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FALL 2002 RECOMMENDED JEWISH BOOKS
FALL BOOK READINGS
Sept 09, 2002: Daniel Asa Rose will be reading from the paperback edition of "HIDING PLACES: A Father and His Sons Retrace Their Family's Escape from the Holocaust" (Three Rivers Press) at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South (20th Street off Park Avenue South) at 6 p.m
Sept 09, 2002: Stephen Lewis reads HOTEL KID: A TIMES SQUARE CHILDHOOD
NYC Astor Place B&N
Sept 09, 2002: And God Cried, Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope read by
Rabbi Marc Gellman B&N Jenkintown PA
Sept 10, 2002: Mindy Ribner displays KABBALAH MONTH BY MONTH Livingston NJ B&N
Sept 12, 2002: Jewish Tales of Mystic Joy read by Yitzhak Buxbaum NYC Bayside NY B&N
Sept 17, 2002: ABRAHAM read by Bruce Feiler. NYC Union Square B&N
Sept 18, 2002: Harem read by Dora Levy Mossanen B&N Santa Monica CA
September 18, 2002: Night of the Murdered Poets: A Memorial. The National Yiddish Book Center and the Eldridge Street Project collaborate in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the execution by Stalin's secret police of thirteen Jewish writers 12 Eldridge Street, New York, NY. call 212 219-0903. 6:00 p.m.
Sept 19, 2002: Golden Land: The Story of Jewish Migration to America read by Joseph Telushkin NYC 82nd and Bway B&N
Sept 24, 2002: The New Rabbi: A Congregation Searches for Its Leader read by Stephen Fried NYC 82nd and Bway B&N
September 25-29, 2002: New York is Book Country, New York City
Sept 26, 2002: And God Cried, Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope read by
Rabbi Marc Gellman B&N Deerfield IL
Sept 26, 2002: The New Rabbi: A Congregation Searches for Its Leader read by Stephen Fried 18th and Walnut Philadelphia B&N
Sep 26, 2002: The Isralei poet Ronny Someck (The Fire Stays In Red) will read at JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th St, 8 PM
Sept 26, 2002: Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy read by Jane Leavy B&N Park Slope Brooklyn NY
Sept 26, 2002: Arab and Israeli poets: Taha Muhammad Ali and Aharon Shabtai, speak at UNC Asheville NC.
Sept 27, 2002: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt.3w read by
Gabriel Brownstein B&N 82nd and Bway NYC
Sept 27, 2002: Riding the Bus with My Sister read by Rachel Simon B&N Princeton NJ
Sept 29, 2002: Longitudes and Attitudes read by NYT Columnist Thomas L Friedman B&N Bethesda MD
Sept 30, 2002: Summerland: A Novel read by Michael Chabon B&N Burlington MA
Oct 1, 2002: Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument between Two Great Philosophers read by David Edmonds and John Eidinow B&N 82nd and Bway NYC
Oct 1, 2002: Arab and Israeli poets: Taha Muhammad Ali and Aharon Shabtai, speak at SUNY Albany.
Oct 1, 2002: In Her Shoes read by Jennifer Weiner B&N Lincoln Center - NYC
Oct 2, 2002: Summerland: A Novel read by Michael Chabon B&N 82nd and Bway NYC
Oct 3, 2002: Arab and Israeli poets: Taha Muhammad Ali and Aharon Shabtai, speak at University of Iowa, Iowa City.
Oct 7, 2002: A Shtetl Under Two Moons: Kazimierz on the Vistula in Yiddish and Polish Literature. YIVO, NYC 7 P.M.
Oct 7, 2002: Finding God in the Garden: Backyard Reflections on Life,Love,and Compost read by Rabbi Balfour Brickner B&N 82nd and Bway NYC
Oct 9, 2002: JCC Rough Cut: Writers on the Edge. KGB Bar. 85 E 4th St NYC. 7:30 PM featuring Sandi Wisenberg and Lauren Grodstein Wisenberg (The Sweetheart Is In; Holocaust Girls)
Oct 10, 2002: And God Cried, Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope read by
Rabbi Marc Gellman B&N Huntington NY
Oct 13, 2002: Professor Tikva Frymer-Kensky speaks at Anshe Emes(Chicago) on her book “Reading The Women of the Bible (July 2002)” (See Summer 2002 pages)
Oct 16, 2002. 8:00 PM JCC-Manhattan. Letty Cottin Pogrebin reads from her work of fiction “Three Daughters”. (Three Daughters; Ms) with editor Susan Weidman Schneider (Lilith)
Oct 17, 2002: A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis read by
David Rieff B&N Astor Pl NYC
Oct 17, 2002: Summerland: A Novel read by Michael Chabon B&N Edina MN
Oct 18, 2002: Autograph Man read by Zaide Smith B&N Union Sq NYC
Oct 19, 2002: RABBIS. Photos of Geroge Kalinsky, speaks at NORTHSHIRE Books in Manchester Vermont
Oct 22, 2002: Alan King's Great Jewish Joke Book , signing by Alan King B&N 5th and 48th, 12 Noon NYC
Oct 22, 2002: Lost Souls: Finding Hope in the Heart of Darkness read by Rabbi
Niles Elliot Goldstein B&N Astor Place NYC
October 23rd. 2002: Great Jewish Books at Symphony Space. Leading Broadway actors read selections from Tevye the Dairyman and The Pagan Rabbi, two books on the National Yiddish Book Center's list of the 100 Greatest Works of Modern Jewish Literature. call 212 864-1414. 8:00 p.m.
Oct 23, 2002: Lost Souls: Finding Hope in the Heart of Darkness read by Rabbi
Niles Elliot Goldstein B&N Brooklyn NYC
Oct 30, 2002: Blues in The Night, read by Rochelle Krich B&N Encino CA
Nov 5, 2002: Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg at The Center for Jewish History, NYC, 8 PM
Nov 7, 2002: Leonard Nimoy (former Yiddish actor, Spock, photographer, poet) at B&N, 81st/Bway, NYC, 7 PM
Nov 8, 2002: Leonard Nimoy and his “Shekhina” photos at ICP/43rd, NYC, 6 PM
Nov 10, 2002: George Salton, author of The 23rd Psalm reads at the NY Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2pm
Nov 12, 2002: Leonard Nimoy and his “Shekhina” photos at HUC, 4th St, NYC, 6 PM
Nov 12, 2002: The Meaning of America in the Autobiography of Ab. Cahan. YIVO, NYC 7 P.M.
Nov 13, 2002: JCC Rough Cut: Writers on the Edge. KGB Bar. 85 E 4th St NYC. 7:30 PM featuring Gabriel Brownstein (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Jill Bialosky (House Under Snow)
Nov 20, 2002: Jeffrey Nathan prepares from Adventures in Jewish Cooking, B&N Livingston NJ, 7:30 P.M.
Nov 20, 2002: Bruce Feiler signs ABRAHAM, B&N Alpharetta GA, 12 Noon
Nov 21, 2002: George Kalinsky and Rabbi Potasnik discuss George’s book. RABBIS, B&N Court Street Brooklyn NY, 7 P.M.
Nov 24, 2002: Debra Mostow Zakarin reads “Happening Hanukkah” 116 N Roberston LA 11:30 AM Los Angeles
Nov 24, 2002: Rochelle Krich reads “Blues in the Night” 14564 Hawes St, Whittier CA 10AM
Nov 25, 2002: Elie Wiesel reads from After The Darkness. National Press Club, Washington DC 12:30 PM.
Nov 26, 2002: George Kalinsky discuss his photography book. RABBIS, B&N Manhasset NY, 8 P.M.
Nov 27, 2002: Letty Cottin Pogrebin reads from her novel, Three Daughters, B&N 82nd/Bway NYC 7:30 PM
Nov 27, 2002: George Kalinsky discuss his photography book. RABBIS, B&N Manhasset NY, 8 P.M.
Dec 1, 2002: Faye Moskowitz reads “Peace in the House: Tales From a Yiddish Kitchen. Politics and Prose, Washington DC 6:30 PM
Dec 2, 2002: Lev Schreiber (who bought the film rights) reads from J. Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated at Symphony Space, 2537 Bway, NYC, 7 PM.
Dec 11, 2002: JCC Rough Cut: Writers on the Edge. KGB Bar. 85 E 4th St NYC. 7:30 PM featuring Dara Horn (In the Image) and Nelly Reifler (See Through)
HEY.. NOW YOUR CAN SEARCH OUR SITE, INSTEAD OF JUST SEARCHING AMAZON. TRY IT OUT…
ACROSS THE SABBATH RIVER. IN SEARCH OF A LOST TRIBE OF ISRAEL
by Hillel Halkin
August 2002. Houghton Mifflin. First, before starting this book, I recommend that you take a look at his two page guide to pronunciation, to better understand the Hebrew, Mizo, Thado, and Burmese words. Halkin, the well known translator of Hebrew books, posits that a little-known ethnic group living along the Indian-Burmese border is descended from the ancient Jewish tribe of Manasseh. The fate of the ten lost tribes of Israel has haunted Jewish and Christian imaginations throughout the ages. Hillel Halkin has long been intrigued by the subject. And why not? Many American Jews of a certain age dreamed of an aboriginal, strong, warrior Jew, the type who could win fistfights on the way to and from junior high school. And so, with some cash from Tina Brown’s The New Yorker magazine, Halkin embarked on a journey. In 1998, he accompanied a Jerusalem rabbi and dedicated lost-tribes hunter to China, Thailand, and northeast India, where the rabbi hoped to discover traces of the lost tribes. None were found, and Halkin went with a very healthy dose of skepticism. Most would look at Rabbi Eliahu Avichail as a well meaning crackpot. Whatever the Rabbi is, he makes for an interesting story, having traveled to Marranos in Portugal, Karens in Burma, Tatars in Dagestan, Kananites in Kerala, and “Indians” in Manipur and Mizoram. The book captures your tantalizing interest from its first paragraph; the Sabbath is approaching as Halkin and the rabbi are searching out the non-Chinese Chiang’s in Western Szechuan. After a variety of these adventures and misadventures, Halkin returned several times to the Indian states of Manipur and Mizoram. Are these people the victims of a mass cultural delusion, having accepted a myth to promote and reinforce their distinct cultural identity? Or are the actually descendants of some Bnai Menashe? Halkin became convinced that a little-known ethnic group, the Kuki-Chin-Mizo, living along the Indian-Burmese border is descended from the ancient biblical tribe of Manasseh. He isn’t a scholar, linguist, or ethnographer, but neither am I, and the story is still fascinating. Why do they have a song about crossing the Red Sea while living in Northeast India, a song they have sung prior to any missionaries showing up? Why do they have a god named Yah(za), a history of brit milah on the eighth day after birth, a Spring festival of unleavened bread (among rice eaters), and the use of the word “selah” (noch einmal)? One or two similar words do not make a linkage, but are they any less Jewish than someone who makes aliyah from the former USSR? These “Bnai Menashe” people became aware of their “jewish roots” when Christians tried to convert them in the 1950’s, and they read the bible and noticed so many similarities between their native religion and the Jewish rituals and biblical history. Halkin interweaves the biblical and historical background of this centuries-old quest with a captivating account of his own adventures. Piece by piece, as in a tantalizing detective story, he amasses the evidence that finally persuades him that he has demonstrated-for the first time in history-the existence of a living remnant of a biblical lost tribe, a control group.
STAYING ALIVE. A FAMILY MEMOIR
by JANET REIBSTEIN
September 2002. Three sisters, Janet’s two aunts and her mother (Mary, Fannie and Regina), succumbed to breast cancer, a scourge, a curse among Jewish women. Janet, a psychotherapist, elected to have her breasts removed to avert this genetic possibility, to be free of the curse. Would her cousins follow suit? The author is beyond breasts, a source of maternal bliss and sexual ecstasy, a psychic breakthrough for some women and their husbands and lovers. Some memoirs count time by marriages, births, and deaths. This book, counts time by illnesses. The achievement of this book is a remarkable study of illness, life, and dignity. Click to read more.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY LEONARD NIMOY
Fall 2002. Umbrage. 71 Year old Actor, Director, Yiddish speaker, singer, poet, and Philanthropist, Leonard Nimoy, has taken pictures to inquire into and capture the feminine side of god. Nimoy writes: Shekhina/ Pray for us now/ bound with scripture and shielded with shawl/ Armed with passion/ And loving care/ Pray for us now/ against suffering, turmoil, and injustice/ Pray for us now/ against the chaos of the dark/ This is his personal meditation and coffee table book of nude female photos; it is sexual desire and spiritual aspiration. It is filled with lots of Shins (both the calf and the Hebrew letter). Facing each photo is a quote from Jewish sources. Hmm… a unique book, but for me, it does not capture the spirituality or sensuality as much as I had expected. Click to read more and judge for yourself.
by Michael Chabon.
September 17, 2002. Talk/Mir-A-Max Books. On the night of September 16th, we will break our Yom Kippur fasts, and on the morning of September 17th, having survived and having been hopefully written in the Book of Life for another year, we shall purchase Michael Chabon’s newest novel (bring back the Nathan stories, hehe). In Chabon’s first published books for children of all ages, this father of three creates a vivid fantasy world where baseball is king. Ethan Feld, age 11, and his father, a designer of blimps move to Clam Island, Wash, after Ethan’s mother dies. Clam Island (he lives on clams, he doesn’t eat treyf) is known for its almost constant rain, save for an area on its westernmost tip called Summerland by the locals which "knew a June, July and August that were perfectly dry and sunshiny." In the westernmost tip, Summerland, Ethan struggles to play baseball for the Ruth's Fluff and Fold Roosters. He isn’t any good. But who shows up? A mystical baseball scout (can 100 year old, Negro Leaguer, Ringfinger Brown, be Elijah the Prophet?). The scout recruits Ethan and escorts him through a gateway to a series of interconnected worlds that are home to magical creatures called ferishers (cousins to Suffolk Fairies, I suppose) and an evil, shape-changing overlord called Coyote. Ethan and two of his fellow teammates soon accept a mission to save these other worlds (plus the one they live in) from ultimate destruction at Coyote's hand. When his father's well-being is also threatened, Ethan's quest becomes all the more urgent. To succeed, Ethan and his friends must find a way to beat giants, ferishers and others in a series of games where striking out truly has apocalyptic implications.
Ten Pathways to Eliminate It from Your Life and Transform Your Soul
by Lori Palatnik, Bob Burg
September 2002. Simcha Press. Gossip is like a fired bullet-once you hear the sound, you can't take it back Evil speech can destroy friendships, break up marriages and ruin businesses. Gossip-negative talk, put-downs, rumors, accusations-not only hurts the person being talked about, it also hurts the person speaking and the person listening. In short, gossip has a negative impact on everyone. Yet, despite these negative consequences, gossip has been around since the beginning of humankind and continues to be a popular but destructive pastime. Throughout this timely and enjoyable book, you'll learn what the Bible and Jewish wisdom have to say regarding speech and how their teachings relate to our world today.
The Fourth Commandment:
Remember the Sabbath Day
by Francine Klagsbrun
September 17, 2002. The Fourth Commandment, a contemporary look at a cornerstone of Jewish life, explores the Sabbath’s origins and purpose, its basis in Jewish texts and traditions, and its meaning for the hurried lives we live today. Even people who have long observed the Sabbath will discover facets they know little about. Beautiful and evocative, the book takes readers on a journey into understanding this sacred day in its many manifestations. Acclaimed writer and lecturer Francine Klagsbrun draws on her extensive knowledge of Judaism and personal experience in applying the profound lessons of the Sabbath to life today. Using the Bible, Talmud, Kabbalah, commentaries, and legends, she probes such questions as “What does Sabbath rest entail?” “How do we let go of our work mentally and strive for holiness?” and “What does the Sabbath teach us about our relationship to nature and the environment?” She also examines the Sabbath from a female perspective, raising challenging questions about women’s roles in relation to it. With warmth and erudition, she explains the “dos” and “don’ts” surrounding the Sabbath, the symbols of the Sabbath table, and the highlights of the day. She began this project after the death of her parents; her mother’s last conscious act was the welcome the Sabbath queen, the shekhina, by kindling the Sabbath candles. Click the book cover to read more extensive reviews.
THE TWO O’CLOCK WAR:
The 1973 Yom Kippur Conflict and the Airlift That Saved Israel
by Walter J. Boyne, Retired Colonel USAF, Former Director of Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
September 20, 2002. St Martins Press. The story of why contingency plans are important to have and maintain. The US Air Force saved Israel in 1973. After attacks by Syria and Egypt against Israel, Nixon ordered a massive resupply effort using C-141’s and C-5’s. And this was during America’s war in Vietnam, and its face-off with the Iron Curtain. The resupply allowed Israel to achieve a victory. At one point, Nixon ordered the Strategic Air Command to Def-Con Level III, causing the Soviet Politburo to a debate of an utmost extreme.
