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Sep 11, 2005: 9/11 Interfaith Memorial Service, NY Jewish Healing Center, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue 7PM
Sep 13-25, 2005: 2005 NY Jewish Music and Heritage Fesrival, NYC. See
Sep 14, 2005: NOVEL JEWS - Richard Stern reads from ALMONDS TO ZHOOF and Daniel Stolar reads from THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. KGB Bar 7:00
Sep 14, 2005: BRUCE FEILER reads from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, B&N Lincoln Center NYC 7:00
Sep 15, 2005: BRUCE FEILER reads from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, The Temple, 1589 Peachtree St., NE, Atlanta, GA 7:30pm
Sep 17, 2005: BRUCE FEILER reads from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, B&N Savannah GA 2:00
Sep 19, 2005: Heeb Presents a Jewish Music Awards program. Musee Jewish Heritage, NYC
Sep 20, 2005: JENNIFER WEINER reads from GOODNIGHT NOBODY, B&N Lincoln Center NYC 7:00
Sep 20, 2005: BRUCE FEILER reads from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, Quail Ridge Books RALEIGH NC 7:30pm
Sep 21, 2005: PEARL ABRAHAM reads from THE SEVENTH BEGGAR, B&N GV NYC 7:30
Sep 21, 2005: ROBERT PINSKY reads from THE LIFE OF DAVID, B&N Union Sq NYC 7:00
Sep 22, 2005: LAURIE GUNST reads from OFF-WHITE, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 12 Noon
Sep 22, 2005: Finals for the National Great Shofar Blast Off
Sep 25, 2005: JewzaPalooza. NYC Riverside Park. See 11AM - 9PM
Sep 26, 2005: BRUCE FEILER reads from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, Borders in Framingham MA, 7pm
Sep 28, 2005: MYLA GOLDBERG reads from WICKETT's REMEDY, B&N Astor NYC 7:00
Sep 28, 2005: BRUCE FEILER reads from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, Politics and Prose, DC, 7pm
Sep 28, 2005: PHILIP ROTH. A retrospective at the Museum of Jewish Heritage NYC. With David Remnick, Judith Thurman, Ed RothStein, and ROSS MILLER. 7PM

Oct 02, 2005: BRUCE FEILER reads from WHERE GOD WAS BORN, Bryant Park, NYC, NYT Great Reads
Oct 10, 2005: DAVID RAKOFF reads from DON'T GET TOO COMFORTABLE, B&N Chelsea NYC 7:00
Oct 18, 2005: JENNIFER WEINER reads from GOODNIGHT NOBODY, B&N San Mateo Hillsdale 7:00
Oct 18, 2005: JOSHUA BRAFF reads from THE UNTHINKABLE THOUGHTS OF... , B&N Menlo Park NJ 7:00
Oct 19, 2005: JENNIFER WEINER reads from GOODNIGHT NOBODY, B&N Santa Monica 7:30
Oct 19, 2005: MICHAEL CHABON hosts Selected Shorts. Symphony Space, NYC 6:30
Oct 25, 2005. AARON HAMBURGER reads from his novel FAITH FOR BEGINNERS. B&N NYC Chelsea.
Oct 26, 2005. JACK KLUGMAN reads from TONY AND ME. B&N Scottsdale AZ.
Oct 27, 2005: A private View of Highlights from the New York Sale of Important Hebrew Manuscripts from the Salman Schocken Collection . Christie's, 8 King Street, St James London SW1. 6:30 PM
Oct 28, 2005: Opening at the Brooklyn Museum of TREE OF PARADISE. Jewish Mosaics from the Roman Period. To June 4, 2006
Oct 28-31, 2005: ReJewVenation Conference in Toronto. The Future of Jewish Culture. See

Nov 01, 2005. JIMMY CARTER, former U.S. President reads from his new book. B&N NYC Union Square.
Nov 01, 2005. Premier of Bee Season, the film, NYC at Makor.
Nov 02, 2005: Writer's Beit Midrash with Daniel Septimus, featuring Melvin Jules Bukiet, Johanna Kaplan, and Binnie Kirschenbaum. Nov 2-Dec 21, Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning, NYC
Nov 03, 2005. Premier of Go For Zucker, the film, NYC at Makor.
Nov 04, 2005. JAMES SIEGEL reads from DETOUR, a novel. B&N Carle Place LI NY.
Nov 06, 2005. Jews and Medicine. Symposium. YIVO, NYC
Nov 08, 2005. TAB HUNTER reads from his memoirs. B&N Danbury CT.
Nov 09, 2005: NOVEL JEWS - Henry Roth Tribute. KGB Bar 7:00
Nov 10, 2005. ELIE WIESEL at the 92nd St Y, NYC 8pm.
Nov 12-14, 2005: Jewish LA-Then and Now. UCLA
Nov 13-17, 2005. NY Arab American Comedy Festival, NYC.
Nov 14, 2005: SUAD AMIRY reads from SHARON AND MY MOTEHR IN LAW. Columbia University. 12:30 PM
Nov 15, 2005: CHRISTIE's Auction in NYC of Important Hebrew Manuscripts 10 AM
Nov 11-14, 2005: CHRISTIE's Viewing of Important Hebrew Manuscripts 10-5
Nov 16, 2005. Jason Alexander, Leonard Nimoy and Kyra Sedgwick discuss WHAT BEING JEWISH MEANS TO ME. 92nd St Y, NYC.
Nov 17, 2005. ROCHELLE KRICH reads from NOW YOU SE ME. B&N Encino.
Nov 17-19, 2005. The Comedy Festival, Las Vagas.
Nov 18, 2005. JACK KLUGMAN reads from TONY AND ME. B&N NYC Dallas.
Nov 19, 2005. Doing Likewise. Conference on mimicry at NYU. Free. Featuring Oliver Sacks, Ricky Jay, Anne Hollander, Jonathan Miller and others.
Nov 20, 2005: Omer Bartov on the Last Jews of Buczacz. UCLA Faculty Club (LA)
Nov 20, 2005: 92nd St Y, NYC, Seminar for Children's Books Authors
Nov 21, 2005: ROGER BENNETT etc read from BAR MITZVAH DISCO. B&N 82nd Bway NYC 7PM
Nov 22, 2005: Leon Wieseltier (KADDISH) speaks on Messianism at NYU Law School. 6:30
Nov 27-29, 2005. Sothebys Auction House NYC. Important Judaica and Books. Preview.
Nov 28-12/2, 2005. Conference on Humanism and the Rabbinic Tradition in Italy and Beyond. CJH, NYC.
Nov 30, 2005. MACK FRIEDMAN reads from SETTING THE LAWN ON FIRE. B&N NYC Chelsea.
Nov 30, 2005: Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks speaks in Virtue, KJ NYC 8PM
November 2005: National Adoption Day.

Dec 07, 2005: Freeing The Captive. The Jewish Response to Human Trafficking. HUC NYC 6:30
Dec 07, 2005: NAOMI ROSENBLATT reads from AFTER THE APPLE. B&N Rockville MD
Dec 09, 2005: Abigail Pogrebin reads from STARS OF DAVID. B&N Skokie IL
Dec 25-30: KLEZKAMP. Check LivingTraditions.ORG They best Winter camp, featuring top musicians and chef Anne Rosenzweig, and authors Henry Sapoznick and Michael Wex.
Jan 05, 2006: Abigail Pogrebin reads from STARS OF DAVID. B&N NYC 82nd Bway
Jan 15, 2006: Jewish Writers Conferences, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, wioth Ayelet Waldman and her man, Michael Chabon, Adam Langer, Josh Braff, Dara Horn and Jonathan Rosen
Jan 16, 2006: Elliot Perlman reads from REASONS I WON'T BE COMING. B&N NYC Linc Sq.
Jan 20, 2006: SchmoozeDance 2006 Film Festival. Park City UTAH. Temple Har Shalom
Jan 21, 2006: KidzDance 2006 Children's Film Festival, Park City, UT.



[book cover click here][book cover click here] WHERE GOD WAS BORN
William Morrow (September 2005)
Bruce Feiler is the Indiana Jones of Biblical locations or assumed locations. He travels through Iraw, Iran, Israel, and the Middle East. The reader gets to visit places incluiding Eden (Nassariya?), Babylon, Ur, and David's Jerusalem. While the NYT review criticized Feiler for not being politically correct (he dares to open the book with a helicopter trip over Jerusalem and the West Bank with Yoram "Yaya" Yair, one of Israel's most decorated generals), for being too pro-Israel and too pro-US policy in Iraq, I personally did not feel that way while reading the book.
[book cover click here]

FYI: Two years ago, I happened to see the Nineveh tablets at the British Museum right before Yom Kippur, and this year, coincidentally, I made it to page 154 on the eve of Yom Kippur. How fitting. Since in this portion of the book, Feiler gets to Nineveh and the story of Jonah, Yonah, Yunus, the exact story of exile, professional responsibility, whining more over a plant than 120,000 people, that God is willing to accept the repentance of a illiterate population in a city that historically destroyed Israel, and the repentance of an entire city that is read on the afternoon of Yom Kippur. I asked Feiler if, when he was in Nineveh, whether he saw a gourd or giant shade plant. No, he didn't.
Where God Was Born combines the adventure of a wartime chronicle, the excitement of an archaeological detective story, and the insight of personal spiritual exploration. Taking readers to biblical sites not seen by Westerners for decades, Feiler's journey uncovers little-known details about the common roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and affirms the importance of the Bible in today's world. In his intimate, accessible style, Feiler invites readers on a never-in-a-lifetime experience: In Israel, Feiler takes a perilous helicopter dive over Jerusalem, treks through secret underground tunnels, and locates the spot where David toppled Goliath; In Iraq, after being airlifted into Baghdad, Feiler visits the Garden of Eden and the birthplace of Abraham, and makes a life-threatening trip to the rivers of Babylon; in Iran, Feiler explores the home of the Bible's first messiah and uncovers the secret burial place of Queen Esther. In Where God Was Born, Feiler discovers that at the birth of Western religion, all faiths drew from one another and were open to coexistence. Feiler's bold realization is that the Bible argues for interfaith harmony. It cannot be ceded to one side in the debate over values. Feiler urges moderates to take back the Bible and use its powerful voice as a beacon of shared ideals. Bruce Feiler has written a brave, uplifting story that stirs the deepest chords of our time. Where God Was Born offers a rare, universal vision of God that can inspire different faiths to an allegiance of hope.
From Publishers Weekly: The third of Feiler's books on the Bible and the Middle East, this is another absorbing blend of travelogue, history, Bible commentary, memoir, current events and passionate preaching. In Walking the Bible (2001), Feiler surveyed the Torah. This sequel picks up with Joshua, first of the prophetic books, and follows Israel's story through the Hebrew scriptures: from the invasion of Canaan through the reigns of David and Solomon to the Babylonian captivity and the Diaspora. What differentiates Feiler from most other Bible commentators is that he actually visits the places he describes, despite Palestinian suicide bombers, Iraqi insurgents, Iranian fundamentalists and his very worried family back home. Readers will almost effortlessly learn a lot about antiquity-thanks again to his travel companion, archeologist Avner Goren-and also about recent history, today's headlines and Feiler's own spiritual journey. Enlarging on his vision of unity in Abraham (2002), he contends that the Bible's moral vision transcends land, power and nationality. "The only force strong enough to take on religious extremism," he concludes, "is religious moderation." For Feiler, now ready to affirm his Jewishness, this means "willingly asserting your faith in public, not with raging fire but with a single, quiet flame." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] BORN TO KVETCH
Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods
by Michael Wex
September 2005. St martins press
From Publishers Weekly: Fortunately, despite its title and cover photo, this is not a kitschy book about a folksy language spoken by quaint, elderly Jews. It is, rather, an earthy romp through the lingua franca of Jews, which has roots reaching back to the Hebrew Bible and which continues to thrive in 21st-century America. Canadian professor, translator and performer Wex has an academic's breadth of knowledge, and while he doesn't ignore your bubbe's tsimmes, he gives equal time to the semantic nuances of putz, schmuck, shlong and shvants. Wex organizes his material around broad, idiosyncratic categories, but like the authors of the Talmud (the source for a large number of Yiddish idioms), he strays irrepressibly beyond the confines of any given topic. His lively wit roams freely, and Rabbi Akiva and Sholem Aleichem collide happily with Chaucer, Elvis and Robert Petrie. Academics, and others, will be disappointed at the lack of source notes, and a few errors have crept in (the fifth day of Sukkot is not Hoshana Rabba, for instance). Overall, however, this treasure trove of linguistics, sociology, history and folklore offers a fascinating look at how, through the centuries, a unique and enduring language has reflected an equally unique and enduring culture. Click the book cover above to read more.
Excerpt from Chapter Six: You Should Grow Like An Onion: THE YIDDISH CURSE: "You should own a thousand houses... with a thousand rooms in each house... and a thousand beds in every room. And you should sleep each night in a different bed... in a different room... in a different house... and get up every morning... and go down a different staircase... and get into a different car... driven by a different chauffeur... who should drive you to a different doctor -- and he shouldn't know what's wrong with you, either." Think of it as a kvetch with a mission, a bellyache that knows where it's going; it's a classic example of the klole, the Yiddish curse. It might be formulaic--you have to wonder if it's subtlety or an oversight that every room in every house seems to be a bedroom--but it shows how much you care. This kind of elaborate curse--delivered in a Talmudic sing-song--isn't an imprecation, it's a pastime, a form of recreation that lets standard Yiddish thought and speech run wild

[book cover click here] THE FIRST DESIRE
Anchor (Summer 2005)
Now in paperback. 1929. Buffalo, New York. A beautiful July day, the kind one waits for through the long, cold winters. Sadie Feldstein, née Cohen, looks out her window at the unexpected sight of her brother, Irving. His news is even more unexpected, and unsettling: their elder sister, Goldie, has vanished without a trace. With Goldie's disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen family and an American city, from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II. The story of the Cohens is seamlessly told from the various perspectives of siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving-each of whose worlds is upended over the course of the novel, the smooth veneer of their lives giving way to the vulnerabilities and secrets they've managed to keep hidden-and through the eyes of Lillian, the beautiful woman their father, Abe, took as a lover as his wife was dying. But while Abe's affair with Lillian stuns his children, they are even more shocked by his cold anger in the wake of Goldie's disappearance. The First Desire is a book of great emotional power that brings to life the weave of love, grief, tradition, and desire that binds a family together, even through the tumultuous times that threaten to tear it apart. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] You Are SO Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah!
by Fiona Rosenbloom
Hyperion (September 7, 2005)
Stacy Friedman is getting ready for one of the most important events of her young life­ -- her bat mitzvah! All she wants is the perfect BCBG dress to wear, her friends by her side, and her biggest crush ever, Andy Goldfarb, to dance with her (and maybe even make out with her on the dance floor). But Stacy's plans soon start to fall apart. . . . Her stressed-out mother forces her to buy a hideous beaded sequined dress that she wouldn't be caught dead in. Her mitzvahs are not going at all well. And then the worst thing in the entire world happens -- Stacy catches her best friend, Lydia, making out with Andy! And thus she utters the words that will wreak complete havoc on her social life . . . You are so not invited to my bat mitzvah! Fiona Rosenbloom was born and bred in Rye, New York. When she is not writing, Fiona likes to design and sew her own clothes. If she had her own line, she would call it Fabloom. Unlike the protagonist in this novel, Fiona had little-to-no say about her bat mitzvah dress. Regardless, she still speaks to her mother. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] DEAR RABBI, DEAR DOCTOR
By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.
Fall 2005. Artscroll
Denial is more than a river in Egypt. It can be a root to many problems and issues. Rabbi Twerski is an esteemed rabbi and Pittsburgh-based psychiatrist who is called upon the world over for his opinions. I was so addicted (a good addiction) to this book, I had to buy two more copies, because I kept loaning out my other copies to friends. There are over 200 questions and answers in this book covering issues including marriage, medicine, anxiety, 9/11 trauma, child rearing, chronic discontent, causeless hatred (sinas chinam), jealousy, pettiness, shalom bayit, retirement woes, depression, bi-polarity, addiction, an immature spouse, a paranoid shulmate, emotional dependecies, issues with parents and in-laws (who goes for help, the person with the headache or the person who causes the headache?), issues of self esteem, issues of hashkafah (perspective/ideology), dyselxia, and shidduchim. You learn a lot; it is a tiny bit voyeuristic; and if you are like me, you will find yourself disagreeing with him in some cases, and finding him Solomonic in other cases.
Some of my favorite questions were: One "BT" asks why he is being discriminated against for a shidduch even though he is a great student (is it his perception, or something different?) An educated questioner is frustrated that no one listens to him/her (is it the ideas, or the way they are presented). May a shul move from a deteriorated neighborhood to a new suburb if it will leave older congregants without a house of worship? Can a rabbi recuse himself of giving advice to a nudnick if he has a vested emotional interest in the outcome? What if a teen crosses the street rather than walk quickly past an older slower walker so as not to embarrass them, but actually cuase them to feel ostracized? Why would Rabbi Twerski discourage the use of tranquilizers by a widow or widower to overcome shiva grief? What should one do if their husband is beloved in the community, but a tyrant at home? What if one's father abandoned the family and now wants to come to the daughter's wedding since she is marrying into a prestigious family? How can one overcome exam anxiety? Is marriage a hospital (will a shidduch solve emotional issues)? Must you honor a parent who calls you derogatory names? If a wife likes nail polish and her husband does not (due to religious reasons) , but the wife feels pretty with it on, but her husband doesn't, what should they do? If you act like a doormat, will people (or your daughter in law) wipe their feet on you all the time? It is a treasure trove of tsurris and intelligent answers
From the cover: If you could spend a day with Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski M.D., and ask about every problem that plagues you, your friends, or your family - wouldn't you take that opportunity? It wouldn't matter if your questions were about "small" things that fray your nerves daily or about larger, life-changing struggles. He would listen patiently, carefully consider your situation, and help you build a bridge over your predicament. Even better ¿ how to make your predicament disappear! That day has come! Flip through the table of contents of this amazingly insightful book and find that your question has already been asked - and answered! Ever since Rabbi Twerski began writing his weekly question-and-answer column "Seeking Solutions," he has been flooded with thousands of letters. This book contains new letters and answers that have not been printed before, as well as some of the classic questions and solutions from his column. This book contains nearly 200 letters, reflecting real problems faced by real people. You deserve the peace of mind Dear Rabbi, Dear Doctor can bring. Rabbi Twerski's advice is always down-to-earth, rooted in Torah and drawn from his long experience as a nationally known mental health professional. He believes that every individual and every family is entitled to a happy, healthy outlook. As he says in his introduction, "A Jewish home should be an oasis of stability, decency, and righteousness in a toxic world." This book is an important step in that direction. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Kibitzers and Fools
by Simms Taback
Viking (September 2005)
Ages 4-8. A saying: It pays to have a little chutzpah (nerve). With Old World charm, universal humor, and just a bit of chutzpah, Simms Taback offers this lively spin on thirteen playful tales-as only he could. Paired with his trademark vibrant and hilarious artwork, these stories illustrate ultimate universal truths and important life lessons, from the difference between a shlemiel and a shlimazel to the idea that just because you can talk doesn't mean you make sense.Taback delivers the perfect combination of wisdom and humor-just the way your zayda (grandpa) would. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness
A True Story
by Joel ben Izzy
September 2005. Algonquin
From Publishers Weekly: First-time author ben Izzy's vocation as a professional storyteller may fill his life with heady myth and poetry, but as he acknowledges early on in this slim but memorable recollection of personal tragedy, "the absence of magic" in his childhood is the very thing "that sent me looking for it." He found it in the unlikeliest and most cruelly ironic way. After undergoing surgery to remove thyroid cancer, ben Izzy lost his voice-the instrument of not only his art, but also his livelihood. Telling himself that a return to the routine of performance would spark a recovery, ben Izzy accepted an offer to perform at a bar mitzvah, but only "whispers and gasps" emerged.
[book cover click here hardcover]
Retreating into self-pity, anger, hopelessness and sullen solitude, the author searched, like the protagonists in the stories he used to tell, for a spiritual explanation of the loss. He reconnected with his estranged, cantankerous mentor, who offered support by telling dizzyingly enigmatic stories hinting at the idea that ben Izzy had been given a magical gift by losing his voice. When a doctor suggested he might be able to help ben Izzy speak again in a risky procedure, ben Izzy's wife told him she liked him better without it, an incident the author does not satisfyingly explain. But ben Izzy successfully translates the best elements of oral storytelling to the page; his memoir shines with brisk suspense as well as his unerring, precise eye for including only the elements of his hard-won wisdom that matter the most Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants
Based on a True Story
by Jill Soloway
September 2005. Free Press
I just want you to know that I bought this book since the original title was WHY DO JEWS GO TO THE BATHROOM WITH THE DOOR OPEN? She is quite hilarious.
From Publishers Weekly: There's one joke that Soloway, writer and co-executive producer of Six Feet Under, keeps coming back to, about a little girl who tells her mom a boy has paid her to climb a telephone pole. Her mom keeps telling her he just wants to see her panties... so the girl says she's "fooled" him, by taking them off. It's an apt metaphor for Soloway's view of women's situation today, which, she says, is ruled by the "Porno-ization of America," with younger women wanting breast implants and white boys thinking pimps are the height of cool. Soloway's rants are right-on and entertaining, too, probably because she includes herself among the occasionally deluded. She recounts her own 1970s upbringing as a liberated child who thought she might become president, only by seventh grade she'd "forgotten what Bella Abzug looked like" and gotten her "Ophelia card stamped." Fortunately, she recovered to become a delightfully sex-positive "Jewess" ("a word invented by others to conjure someone bossy... that I have reappropriated as prideful") who can joke about her cute "Jewish bush," her fun lesbian sister and her own unaccountable attraction to "Toolbelts" (hunky construction worker kind of guys). Soloway's book is an amusing work of feminist humor. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] What Do You Mean, You Can't Eat in My Home?
A Guide to How Newly Observant Jews and Their Less Observant Relatives Can Still Get Along
by Azriela Jaffe
Schocken (September 2005)
Here is a book of workable, sensible solutions to the everyday problems faced by newly observant Jews as they try to explain the parameters of their new lives to the people who love them-but think they've gone around the bend. For the formerly nonobservant Jew who has decided to live an observant life, the most daunting task can be dealing with less-observant loved ones. How can you explain to them what you now feel and believe? How can you continue to be part of the lives of your parents, your siblings and their families, and your in-laws, given how differently you now live your life? In this book, Azriela Jaffe-the observant daughter of less-observant parents-answers these and other pressing questions. Jaffe discusses how to eat kosher and observe the Sabbath and Jewish holidays in the home of a non-observant relative, and how to host nonobservant relatives in your own home; how to explain the laws of modesty and courtship practices; how to attend family life-cycle events-or explain why you sometimes can't; and how to help your relatives understand the decision to put secular education temporarily aside to attend yeshivah and further your knowledge of Jewish law, rituals, and customs. Insightful, helpful, and readable, What Do You Mean, You Can't Eat in My Home? will be an invaluable tool in the lives of an ever-increasing number of Jewish families. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] INHERITING THE HOLY LAND
Ballantine (September 2005)
Ms. Miller is the daughter of U.S. diplomat Aaron D. Miller. Her father is the President of Seeds of Peace (one of several recipients of revenue from this website). She was able to use contacts to meet both Barak and Arafat. But her interviews with her fellow Seeds of Peace alums are the best, since they are blunt and honest. They are the future leaders.
From Publishers Weekly: Though only 24, Miller, the daughter of a U.S. State Department negotiator and a mother active in the leadership program Seeds for Peace, is something of a veteran of Middle Eastern matters. Her own involvement with Seeds for Peace, which primarily helps Arab and Israeli students learn the delicate arts of negotiation and conflict resolution, begins in 1996, and it is the intensity of her first experiences with the group-which took place in the hopeful period between the Oslo accords and the rise of the second intifada-that inform her fundamentally optimistic point of view. But the past half-decade has been hard for such optimists, and Miller's ambitious, personal exploration of the conflict (especially its ruinous effect on the youth of the region) is often conflicted and raw, angry and impatient. Her best diplomatic instincts don't preserve her from disgust at much of what she hears and sees from everyone from Arafat to Powell, from a settlement mayor to the denizens of a Ramallah pizza joint; she is even prepared to condemn her own father's "watery evasions." Miller's passionate advocacy of fairness and clarity can seem at times naïve, but her commitment to the process of peace comes through at every point
Jay Freeman wrote: "...Miller is a 24-year-old alumnus of Seeds, a youth program that brings students from the Middle East to the U.S. in an effort to build trust between them and to stress the value of compromise and negotiation. Miller places her hopes for peace upon the young Israelis and Palestinians whom she lives with and interviewed. There are fascinating and surprising vignettes here that provide interesting perspectives. Omri, a Jew of Yemenite ancestry, is torn between his desire that Palestinians would "disappear" and his basic sense of decency. There is an interesting but frustrating look at Israeli and Palestinian history textbooks and their seemingly irreconcilable views of the past. Perhaps most touching is the story of Yara, a 15-year-old Israeli Arab girl who attends a Jewish high school and seems "assimilated" but cannot feel fully Israeli in a self-proclaimed Jewish state. Miller also interviewed key political figures, including Arafat, Barak, Abbas, and Dahlan...." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Mystery Bear: A Purim Story
by Leone Adelson, Naomi Howland (Illustrator)
Clarion (September 2005)
Ages 4-8. Grade 1-3-When Little Bear wakes up early from hibernation, he is hungry. He follows his nose to where a family is celebrating Purim with a lively parade outside their home. He is invited to join them, and they all marvel at his clever costume. Everyone has an idea of which villager might be disguised beneath the fur-except a boy named Itzik. He is wearing a bear suit, and repeatedly insists that their guest is a real animal, but no one believes him. Hours of food, drink, and dancing later, Little Bear nods off just before the Purim play is to start. Various people prod him to join in until finally he wakens with a loud roar and shows his big teeth. All of the partygoers flee, including Little Bear, who stumbles home for the rest of his long nap. With a muted palette and folksy touches, Howland's appealing gouache paintings perfectly capture the flavor of the Jewish festivities that signal the end of winter. A note explains the history of the festival of Purim. Children will appreciate the fun of a family gathering with an uninvited and unexpected guest and will enjoy learning more about the holiday. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Goodnight Nobody
A Novel
by Jennifer Weiner
Atria (September 2005)
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner's newest novel tells the story of a young mother's move to a postcard-perfect Connecticut town and the secrets she uncovers there. For Kate Klein, a semi-accidental mother of three, suburbia's been full of unpleasant surprises. Her once-loving husband is hardly ever home. The supermommies on the playground routinely snub her. Her days are spent carpooling and enduring endless games of Candy Land, and at night, most of her orgasms are of the do-it-yourself variety. When a fellow mother is murdered, Kate finds that the unsolved mystery is one of the most interesting things to happen in Upchurch since her neighbors broke ground for a guesthouse and cracked their septic tank. Even though Kate's husband and the police chief warn her that crime-fighting's a job best left to professionals, she can't let it go. So Kate launches an unofficial investigation -- from 8:45 to 11:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, when her kids are in nursery school -- with the help of her hilarious best friend, carpet heiress Janie Segal, and Evan McKenna, a former flame she thought she'd left behind in New York City. As the search for the killer progresses, Kate is drawn deeper into the murdered woman's double life. She discovers the secrets and lies behind Upchurch's placid picket-fence facade -- and the choices and compromises all modern women make as they navigate between independence and obligation, small towns and big cities, being a mother and having a life of one's own. Engrossing, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny, Goodnight Nobody is another unputdownable, timely tale; an insightful mystery with a great heart and a narrator you'll never forget. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE LIFE OF DAVID
by ROBERT PINSKY (former U.S. Poet Laureate
Schocken (September 2005)
PW writes: Emphasizing biographies of Jewish luminaries but also including books on Jewish themes, the new Jewish Encounters series aims to satisfy the interest in popular and intelligent books on Jewish subjects. The inaugural book in this commendable venture is a well-executed biography of David, written by Pinsky, former poet laureate of the United States. His poetic language is singularly appropriate for recounting the life of the king who is traditionally accepted as the author of the poetic psalms, some of which are included in the narrative. Pinsky's broad scope is reflected in his references to Greek literature, Shakespeare, Dante, Simone Weil, Talmudists and Robert Frost, among others. He acknowledges his indebtedness to Robert Alter, whose definitive book The David Story appeared in 1999, but fails to mention recent biographies by Steven McKenzie, Baruch Halpern and Gary Greenberg. His primary sources are the actual biblical texts that recount David's life. Pinsky dispels the conventional image of David as a simple shepherd who slew Goliath and became Israel's greatest king, depicting him realistically with all his failings as an adulterer, assassin and predator. Pinsky also portrays David's stellar achievements, presenting him as a complex character who deserves to be seen in shades of gray.
Writing in the SF Chronicle, Daniel Schifrin wrote, "..fascinating, lyrical... [david] is both Homer and Odysseus" "Pinsky saves his awe and ecstasy for the artistry of the Psalms and their putative creator... Pinksy's language and insights are gorgeous..." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Winkler
by Giles Coren
September 2005, J. Cape
BRIT LIT. A comic account of a man's search for meaning, identity and a suitable response to the burden of history; Coren's examination of the nature of Jewishness (and, incidentally, of Englishness), of the lies we tell to survive and the stresses of urban life, is irreverent, funny, provocative and brave. Click the book cover above to read more.

