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FALL 2007 BOOK READINGS
Aug 01, 2007: NyFoodMuseum.org Exhibit on 100 Yrs of JoyVa Halva
Aug 29, 2007: Rabbi David Aaron reads from Inviting God In: Celebrating the Soul-Meaning of the Jewish Holy Days. B&N UWS NYC, 7 PM
Sep 06-15, 2007: TIFF, Toronto Intnl Film Festival
Sep 09, 2007: Alan Zweibe; speaks at Vihillel.org Virginia Tech Hillel, VA
Sep 09, 2007: Healing the World. A Day of Learning with Hebrew University. 9-3:30, NYC afhu.org $250.
Sep 11, 2007: Hanna Rosin reads from GOD's HARVARD. B&N Chelsea NYC
Sep 11, 2007: Melissa Plaut reads from HACK, HOW I STOPPED.... B&N GV NYC
Sep 11, 2007: David Raab reads from BLACK SEPTEMBER.... B&N Lincoln Triagle NYC
Sep 12, 2007: Jewish New Year begins tonight
Sep 16, 2007: International Pickle Day. Orchard St, NYC 11AM
Sep 16, 2007: Brooklyn Book Festival, Boro Hall. NYC 11AM-6PM. Includes
Elisa Albert, How This Night Is Different: Stories; Wayne Barrett, Rudy!, Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11; Moustafa Bayoumi, coeditor: The Edward Said Reader; David Bouley, East of Paris, Chef's Story;
Dominic Carter, No Momma's Boy; Dave Eggers, McSweeney's Quarterly;
Mike Farrell, Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist;
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated; Myla Goldberg, Bee Season;
Charles Hynes, Triple Homicide; Simon Shimon Jacobson, Toward a Meaningful Life;
Chuck Klosterman; Seth Kushner; Jonathan Lethem; Tao Lin; Phillip Lopate;
Ed Park; Neal Pollack; Francine Prose, Blue Angel, A Changed Man, Reading Like a Writer; the poet Harvey Shapiro; Joseph "Reverend Run" Simmons;
Amy Sohn; Lauren Weinstein and many more. Get schedule at brooklynbookfestival.org
Sep 17, 2007: ALAN GREENSPAN reads from THE AGE OF TURBULENCE, B&N Union Sq
Sep 19, 2007: RUTH WISSE reads from JEWS AND POWER, B&N UWS NYC
Sep 21, 2007: ALAN GREENSPAN and ANDREA MITCHELL host a book party for GREENSPAN's THE AGE OF TURBULENCE, Washington DC. Oops.. wait.. .it is a conflict with Yom Kippur, so Jewish friends may come to the party at 5PM and leave for Kol Nidre.
Sep 21, 2007: Yom Kippur begins tonight
Sep 24, 2007: Iran's President speaks at Columbia University on Iran, Iraq, Zionism, the Holocaust, Israel and other topics, NYC
Sep 29, 2007: The National Book Festival, Washington DC Includes: Ken Burns, Sanjay Gupta, Joan Nathan, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Oren, and dozens more
Oct 01, 2007: ABRAHAM FOXMAN reads from THE DEADLIEST LIES, BN UWS-82nd NYC
Oct 07, 2007: RUTH WISSE speaks on JEWS AND POWER. Washington DC JCC / Nextbook
Oct 08, 2007: JIMMY CARTER reads from his newest booka bout how great he is and will probably slam Israel if he gets a chance, BN Union Square NYC
Oct 09, 2007: Shalom Auslander reads from FORESKIN'S LAMENT, BN Chelsea NYC
Oct 09, 2007: Idan Raichal at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC
Oct 11, 2007: NY Knicks vs Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv, NYC
Oct 11, 2007: Jewish Daily Forward lecture on 100 Years of Jewish Theater Music. Museum of the City of New York
Oct 12, 2007: Eldridge Street Synagogue Festival of 75+ klezmer musicians. A Parade to Seward Park. 11:30 AM, 12 Eldridge St, NYC
Oct 13, 2007: Evening concert at CUNY Elebash recital hall (365 5th Ave) of klezmers
Oct 14, 2007: Symphony Space NYC: The Eldridge Street Project. Isaiah Sheffer and klezmer music
October 15-21, 2007: Statewide Great Day Tour throughout New York State, NYC
Oct 15, 2007: MICHAEL WEX reads from JUST SAY NU!, BN Lincoln NYC
Oct 15, 2007: Anne Roiphe teaches a course on the Jewish Short Story. at Skirball in NYC
Oct 15, 2007: SHALOM AUSLANDER reads from FORESKIN'S LAMENT. Washington DC JCC / Nextbook
Oct 16, 2007: The Creative non Fiction Writers' Beit Midrash at Skirball in NYC
Oct 16, 2007: Jewish Daily Forward lecture on Yiddish is Alive and Well (with Michael Wex) Museum of the City of New York
Oct 16, 2007: DANIEL B. SILVER, author of REFUGE IN HELL, speaks on how the 1000 Jews survived in the Jewish Hospital in Berlin throughout WWII, and the role of Dr. Lustig. Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC 5PM
Oct 21, 2007: JEWS, COMICS, and .. The Superhero. at Skirball in NYC
Oct 21, 2007: For There Is Hope: Gender and The Hebrew Bible. A Conference to honor the memory of Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky. Featuring over nine speakers. KTS NYC 10am-5pm. www.hopeconference2007.com
Oct 21, 2007: A Day of Learning with Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, featuring a dozen speaking rabbis on topics of abuse, parenting, infrimed elderly parents, generational differences in religious observance, and more. Kehilat Jeshuruan NYC 9:30AM
Oct 21, 2007: ALAN MORINIS and IRA STONE on MUSSAR 92nd St Y NYC 8:15PM
Oct 22, 2007: Author JEFFREY TOOBIN on breaking news in the Jewish world. 92nd St Y NYC 8:15PM
Oct 23, 2007: DR. WENDY MOGEL reads from BLESSING OF A SKINNED KNEE, Stephen Wise, NYC 7PM
Oct 24, 2007: Jewish Daily Forward lecture on Ethnic Power in NYC; Jews, Italians and the Irish, with Ed Koch, Pete Hamill, and Professor Frank Macchairola. Museum of the City of New York
Oct 24, 2007: Authors LETTY COTTIN POGREBIN, TONY KUSHNER, ALFRED FOX UHRY, and DAVID GRUBIN on the PBS Documentary, THE JEWISH AMERICANS. 92nd St Y NYC 8PM
Oct 25, 2007: Yiddish Sing Along. Rodeph shalom, NYC 7:30 PM
Oct 27, 2007: Crown Point Film Festival Begins. LES, NYC. CrownPointFestival.ORG
Oct 29, 2007: Righteous Indignation at Skirball in NYC
Oct 29, 2007: DIANA ACKERMAN discusses THE ZOOKEEPER'S WIFE. 92nd St Y NYC 7:30PM
Oct 29 - Nov 07, 2007: AJWS Study Tour to Thailand and Cambodia
Oct 30, 2007: Amy Bloom reads from AWAY, BN Chelsea NYC
Oct 31, 2007: ERIC SUNDQUIST speaks on The Holocaust in American Literature, UCLA 4PM
Oct 22, 2007: Authors LETTY COTTIN POGREBIN and PHILLIP DAVIS on the life of Bernard Malamud 92nd St Y NYC 7:30PM
Nov 01, 2007: ADAM GOPNIK reads from his works. Washington DC JCC / Nextbook
Nov 04-11, 2007: Miami Book Fair. MiamiBookFair.com
Nov 04-Dec 04, 2007: National Jewish Book Month
Nov 05, 2007: Carter buddy LEON CHARNEY on THE KADDISH 92nd St Y NYC 8:15PM
Nov 07, 2007: MAGGIE ANTON on the RASHI'S DAUGHTERS trilogy 92nd St Y NYC 7:30PM
Nov 08-15, 2007: The Other Israel Film Festival. Cinema Village, NYC
Nov 08, 2007: How To Get Your Poetry Published. Aaww.org NYC
Nov 08, 2007: MICHAEL STANISLAWSKI speaks on A MURDER IN LEMBERG: THE ASSASSINATION OF REFORM RABBI ABRAHAM KOHN IN 1848. UCLA 7PM
Nov 12, 2007: MEIR SHALEV reads from A PIGEON AND A BOY. Washington DC JCC / Nextbook
Nov 15, 2007: Miss. A 2-Act Play by Wuang Bao. Aaww.org NYC
Nov 19, 2007: The Idan Raichal Project at The Fillmore, NYC
Nov 27, 2007: RUTH BEHAR reads from AN ISLAND CALLED HOME: RETURNING TO JEWISH CUBA. Washington DC JCC / Nextbook
Nov 28, 2007: KENNETH TURAN speaks on THE JEW AS CRITIC, UCLA 4PM
Nov 29, 2007: SUSAN DERWIN speaks on BENJAMIN WILKOMIRSKI's "FRAGMENTS," UCLA Noon
Dec 03, 2007: 10th Annual Asian American Literary Awards. Aaww.org NYC
Dec 09, 2007: Dr. Arnold Eisen speaks on Revitalizing American Judaism. 92nd St Y, NYC 92y.org
Dec 21, 2007: Jewmongous comedy act with Sean Altman. NYC
Dec 23, 2007: HEEB Storytelling presents Jon Kesselman (Hebrew Hammer) and Sam Levine (Fraks and Geeks). Joe's Pub NYC 7PM
Dec 23, 2007: Putting The HA in HANUKKAH, sponsored by HEEB MAGAZINE hits NYC
Dec 24, 2007: Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad. At The Zipper Factory NYC
Dec 24, 2007: Good For The Jews, a comedy music duo perform at The Knitting Factory NYC
Dec 25, 2007: Zamir Choral Fdtn open sing with M Lazar. JCC Manhattan NYC 1PM
Dec 25, 2007: Klez for Kids. Eldridge St Synagogue. NYC
Dec 25, 2007: Challah lujah. Concert with Joshua Nelson and the Kosher Gospel Choir. Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC 1 and 3:30. NYC
HEY.. NOW YOUR CAN SEARCH OUR SITE, INSTEAD OF JUST SEARCHING AMAZON. TRY IT OUT...
SEPTEMBER 2007 BOOKS
Note to file: Let's publish a series of books on Spiritual Journey's with famous guides... for example, "36 Days with Heschel;" "36 Days with Soloveichik;" and "36 Days with Reb Nachman."... Would you buy it? Let us know.
September is here... the High Holidays are here... Let's start the month off with a very special book. The High Holidays' liturgy tells us to LISTEN, Hear O Israel, LISTEN UP O ISRAEL... well, here is a book about listening and hearing, by NYC resident, Josh Swiller. Also, with regard to the High Holidays, you can read this book and keep in mind the difficulty of getting things done (as we review our behavior over the past year) and the consequences of decisions made (with regard to Josh's bus ride to return to his village to get a spare hearing aid after his primary one is stolen):
A Memoir of Deafness and Africa
by Josh Swiller
September 2007, Holt
The monkey will not escape the burning grass two times,
and never steal a fish from another man's net.
Josh Swiller has had a wide variety of careers including forest ranger, raw food chef, sheepskin slipper salesman and Zen monk. He currently works at a hospice in Brooklyn. He has been profoundly deaf since birth. He fought this 'condition,' and was so good at lip reading that some family members did not even know he could hear less than 14% of the words said. A Yale grad, he joined the Peace Corps and arrived in Mununga (ma noon gah), a dusty village on the shores of Lake Mweru. Deaf since a young age, Swiller spent his formative years in frustrated limbo on the sidelines of the hearing world, encouraged by his family to use lip-reading and the strident approximations of hearing aids to blend in. It didn't work. So he decided to ditch the well-trodden path after college, setting out to find a place so far removed that his deafness would become irrelevant. That place turned out to be Zambia, where Swiller worked as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years. There he would encounter a world where violence, disease, and poverty were the mundane facts of life. But despite the culture shock, Swiller finally commanded attention-everyone always listened carefully to the white man, even if they didn't always follow his instruction. Spending his days working in the health clinic with Augustine Jere, a chubby, world-weary chess aficionado and a steadfast friend, Swiller had finally found, he believed, a place where his deafness didn't interfere, a place he could call home. Until, that is, a nightmarish incident blasted away his newfound convictions. At once a poignant account of friendship through adversity, a hilarious comedy of errors, and a gripping narrative of escalating violence, The Unheard is an unforgettable story from a noteworthy new talent.
In terms of one of the stories, the Peace Corp member must figure out whether he has done any good at all and how best to get things done in a culture where direct confrontation is not well liked. Sadly, in one incident involving a switched bus seat, the author must deal with the consequences of choices.
From Publishers Weekly: Although doctors diagnosed [Josh] Swiller's deafness early enough to fit him with hearing aids, the young man from Manhattan's Upper West Side still felt different. As a young adult he drifted from college to college, job to job, relationship to relationship, never quite finding what he was looking for: a place beyond deafness. He found that place in the mid-1990s, when the Peace Corps posted him to a remote corner of Zambia. During his two-year stint working in a run-down health clinic in a rural village, he fought for irrigation projects and better AIDS facilities. He befriended a young local who played chess and provided constant counsel in the ways the young white American could-and did-run afoul of local tribesmen (and women) and their age-old ways. Deafness would have provided a unique sensory filter for anyone, yet while Swiller may have his particular aural capabilities, he also has literary talents-an eye, a voice and a narrative talent-in abundance. A story in any other Peace Corps volunteer's hands might have been humdrum, but in Swiller's becomes intensified, like the rigors of day-to-day Zambian life, through deprivation.
Click the book cover to read more.
Little known tidbits... Beverly Bubbles Sills knew ASDL sign language... and Marcel Marceau / Bip was Jewish, a member of the French resistance and even trained a MIME RABBI , ... I wonder what ever happened to him...
CHURCHILLS'S PROMISED LAND
ZIONISM AND STATECRAFT
BY MICHAEL MARKOVSKY
September 2007, New Republic Books
This book is the first to explore fully the role that Zionism played in the political thought of Winston Churchill. Michael Makovsky traces the development of Churchill's positions toward Zionism from the period leading up to the First World War through his final years as prime minister in the 1950s. Setting Churchill's attitudes toward Zionism within the context of his overall worldview as well as within the context of twentieth-century British diplomacy, Makovsky offers a unique contribution to our understanding of Churchill.
Moving chronologically, the book looks at Churchill's career within the context of several major themes: his own worldview and political strategies, his understanding of British imperial interests, the moral impact of the Holocaust, his commitment to ideals of civilization, and his historical sentimentalism. While Churchill was largely sympathetic to the Jews and to the Zionist impulse, he was not without inconsistencies in his views and policies over the years. Makovsky's book illuminates key aspects of Middle Eastern history; Zionist history; and British political, imperial, and diplomatic history; and further helps us understand one of the pivotal figures of the twentieth century. Click the book cover to read more.
CHURCHILL AND THE JEWS
A LIFELONG FRIENDSHIP
By Sir MARTIN GILBERT
Fall 2007, Henry Holt
An insightful history of Churchill's lifelong commitment-both public and private-to the Jews and Zionism, and of his outspoken opposition to anti-Semitism. Winston Churchill was a young man in 1894 when Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was convicted of treason and sent to Devil's Island. Despite the prevailing anti-Semitism in England as well as on the Continent, Churchill's position was clear: he supported Dreyfus, and condemned the prejudices that had led to his conviction. Churchill's commitment to Jewish rights, to Zionism-and ultimately to the State of Israel-never wavered. In 1922, he established on the bedrock of international law the right of Jews to emigrate to Palestine. During his meeting with David Ben-Gurion in 1960, Churchill presented the Israeli prime minister with an article he had written about Moses, praising the father of the Jewish people. Drawing on a wide range of archives and private papers, speeches, newspaper coverage, and wartime correspondence, Churchill's official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, explores the origins, implications, and results of Churchill's determined commitment to Jewish rights, opening a window on an underappreciated and heroic aspect of the brilliant politician's life and career. Click the book cover to read more.
The Deadliest Lies
The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control
by Abraham H. Foxman
September 2007. Palgrave
From Publishers Weekly: In opposing the view that there is an Israel lobby with disproportionate influence on U.S. foreign policy (a view that Foxman says plays into the traditional anti-Semitic narrative about 'Jewish control'Â ), the national director of the Anti-Defamation League focuses on the controversial 2006 paper The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (their book of the same title will be published in September). Foxman demolishes a number of shibboleths about the lobby's power. Much of the book's second half then takes on what Foxman sees as the biases and distortions in former president Carter's Palestine Peace or Apartheid, offering evidence, for example, that Yasser Arafat, not Ehud Barak, was the obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement at the Taba negotiations. But Foxman never really defines what the Israel lobby is, paying more attention to the ADL than to that lobby's main instrument, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee. And many will find debatable his claim that Israel has proven to be the single greatest source of stability in the region. This book succeeds far more as a rebuttal of a pernicious theory about a mythically powerful Jewish lobby than as a look at the real institutions that lobby in support of Israel or at Israel's complex role in the Middle East. Click the book cover to read more.
IF YOU PURCHASE THE BOOK BELOW... PLEASE ALSO BUY ABE FOXMAN'S BOOK ABOVE. THANKS
If you want to read a great comparison between these two books on The Israel Lobby, use the link below for Samuel G. Freedman's review of the books in the Washington Post Book World (October 7, 2007), in which he uses the idea of "original sin" as a starting point for understanding the book below. According to Freedman, the authors, Mearsheimer and Walt, view the U.S. support for Israel as the root cause for Islamic terrorism, political instability, and American insecurity, and that Zionists (some Jews, some evangelicals, and others) are puppet masters of the U.S. Congress. Not to mention that Israel is a political liability ...
Click here to read Freedman's review
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt
September 2007. FS&G
The Israel Lobby," by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, was one of the most controversial articles in recent memory. Originally published in the London Review of Books in March 2006, it provoked outrage and cheers on the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy. (or the alleged impact) In this book, Mearsheimer and Walt expand their argument and include their views on recent developments in Lebanon and Iran. They describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel and argues that this support cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. This exceptional relationship is due largely to the political influence of a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. Mearsheimer and Walt provocatively contend that the lobby has a far-reaching impact on America's posture throughout the Middle East-in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict-and the policies it has encouraged are in neither America's national interest nor Israel's long-term interest. The lobby's influence also affects America's relationship with important allies and increases dangers that all states face from global jihadist terror.
Writing in The New York Review of Books, Michael Massing declared, "Not since Foreign Affairs magazine published Samuel Huntington's 'The Clash of Civilizations?' in 1993 has an academic essay detonated with such force." The publication of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy is certain to widen the debate and to be one of the most talked-about books of the year. Click the book cover to read more.
FRIENDS... THIS IS ONE OF THE TOP READS FOR THE FALL:
The Zookeeper's Wife
A War Story
by Diane Ackerman
September 2007. WW Norton
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Ackerman (A Natural History of the Senses) tells the remarkable WWII story of Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo, and his wife, Antonina, who, with courage and coolheaded ingenuity, sheltered 300 Jews as well as Polish resisters in their villa and in animal cages and sheds. Using Antonina's diaries, other contemporary sources and her own research in Poland, Ackerman takes us into the Warsaw ghetto and the 1943 Jewish uprising and also describes the Poles' revolt against the Nazi occupiers in 1944. She introduces us to such varied figures as Lutz Heck, the duplicitous head of the Berlin zoo; Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, spiritual head of the ghetto; and the leaders of Zegota, the Polish organization that rescued Jews. Ackerman reveals other rescuers, like Dr. Mada Walter, who helped many Jews pass, giving lessons on how to appear Aryan and not attract notice. Ackerman's writing is viscerally evocative, as in her description of the effects of the German bombing of the zoo area: ...the sky broke open and whistling fire hurtled down, cages exploded, moats rained upward, iron bars squealed as they wrenched apart. This suspenseful beautifully crafted story deserves a wide readership.
Click the book cover to read more.
THE AUTHOR'S FAIL TO BE BALANCED BELOW, AND IN HINDSIGHT, THE FORGET THAT ISRAEL WAS WEAK IN 1967 and 1973, AND HAD A GREATER DESIRE FOR THE LAND THAN NOW.. But the authors do not discuss this
Lords of the Land
The War for Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007
by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar
September 2007. Nation Books
Lords of the Land tells the tragic story of Jewish settlement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the aftermath of the 1967 war and Israel's devastating victory over its Arab neighbors, catastrophe struck both the soul and psyche of the state of Israel. Based on years of research, and written by one of Israel's leading historians and journalists, this involving narrative focuses on the settlers themselves - often fueled by messianic zeal but also inspired by the original Zionist settlers - and shows the role the state of Israel has played in nurturing them through massive economic aid and legal sanctions. The occupation, the authors argue, has transformed the very foundations of Israel's society, economy, army, history, language, moral profile, and international standing. "The vast majority of the 6.5 million Israelis who live in their country do not know any other reality," the authors write. "The vast majority of the 3.5 million Palestinians who live in the regions of their occupied land do not know any other reality. The prolonged military occupation and the Jewish settlements that are perpetuating it have toppled Israeli governments and have brought Israel's democracy and its political culture to the brink of an abyss." Click the book cover to read more.
HOW DO YOU RAISE A JEWISH DOG?? BY USING GUILT! Everything a dog owner needs to know to nurture a canine companion with both an exaggerated sense of his own wonderfulness and paralyzing self doubt
How to Raise a Jewish Dog
by Rabbis of Boca Raton Theological Seminary
with Barbara Davilman and Ellis Weiner
September 2007. Little Brown
In the words of a famous rabbi, we all should strive to be the people that our dogs think we are. The authors of "Yiddish with Dick and Jane" have written a more insightful book which can be used to raise dogs, as well as families; for are our dogs not our children? It seems as if there was a rabbinical seminary started in Boca (BCTS: Boca Raton Theological Seminary, serving neo Revisionist Progressive Reform Trans. synagogues), but they figured out that in addition to Tanakh, they were very good at training canines (Barbara's cousin's rommate's sister's boyfriend's therapist tuned the authors onto the seminary's successes).
So..., nu, and how do they train them? And Why is a Jewish dog different from all other dogs? In the spirit of Jonathan Segal Chicken, they train dogs the Jewish way. These rabbis teach us that we should tell our dogs how it hurts us when they do the wrong thing, and how we should compare them to other dogs who behave properly in order to guilt them into the proper behavior. Jewish dogs do NOT need dog whisperers. No. With a Jewish dog, loudness and over the top unconditional (sort of conditional) love and doggie treats and scrambled eggs are allowed. Jewish dogs don't get scolded, they get guilted. Most dogs are trained to follow commands and be good dogs. Jewish dogs are trained to be perfect so as not to disappoint those who love them. They are trained to fear lunatics, and be paranoid of those who are not part of the family. Jewish dogs should possess an exaggerated sense of its own wonderfulness
In addition to tables and so much training information, there are great pictures of dogs and their owners(?), masters(?), Jewish parents(?). There is a listing of pure breeds, mixed and cross breeds and their abilities to be Jewish dogs. Did you know that a German Shepherd-Springer Spaniel mix is a Jerry Springer? Or a St Bernard-Malamute mix is a literate Bernard Malamute? (and there so many more). The authors discuss the inner monologues of owners, conventionally trained dogs and the Jewish trained dog. You will learn so much from these sections and learn to empathize with dogs and others. You will learn that you must be trained just as much as your dog must be trained. You will learn the importance of unconditional love, but also conditional-unconditional love. Remember that a Jewish dog already knows what it is supposed to be trained. You should act accordingly: you should be tentative, with an implied "but" when you say "Good boy/Good girl." And you should say "so, sit" or "nu, sit" instead of just "sit." Remember, some dogs will try to assimilate and act like other dogs. They are like German Jews, not Russian Jews. It is a natural evolution
There is so much more in this book. It will keep you entertained and enlightened for weeks, perhaps years. It includes chapters on diet and exercise, obedience, traveling (traveling by jet is a killer section), aging, and emotional health in addition to just physical health.
Rabbi Monica and Rabbi Alan show you how, step by step, to use guilt, shame, passive aggression, sarcasm, and Conditional Unconditional Love to create an unbreakable bond with your dog. The five ways of commanding "Sit!" ("What, would it kill you to sit down for one lousy second?"), A useful list of Advanced Commands ("Don't stare at Cousin Edith's hair when she comes over."), How to use Situational Martyrdom when the dog disobeys ("Fine. Do what you want. I hope you have a nice life."), Sensitive, age-appropriate commands for the older dog ("Don't start.") are all included. Just like with Levy's Rye Bread, you don't have to be Jewish to benefit from their program. Click the book cover to read more.
IS JUDAISM GOING TO THE DOGS?
YIDDISH FOR DOGS
CHUTZPAH, FEH!, KIBBITZ, AND MORE
EVERY WORD YOUR CANINE NEEDS TO KNOW
by Janet Perr
September 2007. Hyperion
Art Director and designer, Janet Perr, has collected Yiddish words that your dog should know. Is your dog a shmendrick? A putz? Oróoy veyóa goniff? There is only one way to find out, so nu, dive in to Yiddish for Dogs. This alphabetical handbook of Yiddish words features adorable and hilarious pictures of irresistible pooches. These dogs embody the meaning of well-known words such as kibbitz, tsuris, feh!, shlep, chutzpah, and many more. But thatís not all. Consider yourself warned. Once the Yiddish comes out, these dogs have much to say. These dogs kvell. They go through the dreck. They recognize a mensch. They appreciate a nosh. And, believe it or not, they know youíre mishuggeh. So the next time your canine friend does a flying leap into your lap, instead of exclaiming, ěWhat a klutz!î, ask yourselfóDoes my dog want to kibbitz? Written and illustrated by award-winning art director and graphic designer Janet Perr, Yiddish for Dogs will have you howling with laughter. Click the book cover to read more.