THE ADVENTURES IN JEWISH COOKING
Companion to the PBS series, “New Jewish Cuisine”
by Jeffrey Nathan, Executive Chef of Abigael’s, 14 years at “New Deal,” and Executive Chef for Hain’s Celestial Group’s Kineret Kosher’s Chef Jeff Creations line of products. Former dishwasher and Navy cook.
September 10, 2002. What is it? Chopped Liver? You bet it is! Jeffrey Nathan. Is he a son of another great Jewish chef and author, Joan Nathan? Nope, his mom is Harriet Nathan. Jeffrey Nathan. The executive chef at New York City’s top kosher restaurant, Abigael’s. You mean the chef isn’t a woman named Abigael? Nope. Jeffrey Nathan. What does a former Navy cook know about kosher cooking? Plenty. Jeffrey Nathan. The most adventuresome, kosher celebrity chef? Yes! Growing up Jewish in an Italian neighborhood of Queens, NY, Nathan was exposed to unique dishes at home and at the neighbors. Having worked in kitchens since childhood, from Italian to Naval to Sephardic to “New Deal” wild-game, he knows a lot, and this CIA grad imparts it to the reader in breezy, interesting, chatty prose. Each recipe is tagged as Meat, Dairy, or Pareve, and is preceded by a few sentences about how it recipe was conceived. Highlights include: A chopped liver in which the onions are browned in brandy (a secret to using a food processor is taught); a Vegetarian Chopped Liver using apples and corn flakes in addition to the familiar green beans; and Latin American Cerviche, a Passover alternative to gefilte fish that uses salmon and red snapper cut on a bias and served with a crunchy salsa salad that incorporates matzo with mango, jalapeno, peppers, citrus, and tomatoes.
Speaking of gefilte fish, try the Gefilte Fish Terrine with Carrots and Beet Salads. Familiar with lox and cream cheese? Try his Smoked Salmon Cheesecake with a bit of roasted pepper vinaigrette (he explains how to roast the peppers). There are recipes for 16 soups and stocks, including, of course, a classic Chicken Soup, as well as a miso variation, and a Sephardic variation with Sofrito and Saffron. Tired of chickens? Try Salmon Corn Chowder or his (dairy) Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Do salads bore you? Among his 14 salads are Abigael’s House Salad with crunchy greens, almonds, and roasted Garlic (a lesson on roasting garlic); a Hungarian Slaw, an Asian Two Cabbage Slaw (napa and red) with soy and sesame oil; and a Challah Panzanella Salad, inspired by the day old Tuscan bread salads and pita based fattoush.
What? No Brisket? Of course, there is. Try his herb and cilantro infused Latin Beef Brisket with Chimichurri, BBQ Vinaigrette, and Sweet Potatoes. Did I mention his Apple Cider Brisket (3 onions, 3 cups of cider, molasses and more)? His son’s trip to Peru and a love of cumin crusted steak led to the recipe for Peruvian Steak with Red Grapes and Onions. His Lamb with Ratatouille and a Balsamic “syrup” are inspired. Syrian Lemon Chicken Stew “vibrates” like he said it will (better than the one they serve at Esca). Nathan’s poultry recipes include those with Orange-Soy marinades, paprikash, preserved lemons, pojarski, Yemenite, and raisin and asian styles. A kosher Jambalaya? Yes, he makes it with turkey and veal sausage. Eleven fish recipes are included. Try the Falafel-Crusted Salmon, and the Jamaican Jerk Salmon. Vegetables? Yes, Jews eat vegetables. Try the savory hamantaschen with a vegetable based stuffing; a vegetarian chili; ginger applesauce; a Portobello fajita; wild mushroom kugel; and potato dumplings provencale. Among the nearly dozen pasta recipes is one for a spicy mac and cheese kugel with 3 peppers. Side dishes include a mango-date haroset; smoked trout and scallion mashed potatoes; root vegetable tzimmes; Yemenite curry rice; and string bean puttanesca (a Jewish puttanesca? Her mother has no nachas). Breads include a unique Bialy Loaf and Yemenite Skillet Breads. The book closes with sample menus, measurements, and several desserts, including Jewish standards and a Passover Banana Cake and a Banana Soufganiot pudding. Click to read more.
THE JOURNEY HOME. DISCOVERING THE DEEP SPIRITUAL WISDOM OF THE JEWISH TRADITION
by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
August 2002. Beacon Press. An exploration of the Jewish relationship to God and questioning of human purpose. Rabbi Hoffman (HUC) redefines Judaism as the system of connectedness by which we make sense of our lives. This is an important book to read during ELUL.. you can learn to map your life, map your reality to find shape and direction to your existence. Marc Chagall’s Asher window adorns the book’s front cover, and draws you in. What you find inside is a map to authentic Jewish wisdom. Is Judaism merely ritual and tradition? Is a seder about going throught the written etxt and tastings? Where is the spirituality? Can the mystical be added back to the sacred, the sterile, and the mundane? And, readers, Rabbi Hoffman isn’t talking about Cabala and New Age bullshit in which popularizers use Cabalistic equations that are meaningless, that are jabberwocky to those not grounded in medieval Jewish thought. This is authenticity. Chapters include Returning Home-Jewish Integrity; followed by the Spirituality of Metaphor; Stewardship; Discovery; Landedness; Translation; Suffering; and Community
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Down a Sunny Dirt Road
by Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain, of the Berenstain Bears
September 24, 2002. Ages 9-12. Random House. The autobiography of the creators of the children’s classics: The Berenstain Bears. Once upon a time, in Mrs. Sweeney’s first year drawing class at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, a “lantern-jawed exotic” named Stan admired the drawing of a brown-haired, blue-eyed girl named Janice . . . and it was kismet! It also heralded the birth of one of the great collaborations in all of children’s literature. This enormously readable account tells of the early years before they met, their courtship (briefly interrupted by World War II), married life, and their first fateful meeting with Theodor Seuss Geisel–the editor-in-chief and president of Beginner Books.
THE NEW RABBI
A CONGREGATION SEARCHES FOR ITS LEADER
by Stephen Fried
August 20, 2002. Who got Einstein Office at Princeton? Oops, I mean, Who got Rabbi Gerald Wolpe’s Office at Har Zion? If an “etrog is a lemon on steroids”, then this book is Paul Wilkes’ “And They Shall Be My People” on Viagra. HAR ZION is one of the most prestigious, innovative (scholar-in-residence) and famous Conservative Jewish synagogues on the East Coast of the US, nestled in suburban Philadelphia. With 1400 family membership units, a budget of $4 Million, and a highly rated Heder, the tenure of the famed Rabbi Gerald Wolpe is coming to an end (he is the father of the other Rabbi Wolpe’s in Orlando and Los Angeles). The synagogue has had only three rabbinical leaders in its nearly 80 years of existence. This is the exciting, and I mean excitingly juicy, story of how Congregation Har Zion chose their next rabbi (no, there is no Lashon Ha-Ra). But wait.. you get more. Not only is it the story of a congregation and its evolution, but it is the story of Rabbi Wolpe’s thirty years on the pulpit. It is also a story of Kaddish. The author became interested in the synagogue while saying Kaddish for his father, at the age of 40. And Rabbi Wolpe became interested in the rabbinate in response to his own father’s untimely death, when Wolpe was eleven years old, and his mother’s unrelieved sorrow overt the death of 42 of her family members during WWII. (Rabbi Naomi Levy, above, also became interested in the rabbinate after her own father was murdered when she was a child). But back to the story… Rabbi Wolpe is retiring, and the search committee ends up spending three years to find a replacement. The Rabbinical Assembly becomes involved, and intrigue occurs at a local Flyers hockey game, when the committee hints at a job offer to the Assistant Rabbi Jacob Herber, which is contrary to the rules of the Rabbinical Assembly. Do you think a high powered, wealthy, Philadelphia lawyer is going to fear a pronouncement from the Rabbinical Assembly in New York? And what will Rabbi Wolpe’s reaction be to an offer to his assistant, instead of a national rabbinical leader? Along the way, we learn more about the Conservative movement, the lives of rabbis and boards, and the battle between the young and old members as to whether children should be “seen and not heard” or “seen and heard” in the main sanctuary. Note to file: Yes, some readers may wince at the mention of high holiday services being “fashion shows” to be seen at, but this is the real world, blemishes and all, and a congregation has the right to choose the leader that is right for it, whether s/he be a scholar, a schmoozer, or schmaltzy.
My Name Is Red
by Orhan Pamuk, Erdag M. Goknar (Translator)
Fall 2002. Paperback edition. At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, My Name Is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul, from one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish writers. The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears. The only clue to the mystery–or crime? –lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex and power. Written in 59 chapters, each of which is narrated by a main character, from the corpe of the dead man to a matchmaking Jewess.
Pop Culture, Big Business, and the End of White America
by Leon E. Wynter
August 2002. Crown. Whassuppppp? Whites act black, Blacks act white. Asians color their hair orange, and blacks color their hair blond. Jews where Afros or Jew-fros, and Yidcore rap is a growing success. Michael Jackson crossed over to pop and became white in the Eighties. Mean Joe Green threw his shirt to a white kid at the same time. Eminem and Elvis commercialized a black form. The author writes that Whiteness is in steep decline as the primary measure of Americanness. The new, true American identity rising in its place is transracial, defined by shared cultural and consumer habits, not skin color or ethnicity. And this unprecedented redefinition of what “American” sounds, looks, and feels like is not being driven by the politics of protest or liberal multiculturalism but by a more basic American instinct: the profit motive. While we fall short of true equality, we are opting to carry on that struggle together within a common American cultural skin. At its core American Skin is about the revolution that higher heat on American identity is bringing about: the end of ‘white’ America. We have always been, and will ever be, of one race—human—and of one culture—American."
A JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF THREE FAITHS
by BRUCE FEILER
September 2002. Morrow. From the author of WALKING THE BIBLE (which has sold 250,000 copies). Feiler, who has written on his lives in Japan, the circus, England, and the Middle East, returns to Israel from Manhattan and explores the history and lore from the three faiths surrounding the patriarch of ABRAHAM, in order to know his legacy and his appeal. Is it any surprise? Feiler’s mother’s maiden name means “House of Abraham”, and the Bar Mitzvah parshat of both Feiler and his brother was “Lech Lecha”, in which Abraham is told by god to “go forth” and be himself. The Akkedah story is read at both Rosh Hashana as well as Eid al-Adha And obviously a father sacrificing his son (Isaac) is manifest in Christian liturgy as well. Feiler explores how the three monotheistic faiths invented stories around Abraham to reinforce their worldviews and to reflect their times, and then started to swap stories among themselves. This is not only informative, but quite fun to read. Feiler was planning to write about the Bible, but after September 11, 2001, he decided to focus on Abraham, the spiritual father of the Western monotheistic religions as a response to those who seek to divide them. He traveled to Israel in the Fall of 2001 and Hebron in December 2001 to complete the book. Will the three faiths one day embrace Abraham’s spirit? Click to read more.
Burnt Bread and Chutney:
Memoirs of an Indian Jewish Girl
by Carmit Delman (agent=Jennifer Rudolph Walsh)
September 2002. Carmit Delman is descended from the Bene Israel, an ancient community of Indian Jews. American-born, raised in Cleveland, she studied at a Jewish day school, Brandeis University and Emerson College. In the politics of skin color, Carmit Delman is an ambassador from a world of which few are even aware. Her mother is a direct descendant of the Bene Israel, a tiny, ancient community of Jews thriving amidst the rich cultural tableau of Western India. Her father is American, a Jewish man of Eastern European descent. It was bagel and chutney. They met while working the land of a nascent Israeli state. Bound by love for each other and that newborn country, they hardly took notice of the interracial aspect of their union. But their daughter, Carmit, growing up in America, was well aware of her uncommon heritage.
Burnt Bread and Chutney is a remarkable synthesis of the universal and the exotic. Carmit Delman’s memories of the sometimes painful, sometimes pleasurable, often awkward moments of her adolescence juxtapose strikingly with mythic tales of her female ancestors living in the Indian-Jewish community. As rites and traditions, smells and textures intertwine, Carmit’s unique cultural identity evolves. It is a youth spent dancing on the roofs of bomb shelters on a kibbutz in Israel—and the knowledge of a heritage marked by arranged marriages and archaic rules and roles, such as never contradicting a man. It is coming of age in Jewish summer camps, upscale synagogues, with materialistic Queen Bee adolescent girls who make fun of her family’s financial position, and at KISS concerts—and the inevitable combination of old and new: ancient customs, conformity, and modern attitudes, Jewish, Indian, and American. When she moved to Israel, she found that it is even worse when it comes to racial strictures. Her reflections on Nana-bai, her relation, will make this a must read for most Jewish reading groups. Carmit Delman’s journey through religious traditions, family tensions, and social tribulations to a healthy sense of wholeness and self is rendered with grace and an acute sense of depth. Burnt Bread and Chutney is a rich and innovative book that opens wide a previously unseen world. Click to read more.
ONE PEOPLE, TWO WORLDS.
AN ORTHODOX RABBI AND A REFORM RABBI IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUNDS
by Rabbi Yosef Reinman (o) and Rabbi Amiel Hirsch (r)
Yes, I know that the book doesn’t call either men Rabbi, since Rabbi Reinman said that he would not do a book if the cover called Rabbi Hirsch a “rabbi”, but I will call both rabbis
August 2002. Schocken. Two rabbis examine whether Reform and Orthodoxy are two branches of a common tree or offshoots that grow more distinct and separate. Each rabbi spoke for 20 months (January 21, 2000 – October 1, 2001), and learned more about each other's misconceptions of the other. The Editorial Director of this book at Schocken, Ms. Altie Karper, wrote that this book is "unprecedented" collaboration between two camps that usually try to delegitimize each other than engage each other. Both are articulate and learned, even brilliant, warm and loving. I, personally, was turned off at the beginning of the book by their language which I found false and forced. I was also perturbed at the beginning when the Orthodox rabbi mentioned how he, BORG-like, had to consult other rabbis for permissions and corroboration. But by the time I finished their 39 lengthy exchanges of mutual rejection I learned more about the two sides. Sometimes they agree; more often than not they disagree — and quite sharply, too. But the important thing is that, as they keep talking to each other, they discover that they actually like each other, and, above all, they say that they respect each other (with all due respect…). Their journey from mutual suspicion to mutual regard is an extraordinary one; from it, both Jews and non-Jews of all backgrounds can learn a great deal about the practice of Judaism today and about the continuity of the Jewish people into the future. Look for these two rabbis on the Jewish Book Fair circuit in Fall 2002.
A NOTE TO READERS. THE TWO AUTHORS WERE SUPPOSED TO GO ON A BOOK TOUR TOGETHER ACROSS THE USA FOR JEWISH BOOK MONTH. But in the last week of October 2002, Rabbi Reinman cancelled the 17 day, 17 city trip. Bowing to what some reported to be intense coercion, and pressure from leaders (“the advice of people older and wiser than I am”) in his Lakewood, NJ, haredi Orthodox community (threatened him with cherem/ostracism by The Moetzes Gedolei haTorah), he cancelled. The reactionary JEWISH PRESS wrote two editorials denouncing the book this Autumn (although they asked Schocken to place ads in the newspaper, what chutzpah).
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
by Kinky Friedman
September 2002. Simon & Schuster. It's a case of missing kid and missing kitty when Kinky Friedman, private dick extraordinaire and animal lover nonpareil, attempts to find a young, autistic New York boy and a three-legged Texas cat named Lucky, both of whom have disappeared. Something is rotten in both the states of New York and Texas, and Kinky takes it upon himself to locate not one, but two of God's creatures who have gone astray. Dylan Weinberg is an eleven-year-old boy with a rare form of autism -- a pint-sized stock-market wizard who can only utter one word, "Shnay." He's on a multitude of medications, and one night his father wakes up to find Dylan perched over his bed like some preteen zombie, clutching a pair of scissors and cutting up the sheets. Since that evening, two weeks ago, Dylan has been missing, and the cops have no leads -- and apparently not much interest. That's why, in an absolute last-resort maneuver, the family has called in Kinky to the rescue. ….. In New York, Rambam has no clue where Dylan might be, but he is becoming increasingly sure that Julia is the Jewish answer to his romantic prayers. Kinky warns him to put the wedding plans on hold and track down Hattie Mamajello, Dylan's former nanny, but it's too little too late when Hattie is pushed off a subway platform and killed. The confusion generated by these two disparate cases is enough to drive a dick to drink -- which Kinky is happy to do -- but he's still got a missing kid and a missing kitty on his cigar-stained hands to locate before (a) Rambam whisks Julia off to Vegas for a quickie wedding and (b) Cousin Nancy calls in the FBI, the CIA, and the Mossad to find her Lucky. Click to read extensive reviews.
