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Welcome to our pages of Fall 2008 and Summer 2008 Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit


September 07, 2008: One Day Jewish University. Skirball in NYC $75
September 14-24, 2008: Jewish Literary Festival. Wash DC JCC
September 14, 2008: Jewish Literary Festival. Humor in Jewish Lit. Wash DC JCC
September 16, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. "A is for Abraham". Wash DC JCC
September 17, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Ilan Stavans reads from Resurrecting Hebrew. Wash DC JCC
September 17, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. "Camp Camp" with Roger Bennett. Wash DC JCC
September 18, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Peter Manseau and Janet Kirschenbaum read from their works Wash DC JCC
September 19, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Jacques Berlinerblau reads from "Thump It. The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Todays's Presidential Politics" Wash DC JCC
September 20, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Bernard-Henri Levy reads from Left in Dark Times. A Stand Against New Barbarism. Embassy of France, Washington DC 8PM
September 21, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Andrea Askowitz reads from My Miserable Lonely Lesbian Pregnancy Wash DC JCC
September 21, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Elisa Albert reads from The Book of Dahlia Wash DC JCC
September 21, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Darin Strauss reads from More Than It Hurts You Wash DC JCC
September 22, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Eileen Pollack reads from In The Mouth. Stories and Novellas. Wash DC JCC
September 23, 08: Heeb Magazine Storytelling. M Bar, Los Angeles, CA 7-10PM
September 23-24, 2008: NJDC Washington Conference., Wash DC
September 23, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Ronnie Fein reads from Hip Kosher Wash DC JCC
September 23, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Ariel Sabar reads from My Father's Paradise Wash DC JCC
September 24, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Masha Gessen reads from Blood Matters Wash DC JCC
September 24, 08: Jewish Literary Festival. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg reads from Big Man On Campus Wash DC JCC
September 24, 08: ANNE ROIPHE reads from EPILOGUE. B&N UWS NYC
September 25, 08: A J JACOBS reads from The Year of Living Biblically. B&N UWS NYC
September 27, 2008: National Book Festival, Washington DC. 72 WRITERS INCLUDING Ellen Birnbaum, Geraldine Brooks, Warren Brown, Laura Bush, Jenna Bush, Daniel Schorr, Nancy Schulman, Arthur and Pauline Frommer, Walter Isaacson, James McBride, Francine Prose, and more

October 23, 2008: Edgar M. Bronfman reads from Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Resistance. JCC NYC 7PM
October 23, 2008: Anne Roiphe on Bereshit at Skirball in NYC 7PM
October 27, 2008: 28th Annual Jewish Books Festival - Miami.
October 29, 2008: Is Religion Good For The world? Debate Between Christ Hitchens and Rabbi David Wolpe. Temple Emanu El, NYC
October 30, 2008: Samuel G. Freedman on Noah at Skirball in NYC 7PM

November 06, 2008: Stephen M. Cohen at Skirball in NYC 7PM
November 13, 2008: Thane Rosenbaum at Skirball in NYC 7PM
November 16, 2008: Jews Living in Islamic Lands. Rosenblatt Forum. Featuring Andre Aciman (Out of Egypt), Lucette Lagnado (The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit), Reza Aslan and more.
November 17, 2008: JANNA GUR of On The Table fame and author of THE BOOK OF NEW ISRAELI FOOD at Whole Food (Bowery/Houston), NYC 6:30 PM
November 20, 2008: Dr. Moshe Halbertal (Hebrew Univ) on "Who is my Neighbor?" at Skirball in NYC 7PM (it would be great to see him in discussion with Rabbi Telushkin on this topic)
November 23, 2008: Tenth Annual Jewish Children's Book Writers' Conference. 9AM-5PM. 92nd St Y, NYC $95

December 02, 2008: Esther Cohen reads from DON'T MIND ME AND OTHER JEWISH LIES. B&N UWS NYC
December 04, 2008: Nessa Rapoport at Skirball in NYC 7PM
December 11, 2008: Ilana Trachtman at Skirball in NYC 7PM
December 21- 26, 2008: KlezKamp 24 and AshkeNosh. in Kerhonkson NY.

January 2009: Limmud NY
February 15-20, 2009: The 24th Jerusalem International Book Fair


[book] Ambivalence
Adventures in Israel and Palestine
by Jonathan Garfinkel
August 2008, Norton
A memoir. With lofty ideals, spectacular ambivalence, and endearing naiveté, Canadian Jonathan Garfinkel explores Israel and Palestine by talking to ordinary people. Jonathan Garfinkel can't make up his mind-not about his girlfriend, or Judaism, or Israel. After hearing about a house in Jerusalem where Jews and Arabs coexist in peace, he decides it's time to venture there. In Israel, nothing is as he imagined it, and nothing is as he was taught. Garfinkel gives us the people behind the headlines: from secret assignations with Palestinian activists and an uninvited visit at an Arab refugee camp to Passover with Orthodox Jewish friends and finding the truth about the mythic coexistence house, Ambivalence is the provocative, surreal, and often hilarious chronicle of his travels. In this part memoir and part quest, Garfinkel struggles with the growing divisions in a troubled region and with the divide in his soul. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Surprised by God
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion
by Danya Ruttenberg
August 2008, Beacon
A combat-booted religious awakening and a look at what it takes to develop a spiritual practice. At thirteen, Danya Ruttenberg decided that she was an atheist. Watching the sea of adults standing up and sitting down at Rosh Hashanah services, and apparently giving credence to the patently absurd truth-claims of the prayer book, she came to a conclusion: Marx was right. But as a young adult immersed in the rhinestone-bedazzled wonderland of late-1990s San Francisco, she found herself yearning for something she would eventually call God. And taking that yearning seriously, she came to find, would require much of her. Surprised by God is the memoir of a young woman's spiritual awakening and eventual path to the rabbinate. It's a post-dotcom, third-wave, punk-rock Seven Storey Mountain-the story of integrating life on the edge of the twenty-first century into the discipline of traditional Judaism without sacrificing either. It's also a map through the hostile territory of the inner life, an unflinchingly honest guide to the kind of work that goes into developing a spiritual practice in today's world-and why, perhaps, doing this in today's world requires more work than it ever has. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Cool Jew
The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe
by Lisa Alcalay Klug
August 2008
It's never been hipper to be Jewish.
Cool Jew does for gefilte fish and matzah balls what the Preppy Handbook did for plaid and polo-only with much more chutzpah. Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe by Lisa Alcalay Klug delivers the kosher response to The Preppy Handbook. -Publishers Weekly
Cool Jew covers everything Hebraic from womb to tomb, finally putting an end to Christmas tree envy. Short essays, lists, instructional guides, photographs, and original illustrations celebrate Jewish cultural pride with love, enthusiasm, and irreverence. Entries ranging from "Heebonics for the Yiddish Impaired" to "Self-Help for the Christmas Carole Intolerant" provide the long-awaited Jewish response to that WASP manual of the '80s, The Preppy Handbook. In addition to cultural hilarity, Cool Jew features resourceful back-of-the-book material, including "People of Da Book" (authoritative texts on Jewish concepts and culture), the "Heebster Jewke Box" (tunes that rock the Heebster vibe), and the "Tribe Online" (an extensive listing of Jewish Web resources). Click the book cover to read more.

BY Moritz Nachtstern
August 2008 Osprey
Published for the first time in English, this is a personal account of the secret Nazi project, Operation Bernhard, devised to destabilize the British and, later, American economies by creating and putting into circulation millions of counterfeit banknotes. A team of typographers and printers was pulled out of the rows of prisoners on their way to the gas chambers and transferred to the strictly isolated Block 19 in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. There they were presented with the enormous task of producing almost perfect counterfeits to the value of hundreds of millions of pounds sterling. These notes were to be dropped from bombers over London, with the aim of causing financial chaos. When the time came the Luftwaffe's resources were fully committed in other campaigns and theaters but some of the currency was successfully used to fund operations in Germany's secret war. Moritz Nachtstern (1902-1969), was a Norwegian-Jewish typographer deported from Oslo in 1942. This is his story, as told to his wife and written down by her, then edited by journalist Ragnar Arntzen. It was originally published in Norwegian in 1949. It covers the three terrible years from his arrest and transportation to Germany, through the horrors of life in Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen to his escape in the last chaotic and terrifying days as the liberating American forces approached. At the center of this personal tale of courage and endurance is Nachtstern's absorbing description of how, in order to survive, he participated in the creation of exquisite forgeries, while working as slowly as possible, both to frustrate the Nazi plan and to ensure that he and his fellow forgers never became expendable. Click the book cover to read more.

By Michele Friedman
Emunah's New Cookbook. Here is the ultimate insiders' guide to recipes and tips from the world's most famous chefs, Jacques Pepin, Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges and many more have contributed recipes that were adapted by French Culinary Institute Chef Michele Friedman specifically for the home cook. Recipes feature current food trends and plating techniques so explicit you will feel as if the chefs are guiding you in your home.
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Food for the Soul
Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating
by Chana Rubin
A Rabbi Cook wrote: When One Eats just to satisfy physical desire, it brings a certain sadness."
With the information included in this book, you will be well equipped to make healthy food choices and prepare nutritious meals for you and your family. Food for the Soul: Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating addresses nutrition and health from a Jewish perspective. The nutritional information is universal, but tailored to the Jewish population's specific needs; kashrut, lifestyle, Shabbat and holidays, fast days and the unique Jewish culture of food. Chana Rubin, Registered Dietician, earned her degree in dietetics at Oregon State University. She has worked in dietetics at a Jewish nursing home, hospitals, schools, and as a consultant to physicians. She currently resides in Be'er Sheba, Israel, where she teaches nutrition, sensible eating, and healthy, tasty cooking.
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Wandering Star
by J.M.G. Le Clezio, translated by C. Dickson
From Booklist: Internationally acclaimed French novelist Le Clezio is a bewitching storyteller with a penchant for tales of survival that are at once acutely realistic and mythically romantic. In his latest hauntingly lyrical yet clear-eyed and worldly novel, he tells the story of two young women uprooted by the Holocaust and the establishment of the state of Israel. Esther and her parents are hiding from the Germans in a mountain village where the children run wild and grow strong while the adults risk their lives in the Resistance movement. Esther survives and, after much suffering, embarks on an arduous journey to Jerusalem. But as she and her fellow exhausted travelers finally near their promised land, they pass a stream of equally despairing, newly displaced refugees, among them Nejma, a Palestinian girl. Nejma then chronicles the misery of a gravely ill-provisioned camp and her heroic escape. Exquisitely attuned to nature's quest for balance and humanity's penchant for excess and paradox, Le Clezio writes with high compassion and deep wonder of the boundless strength of the spirit.
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Arts of Intimacy:
Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture
By Jerrilynn D. Dodds, Maria Rosa Menocal, and Abigail Krasner Balbale
2008, Yale
This lavishly illustrated book explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tulaytula, now Toledo, in the eleventh century and traces the development of Castilian culture as it was forged in the new intimacy of Christians with the Muslims and Jews they had overcome. The authors paint a portrait of the culture through its arts, architecture, poetry and prose, uniquely combining literary and visual arts. Concentrating on the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the book reveals the extent to which Castilian identity is deeply rooted in the experience of confrontation, interaction, and at times union with Hebrew and Arabic cultures during the first centuries of its creation. Abundantly illustrated, the volume serves as a splendid souvenir of southern Spain; beautifully written, it illuminates a culture deeply enriched by others.
Click the book cover to read more.


September 16, 2008, Houghton Mifflin
Against the backdrop of the Korean War, a young man faces life's unimagined chances and terrifying consequences. It is 1951 in America, the second year of the Korean War. A studious, law-abiding, intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner, is beginning his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College. And why is he there and not at the local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hard-working neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad -- mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees in every corner for his beloved boy. As the long-suffering, desperately harassed mother tells her son, the father's fear arises from love and pride. Perhaps, but it produces too much anger in Marcus for him to endure living with his parents any longer. He leaves them and, far from Newark, in the midwestern college, has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.
Indignation, Philip Roth's twenty-ninth book, is a story of inexperience, foolishness, intellectual resistance, sexual discovery, courage, and error. It is a story told with all the inventive energy and wit Roth has at his command, at once a startling departure from the haunted narratives of old age and experience in his recent books and a powerful addition to his investigations of the impact of American history on the life of the vulnerable individual.
Adam Begley, writing in The NY Observer, wrote, "....We begin in Newark in the early 1950s, sempiternal source of so many Roth sagas. Remember the glove factory in American Pastoral (1997), the long, loving descriptions of the craftsmanship at Newark Maid Leatherware? This time we get a tour of a kosher butcher shop, with 18-year-old Marcus Messner as our guide. He's working for his father in the seven months between his early graduation from high school and his freshman year at a local college. Are you ready? "It was my job not just to pluck the chickens but to eviscerate them. You slit the ass open a bit and you stick your hand up and you grab the viscera and you pull them out." (The insistent repetition of "you" is not accidental.).... Marcus is wound too tight. He tells us he's a "prudent, responsible, diligent, hardworking A student who went out with only the nicest girls, a dedicated debater, and a utility infielder for the varsity baseball team." You can hear how tight he's wound in the redundancy of "prudent, responsible, diligent, hardworking." He's inherited his intensity from his father, who flips-suddenly, inexplicably-the moment Marcus stops working at the shop and starts attending college in Newark. The doting father hounds the dutiful son with questions about where he's been: "You are a boy with a magnificent future before you-how do I know you're not going to places where you can get yourself killed?" The barrage of crazy worry is intolerable, and so Marcus transfers to Winesberg, a small liberal arts and engineering college in central Ohio, 500 miles from his deranged paternal unit and smack in the middle of Sherwood Anderson's WASP America...... Did I mention that there's a war going on? No, not the one we're fighting today (but yes, that one, too)-I mean the Korean War, which haunts Marcus at every step: If he's not in college, he'll get drafted, sent to Korea, and killed in a frozen trench by a bayonet-wielding communist. (Thereby confirming his father's anguished and "unrelenting intimations of catastrophe.") ..... THE BULK OF Indignation takes place in Winesberg. It's the classic setup: a Jew emerging from a Jewish working-class enclave into a middle-class, decidedly non-Jewish environment. This time it produces hilarity, torrents of indignation on all sides, and (hey, this is Roth!) a whopping case of romantic obsession triggered by an unexpected blow job that nearly unhinges our overwrought young hero...."
Click the book cover to read more.