A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE ON A MISSION TO SAVE AMERICA
BY HANNA ROSIN
September 2007. Harcourt
How do you balance humility and ambition?
Imagine if there was a Brandeis or Yeshiva University which had the mission of training a cadre of committed Jews, politically conservative, and placing them, through contacts and affiliations, into great jobs in the federal government in order to influence American policy and culture and return it to the evangelical vision of God's grace. Well, such a school exists, except for Christians. It is Patrick Henry College, less than a decade old in its current form and based in Virginia, 45 miles from DC. Hanna Rosin, the spouse of another writer, David Plotz of Slate magazine, and an Israeli born Jewish woman, embedded herself at the school for our benefit and has created an empathetic portrait of the school and its committed and doubting students. The fact that she was Jewish and Israeli-born made her akin to catnip to the evangelical leaders at the school. (ironically, Patrick Henry was not a fan of religion in the political sphere). Luckily there is one rabble rouser at the school, a woman who likes to dance. You will not be surprised to know that one of the women profiled in the book... interned for Karl Rove. As you continue reading, you learn that all is not peaches and cream at Patrick Henry, and there are some cracks in the façade. For example, the most popular teacher questioned the existence of God.
From Publishers Weekly: Envisioned by its founder as a "Christian equivalent of the Ivy League," Patrick Henry College positions itself as a training ground for God's cultural soldiers to take on the secular mainstream; at the seven-year-old Virginia school for evangelicals, religion and political journalist Rosin reports, girls are warned by e-mail if their bra strap is showing, dating requires parental permission and students fast forward through sex scenes in movies. Though they might seem out of touch, students here are as ambitious as any Ivy Leaguers, interning in the White House and Hollywood, volunteering on political campaigns and doggedly pursuing studies like baraminology (creationist biology). Having spent a year and a half immersed in the campus culture, Rosin weaves a deft and honest narrative of evangelical education, combining historical background (the roots of evangelism, the story of founder Michael Farris), close observation and skeptical wit. Among other students and faculty, Rosin introduces Derek, the fresh-faced, idealistic political volunteer; and Farahn, who gave up dancing for the Lord. Making it clear that the American evangelical population is growing in political and cultural influence, Rosin provides an illuminating, accessible guide to the beliefs, aspirations and ongoing challenges of its next generation. Click the book cover to read more.
Feminism Encounters Traditional Judaism
Resistance and Accommodation
by Tova Hartman
September 2007. Brandeis
University professor and social activist Tova Hartman, discouraged by failed attempts to make her modern Orthodox synagogue in Jerusalem more inclusive of women, together with other worshippers, set about creating their own own, Shira Hadasha ("a new song"). Since it opened in 2002, this new synagogue's mission--to develop a religious community that embraces halakhah (Jewish law), tefillah (prayer), and feminism--has drawn thousands to services. The courageous act of creating the synagogue--against amazing odds--is testimony to Hartman's own deeply felt commitment to both feminism and modern Orthodox Judaism. The story of the creation and ongoing development of similar "partnership minyans" in Jerusalem and elsewhere anchors and ties together this book's five essays, each of which explores a vital contact point between contemporary feminist thought and aspects of Jewish tradition. Hartman discusses three feminist analyses of Freudian psychology for reading Jewish texts; modesty and the religious male gaze; the backlash against feminism by traditional rabbis; the male imagery in liturgy; and Orthodox women and purity rituals. Throughout, Hartman emphasizes the importance of reinterpretation, asking her readers to view as "creative tensions" what seem like obvious and insurmountable contradictions between traditional and modern beliefs. Such tensions can offer unexpected connections as well as painful compromises. The conclusion revisits the construction of the synagogue as well as discusses its impediments and actualizing these types of social and religious changes. Hartman's book will speak directly to scholars and students of gender, religion, and psychology, as well as anyone interested in the negotiation of feminism and tradition. Click the book cover to read more.
The Healthy Jew
The Symbiosis of Judaism and Modern Medicine
by Mitchell B. Hart
September 2007. Cambridge University Press
The Healthy Jew traces the culturally revealing story of how Moses, the rabbis, and other Jewish thinkers came to be understood as medical authorities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Such a radically different interpretation, by scholars and popular writers alike, resulted in new, widespread views on the salubrious effects of, for example, circumcision, Jewish sexual purity laws, and kosher foods. The Healthy Jew explores this interpretative tradition in the light of a number of broader debates over 'civilization' and 'culture,' Orientalism, religion and science (in the wake of Darwin), anti-Semitism and Jewish apologetics, and the scientific and medical discoveries and debates that revolutionized the fields of bacteriology, preventive medicine, and genetics/eugenics. The Healthy Jew ask that we rethink the place and value of Jews and Judaism in the Western medical, scientific and, ultimately, political imagination. Click the book cover to read more.
The Beast That Crouches at the Door
Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, and Beyond
by D. Fohrman
September 2007. Devora Press
Rabbi David Fohrman directs the Hoffberger Foundation for Torah Studies, and is an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches Biblical Themes. In this book, he clarifies the meaning of early Genesis narratives. What are we to learn from the narratives in the Torah? A walking, talking snake. A tree that bears mysterious knowledge of Good and Evil. A mark upon Cain for all to see. The early narratives in the Book of Genesis are familiar to us from childhood, yet the meaning of these stories often seem maddeningly elusive. For example: By forbidding Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, did God really not want mankind to be able to distinguish right from wrong? This book examines the early stories in the Book of Genesis, calling attention to the big questions that bother us all, as well as to the hidden subtleties of text and language. As clues and questions are pieced together, deeper layers of meaning begin to emerge. In the end, the reader gains an experience in the richness and depth of Torah, and a profound confrontation with concepts that define the core of what it means to be a Jew.
Click the book cover to read more.
See also: http://www.hffts.1shoppal.com/page/page/2344987.htm
Hours of Devotion
Fanny Neuda's Book of Prayers for Jewish Women
Edited by Dinah Berland
September 2007. Schocken
An adaptation of the prayers of a 19th Century Jewish woman who was the daughter of a Moravian rabbi. Written in the nineteenth century, rediscovered in the twenty-first, timeless in its wisdom and beauty, Hours of Devotion by Fanny Neuda, (the daughter of a Moravian rabbi), was the first full-length book of Jewish prayers written by a woman for women. In her moving introduction to this volume--the first edition of Neuda's prayer book to appear in English for more than a century--editor Dinah Berland describes her serendipitous discovery of Hours of Devotion in a Los Angeles used bookstore. She had been estranged from her son for eleven years, and the prayers she found in the book provided immediate comfort, giving her the feeling that someone understood both her pain and her hope. Eventually, these prayers would also lead her back to Jewish study and toward a deeper practice of her Judaism. Originally published in German, Fanny Neuda's popular prayer book was reprinted more than two dozen times in German and appeared in Yiddish and English editions between 1855 and 1918. Working with a translator, Berland has carefully brought the prayers into modern English and set them into verse to fully realize their poetry. Many of these eighty-eight prayers, as well as Neuda's own preface and afterword, appear here in English for the first time, opening a window to a Jewish woman's life in Central Europe during the Enlightenment. Reading "A Daughter's Prayer for Her Parents," "On the Approach of Childbirth," "For a Mother Whose Child Is Abroad," and the other prayers for both daily and momentous occasions, one cannot help but feel connected to the women who've come before. For Berland, Hours of Devotion served as a guide and a testament to the mystery and power of prayer. Fanny Neuda's remarkable spirit and faith in God, displayed throughout these heartfelt prayers, now offer the same hope of guidance to others.
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Well.. although we think the rep from the Yale Univ Press was rude... here is one of their books.. I mean, you don't expect us to exclude it out of spite .. or can we?:
But seriously. Isn't it peculiar that no one, before this amazing book, questioned how two Jewish authors lived in Vichy France during WWII, and were never deported to Auschwitz. These two thinkers waffled for years on whether to stay or leave, until it was too late. Why did Toklas defend Fay, who was responsible for many murders, even after the war? Did you know that Toklas changed the occurrences of the word "may" in one of Stein's poems to "can," since she hated the word "may," because Stein fell in love with a woman named May. Their's was a quite turbulent sniping sadomasochistic relationship...
Gertrude and Alice
by Janet Malcolm
September 2007. Yale
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. In this startling study of Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, acclaimed journalist Malcolm (The Journalist and the Murderer) puts their relationship in a new light, demonstrating that lives and biographies are not always self-evident. Through careful readings of Stein's writing, Malcolm makes the case, quoting English professor Ulla Dydo, that Stein's lifting words from the lockstep of standard usage was indeed, the work of a (granted, self-described) genius. Malcolm gets into more controversial territory in exploring Stein and Toklas's stormy and complicated relationship-fraught with sadomasochistic emotional undercurrents-and their energetic sex life. But her real discovery is that Stein and Toklas-two elderly Jewish women-survived the German occupation of France because of their close friendship with the wealthy, anti-Semitic Frenchman Bernard Fa˙, a collaborator responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Freemasons. Fa˙ continually intervened with the authorities on the pair's behalf. This friendship was so deep that after the war Toklas helped the imprisoned Fa˙ escape. Malcolm's prose is a joy to read, and her passion for Stein's writing and life is evident. This is a vital addition to Stein criticism as well as an important work that critiques the political responsibility of the artist (even a genius) to the larger world. Click the book cover to read more.
Blood and Soil
A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur
by Ben Kiernan
September 2007. Yale
For thirty years Ben Kiernan has been deeply involved in the study of genocide and crimes against humanity. He has played a key role in unearthing confidential documentation of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. His writings have transformed our understanding not only of twentieth-century Cambodia but also of the historical phenomenon of genocide. This new book-the first global history of genocide and extermination from ancient times-is among his most important achievements. Kiernan examines outbreaks of mass violence from the classical era to the present, focusing on worldwide colonial exterminations and twentieth-century case studies including the Armenian genocide, the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin's mass murders, and the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides. He identifies connections, patterns, and features that in nearly every case gave early warning of the catastrophe to come: racism or religious prejudice, territorial expansionism, and cults of antiquity and agrarianism. The ideologies that have motivated perpetrators of mass killings in the past persist in our new century, says Kiernan. He urges that we heed the rich historical evidence with its telltale signs for predicting and preventing future genocides. Click the book cover to read more.
A Jewish Call for Justice
Edited by Rabbi Or N. Rose, Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, and Margie Klein
Rabbi David Ellenson (Foreword)
September 2007. Jewish Lights
For the first time, and in time for the 2008 election season, the voices of leading progressive Jewish activists are gathered together in one groundbreaking volume as they seek meaningful intellectual and spiritual foundations upon which to base their social justice work. This important collection features broad discussions of the historical, political and theological dimensions of Jewish justice work. It also includes commentary on specific contemporary issues such as poverty, genocide, gay rights, stem cell research, and the environment. Informed by spirited activists, intellectuals, and religious leaders, this provocative book will: Articulate progressive Jewish positions on key contemporary issues that draw on tradition and modern thinking; Motivate Jewish communities to take action by demonstrating to readers the importance of activism and community organizing in Jewish life; Help reorient the contemporary discourse on religion and politics in America. Contributors include: Dr. Rebecca Alpert, Rabbi Saul Berman, Ellen Bernstein, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Michael Brown, Dr. Aryeh Cohen, Rabbi Fred Dobb, Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, Dr. Leonard Fein, Rabbi Steve Gutow, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Dr. Shaul Magid, Ruth Messinger, Jay Michaelson, Dr. Judith Plaskow, Rabbi David Saperstein, Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Rabbi Sidney Schwarz, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow.
Click the book cover to read more.
PLEASE NOTE TO OUR READERS IN THE NYC AREA. THE SKIRBALL in MANHATTAN will host a class beginning on October 29 (through May 19) which will feature several of the authors from this book each session. Go to www.AdultJewishLearning.ORG/openings for more information
Speaking of righteous indignation...
BY WOODY ALLEN
Summer 2007. Yale
From Booklist: It's been 25 years since Woody Allen's last humor collection, and for lovers of the New Yorker "casual" (a blend of goofy personal essay and literary parody), that's far too long. Most of these pieces appeared originally in the New Yorker , but there are a handful of originals as well, all of which will please those determined souls who like their humor distinctly old school ("On a Bad Day You Can See Forever," a rant about the horrors of rehabbing a condo, begins with the narrator reading Dante and wondering why there is no circle in hell for contractors). The topsy-turvy literary allusions pour from Allen's pen like bullets from a Gatling gun (an appropriately obscure simile), exposing the intellectual pretensions of a ragtag assortment of Allenesque everymen--endearingly unkempt nebbishes who, despite knowing their Dostoevsky, can't quite deal with the absurdities of daily life. Take Flanders Mealworm, the unfairly unheralded author of The Hockfleisch Chronicles, who, desperate for cash, agrees to write a novelization of a Three Stooges movie: "Calmly and for no apparent reason, the dark-haired man took the nose of the bald man in his right hand and slowly twisted it in a long, counterclockwise circle." If Larry, Moe, and Curly Joe weren't exactly what Yeats had in mind when he used the phrase "mere anarchy" in "The Second Coming," they should have been. Click the book cover to read more.
Peace, Justice, and Jews
Reclaiming Our Tradition
Edited by Murray Polner and Stefan Merken
2007. Bunim and Bannigan
From Publishers Weekly: Unabashedly left-leaning, but by no means homogenous, this literate, thought-provoking collection examines from all angles, in some four dozen essays, the idea that editors Polner and Merken believe "reflects the most basic attitude in our Jewish heritage": Shalom, "much more than the absence of war... it encompasses wholeness, grace, and truth." Covering everything from scriptural imperative to Israel to Arab-Jewish relations to animal rights, this is an excellent addition for libraries and classrooms. Standouts include Kenny Freeman's Middle East dispatches, in which friendships with Arabs illustrate how "Jews and Arabs could live together... if their primary allegiance was to a unified Holy Land, rather than to their own nationalist needs." Claudia Freeman contributes a remarkable elegy, recalling trips to Germany on which she pieced together the story of 14 family members killed by the Nazis. Helen Fein's vital essay addresses the false "Articles of Faith" that form part of the Holocaust's legacy, such as the lingering myths that "our existence is always in peril," and that Jewish victims "went dumbly... to their deaths, 'like sheep to the slaughter.' " Calls to action include Richard Schwartz admonishing readers "not to wait for the right opportunity to come along... but to actively seek opportunities to practice justice." Though some essays feel slight-especially in the opening section, "What We Believe"-there is much to learn here for anyone, Jew or Gentile, interested in global issues of peace and justice. Click to read more.
From one of America's top bible scholars:
How to Read the Bible
A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now
by James L. Kugel
September 2007, Free Press
Scholars from different fields have joined forces to reexamine every aspect of the Hebrew Bible. Their research, carried out in universities and seminaries in Europe and America, has revolutionized our understanding of almost every chapter and verse. But have they killed the Bible in the process? In How to Read the Bible, Harvard professor James Kugel leads the reader chapter by chapter through the "quiet revolution" of recent biblical scholarship, showing time and again how radically the interpretations of today's researchers differ from what people have always thought. The story of Adam and Eve, it turns out, was not originally about the "Fall of Man," but about the move from a primitive, hunter-gatherer society to a settled, agricultural one. As for the stories of Cain and Abel, Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob and Esau, these narratives were not, at their origin, about individual people at all but, rather, explanations of some feature of Israelite society as it existed centuries after these figures were said to have lived. Dinah was never raped -- her story was created by an editor to solve a certain problem in Genesis. In the earliest version of the Exodus story, Moses probably did not divide the Red Sea in half; instead, the Egyptians perished in a storm at sea. Whatever the original Ten Commandments might have been, scholars are quite sure they were different from the ones we have today. What's more, the people long supposed to have written various books of the Bible were not, in the current consensus, their real authors: David did not write the Psalms, Solomon did not write Proverbs or Ecclesiastes; indeed, there is scarcely a book in the Bible that is not the product of different, anonymous authors and editors working in different periods. Such findings pose a serious problem for adherents of traditional, Bible-based faiths. Hiding from the discoveries of modern scholars seems dishonest, but accepting them means undermining much of the Bible's reliability and authority as the word of God. What to do? In his search for a solution, Kugel leads the reader back to a group of ancient biblical interpreters who flourished at the end of the biblical period. Far from naďve, these interpreters consciously set out to depart from the original meaning of the Bible's various stories, laws, and prophecies -- and they, Kugel argues, hold the key to solving the dilemma of reading the Bible today. How to Read the Bible is, quite simply, the best, most original book about the Bible in decades. It offers an unflinching, insider's look at the work of today's scholars, together with a sustained consideration of what the Bible was for most of its history -- before the rise of modern scholarship. Readable, clear, often funny but deeply serious in its purpose....It offers nothing less than a whole new way of thinking about the Bible. Click the book cover to read more.
MAKE ROOM.. VOLUME FOUR IS NOW AVAILABLE:
Pritzker Edition, Volume Four
Translated by Daniel Matt
September 2007, Stanford
Sefer ha-Zohar (The Book of Radiance) has amazed and overwhelmed readers ever since it emerged mysteriously in medieval Spain toward the end of the thirteenth century. Written in a unique, lyrical Aramaic, this masterpiece of Kabbalah exceeds the dimensions of a normal book; it is virtually a body of literature, comprising over twenty discrete sections. The bulk of the Zohar consists of a running commentary on the Torah, from Genesis through Deuteronomy.
This fourth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition covers the first half of Exodus. Here we find mystical explorations of Pharaoh's enslavement of the Israelites, the birth of Moses, the deliverance from Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the Revelation at Mount Sinai. Throughout, the Zohar probes the biblical text and seeks deeper meaning-for example, the nature of evil and its relation to the divine realm, the romance of Moses and Shekhinah, and the inner meaning of the Ten Commandments. In the context of the miraculous splitting of the Red Sea, Rabbi Shim'on reveals the mysterious Name of 72, a complex divine name consisting of 216 letters (72 triads), formed out of three verses in Exodus 14. These mystical interpretations are interwoven with tales of the Companions-rabbis wandering through the hills of Galilee, sharing their insights, coming upon wisdom in the most astonishing ways from a colorful cast of characters they meet on the road.
Click the book cover to read more. Or click on Volumes 1, 2, and 3 below
From Manhattan's premier toilet smasher:
Craving the Divine
A Spiritual Guide for Today's Perplexed
by Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein
September 2007, Paulist Press
From Publishers Weekly: Covering a wide array of emotions and states of being-disorientation, panic, loneliness, yearning, anger, determination, surrender and emergence-Goldstein (Gonzo Judaism), founding rabbi of the New Shul in New York City, above all simply reminds readers that we are human. In his easygoing style, he uses an engaging mix of Bible tales, congregants' stories and personal anecdotes, as well as cultural references, to illustrate a sort of eight-step program for opening oneself spiritually. Some are extreme examples of life's pain-homelessness, suicide, terrorist bombings-and others all too common encounters with job loss, cancer and death. Each story is tempered with a corresponding example of hope, a reason to carry on. Goldstein comes across as neither smug nor cavalier, nor does he consider this a self-help book. Rather, he seeks to address not personal loss so much as the phenomenon of being lost, of becoming a wanderer, a soul unable to find its way. As a seasoned extreme traveler himself, he knows what it is to wander, and readers of all spiritual persuasions will appreciate his gentle prodding as a fellow traveler on the journey. Click the book cover to read more.
From Manhattan's premier guy who had three-and-counting bris's:
Why We Ignore the Ten Commandments at Our Peril
by David Klinghoffer
September 2007, Doubleday
From Publishers Weekly: Contrary to Mel Brooks's humorous presentation of Moses and the 10 Commandments on film, Klinghoffer (The Lord Will Gather Me In; Why The Jews Rejected Jesus) does not think these biblical laws are a laughing matter. A writer and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Klinghoffer warns that America is ignoring the commandments and sinking deeper into a quagmire of immorality. Using the Northwest's urban environs in which he lives as a case study, he warns that Seattle suffers from an advanced case of moral retardation that could easily spread to the rest of the country. The main culprit is secularism, says Klinghoffer, a modern and resurgent paganism. Although this seems somewhat overstated, in light of religion's ascendancy in much of America, the author's argument that the U.S. has slighted a communitarian ethic in favor of increased individualism is compelling. Klinghoffer writes with passion and is genuinely concerned with the moral state of the union. However, he often slips into acerbic commentary that distracts from his more salient points. For every example given regarding the moral ineptitude of some residents of Seattle, there could be 10 provided about those who are fighting the good fight and living by God's word. Click the book cover to read more.
From Rabbi Paul Steinberg of Big "D", Dallas Texas (not to be confused with the late Rabbi Paul M. Steinberg of HUC)
Celebrating the Jewish Year
The Fall Holidays -- Rosh Hashanah - Yom Kippur - Sukkot
by Rabbi Paul Steinberg.
And edited By Janet Greenstein Potter
September 2007, JPS. Jewish Publication Society
From Publishers Weekly: Steinberg, a rabbi and educator, calls the Jewish holidays fundamental expressions of our spirituality. In Judaism's holistic approach, he says, spirituality encompasses the interaction of a person's intellectual, emotional and physical aspects, so the holidays tie us to history, the earth, the Jewish people and God. This first of three volumes explores Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Each section discusses a holiday's biblical origins, ideology and customs, followed by writings from Jewish thinkers throughout history, contemporary perspectives and alternative meditations. What makes this volume stand out from other holiday guides is an additional section with sacred texts presented in and inspired by Talmudic format. Steinberg examines each text at three different levels-literal, interpretive and personal. He doesn't shy away from questioning practices that may seem outmoded, but challenges readers not to abandon them abruptly. His careful, thorough and reasoned explanations will deepen understanding of each holiday's history and tradition, allowing celebrations to become, in fact, more celebratory.
Click the book cover to read more.
See the Table of Contents at http://www.jewishpub.org/pdf/celebratingtoc.pdf
Read a sample chaper at http://www.jewishpub.org/pdf/heartandmind.pdf
Celebrating the Jewish Year
Winter Holidays -- Hanukkah, Tu B'shevat, Purim
by Rabbi Paul Steinberg.
And edited By Janet Greenstein Potter
Fall 2007, Jewish Publication Society
The second volume of JPS's new holiday series. JPS's new holiday books take us through the joys, spirit, and meaning of the seasons. Blending the old and the new, they ground us in the origins and traditions of each holiday and open up to us ways we can add our own expression to these special days. Although synagogue ritual is touched upon, the real focus here is on our personal connections to each holiday and our home observance. As we move from season to season, Paul Steinberg shares with us a rich collection of readings from many of the Jewish greats -- Maimonides, Rashi, Nachmanides, Shlomo Carlebach, Marge Piercy, Elie Wiesel, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Arthur Green, and others -- and he guides us in discovering for ourselves the many treasures within each text.
The readings teach us about the history of each holiday, as well as its theological, ethical, agricultural, and seasonal importance and interpretation; others give us inspiration and much food for thought. These stories, essays, poems, anecdotes, and rituals help us discover how deeply Jewish traditions are rooted in nature's yearly cycle, and how beautifully season and spirit are woven together throughout the Jewish year.
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Abraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940-1972
by Edward K. Kaplan, Brandeis University
September 2007. Yale
Born in Warsaw, raised in a Hasidic community, and reaching maturity in secular Jewish Vilna and cosmopolitan Berlin, Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) escaped Nazism and immigrated to the United States in 1940. This lively and readable book tells the comprehensive story of his life and work in America, his politics and personality, and how he came to influence not only Jewish debate but also wider religious and cultural debates in the postwar decades.
A worthy sequel to his widely praised biography of Heschel's early years, Edward Kaplan's new volume draws on previously unseen archives, FBI files, interviews with people who knew Heschel, and analyses of his extensive writings. Kaplan explores Heschel's shy and private side, his spiritual radicalism, and his vehement defense of the Hebrew prophets' ideal of absolute integrity and truth in ethical and political life. Of special interest are Heschel's interfaith activities, including a secret meeting with Pope Paul VI during Vatican II, his commitment to civil rights with Martin Luther King, Jr., his views on the state of Israel, and his opposition to the Vietnam War. A tireless challenger to spiritual and religious complacency, Heschel stands as a dramatically important witness.
Click the book cover to read more.
From a soft-spoken former child actor:
WHO STOLE THE FUNNY?
BY ROBBY BENSON
September 2007. Harper
From Publishers Weekly: Drawing on his experience directing Friends, Benson offers in his debut a derivative parody of behind-the-scenes Los Angeles that fails to skewer any of its easy targets. Has-been sitcom director J.T. Baker, a passionate schmuck in a self-imposed exile from Hollywood, is picked to helm the hit show I Love My Urban Buddies (the biggest sitcom in eons) after his predecessor meets an unfortunate end via an unfaithful wife, a hot tub and a nail gun. Desperate for money and health insurance to cover his son's kidney dialysis treatment, J.T. accepts the assignment and flies to California. Upon his arrival, he clashes with Debbie, the voluptuous sexpot network liaison; Lance, the underqualified studio exec; and the married terrors Stephanie and Marcus Pooley, the show's creators. J.T.'s only ally on the lot is his friend Asher Black, who helps J.T. survive Marcus's lecherous casting sessions, puerile assistant directors, an on-set pederast and a cast of babied egoists. ..... Click the book cover to read more.