I thought this was party in the BLINTZ ! Oops... it is the Blitz

[book cover click here][book cover click here] PARTY IN THE BLITZ
The English Years (Hardcover)
by Elias Canetti
September 2005, New Directions Publishing Corporation
"It is time for me to turn to England again, for I sense how these memories gradually fade, and it would be a pity if nothing remained of forty years in that country" Exceedingly perceptive, at times amusing and always unpredictable, this autobiography of Nobel Prize winner Elias Canetti is a fascinating and enjoyable read. Canetti spent many years in London, beginning in 1939, and during which time he moved in elite circles, numbering the great writers, artists, thinkers and politicians of the time among his friends and acquaintances. In this beautifully written and often sensational collection of portraits of those who were meaningful in his life, Canetti is an honest observer of the personalities of those around him: of T.S. Eliot (whom he detested); of Iris Murdoch (with whom he had a torrid affair) and of the English themselves (whose stiff upper lip he both admired and disparaged). His style is at times staccato, at times elaborately philosophical, but always displays the author's sharp-tongued wit and intelligence. A challenging and rewarding read from the man John Bayley called "the godmonster of Hampstead", this is bound to cause a stir.
Elias Canetti arrived in England in 1939, fleeing Hitler, with his wife and (soon) two mistresses. He was known in his adoptive Vienna for a single novel Auto-da-Fé, a black comedy of justified paranoia and misogyny. In England he boasted one reader only, sinologist Arthur Waley. His first three autobiographies - which helped win him the 1981 Nobel prize for literature - chronicle Viennese literary life between the wars. Now, 11 years after his death in Zürich, here are his memoirs of the war years in England. Despite carelessnesses - Herzog von Northumberland stays in German; Margaret Gardiner and JD Bernal were unmarried; it was not Churchill who lost India - they are splendidly entertaining. Canetti's method is to string together small scenes, like beads, into a continuing story. Here are vignettes of London in 1940, of life among Amersham and Hampstead expatriates, of awful war-time parties. Downshire Hill was a street to delight in. His mistress Friedl's lodgings at number 35 had a private gallery of Ben Nicolsons and Hepworths; Mountbatten visited; Lee Miller and Roland Penrose, who had organised the International Surrealist Exhibition, lived diagonally opposite at number 21. And Canetti, unencumbered by any war work, was free to survey the battle of Britain from the Heath...
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] DON'T GET TOO COMFORTABLE
The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count,
The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems
DOUBLEDAY, September 2005
Whether contrasting the elegance of one of the last flights of the supersonic Concorde with the good times and chicken wings of Hooters Air, working as a pool boy at a South Beach hotel, or traveling to a private island off the coast of Belize to watch a soft-core Playboy TV shoot, where he is provided with his very own personal manservant, David Rakoff takes us on a bitingly funny grand tour of our culture of excess, delving into the manic getting and spending celebrated as moral virtues in David Brooks's Bobos in Paradise. He comes away from his explorations hilariously horrified. Somewhere along the line, our healthy self-regard has exploded into obliterating narcissism, and Rakoff is there to map that frontier, blasting off into the rarified universe of Paris fashion shows, where an evening dress can cost as much as four years of college. He sits through the grotesqueries of filthy vaudeville in Times Square immediately following 9/11. Twenty days without food allows him to experience firsthand the wonders of "detoxification," and the frozen world of cryonics, whose promise of eternal life is the ultimate status symbol, leaves him very cold indeed (much to our good fortune). At once a Wildean satire of our ridiculous culture of overconsumption and a plea for a little human decency, DON'T GET TOO COMFORTABLE shows that far from being bobos in paradise, we're in a special circle of gilded-age hell. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] BEATING AROUND THE BUSH
SEVEN STORIES, September 2005
Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald returns undaunted to examine the ridiculous people and preposterous events that we call our daily reality. Collected from his recent columns, with a foreword by Garry Trudeau, Buchwald's satirical voice darts at politicians, power, corporations and the media without pause. A self-described troublemaker Buchwald continues to represent the great American traits of skepticism, humor, and a refusal to compromise in the face of absurdity. A better title would have been BETWEEN IRAQ And A HARD PLACE. What a great read it is. He takes on Wal-Mart and Larry Summers at Harvard. He dissects "compassionate conservatism." He takes on all the American patriotic products, all made in Asian sweat shops, and compains about all the shows that cater only to 18-39 year olds. Each essay is under 3 pages, which makes for an easy but entertaining read.Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Vanishing Man
by Aaron Bushkowsky
Cormorant Books, Summer 2005
The Vanishing Man is a collection of linked short stories about a man trying to come to terms with his past, a religious upbringing, in an ever-changing personal world that constantly throws him into self-doubt. He marries, finds happiness, only to go through a terrible divorce. He recovers, finds true love, marries, and goes through another terrible divorce and family death. He goes into therapy and tries to make sense of his failures and unhappiness by attempting to reclaim his past life. But this only partly succeeds. It's not until the man discovers his true self that he is finally able to find hope, and his love of life again. This is a book about faith, families, and the meaning of love, told from a distinctly masculine point of view. The men in these stories are often defined by what they don't say, what they do instead, and how they react to each other between the lies and between the lines. They are often right about everything except themselves and it's within this hazy, poetic world of self-doubt that the narrator of the stories lives and breathes. Aaron lives in Vancouver, where he teaches playwriting and filmwriting at Langara College, Studio 58, Playwrights Theatre Centre, and at the Vancouver Film Centre. The Vanishing Man is Aaron's first book of prose Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Doll with the Yellow Star
by Yona Zeldis McDonough, Kimberly Bulcken Root (Illustrator)
Schwartz Henry Holt, September 2005
Ages 9 - 12
Nine-year-old Claudine doesn't want to leave her much-loved home in France to go live in America, not without her parents. But she knows about the shortages, about the yellow stars Jews must wear, and about Adolf Hitler. And she knows that there are some things she needs to do even when she doesn't want to. It's wartime, and there is much that is different now. There are more things that Claudine will lose to this terrible war. But not everything that is lost must be lost forever. Here is a moving story about lost and found lives, and the healing power of love. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] BEER SCHOOL
Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery
by Steve Hindy, Tom Potter
Entertaining and informative, Beer School is the true story of two neighbors-a banker and a journalist-who decided to quit their jobs and open the Brooklyn Brewery. Starting with no knowledge of commercial brewing, cofounders Steve Hindy and Tom Potter quickly learned that their four combined Ivy League degrees would only take them so far in this competitive business. Nevertheless, they were determined to tackle one of the hardest challenges imaginable: building a sales-driven manufacturing company from scratch in the heart of New York City. Through the firsthand experiences of Hindy and Potter, Beer School takes readers on a long brewing journey (more than 15 years in the making), from the kitchen of a Brooklyn brownstone (where the beer was initially brewed) to the shelves of stores around the world. More than just an interesting read about barley and hops, Beer School looks at the business side of this lucrative industry. It contains practical lessons on starting a business under difficult circumstances and important insights on managing expectations and growth. Beer School is an exciting read-for both seasoned business owners and those dreaming to strike out on their own-that proves hard work and determination still pays off. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] I've Seen A Lot Of Famous People Naked,
And They've Got Nothing On You
Business Secrets From The Ultimate Street-smart Entrepreneur
(Paperback) by Jake Steinfeld. Intro by Steven Spielberg
I always look forward to the Fall offering of AMACOM. This year has a book that combines a Jewish persona with a business guide. I missed out on meeting Jake in NYC in June 2005, but I did pick up an advance copy. T fitness trainer and Body by Jake founder really has seen a lot of famous in gym clothes including Steven Spielberg (Jewish) and Harrison Ford (half Jewish). Steinfeld worked his way up from bodybuilder to businessman, and so can you. In the second half of the book, Steinfeld talks about branding and marketing. Steinfeld's goofy sense of humor also adds a down-to-earth honesty to the book and makes it a worthwhile read for those who need to get pumped up about starting a business. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] AMERICA'S CONSTITUTION
By Akhil Reed Amar
RANDOM, September 2005
You can read the U.S. Constitution, including its 27 amendments, in about a half-hour, but it takes decades of study to understand how this blueprint for our nation's government came into existence. Amar, a 20-year veteran of the Yale Law School faculty, has that understanding, steeped in the political history of the 1780s, when dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation led to a constitutional convention in Philadelphia, which produced a document of wonderful compression and balance creating an indissoluble union.Amar examines in turn each article of the Constitution, explaining how the framers drew on English models, existing state constitutions and other sources in structuring the three branches of the federal government and defining the relationship of the that government to the states.Amar takes on each of the amendments, from the original Bill of Rights to changes in the rules for presidential succession. The book squarely confronts America's involvement with slavery, which the original Constitution facilitated in ways the author carefully explains.Scholarly, reflective and brimming with ideas, this book is miles removed from an arid, academic exercise in textual analysis. Amar evokes the passions and tumult that marked the Constitution's birth and its subsequent revisions. Only rarely do you find a book that embodies scholarship at its most solid and invigorating; this is such a book. (PW) Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Man from Beyond
A Novel (Hardcover)
by Gabriel Brownstein
Norton (September 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: Inspired by the complex relationship between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the celebrated author and champion of spiritualism, and Harry Houdini, the famed magician and escape artist, Brownstein's uneven first novel reimagines the consequences of the séance, held in 1922 after a chance meeting on the New Jersey shore, in which the spirit-writing Lady Doyle delivered a message from Houdini's late mother to her skeptical son. While the author does a good job of getting inside the heads of his two historical protagonists with their opposing philosophies, much of the story focuses on the admirable but less interesting 22-year-old Molly Goodman, an intrepid reporter who follows the two great men's activities. In a vivid scene, after Houdini barely escapes from a locked box under the Hudson far down river from where he was supposed to emerge, he realizes that, like Sherlock Holmes after surviving his struggle with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, everyone believes he's dead. After this delicious twist, however, the story rushes to a hasty climax involving an insufficiently developed villain. Brownstein's story collection, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W (2002), won the PEN/Hemingway Award. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Heir to the Glimmering World
A novel
by Cynthia Ozick
Mariner, September 2005
Cynthia Ozick has been known for decades as one of America's most gifted and extraordinary storytellers; her remarkable new novel has established her as one of the most entertaining as well. Set in the New York of the 1930s, Heir to the Glimmering World is a spellbinding, richly plotted novel brimming with intriguing characters. Orphaned at eighteen, with few possessions, Rose Meadows finds steady employment with the Mitwisser clan. Recently arrived from Berlin, the Mitwissers rely on the auspices of a generous benefactor, James A'Bair, the discontented heir to a fortune his father, a famous childen's author, made from a series of books called The Bear Boy. Against the vivid backdrop of a world in tumult, Rose learns the refugee family's secrets as she watches their fortunes rise and fall in Ozick's wholly engrossing novel. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Torah And Company
by Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams
Ben Yehuda Press (September 30, 2005)
Enlighten your Sabbath table "Torah and Company," a new Torah portion discussion guide by Rabbi Judith Abrams. In "Torah & Company", Rabbi Abrams, who teaches Talmud online at, supplements a key passage on the weekly Torah portion with related passages of Mishnah and Gemara -- and then provides background information and discussion questions for each text. Taken together, "Torah and Company" provides the ingredients for thoughtful, open-ended, illuminating discussion of Jewish themes and beliefs, as reflected in the Torah, the Talmud, and our own lives today. With clear, accessible translations and explanations and introspective questions, "Torah and Company" is perfect for anyone who wants to bring Torah study and religious discussion to their dinner table, class room or synagogue. The breadth of Rabbi Abrams' selections ensure that everyone -- including those who have studied extensively in seminaries and yeshivas -- will find new, enlightening texts and interpretations. Serve up a rich feast of spiritual discussion from an age-old recipe:One part Torah. Two parts classic Jewish texts. Add conversation. Stir... and enjoy! "Offers readers easy access and guided questions which lead to thought-provoking discussion. A valuable guide for the Shabbat table of every Jew."- Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] A Holocaust Controversy:
The Treblinka Affair in Postwar France
(Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry Series)
by Samuel Moyn
Brandeis University Press (September 2005)
A provocative study of a French Holocaust controversy of the 1960s and the dynamics of postwar memory. How has the world come to focus on the Holocaust and why has it invariably done so in the heat of controversy, scandal, and polemics about the past? These questions are at the heart of this unique investigation of the Treblinka affair that occurred in France in 1966 when Jean-Francois Steiner, a young Jewish journalist, published Treblinka: The Revolt of an Extermination Camp. A cross between a history and a novel, Steiner's book narrated the 1943 revolt at one of the major Nazi death camps. Abetted by a scandalous interview he gave, as well as Simone de Beauvoir's glowing preface, the book shot to the top of the Parisian bestseller list and prompted a wide-ranging controversy in which both the well-known and the obscure were embroiled. Few had heard of Treblinka, or other death camps, before the affair. The validity of the difference between those killing centers and the larger network of concentration camps making up the universe of Nazi crime had to be fought out in public. The affair also bore on the frequently raised question of the Jews' response to their dire straits. Moyn delves into events surrounding the publication of Steiner's book and the subsequent furor. In the process, he sheds light on a few forgotten but thought-provoking months in French cultural history. Reconstructing the affair in detail, Moyn studies it as a paradigm-shifting controversy that helped change perceptions of the Holocaust in the French public and among French Jews in particular. Then Moyn follows the controversy beyond French borders to the other countries-especially Israel and the United State-where it resonated powerfully. Based on a complete reconstruction of the debate in the press (including Yiddish dailies) and on archives on three continents, Moyn's study concludes with the response of the survivors of Treblinka to the controversy and reflects on its place in the longer history of Holocaust memory. Finally, Moyn revisits, in the context of a detailed case study, some of the theoretical controversies the genocide has provoked, including whether it is appropriate to draw universalistic lessons from the victimhood of particular groups. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Indivisible by Two
Lives of Extraordinary Twins, (Hardcover)
by Nancy L. Segal
Harvard University Press, September 2005
An anecdotal study of fraternal and identical twins, including a set in which one grew up in Hitler Youth, and the other grew up Jewish in Trinidad. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Light And Fire of the Baal Shem Tov
by Yitzhak Buxbaum
Continuum International Publishing Group (September 1, 2005)
This is a life, in stories, of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1700-1760), the founder of Hasidism. The Baal Shem Tov, or the Besht, as he is commonly called, led a revival in Judaism that put love and joy at the center of religious life and championed the piety of the common folk against the rabbinic establishment. He has been recognized as one of the greatest teachers in Jewish history, and much of what is alive and vibrant in Judaism today, in all denominations, derives from his inspiration. Abraham Joshua Heschel, who was descended from several illustrious Hasidic dynasties, wrote: "The Baal Shem Tov brought heaven to earth. He and his disciples, the Hasidim, banished melancholy from the soul and uncovered the ineffable delight of being a Jew."
"Yitzhak Buxbaum's book is the scripture that should have been written about the Baal Shem Tov two-hundred-and-fifty years ago, but wasn't....No one who wants to draw from the wellsprings of Hasidism should be without this book. If you don't have enough money to buy it, pawn your shoes and run to the bookstore barefoot." -Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
"Buxbaum has put his finger on the pulse of the values that lie at the heart of the Baal Shem Tov's message and conveys them in words that speak to the heart of our generation."-Arthur Green
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE OTHER SIDE OF ISRAEL:
Harvard University Press, September 2005
From the Washington Post Book World review: ".... Nathan, a British-born Jew, came to Israel in 1999. Three years later, she moved from Tel Aviv to the Arab town of Tamra, choosing to live within and identify with Israel's Arab minority -- so much so that she uses "we" when describing the daily life of the Tamra clan with which she took up residence. An incident from her childhood, retold without irony, foreshadows what's wrong with Nathan's writing here. When she was 2, her family spent six months in South Africa, where a black servant taught her how to carry her doll strapped to her back, the way local black women carried their babies. Back in England, "I would see other little girls in the street holding their dolls in their arms and tell them off, showing them how to do it properly." Alas, she is still telling off anyone who dares hold her doll in a politically incorrect fashion.... Nathan describes her Jewish identity, prior to coming to Israel, as built on the Holocaust and British anti-Semitism. In her "romantic notions of Zionism," taken from Leon Uris's tub-thumping novel Exodus , "the Jews had reclaimed an empty, barren land." In short, her version of the Israeli narrative was a crude caricature of the country's history. Only after immigrating did she discover that the country has Arab citizens, discrimination and ultra-nationalist settlers. Her fantasy -- that Jews could simultaneously exercise power and enjoy the righteousness of victimhood -- shattered.
So Nathan concludes that the Palestinians are the true righteous victims and embraces an equally crude version of their narrative. Palestinian nationalism is legitimate, Zionism a "damaging ideology" of colonialism. Israeli doves who seek a two-state solution are insufficiently radical. Nathan condemns Jews interested in coexistence as hypocrites and blasts like-minded Arabs as cowed. Facts mix with canards (her repeated equating of the Israeli occupation to apartheid in South Africa, rather than seeing it as part of a fight between two legitimate nationalisms over one shared land, is particularly simple-minded) as she persistently reads people's motives as good or evil based on their nationality. Unintentionally, Nathan demonstrates the potential power of the collective stories, Israeli and Palestinian alike, to shape and deepen the conflict -- at least when told without humor, nuance or doubt...."
From Publishers Weekly: "When she was 16, Nathan, a British Jew living in South Africa, had sex with her aunt's black servant. "Sex between a black man and a white woman in apartheid South Africa," Nathan writes, "was not just a physical act, it was an act of powerful political dissent." Decades later, Nathan would again make a striking political statement with a simple physical gesture: she moved from her home in Tel Aviv and settled in a small Arab town in northern Israel, quietly but clearly renouncing the Zionist philosophy that had facilitated her citizenship in Israel through the Right of Return. Nathan matter-of-factly describes the impossibility of getting furniture delivered or an airline reservation made with an address that doesn't appear in any of the state's databases, although 25,000 Muslims live there. These quotidian details nicely illustrate her critique of Israel as a state that "enforces a system of land apartheid between... two populations," just as South Africa had. It is a shocking comparison, but Nathan goes further, drawing a parallel between the Holocaust and Israel's practices toward its own Arab citizens. Yet, even when throwing down a gauntlet, Nathan's writing is poised, emotionally candid and ultimately empathic to the plight of both groups. The Arabs' displacement mirrors the Jews' wandering, Nathan observes, and before the two groups can coexist peacefully, each must recognize itself in the other." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] INTELLIGENT JOKES
The Manic D Press
Click through to read a sample of these Israeli jokes.
The joke is a literary genre - a folksy interpretation of a short story. Written in a colloquial style, Intelligent Jokes appeals to clever readers looking for more than a rudimentary punch line and features more than 500 jokes. Fans of "shaggy dog stories" as well as those who appreciate clever insights into parent/child and husband/wife relationships, send-ups of human folly, and the preoccupation with sex will find these amusing jokes enormously entertaining. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] [book cover click here] This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me
An Autobiography
Thomas Dunne, September 2005
Norman JEWISON is not JEWISH
But he made several Jewish films.
From Publishers Weekly: Jewison's movies have received 12 Academy Awards and 46 nominations, a remarkable record for a filmography that numbers only 25 films. His autobiography's unassuming style offers a clear, accessible portrait of the man and overflows with revealing anecdotes about such luminaries as Steve McQueen, Doris Day, Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington. After finding success in live television working with Judy Garland, Jackie Gleason and Danny Kaye, Jewison began his motion picture career with 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962); survived a bomb, The Art of Love (1965); and eventually turned out a series of classics: The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Fiddler on the Roof (1971) and Moonstruck (1987). He defines Doris Day (The Thrill of It All, 1963) as a consummate comedian who lacked confidence in her appearance; and Sylvester Stallone (F.I.S.T., 1978) as someone who "behaved like he believed his own publicity." Jewison also describes his approach to filmmaking, explaining his actions at the all-important pitch meeting, and demonstrates how focused a director must be. Honest without becoming a tell-all or an airing of personal problems, the book is a successful study of what it takes to triumph in Hollywood and achieve artistic satisfaction. Click the book cover above to read more.

THE PUBLISHER IS REPRINTING 100,000 COPIES OF THIS NEW CLASSIC BOOK, since the film is being released on September 16, 2005. ELIJAH WOOD APPEARS ON THE COVER

[book cover click here] [book cover click here]

[book cover click here] [book cover click here] Everything Is Illuminated Tie-In
by Jonathan Safran Foer
2005, Perrenial tie in to the film
With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man - also named Jonathan Safran Foer - sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war, an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior, and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past. As their adventure unfolds, Jonathan imagines the history of his grandfather's village, conjuring a magical fable of startling symmetries that unite generations across time. Lit by passion, fear, guilt, memory, and hope, the characters in Everything Is Illuminated mine the black holes of history. As the search moves back in time, the fantastical history moves forward, until reality collides with fiction in a heart-stopping scene of extraordinary power.

