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FALL 2006 RECOMMENDED JEWISH BOOKS



FALL 2006 BOOK READINGS

Sep 10, 2006: Conference on Organ Donation and Jewish Law. Featuring Rabbis Moshe Tendler, Avrham Steinberg, et al. Yeshiva University. 12-6 PM go to www.Yu.edu/medicalethics
Sep 11, 2006: Second Annual Jewish Music Awards in NYC. MJH in NYC
Sep 13, 2006: Lenny Bruce and Free Speech, featuring Lewis Black, Jeff Gartlin, Jonathan Ames, Judy Gold, and more. NYC 92nd St Y.
Sep 14, 2006: Dr. Steven Cohen speaks on Unaffiliated but Engaged, the emerging identities and Connections among young Jewish adults. HUCJIR. NYC 6:30PM huc.edu
Sep 14, 2006: Elie Wiesel speaks on Tolerance in the Talmud, NYC 92ndsty.org
Sep 14, 2006: Jfunders.org Jewish Funders Network Special Day on Grantmaking in Israel for Philanthropists.
Sep 16, 2006: Selichot Services in various synagogues on Earth.
Sep 17, 2006: JewzaPalooza in NYC. Featuring over a dozen bands/performers. Riverside Park. Oy!hoo festival.
Sep 20, 2006: Rabbi Niles Goldstein reads from GONZO JUDAISM. B&N Astor Place NYC 7 PM
Sep 22, 2006: Rosh Hashana 5767 begins at sundown, Friday.
Sep 23-24, 2006: Rosh Hashana
Sep 25, 2006: Keep mistakenly writing 5766 on checks.
Sep 26 2006: Jewish Journalists American Journalism, featuring Franklin Foer, JJ Goldberg, Clyde Haberman, William Kristol, Judith Shulevitz, David Marolick. YIVO NYC
Sep 27, 2006: Fifth Annual Political Book Fair, Trover Shop, Wash DC. 5:30 PM
Sep 27, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million. B&N UWS NYC 7 PM
Sep 28, 2006: The Art Directors Club Big Brand conference (adcglobal.org)

Oct 01, 2006: Yom Kippur begins at sundown, Sunday
Oct 02, 2006: Book of Jonah... read in synagogues worldwide on Yom Kippur
Oct 03, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost. Border in Tysons Corner VA
Oct 07-08, 2006: First two full days of Sukkot
Oct 10, 2006: David Rosenberg speaks on Abraham, NYC 92ndsty.org
Oct 10, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost. Princeton Univ Bookstore

Oct 15, 2006: Simchat Torah, begins at Sundown on Oct 14.
Oct 15, 2006: NEW YORK TIMES GREAT READ IN THE PARK - Bryant Park, NYC. Featuring readings by authors including" Elinor Lipman, Jules Feifer, Frank Rich, Laura Zigman, Daniel Mendelsohn, Ira Rosen, Ron Rosenbaum, Francine Prose, Clyde Haberman, Richard Cohen, Rhea Perlan, Robert Lipsyte, Sam Roberts, T Cooper, Eve Ensler, Florence Fabricant, Steven Gaines, JENNIFER GILMORE, Michael Gross, Sara gruen, Susan Isaacs, David Kamp, Herbert Krosney and Bart D. Ehrman
Oct 15, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million. Bryant Park NYC

Oct 17, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost. Books & Books, Coral Gables
Oct 18, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost. Books & Books Bal Harbour
Oct 23 - Nov 21, 2006: Jewish Social Action Month. A month of Jewish unity.
Oct 26, 2006: Rabbi Lawrence Kushner reads from KABBALAH: A LOVE STORY. NY Kollel, NYC, 6PM at Huc-JIR visit HUC.edu

Nov 01, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost. JCC of Houston
Nov 02, 2006: Dr. Daniel Hillel speaks on the Natural History of the Bible. HUCJIR. NYC 6:30PM huc.edu
Nov 05, 2006: Daniel Mendelsohn reads from The Lost. JCC of San Francisco
Nov 12, 2006: UJC General Assembly GA starts in Los Angeles.
Nov 12, 2006: Bikur Cholim 19th Annual Conference in NYC. See BikurCholimCc.org











HEY.. NOW YOUR CAN SEARCH OUR SITE, INSTEAD OF JUST SEARCHING AMAZON. TRY IT OUT...








[book] Overcoming Life's Disappointments
by Harold S. Kushner
AUGUST 2006. Knopf.
Barbara Jacobs, writing for From Booklist, wrote: "Rabbi emeritus Kushner, author of, among other titles, When Bad Things Happen to Good People (1981), scores another hit with book number 10, which is based on the theme and philosophy of his previous best-sellers. His idea is to explain the inexplicable in terms that turn negatives into ways of coping. Kushner skillfully uses the tale of Moses to manage the oh-so-true statement, "Nobody gets everything he or she yearns for." Forbidden to enter the Holy Land? Having wandered for 40 years and endured complaints and rebels, Moses was tired; another leader deserved to take the lead. Plus, reading into the Bible and other religious tomes, the author finds that Moses ignored his family--a critical element comprising the complete life. Moses is not the only example used. Abraham Lincoln was weighed down by depression--or, in his case, what doesn't kill us makes us strong. Sondheim's second act of Into the Woods underscores the importance of assessing broken dreams and forging new ones. Joseph Campbell of mythology fame is cited, as are Tevye and wife from Fiddler on the Roof, among many others. In all, the universal lessons for overcoming disappointment remain simple yet profound: remember who you're working for, substitute new dreams for old, keep promises, be humble, maintain life's priorities, forgive and forgive, and always dare to dream. Amen." Click the book cover to read more.








This isn't a Jewish Book, but it is by a nieghbor and a former Accounting classmate who left a Finance career to become a Jesuit priest, editor and writer:
[book] My Life With the Saints
by James Martin, S. J.
2006. Loyola Press.
James Martin has led a thoroughly modern life: from a lukewarm childhood Catholicism, to the Wharton School of Business, to the executive fast track at General Electric, to the Jesuits, to a media career in Manhattan. But at every step along the way he has been accompanied by special friends-the saints of the Catholic Church. These holy men and women are not just historical figures to him. Martin's attachment to them is real and personal. The saints have guided him. He convincingly shows how the saints can be our friends too. Martin's saintly friends come from the whole of Christian history-from St. Paul to John XXIII- and they include Thérèse of Lisieux, Joan of Arc, Ignatius Loyola and other beloved figures. They accompany the author on a pilgrimage that includes stops in a sunlit square of a French town, a quiet retreat house on a New England beach, the housing projects in inner-city Chicago, the sprawling slums of Nairobi, and a gorgeous Baroque church in Rome. As James Martin's inspiring, witty, and surprising account unfolds, we see how saints can help us to find our way in the world. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Jewish Cooking For All Seasons
Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day
by Laura Frankel (Skokie IL, chef/co-owner of Shallots)
AUGUST 2006. WILEY.
From Publishers Weekly: "You can say one thing for this collection of modern kosher recipes"it ain't chopped liver. That fatty, flavorful favorite is replaced with fancy-schmancy fare like Artichoke Confit and Fava Bean Salad. Frankel, owner of Shallots restaurant in Chicago, deserves credit for widening the horizons of kosher cooking, as she incorporates novelties such as venison (Ginger-Marinated Venison Loin with Purple Sticky Rice and Spring Pea Salad) and bison (Bison, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches). Dishes are grouped by season, but despite the promising subtitle, there are no holiday menus included. Chatty prose abounds in sidebars ("It may sound a little silly to say that I am passionate about salmon. Nevertheless... I am!"). There's nothing especially Jewish about Grilled Marinated Short Ribs with Spicy Fruit Barbecue Sauce or Herbed Roasted Chicken with Quinoa-Mushroom Pilaf except that they can be prepared to meet the laws of kashrut. Even without a strong hook, though, bubbe would approve, and the two million kosher households in the U.S., as the publisher figures, will likely be grateful for these new recipes." There are now two million kosher consumers in the U.S., but even cooks who don't keep kosher will love these inspired recipes for Jewish holiday feasts and everyday meals. Grouped by seasons, the 150 recipes in Jewish Cooking For All Seasons reflect a refreshing approach to Jewish cooking and emphasize freshness and real, flavorful ingredients. Recipes range from Braised Veal Shanks with Acorn Squash Gnocchi (Autumn) to Dry-Roasted Short Ribs with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Caramelized Onions (Winter) to Herb-Crusted Sock-Eye Salmon (Spring) to Chilled English Pea and Mint Soup (Summer); 16 gorgeous color recipe photos tantalize. This chef and mother of three has creatively adapted her restaurant classics for the home cook, offering inspiration and guidance for memorable meals with family and friends. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Jewtopia
The Chosen Book for the Chosen People
by Bryan Fogel, Sam Wolfson
September 2006. Warner
In time for Rosh Hashana. From the creators of Jewtopia, the off broadway show, Jewtopia, this a a funny illustrated guide to Judaism. Includes a timeline of Jewish expulsions and quizzes. Click the book cover to read more.








As many of you may know, we started MyJewishBooks.com in 1997 while we worked on a book on management insights from the weekly Torah parshat / parshah readings. Similar to Mintzberg on Management, our book was going to be Moses on Management. Alas, our book was never finished or published, but this one is a good replacement to our vision. Go and Learn:
[book] Moses And the Journey to Leadership
Timeless Lessons of Effective Management from the Bible And Today's Leaders
by Rabbi Norman J. Cohen, Phd, Provost HUC JIR
September 2006. Jewish Lights
What can the most celebrated yet solitary hero of the Bible teach you about the vision, action and skills you need to be a successful leader? One of the most troubling aspects of modern society is that we are suffering from a lack of inspiring leadership. There is a dearth of leaders who not only possess vision and strength but also live with integrity based on lasting values. So where should we turn for models of leadership for our diverse communities? We can find inspiration in the enduring texts of Jewish tradition and in the life of Moses, the most important and celebrated character in the Hebrew Bible. By highlighting his struggles, failures and triumphs, this book offers Moses as an exemplar of leadership who not only empowers his people to act on their responsibilities but makes them believe they possess the ability to do so. Along with exploring the most powerful and intriguing stories of Moses's life, Cohen shows what Moses's actions reveal about the nature of leadership and human interaction, and how his examples can be applied to the dynamics of modern-day leadership in religious, business, political and other arenas. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey
A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild West
By Steve Sheinkin
Fall 2006. Jewish Lights
A fresh look at Jewish folktales-wise, witty, hilarious After finishing school in New York, Rabbi Harvey traveled west in search of adventure and, hopefully, work as a rabbi. His journey took him to Elk Spring, Colorado, a small town in the Rocky Mountains. When he managed to outwit the ruthless gang that had been ruling Elk Spring, the people invited Harvey to stay on as the town's rabbi. In Harvey's adventures in Elk Spring, he settles disputes, tricks criminals into confessing, and offers unsolicited bits of Talmudic insight and Hasidic wisdom. Each story presents Harvey with a unique challenge-from convincing a child that he is not actually a chicken, to retrieving stolen money from a sweet-faced bubbe gone bad. Like any good collection of Jewish folktales, these stories contain layers of humor and timeless wisdom that will entertain, teach and, especially, make you laugh. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] FIVE GERMANYS I HAVE KNOWN
By Fritz Stern, Columbia University
August 2006. FSG
Provost Stern's father served the German Kaiser valiantly in WWI like so many other German Jews. Stern was the son of assimilated German Jews -- so assimilated, in fact, that they had converted to Christianity. His paternal grandparents converted as adults. His maternal grandparents never converted but had their children baptized -- among them Stern's mother, born in 1894. His parents and grandparents' closest friends were all converts, too, or else Jews intermarried with Christians. No one thought this odd: He was made aware of his Jewishness only after Hitler came to power. This is his memoir.
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In 1944, upon visiting the desolate ruins of Stalingrad, Gen. Charles de Gaulle reportedly said, with a touch of awe, "Quel peuple!" He was referring not to the Russians but to France and Russia's mutual enemy, the Germans. According to Stern (Einstein's German World), former provost of Columbia University and among the most venerable of America's German historians, de Gaulle grasped the "deep ambiguity that hovers around German greatness": Germans were not only the destroyers of historic Europe but also its creators. In this fascinating memoir, Stern looks back over the "five Germanys" his generation has seen-the Weimar Republic, Nazi tyranny, the post-1945 Federal Republic, the Soviet-controlled German Democratic Republic and, lastly, the reunited Germany of the present-and explains how he came to reconcile himself with his birth country (which his Jewish family fled in 1938) as it has come to terms with its new place in today's more cohesive and peaceful Europe. His history, says Stern, can be read as "a text for political and moral lessons, as a drama in dread and hope." The book's intriguing structure makes it a wonderful combination of history, memoir, analysis and even poetry. Click the book cover to read more.


















SEPTEMBER 2006


No! No!
Why is MyJewishBooks.com highlighting this book below?
Don't tell me, say it isn't so... Yes, Yes, it's true
Jason Fogle is a MEMBER OF THE TRIBE:
Will he be going on a lecture tour of JCC's ??
Is he more than just a shill for the Subway franchise system?

[book] Jared, the Subway Guy
Winning Through Losing: 13 Lessons for Turning Your Life Around
by Jared Fogle, with Anthony Bruno
September 2006. St Martins
Jared S. Fogle, (b. 1978), a.k.a. "Jared the Subway Guy", is a spokesmodel for Subway. In the Spring of 1998, Fogle, a student at Indiana University, weighed 425 pounds. He began a 1,000 calorie a day diet consisting of nothing but the food available at his local Subway sandwich shop. Less than a year later he weighed 190 pounds. So at 6ft2 and 190, he was the same height and weight as the editor of MyJewishBooks.com (body mass index - 24.5). Subway sandwich company hired Fogle as its spokesman, and he appeared in countless commercials, was parodied, and even appeared in SUPERSIZE ME (which was directed by the Jewish filmmaker, Morgan Spurlock.
Now about the book: Jared Fogel has appeared thousands of times on national television as the spokesperson for Subway's Eat Healthy Platform; and he's slated to continue in this role indefinitely. In fact, Subway worried that he might be getting overexposed and decided to discontinue him. Sales fell off. Jared was quickly rehired. But to keep him from being overexposed, Subway's program runs Jared for six or eight weeks every three months. His book is not so much a diet book (his diet was pretty simple to grasp - eat Subway sandwiches) but it's more a motivational, self-help book which offers hope to people who want to change their lives. Jared's lessons include: Find Your Own Personal Spark, One Size Doesn't Fit All, Change Your Mind to Change Your Life, See the Big Picture, Change is for Life The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get. Click the book cover to read more.




[book] FORGIVE US OUR SPINS
MICHAEL MOORE AND THE FUTURE OF THE LEFT
By JESSE LARNER
September 2006. WILEY
A liberal writes why Michael Moore is just as bad as right wing pundits, when he bases his arguments on silliness and emotion and not facts.. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Welcome to JesusLand!
(Formerly the United States of America):
Shocking Tales of Depravity, Sex, and Sin Uncovered by God's Favorite Church, Landover Baptist
by Chris Harper, Andrew Bradley, Erik Walker
September 2006. Warner paperback
LandoverBaptist.org
An outrageous collection of church newsletters that skewers the religious right. Includes bible quizzes and sidebars. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Never Despair
Sixty Years in the Service of the Jewish People and of Human Rights
by Gerhart Riegner
Sept 2006. Dee
This is an essential book for students of the Holocaust and of the Jewish role in world affairs from World War II to the end of the century. There were many important and fascinating episodes in Riegner's life of service, told now in Never Despair, his memoir. He recounts his youth in a cultivated, middle-class Jewish family in Germany, and as a young lawyer in Leipzig who fled to Switzerland after Hitler's rise to power in 1933. In his memoir he recounts his efforts behind the scenes and offers a firsthand estimate of many of the leading international figures of the past century. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] OY !
THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF JEWISH JOKES
BY AVID MINKOFF
SEPTEMBER 2006. THOMAS DUNNE BOOKS.
www.awordinyoureye.com
Minkoff began collecting jokes almost 50 years ago when he was 13. Six years ago, he launched his U.K.-based Web site awordinyoureye.com as "a repository for my vast collection of Jewish jokes." When Minkoff's jocularity brought popularity, his avocation turned into "a full-time job which required a lot of maintenance." With the site mushrooming to more than 1,760 jokes, it became the main source for this comprehensive collection, first published in London last year by Robson/Chrysalis. These Jewish japes and jests run the gamut from deft definitions, one-off one-liners, pithy puns, quizzes and ribald riddles to satirical songs and full-page humorous stories. Fresh, familiar or unfamiliar, all the jokes have been rewritten by Minkoff into his own style, and he has grouped gags thematically into various categories and subcategories. Spanning birth to death, the 86 topics feature more than 1,000 jokes: On circumcision: " 'It won't be long now,' said the rabbi as he circumcised the little boy." Marriage: "Q: Why are many Jewish girls still single these days? A: They have not yet met Dr. Right." Jewish telegram: "Begin worrying. Details to follow." On the 23rd Psalm for Jewish princesses: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He leadeth me into Bloomingdale's." The lack of cartoons may disappoint some readers, but even they will find that this clever kosher compilation generates giggles galore. Click the book cover to read more.








Also available on Audio CD
[book] The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
A novel by John Boyne
September 2006. David Fickling Books
Readers of MyJewishBooks.com will remember this as a book that was so hot, that we redirected readers to a British bookstore to get this book in 2005. Now for Fall 2006, it is available in the USA
Don't let anyone tell you about this book. It is best read on your own, so you can discover it for yourself.
Berlin 1942
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] Somewhere in Germany
A Novel
by Stefanie Zweig, Marlies Comjean
September 2006. David Fickling Books
From Publishers Weekly. Published in Germany in 1996, this autobiographical sequel to Zweig's noteworthy Nowhere in Africa follows the Redlichs as they return to Germany in 1947 after 10 years in exile from National Socialism on a Kenyan farm. Walter is so desperate to practice law again that he uproots his complaining wife, Jettel, his clever, nurturing daughter, Regina, and baby Max to Frankfurt, where gentiles either make snide anti-Semitic comments or claim that they saved Jews and used to have many Jewish friends. Zweig has a deft hand with telling anecdotes. A gas company employee and his wife are evicted when they lack the necessary clout to defend themselves against political charges. In the deprivations of postwar Frankfurt, steel helmets become saucepans and a care package containing American foodstuffs elicits joyful tears. Also vividly described are bighearted Walter's staunch belief in the existence of "the decent German" and budding journalist Regina's meeting with Otto Frank, who tells her how much she reminds him of his daughter, Anne. Although its setting isn't the exotic Kenya of the original novel and Comjean's translation is stiff and prolix, this is a worthy meditation on homelessness, exile and belonging. Click the book cover to read more. Also... if you want to see the film: [book]









[book] The Tree of Life
A Trilogy of Life in Lodz Ghetto
Book Three: The Cattle Cars Are Waiting, 1942-1944
by Chava Rosenfarb
September 2006. Wisconsin
From Publishers Weekly: Originally published in Yiddish in 1972, this final volume of a trilogy depicting daily life in the Lodz ghetto recreates the frantic desperation as thousands of Jews were forced to board cattle trains bound for Auschwitz. Revisiting characters from the first two books, Rosenfarb-herself a Lodz ghetto and concentration-camp survivor-gets very close to the horror. Adam Rosenberg, who once owned the biggest factory in town, hides under an assumed name and shovels excrement for a living until he is found out and becomes an informant, identifying other Jewish industrialists and sniffing out their hidden valuables. The poet Bunim Berkovitch discovers that his wife and children, including a newborn, have been arrested while he was out fetching their potato ration. And the hated leader of the Jewish Council who composes the dreaded transport lists can't save himself or his loved ones when the ghetto is "liquidated." In this third volume, the prose is denser, the translation more ungainly, and the plotting more chaotic than in the previous two volumes (also available from Wisconsin), but it carries potent witness. Click the book cover to read more.
[book] See also:
http://www.jewishtoronto.net/content_display.html?ArticleID=185793











[book] TOLSTOY LIED
A LOVE STORY
BY RACHEL KADDISH
SEPTEMBER 1, 2006. Houghton Mifflin
FROM THE AUTHOR OF "From a Sealed Room" comes a new story. Tolstoy famously wrote, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." To Tracy Farber, thirty-three, happily single and headed for tenure at a major university, this celebrated maxim is questionable at best. Because if Tolstoy is to be taken at his word, only unhappiness is interesting. Happiness must be as placid and unmemorable as a daisy in a field of a thousand daisies. So Tracy sets out to prove that happiness and the search for happiness can be, must be, a complicated mission. But little does she know that her best proof will come when she meets George, who will sweep her off her feet and challenge all of her old assumptions. Love may be the ultimate cliché, but in Rachel Kadish"s hands, it is also a morally serious question, deserving of our sober attention as well as our delighted laughter. Click the book cover to read more.








One of our favorite books for late Summer:
[book] Golden Country
A Novel
by Jennifer Gilmore
September 2006. Scribner
Golden Country, Jennifer Gilmore's masterful and irreverent reinvention of the Jewish American novel, captures the exuberance of the American dream while exposing its underbelly -- disillusionment, greed, and the disaffection bred by success. As Gilmore's charmingly flawed characters witness and shape history, they come to embody America's greatness, as well as its greatest imperfections. Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Golden Country vividly brings to life the intertwining stories of three immigrants seeking their fortunes -- the handsome and ambitious Seymour, a salesman-turned-gangster-turned-Broadway-producer; the gentle and pragmatic Joseph, a door-to-door salesman who is driven to invent a cleanser effective enough to wipe away the shame of his brother's mob connections; and the irresistible Frances Gold, who grows up in Brooklyn, stars in Seymour's first show, and marries the man who invents television. Their three families, though inex-tricably connected for years, are brought together for the first time by the engagement of Seymour's son and Joseph's daughter. David and Miriam's marriage must endure the inheritance of not only their parents' wealth but also the burdens of their past. Epic and comic, poignant and wise, Golden Country introduces readers to an extraordinary new voice in fiction. Click the book cover to read more.