A TIME FOR EVERY PURPOSE UNDER HEAVEN
THE JEWISH LIFE-SPIRAL AS A SPIRITUAL PATH
by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and Phyllis Ocean Berman
September 2002. Farrar Straus & Giroux.
First of all, they introduce the word, G!d to the Jewish lexicon.
God told Abraham, Lech Lecha, find yourself, move from isolation to community. What some know as the life-cyle, others call the life-spiral, the Jewish rhythm of life and rituals of birth- bris- weaning- menstruation- adulthood- work- intimacy- marriage- divorce- parenting- mentoring- relationships- aging- death, etc. To these events, the husband and wife Ocean’s add rituals, including the adult bar/bat mitzvah, the seder of womanhood, the Jewish Drivers License. Lots of ideas, lots of rituals, all grounded in Jewish Rabbinics and traditions. The book moves from a new "covenant of washing" -- the ritual act of parents washing a newborn daughter's feet to celebrate her arrival -- to an examination of how ketuvot, or marriage contracts, could be revised to affirm the commitments partners today need to make with each other, to ceremonies that celebrate the transformations of midlife, to enriching the rituals of grief in order to walk mourners through their own next spiral in the path of their lives
OUT OF THE BLUE
A NARRATIVE OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
by Richard Bernstein and the Staff of The New York Times
September 11, 2002. Holt/Times Books. A gripping and authoritative account of the September 11th attack, its historical roots, and its aftermath . Few news stories in recent memory have commanded as much attention as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but no news organization rivaled The New York Times for its comprehensive, resourceful, in-depth, and thoughtful coverage. This effort may well emerge as the finest hour in the paper's distinguished 150-year history. Following the lives of heroes, victims, and terrorists, Bernstein weaves a complex tale of a multitude of lives colliding in conflagration on that fateful morning. He takes us inside the Al Qaeda organization and the lives of the terrorists, from their indoctrination into radical Islam to the harrowing moments aboard the aircraft as they raced toward their terrible destiny. We meet cops and firefighters, and become intimate with some of the Trade Center workers who were lost on that day. We follow the lives of the rest of America-ordinary citizens and national leaders alike-in the hours and days after the attack. Finally, Bernstein chronicles the nation's astonishing response in the aftermath. No account of this singular moment in American history will be as sharp, readable, and authoritative as Out of the Blue.
The Collected "Portraits of Grief" from The New York Times
by Howell Raines, Janny Scott (Introduction), the New York Times, Emerson
2002. Holt/Times Books. Over 120 reporters from The New York Times participated in the writing of the paper's daily feature, "Portraits of Grief," some for only a couple of days and others for months. Poignant and personal remembrances, celebrating the lives of the World Trade Center victims. Few aspects of The New York Times's coverage of September 11 and of all that has followed have attracted as much comment as "Portraits of Grief." A page or two in the B section every day for 15 weeks, the series profiled the lives lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center and has become a story in itself, becoming required reading for many, the world over. Beginning on Sept. 14, a half-dozen Times reporters began working from a stack of 100 missing person fliers collected from points around the World Trade Center site. They crafted profiles--stories containing short but signature details of the lives they strove to present. These portraits transcend race, class, and gender lines and tell of the old and the young, praising their individuality while at the same time cutting through their differences to capture the poignancy of their shared similarity: life cut short in an American tragedy. The stories have become a source of connection and consolation, a focus for the sorrow of readers both reeling from disbelief and searching for support. To paraphrase "Portraits" reporter Charlie LeDuff (WHO ONCE INSULTED ME AND CALLED ME A SLOW TYPIST!!), there's more than one Ground Zero--there are thousands of Ground Zeros. Portraits: 9/11/01, a collection of the over 1,800 profiles published in the Times, helps us visit them all. 2000 b/w photos
A SISTER AND BROTHER IN NAZI POLAND
by FAY (ROSEN) WALKER (Deerfield Beach) AND LEO ROSEN (Monroe Twnshp, NJ and Boca) with Carren S. Neile
September 2002. Univ of Wisconsin Press. Faiga and Luzer Rosenbluth (Fay and Leo Rosen) were kids in Kanczuga Poland. Before the SS rounded up the Jews in town, they went into hiding. In alternating narratives, they recount their DIFFERENT but LINKED experiences. Faiga wandered as a peasant for 2 years, while Luzer hid in a barn. They were helped by righteous Poles, and feared the neighbors. And after the war, they were still not safe from some neighbors. A coming of age story set during the war. Click to read more.
BEST JEWISH WRITING 2002
BEST (or Most Significant) JEWISH WRITING 2002
edited by Michael Lerner
Jossey Bass. September 2002. Selections (32 essays, 12 poems, 8 excerpts of books) on Jewish identity, spirituality and culture, compiled by the controversial Lerner. Includes David Abram, Allen Appel,
Uri Avnery, Michael Bader, Rabbi Nilton Bonder, Aryeh Cohen, David A. Cooper, Leonard Felder, Sylvia Barack Fishman, Shelly R. Fredman, Roger Gottlieb, Michael Gross, Leo Haber, Bonna Devora Haberman, Susan Hahn, Yossi Klein Halevi, Jill Hammer, Susannah Heschel, Loola Khazoom, Michael Kimmel, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Michael Lerner, Philip Levine, Jonathan Mark, Gail Mazur, Stanley Moss, Jacqueline Osherow, Alicia Ostriker, Amos Oz, Robert Pinsky, Judith Plaskow, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, the late Chaim Potok (OLD MEN AT MIDNIGHT), Tanya Reinhart, Adrienne Rich, Jonathan Rosen, Danya Ruttenberg, Grace Schulman, Richard H. Schwarz, Jerome M. Segal, Rami Shapiro, David Suissa, Jonathan Tel, Tova, Galina Vromen, Paul Wapner, Rabbi Arthur Waskow,
Wendy Wasserstein (SHIKSA GODDESS), Josh Weiner, C. K. Williams, Abraham Yehoshua, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, and David Zaslow. HEY AND GUESS WHAT?? Eleven of the 32 essays are reprinted from Tikkun Magazine.
by DEBORAH DWORK (Clark) and ROBERT JAN VAN PELT (Waterloo)
September 2002. Norton. A magisterial, dramatic account that reshapes the way we think and talk about the greatest crime in history. Unrivaled in reach and scope, Holocaust illuminates the long march of events, from the Middle Ages to the modern era, which led to this great atrocity. It is a story of all Europe, of Nazis and their allies, the experience of wartime occupation, the suffering and strategies of marked victims, the failure of international rescue, and the success of individual rescuers. It alone in Holocaust literature negotiates the chasm between the two histories, that of the perpetrators and of the victims and their families, shining new light on German actions and Jewish reactions. No other book in any language has so embraced this multifaceted story. Holocaust uniquely makes use of oral histories recorded by the authors over fifteen years across Europe and the United States, as well as never-before-analyzed archival documents, letters, and diaries; it contains in addition seventy-five illustrations and sixteen original maps, each accompanied by an extended caption. This book is an original analysis of a defining event and it destroys lots of myths, like the one about the King of Denmark donning a Jewish star in solidarity with Jews. Click to read more.
A BOOK OF LIFE. EMBRACING JUDAISM AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld
September 4, 2002. Schocken. The three pillars: the study of Torah, prayer, and acts of loving-kindness. The fourth pillar was to read The Jewish Catalog. Now the fourth pillar will be to read this book and take it to heart. The former co-editor of the Jewish Catalog, past rabbi at Congregation Anschei Chesed in NYC, current Rabbi at the Society foir the Advancement of Judaism in Manhattan, and author of "Jewish Holidays', Strassfeld writes this book about creating a spiritual life with enriched values. For all the cycles of life – from waking in the morning to retiring at night, from the weekdays to Shabbat to Havdalah, from birth to death, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld presents traditional Jewish teachings as a guide to behavior and values. Rituals are described where they exist; and where rituals are sparse and nonexistent, he suggests new ones gleaned from his study and experience. Rabbi Strassfeld brings the principles of “insight MEDITATION” – a spiritual discipline based on kavanah or mindfulness, thus infusing the practice of Judaism with an enhanced awareness of God, of ourselves, and of our place in the world.
THE BOOK OF SARAHS
A MEMOIR of Race and Identity
by Catherine McKinley
September 2002. Counterpoint. This book will be compared to “Black White and Jewish” by by Rebecca Walker, about being biracial, black, Jewish, and gay, and finding your place. This book just drew me in , from its opening in a Masschusetts playground and a crying fest in Africa. Suffused with longing, this rueful, passionate memoir about an adopted woman's search for her birth parents explores themes of race and family. Catherine McKinley was one of only a few thousand African American and bi-racial children adopted by white couples in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Raised in a small, white Massachusetts town, she had a persistent longing for the more diverse community that would better understand and encompass her. She traveled to Rhode Island to go to a black power rally and feel part of a black world. In an era shaped by the rhetoric of Black Power and Black Pride, McKinley's coming of age entailed her own detailed investigation into her birth history, a search complicated by the terms of a closed adoption that denied her all knowledge of the circumstances of her birth. The Book of Sarahs traces McKinley's own time of revelations: after a five-year period marked by dead ends and disappointments, she finds her birth mother and a half-sister named Sarah, the name that was originally given to her. And then there was another Sarah, and a realization that her Jewish birth mother may have some “issues.” When she locates her birth father and meets several of his eleven OTHER children she begins to see the whole mosaic of her parentage--African American, WASP, Jewish, Native American--and then is confronted with a final revelation that threatens to destabilize all she has uncovered. At the center of the narrative is McKinley's angry passion for her two mothers and her quest for self-acceptance in a world in which she seems to herself to be always outside the bounds of social legitimacy.
Civility in the City:
Blacks, Jews, and Koreans in Urban America
by Jennifer Lee (UC-Irvine)
September 2002. Harvard. Irvine sociologist, Jennifer Lee, explores conflicts between Korean store owners and black residents and customers, and Jewish store owners and their black customers in New York City and Philadelphia. Transactions are pleasant and routine, and then tensions escalate. Why? See also Bitter Fruit by Claire Jean Kim. Click to read more.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night)
Brighten your day, no matter how structured, with a Jewish book.
FOUND: HITLER’S JEWISH OLYMPIAN
The Helene Mayer Story
by Millie Mogulof
September 2002. RdrBooks.com. A biography of “the Golden He,” Helene Mayer (1911-1953), born to a Jewish father and Christian mother in Offenbach, one of the greatest fencers of the 20th Century, a three time world champion and a recipient of a gold medal at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam for Germany. Sadly, she was no poster child. She defended Germany prior to the war, gave a Hitler salute in 1936, and never spoke out about the treatment of Jews until after the war (although maybe she feared for her family who were left in Germany), even though she was thrown out of her fencing club since her father was Jewish.
The Many Faces of Judaism:
100 Unexpected Photographs of Rabbis With Essays in Their Own Words
by George Kalinsky (Photographer), Milton Glaser (Introduction), Kirk Douglas and Joe “I am Grateful” Lieberman
Fall 2002. Rizzoli WOW… Now you can not only have a rabbi over for coffee, but have a coffee table book of Rabbis! But you know what?? This is FABULOUS. Better than Rebbe trading cards. RABBIS is a unique book about leaders in modern Judaism in Italy, Israel, Spain, Europe and North America. It features portraits of rabbis and essays in their own words. This is a drawback, since some rabbis discuss their lives and roles, while others shep, well not nachas, but their own agendas. Will you love them all?? Of course not. That’s why every two Jews have three shuls. Sometimes those who minister in the trenches are a little peculiar (fire uniforms, army reserves uniforms)… but there different strokes (and rabbis) for different folks. They all serve their communities’ needs, some large, some very small. Will your rabbi be envious if s/he wasn’t included? Probably. The Rabbis span from Alper (a comedian/rabbi) to Zecher and Zecher. There is a Sephardic “Angel” and a Kfar Chabad “Ashkenazi.” Rabbi Black is a singing cowboy in Albuquerque, while Rabbi Brooks ministers to African American Jews. Rabbi Yopsef Hadana, Chief Rabbi of Ethiopian Jews appears, as does Yitz Greenberg and Lynn Gottlieb. The cover is adorned by Rahamim Banin, a fundraising, kosher restaurateur and Chabad rabbi in Venice, Italy. He is captured in a gondola, while the camera captured Paltiel with his very pregnant wife before a large pic of their Rebbe. There are Borchardt of Agudath Israel and Borowitz of HUC; Hartman of Jerusalem and Hausman of Meah Shearim. . There are Balfour Brickner and Rachel Cowan of NYC, and Geller and Eger of California. Rabbi Goldstein is in his National Guard uniform, Garborcheik in his IDF uniform, Kass in his NYPD suit, and Potasnik in his FDNY garb. Rabbi Dorff is photographed from a hospital bed. Buchdahl, a Korean American rabbi in Scarsdale writes an excellent essay of discovery, as does Rabbi Tsuruoka. There are Tokayer and Waskow; and Simkha Weintraub is pictured as truly a man of the “cloth.” An unshy Tunishy follows a surfing Shifren; while father and son, and father and daughter teams of Hirsch’s, Marmur’s, Kreitman’s, Schneier’s, and Schindler’s appear. Rabbis Matalon and Bronstein are captured in debate, Saperstein is captured on Capitol Hill, Menticoff is jogging, while Niles Goldstein is photographed in his martial arts attire on a Manhattan rooftop. Kleinbaum and Kolodny precede Labeau and Maya Leibovichand. Upon closer inspection, the photos reveal secrets, whether it is a “770” here, a book “title” there, or a chosen background. Spanning the globe and the ideological spectrum, this book portrays today's Jewish leaders, and Judaism itself, in its diversity and dimensions. Keepers of the flame of Judaism, these are people who are working in the twenty-first century but are deeply aware of their religious legacy, from Sephardic to Ashkenaz, from learned to comic. The people here represent the rabbinate as the hard-to-define, impossible-to-categorize world that it is. Included are rabbis who are fixtures on talk shows, serious authors, scholars, the first woman rabbi, and the first Ethiopian rabbi. Their stories, in terms of their coming to grips with their spirituality and their Judaism, are brilliantly articulated, filling the book with inspirational messages and spiritual guidance for people of all faiths. George Kalinsky has been the official photographer at Madison Square Garden for more than thirty years. Click to read more.
Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World after September 11
by Thomas L. Friedman
September 2002. As the Foreign Affairs columnist for The New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman is in a unique position to interpret the world for American readers. Twice a week, Friedman's celebrated commentary provides the most trenchant, pithy, and illuminating perspective in journalism. Longitudes and Attitudes contains the columns Friedman has published about the most momentous news story of our time, as well as a diary of his experiences and reactions during this period of crisis. As the author writes, the book is "not meant to be a comprehensive study of September 11 and all the factors that went into it. Rather, my hope is that it will constitute a 'word album' that captures and preserves the raw, unpolished, emotional and analytical responses that illustrate how I, and others, felt as we tried to grapple with September and its aftermath, as they were unfolding."
The Other Israel: Voices of Refusal and Dissent
by Roane Carey (Editor), Tom Segev (Introduction), Jonathan Shainin (Editor). Introduction by Anthony Lewis
September 2002. New Press. Okay… clues….. Tom Segev edited it, Anthony Lewis wrote the intro… what do you think the book will contain? Okay, okay.. did I mention that Amira Hess ois a contributor? As is Shulamit Aloni, Meron Benvenisti, David grossman, Adi Ophir, and Uri Avnery? This contains 37 essays by Israelis speaking out for peace and reconciliation. The Other Israel is an urgent and passionate intervention by Israeli citizens challenging the continued occupation of Palestinian territory and the failed policies of Ariel Sharon's government. Against a backdrop of increasing violence on both sides, the book presents a broad range of dissenting voices that articulate practical, legal, and moral objections to the occupation. Among the topics covered are dissent within the Israeli armed forces, the brutality of recent Israeli military interventions, the inaccurate claims concerning Ehud Barak's "generous offer" to the Palestinians at Camp David, the shortcomings of the Israeli media in reporting the war accurately, the moral decline of Israel in its role as an occu-pying power, and the failure of Ariel Sharon to bring about either peace or security for Israeli citizens. The Other Israel questions what it means, here in America, to stand in solidarity with Israel: Are Israel's true supporters those who urge occupation and reprisal, or those calling for reconciliation and a just settlement? Needed now more than ever, this book challenges narrow American perceptions of public opinion in Israel, and will act as a catalyst in prompting vital debate about the future of Israel and the path to peace for all citizens of the Middle East. In addition to the ones I mention above, other contributors include: Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, Gideon Levy, Neve Gordon, Shulamit Aloni, Baruch Kimmerling, Ami Ayalon, Ze'ev Sternhell, Gila Svirsky, Jeff halper, Michael Ben-Yair, Ian Urbina, Aviv Lavie, Sergio Yahni, Yigal Shochat, and others. Essays include “The Six Day War’s Seventh Day”; Politicus Interruptis; A Time of Occupation; A Journey to Beit Jalla; Tell The Truth Shimon; The Enemy Within; A War Looks Different Abroad; Red Line Green Line Black Flag; A Queue of Bombers; Hail Caesar; A Black Flag Hangs Over The Idea of Transfer (Segev); The Turning Point (Benvenisti); In Ramallah We Found Palestine (Sternhill); An Open Letter to Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Minister of Defense (Yahni); and An Open Letter to Col Aviv Kohavi (Gordon).