[book cover click here] Setting the Lawn on Fire
A novel
by Mack Friedman
University of Wisconsin Press, September 30, 2005
Setting the Lawn on Fire, the first novel by critically acclaimed writer Mack Friedman, trails its narrator through his obsessions with sex, drugs, art, and poison. Ivan, a young Jewish boy from Milwaukee, embarks on a journey of sexual discovery that leads him from Wisconsin to Alaska, Philadelphia, and Mexico through stints as a fishery worker, artist, and finally a hustler who learns to provide the blank canvas for other people's dreams. The result is a new kind of coming-of-age story that sees passion from every angle because its protagonist is every kind of lover: the seducer and the seduced, the pornographer and the model, the hunter and the prey, the trick and the john. In the end, Setting the Lawn on Fire is also something rare-a fully realized, contemporary romance that illuminates the power of desire and the rituals of the body, the brain, and the heart that attempt to contain our passions. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] DYBBUK: A VERSION
September 30, 2005. Holiday House
Ages 9 - 12
Sender, the richest man in town, only wants the best for his daughter, Leah. Her husband-to-be must be extremely wealthy. But when Leah and Konin, an orphaned scholar, fall in love, Sender recalls a pact he made long ago with his best friend: If one man had a daughter and the other a son, the two would be married. Though Konin is the son of his beloved friend, Sender cannot bear to permit the poor scholar to wed Leah. Konin dies of a broken heart once he hears Leah has been promised to another. Konin has his revenge, though, on Leah's wedding day when his spirit inhabits her body and refuses to leave. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Setting the Lawn on Fire
A novel
by Mack Friedman
University of Wisconsin Press, September 30, 2005
Setting the Lawn on Fire, the first novel by critically acclaimed writer Mack Friedman, trails its narrator through his obsessions with sex, drugs, art, and poison. Ivan, a young Jewish boy from Milwaukee, embarks on a journey of sexual discovery that leads him from Wisconsin to Alaska, Philadelphia, and Mexico through stints as a fishery worker, artist, and finally a hustler who learns to provide the blank canvas for other people's dreams. The result is a new kind of coming-of-age story that sees passion from every angle because its protagonist is every kind of lover: the seducer and the seduced, the pornographer and the model, the hunter and the prey, the trick and the john. In the end, Setting the Lawn on Fire is also something rare-a fully realized, contemporary romance that illuminates the power of desire and the rituals of the body, the brain, and the heart that attempt to contain our passions. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] DYBBUK: A VERSION
September 30, 2005. Holiday House
Ages 9 - 12
Sender, the richest man in town, only wants the best for his daughter, Leah. Her husband-to-be must be extremely wealthy. But when Leah and Konin, an orphaned scholar, fall in love, Sender recalls a pact he made long ago with his best friend: If one man had a daughter and the other a son, the two would be married. Though Konin is the son of his beloved friend, Sender cannot bear to permit the poor scholar to wed Leah. Konin dies of a broken heart once he hears Leah has been promised to another. Konin has his revenge, though, on Leah's wedding day when his spirit inhabits her body and refuses to leave. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] [book cover click here] [book cover click here] The Journey That Saved Curious George
The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey
by: Louise W Borden; Illustrated by Allan Drummond
September 2005. Houghton Mifflin
Ages 9 - 12 or more
In 1906, Hans Augusto Reyersbach was a boy growing up in Hamburg, Germany, a port city with canals and a thousand bridges . . . and the River Elbe that ran to the North Sea ...
In 1940, Hans and Margret Rey fled their Paris home as the German army advanced. They began their harrowing journey on bicycles, pedaling to Southern France with children's book manuscripts among their few possessions. Louise Borden combed primary resources, including Hans Rey's pocket diaries, to tell this dramatic true story. Archival materials introduce readers to the world of Hans and Margret Rey while Allan Drummond dramatically and colorfully illustrates their wartime trek to a new home. Follow the Rey's amazing story in this unique large format book that resembles a travel journal and includes full-color illustrations, original photos, actual ticket stubs and more. A perfect book for Curious George fans of all ages. Click the book cover above to read more.
From the NYTimes... "Curious George is every 2-year-old sticking his finger into the light socket, pouring milk onto the floor to watch it pool, creating chaos everywhere. One reason the mischievous monkey is such a popular children's book character is that he makes 4- to 6-year-olds feel superior: fond memories, but we've given all that up now. In the years since the first book was published in the United States in 1941, "George" has become an industry. The books have sold more than 27 million copies. There have been several "Curious George" films, including an animated one featuring the voice of Will Ferrell that is scheduled for release this February, and theater productions, not to mention the ubiquitous toy figure... . But in truth, "Curious George" almost didn't make it onto the page. A new book, "The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey" (Houghton Mifflin), tells of how George's creators, both German-born Jews, fled from Paris by bicycle in June 1940, carrying the manuscript of what would become "Curious George" as Nazis prepared to invade. ... For her research, Ms. Borden combed the Rey archives of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, interviewed people who knew them and traced their journey through letters and postmarks. Hans Reyersbach was born in Hamburg in 1898 into an educated family, and lived near the Hagenbeck Zoo, where he learned to imitate animal sounds, as well as to draw and paint. During World War I, Mr. Reyersbach served in the German Army; afterward, he painted circus posters for a living. After studying at two German universities, he went to Rio de Janeiro in the mid-1920's, looking for a job. He wound up selling bathtubs on the Amazon. Margarete Waldstein, who was born in 1906, also in Hamburg, had a more fiery personality. After Hitler began his rise, she left Hamburg to become a photographer in London. In 1935, she too went to Rio. Mr. Reyersbach had first seen her as a little girl sliding down the banister of her family's Hamburg home, and now they met again. They eventually married, and founded an advertising agency. Margarete changed her name to "Margret" and Hans changed his surname to "Rey," reasoning that Reyersbach was difficult for Brazilians to pronounce. Crucially, the two became Brazilian citizens.... The Reys ended up in the Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre, where they began writing and illustrating children's books. In 1939, they published "Raffy and the 9 Monkeys." Mr. Rey drew the illustrations, and his wife helped to write the stories. Hans initially had sole credit for the books, but eventually Margret's name was added. "We worked very closely together and it was hard to pull the thing apart," she later said. ... The Reys found shelter in a farmhouse, then a stable, working their way by rail to Bayonne, and then to Biarritz by bicycle again. They were Jews, but because they were Brazilian citizens, it was easier to get visas. One official, perhaps thinking that because of their German accents they were spies, searched Mr. Rey's satchel. Finding "Fifi," and, seeing it was only a children's story, he released them. They journeyed to Spain, then to Portugal, eventually finding their way back to Rio. "Have had a very narrow escape," Mr. Rey wrote in a telegram to his bank. "Baggage all lost have not sufficient money in hand." The couple sailed to New York in October 1940, and "Curious George," as Fifi was renamed - the publisher thought "Fifi" was an odd name for a male monkey - made his first appearance the following year. The Reys wrote a total of eight "Curious George" books; Hans died in 1977, Margret in 1996. The ensuing "George" books were created by writers and illustrators imitating the Reys' style and art....

[book cover click here] IT's NOT MY FAULT
Or Can A Rabbi's Son Find Happiness as a Tennis Pro
BY Daniel Waintrup
September 2005.
Stuck in a dead-end career - divorced - beaten and battered - this rabbi's son wasn't down for the count. He was just warming up. Country club tennis pro Dan Waintrup never played the US Open. He never made it onto the World Tour or emulated tennis greats like John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg or Jimmy Conners. His career flourished in high school and college, but dwindled into playing lessons with young studs of Fortune 500 companies and couples' tournaments where divorces capped a weekend ending in defeat. But his tennis-teaching exploits did provide the backdrop for this humorous memoir that reveals how a rabbi's son from Philadelphia with a hankering for Tastykakes chose his unconventional line of work. He also tells all - how he ruined his parents' dreams, met The Donald, ran his car into a tree and lived to tell about it, and enrolled in business school without ever having used a computer. Committing these ups and downs to paper has been a form of therapy for Dan, who's happy to be the butt of any joke. Have a laugh at his expense, bubby. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Never Have Your Dog Stuffed : And Other Things I've Learned
by Alan Alda
September 2005. Random House.
Alan Alda is not Jewish. But his surname is Alda, so who knows... 500 years ago he might have been in an Italian Jewish famiglia. HeHe.
A star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his eleven years on M*A*S*H. (Did you see him rip up his speech in September 2005's Emmy telecast when he lost?) Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances. "My mother didn't try to stab my father until I was six," begins Alda's irresistible story. The son of a popular actor and a loving but mentally ill mother, he spent his early childhood backstage in the erotic and comic world of burlesque and went on, after early struggles, to achieve extraordinary success in his profession. He overcame polio. Yet Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not a memoir of show-business ups and downs. It is a moving and funny story of a boy growing into a man who then realizes he has only just begun to grow. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] A Match Made in Hell
The Jewish Boy and the Polish Outlaw Who Defied the Nazis
by Larry Stillman
September 2005. Wisconsin Press.
Also in paperback
Rarely has the old saw about war making strange bedfellows been more appropriate than in this story of a small 16-year-old Jewish boy and one of rural Poland's most notorious criminals, Jan Kopec. Stillman has found a very different kind of Holocaust story, full of drama and adventure. When Hitler's army invaded Poland in 1939, Goldner and his rural Jewish family were spared from immediate roundup. But by 1943, he had witnessed his mother and sister being herded onto a train and been left for dead beneath his father's body, both of them shot and bayoneted by a collaborator who had been one of his father's childhood friends. After Kopec, Goldner's unlikely rescuer, nursed him back to health, the pair began an 18-month partnership in which Kopec received money from partisans for having Goldner carry out acts of sabotage against the Nazis. His small size, courage and ability to learn-Kopec trained his young charge in marksmanship, a renegade German soldier taught him fluent German and a Gypsy trained him in hand-to-hand combat-resulted in impressive victories for area partisans. Goldner blew up trains and bridges used by the Nazi army and photographed Jews arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Stillman has done a remarkable job tracking down what little documentation exists in order to corroborate Goldner's unique story, making a trip to the region, meeting with former neighbors and with the children and grandchildren of Jan Kopec. . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Connecting to God :
Ancient Kabbalah and Modern Psychology
by Abner Weiss
September 2005. Bell Tower Press.
South African born scholar and former YU teacher, Abner Weiss, focuses on the spiritual genome in his latest book. Armed with advance degrees in Jewish philosophy and psychology, as well as decades of work as both a licensed therapist and a congregational rabbi, Weiss merges psychological analysis with a keen awareness of kabbalistic relationships as illustrated by the 10 sefirot (or spiritual roots) of the Tree of Life. (he has studied kabbalah since 1965) Weiss tempers his academic approach with dozens of examples (taken from 28 patients and congregants, as well as the Bible) that illustrate the links between common and rare psychological disorders and imbalances within the development of what he has termed the "spiritual genomes" within all of us. As PW writes, this is NOT for the RED-STRING, POP CULTURE SET, this serious examination of psychology and spirituality includes references to and discussions of the ancient and contemporary Jewish sages-including Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Elijah, the Vilna Gaon, Maimonides, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and Rabbi Schneur Zalman-and a wide array of luminaries in philosophy and psychology, such as Hegel and Jung. Those looking for a more intellectually rigorous approach to spiritual self-help and those in the fields of philosophy and psychology will find this a valuable read. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Mandrakes from the Holy Land (Hardcover)
by Aharon Megged
September 2005. Toby Press.
Israeli novelist Megged sets his historically rich epistolary and diary-based novel (after Foiglman) in turn-of-the-century Palestine, then mostly a backwater of small Arab villages and start-up Jewish farming settlements. In 1906, Englishwoman Beatrice Campbell-Bennett, a devout Christian and frustrated lesbian, travels to the Holy Land ostensibly to paint biblical flowers, but her true goal is to "purify" herself. The child of a prosperous but unhappy family, she fraternized with the famous Bloomsbury group of intellectuals, falling in love with Vanessa Stephen, Virginia Woolf's sister. In her quest to explore what she calls "this land of wonders," the fiercely independent Beatrice hires a young Arab guide named Aziz, with whom she develops an increasingly tense relationship. She also spends time with the famous Zionist pioneer Aaron Aaronsohn and his attractive younger sister, Sarah, until her conflicting emotions-and ecstatic religiosity-threaten to completely overwhelm her. Megged annotates the letters and diary entries with notes by a Dr. P.D. Morrison, a psychologist hired by Beatrice's parents to examine her mental state, and his rather hilarious Freudian commentary adds a sharp satirical edge. This, plus Megged's graceful use of biblical history and evocation of early Zionist culture makes for a learned, compelling book. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Living on the Dead
By Aharon Megged
September 2005. Toby Press.
The Living on the Dead is the history of a book that has not been written. Its central theme is the debt of the living to the dead, and in particular the effects on the heirs of Israel of their new and dearly bought nationality. Jonas is a writer, on trial for breach of contract. Commissioned to write the biography of a national hero, Davidov, he has after eighteen months and thousands of pounds of payment produced not a word. Despite the mountains of research and testimonies, he is oppressed and even rebuked by his subject's sanctity... even when he perceives that the idol's feet are of clay. He simply cannot write the book of the legend of Davidov. Translated from the Hebrew Ha Chai Al Ha Met by Misha Louvish. Click the book cover above to read more.

By Jeffrey S. Gurock (Yeshiva University)
September 2005. Indiana University Press.
Judaism's Encounter with American Sports examines how sports entered the lives of American Jewish men and women and how the secular values of sports threatened religious identification and observance. What do Jews do when a society-in this case, a team-"chooses them in," but demands commitments that clash with ancestral ties and practices? Jeffrey S. Gurock, author, teacher, and NYC Marathon runner, uses the experience of sports to illuminate an important mode of modern Jewish religious conflict and accommodation to America. He considers the defensive strategies American Jewish leaders have employed in response to sports' challenges to identity, such as using temple and synagogue centers, complete with gymnasiums and swimming pools, to attract the athletically inclined to Jewish life. Within the suburban frontiers of post-World War II America, sports-minded modern Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform rabbis competed against one another for the allegiances of Jewish athletes and all other Americanized Jews. In the present day, tensions among Jewish movements are still played out in the sports arena. Today, in a mostly accepting American society, it is easy for sports-minded Jews to assimilate completely, losing all regard for Jewish ties. At the same time, a very tolerant America has enabled Jews to succeed in the sports world, while keeping faith with Jewish traditions. Gurock foregrounds his engaging book against his own experiences as a basketball player, coach, and marathon runner. By using the metaphor of sports, Judaism's Encounter with American Sports underscores the basic religious dilemmas of our day. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] America's Great Delis
Recipes And Traditions from Coast to Coast
by Sheryll Bellman
September 2005. Collectors Press
Whether it's a pastrami on rye or a bagel with a schmear, America's Great Delis, by Sheryll Bellman, explores the history and recipes of the country's most beloved delis. From New York's Lower East Side to Detroit and all points west, the delicatessen remains a quintessential part of the American landscape. In New York, as in much of America, lunch is synonymous with deli. Perfected in the early twentieth century by Eastern European Jewish immigrants, the deli, short for delicatessen, quickly won our hearts - and stomachs! From Barney Greengrass "The Sturgeon King" to Katz's Deli, with their beloved slogan "Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army," and the renowned Carnegie Deli, celebrity hotspot for generations, America's Great Delis is the authoritative answer to all your noshing needs. Vintage photographs, menus, and signs complement the mouth-watering recipes made famous in delis across the country. Matzo ball soup, classic coleslaw, and cheesecake are just a few of the classic made-to-order tastes included for deli aficionados everywhere. Features: More than one hundred nostalgic deli photographs, historical food and deli details, and a guide to "deli speak." Recipes including Ben's Kosher Noodle Kugel, Zingerman's Hamentaschen, Ratner's Potato Pancakes, Nate 'n Al's Corned Beef Hash, and many more. Famous delis such as 2nd Avenue Deli, Ratner's, and The Stage Deli in New York, and Canter's and Langers in Los Angeles, among others across the country. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Angel Secrets
Stories Based on Jewish Legend
by Miriam Chaikin, Leonid Gore (Illustrator)
Henry Holt and Co. (September 1, 2005).
Ages 8 - 12
From Booklist Gr. 4-6. Chaikin, author of many books about Judaism and Jewish myths, turns her attention to angels in this compendium that draws on Midrash and other Jewish writings. She takes readers to heaven and earth, where angels of all orders serve the Holy One and link above and below. The first story is a reshaping of a familiar one in which God sends angels to make an indentation in the spot above a baby's lips so the baby will forget all the knowledge he or she had before birth. In Chaikin's telling, one of Satan's minions is determined that one child will retain that knowledge. In another story, Chaikin uses the idea that each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is ruled by an angel to show how angelic presence affects earthly happenings. The parables sometimes raise more questions than they answer, but this increases their worth, as readers ponder their meanings. The lively writing style is enhanced by evocative, full-page paintings that begin each story. The subtle incorporations of angels and Hebrew letters make the pictures as worthy of study as the tales. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] PRINCES OF DARKNESS
by Laurent Murawiec (Hudson Institute, Rand)
September 2005. Rowman and Littlefield
Princes of Darkness is the English translation of La guerre d'apres (The Next War), originally published by Albin Michel Publishers in Paris in 2003. This book is a highly critical expose of Saudi Arabia and attacks the elite inside that country as enemies of the western world. By extension this is also a criticism of the US foreign policy that has supported the royal family. It should be noted that the genesis of this book comes from the author's intensely controversial and subsequently leaked Defense Department briefing in July 2002, while serving as a senior international policy analyst at RAND. According to the author, The Saudis are active in the terror chain; that the U.S. should threaten the Saudis with reducing oil imports and focusing on Iraq's oil supplies instead; Saudi Arabia is not a state, but a family business; and their Wahhabism and anti Zionist are used to support that family's power. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Judaism's Encounter With American Sports
(Modern Jewish Experience)
by Jeffrey S. Gurock
September 2005. Indiana University Press
Jeffrey S. Gurock, Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, is author or editor of 13 books. Judaism's Encounter with American Sports examines how sports entered the lives of American Jewish men and women and how the secular values of sports threatened religious identification and observance. What do Jews do when a society-in this case, a team-"chooses them in," but demands commitments that clash with ancestral ties and practices? Jeffrey S. Gurock uses the experience of sports to illuminate an important mode of modern Jewish religious conflict and accommodation to America. He considers the defensive strategies American Jewish leaders have employed in response to sports' challenges to identity, such as using temple and synagogue centers, complete with gymnasiums and swimming pools, to attract the athletically inclined to Jewish life. Within the suburban frontiers of post-World War II America, sports-minded modern Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform rabbis competed against one another for the allegiances of Jewish athletes and all other Americanized Jews. In the present day, tensions among Jewish movements are still played out in the sports arena. Today, in a mostly accepting American society, it is easy for sports-minded Jews to assimilate completely, losing all regard for Jewish ties. At the same time, a very tolerant America has enabled Jews to succeed in the sports world, while keeping faith with Jewish traditions. Gurock foregrounds his engaging book against his own experiences as a basketball player, coach, and marathon runner. By using the metaphor of sports, Judaism's Encounter with American Sports underscores the basic religious dilemmas of our day.
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Tree of Paradise
Jewish Mosaics from the Roman Empire
by Brooklyn Museum
September 2005.
Companion Book to the Brooklyn Museum Show. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Beyond Glory
Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink
by David Margolick
September 2005. Knopf
From Publishers Weekly: Fought with thunderclouds of war on the horizon, the 1938 heavyweight rematch between Detroit's Joe Louis and Germany's Max Schmeling qualifies as the sort of sporting event that coalesces into a symbolic moment with much larger themes. The African-American Louis's success and demeanor were an unsubtle rebuke to the Aryan theories of race; the affable Schmeling, for his part, would be shoehorned into the role of "Nazi Max," despite the uneasiness of the fit-later that year, on Kristallnacht, he would courageously protect two German Jews. Vanity Fair contributor Margolick (Strange Fruit) keeps his bold, colorful focus squarely on the hubbub leading up to the bout; the all-consuming welter of hype-almost every utterance in the book is tinged by race or geopolitics-makes for compelling reading. The fight pitted talent against tactics: Schmeling's previous defeat of the hitherto "unbeatable" Louis depended on Schmeling's shrewd perception of a flaw in Louis's technique. Louis was a critical transitional figure between the controversial first African-American champ, Jack Johnson, and the equally polarizing Muhammad Ali. Schmeling, in turn, was truly the antithesis of the thugs who were running his country. Every chapter in the company of such estimable and likable stalwarts is an unalloyed pleasure."
INCLUDES GREAT INFO of Schmeling and Hitler, Schmeling's "Jewish" boxing manager, the Jewish boxing promoters, and how Max Baer and other boxers always tried to be "jewish" even though they were not. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Love, with Noodles
An Amorous Widower's Tale
A novel by Harry Freund
September 2005.
Stockbroker Dan Gelder (60) has a posh Fifth Avenue address, is two years a widower, and remains faithful to his deceased wife. Numbed by grief, he is annoyed-not flattered-by the attentions of the women introduced to him by friends. Then he meets Violet Finkel. And Susan Klein. And Myra Cox. And Tatiana Andrevsky. Violet tempts him with limitless luxury and then with truly profound affection, which he discovers on a journey with her to Jerusalem. But plumpish, pretty Susan offers him cookies in her kitchen, while Myra, an activist dedicated to the cause - and jewelry - of Native Americans, tests the strength of his lower back. Exotic Tatiana weds beauty to mystery, and grace to pride, as she strives to overcome a Russian immigrant's poverty for herself and her young son. Dan's son, Eric, meanwhile, is facing bankruptcy, which Dan can handle more readily than Eric's marriage proposal to the non-Jewish Carol Hoffman. Forced to examine this unexpected crisis in terms of his own faith and his Jewish heritage, Dan at sixty finds that more than his libido has been renewed. This comic, yet wise, delightful novel views the follies and fallibilities of romance at a certain age-serving up love deliciously, with noodles. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Man Who Swam into History
The (Mostly) True Story of My Jewish Family
Jewish History, Life, and Culture
by Robert A. Rosenstone (Professor Cal Tech)
September 2005. University of Texas Press
The story begins with a grandfather who heroically escaped from Russia by swimming the Pruth River to Romania-or did he? Then there are stories of another grandfather who kept a lifelong mistress; grandmothers who were ignored except in the kitchen; migrations legal and illegal from Eastern Europe to Canada to California; racketeers on one side of the family and Communists on the other; and a West Coast adolescence in the McCarthy years. All of these (mostly true) stories form a Jewish family's history, a tale of dislocation and assimilation. But in the hands of award-winning historian Robert Rosenstone, they become much more. The fragments of memory so beautifully preserved in The Man Who Swam into History add unforgettable, human characters to the now familiar story of the Jewish diaspora in the twentieth century. This combination memoir/short story collection recounts the Rosenstone family's passage from Romania to America. Robert Rosenstone tells the story not as a single, linear narrative, but through "tales, sequences, windows, moments, and fragments resurrected from the lives of three generations in my two parental families, set in five countries on two continents over the period of almost a century." This more literary and personal approach allows Rosenstone's relatives to emerge as distinct personalities, voices who quarrel and gossip, share their dreams and fears, and maintain the ties of a loving, if eccentric, family. Among the genre of "coming to America" tales, The Man Who Swam into History is a work of unique vision, one that both records and reconstructs the past even as it continuously-and humorously-questions the truth of its own assertions. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Between Camelots
(Drue Heinz Literature Prize)
by David Harris Ebenbach
University of Pittsburgh Press (September 30, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: Ebenbach captures the anxious musings of characters in transition in this debut collection of 15 stories, many focusing on younger male protagonists who find themselves adrift in the wake of romantic failures. In the title story, a lonely young man whose nights are marked by "masturbation, sighing journal entries, and then... bed" goes to a party hoping to meet a particular girl, but instead encounters a pretzel-noshing pseudo-philosopher who posits that in life, one is always moving from one false Camelot to the next, and that only fools keep seeking interpersonal bonds. The recently dumped, morose Oberlin grad of "Getting Back onto Solid Foods" returns to his college town for a vegetarian Thanksgiving with old friends, while the confused narrator of "Rebbetzin" feels awkward at a memorial service for his wife's former art professor. Ebenbach does a fine job of exploring his characters' longing for connection-between brother and troubled sister in "Pointing Up"; between a young teacher and his students (and his brand-new girlfriend) in "Social Games"-but his emphasis on interior monologue dampens the stories' power. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Be Still and Get Going
A Jewish Meditation Practice for Real Life
by Rabbi Alan Lew
Little Brown - Summer 2005
From Publishers Weekly: Once again Rabbi Lew (One God Clapping; This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared) beautifully marries the ancient traditions, history and lore of the Torah and Talmud with the serene meditative practices of Zen Buddhism. His singular distinction of founding and leading a meditation center, Makor Or (in San Francisco), the first of its kind connected to a Conservative synagogue, gives him a unique perspective. He says that Jews have had the written treasures, rich discussions and the sacred Sabbath right in front of them for 3,000 years, but have often overlooked them. Using selected Torah passages, Talmudic musings and contemporary stories of friends and congregants, Lew illustrates the intrinsic spiritual path within Judaism and suggests ways to incorporate that path into an everyday spiritual practice. Like any good teacher unafraid to address big, broad issues-suffering, fear, conflict-and agile enough to make sense of the more elusive ones-listening for and finding God, connecting to and appreciating sacred emptiness-Lew follows each lesson with a summation of "practice points." Seekers need not be Jewish to engage the ancient wisdom of these meditations that offer a rich, multileveled path to everyday spirituality. Click the book cover above to read more.