ABRAHAM'S SEARCH FOR GOD
BY JACQUELINE JULES
September 2007, KAR-BEN
Ages 4 - 8
Jules imagines Abraham, in this picture book, as a child who questions the idea that one should worship idols and have multiple gods. He questions the status quo, who made rainbows and clouds amd nature, and figures out that there must be one great power.. Click the book cover to read more.
My First Ramadan
by Karen Katz
September 2007, Holt
Ages 2 - 5
Move over My First Chinese new Year and My First Kwanzaa and My First Rosh Hashana.. here is My First Ramadan. A young boy tells the story of his family, Islam, and the Ramadan period. Click the book cover to read more.
A Dream of Zion
American Jews Reflect on Why Israel Matters to Them
Edited by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
Fall 2007. Jewish Lights
Contributors include: Samuel Bak Barbara Balser Eli N. Evans Sylvia Barack Fishman, PhD Abraham H. Foxman Jane Friedman Stanley P. Gold Dr. Arthur Green David A. Harris Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar David Klinghoffer Shulamit Reinharz, PhD Thane Rosenbaum Jonathan D. Sarna, PhD Alfred Uhry Michael Walzer, PhD, and Rabbi David Wolpe. Discover what Jewish people in America have to say about Israel-their voices have never mattered more than they do now. As anti-Israel sentiment spreads around the world-from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to former President Jimmy Carter-it has never been more important for American Jews to share their feelings and thoughts about Israel, and foster a connection to Israel in the next generation of Jewish and Christian adults. This inspirational book features the insights of top scholars, business leaders, professionals, politicians, authors, media personalities, scientists, artists, and community and religious leaders covering the entire denominational spectrum of Jewish life in America today. Presenting a diversity of views, it will encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to think about what Israel means to them and, in particular, help young adults jump start their own lasting, personal relationship with Israel. Powerful statements by contributors address: The role Israel has played in their lives; What keeps them connected to Israel, How Israel fits in their sense of what it means to be Jewish and American. Click the book cover to read more.
THE LOST YEARS
Bush, Sharon, and Failure in the Middle East
by Mark Matthews
September 2007. Nation Books
From Publishers Weekly: Matthews, who covered the Middle East for the Baltimore Sun, documents the changes that the rise of George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon brought to the American-Israeli relationship in this ambitious journalistic effort. As earlier prospects for negotiations with Palestinians receded into the background, the two leaders pursued ambitious, sometimes conflicting and ultimately ill-fated plans to advance their interests unilaterally, a development which, in Matthews's analysis, reduced the chances for peace. Quoting extensively from politicians, military personnel and others in the U.S., Israel, the Palestinian territories and international organizations, Matthews offers a balanced, if opinionated, view of the conflict and of the major personalities that have shaped it. While the author paints relatively sympathetic portraits of Bush and Sharon, he is far less sanguine about the causes they have chosen to endorse, deploring missed opportunities to implement a two-state solution. He particularly faults Bush's grandiose visions of regime change and democracy promotion for weakening America's hand. Though numerous details and anecdotes provide more padding than relevance, Matthews's account remains readable and offers much of interest to the student of Israeli or American politics. Click the book cover to read more.
THE FAMILY DIAMOND
BY EDWARD SCHWARZSCHILD
September 2007. Algonquin
The mostly middle class, Jewish Philadelphians of Schwarzschild's adept story collection (following the debut novel Responsible Men) lead clannish, semi-marginalized existences. The young boy of "No Rest for the Middleman" finds himself, on the holiest day of the Jewish year, a pawn in a questionable deal between his father and two shady businessmen. In "Reunion," the pregnant Kim exhausts her brother, sister-in-law and dying mother with her irresponsible search for perfect love. The longest and most dramatically satisfying story in the collection, "What to Expect," tells of early widower Claude, who must let go of his adult son, Larry, as the latter marries and expects a child of his own. Several other stories feature Charlie and Milly Diamond, an elderly married couple facing the indignities of old age together. All the stories are told in a naturalistic style, except for the last, "Irreversible," in which Charlie and Milly regain their youth to the puzzlement of the other residents at the Spring Garden Retirement Community. The bonds of love are alternately tenuous and tensile in Schwarzschild's acutely observed and quietly affecting stories.
Click the book cover to read more.
BOOK II: MIRIAM
A NOVEL OF LOVE AND THE TALMUD IN MEDIEVAL FRANCE
BY MAGGIE ANTON
September 2007. PLUME
Book 1 focused on Yocheved. In this second novel of the trilogy, we meet the second daughter. In is Troyes France in 1078. Shlomo ben Yitzhak (RaSHI) teaches his middle daughter the Talmud and she pushes the boundaries. She is mourning for her fiance. She wants to be a mohel as well as a midwife. When a new suitor arrives in Troyes, she must decide on her career path and family. See www.RashisDaughters.com .
Click the book cover to read more.
The Book of Psalms
A Translation with Commentary
by Robert Alter
September 10, 2007. WW NORTON
Alter brings eloquence to the English versions of the psalms. Like the Five Books of Moses a cornerstone of the scriptural canon, the Book of Psalms has been a source of solace and joy for countless readers over millennia. The cleansing purity of its images invites reflection and supplication in times of sorrow. The musicality of its powerful rhythms moves readers to celebration of good tidings. So today as it has been throughout our past, this is a book to be cherished as the grounding for our daily lives. This timeless poetry is beautifully wrought by a scholar whose translation of the Five Books of Moses was hailed as a "godsend" by Seamus Heaney and a "masterpiece" by Robert Fagles. Robert Alter's The Book of Psalms captures the simplicity, the physicality, and the coiled rhythmic power of the Hebrew, restoring the remarkable eloquence of these ancient poems. His learned and insightful commentary shines a light on the obscurities of the text. Click the book cover to read more.
Alter writes, "What I have aimed at in this translation - inevitably, with imperfect success - is to represent Psalms in a kind of English verse that is readable as poetry yet sounds something like the Hebrew - emulating its rhythms wherever feasible, reproducing many of the effects of its expressive poetic syntax, seeking equivalents for the combination of homespun directness and archaizing in the original, hewing to the lexical concreteness of the Hebrew, and making more palpable the force of parallelism that is at the heart of biblical poetry."
Now ... with regard to psalms you may know by heart...:
Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd...", in this translation is:
The Lord is my shepherd
I shall not want.
In grass meadows He makes me lie down,
By quiet waters guide me.
My life He brings back.
He leads me on pathways of justice
For His name's sake.
Though I walk in the value of death's shadow,
I fear no harm.
For you are with me....
Alter's commentary states: Although the likening of God or a ruler to a shepherd is a commonplace in this pastoral culture, this psalm is justly famous for the affecting simplicity and concreteness with which is realizes the metaphor. Thus, in the next line the shepherd leads his sheep to meadows where there is abundant grass and riverbanks and where quiet waters run that the sheep can drink... [he makes me lie down] The verb used here, HIRBITS, is a specialized one for making animals lie down...... [My life he brings back] Though "he restoreth my soul" is time-honored, the Hebrew NEFESH down not mean "soul" by "life breath" or "life." The image is of someone who has almost stopped breathing and is revived, brought back to life... ... [in the vale of death's shadow] The intent of the translation is not to avoid the proverbial "in the show of the valley of death" but rather to cut through the proliferation of syllables in the King James Version, however eloquent, and better approximate the compactness of the Hebrew - BEGEY TSALMAWET. Though philologists assume that the Masoretic TSALMAWET is actually a misleading vocalization of TSALMUT - probably a poetic word for "darkness" with the UT ending simply a suffix of abstraction- the traditional vocalization reflects something like an orthographic pun or a folk etymology (TSEL means "shadow" MAWET means "DEATH"), so there is justification in retaining the death component... ... ... [You moisten my head with oil] The verb here, DISHEN, is not the one that is used for anointment, and its associations are sensual rather than sacramental...
Or, take Psalm 137: you may recall it as, "By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion." In the Alter translation, we get:
By Babylon's streams / there we sat, oh we wept, / when we recalled Zion.
/On the poplars there / we hung up our lyres.
/ For there our captors has asked of us / words of song,
/ and our plunderers - rejoicing / "Sing us from Zion's songs."
But it is in the commentary that the esteemed Alter shines, when he write, "This psalm was almost certainly composed shortly after the deportation of the Judeans by the Balylonians in 586 BCE - the experience of exile is fresh and acutely painful...... The first Hebrew noun, NEHAROT, generally means "rivers," but because the more probable reference is to the network of canals that connected the Tigris and the Euphrates, "streams" is a preferable translation here. It should be noted that in keeping with the evolution of Hebrew poetry in the later biblical period, semantic parallelism within the lines in this poem is weak, an absence occasionally compensated for by interlinear parallelism."
Alter goes on to explain how the Hebrew use of the word SHAM (there), twice, in the next line is used poetically to express the alienation of the collective speakers from the place they find themselves, and how "hung up our lyres" can refer to the hiding of their lyres in the foliage, or a gesture of renunciation of their use.
I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski
Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You
by Bill Green, Ben Peskoe, Scott Shuffitt, and Will Russell
September 2007. Bloomsbury
To some The Big Lebowski is just a movie, to others it's THE MOVIE. Over the past several years the movie has developed a massive and passionate cult following, led by the creation of Lebowski Fest, a traveling festival celebrating all things Lebowski. Held in a bowling alley, it features bowling, costume and trivia contests, live music, a screening of the movie, White Russians, and what-have-you. Attendance has grown exponentially and the Fest has been featured in virtually every national media outlet, from NPR to the New York Times. The Associated Press called it "kind of a 'Star Trek' convention, but without all the geeks." SPIN Magazine called it one of the "19 events you can't miss!" Now, at last, comes the book that the legion of Lebowski fans (aka Achievers) has been waiting for. I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski is a treasure trove of trivia and commentary, hilarious throughout and illustrated with photos from the film, including dozens taken on the set by Jeff Bridges. It includes interviews with virtually every major and minor cast member including John Goodman, Julianne Moore and John Turturro, as well as the real-life individuals who served as inspiration for the characters such as Jeff Dowd and John Milius. Fellow Achievers Patton Oswalt, Tony Hawk and Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken give their thoughts on the movie and the phenomenon that surrounds it. The book features a handy guide to speaking Achiever, tips on how to Dude-ify your car, office, and living space, Lebowski Fest highlights and so much more. Click the book cover to read more.
Letters from Nuremberg
My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice
by Senator Christopher Dodd with Lary Bloom
September 11, 2007. Crown
I met Senator Dodd (the younger one) when he spoke as a U.S. Presidential candidate before the NJDC, National Jewish Democratic Council's policy conference in April 2007. He spoke of his father (the Senator Dodd Senior) and Nuremberg. His father, a young attorney and soldier saved Judge Jackson with his cross examination of Hermann Goring. In 1990, the Dodd family found Atty. Dodd's letters from Nuremberg back home to his wife. This is his story.
"At times anguished and stimulating, always informative and insightful, Thomas Dodd's personal letters from the Nuremburg trial to his wife as presented by his son, Senator Christopher Dodd, constitute an important contribution to History. All those interested in the events resulting from the darkest zones of humanity will find this volume of great value." -Elie Wiesel
You should note that in the book, one of Dodd's letter refer to the Jews. He reminds his wife how he has battled against racism and anti Semitism, but he wants Jews to avoid these trials. In context, what he meant was that many people still blamed the war on the Jews, and if Jews became too involved in Nuremberg, these forces would gain strength and continue to blame the Jews for forcing us into WW2.
Click the book cover to read more.
The Party of the First Part
The Curious World of Legalese
by Adam Freedman
September 2007. Holt
From Publishers Weekly: Freedman, who translates legal jargon into English for an investment bank and writes the Legal Lingo column for the New York Law Journal, offers a cornucopia of hilarious, offbeat and downright bizarre examples of simple concepts contorted into words that defy understanding, often retaining centuries-old lingo like Further affiant sayeth naught (which means: this is the end of the affidavit). Freedman is as much reformer as humorist, and he ably demonstrates that legal documents can be written in understandable prose. He also skewers the contingent of lawyers and academics who resist such changes in the name of precision and lampoons flaws in the legal system, such as judges' refusal to explain instructions to jurors who are mystified by phrases such as Circumstantial evidence is evidence that, if found to be true, proves a fact from which an inference of the existence of another fact may be drawn. Occasionally the three-jokes-a-page approach is more cute than clever, but this lighthearted farrago of the follies of the law is sure to amuse and to convince readers that legal language can be made plain. Click the book cover to read more.
The Untold Story of the Man Who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East
by Patricia Goldstone
September 10, 2007. Harcourt
From Publishers Weekly: Journalist Goldstone (Making the World Safe for Tourism) puts scarce Mideastern water resources front and center in this flawed biography of Aaron Aaronsohn (1876-1919), a founder of NILI, a group that spied for the British in Palestine during WWI, and a pioneering agronomist and hydrologist. Goldstone is best at depicting British diplomacy and intra-Jewish politics leading up to the 1917 Balfour Declaration supporting a Jewish homeland in Palestine-a British declaration influenced, she shows, by a 1916 memo from Aaronsohn on Palestine's potential to absorb million of Jews. Goldstone makes errors (such as stating that Israel lost the Sinai Peninsula in the 1973 Yom Kippur War) and offers the tendentious, unsourced claim that in 2003, right-wing Jewish lobbyists hoped that a defeated Iraq would be used as a haven for persecuted Palestinians run out of Israel. Above all, she never makes a case for her thesis that Aaronsohn's plan for regional sharing of water resources could have prevented the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict. Click the book cover to read more.
THE BUSINESS OF SPIRITS
HOW SAVVY MARKETERS, INNOVATIVE DISTILLERS, & ENTREPRENEURS CHNAGED HOW WE DRINK
BY NOAH ROTHBAUM
September 2007. Kaplan
Walk into a liquor store today and you'll be faced with an unprecedented variety of vodka, gin, whisky, cognac, rum and even tequila. In the past decade, the amount of spirits sold in bars, stores and restaurants has climbed nearly sixty percent. Celebrating the acumen of the businessmen and craftsmen responsible for this phenomenal sales growth, The Business of Spirits: How Savvy Marketers, Innovative Distillers, and Entrepreneurs Changed How We Drink, is a cocktail of history and insight into a rapidly growing industry. Journalist Noah Rothbaum takes readers from the cellars of Cognac, France, to the Scottish Highlands to the agave fields of Mexico to find out what's now driving this age old industry. The book explores new production techniques, cutting-edge marketing campaigns and introduces a new crop of crafty entrepreneurs. Click the book cover to read more.
The Portable Jewish Mother
Guilt, Food, And... When Are You Giving Me Grandchildren
by Laurie Rozakis
2007. Adams Media
Lately, have you not felt enough guilt? Forgotten to worry if you're getting too thin? Or heard too few complaints about your being single? Well then, here you go! All the kvetch-ing and moaning only a Jewish mother could provide.
Laurie Rozakis brings you the good, the bad, and the guilt with The Portable Jewish Mother. Serving up a healthy, heaping portion of Mom's love and wisdom, all without the gefilte fish aftertaste. Complete with quizzes and recipes, myths and misconceptions, this book answers any and all questions you could ever have about Jewish mothers.
Even if your mom is a shiksa, she'll love The Portable Jewish Mother. Because all mothers have a little Jewish mother in them! Click the book cover to read more.
The Truth About the Jewish Mother
by Marnie Winston-Macauley
2007. Andrews McMeel
Marnie, a writer for AS THE WORLD TURNS, writes: "We've all heard them. The Jewish mother stereotypes, borne of ridicule, heightened by Borscht belt comics, portrayed in media. And so, we have become the "cartoon." The prototype of the overzealous, over-involved, over-worried, over-protective, over-nurturing, over-bearing presence that has invaded popular culture. In every stereotype, there is an element of truth. I recall my late mother ripping the heads off photos of boys who dumped me. My grandmother's entire reason for living after the death of my grandfather, was "to move in" - with us. From her mission came stories and anecdotes only a Carl Reiner could write. Yes, my grandmother sounded selfish. But then we look beyond at Gram. A woman who bribed border guards to get to America before the Nazis took over, leaving her birth family behind - forever. This is why I needed to look before the period, at the backgrounds, religion, and principles of these women. The joke had a predecessor. And without examination, the meaning - and truth - is lost. Many Jewish Mother stereotypes are about intrusion, child-first suffocation, lack of boundaries. Yet these "traits" are also the very qualities: protection, education, nourishment and survival, during pogroms, throughout the Holocaust and other incalculable calamities, that have kept us alive and intact these 5,000 years. In this work, I hope you will see the special soul of Jewish motherhood through the sacrifices, the extraordinary belief in the future through our children that Jewish women over the centuries have possessed. You will also read fascinating facts, anecdotes and yes, humor that was vital and kept us going while we were running - always running. Jewish women, simply - are funny." Click the book cover to read more.
The Incredible True Story of an Israeli Spy on the Trail of International Terrorists
by Michael Ross and Jonathan Kay
September 2007. Skyhorse
From Publishers Weekly: It's not surprising for an ex-spy to have an uncomplicated, us-them worldview. Accordingly, Ross, former member of the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, allows for little nuance in this memoir, which maintains a nearly colonialist view of the Muslim world, positing Israel as a microcosm of the civilized world's struggle against a murderous ideology and drawing unsupported parallels between Palestinian nationalist Islamism and al-Qaeda's world-spanning nihilism. Canadian-born Ross is clearly proud of his service to his adopted homeland and accepts Israel's view of its place in the Middle East. He discusses Arab torture without mention of its Israeli (or Western) counterpart and claims Israel has given the Palestinians a state, though Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands remains intact. When describing his operations, Ross's tone is engaging, and details of spycraft remind readers that real spies don't live in movies-everyone, for instance, talks when tortured. Readers looking for such tales will be better served than those looking for a cogent analysis of the region. Click the book cover to read more.
The Age of Turbulence
Adventures in a New World
by Alan Greenspan
September 2007. Penguin
In the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, in his fourteenth year as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan took part in a very quiet collective effort to ensure that America didn't experience an economic meltdown, taking the rest of the world with it. There was good reason to fear the worst: the stock market crash of October 1987, his first major crisis as Federal Reserve Chairman, coming just weeks after he assumed control, had come much closer than is even today generally known to freezing the financial system and triggering a genuine financial panic. But the most remarkable thing that happened to the economy after 9/11 was...nothing. What in an earlier day would have meant a crippling shock to the system was absorbed astonishingly quickly. After 9/11 Alan Greenspan knew, if he needed any further reinforcement, that we're living in a new world - the world of a global capitalist economy that is vastly more flexible, resilient, open, self-directing, and fast-changing than it was even 20 years ago. It's a world that presents us with enormous new possibilities but also enormous new challenges. The Age of Turbulence is Alan Greenspan's incomparable reckoning with the nature of this new world - how we got here, what we're living through, and what lies over the horizon, for good and for ill-channeled through his own experiences working in the command room of the global economy for longer and with greater effect than any other single living figure. He begins his account on that September 11th morning, but then leaps back to his childhood, and follows the arc of his remarkable life's journey through to his more than 18-year tenure as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, from 1987 to 2006, during a time of transforming change. Alan Greenspan shares the story of his life first simply with an eye toward doing justice to the extraordinary amount of history he has experienced and shaped. But his other goal is to draw readers along the same learning curve he followed, so they accrue a grasp of his own understanding of the underlying dynamics that drive world events. In the second half of the book, having brought us to the present and armed us with the conceptual tools to follow him forward, Dr. Greenspan embarks on a magnificent tour de horizon of the global economy. He reveals the universals of economic growth, delves into the specific facts on the ground in each of the major countries and regions of the world, and explains what the trend-lines of globalization are from here. The distillation of a life's worth of wisdom and insight into an elegant expression of a coherent worldview, The Age of Turbulence will stand as Alan Greenspan's personal and intellectual legacy. Click the book cover to read more.
WOMEN REMAKING AMERICAN JUDAISM
EDITED BY RIV-ELLEN PRELL, University of Minnesota, Professor of American Studies
Late September 2007. Wayne State University Press
With its contemporary and denominational emphases, Women Remaking American Judaism fills a gap in scholarship and is a good complement to existing volumes on Jewish feminism. The rise of Jewish feminism, a branch of both second-wave feminism and the American counterculture, in the late 1960s had an extraordinary impact on the leadership, practice, and beliefs of American Jews. Women Remaking American Judaism is the first book to fully examine the changes in American Judaism as women fought to practice their religion fully and to ensure that its rituals, texts, and liturgies reflected their lives. In addition to identifying the changes that took place, this volume aims to understand the process of change in ritual, theology, and clergy across the denominations.
The essays in Women Remaking American Judaism offer a paradoxical understanding of Jewish feminism as both radical, in the transformational sense, and accomodationist, in the sense that it was thoroughly compatible with liberal Judaism. Essays in the first section, Reenvisioning Judaism, investigate the feminist challenges to traditional understanding of Jewish law, texts, and theology. In Redefining Judaism, the second section, contributors recognize that the changes in American Judaism were ultimately put into place by each denomination, their law committees, seminaries, rabbinic courts, rabbis, and synagogues, and examine the distinct evolution of women's issues in the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist movements. Finally, in the third section, Re-Framing Judaism, essays address feminist innovations that, in some cases, took place outside of the synagogue. An introduction by Riv-Ellen Prell situates the essays in both American and modern Jewish history and offers an analysis of why Jewish feminism was revolutionary.
Women Remaking American Judaism raises provocative questions about the changes to Judaism following the feminist movement, at every turn asking what change means in Judaism and other American religions and how the fight for equality between men and women parallels and differs from other changes in Judaism. Women Remaking American Judaism will be of interest to both scholars of Jewish history and women's studies. Contributors: Andrew Bush, Karla Goldman, Lisa D. Grant, Norma Baumel Joseph, Adriane B. Leveen, Rochelle L. Millen, Deborah Dash Moore, Jody Myers, Pamela S. Nadell, Vanessa L. Ochs, Riv-Ellen Prell, Shuly Rubin Schwartz, and Chava Weissler. Click the book cover to read more.
By Michael B. Oren
September 2007. Toby Press
The heat of the Negev Desert is captured in this collection of three novellas. An escaped murderer holds a young woman hostage in House of Bondage. In The Maestro of Yerucham, a Russian violinist who has survived the Nazis and the Soviet regimes finds a young girl he believes to be the heir to his talents. And in Sand Devil, the adolescent son of a fundamentalist family discovers the terrifying secrets of the desert. Click the book cover to read more.
by Deborah Bodin Cohen and Jane Dippold
Kar Ben Books September 2007
Ages 4 - 8
Why can't you be Jewish like me? Why can't I be Christian like you? a young Jewish girl asks her non-Jewish grandfather. In answer, her grandfather tells her the biblical story of Jethro, Moses' non-Jewish father-in-law, whose relationship with his grandson Gershom is a model of love and respect. With warm watercolor artwork and a gentle storyline, Papa Jethro sensitively looks at the issue of interfaith families and reminds us that the Bible has timely lessons for every generation
Concealment and Revelation
Esotericism in Jewish Thought and its Philosophical Implications
by Moshe Halbertal with Jackie Feldman as the Translator
September 2007 Princeton University Press
During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, great new trends of Jewish thought emerged whose widely varied representatives--Kabbalists, philosophers, and astrologers--each claimed that their particular understanding revealed the actual secret of the Torah. They presented their own readings in a coded fashion that has come to be regarded by many as the very essence of esotericism. Concealment and Revelation takes us on a fascinating journey to the depths of the esoteric imagination. Carefully tracing the rise of esotericism and its function in medieval Jewish thought, Moshe Halbertal's richly detailed historical and cultural analysis gradually builds conceptual-philosophical force to culminate in a masterful phenomenological taxonomy of esotericism and its paradoxes. Among the questions addressed: What are the internal justifications that esoteric traditions provide for their own existence, especially in the Jewish world, in which the spread of knowledge was of great importance? How do esoteric teachings coexist with the revealed tradition, and what is the relationship between the various esoteric teachings that compete with that revealed tradition? Rabbi Halbertal concludes that, through the medium of the concealed, Jewish thinkers integrated into the heart of the Jewish tradition diverse cultural influences such as Aristotelianism, Neoplatonism, and Hermeticisims. And the creation of an added concealed layer, unregulated and open-ended, became the source of the most daring and radical interpretations of the tradition. Click the cover to read more.
L'Oreal Took My Home
The Secrets of a Theft
by Monica Waitzfelder, with a Preface by Serge Klarsfeld
September 2007, Arcadia Books
Behind one of the world's largest beauty and cosmetics companies lay some ugly secrets, which Monica Waitzfelder attempts to uncover in this compelling personal account. During World War II, as Jewish homes were being seized one after another, the Rosenfelder family was forced to flee the nation, leaving behind their jobs, their possessions, and their family home. After the fighting ended, the family discovered that they were unable to return to what had rightfully been their property; cosmetics giant L'Oreal had taken over the building and made it their head office. Refusing to recognize the building's original owners, the corporation was brought to court by the Rosenfelder's young daughter, Monica, an ordeal that she chronicles in this honest, personal tale of one family's ongoing struggle to regain what it lost during the war. . Click the cover to read more.