[book][book] Disobedience
A novel
by Naomi Alderman
September 2006. S&S Touchstone.
From Publishers Weekly: Alderman draws on her Orthodox Jewish upbringing and current life in Hendon, England, for her entertaining debut, which won the Orange Prize for New Writers after it was published in the U.K. in March. In writing about the inhabitants of this small, gossipy society, Alderman cleverly uses a slightly sinister, omniscient "we" to represent a community that speaks with one voice, and her descriptions of Orthodox customs are richly embroidered. Alternating with this perspective is the first-person narrative of Ronit Krushka, a woman who has left the community and is now a financial analyst in New York. After the death of her estranged father, a powerful rabbi, Ronit returns to England to mourn her father and to confront her past, including a female lover. But Ronit's shock that an Orthodox lesbian would marry a man rings false, as does her casually condescending attitude toward the community. By the time of the theatrical, unrealistic climax, Ronit's struggle between religious and secular imperatives gets reduced to cliché ("all we have, in the end, are the choices we make"), but Ronit works well as a vehicle for the opinion that even the most alienated New York Judaism is preferable to the English version, where "the Jewish fear of being noticed and the natural British reticence interact.
For Ronit Krushka, thirty-two and single, who lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Orthodox Judaism is a suffocating culture she fled long ago. When she learns that her estranged father, the pre-eminent rabbi of the London Orthodox Jewish community in which she was raised, has died, she leaves behind her Friday night takeout, her troublesome romance, and her boisterous circle of friends and returns home for the first time in years. There, amid the traditional ebb and flow of the community -- the quiet young women returning from their kosher shops and the men with their tightly clutched prayer books -- Ronit reminds herself of her dual mission: to mourn and to collect a single heirloom -- her mother's Shabbat candlesticks. But when Ronit reconnects with her complex and beloved cousin Dovid and with a forbidden childhood sweetheart, she becomes more than just a stranger in her old home -- she becomes a threat. Driven by wit and beautifully rendered detail, Disobedience pulls back the curtain on a devout and closed world. Set at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, of personal desires and the demands of God, Disobedience is about the importance of moving on and what we lose when we do -- and it is about the tendency toward disobedience that we all have. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] I Feel Bad About My Neck
And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
by Nora Ephron
AUGUST 2006. KNOPF
Why Ms. Ephron is not sampling baked goods, or eating cupcakes at San Francisco's Miele bakery, she feels bad about her neck (cuz do get a neck job, u also have to have a face lift, so she is living au naturalle instead). At age 65, she is so wise, yet so much is going wrong. As she said, "You're so happy to be alive and yet you're so sorry that you have a new wrinkle."
With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself. The woman who brought us romantic comedies, such as When Harry Met Sally...; Sleepless in Seattle; You've Got Mail; Julia and Julia; and Bewitched, and the author of best sellers Heartburn, Scribble Scribble, and Crazy Salad, discusses everything-from how much she hates her purse to how much time she spends attempting to stop the clock: the hair dye, the treadmill, the lotions and creams that promise to slow the aging process but never do. Oh, and she can't stand the way her neck looks. But her dermatologist tells her there's no quick fix for that. Ephron chronicles her life as an obsessed cook, passionate city dweller, and hapless parent. She recounts her anything-but-glamorous days as a White House intern during the JFK years ("I am probably the only young woman who ever worked in the Kennedy White House that the President did not make a pass at") and shares how she fell in and out of love with Bill Clinton-from a distance, of course. But mostly she speaks frankly and uproariously about life as a woman of a certain age. Utterly courageous, wickedly funny, and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, I Feel Bad About My Neck is a book of wisdom, advice, and laugh-out-loud moments, a scrumptious, irresistible treat. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Radiant Days, Haunted Nights
Great Tales from the Treasury of Yiddish Literature
by Joachim Neugroschel
AUGUST 31, 2006. OVERLOOK
A unique and rich anthology of Yiddish folk tales that have never before been available in English, compiled and translated by the award-winning Joachim Neugroschel, Radiant Days, Haunted Nights reveals the enormous breadth and depth of the Yiddish tradition. Set at the intersection of the oral folk tale and the European tradition of printed fiction, these stories provide a fascinating glimpse into four centuries of Jewish cultural life. The collection includes not only original tales, but Yiddish retellings of biblical stories, and unexpected examples of cultural osmosis such as a Yiddish version of Sir Gawain. This utterly original compilation unlocks a unique genre of literature-perfect for English speakers looking to reclaim their lost Yiddish heritage, and for any reader interested in folk literature. Click the book cover to read more.
Hannah Meyers writes: "...Joachim Neugroschel's second book of translated Yiddish folktales, Radiant Days, Haunted Nights, is a fun departure from the polished, sterile and non-judgmental crud of Disney's fairytales. These folktales are openly didactic, teaching the values of a specifically observant Jewish life, and include unexpected characters and indelicate plot twists. The stories are organized by source; some are anonymous and the rest have short biographies before their tales. I particularly enjoy the section of work from the 18th century Dubno Preacher, who ended each tale with a clearly delineated moral (e.g., "If a man seeks respect, he should be ready to pay for it."). All of the folktales have an organic tone, without the predictable, smooth transitions of a modern children's book. Instead, you feel you can actually see the storyteller's face light up with a sudden invention for the plot. A new character will appear out of nowhere, or someone will unexpectedly die, and the reader just follows the author's imagination as it spins....."
"...The narrators don't mind adding in colloquial expressions, with which they assume their readers will feel at home. The anonymous author of "The Story of Bovo" exclaims, "Now when the king's uncle, Count Oyglin, heard about the betrothal, he hit the roof!" While that's not a Yiddish expression, Neugroschel did a wonderful job translating the feel of the idiom. I like when the storyteller puts in conventional storyteller quips. One story ends with the line, "and if they haven't passed away, then they are still alive today." This is not the tone of an anonymous author speaking to an anonymous audience; it creates a much more familiar setting. Other authors put in irony-tinged morals, such as: "We Jews are the prince. Our father, the king of the universe, saw that we were not obeying the doctors and servants-the priests, the Levites, and the teachers. So He sent us into exile, among the non-Jews, who do not know the Good Lord, and these Gentiles are supposed to cure us with harsh hands." He uses a folktale to describe a grim reality, a religious ideal of devotion and a humorous cringe at both. In the middle of one of his tales, Shmuel Bastomski says, "The rule is: He who does business is smart, for he constantly converses with merchants. However [the characters in this story] had always been in the forest. That's why their minds had dulled." Asides of this sort, as much the narrator's passing observations on life, make the tale richer. We get of a sense of the storyteller and his surroundings and experiences. The twisting storyline and host of strange characters (e.g., The Oldster, The Wanderer, The Owl) in the tales of Der Nister, a Ukrainian mystic, reminded me of Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. Another story, in which the hero gets trapped in a one-eyed ogre's cave and escapes by poking the ogre's eye with a burning poker and sneaking out hidden under a sheep's belly, had a clear connection to Homer's The Odyssey....




[book] The Kids' Fun Book of Jewish Time
by Emily Sper
2006. Jewish LIghts.
A unique way to introduce children to the Jewish calendar--night and day, the seven-day week, Shabbat, the Hebrew months, seasons and dates. Slide the sun down Pull the tab to "light" Shabbat candles Turn the wheel to watch three stars come out Play with reflections in the Havdalah candle's flame Rotate phases of the moon to find the new month Match the seasons Lift flaps to learn Hebrew dates With this fun and engaging book children will gain an understanding of the structure underlying Jewish holidays throughout the year. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Righteous Men
by Sam Bourne
September 1, 2006. William Morrow.
From Booklist: Our pop-cultural obsession with The Da Vinci Code continues to breed more religious-historical thrillers. Bourne's novel, which draws its inspiration from the Jewish rather than the Christian tradition, is one of the better ones. Sent to cover two seemingly unrelated murders--of a New York City pimp and a Montana militiaman--ambitious journalist Will Monroe discovers something that piques his interest: both victims had a secret. Despite brutal deeds in life, each had done extraordinary good. Then Monroe's wife is kidnapped. His search for her takes him into the Hasidic Jewish community of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, where he first hears the legend of the 36 righteous men whose selfless acts allow the rest of us to exist--and learns that they are being systematically killed. Always twisting and turning, Bourne's novel takes readers on a dramatic, full-throttle adventure, which ultimately offers a timely spin on the question, "Can the end ever justify the means?"
Click the book cover to read more. (95,000 copies in the first printing!)








[book] [book] [book] Klezmer
Tales of the Wild East
by Joann Sfar
SEPTEMBER 2006. First Second
From Publishers Weekly: In The Rabbi's Cat, Sfar showed a knack for slightly tweaked and jokey mystical fables, a talent he updates with a harsher edge in this first volume of a new series about a band of itinerant Klezmer musicians. While Cat reflected its drowsy, lugubrious North African setting, this tale is darker, edged with a tragic, Eastern European jocularity, a mix of the fantastic and cruel. In Sfar's expressive art, bright splotches of color overflow his wildly looping drawing. In the violent opening, Noah (nicknamed "The Baron of My Backside") narrowly escapes the massacre of his bandmates by rival musicians. Later in the book, after extracting some revenge, he puts a new band together with the misfits who roam through the intervening pages. They include a pair of former yeshiva students exiled for theft; the baron's voluptuous love interest, Chava; and Tshokola, a less than truthful gypsy on the run from Cossacks. Much of the book has the feel of a goofy, somewhat twisted vaudeville routine, with Sfar's characters meeting under bad circumstances and making light of it via some bad jokes. Deeply suffused with Jewish religious and ethnic identity, the book is profane, messy, jagged and wildly enthusiastic, much like klezmer itself.
[book] [book] Click the book cover to read more.












[book] FOLKTALES OF THE JEWS
VOLUME 1: TALES FROM THE SEPHARDIC DISPERSION
Edited and with Commentary by Dan Ben-Amos
With DOV NOY as the Consulting Editor
SEPTEMBER 2006. Jewish Publication Society JPS, 600 pages
MONUMENTAL!
Tales from the Sephardic Dispersion begins the most important collection of Jewish folktales ever published. It is the first volume in Folktales of the Jews, the five-volume series to be released over the next several years, in the tradition of Louis Ginzberg's classic, Legends of the Jews. The 71 tales here and the others in this series have been selected from the Israel Folktale Archives (IFA), a treasure house of Jewish lore that has remained largely unavailable to the entire world until now. Since the creation of the State of Israel, the IFA has collected more than 20,000 tales from newly arrived immigrants, long-lost stories shared by their families from around the world. The tales come from the major ethno-linguistic communities of the Jewish world and are representative of a wide variety of subjects and motifs, especially rich in Jewish content and context. Each of the tales is accompanied by in-depth commentary that explains the tale's cultural, historical, and literary background and its similarity to other tales in the IFA collection, and extensive scholarly notes. There is also an introduction that describes the Sephardic culture and its folk narrative tradition, a world map of the areas covered, illustrations, biographies of the collectors and narrators, tale type and motif indexes, a subject index, and a comprehensive bibliography. Until the establishment of the IFA, we had had only limited access to the wide range of Jewish folk narratives. Even in Israel, the gathering place of the most wide-ranging cross-section of world Jewry, these folktales have remained largely unknown. Many of the communities no longer exist as cohesive societies in their representative lands; the Holocaust, migration, and changes in living styles have made the continuation of these tales impossible. This volume and the others to come will be monuments to a rich but vanishing oral tradition. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words
by Joyce Eisenberg, Ellen Scolnic
September 2006. Jewish Publication Society JPS, 250 pages
From one of the most trusted names in Jewish publishing comes an indispensable reference to the most common Jewish words and terms in use today derived from - Yiddish, Hebrew, Aramaic, and English. The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words contains over 1,000 entries for Jewish holidays and life-cycle events, culture, history, the Bible and other sacred texts, and worship. Organized in A to Z format for easy reference, words can be quickly found without having to know their meaning or exact spelling. Each entry has a pronunciation guide and is cross-referenced to other related terms. The introduction serves as an excellent primer on the history of Jewish words, their transliteration, and pronunciation. And the indexes at the back, arranged by categories, help you find the words you want. The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words is a very handy resource not just for Jews, but for anyone who encounters Jewish words and wants to check their meaning, spelling, and/or pronunciation.
For example:
mensch n. Yiddish (MENCH) Literally, "person." A caring, decent person-man or woman-who can be trusted. It refers in a much larger sense to acting in an honorable, proper way. The term is bestowed as a compliment on someone who has done the right thing without asking for thanks or credit. For example, "Larry is a real mensch. Before he returned Peter's car, he filled the tank with gas!
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Subject in Art
Portraiture and the Birth of the Modern
by Catherine M. Soussloff
Summer 2006. Duke
Challenging prevailing theories regarding the birth of the subject, Catherine M. Soussloff argues that the modern subject did not emerge from psychoanalysis or existential philosophy but rather in the theory and practice of portraiture in early-twentieth-century Vienna. Soussloff traces the development in Vienna of an ethics of representation that emphasized subjects as socially and historically constructed selves who could only be understood-and understand themselves-in relation to others, including the portrait painters and the viewers. In this beautifully illustrated book, she demonstrates both how portrait painters began to focus on the interior lives of their subjects and how the discipline of art history developed around the genre of portraiture. [book]
Soussloff combines a historically grounded examination of art and art historical thinking in Vienna with subsequent theories of portraiture and a careful historiography of philosophical and psychoanalytic approaches to human consciousness from Hegel to Sartre and from Freud to Lacan. She chronicles the emergence of a social theory of art among the art historians of the Vienna School, demonstrates how the Expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka depicted the Jewish subject, and explores the development of pictorialist photography. Reflecting on the implications of the visualized, modern subject for textual and linguistic analyses of subjectivity, Soussloff concludes that the Viennese art historians, photographers, and painters will henceforth have to be recognized as precursors to such better-known theorists of the subject as Sartre, Foucault, and Lacan. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Holy Vote
The Politics of Faith in America
by Ray Suarez
SEPTEMBER 2006. Rayo
An interesting story. An important read for any Jewish person who wants to understand the future of the national electorate. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Abraham's Bind & Other Bible Tales
of Trickery, Folly, Mercy And Love
by Michael J. Caduto
September 2006. Skylight
New retellings of episodes in the lives of familiar biblical characters explore relevant life lessons for today's world. Abraham and Sarah; Jacob and Esau; Joseph with his coat of many colors-these biblical characters and the stories surrounding their lives may be ancient, yet they continue to yield surprisingly fresh and relevant spiritual lessons for life in the modern world. With insight, thoughtfulness and wit, Caduto re-imagines these characters and many more, retelling their stories and highlighting their foibles and strengths, their struggles and joys. Readers will learn that God has a way of working for them and through them even today, even when life seems less than perfect: Barren and despairing Sarah becomes pregnant-learning that nothing is impossible.; Jacob the trickster is, in turn, tricked into marrying the wrong wife-learning that what goes around comes around.; Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers, only to rise to wield the power of life and death over them-learning that patience and integrity will win out in the end. Provocative and entertaining, these retellings offer readers the chance to discover these ancient biblical stories-and themselves-anew. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] CAPTURING JONATHAN POLLARD
How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice
by Ronald J. Olive
SEPTEMBER 2006. USNI Navel Institute Press
FROM THE COVER: "Jonathan Jay Pollard, an intelligence analyst working in the U.S. Naval Investigative Service's Anti-Terrorist Alert Center, systematically stole highly sensitive security secrets from almost every major intelligence-gathering agency in the United States. Over the course of eighteen months in the mid 1980s, he took and subsequently sold to Israel more than one million pages of classified material, enough to fill a six-by-ten-foot room stacked six feet high. No other spy in the history of the United States has stolen so many secrets, so highly classified, in such a short period of time. Ronald J. Olive, the author of this book was the assistant special agent in charge of counterintelligence in the Washington office of the Naval Investigative Service who led the whirlwind investigation against Pollard. Olive interrogated Pollard and garnered the confession that led to his arrest in November 1985 and eventual life sentence. During the twenty plus years that Pollard has spent in prison, many questions have arisen about the case because it never went to trial and so much information surrounding it remains classified. Most of the books and articles that have been written about Pollard denounce his life sentence as unjust. This book tells the other side of the story. It is an account from deep inside the espionage investigation that gives details of Pollard's confession immediately following his arrest and describes Pollard's interaction with the author before and during the time suspicion about his activities was mounting. Revealed are countless other details that have never before been made public. Calling the Pollard story an extreme case of a counterintelligence failure, Olive writes that mistaken assumptions and leadership failures enabled Pollard to ransack America's defense intelligence long after he should have been fired. The author hopes the vital insights his book offers will serve as a lesson in history and prevent similar problems in the future and provide an antidote to the uncertainty that has fueled speculation, rumor, and lies surrounding the Pollard case." Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Garden of Eden and Other Criminal Delights
by Faye Kellerman
Summer 2006. Warner Books
From Booklist: Kellerman may be best known for her Rina Lazarus-Peter Decker mysteries, but she's also written numerous short stories, 18 of which are collected in this rather varied anthology. Not all of the stories fall within Kellerman's usual crime beat. "Luck of the Draw," for example, a collaboration between Kellerman and her daughters (at the time, 11 and 15), is a pleasant tale in which a sudden windfall causes a close-knit family to reassess its economic priorities. On the other hand, "Mummy and Jack," which Kellerman wrote with her author-playwright son, Jesse, is a dark psychological thriller. Rina and Peter appear in several stories, and Kellerman includes a tale starring one of her first PI characters, Andrea Darling. Greed, dashed hopes, and boredom, occasionally leavened with a touch of humor, are the stuff of many others. A brief note about how each selection came to be heads each tale. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] QUESTIONS CHRISTIANS ASK THE RABBI
By Rabbi Ron Isaacs
September 2006, KTAV.
Rabbi Isaacs pulls together questions and answers from the web site: www.RabbiRon.com . Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Builders Daughter
by Naomi Karz Jacobs
Summer 2006
A memoir by Jacobs who received her M.A. from UCLA. She is the author of several plays produced in Los Angeles, including What A Racquet and Next Year In Jerusalem. A native of Los Angeles, she spent many years in Baltimore where she served on the boards of Jewish Education and the Citizen's Committee for Recreation, and was President of the Baltimore Hadassah. Back in Los Angeles, she has served on the board of the American National Theatre Academy (West) and been active in a wide range of organizations including The Dramatists' Guild, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, First Stage, Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, Actors' Forum, World Affairs Council, and the Sierra Club. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Shakespeare Wars
Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Palace Coups
by Ron Rosenbaum
September 15, 2006. Random House
*Starred Review* New York Observer columnist Rosenbaum has built a career on refusing to give easy answers to difficult questions; see, for example, his Explaining Hitler (1998). Here he attends to the mysteries and controversies in contemporary Shakespearean scholarship. He begins this well-researched, nicely written tome with a discussion of Peter Brook's groundbreaking production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a production he credits with changing how he thought of Shakespeare's work, before turning to such current battles as the one raging over which, if any, of the three extant early versions of Hamlet is the "definitive" one, a subject he discussed in a New Yorker article. The beauty of Rosenbaum's work lies in his ability to discuss complex intellectual issues lucidly and often wittily in a manner that is the very antithesis of opaque, postmodern academic prose. You may not know by the end of the chapter on King Lear which of the two existing endings is the one "Shakespeare intended"--it isn't Rosenbaum's intention that you do--but you will know the full spectrum of opinion on the topic and also how the current "stars of the academy" align on the subject.
What's Jewish about this? His analysis of the changing views on Shylock are quite interesting. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Love, with Noodles
An Amorous Widower's Tale
by Harry Freund
September 2006, Carroll & Graf
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 to read more.









[book] Parenting With Fire
Lighting Up the Family with Passion and Inspiration
by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
SEPTEMBER 2006. NAL
According to Shmuley Boteach, father of eight, author of Kosher Sex and host of TLC's Shalom in the Home, transmitting passions, motivating children with shared goals, and getting them excited about values are the most important things any parent can do. With great humor and insight, Boteach shows parents how to take their child to life's mountaintop-and create a parent-child bond based on vitality, exuberance, and mutual respect. He recommends that parents firght vulgar popular culture, and that they themselves become the central figure in their children's lives. He focuses on PLANT: PROTECTION, LOVE ACTIVITY, NOVELTY, and TRADITION. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Inside Intermarriage
A Christian Partner's Perspective on Raising a Jewish Family
by James Keen
SEPTEMBER 2006. Union for Reform Judaism Press
The author of this much-needed book is a Christian father helping his Jewish wife raise Jewish children. Together, they have made many tough decisions. It's no secret that interfaith marriages are complicated, especially when both partners are connected to their own religious faiths and communities. Using a healthy dose of humor and insights gleaned from his own experience, Keen provides couples with practical advice and solutions for how to give children a clear Jewish identity while maintaining a comfort level for both parents. Any family, no matter what the faiths of its individual members, can find his approach relevant. Interfaith homes come in all shapes and sizes; no two are alike. However, the foundations that will help them thrive are the same, and Keen's straightforward ideas are sure to help. Includes perspectives from professionals who work with interfaith families.. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Price of Admission
How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges -- and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates
by Daniel Golden
September 2006. Crown
In this explosive book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Daniel Golden argues that America, the so-called land of opportunity, is rapidly becoming an aristocracy in which America's richest families receive special access to elite higher education-enabling them to give their children even more of a head start. Based on two years of investigative reporting and hundreds of interviews with students, parents, school administrators, and admissions personnel-some of whom risked their jobs to speak to the author-The Price of Admission exposes the corrupt admissions practices that favor the wealthy, the powerful, and the famous. In The Price of Admission, Golden names names, along with grades and test scores. He reveals how the sons of former vice president Al Gore, one-time Hollywood power broker Michael Ovitz, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist leapt ahead of more deserving applicants at Harvard, Brown, and Princeton. He explores favoritism at the Ivy Leagues, Duke, the University of Virginia, and Notre Dame, among other institutions. He reveals that colleges hold Asian American students to a higher standard than whites; comply with Title IX by giving scholarships to rich women in "patrician sports" like horseback riding, squash, and crew; and repay congressmen for favors by admitting their children. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Theocons
Secular America Under Siege
by Damon Linker
September 2006. Doubleday
George W. Bush has gone out of his way to blur the line between religion and politics in America-this is acknowledged by his strongest supporters no less than by his most strident critics. The most common explanation of the president's religious agenda points to the rise of evangelical Protestantism. Yet as Damon Linker demonstrates in his groundbreaking book, an exclusive focus on the role of evangelicals misses the heart of the story. At its core, the Bush administration's overt religiosity represents the triumph of an ideological movement that for the past several decades has devoted itself to fashioning a theocratic governing philosophy for the United States-a governing philosophy rooted in Roman Catholicism. Led by Father Richard John Neuhaus, this group of "theoconservatives" has actively sought to roll back the division of church and state in American life. Their aim is to transform the political and cultural landscape of the country to such an extent that the separation of church and state as we have known it will cease to exist. The election of 2000 brought the theocons to the peak of political power and influence in Washington. Their ideas inspire the most controversial and divisive policies of the Bush administration-policies whose ultimate goal is nothing less than the end of secular politics in America. . Click the book cover to read more.