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[book cover click here] MAIMONIDES
The Jewish Encounter Series
By Sherwin Nuland
Schocken, OCTOBER 4, 2005
From Publishers Weekly: Maimonides, one of the preeminent personalities of medieval Jewish history, was a jurist, philosopher, expert in Jewish law, physician at the court of Saladin and a respected and dedicated communal leader. Given all that, it's difficult to understand the decision to present Maimonides's legacy primarily through the lens of his work as a physician. The 12th century was a time of stagnation in the history of medicine, and the author himself concedes that Maimonides contributed very little that was new or innovative to the field. By contrast, his jurisprudential magnum opus, the Mishne Torah, constituted a groundbreaking work in its own day and continues to be authoritative almost a millennium later. Although Nuland acknowledges this in a chapter on Maimonides's religious scholarship, it is dwarfed by the overarching concern with medicine-which seems the primary interest of Nuland, a clinical professor of surgery at Yale. The author does a serviceable job of stitching together this slight, popular biography of the larger-than-life Maimonides, but his writing is marred by an overwrought prologue and some glib generalizations. Click the book cover above to read more.

Also.. Part of the Jewish Encounter Series will be books on Moses, Barney Ross, Military Jews, Spinoza, Hillel Halkin on Halevi, ben katchor on dairy restaurants, jewish bodies, the Song of Songs, Seth Lipsky on Abraham Cahan, the Rebbe, David Mamet will write about self hatred; Gluckel of Hameln; The Altalena; Emma Lazarus; messianism; Chagall; and Jewish-and-power.

