasted less than a minute. After the fight, Wyatt Earp was not universally acclaimed as a hero. Among the people who knew him best in Tombstone, Arizona, many considered him a renegade and murderer. The cowboys and rustlers were pitted against the Democrats and Republicans and the two newspapers in this town of about 2,100 souls. Charges were brought against the Earps. This book tells the nearly unknown story of the prosecution of Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holiday following the famous gunfight. To the prosecutors, the Earps and Holiday were wanton killers. According to the defense, the Earps were steadfast heroes-willing to risk their lives on the mean streets of Tombstone for the sake of order. Luckily, the Earps had an excellent lawyer. The case against the Earps, with its dueling narratives of brutality and justification, played out themes of betrayal, revenge, and even adultery. Attorney Thomas Fitch, one of the era's finest advocates, ultimately managed-against considerable odds-to save Earp from the gallows. But the case could easily have ended in a conviction, and Wyatt Earp would have been hanged or imprisoned, not celebrated as an American icon. After the trial, revenge was taken, which caused more retribution against outlaws, and Wyatt had to fell with his wife to Colorado, where he settled for a while, and the Governor would not extradite him to the Arizona Territory. Earp later moved to California where he and his wife gambled, invested, and dabbled in oil exploration.
AND WHY IS THIS A JEWISH BOOK??
Cuz Wyatt and his wife of 50 years are buried in a Jewish cemetery in Colmer California, cuz his wife was Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp. Nuf said. Click the book cover above to read more.
It's Hanukkah Time
by Latifa Berry Kropf, Tod Cohen
Kar-Ben Publishing (September 1, 2004)
A preschool prepares for Hanukkah. The kids mail invitations, create gifts and decorations, and make some donuts for Hanukkah. Then the parents and grandparents arrive. Ages 2-6. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Annotated Brothers Grimm
by Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm,
Maria Tatar, A. S. Byatt
W. W. Norton & Company (Fall 2004)
A perfect book for anyone who missed Freshman Seminar 49p. Maria Tatar is dean for the humanities and John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. ''The Annotated Brothers Grimm'' gives us a sample of 40 of the 210 tales in the authoritative version of the seventh and final edition of 1857. She is the author of books on the Brothers Grimm, on fairy tales (The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales and Off with Their Heads!), and on the cultural impact of mesmerist theories and practices of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, she has also authored Lustmord, which explores the theme of sexual violence in the literature, film, and art of the Weimar period in Germany.
The Annotated Brothers Grimm celebrates the richness and dramatic power of the legendary fables in the most spectacular and unusual Grimm volume in decades. Containing forty stories in new translations by Maria Tatar-including "Little Red Riding Hood," "Cinderella," "Snow White," and "Rapunzel"-the book also features 150 illustrations, many of them in color, by legendary painters such as George Cruikshank and Arthur Rackham; hundreds of annotations that explore the historical origins, cultural complexities, and psychological effects of these tales; and a biographical essay on the lives of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Perhaps most noteworthy is Tatar's decision to include tales that were previously excised, including a few bawdy stories and others that were removed after the Grimms learned that parents were reading the book to their children-stories about cannibalism in times of famine and stories in which children die at the end. Also... in the original stories, the evil mothers were actual mothers. The Grimms changed these tales to STEP MOTHERS in order to keep the purity of German motherhood in place.
There is also a sampling of ADULT TALES. It contains several murderous cautionary tales, along with the nightmare of ''The Jew in the Brambles,'' a story not much reprinted since 1945, in which the hero tortures a Jewish peddler using a magic fiddle, making him dance in brambles; at the end the peddler is hanged. Three of the Grimms' tales contain Jewish figures; ''the two that feature anti-Semitism in its most virulent form were included in the Compact Edition designed for young readers'' (1825), Tatar tells us. ''The Jew in the Brambles'' casts a long shadow back through the book, leaving one wondering whether the ashes Cinderella slept in would one day become the ashes of Auschwitz.
Click the book cover above to read more.
How Hollywood Box Office Became a National Obsession
by Dade Hayes, Jonathan Bing
Miramax Books (Fall 2004)
Follow the money if you want to know the tale.
Two Variety editors open readers' eyes wide to the inside story of Hollywood's relentless pursuit of fast maximum bucks in this engaging, informed look at the major films of the 2003 July Fourth weekend. Three big movies clashed at the box office from Wednesday, July 2, to Sunday, July 6:
Legally Blonde 2 and
Hayes and Bing, writing smoothly together, consider each film primarily as a business product, bringing unprecedented attention to the massive marketing campaigns engineered by the respective studios (T3: Warner; LB2: MGM; Sinbad: DreamWorks). They follow Schwarzenegger through the publicity grind; sit with Mission Valley girls for a test screening of an early trailer for LB2; scrutinize the performance of DreamWorks marketing chief Terry Press at ShowWest in Las Vegas as she defends the hand-drawn Sinbad in the era of Shrek. The go on the press junket to London for LB2m since the star in filming there. The studio controls the cameras and the trip, so any negative questions are edited out. Visits to myriad locations brighten the narrative (Technicolor's film processing plant; Schwarzenegger's vast office), while a smart history of blockbuster cinema, which the authors trace back past Jaws to Joseph E. Levine's Hercules and 1953's The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, deepens it. In this excellent book that's a must read for anyone passionate about the film business or cultural trends, the authors have created an intricate, suspenseful and learned chronicle of the confluence of money and art. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Final Solution
A Story Of Detection
by Michael Chabon
November 2004. Fourth Estate.