THE REGAL WAY
The LIFE AND TIMES OF RABBI ISRAEL OF RUZHIN
by David Assaf, Tel Aviv University
August 2002. Stanford Univ Press A pioneering study of the nineteenth century Hasidic movement as shown through the life of one of the most controversial and influential Hasidic leaders, Rabbi Israel Friedman of Ruzhin (1796-1850). The dramatic episodes of his life, including his involvement in the MURDER of Jewish informers, his imprisonment in Russia, his escape to Austria, are echoed in this study of his role as leader of one of the largest and most opulent Hasidic counts. Part 1 recreates his childhood to his leadership of a Hasidic community. Part 2 focuses on his activities and fame, his adventures in Russia, and his final years in Austria. Part 3 analyzes aspects of his career and thought, with emphasis on his approach to materialism, wealth, and luxury. Part 4 describes in detail the royal Hasidic court of Rabbi Israel and his sons, its formation, buildings, economics, and administrative groupings.
CONVERSOS INQUISITION AND THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS FROM SPAIN
by Norman Roth (Professor Emeritus, Univ Wisc)
PAPER BACK EDITION SEPTEMBER 2002. Univ of Wisconsin Press. Professor Roth’s impressive telling of the lives of the Conversos. Click to read more.
WOUNDS NOT HEALED BY TIME
THE POWER OF REPENTENCE AND FORGIVENESS
Solomon Schimmel, Hebrew College
September 2002. How should we respond to injuries done to us and to the hurts that we inflict on others? Schimmel guides the reader through the meanings of justice, forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation. The religious traditions differ significantly as to when and whom to forgive. Is forgiving always more moral than refusing to forgive? Is it ever immoral to forgive? When is repentance a pre-conditiion for forgiveness, and what does repentance entail? Schimmel explores these issues and provides practical strategies to help us forgive and repent, preparing the way for healing and reconciliation between individuals and groups. Click to read more.
SAFE AMONG THE GERMANS. LIBERATED JEWS AFTER WORLD WAR II
by Ruth Gay
September 2002. Yale University Press. As Gay writes, after the war, the last flowering of Polish Jewry took place in the DP camps on German soil. This is the story of the Jews who tried to recreate their lives after WWII in Germany, and then the tens of thousands of Eastern European Jews who fled the former USSR in the 1990’s and recreated and regenerate “German Jewry,” from Hasidim to liberal Reform feminists. After the war, 1500 Jews were killed in attacks between 1945-1947, and by 1950, 20,000 Jews remained in Germany (8,000 were native born German Jews). The community, after the fall of the USSR now number 100,000. Click to read more.
AWAKENING LIVES. Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust
Edited by Jeffrey Shandler, with an intro by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, et.al.
September 2002. Yale University Press. The autobiographies of 9 male and 6 female authors, written in the 1930’s, were selected for this volume from the hundreds stored at YIVO. Click to read more.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W:
by Gabriel Brownstein
September 30, 2002. Novel. Nine Salingeresque stories about New Yorkers and their marvelous eccentricities. This brilliantly inventive first collection captures the disparate lives of the residents of Manhattan's West 89th Street. Five stories are set in one apartment building, where young Davie Birnbaum watches his neighbors' lives unfold. The title story reworks F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," whose hero is born as an old man and ages in reverse; Brownstein's Button lives on the third floor, fading away toward infancy. In apartment 7E, a lawyer named Zauberman reenacts the life of Hawthorne's Wakefield: he abandons his family so that he can spy on them. Meanwhile, the proctologist in the penthouse plays Icarus and Daedalus with his misfit son. Click to read more.
by David Shneer (Editor), Caryn Aviv (Editor)
September 2002. In their first collaboration, editors David Shneer and Caryn Aviv, have compiled a pioneering anthology of probing, insightful, humorous and soul-searching works by an impressive list of contributors including Christie Balka, Avi Rose, Joan Nestle, Leslea Newman, Jyl Lynn Felman, Steven Greenberg, Jane Litman and Sandi Dubowski. Liberal Judaism is at the forefront of advancing queer empowerment and visibility. The contributors explore the conflict between the desire to integrate into established Jewish communities and the comforts of creating separate spaces for queer Jews. They offer first-person, queer-Jewish perspectives on identity, institutions and culture, including the emergence of gay and lesbian synagogues, gay weddings, the struggle between being observant and being queer, adopting children and creating Jewish families, and homophobia and anti-Semitism. Each author brings forth a unique style to this collection. The essays are at times hilarious, at times touching, and always passionate about the issues at hand: Jill Nagle's essay takes readers through the experience of a Queer Naked Seder held at the Radical Faerie House, a three-story house complete with a dungeon in the lower level. Jill was cast as Miriam and "led the naked Jews out of the dungeon with my tambourine, up onto the deck, and through the parted waters of the giant hot tub." TJ Michels and Ali Cannon interview one another about their pilgrimages to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, a site where males and females pray separately, which poses some problems for a transgendering man and a transgendered butch. How and for what they pass is both exhilarating and painful-and completely surprising. Jyl Lynn Felman gives us her wildly entertaining review of two of the most important plays of the last decade-Angels in America and The Producers. Quite clearly, Felman suggests, Tony Kushner and Mel Brooks, one gay, one not, both Jewish, give us the newest cultural icon of the twenty-first decade: the Queer (male) Jew-he's the goyishe-gay whom's paranoid, culturally lost, and can sing a mean show tune! Oy Gay! Combining memoir, analysis and stories from the front lines, QUEER JEWS introduces a new generation of post-Stonewall writers, who together with well-known voices, present a dynamic portrait of change, progress and the road ahead. David Shneer is Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Denver and former Director of Education at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav in San Francisco. Caryn Aviv is a sociologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who currently directs the Program for Collaborative Care at UCSF Breast Care Center
Bashert: A Granddaughter's Holocaust Quest
(Willie Morris Books in Memoir and Biography)
by Andrea Simon
September 2002. Based on interviews, memoirs, historical accounts, archival documents, and family anecdotes, Simon undertook what she describes as a "spiritual search" for her family members killed in the Holocaust. Obsessed by her grandmother's tales of life in the village of Volchin (in what is now Belarus), Simon visited there during a trip to Poland, Belarus, and Russia in 1997. She learned that in 1942, all 395 Jews remaining in Volchin were murdered by two Nazis with the help of the non-Jewish villagers. She learned, too, that 50,000 Jews were killed and buried in eight mass graves in Brona Gora, a forest between Brest and Minsk, from June to November 1942. Click to read more.
And God Cried/Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope
by Marc Gellman, Harry Bliss (Illustrator).
September 2002. Ages 9-12. Little Angel Mike is an angel in training. He doesn't understand how God can let bad things happen in the world. Whether it's the tragic events of September 11, 2001, or the loss of a beloved pet, shouldn't God be able to stop the bad things? Big Angel Gabe is a wise old angel, and it's his job to help answer Little Angel Mike's tough questions and to guide him through the mystery of suffering and into a hopeful place. In a nonpreachy, accessible manner, the message of God's great compassion and our ability to bear even the greatest burdens is offered here with a gentle wisdom Click to read more.
Also, click here for information on his classic, “Does God Have a Big Toe?”
IN THE IMAGE
by DARA HORN
September 23, 2002. Dara Horn, 25, a daughter of Short Hills, and a graduate student studying Yiddish and Hebrew literature, has written a first novel that is infused with a Yiddish spirit. A young woman's coming of age, a romantic love story, and a spiritual journey—each infused with the lessons of history, and rooted in Yiddish writing. In the Image is a first novel illuminated by spiritual exploration, one that remembers "a language, a literature, a held hand, an entire world lived and breathed in the image of God." Like A. S. Byatt's Possession, Dara Horn's novel seamlessly weaves its deeper preoccupations into a narrative thoroughly absorbing and satisfying. We follow Leora through the death of her friend, Naomi, in high school and on to college, career, and falling in love, while simultaneously tracing the story of Bill Landsmann, her lost friend's grandfather, back to Amsterdam, Austria, and New York's Lower East Side. Bill has befriended Leora and teaches her Jewish history; it is a way for him to keep alive the memory of Naomi. Leora runs from these Jewish tales, and finds herself a boyfriend who has rejected Judaism, only to have him, later, grow a beard and become religious. Oy. Each story is simply told and yet is also a foray into the nature of good and evil, of the significance of tradition and the law, of the presence or absence of God.
Sadly, I admit, the Yiddish references were lost on me. For example, I learned from The Forward, when a character’s wife is said to possess a “density of valor”, it is really a reference to Proverbs; while the description of a woman who “sits alone, desolate, like a widow”, is really a reference to Lamentations.
A LEFTY’S LEGACY
by Jane Leavy
September 2002. Hapercollins. 256 pages. A social history of baseball and bio of Koufax. Sandy Koufax defined and distinguished himself by what he did on the baseball field and what he refused to do. He challenged batters and stereotypes. On the evening of September 9, 1965, he pitched a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. Less than a month later, he achieved another kind of perfection by refusing to pitch the opening game of the World Series because it fell on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. He went to a synagogue instead. He is so principled, he boycotted News Corp properties and teams in 2003, after a News Corp publication said he was gay. He is a ballplayer, perhaps the greatest lefthander of all time. He is a symbol, the one thing he never wanted to be. He was the consummate pitcher: elegant, dominant, unsurpassed. He was also an original, perhaps the last athlete who refused to cash in on his fame. He remains unavailable, unassailable, unsullied. In over 400 interviews conducted with Koufax's friends, teammates, and opponents, Jane Leavy has created an unprecedented portrait of a man described by one former Dodger as the most misunderstood man in baseball.
This is one of the best non fiction works of 2002. Koufax had intense ambition, and was humble and principled. He was stoic in the face of increasing pain as he played. He developed pioneering insights into the art and physics of baseball pitching. Dodger’s manager Walter Alston resented Koufax and refused to use him on a regular basis. It was not until his seventh season that he was given a permanent place in the starting rotation. In 1966, at the age of 30, Koufax retired due to arthritis.
An Orphan in History:
One Man's Triumphant Search for His Roots
by Paul Cowan, with an Afterword by his widow, Rabbi Rachel Cowan
September 2002. Jewish Lights reissues this classic book on Cowan’s yahrzeit. A reissue of the best selling autobiography of the late Village Voice writer, Paul Cowan, who renewed Congregation Ansche Chesed in Manhattan, and moved from Upper East Side prep school, catalog biz and rabbinical scion, to renewed Jew.
Jewish Themes in Spinoza's Philosophy
by Heidi M. Ravven (Editor), Lenn E. Goodman (Editor)
2002. Breaking new ground in the study of Spinoza's philosophy, the essays in this volume explore the extent to which Spinoza may be considered a Jewish thinker. The rich diversity of Spinoza scholarship today is represented here by a wide range of intellectual methods and scholarly perspectives-from Jewish philosophy and history, to Cartesian-analytic and Continental-Marxist streams of interpretation, to the disciplines of political science and intellectual history. Two questions underlie all the essays: How and in what measure is Spinoza's a Jewish philosophy, and what is its impact on the project of Jewish philosophy as a living enterprise now and for the future? The contributors' varied perspectives afford a highly nuanced vision of the multifaceted Judaic tradition itself, as refracted through the Spinozist lens. What draws them together is the quest for enduring insights that emerge from the philosophy of Spinoza .
My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 6 of eight
Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries—TACHANUN AND CONCLUDING PRAYERS
Edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
SEPTEMBER 2002. Jewish Lights Publishing.
Hardcover - 240 pages Volume 6. Includes the Hebrew text, a modern translation, and commentaries from Marc Brettler, Elliot Dorff, David Ellenson, Ellen Frankel, Alysssa Gray, Joel Hoffman, Lawrence Hoffman, Lawrence Kushner, Daniel Landes, and Nehemia Polen.
Click here For Volume 5. My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 5 : 'Birkhot Hashachar' (Morning Blessings) Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries
Click here For Volume 4. My People's Prayer Book, Vol. 4 : Kriyat ha Torah
Click here For Volume 3. Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--P'sukei D'zimrah (Morning Psalms)
Click here for Volume 2. Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--The Amidah
Click here for Volume 1. Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries--The Sh'ma and Its Blessings
Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations
by Michael Sells, Haverford College
UNC is requiring incoming Freshmen to read this book. Many people have taken offense to this, maybe to hype their own careers or due to their narrow minded fear of non-Christian religions. We at MyJewishBooks.com therefore will highlight this book and recommend it to our readers. We’d also be happy to send some cash to UNC’s Hillel to sponsor a kiddush or a discussion of the sura’s and Jewish theology.
Approaching the Qu'rn is a translation of the early suras - the short, hymnic chapters at the end of the book. A major event in religious publishing, this book captures the complexity, power and poetry of the early suras and the majesty and intimacy of the distinctive Qu'rnic voice. Professor Sells (Haverford) seeks to capture the beauty of the Arabic, the idea of tense in Arabic that is missing from most English translations. (Hans Wehr, where are you? Hehehe.) It seeks to help u realize the Mohammed would say “remember Abraham, etc.” because the listener would know what was being discussed and the whole story didn’t need to be spelled out. These early revelations to Muhammad involve little of the political and legal detail found in the suras of his later career. Here they speak directly to every human being, regardless of religious confession or cultural background. Approaching the Qu'rn is also designed to be as accessible as possible, to offer the full lyric and literary experience to readers: Opposite each sura is a short commentary that explores some of the subtleties and context of the Qu'rnic passages; an annotated glossary explains key Qu'rnic concepts and Arabic terms with English translations; there is even a compact disc of recordings by renowned Qu'rnic reciters chanting the early suras.
The Autograph Man:
by Zadie Smith
October 1, 2002. Random House. Zadie read a lot of Zohar and Zen, and transformed her thoughts into the character of Alex-Li. Alex-Li Tandem, a half-Chinese/half-Jewish autograph trader, sells autographs. When the book opens, he is a teen with his friends and father. His father dies. We meet him and his friends, Adam Jacobs and Jospeh Klein, 15 years later, on the yahrzeit for Alex-Li’s father. He is a 27 year old on a quest, but a small blip in a huge worldwide network of desire. His business is to hunt for names on paper, collect them, sell them, and occasionally fake them—all to give the people what they want: a little piece of Fame. He has issues with intimacy. But what does egotistical Alex want? Merely to write a book on what it means to be “Jew” and “Not A Jew”? Or to drink all the liquors in a pub in alphabetical order? Or Only the return of his dead father, the reinstatement of some kind of all-powerful, benevolent God-type figure (like the Zohar), the end of religion, something for his headache, three different girls (including girlfriend Esther), infinite grace, and the rare autograph of 1950’s movie actress Kitty Alexander. Kitty is sacred to Alex-Li. The Autograph Man is a deeply funny existential tour around the hollow things of modernity: celebrity, cinema, and the ugly triumph of symbol over experience. Alex hangs with another Jewish guy and a black Jewish guy. Through London and then New York, searching for the only autograph that has ever mattered to him, Alex follows the paper trail while resisting the mystical lure of Kabbalah (is Adam’s pot filled search for the shards and godhead similar to Alex-Li’s search for the elusive autograph?) and Zen, and avoiding all collectors, con men, and interfering rabbis who would put themselves in his path. Pushing against the tide of his generation, Alex-Li is on his way to finding enlightenment, otherwise known as some part of himself that cannot be signed, celebrated, or sold. Click to read more.
Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits, and Demons
by Howard Schwartz, Stephen Fieser (Illustrator)
October 2002. Ages 4-8. Come to a world where angels, ghosts, and demons walk amongst the living and anything is possible. Here, in nine tales of the supernatural, invisible creatures take shape and roam the earth to aid or interfere in the lives of humans. A magic staff makes a man see ghosts, a handsome demon tricks a village girl into marriage, and an angel directs a young man through a dangerous venture -- in the guise of a goat!
Howard Schwartz's vibrant retelling of mystical Jewish folktales id full of magic and wonder. The stories span many centuries and range in origin from Middle East to Eastern Europe. Weather you believe in angels, ghosts, and demons os for you to decide, but not before you enter these invisible kingdoms and step into a world where the impossible takes shape and anything can happen!