September 2008, Paperback Edition. NORTON
Reed it before they make the film
On the heels of Alan Weisman's The World Without Us I picked up Diane Ackerman's The Zookeeper's Wife. Both books take you to Poland's forest primeval, the Bialowieza, and paint a richly textured portrait of a natural world that few of us would recognize. The similarities end there, however, as Ackerman explores how that sense of natural order imploded under the Nazi occupation of Poland. Jan and Antonina Zabiniski--keepers of the Warsaw Zoo who sheltered Jews from the Warsaw ghetto--serve as Ackerman's lens to this moment in time, and she weaves their experiences and reflections so seamlessly into the story that it would be easy to read the book as Antonina's own miraculous memoir. Jan and Antonina's passion for life in all its diversity illustrates ever more powerfully just how narrow the Nazi worldview was, and what tragedy it wreaked. The Zookeeper's Wife is a powerful testament to their courage and--like Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise--brings this period of European history into intimate view.
A true story - as powerful as Schindler's List- in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw - and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen guests hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants - otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes. With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] JUST SAY NU
September 2008, Harper Perennial
PW: This is not your bubbe's-or Leo Rosten's-Yiddish. Translator, novelist and performer Wex follows his witty and erudite Born to Kvetch with a colorful, uncensored guide to the idiomatic, use of Yiddish in such areas as madness, fury, and driving, mob Yiddish, insults and thirteen designations for the human rear (in declining order of politeness). Wex is knowledgeable about the biblical and Talmudic roots of some colloquial phrases; for example, he points out that tukhes (ass as he translates it) may be derived from Tuhkhes, one of the places where the Israelites sojourned on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. While most of Wex's discussions of words and phrases are brief, he provides lengthier sections on five key, highly nuanced Yiddish words: nu (Well?), shoyn (already, right away), epes (something, somewhat), takeh (precisely) and nebakh (alas). Wex's advice on the complex usage of these words can help even the greenest Yiddish speaker. The book could have given more attention to regional dialects and there are a few organizational quirks. Still, Wex offers both fun and instruction for the non-maven.
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] I'd Bark But You Never Listen
An Illustrated Guide to the Jewish Dog
by Harold Kimmel
Fall 2008, Red Rock Press
From a top Hollywood humor writer comes this edgy collection of illustrated jokes revealing the innermost thoughts of independent-minded dogs. What marks the breed is a quirky mindset--given both to philosophical debate and picky pragmatism, not to mention personal pride: I'd fetch but it's embarrassing. The Jewish greyhound, foxhound or chosen mutt always has an excellent and very funny reason for leading his or her distinguished version of a dog's life. What makes a dog Jewish? A state of mind! The very funny mind of Hollywood comedy writer Harold Kimmel explores herein the loveable attitudes, neuroses and preferences of the Jewish dog. How does Kimmel know? Read this, and you'll know he knows. A dog doesn't have to be born Jewish. He or she could develop a certain way of viewing the world by having a Jewish owner--not that Jewish dogs have owners. So, maybe all a dog needs is a friend in sniffing distance who once ate Bar Mitzvah leftovers. If your dog is contemplative, she's probably Jewish. If your dog is full-grown but greets you with mournful puppy eyes, chances are you're a disappointment to him. Canines of the faith love to eat, shop and snorkel. They like dog spas. It's true that Jewish dogs worry but they also know how to have a good time. Step into the world of Harold Kimmel's poodles, spainels, dalmations, terriers and pointers--and see for yourself. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Angler
The Cheney Vice Presidency
by Barton Gellman
September 2008, Penguin
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barton Gellman's newsbreaking investigative journalism documents how Vice President Dick Cheney redefined the role of the American vice presidency, assuming unprecedented responsibilities and making it a post of historic power. Dick Cheney changed history, defining his times and shaping a White House as no vice president has before- yet concealing most of his work from public view. Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman parts the curtains of secrecy to show how Cheney operated, why, and what he wrought. Angler, Gellman's embargoed and highly explosive book, is a work of careful, concrete, and original reporting backed by hundreds of interviews with close Cheney allies as well as rivals, many speaking candidly on the record for the first time. On the signature issues of war and peace, Angler takes readers behind the scenes as Cheney maneuvers for dominance on what he calls the iron issues from Iraq, Iran, and North Korea to executive supremacy, interrogation of Al Qaeda suspects, and domestic espionage. Gellman explores the behind-the- scenes story of Cheney's tremendous influence on foreign policy, exposing how he misled the four ranking members of Congress with faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, how he derailed Bush from venturing into Israeli- Palestinian peace talks for nearly five years, and how his policy left North Korea and Iran free to make major advances in their nuclear programs. Domestically, Gellman details Cheney's role as "super Chief of Staff ", enforcer of conservative orthodoxy; gatekeeper of Supreme Court nominees; referee of Cabinet turf; editor of tax and budget laws; and regulator in chief of the administration's environment policy. We watch as Cheney, the ultimate Washington insider, leverages his influence within the Bush administration in order to implement his policy goals. Gellman's discoveries will surprise even the most astute students of political science. Above all, Angler is a study of the inner workings of the Bush administration and the vice president's central role as the administration's canniest power player. Gellman exposes the mechanics of Cheney's largely successful post-September 11 campaign to win unchecked power for the commander in chief, and reflects upon, and perhaps changes, the legacy that Cheney-and the Bush administration as a whole-will leave as they exit office.
Click the book cover to read more.

Big Money. Big Hair. Big Problems. Or Why Having It All Isn't for Sissies
September 2008, Crown
From Publishers Weekly: Rothschild, a writer and high school teacher living in Florida, was abandoned by his mother and raised by his grandparents, a retired Jewish couple living in the most exclusive building in the most exclusive neighborhood of New York City. The setting is sitcom-perfect, from the headstrong grandmother and exasperated grandfather to the wisecracking servants, and Rothschild's youthful acting out offers much opportunity for humor. At one point, his behavior was so out of hand that one of the few private schools he hadn't been asked to leave would accept him only if his grandparents donated one of their Van Goghs as well. But all is not happy: an early attempt by his mother to reunite the family ends in disaster, and her selfish behavior forces him to care for his Alzheimer's-stricken grandmother while still a teenager. Rothschild has been through a lot, and he's an able storyteller, easily drawing readers' sympathy by layering the emotional drama. If his story seems incomplete, that's probably because it is-the final break with his mother would, from an older author, be the midpoint at which Rothschild turns his life around, but this memoir ends with just the first glimmers of an optimistic future. Click the book cover to read more.

2008, Jewish Publication Society JPS
From Publishers Weekly: Firestone provides a balanced introduction to Islam that will be helpful for all beginners, but particularly for the Jewish readers for whom it is intended. The first part offers a survey of Islamic history, with special emphasis on the interactions of Jews and Muslims throughout (and an entire chapter devoted to the violent relations in seventh-century Medina). Firestone extends a real effort to be fair to both sides; in his discussion of Muhammad's massacre of between 600 and 900 Jewish men, for instance, he reminds readers that the Jews had committed treason and points to examples in the Hebrew Bible where Israelites engaged in similar tactics. Part two digs into the foundations of Islamic law and belief, discussing the Qur'an, the prophetic tradition, key doctrines and sharia law. The final, and perhaps most interesting, part explores Islam in practice. Firestone undertakes an in-depth discussion of the Five Pillars of Islam, finding much common ground: like Muslims, Jews have an ancient tradition of praying at set times; early Muslims, like Jews, fasted on the 10th day of a particular month. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] A Man's Responsibility
A Jewish Guide to Being a Son, a Partner in Marriage, a Father and a Community Leader
by Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler
September 2008, Jewish Lights
FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE.... American Judaism has a boy problem. After several thousand years in which women were relegated to the sidelines of worship and community leadership, scholars and denominational leaders now say that women are significantly outnumbering men in numerous key segments of non-Orthodox Jewish community life. At the Reform movement's seminary, 60 percent of the rabbinical students and 84 percent of those studying to become cantors are female. Girls are outnumbering boys by as much as 2 to 1 among adolescents in youth group programs and summer camps, while women outnumber men at worship and in a variety of congregational leadership roles, according to the Union for Reform Judaism. The evidence is everywhere. At Temple Sinai in Sharon, nine of the 11 members of this year's confirmation class were girls.... "After bar mitzvah, the boys just drop out," said Sylvia Barack Fishman, a professor of contemporary Jewish life at Brandeis University and the coauthor of a study on "Gender Imbalance in American Jewish Life," which was publicly released last week.....
The Brandeis study argues that "men's decreased interest in Jews and Judaism walks hand in hand with apathy toward creating Jewish households and raising Jewish children." "Men need to be encouraged to come back into the synagogue," said Stuart M. Matlins, editor in chief of Jewish Lights Publishing. The Vermont-based publisher has a long list of women's studies books, but this fall is publishing a guide for Jewish men, and next spring is publishing a modern men's Torah commentary. "The welcoming of women into leadership positions is something I have worked very hard on, but we don't want to lose the men."....
"Perhaps one factor is that men are devaluing something that is done by women, while another factor may be that men have less free time then they did a generation ago, and they're choosing to use that free time for child-rearing and family activities," said Rabbi Joseph Meszler, of Temple Sinai of Sharon. Meszler, the author of the Jewish Lights book on men's responsibilities coming out this fall, is an advocate of giving men a time to talk apart from women. He has relaunched his synagogue's defunct brotherhood, held a men's barbecue, and started men's study groups. "We need to reintroduce men to the synagogue, but on their own terms," Meszler said
"You have to define the problem in order to solve it," said Rabbi Susan Abramson of Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington. Abramson, the longest-serving female rabbi in Massachusetts, is not shy about gender issues - she has authored what she says is the world's first comic book series with a female rabbi superhero, Rabbi Rocketpower - but she is now concerned about the role of men. "Two or three years ago there were hardly any men on the temple board or as committee chairs, and we had a discussion that we need to get some men represented in the top layer of the synagogue, so we've brought them back," she said.....

IN THIS BOOK, Rabbi Meszler explains how the Jewish man should be as a father, a son, a marriage partner (not a husband), and a community and synagogue leader. . Click the book cover to read more.

September 2008, Schocken
Here is the stirring story of how Hebrew was rescued from the fate of a dead language to become the living tongue of a modern nation. Ilan Stavans's quest begins with a dream featuring a beautiful woman speaking an unknown language. When the language turns out to be Hebrew, a friend diagnoses "language withdrawal," and Stavans sets out in search of his own forgotten Hebrew as well as the man who helped revive the language at the end of the nineteenth century, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. The search for Ben-Yehuda, who raised his eldest son in linguistic isolation-not even allowing him to hear the songs of birds-so that he would be "the first Hebrew-speaking child," becomes a journey full of paradox. It was Orthodox anti-Zionists who had Ben-Yehuda arrested for sedition, and, although Ben-Yehuda was devoted to Jewish life in Palestine, it was in Manhattan that he worked on his great dictionary of the Hebrew language. The resurrection of Hebrew raises urgent questions about the role language plays in Jewish survival, questions that lead Stavans not merely into the roots of modern Hebrew but into the origins of Israel itself. All the tensions between the Diaspora and the idea of a promised land pulse beneath the surface of Stavans's story, which is a fascinating biography as well as a moving personal journey.
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September 2008, Bloomsbury (how apropos)
From Booklist: Freud's last book-Moses and Monotheism-has counted for little with critics, inclined to dismiss it as a product of his dotage. Edmundson, however, makes large claims for the psychologist's final work. Indeed, he interprets it as central to the dying revolutionary's bold strategy for endowing his psychoanalytic movement-deeply subversive of religion and patriarchal authority-with a quasi-religious permanence that ensured his own immortality as modernity's prophetic father. Despite his antipathy to religious faith, Freud devoted his last two years to a text reappropriating his own Jewish tradition as the wellspring of higher intellectual achievements. In rejecting the social solidity of pagan spectacles, the Hebrews-in Freud's theory-opened the door to honest exploration of the elusive individual psyche. Edmundson underscores the historical significance of Freud's paradigm by identifying its antithesis in Hitler's stunningly effective use of neopagan pageantry to incite a mass hysteria that made Vienna so politically hostile that the aging therapist had to flee. An insightful gloss on a generally neglected episode of Freud's life. Click the book cover to read more.

September 2008, HarperOne
The twelfth century birthed a new and sinister brand of sanctioned terror, an international network of secret police and courts, an army of inquisitors whose sworn duty was to seek out anyone regarded as an enemy, and a casualty list numbering in the tens of thousands. The original agents of the Inquisition-priests and monks, scribes and notaries, attorneys and accountants, torturers and executioners-were deputized by the Church and their worst excesses were excused as the pardonable sins of soldiers engaged in a holy war against heresy that became the obsession of Christendom. Yet the first rumblings of Western civilization's great engine of persecution provided no indication of the ultimate scope and influence of the inquisitorial toolkit and how the crimes of the first inquisitors were perpetrated again and again into the twentieth century and beyond. Despite the importance of this legacy, the history of the Inquisition remains a subject that has largely been overlooked by general historians. With The Grand Inquisitor's Manual, national bestselling author Jonathan Kirsch delivers a sweeping and provocative history that explores how the Inquisition was honed to perfection and brought to bear on an ever-widening circle of victims by authoritarians in both church and state for over six hundred years. Ranging from the Knights Templar to the first Protestants, from Joan of Arc to Galileo; from the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent women during the Witch Craze to its greatest power in Spain after 1492, when the secret tribunals and torture chambers were directed for the first time against Jews and Muslims to the modern war on terror-Kirsch shows us how the Inquisition stands as a universal and ineradicable symbol of the terror that results when absolute power works its corruptions. The history of the Inquisition is draped in myth and mystery, a favorite theme of both artists and propagandists throughout the six hundred years of its active operations. Yet when we pull aside the veil, what we see are the original blueprints for the machinery of persecution that was invented in the High Middle Ages and applied to human flesh ever since. The Grand Inquisitor's Manual exposes the dangerous circular logic of the Inquisition so that we do not perpetuate its brand of terror. Click the book cover to read more.