Torah Through Time
Understanding Bible Commentary, from Rabbinic Times to Modern Day
by Shai Cherry
September 2007, JPS Jewish Publication Society
Every commentator, from the classical rabbi to the modern-day scholar, has brought his or her own worldview, with all of its assumptions, to bear on the reading of holy text. This relationship between the text itself and the reader's interpretation is the subject of Torah Through Time. Shai Cherry traces the development of Jewish Bible commentary through three pivotal periods in Jewish history: the rabbinic, medieval, and modern periods. The result is a fascinating and accessible guide to how some of the world's leading Jewish commentators read the Bible. Torah Through Time focuses on specific narrative sections of the Torah: the creation of humanity, the rivalry between Cain and Abel, Korah's rebellion, the claim of the daughters of Zelophephad, and legal matters concerning Hebrew slavery. Cherry closely examines several different commentaries for each of these source texts, and in so doing he analyzes how each commentator resolves questions raised by the texts and asks if and how the commentator's own historical frame of reference -- his own time and place -- contributes to the resolution. A chart at the end of each chapter provides a visual summary that helps the reader understand the many different elements at play. Shai Cherry received a B.A. in philosophy, politics, and economics from Claremont McKenna College, and a Ph.D. in Jewish thought from Brandeis University. He is currently completing his studies for rabbinic ordination in Los Angeles Click the cover to read more.
The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes
by Mark Penn with E. Kinney Zalesne
September 2007, Twelve
I enjoy demographic and trend books, like "Lattitudes and Attitudes," and was slightly enchanted by Claritas urban/rural clusters, like "Shotguns and Pickups." But this book is far better at discovering behavioral groups and driving home, with humor and data, the trends as well as the policy or business options to complement the highlighted behaviors.
Three decades ago, Penn sat in a Harvard library and read a book by Valdimer Orlando Key, Jr., in which he wrote that `voters are not fools.' Key was known for promoting realism and rationality in the analysis of politics and election returns. Voters and consumers should be seen as being rational. As Penn writes, it is not about a male candidate's necktie color, but real issues. If one takes the time to understand the trends, one can find the roots of behaviors and desires, and potentially the future consuming and voting patterns. To that end, Penn, a pollster for over 30 years (actually he first administered a poll on his teachers at the age of 13), Clinton's lead pollster/strategist, and the person credited with defining "soccer moms" (busy suburban mothers with families and careers and political policy goals who were swing voters in the last decade) has explored and highlighted 75 out of hundreds of microtrends - these small, under the radar forces that involve as little as 1% of America's population and registered prime voters - which may affect America's future.
In the book, Penn is quick to point out that a microtrend is not merely a development, like the increased use of debit cards or wives changing their surnames upon marriage, but a growing interest group with needs and desires which are unmet by the corporate or political environment. The authors have made it easy to digest, have used a lot of humor to reinforce the points, and have closed each microtrend discussion with specific business or policy products or ideas that can meet the needs of the group. For some microtrends, they include a section on international comparisons to the American trend.
Some of the most interesting microtrends are: The growth of households comprised of single women (In 1980, 17% of Americans lived in solo households, now this figure is closer to one in four Americans). These women will need to plan for their retirements alone, so all those television commercials with couples on beaches are not speaking to them. Another growing trend is "cougars," or women, like "Mrs. Robinson," who date or marry men a decade younger than they are. They may require a new type of pre-nup or detective service. The trend for retired workers to continue working may necessitate tax law changes or a redirection of benefits from maternity leaves to `winter-off" options. Extreme Commuters have more time on their hands to read or listen (if they use mass transit); and the growth of Stay at Home workers may generate a need for changed zoning laws or more secure home offices in residential design. Protestant Hispanics (Hispanics are 14% of the U.S. population and 8% of registered voters) comprise 25% of Americans who identify as Hispanic. While 33% of Catholic Hispanics voted for Bush in the last election (unchanged from the 2000 race), Protestant Hispanics actually increased their votes for Bush from 44 percent to 56, and Pentecostal Hispanics were actually a key force that tipped the 2004 race to Bush. Penn points out that Bush's immigration policies have since changed attitudes, but this microtrend will be a growing factor in American elections. (NOTE TO UJA JCRC AND AIPAC... KEEP COURTING THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY) 30-Winkers are Americans who sleep less, take more naps, need caffeine, and need ways to be either more productive when they are awake or find solutions to their lack of sleep. While the microtrend of "XXX Men" is cute, that being the consumption of internet pornography at the office on corporate networks, the trend most interesting to me was Pro-semites or Philo-semites: the growing number of people who want to date Jewish men and women (11% of J-Date members are non Jews). They no longer view Jews as bearded outsiders as Woody Allen envisioned he was perception in "Annie Hall." Jewish women are no longer stereotyped as just making reservations for dinner (68% of Jewish women aged 25-44 have college degrees, the highest percentage of any religious group in America). Penn points out that in 1939, a Roper poll found that 53% of respondents thought Jews should be restricted; In 2006, a Gallup poll found the 54% had positive views of Jews, higher than any other religious group mentioned; also in a 2006 poll, 40% of non-Jews queried said that they would be interested in dating a Jew.
Overall, an easily digestible book with lots of ideas for entrepreneurs, policy designers, HR managers, and tattoo artists.
FROM THE COVER: Mark Penn argues that the biggest trends in America are the Microtrends, the smaller trends that go unnoticed or ignored. One million people can create new market for a business, spark a social movement, or effect political change. In 1996, a microtrend identified by Penn ("soccer moms") was crucial in re-electing President Clinton. With years of experience as one of world's most highly regarded pollsters, Mark Penn identifies the new microtrends sweeping the world: Single women by choice: More often than ever before, they aren't waiting for Mr. Right. They are raising children by themselves and buying their own homes; Splitters: A growing number of middle-class residents are shuttling between two homes, creating new communities and dynamics in the real estate market; Sun Haters: Environmentalists, skin cancer survivors, and parents concerned about the impact the sun is having on our health; Classical Music Dads: Older men who are fathers in their 40's and 50's and taking on a larger role in the nurturing of their children and becoming an important factor in consumer culture for kids. Penn highlights everything from religion to politics, from leisure pursuits to relationships. MICROTRENDS will take the reader deep into the worlds of polling, targeting, and psychographic analysis, reaching tantalizing conclusions through engaging analysis. Mark Penn was dubbed "the most powerful man in Washington you've never heard of" by The Washington Post. Penn is the worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller. He was pollster to President Clinton in his 1996 re-election campaign, and has been an adviser to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, numerous corporations, and 25 foreign heads of state, and even the Likud Party of Israel in the 1980s. Click the book cover to read more.
How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do with My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab
by Melissa Plaut
September 2007, Villard
Plaut, 31, is the daughter of educators, gay, Jewish, and well educated. When she was let go from her job as a copywriter, she decided to drive a cab at the age of 29. Sure, her friends are off on high powered careers that sound good, and her parents might avoid telling people that their daughter drives a cab, but now she is an AUTHOR.
Out of 40,000 cabbies in NYC, Plaut is one of about 200 who are female. She has seen drug deals in her back seat, riders who refuse to pay the fare, and other cab drivers getting punched in the face. She once acted as an ambulance. Another time, she had to pull over and use the bathroom of an Orthodox Jewish woman who was her passenger. Once another cabbie cut her off. Plaut stopped at a light and got out, leaving her passengers inside, to spit on the other cabbie's window. She has suffered neck spasms, kidney pains and eye twitches from driving 12-hour shifts.
"I'm thirty years old. I live alone with two cats. And I'm a cab driver," Plaut writes in her book.
In her book, she describes driving an undercover narcotics agent, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, singers from the Metropolitan Opera, struggling actors, a DJ, a massage therapist, a federal judge. She also drove former New York Mayor David N. Dinkins; actor Justin Theroux; and Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show."
From Publishers Weekly: Plaut decided to become a New York City cabbie after getting laid off from a job as an advertising copywriter, then began posting about her interactions with patrons on a blog that forms the backbone of this memoir. The anecdotal structure has its weaknesses, repeating the cycle of passengers getting in the cab, engaging in conversation with Plaut, then leaving either a generous tip or a lousy one. There are also a number of scenes set at the garage, where she slowly develops a friendship with a 62-year-old transsexual driver while struggling to avoid another senior cabbie with bladder control problems. Plaut's growing dissatisfaction with the job provides the memoir with an emotional undercurrent. She has trouble shaking off the feeling that she's wasting her potential, and the drain of interacting with abusive passengers and a hostile police force eventually sets her to dreaming of dying in a car crash. In the end, however, she's grown more comfortable with her fate, ready to continue circling the streets looking for fares. Her storytelling technique may be uneven in this debut, but it shows promise. Click the book cover to read more.
An American Hedge Fund
How I Made $2 Million as a Stock Operator & Created a Hedge Fund
by Timothy Sykes
September 2007, BullShip Press
Sykes tells the story of how he took $12,415 of gift money he received for his Bar Mitzvah and turned it into a $1.65 million fortune in a few years of frenetic stock trading. Giddy from his rapid ascent but still naive in many ways, Sykes went on to found a hedge fund and, after initial success, was stung by steep losses. Now just 26 years old and a budding media personality, Sykes is deluged by people looking to emulate his early success and says that's why he wrote the brutally honest tale of sudden wealth and hubris. "It's inspirational but also cautionary," he said. There's a bit of James Cramer in Sykes. He is manic and somewhat eccentric self-promoter. I most enjoyed his stories of trying to find investors and whether they needed to be entertained, and his stories of college at Tulane. He decided to take night classes so that he could trade during the day. Realizing that he had few friends, he decided to pledge a frat. But when a frat member called him and asked his to perform a mindless errand, Sykes refused. Sykes was in the middle of a stock position trade and could not leave. Wrong answer. He got dinged, but he made $1500. Click the book cover to read more.
BY AMY SILVERSTEIN
September 2007, Grove Press
From Publishers Weekly: Silverstein's memoir offers a rare glimpse at life as an organ-transplant recipient. She was a young law student when the first signs of a deadly virus in her heart appeared. When her doctor said she merely needed to keep her stress in check and add salt to her diet, she happily complied. At 25, after several months of terrifying symptoms and misdiagnoses, she received a heart transplant. Like all organ recipients, to prevent her body from rejecting her new heart, she depends on high doses of immunosuppressants-bitter poison that leaves her nauseous, trembling, aching, and highly vulnerable to infection-for the rest of her life, which was only expected to last another 10 years. To better her chances, she heeded her doctors' advice, sacrificing everything from coffee to alcohol to pregnancy. Still, it seemed that the best she could hope for was the illusion of a normal life, so she kept her body's punishing blows from her friends, her adopted son and at times even from her loving husband, her ever-confident coach through years of devastating illness. [T]o make myself 'normal' again would be the most extraordinary feat that I would never quite accomplish she writes. Now, more than 17 years after her transplant, Silverstein reflects on the often misunderstood journey through the torments of being saved in a stirring story of survival and unyielding love. Click the book cover to read more.
A book on a forgotten Jewish prodigy (air veen nyeer-edge-hab zee). Four great pianists were born in 1903. Serkin, Horowitz, Arrau and him. Everyone forgot about him:
THE CURIOUS AND TRAGIC STORY OF AN EXTRAORDINARY MUSICAL PRODIGY
Late Summer 2007, Carroll and Graf
From Booklist: Playing the piano and composing at three, performing publicly at six, Ervin Nyiregyházi (1903-87) mastered the romantic repertoire, especially Liszt, very early. Isolated from age mates because of his gifts, he grew up to be sexually insatiable and married 10 times. Infantile in personality, he depended on others to promote his career and manage his life. Famous as a teen playing in Europe and the U.S., he was forgotten at 25 and settled in California. He thereafter played in movies, serving as a hand double, but seldom performed in public. Shy and retiring, he feared performing though his technique was loud and powerful. Rediscovered in the 1970s, he made several studio recordings. He composed constantly, though little of his work was published or performed. As in his biography of Glenn Gould, Wondrous Strange (2004), Bazzana bares the soul of his subject and reveals a musician who should be remembered as the peer of such contemporaries as Arrau, Horowitz, and Rudolf Serkin. Rather than waxing and waning twice, his star should have shone constantly. Click the book cover to read more.
A Writer's Life
by Philip Davis
September 2007, OXFORD
Philip Davis tells the story of Bernard Malamud (1914-1986), the self-made son of poor Jewish immigrants who went on to become one of the foremost novelists and short-story writers of the post-war period. The time is ripe for a revival of interest in a man who at the peak of his success stood alongside Saul Bellow and Philip Roth in the ranks of Jewish American writers. Nothing came easily to Malamud: his family was poor, his mother probably committed suicide when Malamud was 14, and his younger brother inherited her schizophrenia. Malamud did everything the second time round - re-using his life in his writing, even as he revised draft after draft. Davis's meticulous biography shows all that it meant for this man to be a writer in terms of both the uses of and the costs to his own life. It also restores Bernard Malamud's literary reputation as one of the great original voices of his generation, a writer of superb subtlety and clarity. Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life benefits from Philip Davis's exclusive interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, unfettered access to private journals and letters, and detailed analysis of Malamud's working methods through the examination of hitherto unresearched manuscripts. It is very much a writer's life. It is also the story of a struggling emotional man, using an extraordinary but long-worked-for gift, in order to give meaning to ordinary human life.
Lee Siegel, writing in The New York Times Book Review (12/9/2007) wrote, "A curious passage occurs in "My Father Is a Book," Janna Malamud Smith's tender, touching 2006 memoir of her father, Bernard Malamud. In the spring of 1978, when the novelist was in his mid-60s, he and his wife, Ann, had dinner with Philip Roth and Claire Bloom in the latter couple's London apartment. In a letter to his daughter describing the visit, Malamud affectionately characterizes Claire Bloom - "absolutely unpretentious" - and then, in parentheses, adds this detail about greeting Roth: "We kissed on the lips when I came in. He couldn't have done that two years ago." Now wait a minute. Is this the Philip Roth who by then had put the id into Yid, the writer who had turned Freud's three elements of the psyche into the Flying Karamazov Brothers? And is the letter writer the Bernard Malamud known for his themes of redemption through suffering, of the burden of conscience that weighs down even the artist-hero? Is it this Bernard Malamud, the creator of the Christlike Jewish store owner, Morris Bober, and also of Arthur Fidelman, a hapless painter forced to choose between the gross imperfection of his life and the complete bollixing of his work, between Fidelman's mostly fruitless attempts to make a woman and his mostly futile efforts to make art? By presenting himself as liberated and Roth as repressed, Malamud - who died in 1986 - may well have been taking imaginative revenge on a younger rival. Roth, after all, had at one time publicly scolded Malamud for being narrowly moral and uptight. As Philip Davis recalls in his wise, scrupulous, resolutely admiring biography, "Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life," in 1974 Roth had contributed a long reflection called "Imagining Jews" to The New York Review of Books in which he disparaged what he regarded as the "stern morality" of Malamud's second novel, "The Assistant." In the letter to his daughter, Malamud goes on to surmise that Roth "sought" the kiss "to signify I had forgiven him for the foolish egoistic essay he had written about my work."
Click the book cover to read more.
STILL TO MOW
By MAxINE KUMIN
September 2007. Norton
From Publishers Weekly: New England rural life, the daily headlines, old age and a Jewish-American childhood are the four topics around which the latest poems from Kumin (Jack and other New Poems) weave their likable, confident way. The much-revered, prolific New Hampshire writer presents herself as a helpless citizen of a country/ I used to love, tying objections to the war in Iraq to her past as Sixties soccer mom who marched in demonstrations; to her friendship with activists in the 1940s; and to her affection for horses and dogs, whose truth to their own natures make human violence look unnatural indeed. Xochi's Tale speaks truth in the voice of a dog explaining his mixed feelings about the USA. Several villanelles, the highlights of the collection, set their own obedience to the laws of poetic form against some frightening forms of lawlessness: a friend's uncontrollable clinical depression, for example, or the terror inflicted by U.S. troops in Iraq, who invade the houses of civilians, punching kicking yelling... breaking down doors. These poems are formally assured, never obscure and committed at once to social protest and to the facts of a memorable life. Click the book cover to read more.
OCTOBER 2007 BOOKS
AJ Jacobs was raised in a secular Jewish home. He said that he is Jewish in the same way the restaurant chain Olive Garden is Italian. But as an adult, he decided to delve into religion and the Bible and see what it could do for his life. And so a reverent agnostic walked into a bar and...
The Year of Living Biblically
One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
by A. J. Jacobs
October 2007. Simon and Schuster
Jacobs wrote that " I am Jewish, the same that Olive Garden is Italian."
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. What would it require for a person to live all the commandments of the Bible for an entire year? That is the question that animates this hilarious, quixotic, thought-provoking memoir from Jacobs (The Know-It-All). He didn't just keep the Bible's better-known moral laws (being honest, tithing to charity and trying to curb his lust), but also the obscure and unfathomable ones: not mixing wool with linen in his clothing; calling the days of the week by their ordinal numbers to avoid voicing the names of pagan gods; trying his hand at a 10-string harp; growing a ZZ Top beard; eating crickets; and paying the babysitter in cash at the end of each work day. (He considered some rules, such as killing magicians, too legally questionable to uphold.) In his attempts at living the Bible to the letter, Jacobs hits the road in highly entertaining fashion to meet other literalists, including Samaritans in Israel, snake handlers in Appalachia, Amish in Lancaster County, Pa., and biblical creationists in Kentucky. Throughout his journey, Jacobs comes across as a generous and thoughtful (and, yes, slightly neurotic) participant observer, lacing his story with absurdly funny cultural commentary as well as nuanced insights into the impossible task of biblical literalism.
Janet Maslin, writing in The New York Times, said, "...With that mea culpa for any seriously religious readers, Mr. Jacobs goes about creating a methodology. He acknowledges having obsessive-compulsive disorder and loves the idea of following rules. Seventy-two pages later he has typed out every instruction he can find in the Old and New Testaments and set up a month-by-month plan to try them out. In addition to this tidy setup the book has a Hollywood-friendly ending: If Mr. Jacobs could not ratchet his religious faith beyond the point of being "a reverent agnostic," he can at least arrange with his wife, Julie, to have twins in Month 12 as this experiment ends. "The Year of Living Biblically" looks deceptively approachable. It is divided into short sections, each revolving around a particular rule. The dictum is set forth and then Mr. Jacobs finds some convoluted, often cute way of following it in his urban universe. "I wouldn't stone you with big stones," he promises an adulterer, brandishing some pebbles. "Just these little guys." He has to give up doodling when confronted with "You shall not make for yourself a graven image." But these anecdotal passages are separate from one another. And they don't add up to much more than a checklist of tricks. Far from creating an overall sense of living by biblical law, this book moves skittishly from topic to topic and generally forgets an idea after Mr. Jacobs has briefly toyed with it. Although he's a very facile writer and even a successfully glib one, he has managed to bring a kind of attention deficit disorder to the theological constructs that are trivialized here."
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A Pigeon and a Boy
by Meir Shalev, Evan Fallenberg (Translator)
October 2007. Schocken
From the internationally acclaimed Israeli writer Meir Shalev comes a mesmerizing novel of two love stories, separated by half a century but connected by one enchanting act of devotion. During the 1948 War of Independence--a time when pigeons are still used to deliver battlefield messages--a gifted young pigeon handler is mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one last pigeon. The bird is carrying his extraordinary gift to the girl he has loved since adolescence. Intertwined with this story is the contemporary tale of Yair Mendelsohn, who has his own legacy from the 1948 war. Yair is a tour guide specializing in bird-watching trips who, in middle age, falls in love again with a childhood girlfriend. His growing passion for her, along with a gift from his mother on her deathbed, becomes the key to a life he thought no longer possible. Unforgettable in both its particulars and its sweep, A Pigeon and A Boy is a tale of lovers then and now--of how deeply we love, of what home is, and why we, like pigeons trained to fly in one direction only, must eventually return to it. In a voice that is at once playful, wise, and altogether beguiling, Meir Shalev tells a story as universal as war and as intimate as a winged declaration of love. Click the book cover to read more.
THE JEW IN THE LOTUS STARTS TO DREAM...
The History of Last Night's Dream
Discovering the Hidden Path to the Soul
by Rodger Kamenetz
October 2007. HarperOne
A third of our time on earth is spent sleeping. Yet our dreams, if remembered at all, have been relegated to nothing more than curious anecdotes. When Freud, a century ago, awakened modern interest in the dream, his theory of interpretation undermined the potential insights dreams had to offer. For Freud, dreams are nothing more than fragmented puzzle parts made up of events from our waking life. Most of us today still live under Freud's far-reaching influence. When we wake up from a disturbing series of images, the first thing we do is explain it away or ignore it. We take away little to nothing and move on with our lives. In this way, we have lost the gift of our dreams. This is the legacy of Freud's dream theory. But what if he is wrong? Rodger Kamenetz's exploration of the world of dreams reopens all the questions we thought were settled. We soon learn how the struggle between what we dream and how we interpret our dreams has shaped Western thought. Learning from an 87 year old female kabbalist in Jerusalem, a suave Tibetan tulku in Copenhagen, and a crusty intuitive postman/dream master in northern Vermont, Kamenetz recovers for us the lost power of our nightly visions. Dreams are intensely meaningful and reveal essential truths about our inner lives. With Kamenetz as our guide, we move down into this mysterious inner realm and hear the messages waiting for us at the heart of our dreams. In the end you will think about your dreams in an entirely new light and finally understand their potential to lead us on the path to the soul. Click the book cover to read more.
A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited
by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein
October 2007. Random House
Elyse Schein had always known she was adopted, but it wasn't until her mid-thirties while living in Paris that she searched for her biological mother. When Elyse contacted her adoption agency, (Louise Wise Services) she was not prepared for the shocking, life-changing news she received: She had an identical twin sister. Elyse was then hit with another bombshell: she and her sister had been separated as infants, and for a time, had been part of a secret study on separated twins. Paula Bernstein, a married writer and mother living in New York, also knew she was adopted, but had no inclination to find her birth mother. When she answered a call from the adoption agency one spring afternoon, Paula's life suddenly divided into two starkly different periods: the time before and the time after she learned the truth. As they reunite and take their tentative first steps from strangers to sisters, Paula and Elyse are also left with haunting questions surrounding their origins and their separation.
They learn that the study was conducted by a pair of influential psychiatrists associated with a prestigious adoption agency. (by the way -- they tracked down the researcher, now in his 90's, but he told them very very little, he was unapologetic and cold. His study was never published)
As they investigate their birth mother's past (it is nt a pretty sory and quite horrific), Paula and Elyse move closer toward solving the puzzle of their lives. In alternating voices, Paula and Elyse write with emotional honesty about the immediate intimacy they share as twins and the wide chasm that divides them as two complete strangers. Interweaving eye-opening studies and statistics on twin science into their narrative, they offer an intelligent and heartfelt glimpse into human nature.
Identical Strangers is the amazing story of two women coming to terms with the strange and unbelievable hand fate has dealt them, an account that broadens the definition of family and provides insight into our own DNA and the singularly exceptional imprint it leaves on our lives.
"A transfixing memoir."--Publishers Weekly
(By the way - they both now live in Brroklyn, they both ended up in the film biz, and as you would expect, they both share very common traits and behaviors and medical issues)
Click the book cover to read more.
JUST SAY NU
Fluent Yiddish in One Little Word
by Michael Wex
October 2007. ST. Martin's Press
"Hey, I lost my phone number. Can I have yours?" If those tired old pickup lines aren't working, maybe it's time to switch languages. Michael Wex's phonetic Yiddish primer enables you to ask "Kimst oft Aher?" (Come here often?); "Bei deer tsee bei meer?" (Your place or mine?); or "Ikh bin tchikaveh tseh visn far voos dee trugst nish' ka' Talis." (I'd really like to know why you aren't wearing a prayer shawl.) On other topics, the author of Born to Kvetch is equally informative and funny. Just Say Nu contains 300 pages of linguistic glimpses into Jewish culture, history, and folklore.
Just say Nu is a practical guide to using Yiddish words and expressions in day-to-day situations. Along with enough grammar to enable readers to put together a comprehensible sentence and avoid embarrassing mistakes, Wex also explains the five most useful Yiddish words-shoyn, nu, epes, takeh, and nebakh-what they mean, how and when to use them, and how they can be used to conduct an entire conversation without anybody ever suspecting that the reader doesn't have the vaguest idea of what anyone is actually saying. Readers will learn how to shmooze their way through such activities as meeting and greeting; eating and drinking; praising and finding fault; maintaining personal hygiene; going to the doctor; driving; parenting; getting horoscopes; committing crimes; going to singles bars; having sex; talking politics, and talking trash. People have finally started to realize that there's nothing in the world that can't be improved by translating it into Yiddish. Just say Nu is the book that's going to show them how. Click the book cover to read more.