[book] [book] A History of the End of the World
How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization
by Jonathan Kirsch
SEPTEMBER 2006. Harper SF.
From Publishers Weekly The question of how and when the world will end has captivated thinkers for centuries. Wars, natural disasters, social upheaval and personal suffering often send believers back to the writings of their prophets and seers, whose gift is to bring satisfying answers to such questions. The book most studied in the Western tradition is Revelation, the last entry in the Christian canon. Kirsch, an attorney and book columnist for the Los Angeles Times, takes the reader on a delightful 2,000-year journey as he explores a text he describes as "a romantic tale, full of intrigue and suspense" and shows how churches, philosophers, clergy and armchair interpreters have promoted their political, social and religious agendas based on their belief that the end was imminent. Some of this history can be quite sobering, as the powerful have waged wars and built societies based on their varying perceptions of Revelation's message. However, consistent with Kirsch's earlier literary efforts, in particular The Harlot by the Side of the Road, the author exercises great care while treating his material with both sobriety and a healthy sense of the ironic. Written clearly and for a general audience, this is a fine book that merits wide readership. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Littlest Hitler
Stories
by Ryan Boudinot
September 2006. Counterpoint / Perseus
In the title story, a little boy dresses as Hitler for Halloween. The girl who he fancies dresses as Anne Frank. Ummm. O. Henry never thought up stories like these. In another story, teens in the future must kill their parents (preferably with ice picks) to get accepted into the colleges of their choice. Is this the influence of Yaddo. Such are the stories of Mr. Boudinit (author, and employee at Amazon.com) Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Dissident
A Novel
by Nell Freudenberger
September 2006. Ecco
A famous performance artist and political activist accepts an artist's residency in Los Angeles, where he is to be hosted by a wealthy Beverly Hills family. As the dissident becomes increasingly entangled in their lives, Freudenberger opens the door on his past in Beijing, revealing an artistic subculture at the height of its influence. The Seattle Times remarked that Freudenberger possesses "a merciless and often hilarious eye for family dynamics, and an equally sharp eye for cultures in collision." These talents and many more are on full display in this extraordinary first novel. Click the book cover to read more.








The Lost is the most gripping, the most amazing true story I have read in years. ...
[book][book] THE LOST
A SEARCH FOR SIX OF SIX MILLION
By Daniel Mendelsohn
September 2006. Harper
Many of you might hae followed parts of this, or the seed for this, book in Slate.com. "Even later, after I was old enough to have learned about the war... it was hard to imagine just how they had been killed.... When? Where? How? With guns? In the gas chambers?" This is the odyssey. After discovering letters written by his grandfather in 1939, the author embarks on a hunt for what happened to six of his relatives. He travels to three continents and 12 countries. Along the way he creates a moving story of suspense and mystery and an eloquent discussion on memory and history and the stories families tell.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19292
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19350
From Booklist: As a boy, Mendelsohn was not only entranced by the stories his grandfather told about growing up in the little Galician town of Bolechow but also attuned to the sorrow that shadowed every tale: his grandfather's oldest brother, Shmiel, his wife, and their four daughters had been killed by the Nazis. So affected was Mendelsohn by his legacy, he eventually embarked on a quest to find out exactly what happened to his six lost relatives. A classicist and formidable literary critic, Mendelsohn performs extraordinary feats of factual and emotional excavation in this finely wrought, many-faceted narrative, a work best described as Talmudic. Autobiography is entwined with revelatory commentary on the Torah, while his affecting chronicle of his journeys to Israel, Australia, Stockholm, Vienna, and, most movingly, Bolechow itself set the stage for Mendelsohn's sometimes perplexing, always intense conversations with his newly discovered cousins. Shmiel, Ester, Lorka, Frydka, Ruchele, and Bronia gradually come into focus, as does a shocking vision of the hell Bolechow became as neighbors tortured and murdered neighbors. Mendelsohn's tenacious yet artistic, penetrating, and empathic work of remembrance recalibrates our perception of the Holocaust and of human nature.
MacArthur Fellowship recipient Charles Simic, writing in The NY Review of Books, adds: "...The Lost is the most gripping, the most amazing true story I have read in years. It tells about the search for six of the author's relatives and the solution to the mystery of their disappearance in the Holocaust. Daniel Mendelsohn grew up in a family troubled by their unknown fate, close to a grandfather for whom the loss of his brother, sister-in-law, and four nieces was the greatest tragedy of his life. Neither he nor anyone else had any clear idea of what happened to them. After the war, there had been vague and conflicting rumors, but nothing since. When he was a little boy, Mendelsohn writes, elder relatives at family gatherings used to burst into tears because of his resemblance to the missing Uncle Shmiel. That would start them whispering, but since they talked in Yiddish, a language the boy could not understand, when he did learn something, it was long afterward.
Once he heard someone mention four beautiful daughters. They were all raped, his mother blurted out on another occasion. He understood his grandfather to say that they were hiding in a castle. This didn't make much sense, for judging from other family stories, Bolechów, a village of a few thousand people in eastern Poland, from which they all came, was not a kind of place one would expect to find castles. There were still other versions of the events, how they were betrayed by their Polish maid or how one, or possibly two, of the daughters had escaped into the woods and joined the Ukrainian partisans. As Mendelsohn grew older, these scraps of information about the lost relatives, too fragmentary to make the barest outline of a story, began to interest him more and more. He started asking his grandfather and other members of the family questions about their background. They in turn were pleased to have someone so young be interested in something so old and were ready to tell him everything they knew, except when it came to Uncle Shmiel and his family, they didn't even know the years of their deaths.
It wasn't just the dates he needed. He wanted stories about the people in the few photographs the family still had of them, some little anecdote that would rescue them from their anonymity, their generic status as victims, and restore to them their reality as particular human beings. What Mendelsohn sets out to uncover about the past would not be a simple undertaking even in emigrant families with no connection to the Holocaust, but with their own epic journeys from country to country. I, for instance, know next to nothing about my great-grandparents in Serbia and the people I could have asked about them were scattered all over the world and are now dead. It is sobering to realize that one little story can keep someone living on in a descendant's memory. Once even that is forgotten, the person vanishes as if he never existed. There are many books written about the search for relatives lost in the Holocaust; what makes this one unique, among other things, is the amount of time that has elapsed. Can one solve a crime that is more than sixty years old? I didn't think so until I read The Lost..."
Click the book cover to read more.




[book] MENDEL'S DAUGHTER
A MEMOIR
By Martin Lemelman, Kutztown University
Free Press (October 10, 2006)
'My precious Martin,' [my mother] said, 'you now have 52 years. This is the same age from my father when he was murdered. Listen to me, Mattaleh! Sometimes your memories are not your own.' " This is the story of Martin's mother, Gusta Schechter, her bravery, her perseverance, her youth in Poland and her escape after hiding... all recounted in graphic novel form, all recounted to Martin after a frozen chicken broke Gusta's foot, and forced her to stay off her feet.. and thus... tell her son her life story. He videotaped her story, and then forgot about it, until, after her death in 1996, she spoke to her son in a dream.
From Publishers Weekly: In what is clearly a labor of love, artist Lemelman has created a "memoir" told in the voice of his mother, Gusta, a survivor of the Holocaust. With the characteristic phrasing of one who comes to English later in life, Gusta's is a gritty eyewitness report on the great upheaval of eastern Europe in the 1930s and '40s, based on Lemelman's recording of his mother in 1989; at the harshest moments, the reader can take a small bit of comfort that Gusta survived to live a long life in the U.S.A. Her tale begins with her childhood in the town of Germakivka, Poland (in the current-day Ukraine), and kicks into high gear when the Nazis bring war into her village, destroying an entire way of living. Her voice rolls on inexorably, a stark account of human weakness and fear, tragic missteps with fatal consequences, and unimaginable hardships as she survives for two years with two brothers in a hole in the ground. Lemelman's subdued art gives the story its heart; with a combination of charcoal drawings and photographs, he creates a sense both of an almost mythical time gone by and the very real lives that were snuffed out Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Sala's Gift
My Mother's Holocaust Story
by Ann Kirschner, PhD (Dean, CUNY)
November 2006, Free Press
See also: http://letterstosala.org/
"In rare moments of retrospection, my mother would tell us about her arrival in the United States.... But even as a child, I was unconvinced. My mother was substituting a happy ending for an untold story."
For nearly fifty years, Sala Kirschner kept a secret: she had spent five years in seven Nazi work camps. It was not until 1991 that she showed her daughter a priceless collection of more than 350 gripping and poignant letters and a diary that revealed the astonishing story of her survival in Hitler's Germany. After volunteering to take her delicate, older sister's (Raizel) place for what she thought was a six-week stay in one of the first Nazi work camps in 1940, Ann Kirschner's mother left her parents and a large extended family of siblings, nieces, nephews, and in-laws, to take a train away from the Polish city of Sosnowiec that had been her entire world. Little did she know that the six weeks would stretch into five years of slavery. She survived thanks to extraordinary luck, and help, and by the war's end only she and two sisters remained alive. Sala Kirschner's odyssey, documented in precious letters, photographs, and keepsakes, lay hidden in a cardboard box as she built a new life in America. Only when faced with heart bypass surgery at the age of 67 did she make a gift to her daughter: of letters, of memories, and of an identity whose rediscovery has challenged and deepened their relationship in surprising ways. There are letters to and from more than 80 people that were preserved. Sala was actually saved from emotional collapse by Ala Gertner, another young woman, who was later killed in the final days of the war at Auschwitz for organizing an armed uprising there. One of the last great survivor narratives, Sala's Gift is as moving and unforgettable as The Diary of Anne Frank. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Ziz And the Hanukkah Miracle
by Jacqueline Jules, Katherine Janus Kahn (Illustrator)
September 2006. Kar ben
. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Goodnight Nobody
A Novel Now in Paperback
by Jennifer Weiner
September 2006. Paperback ediition.
For Kate Klein, a semi-accidental mother of three, suburbia has 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 the most exciting thing to happen in Upchurch, Connecticut, since her neighbors broke ground for a guesthouse and cracked their septic tank. Even though the local police chief warns her that crime-fighting's a job best left to the professionals, Kate launches an unofficial investigation -- from 8:45 to 11:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, when her kids are in nursery school. As Kate is drawn deeper into the murdered woman's past, she begins to uncover the secrets and lies behind Upchurch's picket-fence facade -- and considers the choices and compromises all modern women make as they navigate between marriage and independence, small towns and big cities, being a mother and having a life of one's own. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] [book] Life, Death & Bialys
A Father/Son Baking Story
by Dylan Schaffer
September 2006. Bloomsbury
A mystery writer and his strange (and estranged) father bake their way to truth, reconciliation, and forgiveness.
In 2002 Flip Schaffer asked his son to join him in an intensive bread class at a fancy French culinary school in New York City. At, first, the idea seemed considerably less than half-baked. The two hadn't spent much time together-not since Flip left Dylan and his siblings in the care of their mentally ill mother thirty years before (his mother would frequently inform him and his siblings that she would probably be dead on the bathroom floor when he came home from school). Neither knew the first thing about making bread. And, Flip's end-stage lung cancer was expected to kill him long before the class began.
But Flip made it. The two spent seven days at the French Culinary Institute becoming artisanal bakers and seven tumultuous nights in a shabby Bowery hotel getting to know each other. And to their mutual astonishment, just in time, they came to something like terms of forgiveness. As moving as it is irreverent, Life, Death & Bialys is about how an imperfect father said goodbye to his son and to his city and how a reluctant son discovered the essence of forgiveness. Dylan Schaffer is the author of the award winning legal thrillers Misdemeanor Man, which won Mystery Ink Magazine's 2004 Gumshoe Award for best debut, and I Right the Wrongs, both of which were Booksense picks. In his spare time he is a criminal defense lawyer who has served as appellate counsel in hundreds of cases ranging from drunk driving to multiple murders. He lives in Oakland, California, with many animals and one wife.
Als drait zich arum broit un toit It all comes down to bread and death-Yiddish proverb
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Nonviolence
25 Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea
by Mark Kurlansky
September 2006. Random House
In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power. Nonviolence is a sweeping yet concise history that moves from ancient Hindu times to present-day conflicts raging in the Middle East and elsewhere. Kurlansky also brings into focus just why nonviolence is a "dangerous" idea, and asks such provocative questions as: Is there such a thing as a "just war"? Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history? Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE SECRET WORLD OF KABBALAH (for kids)
By Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams
FALL 2006. KAR BEN
Ages 11 and up
As if kids don't have enough to deal with... This is a book to explain the celebrity infused Kabbalah for kids.. but seriously, she will tell you why people are into the fad of wearing a red string wristband. Click the book cover to read more.








Speaking of red strings and Kabbalah water, let's pile on the band wagon and grab some of the disposable income of kids.. with....
[book] The 72 Names of God for Kids
A Treasury of Timeless Wisdom
by Yehuda Berg, Dev Ross
FALL 2006. Kabbalah Center Water Company and Publishing BEN
Ages 4 - 8
A follow-up to the best-selling The 72 Names of God. Purports to be an inspiring book provides a way for children of all ages to gain a deeper understanding of their innate spiritual selves and find self-esteem, true friendship, love, and light. Click the book cover to read more.








From a book above on nonviolence... to a book by someone violent
JUST IN TIME FOR YOM KIPPUR and KOL NIDRE
[book] I, Goldstein
My Screwed Life
by Al Goldstein of screw magazine fame
with Josh Alan Friendman and Richard Jaccoma
September 28, 2006. Thunder
The key distinction between Al Goldstein and Hugh Hefner is that the last thing on earth Al would be caught doing is taking himself seriously. Otherwise, given the amount of trouble Al has seen, his autobiography reads more like a tragedy than the absurd, uproarious comedy it is. Like a fat tiger with nine lives, Al Goldstein constantly collides with his own mortality, yet has survived for 69 years, so far.
Recently, after finally succeeding in cannibalizing his entire fortune, Goldstein toughed his way through a full year homeless on the streets of New York -- merely his latest accomplishment. His list of priors involve two dozen arrests, four ex-wives, Mafia hit contracts, thousands of death threats, innumerable medical procedures, and constant legal attack throughout his 34 years publishing Screw. Al's blood enemies include politicians, D.A.'s, CEO's and religious officials. When Goldstein was acquitted on pornography charges in Wichita, Kansas, in 1978, he flew the entire jury to New York to celebrate at Plato's Retreat (The Sex Club), and took them all out to dinner on the anniversary of his acquittal. This landmark victory thereafter insured the right of Americans to view naked sex with or without redeeming social value. Click the book cover to read more.








FROM THE AUTHOR OF "TWO JEWS ON A TRAIN"
[book] One Must Also Be Hungarian
by Adam Biro, with Catherine Tihanyi as the Translator
September 2006. University of Chicago Press
The only country in the world with a line in its national anthem as desperate as "this people has already suffered for its past and its future," Hungary is a nation defined by poverty, despair, and conflict. Its history, of course, took an even darker and more tragic turn during the Holocaust. But the story of the Jews in Hungary is also one of survival, heroism, and even humor-and that is the one acclaimed author Adam Biro sets out to recover in One Must Also Be Hungarian, an inspiring and altogether poignant look back at the lives of his family members over the past two hundred years. A Hungarian refugee and celebrated novelist working in Paris, Biro recognizes the enormous sacrifices that his ancestors made to pave the way for his successes and the envious position he occupies as a writer in postwar Europe. Inspired, therefore, to share the story of his family members with his grandson, Biro draws some moving pictures of them here: witty and whimsical vignettes that convey not only their courageous sides, but also their inner fears, angers, jealousies, and weaknesses-traits that lend an indelible humanity to their portraiture. Spanning the turn of the nineteenth century, two destructive world wars, the dramatic rise of communism, and its equally astonishing fall, the stories here convey a particularly Jewish sense of humor and irony throughout-one that made possible their survival amid such enormous adversity possible. Already published to much acclaim in France, One Must Also Be Hungarian is a wry and compulsively readable book that rescues from oblivion the stories of a long-suffering but likewise remarkable and deservedly proud people. Click the book cover to read more.








HIGHLY RECOMMENDED,, Judaism Unplugged?
[book][book][book] GONZO Judaism
A Bold Path for Renewing an Ancient Faith
by Rabbi Niles Goldstein
FALL 2006. St. Martin's Press
When Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein isn't smashing toilet fixtures, running The New Shul in Greenwich Village, serving as a rabbi to federal police officers, traveling to Alaska, or writing books, including Lost Souls: Finding Hope in the Heart of Darkness (Crown, 2002), and God at the Edge: Searching for the Divine in Uncomfortable and Unexpected Places (Crown, 2000, he is promoting his message for soul-filled Judaism. In this book, Niles Goldstein rethinks Jewish identity, community, holidays and rituals. He urges readers to study the basics of Judaism, the nuts and bolts, before moving on to study the hyped mystical aspects of the religion. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] TIKKUN READER
THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY
Edited by Michael Lerner
FALL 2006. Rowman and Littlefield
Some of the best essays from Tikkun, which, if you like the journal, is a good thing. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Goy Crazy
A novel by Melissa Schorr
September 2006. Hyperion
A young adult novel
HILARIOUS NOVEL ABOUT FALLING FOR THE WRONG GOY Rachel Lowenstein can't help it. She's got a massive crush on a goy: Luke Christensen, the gorgeous star of the basketball team at St. Joseph's prep. But as the name implies, he's not exactly in Rachel's tribe. Rachel just knows her parents would never approve. Then Rachel's Jewish grandmother issues a stern edict--"Don't go with the goyim!"-- sealing Rachel's fate and presenting her with a serious dilemma. Everyone's got an opinion-from her annoying neighbor Howard to her newly social-climbing best friend. Should Rachel follow her heart and turn her back on her faith? Or should she heed her family's advice and try and find a nice Jewish boy? With an unforgettable cast of characters and razor-sharp wit, Melissa Schorr's debut novel is an engaging comedy about a girl's decision to go goy crazy. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] YES, BUT IS IT GOOD FOR THE JEWS
BY JONNY GELLER
FALL 2006. BLOOMSBURY
I remember that Jewish newspaper that headlined: Earthquake in Mexico.. No Jews Hurt. We are a Jewish-centric people, and now this author has spun our focus into a book:
From the Amish to Zoolatry, this hilarious tour of world history and culture will answer the question on everyone's lips this Chanukah: "Yes, but is it good for the Jews?" Jews have long evaluated everything from current events to dinner menus through the prism of "Yes But is it good for the Jews." Finally, there is a method by which to evaluate this burning question-the ancient art of Judology. It's easy: Add "Anti-Semitic Potential" (an open and obvious threat to the Jews) + "Impact on the World" (10 years or more) x "The J-Factor" (level of "jewishness")= Tzurus (Yiddish word for trouble), and divide by the Mystical Kabalistic number "Seven." Readers will no longer be tortured by such decisions as: where to vacation (Micronesia good, Venezuela bad), what television to watch (Desperate Housewives no, Eurovision Song Contest yes), which celebrity to marry (Scarlett Johanssen yes, Joaquin Phoenix no), whether it's okay to use Google, enter a spelling bee, and much more. Extras include: the "How Jew Are You" quiz, handy lists such as "Jews Who Switched"; the "Six Degrees of Larry David" games, plus timelines, charts, and graphs. We guarantee you won't find this valuable info in either the Torah or the Kabbalah.
From Publishers Weekly: London literary agent Geller revolves his mock science of Judology around an equation that weighs the potential for anti-Semitic backlash, links to Jewish culture and worldwide cultural influence to determine whether a given subject is, as the old saying goes, "Good for the Jews" or "Not Good for the Jews." Of course, the numbers turn out to be largely meaningless, as the real substance of Geller's evaluations lie in his idiosyncratic commentaries. In some cases, the effort to find a Jewish connection feels strained, and most of the discussions are lightweight. The Godfather films, for example, are Good because they diverted attention from Jewish gangsters, while Nigella Lawson's love of ham and pork dishes make her Not Good. But there are thoughtful discussions of subjects like eBay's policy against allowing auctions of Nazi memorabilia and the impact of TiVo on Orthodox TV viewing. A lengthy section toward the end assesses various countries for their suitability as vacation spots, and a recurring sidebar presents a world history timeline from a Jewish perspective (the Louisiana Purchase is dubbed "a sweet kosher deal"). Unfortunately, there's really only one joke here, and though it's amusing in small doses, it can't sustain the entire book. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The SCar of David
A Novel
by Susan Abulhawa
FALL 2006. NewSouthBooks.com
Set within one of the 20th century's most intractable political conflicts, The Scar of David is historical fiction about a Palestinian family from the village of Ein Hod, which was emptied of its inhabitants by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948. Three massacres and two major wars provide the foundation to a love story and the eventual reunion of family members lost to each other for two decades. This story reveals Palestinians with the undaunted will to take their place among the nations as human beings, worthy of human rights, and the basic dignity of heritage. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE ONE FROM THE OTHER
A BERNIE GUNTHER NOVEL
by Philip Kerr
FALL 2006. Putnam
Germany, 1949: Amid the chaos of defeat, it's a place of dirty deals, rampant greed, fleeing Nazis, and all the intrigue and deceit readers have come to expect from this immensely talented thriller writer. In The One from the Other, Hitler's legacy lives on. For Bernie Gunther, Berlin has become too dangerous, and he now works as a private detective in Munich. Business is slow and his funds are dwindling when a woman hires him to investigate her husband's disappearance. No, she doesn't want him back-he's a war criminal. She merely wants confirmation that he is dead. It's a simple job, but in postwar Germany, nothing is simple-nothing is what it appears to be. Accepting the case,Bernie takes on far more than he'd bargained for, and before long, he is on the run, facing enemies from every side. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] EMMA LAZARUS
by Esther Schor
FALL 2006. A Schocken Nextbooks Jewish Encounters title
Booklist writes: From Booklist Writing with great enthusiasm, Schor confirms that the author of "The New Colossus," the sonnet ensconced in the base of the Statue of Liberty, was no one-hit wonder. Until the 1930s, "The Banner of the Jew," a rallying song for establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, was her best-known composition. Lazarus (1849-87) was also controversially famous for the prose "Epistle to the Hebrews," expounding her ideas about Jewish identity as well as Palestine. Spurred by the crisis of the pogroms following Czar Alexander II's 1881 assassination, Lazarus set aside the gentility of her wealthy upbringing to advocate for the thousands of Jews whose flight for life left them destitute in New York. Her encounters with shtetl refugees and her trust in American freedom confirmed her belief that Judaism should be secular and universal, committed to justice, freedom, and revolution. She anticipated Zionism and, as a radical who didn't embrace socialism, much of non-Marxist Jewish politics. Moreover, Schor argues with engrossing persuasiveness, she "invented the role of the American Jewish writer." Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Water from the Well
Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah
by Anne Roiphe
September 2006. Morrow
Water from the Well is a journey four thousand years back to the time of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah. These biblical matriarchs and their fascinating stories come alive in the hands of renowned author Anne Roiphe, whose graceful prose captures the biblical landscape and makes it take flight. As each story unfolds, we find that the matriarchs had to overcome the same devastating obstacles women face today, such as infertility, lust, abandonment, and uncertainty. Roiphe demonstrates how the lives of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah helped to lay the foundation of womanhood in the Western world. Though these women lived many years ago, their lives bear a striking resemblance to our own. They suffered the same pressures and pitfalls, enjoyed the same pleasures and activities, and shared the same responsibilities as today's wives, mothers, and daughters. What is more, they managed to cope with betrayal, death, sacrifice, and jealousy while dealing with the emerging reality of a new faith period. Little of the drama in the Bible is seen from a woman's perspective. Would Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah share the same point of view as contemporary women? With life having changed so drastically from the days of the Bible, what can we really know about the women who appear in one of our most sacred text? In Water from the Well these questions and many others are addressed in a most enriching fashion, allowing us to discover that women played larger roles in biblical history than many care to acknowledge. Roiphe opens a window onto the distant past and presents it, through the tales of four remarkable women, to the modern reader with relevant observations and allegories. Combining the deep insight of Bruce Feiler with the narrative skill of Antonia Fraser, Roiphe delivers a fascinating work that deftly brings these four biblical matriarchs into our own age. Click the book cover to read more.