September 2008,
When the leader of a venerable Torah academy passes away, a search committee begins to investigate two candidates, both serious and committed Torah scholars. However, the resemblance ends there. One, the previous leader's son, is a staunch traditionalist determined to keep to the old ways, while the other is a university graduate with a modern, open-minded perspective. The candidates hold opposing views about the role of the yeshiva, the ideals of Torah Judaism, the role of women in the community, and the future of Orthodoxy and the Jewish people. As they, their wives, colleagues, students, and donors address the Committee, a dramatic story emerges about the ways in which a traditional community may embrace or reject the modern world. Click the book cover to read more.
I have never read anything quite like The Search Committee, a fascinating novel by the Rabbi Emeritus of America's most distinguished Sephardic congregation. Through the story of two very different men, both vying to lead a prestigious Talmudic academy, the author leads us with breathtaking insight through the maze of religion and politics that is at the heart of the Orthodox Jewish world. This novel is a true contribution to Jewish-American literature. --Naomi Ragen

[book] DOUGH
Late Summer 2008, Collins
From Publishers Weekly: After losing his job as an accountant, enrolling in night law school and taking out a second mortgage to support his family, Zachter answered the phone in 1994 and was asked by a banker if he would like to take control of his uncle Harry's seven-figure money market account. What he at first assumed was a practical joke turned out to be true-Harry had been living like a pauper in a housing project while running a day-old bread store on New York's Lower East Side for 60 years. Zachter's memoir alternates between his imaginings of daily life at the bakery from the 1940s through the '60s and his unearthing of his family's financial secrets in the 1990s. Upon stumbling on a stockpile of crumbling two-dollar bills stashed away in Harry's fruitcake boxes, a relative jokes that Zachter really is from old money. In seeking to reconcile decades of financial stress with his sudden inheritance, Zachter notes, Multiple lifetimes of nothing but hard work and deprivation had amassed this fortune. But what good had it done? The answer, he decides after realizing that he will never have to worry about paying the bills, is in the gift of time to write this book. This rich story pays off with honest but lighthearted discoveries about loyalty and wealth.
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[book] SARAH'S KEY
September 2008, Griffin St Martins
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers-especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive-the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Jewish Dharma
A Guide to the Practice of Judaism and Zen
by Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D.
September 2008, De Capo Lifelong
Books like the Jew in the Lotus have helped to define the intersection of Jewish and Zen experience and custom. Now, in the first guide to the practice of both Judaism and Zen, Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, raised as an Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn, a long-time practitioner and student of both, shares her insights with over one million people who identify as "JuBus," as well as Jews, Zen students, non-Jews, and everyone in the interfaith community who seeks understanding, meaning, and a life grounded in these authentic faiths. Each chapter of Jewish Dharma focuses on common issues that introduce disorder to our lives, using personal narrative, parables, quotations from both Jewish and Zen scriptures, anecdotes, and exercises. Specific guidelines and exercises help readers integrate both practices into their everyday lives-and thereby gain deeper understanding and happiness.
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[book] Timeout
Sports Stories as a Game Plan for Spiritual Success
by Rabbi Dov Moshe Lipman (Ner Israel, Johns Hopkins)
September 2008, Devora
Positive Torah lessons for sports fans. Appeals to the sports minded who wonder what Torah and Jewish philosophy can offer them. What does the consistency of Cal Ripken, Jr., the work ethic of Michael Jordan, or the lessons from the US Olympic Hockey Team teach you about Torah? The author is a rabbi as well as the former head counselor and Director for Sportstar
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[book] Whither Thou Goest
The Jewish In-law's Survival Guide
by Sorah Shapiro
Fall 2008, Devora
Here are successful strategies for surviving In-Laws and as an In-Law. Explores the most common points of friction between In-Laws, how to avoid them and how to overcome them. Includes 10 Tips For Getting Along With Your In-Laws and words of advice and solace from psychologists, lawyers, rabbis, and those with years of In-Law experience. If you're married you probably need this book.
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[book] Why Faith Matters
by Rabbi David J. Wolpe
September 2008, HarperCollins
Named the #1 Rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California, where he is a prolific leader, thinker, teacher, and author, but as a pulpit rabbi, he also has to remind congregants to not crowd the kiddush tables. He has also personally known illnesses. Previously he taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, The American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Hunter College, and he currently teaches at UCLA. Rabbi Wolpe writes for many publications, including regular columns for the New York Jewish Week,, as well as periodic contributions to the Jerusalem Post, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. He is an ethics columnist for Campaigns and Elections Magazine and a monthly book columnist for L.A. Jewish Journal. He has been on television numerous times, featured in series on PBS, A&E, as well as serving as a commentator on CNN and CBS This Morning. Rabbi Wolpe is the author of seven books, including the national bestseller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times.
Why Faith Matters is a personal faith journey and response to the new atheists. Faith traditions do not offer easy answers. It is not the opiate of simple minded people. Religion allows seekers and adherents to ask deeply challenging questions... Click the book cover to read more.

[book] A Jewish Woman's Prayer Book
by Aliza Lavie, PhD, Bar Ilan University
Late Summer 2008, Spiegel und Grau
On the eve of Yom Kippur in 2002, Aliza Lavie, a university professor, read an interview with an Israeli woman who had lost both her mother and her baby daughter in a terrorist attack. As she stood in the synagogue later that evening, Lavie searched for comfort for the bereaved woman, for a reminder that she was not alone but part of a great tradition of Jewish women who have responded to unbearable loss with strength and fortitude. Unable to find sufficient solace within the traditional prayer book and inspired by the memory of her own grandmother's steadfast knowledge and faith, she began researching and compiling prayers written for and by Jewish women. The Jewish Woman's Prayer Book is the result-a beautiful and moving one-of-a-kind collection that draws from a variety of Jewish traditions, through the ages, to commemorate every occasion and every passage in the cycle of life-from the mundane to the extraordinary. This elegant, inspiring volume includes special prayers for the Sabbath and holidays and important dates of the Jewish year, prayers to mark celebratory milestones, such as bat mitzvah, marriage, pregnancy, and childbirth; and prayers for comfort and understanding in times of tragedy and loss. Each prayer is presented in Hebrew and in an English translation, along with fascinating commentary on its origins and allusions. Culled from a wide range of sources, both geographically and historically, this collection testifies that women's prayers were-and continue to be-an inspired expression of personal supplication and desire. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Contemporary Israel
Domestic Politics, Foreign Policy, and Security Challenges
by Robert O Freedman, Baltimore Hebrew University
September 2008, Westview
Since its formation in 1948, and particularly since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in 1995, Israel has experienced turbulent political change and numerous ongoing security challenges, including major party splits, collapsed peace talks with the Palestinians and Syria, nuclear threats from Iran, and even the specter of civil war as Israel withdrew from Gaza. This essential survey brings together Israeli and American scholars to provide a much-needed balanced introduction to Israel's domestic politics and foreign policy. Experts tackle this difficult subject in three parts: domestic politics, foreign policy challenges, and strategic challenges. Domestic topics include the Israeli Right and Left; religious, Russian, and Arab parties; the Supreme Court; and the economy. Part two discusses Israel's complicated and often fractious relationships with the Palestinians and the Arab world, as well as its improved relations with Turkey and India and continuing close relationship with the United States. Israel's second Lebanon war and existential threats to Israel, including the threat from Iran, are detailed in part three. This compelling and authoritative coverage provides students with the necessary framework to understand Israel's political past and present, as well as the direction it is likely to take in the future. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] From Krakow to Krypton
Jews and Comic Books
by Arie Kaplan
September 2008, JPS
Jews created the first comic book, the first graphic novel, the first comic book convention, the first comic book specialty store, and they helped create the underground comics (or "Comix") movement of the late '60s and early '70s. Many of the creators of the most famous comic books, such as Superman, Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman, as well as the founders of MAD Magazine, were Jewish. From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books tells their stories and demonstrates how they brought a uniquely Jewish perspective to their work and to the comics industry as a whole. Over-sized and in full color, From Krakow to Krypton is filled with sidebars, cartoon bubbles, comic book graphics, original design sketches, and photographs. It is a visually stunning and exhilarating history. Click the book cover to read more.

See Also:
Disguised As Clark Kent
Jews, Comics, And the Creation of the Superhero
by Danny Fingeroth (Author), Stan Lee (Foreword)

[book] Backstabbing for Beginners
My Crash Course in International Diplomacy
by Michael Soussan
September 2008, Nation
Not a Jewish Book, but interesting.
The year is 1997, Michael Soussan, a fresh-faced young graduate takes up a new job at the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food Program, the largest humanitarian operation in the organization's history. His mission is to help Iraqi civilians survive the devastating impact of economic sanctions that were imposed following the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. As a gaffe-prone novice in a world of sensitive taboos, Soussan struggles to negotiate the increasing paranoia of his incomprehensible boss and the inner workings of one of the world's notoriously complex bureaucracies. But as he learns more about the vast sums of money flowing through the program, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems. Soussan becomes aware that Saddam Hussein is extracting illegal kickbacks, a discovery that sets him on a collision course with the organization's leadership. On March 8, 2004, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed editorial, Soussan becomes the first insider to call for "an independent investigation" of the U.N.'s dealings with Saddam Hussein. One week later, a humiliated Kofi Annan appointed Paul Volcker to lead a team of sixty international investigators, whose findings resulted in hundreds of prosecutions in multiple countries, many of which are still ongoing. Backstabbing for Beginners is at once a witty tale of one man's political coming of age, and a stinging indictment of the hypocrisy that prevailed at the heart of one of the world's most idealistic institutions. Click the book cover to read more.

In the first exile, the Northern Israelites were carried away to Kurdistan. When Judea was conquered, those Judeans were carried away to Babylon and Southern Iraq. This is a story of reclaiming the Kurdish Jewish past. It is gripping.
[book][book][book] My Father's Paradise
by Ariel Sabar
September 2008, Algonquin
In a remote and dusty corner of the world, forgotten for nearly three thousand years, lived an ancient community of Kurdish Jews so isolated that they still spoke Aramaic-the language of Jesus. Mostly illiterate, they were self-made mystics and gifted storytellers, humble peddlers and rugged loggers who dwelt in harmony with their Muslim and Christian neighbors in the mountains of northern Iraq. To these descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, Yona Sabar was born. In the 1950s, after the founding of the state of Yona and his family emigrated there with the mass exodus of 120,000 Jews from Iraq-one of the world's largest and least-known diasporas. Almost overnight, the Jews' exotic culture and language were doomed to extinction. Yona (named for the prophet after his mother prays for a healthy child in Nineveh at the prophet's tomb), who became an esteemed professor at UCLA, dedicated his career to preserving his people's traditions. But to his first-generation American son, Ariel, Yona was a reminder of a strange immigrant heritage on which he had turned his back-until he had a son of his own. My Father's Paradise is Ariel Sabar's quest to reconcile present and past. As father and son travel together to today's postwar Iraq to find what's left of Yona's birthplace, Ariel brings to life the ancient town of Zakho (the center of Kurdish Jewish life in 1930, telling his family's story and discovering his own role in this sweeping saga. What he finds in the Sephardic Jews' millennia-long survival in Islamic lands is an improbable story of tolerance and hope. Populated by chieftains, trailblazing linguists, Arab nomads, devout believers-marvelous characters all- this intimate yet powerful book uncovers the vanished history of a place that is now at the very center of the world's attention. Click the book cover to read more.