In The Footsteps of the Lost Ten Tribes
By Avigdor Shachan
October 2007. Devora Press
The most fascinating legend of Jewish heritage, originating in the mists of history and ending with the greatest riddle in Jewish history, is the legend of the "Ten Lost Tribes" - the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Israel who were exiled by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. They were driven eastward, across the fabled Sambatyon River, and beyond the Mountains of Darkness, where they hoped to live in freedom. Their brethren, the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, did not accept their disappearance from the annals of history. Throughout the generations they sought them ceaselessly, but the many emissaries who were sent to find them vanished in their turn. Dr. Avigdor Shachan spent thirty years studying, investigating and following in their footsteps. He gathered facts and collected documents, testimonies and folk traditions over several continents attesting to localities where the Ten Tribes stayed. They are presented here in a manner that leaves no doubt as to their accuracy, credibility and veracity. Click the book cover to read more.
Ten American Dramas of Blacks and Jews
(SUNY Series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture)
Edited by Sarah Blacher Cohen and Joanne B. Koch
October 2007. SUNY
Ten contemporary plays that dramatize the volatile relationships between Blacks and Jews in American society. Click the book cover to read more.
BY SHALOM AUSLANDER
October 2007. Penguin
PW: "Auslander, a magazine writer, describes his Orthodox Jewish upbringing as "theological abuse" in this sardonic, twitchy memoir that waits for the other shoe to drop from on high. The title refers to his agitation over whether to circumcise his soon to be born son, yet another Jewish ritual stirring confusion and fear in his soul. Flitting haphazardly between expectant-father neuroses in Woodstock, N.Y., and childhood neuroses in Monsey, N.Y., Auslander labors mightily to channel Philip Roth with cutting, comically anxious spiels lamenting his claustrophobic house, off-kilter family and the temptations of all things nonkosher, from shiksas to Slim Jims. The irony of his name, Shalom (Hebrew for "peace"), isn't lost on him, a tormented soul gripped with dread, fending off an alcoholic, abusive father while imagining his heavenly one as a menacing, mocking, inescapable presence. Fond of tormenting himself with worst-case scenarios, he concludes, "That would be so God." Like Roth's Portnoy, he commits minor acts of rebellion and awaits his punishment with youthful literal-mindedness. But this memoir is too wonky to engage the reader's sympathy or cut free Auslander's persona from the swath of stereotype-and he can't sublimate his rage into the cultural mischief that brightens Roth's oeuvre. That said, a surprisingly poignant ending awaits readers."
... also... some interesting stories including how he walked 14 miles one Shabbat to see a NY Rangers game at Madison Sqaure garden. The Ranger lost. Was tyhis god's retribution? Or Shalom;s attempt to win his school's blessing bee (bracha bee) while simulatneously trying to be as bad as possible so that god punishes his abusive father.
Click the book cover to read more.
VIDEOS BY SHALOM AUSLANDER INTRODUCING HIS MEMOIR:
A Guide To Understanding Kabbalah
By Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov
October 2007. Devora Press
What is kabbalah all about? How can I use kabbalah to help change my life for the better? These are just some of the basic questions that Reb Nissan, as he is called, deals with in this monumental work. The book is divided into three sections: The first section examines the very origins of this esoteric knowledge including the meaning and purpose of the Zohar, the role of kabbalah in our understanding of the Messiah, and guides us towards an understanding of how kabbalah is intrinsically linked to the future destiny of the Jewish people. The second section of the book provides the reader with an in-depth explanation of fundamental Kabbalistic concepts, including the role of Angels and Mazal in our lives, the structure of the Sefirot, and the character of the Sitra Aachar. It explains how God created something from nothing - an enlightening description of the emergence of a physical creation from ethereal Godliness. The third section brings heaven down to earth by illustrating how we can apply the principles of kabbalah to our daily lives, including the practice of Jewish meditation, achieving teshuva, and refining our character. Click the book cover to read more.
The Faith Between Us
A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God
by Scott Korb and Peter Bebergal
October 2007. Bloomsbury
A religious "coming out" story by two young believers-one Catholic and one Jewish, with an introduction by Freakonomics coauthor Stephen J. Dubner. Scott Korb and Peter Bebergal, two young progressives, share a secret: They believe in God. One is a former wannabe Catholic priest, the other a failed Jewish mystic, and they formed a friendship that's shaped by their common belief. In The Faith Between Us, they engage in a dialogue that ranges widely, from the mundane to the divine. They discuss finding religious meaning in their secular worlds, the moral implications of decisions both personal and political, their different religious cultures, and how their lives have been shaped by the pursuit of an authentic, livable faith. Both a spiritual memoir and an examination of contemporary religion as it's played out in unconventional ways, The Faith Between Us offers an alternative vision of faith in America, one that is equally irreverent and devout, ironic and earnest. For everyone interested in a modern take on keeping faith-and in reclaiming religion from the fundamentalists and literalists who have co-opted it for the right and those on the left who dismiss its redemptive power-The Faith Between Us will be an engaging and thought-provoking read.
"Old Jewish joke--woman buys her grown son two ties, he comes to visit her wearing one of them, she takes a look, frowns, says, 'What? You didn't like the other one?' That's how I feel sometimes when I'm reading one side or the other of this wise, warm, and often witty dialogue. Scott Korb and Peter Bebergal have not only illuminated issues of faith, but also literalized the process of friendship. A wonderful book." --Ben Greenman, author of A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both
Click the book cover to read more.
CHILDREN OF JIHAD
A YOUNG AMERICAN'S TRAVELS AMONG THE YOUTH OF THE MIDDLE EAST
BY JARED COHEN
October 2007. GoTHAM
I first noticed Mr. Cohen when he got an essay published in 2006 in the SAIS Review on Iran's youth and their opposition to the Islamic Republic's leadership. So I was sure to snag a copy of his book when I saw it published.
Defying foreign government orders and interviewing terrorists face to face, a young American tours hostile lands to learn about Middle Eastern youth-and uncovers a subculture that defies every stereotype.
Classrooms were never sufficient for Jared Cohen; he wanted to learn about global affairs by witnessing them firsthand. During his undergraduate years Cohen travelled extensively to Africa-often to wartorn countries, putting himself at risk to see the world firsthand. While studying on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford, he took a crash course in Arabic, read voraciously on the history and culture of the Middle East, and in 2004 he embarked on the first of a series of incredible journeys to the Middle East. In an effort to try to understand the spread of radical Islamist violence, he focused his research on Muslim youth. The result is Children of Jihad, a portrait of paradox that probes much deeper than any journalist or pundit ever could. Written with candor and featuring dozens of eye-opening photographs, Cohen's account begins in Lebanon, where he interviews Hezbollah members at, of all places, a McDonald's. In Iran, he defies government threats and sneaks into underground parties, where bootleg liquor, Western music, and the Internet are all easy to access. His risky itinerary also takes him to a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, borderlands in Syria, the insurgency hotbed of Mosul, and other frontline locales. At each turn, he observes a culture at an uncanny crossroads: Bedouin shepherds with satellite dishes to provide Western TV shows, young women wearing garish makeup despite religious mandates, teenagers sending secret text messages and arranging illicit trysts. Gripping and daring, Children of Jihad shows us the future through the eyes of those who are shaping it.
After completing this book, Jared Cohen joined the U.S. Department of State as a member of the Secretary of State's policy planning staff. A Stanford graduate (2004), Oxford graduate (2006), and Rhodes scholar, he has conducted extensive research in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. He has also traveled to Afghanistan, as well as twenty-one African countries. Jared Cohen is also an artist and sold his works to people other than his family members. He even had a Summer job at the Pentagon. He is fluent in Kiswahili and conversant in Maa and its dialects, he spent three months living with the Maasai of Kenya, herding cattle and conducting research. He started the Ilboru Project, which sends school supplies and teaching aids to the Ilboru village of Tanzania, where Jared says his interest in Africa began. Before attending Stanford, Jared was an all-state Connecticut soccer goalie and holds the state record for most career saves. Did I mention that he also knows some Korea and even more Farsi, and played a little basketball while he was reading at St John's College at Oxford. (p.s. - he is a delta theta chi) Click the book cover to read more.
In the Hot Zone
One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars
by Kevin Sites
October 2007. Harper
As one of the world's most respected war correspondents, Kevin Sites has spent the past five years covering global war and disaster for several national networks. Sites helped pioneer solo journalism, working completely alone, traveling, and reporting without a crew. As a solo journalist ("SoJo"), Sites carries a backpack of portable digital technology to shoot, write, edit, and transmit multimedia reports. His past assignments have brought him to nearly every region of the world, including the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe. Among the stories covered in this book is a tale about two younmg women - an Isralei burned by a Palestinian suicide bomber and a Palestinian injured by an Isralei soldier and their triumphs over hate. Click the book cover to read more.
THE PALE OF SETTLEMENT
By Margot Singer
October 2007. Georgia
From Publishers Weekly: Setting nine linked stories against a turbulent political background, Singer follows New York City journalist Susan Stern over two decades, as she flounders through a string of failed love affairs and maintains close relationships with Israeli relatives. Visiting her paternal grandparents in Haifa, Susan finds Israel relatively normal despite the 1982 Lebanon War. She loses some of her naďveté when her soldier-cousin, Gavi, joins a cult in the aftermath; after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Gavi's behavior becomes even more difficult to navigate. By that point, Susan realizes she still has feelings for an ex-boyfriend who calls in a panic to confess that a casual girlfriend is pregnant with his child. Susan's affair with a married man is told in tandem with a tale about her grandmother's difficult first years in British-occupied Haifa, while a maternal uncle who is a Jerusalem archeologist digs up a more recent, and more uncomfortable, truth. The latter revelation is touched off by 2002 reports of violence in Israel: Susan feels guilt and responsibility for the ongoing political crisis, but also a deep yearning for the country. Many story lines go unresolved, but the end result is a pungent composite portrait of a strong, complicated woman. Click the book cover to read more.
WINNER OF ISRAEL'S ABUM PRIZE FOR BOOK OF THE YEAR
BY MICHAEL GOVRIN
October 2007. Riverhead
From one of Israel's most celebrated writers, an ambitious and heartbreaking novel-winner of Israel's Akum Prize for the Book of the Year-that examines through one woman's life the Jewish story and the state of Israel in the most intimate way possible. Ilana Tsuriel was a beautiful, brilliant Israeli intellectual and architect, the estranged wife of a prominent Holocaust scholar and the daughter of a legendary founding Zionist. At the beginning of Snapshots, she dies in a tragic car wreck, leaving her husband, Alain, to piece together the woman he thought he knew from the documents she left behind. Snapshots is assembled from her notes, photos, and drawings, which reveal Ilana's passionate, turbulent, wandering life of love and creativity around the capitals of the world. They portray a woman torn between her life in the United States and Israel; a woman who, during the first Gulf War when missiles were falling on Tel Aviv, struggled with the desire to protect her family yet still engage herself and her children with her homeland. They also uncover a secret, troubled love affair with a Palestinian man, a daughter's efforts to come to terms with her father's weighty legacy, and plans to build a "Utopian Monument" for peace in the history-laden hills of Jerusalem.
The result is a whirling, wrenching portrait of a woman grappling with every element of her identity, at the center of a novel that has already been feted with prizes and celebrated as a masterwork of contemporary Israeli literature. Click the book cover to read more.
Bagels and Grits
A Jew on the Bayou
by Jennifer Moses
October 2007. University of Wisconsin Press Terrace Books
From Publishers Weekly
In an absorbing memoir, Moses (Food and Whine) describes her disorienting move from Washington, D.C., to Baton Rouge, a city home to a paltry 220 or so Jewish families. Moses, who had a strong Jewish identity but little connection to religious practice, found herself grappling with her new city's intense Christianity: just about everyone was on intimate terms with Jesus. Moses's move to Baton Rouge, coupled with her mother's deteriorating health, prompted her to study Hebrew and celebrate her bat mitzvah, which she had not done as a girl. Yet this book is not just a spiritual autobiography. It is also an account of a daughter struggling toward the end of her mother's life-chemotherapy and cancer haunt every page. Moses's prose is lyrical and fresh: her daughter, for instance, is so content within her skin that it's as if she'd been born with the soul of a shaman, and Moses's childhood, in which tennis games, ski trips and her parents' cocktail parties all somehow culminated in Shabbat dinner, was like living in a John Cheever novel edited by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Moses has a vivid sense of humor and never takes herself too seriously. After finishing this book, readers may wish they could sit down over a bagel and grits and visit with her. Click the book cover to read more.
The Castle on Hester Street
by Linda Heller with Boris Kulikov (Illustrator)
October 2007. Simon and Schuster
Ages 4 - 7.
A flying goat, buttons the size of sleds, and a castle on Hester Street are some of the widely imaginative stories Julie's grandpa tells her about his journey from Russia to New York many years ago. But Grandma's no-nonsense memories are far different from Grandpa's tall tales. Click the book cover to read more Hershel the astronomer, who discovered the moon is a matzah ball; Moishe, the goat from his village in Russia, who pulled his wagon all the way to America--9,092 miles; and Bessie, who used her long braids as jumping rope..
The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States
by Trita Parsi
October 2007. Yale
Based on 130 interviews.
Yes. When I got this book, I thought it was from some nut case publishing house... But it is from Yale University Press, and Parsi teaches at Johns Hopkins and SAIS. SO. Pay attention. This is the first book to untangle the complex relations between the triangle of Iran, Israel, and the USA. You know what? Look away from the Israeli Palestinian issue for a moment and focus on the geopolitical conflict between Israel and Iran. Even after the Shah fell, Israel and its lobby in DC, supported Tehran and told Washington to ignore the Khomeini regime's rhetoric. In the 1980's, Iran rhetorically and vociferously supported Arafat, but quietly used Jerusalem to open doors to DC. But in 1991, Iran chose to work against the US peace plan between Arafat and Israel, and Israel, in turn, undermined US-Iranian relations, fearing that the new friendship would undermine Israel's security needs as the US would start to give gifts to Tehran. It is a fascinating foreign policy story about what is said publicly and what happens secretly.
Fukuyama, who was the thesis advisor to Parsi, writes that Parsi makes a persuasive case that since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has consistently used ideology to achieve hardheaded national interest objectives, rather than sacrifice national interest on the altar of extremist ideological goals. This is an extremely important point to bear in mind as Iran''s relations with US and Israel deteriorate and the prospect of yet another Persian Gulf conflict looms. Brzezinski writes, that this is "a penetrating, provocative, and very timely study that deciphers how U.S. policy in the Middle East has been manipulated both by Iran and by Israel even as relations between these two oscillated between secret collusion and overt collision."
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Iran and Israel are not entangled in an ideological clash, but rather a resolvable strategic conflict. The book explains both how this rivalry erupted and how it can be resolved. And of course, it reveals many of Iran and Israel's behind-the-scene dealings that have never been revealed before. Israel's former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami calls the book "a brilliant interpretation of one of today's most enigmatic conflicts." Click the book cover to read more.
The Life of Art
by Aleksandra Shatskikh
October 2007. Yale
This book examines the artistic life of Vitebsk during the years 1917-1922, when a great burst of creative experimentation transformed the modest Russian town into one of the most influential gateways to the art of the twentieth century. Spurred by native son Marc Chagall, who returned home after the October Revolution in 1917 to take the position of art commissioner, Vitebsk rose to a pinnacle of fame as an artistic laboratory for the avant-garde. It was here that such luminaries as El Lissitzky, Yuri Pen, Kazimir Malevich, Nikolai Suetin, Mikhail Bakhtin, and others worked, inspired one another, and made distinctive contributions to modernism. Art historian Aleksandra Shatskikh surveys the entire "Vitebsk phenomenon," drawing on an array of archives in Russia and Amsterdam, many of which have never been open to Western scholars. She discusses Chagall's Academy of Art and its major teachers and students; the founding of the artists' group, UNOVIS; Malevich's architectural experiments; Bakhtin's circle; and important developments in theater and music in Vitebsk. With more than two hundred outstanding illustrations, the book brings Vitebsk to life at a fascinating and transformative moment in art history. Aleksandra Shatskikh is an art historian and a world authority on the Russian avant-garde. She lives in Moscow. Click the book cover to read more.
STICK TO DRAWING COMICS, MONKEY BRAIN
OR, CARTOONIST IGNORE HELPFUL ADVICE
By SCOTT ADAMS (Dilbert)
October 2007. Portfolio
Scott isn't Jewish. Dilbert isn't Jewish, Dogbert perhaps is? Adams discusses various issues, including his wedding plans and the loss of his voice. Click the book cover to read more.
by Gina B. Nahai
October 2007. MacAdam
From Publishers Weekly: In her stirring fourth novel, Nahai explores the struggles of an Iranian family in the tenuous decade before the Islamic revolution. Twelve-year-old Yaas narrates her family's story, beginning before her birth at her parents' unlikely meeting. Her mother, Bahar, lives in the Jewish slums with her less-than-respectable family-among them, a seamstress who can't sew, a cantor who can't sing, a Muslim convert and a ghost. Bahar's fortuitous encounter with Omid Arbab, the son of wealthy Iranian Jews, results in a marriage that quickly disintegrates, due to class pressures and Bahar's desire for a measure of independence. Yaas then embarks on what is, at times, an overly lyrical account of her difficult and lonely childhood. She senses that she is an unwelcome disappointment to her mother, whose behavior toward her daughter ranges from inattentive to cruel. When Omid becomes involved in a public affair with the wealthy and beautiful Niyaz and Yaas begins going deaf, the Arbab family spirals out of control. Despite a clunky subplot involving Bahar's ghost brother and a too-easy resolution, the novel is a poignant tale of a damaged family. Click the book cover to read more.
COMPANION TO THE PBS SERIES AIRING JANUARY 2008:
The Jewish Americans
Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America
by Beth Wenger, University of Pennsylvania
October 2007. Doubleday
What was it like for the first Jews to arrive in the New World? How did a Bavarian immigrant's crockery business expand into one of the nation's top department stores? How did Yiddish theater and humor influence Hollywood and mainstream entertainment? How has Israel affected American Jewish identity? This magnificently illustrated book, companion to the major PBS television documentary produced by David Grubin, tells the history of Jews in America in a captivating and accessible collection of first-person accounts, interviews, distinguished scholarly writings, and profiles of prominent Jews as well as ordinary Jewish immigrants. The text and images trace more than three hundred years of American Jewish history- from the first arrival of Jews in colonial America in 1654 to the social movements of today-and everything in between. The book chronicles the mass immigration of Jews in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the innovations of American Jewish culture, responses to anti-Semitism, and transition from immigrant to middle-class neighborhoods. It tells the story of the Jewish presence in sports and entertainment, the transformative watershed events of World War II and the Holocaust, the impact of the establishment of Israel, the emergence of new forms of American Jewish identity, and the responsibilities of the Jewish community today. This comprehensive and often surprising look at the growth, difficulties, and accomplishments of the Jewish American community is further enhanced by the intimate first-person accounts of several generations of American Jews. Activists, musicians, spiritual leaders, politicians, and so many others come to life through their photos, correspondence, and interviews. They lend faces and personal experiences to the movements and events they lived through, and they remind us that the story of Jews is the story of America. Carving out a life for themselves in the free and open society of the United States, Jews maintained their identity while becoming an integral part of American culture. Click the book cover to read more.
A Wall of Two
Poems of Resistance and Suffering from Kraków to Buchenwald and Beyond
by Henia Karmel and Ilona Karmel (Author)
translated by Fanny Howe, Arie A. Galles, Warren Niesluchowski
Ucal Press, October 2007
Buchenwald survivors Ilona and Henia Karmel were 17 and 20 years old when they entered the Nazi labor camps from the Kraków ghetto. These remarkable poems were written during that time. The sisters wrote the poems on worksheets stolen from the factories where they worked by day and hid them in their clothing. During what she thought were the last days of her life, Henia entrusted the poems to a cousin who happened to pass her in the forced march at the end of the war. The cousin gave them to Henia's husband in Kraków, who would not locate and reunite with his wife for another six months. This is the first English publication of these extraordinary poems. Fanny Howe's deft adaptations preserve their freshness and innocence while making them entirely compelling. They are presented with a biographical introduction that conveys the powerful story of the sisters' survival from capture to freedom in 1946.
BY PHILIP ROTH
October 2007. Houghton Mifflin
In other books, Zuckerman shaped the tale. Now, after two decades, he is at the center of the story. The last ordeal of Nathan Zuckerman, the indomitable literary adventurer of Roth's nine Zuckerman books, like Rip Van Winkle returning to his hometown to find that all has changed, Nathan Zuckerman comes back to New York, the city he left eleven years before. Alone on his New England mountain, Zuckerman has been nothing but a writer: no voices, no media, no terrorist threats, no women, no news, no tasks other than his work and the enduring of old age. When he left 11 years ago, he was healthy. Now, after prostate cancer surgery, he is both impotent and incontinent. He is suffering the consequences of aging and illnesses; and his mind is disordered. Is it a creative impotence? He is muted as a sexual man due to the illness. (Every third friend of Roth seemed to have prostate cancer when Roth was writing a novel a few years ago.) Zuckerman was not in NYC for 9/11 or the Bush presidency. He is like a knight who no longer has his old armor to withstand the antagonisms and assaults of NYC and society. Walking the streets like a revenant, he quickly makes three connections that explode his carefully protected solitude. One is with a young couple with whom, in a rash moment, he offers to swap homes. They will flee post-9/11 Manhattan for his country refuge, and he will return to city life. But from the time he meets them, Zuckerman also wants to swap his solitude for the erotic challenge of the young woman, Jamie, whose allure draws him back to all that he thought he had left behind: intimacy, the vibrant play of heart and body. Is he falling prey to sexual enchantment? When she rebuffs him sexually, he merely writes the scenes that he wishes would occur. The second connection is with a figure from Zuckerman's youth, Amy Bellette, companion and muse to Zuckerman's first literary hero, E. I. Lonoff. The once irresistible Amy is now an old woman depleted by illness, guarding the memory of that grandly austere American writer who showed Nathan the solitary path to a writing vocation. The third connection is with Lonoff's would-be biographer, a young literary hound who will do and say nearly anything to get to Lonoff's "great secret." Suddenly involved, as he never wanted or intended to be involved again, with love, mourning, desire, and animosity, Zuckerman plays out an interior drama of vivid and poignant possibilities. Haunted by Roth's earlier work The Ghost Writer, Exit Ghost is an amazing leap into yet another phase in this great writer's insatiable commitment to fiction. Click the book cover to read more.
DID you read Michael Chabon's essay in Details Magazine on the bris of his son. A lot of tsurris; enough to fill up three pages in the magzine. I hope he gets paid by the word. Anyway, MICHAEL CHABON KEEPS TICKING AND WRITING.
This was originially titled JEWS WITH SWORDS and it is set in the 10th Century:
Here is his latest:
Gentlemen of the Road
A Tale of Adventure
by Michael Chabon
October 30, 2007. Del Ray
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Pulitzer Prize winner-Chabon (The Yiddish Policemen's Union) recreates 10th-century Khazaria, the fabled kingdom of wild red-haired Jews on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, in this sprightly historical adventure. Zelikman and Amram, respectively a gawky Frank and a gigantic Abyssinian, make their living by means of confidence tricks, doctoring, bodyguarding and the occasional bit of skullduggery along the Silk Road. The unlikely duo find themselves caught up in larger events when they befriend Filaq, the headstrong and unlikable heir to the recently deposed war king of the Khazars. Their attempts to restore Filaq to the throne make for a terrifically entertaining modern pulp adventure replete with marauding armies, drunken Vikings, beautiful prostitutes, rampaging elephants and mildly telegraphed plot points that aren't as they seem. Chabon has a wonderful time writing intentionally purple prose and playing with conventions that were most popular in the days of Rudyard Kipling and Talbot Mundy. Gary Gianni's elegant illustrations, a cross between Vierge's art for Don Quixote and Brundage's Weird Tales covers, perfectly complement the historical adventure. A significant change from Chabon's weightier novels, this dazzling trifle is simply terrific fun. Click the book cover to read more.
BY THE WAY... MICHAEL CHABON AND HIS WIFE, AYELET WALDMAN, ARE WORKING ON A FAMILY SIDDUR PRAYER BOOK FOR THE BAT MITZVAH CEREMONY OF THEIR DAUGHTER+
NOW IN PAPERBACK
A Love Story
A novel by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
October 2007. Random house
From Booklist: Although Kabbalah has become one of today's pop-cultural buzzwords (yo, Madonna!), neither this mystical branch of Judaism nor its masterwork, the Zohar, a mystical commentary on the Torah, are well understood. In his first novel, Kushner bypasses the instructive tone used in his nonfiction and plunges into the heart of Kabbalah, opening up the topic so that stories about time, history, and love come swirling out. On one level, this is the story of Rabbi Kalman Stern, a failure, certainly, in love; deserted by his wife, he has not opened himself to a woman in 20 years. The most important thing in his life is a 1697 printing of the Zohar. A letter hidden inside the book, which offers startling insights into creation, heightens his search for meaning both in the outside world and in his own life, where an astronomer, Isabel Benveniste, is pecking at his shell. But Stern's is not the only story unfolding in this multileveled novel. A Kabbalastic scholar in thirteenth-century Spain meets an inspirational woman of intellect and beauty. A young man on a train to a concentration camp learns from an authority on the Zohar. Everything circles back on itself, paralleling the way the Zohar suggests the world is structured. As much meditation as mindbender, this is a book that one experiences rather than merely reads. Not everything works--the ending is predictable, bordering on hackneyed. But Lawrence poses many challenging questions, and the answers will be as individual as the readers. Click the book cover to read more.