What Kids Can Do To Change The World
by Danny Siegel with Naomi Eisenberger
October 2002. Mitzvah projects for kids grounded in Jewish social justice. Click to read more
by Eve Bunting, K. Wendy Popp (Illustrator)
October 2002. Ages 4-8. Joanna Cotler Books. Grandma makes a hanukkiah from a raw potato and threads. And so the story begins. Publishers Weekly writes, “On the first night of Hanukkah every year, Grandma recites her experience as a 12-year-old in Buchenwald, when she risked her life to steal a potato and margarine to improvise one Hanukkah light. The text feels somewhat forced until Grandma starts speaking, and then the audience will be gripped. Popp's (Sister Anne's Hands) uncannily lifelike, sympathetic group portraits, bathed in soft lighting that visually bridges them to sepia-toned flashback scenes of Buchenwald, evoke the abiding tenderness of family rituals respectfully observed. It would be a pity for the mistake on the cover (the candle is on the wrong side of the menorah here and several times in the interior art) to deter readers from the unusually moving story within” Note: OBSERVANT JEWS DO NOT eat Sour Cream with Brisket as mentioned in the book, and a Full Moon never occurs during Hanukkah, as pictured in the book.
Happy Hanukkah, Biscuit!
by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Pat Schories (Illustrator)
October 2002. Ages 2-6. Let's light the candles, Biscuit! Biscuit tries to do everything that his friend does, but that silly puppy keeps getting into scrapes. He wants to be part of the Hanukkah celebration, too. Will he be able to give Sam the perfect Hanukkah present?
Happening Hanukkah: Creative Ways to Celebrate
by Debra Mostow Zakarin, Amanda Haley (Illustrator)
8/2002. Similar in format to Chronicle's Crafty Girl series, Happening Hanukkah: Creative Ways to Celebrate by Debra Mostow Zakarin, illus. by Amanda Haley, describes how to make various presents, from gift coupons (promising such services as breakfast in bed) to hand-painted sweatshirts. The author also provides instructions for making candy dreidels, lighting the menorah, and more. Ages 8-12.
D Is for Dreidel: A Hanukkah Alphabet Book
by Tanya Lee Stone, Dawn Apperley (Illustrator)
Summer 2002. D is for Dreidel / Just twist it and spin / If it stops on gimel / Shout "hooray," you win! / Children will love learning about Hanukkah in this dreidel-shaped alphabet book! Every page contains a letter of the alphabet along with sweet, rhyming text and words that correspond with that letter. And as an added bonus, at the end of the book is the complete story of Hanukkah! This is a fantastic introduction to the holiday!
Cultures of the Jews:
A New History
Edited by David Biale, Professor, UC-DAVIS
October 15, 2002. Scholastic. 1,200 PAGES
Biale writes, “Jewish self-definition bound up in a tangled web within the non-Jewish environment in which the Jews lived, at once conditioned by how non-Jews saw the Jews and by how the Jews adopted and resisted the majority culture’s definition of them. For all that Jews had their own autonomous traditions, their own identities throughout their history were inseparable from that of their Canaanite, Persian, Greek, Roman, Christian, and Muslim neighbors… Jewish identity cannot be considered immutable, the fixed product of either ancient ethnic or religious origins, but rather to have changed as the cultural context changed…. Is there or was there one Jewish people with one history? Culture would appear to be the domain of the plural: we might speak of Jewish cultures, instead of culture in the singular. And yet such a definition would be missing a crucial aspect of Jewish culture, the continuity of both textual and folk traditions throughout Jewish history and throughoput the many lands inhabited by the Jews…”
Publishers Weekly writes: This insightful collection of essays by today's leading Judaica scholars (such as Ilana Pardes and Isaiah Gafni) transports the reader from the nascent Jewish nation first emerging from bondage in Egypt through both its cultural and religious decline and efflorescence in [The Hellenistic Period] and the Middle Ages to modern-day Israeli and American Jewish culture. Divided into three sections, "Mediterranean Origins," "Diversities of Diaspora" and "Modern Encounters," the compilation provides an array of creative perspectives. Objects of material culture a map, an amulet, a ketubbah (a Jewish marriage contract) are used as lenses through which to examines various aspects of Jewish life in a given time and place; e.g., a menorah topped by an eagle symbolizing Polish sovereignty opens Moshe Rosman's study of Polish-Lithuanian-Jewish culture. The contributors assume that Jewish history did not develop in a vacuum, but that Jewish culture and religion were at times influenced by the surrounding cultures, and that Jews incorporated elements of what they saw around them while striving to refashion them as distinctly Jewish. Furthermore, if Jewish identity changed according to differing historical contexts, editor Biale (author of Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History) suggests, referring to Jewish culture in the singular is inadequate and oversimplified. The authors raise questions central to the understanding of Judaism and Jewish life, and propose answers that try to reconcile ideas with their historical realities. Intellectually stimulating, articulately written and extensively documented, this collection is sure to raise excitement in aficionados looking for something to whet their historical appetite.
Jacob Neusner, writing in The Jerusalem Post wrote: he accords a decent burial to the subject “Jewish history,” as a single, coherent, unitary, linear, continueous narrative. He identifies Jewish religion, embodied in the Torah (written and oral) as the single continuity. There are many Jewish cultures, all of them in dialogue with a coherent Jewish religion… His introductions are profound and penetrating at every poin, and he makes the book a coherent statement. Click to read more.
THE 23RD PSALM
A HOLOCAUST MEMOIR
by GEORGE LUCAS SALTON with Anna Salton Eisen
October 2002. Univ of Wisconsin Press. Palm Beach resident and former DoD engineer, George was born in Tyczyn, Poland. His lawyer father was forbidden to work after 1939, and they were forced into the Rzeszow Ghetto. His parents died at Balzec. George survived 10 death and labor camps, including Rseszow, Plaszow, Flossenburg, Colmar (France), Sachsenhausen, Braunschweig, Ravensbruck, and Wobbelin. At one point, in COLMAR, the people applauded the Jewish prisoners and hissed the Nazis! He marched into Colmar with 500 others in Spring 1944, and when they were liberated on May 2, 1945, by the 82nd Airborne, only 50 were alive. An amazing memoir. Click to read more.
by Letty Cottin Pogrebin (Ms Magazine founding editor).
October 17, 2002. Pogrebin’s first novel. An ebullient novel about family secrets and the triumph of sisterly love. Driven by a legacy of lies, the shame of their own imperfections, and the impending chaos in each of their well-ordered married lives, the three Wasserman daughters struggle with themselves and one another to break their parents' silence and understand their past. Shoshanna, control freak and world-class problem solver, stands on the brink of a Big Birthday in the shadow of the Evil Eye (she should read The Sabbath by Heschel), trying to enjoy her happiness and overcome her fears while also engineering a double reconciliation between her estranged sisters, and between Leah and their rabbi father, Rabbi Sam Wasserman. Leah, a brilliant English professor and unreconstructed leader of the left, eloquent and foul-mouthed, a crusading feminist and a passionately conflicted wife and mother, grapples with the meaning of abandonment and the unfamiliar demands of her own roiling needs. She, the oldest, was born to Rabbi Sam and his crazy first wife, Dena. As he approaches age 90, can she reconcile with him on his trip to the USA from Israel? Rachel (a stepchild of Rabbi Sam, the daughter of his second wife, Esther), who has papered over her losses with an athlete's discipline, a fact fetishist's sense of order, and a pragmatism bordering on self-sacrifice, watches her carefully constructed world fall apart and in the rubble discovers the woman she was meant to be. Can she leverage her love of Torah and her father’s adoration into a late career in the rabbinate? Click to read more.
Kosher Cooking for Everyone
by Levana Kirschenbaum, Ann Stratton (Photographer)
October 2002. well.. if the chef of Abigael’s has a book and tv show, Levana should also. This cookbook, by the proprietor of the celebrated Levana Restaurant and Bakery in Manhattan, offers150 recipes and 20 menus that are simple, nutritious, beautifully presented, and 100 percent kosher. Traditional kosher fare, including food for the holidays and entertaining is featured, along with recipes that reflect the author's Moroccan, French, Asian, and vegetarian influences. 150 recipes, 30 color photographs. Click the book cover to read more.
Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean
by Joyce Esersky Goldstein, with Leigh Beisch (Photographer)
October 2002. Celebrated chef and San Francisco based author Joyce Goldstein (Enoteca; Cucina Ebraica; and Sephardic Flavors) shares her extraordinary knowledge of unusual and delicious cuisines in such an approachable and joyful way that they quickly become part of the home cook’s repertoire. In Saffron Shores, she brings to the table the sensual aromas and exquisite flavors of the Southern Mediterranean in a celebration of its rich Jewish heritage. From Morocco comes a vibrant orange salad strewn with olives; from Algeria, a hearty tagine of chicken with quince; from Tunisia, a spicy eggplant puree; from Libya, a saffron and paprika infused fish soup-all are authentic, kosher, and a delightful introduction to a healthful, flavorful cuisine for the modern cook. A fascinating exploration of cultures and cuisine, lush with images. Including don't-miss treats like Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Honey, Baked Fish Stuffed with Almond Paste, and Cumin Flavored Meatballs with Onion Jam and Spicy Tomato Sauce. Click the book cover to read more.
Blues in the Night
by Rochelle Majer Krich
October 1, 2002. Click to read more.
Mazel Tov to the latest Nobel Laureate in Literature, announced October 10, 2002, Imre Kertész, a Hungarian novelist and Holocaust survivor with a small but devoted readership in Europe. The Swedish Academy, which presented the award on December 10, 2002, described his writing as, "upholds the tragic experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history… For him, Auschwitz is not an exceptional occurrence that, like an alien body, subsists outside the normal history of western Europe. It is the ultimate truth about human degradation in modern existence." Mr. Kertész, now 73, a secular Jew whose work has been shaped by the time he spent as a teenage prisoner in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, was largely unknown even in Hungary until the collapse of Communism. In a recent interview, he said, “As Isaac Deautsher put it, I am a non Jewish Jew. I’m not a Zionist, I don’t live in Israel, I don’t speak Hebrew, I don’t know Jewish culture, I am not religious, I became a Jew through Auschwitz. It was an accident, but it was also fortunate. I got to know the real face of the century. My life became richer for it. If it were not blasphemy, I would say I was lucky to have known Auschwitz.”
Since the early 1990's, he has been acclaimed in Germany and has won a loyal following in Sweden and France. When he won the Nobel, right wingers in Hungary (a country that sent 600,000 of their Jews to die in death camps) said that next they hope a REAL Hungarian wins. Only two of his novels — "Fateless" (semi-autobiographical about his 3 days at Auschwitz and year at Buchenwald, in which he conveys the boy’s innocence of not realizing what is happening, adjusting to the changes at the camps, concerning himself with just daily survival and the desire not to be gassed.) and "Kaddish for a Child Not Born," (Northwestern University Press, a Holocaust survivor tells his wife that he does not want to bring a child into this world, and his marriage begins to fall apart) — have been translated into English. They are:
What Shall I Do With This People?
Jews and the Fractious Politics of Judaism
by Milton Viorst
October 8, 2002. Free Press. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in 1995 by an Orthodox Jew provided the germ for this book. The author believes Rabin's killing was the product of unresolved religious conflict dating back centuries (remember the Hebrews versus Hebrews strife with Moses and the Golden Calf? Remember the Hanukkah fight between non Hellenist Jews and Hellenist Jews?) and that it emerged from Judaism's failure to solve the challenges imposed by modern times. Viorst says his objective "was to find within history some understanding of why the Jews of our own day often behave impossibly about matters crucial to the well-being, if not the survival, of the Jewish community." The lesson of Rabin's death, he concludes, may be that the Jews are running out of time and unless they give priority to mastering the art of living together, the State of Israel's duration may be as brief as the earlier Maccabean State that lasted for only a century. This timely and disturbing book--its title is a quote from the Book of Exodus-- should serve as a warning to end ideological dissension or face the inevitable consequences. Viorst's lucid review of Jewish history as a saga of dissension is most effective, though highly selective. His analysis and his presentation benefit from his impressive credentials as a journalist who worked for many years in the Middle East and who has written a dozen books. Viorst is no unbiased observer; he makes clear his strong opposition to Jewish religious extremism, thus inevitably contributing to the internal discord he so vigorously decries Click to read more.
CLICK here to read the first chapter for free.
FROM PARIS TO PEORIA
HOW EUROPEAN PIANO VIRTUOSOS BROUGHT CLASSICAL MUSIC TO THE AMERICAN HEARTLAND
R. Allen Lott
October 2002. A lively chronicle of the collision of cultures when five pianists visited America during the late 19th Century: Leopold de Meyer, Henri Herz, Sigismund Thalberg, Anton Rubenstein, and Hans von Bulow. Click to read more.
THE CHOSEN BODY
THE POLITICS OF THE BODY IN ISRAELI SOCIETY
by Meira Weiss, Hebrew University
October 2002. Stanford Univ Press. Zionism is Judaism with muscles: agriculture, land, and military power. No more passivity, bodybuilding tied to nation building. Thus the body was a part of Zionism. This book examines how the social and cultural paradigms of contemporary Israel are articulated through the body. How is health and perfection idealized into the chosen body for the chosen people, from birth top death. You will never look at a military funeral the same way again.
THE SELF RENEWING CONGREGATION
Organizational Strategies for Revitalizing Congregational Life.
by Dr. Isa Aron. Foreward by Dr. Ron Wolfson (Synagogue 2000)
Fall 2002. Jewish Lights. Concrete, praxctical information to transform and revitalize your spiritual community while tackling the issues of how to respond to new circumstances while honoring traditions, how to attract new members while not alienating old members, and how to develop a strong and responsive leadership. Filled with ideas and resources, with sample exercises, text study guides, and case studies from successful congregations. Click to read more.
A NEW PROMISED LAND
A HISTORY OF JEWS IN AMERICA
By Hasia Diner, New York University
October 2002. Now in Paperback. A history of Jews in America from the arrival of 23 Jews in 1654 to today . Click to read more.
Brave New Judaism:
When Science and Scripture Collide
by Miryam Z. Wahrman, PhD (Cornell)
October 2002. Brandeis University
With a shout out to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Wahrman investigates Science and Judaism and how the different denominations of Judaism respond to biotechnological advances. Clones, genetically modified foods, frozen embryos, stem cells, gene therapy: these are some of the new discoveries and scientific developments that are guaranteed to change our lives and our society forever. How does Judaism, an ancient religion, come to terms with such dramatic changes? This insightful book explores Jewish reactions to cutting-edge biological issues that continue to dominate the headlines. Does Jewish law permit production and use of stem cells, gene therapy, and human cloning? Is it permissible to produce and eat bio-engineered foods? How do assisted reproductive technologies affect the definition of parenthood and who is a Jew? Are there “Jewish genes” that define Jews as a unique group? Do Jewish disease genes stigmatize the Jewish people? Miryam Z. Wahrman addresses these and other questions by examining how Judaism interprets and responds to recent advances in biomedical science. Presenting bioethical principles derived from traditional Judaic sources, she shows how contemporary rabbis and Judaica scholars have interpreted these texts in light of radical new biotechnologies such as infertility treatments, genetic testing, sex selection, and bioengineered food. Taking into account Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform perspectives, she shows that different denominations can react to novel technologies in unpredictable ways. For example, there are numerous instances where Orthodox sources are more accepting of technology than the other branches of Judaism. Brave New Judaism offers a broad Jewish perspective on compelling issues, showing how Judaism has coped with current scientific inventions and technologies, and how Jewish law has creatively kept pace with the modern world. MIRYAM Z. WAHRMAN is Professor of Biology and Co-Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at William Paterson University of New Jersey, where she has also served as Chair of the Biology Department and as Director of General Education for the university.. Click to read more.
The Yom Kippur War
by Insight Team of the London Sunday Times
Revised paper edition October 2002. This is the dramatic, fully-researched and definitive account of the war that almost destroyed Israel: the Yom Kippur War. Launched by Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and his primary ally, Syria's President Hafiz al-Asad, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, the sudden attack took the Israeli Defense Force totally by surprise. Here you will discover how such a colossal intelligence blunder -- one that almost caused the destruction of Israel -- happened. It is a story of incredible courage and bravery of the soldiers on both sides, of the high-stakes diplomatic battles waged by the UN, the United States, and the Soviet Union, even as troops and pilots from Israel and the nine Arab states attacking it shed their blood on the desert sands. Click to read more.
Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow
by Rabbi Arthur Green (Brandeis University, RRC)
October 2002. Jewish Lights. Arthur Green, distills his 40 year search for wisdom from the Jewish mystical tradition. Green explains how the ancient language of Kabbalah can be retooled to address the needs of our generation. Unlike other books on Kabbalah, he does this in a future-oriented context. Probing questions are designed to challenge – and potentially change – readers as they are encouraged to stretch to new ways of thinking with heart and mind. How is kabbalastic tradition relevant to today’s seeker? Are the ancient and mysterious symbols of any value to us in our very different world? How can kabbalah be used in spiritual quests?