[book cover click here] FAITH FOR BEGINNERS
A novel
by Aaron Hamburger
Random House, OCTOBER 4, 2005
From Publishers Weekly: A woman hopes a family trip to Israel will help her reclaim her confused, rebellious son in Hamburger's entertaining, irreverent first novel (after the collection: THE VIEW FROM STALIN'S HEAD). Jeremy's been at NYU for five years, but he's still just a junior, and Helen Michaelson, 58, thinks he might have a much-needed spiritual awakening on the "Michigan Miracle 2000" tour. But while Jeremy's more interested in cruising Jerusalem's gay parks, Helen herself is primed for revelation, as she finds that her connection to Judaism and her family is more complicated than she'd thought. Hamburger has an exacting eye for mundane detail and suburban conventions, and in Jeremy he's created the classic green-haired, pierced college student ranting about social injustice. But beneath Jeremy's sarcastic, moralizing banter, there's a convincing critique of Americans' way of being in the world. In Israel in 2000, the Michaelsons are like Pixar creations trapped in a movie filmed in Super 8-the Middle East may be fraught with political tension, but their biggest problem is the heat outside their air-conditioned bus. Hamburger goes further than witty satire, though, and when the plot takes a dark turn he demonstrates that he's capable of taking on global issues, even if his characters aren't."
Mrs. Michaelson just doesn't seem to get it. Why cant good manners lead to Middle East peace. But what is up with son calling her by her first name. It seems to be just the beginning crack of all that is sacred. If you let him call her Helen, will everything collapse? Also, what the author shows so beautifully, is the state of people who arrive in Israel awaiting epiphanies and idealism, but reality nastily doesn't comply. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Matches
A Novel
by Alan Kaufman
October 23, 2005
I have been attracted to Kaufman's writing since he did TattooJew, and JewBoy. I always think of how he would make minyans for a collection of some very unique older Jewish San Franciscans. I am therefore looking forward to reading Matches. I have it in my hand.. but just have to place it in the pile of next books to read,
From Publishers Weekly: The title is an Israeli army term for a soldier, or one who "strikes, burns, and dies." Nathan Falk, an American-born Jew and the son of a Holocaust survivor, arrives in Israel seeking "for once, to be generally human, immersed in a kinky-haired majority"-and to do the three years of regular military service and subsequent one-month-a-year reserve duty required of every Israeli male. The narrative falls into 13 Israel Defense Forces patrol vignettes, centered by one novella-size chapter that follows Falk's affair with his best friend's alcoholic girlfriend, along with the honor killing of a 17-year-old Bedouin girl by a man in Falk's (very multi-culti) unit. Throughout, Kaufman (Jew Boy), an American Jew who did multiple IDF tours and now lives in San Francisco, sketches the fault lines of Israeli society as heightened by the highly charged, often violent patrols in the West Bank and Gaza: Sephardic vs. Ashkenazi; native vs. emigré; Arab vs. Jew. The political turmoil, ruined relationships, coiled anger and psychological damage the patrols leave in their wake is made vivid-and personal-at every turn, as are IDF procedures and moments of unexpected cooperation across borders. As a novel, it's baggy, but the result gives readers a fascinating look at the story behind the numbing newspaper tallies. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Double Crossing
A Jewish Immigration Story
by Eve Tal
Cinco Puntos Press (October, 2005)
Age 9 - 12
Hazel Rochman for Booklist wrote: *Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. Based on the experience of the author's grandfather at the turn of the twentieth century, this novel starts off as the archetypal Jewish coming-to-America story. Raizel, 12, leaves the Ukraine with her father, a devout peddler who flees pogroms and conscription into the czar's army, intending to send for the rest of his family later. The separation, the trauma, the dream of golden America, the journey across Europe, the ocean voyage, the inspections and arrival at Ellis Island--the historical detail is dense. But Raizel's lively first-person narrative is anything but reverential. She misses her brother, but she is jealous because he gets to go to school, and she resents her father's keeping kosher, which means they stay hungry during the journey in the crowded ship. Her view of adults and kids, family and strangers, back home and on the perilous adventure, brings the people on the journey very close. Best of all is the shocking surprise that changes everything, even Papa--a haunting aspect of the immigrant story left too long untold. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Zayda Was A Cowboy
by June Levitt Nislick
Jewish Publication Society of America
Age 9 - 12
From Booklist: *Starred Review* Grade 4-7. "Now boys, I want you to understand, a coward I am not." In a chatty, immediate idiom, Zayda (Yiddish for grandfather tells his grandkids his immigration story from the turn of the twentieth century: how, as a teenager anxious to avoid lifelong conscription into the czar's army, he left his family in a shtetl, traveled across Europe, and came to America on a hellishly crowded boat. But, surprisingly, the ship lands not at Ellis Island, but at Galveston, Texas, where he takes an American name and gets a job as a cowboy on a ranch. He's a lonely Jewish boy who misses his mama and hisshul, but he is also a hard worker, on the ranch and on the trail driving cattle. The facts of cowboy work will fascinate kids, as will the seldom-told immigration story, which took place before the time of immigration quotas, when America needed hard workers no matter where they came from. Zayda is frank about the people displaced, and aghast about the treatment of the Indians, who were relocated in a "shocking chapter of American history." An epilogue fills in more history about bringing Jews out west, and a bibliography and a glossary conclude. This will make a great read-aloud; the story will interest kids no matter what their religious background. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Sara's Journey
by David L. Shapiro
Jewish Publication Society of America
Age 9 - 12
Sara, a Jewish 12-year-old in 1919 Russia, has spunk, independence, and a deep commitment to her heritage. Suddenly orphaned under mysterious circumstances, her home and shtetl destroyed, Sara begins a daring journey toward Budapest and her eventual destination, Palestine. On this amazing odyssey, Sara meets fascinating people of all sorts. Set against a backdrop of stormy historical events -- pogroms, the influenza epidemic, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the struggle to create the State of Israel -- this riveting young-adult novel is told with warmth, grace, and subtlety. Through the heart and mind of Sara, young readers will experience a world of connections between generations, genders, cultures, religions, and nationalities. Sara grows into a true follower of her father's wise advice: "Be bold and brave, but not foolhardy." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Tab Hunter Confidential
The Making of a Movie Star
by Tab Hunter, Eddie Muller
Algonquin, OCTOBER 4, 2005
He became an instant star and a #1 box office attraction, recorded a #1 hit song, and survived a major sex scandal-all by the time he was twenty-five. Five years later, new stars had been developed to meet the demands of fickle fans, and Tab Hunter found himself scrambling to find work, struggling just to survive. Yet survive he did, re-creating himself as a cult star and film producer in a career that spans five decades and more than fifty films, from Island of Desire to Lust in the Dust. But first, he was Art Gelien, an introverted and extremely attractive young boy who was discovered by a Hollywood agent and transformed-with the help of studio publicity hacks-into Tab Hunter, Movie Star. This book tells how it all happened, and what it felt like to be created, packaged, and sold to the American public. How it felt to appear on-screen, off-screen, and on every newsstand in America with the biggest leading ladies of the day-Linda Darnell, Natalie Wood, Debbie Reynolds, Lana Turner, and Rita Hayworth-while dealing with the reality of being gay in a time when the word didn't exist. It's his story of how he kept his bearings when he was suddenly no longer the boy-next-door heartthrob, no longer under the protective wing of the Warner Bros. publicity department, no longer in demand as a "star." It is his story of how he soldiered on-with perseverance, determination, and faith. And, like the best-loved Hollywood movies, it has a happy ending.
Hmmm Guess?
Guess Again... cuz near the back of the book, after over 400 pages... you find out that Art Gelien... aka Tab Hunter... was born in a Jewish family. His longterm partner is Alan Glasser... Member of the tribe? Be sure to get them a horse doll for Hanukkah
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] To Heal a Fractured World
The Ethics of Responsibility
by Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain
October 2005. Schocken
Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of GB for nearly the past 15 years, is one of the most respected religious thinkers and makes an impassioned plea for the return of religion to its true purpose-as a partnership with God in the work of ethical and moral living. (I have forgiven him for not attending the funeral of GB's top Reform Rabbi and leader.) What are our duties to others, to society, and to humanity? How do we live a meaningful life in an age of global uncertainty and instability? In To Heal a Fractured World, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offers answers to these questions by looking at the ethics of responsibility. In his signature plainspoken, accessible style, Rabbi Sacks shares with us traditional interpretations of the Bible, Jewish law, and theology, as well as the works of philosophers and ethicists from other cultures, to examine what constitutes morality and moral behavior. "We are here to make a difference," he writes, "a day at a time, an act at a time, for as long as it takes to make the world a place of justice and compassion." He argues that in today's religious and political climate, it is more important than ever to return to the essential understanding that "it is by our deeds that we express our faith and make it real in the lives of others and the world."
Sacks's wide-ranging scholarship is evident in the authorities he cites, including Plato, Karl Marx, Victor Frankl, Joseph B. Soloveitchik, William Wordsworth, Rashi, Maimonides, Jean-Paul Sartre, John Donne, Erich Fromm, Sigmund Freud and many others including Talmudic and rabbinical sources. Sacks claims that he "tried to make the book as simple and readable" as possible, but it is at times somewhat heavy-footed. Patient readers will be rewarded by exposure to a great intellect who demonstrates how his knowledge and experiences have led him to the conclusion that each individual has responsibility "to heal where others harm, mend where others destroy, [and] to redeem evil by turning its negative energies to good." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] TONY AND ME
A Story of Friendship
by Jack Klugman, with a foreword by Garry Marshall with Burton Rocks
October 2005. Goodhill Press
Published by Jack Klugman, 83, and his youngest son, a newly started book publisher, Adam Klugman.
From Publishers Weekly Klugman's brief (160 pages) memoir of his friendship with Tony Randall stays true to the promise the author made to himself if he ever wrote such a book: "I would never do two things: kiss and tell, and bore people with long histories of things." Boring this work isn't, as one would expect from a kid who grew up as the only Jew in a tough 1920s Italian South Philadelphia neighborhood, entered a college acting program to get away from his bookie and was cast by Garry Marshall in TV's The Odd Couple because Marshall had been impressed by seeing Klugman on Broadway in Gypsy getting spit on by Ethel Merman and not flinching. Although lacking in panache, the book does stay true to its stated intention of paying tribute to Randall, who founded the National Actors Theatre. The most endearing anecdote is that of how Randall cast Klugman in a 1991 benefit Odd Couple production, three years after Klugman had undergone throat cancer surgery and lost almost all his voice. The chapter titled "How Tony Gave My Life Back" recounts how Klugman retrained his throat and regained his career. Though amateurish, Klugman's writing possesses rare conviction and humility. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Yom Kippur a Go-Go
A Memoir (Paperback)
by Matthue Roth
Cleis Press (October 11, 2005)
Yom Kippur A Go-Go is a mind-blowing meeting of pop culture, Orthodox faith, and hipster poetics. Matthue Roth is an American original: an Orthodox Jew who cites Outkast and Michelle Tea among his influences, who won't touch a light switch on Shabbos but mimics a screaming orgasm onstage while reading his paean to Orthodox girls. From the World Bank riots (what can you do when the revolution starts on Shabbos?) to Thursday night tranny basketball in San Francisco's Dolores Park, Matthue takes readers on a journey among the queer and hip streets of urban America in his exuberant memoir, Yom Kippur a Go-Go. With humor and insight, Roth describes the tension between contemporary life and the demands of faith. He falls in love and in lust with a panoply of girls, both strictly kosher and determinedly secular, to the accompaniment of MP3 rabbinical lectures on modesty ("Boys are nothing but perverts and filthy animals!").
He is the author of NEVER MIND THE GOLDBERGS. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] SAVAGE SHORTHAND
The Life and Death of Isaac Babel
by Jerome Charyn
Random House (October 18, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: This portrait of Babel by the prolific Charyn (The Green Lantern, etc.) is confounding for reasons he himself elaborates on: it's difficult to know much for certain about the life of the great Russian Jewish short-story writer (1894-1940), whom Charyn emphasizes was a self-mythologizer. Charyn begins the book by seeming to appropriate Babel's qualities for himself by describing how an editor said Charyn's first book called Babel's writings to mind.
[book cover click here] Ellipses at the end of paragraphs to indicate uncertainty in the narrative underscore the lack of hard facts; using the word "some" as a modifier, as in "Mandelstam would die in some transit camp," has the effect of lessening the horror being described. Babel's death at Stalin's hand remains legendary for the reported sighting of the writer that followed his murder, but Charyn gets so caught up in such myths that he forgets to give us the man. "Even as he bares himself, it's hard to figure Babel out," Charyn notes. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] SHARON AND MY MOTHER-IN-LAW
The diary of one woman and her life in Ramallah from the early 1980's to the present. The first part of the book details Amiry's life in the 1980s and 1990s, as she worked as an architect. On her wedding day, an Israeli soldier tore up her visitor's permit, and she had her groceries confiscated once for being out 10 minutes after curfew. At the same time, however, she also fell in love with the man she eventually marries. The second half of the book covers 2001-2004, including the siege of Arafat's compound, the destruction of the historic part of Nablus (her architectural opinions are poignant here), the rescuing of her mother, the commute from the Jericho Resthouse, and relations with Jordan. The London Sunday Times called it: extremely provides insights into life under occupation.
Gershom Gorenberg (THE ACCIDENTAL EMPIRE) writing in the Washington Post Book World states: "...She might describe how, rather than take her terrier pup to the sexist Ramallah vet who did not like vaccinating female dogs, she ended up in the clinic of Dr. Tamar at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in what she refers to as an Israeli settlement on the Jerusalem-Ramallah road -- a spot the Israeli government has long considered part of Jerusalem proper. The pup, Nura, ended up with a "dog passport" listing her residency as Jerusalem, filling her mistress with awe and jealousy: A Palestinian architect who grew up in Amman and elsewhere, Amiry spent years after her marriage to a Ramallah man before getting an Israeli permit to reside legally in the West Bank, and friends who married East Jerusalem Palestinians waited even longer for their prized Jerusalem papers. ... she soon used Nura's papers to ease her way into Jerusalem. "I am the dog's driver," she tells an Israeli soldier at the checkpoint. "As you can see, she is from Jerusalem." The Israeli laughs, pats Nura's head and lets them drive on through. "All it takes is a bit of humor," Amiry concludes. The dog tale is a variation on Amiry's theme: The occupation is irrational, perhaps intentionally so. The only reasonable response is to be unreasonable in kind yourself, as when Amiry storms into Capt. Yossi's room at the Israeli army's Ramallah headquarters, screams, cries, demands her residency permit -- and gets it. The captain can cope with terrorists, fighter planes and submarines, she thinks, but "NOT A WOMAN FREAKING OUT.".... Amiry says nothing of the Palestinian terrorist attacks that took more than 100 Israeli lives in the month before the tanks rolled back in. Her story does not include a hint that, this time, Israel's leaders were responding to something that appeared senseless, even if they did so irrationally..... Historians can aspire to break the bounds of those narratives and approach an objective telling; a memoir aims instead at making the collective story personal and particular. Amiry does that with subtlety and complexity. I would invite her to my table because Israelis need to hear what it was like to risk being shot to collect one's 92-year-old mother-in-law from a home near Yasser Arafat's besieged Ramallah headquarters during a brief break in a curfew -- and because I'd like to discuss with her the Israeli miseries that are left out of this tale. And if my depressed guests concluded that these two angry nations will never make peace, I'd ask Amiry to tell her anecdote about driving with her niece in East Jerusalem, where she was flagged down by an Israeli man who was sure he was having a heart attack; Amiry expected him to have another when he realized he'd been picked up by Ramallah Muslims but she dropped him off at Hadassah Hospital. Driving off, she thought of her father, who died alone in a hotel room of a heart attack. "I always felt terrible that he must have sought help but none arrived," she writes. The labels of Palestinian and Israeli evaporate, leaving a mortal human being."
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] MENCKEN:
Oxford, OCTOBER 2005
For much of the early 20th century, H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), aka the Baron of Baltimore, was the country's most famous pundit, inspiring both love and fear and sometimes an equal measure of both. As novelist Richard Wright noted, "He was using words as a weapon." His targets were only the biggest issues of his day: Prohibition, puritanism and censorship. Even now, almost 50 years after his death, many of Mencken's political insights hold true, such as this gem: "Nations get on with one another, not by telling the truth, but by lying gracefully." Yet as Rodgers shows in this thorough work, Mencken was more than a newspaperman and prolific author; in 1924, he founded-and continued to edit-the highbrow (and popular) monthly magazine The American Mercury, which printed pieces by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Langston Hughes (at a time when most white editors would have nothing to do with black writers). But Rodgers, editor of Mencken and Sara: A Life in Letters and The Impossible H.L. Mencken, doesn't shy away from her subject's faults;
she examines Mencken's anti-Semitism and his unsettling devotion to Germany (the land of his ancestors) even as the shadow of the Nazi Wehrmacht fell on Europe.
Drawing on research in more than 60 archives (including previously unseen private collections in the U.S. and in Germany), exclusive interviews with Mencken's friends and his love letters, this is a meticulous portrait of one of the most original and complicated men in American letters (PW) Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Dogs of God
Columbus, the Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moors
by James Reston
OCTOBER 2005, Doubleday
In 1492, Columbus sailed to America, The Jews were kicked out of Spain under the country's Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, and Spain's Catholics defeated Moorish Islam. James Reston's Dogs of God attempts to draw together these apparently disparate strands, arguing that Columbus's voyage to the New World was inextricably linked to the victory of Christianity over Islam in the Iberian peninsula. It's an interesting thesis, and his research has led him into a rich and fascinating period of European history. The last quarter of the 15th century was turbulent, violent and characterized by religious bigotry. Ferdinand and Isabella are the principal protagonists in Dogs of God, yet the lesser characters are no less colorful and grotesque. There's a lovely vignette about the effeminate King Enrique IV of Castile, known as El Impotente, and his attempt to artificially inseminate his wife. And the outlandish Pope Alexander VI makes several appearances, often in the company of one or another of his beautiful mistresses. Reston's narrative begins in the 13th century, when Islamic rule in Spain was in its twilight. Reston argues that some of the greatest achievements of the early Renaissance, including the discoveries of Columbus, were conceived in medieval Islamic Al Andalus. Islamic scholars translated Arabic science and mathematics into Latin and enriched the language with new words -- "zero," "algebra" and "elixir" all come from Arabic. The Catholics captured Granada in 1492. King Ferdinand's Dominican advisers (the dogs of God in the title) argued that Spanish Christianity was imperiled by the presence of conversos, or Jewish converts. They persuaded the monarchs to establish an inquisition, with Tomas de Torquemada as its chief architect. The mechanics of the infamous auto-da-fé, or test of faith, are told with grisly relish. Water torture, death by fire and dismemberment were all in a day's work for Torquemada, whose diabolical goal was to utterly destroy Spain's thriving Jewish community. He maneuvered with Machiavellian adroitness, convincing Isabella that the enforced exit of the Jews was a necessary adjunct to the defeat of the Moors. In March 1492, the monarchs issued their Edict of Expulsion. With a stroke, Spain's Jews were forced into exile. It took Columbus six years to persuade the Ferd and Isab to sponsor him Dogs of God is engaging and highly readable. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Bread for Life Diet
The High On Carbs Weight Los Plan
OCTOBER 2005, Stewart Tabori and Chang
Sick of South Beach? Anti Atkins? Desperate for toast with your eggs? Then the Bread for Life Diet is your dream diet. The first new diet to buck the high-protein, low-carb craze, this revolutionary program not only allows you to indulge in the bread you've been denying yourself but actually requires you to: up to 16 slices a day! Israeli nutritionist Olga Raz developed the diet as a result of her research on serotonin, a chemical that controls the hunger and satiety centers of the brain. While high-protein meals cause serotonin to drop, a bread-based meal raises the serotonin level. Raz also discovered that her diet can correct the chemical imbalances in the body that make it difficult for many people to lose weight. Divided into two meal plans-the first lasts up to two weeks and is designed to promote fast weight loss-the diet is so healthy that it helps reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and alleviate diabetic symptoms. Thousands of people have already experienced amazing results with the Bread for Life Diet in Israel, where Raz has become a household name and her book a huge best-seller. Now Americans, too, can benefit from this extraordinary new approach to weight loss. The diet is healthy, nutritionally sound, and proven to work. Includes a wide range of foods: pasta, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat. Simple to follow: no counting calories, carbohydrates, or fat grams. Features easy-to-prepare foods, plus 25 tasty recipes.
The 12 Principles of the Bread for Life Diet are:
Eat plenty of bread
Eat frequently
Make meals small
Take time-outs
Never skip a meal
Drink plenty of fluids
Exercise each day
Enjoy balanced nutrition
Experience the power of choice
Take supplements
Eat with ease
Remember that the rules are flexible
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Everything I Know About Dating I Learned in Business School
How to Succeed in Dating by Using Basic Business Practices
by A. K. Crump, K. Reed, G. Mart
Conceived and written by a trio of marketing alumni with over 50 years cumulative dating experience, Everything I Know About Dating I Learned in Business School puts a humorous - but effective - spin on the dating scene. In a series of lessons, the book adapts to relationships concepts familiar to any good entrepreneur, such as "Effective Advertising" and "Managed Finances and Alluring Promotions." Featuring "investment tips" like "Promote Customer Loyalty: Buy flowers at least once a month" and real-life examples, the book shows how planning and thinking like a businessperson can lead to a happy, fulfilling relationship. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Yom Kippur War
The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East
by Abraham Rabinovich
OCTOBER 2005, Schocken. now in paperback
In this galvanizing account of the most dramatic of the Arab-Israeli hostilities, Abraham Rabinovich, who reported the conflict for the Jerusalem Post, transports us into the midst of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Rabinovich's masterly narrative begins as Israel convinces itself there will be no war, while Egypt and Syria plot the two-front conflict. Then, on Yom Kippur, Saturday, October 6, 1973, we see Arab armies pouring across the shattered Bar-Lev Line in the Sinai and through the Golan defenses. Even the famed Israeli air force could not stop them. On the Golan alone, Syria sent 1,460 tanks against Israel's 177, and 115 artillery batteries against Israel's 11. And for the first time, footsoldiers wielding anti-tank weapons were able to stop tank charges, while surface-to-air missiles protected those troops from air attack. Rabinovich takes us into this inferno and into the inner sanctums of military and political decision making. He allows us to witness the dramatic turnaround that had the Syrians on the run by the following Wednesday and the great counterattack across the Suez Canal that, once begun, took international intervention to halt. Using extensive interviews with both participants and observers, and with access to recently declassified materials, Rabinovich shows that the drama of the war lay not only in the battles but also in the apocalyptic visions it triggered in Israel, the hopes and fears it inspired in the Arab world, the heated conflicts on both sides about the conduct of the war, and the concurrent American face-off with the Soviets in Washington, D.C., Moscow, and the Mediterranean. A comprehensive account of one of the pivotal conflicts of the twentieth century. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Watchman Fell Asleep
The Surprise Of Yom Kippur And Its Sources
(Suny Series in Israeli Studies)
by Uri Bar-Joseph (Haifa Univ)
Based on many formerly undisclosed intelligence and military documents, the secret protocols of discussions on the eve of the war, and interviews with relevant figures, The Watchman Fell Asleep is a compelling account of Israel's intelligence failure before the 1973 Arab attack known as the Yom Kippur War. The Hebrew version of this book was awarded the Tshetshik Prize for Strategic Studies on Israel's Security in 2001, and the Israeli Political Science Association's Best Book Award in 2002. Available here in English for the first time, Uri Bar-Joseph has crafted an authoritative explanation of the most traumatic event in Israel's stormy history and one of the biggest strategic military surprises of the twentieth century. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] In Case We're Separated
Connected Stories
by Alice Mattison
William Morrow (October 1, 2005)
From Booklist: It's the secrets kept from each other and for each other that unite families, forming bonds stronger than any double helix of DNA. For Bobbie Kaplowitz and her sisters, Sylvia and Fanny, as well as their parents, grandparents, and children, such secrets are drawn from a nearly bottomless well of anxiety and despair. Suicide, adultery, homosexuality, and even their very identity--all are committed to a rich, cavernous reservoir from which Mattison, in spite of their somber nature, coaxes tales that gracefully radiate understanding and acceptance. Inspired by the double sessina form of poetry, Mattison mimics the genre's echoes and calls as characters and themes emerge and retreat from dominance in one story to mere background in another. Reminiscent of Michael Cunningham's superlative The Hours (1998), Mattison's use of this cyclical device is equally masterful, for while she allows us to glimpse exactly what we need to know about each family member and no more, that glimpse is strong enough to leave an indelible impression . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here][book cover click here] YiDDiSH CIVILIZATION
The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation
by Paul Kriwaczek
Knopf (October 18, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: Kriwaczek's charming but frustratingly rambling history places Yiddish in a very broad historical context. Admitting that he is neither "a learned Jew nor a professional historian," Kriwaczek (In Search of Zarathustra) cuts a broad swath through history as he moves, in the opening chapters, from the forum in Rome to the emergence of a distinct "Yiddish civilization" in medieval eastern Europe. Kriwaczek's insistence on defining Yiddish as a culture, or civilization, rather than a language is smart and useful-it allows him to capture the intricacies of a very complicated history and to avoid a simple "black-and-white clash between gentiles and Jews"-but it also means that his tapestry is sometimes too large. When he does narrow his focus-on, say, the autobiography of Glikl of Hamlin, born 1646, whose memoir is the first major Yiddish work by a woman-he is evocative and precise. While there is an endless amount of fascinating detail (Slavic fashions in shoes became trendy in 14th-century Europe), and all is presented in an enjoyable narrative, the book becomes more of a rumination on a number of related issues than a concise examination of a culture and a language. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE ANCIENT SYNAGOGUE
by Lee I. Levine
Second Edition
YALE University Press, July 2005
The origins and development of the synagogue from Hellenistic Period to Late Antiquity. Levine's monumental work weighs several pounds and runs to more than 700 densely packed pages. It is not a book for the casual reader, but it belongs on your pastor's or rabbi's bookshelf (why not give it as a gift of encouragement) and on your nightstand, if as a Christian or a Jew you want to understand more about the roots of your faith. ....In the interaction between the Jewish and early Christian communities, influence went in both directions. Despite the early Christians' disdain for the notion of "sacred places," church buildings became sacred places in part as a result of Jewish influence. With the collapse of the Roman imperium and the destruction of the social world it fostered, the divide between Judaism and Christianity grew wider and was more rigidly enforced, leading to the pogroms of the Middle Ages and the subsequent history we know all too well. It is not possible to change that past. But hope for the future lies in the possibility that Jews and Christians take up the opportunity to understand and rethink their shared history. To such an enterprise, Lee Levine's book makes a splendid contribution. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Matzo Balls for Breakfast
and Other Memories of Growing Up Jewish
by Alan King
OCTOBER 2005, Paperback Free Press
From Publishers Weekly Fans of Alan King (Name-Dropping: The Life & Lies of Alan King), who died in May, will welcome this collection of over 75 reminiscences by Jews in the arts, politics, religion and sports, which Larry King conceived and organized. Although Alan doesn't contribute a piece, he does provide a succinct and perceptive introduction to each section. While some selections, such as those by Gene Wilder, Sid Caesar and Don Rickles, are too brief, the vast majority offer humorous, touching, informed and engaging perspectives on what it means to be born a Jew. Jerusalem Report contributor David Margolis laments the failure of his parents' generation to pass on a real knowledge of Judaism to their children. Faye Moskowitz (Her Face in the Mirror: Jewish Women on Mothers and Daughters) contributes a funny and moving portrait of her grandmother's magical powers as she kneaded challah or stirred a witch's brew of beets, sugar, garlic, salt, allspice and bay leaves into delicious sweet and sour borscht once a year. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois congresswoman, explores how becoming an elected official made her more conscious of her Jewish identity.
Appended are three eulogies given at King's funeral by Billy Crystal, Rick Moranis and Barbara Walters. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] A Time to Run
A Novel
by Barbara Boxer (U.S. Senator, D, CA) with Mary-Rose Hayes
Written with a true insider's perspective, A Time to Run is the remarkable literary debut of United States Senator Barbara Boxer, one of the most admired and respected figures on the political scene. Senator Boxer, writing with Mary-Rose Hayes, tells an exciting tale of friendship and betrayal, idealism and pragmatism, in-fighting and public spin. The novel follows Ellen Fines from her days as a college student through romantic entanglements and a difficult marriage to a rising political star. When her husband is killed in a car accident during his campaign for the Senate, Ellen assumes his candidacy and achieves an upset victory over a political machine. On the eve of a crucial vote, past and public worlds collide when Ellen's former lover, now a journalist with strong right-wing connections, gives her sensitive documents that could either make or break her career. From hideaways deep under the U.S. Capitol to wealthy southern California ranches to the political unrest on the streets of Berkeley, lA Time to Run is a great read, and a fascinating, up-close story of power and trust. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] DEAN AND ME
A Love Story
A Memoir
by Jerry Lewis (Comedian)
They were the unlikeliest of pairs-a handsome crooner and a skinny monkey, an Italian from Steubenville, Ohio, and a Jew from Newark, N.J.. Before they teamed up, Dean Martin seemed destined for a mediocre career as a nightclub singer, and Jerry Lewis was dressing up as Carmen Miranda and miming records on stage. But the moment they got together, something clicked-something miraculous-and audiences saw it at once. Before long, they were as big as Elvis or the Beatles would be after them, creating hysteria wherever they went and grabbing an unprecedented hold over every entertainment outlet of the era: radio, television, movies, stage shows, and nightclubs. Martin and Lewis were a national craze, an American institution. The millions (and the women) flowed in, seemingly without end-and then, on July 24, 1956, ten years from the day when the two men joined forces, it all ended. After that traumatic day, the two wouldn't speak again for twenty years. And while both went on to forge triumphant individual careers-Martin as a movie and television star, recording artist, and nightclub luminary (and charter member of the Rat Pack); Lewis as the groundbreaking writer, producer, director, and star of a series of hugely successful movie comedies-their parting left a hole in the national psyche, as well as in each man's heart. In a memoir by turns moving, tragic, and hilarious, Jerry Lewis recounts with crystal clarity every step of a fifty-year friendship, from the springtime, 1945 afternoon when the two vibrant young performers destined to conquer the world together met on Broadway and Fifty-fourth Street, to their tragic final encounter in the 1990s, when Lewis and his wife ran into Dean Martin, a broken and haunted old man.In Dean & Me, Jerry Lewis makes a convincing case for Dean Martin as one of the great-and most underrated-comic talents of our era. But what comes across most powerfully in this definitive memoir is the depth of love Lewis felt, and still feels, for his partner, and which his partner felt for him: truly a love to last for all time. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Blood Relation
by Eric Konigsberg
HarperCollins (October 1, 2005)
From Booklist: In 1985, while writing an article for his school newspaper, the author learned something extraordinary. His granduncle, his grandfather's brother, was an infamous criminal. Harold "Kayo" Konigsberg was in prison for murder, and, as a Mob hit man, he was suspected of committing as many as 20 murders for hire. So began a quest to learn all about the relative he never knew he had and about the family who had disowned its black sheep. There are two Kayo Konigsbergs in this book: the young, tough, hardened criminal the author learned about from interviews and historical records, and the elderly man who was like "an apparition of Harold Konigsberg," whom the author got to know during his prison visits. True-crime memoirs are a dime a dozen, but this one is different: a chronicle of criminal behavior, yes, but also a moving story of coming to terms with one's roots. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] What I Learned in Medical School
Personal Stories of Young Doctors
Edited by Kevin M. Takakuwa, Nick Rubashkin, and Karen E. Herzig
UC Press
Like many an exclusive club, the medical profession subjects its prospective members to rigorous indoctrination: medical students are overloaded with work, deprived of sleep and normal human contact, drilled and tested and scheduled down to the last minute. Difficult as the regimen may be, for those who don't fit the traditional mold--white, male, middle-to-upper class, and heterosexual--medical school can be that much more harrowing. This riveting book tells the tales of a new generation of medical students--students whose varied backgrounds are far from traditional. Their stories will forever alter the way we see tomorrow's doctors. In these pages, a black teenage mother overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds, an observant Muslim dons the hijab during training, an alcoholic hides her addiction. We hear the stories of an Asian refugee, a Mexican immigrant, a closeted Christian, an oversized woman--these once unlikely students are among those who describe their medical school experiences with uncommon candor, giving a close-up look at the inflexible curriculum, the pervasive competitive culture, and the daunting obstacles that come with being "different" in medical school. Their tales of courage are by turns poignant, amusing, eye-opening--and altogether unforgettable. Includes essays by Melanie M. Watkins, Nick Rubashkin (Brandeis, Stanford on the pplication process and getting rejected by 11 schools perhaps for being an activist), Paul M. Lantos (Paul contemplates his existence, life path, and career choice as the grandson of four Jewish holocaust survivors), Marcia Casas, Heather Goff (overcoming OCD), Nusheen Ameenuddin (wearing a hijab at school and in life), Tresa Muir McNeal, Karen C. Kim, "Linda Palafox", Rachel Umi Lee, Kevin M. Takakuwa (alienation), Lainie Holman, Anita Ramsetty, Akilesh Palanisamy, Hoka Hey, Robert "Lame Bull" McDonald, David Marcus, Tista Ghosh, Ugo A. Ezenkwele, Katherine M. Erdwinn (being fat), Simone C. Eastman-Uwan, and Thao Nguyen (former boat refugee). Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Beat The Devil's Advocate
The Ten Faces of Innovation
IDEO's Strategies for Defeating the Devil's Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization
by Thomas Kelley, Jonathan Littman
OCTOBER 2005, Currency
The role of the devil's advocate is nearly universal in business today. It allows individuals to step outside themselves and raise questions and concerns that effectively kill new projects and ideas, while claiming no personal responsibility. Nothing is more potent in stifling innovation, Kelley claims. Over the years, IDEO has developed ten roles people can play in an organization to foster innovation and new ideas while offering an effective counter to naysayers. Among these approaches are the Anthropologist-the person who goes into the field to see how customers use and respond to products, to come up with new innovations; the Cross-pollinator who mixes and matches ideas, people, and technology to create new ideas that can drive growth; and the Hurdler, who instantly looks for ways to overcome the limits and challenges to any situation. Filled with engaging stories of how Kraft, Procter and Gamble, Safeway and the Mayo Clinic have incorporated IDEO's thinking to transform the customer experience, THE TEN FACES OF INNOVATION is an extraordinary guide to nurturing and sustaining a culture of continuous innovation and renewal. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Reluctant Parting
How the New Testament's Jewish Writers Created a Christian Book
How Did the Followers of Jesus Stop Being Jewish?
by Julie Galambush (College of William and Mary)
HarperSanFrancisco (October 2005)
This Baptist Paster (M Div, Yale) writes that the Christian writings can be viewed as Jewish books. She reveals the anguish of the writers as they left behind their Jewish communities. She illuminates the hidden Jewishness of these texts. From Publishers Weekly: Christianity did not exist as a self-defined religious movement until well into the second century, when it began to distinguish itself from its Judaic roots. How and why did such an evolution occur? In a study that is by turns fascinating and unoriginal, Galambush, a religion professor at William and Mary, performs a close reading of the texts of the New Testament. From Matthew to Revelation, she shows how their authors-Jews themselves-addressed the conflict between their audience's Judaism and this new movement within Judaism. Thus, for example, Matthew, which was written to Jewish Christians, is the most anti-Jewish of the Synoptic Gospels. At the center of the conflicts in the New Testament is the question about whether and how to allow Gentiles to hear the message of this movement. One of Paul's letters, 1 Thessalonians, has long been interpreted to support the Jews' responsibility for the death of Jesus. Galambush observes, however, that Paul is angry at his fellow Jews for hindering him from speaking to the Gentiles. Galambush demonstrates that the development of the religion that became Christianity was a slow and torturous journey, but her tedious summaries of each of the New Testament writings and her often uninventive readings diminish the promise of this otherwise important book. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here][book cover click here] For God And Country
Faith and Patriotism Under Fire
by James Yee, with Aimee Molloy
PublicAffairs, OCTOBER 2005
James Yee (Yusuf Yee) graduated West Point in 1990 and over 14 years was promoted to the rank of Captain. After graduation from the USMA, he converted to Islam and studied in Syria for four years. He made the Haj to Mecca in Saudi Arabia twice. He later became a chaplain in the US Army and was based in Guantanamo where he interacted with detainees from Afghanistan who were being held there. He predecessor, Captain Hamza, warned him to watch his back. Muslim personnel were scrutinized there and the environment, even for officers, was anti-Muslim. After complaining through official channels about what he viewed as the jailers' mishandling of the Koran and their harsh treatment of detainees, Yee himself was investigated, thrown into solitary confinement and threatened with the death penalty in 2003 for mutiny, sedition, espionage and aiding the enemy. Later, he was charged with lesser but still largely trumped-up offenses of adultery and having porn on his had drive; even these allegations were dropped, and he ultimately left the military he loved. For God and Country is an indictment of the sloppy assumptions and religious and cultural blindness that he charges U.S. officials frequently reveal in their struggle with the jihadists. All Muslims are assumed guilty. It also sheds light on Koran Abuse. Yee writes that it was commonplace for testosterone-charged MPs to goad detainees by poking or kicking the Muslim holy book, and he even names a Connecticut Army Reserve unit that he says took particular relish in doing so. Hundreds of detainees ended up demanding that their Korans be removed from their cells to reduce the chances of desecration, but officials declared the books must remain; inmates who refused to grasp the Korans when they were returned through slots in cell doors were physically attacked, he writes.
From the book flap: What do you believe in? James Yee believed in God and America and one of those got him thrown in jail. In 2001, Captain James "Yusuf" Yee was commissioned as one of the first Muslim chaplains in the United States Army. After the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001, he became a frequent government spokesman, helping to educate soldiers about Islam and build understanding throughout the military. Subsequently, Chaplain Yee was selected to serve as the Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, where nearly 700 detainees captured in the war on terror were being held as "unlawful combatants." In September 2003, after serving at Guantanamo for ten months in a role that gave him unrestricted access to the detainees--and after receiving numerous awards for his service there--Chaplain Yee was secretly arrested on his way to meet his wife and daughter for a routine two-week leave. He was locked away in a navy prison, subject to much of the same treatment that had been imposed on the Guantanamo detainees. Wrongfully accused of spying, and aiding the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Yee spent 76 excruciating days in solitary confinement and was threatened with the death penalty. After the U.S. government determined it had made a grave mistake in its original allegations, it vindictively charged him with adultery and computer pornography. In the end all criminal charges were dropped and Chaplain Yee's record wiped clean. But his reputation was tarnished, and what has been a promising military career was left in ruins. Depicting a journey of faith and service, Chaplain Yee's For God and Country is the story of a pioneering officer in the U.S. Army, who became a victim of the post-September 11 paranoia that gripped a starkly fearful nation. And it poses a fundamental question: If our country cannot be loyal to even the most patriotic Americans, can it remain loyal to itself? Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Physics of Superheroes
by James Kakalios
gotham, OCTOBER 2005
If superheroes stepped off the comic book page or silver screen and into reality, could they actually work their wonders in a world constrained by the laws of physics? How strong would Superman have to be to "leap tall buildings in a single bound"? Could Storm of the X-Men possibly control the weather? And how many cheeseburgers would the Flash need to eat to be able to run at supersonic speeds? Face front, True Believer, and wonder no more! Because in The Physics of Superheroes acclaimed university professor James Kakalios shows that comic book heroes and villains get their physics right more often than you think. In this scintillating scientific survey of super powers you'll learn what the physics of forces and motion can reveal about Superman's strength and the true cause of the destruction of his home planet Krypton, what villains Magneto and Electro can teach us about the nature of electricity-and finally get the definitive answer about whether it was the Green Goblin or Spider-Man's webbing that killed the Wall Crawler's girlfriend Gwen Stacy in that fateful plunge from the George Washington Bridge! This is the book you need to read if you ever wondered how the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four can see when she turns transparent, if the Atom could travel on an electron through a phone line, or if electromagnetic theory can explain how Professor X reads minds. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Stars of David
Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish
by Abigail Pogrebin
broadway, OCTOBER 2005
Sixty-one of the most accomplished Jews in America speak intimately-most for the first time-about how they feel about being Jewish, the influence of their heritage, the weight and pride of their history, the burdens and pleasures of observance, the moments they've felt most Jewish (or not). In unusually candid interviews conducted by former 60 Minutes producer Abigail Pogrebin over the course of eighteen months, celebrities ranging from Sarah Jessica Parker to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Larry King to Mike Nichols, reveal how being Jewish fits into their public and most private lives. This book of vivid, personal portraits reveals how the experience of being Jewish is amplified by fame and also how the author's evolving Jewish identity was changed by what she heard. Dustin Hoffman, Gene Wilder, Joan Rivers, and Leonard Nimoy talk about their most startling encounters with anti-Semitism. The challenges of intermarriage are explored by Kenneth Cole, Steven Spielberg, Eliot Spitzer, and Ronald Perelman. Attitudes toward Israel range from unquestioned loyalty to complicated ambivalence in the musings of Mike Wallace, Richard Dreyfuss, Natalie Portman, and Ruth Reichl. William Kristol scoffs at the notion that Jewish values are incompatible with Conservative politics. Alan Dershowitz talks about why, despite his Orthodox upbringing, he gave up morning prayer. Shawn Green, baseball's Jewish star, describes the burden of that label. Tony Kushner finds parallels in being Jewish and being gay. Leon Wieseltier throws down the gauntlet to Jews who haven't taken the trouble to study Judaism. These are just a few snapshots from many poignant, often hilarious conversations -- with public figures whom many of us felt we already knew. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Mrs. Freud
A Novel
by Nicolle Rosen
Arcade Publishing (October 10, 2005)
From Booklist: *Starred Review* In this compelling and painstakingly researched novel, Rosen, a psychiatrist herself, delivers an intimate and telling fictional portrait of Sigmund Freud, as seen through the eyes of his wife, Martha. Rosen allows Freud's aging widow to turn the tables on her famous husband by retrospectively analyzing the twists in the psyche that dominated her life for more than five decades. Through private recollection and through increasingly revelatory letters to an American correspondent, Martha begins to piece together the scattered memories of a marital life often made difficult by the unacknowledged dark spots in her husband's powerful mind. Bit by bit, this long-overawed wife starts to discern the evidence of an irrational mysticism lacing her husband's science; of a curious vulnerability to superstition permeating his hostility to all religion, especially his inherited Judaism; and of a gargantuan ego that resented the slightest show of autonomy by colleagues or family members. But as Martha gropes her way through cloudy memories--innocent of any of the psychoanalytic theories incubated under her roof--it is not finally her husband but herself who comes into focus: a woman whose real talent and intellect were denied any expression by a tyrant who styled himself a revolutionary. A historical novel of exceptional power. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Chosen
The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton
by Jerome Karabel
October 2005, Houghton Mifflin
711 Pages... makes a good doorstop
Some highlights: In 1923, Yale cuts its Jewish enrollment from 13% to 10%; At the same time, Harvard was 25% (and under J3, 27%) Jewish and having difficulty enrolling prep school grads since the school was "too Jewish" and Hebrewized (and worse, the were middle class Jews and not upper class ones); In 1922, it was suggested that the Harvard focus on Character and not intelligence in admissions decisions (to limit Jews); In a 1948 story in the Nation, Carey McWilliams accused Princeton of keeping their Jewish student under a 4% quota; In the 1950's, a study of magnas and dropouts found that Jews were held to higher standards and they came from public high schools. So that 40% of dropouts came from New England prep schools, while public high school grads performed much better; In 1960, Harvard admitted 30% of students from the Middle Atlantic but offered less than 20% of its scholarships to that area (in order to limit Jews).
From Booklist: When gifted high-school students apply to the nation's most elite universities, they often have no idea just how admissions officers will determine their fate. But after poring over countless applicant files and institutional memos, one relentless Berkeley sociologist has unraveled the mystery. Focusing on America's Big Three (Harvard, Yale, and Princeton), Karabel recounts how the admissions office first emerged in the 1920s as an academic innovation designed to protect WASP privilege against the claims of the bright but socially marginal children of Jewish immigrants. By the time these anti-Semitic admissions policies ended, administrators had discovered the institutional utility of nonacademic admissions standards: Karabel shows in provocative detail how for decades the very university executives who have preached equal opportunity have extended special advantages to the offspring of wealthy alumni. He also addresses the first significant attempts to diversify student bodies in the 1960s and assesses the complex effects of affirmative-action policies. A useful overview of a still-controversial subject. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Doormen
(Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries)
by Peter Bearman (Columbia)
University of Chicago Press, OCTOBER 2005
Eer wonder what lurks in the hearts and minds of those stoic, unflappable, dapperly uniformed men (yes, they're nearly always men) who man the doors of your city's apartment buildings? Provoked by his own awkward interaction with his friend's doorman, Bearman, a sociologist at Columbia University, embarked on this exhaustive study of New York City doormen and the often complex dynamics between them and their buildings' tenants. Though any urban dweller will find something of interest, this isn't really a layman's book, and Bearman's prosaic handling dries out a potentially fruitful subject. He tends to spend too much time examining the obvious questions (e.g., why do doormen find their jobs at once "boring and stressful"?), while barely touching upon others that seem deeper and more fertile, such as the ways in which tenants tend to see their doormen as "socially dead." Because Bearman refuses for the most part to engage in any real cultural observations beyond some obvious extrapolations from his data, much of the meat of the book resides in the many short interviews with doormen speaking their (normally unspoken) minds. But what they reveal is well worth the price of admission
Chapters include: 1. Interpersonal Closeness and Social Distance 2. A Foot in the Door 3. Serving Time 4. Crossing the Line 5. Status Displays 6. The Bonus 7. The Union 8. Conclusion. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE SUPPRESSION OF GUILT
BY DANIEL DOR (Tel Aviv University)
FALL 2005, PLUTO PRESS is from the Pluto Press, and Amira Hess give the book jacket blurb... so.. some of the readers here may not love what they read in this book. In the three years that have passed since Operation Defensive Shield - three years marked by denial, deceit, rage and resentment - one fact remains uncontroversial: never, until the operation, had there been such a wide breach between the Israeli collective consciousness and international public opinion. Israeli scholar Daniel Dor measures this gap and concludes that Israeli society has withdrawn into an unprecedented sense of isolation and victimization - largely because of the role played by the Israeli media. Different media outlets provided their readers and viewers with significantly different perspectives on the operation, but they all shared a certain emotional attitude, not vis-à-vis the operation itself, but in relations to the global discourse of blame against Israel: they all projected an urgent, desperate, almost obsessive urge to suppress, to dismiss, to fend off guilt. Dor shows how analyzing this type of reporting as an attempt to manufacture consent with the government and the military fails to capture its essential nature. He argues that, at its core, the coverage proposed alternatives for the construction of an Israeli identity. During the operation, all the different media converged around one assertion: being Israeli at this point in time feels like being accused by the entire world of something we are not guilty of. Basing his arguments on detailed analyses of media reports, Dor explores how the Israeli media work within the context of the global media and world opinion, rather than within the classic context of the nation-state -- and what it means for the future of the country. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] On Tuesdays, They Played Mah Jongg
an unfinished screenplay five menopausal Jewish women one strange year
by Milton Stern
LuLu, 2005
For two decades, Michael Bern, a gay television writer in Hollywood, has stared at an unfinished screenplay sitting on his desk. After attending a friend's funeral in his hometown of Newport News, Virginia, Michael returns to Hollywood and finds there is more than a screenplay that is unfinished in his life. He finally confronts what the screenplay represents - memories and stories of the sometimes sad, often hilarious characters of his past, especially his mother and her four closest friends. Florence, Hannah, Rona, Arlene and Doreen - five more fascinating, menopausal, Jewish women one would never meet. They were friends for more than forty years and saw each other through life's triumphs, tragedies and multiple spouses. Yet, there was only one constant in their lives. On Tuesdays, they played Mah Jongg. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Alwaleed
Businessman, Billionaire, Prince
by Riz Khan
William Morrow (October 1, 2005)
Khan, independent broadcaster and journalist, offers a unique window into the life and times of His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (known as Alwaleed), who is described by the Wall Street Journal as the "Arab Warren Buffet." Age 50 and U.S.-educated, Alwaleed is currently the fifth wealthiest man in the world. His prominent family ties in Saudi Arabia as well as in Lebanon lead him, a Muslim who identifies with Western ways and champions reform, to serve as a bridge between the Middle East and the West. The most successful investor outside the U.S., he owns vast investment portfolios that include such brand names as Citibank, EuroDisney, and Apple. This is a fascinating tale of a financial giant who gave the author unprecedented access to himself and those who surround him, resulting in a treasure trove of information. However, like all biographies written with the support of the subject, many could question its objectivity. Alaweed is a former or current MAJOR investor in Citicorp / Citibank. Saks 5th Avenue, Planet Hollywood (he lost on that), DKNY (he sold his shares in Donna Karan when it was acquired by LVMH which makes liquor, a no-no), Disney, News Corp (5%), Geroges V Hotels of Paris, AOL Time Warner (held $1 billion in 2001-2002). After 9/11, Alaweed donated $10 million to NYC, but Mayor Giuliani rejected his donation. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Jesus and Yahweh
The Names Divine (Hardcover)
by Harold Bloom
Riverhead Hardcover (October 6, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: Prolific literary critic, Yale professor and professional provocateur Bloom (The Book of J) here tackles the characters of the Jewish and Christian gods: what god do we meet in Hebrew Scripture? Who is the Jesus of the New Testament, and does he bear any relation to the Jesus most Americans worship? Does, for that matter, the Hebrew Yahweh resemble the first person of contemporary Christians' Trinity? Bloom, as usual, skewers quite a few sacred cows-for example, he dismisses the quest for the historical Jesus as a waste of time, and says that Jewish-Christian dialogue is a "farce." But in fact Bloom's major points are somewhat commonplace, including his assertion that the Christian reading of Hebrew Scripture laid the groundwork for Christian anti-Semitism. A fair enough charge, but hardly a new one; theologians have observed, and debated, this point for centuries. Bloom's real brilliance lies in his smaller, subtler claims, such as his nuanced discussion of the different ways Matthew, Mark and Luke present Jesus, his assertion that Bible translator William Tyndale anticipated Shakespeare, and his observation that, contra Marx, religion is not the opiate of the people but their "poetry, both bad and good." The book is learned, even erudite, and sure to be controversial. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Nuremberg Interviews
by Leon Goldensohn
Riverhead Hardcover (October 6, 2005)
The Nuremberg Interviews reveals the chilling innermost thoughts of the former Nazi officials under indictment at the famous postwar trial. The architects of one of history's greatest atrocities speak out about their lives, their careers in the Nazi Party, and their views on the Holocaust. Their reflections are recorded in a set of interviews conducted by a U.S. Army psychiatrist. Dr. Leon Goldensohn was entrusted with monitoring the mental health of the two dozen German leaders charged with carrying out genocide, as well as that of many of the defense and prosecution witnesses. These recorded conversations have gone largely unexamined for more than fifty years. Now, Robert Gellately-one of the premier historians of Nazi Germany-has transcribed, edited, and annotated the interviews, and makes them available to the public for the first time in this volume. Here are interviews with the highest-ranking Nazi officials in the Nuremberg jails, including Hans Frank, Hermann Goering, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, and Joachim von Ribbentrop. Here, too, are interviews with the lesser-known officials who were, nonetheless, essential to the workings of the Third Reich. Goldensohn was a particularly astute interviewer, his training as a psychiatrist leading him to probe the motives, the rationales, and the skewing of morality that allowed these men to enact an unfathomable evil. Candid and often shockingly truthful, these interviews are deeply disturbing in their illumination of an ideology gone mad. Each interview is annotated with biographical information that places the man and his actions in their historical context. These interviews are a profoundly important addition to our understanding of the Nazi mind and mission. . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] ONE BULLET aWAY
The Making of a Marine Officer
by Nathaniel Fick
OCTOBER 3, 2005, Houghton Mifflin
Mr. Fick graduated from Dartmouth. He is now a dual degree candidate at Harvard Biz School and the JFK School. If the Marines are "the few, the proud," Recon Marines are the fewest and the proudest. Only one Marine in a hundred qualifies for the Reconnaissance Battalion, charged with working clandestinely, often behind enemy lines. Fick"s training begins with a hellish summer at Quantico, after his junior year at Dartmouth, and advances to the pinnacle-Recon-four years later, on the eve of war with Iraq. Along the way, he learns to shoot a man a mile away, stays awake for seventy-two hours straight, endures interrogation and torture at the secretive SERE course, learns to swim with Navy SEALs, masters the Eleven Principles of Leadership, and much more. His vast skill set puts him in front of the front lines, leading 22 Marines into the deadlist conflict since Vietnam. He vows he will bring all his men home safely, and to do so he"ll need more than his top-flight education. He"ll need luck and an increasingly clear vision of the limitations of his superiors and the missions they assign him. Fick unveils the process that makes Marine officers such legendary leaders and shares his hard-won insights into the differences between the military ideals he learned and military practice, which can mock those ideals.
From Publishers Weekly: The global war on terrorism has spawned some excellent combat narratives-mostly by journalists. Warriors, like Marine Corps officer Fick, bring a different and essential perspective to the story. A classics major at Dartmouth, Fick joined the Marines in 1998 because he "wanted to go on a great adventure... to do something so hard that no one could ever talk shit to me." Thus begins his odyssey through the grueling regimen of Marine training and wartime deployments-an odyssey that he recounts in vivid detail in this candid and fast-paced memoir. Fick was first deployed to Afghanistan, where he saw little combat, but his Operation [Iraqi] Freedom unit, the elite 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, helped spearhead the invasion of Iraq and "battled through every town on Highway 7" from Nasiriyah to al Kut. (Rolling Stone writer Evan Wright's provocative Generation Kill is based on his travels with Fick's unit.) Like the best combat memoirs, Fick's focuses on the men doing the fighting and avoids hyperbole and sensationalism. He does not shrink from the truth-however personal or unpleasant. "I was aware enough," he admits after a firefight, "to be concerned that I was starting to enjoy it." Click the book cover above to read more.