The Jew of Home Depot and Other Stories
by Max Apple
October 2007. Johns Hopkins
This is the first collection to appear in twenty years from one of America's best short story writers. His thirteen stories are marvelous -- funny, heartbreaking, and wise by turns, and on occasion all three at once. Click the book cover to read more.
Always an Olivia
A Remarkable Family History
by Carolivia Herron and Jeremy Tugeau
Kar Ben Books Fall 2007
An elderly black grandmother passes on the story of the family's Jewish origins to her young granddaughter, Carol Olivia. As family members flee the Spanish Inquisition, are kidnapped by pirates and eventually sail to America, one daughter in each generation is given the name Olivia, from the Hebrew Shulamit meaning "peace," to honor the Jewish part of their ancestry. Critically-acclaimed author Carolivia Herron (Nappy Hair) shares this engaging, multicultural tale is based on her own family's heritage.
BY HAROLD BLOOM, with art by Dr. Mark Podwal.
October 2007. Yale University Press
In this gift book published for the holiday season, Harold Bloom again combines his lifelong interests in religion and literature. He begins by observing our present-day obsession with angels, which reached its greatest intensity as the current millennium approached. For the most part, these popular angels are banal, even insipid. Bloom is especially concerned with a particular subspecies of angels: fallen angels. He proceeds to examine representations of fallen angels from Zoroastrian texts and the Bible to Milton's Paradise Lost to Tony Kushner's Angels in America, arguing that familiarity with this rich literary tradition improves our reading and spiritual lives. Bloom's text is accompanied by more than a dozen original watercolors, line drawings, and illuminated letters by award-winning artist Mark Podwal.
Every angel is terrifying, Rilke wrote. For Bloom, too, this is true in one sense, since he maintains that all angels are fallen angels. The image of Satan, the greatest of fallen angels, retains the ability to fascinate and frighten us, he argues, because we share a close kinship with him. Indeed, from a human perspective, we must agree that we are fallen angels. Fallenness is ultimately a human condition: the recognition of our own mortality. Throughout world literature angels have always served as metaphors for death. We may take consolation, however, in our double awareness that angels also represent love and the celebration of human possibilities. Click the book cover to read more.
The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen
by Lesley Hazleton
October 2007, Doubleday
From Publishers Weekly: Like other villains of the Bible, Jezebel, it turns out, may have been gravely mischaracterized throughout history. Unlike Judas, of whom there are alternative, rehabilitative stories, the only historical account of Jezebel's life exists in the Books of Kings. What Hazleton argues, however, is that this account is self-subverting and has been misconstrued throughout history. Interlacing fictional narrative with engaging commentary, Hazleton points out that Jezebel was never sexually promiscuous or even accused of being so; the word harlot only ever referred to her unfaithfulness to Yahweh. And while Elijah is a universally loved biblical figure (Hazleton gives examples of Jewish, Christian and Muslim reverence for him), her reading of Kings reveals him to be the worst sort of fundamentalist-the kind who thinks that all who oppose the true faith should be killed. Hazleton draws from a deep, impressive well of scholarship and includes a fascinating travelogue of her journeys to the places described in Kings. In addition, she provides her own rich, nuanced translation and uses it to highlight the wordplay in which the biblical authors frequently engage. Replete with apt comparisons to modern Middle Eastern conflicts, this revisionist portrait is equal parts fun and sobering-a colorful history lesson that's sorely needed.
Mezuzah on the Door
by Amy Meltzer and Janice Fried
Kar Ben Books October 2007
Ages 3 - 8
Moving is tough! Young readers will relate to the story of a little boy who moves from an apartment in the city to a house in the suburbs and must adjust to his new surroundings. The Jewish tradition of putting up a mezuzah on the door and the accompanying celebration help his transition to his new home.
The Castle in the Forest
by Norman Mailer
October 2007 paperback edition
From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. Mailer did Jesus in The Gospel According to the Son; now he plumbs the psyche of history's most demonic figure in this chilling fictional chronicle of Hitler's boyhood. Mailer tells the story through the eyes of Dieter, a devil tasked by Satan (usually called the Maestro) with fostering Hitler's nascent evil, but in this study of a dysfunctional 19th-century middle-class Austrian household, the real presiding spirit is Freud. Young Adolph (often called Adi) is the offspring of an incestuous marriage between a coarse, domineering civil servant and a lasciviously indulgent mom. The boy duly develops an obsession with feces, a fascination with power, a grandiose self-image and a sexually charged yen for mass slaughter (the sight of gassed or burning beehives thrills him). Dieter frets over Hitler's ego-formation while marveling at the future dictator's burning gaze, his ability to sway weak minds and the instinctive führerprinzip that emerges when he plays war with neighborhood boys-talents furthered by Central Europe's ambient romantic nationalism. Mailer's view of evil embraces religions and metaphysics, but it's rooted in the squalid soil of toilet-training travails and perverted sexual urges. The novel sometimes feels like a psychoanalytic version of The Screwtape Letters, but Mailer arrives at a somber, compelling portrait of a monstrous soul.
An Uncommon Conversation
by Norman Mailer with Michael Lennon
In Norman Mailer's recent novel, The Castle in the Forest, he discussed ideas about faith and the nature of good and evil (the life of Hitler as narrated by Satan, which fiollowed The Gospel According to the Son, a first person autobiography as told by Jesus). Now Mailer, 84, offers his concept of the nature of God. His conversations with his friend and literary executor, Wilkes Barrean Michael Lennon, 65, show this writer at his most direct, provocative, and challenging. "I think," writes Mailer, "that piety is oppressive. It takes all the air out of thought." In moving, amusing, probing, and uncommon dialogues conducted over three years, Mailer establishes his own system of belief, one that rejects both organized religion and atheism. He presents instead a view of our world as one created by an artistic God who often succeeds but can also fail in the face of determined opposition by contrary powers in the universe, with whom war is waged for the souls of humans. In turn, we have been given freedom-indeed responsibility-to choose our own paths. Mailer trusts that our individual behavior-always a complex mix of good and evil-will be rewarded or punished with a reincarnation that fits the sum of our lives. Mailer weighs the possibilities of "intelligent design" at the same time avowing that sensual pleasures were bestowed on us by God; he finds fault with the Ten Commandments-because adultery, he avers, may be a lesser evil than others suffered in a bad marriage-and he holds that technology was the Devil's most brilliant creation. His vision is that "God needs us as much as we need God."
Hmmm... well... maybe it is better that you skip this ramble and focus on Heschel or Niebuhr
Kosher Billionaire's Secret Recipe
by Stacy Cohen
October 2007, Atria
Book jacket: You can have a glorious life and still keep your mind, body, and spirit integrated. In this opulently designed, full-color book, author Stacy Cohen shows how her gourmet kosher lifestyle can inspire each and every reader to take better steps to lavish themselves with the finest wines, freshest foods, and most calming getaways. The Kosher Billionaire's Secret Recipe touches all facets of living well and living healthy, with the goal of helping readers achieve their dreams. Featuring a unique mix of nutritional advice, inspirational living, and self-help tips, including: Unique and delicious kosher recipes from around the world; A total well-being nutritional program; Tips on how to make everyday meals more romantic and special; Creative food and wine pairing strategies from world-class sommeliers. Includes a foreword by renowned health expert Dr. Dean Ornish
BY ED BRODOW
Fall 2007, OutskirtsPress, FixerBook.com
If the system won't solve your problem, Harry Leonnoff will fix it for you. Power broker Harry Leonnoff takes on Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in this thrilling novel of New York City politics. From the degrading slums of the Jewish Lower East Side to the bloody battle of Belleau Wood, Fixer is the spellbinding tale of a fearless politician with a limp and a thirty-eight who becomes the champion of New York's underclass. Uneducated son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Leonnoff confronts gangsters and bigots, saves nine innocent black men from the electric chair, and becomes the admired Robin Hood of Depression-Era New York. But a vindictive Mayor Fiorello La Guardia forces Harry to make an impossible choice between his career and his integrity. Ed Brodow introduces us to one of the most compelling antiheroes in contemporary American fiction.
STILL A BEST SELLER:
The Faith Club
A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew
Three Women Search for Understanding
by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, Priscilla Warner
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 reviews or to purchase the book
Quotes: Priscilla: "I wish I believed in God," I said out loud for the first time. Nobody in my family had ever talked about God. Not my father, my mother, my sister or my brother. In twenty years of marriage, I'd had only one three-minute conversation with my husband about God. Maybe, I realized as I spoke, all that was about to change. After the attacks of 9/11, I'd been afraid God didn't exist. Now, with my sister sick, I wished with all my heart that I could believe in God. Maybe Suzanne and Ranya would show me how.
They wrote about volatile issues - how Oliver didn't want people to think she was Jewish, how Warner challenged Idliby's claim that the Israeli government displaced her ancestors and how Idliby challenged Warner for her support of Israel. Idliby said she hopes she can give a public voice to the moderate Palestinian perspective. She wants to be a voice that counters stereotypes. While immersed in their faith club, Idliby joined Oliver for her first Easter Sunday service; Oliver and Idliby attended a Yom Kippur service at Warner's synagogue. They talked about everything, from Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from Muslim extremists to religious tolerance. They're already talking about Book Two.
Priscilla: Every time I see Jesus up on a cross, suffering and bloody, I avert my eyes. When I checked into a hotel room in Italy once and there was a crucifix over the bed, I took it down.
Suzanne: You did?
Priscilla: Yes. I didn't want a dead man who meant nothing to me hanging over my head. It's disturbing!
Ranya: Jesus meant nothing to you, Priscilla? I doubt that. He must have meant something if you went to the trouble of taking down that cross!
When former U.S. one term President, Jimmy Carter, isn't writing about how bad Israel is, he works on nation building and other issues. In the section on Building Democracy, Carter reviews his record on bringing a peace accord to Israel and Egypt and fighting for Jewish emigration from the USSR at a time when there was little emigration, an OPEC embargo, an Arab Boycott, and no Holocaust Memorial in DC. He then discusses Camp[ David, followed by his criticisms of Israel's security fense, highways, settlements. Carter, who is quick to criticize Israelis only says that Palestinian leaders were accused of corruption. You get the picture
BEYOND THE WHITE HOUSE
WAGING PEACE, FIGHTING DISEASE, BUILDING HOPE
By Jimmy Carter
October 2007. Simon and Schuster
From Publishers Weekly: Less a memoir than an extended brochure for his nonprofit institution, the Carter Center, President Carter's latest book ruminates on his work since leaving the Oval Office. With major programs in election monitoring, conflict negotiation and disease prevention and eradication, the center has been active in nearly 100 nations since its 1984 inception. Carter structures this book as a series of vignettes detailing his involvement with a specific nation or issue, from Haiti to schistosomiasis. While he does not hesitate to criticize American policy, those hoping for extensive political analysis will be disappointed. Some of the chapters provide useful insight into international development practices and high-level diplomatic negotiation, and Carter presents a compelling rebuttal to criticisms of his hobnobbing with dictators and totalitarians. Sharing the 39th president's boundless energy and enthusiasm for humanitarian work, the book is written in a highly personal and informal style: Carter exults in having convinced his Chinese minders to allow him and Rosalynn to bike freely around 1981 Beijing, and fumes with indignation upon being subjected to tobacco advertising on a flight home from the Balkans. Ultimately, though, this book doesn't measure up to his bestsellers of recent years.
. Click the book cover to read more.
IN THE SPIRIT OF BEING AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS...
Have a Nice Doomsday
Why Millions of Americans Are Looking Forward to the End of the World
by Nicholas Guyatt
October 2007. Harper
50 million Americans have come to believe that the apocalypse will take place in their lifetime. They're convinced that, any day now, Jesus will snatch up his followers and spirit them to heaven. The rest of us will be left behind to endure massive earthquakes, devastating wars, and the terrifying rise of the Antichrist. But true believers aren't sitting around waiting for the Rapture. They're getting involved in debates over abortion, gay rights, and even foreign policy. Are they devout or deranged? Does their influence stretch beyond America's religious heartland-perhaps even to the White House? Journeying from Texas megachurches to the southern California deserts-and stopping off for a chat with prophecy superstar Tim LaHaye-Guyatt looks for answers to some burning questions: When will Russia attack Israel and ignite the Tribulation? Does the president of Iran appear in Bible prophecy? And is the Antichrist a homosexual?
Bizarre, funny, and unsettling in equal measure, Have a Nice Doomsday uncovers the apocalyptic obsessions at the heart of the world's only superpower. Click the book cover to read more.
Today, there are 1000 Cuban Jews left in a population of 11 million... and about 25 are the product of a halachic Jewish montgher and father... the rest have one Jewish parent and identify as Jewish
An Island Called Home
Returning to Jewish Cuba
by Ruth Behar and Humberto Mayol (Photographer)
October 2007. Rutgers
PW writes: A professor at the University of Michigan, Behar seeks a better understanding of her roots and of the Jewish experience in her native Cuba. Traversing the island, Behar becomes a confidante to myriad Jewish strangers. Through one-on-one interviews and black-and-white images taken by her photographer, Humberto Mayol, she uncovers the diasporic thread that connects Cuban Jews. Familial stories of wandering beginning in the 1920s tell of displaced Polish (POLANCO) and German Jews-escapees from anti-Semitism and Auschwitz-opening mom-and-pop shops in La Habana Vieja, becoming peddlers, replacing Yiddish with Spanish and settling into Latino life only to be uprooted within decades. An estimated 16,500 Jews lived in Cuba in the late 1950s, when a mass exodus to Miami and New York took place-a reaction to Castro's budding communist revolution. This diligent recounting and pictorial collage of interviews with adolescents, the aging, the impoverished and the political by Behar preserves in memory the people and places that make up Cuba's Jewish story. Click the book cover to read more.
A Suburban Childhood
by Joanne Jacobson)
Fall 2007. Bottom Dog Press
From Publishers Weekly: Baby boomer Jacobson builds a compelling and intimate memoir of larger-than-life characters and artfully presented daily minutiae, but the details of family vacations, secret pastry binges and car accidents are left unanchored by present-day analysis of their significance. The essays are hypnotic, although mystifying at times. Jacobson's substantive reflection never quite equals her skill for evocative description, which shines on almost every page, or allows details to transcend their illustrative function and convey the story behind the experiences. Without a driving viewpoint, the sections blur together. Overall, there's no plot, transformation or sense of cohesion, partly due to a lack of emotional range; scenes of gardening, Kennedy's death, rape and eating a hamburger are rendered with a similar tone. More utilitarian prose is needed for these tableaux to carry emotional weight, although they do form a tender and honest suburban slideshow of a complex era. Click the book cover to read more.
NOVEMBER 2007 BOOKS
Celebrities' Bar and Bat Mitzvah Memories
by Jill Rappaport and Linda Solomon (Photographer)
November 2007. Simon & Schuster (as in Carly Simon)
In Mazel Tov, celebrity journalist Jill Rappaport (worked for the Today Show, which maybe is why she includes Jeff Zucker.and Gene Shalit.. but hey.. what about Cojo??) and photographer Linda Solomon offer an intimate glimpse of the bar or bat mitzvahs of some of the most talented people in entertainment, politics and business. This remarkable book brings together stories and never-before-seen family photos of a variety of public figures, as they look back on their thirteen-year-old selves and reminisce about the celebration that marked their transition into adulthood.
The wonderfully candid interviews in Mazel Tov document deeply poignant, and often hilariously awkward, moments in these very public lives. Interviewees include Jeremy Piven (ARI GOLD, ENTOURAGE), Senator Joseph Lieberman (his cousin predicted he would be a U.S. Senator), Marlee Matlin (A DEAF BAT MITZVAH), Kirk Douglas (HAD ONE AT 13 and ANOTHER at 83), Richard Dreyfuss, Ronald Perelman (Keep it simple, even though he could spend a billion), Howie Mandel (standing 4foot10 at the bimah), Gene Shalit, Harvey Fierstein (While singing his haftorah as a boy soprano, HIS GRANDMOTHER FAKED A HEART ATTACK in the women's section) , Judy Gold )at age 13, she was 6ft0, and her rabbi was 5ft2), Larry King (Wasn't frightened of speaking in public; also disucsses raising his kids as devout Mormons, athough they know they are half Jewish. He would like to have a cermony if it would be small and meaningful), Donny Deutsch (he still recalls his first parshat), Michael Kors (MICHAEL DEISGNED HIS OWN PARTY AND COLOR SCHEME), Charles Grodin (raised Orthodox, the grandson of a Talmud scholar. His two kids were not bar or bat mitvah'ed), Henry Winkler (Dyslexia gave him great angst), Josh and Andy Bernstein (who??), Noah Wyle (his mother is Christian, his father is of Jewish heritage, Noah never had a bar mitzvah, but attended dozens as a teen. Ten years ago, he started a weekly 3 year private phone based class with a rabbi), and many others. There are stories of bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, confirmations, and the only documented "bark" mitzvah, held in honor of two beloved pets. Though the stories vary greatly in their detail, they all express a common appreciation for values and traditions that have been passed down through the generations. Harvey Fierstein's essays are so honest and illuminating. .Click the book cover to read more.
Quick & Kosher
Recipes From The Bride Who Knew Nothing
by Jamie Geller
November 2007. Feldheim
This is the hilarious story of Monsey-based Jamie Geller, a spunky young TV exec who came into marriage and kosher cooking without knowing a spatula from a saucepan. Determined to master cooking, yet pressed for time, she was dismayed to find that most cookbooks consider an hour of preparation time quick, and presumed more culinary skill than many of us have. So Jamie set out to compile her own special collection of quick and easy recipes and Quick & Kosher is the result of her quest. This one-of-a-kind cookbook contains more than 160 recipes requiring no more than 15 minutes to prepare, 120 full-color photos, clear step-by-step instructions, reliable prep and cooking times, tips and techniques, and advice on pairing wines with various dishes. Recipes range from traditional to exotic, and are well indexed and cross-referenced. Several special sections such as Setting up Your Kitchen, Secrets of the 15-Minute Chef and Shopping Like an Expert are the result of extensive insider interviews with food professionals who helped facilitate Jamie's path to culinary mastery. These sections offer practical answers to the questions you've always wanted to ask: how do I buy meat, fish, produce, groceries, and wine? Is this a cookbook? An autobiography? A kitchen handbook for brides? It is all of these and more, for Quick & Kosher will amuse, inspire and teach even skilled cooks a thing or two. I wrote Quick & Kosher says Jamie Geller, because you and I are in the same boat. We want to serve up something tantalizing for dinner, but between kids, careers, and carpools, we have no time to patchka! Click the book cover to read more.
Touristic Guidings to Minor Nation of U.S. and A. and Touristic Guidings to Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
by Borat Sagdiyev
November 2007. Flying Dolphin Press
It have hard jacket and many pictures. It really two books in one. Start on front, and read and see about Borat traveling in the U.S, and A. Flip book over and read and see about glorious nation where Borat is fourth most-famous citizen - Kazakhstan. JAGSHEMASH! WELCOMES IN KAZAKHSTAN! In coitus with Kazakh Minister of Information, telelviski journalist Borat Sagdiyev is take great pleasuring himself to present this touristic guidings to Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan-home to many many of Central Asia's most highly respected sex criminals. This volume is showcase of all that is great of Kazakhstan-marvel at the statistic of Nurek Dam, make your childrens laugh with our jokes about jews and take a peekings inside brandnew Capitalist Supermall Viktor Hotelier's Shopcity-3 stores and electrical staircare!! Containings over half the photographs, maps and writings ever produced by Kazakhstan and printed on our finest grade paper (50% tree, 10% asbestos, 22% gypsy, 18% pubis)-this books will surely makings you visit Kazakhstan most urgently! You welcomes-we seeings you soon! Click the book cover to read more.
THE RABBI'S DAUGHTER
BY REVA MANN
November 2007. BantamAndDell.com Random House
Reva Mann is the daughter of a highly respected London rabbi rabbi and the granddaughter of the head of an Israeli Rabbbinic Council. She grew up on the fence between self-destruction and revelation and her teen years were filled with drugs and sex. After an epiphany, she enrolled in a yeshiva in Israel and she married a Torah scholar and had three children. But she struggled to find a life that suited her desires. This is her chronicle of a life of pleasure and piety, struggle, sensuality, spirit, and success. And yes.. for those who are wondering, page 162 discusses her sex life during pregnancy and the lack of multiple orgasms; and page...
From Publishers Weekly: In her misspent youth, Mann, a journalist and daughter of a prominent London rabbi and granddaughter of a chief rabbi of Israel, was hooked on drugs and promiscuous sex, which led to hepatitis B infection and an arrest for drug possession. In her 20s, she went to Jerusalem, where again she disappointed her progressive Orthodox parents by marrying a born-again American Jew who had become an obsessive and separatist Hasid. Unhappiness and tragedy were Mann's constant companions: a retarded sister; the abortion of a brain-damaged fetus; the unraveling of her passionless marriage and her disenchantment with Hasidism; breast cancer; and her elderly widowed mother's suicide. Mann parades unsavory aspects of her behavior: she and her boyfriend, Sam, knowingly have raucous sex in earshot of her anxious children, and after Sam's brother is killed in a terrorist attack, Mann is upset that Sam isn't paying enough attention to her at the burial. While Mann's clever, fast-paced memoir offers an intimate glimpse of Orthodox Judaism and aptly demonstrates the human yearning for redemption, some of the events she recounts strain credulity, particularly her deflowering in her father's synagogue and a lesbian affair in an ultra-Orthodox women's yeshiva that is overheard by a religiously zealous tattletale. Click the book cover to read more.
WAITING FOR RAIN
REFLECTIONS AT THE TURNING OF THE YEAR
BY BRYNA JOCHEVED LEVY
November 2007, JPS Jewish Publication Society
In Israel, the High Holiday cycle marks the transition from summer to the rainy season. In Waiting for Rain, the acclaimed teacher Bryna Levy offers a compelling collection of meditations that examine the biblical and liturgical readings associated with the High Holidays, from Rosh Hashanah to Simhat Torah. Based on a series of lectures given in Jerusalem at Matan - the Women's Institute for Torah Studies, and known as "The Hoshana Rabbah Lectures," Levy's readings of the traditional texts echo the natural and spiritual tenor of this season. Waiting for Rain joins the field of biblical interpretation known as parshanut ha-mikrah. It offers fresh insights into traditional rabbinic interpretation, together with the author's perspective as a modern Orthodox woman bible scholar. Levy explores the psyches of the biblical characters and addresses issues such as our connectedness to others, the tragedy of wasted opportunity, confronting evil, the denial of death, faith and doubt, personal and communal responsibility, universalism versus particularism, the challenge of leadership, sin and atonement, and the efficacy of prayer. The result is a highly personal approach to the meaning of the High Holidays that resonates with our own modern lives. Stories about heroes and heroines, love, faith, hope, and dreams make this book a moving and engaging source for study and reflection as well as an excellent companion to the traditional High Holiday prayer services. Dr. Bryna Jocheved Levy is one of the most esteemed Bible teachers in Israel and a leader in the movement for Torah studies for women. She was the first woman awarded a doctoral degree in biblical studies by Yeshiva University. Click the cover to read more.
Who's Who in the Jewish Bible
by David Mandel
November 2007, JPS Jewish Publication Society
In this fitting companion to the JPS Tanakh, David Mandel has undertaken the enormous task of cataloging every character in the Hebrew Bible. From Aaron to Zurishaddi, this comprehensive biographical dictionary gives readers the opportunity to get up close and personal with everyone named in the Bible--its patriarchs, matriarchs, and prophets, warriors and peacemakers, holy men and sinners, heroes and villains. Arranged in an encyclopedic A to Z format, Who's Who in the Jewish Bible is much more than a catalog of names. It contains detailed biographical information as well as fascinating facts and intriguing stories, written in a contemporary narrative style, about all the Bible's characters. Each entry also includes the origin and meaning of the name, the dates he or she lived (if known), and the person's first appearance in the Bible by book, chapter, and verse. Who's Who in the Jewish Bible is the most thorough and comprehensive book of its kind and an invaluable reference for students, teachers, rabbis, and anyone interested in knowing more about the people of the Hebrew Bible. Those who search for a name in the Bible, whether well-known or obscure, will be rewarded with well-organized information that will add new meaning and enjoyment to their reading. Click the cover to read more.
Rowing.... When you row, you move forward but you are looking behind...
by Anne Landsman
November 2007. Soho
Betsy Klein is summoned from her home in the United States to her father's hospital bed in South Africa. Betsy is estranged from her father. She is an artist, and he is a revered physician. Yet even though he is like a god to his patients, he feels jealous of his younger brother, a cardiologist. Orphaned young, the Jewish Harry Klein had to struggle to become a doctor and to win the respect of his Boer patients (as a Jew he was neither a White Boer nor a colored person). We first meet young Harold Klein on an excursion with his friends on the Ebb 'N Flow, a river to which he often returns. He was born in pre WW2 Germany, and he married a woman from a much more economically successful Jewish family. That is where he later teaches his little daughter to row, and finally, where he makes his last metaphoric passage. Click the book cover to read more.