In only 131 pages, the celebrated novelist, Michael Chabon tells the tale of a retired Sherlock Holmes (not actually mentioned by name) who meets a young German Jewish refugee during WWII. In deep retirement in the English country-side, an eighty-nine-year-old man, vaguely recollected by locals as a once-famous detective, is more concerned with his beekeeping than with his fellow man. Into his life wanders Linus Steinman, nine years old and mute, who has escaped from Nazi Germany with his sole companion: an African gray parrot. What is the meaning of the mysterious strings of German numbers the bird spews out -- a top-secret SS code? The keys to a series of Swiss bank accounts perhaps? Or something more sinister? Is the solution to this last case -- the real explanation of the mysterious boy and his parrot -- beyond even the reach of the once-famed sleuth? Subtle revelations lead the reader to a wrenching resolution. Click the book cover above to read more.
HOW WORLD WAR II CHANGED A GENERATION
by Deborah Dash Moore
November 2004. Belknap Harvard University Press.
Whether they came from The Bronx, Exeter, Sioux Falls, or Boston, over 500,000 Jewish men and women entered the U.S. armed services during World War II. The joined all the branches, including the merchant marines, and saw action on all fronts. This is the story of their fight, their battles, as well as their battles against the prejudice of fellow soldiers. Moore tells the story of fifteen soldiers. From induction, to training, to pork based K-rations, to Jewish worship, to prejudice, to death, battles, and the confrontation with death camp survivors, she portrays how these soldiers were transformed, and how they reshaped post war Jewish life in America and abroad. These men challenged the perception that Jews were merely victims. Service strengthened Jews' identification with civic values as it reinforced Jewish identities. It was during WWII that the black-Jewish bond may have been created. Some Jews searched for European Jews and their relatives during their leaves. Move over Tom Brokaw, for the Jewish "Greatest Generation." Click the book cover above to read more.
RESCUED FROM THE REICH
HOW ONE OF HITLER'S SOLDIERS SAVED THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
by Bryan Mark Rigg
Foreward by Paula E. Hyman
November 2004. Yale University Press.
Professor Bryan Mark Rigg, who previously wrote HITLERS JEWISH SOLDIERS, teaches at SMU and served in the U.S. Marine Corp and the IDF. In his new book, he investigates Poland in 1939. Hitler's forces invaded Poland and laid siege to Warsaw. The Rebbe Joseph Schneersohn, the leader of Lubavitcher sect of Hasidic Jews was among the hundreds of thousand of trapped Jews in Warsaw. His followers did not know if he was dead or alive. Some American Jews approached the U.S. government for help. The U.S. government, which publicly was unmovable on immigration by Jewish refugees, secretly assisted in the rescue. There are many stories of how he escaped Poland, but this book has the factual version. In the midst of the fog of war, a small group of German soldiers located the Rebbe and PROTECTED him from other Nazis. They fled the city together. Who was the leader of the rescue mission? Ernst Bloch, a decorated soldier in the Wehrmacht, a half Jew who had been officially Aryanized, though he was a victim of the rising anti-Semitism of the Nuremberg laws. And who did Bloch choose as his troops to work on the mission? Other half Jews. For years, Lubavitchers believed Bloch to be a hidden Jew in the German Army or an angel. This book sets the record straight. His half Jewish status, known to his superiors, is probably the reason why he was chosen to lead the mission. Click the book cover above to read more.
by TOM LAMPERT
November 2004. Harcourt
PW writes: The author, an American-born scholar living in Berlin, documents the Nazi era in Germany through eight largely unconnected stories of lesser-known figures-some perpetrators, some victims, one a vicious dog at Treblinka (or perhaps it's really about Konrad Lorenz, a former Nazi party member and later Nobelist who testifies on the dog's behalf). Despite Lampert's prodigious research, he is less than successful in meeting his intent "to alleviate some of the moralizing pressure... that make[s] it impossible to think concretely about... the Holocaust." He wants readers to see that not all perpetrators were evil, nor all victims innocent. Miriam P. is a young, criminally destructive Jewish psychopath executed by the Nazis in their roundup of mental patients. Erich B. is a ruthless SS executioner who loved his children and suffered greatly from physical ailments. The most nuanced and compelling chronicle is that of Karl L., who headed the Jewish police in Theresienstadt, obsessively pursuing stealing and corruption by prisoners; later, when accused of Nazi collaboration, he defended his actions as in the best interest of the inmates. But it's not news that some Nazis, like Wilhelm K. in the title piece, tried to save some Jews, or that some Jews may have collaborated with the Nazis. Does knowledge of this interfere with clear moral thinking about the Holocaust? Though his tales are fascinating, Lampert's purpose in telling them seems muddled. Click the book cover above to read more.