It will be published in Hebrew, but for the most talked about chapter, you can read it below (follow the URL), in English. From The Seventh War (Milchama HaShivit); By Amos Harel and Avi Isacharoff; Yediot Achronot Books; 383pp., 88 NIS in Hebrew. Harel, Haaretz's military correspondent and Isacharoff, Israel Radio's reporter on Palestinian affairs, belong to a small group who still go out into the field every day. If both weren't in their early 30s, one could say that they are reporters of the old school


[book cover click here] BAR MITZVAH DISCO
The Music May Have Stopped, but the Party's Never Over
by Roger Bennett, Nick Kroll, Jules Shell
November 2005, Crown
From Publishers Weekly: The Jewish rite of passage into adulthood is more than simply a ritual, according to Bennett, Shell and Kroll. The bar and bat mitzvahs of their youth evoke reminiscences that had been "left to languish in suburban rec rooms and the darker recesses of our memories-the unmistakable smell of the smoke machine... and the sound of Lionel Richie." This collection of essays and photos is the offshoot of their Web site of the same name, on which they solicited photos from the late 1960s through the 1980s displaying the peculiarities of their times. The book is structured as a professionally photographed bar mitzvah album, starting with awkward portraits and ending with the requisite "waving good-bye" shot. In between, the authors give short, humorous recollections of each aspect of the event, from the elaborately designed sign-in board to the chair-lift tradition.
[foer] [silverman] [jacobs] Well-known contributors, such as author Jonathan Safran Foer, comedian Sarah Silverman and Will & Grace creator David Kohan, add what seem to be hastily crafted but amusing short commentaries. While deeper observations would've made this more sustaining fare, the photographs alone make it a delicious bite of pop culture.
Mr. Bennett, 30, was the director of special projects at the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies in New York. He hails from Leeds University and Liverpool and St. Helen's, England. He was sitting around one day with two friends and they were bored on Manhattan's West Side. One friend suggested they look through their bar mitzvah photo albums. The rest is history. He is now working on a book of Catskills photos and resurrecting the unique fashions of adler pants (see
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Listening for the Oboe
The Drashot of Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Dr. Constance H. Buchanan (Introduction), Rabbi Margaret Wenig (Editor)
November 2005, CBST Books
Two of the best classes we ever took were at CBST (Jewish Law and Tattoos was one of them, hehe). And while some people go to shuls to pray or for the honey cake, we at have been attracted by the inspiring and humor filled sermons and drashot by Rabbi Kleinbaum (who can forget the poingnat Kol Nidre one, in which she also added that congregants were welcome to fall to sleep since Manhattanites are so sleep deprived it would be a miotzvah if she could grant them some needed rest, or that the Loew's Cinema 8:30 films were about to start across from the shul). And now, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in Manhattan has published Listening for the Oboe, a collection of drashot by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum from her first ten years as spiritual leader of CBST. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Learn to Write the Hebrew Script
Aleph Through the Looking Glass
(Yale Language Series) (Paperback)
by Jonathan Orr-Stav
Learn to Write the Hebrew Script presents a new and innovative approach to learning the Hebrew script. Drawing on the common ancestry of European and Hebrew alphabets and the natural inclinations of the writing hand, Orr-Stav shows how the Hebrew script may be understood and acquired almost intuitively through a three-step transformation of ordinary Roman-script cursive. Thoroughly researched but written with a light touch and the empathy of someone who's been there, Learn to Write the Hebrew Script uncovers several surprises and dispels much of the mystique of what is often an intimidating subject, making the script of the Old Testament much more accessible to millions of non-Hebrew speakers worldwide.
"What sets this book apart is its novel approach to the subject, which offers the Western reader a far more accessible and less intimidating approach to the subject."-J.P. Kang, Princeton Theological Seminary
"This quirky, unexpected, and utterly charming book offers a three-step method for learning to write Hebrew script, and the author has a gift for presenting the technical and abstract clearly and disarmingly."-The Jerusalem Report
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] 700 Sundays (Seven Hundred Sundays)
by Billy Crystal
November 1, 2005, Warner Books
I saw the show on Bway in 2004. Now it is in hardcover.
From Publishers Weekly: Reading the book version of comedian Crystal's Broadway solo show can be initially off-putting. The jokes he uses to warm up his audience (on why Jews eat Chinese food on Sunday nights, his complaints about his circumcision, the nasal pronunciation of Jewish names, etc.) are distinctly unfunny on the page. But once Crystal is finished with shtick and on to the story of his marvelous Long Island family, readers will be glad they can savor it at their own pace. There's the story of Crystal's uncle Milt Gabler, who started the Commodore music label and recorded Billie Holiday singing "Strange Fruit" when no one else would. Then there's the Sunday afternoon when Holiday takes young Crystal to see his first movie at what later became the Fillmore East. There's even Louis Armstrong at the Crystal family seder, with Crystal's grandma telling the gravelly-voiced singer, "Louis, have you tried just coughing it up?" At the heart of these tales is Crystal's father, the man who bought his little boy a tape recorder when he announced he wanted to be a comedian and didn't scold when he recycled off-color borscht belt routines for family gatherings. Crystal's dad worked two jobs and died young, so they had maybe 700 Sundays together-but how dear they were. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays
From the New Play Commission of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture
Edited by Ellen Schiff and Michael Posnick with Intro by Theodore Bikel
November 2005. University of Texas Press
Jewish theatre--plays about and usually by Jews--enters the twenty-first century with a long and distinguished history. To keep this vibrant tradition alive, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture established the New Play Commissions in Jewish Theatre in 1994. The commissions are awarded in an annual competition. Their goal is to help emerging and established dramatists develop new works in collaboration with a wide variety of theatres. Since its inception, the New Play Commissions has contributed support to more than seventy-five professional productions, staged readings, and workshops. This anthology brings together nine commissioned plays that have gone on to full production. Ellen Schiff and Michael Posnick have selected works that reflect many of the historical and social forces that have shaped contemporary Jewish experience and defined Jewish identity-among them, surviving the Holocaust, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the lives of newcomers in America, Israel, and Argentina. Following a foreword by Theodore Bikel, the editors provide introductory explanations of the New Play Commissions and an overview of Jewish theatre. The playwrights comment on the genesis of their work and its production history. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] INTRODUCING SASHA ABRAMOWITZ
Fall 2005, FSG
Ages 10 and up
Meet Sasha Abramowitz: smart, funny, resourceful. Aspiring writer and pastry chef. Good listener (usually), good talker (when she feels like it), good friend (most of the time). Good sister? Well, that's more complicated. You see, her brother has Tourette's syndrome, which is really his problem, but in a way it's Sasha's, too (he can be pretty embarrassing at times). Let's just say she's working on it. Anyway, he's away at a special school (until a fire sends the students home, unexpectedly). But with her baseball-loving professor dad, a mom who teaches neuroscience, a babysitter who's the star shortstop for the Krieger Cats and doubles as a magician and card trickster, an ex-babysitter who becomes her substitute teacher, and an onagain-off-again best friend, Sasha is not alone. As she struggles with changing friendships and feelings about her older brother, learns her lines for her part in Cheaper by the Dozen, gets to know James, the quiet boy who plays opposite her, and helps the doctors solve a medical mystery, she comes to see herselfand her life in a different light. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Eight Nights of Chanukkah
by Leslea Newman, Elivia Savadier (Illustrator)
November 2005, Abrams
Ages 4 -7
Three challahs, two maccabees, and a present waiting for me.....
Why three challahs?...
Incorporating the popular music of 12 Days of Christmas into a Chanukah book, this is perfect for children of any religious orientation. "On the first night of Chanukah..." begins the familiar tune in a book that sees the wondrous days of Chanukah through the eyes of shy young child. The child's family grows bigger and bigger as the holiday gets closer and closer. Each night, one new item or person is added to the celebration-and there is always a present for every child in the room! The accumulating text makes this book fun to read (and sing!) aloud while the bright and cheerful illustrations allow a young reader to count each object added. Educational and a joy for adults and children, The Eight Nights of Chanukah is a wonderful book for the whole family to share. Leslea Newman is the author of fifty books for both adults and children. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Kids' Catalog of Hanukkah
(Kids' Catalog Series) (Paperback)
by David A. Adler
What fun! A Hanukkah book chock full of history, stories, activities, music, riddles, games, mazes, cartoons, puzzles, recipes, crafts, songs, and so much more. In this activity-packed, fact-filled new title in the enormously successful JPS Kids' Catalog Series, Adler provides just the right balance of education and entertainment. This is a book that children and their families will enjoy again and again, year after year. The opening section of the book explains the history and customs of Hanukkah, along with details on the traditional way to light the candles and celebrate the holiday. This is followed by a selection of wonderful stories written by such classic writers as I.L. Peretz and Sadie Rose Weilerstein, and modern tales by Johanna Hurwitz, Malka Penn, and other contemporary storytellers. Part Three is pure Hanukkah fun. A glossary, index, and annotated list of recommended books about Hanukkah are also included. Click the book cover above to read more.

did you hear about the kid who thought his grandfather owned a sweet shop. Oops.. it was a sweat shop.