By Michael Greenberg
September 2008, Other Press / Random House
Greenberg, a columnist for the TLS: Times Literary Supplement, tells the story of the Summer when, at age 15, his daughter was struck mad and locked into a mental ward of a hospital. It was oppressively hot that Summer, and Greenberg was introduced to the world that is our mental health care system, which seemed arcane and filled with rules. This is a chronicle of that journey and the characters Greenberg meets, including a movie producer, a Classics professor, an unconventional psychiatrist, an Orthodox Jewish patient, a landlord and more. . Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Who Wrought the Bible?
Unveiling the Bible's Aesthetic Secrets
by Yair Mazor
September 2008, Wisconsin
Approaching the Hebrew Bible as a work of literary art, Yair Mazor examines its many genres, including historical narratives, poetic narratives, poetry, psalms, and songs. Line drawings from a late nineteenth-century Bible illustrate many of the most famous scenes in scripture, suggesting another aesthetic layer of the text. By breaking the Bible into constituent parts, Mazor traces the range of its writing styles, reconfiguring the work as a literary collage and an artistic masterpiece. He shows how the aesthetics of the texts that comprise the Bible serve its over-arching message, and he develops a literary portrait of its authors by decoding their cryptic aesthetic devices. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Ms. Hempel Chronicles
by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
September 2008, Harcourt
Ms. Beatrice Hempel, teacher of seventh grade, is new-new to teaching, new to the school, newly engaged, and newly bereft of her idiosyncratic father. Grappling awkwardly with her newness, she struggles to figure out what is expected of her in life and at work. Is it acceptable to introduce swear words into the English curriculum, enlist students to write their own report cards, or bring up personal experiences while teaching a sex-education class? Sarah Shun-lien Bynum finds characters at their most vulnerable, then explores those precarious moments in sharp, graceful prose. From this most innovative of young writers comes another journey down the rabbit hole to the wonderland of middle school, memory, daydreaming, and the extraordinary business of growing up. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] DON'T MIND ME
September 2008, Hyperion
We all tell lies. But Jewish lies are a little bit different. Here's an example: It doesn't matter if you read this. The Jewish people speak many languages. There's English, of course, and Hebrew, and let's not forget Yiddish and Ladino. But the language Jews have mastered is saying one thing and meaning another. And after a while, everyone understands the real meaning of the "lie." Esther Cohen has been listening all her life. She's written down what she's heard, and the result is this small book with a big punch: the first ever list of these subtle (sort of), sly (very), and hilarious Jewish "lies." New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast is a master interpreter of lies herself--bringing this particular set to life in her inimitably quirky style. Don't Mind Me is a unique compilation of all-too-familiar phrases guaranteed to make you smile. For anyone who's ever been on the receiving end of one of these lies, this is one book that rings absolutely true. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Crossing Hitler
The Man Who Put the Nazis on the Witness Stand
by Benjamin Carter Hett
September 2008, Oxford
During a 1931 trial of four Nazi stormtroopers, known as the Eden Dance Palace trial, Hans Litten grilled Hitler in a brilliant and merciless three-hour cross-examination, forcing him into multiple contradictions and evasions and finally reducing him to helpless and humiliating rage (the transcription of Hitler's full testimony is included.) At the time, Hitler was still trying to prove his embrace of legal methods, and distancing himself from his stormtroopers. The courageous Litten revealed his true intentions, and in the process, posed a real threat to Nazi ambition. When the Nazis seized power two years after the trial, friends and family urged Litten to flee the country. He stayed and was sent to the concentration camps, where he worked on translations of medieval German poetry, shared the money and food he was sent by his wealthy family, and taught working-class inmates about art and literature. When Jewish prisoners at Dachau were locked in their barracks for weeks at a time, Litten kept them sane by reciting great works from memory. After five years of torture and hard labor-and a daring escape that failed-Litten gave up hope of survival. His story was ultimately tragic but, as Benjamin Hett writes in this gripping narrative, it is also redemptive. "It is a story of human nobility in the face of barbarism." The first full-length biography of Litten, the book also explores the turbulent years of the Weimar Republic and the terror of Nazi rule in Germany after 1933. [in sidebar] Winner of the 2007 Fraenkel Prize for outstanding work of contemporary history, in manuscript. To be published throughout the world. Click the book cover to read more.

Fall 2008, Villard
In Clothing Optional, Alan Zweibel offers a collection of laugh-out-loud personal narratives, essays, short fiction, dialogues, and even a few whimsical drawings. Zweibel first made a name for himself as one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live, but his career's humble beginnings included creating one-liners for Catskill comedians at seven dollars a pop. That experience is only one of the hysterically inspired anecdotes ("Comic Dialogue") in this quirky compilation. Zweibel confesses his first love, as a young Hebrew school student, for Abraham's wife, Sarah ("At this point, Sarah's husband had been dead for more than three thousand years-so, really, who would I be hurting?"); recounts the time he was sent to a nudist resort to write an article ("The fact that I brought luggage is, in itself, worthy of some discussion"); offers a touching tribute to Saturday Night Live writer and mentor Herb Sargent ("Herb was New York. But an older, more romantic New York that took place in black and white like the kind of TV I grew up on and wanted to be a part of someday"); and imagines a scenario in which Sergeant Joe Friday, the stiff, monotoned character from Dragnet, is inexplicably partnered with Snoop Dogg ("Damn, Friday. You gotta learn to chill. Take some free time and kick it with your boys") Every piece is punctuated with the same wit and insight that have come to define Zweibel's humor. Unhinged and hilarious, Clothing Optional is an unguided tour through the uniquely peculiar life and mind of a man who The New York Times said "has earned a place in the pantheon of American pop culture." Click the book cover to read more.

Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father's Nazy Boyhood
By Mark Kurzem
Late Summer 2008. Plume
When a Nazi death squad massacred his mother and fellow villagers, five-year-old Alex Kurzem escaped, hiding in the freezing Russian forest until he was picked up by a group of Latvian SS soldiers. Alex was able to hide his Jewish identity and win over the soldiers, becoming their mascot and an honorary "corporal" in the SS with his own uniform. But what began as a desperate bid for survival became a performance that delighted the highest ranks of the Nazi elite. And so a young Jewish boy ended up starring in a Nazi propaganda film. After sixty-three years of silence, Alex revealed his terrible secret to his son Mark. With his son's help, Alex retraced his past in search of answers and vindication. His story is at once a terrifying account of survival and its psychological cost as well as a brutally honest examination of identity, complicity, and memory. Click the book cover to read more.

Tracing the History of the Original Followers to Their Legacy Today
by Kenneth Hanson, Ph.d.
Fall 2008, Council Oak
Bringing together recent archeological discoveries and the best contemporary scholarship, Kenneth Hanson, Ph.D. tells a fascinating story that goes mostly untold in the New Testament about the ultimate fate of Jesus mother, brothers, sisters, and closest followers. The story of the Jerusalem Church led by Jesus brother James is dropped as the scriptural spotlight follows the ministry of Paul. Now, using the latest discoveries, including some of his own original research, Professor Hanson picks up the story where the Bible leaves off, answering a question that many Christians have long asked: Whatever happened to Jesus family and this original Christian movement based in Jerusalem? Hanson's startling conclusion: It appears the followers of the Way of Jesus spearheaded a powerful revival of devotion within Judaism. Far from disappearing, this movement profoundly influenced the subsequent development of the Jewish faith, and, as Hanson shows, its legacy continues within Judaism, thriving into the twenty-first century.
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Is the hatred for America really just hatred for Jews?
[book] Left in Dark Times
A Stand Against the New Barbarism
by Bernard-Henri Levy
Fall 2008, Random
In this unprecedented critique, Bernard-Henri Lévy, one of the world's leading intellectuals revisits his political roots, scrutinizes the totalitarianisms of the past as well as those on the horizon, and argues powerfully for a new political and moral vision for our times. Are human rights Western or universal? Does anti-Semitism have a future, and, if so, what will it look like? And how is it that progressives themselves-those who in the past defended individual rights and fought fascism-have now become the breeding ground for new kinds of dangerous attitudes: an unthinking loathing of Israel; an obsessive anti-Americanism; an idea of "tolerance" that, in its justification of Islamic fanaticism, for example, could become the "cemetery of democracies"; and an indifference, masked by relativism, to the greatest human tragedies facing the world today? Illuminating these and other questions, Lévy also brings to life his own autobiography, highlighting the thinkers he has known and scrutinized and the ideological battles he has fought over thirty years-revealing their bearing on the present. Above all, Lévy offers a powerful new vision for progressives everywhere, one based neither on the failed idealisms of the past neither nor on their current misguided, bigoted, and dangerously sentimental attachments but on an absolute commitment to combat evil in all its guises. The "new barbarism" Levy compellingly diagnoses is real and must be confronted. At a time of ideological and political transition in America, Left in Dark Times is a polemical, incendiary articulation of the threats we all face-in many cases without our even being aware of it-and a riveting, cogent stand against those threats. Surprising and sure to be controversial, wise and free of cynicism, it is one of the most important books yet written by one of the crucial voices of our time. Click the book cover to read more.

From the guy who edited the Jewish Chicken Soup for the Soul series
[book] Jewish Stories from Heaven and Earth
Inspiring Tales to Nourish the Heart and Soul
Edited by Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins
Fall 2008, Jewish Lights
Click the book cover to read more.

BY Edgar M. Bronfman
September 2008, St. Martins
From Publishers Weekly: Bronfman, a philanthropist, former World Jewish Congress president and former Seagram CEO, bemoans the dry, joyless Judaism of his youth, which he in turn transmitted to his own children. The Holocaust and fear of anti-Semitism are no longer enough to drive Jewish identity and participation, he argues, along with writer Zasloff; only a more open, more celebratory and hopeful communal life will draw and retain young Jews. This community must be pluralistic, unreservedly welcoming intermarried Jews and their spouses, gay Jews and others outside the traditional Jewish mold. (Among the scores of mostly young leaders the authors quote is the first Asian-American rabbi.). Few of these ideas are new, and, occasionally, Bronfman oversimplifies, as when he reduces the complex issue of intermarriage to the need for an open tent, mirroring the hospitality of the biblical Abraham and Sarah. Still, Bronfman has spoken to and learned from a highly diverse group of American Jewish religious and cultural leaders outside the mainstream to fashion a fairly coherent view of what a more vibrant Jewish future might looks like. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Who by Fire
A Novel
by Diana Spechler
Fall 2008, Harper Perennial
From Publishers Weekly: In her affecting debut, Spechler raises the question of whether, in rescuing others, we risk ruining ourselves. Thirteen years after the abduction of youngest child Alena at the age of six, the remaining members of the Kellerman family are still deeply damaged by their shared loss. The irresponsible oldest daughter, Bits, seeks out random sexual encounters with near strangers to fill the voids in her life. Son Ash, meanwhile, dabbles in a variety of compulsive behaviors before settling on Orthodox Judaism, cutting himself off from the rest of the family and moving to Jerusalem. The mother, Ellie, enlists the help of a charismatic stranger to help save Ash from what she views as a cult, and when Alena's remains are discovered, Bits determines to bring Ash home for their sister's long-overdue memorial service. Told in alternating chapters by Bits, Ellie and Ash, the narrative is notable in large part for how little these family members actually interact with one another despite the drama that confronts them all. Though the ending is overly tidy, Spechler's debut raises provocative questions about religion, violence and the resilience of families and individuals. Click the book cover to read more.

2008, Amacom
Jewish texts such as the Torah and the Kabbalah have long been considered repositories of wisdom. Using real-world business situations as illustrative examples, this book reveals a four-thousand-year-old blueprint for success. Readers will find practical insights on: conquering fear harnessing will power • removing ego from the equation mastering negotiation techniques dealing with failure utilizing spiritual entrepreneurship harvesting the power of positivity and finding the right balance of character traits to succeed in any career or business venture. The ancient Jewish writings contain a breadth of knowledge anyone can use, in business and in life. This enlightening and practical guide gives readers the direction they need to make it work for them. Click the book cover to read more.

2008, Greenwillow
Ages 4 - 8
Motivated, as he explains in his afterword, to create a personal remembrance of the 1.5 million Jewish children killed in the Holocaust, Fleischman pairs Freddie, a struggling, ex-GI ventriloquist, with Avron, the ghost of one such victim, in a short, provocative tale that leavens the tears with laughter. Freddie's career isn't exactly taking off as he wanders postwar Europe-until he opens a closet and discovers smart-mouthed Avron, who offers to put a better line of patter into Freddie's mouth in exchange for help finding a certain murderous SS officer. Countering Freddie's understandable reluctance with both gags and gut-wrenching war stories, Avron moves in, and Freddie begins to display stunning vocal tricks to ever-larger audiences. Avron then cajoles his host into keeping kosher, and even undergoing an ersatz (or is it?) bar mitzvah. Ultimately, the search takes the two to America, where in a satisfying (if credulity-straining) climax, they find their quarry standing trial for a new crime, and Avron exacts a triumphant revenge for the old ones. The narrative voice here sounds adult, but the talented Fleischman is still both entertaining and thoughtful. Avron's wisecracking will counterbalance matter-of-fact accounts of Nazi cruelty for young readers, but it's likely to be older ones who will best appreciate the novel's eloquent "inner voice" of conscience, which takes on a definite symbolic cast, and the way in which Freddie's public and private identities shift as the story progresses.. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Eli Remembers
by Ruth Vander Zee and Marian Sneider. Illus by Bill Farnsworth
Ages 8 - 12
Why does Eli's great-grandmother Gussie cry when she lights the candles for the Jewish New Year? Eli learns the horrifying secret when he flies with his family to the Lithuanian village where Gussie lived as a child. They drive through the forest to the pit, where 80,000 Jews, including her father and siblings, were shot dead by the Nazis, their bodies burned. Based on the experience of Sneider's grandson, this picture book tells the history in stark prose, and Farnsworth's unframed, glowing oil paintings show the boy in his warm home and then in the bleak forest. Unfortunately, the present-day scenario is sentimentalized; the characters are almost greeting-card icons of grief and love. There isn't any of the bitterness or anger in survivor stories found in books such as Art Spiegelman's Maus (1986) and Anita Lobel's No Pretty Pictures (1998), for older readers. But this is a journey back that many Jewish survivor families are now taking, uncovering the horror of genocide that no one ever talked about at home. Sure to spark discussion and more research.
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Fall 2008, Griffin
Based on the principles of enhancing natural instincts and using appropriate force for self-protection, anyone can master the moves of krav maga - the international self-defense and fitness sensation designed by the IsraelDefense Forces. This follow up to Krav Maga: An Essential Guide to the Renowned Method - for Fitness and Self-Defense, explores essential combative tactics including standing, clinch, and extensive groundwork from yellow, orange and green belt levels, to help you update and improve your skills. In this guide to advance techniques, David Kahn will teach you: The mindset of effective self defense; Upper and lower body combatives and defenses; Powerful retzev workouts; New techniques for mastering escapes; Women's self-defense principles. Regardless of strength, size, age, or gender, you can learn advanced techniques for fending off any attacker - swiftly, powerfully, and simply. And the conditioning you will achieve by practicing these techniques will tone your muscles, improve your reflexes, and get you fighting fit. From the American expert and Israeli Grandmaster Haim Gidon's United States representative in the fitness and combat techniques of krav maga, this is the most up to date, authoritative, and advanced guide to real fighting techniques and rigorous conditioning. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Spit or Swallow
A Guide for the Wine Virgin
by Jennifer Ratcliffe-wright
2008, dsb
Wine, like foreplay, requires a little effort. Most wine virgins can swirl, sniff and slurp with consummate ease, but knowing whether to spit or swallow is the realm of the seasoned professional. Spit or Swallow gives you license to enter the world of wine--in a fun, fresh and undemanding way. Written by Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright, a young wine master (mistress?), this book will broaden your wine knowledge, taking you beyond the Bare Essentials. It describes the Perfect Relationship--between food and wine, and offers Tongue Pleasers guaranteed to enhance your taste. But it doesn't stop there. It goes all the way, literally, through to Pillow Talk -- wine terms that will get you out of a sticky situation. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Alchemy of Air
A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler
by Thomas Hager (Author)
2008, Harmony
A fast-paced account of the early-20th-century quest to develop synthetic fertilizer. Today hundreds of factories convert atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia in order to manufacture the artificial fertilizers that make modern-day agricultural yields possible. They are based on the technological advance known as the Haber-Bosch process, developed prior to World War I by the German chemists and Nobel laureates Fritz Haber (1868-1934) and Carl Bosch (1874-1940). Hager (The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug, 2006, etc.) offers a superb narrative of these brilliant men and their scientific discovery. Around the turn of the century, the world faced a shortage of the fixed nitrogen needed to provide food for a growing population. Hager sets the stage by describing the world's reliance in the 19th century on nitrates from Peru and Chile that could be used as natural fertilizer or to make gunpowder, and finds plenty of human drama in the battles to control the lucrative international trade. Determined to help end Germany's dependence on South American nitrates, Bosch and Haber worked at the German chemical company BASF to find a way to convert nitrogen into ammonia. Bosch developed the process, and Haber designed bigger industrial plants. By 1944, the Haber-Bosch factory at Leuna-a primary target for U.S. bombers-occupied three square miles and employed 35,000 workers. The author not only illuminates the scientists' complex work, but also digs into their personal lives. Bosch, a melancholic with a huge villa in Heidelberg, asked Hitler to spare Jewish scientists for the sake of German chemistry and physics (the Fuhrer replied: "Then we'll just have to work 100 years without physics and chemistry!"). Haber, a Jew, developed the chlorine gas used in World War I, sought a way to extract gold from the oceans to pay off German war reparations and conducted research that led to the development of the Zyklon B gas used in Nazi death camps. Science writing of the first order. Click the book cover to read more.