By RUCHAMA KING
November 1, 2004. Now in Paperback. St Martins Griffin
It has blurbs from Stephen Dubner, Naomi Ragen, Thane Rosenbaum, and Alice Elliott Dark. In 7th grade in Silver Spring, the author's teacher read an essay of her's aloud, and said Ms. King would be an author. And behold. The author lived in the yeshivish world of Jerusalem and resided with matchmakers. After her dates, she would debrief with the matchmakers. Using this as experience, she has set out to write a transformative novel, a novel about searching for a bashert in life, in romance, and in the spiritual realm. At the start of the novel, we meet two Jerusalem matchmakers. Judy is a Rebbitzen with half a dozen kids. She studies at a women's yeshiva shere she is learning to have more confidence in her own opinions. She is taking Torah (NOT TALMUD) classes, looking for deeper meaning in life. She interprets the story of the creation of Eve in light of her own role as a matchmaker. Another matchmaker is Tsippi. Her own marriage is not the best; asked a question about love, her husband is more focused on the Talmudic quote on love than on answering the question directly. As her husband studies in the back, she works the counter at their makolet grocery store, keeping an eye out for single customers. Into both their lives come Beth (Yenta Shprinza). Beth is a 39 year old American virgin, never even been kissed, an independent Orthodox woman from Pittsburgh, the daughter of a man who sells vibrating furniture. If only there would be some vibration in Beth's life. Having dated everyone in NYC, she has come to Jerusalem. She lives among Mizrahi Jews, yet doesn't eat over their homes for fear that their standards of kashrut are not hers. She volunteers to help hospitalized schizophrenics who believe they are biblical characters (in Jerusalem you either become an author of a prophet), and she has dropped out of her own bible study classes due to her anguish over the laws of sacrifice and other uncomfortable biblical practices. Judy and Tsippi see Beth (or Bet) as a unique project. When Tsippi sends her on a date with Akiva, a painter of houses (not canvases) and student of the Torah, Beth is hopeful. They have good dates, have a Sabbath walk in the forest, but Akiva is afflicted by a disconcerting twitch. Well twitch is polite. It is an affliction that twitches his whole body like an earthquake; it is more like a seizure than a hic-cup filled sneeze. Judy sets Beth up with handsome, American Binyamin, an artist, an arrogant Ba'al Teshuva. While no woman is pretty enough for him, he is unaware that as the French say, there are no ugly women, only lazy ones. He paints landscapes, but adds a kitschy Hebrew letter or Torah scroll so that the painting will sell. And, brother, let me tell you, the tourists gobble them up. King writes about the dates between Beth, Akiva, and Binyamin; what will she decide? She also writes about Jerusalem's foods, forests, windmills, and bus shelter arsons, the power of love in a nursing home among the near dead, a rabbi who visits widows to brighten their pre-Shabbat spirits, the lives of women who date afflicted men, and the spiritual journeys of all the characters. PW adds: "King tracks the dating fates of Beth, Akiva and Binyamin, but pays equal attention to their spiritual searching. Her attention to minor variations in levels of orthodoxy makes the book a sociological study of sorts ("he went to a very religious black-hat hareidi yeshiva, yet from the look of him he seemed two steps removed from that world"), but her richly detailed descriptions of Jerusalem (the reader can almost smell the falafel frying) and her sympathetic characters make this a fully realized novel." Click the bookcover to read more.
by STEVEN NADLER
November 2004. In paperback. University of Chicago Press.
Donna Seaman wrote, "Seventeenth-century Amsterdam was home to a remarkable Jewish community unique in all of Europe. Nadler has made this intriguing world his specialty, first in his acclaimed Spinoza: A Life (1999), and now in this enlightening inquiry into the depiction of Jews in Dutch art. Using Rembrandt's profoundly human portraits of his Jewish neighbors and depictions of Old Testament stories as his base, Nadler elucidates both the inner dynamics of Jewish Amsterdam and its interactions with the city at large. Rembrandt was not alone in his interest in Jewish life, and Nadler's disquisition on why Dutch theologians studied Judaica, and on why Dutch artists eschewed the blatant anti-Semitism found elsewhere in Europe, is profoundly intriguing. Nadler portrays both Rembrandt and Menasseh ben Israel, a friend of the artist whom Nadler believes was a crucial resource for Rembrandt's knowledge of Jewish culture and possibly "the most famous Jew in all of Europe." Rich in compelling detail and surprising disclosures, Nadler's discourse greatly deepens our understanding of the role of art in both Dutch and Jewish history." Click the book cover above to read more.
FREE SPEECH IN WARTIME FROM THE SEDITIION AT OF 1798 TO THE WAR ON TERRORISM
By GEOFFREY R. STONE, University of Chicago School of Law
November 30, 2004. WW NORTON.
How the First Amendment has been compromised since 1798. Geoffrey Stone's Perilous Times incisively investigates how the First Amendment and other civil liberties have been compromised in America during wartime. Stone delineates the consistent suppression of free speech in six historical periods from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the Vietnam War, and ends with a coda that examines the state of civil liberties in the Bush era. Full of fresh legal and historical insight, Perilous Times magisterially presents a dramatic cast of characters who influenced the course of history over a two-hundred-year period: from the presidents-Adams, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Nixon-to the Supreme Court justices-Taney, Holmes, Brandeis, Black, and Warren-to the resisters-Clement Vallandingham, Emma Goldman, Fred Korematsu, and David Dellinger. Filled with dozens of rare photographs, posters, and historical illustrations, Perilous Times is resonant in its call for a new approach in our response to grave crises. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE DAMASCUS AFFAIR OF 1840
by RONALD FLORENCE
November 2004. Wisconsin.
On February 1840. When a Monk and his servant disappeared, the Jews were accused of blood libel. The story became the cause celebre in Europe. This is the history of the incident. Click the book cover above to read more.
GOD ON THE STARTING LINE
THE TRIUMPH OF A CATHOLIC SCHOOL RUNNING TEAM AND ITS JEWISH COACH
By Marc Bloom
November 2004. Breakaway.
Marc Bloom, formerly editor-in-chief of The Runner magazine, is a contributing editor of Runner's World, features writer for The New York Times, and publisher of The Harrier, a newsletter on high school distance running. When he began coaching boys' cross-country at Saint Rose, a small Catholic high school in New Jersey, Marc Bloom almost quit in frustration. The boys rejected Bloom's attempts at discipline and were also-rans in competition. Bloom persisted, fueled by the spiritual teachings of his Jewish faith of Tikkun Olam, to "repair the world." When he combined those teachings with the boys' core Catholic values, the team responded with soaring results. They ran their hearts out, collecting trophies and learning values of commitment and passion-the spiritual victories Bloom had yearned for. Bloom and his squad formed rare bonds of love that built toward a perfect race in the state championships. Click the book cover above to read more.
Ummm.. okay.. who owns the film rights to this story.. Get Hallmark Hall of Fame on the phone, please.
The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions
(JPS Desk Reference Series)
by Ronald L. Eisenberg
November 2004. Jewish Publication Society.