[book] Is It Good for the Jews?
The Crisis of America's Israel Lobby
by Stephen Schwartz
FALL 2006. DOUBLEDAY
Schwartz has written for THE FORWARD and THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Okay folks.. please read the following with that in mind.
In 2005, two then-officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee were indicted for handing over classified information to a foreign power. That the power in question was assumed to be Israel brought fresh credibility to a conspiracy theory that had been floating around Washington for years: that a powerful "Jewish lobby" controls U.S. policy in the Middle East. The run-up to the Iraq war had provided new grist for this theory. A group of largely Jewish neoconservatives were among the architects of the war, and their motivations for removing Saddam Hussein were alternately ascribed to oil interests and the need to protect Israel. The allegations against these neoconservatives-especially former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz-echoed the case of the notorious Jonathan Pollard who pled guilty of spying for Israel in 1986. In this biting and incisive polemic, journalist and author Stephen Schwartz confronts the myth of a Jewish lobby head on, asking questions that no one else has dared to pose. What is the "Jewish lobby"? How powerful is it? What was its involvement in the preparations for war in Iraq? Was there really a "cabal" of neoconservative Jews in the administration of George W. Bush? How did AIPAC officials come to be accused, in 2004, of espionage? Above all, what is good for the Jews, and who decides it? Many of us forget that in the 1930s, a genuine home-grown fascist movement arose in America. At that time, Schwartz reminds us, it was not the official representatives of the Jewish community that stood up to the fascist goons of New York City, but Jewish socialists-the antecedents of today's neoconservatives. Likewise, today, it has not been the meek and timid leaders of the supposedly all-powerful Jewish Lobby that have defended the Jews but the reviled "neocons" in the Bush Administration. Their strategic vision projects a foreign policy that is both good for America and good for the Jews. As a result, Schwartz predicts an increasing turn for Jewish voters away from their dysfunctional marriage with the Democratic Party and toward the Republicans. Ultimately Schwartz concludes that in today's America, a "Jewish lobby" may no longer be necessary. In the face of the threatened collapse of the Lobby, he argues, American Jews should openly and proudly assume their proper role as moral and religious exemplars for their fellow Americans and cease acting like a frightened minority. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel
The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life
by Jon D. Levenson, Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard University
September 2006. Yale
This provocative volume explores the origins of the Jewish doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. Jon D. Levenson argues that, contrary to a very widespread misconception, the ancient rabbis were keenly committed to the belief that at the end of time, God would restore the deserving dead to life. In fact, Levenson points out, the rabbis saw the Hebrew Bible itself as committed to that idea. The author meticulously traces the belief in resurrection backward from its undoubted attestations in rabbinic literature and in the Book of Daniel, showing where the belief stands in continuity with earlier Israelite culture and where it departs from that culture. Focusing on the biblical roots of resurrection, Levenson challenges the notion that it was a foreign import into Judaism, and in the process he develops a neglected continuity between Judaism and Christianity. His book will shake the thinking of scholars and lay readers alike, revising the way we understand the history of Jewish ideas about life, death, and the destiny of the Jewish people. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] CAUGHT IN THE THICKET
CHAPTERS OF CRISIS AND DISCONTENT IN THE HISTORY OF HASIDISM
By Professor David Assaf (TAU)
2006. Mercaz Shazar
The leading Historian of Hasidism has written this book that reveals a dark chapter in the early history of the Hasidic movement, a chapter that many would prefer was never discussed. There are seven chapters, one for each of the seven suppressed events. The biggest scoop in the book has to do with the conversion to Christianity of Rabbi Moshe Schneerson in 1820, the youngest son of Rabbi Shneor Zalman of Ladi, the founder of what is now Lubavitcher Hasidism. The affair was known and dealt with in a heated debate among the Maskilim and after them the academic researchers, who tried to blur and even deny the story. Assaf's discovery should put an end to the debate. There was a letter from Moshe to the priest in his town, Oula, requesting conversion, the baptism certificate that was prepared for him and letters from his two brothers to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in which they state that their brother is mentally ill and ask, in the light of this, to revoke the conversion to Christianity as a step that was taken when he was of unsound mind and that exploited his illness (a description with which Assaf agrees). Chapter Two: 'The Mitnagdim Laughed that He Was Drunk': The Fall of the Seer of Lublin, concerns how one rabbi fell from a window on Simchat Torah. Was he drunk? Most likely it was an attempted seuicide. Chapter Three: 'Happy Are the Persecuted': The Struggle Against Bratslav Hasidism focuses on the persecution of the Breslav Hasidim by other Hasidim in the Nineteenth century. Chapter Four is 'Heretic, Who Believes Not in the Great Leaders of the Time': The Struggle Over the Honor of the Book Or Ha-Hayyim" Chapter Five: 'Excitement of the Soul': The World of Rabbi Akiva Shalom Chajes of Tulchin; Chapter Six: 'How Much Times Have Changed': The World of Rabbi Menachem Nahum Friedman of Itcani; and Chapter Seven: 'Confession of My Tortured Soul': The World of Rabbi Yitzhak Nahum Twersky of Shpikov. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] DISOBEDIENCE
A novel
By NAOMI ALDERMAN
September 2006, Simon and Schuster / Touchstone
From Publishers Weekly: Alderman draws on her Orthodox Jewish upbringing and current life in Hendon, England, for her entertaining debut, which won the Orange Prize for New Writers after it was published in the U.K. in March. In writing about the inhabitants of this small, gossipy society, Alderman cleverly uses a slightly sinister, omniscient "we" to represent a community that speaks with one voice, and her descriptions of Orthodox customs are richly embroidered. Alternating with this perspective is the first-person narrative of Ronit Krushka, a woman who has left the community and is now a financial analyst in New York. After the death of her estranged father, a powerful rabbi, Ronit returns to England to mourn her father and to confront her past, including a female lover. But Ronit's shock that an Orthodox lesbian would marry a man rings false, as does her casually condescending attitude toward the community. By the time of the theatrical, unrealistic climax, Ronit's struggle between religious and secular imperatives gets reduced to cliché ("all we have, in the end, are the choices we make"), but Ronit works well as a vehicle for the opinion that even the most alienated New York Judaism is preferable to the English version, where "the Jewish fear of being noticed and the natural British reticence interact." Click the book cover to read more.






[book] WIDE AWAKE
A Novel by
David Levithan
September 2006, Knopf
Ages 9 and up
From Booklist In Boy Meets Boy (2003), Levithan created a town where being gay is no big thing. In his latest, he imagines a future America--after the Reign of Fear, after the Greater Depression, the War to End All Wars, the Jesus Revolution, and the Prada Riots. Living in this not quite but almost believable America are Duncan and his boyfriend, Jimmy, who start out the book rejoicing that Abe Stein, both gay and Jewish, has been elected president. Unsurprisingly, however, the governor of Kansas demands a recount, causing both Stein supporters and Stein haters to travel en masse to Kansas. Into this politically charged atmosphere go Duncan and Jimmy, who experience what proves to be a life-changing journey for them and their country. Levithan is best when he's focused on the two nuanced teenagers. Duncan's first-person narration--vulnerable, insecure, caring--absolutely sings, and his relationship with the outspoken Jimmy has all the awkwardness and intensity of first love. Clearly responding to current politics, Levithan's vision of the future occasionally dips into heavy-handed moralizing, but politics are so well integrated and thought-provoking that those moments are forgivable. As much about love as about politics, Levithan's latest reaches out to shake readers awake, showing them how each person's life touches another, and another, until ultimately history is made. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Dear Mr. Rosenwald
by Carole Boston Weatherford
September 2006, Scholastic
Ages 7 to 10
From Booklist: In the early 1920s, Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck, was inspired by Booker T. Washington to give millions to build schools for African American children in the rural South, on condition that the local community raised money too. This picture book tells the story from the viewpoint of Ovella, 10, part of a sharecropper family, who attends a rough one-room schoolhouse when she is not picking cotton ("Instead of learning long division / I'll be working in the fields"). Weatherford's short lines in clear free verse and Christie's exuberant gouache and colored-pencil illustrations show Ovella as part of a vibrant family and community, hard at work, passing the plate in church, and, finally, thrilled to be welcoming the teacher to the exciting new school ("no more eight grades in one room"). The story ends with the child's dream: "One day, I'll be a teacher." Click the book cover to read more.






[book] The Notorious Izzy Fink
By Don Brown
September 2006, Roaring Brook/Brodie
Ages 11 to 14
Sam Glodsky lives among the rough-and-tumble gangs on the streets of New York's Lower East Side. When 13-year-old Sam falls in with fearsome gangster Monk Eastman, he joins an outrageous scheme to rescue Eastman's prize racing-pigeon from a cholera-ridden steamship quarantined in the harbor. The caper Monk hatches to snatch the bird pairs Sam with his archenemy, the notorious Izzy Fink. Widely acclaimed for his picture book histories, Don Brown's first historical novel is a fast-paced tale of immigrant life at the turn of the twentieth century. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Something Remains
by Inge Barth-Grozinger. Translated by Anthea Bell
Fall 2006, Hyperion
Ages 9 to 12
South a Frankfurt is Ellwangen, a town of 25,000. A few years ago, a high school teacher embarked on a school project to research the history of the town's historical Jewish community, a community which was destroyed during WWII. The main person the project focused on was a youth naked Erich Levi. Forced from school and Germany, he retruned in 1945 as a US soldier and ordered the repair of the town's Jewish cemetery. His story became the basis for this historical novel.
From Booklist: What was it like to be one of only three Jewish kids in a small German town when Hitler came to power? Based on the true story of Erich Levi, age 12 at the time, this novel, first published in Germany, has been translated with simple immediacy. For Erich, "being a Jew was no big deal" until changes begin in his daily life. A teacher leads bullying and insults; classroom exercises label Jews "bloodsuckers"; the Hitler Youth run things. One Gentile friend stays loyal, but only in secret, and Erich's father's business fails. Finally, the family heeds the warnings and leaves for the U.S. The everyday detail may overwhelm many readers, but even given the wealth of Holocaust fiction on shelves today, little has been written about the early years of the Nazis. The truth of the child's viewpoint brings the terror home. Suggest Susan Campbell Bartoletti's Hitler Youth (2005) and Hans B. Richter's Friedrich (1987) to readers wanting other books about the time. Click the book cover to read more.

See also:
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[book] On the Road with Rabbi Steinsaltz
25 Years of Pre-Dawn Car Trips,
Mind-Blowing Encounters, and Inspiring
Conversations with a Man of Wisdom
by Arthur Kurzweil with Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
September 2006. Jossey-Bass
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz is internationally regarded as one of the most brilliant and influential rabbis of our time. He has been lauded by Time magazine as a "once-in-a-millennium scholar" and by Ted Koppel of Night Line as "one of the very few wise men that I've ever met." Arthur Kurzweil-himself a Jewish scholar, author, teacher, and publisher-has been a disciple of Rabbi Steinsaltz's for over 25 years, as well as the Rabbi's designated chauffer in the United States. While stuck in countless traffic jams and attending the Rabbi's lectures at universities, government agencies, synagogues, and seminars, Arthur Kurzweil has had the rare opportunity of personally learning from his inspired teacher and has become intimately familiar with the Rabbi's wisdom and teachings. On the Road with Rabbi Steinsaltz presents an intimate portrait of this wise and holy man as he has never been seen before as Kurzweil shares the Rabbi's most personal, humorous, and inspiring tales. You will feel like a backseat passenger in Arthur's car as he and Rabbi Steinsaltz discuss provocative issues such as: How can we develop a personal relationship with God?; What are some of the sublime ideas contained in Kabbalah?; Why has God created a world with so much suffering in it? ; Can we be religious and live fully in the world?; How can we tell what is important and what is unimportant in this life?; Can we be religious and keep our sense of humor? Throughout the book Arthur Kurzweil also shares Rabbi Steinsaltz's views and teachings on Jewish identity and the role of Jews in modern society. So grab your overcoat and come along for a ride with Rabbi Steinsaltz and Arthur Kurzweil-a ride that could very well change your life. Click the book cover to read more.























OCTOBER 2006


[book] The Wicked Son
Anti-Semitism, Self-hatred, and the Jews
by David Mamet
October 2006. Schocken
As might be expected from this fiercely provocative writer, David Mamet's interest in anti-Semitism is not limited to the modern face of an ancient hatred but encompasses as well the ways in which many Jews have themselves internalized that hatred. Using the metaphor of the Wicked Son at the Passover seder-the child who asks, "What does this story mean to you?"-Mamet confronts what he sees as an insidious predilection among some Jews to seek truth and meaning anywhere-in other religions, in political movements, in mindless entertainment-but in Judaism itself. At the same time, he explores the ways in which the Jewish tradition has long been and still remains the Wicked Son in the eyes of the world. Written with the searing honesty and verbal brilliance that is the hallmark of Mamet's work, The Wicked Son is a scathing look at one of the most destructive and tenacious forces in contemporary life, a powerfully thought-provoking and important book. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Heist
Superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, His Republican Allies, and the Buying of Washington
by Peter H. Stone
October 2006. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
The Indian-casino scandal has torn the veil off the Republican Party's conservative power base, revealing parts of the Washington lobbying community and GOP establishment where greed, arrogance, and corruption seem to have run amok. At the center of this drama is the larger-than-life super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, onetime B-movie producer, with deep ties to Republican heavyweights like the embattled Republican power broker Tom DeLay, Congressman Bob Ney, former head of the Christian Coalition Ralph Reed, influential anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, and others with links to the Bush administration. Abramoff, working with public relations whiz Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay aid, bilked several Indian tribes of tens of millions of dollars in fees and bought influence in Congress. The federal corruption probe into Abramoff's lobbying has already produced indictments and seperate guilty pleas by Abramoff and Scanlon to charges that they conspired to bribe public officials and defrauded four Indian tribes. More charges are expected to follow in a scandal that has tarred many powerful Washington insiders, and which the New York Times has called "potentially one of the most explosive in Congressional history." The scandal is front-page news and will continue to be as the midterm election campaigns of 2006 heat up. But Stone digs behind the headlines to capture fully a riveting tale of our time: an inside-Washington drama driven by outsized personalities and the toxic mix of money and power. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Ariel Sharon
A Life
by Nir Hefez, Gadi Bloom, Mitch Ginsburg
October 2006. Random
Did you that his first wife, Margalit, was killed in an accident, his second wife was the sister of his first wife, and she died of cancer; and his eldest son, Gur died in Ariel's arms from a rifle's accident discharge. These are the little known things that you can learn from this admiring bio by writers from Yedioth Tikshoret and Yedioth Ahronoth.BR> From Booklist - As of this writing, Ariel Sharon remains comatose; his physical condition has recently deteriorated, and there is no possibility of his resuming his public career. So, as Israel struggles to cope with threats from Hamas on its west, Hezbollah on its north, and Iran on its east, it is pertinent to examine the career of the charismatic Israeli warrior and politician who struggled mightily to ensure the security of the state of Israel and its citizens. Hefez is a newspaper editor and serves as a captain in the Israel Defense Forces reserves; Bloom is also a newspaper editor and an investigative journalist. They view Sharon, justifiably, as a giant figure on the political and military scene who has had an enormous effect on events for decades. But this is far from a hagiography. Sharon is shown here as possessing immense physical courage and willingness to act boldly (or recklessly) as both a military and political leader. As a soldier, he showed great devotion to his men, and that devotion was usually reciprocated. But Sharon often acted like a bull in a china shop, taking dangerous gambles that often proved disastrous, and he routinely ignored the instructions of his superiors. He displayed a lust for power and a willingness to bend the truth in that pursuit. It is too early for the verdict of history to be rendered upon Sharon, but this revealing and engrossing biography adds a great deal to our understanding of the man.
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Ariel Sharon
An Intimate Portrait
by Uri Dan
October 2006. Palgrave
In 1954 reporter Uri Dan met a young military commander named Ariel Sharon and followed him closely for more than half a century. Dan became Sharon's trusted advisor and a witness to the defining moments of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--from secret meetings with heads of state to open warfare in the Sinai. This riveting combination of political history, narrative biography, interviews, and correspondence sheds new light on the conflict in the Middle East and provides an intimate, definitive portrait of Ariel Sharon--a man whose life is inextricably intertwined with Israel's destiny. With Hamas governing Palestine, Ariel Sharon gravely ill and the party he founded, the Kadima, in control of the Knesset, this book couldn't be more timely. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Curb Your Enthusiasm
THE BOOK
by Deirdre Dolan
October 2006. Gotham
Filled with humorous pictures, people and insights into the show. Original interviews with the over 100 of the show's stars, hilarious guests, its directors and producers, plus Larry David. Readers will learn about David's childhood, his life as a stand up comic, his writing jobs, and Seinfeld. Includes never before published story outlines. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] Behind Enemy Lines
The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany
by Marthe Cohn with Wendy Holden
2006. Three Rivers Press paperback edition.
Originally published in 2002
Marthe Cohn was a beautiful young Jewish woman living just across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power. Her family sheltered Jews fleeing the Nazis, including Jewish children sent away by their terrified parents. But soon her homeland was also under Nazi rule. As the Nazi occupation escalated, Marthe's sister was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. The rest of her family was forced to flee to the south of France. Always a fighter, Marthe joined the French Army. As a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army, Marthe fought valiantly to retrieve needed inside information about Nazi troop movements by slipping behind enemy lines, utilizing her perfect German accent and blond hair to pose as a young German nurse who was desperately trying to obtain word of a fictional fiancé. By traveling throughout the countryside and approaching troops sympathetic to her plight, risking death every time she did so, she learned where they were going next and was able to alert Allied commanders. After the war, she held a high levfel intelligence position, so high, that the US Army spied on her. Later she returned to France to raise a family. She never told her husband or children of her heroic life. When, at the age of eighty, Marthe Cohn was awarded France's highest military honor, the Médaille Militaire, not even her children knew to what extent this modest woman had faced death daily while helping defeat the Nazi empire. When her brother became ill, she approached the Spieldberg Archives for help in writing her memoirs. They did not help. But when her neighbor recommended that she speak with a relative who made docs for pbs, a bond was formed and the book was written. At its heart, this remarkable memoir is the tale of an ordinary human being who, under extraordinary circumstances, became the hero her country needed her to be.