FALL 2008, Nextbook / Schocken
From Publishers Weekly: Although he was a practicing Christian, baptized into the Church of England at age 12, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's (1804-1881) Jewishness was a central fact about him. Drawing on previous biographies, histories of English Jewry and Disraeli's autobiographical novels and other writings, poet and New York Sun book critic Kirsch (Invasions) interprets Disraeli's life as emblematic of both the possibilities of emancipation for European Jewry, and its subtle impossibilities. Kirsch sheds welcome light on Disraeli's father's ambivalence toward Judaism and his decision to baptize his children; the crude Jew-baiting Disraeli encountered at school and, later, in politics; his imagining Palestine as the site of Jewish national sovereignty; his ascent in the Conservative party, which, Kirsch says, was paradoxically a testament to English liberalism; and the half-century rivalry between Disraeli and Gladstone that defined Victorian politics. Two of Disraeli's greatest political achievements, recounted here, are the passage of a bill that broadly expanded voting rights and the purchase, with a loan from his Rothschild friends, of a share in the Suez Canal Company for the British government. This is a lively, inquiring biography that reveals the prideful, exceptional man behind the famous politician.
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[book] Tales of the Ten Lost Tribes
by Tamar Yellin
FALL 2008, Toby
From Publishers Weekly: In Yellin's 10 serenely crafted stories, the plight of the wandering Jew is manifested in various outsiders, adventurers or those who are simply restless and homesick. Each brief tale is named for one of Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, exiled in Assyria and scattered across the globe according to the Old Testament. The peripatetic narrator's first encounter with wanderlust is her world-traveling Uncle Edras, a swashbuckling version of her bookish father who claims his brother is a bum. While her father is content with his armchair search for the Lost Tribes' fate, the girl is smitten by travel. As she grows up and makes her way in the world, she meets memorable kindred spirits: Professor G., a polyglot whose longing for his lost language eventually renders him mute; an old lady who fled her family home to sail abroad 40 years ago, but never got farther than the port; or the narrator's sickly 12-year-old pupil, Jacky Mendoza, who does not feel he inhabits his own body. Each mournful, startling portrait proves that award-winning Yellin (Kafka in Brontëland and Other Stories) is a stylist to watch. Click the book cover to read more.


OCTOBER 2008, St Martins
From Booklist: Delilah Goldgrab just wanted to be part of the in-crowd. Being blond, attractive, and saddled with the name of a biblical temptress did not make things easy at her Orthodox Jewish girls school. In college, she dreamed of meeting an exciting man who would provide the lifestyle to which she aspired, but that was not to be. In desperation, she marries Chaim, a sincere rabbinical student who is content to take over his grandfather's congregation in a crumbling Bronx neighborhood. The materialistic Delilah pushes Chaim to take a position in a wealthy Connecticut congregation, but once they arrive, she finds herself in way over her head. Trying to please the demanding, hypocritical members of the congregation is difficult. The adventures of Delilah and Chaim provide a cautionary tale about the difficulties faced by those attempting to maintain traditional values while struggling with the temptations of the outside world. Ragen tells this story with insight and humor, vividly illustrating the consequences of lashon hara (gossip). This is Jewish chick lit with a message. Click the book cover to read more.

OCTOBER 2008, Free Press
From Publishers Weekly: Kugel's tour de force of biblical scholarship juxtaposes two different ways of reading the Bible: the ancient biblical interpretations, ranging from the Book of Jubilees to Augustine, that he explored in The Bible as It Was, and the modern historical approach that challenges the historical veracity of scripture and seeks instead to find its writers' original sources and purposes. It can be a jarring journey for those schooled in traditional views, but what emerges is a fresh, even strange, and very rich view of everything from the Garden of Eden to Isaiah's dream vision of God. Refreshingly undogmatic and often witty, Kugel brings an intimate knowledge of the Hebrew Bible to illuminate small points as well as large. He discusses who the ancient Israelites were; the resemblances between YHWH and Canaanite gods; the unique role of the prophet in Ancient Near Eastern religions; the nature of ancient wisdom literature; and what the Bible means when it calls Solomon the wisest of men. The result is a stunning narrative of the evolution of ancient Israel, of its God and of the entire Hebrew Bible, contrasted with ancient interpretations that aimed to uncover hidden meanings and moral lessons. So, for example, for the ancients, the story of Cain and Abel is a tale of good versus evil. For the moderns, it was originally a story of origin, about the relation between ancient Israelites and the fierce Kenites to their south. While Kugel is a traditional Jew, he sees the modern approach as compelling, so the dilemma is whether a person of faith can read scripture in both the old way and the new. Drawing on Judaism's nonfundamentalist approach, Kugel's proposed answer is that the original purpose of the texts and their lack of historical accuracy matters less than their underlying message: to serve God. Click the book cover to read more.

Bible Poems? An updated publication
Roses are Red
Kugels are Sweet
Poems go to your head
And this book is neat
OCTOBER 2008, Free Press
In The Great Poems of the Bible, James Kugel, acclaimed Harvard scholar and former poetry editor of Harpers Magazine, selects eighteen essential poems from the Hebrew Bible and offers his own original and articulate translations of these core pieces of religious literature. His eloquent renditions are paired with deeply informed discussions about the conditions surrounding each poem, including its history and what the best religious scholarship and literary criticism tell us about how the poem should be understood. Kugel explains traditions, clarifies often-misunderstood language, and offers readers wonderfully insightful explanations that are indispensable to understanding the poems and, ultimately, the fundamental teachings of the Old Testament.
James L. Kugel is Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University and Visiting Professor of Bible Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Click the book cover to read more.

OCTOBER 2008, Gotham
From Yeshiva of Flatbush's most well known alumnus designer... that halabi kid, that twenty-year veteran of the fashion industry, Isaac Mizrahi has become a unique icon in the world of style. He doesn't do "makeovers" or take pleasure in berating the way a woman dresses. Instead, he is a problem solver-and a titan of trendsetting who believes that fashion should be seriously fun. Showcasing his singular approach to looking great, How to Have Style begins with the premise that all women should wear what inspires them. Using twelve real women facing real wardrobe dilemmas, Mizrahi walks readers through the fundamentals of finding a personal style that reflects their authentic selves. Other features include: A personal fashion questionnaire and how to create an inspiration board that unlocks the secrets to individual style; Hundreds of fashion tips on everything from clothes and accessories to expert advice on skin care and makeup to mixing patterns and wearing color; and How to become a collector instead of just a shopper. Dubbed a "one-man brand" by BusinessWeek, Mizrahi shares his style rules on everything from boots to bags, from skirt length to the right undergarments. With more than 400 dazzling photographs as well as Mizrahi's own sketches, How to Have Style makes it simple to look your best.
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With unparalleled access to the firm's enigmatic leadership, The Partnership chronicles the brilliant, men (yes.. focused on MEN) who built one of the world's largest investment banks. Goldman Sachs is the most profitable and powerful investment bank in the world today. Fifty years ago it was a marginal family firm with limited prospects. How did it ascend to leadership in Europe, Asia, North and South America; make many, many partners fabulous fortunes; and become the leader in IPOs, M&A, FX, bond dealing, stockbrokerage, derivatives, hedge funds, private equity, and real estate? Ellis tells the illuminating stories of the great personalities who sowed the seeds of Goldman Sachs's success: from Sidney Weinberg, a junior high school drop out with a flair for markets; to Gus Levy, who brought a ferocious intensity to every minute of every workday; to John Whitehead, who wrote the core values that defined a culture of teamwork in serving clients; to the unpretentious John Weinberg, who was the quintessential relationship banker of his era; to Robert Rubin and Hank Paulson, who both became secretary of the treasury; to Governor Jon Corzine; and finally to current CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein. Starting as a sole proprietorship dealing in commercial paper in the mid-nineteenth century, Goldman Sachs became an innovative underwriter; struggled to survive the crash and Depression, and came out of World War II to complete what was then the single most important transaction in Wall Street's history: Ford Motor Company's IPO. Goldman Sachs overcame a full set of dramatic perils: Penn Central's bankruptcy, Robert Maxwell's abusive frauds, and insider trading scandals. Ellis demonstrates how the firm's core values, intensive recruiting, entrepreneurial creativity, and disciplined risk taking-incorporating technology and hard work-laid the foundations, multiplied the firm's resources and profits, and magnified its power until it became today's Goldman Sachs... which of course just had to change it's structure in Spetember 2008 to survive.... Click the book cover to read more.

BY AVIAD KLEINBERG, Translated by Susan Emanuel
October 2008, Harvard University Press
The Seven Sins is a fascinating, amusing and highly readable book that offers a rethinking of our sins and passions through an examination of the Christian deadly sins_sloth, envy, lust, gluttony, greed, anger and pride--to which Kleinberg adds an eighth, self-righteousness. (Ynet )
The Seven Sins is an intellectual gem that introduces the reader to a new world of ideas. It is a thought-provoking and passionate book. Kleinberg cites religious (Christian and Jewish) and non-religious texts. He widens our horizons and broadens our minds_Kleinberg's humor and learning invite the reader to a journey of self exploration and to a reexamination of the sources of evil. (Timeout (Israel) )
The strength of this book is the link between the historian-philosopher Kleinberg and the boy Aviad that appears repeatedly in the book. It offers a successful connection between theoretical issues and the life of concrete human beings in our day and age. (Haaretz )
The Seven Sins is a book written with a pleasure that is bound to pass over to the reader. It is an essay that demonstrates the broad scholarship of its author, who is as comfortable with the rabbinic literature as with Christian and Jewish philosophy, with the Bible as with medieval poetry. Unlike many academics that make it a point to be boring and laborious, Kleinberg is fun to read. (Maariv )
There is no society without right and wrong. There is no society without sin. But every culture has its own favorite list of trespasses. Perhaps the most influential of these was drawn up by the Church in late antiquity: the Seven Deadly Sins. Pride, sloth, gluttony, envy, anger, lust, and greed are not forbidden acts but the passions that lead us into temptation. Aviad Kleinberg, one of the most prominent public intellectuals in Israel, examines the arts of sinning and of finger pointing. What is wrong with a little sloth? Where would haute cuisine be without gluttony? Where would we all be without our parents' lust? Has anger really gone out of style in the West? Can consumer culture survive without envy and greed? And with all humility, why shouldn't we be proud? With intellectual insight and deadpan humor, Kleinberg deftly guides the reader through Jewish, Christian, and Greco-Roman thoughts on sin. Each chapter weaves the past into the present and examines unchanging human passions and the deep cultural shifts in the way we make sense of them. Seven Deadly Sins is a compassionate, original, and witty look at the stuff that makes us human. .
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[book] Adam Resurrected
A Novel
by Yoram Kaniuk. Translated by Seymour Simckes
2008, Grove
The crowning achievement of one of Israel's literary masters, Adam Resurrected remains one of the most powerful works of Holocaust fiction ever written. A former circus clown who was spared the gas chamber so that he might entertain thousands of other Jews as they marched to their deaths, Adam Stein is now the ringleader at an asylum in the Negev desert populated solely by Holocaust survivors. Alternately more brilliant than the doctors and more insane than any of the patients, Adam struggles wildly to make sense of a world in which the line between sanity and madness has been irreversibly blurred. With the biting irony of Catch-22, the intellectual vigor of Saul Bellow, and the pathos and humanity that are Kaniuk's hallmarks, Adam Resurrected offers a vision of a modern hell that devastates even as it inches toward redemption. Yoram Kaniuk was born in Tel Aviv in 1930 and took part in Israel's War of Independence in 1948. A painter, journalist, and theater critic, he is best known as a novelist. His books have been translated into twenty languages and have earned him the Bialik Prize, the French Prix de Droits de l'Homme, and the Israeli President's Prize. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Five Books of Moses
A Translation with Commentary
by Robert Alter
Now in Paperback
October 2008, Norton
From Publishers Weekly: This brilliant and rigorous book by Alter, who teaches Hebrew and comparative literature at Berkeley, strikes the perfect balance. It delves into literary and biblical scholarship, yet is accessible to the general reader. It argues forcefully and persuasively, but is never arrogant, even when Alter is detailing the inadequacies of other biblical translations. It points to the ways a single Hebrew word can make all the difference in our understanding of the text, but it never loses the forest for the trees. In a stimulating and thorough introduction, Alter makes a case for the coherence of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) as a whole, while acknowledging that it is "manifestly a composite construction" that was written and edited by many people over several centuries. He discusses why we need yet another translation, contending that every existing English translation has an anemic sense of the English language, while the King James Version-the most beautiful and literary English-language translation-is unreliable and sometimes inaccurate with the original Hebrew. After this energizing introduction, Alter proceeds with his eminently readable translation and fascinating footnotes on various Hebrew terms. This may well be the best one-volume introduction to the Torah ever published in English.
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October 2008, Spiegel & Grau
From Publishers Weekly Hasak-Lowy, author of a well-received short story collection, The Task of This Translator (2005), struggles in his debut novel, set primarily in Los Angeles. Daniel Bloom, a successful screenwriter, has trouble relating to his wife and son. As his family life crumbles, Bloom conceives a new movie idea: a nameless assassin who kills all those we love to hate-greedy CEOs, two-faced politicians, peddlers of questionable influence and various symbols of unearned privilege. It's not lost on Bloom that his brainstorm mirrors the anger and emptiness of his own life. The novel's tight setup, however, quickly unravels in a mire of half-developed characters, a baffling trip to Israel and descriptive passages and stretches of dialogue that serve little purpose. What saves the story is Bloom's wry wit and social commentary. He's a 21st-century man-in-crisis, an appealing character whose plight is, unfortunately, far too drawn out. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] American Prince
A Memoir
by Tony Curtis with Peter Golenbock
October 2008,
Curtis (Bernard Schwartz, son of Helen Klein and Emanuel Schwartz), born in 1925, has been in more than 100 films. His father was a tailor and his mother, sadly, was mentally ill. Onebrother also fell into mental illness, and his other brother was struck and killed by a truck when Curtis was a preteen. After service in the Navy, he studied acting and soon became a Hollywood star. He was the Golden Boy of the Golden Age. A prince of the silver screen. Dashing and debonair, Tony Curtis arrived on the scene in a blaze of bright lights and celluloid. His good looks, smooth charm, and natural talent earned him fame, women, and adulation-Elvis copied his look and the Beatles put him on their Sgt. Pepper album cover. But the Hollywood life of his dreams brought both invincible highs and debilitating lows. Now, in his captivating, no-holds-barred autobiography, Tony Curtis shares the agony and ecstasy of a private life in the public eye. He has been married six times, his son died of a heroin overdose, Curtis lived a polysexual life, and his spents thousand on restoring Jewish synagogues and cemeteries in Hungary through his Emanuel Foundation for Hungarian Culture. No simple tell-all, American Prince chronicles Hollywood during its heyday. Curtis revisits his immense body of work-including the unforgettable classics Houdini, Spartacus, and Some Like It Hot-and regales readers with stories of his associations with Frank Sinatra, Laurence Olivier, director Billy Wilder, and film industry heavyweight Lew Wasserman, as well as paramours Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe, among others. As forthright as he is enthralling, Tony Curtis offers intimate glimpses into his succession of failed marriages (and the one that has endured), his destructive drug addiction, and his passion as a painter. Written with humor and grace, American Prince is a testament to the power of living the life of one's dreams. Click the book cover to read more.