How much do you really know about Judaism? After reading The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions, you may be in for a surprise! Did you know that: Dividing the Bible into chapters and verses was a Christian innovation; Although a recital of the Ten Commandments was once part of the daily service at the Temple in Jerusalem, Jews elsewhere were forbidden to recite them; The Kaddish, which now closes every Jewish service, as well as sections within the service, was originally not even part of the synagogue ritual; Ronald Eisenberg has distilled an immense amount of material from classic and contemporary sources into a single volume, which provides thousands of insights into the origins, history, and current interpretations of a wealth of Jewish traditions and customs. Divided into four sections-Synagogue and Prayers, Sabbaths and Festivals, Life-Cycle Events, and Miscellaneous (a large section that includes such diverse topics as Jewish literature, food, and plants and animals)-this latest title in the JPS Desk Reference Series is an encyclopedic reference for anyone who wants easily accessible, accurate information about all things Jewish. Eisenberg writes for a wide, diversified audience, and is respectful of the range of practices and beliefs within today's American Jewish community-from Orthodox to liberal. The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions is certain to be a meaningful addition to institutional and personal libraries. It is also an excellent gift for b'nai mitzvah, and other lifecycle events and holidays. Click the book cover above to read more.
FRATRICIDE IN THE HOLY LAND
A PSYCHOANALYTIC VIEW OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
by AVNER FALK
November 2004. Wisconsin.
The unconscious aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Two ethnic groups fight over the same land. Falk explores the unconscious aspects of the struggle and lost opportunities, using large group psychology, nationalism, psychogeography, suicidal terrorism, and psychobiographies of Sharon and Arafat. Click the book cover above to read more.
Matzo Balls for Breakfast and Other Memories of Growing Up Jewish
by Alan King
Free Press; (November 22, 2004)
Memories by the late comedian, Alan King, who passed away in May 2004. This rewarding book, which you'll want to pass on to family and friends, is the first of its kind. Until King undertook this project, no celebrity had ever before assembled a book about growing up Jewish that presents totally new writing by famous people, many of them entertainers themselves. Combining warmhearted humor with a prideful nostalgia, these essays discuss life in the Jewish family and neighborhood, being a Jew in a non-Jewish world, Jewish holidays, and discovering the essence of being Jewish. And so we savor the stories: Neil Sedaka on not becoming a cantor; Alan Dershowitz on seeking a rabbinical blessing for that new Brooklyn Dodger, Yakov Robinson; Susan Stamberg on learning that the entire world was not, in fact, Jewish; Jerry Stiller on the Jewish origins of his ambitions to become a comedian; Melissa Manchester on finding her way to the faith. In his foreword to the book, CNN's Larry King hails his much-missed departed friend, Alan. Alan King -- the beloved comic, actor, producer, author, philanthropist, and storyteller extraordinaire -- understood that humor helped the Jewish people survive dark times through the ages and that, in modern-day America, humor could wash away the barriers between Jews and non-Jews. As a final section in this book, Rick Moranis, Barbara Walters, and Billy Crystal recall the Alan King they knew so well and laughed with so often. Enjoy Click the book cover above to read more.
Janet & Me
An Illustrated Story of Love and Loss
by Stan Mack
Simon & Schuster; Fall 2004.
In words and drawings both candid and human, Stan Mack follows his eighteen-year relationship with Janet Bode, a lighthearted fling that beat the odds to become an enduring love affair. The only thing they couldn't beat was cancer. As Janet and Stan confront the jagged terrain of cancer, then navigate the twilight of terminal illness, two portraits emerge: of a woman who faced her cancer the same way she lived her life, with guts and charm; and of the man who held her close and shared her struggle. For anyone who can't resist a beautifully told love story, for anyone who is touched by someone suffering from serious illness and looking for emotional and practical guidance, and for anyone who appreciates a life lived to the fullest, Janet & Me will resonate long after the last page is turned. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Record Of The Paper
Fifty Years Of The New York Times On Us Foreign Policy
by Howard Friel and Richard Falk
W W Norton & Co Inc; (November 30, 2004).
A scathing examination of the editorial practices of the world's most consulted newspaper. In this study-the first part of a two-volume work-Howard Friel and Richard Falk demonstrate how the newspaper of record in the United States has consistently, over the last 50 years, misreported the facts related to the wars waged by the United States. From Vietnam in the 1960s to Nicaragua in the 1980s and Iraq today, the authors accuse the New York Times of serial distortions. They claim that such coverage now threatens not only world legal order but constitutional democracy in the United States. Falk and Friel show that, despite numerous US threats to invade Iraq, and despite the fact that an invasion of one country by another implicates fundamental aspects of the UN Charter and international law, the New York Times editorial page never mentioned the words "UN Charter" or "international law" in any of its 70 editorials on Iraq from September 11, 2001, to March 20, 2003. The authors also show that the editorial page supported the Bush administration's WMD claims against Iraq, and that its magazine, op-ed and news pages performed just as poorly. In conclusion the authors suggest an alternative editorial policy of "strict scrutiny" that incorporates the UN Charter and the US Constitution in the Times coverage of the use and threat of force by the United States and the protection of civil and human rights at home and abroad. Click the book cover above to read more.
A Wandering Feast
A Journey Through the Jewish Culture of Eastern Europe
(Arthur Kurzweil Books)
by Yale Strom, Elizabeth Schwartz
Jossey Bass; (Fall 2004).
An original and uplifting view of a world lost, reborn, and rediscovered This is a delightful book that welcomes the reader to a wonderful journey through the Jewish culture of Eastern Europe: the still-vibrant villages and homes, the Yiddish folkways, the toe-tapping Klezmer music, and heart-warming traditional food. Yale Strom documented his journey--organized around fourteen specific visits to authentic villages in Eastern Europe--with a fascinating travelogue that includes inspiring stories, photographs, music that has never been printed, and recipes. He reveals that a culture long feared to be gone forever is still very much alive. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE ACHILLE LAURO HIJACKING
LESSONS IN THE POLITICS AND PREJUDICE OF TERRORISM
by MICHAEL K. BOHN
Brasseys; (November 2004).