For the Love of God and People
A PHILOSOPHY OF JEWISH LAW
BY RABBI ELLIOT DORFF
November 2007, JPS Jewish Publication Society
Every generation of Jews in every denomination of Judaism finds itself facing complex legal questions. The status of same-sex unions and the plight of the agunah (a woman who cannot obtain a divorce), are just two of a myriad of thorny questions Jewish legal experts grapple with today. These are not esoteric problems but issues with a profound impact on the daily happiness of countless people. How do the rabbis who draft responses to these questions reach their conclusions? What informs their decisions and their approach to Jewish law? Acclaimed writer and legal expert Elliot Dorff addresses these and other questions in this intelligent, accessible guide to the philosophy behind Jewish law. In his view, Jewish law is an expression of the love we have for God and for our fellow human beings. This theme permeates his discussion of important aspects of the law. For example, what motivates modern Jews to follow Jewish law? How does Jewish law strike the balance between continuity and change? On what grounds and under what circumstances do human beings have the authority to interpret or even change God's laws? Dorff also offers a systematic comparison of Jewish law and U.S. law, based on his course on this subject at UCLA School of Law. Whether you are a lawyer or simply interested in the philosophy behind recent rabbinic decisions, this is a book that will deepen your understanding of the Jewish legal system and its role in the modern world. Click the cover to read more.
PROUST WAS A NEUROSCIENTIST
By Jonah Lehrer
November 2007. Houghton Mifflin
Jonah Lehrer is an editor-at-large for Seed Magazine. He's written articles for Nature, New Scientist and the MIT Technology Review. After graduating from Columbia University in 2003 with a degree in neuroscience, Jonah spent the next two years studying 20th Century Literature and Theology at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship
From Publishers Weekly: With impressively clear prose, Lehrer explores the oft-overlooked places in literary history where novelists, poets and the occasional cookbook writer predicted scientific breakthroughs with their artistic insights. The 25-year-old Columbia graduate draws from his diverse background in lab work, science writing and fine cuisine to explain how Cézanne anticipated breakthroughs in the understanding of human sight, how Walt Whitman intuited the biological basis of thoughts and, in the title essay, how Proust penetrated the mysteries of memory by immersing himself in childhood recollections. Lehrer's writing peaks in the essay about Auguste Escoffier, the chef who essentially invented modern French cooking. The author's obvious zeal for the subject of food preparation leads him into enjoyable discussions of the creation of MSG and the decidedly unappetizing history of 18th- and 19th-century culinary arts. Occasionally, the science prose risks becoming exceedingly dry (as in the enthusiastic section detailing the work of Lehrer's former employer, neuroscientist Kausik Si), but the hard science is usually tempered by Lehrer's deft way with anecdote and example. Most importantly, this collection comes close to exemplifying Lehrer's stated goal of creating a unified third culture in which science and literature can co-exist as peaceful, complementary equals. Click the book cover to read more.
Allies for Armageddon
The Rise of Christian Zionism
by Victoria Clark
November 2007. Yale
Guided by a literal reading of the prophetic sections of the Bible, Christian Zionists are convinced that the world is hurtling toward a final Battle of Armageddon. They believe that war in the Middle East is God's will for the region. In this timely book, Victoria Clark first explores the 400-year history of this powerful political ideology, laying to rest the idea that Christian Zionism is a passing craze or the province of a lunatic fringe. Then Clark surveys the contemporary Christian Zionist scene in Israel and in the United States, where the influence of the religious fundamentalists has never been greater. Clark engages with Christian Zionism directly, interviewing leaders, attending events, and traveling with Christian Zionists in the Holy Land. She also investigates the Christian Zionist presence in Israel. She finds that the view through the Christian Zionist lens is dangerously simple: President Bush's War on Terror is a mythic battle between good and evil, and Syria and Iran represent the powers of darkness. Such views are far from rare-an estimated fifteen to twenty million Americans share them. Almost one in three Americans believes Israel was given to the Jews by God as a prelude to the Battle of Armageddon and Jesus' Second Coming. Clark concludes with an assessment of Christian Zionists' impact on American foreign policy in the Middle East and on America's relationships with European allies since the attacks of 9/11. Click the book cover to read more.
MANLESS IN MONTCLAIR
How a Happily Married Woman Became a Widow Looking for Love in the Wilds of Suburbia
by Amy Holman Edelman
November 2007. Crown
Amy Edelman was 43, married, 2 kids, living in the suburbs, and working part time in PR, when her husband died. After mourning she began to date and date. She even initiated a contest among friends (and readers of The Ny Daily News) that involved winning a $3000 trip for two for anyone who set her up with the man she would marry next. This was the kernel of the idea for this novel. In this story, Isabel Ackerman, 41, goes to the dentist for teeth whitening and leaves her husband at home with a headache. When she comes home, she finds her husband of 12 years dead on the floor. She sits shiva for 30 days and falls into a depression. But 18 months later, at the request of her daughter, she embarks on the dating life. The result is a warm and funny story. Click the book cover to read more.
By the way... Ms. Edelman's real wedding was covered in The New York Times on October 7, 2007. SPOILER SPOILER ALERT... ONLY READ THIS AFTER YOU RFINISH THE NOVEL OR IF YOU DO NOT INTEND TO READ IT... okay.. ready?? in real life.. Ms. Edelman got 800 responses to The Daily News story and answered all of them and dated four of them. It led to nothing; so she focused on her kids. A neighbor in her coop invited her to dinner with her bachelor brother and noticed that perhaps they would be good together. The neighbor then conspired to keep inviting Ms. Edelman to various dinner parties with various neighbors, but her brother was always there, too. Then the neighbor's bachelor brother moved into the coop, invited Ms. Edelman to a platonic dinner, and then made his intentions known in an elevator as Ms. Edelman held her doggie bag from dinner. He liked her without her extra mascara and other dating artifices. Her words to him in the elevator, "Well, at least you are a good kisser."
The Flying Camel and the Golden Hump
by Aharon Megged
November 2007. Toby Press
merciless literary critic may seem like a demonic figure to a writer anxiously awaiting the ultimate critical review of his work. Such is the plight of Kalman Keren, a writer who lives in an apartment building in Tel Aviv. When Keren notices Professor Shatz coming up the stairs of his building he almost goes into shock. Shatz is the hated literary critic who is every writer's nightmare, and now he and his wife have moved into the apartment above Keren's! Keren's last novel was highly acclaimed by other critics, yet Shatz wrote not a single word about it. This disregard was far worse for Keren than any possible criticism. Keren, familiar with French culture and busy translating François Rabelais' classics, Gargantua and Pantagruel, has a megalomaniac dream of writing the ultimate book, the masterpiece of all time. Only 22 pages have been written of the anticipated thousand page volume, but now that Shatz is disturbing Keren's nights with incessant banging on his typewriter, the author knows that he will no longer be able to write, and that he is doomed to suffer eternal writer's block. At least his love life takes an exciting turn. Keren, divorced, falls in love with Naomi, Professor Shatz's lovely wife, who it turns out, does love Keren's work: Sweet revenge! Naomi leaves her abusive husband to join Keren, and the two set off to celebrate their love in the countryside. Originally published as Ha-Gamal Ha-Meofef Ve- Dabeshet Ha-Zahav, this witty and intelligent satire of the writer-critic relationship is translated by Vivian Eden. Click the book cover to read more.
How to Spell hannukkah
How to Spell Chanukah
18 Writers on 8 Nights of Lights
by Emily Franklin
Algonquin Books November 2007
What a holiday. No pestilence, no slavery, no locusts, no cattle disease or atonement. synagogue, no guilt, no mortar, and no real lesson to be absorbed and passed down to my Jewish offspring. "Thank God," writes Joshua Braff, one of eighteen Jewish writers- Adam Langer, Tova Mirvis, Steve Almond, Peter Orner, and others-who extol, excoriate, and expand our understanding of this most merry of Jewish holidays and offer up nervy, irreverent, and, yes, even nostalgic takes on a holiday that has a special place in Jewish hearts . . . and stomachs. There are profound questions: "Chanukah unearths a debate that's been going on for centuries. Yes, I'm talking about potato latkes: grated or mashed?" (Amy Klein). There are confessions: "Perhaps here is where I should mention that my 100 percent Jewish father was-and remains-obsessed with Christmas" (Jennifer Gilmore); revelations: "Shocker of all shockers, the first Jewish governor in the United States was elected in . . . Idaho! Swear" (Jill Kkargman); and tender recollections: "You are reminded of your real gifts: a family who you get to come home to" (Laura Dave). And there's even a comic strip by Eric Orner, the mastermind behind Ethan Green. From the hilarious to the snarky, the poignant to the poetic, this collection proves there are as many ways to spell Chanukah as there are ways to celebrate it.
The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming
A Christmas Story
by Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brown (Illustrator)
McSweeney's, November 2007
Ages 4 - 8
Latkes are potato pancakes served at Hanukkah, and Lemony Snicket is an alleged children's author. For the first time in literary history, these two elements are combined in one book. A particularly irate latke is the star of The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming, but many other holiday icons appear and even speak: flashing colored lights, cane-shaped candy, a pine tree. Santa Claus is briefly discussed as well. The ending is happy, at least for some. People who are interested in any or all of these things will find this book so enjoyable it will feel as though Hanukkah were being celebrated for several years, rather than eight nights.
In the spirit of the runaway matzo ball, latka, pancake, ginger bread man, etc etc
by Leslea Newman with Kyrsten Brooker, Illustrator
November 2007 Square Fish reprint from 2002 edition
Ages 4 - 8
Set to the cadences of "The Night Before Christmas" ("Twas the first night of Chanukah and on the fifth floor/ There was holiday bustling and bustling galore"), Newman's (Matzo Ball Moon) verse narrative describes a runaway dreidel that finds a home in the night sky. The chief virtue of this forgettable tale may be its having occasioned more of Brooker's (Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street) idiosyncratic mixed-media art, oil paintings into which she seamlessly applies cut-paper photo elements. Everything in these illustrations is affectionately skewed, from the slightly oversize heads of the characters to the Brooklynesque street scenes occasioned by the boy narrator's pursuit of the toy. The dynamically dizzy world happily challenges readers to stay on their toes. Ages 4-8.
by Deborah Da Costa and Gosia Mosz
Kar Ben Books September 2007
Ages 6 - 10
When Isobel is invited to Aunt Luisa's for Hanukkah, she's not sure what to expect. Aunt Luisa has recently arrived from Mexico. "At Aunt Luisa's you'll get to celebrate the Hanukkah Moon," Isobel's father promises. Isobel's days at Aunt Luisa's are filled with fun and surprises - a new camera, a dreidel pińata filled with sweets, and a mysterious late night visit to welcome the luna nueva, the new moon that appears on Hanukkah.
An unusual Hanukkah story with a multi-cultural focus, this title celebrates a little-known custom of the Latin-Jewish community.
The Golden Dreydl
by Ellen Kushner and Ilene Winn-Lederer
June 2007, Charlesbridge
Sara finds Chanukah celebrations boring. When her Tante Miriam arrives and gives her a Golden Dreydl, everything changes. The dreydl, an enchanted princess in disguise, takes Sara on a journey to a magical world. When the princess is taken by the Demon King, who possesses the power of the Tree of Life, it is Sara who must use her wit to save the princess and return her to her parents -- King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. A delightful holiday tale that weaves together threads of Jewish folklore and tradition with fantasy and humor.
Eight Wild Nights
A Family Hanukkah Tale
by Brian P. Cleary. illustrated by David Udovic
Kar Ben Books August 2006
Ages 5 - 10
With humor and rhyme, a Jewish family celebrates and survives the eight days of Hanukkah. Every family will relate to this roller coaster of joys and adventures as an assortment of relatives and friends descend on the household. During the eight days of Hanukkah, a family celebrates with a wide circle of family and friends in this rollicking story. Using clever and catchy rhymes, Cleary tells of a holiday filled with food, stories, mishaps and fun. A dog drools and sheds, Grandpa Dave teaches the kids to play poker, a cousin melts the gelt in an old VCR, and Uncle Morris shows up with seventeen new step-cousins. It's enough to make anyone crazy, but somehow all the tumult just adds to the fun, and Hanukkah has never been so exciting. Udovic's exuberant illustrations are highly expressive and convey the joyous nature of the holiday. An introduction briefly tells the story of Hanukkah and describes how it is celebrated.
A Sydney Taylor Award Notable Book of 2007
Best Hanukkah Ever
by Barbara Diamond Goldin with Avi Katz
November 2007, Cavendish
Ages 4 - 8
A family gives each other humorous gifts when it misunderstands the rabbi's advice. Ages 4-8.
The Victory Gardens of Brooklyn
by Merrill Joan Gerber
November 2007. Syracuse University Press
In The Victory Gardens of Brooklyn, Merrill Joan Gerber, so often applauded for her pure and natural prose, illuminates the sorrows and triumphs of three generations of sisters from an American Jewish family. Rachel and Rose, who come to America from Poland, discover their fates in New York's Lower East Side, where "the streets are paved with gold." Rachel's daughters, Ava, Musetta, and Gilda, live the passionate drama of their family's destiny while the world fights two wars. In war and peace the men they love, their husbands and sons, bring them both ecstasy and bitter grief. Musetta's daughters, Issa and Iris, bring the story to its poignant close at the end of World War II. With a delicate touch yet piercing insight, Gerber explores the yearnings, loves, and struggles of women who try to adapt the Jewish rituals of the "old country" to the requirements of the new world. Ava marries young to escape the wrath of her stepfather, while his favorite daughters, Musetta and Gilda, begin a battle of wills that will last a lifetime. Musetta, beautiful but troubled by jealousies and anger, taunts shy and delicate Gilda, who is anguished that the man destined to marry her falls in love with her sister. In this epic tale, Gerber's unerring pen explores, with forthrightness and compassion, a mosaic of family life in all its entanglements, revelations, and victories. Click the book cover to read more.
A Table for One
Under the Light of Jerusalem
by Aharon Appelfeld
November 2007. Toby Press
A Table for One is a memoir of Aharon Appelfeld's city, Jerusalem. It brings forth an unknown side of Appelfeld's writing as he reveals the centrality of Jerusalem in his life and work. We discover that his "city of light" proved to be far more than a shelter and the place where Appelfeld came of age and spent his adult life: it became his inspiration-the quarry of his imagination. A Table for One is set in the intimate Jerusalem cafés of the 1950s and 1960s, where the scent of fresh roasted coffee and cigarette smoke wafted in with the elan of a lost European culture. Appelfeld found that it was only in a cafe-only in a Jerusalem cafe-that he could write his novels, shaping meaning and wholeness out of the fragments of his painful past. Translated by Aloma Halter from the original Hebrew Od Hayom Gadol ("It Is Yet High Day"). Click the book cover to read more.
by E. Katz Silvers
November 2007. Devora Press
Sondra Afelbaum and her cousin, Howie, are among the few Jews in Lincoln, the small, Kansas town where they live. The feeling of being different is only intensified for Sondra when she is eleven years old and discovers that her mother, Helga, was a concentration camp survivor. After this revelation Sondra and Howie learn the story of how the Torah scroll they use for the small services in Lincoln was rescued by Oscar's brother following Krystal Nacht. They are chagrined to learn that a second scroll was also rescued and then later lost. The two cousins make a childish pact to travel to Europe and find the missing Sefer Torah when they are older. As Howie is increasingly pulled into the social scene in high school, Sondra's strong Jewish roots keep her from feeling like one of the crowd. Only after she joins the drama group does she begins to feel like a normal teenager. However, her parents do not permit her to go to the Winter Prom with a non-Jewish boy. Instead, she is sent to her cousins in Kansas City for the weekend. It is there that she meets the cantor's daughter, joins the youth group, and sets her feet on the path to Torah observance. Click the book cover to read more.
Candy in Action
by Matthue Roth
November 28 2007. Soft Skull Press
Young Adult novel
Candy Resnick is just the girl next door - if the girl next door happens to be a college freshman and part-time model with a wicked sense of humor. She and her best friend Velma jaunt around the world, flirt with rock stars and power brokers, and party in countries that don't know the meaning of the word. All that changes one night, however, when Candy turns down a dinner invitation from the rich and powerful Preston Reign. Suddenly, she finds herself being stalked by a guy who never takes "no" for an answer. Drawn into his web and lacking direction for the first time in her life, Candy is on the run. Dodging bullets, blowing up buildings, being chased through exotic cities, she fights back with the only weapons she has: Velma, her natural wit, and her stiletto heels. Candy in Action is a hilarious novel with a serious message about the lonely side of being popular and the importance of standing your ground. Click the book cover to read more.
A MYSTERY NOVEL
BY GABRIEL COHEN
November 2007. Thomas Dunne St Martins
From Publishers Weekly: Death and recovery consume Det. Jack Leightner in his second appearance and validate the praise Cohen received for Red Hook (2001). Winter is settling over New York harbor and a small coffin containing the body of a boy floats off a Red Hook pier. The box was assembled without nails and the corpse treated carefully. But by whom? Jack is temporarily assigned to his old Brooklyn neighborhood, once the hub of a thriving shipping industry, now decrepit but on the brink of gentrification. Tommy Balfa, the other officer on the case, leaves Jack alone except for favors he can call in. Oddly, Jack welcomes this challenge as a distraction from personal problems such as his repeated failure to propose to his magnificent girlfriend, even though working in Red Hook brings up his guilt over his brother's death when they were kids on the streets. Cohen offers not just a mystery but a satisfying elegy for vanished ways of life. Click the book cover to read more.
532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family
by Judy Bart Kancigor
November 2007. Workman Publishing
Got kugel? Got Kugel with Toffee Walnuts? Now you do. Here's the real homemade Gefilte Fish - and also Salmon en Papillote. Grandma Sera Fritkin's Russian Brisket and Hazelnut-Crusted Rack of Lamb. Aunt Irene's traditional matzoh balls and Judy's contemporary version with shiitake mushrooms. Cooking Jewish gathers recipes from five generations of a food-obsessed family into a celebratory saga of cousins and kasha, Passover feasts - the holiday has its own chapter - and crossover dishes. And for all cooks who love to get together for coffee and a little something, dozens and dozens of desserts: pies, cakes, cookies, bars, and a multitude of cheesecakes; Rugelach and Hamantaschen, Mandelbrot and Sufganyot (Hanukkah jelly doughnuts). Not to mention Tanta Esther Gittel's Husband's Second Wife Lena's Nut Cake. Blending the recipes with over 160 stories from the Rabinowitz family-by the end of the book you'll have gotten to know the whole wacky clan-and illustrated throughout with more than 500 photographs reaching back to the 19th century, Cooking Jewish invites the reader not just into the kitchen, but into a vibrant world of family and friends. Written and recipe-tested by Judy Bart Kancigor, a food journalist with the Orange County Register, who self-published her first family cookbook as a gift and then went on to sell 11,000 copies, here are 532 recipes from her extended family of outstanding cooks, including the best chicken soup ever - really! - from her mother, Lillian. (Or as the author says, "When you write your cookbook, you can say your mother's is the best.")
Every recipe, a joy in the belly. Click the book cover to read more.
UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY OF MY JEWISH FATHER'S NAZI BOYHOOD
BY MARK KURZEM
November 2007. Viking
As a boy growing up in Melbourne, Mark Kurzem loved his father's stories. Alex Kurzem told wonderful, lyrical tales, stories about the time he joined the circus and became the elephant boy, stories about the outback. But there was one story he never told. For more than 50 years, Alex Kurzem kept a terrible story inside him, a secret from even his own family. He had resolved to take this secret with him to his death. Mark's father decided to speak out only after the 50th anniversary of the Second World War and having survived a frightening health scare. His father in Melbourne was watching a tv show about World War II survivors. He turned to Mark and said, "You know, Mark, I have a story, too."
Alex Kurzem was born in a small village in Belarus, and as a boy he and his mother were rounded up by the Nazis for execution. The five-year-old escaped and for months lived by himself, sleeping rough in the woods and begging for food. AS A FIVE YEAR OLD, he stole clothes off dead soldiers. He was caught again and taken to a school where children were being rounded up to be shot. One Nazi soldier took pity on the boy and, given that he didn't look Jewish, adopted him as a kind of mascot for the army unit. They dressed the little "corporal" in a uniform and toted him from massacre to massacre. Terrified, the resourceful Alex charmed the highest echelons of the Latvian Third Reich, eventually starring in a Nazi propaganda film. Towards the end of the war Alex was taken from the soldiers and sent to live with a wealthy Latvian family. He became a kind of poster boy for Aryan youth and was even used in a Nazi propaganda film. After the war, the Latvian family migrated to Australia and Alex grew up as a member of their tight-knit community.
Alex kept the secret of his childhood, even from his loving wife and children. But he grew increasingly tormented and became determined to uncover his Jewish roots and the story of his past. Shunned by a local Holocaust organization, he reached out to his son Mark for help in reclaiming his identity. A survival story, a grim fairy-tale, and a psychological drama, this remarkable memoir asks provocative questions about identity, complicity, and forgiveness. It took Mark and his father more than six years to piece together this story. All they had to go on was a couple of words his father remembered and a few images of his early childhood.
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WELL.. I MEAN.. YOU JUST KNEW THAT ALL THOSE XMAS SONGS WERE PRODUCED BY A JEWISH GUY..
Rudolph, Frosty, and Captain Kangaroo
The Musical Life of Hecky Krasnow
Producer of the World's Most Beloved Children's Songs
by Judy Gail Krasnow (his daughter)
November 2007. Santa Monica Press
Childhood memories and well-researched facts are combined in this memoir by the daughter of Hecky Krasnow, the Columbia Records producer of such classic children's songs as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, "Frosty the Snowman," "The Captain Kangaroo March," "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," and "Smokey the Bear." Set against the dramatic backdrop of McCarthyism, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the birth of television and rock 'n' roll, this book explores the life of a progressive musical genius and details the fascinating children's entertainment industry, one of the biggest businesses of the mid-20th century. It is rich in never-before-told anecdotes about Hecky's work and friendships with celebrities including Gene Autry, Rosemary Clooney, Burl Ives, Art Carney, Captain Kangaroo, and Nina Simone. The book shows how television and rock 'n' roll forever altered how we view children and, therefore, what we offer them as entertainment.
Some people will get irritated that the author has lots of conversations in quotes, which would be impossible for her to know verbatim. Also she relates how her father discussed beatniks (but years before the word was coined in 1958). Also, the author slips up on some names or uses the word coupe instead of coup, but overall these are monior issues, and what is important is the general gyst of the history of these children's songs. Click the book cover to read more.
How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, ... Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way
Edited by Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom
November 27, 2007. FS&G
"I've been described as a tough and noisy woman, a prize fighter, a man-hater, you name it. They call me Battling Bella, Mother Courage, and a Jewish mother with more complaints than Portnoy. There are those who say I'm impatient, impetuous, uppity, rude, profane, brash, and overbearing. Whether I'm any of those things, or all of them, you can decide for yourself. But whatever I am--and this ought to made very clear--I am a very serious woman."
For more than fifty years, Bella Abzug championed the powerless and disenfranchised, as an activist, congresswoman, and leader in every major social initiative of her time-from Zionism and labor in the 40s to the ban-the-bomb efforts in the 50s, to civil rights and the anti-Vietnam War movements of the 60s, to the women's movement in the 70s and 80s, to enviromnemtal awareness and economic equality in the 90s. Her political idealism never waning, Abzug gave her final public speech before the U.N. in March 1998, just a few weeks before her death. Presented in the voices of both friends and foes, of those who knew, fought with, revered, and struggled alongside her, this oral biography will be the first comprehensive account of a woman who was one of our most influential leaders.
"Stumped about what to do in this messed up world? Just get to know Bella Abzug, one of the most important activists of the twentieth century. By gathering the reminiscences of people who lived their personal and political lives right along with her-and sometimes had the courage to break the rules alongside her too-the authors have created a memoir in many voices that captures the suspense, humor, and contradictions of this great woman. Read this book and then ask yourself, What would Bella do?"-Gloria Steinem
"I couldn't stand the screaming," historian Amy Swerdlow remembers about Bella Abzug. "She was just so aggressive -- assertive doesn't do it -- aggressive and carrying on." That from Gloria Steinem. Journalist Doug Ireland recalls "those volcanic eruptions of Abzugian temper." "She got so angry that she punched me," colleague Ronnie
Eldridge reports, "on Fifth Avenue in front of De Pina's. That was the only time she ever really hit me." This is how the feminist congresswoman's friends, the ones who stayed loyal to her all her life, remember her. Abzug was born in the Bronx of Russian Jewish immigrants who told Bella and her sister they could do anything they wanted when they grew
up, and Bella took this seriously. She raised money for the Zionist state-to-be when she was just a little kid, trolling the subways with a Mason jar. When her father died, she went to the synagogue every day for a year to say Kaddish. Except that only guys are supposed to do that, and she was a girl, and only 12. She went on to Hunter College, where she excelled, and then to Columbia Law School -- one of the first women to be admitted there....