October 2008, University of California Press
This first complete history of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip allows us to see beyond the smoke screen of politics in order to make sense of the dramatic changes that have developed on the ground over the past forty years. Looking at a wide range of topics, from control of water and electricity to health care and education as well as surveillance and torture, Neve Gordon's panoramic account reveals a fundamental shift from a politics of life--when, for instance, Israel helped Palestinians plant more than six-hundred thousand trees in Gaza and provided farmers with improved varieties of seeds--to a macabre politics characterized by an increasing number of deaths. Drawing attention to the interactions, excesses, and contradictions created by the forms of control used in the Occupied Territories, Gordon argues that the occupation's very structure, rather than the policy choices of the Israeli government or the actions of various Palestinian political factions, has led to this radical shift.
Neve Gordon is Senior Lecturer affiliated with Ben Gurion University in Be'er Sheva
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2008, Southern Hills Press
The summer of 2005 is permanently engraved upon the memory of Israeli society as the time when thousands of Jewish civilians were forcibly removed by their own government from their homes in northern Samaria and the Gush Katif bloc of the Gaza Strip. These homes and other community buildings were then razed as part of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan. It was a long, hot summer of dashed hopes, prayers, destruction, and the tearing apart of a dream. Today, all that remains of the communities of Gush Katif are photographs, diaries, and memories. However, its indomitable spirit lives on among its former residents. For those who never lived in Jewish Gaza, The Expulsion of Gush Katif provides a clear picture of the suffering of its residents and what they went through when their homes were destroyed. It is also a moving record of faith and strength, and hope for the future.
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[book] The Boy on the Door on the Ox
An Unusual Spiritual Journey Through the Strangest Jewish Texts
by Rabbi Martin Samuel Cohen
October 2008, Aviv Press
The Mishnah, an ancient Jewish text composed around 200 c.e., is the foundation document of rabbinic law. In this groundbreaking work, Martin Samuel Cohen explores texts from the Mishnah as a foundation document of Jewish spirituality, Using the Mishnah's sketchy characters as personal spiritual guides, Rabbi Cohen makes these obscure texts particularly relevant to a modern seeker. This witty, scholarly and charming meditation demonstrates how the study of Mishnah can provide spiritual guidance. Rabbi Martin Samuel Cohen was born in NYC and was based in Canada He is now the rabbi of Shelter Rock Jewish Center in Roslyn NY. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] CHICAGO
A Novel
October 2008, Harper
The author of the highly-acclaimed The Yacoubian Building returns with a story of love, sex, friendship, hatred, and ambition set in Chicago with a cast of American and Arab characters achingly human in their desires and needs. Egyptian and American lives collide on a college campus in post-9/11 Chicago, and crises of identity abound in this extraordinary and eagerly anticipated new novel from Alaa al Aswany. Among the players are a sixties-style antiestablishment professor whose relationship with a younger African American woman becomes a moving target for intolerance; a veiled PhD candidate whose conviction in the principles of her traditional upbringing is shaken by her exposure to American society; an émigré whose fervent desire to embrace his American identity is tested when he is faced with the issue of his daughter's "honor"; an Egyptian informant who spouts religious doctrines while hankering after money and power; and a dissident student poet who comes to America to finance his literary aspirations, but whose experience in Chicago turns out to be more than he bargained for. Populated by a cast of intriguing, true-to-life characters, Chicago offers an illuminating portrait of America--a complex, often contradictory land in which triumph and failure, opportunity and oppression, licentiousness and tender love, small dramas and big dreams coexist. Beautifully rendered, Chicago is a powerfully engrossing novel of culture and individuality from one of the most original voices in contemporary world literature. Note: The character of Wendy, the American girl dating Nagi Abd as-Samad, is Jewish.
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[book] Yehuda Amichai
The Making of Israel's National Poet
by Nili Scharf Gold
2008, Brandeis
Yehuda Amichai is one of the twentieth century's (and Israel's) leading poets. In this remarkable book, Gold offers a profound reinterpretation of Amichai's early works, using two sets of untapped materials: notes and notebooks written by Amichai in Hebrew and German that are now preserved in the Beinecke archive at Yale, and a cache of ninety-eight as-yet unpublished letters written by Amichai in 1947 and 1948 to a woman identified in the book as Ruth Z., which were recently discovered by Gold. Gold found irrefutable evidence in the Yale archive and the letters to Ruth Z. that allows her to make two startling claims. First, she shows that in order to remake himself as an Israeli soldier-citizen and poet, Amichai suppressed ("camouflaged") his German past and German mother tongue both in reference to his biography and in his poetry. Yet, as her close readings of his published oeuvre as well as his unpublished German and Hebrew notes at the Beinecke show, these texts harbor the linguistic residue of his European origins. Gold, who knows both Hebrew and German, establishes that the poet's German past infused every area of his work, despite his attempts to conceal it in the process of adopting a completely Israeli identity. Gold's second claim is that Amichai somewhat disguised the story of his own development as a poet. According to Amichai's own accounts, Israel's war of independence was the impetus for his creative writing. Long accepted as fact, Gold proves that this poetic biography is far from complete. By analyzing Amichai's letters and reconstructing his relationship with Ruth Z., Gold reveals what was really happening in the poet's life and verse at the end of the 1940s. These letters demonstrate that the chronological order in which Amichai's works were published does not reflect the order in which they were written; rather, it was a product of the poet's literary and national motivations. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Three Musketeers
by Marcelo Birmajer
Translated by Sharon Wood
October 2008, Toby
Elisa Traum, a former Argentinian currently residing in Israel, returns to Buenos Aires after twenty years of absence to mourn two friends- two fellow Jews who together with him once comprised " the three musketeers". These young men signed their own death sentences when they joined the Montoneros, the left-wing Peronist guerilla group, back in the bad days of the Dirty War in the 1970's and 80s. Javier Mosan is an unmotivated Jewish journalist who writes for a popular daily newspaper in Argentina. His main hobbies are indulging in sexual fantasies and dodging writing assignments. When Mosan is sent to interview Traum, he believes it will be another routine job. Yet upon arriving at the airport, Mosan is is attacked, while Traum is kidnapped, mugged and then deposited on the side of the road like so much garbage. There is no doubt that the past has returned to take revenge. But what past is it? The revolutionary or the romantic? And how is Israeli Intellegence involved? The story takes us from the bars of Buenos Aries to the beaches of Mar Del Plata, through a forgotten childhood and an era of dictatorship, between memories and reality until everything converges in an exciting thrilling end.
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Bt Benyamin Cohen
October 2008, HarperOne
Cohen is editor of Jewish Life in American magazine. Cohen was raised Orthodox in Atlanta. As a child, Cohen was curious and envious of the church across the street, Dud the sun shine brighter there?. Cohen, as an adult, married a Jew by choice (a woman who was raised Baptist, the daughter of a minister). Cohen, who had a faith crisis, decided that maybe an exploration of Christianity could lead him back to Judaism. He began by visiting churches each Sunday. This is his story of his crisis, his attempt to re-spark his Judaism, and his visits to oh so many churches of various styles and sizes. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Leaves from the Garden of Eden
One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales
by Howard Schwartz
October 2008, Oxford
In Leaves from the Garden of Eden, Howard Schwartz, a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award, has gathered together one hundred of the most astonishing and luminous stories from Jewish folk tradition. Just as Schwartz's award-winning book Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism collected the essential myths of Jewish tradition, Leaves from the Garden of Eden collects one hundred essential Jewish tales. As imaginative as the Arabian Nights, these stories invoke enchanted worlds, demonic realms, and mystical experiences. The four most popular types of Jewish tales are gathered here--fairy tales, folktales, supernatural tales, and mystical tales--taking readers on heavenly journeys, lifelong quests, and descents to the underworld. King David is still alive in the City of Luz, which the Angel of Death cannot enter, and somewhere deep in the forest a mysterious cottage contains the candle of your soul. In these stories, a bride who is not careful may end up marrying a demon, while the charm sewn into a dress may drive a pious woman to lascivious behavior. There is a dybbuk lurking in a well, a book that comes to life, and a world where Lilith, the Queen of Demons, seduces the unsuspecting. Here too are Jewish versions of many of the best-known tales, including "Cinderella," "Snow White," and "Rapunzel." Schwartz's retelling of one of these stories, "The Finger," inspired Tim Burton's film Corpse Bride. With its broad selection from written and oral sources, Leaves from the Garden of Eden is a landmark collection, representing the full range of Jewish folklore, from the Talmud to the present. It is a must-read for everyone who loves fiction and an ideal holiday gift. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Return to Naples
Thirteen Summers That Changed My Life
My Italian Bar Mitzvah and Other Discoveries
by Robert Zweig, Ph.D.
October 2008, Barricade
As a boy in the 1960s, Robert Zweig had a rare opportunity: Every summer, he would leave his home in America and make extended visits to his mother's birthplace-Naples, Italy. During each visit, he'd uncover new mysteries about the parents he thought he knew. There, he learned how his German father survived Auschwitz, came to Italy, and met his mother, and how the pair managed to survive the ravages of Fascism and Nazism during World War II. Also, how his grandparents survived in Italy during the Holocaust. Oh. Did I mention how his rabbi , the only one in town, would arrive in his underwear for the bar mitzvah lessons.
Zweig is a professor of English at BMCC in Manhattan/CUNYClick the book cover to read more.

The Life and World of One of Civilization's Greatest Minds
Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago
October 2008, Doublebay
At 14, he started to study the RaMBaM, now he is 75.
There are 90 pages of footnotes!
This authoritative biography of Moses Maimonides, one of the most influential minds in all of human history, illuminates his life as a philosopher, physician, and lawgiver. A biography on a grand scale, it brilliantly explicates one man's life against the background of the social, religious, and political issues of his time. Maimonides was born in Córdoba, in Muslim-ruled Spain, in 1138 and died in Cairo in 1204. He lived in an Arab-Islamic environment from his early years in Spain and North Africa to his later years in Egypt, where he was immersed in its culture and society. His life, career, and writings are the highest expression of the intertwined worlds of Judaism and Islam.
Maimonides lived in tumultuous times, at the peak of the Reconquista in Spain and the Crusades in Palestine. His monumental compendium of Jewish law, the Mishneh Torah, became a basis of all subsequent Jewish legal codes and brought him recognition as one of the foremost lawgivers of humankind. In Egypt, his training as a physician earned him a place in the entourage of the great Sultan Saladin, and he wrote medical works in Arabic that were translated into Hebrew and Latin and studied for centuries in Europe. As a philosopher and scientist, he contributed to mathematics and astronomy, logic and ethics, politics and theology. His Guide of the Perplexed, a masterful interweaving of religious tradition and scientific and philosophic thought, influenced generations of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish thinkers.
Now, in a dazzling work of scholarship, Joel Kraemer tells the complete story of Maimonides' rich life. MAIMONIDES is at once a portrait of a great historical figure and an excursion into the Mediterranean world of the twelfth century. Joel Kraemer draws on a wealth of original sources to re-create a remarkable period in history when Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions clashed and mingled in a setting alive with intense intellectual exchange and religious conflict.
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October 2008, Houghton Mifflin
Includes essays from Oliver Sacks, Noah Feldman (the piece frlom The New York Times Magazine on his yeshiva and his non Jewish wife), Natalie Goldberg (Meeting the Shinese in St Paul), Walter Isaacson (on Einstein), Robert Pinksy, and even Hamza Yusuf (Why Holocaust Denial Undermines Islam). Click the book cover to read more.