Bohn, who directed the White House situation room under Reagan, relates the harrowing tale of one of the most spectacular terrorist acts of the 1980s and its aftermath. In October 1985, Palestinian gunmen under the command of Abu Abbas commandeered an Italian cruise ship, murdered the wheelchair-bound Jewish-American Leon Klinghoffer and tossed his body overboard. Negotiations yielded the perpetrators safe passage in an Egyptian aircraft, but the U.S. intercepted the flight and the terrorists were put on trial in Italy. During the crisis, Arab-American activist Alex Odeh appeared on television and seemed to justify Palestinian terrorism; his remarks were quoted out of context. Police suspected that Jewish extremists were responsible for his subsequent murder. Bohn, a former navy officer, juxtaposes the murders of Odeh and Klinghoffer, two Americans killed because of their differing affiliations in a still-simmering conflict, in drawing lessons about the "politics and prejudice" of terrorism. He attempts to understand the motivations and grievances of the terrorists, not to justify them but to encourage a more effective policy for confronting terror. For Bohm, terrorism is "not just about good versus evil" but exists in a political and cultural context; his book effectively illuminates the backstory of a gruesome example of it. Click the book cover above to read more.
Ester and Ruzya
How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace
by MASHA GESSEN
Dial; (November 2004).
From Booklist: One of Gessen's grandmothers was from Bialystok, Poland, and eventually worked as a translator for the NKVD; the other one was an intellectual who became a censor under Stalin's regime and, later, a translator. At the end of World War II, they met in Moscow. Ester's son and Ruzya's daughter married and had two children, one of them being the author. Her memoir begins with an account of Polish Jewish life in the mid- to late 1930s, when pogroms were coming in waves. And this is also the story of Jakub, Ester's father, who lived in a ghetto in Nazi-occupied Bialystok, where he was a member of the Judenrat presidium, in charge of rationing. Gessen grew up in Moscow, later came to the U.S., and returned to visit the Soviet Union in 1991; later, she finally decided to stay. For most of the last 10 years she has been a foreign journalist in Moscow. This astonishing and deeply moving story is related with a masterful eye for the human detail that makes history come alive. Click the book cover above to read more.
Cooking For Love
A Novel with Recipes
by Sharon Boorstin
In COOKING FOR LOVE, Beverly Hills cookbook author Miriam Levy dreams about food. Her best friend Kate McGrath dreams about "The One" who got away. When, after 25 years, Kate finds him on Google, and he asks her to visit him half-way around the world, she begs Miriam to go with her. It leads to an adventure that teaches both women love, life, friendship--and food. Inspired by a true story, this warm, funny novel--Chick Lit for "mature" women--includes 20 delicious recipes. If you loved Like Water for Chocolate or The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, COOKING FOR LOVE is must reading. "In COOKING FOR LOVE, Sharon Boorstin whips up a delicious confection of fiction and food that you'll want to devour, all the way through to the last yummy page." --Iris Rainer Dart, Author of Beaches and Some Kind of Miracle "COOKING FOR LOVE has cooked up a delicious story with all the trimmings of humor and womanspeak. Thankfully you can't gain weight from inhaling a fun read." --Suzy Gershman, Author of Born to Shop and C'est La Vie. "Boorstin leaves no balabusta behind when it comes to adventure. While heroine Miriam's thoughts seldom stray from food - a bikini wax reminds her of Grandma Estelle plucking a chicken - she claims her share of the, shall we say, action. Where once her ingenuity was confined to exploits of the kitchen kind - cashews and ginger in her latkes, dried cranberries in her tzimmes - Miriam emerges as a bold, plucky heroine, and Boorstin emerges as the consummate storyteller to stir up this wickedly hilarious brew." ---The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles Click the book cover above to read more.
As Refracted through the Generations
By Abraham Joshua Heschel
Edited by Gordon Tucker
with Abraham Joshua Heschel and Leonard Levin
December 23, 2004
41 chapters and over 700 pages
This is one of the most significant Jewish books of Fall 2004
To understand Heschel is to understand Judaism. If people would forego the Zohar and Kabbalah fad and actually read this book, we would be in better touch with our Jewish theology.
If a dwarf were to sit on the shoulders of a giant, who would see farther? The dwarf would.. Reading this book allows we dwarves to sit on a giant's shoulders, and perhaps see what he saw.
Known most widely for his role in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s, Abraham Joshua Heschel made major scholarly contributions to the fields of biblical studies, rabbinics, medieval Jewish philosophy, Hasidism, and mysticism. Yet his most ambitious scholarly achievement, his three-volume study of Rabbinic Judaism, is only now appearing in English. Heschel's great insight is that the world of rabbinic thought can be divided into two types or schools, those of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael, and that the historic disputes between the two are based on fundamental differences over the nature of revelation and religion. Furthermore, this disagreement constitutes a basic and necessary ongoing polarity within Judaism between immanence and transcendence, mysticism and rationalism, neo-Platonism and Aristotelianism. Heschel then goes on to show how these two fundamental theologies of revelation may be used to interpret a great number of topics central to Judaism. Gordon Tucker is senior rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York, and Adjunct Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE INEFFABLE NAME OF GOD: MAN
Poems in Yiddish and English
By Abraham Joshue Heschel
Translated by Morton Leifman, Introduction by Edward Kaplan
December 23, 2004, Continuumbooks.com.