[book cover click here] Hanukkah, Shmanukkah!
by Esmé Raji Codell, LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)
Fall 2005, Hyperion
Ages 5 and up
Old Scroogemacher is as sour as a pickle and has a tongue like horseradish. He's a tyrant to the poor workers in his waistcoat factory (sweatshop), and even on the last night of Hanukkah, he has the nerve to set the clocks back. When his nephew Moshe protests, Scroogemacher shrugs. "Hanukkah, shmanukkah," he says. "It's just another night to me." Oy vey, was he wrong! Who would have thought that not one, not two, but THREE mysterious rabbis would visit him that night? As Scroogemacher travels back and forth with his wise guides from the time of the Maccabees to present-day tenements, and then on to the wonders and horrors of the future, he begins to understand that good things can happen from a little remembering. Especially on Hanukkah, shmanukkah. But do the rabbis manage to turn Scroogemacher into a mensch? What do you think, can a leopard change its spots? Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Four Sides, Eight Nights
A New Spin on Hanukkah
by Rebecca Tova Ben-Zvi, Susanna Natti
Fall 2005, Roaring Brook Press
Ages 5 and up
Four sides of a toy, eight nights of celebration, forty-four candles burning in honor of an ancient miracle, two-thousand-one-hundred-seventy-some years of Hanukkah -- everything you ever wanted to know about the Hanukkah holiday, centered of the children's game of dreidel (a spinning top). Jokes, history, customs, trivia, science facts (just how fast does a dreidel spin?) come to life with wacky and informative illustrations throughout. Rebecca Tova Ben-Zvi makes her latkes with sweet potatoes and plays dreidel year-round. Writing as Rebecca O'Connell, she is the author of The Baby Goes Beep. A librarian and storyteller, she lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen
by Susie Fishbein
November 30, 2005, Mesorah
Ages 9 - 12
Simple enough to give a child confidence and interesting enough to engage the parental chef, these kid-friendly recipes and helpful tips introduce the techniques known by every good kosher cook. Each recipe comes with an equipment list, an ingredient list, and a photo of every scrumptious dish. Eighty recipes, including Saucy Franks, Breakfast Burritos, Choco Chiop Cookie Dough Cheesecake. Includes an explanation on how to keep your kitchen kosher. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Salad People And More Real Recipes
A New Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up
by Mollie Katzen
Fall 2005, Tricycle
Ages 3 - 8
In the much-anticipated follow-up to Pretend Soup, celebrity chef Mollie Katzen cooks up 20 new vegetarian recipes that kids six and under can prepare themselves (with a little help from their adult assistant). The last decade has seen unprecedented demand in healthy eating for kids. Taking this interest one step further, Mollie Katzen presents kid-friendly recipes that will inspire joyful kitchen adventures and food appreciation. With Salad People, children will enjoy a lifelong love and playful respect for nutritious food from Tiny Tacos, Counting Soup, Salad People, and beyond. Complete with kitchen tips, safety and behavior rules compiled by actual kids, and thoughtful observations on what children gain from cooking, Salad People is the model children's kitchen guide for a new decade. All-new recipes make the perfect companions to Pretend Soup recipes. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Matzoh Ball Gumbo
Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Fall 2005, Univ of North Carolina
Since early colonial times in America, Jewish southerners have been tempted by delectable regional foods. Because some of these foods--including pork and shellfish--have been traditionally forbidden to Jews by religious dietary laws, southern Jews face a special predicament. In a culinary journey through the Jewish South, Arkansas native Marcie Cohen Ferris explores how southern Jews embraced, avoided, and adapted southern food and, in the process, have found themselves at home. From colonial Savannah and Charleston to Civil War era New Orleans and Natchez, from New South Atlanta to contemporary Memphis and across the Mississippi and Arkansas Deltas, Ferris examines the expressive power of food throughout southern Jewish history. She demonstrates how southern Jews reinvented traditions as they adjusted to living in a largely Christian world where they were bound by regional rules of race, class, and gender. Featuring a trove of photographs, Matzoh Ball Gumbo also includes anecdotes, oral histories, and more than thirty recipes to try at home. Ferris's rich tour of southern Jewish foodways shows that, at the dining table, Jewish southerners created a distinctive religious expression that reflects the evolution of southern Jewish life. From the colonial era to the present, Ferris examines the expressive power of food throughout Southern Jewish history. She demonstrates how Southern Jews reinvented culinary traditions as they adjusted to living in a largely Christian region where forbidden foods such as pork, shrimp, oysters, and crab are intensely popular. Richly illustrated, this culinary tour of the Jewish South includes anecdotes, oral histories, and more than thirty recipes to try at home. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Bodies and Souls
The Tragic Plight of Three Jewish Women Forced into Prostitution in the Americas
by Isabel Vincent
William Morrow. November 2005
The acclaimed journalist and author of Hitler's Silent Partners reveals for the first time one of the most shameful and secret chapters in history -- the forced slavery and prostitution of thousands of young Jewish women from the 1860s to the beginning of World War II. Sophia Chamys, Rachel Liberman, Rebecca Freedman. Young and poor, these Jewish women and thousands of others like them were sold or duped into slavery, forced to become prostitutes by the Zwi Migdal, a notorious criminal gang comprised entirely of Jewish mobsters. From the late 1860s until the beginning of World War II in 1939, the women left behind the grinding poverty and anti-Semitism of Eastern Europe's teeming urban ghettos and rural shtetls to find themselves working in brothels in South America, Latin America, South Africa, India, and New York. Though these women were forced into this terrible life, the Jewish community deemed them unclean and refused to accept them. Barred from synagogues and shunned by their coreligionists, they were also forbidden from partaking in the sacred Jewish burial ritual. Eventually they formed The Society of Truth, a religious order of love, honor to God, and faith in one another that established women-only synagogues, kosher kitchens, and cemeteries. Culled from archival documents, academic studies, and interviews, Bodies and Souls illuminates the tragic plight of these long-forgotten women and elevates them to their rightful place in history.
From Publishers Weekly: One of the saddest and most shameful stories in Jewish history has been suppressed for generations: between 1860 and 1939, thousands of poor young women from Eastern European shtetls were sold into sexual slavery by the Jewish-run Zwi Migdal crime syndicate, which controlled brothels on several continents. Focusing on three women, Vincent reconstructs the miserable lives of many of these women. One, sent to New York, saw 273 men in a two-week period. Many, unable to find support in the Jewish community-which ostracized them-committed suicide. And one, Sally Knopf, whose own uncle was a trafficker, escaped by disguising herself as a man. There is some triumph here: the Jewish prostitutes of Rio de Janeiro purchased their own cemetery in 1916 and ran their own burial society. By the time they bought their own synagogue in 1942, they had seen the demise of the Zwi Migdal gang. Unanswered questions, many raised by Vincent herself, abound. Clearly, poverty and lack of opportunity in Europe drove women into the trade, but why did they stay? Canadian journalist Vincent (Hitler's Silent Partners: Swiss Banks, Nazi Gold and the Pursuit of Justice) demonstrates her strength as a writer and storyteller, which enables her to at least partially retrieve this all-but-lost world. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Unfolding Tradition
Jewish Law After Sinai
by Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff
November 2005, AVIV
By Rabbi Elliot Dorff, a Professor at Univ of Judaism in Los Angeles and at UCLA School of Law. This is his twelfth book on Jewish law and thought. This volume analyzes the biblical and rabbinic roots of Jewish law, as interpreted by leading rabbis of the Conservative movement and beyond. This long-awaited work is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the roots, development and interpretation of Jewish law in general, and for those who wish to know how Conservative Judaism evolved and what it represents. Rabbi Dorff also explains some fascinating differences between American and Jewish law. The book includes texts and selections by rabbis on the left and right of the Conservative movement (as well as Orthodox writers), including Rabbis Jacob Agus, Ray Scheindlin, Gordon Tucker, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, David Hartman, Euguene Borowitz, Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Z. Frankel, Solomon Schechter, Louis Jacobs, David Gordis, Joel Roth, Neil Gillman, and Alana Suskind. Includes samples of Conservative legal theories, such as the ordination of women, a response to miscarriaged pregnancies, intimate relations, poverty, and the end of life. . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE CONTRACT WITH GOD TRILOGY
Life on Dropsie Avenue (A Contract With God, A Life Force, Dropsie Avenue)
by WILL EISNER (1917-2005)
The legendary graphic novel and the sequels that launched an art form. With graphic narrative that "was closer to the writing of Bernard Malamud or Isaac Bashevis Singer than any comic art which had preceded it" (The Economist), A Contract with God, originally published in 1978, was the first graphic novel: the prototype-along with A Life Force and Dropsie Avenue-for such seminal works as Maus and Persepolis. Set during the Great Depression, this literary trilogy, assembled in one volume for the first time, presents a treasure house of now near-mythic stories that fictionally illustrate the bittersweet tenement life of Eisner's youth. With nearly one dozen new illustrations and a revealing brand-new foreword, this book ultimately tells the epic story of life, death, and resurrection while exploring man's fractious relationship with an all-too-vengeful God. This mesmerizing, fictional chronicle of the universal American immigrant experience is Eisner's most poignant and enduring legacy. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Stalemate
A Novel (Paperback)
by Icchokas Meras, Jonas Zdanys (Translator)
From Publishers Weekly: SS Commandant Adolf Schroger, overseeing the Vilna Jewish ghetto, challenges 171/2-year-old Isaac Lipman to a chess match with tauntingly barbarous stakes: if Isaac wins, Schroger will kill him, but all of the children in the ghetto will live; if he loses, the children will die, except for Isaac. A stalemate is thus the only desirable outcome. Isaac is his father Abraham's last surviving son; the two show love, strength and composure in the face of fear. Isaac's 16-year-old love interest, Esther, is lovely and sweet, but carrying her own already tragic past. There are many other stories, sometimes extraneous, of fathers and mothers, the missing and the dead, close friends and siblings. Born in Lithuania in 1934, Meras was hidden by a rural family during WWII; his family was murdered by the SS. In 1972, Meras emigrated to Israel, and most of his many novels center on WWII. The plot of Stalemate, out of print for 20 years, may seem hokey, but it's precisely the sort of random, ham-fisted horror that the Nazis routinely came up with, and Isaac's quest to merge cleverness and humility in all aspects of his life, under extreme duress, is winning. Icchokas Meras was born in 1934 in Kelme, a town in northwestern Lithuania. Meras has been the recipient of many literary awards. He currently lives in Holon, Israel. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Two Lives
by Vikram Seth
HarperCollins (November 1, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: (Starred Review) In 1969, [Vikram] Seth, 17, came from Calcutta to London to continue his education and to stay with his Shanti Uncle and Aunty Henny. Their relationship became warm, and it is their stories (as well as his own) that Seth (A Suitable Boy) tells in this wide-ranging, unpredictable and moving account. Shanti was Seth's grandfather's brother, a dentist who studied in Berlin, lodging with Frau Caro, whose daughter, Henny, was in love with someone else. He left for Britain in 1936 because he couldn't practice in Germany, but in 1940, as war broke out, he enlisted, served throughout and lost his right arm in combat, a calamity for a dentist. Meanwhile, Henny, a German Jew, arrived in Britain weeks before war was declared, leaving her beloved mother and sister behind to death camp murder. "Vicky" interviewed his great-uncle at length, and part two of his narrative focuses on Shanti. Part three, Henny's story, even more unusual, is based on a trove of remarkable letters she received and wrote (she often kept carbons), many to friends in Germany during the war. Part four examines their marriage (they didn't marry until seven years after the war), and part five details a family mystery about Shanti's will and Seth's complex but beautifully lucid summation of his research into these lives. This lovely book, "memoir as well as biography," examines great and fearful events seen through extraordinary lives. In clear and elegant writing, Seth explores the macrocosm through the microcosm, resulting in a most unusual, worthwhile book. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Inside the Hornet's Head
An Anthology of Jewish American Writing
by Jerome Charyn
Thunder's Mouth Press (November 9, 2005)
When compiler Jerome Charyn first read Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March, a world of letters opened up to him. It was his first exposure to the full potential of language, rendered breathlessly. In those pages he felt the terror and delight and buzz and ceaseless clatter of the inside of a hornet's head. Here, he shares with us nineteen stories, including one from Augie March, that evoke similar feelings of passion and pain and joy. Selected from some of America's most celebrated Jewish writers, as well as a few lesser known ones, Inside the Hornet's Head is a moving, daring, appealing, and indispensable work. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Sitcom Style
Inside America's Favorite TV Homes
by Diana Friedman
Clarkson Potter (November 22, 2005)
From Archie Bunker's Barcalounger to the framed peephole on Friends, sitcom decor sets the tone of our favorite shows-and defines the lives of its characters. Now Sitcom Style brings you a behind-the-scenes peek inside more than two dozen of the most recognizable homes in American pop culture: the sets of our favorite TV shows from the past half-century. The sets of situation comedies aren't just a collection of random props that surround the actors; they're statements of style. They're designed to convey a particular mood, to both reflect and enhance the personalities of the people who live in them-just like anyone's home. So Sitcom Style is more than a glimpse into a make-believe world; it's also a fascinating exploration of how to bring personal style into your own living room. Set designers share their secrets and strategies for creating some of the most thought-out homes in America, and you can learn how to recreate these styles in your own home, complete with shopping resources! What's more, Sitcom Style is also a nostalgic stroll through the most beloved locations in the American consciousness. From the early days of I Love Lucy, The Addams Family, and I Dream of Jeannie through seventies' favorites like Three's Company and Happy Days to the eighties' The Cosby Show and Roseanne and recent megahits like Friends, Sex and the City, and Will & Grace, Sitcom Style is an at-a-glance look at how America has lived for the past fifty years. And for true TV buffs, each chapter includes information on the set designers, years of production, favorite quotes, and trivia. A completely unique combination of pop culture and interior design, Sitcom Style is a must whether you love the TV world or want to spice up your own decor at home. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Great War for Civilisation
The Conquest of the Middle East
by Robert Fisk
NOVEMBER 2005, Knopf
From Publishers Weekly: Combining a novelist's talent for atmosphere with a scholar's grasp of historical sweep, foreign correspondent Fisk (Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon) has written one of the most dense and compelling accounts of recent Middle Eastern history yet. The book opens with a deftly juxtaposed account of Fisk's two interviews with Osama bin Laden. In the first, held in Sudan in 1993, bin Laden declared himself "a construction engineer and an agriculturist." He had no time to train mujahideen, he said; he was busy constructing a highway. In the second, held four years later in Afghanistan, he declared war on the Saudi royal family and America.Fisk, who has lived in and reported on the Middle East since 1976, first for the (London) Times and now for the Independent, possesses deep knowledge of the broader history of the region, which allows him to discuss the Armenian genocide 90 years ago, the 2002 destruction of Jenin, and the battlefields of Iraq with equal aplomb. But it is his stunning capacity for visceral description-he has seen, or tracked down firsthand accounts of, all the major events of the past 25 years-that makes this volume unique. Some of the chapters contain detailed accounts of torture and murder, which more squeamish readers may be inclined to skip, but such scenes are not gratuitous. They are designed to drive home Fisk's belief that "war is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death." Though Fisk's political stances may sometimes be controversial, no one can deny that this volume is a stunning achievement. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] NOT ME
A Novel by Michael Lavigne
November 2005, Random House
Donna Seaman, writing in Booklist, states: "*Starred Review* Lavigne carves a new portal into the depthless mystery of the Holocaust, writing insightfully and imaginatively about the survival instinct and the thorny love between fathers and sons in a debut even more accomplished than Nicole Krauss' much-hailed Holocaust novel The History of Love (2005). Michael Rosenheim, a smart and endearingly self-deprecating stand-up comic, hides within a fortress of jokes in the wake of the early deaths of his sister and mother and his divorce. Now Heshel, his father, is in a Florida nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's. Holed up in his father's Judaica-festooned apartment, Michael feels as though he has gone through the looking glass as he starts reading a set of old journals. Lavigne alternates with increasing drama between the ruefully funny "live" scenes and the utter hell the blunt diarist describes in chronicling the life of Heinrich Mueller, an SS death camp accountant. As the Allies approach, he steals the identity of a dead Jewish inmate named Heshel Rosenheim and ends up in Israel, where Holocaust survivors fight heroically for a homeland. Performing a phenomenal balancing act between light and dark, past and present, guilt and forgiveness, Lavigne sets in motion profoundly complex moral dilemmas in a vivid, all-consuming, paradoxical, and quintessentially human story."
Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Other Side of Me
by Sidney Sheldon
Sheldon was born in Chicago, Illinois to a German Jewish father and a Russian Jewish mother. His career began in 1937 in Hollywood, California, where he reviewed scripts and collaborated on a number of B-movies. Over the years, Sheldon has written for television, film, and stage, winning an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay (1947) for The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, a Tony Award (1959) for his musical Redhead, and earned Emmy nominations for his work on I Dream of Jeannie, an NBC sitcom. As well as the Patty Duke Show.
His eagerly-anticipated memoir opens as Sheldon is contemplating suicide as a teen, the vistim of bi polar disorder. America's premier storyteller shares the story of his own life in a frank and revealing book that rivals any of his fictional tales.Sidney Sheldon is truly an entertainment legend: Author of over a dozen bestsellers, Academy Award¨-winning screenwriter, and creator of some of television's greatest hits, he has lived a singularly fascinating life. Sheldon has seen and done it all, and now in this candid memoir, he shares his story for the first time-talking about the personalities, highs, and lows that have made his career and life so captivating. From a depression-era childhood in Chicago to an Air Corps stint in WW II to the bright lights and hot parties of New York and Los Angeles, Sidney Sheldon has lived the kind of life most people could never imagine...until now. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] CONFRONTING ANTI-SEMITISM
Essays by Kofi A. Annan and Elie Wiesel
Intro by Shashi Tharoor
NOVEMBER 2005, Ruder Finn Press
Ruder Finn, the top PR Agency, has published this book on the June 2004 UN seminar on anti-Semitism. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] NAZI ANTI SEMITISM
One of the continuing puzzles of twentieth-century history is how Germany moved from a kind of anti-Semitism that was despicable, but did not seem exceedingly dangerous, to the Final Solution. This question has been much debated in recent years, and historians have arrived at very different answers. In Nazi Anti-Semitism, Philippe Burrin, one of the leading historians of Nazi Germany, offers a new understanding of the evolution of Nazi thought and policy. Disagreeing with those such as Daniel Goldhagen (author of Hitler's Willing Executioners) who would condemn the German population as a whole for being inherently anti-Jewish, Burrin presents a more nuanced picture and shows how Nazi policy evolved gradually. How the Germans proceeded from seemingly unthinkable premises to the actual horror of the Holocaust is the story that he tells in this essential book. Burrin's France Under the Germans, published by The New Press in 1997, received widespread praise and has become a seminal work. Already published to great acclaim in France, Nazi Anti-Semitism opens new perspectives in a vital historical debate with continuing relevance. . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Against the Wall
Israel's Barrier to Peace
by Michael Sorkin
NOVEMBER 2005, New Press
Voices from Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as around the world, explore the intersection of architecture and politics. Called a "security fence" by the Israeli government and the "apartheid wall" by Palestinians, the barrier currently under construction in the West Bank has been the subject of intense controversy since the first olive tree was uprooted in its path. In violation of a ruling by the International Court of Justice and a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly, the structure juts deep inside Palestinian territory, altering not only the geographical landscape, but the political one as well. A collection of original pieces, along with photographs and maps, that offer a critique of the wall from a range of perspectives-legal, historical, architectural, and philosophical. Architect Michael Sorkin has assembled commentary from various international experts, including both Israeli and Palestinian voices. (Of course, only those people who criticize the wall).. including Suad Amiry, Ariella Azoulay, Terry Boullata, Mike Davis, Sari Hanafi, Stephanie Koury, Dean MacCannell, Ruchama Marton, Adi Ophir, Rebecca Solnit, Anita Vitullo, and Eyal Weizmann. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Barrier
The Seam of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
by Isabel Kershner (Jerusalem Report magazine)
Palgrave Macmillan (November 29, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: One of the effects of the highly controversial barrier being erected by Israel between itself and Occupied Palestine has been the creation of a weird nether-world dubbed "the Seam Zone," which Jerusalem Report editor Kerchner describes with both compassion and coherence. Using numerous interviews and impressive legwork, Kerchner conveys both the tragic necessity of a physical separation to shield Israelis from terrorism, as well as the bureaucratic nightmare of Kafkaesque proportions the arbitrary divide represents for the Palestinians caught on the wrong side as they are subjected to a barrage of hardships, humiliations and expropriations. Kerchner follows a plethora of protagonists, including academics, military fence planners, disillusioned kibbutzniks, Arab farmers cut off from their olive groves, Israeli antiwall activists and the parents of Arab "martyrs" who applaud their murderous progeny but crave peace with their Jewish neighbors. Her diligence pays off, and the rigorous in-the-field reporting and simple human empathy of this engrossing study more than makes up for a few easy generalizations on one or two contentious issues. Her volume provides stunning insights into the latest, and perhaps most potent, symbol of the impasse the Arab-Israeli peace process has lumbered into since the promising Oslo Accords over a decade ago.
The Washington Post wrote: "... The wall may be a sign of things to come: a partition without process, a territorial divisional produced not by peace talks but by bombs and barracades..." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE END OF JEWISH HISTORY
November 2005, PLUTO PRESS
Ellis, a teacher at baylor University, argues that Israel is leading to a civil war, and liberal Jews working for peace are as much to blame as conservatives. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The "Bergson Boys" And the Origins of Contemporary Zionist Militancy
(Modern Jewish History)
by Dena Ordan, Judith Tydor Baumel (Translator) (BAR ILAN UNIV)
Syracuse University Press (November 2005)
Tells the remarkable story of six young men and the organizations they founded between 1939 and 1948 that would set the stage for the militant Zionist activism of today. During and shortly after the Second World War, six young men-emissaries of the revisionist-Zionist "Irgun" military movement in Palestine - revolutionized the American - Jewish and Zionist scene. Judith Tydor Baumel provides the complete story of the role the Bergson group played in raising American public consciousness of Jewish and Zionist concerns. After founding a series of pro-Zionist and rescue organizations, they initiated a new form of fundraising that used the media to turn the spotlight on their activities, gaining adherents and supporters from both ends of the political and social spectrum. Long before the protest movements of the 1950s and 1960s, members of this group learned the art of courting the media in order to bring word of their existence to every part of the United States. Having energized politicians, gangsters, Hollywood moguls, and ultra- Orthodox rabbis, the handful of young men taught other Zionist and American- Jewish groups not only how the media was the message but how it could and should be used. A guiding force behind the creation of the War Refugee Board, the group served as a beacon for contemporary Zionist militancy while ultimately laying the groundwork for other organizations to utilize the media in future political campaigns. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] One Hand Jerking
Reports from an Investigative Satirist
by Paul Krassner
NOVEMBER 2005, Seven Stories Press
Counterculture legend Paul Krassner gazes on the fires of pop culture, politics and celebrity and returns unscathed to help us make sense of our senseless world, with an introduction by Lewis Black (The Daily Show) and a foreword by Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, Le Show). From cults to pornography, from Charles Manson to Homer Simpson, from the war on drugs to the invasion of Iraq, from Dolly Parton to Lenny Bruce, from circumcision to propaganda, this collection epitomizes Krassner's credo, "Irreverence is our only sacred cow." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] After Daybreak
The Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, 1945
by Ben Shephard
Schocken (November 15, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: Why did 14,000 inmates of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp die after its liberation and under British control? Shephard, creator of the Emmy-winning documentary series The World at War, casts a critical but judicious eye on British management of the camp. Drawing on letters and diaries by British military and medical personnel, he paints a textured picture of the camp's desperate state, rife with starvation and typhus. Shephard acknowledges the enormity of the problems the British faced and the logistical difficulties of wartime. Yet he makes clear that many deaths could have been prevented. Some died from food that was too rich and heavy for starving people, and the evacuation of both the sick and fit was delayed. At the same time, he commends some people, often outside the military structure, who saved lives through individual initiative and heroic measures. Shephard draws lessons for today in, for instance, the difficulty the military has in dealing with a humanitarian disaster, and the basic reality that there's only so much that can be done when confronting a den of disease. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Between You and Me
A Memoir
by Mike Wallace, Gary Paul Gates
Hyperion (November 2005)
From Booklist From the perspective of 60 years of reporting, most notably with 60 Minutes respected newsman Wallace, in his second memoir, shares interviews with the famous and the infamous, including personal observations on the friends and enemies he's made along the way. Interspersing clips from interviews with commentary, Wallace also provides the historical context and backstory. In 1971, talking to President Lyndon B. Johnson two years after leaving office, Wallace goads the desolate and compulsively controlling Johnson to speak about the legacy of the Vietnam War. Wallace relates his own personal struggles with depression, a malady he publicly shared with William Styron and Art Buchwald. He relates his respect for the penetrating intelligence and political savvy of Richard Nixon, his admiration for the public service spirit of Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, and his long friendship with Nancy Reagan, including a public falling out and a public patching up on Larry King Live. He includes a chapter featuring interviews with con artists and crooks, which 60 Minutes is famous for unveiling, and a chapter featuring beloved celebrities Shirley MacLaine, Vanessa Redgrave, Barbra Streisand, and others. The book also includes a 90-minute DVD of clips from Wallace's more famous interviews. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Nightmare's Fairy Tale
A Young Refugee's Home Fronts, 1938-1948
(Wisconsin Shoah Studies)
by Gerd Korman, Professor Emeritus Cornell Univ
University of Wisconsin Press, November 2005
Fleeing the Nazis in the months before World War II, the Korman family scattered from a Polish refugee camp with the hope of reuniting in America. The father sailed to Cuba on the ill-fated St. Louis; the mother left for the United States after sending her two sons on a Kindertransport. One of the sons was Gerd Korman, whose memoir follows his own path-from the family's deportation from Hamburg, through his time with an Anglican family in rural England, to the family's reunited life in New York City. His memoir plumbs the depths of twentieth-century history to rescue the remarkable life story of one of its survivors. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Those Who Save Us
Paperback Novel
by Jenna Blum
2005, Harvest Books
Congratulations to Jenna Blum, recipeint of the Ribalow Prize from Hadassah Magazine for this book
From Publishers Weekly: Blum, who worked for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation, takes a direct, unsentimental look at the Holocaust in her first novel. The narrative alternates between the present-day story of Trudy, a history professor at a Minneapolis university collecting oral histories of WWII survivors (both German and Jewish), and that of her aged but once beautiful German mother, Anna, who left her country when she married an American soldier. Interspersed with Trudy's interviews with German immigrants, many of whom reveal unabashed anti-Semitism, Anna's story flashes back to her hometown of Weimar. As Nazi anti-Jewish edicts intensify in the 1930s, Anna hides her love affair with a Jewish doctor, Max Stern. When Max is interned at nearby Buchenwald and Anna's father dies, Anna, carrying Max's child, goes to live with a baker who smuggles bread to prisoners at the camp. Anna assists with the smuggling after Trudy's birth until the baker is caught and executed. Then Anna catches the eye of the Obersturmführer, a high-ranking Nazi officer at Buchenwald, who suspects her of also supplying the inmates with bread. He coerces her into a torrid, abusive affair, in which she remains complicit to ensure her survival and that of her baby daughter. Blum paints a subtle, nuanced portrait of the Obersturmführer, complicating his sordid cruelty with more delicate facets of his personality. Ultimately, present and past overlap with a shocking yet believable coincidence. Blum's spare imagery is nightmarish and intimate, imbuing familiar panoramas of Nazi atrocity with stark new power. This is a poised, hair-raising debut. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Unchosen
The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels
by Hella Winston
Beacon Press (November 16, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. While other excellent studies by Sue Fishkoff, Stephanie Wellen-Levine and Lis Harris have examined the inner lives of Lubavitcher Hasidim in a mostly positive way, this account distinguishes itself by focusing on the "rebels," not just among the Lubavitch but in other Hasidic communities as well, including the insular and right-wing Satmar sect. Winston, a doctoral candidate in sociology at CUNY, unfolds a world-within-a-world, where some young Hasidim sneak televisions into their apartments in garbage bags, change clothes on the subway to frequent bars in Manhattan and blog about their double lives online. She builds fascinating case studies, inviting readers into her interviewees' conflicted, and often painful, lives. One chapter profiles a famous Hasidic teacher who in fact no longer believes; another offers a walking tour of a Hasidic 'chood (slang for neighborhood); and another chronicles the hopeful and inspiring story of Malkie, a college-age woman who is building a sort of halfway house for others, like her, who have chosen to leave Hasidism. Winston shows us a Hasidic underworld where large families and a lack of secular education have resulted in extreme poverty and some serious at-risk behavior among youth. Her story of courage and intellectual rebellion will inspire anyone who has ever felt like a religious outcast. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] After the Apple
Women in the Bible
Timeless Stories of Love, Lust, and Longing
Now in Paperback
by Naomi Harris Rosenblatt
November 2005 MirAMax
Booklist writes: Psychotherapist Rosenblatt, author of Wrestling with Angels (1995), retells the stories of 15 women from the Bible and offers the text of and commentary on the Song of Songs. All stories in the book examine the role that gender played in the lives of these women as well as how they affected the actions and motivations of husbands and sons. The complex style and structure of the book require a patient reader. Although Rosenblatt's digressions and asides demand attentive reading, they do provide insight into the original Hebrew origins of the Bible and the importance of ancient customs that remain in current practice today. Her knowledge of Hebrew and of biblical scholarship adds depth and clarity to obscurities that arise from the difficulties inherent in the process of translation. In addition to her early study of Judaism, Rosenblatt has a psychological background that flavors many of the commentaries and observations. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] THE ISRAEL MUSEUM
Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Israel Museum, with four sections: Art, Judaica, Archeaology - Youth Wing, and Jewish Ethnography. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Righteous Gentiles
How Pius XII and the Catholic Church Saved Half a Million Jews from the Nazis
by Michael Novak (Foreword), Ronald J. Rychlak
Spence Publishing Company (September, 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: In this often tedious follow-up to Hitler, the War, and the Pope, law professor Rychlak, at the University of Mississippi. defends Pius XII against critics, from James Carroll to Daniel Goldhagen and Susan Zuccotti, who accuse the pope of inaction against the Holocaust. Given access to closed Vatican archives, Rychlak amasses evidence to exonerate Pius, uncovering instances where the pope not only spoke out against Hitler but also acted in various ways to save Jews. For example, he wrote a letter that allowed 700 Jews safe passage in 1942 as they immigrated to the United States. In October 1943, the Vatican "vigorously protested the arrest of Jews, requesting the interruption of such action." The targets of Rychlak's criticism will surely have more to say in this ongoing exchange, and they're as likely to focus on his occasional manipulation of the evidence as he does on theirs. For instance, while Pius XII condemned the Germans' use of "asphyxiating and poison gases" in WWI, Rychlak reads it as a condemnation of the gas chambers. He presents evidence systematically and thoroughly, but much of it relates only indirectly to Pius himself and fails to fully convince. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] LIBERATION
A Novel (Hardcover)
Little Brown (November 2005)
From Publishers Weekly: The morning after her 70th birthday party, attended by her dutiful husband and children, Adriana Rundel takes a commuter train from suburban New Jersey to Manhattan, and becomes lost in memories of her WWII girlhood as a Jew in hiding on the Italian isle of Elba. Stealing glances from her hideout in the cupboard, she finds her first love, a young AWOL Senegalese soldier named Amdu Diop, who takes refuge in her family's home during the Allied push toward liberation. He is 17; she is 10. Theirs is an innocent infatuation rather than an intense affair, but that seems to be precisely what Scott (The Manikin) is after: "The truth was she liked Amdu because he was perfectly alive.... She just felt it, the way she felt the warmth of the sun." Their attachment is lovely, but doesn't provide much dramatic lift. And the heart attack Adriana suffers on the train ride into the city, which intermingles her childhood panic with her later-life mortal fear, is less a plot device than a means for integrating the vivid past with the dull present. Still, Scott accomplishes large shifts in time and perspective with grace, and delivers an affecting, unsentimental portrait of a survivor taking stock of her life and loves. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] RABBI PAUL
A Intellectual Biography
Bruce Chilton, Bard
NOVEMBER 2005, Paperback
A biography of Saint Paul, whose interpretations of the life and teachings of Jesus transformed a loosely organized, grassroots peasant movement into the structured religion we know today Without Paul, there would be no Christianity. His letters to various churches scattered throughout the Roman Empire articulated, for the first time, the beliefs that make up the heart of Christian practice and faith. In this extraordinary biography, Bruce Chilton explains the changing images of Paul, from the early Church period when he was regarded as the premiere apostle
who separated Christianity from Judaism
to more recent liberal evaluations, which paint him as an antifeminist, homophobic figure more dedicated to doctrine than to spiritual freedom. By illuminating Paul's thoughts and contributions within the context of his time, Chilton restores him to his place as the founding architect of the Church and one of the most important figures in Western history. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] STRANGERS IN THE LAND
NOVEMBER 2005, Harvard
PW writes: Sundquist's mammoth study is a deeply researched and illuminating hard look at how the often positive, often fraught relationship between American Jews and blacks has manifested itself in literature, historical writing, sociology and popular entertainment over the past 60 years. Sundquist's wide-ranging erudition is evident on every page; he's as apt at finding points of dialogue among Harlem Renaissance writings, popular sociology of the 1930s and the later fiction of Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and Bruce Jay Friedman as he is at discussing "black responses to Nazism" in the writings of Zora Neale Hurston. His interpretations of this complicated material are nuanced and necessarily tentative. A professor of literature at UCLA, Sundquist is most engrossing when delving into a specific work, such as Bernard Malamud's The Tenants or Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (where he expands his discussion to include the Leo Frank case as well as the Nazi attack on jazz); the author is also compelling when he carefully elucidates his themes and arguments. Still, while this material will be of great interest to scholars of Jewish and African-American history and culture, the sheer mass of information, ideas and theoretical constructs may be overwhelming for the general reader. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] Jewish Writing and the Deep Places of the Imagination
Edited by Mark Krupnick, Jean K. Carney and Mark Shechner
Wisconsin. November 2005.
When he learned he had ALS and roughly two years to live, literary critic Mark Krupnick returned to the writers who had been his lifelong conversation partners and asked with renewed intensity: how do you live as a Jew, when, mostly, you live in your head? The evocative and sinuous essays collected here are the products of this inquiry. In his search for durable principles, Krupnick follows Lionel Trilling, Cynthia Ozick, Geoffrey Hartman, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, and others into the elemental matters of life and death, sex and gender, power and vulnerability. Click to read more.

[book cover click here] Is New York Burning?
a novel by Larry Collins, Dominque Lapierre
NOVEMBER 2005, Phoenix Books
PW writes: A master Palestinian terrorist seeking retribution against Israel hooks up first with Saddam and then, after Saddam's capture, with Osama; through the latter, he acquires a nuclear bomb from Pakistan, ships it to New York and, with a crew babysitting it, threatens to detonate the bomb unless Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 borders-within five days. The rest of this novel from the late Collins (The Road to Armageddon), who died this past June, and collaborator Lapierre, is basically a procedural: what does the U.S. government do, and how does it do it, as the hours tick by. All of the characterizations are cardboard, but they're convincing enough to sustain the book: there are fictionalizations of everyone from Saddam and bin Laden to Bush, Ariel Sharon, Pervez Musharraf and New York mayor Mike Bloomberg. There's a particularly touching interaction between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. The FBI and police work is reasonably realized. Early chapters patiently and sympathetically render the logic of and reasoning behind the Islamist nuclear threat, but the real twist comes on day four, when the U.S. government begins mobilizing for possible military action against Israel to force a withdrawal from the West Bank. The publisher claims 350,000 hardcover copies already in print in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French and Polish; one imagines it has little to do with the quality of the writing. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Christ the Lord : Out of Egypt
A novel by Anne Rice
NOVEMBER 2005, Knopf Books
A Jewish book?? Well.. it sure will be a best seller, and no vampires are contained in the pages.
PW writes: "Rice departs from her usual subject matter to pen this curious portrait of a seven-year-old Jesus, who departs Egypt with his family to return home to Nazareth. Rice's painstaking historical research is obvious throughout, whether she's showing the differences among first-century Jewish groups (Pharisees, Essenes and Sadducees all play a part), imagining a Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem or depicting the regular but violent rebellions by Jews chafing under Roman rule. The book succeeds in capturing Jesus' profound Jewishness, with some of the best scenes reflecting his Torah education and immersion in the oral traditions of the Hebrew Bible. As fiction, though, the book's first half is slow going. Since it is told from Jesus' perspective, the childlike language can be simplistic, though as readers persevere they will discover the riches of the sparse prose Rice adopts. The emotional heart of the story-Jesus' gradual discovery of the miraculous birth his parents have never discussed with him-picks up steam as well, as he begins to understand why he can heal the sick and raise the dead. Rice provides a moving afterword, in which she describes her recent return to the Catholic faith and evaluates, often in an amusingly strident fashion, the state of biblical studies today." Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] LILLIAN HELLMAN
NOVEMBER 2005, Counterpoint
The first biography of Lillian Hellman-the notorious literary star of Broadway and Hollywood-written with the full cooperation of her executors and her most intimate circle Few literary celebrities have lived with more abandon and under a brighter spotlight than Lillian Hellman. Yet even fewer have been doubted as absolutely as Hellman, famously denounced by rival Mary McCarthy as a writer for whom "every word was a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'" The details of Hellman's life have been hotly contested for decades. She was the author of such Broadway hits as The Children's Hour and The Little Foxes; a Hollywood screenplay writer until she was blacklisted; a writer of best-selling memoirs such as An Unfinished Woman and Pentimento; and the volatile companion of writer Dashiell Hammett, foreign service officer John Melby, and a myriad of other high-profile men. Hellman refused to cooperate with biographers-most notably William Wright-and, up until her death, ordered those close to her to do the same. Now, in this compelling biography Deborah Martinson moves beyond the myths that drift around Hellman and finds the sassy, outrageous woman committed to writing, to politics, and to having her say. Martinson's exhaustive research-through interviews, archives, and recently declassified CIA files-and her unprecedented access to Hellman's confidantes paints the most complete and surprisingly admiring portrait of Hellman that we've ever had. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture
(Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies)
by David E. Fishman
NOVEMBER 2005, University of Pittsburgh Press
The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture explores the transformation of Yiddish from a low-status vernacular to the medium of a complex modern culture. David Fishman examines the efforts of east European Jews to establish their linguistic distinctiveness as part of their struggle for national survival in the diaspora. Fishman considers the roots of modern Yiddish culture in social and political conditions in Imperial Tsarist and inter-war Poland, and its relationship to Zionism and Bundism. In so doing, Fishman argues that Yiddish culture enveloped all socioeconomic classes, not just the proletarian base, and considers the emergence, at the turn of the century, of a pro-Yiddish intelligentsia and a Yiddishist movement. As Fishman points out, the rise of Yiddishism was not without controversy. Some believed that the rise of Yiddish represented a shift away from a religious-dominated culture to a completely secular, European one; a Jewish nation held together by language, rather than by land or religious content. Others hoped that Yiddish culture would inherit the moral and national values of the Jewish religious tradition, and that to achieve this result, the Bible and Midrash would need to exist in modern Yiddish translation. Modern Yiddish culture developed in the midst of these opposing concepts. Fishman follows the rise of the culture to its apex, the founding of the Yiddish Scientific Institute (YIVO) in Vilna in 1925, and concludes with the dramatic story of the individual efforts that preserved the books and papers of YIVO during the destruction and annihilation of World War II and in postwar Soviet Lithuania. The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture, like those efforts, preserves the cultural heritage of east European Jews with thorough research and fresh insights. Click the book cover above to read more.