[book][book] Last Days in Babylon
The History of a Family, the Story of a Nation
by Marina Benjamin
October 2006. Free Press
From Publishers Weekly: "Through the events of her late maternal grandmother's life, British journalist Benjamin tells the saga of the Iraqi Jews, who arrived during the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles from Judea in the eighth and sixth centuries B.C. and were once Iraq's largest and wealthiest ethnic minority. Born in 1905 in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, Regina Sehayek is a compelling character who lived in tumultuous times, witnessing as a child the British takeover of Baghdad and, as an adult, Arab nationalism and revolution. A moneychanger's bright and opinionated daughter, Regina was married off (and deflowered semipublicly as tradition dictated) to a virtual stranger, a prosperous merchant 30 years her senior whose ancestor was the Persian Jewish doctor for an 18th-century shah. Although indifferent to Zionism, Regina and her kin were victims of the rabid anti-Semitism that began to pervade Iraq in the 1930s. By 1950, the Jews' desperate situation forced a widowed Regina to thwart police and petty bureaucrats and flee, eventually settling her children in London. Benjamin (Rocket Dreams) honors her family by vivifying a once-thriving community that has dispersed worldwide, leaving only 12 souls struggling for survival in present-day war-torn Baghdad".
Marina Benjamin grew up in London feeling estranged from her family's exotic Middle Eastern ways. She refused to speak the Arabic her mother and grandmother spoke at home. She rejected the peculiar food they ate in favor of hamburgers and beer. But when Benjamin had her own child a few years ago, she realized that she was losing her link to the past. ... In Last Days in Babylon, Benjamin delves into the story of her family's life among the Jews of Iraq in the first half of the twentieth century. When Iraq gained independence in 1932, Jews were the largest and most prosperous ethnic group in Baghdad. They dominated trade and finance, hobnobbed with Iraqi dignitaries, and lived in grandiose villas on the banks of the Tigris. Just twenty years later the community had been utterly ravaged, its members effectively expelled from the country by a hostile Iraqi government. Benjamin's grandmother Regina Sehayek lived through it all. Born in 1905, when Baghdad was still under Ottoman control, her childhood was a virtual idyll. This privileged existence was barely touched when the British marched into Iraq. But with the rise of Arab nationalism and the first stirrings of anti-Zionism, Regina, then a young mother, began to have dark premonitions of what was to come. By the time Iraq was galvanized by war, revolution, and regicide, Regina was already gone, her hair-raising escape a tragic exodus from a land she loved -- and a permanent departure from the husband whose gentle guiding hand had made her the woman she was. Benjamin's keen ear and fluid writing bring to life Regina's Baghdad, both good and bad. More than a stirring story of survival, Last Days in Babylon is a bittersweet portrait of Old World Baghdad and its colorful Jewish community, whose roots predate the birth of Islam by a thousand years and whose culture did much to make Iraq the peaceful desert paradise that has since become a distant memory. In 2004 Benjamin visited Baghdad for the first time, searching for the remains of its once vital Jewish community. What she discovered will haunt anyone who seeks to understand a country that continues to command the world's attention, just as it did when Regina Sehayek proudly walked through Baghdad's streets. By turns moving and funny, Last Days in Babylon is an adventure story, a riveting history, and a timely reminder that behind today's headlines are real people whose lives are caught -- too often tragically -- in the crossfire of misunderstanding, age-old prejudice, and geopolitical ambition. Click the book cover to read more or to read an excerpt.








[book] 700 Sundays
by Billy Crystal
October 2006. Warner. NOW IN PAPERBACK
It sold over 650,000 copies in HARCOVER... now it is in a more affordable form (plus I spent $100 on the Bway show version). Hailed as a triumph by everyone from the New York Times to Sports Illustrated, Billy Crystals 700 SUNDAYS is the crowning achievement of an amazing career. A poignant, hilarious, and personal portrayal of his youth, Crystals play broke Broadway box office records and failed to leave a dry eye in the house. To support his family, Billy Crystals father, Jack, worked two jobs and long hours and could only spare Sundays to spend with his loved ones. These formative and favorite days were in limited supply, however, as Crystals father was stopped short by a heart attack when his son was 15. 700 SUNDAYS refers to a sadly precise measurement of time shared by an adoring father and a devoted son. This delightful, autobiographical journey is sure to elicit tears and laughter from readers everywhere. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] God's To-Do List
103 Ways to Live Your Purpose for Doing God's Work on Earth
By Dr. Ron Wolfson
October 2006. Jewish Lights
Wolfson, a professor at LA's University of Judaism wrote this inspirational guide to doing God's work in our everyday lives. All human beings are made in the image of God. But for what purpose were you made? The biblical answer is clear: you are to imitate God in order to bring God's presence into the world. Jewish tradition calls this "repairing the world"; Christianity calls this bringing God's Kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven." This practical guidebook to repairing the world details the biblical accounts of what God does, not what God says: God creates, rests, calls, blesses, encourages, forgives, promises, provides, leads, visits the sick, and comforts the mourner. For each of God's characteristics, this inspiring resource suggests what might be on God's to-do list for you, the many ways you can make a difference in the lives of others and find the ultimate source of meaning for your own. Topics include: Honoring your parents Visiting the sick Doing deeds of lovingkindness Studying Bible Probing the meaning of prayer Protecting the environment Supporting the poor Doing the work of social justice Making peace between one person and another ...and much, much more. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Irene Nemirovsky
Her Life And Works
by Jonathan Weiss (Colby College)
October 2006. Stanford University Press
From Publishers Weekly: Irène Némirovsky's brilliant 1940 novel Suite Française was a surprise bestseller earlier this year. Némirovsky published more than a dozen novels and several biographies in her short lifetime, achieving acclaim in her adopted country of France. But information about the life and career of the Russian-born Jewish novelist, who died in Auschwitz in 1942 at the age of 39, has been scarce. This short critical biography by Weiss, an expert on contemporary French literature, is a fine introduction to her work. Némirovsky attained literary stature in France in 1930 with the publication of David Golder, a satiric portrait of the Parisian Jewish business community. Weiss's analysis of the Jewish press's negative response to David Golder (they "reeled, as if struck by a bomb") is excellent. Némirovsky continued to have a fruitful literary career until her deportation to Auschwitz. Weiss offers a discussion of Némirovsky's 1939 conversion to Catholicism, which appears to have been sincere although at the same time she was exploring the personal meaning of Judaism in her life. At times Weiss relies too heavily on autobiographical readings of Némirovsky's novels, but such a tack is understandable given that we are in the early stages of scholarly work to be done, of which this is a fascinating and important beginning. Click the book cover to read more.








GRRRRRRRRR.......Don't get us started
You be the judge
[book] Chrismukkah
The Official Guide to the World's Most-Beloved Holiday
by Gersh Kuntzman
October 2006. Sasquatch Books
Mixed-faith marriages are growing ever more common in the cultural gumbo that is America. This book embraces that stew, shellfish and all. The hybrid holiday Chrismukkah solves the pesky problem of having to celebrate twice. Chrismukkah, though not a new concept, was brought into the pop-culture lexicon by the Fox soap opera The OC and has since exploded in popularity. Gersh Kuntzman tracks down the history, myth, and practice of Chrismukkah. His enthusiasm for Chrismukkah is so great, in fact, that he has constructed a place for the holiday at the core of human society. Gersh's droll social commentary and liberal use of Biblical history make for a gripping account of the previously untold Chrismukkah story. This book is one part holiday satire, one part celebration, and one part absurd contrivance. From the "Refusal of the Gift" to the "Hour of Silent Reflection," this humorous handbook provides a witty treasury of Chrismukkah lore. Click the book cover to read more.






GRRRRRRRRR....... BUT WAIT... THERE IS ANOTHER ONE
A plague on both their houses
You be the judge
[book] Chrismukkah
Everything You Need to Know to Celebrate the Hybrid Holiday
by Ron Gompertz
October 2006. Stewart Tabori and Chang
Christmas meets Hanukkah for millions of mixed-faith families-who deck their trees with Stars of David and spin the dreidel under mistletoe. Here is a one-of-a-kind, amusingly illustrated and endlessly entertaining guide to the joys-and oys-of celebrating Chrismukkah, the hybrid holiday. A veritable cornucopia of seasonal delights, this handy (and often hilarious) lifestyle guide walks us through all the Chrismukkah events, history, and lore. You'll learn about hybrid holiday traditions in decorating (ornaments, wreaths, menorahs, dreidels); innovative tchotchkes (Chrismukkah cards, stockings, lights); and a plethora of menorah options (Godzilla or snowman, anyone?). Plus, the book includes rollicking games to play and songs to sing, along with easy-to-follow recipes for Latkes with Sugar Plum Fairy Sauce, General Saul's Chicken, Mama Mia Matzah Pizza!, Blitzen's Blintzes, and other Noel Noshes. Your yuletide happy hours will never be the same once you start mixing a Yule Plotz, Meshugga Nog, or Manishewitz Mulled Wine. Rounding out the mix are chapters on snazzy holiday hats and caps, interfaith dog and cat gift suggestions, and office-party dos and don'ts. It's beginning to look a lot like Chrismukkah, and now we'll all be ready to celebrate with style! RON GOMPERTZ is founder of www.chrismukkah.com and author of the Chrismukkah Cookbook. He and his wife are a mixed-faith couple, and they live with their daughter in Bozeman, Montana. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Betrayal
France, the Jews, and the Arabs
by David Pryce-Jones
October 2006. EncounterBooks.com
Is Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity merely a slogan? The author traces the modern history of anti Jewish attacks and the growth of French Muslim riots. David Pryce-Jones believes that France has done more damage to the Middle East than any other country. France encouraged the mass immigration of Arabs and that huge and growing minority in the country now believes that it has rights and claims which have not been met. This minority also believes that Israel should not exist. Middle East geo-politics are spreading from French soil to an increasingly Islamized Europe. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] FESTIVUS
The Holiday for the Rest of Us
By Allen Salkin with Jerry Stiller
October 2006. Warner paperback
A re-release of the book that sold 50,000 copies. The story of the Seinfeld holiday which includes airings of grievances, a pole, and feats of strength. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] WITNESS TO NUREMBERG
THE MANY LIVES OF A REMARKABLE MAN
By Richard Sonnenfeldt
October 2006. Warner
Born in Germany, Sonnenfeldt fled to England in 1938. In the UK he was jailed as an enemy alien and sent to Australia. He then left for the USA, joined the US Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He helped liberate Dachau. After the War he was assigned to the Nuremberg trials, where he spent hours with Streicher, Hoess, and von Ribbentropp over 6 months. After the war, he worked for NBC and NASA. This is his memoir. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Compassionate Community
Ten Values to Unite America
by Jonathan Miller
October 2006. Palgrave
Kentucky State Treasurer Jonathan Miller and UJC leader shows the ten nonpartisan values--ranging from Opportunity to Security--that all Americans share, and uses Old Testament stories to highlight them. As an elected official in a "red" and largely Christian state, he has come to understand that although faith is often the source of divisiveness, the language of faith can bring Americans together. Inspiring stories from the Hebrew Bible illustrate Miller's plan to form a compassionate community. He shows that these lessons have the power to strengthen our country for future generations. Click the book cover to read more.







When I met Mr. Weider and got a free copy of this book, may I say... his handshake was very powerful. This is the story of two Jewish borthers from Montreal Quebec who turned a passion for Napoleon, body building, health, and world peace into a magazine and multi million dollar empire.
[book] Brothers of Iron
Building the Weider Empire
by Joe Weider, Ben Weider, and Mike Steere
October 2006. Sports Publishing LLC
The Weider brothers are heroes to bodybuilders and fans across the globe because they changed the way people think about exercise, health, and what makes a body beautiful (Jack LaLanne helped a little too... shhhh). In "Brothers of Iron" they talk about big dreams in dire poverty, magazine publishing, making millions from scratch, surviving financial catastrophe, the meaning and beauty of muscle, the politics and spectacle of sport, art collecting, and even a smidge of Napoleonic scholarship. Some of the key personalities featured include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Lou Ferrigno, Chuck Norris, and Clint Eastwood. Click the book cover to read more.






NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH ROGER EBERT'S SIMILARLY TITLED BOOK:
[book] Awake in the Dark
Stories
by Shira Nayman
October 2006. Scribner
From Publishers Weekly: Nayman's debut collection sees the children of Holocaust victims and participants coming to terms with family secrets. In "The House on Kronenstrasse," a middle-aged New Yorker is drawn to her childhood home in Heidelberg, where she discovers a devastating secret about who she is. In "The Porcelain Monkey," a young woman's discovery of a dreidel in a keepsake box prompts her father, who was a German soldier during WWII, to tell her about its origin; the truth inspires her to become an Orthodox Jew. In "The Lamp," a daughter who has never learned that she is the product of a Nazi rape makes peace with the fact that she will never know her mother's past: "Perhaps," she muses, "there are graves that must be dug if the living are to go on living." And in the novella "Dark Urgings of the Blood," a psychiatrist is haunted by a patient whose history eerily parallels her own. Nayman, a clinical psychologist, writes in a didactic tone that makes these stories read like earnest moral essays on already heavily covered themes. Still, her edifying lessons will appeal to readers looking for insight on the tortured choices imposed by Nazism. Click the book cover to read more.








FROM THE AUTHOR OF BOOKS ON GROUCHO MARX, AND THE CATSKILLS RESORTS, COMES A BOOK ON THE HISTORY AND EGOS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN ON YIDDISH THEATER
[book] Stardust Lost
The Triumph, Tragedy, and Mishugas of the Yiddish Theater in America
by Stefan Kanfer
October 2006. Knopf
From the author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed biographies Groucho and Ball of Fire comes a definitive look back at the Yiddish Theater. In this soulful and entertaining elegy Stefan Kanfer traces its meteoric rise, its precipitous fall, and its lasting mark on American theater, film, and culture in general. The Yiddish Theater's star seems to have burned out. The venues in New York City have all gone. So have the performers and their immigrant audiences. But in Stardust Lost they live again as Kanfer brings the colorful stage roaring back to life. Meticulously unraveling the history of Jewish theater, he begins with the drama of the Old Testament and moves through time and space to the cultural explosions of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, the oppressions of nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, and the pogroms of early twentieth-century czarist Russia. Fleeing anti-Semitic edicts, the Jews of Eastern Europe push westward, migrating first to England and then to America. With them come the extravagant personages who bring drama-in every sense of the word-to Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Stardust Lost invokes the energy, belief, and pure chutzpah it took to establish and run the thriving, influential theaters. En route, Kanfer reveals the nightly drama and comedy that played out behind the scenes as well as onstage, and introduces all the players-actors, divas, playwrights, directors, designers, and producers-who made it possible. Along with the beating pulse of the Yiddish tradition come the larger-than-life stars: Boris Thomashefsky, Jacob P. Adler, Molly Picon, Paul Muni, Bertha Kalisch, David Kessler, Maurice Schwartz, and many others, most with libidos to match their oversized egos. The book grants us views of genuine artistic achievement along with tales of cutthroat competition, adulterous liaisons, and hilarious wrangles. As we see in detail, assimilation, world events, and great shifts in American entertainment-the very entertainment that the Yiddish Theater encouraged by providing talent to uptown stages and film studios-lead to a poignant finale.
From the daring Yiddish interpretation of The Merchant of Venice to Stella Adler's influence on young actors to John Garfield's and Marlon Brando's impact on the screen, Kanfer traverses lower Manhattan, Broadway, and Hollywood to give us the tumultuous birth, flourishing, and decline of a great art form. It is a richly evocative chronicle that resurrects the forgotten landmarks and the vital personalities of the Yiddish Theater, whose work has gone but whose achievements can never be lost.
Click the book cover to read more.








OOPS. I THOUGHT THIS WAS
The Conservative SHUL, not SOUL
[book]









[book][book] ISAAC B. SINGER
A LIFE
BY FLORENCE NOIVILLE
Translated from French by CATHERINE TEMERSON
October 2006. FS&G
Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991) is widely recognized as the most popular Yiddish writer of the twentieth century. His translated body of work, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978, is beloved around the world. But although Singer was a very public and outgoing figure, much about his personal life remains unknown. In Isaac Bashevis Singer, Florence Noiville offers a glimpse into the world of this much-beloved but persistently elusive figure. An astonishingly prolific writer, Singer was able to recreate the lost world of Jewish Eastern Europe and also to describe the immigrant experience in America. Drawing heavily upon folklore, Singer's work is noted for its mystical strain. But he was also heavily concerned with the problems of his own day, and through his novels and stories runs a strong undercurrent of social consciousness. Unafraid to celebrate peasant life, Singer was often accused of being vulgar, yet he was also recognized for a deeply moral sensibility.

And much like his work, Singer's personal life was marked by contradiction: the son of a Rabbi, he struggled with warring currents of devotion and doubt. Solicitous of affection, he was also known for his philandering. Devoted to the notion of family, he abandoned his own son before the Second World War. Drawing on letters, personal recollections, and interviews with Singer's friends, family, and publishing contemporaries, Florence Noiville speaks to these paradoxes. More appreciation than comprehensive biography, her narrative is rich in detail about the people, places, and ideas that shaped Singer's world. A remarkably vivid portrait of the man and his work emerges-a compassionate, vivid, and insightful vision of one of the twentieth century's greatest storytellers.
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] PRISONERS
A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide
by Jeffrey Goldberg
October 2006. KNOPF
Publishers Weekly writes: Starred Review. Not a light read, this memoir of the author, an American-bred Zionist, and his 15-year relationship with a Palestinian insurgent is bound to have detractors, in part because New Yorker Washington correspondent Goldberg is painfully honest-about his dreams, limitations and anxieties. "I wanted to... have it all," he writes, "my parochialism, my universalism, a clean conscience, and a friendship with my enemy." Goldberg lived in Israel as a college student, sharpening the contradictory emotions shared by many of his American peers and eventually watching his former certainty crumble under the weight of military service at Ketziot, an Israeli prison. Grounded in his relationship with a prisoner, Goldberg's book travels from Long Island to Afghanistan as he struggles to understand Israeli-Palestinian violence. His honesty is itself high recommendation; the book is also marked by beautiful turns of phrase and a forthrightness that saves it from occasional self-importance. Some readers will argue with some of Goldberg's assertions (such as his reading of Israel's offer to Arafat at Camp David), and the author's halting recognition of the role despair plays in shaping Palestinian thought. Like the warring nationalisms it presents, his book is complex and deeply affecting.
Ruth Andrew Ellenson, writing in the L.A. Times, adds: "...The development of their [Rafiq and Jeffrey's] relationship enables Goldberg to better comprehend Arab realities, and Rafiq to understand a Jew's love of Zionism. Neither man will ever embrace the other's ideology, but both come to a grudging acceptance. Rafiq comes to America to pursue his doctorate before settling in the United Arab Emirates; Goldberg channels his passion for Israel into a career reporting on the Middle East. Over the years, their conversations veer into both the political and the personal, and can also become small, quiet revolutions. This past summer - after Hezbollah raided Israel, killing several soldiers and kidnapping two, and the Israelis invaded southern Lebanon in response - the two find themselves in an Abu Dhabi cafe, both troubled by the situation. " 'You know,' I said, 'when I hear about something terrible happening in Jebalya, my first thoughts are of you and your father.' "Rafiq smiled. 'It's the same thing for me. When I hear that there is a bombing in Jerusalem and I know you're there, I get worried.' "I must have looked surprised just then, because Rafiq said: 'I mean, I don't want you to die. I want you to live.' " "And this, I thought, might be the start of something."..."
Haim Watzman (Company C; and A Crack in the Earth), writing in the Washington Post, adds: "As such, PRISOONERS offers a modeicum of hope but also a healthy dose of despair."
Click the book cover to read more.




A face only a mother can love? Hehe
My Bad

[book] So What
New and Selected Poems 1973-2005
by Taha Muhammad Ali, Translated by Peter Cole, G. Levin and Y Hijazi
October 2006. Copper Canyon
BILINGUAL PAGES. Taha Muhammad Ali is a revered Palestinian poet whose work is driven by vivid imagination, disarming humor, and unflinching honesty. As a boy he was exiled from his hometown, but rather than turning to a protest poetry of black-and-white slogans to convey this loss, he has created art of the highest order. His poems portray experiences that range from catastrophe to splendor, each preserving an essential human dignity.
Neither music / fame nor wealth, / not even poetry itself, / could provide consolation /
for life's brevity, / or the fact that King Lear / is a mere eighty pages long, and comes to an end,/
and for the thought that one might suffer greatly/ on account of a rebellious child.