These 66 poems, here in English and Yiddish on facing pages, were collected in the first book Abraham Joshua Heschel ever published. They appeared in Warsaw in 1933 when Heschel was 26 years old and still a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Berlin. Written between 1927 and 1933-and never published in English before-this is the intimate spiritual diary of a devout European Jew, loyal to the revelation at Sinai and afflicted with reverence for all human beings. These poems sound themes that will resonate throughout Heschel's later popular writings: human holiness, a passion for truth, awe and wonder before nature, God's quest for righteousness, solidarity with the downtrodden, and unwavering commitment to tikkun olam. In these poems we also discover a young man's acute loneliness, dismay at God's distance, and dreams of spiritual and sensual intimacy with a woman. Cynthia Ozick writes, "To discover that the religious philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel was a poet in his youth is both startling and indelibly self-evident-startling because the poems have so far eluded the anthologies; and at the same time familiarly manifest, in that Heschel's metaphysical writings themselves carry the impress of poetry. Like Herbert, like Donne, like Blake, he is God-haunted; his lyrics are steeped in the mystic's longing to tear away the curtain that conceals the divine radiance and (sometimes) God's tears." Arthur Hertzberg writes, "Abraham Joshua Heschel's first calling as a writer was to become in his early twenties a major poet in Yiddish. In this earliest work, Heschel stated all the themes of his later development as a religious thinker and passionate Jew. This work is now translated magnificently, in a way that is sensitive to Heschel's Yiddish, by Morton Leifman. Taken together, in the original Yiddish and in contemporary English, this book is a classic."
People's eyes wait for me / Like candle wicks for a light
Shamed brothers beg my help / Deceived sisters dream of consolation
Move on through this earth
With the brightness of all the stars
In my eyes
Click the book cover above to read more.
HER LIFE AND DIARY
THE FIRST COMPLETE EDITION
Jewish lights, December 2004
Hoilly Smith writes of this book: During her brief life, 1921-1944, Hannah Senesh became a national hero in Israel. Her diary begins in 1933 in her native Budapest. In the midst of entries about school, boys, and travel, her growing awareness of herself as a Zionist emerges; while she is learning Hebrew and making plans to move to Palestine, thoughts on the impending war pepper her writing. In 1939, she moves to Palestine to attend the Girl's Agricultural School and work on a kibbutz. That same year, World War II is formally declared. Hannah feels powerless in the face of its horrors: "We can do nothing else; we're forbidden to take action, though there is certainly a difference between passivity and inactivity." But she volunteers, the only female, for a parachute troop with a secret mission to land behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia, sneak into occupied Hungary, and warn the Jewish population, including her mother, of their imminent fate. Tension is strong in her last letter, penned the day she parachutes into Yugoslavia. The next section of the book is written by two fellow parachuters who provide more details about their mission and portray Hannah Senesh as a brave, wise, and compassionate woman. The last section is written by her mother, imprisoned in Budapest when Hannah was captured and brought to the same jail, where Hannah was tortured and died at age twenty-three. Click the book cover above to read more.
FROM JESUS TO CHRISTIANITY
How Four Generations of Visionaries and Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith
by L Michael White
December 2004, Harper SF
From Publishers Weekly: ...White, who teaches Christian origins at the University of Texas at Austin and who co-wrote the PBS special From Jesus to Christ, chronicles the evolution of early Christianity as a family history. The first "generation" (30-70 C.E.) saw the death of Jesus, the rise of Paul and the end of the Jewish revolt against Rome. In the second (70-110 C.E.), tensions developed between the Jesus sect and Judaism, a separation that became permanent in the third generation (110-150 C.E.), when Jesus' followers broke away from their Jewish roots and began to develop their own institutional identity and intrareligious squabbles. Finally, by the fourth generation (150-190 C.E.), Christianity had assumed an integral role in the social and intellectual context of the Roman Empire. White uses sidebars to provide helpful summaries of the authorship, provenance, date and themes of various writings and to offer useful lists of further readings. However, his bland presentation uncovers nothing especially new in the story of early Christianity. Click the book cover above to read more.
Michael Chabon Presents
. . .The Amazing Adventures Of The Escapist Volume 1
. . .The Amazing Adventures Of The Escapist Volume 2
by Brian Vaughan, Kevin McCarthy, Marv Wolfman, Matt Kindt, Mike Mignola
Hanukkah 2004. Dark Horse (Volume 2) .
Passover 2004. Dark Horse (Volume 1)
Volumes 1 and 2 of the comic book made famous by Michael Chabon.
Master of Elusion, foe of tyranny, and champion of liberation - The Escapist! Operating from a secret headquarters under the boards of the majestic Empire Theater, the Escapist and his crack team of charismatic associates roam the globe, performing amazing feats of magic to aid all those who languish in oppression's chains. The history of his creators, Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, was recently chronicled in Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. The best of the Escapist's adventures are now collected into one volume for all to enjoy! This thrilling volume of Michael Chabon Presents...The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist collects the first two issues of the comic book and features an original story penned by Michael Chabon, the comics debut of novelist Glen David Gold, a new story written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, the painted artwork of Bill Sienkiewicz, and a wraparound cover by Chris Ware!
Click the book cover above to read more.
Support Any Friend
Kennedy's Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance
by Warren Bass
Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (December 30, 2004). Paperback
At the Cold War's height, John F. Kennedy set precedents that continue to shape America's encounter with the Middle East. Kennedy was the first president to make a major arms sale to Israel, the only president to push hard to deny Israel the atomic bomb, and the last president to reach out to the greatest champion of Arab nationalism, Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser. Now Warren Bass takes readers inside the corridors of power to show how Kennedy's New Frontiersmen grappled with the Middle East. He explains why the fiery Nasser spurned Washington's overtures and stumbled into a Middle Eastern Vietnam. He shows how Israel persuaded the Kennedy administration to start arming the Jewish state. And he grippingly describes JFK's showdown with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion over Israel's secret nuclear reactor. From the Oval Office to secret diplomatic missions to Cairo and Tel Aviv, Bass offers stunning new insights into the pivotal presidency that helped create the U.S.-Israel alliance and the modern Middle East. Click the book cover above to read more.
BETHLEHEM ROAD MURDER
A Mystery by Batya Gur
December 2004. HarperCollins.