[book cover click here] The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate
Edited by Ruth Fredman Cernea
DECEMBER 2005, University of Chicago Press
Forget the bibles, zohar, kabbalah books.. forget ragen, roth and ozick... this is the most important book in the past few months and I have waited over 25 years for its release. I first became an addict of the Great Latke-Hamantash debates in the 1970's when I read about them in the now defunct Israel Magazine (or was it a 1970s issue of Moment). This is the sort of event that makes you want to become a Hillel Program Director.
In 1946, a debate was started each November at the University of Chicago as a way to foster a sense of community among Jewish students and faculty members. The debates were farces; they attracted the top Jewish professors and students, Nobel laureates, university presidents, and notable scholars together to debate whether the potato pancake or the triangular Purim pastry is in fact the worthier food. They applied their fields of study to these symbolic Jewish foods. Professor Marvin Mirsky observed the roundness of the latke which clearly suggested Plato's circle of perfection and its flatness emphasized Plato's ultimate truth. Professor Lawrence Sherman reminded his audience that in Romeo and Juliet, "Juliet was a Capulatke, Romeo a Hamantashague." In poetry, essays, jokes, and revisionist histories, members of elite American academies attack the latke-versus-hamantash question with intellectual panache and an unerring sense of humor, if not chutzpah.
The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate is the first collection of the best of these performances, from Martha Nussbaum's paean to both foods-in the style of Hecuba's Lament-to Nobel laureate Leon Lederman's proclamation on the union of the celebrated dyad. The latke and the hamantash are here revealed as playing a critical role in everything from Chinese history to the Renaissance, the works of Jane Austen to constitutional law. Eminent philosopher and humorist Ted Cohen, who has moderated many debates, supplies a wry foreword, and anthropologist Ruth Fredman Cernea provides a larger context with her overview of the Jewish holidays, recipes, and a glossary of Yiddish and Hebrew terms, making the book accessible even to the uninitiated. The University of Chicago may have split the atom in 1942, but it's still working on the equally significant issue of the latke versus the hamantash. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Striking Back
The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and
Israel's Deadly Response
by Aaron J. Klein
DECEMBER 2005, Random House
Spielberg's film, MUNICH, will be released in December 2005. If you want the real story, buy this book and consume it. This is the full account, based on access to key players who have never before spoken, of the Munich Massacre and the Israeli response-a lethal, top secret, 30 year long antiterrorism campaign to track down the killers. In 1972, Black September murdered 11 Israeli athletes. Nine hundred million people watched the crisis unfold on television. Back in Israel, Prime Minister Golda Meir vowed to track down those responsible and, in Menachem Begin's words, "run these criminals and murderers off the face of the earth." A secret Mossad unit, code named CAESAREA, was mobilized, a list of targets was drawn up. Thus began the Israeli response-a mission that unfolded over decades. The Mossad has never spoken about this operation. No one has known the real story. Until now. Aaron J. Klein is Time magazine's Military and Intelligence Affairs correspondent in the Jerusalem Bureau. He was the recipient of 2002 Henry Luce Award and has been a consultant for CNN. Klein was the military/security correspondent and analyst for Hadashot and Al-Hamishmar, two of Israel's leading national newspapers. He is a contributor to Malam, the journal for former IDF Intelligence, Mossad and Internal Security Agency officers. He teaches at Hebrew University and is a Captain in the IDF's Intelligence. Klein shows that the Israeli response to Munich was not simply about revenge, as is popularly believed. By illuminating the tactical and strategic purposes of the Israeli operation, Striking Back allows us to draw profoundly relevant lessons from one of the most important counterterrorism campaigns in history. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Empty Men
The Heroic Tradition of Ancient Israel
by Gregory Mobley
DECEMBER 2005, Doubleday
Gregory Mobley (a Baptist Minister, and past teacher at Harvard, Union Theo and currently at Andover Newton Theo) brings a highly original eye to the familiar stories found in Judges, which depicts Israel's frontier era, and the First and Second Books of Samuel, which portray the ragged and violent emergence of kingship in Judah and Israel. From Ehud's mission into an inaccessible Moabite palace to the triumph of Gideon and his elite squadron against a Midianite swarm, from the gangland epic of the warlord Abimelech's rise and fall to the narrative of Samson, Israel's great outlaw-hero, Mobley rescues these stories from their theologically minded biblical editors and traditional interpreters. Mobley draws upon Semitic and European heroic traditions about warriors and wild men, and upon Celtic, Anglo-American, and African-American balladry about borderers and outlaws, to dig out the heroic themes submerged in biblical adventure stories. THE EMPTY MEN describes the process by which adventure stories-replete with foolish love, warfare, assassinations, ritual slaughter, and grim masculine codes-were transformed into sermons and history lessons. Mobley also offers reflections on the Iron Age theology of these narratives, with their emphasis on poetic justice, and on the mythic dimensions of landscape in these stories. Mobley is sure to attract a lot of attention in the scholarly community for his raw portrayals of biblical heroes, for his unblinking attention to the martial codes and the warrior subculture of ancient Israel, and for his bittersweet reflections on the theological and ethical significance of this corpus of adventure stories which are under the surface-but close to the bedrock-of the many mansions that Judaism and Christianity have built in subsequent centuries on these foundational texts Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] A Fire in Their Hearts
Yiddish Socialists in New York
by Tony Michels (Wisconsin)
DECEMBER 2005, Doubleday
Did infighting and rising economic incomes of Jewish immigrants put the nail in the coffin of Jewish socialism?
Nothing is harder to envision today than the burning passion for knowledge, self-improvement, and social justice that once united working-class immigrants and fiery intellectuals under the banner of socialism. A Fire in Their Hearts is an illuminating and exceptionally well-researched account of the early decades of the Jewish left, the immigrant cauldron in New York, and secular Yiddish culture in America. Michels's book has much to tell us about this still fascinating era. The Yiddish socialist movement shaped Jewish communities across the United States well into the twentieth century and left an important political legacy that extends to the rise of neoconservatism. A story of hopeful successes and bitter disappointments, A Fire in Their Hearts brings to vivid life this formative period for American Jews and the American left. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Reasons I Won't Be Coming
by Elliot Perlman
The nine smart, thoughtful stories in this collection explore the complex worlds of lovers, poets, lawyers, immigrants, students, and murderers. They tell of corporate betrayals and lost opportunities, and the hopes, fears, and vagaries of desire. Witty, vulnerable, and honest, they display the same preoccupations that made Perlman's novel, Seven Types of Ambiguity, one of the most notable literary publications of 2004. "A Tale in Two Cities," the final novella charting the limits of Jewish emigré resilience, is Perlman in full: mystery, tight dialogue, layers of irony. At his best, Perlman makes false reasoning testify eloquently Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Awakening to Kabbalah
The Guiding Light of Spiritual Fulfillment
by Rav Michael Laitman
December 2005, Jewish Lights
Publishers Weekly wrote: By the author's own admission, this book may seem "dry, schematic... unemotional," more instruction manual than heart-moving guide. Laitman comes from a very specific school of thought regarding Kabbalah, originating from a belief that his mentor, Baruch Ashlag, carried a reincarnated soul that originated with the biblical patriarchs, passed to the rabbi known as the Ari and finally to Ashlag's father, Baal HaSulam. Kabbalah, as Laitman sees it, requires one to "rise to the spiritual world while living in this world," but this "can only be achieved through the right study, with the real books" written by rabbis in this particular lineage. Unfortunately, his efforts to make Baal HaSulam relevant to our current times result in thin and sometimes contradictory arguments. In discussing the importance of the numbers seven and 70, for example, he refers to 70 nations in the world today (there are nearly 200) and an average life span of 70 years, which is too low both in fact and for his schema of the Messiah's return to make mathematical sense. More revealing of the exclusive, myopic nature of interpretation than of the world of Kabbalah, this guide will serve few readers other the followers of Baal HaSulam . Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Aliya
Three Generations of American-Jewish Immigration to Israel
by Liel Leibovitz (Columbia J School)
DECEMBER 2005. St Martin's Press
As a 10-year-old Israeli, Leibovitz thought his American cousins had it all: freedom, prosperity and McDonald's. So he was shocked to learn that his cousins were abandoning their New Jersey "oasis" for the blood-soaked land of Israel. The question of why anyone would make such a move haunted his journey to adulthood, and now he attempts to explain this phenomenon, known in Hebrew as aliya, of diaspora Jews leaving comfortable homes to immigrate to Israel. He concludes that the answer "simply isn't available to the cognitive faculties. Why would American Jews-not just materially successful but, perhaps unique among the Jewish diaspora, truly socially accepted-choose to leave material comfort and safety in the United States for uncertainty and violence in Israel? This is a fundamental question for American Jewry, and one that Liel Leibovitz answers with resounding success in Aliya.Leibovitz focuses on three sets of immigrants, from Israel+s chaotic birth through its equally turbulent present. One couple came to Palestine before Israel was even created, and were present through its violent birth. One man was involved in the Yom Kippur War. And one family of four made aliya in 2001, during the most recent unsettled phase of Israel+s existence. Aliya is the powerful story of the relationship of American Jews to Israel, both those who make the journey and those who stay behind. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] The Brooklyn Follies
by Paul Auster
DECEMBER 2005, Henry Holt
Nathan Glass has come to Brooklyn to die. Divorced, estranged from his only daughter, the retired life insurance salesman seeks only solitude and anonymity. Then Nathan finds his long-lost nephew, Tom Wood, working in a local bookstore-a far cry from the brilliant academic career he'd begun when Nathan saw him last. Tom's boss is the charismatic Harry Brightman, whom fate has also brought to the "ancient kingdom of Brooklyn, New York." Through Tom and Harry, Nathan's world gradually broadens to include a new set of acquaintances-not to mention a stray relative or two-and leads him to a reckoning with his past. Among the many twists in the delicious plot are a scam involving a forgery of the first page of The Scarlet Letter, a disturbing revelation that takes place in a sperm bank, and an impossible, utopian dream of a rural refuge. Meanwhile, the wry and acerbic Nathan has undertaken something he calls The Book of Human Folly, in which he proposes "to set down in the simplest, clearest language possible an account of every blunder, every pratfall, every embarrassment, every idiocy, every foible, and every inane act I had committed during my long and checkered career as a man." But life takes over instead, and Nathan's despair is swept away as he finds himself more and more implicated in the joys and sorrows of others. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] How to Read the Bible
Translating the Culture of the Bible
by Marc Zvi Brettler
DECEMBER 2005, JPS Jewish Publication Society
In his new book, master Bible scholar and teacher Marc Brettler argues that today's contemporary readers can only understand the ancient Hebrew Scripture by knowing more about the culture that produced it. And so Brettler unpacks the literary conventions, ideological assumptions, and historical conditions that inform the biblical text and demonstrates how modern critical scholarship and archaeological discoveries shed light on this fascinating and complex literature. Brettler surveys representative biblical texts from different genres to illustrate how modern scholars have taught us to "read" these texts. Using the "historical-critical method" long popular in academia, he guides us in reading the Bible as it was read in the biblical period, independent of later religious norms and interpretive traditions. Understanding the Bible this way lets us appreciate it as an interesting text that speaks in multiple voices on profound issues. This book is the first "Jewishly sensitive" introduction to the historical-critical method. Unlike other introductory texts, the Bible that this book speaks about is the Jewish one -- with the three-part TaNaKH arrangement, the sequence of books found in modern printed Hebrew editions, and the chapter and verse enumerations used in most modern Jewish versions of the Bible. In an afterword, the author discusses how the historical-critical method can help contemporary Jews relate to the Bible as a religious text in a more meaningful way. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] God's Mountain
The Temple Mount in Time, Place, and Memory
by Yaron Z. Eliav
DECEMBER 2005, John Hopkins Press
From Publishers Weekly: Previous works on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, such as Gershom Gorenberg's The End of Days, have mostly been journalistic and nationalistic explorations of the claims and counterclaims to this disputed area. By contrast, Eliav, a faculty member in the University of Michigan's Department of Near Eastern Studies, has written an academic treatise based on extensive research during the last 12 years. Beginning with his doctoral dissertation at Hebrew University, he expanded his investigation at libraries in Princeton, Oxford and New York. Eliav uses his impressive knowledge of Talmud, the Bible, archeology, languages, rabbinic texts, the classics and patristic literature to debunk the notion that the Temple Mount was a sacred space for ancient Jews and Christians. According to him, it did not achieve this status until long after the Second Temple was destroyed. In a dazzling display of erudition, he supports his thesis by providing new readings of familiar sources and by citing many little-known references. Defying conventional wisdom, Eliav also claims that there were several Temple Mounts. Unfortunately, most nonspecialists will have neither the patience nor the knowledge to follow his closely reasoned argument, since the book is densely written in often impenetrable language. . Click the book cover above to read more.

December 2005, FS&G.
Siegfried Sassoon was born in 1886 in Kent, and began writing verses as a boy. While a brave young officer, he confronted the terrible realities of the First World War on the battlefield, in verse, and, finally, by announcing his opposition to the war in 1917, showing that physical courage could exist alongside humanity and sensibility. In 1918, Sassoon found himself one of the most famous young writers of the time, a mentor to Wilfred Owen, and admired by Winston Churchill and T.E. Lawrence. He joined the Labour Party, became literary editor of the socialist Daily Herald, and began close friendships with Thomas Hardy and E.M. Forster, while trying to adapt his poetry to peacetime. Then Sassoon fell in love with the artistocratic aesthete Stephen Tennant, who led him into his group of Bright Young Things who inspired the early novels of Evelyn Waugh. At the demise of his passionate and fraught relationship with Tennant, Sassoon suddenly married the beautiful Hester Gatty in 1933 and retreated to a quiet country life until their eventual estrangement and Sassoon's subsequent conversion to Catholicism [from Judaism]. Click to read more.

[book cover click here] The Natural History of the Bible
An Environmental Exploration of the Hebrew Scriptures
By Daniel Hillel, Univ Mass Professor Emeritus
Winter 2006, Columbia University Press
From Publishers Weekly: "That environmental factors affect our daily lives is disputed by no one. But can environment, climate and topology play a part in the development of a religious community? Hillel, professor emeritus of environmental studies at the University of Massachusetts and senior research scientist at Columbia University's Center for Climate Systems Research, says yes. He comes to the subject immersed in the lore of ancient Israel, from his grandfather's instruction to his own years living in modern Israel. He sees the Jewish belief system as an amalgam of ideas emerging from an interplay of human beings with both the land and its peoples, "absorb[ing] all the cultural strands... from all the ecological domains of the ancient Near East... and assimilat[ing] them into their own culture." He divides sacred history into seven "domains," dispensations based not on some theological construct but rather on the terrain in which the Israelites lived. What emerges is a largely naturalistic explanation of Israel's beliefs and laws, with a strong emphasis on the impact of culture and environment on the evolving Jewish religion. Hillel recounts, in a richly detailed and beautifully told manner, the origins of the Hebrew Bible in a new and satisfying way."
Hillel, who resides in Sde Boker in the Negev, shows us how we can better understand and experience the Torah through an understanding of the land itself. Always the academic, the book includes lots of notes, charts, and statistics. What more can a Yekkie ask for? Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Two Thousand Years of Jewish Life in Morocco
by Haim Zafrani
DECEMBER 2005, Ktav
A collection of notes, observations and statistics, some of them enlightening, a few fascinating, but all presented as a mélange .... Zafrani assumes a familiarity with his subject matter that renders much of the book inaccessible to readers with only a passing familiarity with Moroccan Jews.... Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] You'll Never Nanny in This Town Again
The True Adventures of a Hollywood Nanny
by Suzanne Hansen
From Publishers Weekly: Misadventures in nannyhood" is how Hansen, an Oregon teen who'd trained at the Northwest Nannies Institute, characterizes her amusing account of several years as live-in drudge to the stars. Readers of James B. Stewart's DisneyWar are already acquainted with her first employer, Michael Ovitz, then still the superagent commander of the CAA talent agency, and parent, with his wife, of three children. Hansen isn't a flippant writer; she doesn't try to score easy shots; and she cites her own inexperience and shyness, but it becomes increasingly clear through her account (backed up by the diary she kept) that the portraits drawn by other writers-of a cold, shrewd, controlling man-are accurate. Still, there was glamour, which at first made up for the grueling 24/7 workload and a curious chintziness. However, Hansen lasted just over six months. She later found work with the charming Debra Winger and left only because it became clear that the doting Winger didn't really need a full-time nanny. Her next and last nanny job was with the wonderful and thoughtful Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito and their three kids. Hardly backstabbing, this entertaining book possesses a sincerity other nannying tomes lack.. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book cover click here] Gotz and Meyer
by David Albahari, Ellen Elias-Bursac (Translator)
DECEMBER 2005, Harcourt
From Booklist "What would I have done?" is a fundamental question in Holocaust literature. Translated from the Serbian, this stirring novel draws on a wealth of archival materials, maps, and Nazi bureaucratic records about the concentration camp at the Belgrade Fairgrounds, from where, over five months in 1942, 5,000 Jews were loaded into a truck and gassed. A Serbian Jewish college professor looks back now and obsessively imagines himself as perpetrator, victim, and bystander. Who were the two drivers who connected the exhaust pipe each time so that the fumes killed the passengers? How did it become just a routine job? Who buried the heaped corpses? What if one kid tried to resist? How could Belgrade citizens not know? There are no chapters or even paragraphs, but the spacious text is simple and eloquent, and readers will be drawn into the professor's obsessive first-person narrative in which the horror is in the facts of bureaucratic efficiency and the unimaginable evil in ordinary life. Click the book cover above to read more.

[book] The Warsaw Uprising of 1944
by Wlodzimierz Borodziej, Barbara Harshav
Wisconsin. December 2005.
The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 dramatically tells the largely unknown story of the Warsaw resistance movement during World War II. Desperate to free themselves from German military oppression but also hoping to show the advancing Soviets that they could not impose easy rule upon the citizens of Warsaw, the Poles launched an almost hopeless attack against the Germans on August 1, 1944. Wlodzimierz Borodziej presents an evenhanded account of what is commonly considered the darkest chapter in Polish history during World War II. In only sixty-three days, the Germans razed Warsaw to the ground and 200,000 people, mostly civilians, lost their lives. The result-a heroic and historically pivotal turning point-meant that the Poles would lose both their capital and an entire generation. This concise account of the trauma-little known to English-speaking readers-will appeal to anyone interested in the history of World War II in general and is a must-read for students of Polish history in particular. Wlodzimierz Borodziej is professor of history at Warsaw University and the author of a number of books dealing with German-Polish topics. The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 is his first book available in English. Click to read more.

[book] Telling the Little Secrets
American Jewish Writing since the 1980s
by Janet Handler Burstein
Wisconsin. December 2005.
Janet Burstein argues that American Jewish writers since the 1980s have created a significant literature by wrestling with the troubled legacy of trauma, loss, and exile. Their ranks include Cynthia Ozick, Todd Gitlin, Art Spiegelman, Pearl Abraham, Aryeh Lev Stollman, Jonathan Rosen, and Gerda Lerner. Whether confronting the massive losses of the Holocaust, the sense of "home" in exile, or the continuing power of Jewish memory, these Jewish writers search for understanding within "the little secrets" of their dark, complicated, and richly furnished past. Janet Handler Burstein is professor of English at Drew University and chair of the Modern Literature section of the Association for Jewish Studies. She is the author of Writing Mothers, Writing Daughters: Tracing the Maternal in Stories by American Jewish Women. Click to read more.

[book cover click here] The Zohar 3
Pritzker Edition (Zohar Pritzker Edition)
by Daniel C. Matt (Translator)
Stanford University Press, December 26, 2005
The first two volumes sold over 15,000 copies. This is the third volume of a planned 15 volume set. This third volume of "The Zohar: Pritzker Edition" completes the "Zohar"'s commentary on the book of Genesis. Here we find spiritual explorations of numerous biblical narratives, including Jacob's wrestling with the angel, Joseph's kidnapping by his brothers, his near seduction by Potiphar's wife, his interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams, and his reunion with his brothers and father. Throughout, the "Zohar" probes the biblical text and seeks deeper meaning-for example, the divine intention behind Joseph's disappearance, or the profound significance of human sexuality. Divine and human realities intertwine, affecting one another. Toward the end of Genesis, the Bible states: "Jacob's days drew near to die"-an idiomatic expression that the "Zohar" insists on reading hyperliterally. Each human being is challenged to live his days virtuously. If he does, those days themselves are woven into a garment of splendor; at death, they "draw near," enveloping him, escorting him to the beyond. "Sefer ha-Zohar" (The Book of Radiance) has amazed and overwhelmed readers ever since it emerged mysteriously in medieval Spain toward the end of the thirteenth century. Written in a unique Aramaic, this masterpiece of Kabbalah exceeds the dimensions of a normal book; it is virtually a body of literature, comprising over twenty discrete sections. The bulk of the "Zohar" consists of a running commentary on the Torah, from Genesis through Deuteronomy. Click the book cover above to read more.
[book cover click here] [book cover click here]

[book cover click here] MOSES LEVY OF FLORIDA
It is only recently that the importance of Moses Elias Levy (1782-1854) as a Jewish social activist has come to be appreciated. C. S. Monaco's discovery of Levy's Plan for the Abolition of Slavery in the late 1990s began the transformation of historians' understanding of this man's life and work. Now, in the first full-scale biography of Levy, Monaco completes the picture of one of the antebellum South's most influential and interesting Jewish citizens. Long known only as the father of David L. Yulee, the first Jew elected to the U.S. Senate, Levy appears here in all his many, sometimes contradictory roles: abolitionist and slave owner, utopian colonizer and former arms-dealer, religious reformer and biblical conservative. Each aspect of Levy's life and character comes into sharp relief as Monaco follows him from his affluent upbringing in a Sephardic Jewish household in Morocco-where his father was a courtier to the sultan-through his career as a successful merchant shipper, to his radical reform activities in Florida. With his many residences abroad-in Morocco, Gibraltar, Danish Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Curacao, England-Levy virtually epitomized the Atlantic world, and Monaco escorts readers from country to country, considering Levy's accomplishments in each. The sole Jewish voice during the British abolitionist crusade... Click the book cover above to read more.


[book cover click here] The World to Come
A novel
by Dara Horn
January 2006, WW Norton
In 2005, a million-dollar painting, a sketch for "Over Vitebsk" by Marc Chagall, is stolen from a museum - during a singles' cocktail hour. The unlikely thief is Benjamin Ziskind, a lonely former child-prodigy who writes questions for quiz shows, and who believes the painting belongs to his family. Ben tries to evade the police while he seeks out the truth of how the painting got to the museum - whether the "original" is really a forgery - and whether his twin sister, an artist, can create a successful forgery to take its place. As the story unfolds - with the delicacy and complexity of origami - we are brought back to the 1920s in Soviet Russia, where Marc Chagall taught art to orphaned Jewish boys. There, Chagall befriended the great Yiddish novelist known by the pseudonym "Der Nister," the Hidden One. And there the story of the painting begins, carrying with it not only a hidden fable by the Hidden One, but also the story of the Ziskind family - from Russia to New Jersey and Vietnam. Dara Horn interweaves mystery, romance, folklore, theology, history, and scripture into a spellbinding modern tale. She brings us on a breathtaking collision course of past, present, and future - revealing both the ordinariness and the beauty of "the world to come." Nestling stories within stories, this is a novel of remarkable clarity and deep inner meaning. Click the book cover above to read more.


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