So What is Arabic en face and introductions by co-translators Gabriel Levin and Peter Cole. Muhammad Ali will be one of the international poets featured at the 2006 Dodge Poetry Festival, and he will embark on a reading tour of the United States in the fall of 2006. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Best American Spiritual Writing 2006
Intro by Peter J. Gomes, Edited by Philip Zaleski
October 2006, Houghton Mifflin.
Philip Zaleski once again assembles the most inspiring, relevant, and thought-provoking essays and poetry on the subjects of faith, spirituality, and the role of religion in modern life. Contributors include Michael Chabon, Malcolm Gladwell, Mary Gordon, John Updike, and others. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Not Enough Indians
A Novel by Harry Shearer
October 2006. Justin, Charles.
Watch for Mr. Shearer at Jewish book fairs in Fall 2006. Meet the residents of Gammage, NY, a town on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, when inspiration strikes. Why not go native, and open a casino? With Not Enough Indians, actor, writer, producer, and former Saturday Night Live cast member Harry Shearer joins the ranks of such comedian/authors as Steve Martin and Michael Palin, with a brilliantly funny, whip-smart satire of greed, collusion, distrust and betrayal in the halls of Washington and the casinos of Native America. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A Quilt of Dreams
A Novel
by Patricia Schonstein
October 2006. Morrow
Set in Grahamstown, South Africa, during the 1990s at the height of political unrest and opposition to apartheid, this is the bittersweet story of two people whose lives intertwine without them knowing each other-;one a heavy-drinking white man and the other the young daughter of a black activist. Reuben Cohen van Tonder's battle with unresolved grief and his search for hidden peace and Vita Mbuli's innocent resolve to remove the bad luck that has troubled her family for generations climax together in a wondrous resolution of personal and national triumph. In this captivating and heartfelt novel, Patricia Schonstein captures the harsh and brutal realities of South Africa's past with its raw and sore racism, interlacing them with enchantment, tenderness, forgiveness . . . and hope. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Murray's Cheese Handbook
A Guide to More Than 300 of the World's Best Cheeses
by Rob Kaufelt
October 2006.
The current owner of Murray's Cheese Shop in NYC teaches readers about 300 types of cheeses. The Jews are a dairy people, aren't we? Sized to slide easily into purse or pocket, The Murray's Cheese Handbook makes it a snap for readers to: find taste descriptions, prices, and ratings of any of the hundreds of widely available cheeses Kaufelt has evaluated - understand the five main types of cheese and get answers to frequently asked questions - host a cheese tasting - know when a cheese is at its peak or past its prime - find lists of top ten cheeses by type and best choices under $5 - learn the right way to serve a cheese course. Also.. Cheeses to Eat Before You Die. Click the book cover to read more.








[book][book] Kabbalah
A Love Story
by Lawrence Kushner
October 2006. Morgan Road Books
Talk about leveraging the rage with Kabbalah and the Kushner brand name
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner has written this love story. Sometime, somewhere, someone is searching for answers......in a thirteenth-century castle...on a train to a concentration camp...in a New York city apartment
Who wrote the Zohar? Hmmmm
Hidden within the binding of an ancient text that has been passed down through the ages lies the answer to one of the heart's eternal questions. When the text falls into the hands of Rabbi Kalman Stern, he has no idea that his lonely life of intellectual pursuits is about to change once he opens the book. Soon afterward, he meets astronomer Isabel Benveniste, a woman of science who stirs his soul as no woman has for many years. But Kalman has much to learn before he can unlock his heart and let true love into his life. The key lies in the mysterious document he finds inside the Zohar, the master text of the Kabbalah. Click the book cover to read more.
Positive Blurbs from: Anita Diaman; ( "...It is not only about the Kabbalah, it, effectively, is the Kabbalah. I think it is funny, and bizarre, and very very of the moment. ) David Mamet; ("The Zohar, the masterpiece of Kabbalah, is a medieval experiment in fiction. Now Lawrence Kushner thickens the plot--interweaving centuries, revolutionizing our understanding of God, and showing how we discover our true nature by opening ourselves to love.") Daniel Matt; Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi; Professor Arthur Green; and others.








[book] My Cousin Tamar Lives in Israel
By Michelle Shapiro Abraham
October 2006.
URJBooksandMusic.com
Ages 4 - 9
Join a young boy and his cousin Tamar as they learn about Jewish life in North America and Israel. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] A Taste of Torah
An Introduction to Thirteen Challenging Bible Stories
Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs, PhD
2006. URJBooksandMusic.com
The Torah is the central text of Judaism, but for many of us, Torah study is intimidating at first. A Taste of Torah provides an introduction to the technique of Torah study and bible commentary, providing essential stories and background related to the text. This volume also explores biblical themes and motifs, inherent problems and contradictions within the text, and questions for further study and debate. Includes vocalized Hebrew and English texts of selected Torah excerpts. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] Judaism and Justice
The Jewish Passion to Repair the World
by Rabbi Sidney Schwarz
October 2006. Jewish Lights
From Judaism's rich history of prophetic justice comes an inspiring call to action. Why is it that Jews are so involved in causes dedicated to justice, equality, human rights and peace? Are these trends influenced by religion, history, sociology or something else? In this provocative exploration, Rabbi Sidney Schwarz, founder and president of PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, sheds light on the relationship between Judaism, social justice and the Jewish identity of American Jews. He traces how the idea of justice, as developed in the sacred texts of Judaism, conditions Jewish attitudes and behavior. In a fascinating portrayal of some of the major issues facing the Jewish community in the last fifty years, Schwarz explores a community torn between its instincts for self-preservation and its desire to serve as an ethical "light to the nations." This powerful and empowering book will provide you with a starting point for meaningful engagement-and a new way to understand Jewish identity. . Click the book cover to read more.







[book] Witnesses to the One
The Spiritual History of the Sh'ma
by Rabbi Joseph B Meszler, with a foreword by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein
2006. Jewish Lights
"Hear O Israel, the Eternal is Our God, the Eternal is One!"
There is arguably no more important statement in Judaism than the Sh'ma. Its words-calling us to hear, to listen, to pay attention-defy direct translation and have meant different things throughout history. In a deeply personal exploration of this sacred proclamation, command and prayer, Rabbi Joseph Meszler delves into the spiritual history of the Sh'ma, inspiring you to claim your own personal meaning in these enduring words. By examining how the Sh'ma has been commented upon by ancient sages and contemporary thinkers, he opens the doors between each generation that has found a different dimension of truth in the Sh'ma. Each chapter focuses on a major historical figure and includes a sacred story, an exploration into the story's many meanings and a suggestion for a new way of "hearing" the voice in the story. Experience the Sh'ma through the lives of: Moses-Fighting Idolatry , Akiba ben Joseph-The Sages Offer Their Lives, Saaida Gaon-Proving the One, Moses Maimonides-Nothing Like God, Haim Vital-Communing with the One, Moses Haim Luzzatto- "Master of the Universe", Abraham Isaac Kook-A Nation Reborn, Leo Baeck-One Moral Standard, Abraham Joshua Heschel-A Prophecy: "One World or No World" . Click the book cover to read more.







[book] JONAH
A MODERN COMMENTARY
Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Leonard S. Kravitz and Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky
Fall 2006. URJBooksandMusic.com
From the authors of classic modern commentaries on Ruth, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Pirke Avot comes this new volume on the Book of Jonah. Using commentaries from Rashi, Radak, Ibn Ezra, and the Targum, new light is shed on the story. My favorite is why the Dag becomes a Dagah during the course of the story. A timeless tale of repentance. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] The Shivers in the Fridge
by Fran Manushkin
October 2006. Dutton
Ages 4 - 8. Little, flat Sonny Shivers and his family only know it's cold and dark where they live, and whenever the earth quakes, a monstrous hand, reaching forth in a great flash of light, snatches away part of their landscape -Buttery Cliffs, towering Mt. Ketchup . . . and with the landscape goes his family, one by one, until only Sonny is left to face the monsters. Who are they? What and where is the Shivers family? Children will delight in puzzling it all out before the Shivers do. Fran Manushkin's dry but juicy humor, spiced with food puns, carries this droll saga through shivery perils to a warm reunion on the refrigerator door. As ever, Caldecott-winner Paul O. Zelinsky's wit makes theater of the most improbable situations. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Eighth Wonder of the World
A novel by Leslie Epstein
October 2006. Handsel. Other Press.
A magnificent new novel that strikingly reimagines Fascist Italy. When Benito Mussolini announces a worldwide competition for a monument to celebrate his victory over Ethiopia, the winning design is an almost unimaginable mile-high tower, La Vittoria, created by the famed American architect, Amos Prince. In his struggle to bring this modern Babel to completion in the face of every conceivable obstacle-including Mussolini's wavering support and loss of power, and the vicissitudes of a world war-Prince will lose his family, his native country, and perhaps even his mind. Interwoven with the story of Amos Prince is that of Maximilian Shabilian, a recent graduate of Yale who journeys to Rome to attach himself to the world's greatest architect. As World War II progresses, Max becomes inextricably bound up with the building of the tower and with Prince's family, above all with his beautiful and mysterious daughter Aria. In the end he must choose between his devotion to his mentor and his loyalty to his fellow Jews, who are increasingly threatened by the Fascist regime in Italy. Remembering who built the pyramids in Egypt and the Arch of Titus in Rome, Max decides to use La Vittoria to protect his people. In a moment of terrible, tragic irony, the very plan that was designed to save the Jews ends up delivering them to their unspeakable fate. In 2005 the aged Shabilian makes a fearful journey back to Italy. This epic novel, then, spans millennia, from Solomon and Sheba 3,500 years ago to Mussolini, the Caesar of the Twentieth Century-a dictator who is half a posturing clown and half the menacing tyrant who, with magnetic force, determines the fate of nations. Finally, in its remarkable concluding chapter, Maximilian confronts the present ruler of Italy, Berlusconi, whose grip on Italian life may be far more powerful than that of any of the Caesars who came before him. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] San Remo Drive
A Novel from Memory
by Leslie Epstein
Reissued paperback, October 2006, Handsell Press
From Booklist: *Starred Review* As is evident in Pandaemonium (1997), a powerful novel of Hollywood and the Holocaust, and the nervy Ice Fire Water (1999), Epstein is a master of complex narrative strategies. But here he strives for maximum lucidity and unbroken enthrallment as he portrays one talented but troubled Hollywood family through the eyes of the elder son, Richard, who becomes a famous artist. His director father, Norman Jacobi, wittily mocks the HUAC during his televised hearing; his mother, Lotte, is beautiful and a bit of a loose cannon; and his strange little brother, Barton, is given to fits and visions, serving as a trickster figure, the fool who reveals the truth. The boys are looked after by the family's African American employees, the stoic Arthur and Mary, and many of this absorbing novel's most galvanizing scenes involve Richard's awakening to the more insidious aspects of racism, anti-Semitism, and political expediency. And sex, of course, which for Richard is complicated given its entwinement with his art. As Epstein makes the leap from the 1950s to the present in this cinematically vivid and deeply humanistic inquiry into the perpetual interplay of illusion and reality, he muses eloquently on the profound impact childhood memories have on both art and life. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Over 50 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and Terry Romero
October 2006.
The hosts of the vegan cooking show The Post Punk Kitchen are back with a vengeance - and this time, dessert. A companion volume to Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World is a sweet and sassy guide to baking everyone's favorite treat without using any animal products. This unique cookbook contains over 50 recipes for cupcakes and frostings - some innovative, some classics - with beautiful full color photographs. Isa and Terry offer delicious, cheap, dairy-free, egg-free and vegan-friendly recipes like Classic Vanilla Cupcakes (with chocolate frosting), Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes (red velvet with creamy white frosting), Linzer Torte Cupcakes (hazelnut with raspberry and chocolate ganache), Chai Latte Cupcakes (with powdered sugar) and Banana Split Cupcakes (banana-chocolate chip-pineapple with fluffy frosting). Included also are gluten-free recipes, decorating tips, baking guidelines, vegan shopping advice, and Isa's true cupcake anecdotes from the trenches. When Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, no dessert lover can resist. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Setting the Table
The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business
by Danny Meyer
2006. HarperCollins
In October 1985, at age 27, Danny Meyer, with a good idea and scant experience, opened what would become one of New York City's most revered restaurants - Union Square Cafe. Little more than twenty years later, Danny is the CEO of one of the world's most dynamic restaurant organizations, which includes eleven unique dining establishments (Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, Tabla, Blue Smoke, Shake Shack, 11 Madison Park, Jazz Standard, 3 places in MoMA, and Hudson Yards Catering), each at the top of its game. How has he done it? How has he consistently beaten the odds and set the competitive bar in one of the toughest trades around? In this book, Danny shares the lessons he's learned while developing the winning recipe for doing the business he calls "enlightened hospitality."
This innovative philosophy emphasizes putting the power of hospitality to work in a new and counterintuitive way: The first and most important application of hospitality is to the people who work for you, and then, in descending order of priority, to the guests, the community, the suppliers, and the investors. This way of prioritizing stands the more traditional business models on their heads, but Danny considers it the foundation of every success that he and his restaurants have achieved. Some of Danny's other insights: Hospitality is present when something happens for you. It is absent when something happens to you. These two simple concepts-for and to-express it all; Context, context, context, trumps the outdated location, location, location; Shared ownership develops when guests talk about a restaurant as if it's theirs. That sense of affiliation builds trust and invariably leads to repeat business; Err on the side of generosity: You get more by first giving more; Wherever your center lies, know it, name it, believe in it. When you cede your core values to someone else, it's time to quit.
Also service is about technicalities of delivery, while hospitality is about how the customer FEELS when the product is delivered; shared ownership occurs when customers talk your product as if it is THEIRS, and their enthusiasm results in repeat and expanded sales; ABCD: Always Be Collecting Data; and Invest in Your Community. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Mekhilta De-rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai
(Edward E. Elson Classic)
by W. David Nelson (Editor)
OCTOBER 2006. Jewish Publication Society JPS, 1,100 pages
A timeless collection of midrash never before in English. The Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai is a collection of classical midrashic interpretation of the biblical Book of Exodus. Lost for centuries, the text was reconstructed and recovered in the 19th and 20th centuries by both German and Israeli scholars from a variety of source materials, including medieval manuscripts of the text and midrashic anthologies. As one of the first collections of rabbinic biblical interpretation, the Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai is an indispensable source for understanding the history, beliefs, and practices of the earliest rabbis. This edition, translated and explicated for the first time in English by W. David Nelson, is The Jewish Publication Society's latest contribution to making ancient Jewish literature accessible to modern readers. A critical introduction provides the reader with a firm grounding in the historical setting of the text, as well as its source material, reconstruction, subject matter, and significance for understanding the history of Judaism. Set in a modern, readable typeface, the Hebrew text faces the English translation with the author's annotation beneath. Indexes include scriptural verse citations and rabbinic sages named in the text. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Blood Libel
The Damascus Affair of 1840
Paperback edition
by Ronald Florence
October 2006. Other Press
In Damascus in February 1840, a Capuchin monk and his servant disappear without a trace. By the end of the day, rumors point at the local Jewish community, a tiny minority in the city. Within weeks, the rumors turn to accusations of ritual murder-the infamous "blood libel." Torture, coerced confessions, manufactured evidence, and the fury of the crowds are enough to convict the accused Jews. By the time the rest of the world learns of the events in Damascus, the entire leadership of the Jewish community is awaiting execution. Blood Libel is a story of unexpected history. If the charges of ritual murder seem familiar-similar accusations have been heard in Europe for centuries and are heard in the Middle East today-nothing in Damascus happened as we, or contemporaries, might have anticipated. The accusers of the Jews were not the Muslim majority. The French consul, the representative of the nation that had given the world the Rights of Man and had been the first to grant Jews the full right of citizenship, was the chief prosecutor. The British consul, serving under the enlightened Lord Palmerston and the new Queen, aided the prosecution. The American consul supported the charges. The Sultan, famed for the excesses of his court and his arbitrary rule of the vast Ottoman empire, and the Austrians, who tightly restricted the rights of Jews in their own empire, defended the accused Jews. The venerable London Times printed reports that defied its liberal reputation, while conservative Austrian and French newspapers took the equally unexpected opposite stand. As news of the Damascus accusations spread, diplomacy and confused loyalties made for strange bedfellows. Misperceptions, mutual fears, and isolation fueled the passions in Damascus. When the affair and the implications for the perceptions of world Jewry became a cause célèbre in Europe and the Americas, the priorities of diplomacy intervened: a rescue mission forgot the real victims in Damascus, and the fabric of a society that had once stretched to tolerate minorities finally burst in an outrage of fears turned to fury. The legacies of that torn fabric are the divisions of the Middle East today and the continuing myths that feed and sustain the fervor of anti-Semitism. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Dawning of the Day
A Jerusalem Tale
by Haim Sabato
OCTOBER 2006. Translated from Hebrew. TOBY.
From Publishers Weekly: With a keen eye for custom, award-winning Sabato (Aleppo Tales) beautifully captures the daily rhythms of an Israeli Sephardic community. Ezra Siman Tov has worked in the same laundry next to Jerusalem's Mahane Yehudah market for 50 years, cleaning and pressing prayer shawls to adorn a bevy of grooms as they await their brides under the bridal canopy. But Ezra is also a storyteller, and the characters at his command include a blind violinist whose plaintive tunes melt even the hardest of hearts; a frustrated scholar who pulls a prank and pretends his own verse is really the creation of a famous medieval poet; a yeshiva student whose planned treatise on the Talmud is threatened by writer's block; and a judge whose sight is miraculously restored after its loss is falsely rumored to be divine punishment for taking bribes. A pious, simple man who is generally content with his lot in life, Ezra must contend with the gentrification that threatens the laundry and with his beloved daughter's defection to Christian missionaries. His measured response conveys a community's timelessness. Click the book cover to read more.








` [book] The Intrepid Art Collector
The Beginner's Guide to Finding, Buying, and Appreciating Art on a Budget
by Lisa Hunter
OCTOBER 2006. Three Rivers Press.
A guide for novice art and Jewish art collectors, dealing with aglleries and auctions, and buying original art on a budget. How to buy Native american art, contemporary art, rugs, etc. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Death by Pad Thai
And Other Unforgettable Meals
by Douglas Bauer
OCTOBER 2006. Three Rivers Press.
A collection of top writers and their stories about meals. Steve Almond writes about lobster pad thai (not kosher); Andre Dubus III writes about home cooking. Stories are funny, moving, revelaing. Authors include David Lehman, Diane Abu-Jaber, Amy Bloom, Sue Miller, Aimee Bender, and others. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Real Deal
My Life in Business and Philanthropy
by Sandy Weill, with Judah S. Kraushaar
October 9, 2006. Warner
The memoir of Sandy Weill, Chairman of Citigroup, Inc.; from his childhood in Brooklyn to borrowing $30K in 1960 to start his business career. He rose to lead American Express, and then started all over again with Commercial Credit and then Citi. After rising to become the president of American Express, Weill saw his empire crash and burn. Undaunted, he started over with a second-tier consumer loan company called Commercial Credit, which eventually led to his position as CEO and then chairman of Citigroup. While at Citigroup, Weill delivered an astounding 2,600% return to investors--better than legendary CEO Jack Welch or investor Warren Buffett during that same period. But success is never an easy path, and Weill shares all the high and low points along the way--warts and all. His ascent to power has been documented by the business media over the years, but never before has Weill gone on the record, revealing his brutally honest and unvarnished side of his astounding life and career trajectory. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] The Kindergarten Wars
The Battle to Get Into America's Best Private Schools
by Alan Eisenstock
2006. Warner
The insane lengths parents go to get their kid into a prestigious pre school. Honest, funny and filled with suspense. Filled with insider information. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] AWAKE IN THE DARK
STORIES
By Shira Nayman (Editor)
OCTOBER 2006. SCRIBNER.
From Publishers Weekly: Nayman's debut collection sees the children of Holocaust victims and participants coming to terms with family secrets. In "The House on Kronenstrasse," a middle-aged New Yorker is drawn to her childhood home in Heidelberg, where she discovers a devastating secret about who she is. In "The Porcelain Monkey," a young woman's discovery of a dreidel in a keepsake box prompts her father, who was a German soldier during WWII, to tell her about its origin; the truth inspires her to become an Orthodox Jew. In "The Lamp," a daughter who has never learned that she is the product of a Nazi rape makes peace with the fact that she will never know her mother's past: "Perhaps," she muses, "there are graves that must be dug if the living are to go on living." And in the novella "Dark Urgings of the Blood," a psychiatrist is haunted by a patient whose history eerily parallels her own. Nayman, a clinical psychologist, writes in a didactic tone that makes these stories read like earnest moral essays on already heavily covered themes. Still, her edifying lessons will appeal to readers looking for insight on the tortured choices imposed by Nazism. .Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Essential Torah
A Complete Guide to the Five Books of Moses
by George Robinson
OCTOBER 24 2006. Schocken.
Jewish theology with commentaries. From Publishers Weekly // Starred Review /. When New York film critic Robinson began attending synagogue-something he had not done since his adolescence-he found himself confused. His vain search for a printed guide led him to write Essential Judaism, a well-received primer on Jewish customs, rituals, history and worship. The success of that one-volume handbook to Jewish practice in turn led Robinson to produce this manual on the Torah and what Jews believe. Writing in colloquial and accessible English, Robinson effectively, and sometimes entertainingly, shows why the five books of Moses constitute the basis for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Drawing on a dazzling array of sources, he provides an overview of the Torah, tackles the question of who wrote it, explores the commentaries, confronts the suppression of women's voices and bravely tackles what Bible scholars have labeled "troubling texts." Despite his valiant and informative effort, Robinson joins the ranks of his many predecessors in failing to find a satisfactory resolution to some of these disturbing stories. The second half of the book contains summaries of the 54 Torah portions, along with Robinson's useful commentaries. This book is a stellar achievement in which a gifted and diligent author guides readers of all faiths to a source book for religious belief and behavior.
With recommendations from Rabbis Elyse Goldstein, David Posner, David Ellenson, and Harold S. Kushner
Click the book cover to read more.