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The Moscow Jewish Avant-Garde Theatre
by Benjamin Harshav with Barbara Harshav
December 2007. Yale
The Moscow Yiddish Theater (later called GOSET) was born in 1919 and almost immediately became one of the most remarkable avant-garde theaters in Europe. It flourished in the 1920s but under Bolshevik pressure soon lost much of the originality that had distinguished it. In 1948 Stalin's henchmen slaughtered GOSET's legendary actor and director Solomon Mikhoels, and the theater was liquidated. This book focuses not on how the theater was persecuted but on its ambitious beginnings as a revolutionary organization of passionate artistic exploration. The book brings to English readers for the first time selected writings that reflect the aesthetics and politics of the Yiddish revolutionary theater. The book also incorporates miraculously salvaged images of Marc Chagall's famous theater murals, as well as paintings of costumes and stage sets created by the best artists of the day. These illustrations, discovered only after the fall of the Soviet Union, have never been published before. With emphasis on the theater's early achievements and its centrality in Moscow's burgeoning theater world, the book makes a major contribution to the understanding of modern Jewish culture and the art of theater. Benjamin Harshav is professor of comparative literature, J. & H. Blaustein Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature, and professor of Slavic languages and literatures, Yale University.. Click the book cover to read more.
A Women's Commentary
by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi
December 2007. URJ Press
With More than 10,000 pre-ordered, The Torah: A Women's Commentary is on track to become the most popular Torah Commentary of 2008. This Highly anticipated work is finally here after 14 years of planning, research, and fundraising. At the 39th Women of Reform Judaism Assembly in San Francisco, Cantor Sarah Sager challenged Women of Reform Judaism delegates to "imagine women feeling permitted, for the first time, feeling able, feeling legitimate in their study of Torah." WRJ accepted that challenge. The Torah: A Women's Commentary debuts at the Union for Reform Judaism 69th Biennial Convention in San Diego in December 2007. WRJ has commissioned the work of the world's leading Jewish female Bible scholars, rabbis, historians, philosophers and archaeologists. Their collective efforts will result in the first comprehensive commentary, authored only by women, on the Five Books of Moses, including individual Torah portions as well as the Hebrew and English translation.
"The Torah: A Women's Commentary" presents five forms of commentary for each Torah portion. The Central Commentary contains the Hebrew text and a gender-accurate English translation, along with a verse-by-verse explanation of the biblical text, highlighting female characters and issues involving women. A shorter, "Another View" essay focuses on a specific element in the parsha in a way that complements, supplements or sometimes challenges the Central Commentary. The Post-Biblical Interpretations section gathers teachings from rabbinic writings and classical Jewish commentaries, showing how traditional Jewish sources responded to texts pertaining to women.
Take one brief example from Naomi Steinberg's Central Commentary in the parsha Vayigash. Steinberg observes that the story of the reconciliation of Joseph and his brothers "presents a study in the human capacity for lasting change" and the importance of forgiveness. How can we explain the transformation we witness in Judah? Steinberg answers this question by speculating on the effect of Judah's earlier encounter with his daughter-in-law Tamar, who deceived Judah in order to become pregnant. Steinberg writes: "While not mentioned in this parashah, Tamar has been a pivotal figure in Judah's own growth. Their encounter in Genesis 38 best accounts for Judah's new capacity to sympathize with his father."
In another parsha, the five daughters of Zelophehad in the Book of Numbers approach Moses, the leaders of the people, and the entire community. They draw near because they see a problem that needs a solution: they have not been given an inheritance that they believe is due to them. They refuse to be left out and demand their rightful share. And so they dare speak to Moses, the priest Eleazar, all the other leaders, and the entire edah (congregation or formally constituted assembly). They say: 'Give us a holding among our father's kin. Give us a share of our heritage, why should we be left out?' They get what they want a share, a large share I should add. Moreover, as a result of their courage, a new Torah law is created, one that intends to benefit future generations long after them. Their story is the story of the WRJ's The Torah: A Women's Commentary. The Women of Reform Judaism said: 'Give us a share among our brothers. We are no longer willing to be left out.' Instead of land, WRJ asks for something even more enduring - 'Give us a share of our Torah.' The result is a Torah commentary that we trust will benefit all of us. With this commentary we will continue as sisters to empower the women - and men - who come after us for generations to come."
The Torah: A Women's Commentary will finally give dimension to the women's voices in our tradition. Under Editor Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi's skillful leadership, this commentary will provide insight and inspiration for all who study Torah: men and women, Jew and non-Jew. As Dr. Eskenazi has eloquently stated, "we want to bring the women of the Torah from the shadow into the limelight, from their silences into speech, from the margins to which they have often been relegated to the center of the page - for their sake, for our sake and for our children's sake." This is wonderful rendition of our most sacred text, the Women's Commentary will bring a fresh perspective to our people's story. It will be an extraordinary resource that will prove both useful and meaningful to all - men and women alike - who delve into its pages."
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DOUBLE TAKE. YIKES
YES, I KNOW
YOU THOUGHT IT SAID TORAH IS FOR DUMMIES
WHEW... WE WERE CONFUSED
THE TORAH FOR DUMMIES
Edited by Arthur Kurzweil
December 2007. Wiley For Dummies Series
An easy-to-understand introduction to Judaism's most sacred text. The foundation of Hebrew and Jewish religion, thought, law, and society is the Torah-the parchment scroll containing the text of the Five Books of Moses that is located in every synagogue. This accessible guide explains the Torah in clear language, even to those who were not raised in the Jewish religious tradition. Christians who want to know more about the Jewish roots of Christianity need to understand the Torah, as do followers of Islamic tradition and those interested in the roots of Abrahamic faiths. The Torah For Dummies explains the history of the Torah, its structure and major principles, and how the Torah affects the daily lives of people who follow the Jewish way of life. Click the book cover to read more.
An Ordinary Spy
by Joseph Weisberg
December 2007. Bloomsbury USA
Joseph Weisberg captured 10th grade so well in his previous novel, TENTH GRADE. Now, as a former CIA case officer, he has written about what he knows again. This novel is about two embattled Enron-generation spies who go to extraordinary lengths to keep their informants out of harm's way, published as if it was vetted and redacted by the agency itself. Sure... the black marked omissions get irritating after the first chapter... but the novel is worth this minor inconvenience. Here is the story synopsis. Mark Ruttenberg may not be fit for the CIA. Early in his tenure with the agency, he learns about a former operative, Bobby Goldstein, and becomes curious about the case that led to his termination. Before he can get to the bottom of what happened, however, he's shipped off to [*** REDACTED*** ], where he hobnobs with foreign diplomats and informants, who have access to [*** REDACTED***] information and contacts like the powerful General [*** REDACTED***], in the hopes of recruiting them as agents. But, when he falls for the wrong woman, he's quickly sent back to [*** REDACTED***], with nothing to show for his secretive work but a mysterious postcard with an unknown address on it. Who sent the postcard, and where is it supposed to lead him? Could this all be an ops test, with Mark's future hanging in the balance? Soon, he'll have to decide if righting an old wrong is worth taking a terrible and very personal risk. Published with redacted material throughout the novel, An Ordinary Spy is a riveting and dramatic portrait of modern espionage, filled with suspense, intrigue, and betrayal. Click the book cover to read more.
by Jean-Marie Lustiger, Cardinal of the Catholic Church
December 2007. Eerdmans
The late Jewish born French Cardinal shares his thoughts. Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who was born to Polish Jews, converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of 13, and rose to become leader of the French church and an adviser to Pope John Paul II, died on August 5, 2007, prior to the publication of this book. Cardinal Lustiger (pronounced Li sti ZHAY), whose mother died in a Nazi concentration camp and who always insisted that he had remained a Jew after his conversion, was 80 years old He led France's 45 million Catholics for almost a 25 years and there was talk that he would one day be a modern day Jewish-born Pope. Cardinal Lustiger was involved in efforts to close a divide between Jews and Christians over the presence of a convent at the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where his mother had perished. His assertions that he had remained a Jew despite his conversion drew outcries from some Jewish leaders. He saw himself like an early Christian, a Jewish Christian, who as a child was made to wear a yellow Star of David during the Nazi occupation of Vichy Paris. His birth name was Aaron Lustiger. fter the German occupation of France in 1940, Aaron was sent with his sister, Arlette, to live with a Catholic woman in Orléans, where the children were exposed to Catholicism and where, against the wishes of his parents, he decided to convert. He was baptized in August 1940, adding the name Jean-Marie to Aaron. His sister was baptized later. In September 1942, their mother was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she died in 1943; the father survived the war, returning to Paris, where he died in 1982. Until 1959, Cardinal Lustiger was student chaplain at the Sorbonne, and for the next 10 years director of the Richelieu Center, which trained chaplains for French universities. In 1969, he was appointed pastor of Ste. Jeanne de Chantal, in the 16th Arrondissement, one of Paris's wealthier neighborhoods. He transformed the parish, perhaps a model of the complacency the pope feared, into one of the archdiocese's most active. Cardinal Lustiger appeared to have undergone a spiritual crisis in the late 1970s, when he considered leaving France for Israel. "I had started to learn Hebrew, by myself, with cassettes," he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 1981. "Does that seem absurd, making your aliyah?" he said, referring to a Jew's return to Israel. "I thought then that I had finished what I had to do here, that I was at a crossroads." Then, in a surprise appointment, he was made bishop of Orléans, the city where he had been baptized. The pope appointed him archbishop of Paris in January 1981, In an early interview as archbishop, he said: "I was born Jewish, and so I remain, even if that is unacceptable for many. For me, the vocation of Israel is bringing light to the goyim. That is my hope, and I believe that Christianity is the means for achieving it."
Reactions to his appointment were sharp. A former chief rabbi of Paris, Meyer Jays, told an interviewer that "a Jew becoming a Christian does not take up authentic Judaism, but turns his back to it." In 1983, he was made a cardinal.
Countering those who said that European youth were not receptive to religion, Cardinal Lustiger in 1997 organized a World Youth Day, which was held in Paris and attended by more than a million people, including John Paul.In 1984,
Roman Catholic prelates, including Cardinal Lustiger, and representatives of Jewish organizations worked out an agreement to move the convent in Auschwitz, but the plan was thrown into doubt in 1989 when Cardinal Jozef Glemp of Poland ruled out a move. Cardinal Lustiger pressed John Paul to intervene, and in 1993 the pope ordered the Carmelites to move, resolving the crisis. In 1995, while he was visiting Israel, Yisrael Meir Lau, the Ashkenazic chief rabbi and a concentration camp survivor, said Cardinal Lustiger had "betrayed his people and his faith during the most difficult and darkest of periods" in the 1940s. The rabbi dismissed the assertion that the cardinal had remained a Jew.
In response, the cardinal said: "To say that I am no longer a Jew is like denying my father and mother, my grandfathers and grandmothers. I am as Jewish as all the other members of my family who were butchered in Auschwitz or in the other camps." Asked by a Jewish friend over dinner whether he thought he might become pope, the cardinal responded in French-accented Yiddish, "From your mouth to God's ear." This is his memoir. Click the book cover to read more.
You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right
Finding Faith Without Fanaticism
by Brad Hirschfield
December 2007. Random House
Joseph Telushkin says of this book: "'Through you all the families of the earth will be blessed,' God says to Abraham in the Bible. Yet, for so much of history, the different religions have often turned the hardest of hearts to those who don't accept all their teachings. Brad Hirschfield brings a unique understanding-forged in years of theological study and personal interreligious dialogues-of where so many great faiths have gone wrong, and what can be done to guarantee that the blessing God bestowed on Abraham can, after almost four thousand years, finally be achieved."
"We live in a world," says Brad Hirschfield, "where religion is killing more people than at any time since the Crusades." And when it comes to fanaticism, Hirschfield is not speaking abstractly; he once embraced it. As a young man in the early 1980s, he left his family's upscale North Shore Chicago neighborhood for the West Bank city of Hebron, where he joined a group of settlers who were committed to reconstituting the Jewish state within its biblical borders. He carried a gun and, on one occasion, used it. He still doesn't know if his bullets found their mark.
Now, Hirschfield has renounced all such rigid delineations of people into categories of totally right and totally wrong, entirely good and entirely evil. He seeks to build bridges among people of different faiths-and those with no faith at all. He is devoted to teaching inclusiveness, celebrating diversity, and delivering a message of acceptance-not as feel-good pabulum but as forceful and indispensable antidotes to the blind passions and willful ignorance that threaten us all. Grounded in biblical scholarship and interwoven with personal stories, You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right provides a pragmatic path to peace, understanding, and hope that appeals to the common wisdom of all religions. Pointing the way through the continuum of conflict, Hirschfield addresses: the ways faith has many faces; how justice can coexist with forgiveness and mercy; how unity does not necessitate uniformity; the ways we can learn to disagree without disconnecting. Though conflict is an inevitable part of life-a function of being connected to one another-Hirschfield is a voice of peace and reconciliation, showing us that conflict is also an opportunity to learn and grow and often to grow closer. Click the book cover to read more.
FOR ALL THOSE WHO WANT TO MAKE A JEWISH DOCUMENTARY FILM...
Making Documentary Films and Videos
A Practical Guide to Planning, Filming, and Editing Documentaries
by Barry Hampe
December 2007. Holt
The second edition of Making Documentary Films and Videos fully updates the popular guidebook that has given readers around the world the knowledge and confidence to produce their first documentary film. It traces two main approaches-recording behavior and re-creating past events-and shows you how to be successful at each. Covering all the steps from concept to completion, with chapters on visual evidence; documentary ethics; writing for documentaries; budgeting; assembling a crew; film and sound recording; casting and directing actors and nonactors; and editing for the audience, this book can help you successfully bring to life the documentary you want to make.
The second edition includes a discussion of truth, "reality," and honesty in the current
filmmaking environment; new advice on how to get started in documentary filmmaking; an expanded section on researching and writing the proposal, treatment, and script; and an exhaustive list of resources. Click the book cover to read more.
A GREAT HANUKAH GIFT...
The Reverend Guppy's Aquarium
From Joseph Frisbie to Roy Jacuzzi,
How Everyday Items Were Named for Extraordinary People
by Philip Dodd
December 2007. Gotham
I truly enjoy these types of books. Here are the BEST stories on how certain items got their names. Some are so interesting, and entertaining. Twenty people who have been immortalised as objects - heroes of the English language like Adolphe Sax(ophone), Joseph P. Frisbie, László Biró (ballpoint pen), Mercédčs Jellinek and Etienne de Silhouette, as well as the aerial swinger Jules Leotard, Roy Jacuzzi, Reverend Guppy, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, Anton Mesmer (he was mesmerizing and a quack, I guess he was more like a Momser), Oscar and Tony(Antoinette) for whom statues are named, Bougainville, Dahl(ia), Freese, Fuchs(hia), Magnol(ia), and the Jewish OB-GYN Dr. Ernst Grafenberg (Grafenberg-Spot, or G-Spot), Alois Alzheimer, Georges Gilles de la Tourette, Hans Asperger; Harry Fox(trot); and more are discussed in this book. Click the book cover to read more.
THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS
One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
by Eric Weiner
December 2007. Twelve
Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness." The book uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. Are people in Switzerland happier because it is the most democratic country in the world? Do citizens of Singapore benefit psychologically by having their options limited by the government? Is the King of Bhutan a visionary for his initiative to calculate Gross National Happiness? Why is Asheville, North Carolina so damn happy? With engaging wit and surprising insights, Eric Weiner (pronounced whiner) answers those questions and many others, offering travelers of all moods some interesting new ideas for sunnier destinations and dispositions. Click the book cover to read more.
by Ron Leshem with Evan Fallenberg (Translator)
December 2007. Delacorte
The Israeli novel which is now a controversial award winning Israeli film. By turns subversive and darkly comic, brutal and tender, Ron Leshem's debut novel is an international literary sensation, winner of Israel's top award for literature and the basis for a prizewinning film. Charged with brilliance and daring, hypnotic in its intensity, Beaufort is at once a searing coming-of-age story and a novel for our times-one of the most powerful, visceral portraits of the horror, camaraderie, and absurdity of war in modern fiction.
Beaufort. To the handful of Israeli soldiers occupying the ancient crusader fortress, it is a little slice of hell-a forbidding, fear-soaked enclave perched atop two acres of land in southern Lebanon, surrounded by an enemy they cannot see. And to the thirteen young men in his command, Twenty-one-year-old Lieutenant Liraz "Erez" Liberti is a taskmaster, confessor, and the only hope in the face of attacks that come out of nowhere and missions seemingly designed to get them all killed.
All around them, tension crackles in the air. Long stretches of boredom and black humor are punctuated by flashes of terror. And the threat of death is constant. But in their stony haven, Erez and his soldiers have created their own little world, their own rules, their own language. And here Erez listens to his men build castles out of words, telling stories, telling lies, talking incessantly of women, sex, and dead comrades. Until, in the final days of the occupation, Erez and his squad of fed-up, pissed-off, frightened young soldiers are given one last order: a mission that will shatter all remaining illusions-and stand as a testament to the universal, gut-wrenching futility of war. Click the book cover to read more.
A novel by Evan Fallenberg
December 27, 2007. SOHO
Twenty years have passed since Joseph left behind his entire life-his wife Rebecca, his five sons, his father, and the religious Israeli farming community where he grew up (sde Hirsch)-when he fell in love with a man, the genius rabbi Yoel Rosenzweig. If only their love was like the symbiotic harmony of yowl and Torah, or a bee and an orchid's pollen. Their affair is long over, but its echoes continue to reverberate through the lives of Joseph, Rebecca, and their sons in ways that none of them could have predicted. Now, for his 50th birthday, Joseph is preparing to have his five sons and the daughter-in-law he has never met spend Shabbat with him in the Tel Aviv penthouse that he shares with a man (who is conveniently out of town that weekend.) This will be the first time Joseph and all his sons will be together in nearly two decades.
Some of his sons have become fervently religious, another is completely secular, and their feelings toward their father range from acceptance to bitter resentment. As they prepare for this reunion, Joseph, his sons, and even Rebecca, must confront what was, what is, and what could have been.
The author, Evan Fallenberg, the father of two, hails from Cleveland. A grad of the Walsh School at Georgetown, he has lived in Israel for over 20 years. He has translated the works of Batya Gur and Meir Shalev. Click the book cover to read more.
A Tall Girl's Adventures In Japan
by Aimee Major Steinberger
December 2007. Go!
Join Aimee Major Steinberger on the ultimate fangirl vacation in Japan! This rapid-fire adventure is full of everything fans dream of seeing: cosplay on the infamous Harajuku Street, fantasy restaurants, maid cafes, Tokyo's largest doll store, beautiful shrines, bookstores full of manga, outrageous all-female Takarazuka musicals, cherry festivals, hot springs, special ceremonies, and so much more. Click the book cover to read more.
The Wagner Clan
The Saga of Germany's Most Illustrious and Infamous Family
by Jonathan Carr
December 2007. Atlantic Monthly
A family saga as riveting as any opera, and a matchless mirror of Germany's rise, fall, and resurrection. Richard Wagner was many things-composer, philosopher, philanderer, failed revolutionary, and virulent anti-Semite-and his descendants have carried on his complex legacy. Now, in The Wagner Clan, biographer Jonathan Carr retraces the path of the renowned composer and his descendants. Along the way, Carr offers glimpses of Franz Liszt (whose illegitimate daughter Cosima married Wagner) (Cosima was an even bigger Jew hater); Friedrich Nietzsche; Arthur Schopenhauer; Alberto Toscanini; Joseph Goebbels; Hermann Göring; and the "Wolf" himself, Adolf Hitler, a passionate fan of the Master's music and an adopted uncle to Wagner's grandchildren. Wagner's British-born daughter-in-law, Winifred, was a close friend of Hitler's and seemed momentarily positioned to marry him after the death of her husband. All through the war the Bayreuth Festival, begun by the Master himself, was supported by Hitler, who had to fill out the meager audience with fighting men and SS officers. After the war, the festival was dark for a decade until Wagner's offspring-with characteristic ambition and cunning-revived it. Click the book cover to read more.
The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions
A Philosophical Adventure with the World's Greatest Thinkers
by Nicholas Fearn
From Publishers Weekly: From Plato to Colin McGinn, thinkers have addressed the same set of core questions, making philosophy an enduring human science through imagination and debate. This book-concisely organized into three parts titled "Who Am I?" "What Do I Know?" and "What Should I Do?"-reviews not just the latest work on these age-old questions, but also the journey between ancient and modern philosophy. But where the title promises adventure, the broad overview obscures the quirky characters and theories that give life to today's great ideas. Further, Fearn seems unable to decide what kind of narrator he wants to be: he'll appear suddenly out of synthetic prose to interview-or to fail to interview-one of his more than 30 subjects. One of his stranger encounters is with Jacques Derrida: "Although he is renowned for his charm, I am unable to give a personal account of Derrida since he declined to be interviewed, and woke me up with a phone call at 7:30 a.m. to tell me so." In this way, the book certainly has its moments, especially in the later chapters, but too often loses momentum.
January 1208,,, it seems lik ejust yesterday:
A Most Holy War
The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom
by Mark Gregory Pegg (Wash Univ of St Louis)
December 2007. Oxford
In January of 1208, a papal legate was murdered on the banks of the Rhone in southern France. A furious Pope Innocent III accused heretics of the crime and called upon all Christians to exterminate heresy between the Garonne and Rhone rivers--a vast region now known as Languedoc--in a great crusade. This most holy war, the first in which Christians were promised salvation for killing other Christians, lasted twenty bloody years--it was a long savage battle for the soul of Christendom. In A Most Holy War, historian Mark Pegg has produced a swift-moving, gripping narrative of this horrific crusade, drawing in part on thousands of testimonies collected by inquisitors in the years 1235 to 1245. These accounts of ordinary men and women, remembering what it was like to live through such brutal times, bring the story vividly to life. Pegg argues that generations of historians (and novelists) have misunderstood the crusade; they assumed it was a war against the Cathars, the most famous heretics of the Middle Ages. The Cathars, Pegg reveals, never existed. He further shows how a millennial fervor about "cleansing" the world of heresy, coupled with a fear that Christendom was being eaten away from within by heretics who looked no different than other Christians, made the battles, sieges, and massacres of the crusade almost apocalyptic in their cruel intensity. In responding to this fear with a holy genocidal war, Innocent III fundamentally changed how Western civilization dealt with individuals accused of corrupting society. This fundamental change, Pegg argues, led directly to the creation of the inquisition, the rise of an anti-Semitism dedicated to the violent elimination of Jews, and even the holy violence of the Reconquista in Spain and in the New World in the fifteenth century. All derive their divinely sanctioned slaughter from the Albigensian Crusade. Haunting and immersive, A Most Holy War opens an important new perspective on a truly pivotal moment in world history, a first and distant foreshadowing of the genocide and holy violence in the modern world.
The Jewish Messiah
by Arnon Grunberg with a translation by Sam Garrett
January 2008. Penguin
Arnon Yasha Yves (Arnon) Grünberg (born 1971) is a Dutch Jewish writer. Some of his books were written using the heteronym Marek van der Jagt. Grünberg made his literary debut in 1994 with the novel Blauwe maandagen (Blue Mondays), which won the Dutch prize for the best debut novel that year. In 2000, under the heteronym Marek van der Jagt, he won the best debut prize again for his novel De geschiedenis van mijn kaalheid (The Story of My Baldness). The Jewish Messiah is not about Judaism, nor about the Messiah nor about any of the political or historical entities that may be hidden, or referred to, in the book. It is about a young individual, Basel-resident Xavier Radek, grandson of a late SS-member. He needs a mission and, wanting to know more about Jewish suffering, decides to "console the Jews." He converts, and falls in love with a Jew man, Awromele. Xavier's almost fatal circumcision, performed by a half-blind dealer of kosher cheese, is described in some of Grünberg's most hilarious scenes. This book, together with the Van der Jagt works, confirms Grünbergs unique position within Dutch literature. An illustration of the sense of humour employed in the book is the name "King David" given to the testicle Radek lost (during his circumcision), which is worshipped when Radek is PM of Israel. It is a farce and a love story. Click the book cover to read more.
People of the Book
by Geraldine Brooks
January 2008. Viking
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding-an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair-she begins to unlock the book's mysteries. The reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book's journey from its salvation back to its creation. In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of fin-de-sičcle Vienna, the book becomes a pawn in the struggle against the city's rising anti-Semitism. In inquisition-era Venice, a Catholic priest saves it from burning. In Barcelona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text sees his family destroyed by the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadah's extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed. Hanna's investigation unexpectedly plunges her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics. Her experiences will test her belief in herself and the man she has come to love. Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is at once a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity, an ambitious, electrifying work by an acclaimed and beloved author. Click the book cover to read more.
By Evan Fallenberg
January 2008. Soho
Evan, a resident of Israel by way of Cleveland, is a graduate of the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown. But I have not held this against him, just because that school rejected me. And on to the book...
Twenty years have passed since Joseph left behind his entire life-his wife Rebecca, his five sons, his father, and the religious Israeli farming community where he grew up-when he fell in love with a man, the genius rabbi Yoel Rosenzweig. Their affair is long over, but its echoes continue to reverberate through the lives of Joseph, Rebecca, and their sons in ways that none of them could have predicted. Now, for his fiftieth birthday, Joseph is preparing to have his five sons and the daughter-in-law he has never met spend the Sabbath with him in the Tel Aviv penthouse that he shares with a man-who is conveniently out of town that weekend. This will be the first time Joseph and all his sons will be together in nearly two decades. The boys' lives have taken widely varying paths. While some have become extremely religious, another is completely cosmopolitan and secular, and their feelings toward their father range from acceptance to bitter resentment. As they prepare for this reunion, Joseph, his sons, and even Rebecca, must confront what was, what is, and what could have been. Click the book cover to read more.
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