WORDS TO OUTLIVE US
Eyewitness Accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto
by Michal Grynberg (Editor)
October 2002. The story of the Warsaw Ghetto told through twenty-eight (or 29) never-before-published accounts -- a precious and historic find. In the history of the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto stands as the enduring symbol of Jewish suffering and heroism. This collective memoir -- a mosaic (Zionists, secularists, traditionalists, socialists, communists) of individual diaries, journals, and accounts -- follows the fate of the Warsaw Jews from the first bombardments of the Polish capital to the razing of the Jewish district (1940-1943). The life of the ghetto appears here in striking detail: the frantic exchange of apartments as the walls first go up; the daily battle against starvation and disease; the stifling heat and dirt and stench; the moral ambiguities confronting Jewish bureaucracies under Nazi rule; the ingenuity of smugglers; and the acts of resistance. Written inside the ghetto or in hiding outside its walls, these extraordinary testimonies preserve voices otherwise consigned to oblivion: a woman doctor whose four-year-old son is deemed a threat to the hideout; a painter determined to complete his mural of Job and his trials; Helena Midler’s satirical BUNKER WEEKLY; a ten-year-old girl barely eluding blackmailers on the Aryan side of the city. Only 1% (or 5,000) of the 500,000 Jews sent to the Ghetto survived the war. Click to read more.
THE PHILOSPHER-KING IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE JEWISH POLITICAL THOUGHT
By Abraham Melamed. Edited by Lenn E. Goodman
October 2002. Illustrates Plato’s theory of the philosopher-king in the context of medieval and Renaissance Jewish thought. This original treatment of medieval and Renaissance Jewish thinkers expands the scope of Jewish philosophy and adds new depth to our understanding of Jewish culture of the period. While medieval Christian political philosophy was based on Aristotle's Politics, Muslim and Jewish philosophy adhered to the Platonic tradition. In this book, Abraham Melamed explores a major aspect of this tradition-the theory of the philosopher-king-as it manifested itself in medieval Jewish political philosophy, tracing the theory's emergence in Jewish thought as well as its patterns of transmittal, adaptation, and absorption. The Maimonidean encounter with the theory, via al-Farabi, is also examined, as is its influence upon later scholars such as Felaquera, ibn Latif, Narboni, Shemtov ibn Shemtov, Polkar, Alemanno, Abarbanel, and others. Also discussed is the influence of Averroe's commentary on Plato's Republic, and the Machiavellian rejection of the theory of the philosopher-king and its influence upon early modern Jewish scholars, such as Simone Luzzatto and Spinoza, who rejected it in favor of a so-called Republican attitude. Click to read more.
Aryans, Jews, Brahmins: Theorizing Authority Through Myths of Identity (Suny Series, the Margins of Literature)
by Dorothy Matilda Figueira
October 2002. Paperback. In Aryans, Jews, Brahmins, Dorothy Figueira provides a fascinating account of the construction of the Aryan myth and its uses in both India and Europe from the Enlightenment to the twentieth century. The myth concerns a race that inhabits a utopian past and gives rise first to Brahmin Indian culture and then to European culture. In India, notions of the Aryan were used to develop a national identity under colonialism, one that allowed Indian elites to identify with their British rulers. It also allowed non-elites to set up a counter identity critical of their position in the caste system. In Europe, the Aryan myth provided certain thinkers with an origin story that could compete with the Biblical one and could be used to diminish the importance of the West's Jewish heritage. European racial hygienists made much of the myth of a pure Aryan race, and the Nazis later looked at India as a cautionary tale of what could happen if a nation did not remain pure. As Figueira demonstrates, the history of the Aryan myth is also a history of reading, interpretation, and imaginative construction. Initially, the ideology of the Aryan was imposed upon absent or false texts. Over time, it involved strategies of constructing, evoking, or distorting the canon. Each construction of racial identity was concerned with key issues of reading: canonicity, textual accessibility, interpretive strategies of reading, and ideal readers. The book's cross-cultural investigation demonstrates how identities can be and are created from texts and illuminates an engrossing, often disturbing history that arose from these creations. Click to read more.
Alan King's Great Jewish Joke Book
by Alan King
October 15, 2002. Crown Books. Jesus saves. Moses invests.” “Why spoil a good meal with a big tip?” “What did the Jewish mother ask her daughter when the daughter told her she had had an affair?—‘Who catered it?’ ” “I’ve probably heard—and told—some of the jokes in this book a thousand times; more than a few are older than I am. Others were actually new to me. But I can’t think of a good Jewish joke that isn’t in this collection. Enjoy!” —Alan King
The undisputed heavyweight champion of Jewish humor livens up the pages with a rich and comprehensive treasury of the all-time best Jewish jokes. From the Polish shtetls to vaudeville and the Catskills to modern Hollywood and comedy clubs across the country, Jewish humor hasn’t just survived, it has become universally loved and often recited—by Jews and non-Jews alike.
And who better to compile the best of Jewish humor than Alan King, the consummate comedian who has torn up every venue from the Friar’s Club and Broadway to Comedy Central? In Alan King’s Great Jewish Joke Book, King gathers old standards and hilarious new material, great one-liners and drop-dead funny stories, and packs them into a laugh-(or sometimes a groan-) out-loud celebration of the Jewish funny bone. So why is this book like chicken soup? Because it doesn’t cure anything, but it sure can make you feel better! Click to read more.
Lost Souls: Finding Hope in the Heart of Darkness
by Niles Elliot Goldstein
October 8, 2002. A second book ffrom the mountain climbing rabbi of the New Shul in NYC, where outward bound and Outside Magazine meets Tractate Bereshit. Click to read more.
Girl Meets God:
On the Path to a Spiritual Life
by Lauren F. Winner
October 2002. Algonquin. Lauren Winner was raised Jewish in Virginia and North Carolina by her Baptist mother (divorced from Lauren’s Jewish father) and entered Columbia University as a Freshman, where she promptly accepted and tried on an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle. She studied in Israel, studied Talmud, and since her mother was not Jewish, Lauren visited the mikvah and formally converted to Orthodox Judaism. But by graduation 4 years later, vowed suspiciously as a convert by her Orthodox classmates, Lauren fell in love with a Jew named Jesus. She therefore studied Christianity, and converted to Anglican Christianity while studying a year at Cambridge. This is her story of Judaism, Jesus, tattoos, sex, ditziness, and god’s presence in her life. Click to read more.
If a Place Can Make You Cry
Dispatches from an Anxious State
by Daniel Gordis
October 2002. Random House/Crown Publishing. An edited collection of these e-mails and other essays about life in Israel over the past four years. In the summer of 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family moved to Israel from Los Angeles. They planned to be there for a year. This was a euphoric time in Israel. The economy was booming, and peace seemed virtually guaranteed. A few months into their stay, Gordis and his wife decided to remain in Israel permanently, confident that their children would be among the first generation of Israelis to grow up in peace. Immediately after arriving in Israel, Daniel had started sending out e-mails about his and his family’s life to friends and family abroad. These missives—passionate, thoughtful, beautifully written, and informative—began reaching a much broader readership than he’d ever envisioned, eventually being excerpted in The New York Times Magazine to much acclaim. This is the chronicle of a loss of innocence—the innocence of Daniel and his wife, and of their children. Ultimately, through Gordis’s eyes, Israel, with all its beauty, madness, violence, and history, comes to life in a way we’ve never quite seen before. Daniel Gordis captures as no one has the years leading up to what every Israeli dreaded: on April 1, 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that Israel was at war. After an almost endless cycle of suicide bombings and harsh retaliation, any remaining chance for peace had seemingly died. Click to read more.
The Man Who Fell into a Puddle : Israeli Lives
by Igal Sarna, Haim Watzman (Translator)
October 30, 2002. Pantheon. For those unfamiliar with Yediot, Igal is one of Israel’s top investigative reporters, and works for Yediot Aharanot. He was a co founder of Peace Now, and was a tank commander during the 1973 war. He was a Fulbright Fellow at Iowa’s writing program. All these experiences come together as he writes about Israelis and their lives: a Special Forces soldier who grew up an orphan discovers his mother living with Arabs on The West Bank; Vladislov Petrov, a Russian immigrant crashes his prized Fiat Uno and vanishes into the desert; a Bedouin boy kills his father with a rock; and a Holocaust survivor descends into paranoia. In the title story, Yechiel Segal walks three miles from his Herzliya bus to visit his mother in an old age ho, waiting and waiting to see if she will ever say that she loves him. Click to read more.
The Anti-Semitic Moment: A Tour of France in 1898
by Pierre Birnbaum, Professor, Sorbonne
October 2002. Hill and Wang. A controversial new look at a turning point in modern european history. In 1898, the Dreyfus Affair plunged French society into a year-long frenzy. In small villages and big cities, angry crowds paraded through the streets, attacking Jews and destroying Jewish-owned businesses. Anger about the imagined power of Jewish capital as well as fears of treason and racial degeneration made anti-Semitism a convenient banner behind which many social and political factions could fall in line. The anti-Semitic feelings that had been simmering in France for decades came boiling to the surface. Until now, the details of this pogrom have slumbered in local archives, but here Pierre Birnbaum, the first to study the full range of events set in motion during the Dreyfus crisis, guides the reader on a tour of France during this tumultuous year. His innovative study makes it clear why, though prolonged violence threatened to topple the government, the institution of the state did not give way. Birnbaum shows not only that many Jews defended themselves but that police officers made mass arrests and Jewish lives and property were protected. His analysis of how and why public order was maintained offers surprising new insights. Click to read more.
Prophets and Dreamers:
A Selection of Great Yiddish Literature
by Miriam Weinstein (Editor)
October 1, 2002. Prophets and Dreamers capitalizes on the renaissance of interest in Yiddish language, lore, and culture. Here are short stories, folk songs, and poems from the late 19th century — when Yiddish literature blossomed in response to immense social change — to contemporary times. Representing the full spectrum of Yiddish culture, writers range from shtetl dwellers and sweatshop poets to modernists and political activists. The book’s introduction, together with thumbnail biographies of the contributors and the English-language debut of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s "Old Age," is particularly geared toward readers discovering this treasure trove for the first time. Based on an idea by Chip Fleischer. Includes about 18 stories by Mendele Moykher-Sforim (the book peddler, Sholem Abramovitsch), Y L Peretz, Sholom Aleichem, Shimon An-ski, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Morris Rosenfeld, Yankev Glatshteyn, Abraham Sutzkever. Includes poems, as well as 8 folksongs. For each author, the editor of this book includes a photo of the Yiddish writer and a biography. Stories include A Yom Kippur Scandal; Fishke the Lame; Three Gifts; Autumn Leaves; My Tent; War; and Like a Mouse Trap. Click to read more.
THE JEWISH CULTURAL TAPESTRY
International Jewish Folk Traditions
By Steven M. Lowenstein, University of Judaism
October 2002. Winner of the National Jewish Book Award October-2002 Paperback. (I sat behind the author at the awards ceremony. Nice guy, nice mishpacha. Nice book. A survey of Jewish folkways on 5 continents. Click to read more.
LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, THE ORIGINAL MUSIC OF THE HEBREW ALPHABET AND WEEKEND IN MUSTARA
by Curt Leviant
October 2002. Univ of Wisconsin Press. Two novellas by this author of five novels, including The Yemenite Girl. “Ladies and Gentleman…” is set in commnist Budapest. Ferdinand Friedman, a survivor, believes he possesses the Rosetta Stone of Judaica, the greatest Jewish manuscripts. He is willing to share it with Dr Isaac Gantz, a musicologist, if………. “Weekend in Mustara” is set in a European island nation of Mustara, which is run by a dictator but tolerates Judaism. A scholar of medieval Hebrew manuscripts comes to the island, searching for traces of the works of Yehudah Halevi. In a comic and absurd sequence of events, the scholar becomes enmeshed in the small Jewish community of the island and their loyalties, and loses his concept of the time in which we live.
by Alona Kimhi, translated from Hebrew by Dalya Bilu
October 2002. The Harvill Press. At 33, obsessive, anxious, hypersensitive Susannah Rabin lives with her mother, their cloistered world providing a barrier to the excruciating torment of human contact (cloistered from Israeli society). But then Susannah's mother tells her that they are going to have a guest -- Susannah's cousin, a young man from New York. Susannah is horrified -- until the guest arrives, looking uncannily like Percy Bysshe Shelley. Fascinated by his exoticism, Susannah finds herself going to the movies, meeting his friends, swimming at night. As she gradually, inevitably falls in love with him and distances herself from her mother, many of her neuroses fall away, but the changes do not come without consequences of their own. The political turmoil of modern Israel provides an intriguing setting for the trials of this small collection of well-drawn characters. But then Susannah's mother becomes troubled by their friendship, and asks the obvious question: What is he doing in Israel?
The Golem's Mighty Swing
by James Sturm
James Sturm delivers this compelling picture novella about a barnstorming Jewish baseball team. Set in the 1920s, the story opens as The Stars of David travel from town to town earning a living by playing local squads. They all sport beards, a gimmick to attract patrons. When financial difficulties threaten to end their season they cast their lot with a Chicago promoter, Victor Paige. Paige, after seeing the German film Der Golem (a huge silent film success), procures the costume worn in the film and has one of the Stars of David don the costume. Using newspaper articles and broadsides, Paige aggressively trumpets the coming of the Golem and proceeds to transform a baseball game into a mythical pageant. He fills the stadium but also stokes the flames of anti-Semitism. Winning the game for the Stars of David becomes less important then surviving it.At the heart of baseball is the goal of getting home. Jewish history reflects this goal as well. The Golem's Mighty Swing examines what it means to belong to both your new country and your old traditions. It is a classic baseball story about what it means to be an American.
The Figure in the Distance
by Otto de Kat (Author), Arnold Pomerans (Translator), Erica Pomerans (Translator)
October 31, 2002. Harvill Press. The narrator of this novel is a lifelong traveler -- Cambridge, Budapest, New York, Tel Aviv, The Hague, and Zurich are all cities he has lived in. But wherever he stays, the impressions he gets and the people he sees remind him of figures from long ago: a lost friend, a former lover, and, most often of all, his father. He has a past, but the present eludes him, and he moves about the world as if a ghost, his intrusive memories ensuring that he is never completely alone and yet never completely happy. The spare, elegant writing of this enchanting novel will not be easily forgotten.
Arabs at War:
Military Effectiveness, 1948-1991
(Studies in War, Society, and the Military)
by Kenneth M. Pollack
October 2002. A Council on Foreign Relations Book. Univ of Nebraska Press. Kenneth M. Pollack, formerly a Persian Gulf military analyst at the CIA and Director for Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council, describes and analyzes the military history of the six key Arab states—
Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Syria—
during the post–World War II era. Iraq gets over 100 pages. THIS IS A TECHNICAL BOOK. This is the first time that the complete postwar histories of virtually all of these countries have been recorded in unclassified form. In particular Pollack focuses on the Arab armies themselves, helping to illuminate the persistent problems they encountered on the battlefield. He shows in detail how each Arab military grew and learned from its own experiences in response to the specific objectives set for it and within often constrained political, economic, and social circumstances. This first ever overview of the modern Arab approach to warfare provides a better understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the Arab militaries, some of which are the United States' most likely adversaries and some of which are our most important allies. Click to read more.
by Mark Swartz
October 2002. paperback. Part Unabomber, part van Gogh, David Edgar Felsenstein, a failed Salvation Army bell ringer (he was fied when he insisted on wearing a paper bag over his head), yearns to create an unforgettable masterpiece. He browses the stacks of Chicago’s moral anchor, the Harold Washington Public Library Center, in search of connections between obscure volumes, like a pseudo-Talmudist, scrupulously footnoting his research into anarchy, phrenology, magnetotherapy, Buddhism, impermanent transitory sand mandalas, plastic surgery, pseudoscience, Nietzsche, Genet, Dadaism, Jung, Freud, anarchy, the worldwide international Elders of Buddhism Conspiracy. and much more. We read his journal, tracing his course through books and philosophies as he prepares his magnum opus — blowing up the library that he loves
PAKISTAN, IN THE SHADOW OF JIHAD AND AFGHANISTAN by Mary Anne Weaver. A story of Pakistan, the Generals Musharraf and Zia, Benazir Bhutto, and the legacy of the 1980’s on this turbulent country
THE VIBRANT WORLD OF SOUTHERN JEWISH LIFE
Images of Jewish Life in the American South
Photographs by BILL ARON
Text by Vicki Reikis Fox and Marcie Cohen Ferris. Foreword by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy, Parade)
October 4, 2002. The South is more than bagels and grits, turnip greens kugel, and definitely not crawfish gefilte fish. Alfred Uhry writes, “as long as there is a South, there will be Jews inhabiting it.” Have you ever been to Kaplan, Louisiana; or Felsenthal, Arkansas? This is an evocative coffee table book of 137 b/w photos by the famed Bill Aron. My favorite pics are of the old Jewish cemeteries; Rabbi Gurvis and his family over Shabbat in Jackson MS; Avram Aizenman, praying with tefillin on the sand of Myrtle Beach; the two grinning brothers in striped polos with huge challahs; Cheryl Spain’s bat mitzvah in Mobile Alabama; Harold and Lucille Hart at their liquor store in Eudora Arkansas; the daily minyan’s group photo from Birmingham; and Aaron Kline in front of his store in Alligator, MS. CLICK To see more info and pics.