The next time someone calls you a Judas Traitor and other epithets...
[book] The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot
A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed
By Bart D, Ehrman
OCTOBER 2006. OXFORD.
The recent National Geographic special on the Gospel of Judas was a major media event, introducing to tens of millions of viewers one of the most important biblical discoveries of modern times. Now, a leading historian of the early church, Bart Ehrman, offers the first comprehensive account of the newly discovered Gospel of Judas, revealing what this legendary lost gospel contains and why it is so important for our understanding of Christianity. Ehrman, a featured commentator in the National Geographic special, describes how he first saw the Gospel of Judas--surprisingly, in a small room above a pizza parlor in a Swiss town near Lake Geneva--and he recounts the fascinating story of where and how this ancient papyrus document was discovered, how it moved around among antiquities dealers in Egypt, the United States, and Switzerland, and how it came to be restored and translated. More important, Ehrman gives the reader a complete and clear account of what the book teaches and he shows how it relates to other Gospel texts--both those inside the New Testament and those outside of it, most notably, the Gnostic texts of early Christianity. Finally, he describes what we now can say about the historical Judas himself as well as his relationship with Jesus, suggesting that one needs to read between the lines of the early Gospels to see exactly what Judas did and why he did it. The Gospel of Judas presents an entirely new view of Jesus, his disciples, and the man who allegedly betrayed him. It raises many questions and Bart Ehrman provides illuminating and authoritative answers, in a book that will interest anyone curious about the New Testament, the life of Jesus, and the history of Christianity after his death. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] REBECCA'S JOURNEY HOME
By BRYNN OLENBERG SUGARMAN. Illus by Michelle Shapiro
OCTOBER 2006. KAR BEN.
Ages 4 - 9
Two young Jewish brothers, Jacob and Gabriel Stein, eagerly await the arrival of their new baby sister from Vietnam.. .she will be American, Vietnamese and JEWISH.. A picture book story of a little girl's journey to a new land, culture and family. (the author has a daughter who was adopted from Vietnam). Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A SACK FULL OF FEATHERS
BY DEBBY WALDMAN, Illus bu Windy Revell
FALL 2006. Orca.
Ages 4 - 9
This story has so many renditions. Didn't Madonna do one too?
A boy is a gossip. Yankel not only gossips,, he RUNS in order to tell a secret or tale. He learns the error in his ways with a bag of feathers-. Click the book cover to read more.








THIS IS WHY EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND seemed Jewish...
[book] You're Lucky You're Funny
How Life Becomes a Sitcom
by Phil Rosenthal
OCTOBER 2006. Viking.
From Publishers Weekly: In 1996, TV scriptwriter Rosenthal created Everybody Loves Raymond by stirring the standup comedy of Ray Romano into his own family memories. With Rosenthal as executive producer and inexperienced actor Romano basically portraying himself, their successful sitcom found an audience of 17 million viewers and ran for nine seasons (1996-2005), receiving over 70 Emmy nominations. Rosenthal offers a comedic chronicle of his own life, weaving wit and humor into every page. After a Bronx boyhood as a "shrimpy little nothing," his high school obsession with TV led to college theater, odd jobs (museum guard, deli manager) and a New York acting career that bottomed out. Arriving in L.A., he discovered it was "suburbia without the urbia," and after five years of grinding out scripts for now-forgotten sitcoms, he lit the Romano rocket. Rosenthal details it all-character development, devising dialogue, casting, table reads, run-throughs, doing publicity and dealing with interfering studio executives. Aspiring TV comedy writers and producers will see this as a valuable textbook of insights from an insider, while fans now buying DVD sets will welcome the vast array of amusing anecdotes and background information. Rosenthal also pokes the dark underbelly of "phoney baloney Hollywood," so parts of this book are like listening to a very long and funny standup routine. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] I KILLED
True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics
by Ritch Shydner, Mark Schiff
OCTOBER 2006. Crown.
Some of the funniest-and most outrageous-stories a comedian has don't get told onstage. They're passed around after hours and derive from the bizarre intersection of travel, intoxicants and the colorful characters on the fringes of the comedy world. (A little poverty can't hurt-the best stories from "top comics" often come from the early days.) In this collection, Ron Shock tells of being goaded by outlaw comic Bill Hicks into dropping acid before a show, infuriating the audience and escaping just in time. Jay Leno recounts how he accidentally left a groupie tied to her bed overnight-and she loved it. Black comic Alonzo Bodden recalls ripping into a redneck from the stage and having audience members tell him later that his target ran the local Klan. Shydner, early in his career, performed regularly at a variety of bars around Washington, D.C., and found himself opening for a riled-up audience eager to see the Ramones. He suffered through a "beer shower," and one of the Ramones thought that was his act: human beer sponge. Jerry Seinfeld, in his foreword, calls comedy "one of the Great Jobs"; this volume makes for excellent bathroom reading-and that's a compliment. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Yiddish with George and Laura
by Ellis Weiner, Barbara Davilman
October 2006. Little Brown
YIDDISH WITH DICK AND JANE was so successful, that the comedy team of Weiner and Davilman return with Yiddish with the current President and his wife. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] L.L. Bean
The Making of an American Icon
by Leon Gorman
Harvard Business School Press; 1st edition (October 2006) Note: Mr. Gorman's wife, Lisa, is active in Maine's Jewish community.
And now for the book... L.L. Bean was founded in 1911 by avid hunter and fisherman Leon Leonwood Bean-born October 13 1872 in Greenwood, Maine-who had developed a waterproof boot he was selling to hunters. By 1912 he was selling the "Bean boot," or Maine Hunting Shoe through a 4-page mail-order catalog, and the boot remains a staple of the company's outdoorsy. L.L. Bean is one of only a handful of American companies to have attained legendary status in the minds of consumers. The company's enviable reputation rests on the integrity of its product line, its consistently strong brand association, and its ability over the years to change as customer's needs have changed. Bean has come to represent in the minds of people, in and out of the Maine woods, the best qualities that have long been associated with traditional American living: rugged individualism, stubborn determination, and simple ingenuity. Written by Leon Gorman, grandson of founder L.L., and the longtime CEO and architect of Bean's remarkable growth curve, this is the first authoritative, true to life account of the company and its quirky history and culture. More than the story of a legendary American retailer, this engaging account candidly reveals Gorman's behind-the-scenes struggles, for over four decades, to preserve the identity that built Bean, while also opening the door for just enough change to allow for the growth that has made the company great today. Far from a tranquil journey, Gorman reveals the funny, poignant, and often engrossing details of managing the L.L. Bean legacy during the best and worst of times. Woven throughout this engaging and well-crafted narrative are themes that will resonate with managers and general readers alike: how to shape a powerhouse brand around bedrock beliefs and values, how to balance the imperatives of growth and tradition, how to craft and preserve a genuine corporate identity, and how one family business manages to compete in the highly volatile and transient retail arena. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Judaism and Justice
The Jewish Passion to Repair the World
By Rabbi Sidney Schwarz (President of PANIM)
Foreword by Elie Wiesel
October 2006. Jewish Lights
An inspiring call to recapture the spirit of social justice in Jewish identity. Why is it that Jews are so involved in causes dedicated to justice, equality, human rights and peace? Are these trends influenced by religion, history, sociology or something else? Judaism and Justice explores the relationship between Judaism, social justice and the Jewish identity of American Jews. The book traces how the idea of "justice," as developed in the sacred texts of Judaism, conditions Jewish attitudes and behavior. In a fascinating portrayal of some of the major issues facing the Jewish community in the last fifty years, Schwarz explores a community torn between its instincts for self-preservation and its desire to serve as an ethical "light to the nations." The book's overview of new and emerging Jewish social justice organizations yields a bold thesis that helps to explain much of the contemporary Jewish condition. This comprehensive examination offers a new way to understand Jewish identity. A directory of Jewish social justice and community service organizations will provide readers with a starting point for meaningful engagement. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Finding Hope
Cultivating God's Gift of a Hopeful Spirit
by Marcia Ford

October 2006. Jewish Lights
Tap into the power of the Divine. Learn how to forgive-and be forgiven. Everyone knows that forgiveness is a virtue and a key to emotional, spiritual and even physical well-being. But learning how to actually forgive-or to accept forgiveness, as the case may be-is a sacred art few of us have mastered. It doesn't have to be that way. Writing from personal experience and her broad knowledge of many faith traditions, Marcia Ford offers a new perspective on forgiveness and reconciliation, an approach rooted in the Spirit that can be learned by anyone no matter how deep the hurt. Through real-life examples, penetrating reflections, scriptural references and practical suggestions, Ford outlines the steps that one by one can help you to forgive, including: • Coming to terms with anger, bitterness and resentment Understanding the differences between forgiveness and reconciliation Taking the initiative, even when you're the one who's been wronged Strategies for listening "with the heart" in emotionally charged situations Knowing when to forgive and forget-and when to forgive and take action Ways of allowing the power of the Divine to work through you. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Mating in Captivity
Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic
by Esther Perel
September 2006. HarperCollins
Does mystery and uncertainty lead to better sex? Perel, who grew up in Israel, writes that eroticism is dwindling. Marriages used to be about security, reproduction, companionship, status. Now we expect to be best friends and passionate lovers for life. Perel asks, Why does great sex so often fade for couples who claim to love each other as much as ever? Can we want what we already have? Why does the transition to parenthood so often spell erotic disaster? Does good intimacy always make for good sex? Esther Perel takes on these tough questions, grappling with the obstacles and anxieties that arise when our quest for secure love conflicts with our pursuit of passion. She invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home. In her twenty years of clinical experience, Perel has treated hundreds of couples whose home lives are empty of passion. They describe relationships that are open and loving, yet sexually dull. What is going on? In this explosively original book, Perel explains that our cultural penchant for equality, togetherness, and absolute candor is antithetical to erotic desire for both men and women. Sexual excitement doesn't always play by the rules of good citizenship. It is NOT politically correct. Partners may fantasize about other people. Sex thrives on power plays, unfair advantages, and the space between self and other. She writes that more exciting, playful, even poetic sex is possible, but first we must kick egalitarian ideals and emotional housekeeping out of our bedrooms. While Mating in Captivity shows why the domestic realm can feel like a cage, Perel's take on bedroom dynamics promises to liberate, enchant, and provoke. Flinging the doors open on erotic life and domesticity, she invites us to put the "X" back in sex. Click to read more.






[book] Irene Nemirovsky
Her Life And Works
by Jonathan Weiss
October 2006. Stanford University Press
On July 13, 1942, French gendarmes arrested Irène Némirovsky in southern Burgundy. She was deported to Auschwitz where she died on August 19. Who was this woman, author of more than a dozen popular novels and more than thirty short stories, whose posthumous novel, Suite Française, won France's prestigious Renaudot prize in 2004? Born in Russia to wealthy parents, Irène Némirovsky immigrated to Paris in 1919. Although she was Jewish, she frequented authors and politicians on the extreme right, some of whom were openly anti-Semitic. She was sure that these friends would protect her from deportation after the Nazis invaded France. But instead, they abandoned her. Yet she never lost faith in France, even after she was refused French nationality. In this fascinating biography, Jonathan Weiss analyzes the discrepancy between Némirovsky's real and imagined identities, and explores a literary work that revisits in a unique way Jewish identity, exile, betrayal, and the solidarity of a persecuted people. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Refuge Denied
The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust
by Sarah A. Ogilvie, Scott Miller
Fall 2006. University of Wisconsin Press
From Publishers Weekly: The doomed ship St. Louis-carrying German-Jewish refugees and refused permission to dock in Cuba and Florida in 1939-became a potent symbol of global indifference to the fate of European Jewry on the eve of the Holocaust. While 288 of the more than 900 passengers found sanctuary in Great Britain, 620 were forced to return to mainland Europe, and close to half of those passengers sent to Belgium, France and Holland were murdered during the Holocaust. Among the survivors, a Miami-area retired baker and Korean War veteran, Herbert Karliner, got through WWII posing as a Catholic and working as a hired hand for a pro-Vichy farmer near Lyon. Another, Hannelore Klein, who in her 70s confesses to still feeling like a displaced person, was 12 when she was sent to Holland, survived Auschwitz (her mother was gassed) and returned to Amsterdam to live with her grandparents, Theresienstadt survivors. Prodigiously researched and generously illustrated with photographs-most from the St. Louis and the Westerbork internment camp-this valuable contribution to Holocaust studies provides emotionally satisfying closure as the authors, staffers at D.C.'s U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, track the passengers and give a human face to mass tragedy. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE WORLD TO COME
A NOVEL
By Dara Horn
Fall 2006. Now in paperback Norton
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Former child prodigy Ben Ziskind-5'6", 123 pounds and legally blind-steals a Marc Chagall painting at the end of an alienating singles cocktail hour at a local museum, determined to prove that its provenance is tainted and that it belongs to his family. With surety and accomplishment, Horn (In the Image) telescopes out into Ziskind's familial history through an exploration of Chagall's life; that of Chagall's friend the Yiddish novelist Der Nister; 1920s Soviet Russia and its horrific toll on Russian Jews; the nullifying brutality of Vietnam (where Ben's father, Daniel, served a short, terrifying stint); and the paradoxes of American suburbia, a place where native Ben feels less at home than the teenage Soviet refugee Leonid Shcharansky. Ben's relationship with his pregnant twin sister, Sara, a painter who eventually tries to render a forgery of the painting to return to the museum, is a damply compelling exposition of what it means to have someone biologically close but emotionally distant. Horn, born in 1977, expertly handles subplots and digressions, neatly bringing in everything from Yiddish lore to Nebuchadnezzar, Da Nang, the Venice Biennale, recent theories of child development, brutal Soviet politics and Daniel's job as a writer for fictional TV show American Genius. Characters like Erica Frank, of the Museum of Hebraic Art, give tart glimpses into still-claustrophobic Goodbye, Columbus territory, which Horn then unites with a much grander place that furnishes the book's title. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Will Eisner's New York
Life in the Big City
Including New York, The Building,
City People Notebook, and Invisible People
by Will Eisner, with Neil Gaiman (Introduction
October 2006. Norton
With an unparalleled eye for stories and expressive illustration, Will Eisner, the master and pioneer of American comics art, presents graphic fiction's greatest celebration of the Big Apple. No illustrator evoked the melancholy duskiness of New York City as expressively as Eisner, who knew the city from the bottom up. This new hardcover presents a quartet of graphic works (New York, The Building, City People Notebook, and Invisible People) and features what Neil Gaiman describes as "tales as brutal, as uncaring as the city itself." From ancient buildings "barnacled with laughter and stained with tears" to the subways, "humorless iron reptiles, clacking stupidly on a webbing of graceful steel rails," Will Eisner's New York includes cameo appearances by the author himself; several new illustrations sketched by Eisner, posthumously inked by Peter Poplaski; and three previously unpublished "out-takes"-a treasure for any Eisner fan, and sure to become a collectible. . Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Auschwitz Report
by Primo Levi, Leonardo Debenedetti
October 2006. Norton
From Publishers Weekly: First published in Italy in 1946, this newly rediscovered early work by the celebrated late author of such Holocaust memoirs as Survival in Auschwitz-an eyewitness account of conditions at Buna-Monowitz, a satellite camp of Auschwitz-appears in English for the first time. The short report was written for the Russian authorities who had liberated the camp and were gathering information on German war crimes. While the report is not exactly a curiosity-one of the first written by eyewitnesses, it has an important place in Holocaust historiography-it contains little new information. Some of what it does contain-for instance, the authors thought the Sonderkommandos were criminal inmates rather than Jews-we now know to be inaccurate. Despite this, the publication of the document gives readers, and especially Holocaust scholars, new insights into Levi's work. An excellent introduction by editor Gordon gives an astute overview of the stylistic and historical relationship between this work and Levi's later autobiographical writings. Levi's training as a chemist and his friend and fellow survivor De Benedetti's training as a physician bring to the piece a dispassionate tone that has, in a sense, prefigured the best writing about the Holocaust. This is an important addition to Holocaust literature, but probably of limited interest to the general reader. . Click the book cover to read more.






[book] This Has Happened
An Italian Family in Auschwitz
by Piera Sonnino, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
October 2006. Macmillan palgrave
Five years after her return home from Auschwitz, Piera Sonnino found the courage to tell the story of the extermination of her parents, three brothers, and two sisters by the Nazis. Discovered one year ago in Italy and never before published in English, this poignant and extraordinarily well-written account is strikingly accurate in bringing to life the methodical and relentless erosion of the freedoms and human dignity of the Italian Jews, from Mussolini's racial laws of 1938 to the institutionalized horror of Auschwitz. Through Sonnino's words, memory has the power to disarm these unspeakable evils. Piera Sonnino was deported to Auschwitz in 1944. She was later transferred to Bergen Belsen and Braunschweig. The sole survivor of a family of eight, she returned to Italy in 1950. She died in 1999. Ann Goldstein is an editor at the New Yorker. She has translated works by Roberto Calasso, Alessandro Baricco, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Aldo Buzzi. The recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award, she is the editor of the forthcoming collected works of Primo Levi. She lives in New York. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] MitzvahChic
How to Host a Meaningful, Fun, Drop-Dead Gorgeous Bar or Bat Mitzvah
by Gail Anthony Greenberg
October 2006, Fireside Press
FROM THE COVER: There used to be only two approaches to the bar or bat mitzvah party -- a low-key event that reflects the solemnity of this sacred rite of passage or a big bash that has no connection to the religious service. For many, it was an impossible dilemma. Will a big bash trivialize and overshadow the bar or bat mitzvah experience? Will too much spirituality suck the life out of an otherwise fabulous party? MitzvahChic is the first book that proves that if you want a truly amazing experience, you can and must have it all! Blending meaningful Jewish elements with high-style contemporary party planning, this inspiring and useful guide will show you how to have the ultimate bar or bat mitzvah -- a profoundly moving service followed by an unforgettable party. The MitzvahChic approach also shows how to honor your child in a big way, rather than reducing him or her to an overused pop culture theme or a single cliché: He's into baseball! She loves horses! This must-have guide gives advice on the major decisions, the basics of the service, and the party details that really matter. It also features: A complete guide to the Torah, including dates and summaries of the portions and supplementary materials; Eight complete, themed parties, including party favors, decorations, and photographs of sample tables; A time line to help plan the bar or bat mitzvah up to two years ahead; Instructions for being MitzvahChic on a budget; Advice on how to include non-Jewish friends and family members in the ceremony; A practical guide to all things mitzvah from the Torah to the tablecloth, MitzvahChic will help create a beautiful, powerful, resonant, and unforgettable rite of passage. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Solomon the Accountant
A novel
by Edward M. Krauss
Fall 2006, Devorah Press
A novel about a Jewish accountant. A baby boomers' focused novel. Solomon Wohlman surprises everyone, even himself, when he unexpectedly falls in love with a recent widow named Molly while attending her late husband's funeral. A practical man by nature, Solomon maps out a plan for winning over the lovely Molly. Not everything goes as planned, but slowly Solomon manages to draw Molly out of mourning and into his life. This heartwarming tale is a piece of 1950's Americana. It reveals how the first generation of Post World War II Jewish baby boomers were adapting not only their language and customs, but even their courting habits to their adopted land. In an age of soda fountains, DeSoto, and synagogue dances, the new American Jew was inexorably melding into his surroundings. Solomon is a product of his age. But friendship, family, and the security of his accounting profession are no match for the one column in his ledger that never seems to balance .... Click the book cover to read more.