At this critical moment in our nation's-and the world's-history, we are called sharply but lovingly to think in new ways about our moral and political behavior by Harold Schulweis, one of America's great spiritual leaders. Like the biblical prophets, he speaks to people of all faiths, all backgrounds in this call for renewal of conscience. "The urgent challenge for religion is to provide religious groups with the resources needed to resist immoral authority. Religion is morally obligated to instill the sanctity of conscience that may balance the culture of obedience with the culture of moral disobedience.... Organized religion appears unable to envision the interdependent coexistence of obedience and disobedience, a time to obey and a time to disobey." A provocative book, it examines the idea of conscience and the role conscience plays in our relationships to law, ethics, religion, human nature and God-and to each other. From Abraham to Abu Ghraib, from the dissenting prophets to Darfur, he probes history, the Bible and the works of contemporary thinkers for ideas about both critical disobedience and uncritical obedience, illuminating the potential for evil and the potential for good that rests within us as individuals and as a society. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Rabbi and the CEO
The Ten Commandments for 21st Century Leaders
by Thomas D. Zweifel and Aaron L. Raskin
Leadership is in crisis. In the rough seas of a borderless economy, the Internet, and outsourcing in turbulent markets, a seismic shift has changed the game. The days of the Great Man--whether a Churchill or Kennedy, even a Gates or Welch--are numbered. Virtually anyone can lead now. But how do you breed principled leaders for the twenty-first century? Is leadership a matter of DNA, culture, or coaching? The answer can be found in the 3,000-year-old tradition of Judaism. Jews are not called the People of the Book by accident. Torah, Talmud, and Kabbalah hold a powerful amalgam of life-and-death leadership stories and astonishingly practical lessons for twenty-first-century managers. In a unique synergy, Dr. Thomas Zweifel, Swiss Consulting Group CEO, Columbia professor, and author of leadership books like Communicate or Die and Culture Clash, teams up with Rabbi Aaron Raskin, Jewish leader, mensch, and author of Letters of Light, to blend the timeless wisdom of the Ten Commandments with a cutting-edge methodology based on twenty-five years of coaching leaders--a mix that provides winning tools for lasting success. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Healing from Despair
Choosing Wholeness in a Broken World
by Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz and Erica Shapiro Taylor , with a Foreword by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski
The suffering that brings you to despair and even desperation can-with healing-become a source of hope, purpose and blessing. Are you: Feeling anxious? Feeling depressed because of the loss of health, a relationship or a job? Grieving the loss of a loved one? Grieving loss by a suicide? Feeling hopeless? Concerned about a friend who has suicidal thoughts? This wise and helpful guide explores the nature of personal suffering and brokenness and the potential for personal crisis as a source of strength and renewal instead of despair and death. Examining the personal journeys of biblical and historical figures such as Moses, Maimonides, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Buber-as well as the author's own personal experience with despair-it looks at brokenness as an inescapable element of the human condition. It traces the path of suffering from despair to depression to desperation to the turning point-healing-when first-hand knowledge of suffering can be transformed into blessing. Click the book cover to read more.

Practical Approaches to Building Strong Communities
by Dr. Erica Brown, Jewish Fed of Gtr Washington
Drawing on the past and looking to the future, this practical guide provides the tools you need to work through important contemporary leadership issues. It takes a broad look at positions of leadership in the modern Jewish community and the qualities and skills you need in order to succeed in these positions. Real-life anecdotes, interviews, and dialogue stimulate thinking about board development, ethical leadership, conflict resolution, change management, and effective succession planning. Whether you are a professional or a volunteer, are looking to develop your own personal leadership skills or are part of a group, this inspiring book provides information, interactive exercises, and questions for reflection to help you define leadership styles and theories, expose common myths, and coach others on the importance of leading with meaning. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible
Ancient Role Models for Sacred Relationships
By Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
Foreword by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis
Who are the ancient role models for the sacred relationship between Jews and non-Jews today? Now more than ever, gentiles are an integral part of the Jewish community. But they are not new to the Jewish story. In fact, righteous gentiles go back to Abraham. The story of the Jewish people can't be told without them. Noted author and educator Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin provides an informative and inspiring look at the sympathetic non-Israelite characters of the Hebrew Bible and the redemptive relationships they had with the Jewish people. Relying on biblical and extra-biblical sources, he introduces each character, drawing lessons from the life of each that will be relevant to you, whatever your faith tradition. They include the ... First gentile to bless a Jew First woman to hear the Divine voice and save a Jewish baby First teacher of morality to the Jews First gentile mother of Jewish children Gentile midwives who invented civil disobedience Mother of Moses and nurturer of the Jewish people Father-in-law and teacher of Moses First "gentile Zionist" Gentile warrior who fought for the Israelites Gentile contractor for Solomon's Temple Gentiles who acknowledged God and repented Creator of the Second Jewish Commonwealth ... Click the book cover to read more.

[book] On The Wings of Shekhinah
Rediscovering Judaism's Divine Feminine
By Rabbi Leah Novick
Translated from Hebrew and defined as the dwelling presence of God, Shekhinah is the feminine face of God in Judaism. Novick combs Jewish history and scripture to reveal evidence of Judaism's rich history of the Sacred Feminine. She explores how the concept of a feminine aspect of Yahweh developed and was preserved in the tradition. Novick calls Judaism to come to terms with its pagan past and acknowledge the history of the Divine Feminine as part of the traditional Jewish path. She also uncovers the Shekhinah's integral role in the sacred marriage, the Kabbalah, the Sabbath, and other Jewish rituals and prayers. Rabbi Leah Novick of the Jewish Renewal Movement is a spiritual teacher whose work is focused on the Shekhinah (divine feminine) within Judaism. She draws on traditional knowledge, combining it with guided visualization and meditation in her workshops and ceremonies. She is the oldest of the few hundred women rabbis and has been honored widely for her pioneering work in bringing the feminine into contemporary Jewish liturgy and rituals. She also writes about Jewish women saints, and that work has evolved into theatrical performance with her advanced students. Click the book cover to read more.

By Rabbi Elyse Goldstein
This empowering anthology looks at the growth and accomplishments of Jewish feminism and what that means for Jewish women today and tomorrow. It features the voices of women from every area of Jewish life-the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox and Jewish Renewal movements; rabbis, congregational leaders, artists, writers, community service professionals, academics, and chaplains, from the United States, Canada, and Israel-addressing the important issues that concern Jewish women:
Women and Theology
Women, Ritual and Torah
Women and the Synagogue
Women in Israel
Gender, Sexuality and Age
Women and the Denominations
Leadership and Social Justicee
Contributors include: Beth Cooper Benjamin, EdD / Rabbi Donna Berman, PhD / Ellen Bernstein / Marla Brettschneider, PhD / Shifra Bronznick / Anita Diamant / Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson / Ruth Andrew Ellenson / Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, PhD / Rabbi Tirzah Firestone / Idana Goldberg, PhD / Rabbi Elyse Goldstein / Jodie Gordon / Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb / Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD / Sara Hurwitz, Madricha Ruchanit / Rabbi Jill Jacobs / Rabbi Valerie Joseph / Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar / Rabbi Naamah Kelman / Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD / Lori Hope Lefkovitz, PhD / Anne Lapidus Lerner, PhD / Rahel Lerner / Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman / Rabbi Dalia Marx, PhD / Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler / Rabbi Haviva Ner-David, PhD / Cantor Barbara Ostfeld / Rabbi Barbara Penzner / Judith Plaskow, PhD / Rabbi Irit Printz / Rabbi Einat Ramon, PhD / Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael / Rosie Rosenzweig / Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg / Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi / Rabbi Rona Shapiro / Margalit Shilo, PhD / Rabbi Alana Suskin / Wendy Zierler, PhD.
Click the book cover to read more.

An anthology of empowerment. Looks at the growth and accomplishments of Jewish feminism and what that means for Jewish women today and tomorrow. Click the book cover to read more.

October 2008, WILEY
PW Review: The explicit intent of this confrontational book is to intellectually engage prominent "enemies of Israel" in "the open marketplace of ideas." Harvard law professor Dershowitz (The Case for Israel) begins with a vehement denunciation of his onetime friend Jimmy Carter, and he concludes with an appendix that systematically refutes many claims advanced in Carter's book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. Though the former president receives Dershowitz's most thorough criticism, the author also identifies and scrutinizes many other "enemies," from Noam Chomsky and Patrick Buchanan to Hezbollah and the Iranian government. Dershowitz assumes the posture of a litigator, but his deep convictions and previous history with many of the book's subjects lend a more personal tone to his critiques, as Dershowitz himself admits. Chapters on terrorism and Iran, which are less targeted at specific individuals, take a more effective philosophical and historical approach. Despite its stated goal of eliciting further debate on the Israel-Palestine conflict, this provocative book will likely appeal to sympathizers and alienate readers less disposed to its author's positions . Click the book cover to read more.

2008, Palgrave
Schanzar is a counterterrorism analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and also a policy specialist at a Jewish policy group. His book details the conflict between Hamas and Fatah. In June 2007 civil war broke out in the Gaza Strip between two rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah. Western peace efforts in the region always focused on reconciling two opposing fronts: Israel and Palestine. Now, this careful exploration of Middle East history over the last two decades reveals that the Palestinians have long been a house divided. What began as a political rivalry between Fatah's Yasir Arafat and Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin during the first intifada of 1987 evolved into a full-blown battle on the streets of Gaza between the forces of Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, and Ismael Haniyeh, one of Yassin's early protégés. Today, the battle continues between these two diametrically opposing forces over the role of Palestinian nationalism and Islamism in the West Bank and Gaza. In this thought-provoking book, Jonathan Schanzer questions the notion of Palestinian political unity, explaining how internal rivalries and violence have ultimately stymied American efforts to promote Middle East peace, and even the Palestinian quest for a homeland. . Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Last Secrets of the Temple
A Novel
by Paul Sussman
2008, Atlantic Monthly
From Publishers Weekly: A bestseller overseas, Sussman's follow-up to The Lost Army of the Cambyses opens at Jerusalem's Holy Temple in the year 70, jumps to doomed WWII German prison camp inmates dragging a Nazi-purloined holy relic down an abandoned coal shaft and then fast-forwards to present-day Egypt. There, Det. Insp. Yusef Ezz el-Din Khalifa of the Luxor police investigates the murder of an old man whose body has been found at an archeological site in the Valley of the Kings. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Palestinian journalist Layla al-Madani and Israeli police detective Arieh Ben-Roi have their own sad histories and complicated lives to deal with. Eventually, Sussman twines all the threads into one, and the three principals are hard on the trail of the mysterious artifact hidden by the prisoners. There are familiar Da Vinci Code elements, but Sussman, an archeologist, puts in plenty of satisfying twists and turns, and grounds the story in the violence and intrigue of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict Click the book cover to read more.

October 2008, Tor
From Publishers Weekly In Walton's fine conclusion to her alternative-history trilogy (after Ha'penny), former Scotland Yarder Peter Carmichael, now head of the secret police organization known as the Watch, must prepare for a peace conference to be held in London two decades after Britain reached an accommodation with Hitler's Germany in the early 1940s. Carmichael also has to worry about his sexual relationship with his valet, Jack, and the covert unit within the Watch he's created to smuggle British Jews out of the country. Then his naïve 18-year-old ward, Elvira Royston, who's about to be presented to the queen, overhears a conversation that could compromise her protector. Elvira, who winds up in police custody after attending a political rally that turns violent, accepts her authoritarian society with a casualness that's truly chilling. Walton's understated prose and deft characterizations elevate this above similar works such as Fatherlandand SS-GB. Some readers, though, may feel let down by an optimistic ending that jars with the series' overall downbeat tone. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Hitler's Private Library
The Books That Shaped His Life
by Timothy W. Ryback
October 2008, Knopf
A brilliantly original exploration of some of the formative influences in Hitler's life-the books he most revered, and how they shaped the man and his thinking. Hitler's education and worldview were formed largely from the books in his private library. Recently, hundreds of those books were discovered in the Library of Congress by Timothy Ryback, complete with Hitler's marginalia on their pages-underlines, question marks, exclamation points, scrawled comments. Ryback traces the path of the key phrases and ideas that Hitler incorporated into his writing, speeches, conversations, self-definition, and actions. We watch him embrace Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, and the works of Shakespeare. We see how an obscure treatise inspired his political career and a particular interpretation of Ibsen's epic poem Peer Gynt helped mold his ruthless ambition. He admires Henry Ford's anti-Semitic tract, The International Jew, and declares it required reading for fellow party members. We learn how his extensive readings on religion and the occult provide the blueprint for his notion of divine providence, how the words of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer are reborn as infamous Nazi catchphrases, and, finally, how a biography of Frederick the Great fired the destructive fanaticism that compelled Hitler to continue fighting World War II when all hope of victory was lost. Hitler's Private Library, a landmark in the study of the Third Reich, offers a remarkable view into Hitler's intellectual world and personal evolution. It demonstrates the ability of books to preserve in vivid ways the lives of their collectors, underscoring the importance of the tactile in the era of the digital. Click the book cover to read more.