MY FATHERS PEOPLE
A Family of Southern Jews
by Louis Decimus Rubin, Jr.
(Professor Emeritus/UNC, and founder of Algonquin Books)
Fall 2002. LSU Press. Rubin's quest into the culture and psychology of his first-generation immigrant relatives. Louis Rubin's people on his father's side were odd, inscrutable, and remarkable. In contrast to his mother's family, who were "normal, good people devoid of mystery," the ways of the Rubins both puzzled and attracted him. In MY FATHER'S PEOPLE, Rubin tells "as best I can about them all--my father, his three brothers, and his three sisters." It is a searching, sensitive story of Americanization, assimilation, and the displacement--and survival--of a religious heritage.
Born between 1888 and 1902 in Charleston, South Carolina, their father an immigrant Russian Jew, the Rubin children suffered dire poverty, humiliation, and separation when their parents became incapacitated. Three of the boys were sent to the Hebrew Orphan's Home in Atlanta for several years. Yet the sons all managed to build long, productive, even notable lives and livelihoods, becoming, variously, a newspaper editor, Broadway playwright and Hollywood screenwriter, businessman, and--in the case of Rubin's father--a far-famed long-range weather prognosticator.
Private people, reticent to discuss their painful early years, the Rubins were not easily knowable. Still, the author draws a strikingly candid portrait of each, using memories, stories, keen insight, and broad empathy--fascinating character studies full of individual propensities and peculiarities that together reveal the wider family resemblance. Although the Rubins were mostly nonreligious, their family's rabbinical tradition and their experience as southern Jews were key to their vocational fervor and the lives they made for themselves. "They were Americans, and they were Jews." Rubin concludes. "These were enough."
Told with Louis Rubin's signature eloquence and wit, MY FATHER'S PEOPLE is a testimony to the courage of immigrant southern Jews and their gifts to their chosen country. CLICK To see more info and pics.
by Rob Edelman, Audrey Kupferberg,
October 2002. From the slums of New York’s Lower East Side to the glamour of stardom, Walter Matthau’s life story is as rag-to-riches as they come. Yet his unprivileged Jewish immigrant upbringing was not the only amazing thing about Matthau’s success. Here was a man that went against the Hollywood formula. Silly and sarcastic, hardly gorgeous or glamorous, Matthau became an unlikely American favorite, shining in both comedic and leading man roles. Matthau: A Life is a telling look at the man behind actor. Written in cooperation with Matthau’s son, Charles, Matthau shares little known aspects of its subject’s life, including: Why Matthau often lied about his childhood and his family’s background, saying he was born Walter “Matuschanskayasky;” His days as a child actor in New York Yiddish theater; His struggle with a gambling addiction; and His changing views on Judaism, and his life experiences as a cultural (rather than religious) Jew.
A MORAL RECKONING
The Role of the Catholic Church
in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair
by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen,
October 29, 2002. Is this “A Moral Reckoning” or “Amoral Reckoning”?
From the internationally renowned author of the best-selling Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust comes this penetrating moral inquiry into the Catholic Church’s role in the Holocaust that goes beyond anything previously written on the subject. Goldhagen cuts through the historical and moral fog to lay out the full extent of the Catholic Church’s involvement in the Holocaust, transforming a narrow discussion fixated on Pope Pius XII into the long-overdue investigation of the Church throughout Europe. He shows that the Church’s and the Pope’s complicity in the persecution of the Jews goes much deeper than has been previously understood. The Church’s leaders were fully aware of the persecution. They did not speak out and urge resistance. Instead, they supported many aspects of it. Some clergy even took part in the mass murder. But Goldhagen goes further. He develops a precise way to assess the Church and its clergy’s culpability, which was more extensive and varied than has been supposed. He then devotes the largest part of the book to proposing a new and fuller understanding of restitution, including moral restitution, and shows that the Church has, even according to its own doctrine, an unacknowledged duty of repair. Click to read more.
NO STAR TOO BEAUTIFUL
AN ANTHOLOGY OF YIDDISH STORIES
1382 TO THE PRESENT
by Joachim Neugroschel (Translator)
October 2002. A unique and rich anthology of Yiddish stories from the beginning of Yiddish literature through I. B. Singer. Yiddish became the everyday speech of Jews all over Europe and then globally with further Jewish emigration. It gave rise to a literature that reflected not only Jewish life but also the culture of the lands in which the Jews lived. A descriptive and flavorful tongue, it was used for forms as diverse as religious tales, fables, humor, social realism, surrealism, and the literary experiments of more modern times. No Star Too Beautiful is a bountiful anthology that brings together the masterpieces of this now vanishing tongue. Joachim Neugroschel has chosen stories emblematic of the people and their times, so that this volume chronicles not only a literary tradition but also the history of the people who created it. He has newly translated as well as compiled these stories, creating a seamless effect rarely approached in a work filled with so many voices. This astounding anthology is a lasting gift for generations.
Chicken Soup by Heart
by Esther Hershenhorn, with Rosanne Litzinger (Illustrator))
October 2002. Round and warm. It was a very nice Sunday in the middle of spring, in the middle of breakfast, when Rudie Dinkins heard his mama say that Rudie's after school and sick-day sitter, Mrs. Gittel, had the flu. But Mrs. Gittel is more than the sitter, isn’t she? She is Rudie’s older friend. Rudie goes down the hall to Mrs. Gittel’s apartment and hears 13 "a-choos" before he even knocks. When he's sick, Mrs. Gittel makes him chicken soup. So, with his mother's help, Rudie, a nice boychik, cooks a batch of chicken soup using Mrs. Gittel's secret ingredient: sweet memories of their friendship! The soup requires at least three sweet stories about the person who will be consuming the soup. And soon Mrs. Gittel, the Chicken Soup Queen, is feeling good as new! (if Arthur hadn’t moved so far away, maybe Arthur could have made the soup? No?) She is well enough to help Rudie who has a Tummy ache. Esther Hershenhorn's charming and poignant story accompanied by Rosanne Litzinger's warm, colorful illustrations will leave you craving your own tasty bowl of Chicken Soup by Heart in this heartwarming tale of friendship. Is mommy crying on that illustration because Rudie is so sweet you can bottle him as medicine, or is it because she is peeling an onion for the soup? Please be sure to read the recipe aloud at the end.
CHANGING THE RULES
ADVENTURES OF A WALL STREET MAVERICK
by MURIEL SIEBERT WITH AIMEE LEE BALL
November 2002. Free Press. Siebert's autobiography follows her career, beginning in 1954 with her arrival on Wall Street from Cleveland, and chronicles the various experiences that led to her becoming the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (in 1967 at the age of 35, a place with 1365 male members, 1 woman, and no woman’s lavatory) and the only woman to head a publicly traded national brokerage firm. As an Analyst in the 1950’s, she used nonpublic information (like everyone else) to write analyses. So this is nothing new to Wall Street, where a Saint is hard to find. When she became the superintendent of banking in 1977, her title was not C.E.O., but S.O.B. We learn about the enormous institutional roadblocks she faced as she struggled to earn recognition in a male-dominated world highly resistant to women. In an informal and engaging style, Siebert and her coauthor Aimee Lee Ball, present colorful stories of the clients and fellow employees Siebert encountered on the bumpy road to success. An image of her emerges from the pithy subtitles of the chapters, which include "You Make Money by Taking a Stand and Being Right," "Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way," and "Giving Back Is More Than an Obligation, It's a Privilege." Siebert is a true role model not only for young women but for all who seek success in the world of finance.” Click to read more.
JANE AUSTEN IN BOCA
A novel by Paula Cohen
November 5, 2002. St Martins Press
I’ll wash the viagra down with a decaf Sanka please. In the 1990’s, Drexel Professor Paula Marantz Cohen, 47, visited her mother in law in Boca Raton, Florida, Where she met upsclae, elderly, retired Loehmann’s shoppers dressed in pink, gold and turquoise. She came back with the idea for a book, Pride and Prejudice set not in the closed English countryside, but in the closed world of a Jewish retirement community. The Bennett daughters of Pride and Prejudice are recast as elderly Jewish widows in Boca. May Newman, a sweet, gentle woman in her 70s, is happily settled at the Boca Festa retirement community in Boca Raton, Florida. She enjoys the companionship of her best friends, Lila Katz, a pragmatic redhead in search of a well-off husband, and Flo Kliman, a sharp-tongued retired librarian. May Newman's pleasant daily routine is disrupted when her matchmaking New Jersey daughter-in-law visits and introduces May to recently widowed Norman Grafstein, a particularly eligible senior. Despite herself, May finds she enjoys Norman's company, but Flo takes an instant dislike to Norman's best friend, cranky English professor emeritus Stan Jacobs. You may be old and retired, but the rules of love never change. The Austen parallels are cleverly drawn and culminate in a class on Pride and Prejudice offered by Stan, who discovers that the Boca Festa women identify with the meddling Mrs. Bennett rather than heroine Elizabeth.
THE LAST JIHAD
by Joel Rosenberg
November 26, 2002. A mystery novel. Jon Bennett is a top Wall Street strategist turned senior White House advisor. But nothing has prepared him for the terror that he will face. Saddam Hussein dispatches his top hit men to assassinate the President of the United States. Iraqi terrorists spread carnage throughout London, Paris, and Riyadh . . . and the Butcher of Baghdad has a nuclear ace in his hand that he has not yet played. Only a solid Arab-Israeli coalition against Iraq can keep the U.S.--and other Western nations--from certain devastation. And only Bennett and his beautiful partner, Erin McCoy, can make that happen. Their secret project--a billion-dollar oil deal off the coast of Gaza--could be the basis for an historic peace treaty and enormous wealth for every Israeli and Palestinian. But just before a treaty can be signed, Isreali commandos foil an Iraqi Scud missile launch, recovering a nuclear warhead and evidence that the next attack will level Washington, New York and Tel Aviv. Now, the Israeli Prime Minister gives the American President an ultimatum: Melt down Baghdad within one hour . . . or Israel will do it herself. From Jerusalem, Bennett and McCoy must summon all their stealth and savvy to save themselves--and the world--from absolute destruction. Please Click to read more reviews.
A Jew in America:
My Life and a People's Struggle for Identity
by Arthur Hertzberg
November 2002. An engrossing memoir. Now in his eighties, the memoir of the Youngstown Ohio born rabbi and scholar. Undaunted by controversy, Hertzberg has been the moral conscience of American Jews, taking a stand on all the great issues of our time, from the creation of Israel through the Civil Rights movement to the Vietnam War and the highly fractious world of Jews today both here and abroad. Hertzberg is not willing to cede the great tradition either to religious fundamentalists or to the completely secularized. His life is a window onto the forces that have buffeted and strengthened Jews in our times, and his compelling story is an important portrait of the history and culture of the twentieth century, including his dealings with such luminaries as Golda Meir, Martin Luther King Jr., and Henry Kissinger, Please Click to read more reviews.
Who They Were, What They Are
by Norman Podhoretz
November 2002. The Free Press. A review of the Jewish prophets by conservative commentator, Podhoretz. In 2000, Podhoretz, writing in COMMENTARY, wrote that Isaiah did not abandon primitive, demanding, non liberal Jewish practice as some Reform Jews, liberals and social justice Christians want you to believe. And this was probably the seed for this book, in which Podhoretz wants to show how conservative and demanding the prophets actually were. He wants to reinforce the world-redeeming role of Jews. Focusing on six of these prophetic books — Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel Amos, Hosea, and Micah — Norman Podhoretz seeks to explain what the books were saying to their contemporaries and what they still have to say to us—both believers and nonbelievers alike. He explains who and what the prophets were, how it happened that they should have appeared when they did (around the 9th century B.C.), and what accounted for their disappearance after the relatively brief historical span of a few hundred years. He also offers a theory as to why these magnificent works have been so important and why they remain relevant today. He also rails against those modern translators of the prophets who seek to Christianize the Jewish message or whitewash a god who is tough and demanding, and he is also comfortable railing against feminism, homosexuality, liberals, and narcissist culture. Click to read more.
TheTerrorist Next Door
The Militia Movement and the Radical Right
by Daniel Levitas
November 1, 2002. September 11, 2001, focused America's attention on the terrorist threat from abroad, but as the World Trade Center towers collapsed, domestic right-wing hate groups were celebrating in the United States. "Hallelu-Yahweh! May the WAR be started! DEATH to His enemies, may the World Trade Center BURN TO THE GROUND!" announced August Kreis of the paramilitary group, the Posse Comitatus. "We can blame no others than ourselves for our problems due to the fact that we allow .Satan's children, called jews (sic) today, to have dominion over our lives." The Terrorist Next Door reveals the men behind far right groups like the Posse Comitatus - Latin for "power of the county" -- and the ideas that inspired their attempts to bring about a racist revolution in the United States. Timothy McVeigh was executed for killing 168 people when he bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, but The Terrorist Next Door goes well beyond the destruction in Oklahoma City and takes readers deeper and more broadly inside the Posse and other groups that comprise the paramilitary right. From the emergence of white supremacist groups following the Civil War, through the segregationist violence of the civil rights era, the right-wing tax protest movement of the 1970s, the farm crisis of the 1980s and the militia movement of the 1990s, the book details the roots of the radical right. It also tells the story of men like William Potter Gale, a retired Army officer and the founder of the Posse Comitatus whose hate-filled sermons and calls to armed insurrection have fueled generations of tax protesters, militiamen and other anti-government zealots since the 1960s. Written by Daniel Levitas, a national expert on the origins and activities of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, The Terrorist Next Door is painstakingly researched and includes rich detail from official documents (including the FBI), private archives and confidential sources never before disclosed. In detailing these and other developments, The Terrorist Next Door will prove to be the most definitive history of the roots of the American militia movement and the rural radical right ever written. Click to read more.
THE PITY OF IT ALL
By AMOS ELON
November 1, 2002. From the author of FOUNDERS and FOUNDERS AND SONS, a history of German Jews from the mid-eighteenth century to the eve of the Third Reich
As it's usually told, the story of the German Jews starts at the end, with their tragic demise in Hitler's Third Reich. Now, in this important work of historical restoration, Amos Elon takes the reader back to the beginning, chronicling a period of achievement and integration that at its peak produced a golden age second only to the Renaissance. Writing with a novelist's eye, Elon shows how a persecuted clan of cattle dealers and wandering peddlers was transformed into a stunningly successful community of writers, philosophers, scientists, tycoons, and activists. He peoples his account with dramatic figures: Moses Mendelssohn, who entered Berlin in 1743 through the gate reserved for Jews and cattle, and went on to become "the German Socrates"; Heinrich Heine, beloved lyric poet who famously referred to baptism as the admission ticket to European culture; Hannah Arendt, whose flight from Berlin signaled the end of the German-Jewish idyll. Elon traces how this minority-never more than one percent of the population-came to be perceived as a deadly threat to national integrity, and he movingly demonstrates that this devastating outcome was uncertain almost until the end. Click to read more.
OVER THE ROOFTOPS OF TIMES. JEWISH STORIES, ESSAYS, POEMS
By Myra Sklarew
November 2002. In this collection of essays, stories, and poems, award-winning poet and fiction writer Myra Sklarew traces a journey across the latter half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Her point of view is Jewish, though her subjects include science, exile, the future, the Holocaust, the remaining Jewish community of Morocco, Yiddish poetry, the visual arts, and teaching. Many of these pieces deal with personal subjects-the search for a grandfather's birthplace, the death of a mother, the profound effect of a teacher, the struggle of a woman to embrace Judaism. Whether writing about medicine, Messiah, or the first speech of an infant, Sklarew's work finds its roots in Judaism, a Judaism fashioned in large part by the author's own hands. Ultimately, the book is about access, about following one's own curiosity despite the obstacles that might appear along the way. And it is about a kind of belief: that nothing will be wasted, that all that we can learn will have a place in our lives eventually, though we may not know its purpose at the time. Click to read more.
AN EPITAPH FOR GERMAN JUDAISM
FROM HALLE TO JERUSALEM
by Emil Fackenheim (Univ of Toronto, Hebrew Univ)
November 2002. Univ of Wisconsin Press. A memoir of the profound and painful circumstances that shaped Emil Fackenheim as a philosopher and committed Jewish thinker. Born in Halle, Germany, he was arrested following Kristallnacht, spent 3 months at Sachsenhausen, and made it Canada where he was interned as a German exile. He later became a famous rabbi and educator. In 1967, he had an epiphany. A non-Zionist with a Christian wife, he made a trip back to Germany and to Israel, and changed his outlook and life. The is his affirming story of his path from Halle to Jerusalem. Click to read more.