Batya Gur, the celebrated, short tempered, Israeli mystery writer scoreds big with this new installment in her series of mysteries. The body of a young woman with her face ruined is discovered in the attic of a house in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, on Rehov Bethlehem (This is actually Batya Gur's attic in her new house). Michael Ohayon is called to the scene to investigate. But this involves more than a crime scene and murder, it involves the place of an old love and unfinished romance. The criminal investigation is set in the complexities of Jerusalem, the tension between Mizrahi Jews and European Jews, Jews and Arabs, the intifada, and the allegedly kidnapped Yemenite children of the 1950's.
From Publishers Weekly: Israeli author Gur's outstanding police procedural, her fifth Michael Ohayon mystery (after 1998's Murder Duet), can hold its own with the best work of P.D. James. Chief Superintendent Ohayon, a restrained and understated figure who will remind many of James's Adam Dalgleish, investigates the brutal murder of an attractive young woman whose bludgeoned corpse is found by chance in the attic of a house undergoing renovation in Jerusalem's Baka neighborhood. Despite a subordinate's suspicions of a Palestinian laborer who was working on the building, Ohayon sets his team to exploring the victim's complex relationships, which include those with her employer, an older lawyer who decided for some reason to give her a valuable apartment, and her mother, an immigrant who recently began attending secret meetings. The detective's discovery that the dead woman had been probing one of the worst scandals in Israel's history suggests that she might have been silenced because some individuals implicated in that horror feared disclosure. Gur excels at creating living, breathing secondary characters, and in Ohayon she has fashioned a three-dimensional, intelligent and empathetic hero whose patience and compassion lead him to the tragic truth. This engrossing psychological study should appeal to a wide readership, not just those fascinated with the promises and paradoxes of the Jewish state. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE STAR OF REDEMPTION
BY FRANZ ROSENZWEIG
December 2004. Reissue. University of Wisconsin.
The reissue of the classic book by Rosenzweig (1886-1929), the co-founder of the Lehrhaus. One of the greatest modern works of religion and philosophy. The major themes in The Star are birth, life, death and the immortality of the soul; Eastern philosophies and Jewish mysticism; the relationship between God and the world and humanity over time; and revelation as the real biblical miracle of faith and path to redemption. Click the book cover above to read more.
OREINTALISM AND THE JEWS
BY IVAN DAVIDSON KALMAR AND DEREK J. PENSLAR, Eds.
December 2004. Brandeis .
A fascinating analysis of how Jews fit into scholarly debates about Orientalism. At the turn of the twenty-first century, in spite of growing globalization there remains in the world a split between the West and the rest. The manner in which this split has been imagined and represented in Western civilization has been the subject of intense cross-disciplinary scrutiny, much of it under the rubric of "orientalism." This debate, sparked by the 1978 publication of Edward Said's Orientalism identifies the "Orient" as the Islamic world and to a lesser extent Hindu India. "Orientalism" signifies the way the West imagined this terrain. Going beyond Said's framework, in their introduction to the volume, Kalmar and Penslar argue that orientalism is based on the Christian West's attempts to understand and manage its relations with both of its monotheistic Others-Muslims and Jews. According to the editors, Jews have almost always been present whenever occidentals talked about or imagined the East; and the Western image of the Muslim Orient has been formed and continues to be formed in inextricable conjunction with Western perceptions of the Jewish people. Bringing together essays by an array of international scholars in a wide range of disciplines, Orientalism and the Jews demonstrates that, since the Middle Ages, Jews have been seen in the Western world as both occidental and oriental. Jews formed the model for medieval depictions of Muslim warriors. Representations of biblical Jews in early modern Europe provided essential sustenance for Western fictions about the Muslim world. And many of the Western protagonists of imperialism "discovered" real or imaginary Jews wherever their expeditions took them. Today orientalist attitudes by Israelis target not only Arabs but also the mizrahi ("oriental") Israelis with roots in the Arab world as Others. Click the book cover above to read more.
PALESTINIAN ARAB MUSIC
by DALIA COHEN and RITH KATZ
A comprehensive analysis of Palestinian music, which is based in the classical style of maqam, is highly improvised, includes text, and is highly connected to the traits of individual performers. Uses the Cohen-Katz Melograph (1957). Click the book cover above to read more.
THE PRUNE BOOK
TOP MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES FOR PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTEES
December 2004. Brookings.
This is an essential book for those Jewish people who will be appointed to the new federal administration after the January 2005 inauguration of John Kerry. The PLUM Book was famous as a listing of top 7,400 appointed positions available in DC. The PRUNE book is the required tool that describes the selection process. This edition has a section on the leadership challenges facing presidential appointees. This chapter looks at elements of leadership competence in the executive branch, including personal qualities such as people skills, accessibility, intellectual independence, objectivity, and commitment. Insights into federal positions are provided. If you want to perform your best, read this book. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE TREE OF LIFE
A TRILOGY OF LIFE IN THE LODZ GHETTO
BOOK 1: ON THE BRINK OF THE PRECIPICE, 1939
By Chava Rosenfarb, Translated from Yiddish with Goldie Morgentaler
December 2004. Wisconsin.
The lives of 10 protagonists in the Lodz Ghetto. The author is a survivor of Lodz, Auschwitz, and Bergen Belsen. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE MANOR AND THE ESTATE
By Isaac Bashevis SInger
December 2004. Wisconsin.
Two novels by Singer, about Polish Jews in the late 19th Century, during a time of industrialization, and the move frlom the shtetl to prominence in Polish society. Click the book cover above to read more.
Occupied By Memory
The Intifada Generation And The Palestinian State Of Emergency
by John Collins
December 2004. NYU PRESS.
Occupied by Memory explores the memories of the first Palestinian intifada. Based on extensive interviews with members of the "intifada generation," those who were between 10 and 18 years old when the intifada began in 1987, the book provides a detailed look at the intifada memories of ordinary Palestinians. These personal stories are presented as part of a complex and politically charged discursive field through which young Palestinians are invested with meaning by scholars, politicians, journalists, and other observers. What emerges from their memories is a sense of a generation caught between a past that is simultaneously traumatic, empowering, and exciting-and a future that is perpetually uncertain. In this sense, Collins argues that understanding the stories and the struggles of the intifada generation is a key to understanding the ongoing state of emergency for the Palestinian people. The book will be of interest not only to scholars of the Middle East but also to those interested in nationalism, discourse analysis, social movements, and oral history. Click the book cover above to read more.