[book] A WIDOW'S TALE
A novel
By Dina Bar-Tov
Fall 2006, Devorah Press
Dovid is a rabbi who loves the rabbinate. Dina is his wife, his rebbetzin, and she loves Dovid. The synagogue where Dovid officiates is like most synagogues, with its arguments and pettiness, but also with its warmth and respect for the rabbi. It seems like Dovid and Dina and their growing family will spend many years in the Rockland community, helping the synagogue to grow.But then Dovid dies suddenly, leaving Dina at the mercy of the synagogue, family and friends.The tragedy, the humor, the frustrations, and the honest vitality with which Dina recounts the details of her life will give you insights into the struggles that many single mothers go through -- except that most single mothers don't have nine young children in tow!But no matter. Dina is a doer. She provides for her family even as she begins her search for her new soul mate. Dina Bar-Tov was born in Brooklyn and graduated Brooklyn College with honors. This is her first book, but she has been a writer since fourth grade when she penned I am a Briefcase. Her eighth grade class nominated her for the 1975 Pulitzer Prize. She's running late, but still has hope. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE
ONE MAN'S WAR AGAINST AN EVANGELICAL COUP IN AMERICA'S MILITARY
By MICHAEL L. WEINSTEIN and DAVID DEAY
Fall 2006. Thomas Dunne
One of the most elite educational institutions in the world, the Air Force Academy has, from its inception, attracted the best and the brightest, producing leaders not only in the military, but throughout American society. In recent years, however, the Academy has also been producing a cadre of zealous evangelical Christians who are intent on creating a fundamentalist power base at the highest levels of our country. You can call it a new cadre of young officers. Young cadets at the Academy in Colorado Springs open their paper to see ads by key personnel proclaiming that Jesus is mankind's only hope. They are urged to see The Passion Of The Christ. Evangelical brochures are distributed at dinner. The Heathen Walk is sort of a pseudo punishment during "Beast." The Deputy Chief of Chaplains says that he "ressrves the right to evangelize the un-churched" And as you guessed... Jews are unchurched. Hindus are unchurched. Muslims are as well. Weinstein, an alum, is more than outraged and disturbed.
With God on Our Side is shocking exposé of life inside the United States Air Force Academy and the systematic program of indoctrination sanctioned, coordinated, and carried out by fundamentalist Christians within the U.S. military. It is also the story of Jewish-American Michael L. Weinstein, a proud Academy graduate, a JAG for ten years, a lawyer in the Reagan White House for 3 years, and the father of two graduates and a current cadet (Casey Weinstein and his wife Amanda, and Curtis Weinstein (frequently called a 'Christ Killer', even during a game of flickerball)), who single-handedly brought to light the evangelicals' utter disregard of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state that is so essential to the nation's military mission. Weinstein was even married at the Academy chapel in 1977. Weinstein's war would pit him and his small band of fellow graduates, cadets, and concerned citizens against a program of Christian fundamentalist indoctrination that could transform our fighting men and women into "right-thinking" warriors more befitting a theocracy. In the process, he would come face to face with religious bigotry and at its most extreme and fight an unrelenting battle to save his beloved Academy, the ideals it stood for, and the very future of the country. An important book at a critical time in our nation's history, With God on Our Side is the story of one man's courageous struggle to thwart a creeping evangelism permeating America's military and to prevent a taxpayer-funded theocracy in which only the true believers have power. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] COLLECTED POEMS
1947 - 1997
By ALLEN GINSBERG
October 2006, HarperCollins
1,216 pages
Here, for the first time, is a volume that gathers the published verse of Allen Ginsberg in its entirety, a half century of brilliant work from one of America's great poets. The chief figure among the Beats, Ginsberg changed the course of American poetry, liberating it from closed academic forms with the creation of open, vocal, spontaneous, and energetic postmodern verse in the tradition of Walt Whitman, Guillaume Apollinaire, Hart Crane, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams. Ginsberg's classics Howl, Reality Sandwiches, Kaddish, Planet News, and The Fall of America led American (and international) poetry toward uncensored vernacular, explicit candor, the ecstatic, the rhapsodic, and the sincere-;all leavened by an attractive and pervasive streak of common sense. Ginsberg's raw tones and attitudes of spiritual liberation also helped catalyze a psychological revolution that has become a permanent part of our cultural heritage, profoundly influencing not only poetry and popular song and speech, but also our view of the world. The uninterrupted energy of Ginsberg's remarkable career is clearly revealed in this collection. Seen in order of composition, the poems reflect on one another; they are not only works but also a work. Included here are all the poems from the earlier volume Collected Poems 1947-1980, and from Ginsberg's subsequent and final three books of new poetry: White Shroud, Cosmopolitan Greetings, and Death & Fame. Enriching this book are illustrations by Ginsberg's artist friends; unusual and illuminating notes to the poems, inimitably prepared by the poet himself; extensive indexes; as well as prefaces and various other materials that accompanied the original publications. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] BEING ARAB
By Samir Kassir with an Intro by Tariq Ali
October 2006. Verso
Mr. Kassir (1960-2005) was one of Lebanon's best known writers. He was murdered in Beirut in June 2005, most likely by Syria, since he criticized Syria in his newspaper columns in An-Nahar. He was a leader of the Arab Left and a big supporter of Palestinians against Israel. Being Arab is an exploration on what Samir Kassir describes as the "Arab malaise," the political and intellectual stagnation of the Arab world. In searching to understand how the region arrived at this point Kassir turns to the past, revisiting the Arab "golden age," the extraordinary nineteenth-century flowering of cultural expression that continued into the twentieth as, from Cairo to Baghdad and from Beirut to Casablanca, painters, poets, musicians, playwrights and novelists came together to create a new, living Arab culture. Investigating the huge impact of modernity on the region, and the accompanying shockwaves that turned society upside-down, Kassir suggests that the current crisis in Arab identity lies in the failure to come to terms with modernity, instead embracing false solutions such as pan-Arabism and Islamism. Being Arab urges Arabs to confront their own history,
to reject Western double standards and Islamism alike,
and to take the future of the region into their own hands. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Muhammad
by Eliot Weinberger
Fall 2006. Verso
A luminous portrait of the Prophet, in the Islamic tradition. Muhammad is a shimmering, lyrical biography of the Prophet, composed from the words of Muslims throughout the centuries. Drawing on a variety of Islamic sources, from the hadith, or sayings of Muhammad and his companions, to Abbasid and Persian texts, Weinberger weaves a subtle, mystical prose poem, spanning Muhammad's birth and childhood; his adolescence, miracles and marriages; to the isra and miraj, his journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and ascent into heaven, with the angel Jibril (Gabriel) as his guide. The result is a vivid triptych that presents the final prophet of Islam with extraordinary clarity. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] DREAMS OF A NATION
ON PALESTINIAN CINEMA
Edited By Hamid Dabashi
October 2006. Verso
Preface by the late Edward Said
Contribs from Joseph Massad, Michel Khleifi, Hamid Naficy, Said, Ella Shahat, and of course Elia Suleiman, and more.
From the book's cover: Over the last quarter-century, Palestinian cinema has emerged as a major artistic force on the global scene. Deeply rooted in the historic struggles for national self-determination, this cinema is the single most important artistic expression of a much-maligned people. Despite the extraordinary social and artistic significance of Palestinian film, there is no single volume in which its political and aesthetic aspects are carefully examined. Dreams of a Nation, a collection of essays and interviews in which filmmakers, critics and scholars reflect on its production and impact, is the most comprehensive book on Palestinian cinema in any language. Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the founder of Dreams of a Nation: A Palestinian Film Project, committed to the preservation and dissemination of Palestinian cinema
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] THE CONFESSION
BY JAMES McGREEVEY, Former Governor of NJ
October 2006. REGEN BOOKS
The former governor of NJ resigned when it was discovered he was gay. But gay was not the issue. His corruption was the main issue. Some say that his final downfall was due to his affair with an Israeli, Golan Cipel, and his hiring of the Israeli Jewish alleged lover as his terrorism/security director. Cipel says that he was never McGreevey's lover and that he never threatened to blackmail the Governor for millions. This is McGreevey's side of the story. Also.. another Jewish angle.. when McGreevey wasn't having sex at truck stops, he would meet guys in the garden behind the 6th and I (Eye) Street synagogue in Washington DC, when he was a student at Georgetown. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] The Faith Club
A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew
Three Women Search for Understanding
by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, Priscilla Warner
October 2006, Free Press
From Booklist: *Starred Review* Ranya Idliby is a Palestinian Muslim; Suzanne Oliver, an ex--Catholic now in the Episcopal Church; and Priscilla Warner, Jewish. Initially, the idea behind establishing a faith club was simple--the three women would collaborate on an interfaith children's book emphasizing the connections among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that would reinforce the common heritage the three religions share. In post-9/11 America, however, real life began getting in the way. Almost from the start, differences that culminated in conflict emerged; at one point, the tension even jeopardized the project altogether. Prophetically, while searching for a story to help illustrate connections among the religions, Suzanne chose the Crucifixion, which immediately set off alarm bells for Priscilla. Yet they persevered. All three agreed that to work together they had to be brutally candid, "no matter how rude or politically incorrect." Eventually--and as they make abundantly clear, not easily--conflict and anger gave way to a special kind of rapprochement that merged mutual understanding and respect. Each woman brings to the table her prejudices, unique faith stories, and personal stereotypes and misconceptions (Priscilla, for example, had those of one who had never before met a Palestinian woman). Brimming with passion and conviction, and concluding with suggestions for starting a similar faith club, this is essential reading for anyone interested in interfaith dialogue. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Bloomfield Avenue
A Jewish-Catholic Jersey Girl's Spiritual Journey
by Linda Mercadante
October 2006, Cowley
In this memoir, Mercadante tells her quest for religious identity, a real home, good work, and a one-faith family. Born to a mixed-religion family, she tries Catholicism, a WASP sorority, atheism, Eastern mysticism, and vegetarianism. Her story holds key lessons for people from mixed backgrounds, those who long for the ideal family, and those who shun religion as a dead-end. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] THE DAWNING OF THE DAY
A JERUSALEM TALE
BY HAIM SABATO
October 2006, Toby Press
From Publishers Weekly: With a keen eye for custom, award-winning Sabato (Aleppo Tales) beautifully captures the daily rhythms of an Israeli Sephardic community. Ezra Siman Tov has worked in the same laundry next to Jerusalem's Mahane Yehudah market for 50 years, cleaning and pressing prayer shawls to adorn a bevy of grooms as they await their brides under the bridal canopy. But Ezra is also a storyteller, and the characters at his command include a blind violinist whose plaintive tunes melt even the hardest of hearts; a frustrated scholar who pulls a prank and pretends his own verse is really the creation of a famous medieval poet; a yeshiva student whose planned treatise on the Talmud is threatened by writer's block; and a judge whose sight is miraculously restored after its loss is falsely rumored to be divine punishment for taking bribes. A pious, simple man who is generally content with his lot in life, Ezra must contend with the gentrification that threatens the laundry and with his beloved daughter's defection to Christian missionaries. His measured response conveys a community's timelessness. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] Jewish Book of Days
A Companion for All Seasons
by Rabbi Jill Hammer
2006. Jewish Publication Society JPS, 400 pages
Discover the divine every day, through study of sacred text and awareness of the natural world Throughout the ages, Jews have connected legends to particular days of the Hebrew calendar. Abraham's birth, the death of Rachel, and the creation of light are all tales that are linked to a specific day and season. The Jewish Book of Days invites readers to experience the connection between sacred story and nature's rhythms, through readings designed for each and every day of the year. These daily readings offer an opportunity to live in tune with the wisdom of the past while learning new truths about the times we live in today. Using the tree as its central metaphor, The Jewish Book of Days is divided into eight chapters of approximately forty-five days each. These sections represent the tree's stages of growth--seed, root, shoot, sap, bud, leaf, flower, and fruit--and also echo the natural cadences of each season. Each entry has three components: a biblical quote for the day; a midrash on the biblical quote or a Jewish tradition related to that day; and commentary relating the text to the cycles of the year. The author includes an introduction that analyzes the different months and seasons of the Hebrew calendar and explains the textual sources used throughout. Appendixes provide additional material for leap years, equinoxes, and solstices. A section on seasonal meditations offers a new way to approach the divine every day. Click the book cover to read more.




RABBI GOLD'S FIRST BOOK!
[book] Torah Journeys
The Inner Path to the Promised Land
by Rabbi Shefa Gold
2006. Ben Yehuda Press
With blurbs from Rabbis Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Rami Shapiro, Tirzah Firestone, Arthur Waskow, and even Rev. Desmond Tutu... you know that this is going to be interesting... The Torah is the map. You are the territory. Each weekly Torah portion brings us a blessing, a challenge and an opportunity for spiritual transformation. An inspiring guide to finding your way through the landscape of the Torah... and finding the Torah in you. A stunning debut from the popular, innovative pioneer of Jewish chant. Click the book cover to read more.




[book] Abe Gilman's Ending
A Novel
by Glenn Frank
2006. Beaufort
After the death of his beloved wife and a fall that leaves him wheelchair-bound, Abe Gilman thinks dying would be better than living out his days in a nursing home full of cranks and do-gooders who just won't leave him alone. However, when a spirited new arrival begins to liven up the residents' routine days, Abe finds himself intrigued by the ambitious project the others undertake. Deftly interwoven with Abe's story is the story of Elie, a Jewish boy on the cusp of manhood in Boston in 1948. Elie is determined to find out what happened to his father, a German Jew who remained in Europe after he sent his family ahead to safety, believing that his status as a veteran of the Great War would enable him to help other Jews during Hitler's rise to power. Readers will delight in following Abe and Elie along their pathways to discovery. Click the book cover to read more.




[book] I CELEBRATE MYSELF
THE SOMEWHAT PRIVATE LIFE OF ALLEN GINSBERG
By Bill Morgan
2006. Viking
From Booklist: The late Beatnik poet would have been 80 this year, and this massive life chronicle marks the occasion. Ginsberg was an indefatigable journaler, correspondent, and, especially in his latter years, photographer (he got good enough to publish, exhibit, and sell prints), which means Morgan has a rich trove of self-reportage to draw on. Morgan has also extensively interviewed Ginsberg's friends, and the resulting massive tome seems to note every movement Ginsberg ever made. Notes inserted on the margins of each page refer by title and page number to poems (in Collected Poems: 1947-1997, which HarperCollins is issuing, also in October 2006, and at 1,000-plus pages and $39.95, relatively cheaply) written at the times of events reported in the text. This isn't a critical or interpretive biography, nor is it even fully descriptive, for Ginsberg's is virtually the only personal perspective given any expression in its pages. As a clear, exhaustive record of a very restless man's life journey, however, it will be invaluable to all future biographers. Click the book cover to read more.




[book] I Killed
True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics
by Ritch Shydner, Mark Schiff
October 2006. Crown
From Publishers Weekly: Some of the funniest-and most outrageous-stories a comedian has don't get told onstage. They're passed around after hours and derive from the bizarre intersection of travel, intoxicants and the colorful characters on the fringes of the comedy world. (A little poverty can't hurt-the best stories from "top comics" often come from the early days.) In this collection, Ron Shock tells of being goaded by outlaw comic Bill Hicks into dropping acid before a show, infuriating the audience and escaping just in time. Jay Leno recounts how he accidentally left a groupie tied to her bed overnight-and she loved it. Black comic Alonzo Bodden recalls ripping into a redneck from the stage and having audience members tell him later that his target ran the local Klan. Shydner, early in his career, performed regularly at a variety of bars around Washington, D.C., and found himself opening for a riled-up audience eager to see the Ramones. He suffered through a "beer shower," and one of the Ramones thought that was his act: human beer sponge. Jerry Seinfeld, in his foreword, calls comedy "one of the Great Jobs"; this volume makes for excellent bathroom reading-and that's a compliment. Click the book cover to read more.





[book] THE HEEBie-JEEBies at CBGB's
A SECRET HISTORY OF JEWISH PUNK
By Steven Lee Beeber
October 2006. Chicago Review
Joey Ramone (aka Jeffrey Hyman)
Tommy Ramone (Tamas Erdelyi)
Lou Reed
Lenny Kaye, Chris Stein from Blondie, Hilly Kristal (the owner of cbgb's country blue grass blues original music fun underground OMFUG, the Beastie Boys, etc.
This is the story of Jews in Punk, from the mid Seventies on Manhattan's LES Lower East Side, to today. Beeber ties the idea of punk to the Jewish sense of irreverence and entertainment.
PW WRITES: In this welcome addition to the annals of punk, journalist Beeber does a commendable job of illuminating the Jewish backgrounds of many of punk's pioneers, .... The scene was centered in 1970s New York's Jewish Lower East Side, so it's fitting that punk might have a strong Jewish tradition. Beeber ably cobbles together interesting biographical sketches of the preeminent Jewish punks, rather astutely placing the punk rockers among the pantheon of Jewish entertainers, including the controversial comic Lenny Bruce. He also neatly ties the irreverent punk ethos to the American Jewish experience. Still, the book overreaches at times, straining under the weight of too much tangential cultural history and an overly academic tone. Beeber, however, has clearly done his homework, with more than 100 primary interviews and a clear grasp of the Jewish traditions within which he places punk. And just in time: with "Jewish-owned punk landmark" CBGB slated to close on September 30, Beeber's book will open a hidden chapter for many fans. Click the book cover to read more.





[book] Wisdom from the Batcave
How to Live a Super, Heroic Life
by Rabbi Cary A. Friedman
October 2006. Compass Books
Rabbi Cary A. Friedman looked to Batman as a role-model when he was a child, and through the publication of Wisdom From The Batcave we learn he continues to look at the Caped Crusader for examples of moral instruction when it comes to his teaching and consultant work. In a series of extremely short exhortations, he picks and chooses elements of the superhero's long existence to illustrate a moral portrait of focused, self-actualized, purposeful living. Kind of a gospel according to Batman. Rabbi Friedman trained as an Electrical Engineer and worked for GE. He later found his calling in the rabbinate and attended YU and became the chaplain at Duke. Since 2001, Rabbi Cary Friedman has been a Spirituality Consultant to the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) in Quantico, VA and other law enforcement agencies, providing spiritual nourishment and fortication to law enforcement officers. Click the book cover to read more.





[book] WALT DISNEY
The Triumph of the American Imagination
by Neal Gabler
October 2006. Knopf
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Few men could be said to have as pervasive an influence on American culture as Walt Disney, and Gabler (Winchell) scours the historical record for as thorough an explanation of that influence as any biographer could muster. Every period of Disney's life is depicted in exacting detail, from the suffering endured on a childhood paper route to the making of Mary Poppins. The core of Gabler's story, though, is clearly in the early years of Disney's studio, from the creation of Mickey Mouse to the hands-on management of early hits like Fantasia and Pinocchio. "Even though Walt could neither animate, nor write, nor direct," Gabler notes, "he was the undisputed power at the studio." Yet there was significant disgruntlement within the ranks of Disney's employees, and Gabler traces the day-to-day resentments that eventually led to a bitter strike against the studio in 1941. That dispute helped harden Disney's anticommunism,
which led to rumors of anti-Semitism,
which are effectively debunked here. At times, Gabler lays on a bit thick the psychological interpretation of Disney as control freak, but his portrait is so engrossing that it's hard to picture the entertainment mogul playing with his toy trains and not imagine him building Disneyland in his head. Click the book cover to read more.





[book] THE IRON CAGE
THE STORY OF THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE FOR STATEHOOD
BY RASHID KHALIDI, Columbia University
October 2006. Beacon
In Resurrecting Empire, Rashid Khalidi dissected the failures of colonial policy over the entire span of the modern history of the Middle East, predicted the meltdown in Iraq that we are now witnessing with increasing horror, and offered viable alternatives for achieving peace in the region. His newest book, The Iron Cage, hones in on Palestinian politics and history. Once again Khalidi draws on a wealth of experience and scholarship to elucidate the current conflict, using history to provide a clear-eyed view of the situation today. The story of the Palestinian search to establish a state begins in the era of British control over Palestine and stretches between the two world wars, when colonial control of the region became increasingly unpopular and power began to shift toward the United States. In this crucial period, and in the years immediately following World War II, Palestinian leaders were unable to achieve the long-cherished goal of establishing an independent state-a critical failure that throws a bright light on the efforts of the Palestinians to create a state in the many decades since 1948. By frankly discussing the reasons behind this failure, Khalidi offers a much-needed perspective for anyone concerned about peace in the Middle East.
Writing in The NYT, Clyde Haberman, a former bureau chief in Jerusalem, said, "...His description of the Palestinians as forever on the short end of history's stick is neither new nor surprising. But he makes this more than an exercise in self-pity by refusing to let the Palestinians themselves off the hook. If they indeed live in an iron cage, well, Khalidi says, they helped mold the bars themselves. From their repeated failures at even the rudiments of state-building (in stark contrast to the Zionists) to their embrace of a terrorism "both morally indefensible and disastrously counterproductive strategically," Palestinians have often been their own worst enemy. Let's not even talk about woeful decisions by their leadership, from the Jerusalem grand mufti's support for the Nazis in World War II to Yasir Arafat's aligning with Saddam Hussein after Iraq grabbed Kuwait in 1990. "Where were Palestinian leaders when they were most needed?" Khalidi asks. "These are questions that have recurred in modern Palestinian history, in the late 1930s, the 1970s and 1980s, and now at the beginning of the 21st century." "
Click the book cover to read more.





[book] WHY ARENDT MATTERS
FOR THE LOVE OF THE WORLD
By Elisabeth Young-Bruehl
October 2006. Yale
Upon publication of her "field manual," The Origins of Totalitarianism, in 1951, Hannah Arendt immediately gained recognition as a major political analyst. Over the next twenty-five years, she wrote ten more books and developed a set of ideas that profoundly influenced the way America and Europe addressed the central questions and dilemmas of World War II. In this concise book, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl introduces her mentor's work to twenty-first-century readers. Arendt's ideas, as much today as in her own lifetime, illuminate those issues that perplex us, such as totalitarianism, terrorism, globalization, war, and "radical evil." Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, who was Arendt's doctoral student in the early 1970s and who wrote the definitive biography of her mentor in 1982, now revisits Arendt's major works and seminal ideas. Young-Bruehl considers what Arendt's analysis of the totalitarianism of Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union can teach us about our own times, and how her revolutionary understanding of political action is connected to forgiveness and making promises for the future. The author also discusses The Life of the Mind, Arendt's unfinished meditation on how to think about thinking. Placed in the context of today's political landscape, Arendt's ideas take on a new immediacy and importance. They require our attention, Young-Bruehl shows, and continue to bring fresh truths to light. . Click the book cover to read more.





[book] Elie Wiesel And the Art of Story Telling
by Rosemary Horowitz, Appalachian State University, NC
October 2006. McFarland & Company
Elie Wiesel is a master storyteller with the ability to use storytelling as a form of activism. From his landmark memoir Night to his novels and numerous retellings of Hasidic legends, Wiesel_s literature emphasizes storytelling, and he frequently refers to himself as a storyteller rather than an author or historian. In this work, essays examine Wiesel_s roots in Jewish storytelling traditions; influences from religious, folk, and secular sources; education; Yiddish background; Holocaust experience; and writing style. Emphasized throughout is Wiesel_s use of multiple sources in an effort to reach diverse audiences. Click the book cover to read more.





[book] THE PRINCE
THE SECRET STORY OF THE WORLD'S MOST INTRIGUING ROYAL
PRINCE BANDAR BIN SULTAN
By WILLIAM SIMPSON
October 2006. Regan Books
From Publishers Weekly: Saudi Arabian prince Bandar Bin Sultan emerges in this biography by Simpson, a long-time friend of Bandar's, not only a figure well-connected and well-placed among public and private power structures, but a super-man who melds his incredible wealth with savoir faire, razor-sharp pragmatism and a disarming sense of humor. With an intensely loyal coterie of confidantes in many countries, Bandar is described as "an expert at playing the long game," who used Saudi Arabia's status as a crucial ally to the West-among "seven volatile, militaristic countries, Saudi Arabia is the fulcrum of leadership in the Muslim world, and sits on nearly two thirds of the world's oil supply"-to leverage a starring role in a multitude of fascinating, high-stakes political gambits. Marred in its early pages by a yawn-inducing array of Arabian arms deals, Simpson's chronicle thankfully shifts focus to the decades when, as Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., Bandar wrangled, finagled and influenced policy with the aid of presidents and historical notables. Especially riveting tales feature Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and the first president Bush, in which all parties participate in an intricate diplomatic dance-at times skirting the brink of international disaster-while wars raged throughout the Middle East. In this lengthy account, Bandar plays his role with as much aplomb as the infamous Machiavelli, but with far more humanity. Click the book cover to read more.







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