THE MARTIN BUBER READER: ESSENTIAL WRITINGS
by Asher Biermann
November 2002. 32 essays and excerpts from all periods of Buber’s career, sectioned by topics. The intro is dense but puts Buber into perspective. In here are the 1903 article on the Jewish Renaissance and the 1956 treatise of “Hasidism and Modern Man.” Topics include Hasidism, Zionism, Bible, philosophy, community, religiosity, and dialogue. Click to read more.
THE MIND OF WALL STREET
A Legendary Financier on the Perils of Greed and the Mysteries of the Market
by Leon Levy, Eugene Linden
November 2002. Most of us are in the stock market, but few of us understand how it really works. This book explains the hidden dynamics of Wall Street, and its message is urgent and disturbing. As stock prices and investor confidence have collapsed in the wake of Enron, WorldCom, and the dot-com crash, people want to know how this happened and how to make sense of the uncertain times to come. Into the breach comes one of Wall Street's legendary investors, Leon Levy, to explain why the market so often confounds us, and why those who ought to understand it tend to get chewed up and spat out. Levy, who pioneered many of the innovations and investment instruments that we now take for granted, he led Oppenheimer, has prospered in every market for the past fifty years, particularly in today's bear market. In The Mind of Wall Street he recounts stories of his successes and failures to illustrate how investor psychology and willful self-deception so often play critical roles in the process. Like his peers George Soros and Warren Buffett, Levy takes a long and broad view of the rhythms of the markets and the economy. Click to read more.
Making a Successful Jewish Interfaith Marriage:
The Jewish Outreach Institute Guide to Opportunites, Challenges and Resources
by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, and Joan Peterson Littman
November 2002. Jewish Lights. Some say 50% of Jews marry a partner from outside the Jewish faith. This is a guide for any stage of the relationship. It makes no judgements, it dictates no answers. Topics include an Overview; Navigating the Relationship Before Marriage; Conversion; Relating to Parents, Siblings, and Grandparents; Making Decisions About Children; and more. Click to read more.
There Is No Messiah and You're It:
The Stunning Transformation of Judaism's Most Provocative Idea
by Rabbi Robert N. Levine
November 2002. Jewish Lights. Remember that Hebrew pop song? Moshiach isn’t coming.. he isn’t even going to telephone??
The rabbi of Temple Rodeph Sholom on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Rabbi Levine writes that the coming of the Messiah has been anticipated by people of many religions to make their lives and the world better. So people wait and brood and hope, RATHER THAN TAKING ACTION themselves. (take the rowboat when it comes to save you from the flood). This is a call to stop waiting, change, and start acting.
JERRY LEWIS IN AMERICAN FILM
Edited by Murray Pomerance, Ryerson University
November 2002. Why do the French love him? What don’t the Americans understand?? This is a study of Jerry Lews, a veteran of all forms of American comedy and cinema. From stand up to comedy team, to slapstick and serious films. Click to read more.
VERSES OF FORGIVENESS
By Myriam Antaki
Translated by M de Jager
November 2002. A novel that I best describe in the style of socialist stilted lyricism. By the famed Christian Syrian novelist (who says in Syria all the religions get along), we get a look at the inside thoughts of a Palestinian suicide bomber who discovers his shocking past. This was written in the terrorist state of Syria prior to September 11. In the story of jihad and martyrdom, Ahmed is a Palestinian terrorist awaiting his death. His mother, Marie, a Christian, seeks him out before he leaves, and tells him that his absent father was actually a Jew and Holocaust survivor. David, his father, was a member of the Irgun. David escaped deportation to Dachau from his French village, escaped to Spain, and came to Palestine. He never knew Marie was pregnant. Ahmed was abandoned by his mother as a baby, left at a mosque, and raised by a Moslem Sheik. The author tries to show how his father in the Irgun murdered Palestinian civilians, and Ahmed, his son, will also murder civilians, albeit Jewish ones. Like father, like son. She writes of the suffering of Jews in European death camps and Palestinians in refugee camps. Hmm.. a unique novl that seeks to humanize a murderous suicide bomber. Click to read more.
YOUR MOUTH IS LOVELY
by Nancy Richler
November 2002. Ecco. A poignant story of women in the shtetl. Miriam is a nineteen-year-old imprisoned in Siberia following the Russian Revolution of 1905. Reaching out to the young daughter whom she gave up at birth, Miriam weaves a haunting tale of life in a small Jewish village during the last days of imperial Russia and of a community caught between the rich yet rigid traditions of the past and the frightening, unfamiliar ways of a society desperately trying to reinvent itself. Rejected by her suicidal mother (she killed herself the day giving birth to Miriam) and abandoned by her father at birth, Miriam is marked as an outcast in her village from the beginning. Reunited with her father when he marries a loving and supportive Tsila, a haughty and complex woman whose beauty has been marred by the hand of divine anger, Miriam searches to unveil the secrets of her birth in a place of mystery and superstition, where everyone seems to know the truth that eludes her. NOTE; Writing in The Forward, Janet Burstein recommends that you compare this novel (2002) to Rebecca Goldstein’s MAZEL (1995), and Adele Wiseman’s CRACKPOT (1974).Click to read more.
SHINE THE LIGHT
SEXUAL ABUSE AND HEALING IN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
by Rachel Lev
November 2002. Northeastern University Press. Lev, an incest survivor, and a psychotherapist for over 25 years, has compiled and edited this collection of the works of 22 authors and artists. These are the stories and emotions of adult Jewish survivors of sexual abuse and incest. The Jewish community has been a healer and rich resource in some cases, or a force promoting denial in other cases. Shine the Light emphasizes healing, which Lev believes can come about through self-expression, creativity, and, above all, feeling connected, not isolated. The contributors identify themselves along the spectrum from "just Jewish" to "Hasidic" and represent a wide range of professions and backgrounds. In these accounts we meet, for example, Elizabeth, who overcame a disabling fear of people brought on by years of sexual abuse; Hadass G., who found drawing to be part of her healing process; Hillary, who, as a result of chronic stress-related illnesses, was forced to face her history of abuse; and Jerome, a survivor of maternal sexual abuse who struggles with issues of trust. Shine the Light builds a sense of community, and breaks the hushed, whispered, pointed finger, silence. It tells survivors that they are not alone and helps everyone from family to therapists to religious leaders in understanding their role in the healing process. Click to read more.
Behind Enemy Lines:
The True Story of a Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany
by Marthe Cohn, Wendy Holden
December 2002. Marthe Cohn was in her late teens when Hitler was rising to power. Living across the German border in Alsace-Lorraine, her family began taking in Jews who were fleeing the Nazis, as well as the Jewish children being sent away by terrified parents. Soon her own homeland was under Nazi rule, and she and her parents, brothers, and sisters were forced to live the restricted lives of all Jews. As the Nazi occupation of France escalated along with the war, Marthe’s sister was arrested and eventually sent to Auschwitz, and the rest of her family was forced to flee to the south of France. Always a fighter, Marthe joined the Underground. Recently, Marthe Cohn, 80, was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Medaille Militaire, a relatively rare medal awarded for outstanding military service and given, in the past, to the likes of Winston Churchill. With this award came official acknowledgment of the heroic exploits of a beautiful young Jewish woman who faced death every day as she sought to help defeat the Nazi empire. When the spotlight was turned on Marthe Cohn, not even her children or grandchildren knew that this modest woman had been involved with the Allies in fighting the evils of the greatest war of the twentieth century. Click to read more.
INSIDE OF TIME
MY JOURNEY FROM ALASKA TO ISRAEL
A Memoir of Eleanor Roosevelt, Harold L Ickes, Golda Meir, and Other Friends
by Ruth Gruber
December 2002. Inside of Time is a book for everyone eager to read about the personal and human side of our stirring times. The vivid recollections of a trailblazing eyewitness to history, combined with stories of Gruber’s intimate friendships with luminaries of the century, has created a book to cherish. In the Roosevelt administration and as a foreign correspondent with the New York Herald Tribune, Gruber worked with, wrote about, and was mentored by a cast that included Harold Ickes, FDR’s Secretary of the Interior, who in 1941 appointed Gruber as his personal representative to Alaska; Helen Rogers Reid, Herald Tribune publisher and Gruber’s boss, who scheduled her to speak at lecture forums where Gruber shared the podium with Churchill and DeGaulle; Golda Meir, with whom she swapped kitchen table confidences about their families; David Ben-Gurion, whose prophetic voice made him the most inspiring leader Gruber ever knew; and Eleanor Roosevelt, whom Gruber shepherded to Israel in the early 1950s. Spanning 1941–1955, Gruber also recalls the fierce anti-Semitism she overcame in Congress, the DP camps she saw in Germany after WWII, and traveling with the Israeli army during the War for Independence. Sixteen pages of photographs add to this enthralling autobiography by one of America's best journalists. Click to read more.
UPHEAVALS IN A MOSCOW SYNAGOGUE
By Sascha Goluboff, Washington and Lee University
December 2002. This teacher of cultural anthropology challenges earlier research on Russian Jews which claim that Russian and Jewish identities are mutually exclusive. She shows how post-Soviet Jews use Russian and Jewish ethnic labels and racial categories to describe themselves. They have unique forms of identity formation. The members of the transnational Moscow synagogue (in 1995 and 1996, run by a Western rabbi), whether they were Georgian, Russian, Mountain (Azerbaijan and Dagestan), or Bukharan, evaluated one another based on their post Soviet economic success. Click to read more.
THE POLITICS OF CANONICITY
LINES oF RESISTANCE IN MODERNIST HEBREW POETRY
by Michael Gluzman, TAU
December 2002. Stanford Univ Press. Explores the complex relations among the hegemonic triad of territory, nation, and national literature that has characterized the modern nation-state.
translated from the Hebrew
by HAIM Be’er. Translated by Barbara Harshav.
December 2002. Brandeis. In this memoir novel, Be’er traces the life of a religious Jewish boy in Jerusalem to becoming a writer. Important book to read to understand the history of religious Jews in Israel in novel form.
ETHICS OF MAIMONIDES
by HERMANN COHEN (1842-1918). Translated with commentary by Almut Sh. Bruckstein
January 2003. Univ of Wisconsin Press. The first English translation of Cohen’s 1908 work, which went on to influence Leo Strauss, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emmanuel Levinas. Click to read more.
Contemporary Jewish Writing in Switzerland: An Anthology (Jewish Writing in the Contemporary World)
by Rafael Francis David Amadeus Newman (Editor)
January 2003. Univ of Nebraska Press. 18 modern works by a selection of Switzerland’s Jewish authors. Click to read more.
THE HOUSE OF NOBLE DEEDS. MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL 1852-2002
by Arthur H. Aufses, Jr. and Barbara J. Niss
January 2003. 150 years of Mount Sinai history, from January 15, 1852, when nine men came together to establish Jews’ Hospital in New York to offer free medical care to indigent Hebrews in NYC. In 2002 it has 1200 beds, and a faculty of 3000. Click to read more.
IRVING HOWE. A LIFE OF PASSIONATE DISSENT
by Gerald Sorin, CUNY
January 2003. Bio of Irving Howe, who died at the age of 73 in 1993. Deeply passionate, committed to social reform and secular Jewishness, ardently devoted to poetry and fiction, he wrote with eloquence. Click to read more.
SECRET CITY. The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945
by Gunnar S. Paulsson, US Holocaust Memorial Museum
January 2003. Yale. A stuidy of the 28,000 Jews who hid from the Warsaw Ghetto. They lived in a “secret city.” A new perspective on escape versus rebellion. Click to read more.
THE HIDDEN JEWS OF WARSAW 1940 - 1945
Gunnar S. Paulsson, US Holocaust Memorial Museum
March 2003. Yale University Press. 98% of the Jews of Warsaw were killed in WWII. 25% of the Poles of Warsaw were killed. In all, 720,000 perished, more than then number of deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Though the Nazis forced most of Warsaw's Jews into the city's infamous ghetto during World War II, some 28,000 Jews either hid and never entered the Warsaw Ghetto or escaped from it. This book-the first detailed treatment of Jewish escape and hiding during the Holocaust-tells the dramatic story of the hidden Jews of Warsaw. Gunnar S. Paulsson shows that after the 1942 deportations nearly a quarter of the ghetto's remaining Jews managed to escape. Once in hiding, connected by elaborate networks of which Poles, Germans, and the Jews themselves were largely unaware, they formed what can aptly be called a secret city. Paulsson challenges many established assumptions. He shows that despite appalling difficulties and dangers, many of these Jews survived; that the much-reviled German, Polish, and Jewish policemen, as well as Jewish converts and their families, were key in helping Jews escape; that though many more Poles helped than harmed the Jews, most stayed neutral; and that escape and hiding happened spontaneously, without much help from either the Polish or the Jewish underground. He suggests that the Jewish leadership was wrong to dismiss the possibility of escape, staking everything on a hopeless uprising. Click to read more.
The Discovery of God:
Abraham and the Birth of Monotheism
by David Klinghoffer
March 2003. Doubleday. Klinghoffer, (former literary editor of Wm. F. Buckley’s National Review, and currently the editor of Toward Tradition magazine) the man who had three bris’es, writes about the man who circumcised himself, his household, Isaac, and Ishmael. A reverent biography of the patriarch of monotheism, Abraham, the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, from his birth in Mesopotamia to his preaching to his development of a relationship with a single God. Click to read more.
TREASURES STORIES FOR THE JEWISH HOLIDAYS
By Diane Wolkstein
March 2003. Schocken. 27 stories related to Jewish holidays, starting with Passover. Includes stories about the Song of Songs, Kohelet, Hannah, Ruth, Judith, Esther, and Lamentations. Click to read more.
The Rebbe's Army:
Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch
by Sue Fishkoff
April 2003. Doubleday. A behind the scenes look at a small, Broklyn based sect of Hasidism and the extraordinary lengths to which they will go to persuade their fellow Jews to live religiously observant lives (per their ideas). Who are these Lubavitcher Hasidim? Who are the emissaries? How successful have their mitzvah tanks been? How much influence does their dead leader have on their lives? Fishkoff, a woman, spent a year meeting emissaries in the USA, learning about their mission, their drives, their motives and methods. Click to read more.
THE TRUTH ABOUT JUDAISM
by Douglas Rushkoff
April 1, 2003. Crown. New Yorker and NPR commentator, Douglas Rushkoff, says most Jews are disaffected from their synagogue’s emphasis on continuity, Israel, and intermarriage. These people turn elsewhere or nowhere, and those who are attracted to Judaism think they can get all there answers from the rabbi and never have to think again. Is it true that the non-Orthodox Jews, the Jews who some term lapsed, are actually the most authentic Jews, while the Orthodox have corrupted the religion? IS NOTHING SACRED? heheheh. Click to read more.
Sadly, Wallace Markfield passed away in May 2002 at the age of 75. The author of Bye Bye Braverman, and Teitlebaum’s Window. This Jewish James Joyce, also wrote “Multiple Orgasms” and “To an Early Grave.”
Click here to check out TO AN EARLY GRAVE by Wallace Markfield
Congratulations to the 4th Annual Koret Jewish Book Award Winners (April 15, 2002). They are THE COMPLETE WORKS OF ISAAC BABEL, edited by Nathalie Babel (fiction); a special award to the late novelist, WG SEBALD; “NEW YORK JEWS AND THE DECLINE OF URBAN ETHNICITY – 1950-1970” by Eli Lederhendler (history); “HOW I CAME INTO MY INHERITANCE AND OTHER TRUE STORIES” by Dorothy Gallagher (autobiography); “WHEN A JEW DIES: THE ETHNOGRAPHY OF A BEREAVED SON” by Samuel C. Heilman (Philosophy and Thought); and “MOSES HESS AND MODERN JEWISH IDENTITY” by Ken Koltun-Fromm (philosophy and thought). See www.koretfoundation.org/initiatives/book_current.shtml for more information
Attention UJA solicitors… J. Safran Foer got $400K for his book, and Michael Chabon got about $2 Million from Fourth Estate/HarperCollins (which outbid Little Brown, Random House and Riverhead for his next two books). Watch your shelves for his next novel, Hatzeplatz.
Naomi Rosenblatt will write "After the Apple", a book of bible women. Talk Miramax books paid six figures for the rights. Agent was Gail Ross. Eric Konigsberger also landed big six figures from HarperCollins for his forthcoming book to be titled, "Blood Relations: The Secret History of my Uncle Harold." It is the story his uncle who was a hit man and black sheep of the family, although he did kill some Nazi's as a favor to the Irgun. Watch for it in 2003. Agent was Sloan Harris @ ICM
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