ARROWS IN THE DARK
DAVID BEN GURION, THE YISHUV LEADERSHIP
AND RESCUE ATTEMPTS DURING THE HOLOCAUST
by TUVIA FRILING
December 2004. Wisconsin.
Analyzes the efforts to aid and rescue Jews by the Jewish community of Palestine. Arrows in the Dark recounts and analyzes the many efforts of aid and rescue made by the Jewish community of Palestine-the Yishuv-to provide assistance to European Jews facing annihilation by the Nazis. Tuvia Friling provides a detailed account of the activities carried out at the behest of David Ben-Gurion and the Yishuv leadership, from daring attempts to extract Jews from Nazi-occupied territory, to proposals for direct negotiations with the Nazis. Through its rich array of detail and primary documentation, this book shows the wide scope and complexity of Yishuv activity at this time, refuting the idea that Ben-Gurion and the Yishuv ignored the plight of European Jews during the Holocaust. Click the book cover above to read more.
THE JEWISH RADICAL RIGHT
REVISIONIST ZIONISM AND ITS IDEOLOGICAL LEGACY
by ERAN KAPLAN
December 2004. Wisconsin.
The lasting effects of Revisionist Zionism on Israel today. The Revisionists of the 1920/1930s under Ze'ev Jabotinsky offered a different view of Jewish history and a vision of the future. The author views the Revisionists in light of other right wing movements of the 1920s. Click the book cover above to read more.
YAHWEH VERSUS YAHWEH
THE DAMASCUS AFFAIR OF 1840
by RONALD FLORENCE
December 2004. Wisconsin.
The author asserts that the founding myths of Judaism conditions the Jewish experience and Jewish expectation. The is a psychohistory of Judaism and its collective psychology. The God Yahweh is a constructive god and a destructive god. Click the book cover above to read more.
The Jewish Life Cycle
Rites Of Passage From Biblical To Modern Times
(Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies)
by Ivan G. Marcus (Yale University)
University of Washington Press; (December 31, 2004).
In this original and sweeping review of Jewish culture and history, Ivan G. Marcus examines how and why various rites and customs celebrating stages in the life cycle have evolved through the ages and persisted to this day. For each phase of life-from childhood, adolescence, adulthood, to the advanced years-the book traces the origin and development of specific rites associated with the events of birth, circumcision, and schooling; bar and bat mitzvah and confirmation; engagement, betrothal, and marriage; and aging, dying, and remembering. Customs in Jewish tradition such as the presence of godparents at a circumcision, the use of a four-poled canopy at a wedding, and the placing of small stones on tombstones are discussed. In each chapter, detailed descriptions walk the reader through events such as early modern and contemporary circumcision, wedding, and funeral ceremonies. In a comparative framework, Marcus illustrates how Jewish culture has negotiated with the majority cultures of the ancient Near East, Greco-Roman antiquity, medieval European Christianity and Mediterranean Islam and with modern secular and religious movements and social trends to renew itself through ritual innovation. In his extensive research on the Jewish life cycle, Marcus draws on documents on various customs and ritual practices, offering reassessments of original sources and scholarly literature. Marcus's survey is the first comprehensive study of the rites of the Jewish life cycle since Hayyim Schauss's The Lifetime of the Jew was published in 1950, written for Jewish readers. Marcus's book addresses a broader audience and is designed to appeal to scholars and interested readers . Click the book cover above to read more.
Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc.
The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Mafia and an Ill-Fated Prizefighter
St Martins Press.
. Click the book cover above to read more.
A graphic novel
by WILL EISNER
Octogenarian Will Eisner wrote "A Contract With God," set in the tenements of his Bronx youth and published in 1978. He now applies his dark, 1930's-style illustrations to real events of a century ago. This latest work, called "The Plot," tells the story behind the creation of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the infamous Russian forgery that purported to reveal a Jewish plan to rule the world. Mr. Eisner, the son of Jews who fled Europe, has reached into the past to say something about the present: a time, he says, when anti-Semitism is again on the rise. Eisner, 86, said, "I was amazed that there were people who still believed `The Protocols' were real...I decided something had to be done." He is fighting for justice in a bleak world, the way his most famous comic-book character, the Spirit, did in American newspapers throughout the 1940's. Enlisting the help of N. C. Christopher Couch, who teaches a course on graphic novels at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the two began piecing together the facts, helped by a French comic-book fan, Benjamin Herzberg. Historians say "The Protocols," first published in 1903, were fabricated in Russia by the czar's secret police as a way of undermining a growing social reform movement. Jews figured prominently in this movement, and the police theorized that they could discredit it by making it appear to be a front for a sinister Jewish agenda. Mathieu Golovinski, a propagandist, concocted the 24 fraudulent "protocols" or minutes, of an international meeting of Jewish bankers, journalists and financiers outlining a purported Jewish-Masonic plot to dominate world affairs. The forgery was revealed in 1921 when the Times of London published a series of articles demonstrating that the actual source for the text was a a French political satire published in 1864 by Maurice Joly, in which Machiavelli and Montesquieu discuss a plan for world domination by Napoleon III. In "The Plot," which is about 100 pages, Mr. Eisner reveals this fabrication through three different methods that draw on all phases of his 70-year career. In a short introduction he provides an account of how he came upon "The Protocols" and learned the truth behind them. In the main body of the work he depicts the creation and unmasking of "The Protocols" through a comic-book-like series of panels and text. In the concluding section Mr. Eisner displays numerous excerpts from "The Protocols" alongside examples from the text in Joly's satire.
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