October 2008, Broadway
Jewish New Yorker publicist, Aimee Albert, lost her boyfriend on 9/11. She just broke up with her latest bf, Peter McKnight, who is not Jewish. She goes on a diet, loses major pounds on a Depression Diet, dyes her heair red, changes her eye color, and now she looks non_jewish, a dream date for Jewish men. She goes to a Jewish party with her non Jewish co worker and scores a cute Jewish ma, Josh. Can she keep up the lie about being Christian to keep her Jewish man? Click the book cover to read more.

2008, Riverhead
A collection of essays by Handler, who you may know from SEX AND THE CITY as Charlotte's bald, Jewish husband. He is bitter, he is funny, he, like many actors, is so egotistical that you might vomit. Gius first book on surviving cancer and two bone marrow transplants was great and pure honesty (about his sexual cheating on his martyr girlfriend at the time during cancer treatments) In this collection, he discusses fatherhood, girlfriends, breakups, mor ebreakups, and his anger at not being a famous star and blaming his cancer for him not being as big as Matthew Broderick and others of his generation. Whatver. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Partnership
The Making of Goldman Sachs
by Charles D. Ellis
October 2008, Penguin Press
The jury is still out on what the future of Goldman Sachs will look like, but no one can argue that the 139 year old firm has been (and, if Warren Buffett has his way, will be) the dominant investment banker and dealer on Wall Street. What does Buffett see that we on the outside do not? It's all about the people. Charles D. Ellis has written a landmark book that couldn't come at a better time. The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs is the colorful and fascinating story of Goldman's rise to power through many life-threatening changes in markets, competition, and regulation. It tells the personal history of the men and women who built the world's leading financial powerhouse from a firm that was disgraced and nearly destroyed in 1929, limped along as a break-even operation through the Depression and WWII, and, with only one special service and one improbable banker, began the rise that, in half a century, took Goldman Sachs to global leadership.
When Marcus Goldman, a Jewish immigrant from Bavaria, founded a small commercial-paper dealer in New York in 1869, he hardly could have imagined it would one day become the world's most envied and profitable investment bank. Equally shocking to him would have been the hurricane that has descended on markets this year, wrecking the investment-bank business model, which relies on fickle short-term funding, and laying low entire institutions. Three of America's five independent investment banks have been swallowed by rivals or the abyss. The two that remain, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, have opted under intense pressure from market forces to become bank holding companies, a move that will subject them to tougher capital requirements and supervision. A year that has seen the emasculation of America's brokerages may not seem the ideal time to reflect on what made the erstwhile industry leader great. But, amid the torrent of negative news, Charles Ellis's exhaustively researched history of Goldman Sachs paints a convincing picture of an institution that has got most of the important things right. It is an organisation America can be proud of, even as it is forced to reinvent itself to survive. Mr Ellis, a consultant who has worked with the bank for more than 30 years, sees strengths aplenty. Goldman attracts the best and, with a recruitment process that redefines rigorous, hires the very best. The accent has always been on regeneration: partners are encouraged to move on to allow fresh blood to come through; many go on to public service. Hank Paulson, America's treasury secretary and the architect of the restructuring of the banking system, and Bob Zoellick, head of the World Bank, are two examples.
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[book] Eat Me
The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin
by Kenny Shopsin with Carolynn Carreno
Fall 2008, Knopf
I ate at Shopsin's.
I got kicked out of Shopsin's for wearing a suit and tie
I saw the Shopsin's documentary and was not endeared to Shopsin or his family or his customers
But he was a Manhattan oddity and has a following and for some, mostly neurotic, self indulgent, New Yorkers, he has a place. Honestly, I do not think Mac n Cheese pancakes are so unique. But enough about me. Here is the review of this book
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Kenny Shopsin hates publicity the way a magnet must hate metal filings. With a documentary, a New Yorker profile and several New York Times articles clinging to him, this supposedly reluctant restaurateur now adds to his own troubles by releasing a totally hilarious and surprisingly touching treatise on cooking, customer loyalty and family bonds. As his brood grew to include five kids, his Manhattan eatery shrunk in size, yet maintained its idiosyncratic 900-item menu (reproduced here in a 12-page spread). Recipes for more than 100 of the offerings are presented, including Mac n Cheese Pancakes and Blisters on My Sisters (sunny-side-up eggs placed atop tortillas and a rice and bean concoction). But the real treat is Shopsin's salty philosophizing. Sure, pancakes are tasty, but he reminds us that, They are flour and milk drowned in butter and some form of sugar. They're crap. And the customer is always wrong until they show me they are worth cultivating as customers. Two such well-cultivated customers were the writer Calvin Trillin and his wife, Alice. They pop up throughout the book, providing not only happy reminiscences, but a roux of poignancy as both Shopsin and Trillin become widowers, bonded together over the love of a decent meal, quickly rendered.
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IG Farben and the Making of Hitler's War Machine
by Diarmuid Jeffreys
2008, Metropolitan
PW: "British journalist Jeffreys (Aspirin: The Remarkable Story of a Wonder Drug) pre-sents a compelling account of the comprehensive collaboration of Germany's major chemical conglomerate with Adolf Hitler's genocidal dictatorship. The fourth largest industrial concern in the world, IG Farben was a key element of German foreign policy. Its employees were well treated. Its scientists won Nobel prizes. Its administrators created an international network controlling the production and sale of everything from plastics to camera film-and poison gas. Jeffreys tells the story from the rise of Germany's chemical industry in the 19th century to its support of the Nazis' ascent to power starting in 1932. National Socialism was good for business. The increasingly lucrative contracts came with a price: first accommodation, then collaboration, as one compromise after another enmeshed the cartel ever deeper in the Nazi system. Eventually, from Farben's perspective, Auschwitz was no more than a source of labor for producing the synthetic rubber and oil that kept the war machine operating. Ignominiously dissolved in the early '50s, IG Farben remains a monument to willful and unapologetic moral blindness."
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By Simon Baatz
2008, Harper
In 1924, Nathan Leopold, 19, and Richard Loeb, 18, both intellectually precocious scions of wealthy Jewish Chicago families, kidnapped and brutally murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in an attempt to commit the perfect crime. Historian Baatz, of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, replays the crime (on which Meyer Levin's 1956 novel Compulsion was based) from the killers' point of view, detailing their intense, often sexual, relationship that culminated in the murder. But they left a crucial piece of evidence and eventually confessed to the murder. Clarence Darrow cleverly had the boys plead guilty to avoid a trial, and the legendary defense attorney went head to head with State's Attorney Robert Crowe in a sentencing hearing before Judge John Caverly. Both sides trotted out psychiatrists to testify whether Leopold and Loeb were mentally ill. Darrow's gamble paid off in life sentences. Loeb was murdered in prison in 1936; Leopold was eventually paroled in 1958. Baatz gives an acute portrait of the two murderers bound together in a web of fantasy, but his heavy reliance on novelistic techniques (there!-he had done it) and meandering pacing prevent this from being as convincing as his exhaustive research deserves.
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BY RABBI ROBERT N. LEVINE, Congregation Rodeph Shalom NYC
Fall 2008,
It is easy to believe God has abandoned us. In atrocities from Hitler's Germany to today's Darfur, the meek and the poor are left to fend for themselves. In the United States, we are menaced by violent terrorists who claim to act in God's name. Our own neighbors threaten us with an absolute choice between faith and a fiery path to hell. Robert Levine steps into the fray with What God Can Do For You Now. A leading American clergyman, he asks us to commit to a relationship with a loving God. We can create a trusting partnership with the Almighty, give time to prayer, and strive to repair the world. In a time when genocide and terrorism wreak their terrible toll, he convinces us that the potential for tragedy exists alongside the potential for miracles, every day and every where. When we rekindle our faith in God, we rekindle our belief in our own goodness, and start the change we need to repair ourselves and the world. Praise for What God Can Do For You Click the book cover to read more.

[book] CHAGALL
October 2008, Knopf
When Matisse dies," Pablo Picasso remarked in the 1950s, "Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is." As a pioneer of modernism and one of the greatest figurative artists of the twentieth century, Marc Chagall achieved fame and fortune, and over the course of a long career created some of the best-known and most-loved paintings of our time. Yet behind this triumph lay struggle, heartbreak, bitterness, frustration, lost love, exile-and above all the miracle of survival. Born into near poverty in Russia in 1887, the son of a Jewish herring merchant, Chagall fled the repressive "potato-colored" tsarist empire in 1911 for Paris. There he worked alongside Modigliani and Léger in the tumbledown tenement called La Ruche, where "one either died or came out famous." But turmoil lay ahead-war and revolution; a period as an improbable artistic commissar in the young Soviet Union; a difficult existence in Weimar Germany, occupied France, and eventually the United States. Throughout, as Jackie Wullschlager makes plain in this groundbreaking biography, he never ceased giving form on canvas to his dreams, longings, and memories. His subject, more often than not, was the shtetl life of his childhood, the wooden huts and synagogues, the goatherds, rabbis, and violinists-the whole lost world of Eastern European Jewry. Wullschlager brilliantly describes this world and evokes the characters who peopled it: Chagall's passionate, energetic mother, Feiga-Ita; his eccentric fellow painter and teacher Bakst; his clever, intense first wife, Bella; their glamorous daughter, Ida; his tough-minded final companion and wife, Vava; and the colorful, tragic array of artist, actor, and writer friends who perished under the Stalinist regime.
Wullschlager explores in detail Chagall's complex relationship with Russia and makes clear the Russian dimension he brought to Western modernism. She shows how, as André Breton put it, "under his sole impulse, metaphor made its triumphal entry into modern painting," and helped shape the new surrealist movement. As art critic of the Financial Times, she provides a breadth of knowledge on Chagall's work, and at the same time as an experienced biographer she brings Chagall the man fully to life-ambitious, charming, suspicious, funny, contradictory, dependent, but above all obsessively determined to produce art of singular beauty and emotional depth. Drawing upon hitherto unseen archival material, including numerous letters from the family collection in Paris, and illustrated with nearly two hundred paintings, drawings, and photographs, Chagall is a landmark biography to rank with Hilary Spurling's Matisse and John Richardson's Picasso Click the book cover to read more.

2008, Littman
The sermons reveal how Jews perceive themselves in relation to the majority society and how Jewish and national values are reconciled when the fate of a nation is at stake. They also illustrate how rabbis guide their communities through the challenges of their times. The sermons reproduced here were delivered by American and British rabbis from across the Jewish spectrum-Orthodox to Liberal, Ashkenazi and Sephardi-from the Napoleonic Wars to the attacks of 9/11. Each sermon is prefaced by a comprehensive introduction explaining the context in which it was delivered. Detailed notes explain allusions unfamiliar to a present-day readership and draw comparisons where appropriate to similar passages in contemporary newspapers and other sermons. A general introduction surveys more broadly the distinctive elements of modern Jewish preaching-the new preaching occasions bound up with the history of the countries in which Jews were living; new modes for the dissemination of the sermons (printed pamphlets and the Jewish and general press), and the emergence of women's voices from the pulpit. It also surveys the distinctive themes of modern Jewish sermons, including responses to Jewish suffering, social justice, eulogies for national leaders, Zionism, and war. What Jewish religious leaders said to their congregations when their countries went to war (or in some cases, were considering going to war) raises questions of central significance for both modern Jewish history and religious thinking in the civic context. What evidence do these sermons present concerning the degree of patriotism felt by Jews? Where and when do we find examples of dissent from the policies taken by their governments, or explicit criticism? What theological problems are raised by the preachers in the context of unprecedented and unimagined destruction, and how do they respond to these problems? How is the enemy presented in these texts; how is the problem of Jews fighting and killing other Jews addressed? Are the preachers functioning to articulate traditions that challenge the consensus of the moment, or as instruments of social control serving the needs of governments looking for unquestioning support by their citizenry? In all these areas, this book makes an important contribution to American- and Anglo-Jewish history of this period while also making available a collection of mostly unknown Jewish texts produced at dramatic moments of the past two centuries. Click the book cover to read more.

BY NINA BERLEIGH (People Magazine)
Fall 2008, Collins
In November 2002, the public display of an ossuary (an ancient burial vessel) inscribed James, the brother of Jesus, sent ripples of excitement, doubt and consternation through both the religious and scholarly worlds. But when scholars took a close look, they declared the inscription a forgery based on the lack of provenance and a tremendous disparity between the physical writing of the word James and the rest of the inscription. In her captivating chronicle, veteran journalist Burleigh (Mirage) enters a dark world full of shady dealings, illicit collectors and monomaniacal archeologists. Along the way we meet an improbable cast of characters, including Oded Golan, the ossuary's owner; André Lemaire, an epigraphist who early on testified to the authenticity of the ossuary's inscription; Shlomo Moussaieff, a billionaire collector with a warehouse full of artifacts of uncertain value; and Israel Finkelstein, a maverick Israeli archeologist who questions the historicity of many biblical events. Burleigh draws readers in from page one and brilliantly captures the compelling debates about archeology's relationship to narratives of faith.
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Fabulous food for a healthier lifestyle
by Susie Fishbein (Author)
November 17, 2008, Mesorah
This sixth volume in Susie Fishbein's celebrated Kosher by Design cookbook series was crafted with your good health in mind! Kosher by Design Lightens Up is a gorgeous culinary guide, bursting with easy-to-do ideas for eating and feeling better. This cookbook teaches healthy cooking and food combining techniques, with special commentary by certified nutritional expert Bonnie Taub-Dix, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Assn. Susie says, These nutritious recipes are easy to integrate into your everyday menus. Anyone looking to migrate into a better way of eating and living will find delicious options here. Over 145 brand new recipes, Over 160 full color photos, Creative entertaining ideas, including oil olive tasting, a party spritzer station and more! Simple, healthy approaches to: cooking oils, sweeteners, whole grains, superfoods, smarter shopping, and more efficient kitchen gadgets. And Comprehensive cross-reference index .
While traditional kosher cooking invokes images of heavy, fatty Eastern European fare, Fishbein's cookbooks are a cosmopolitan tour-de-force. Lightens Up showcases international influences that are varied and inspired, including: Argentinean Bison Steak, Korean Beef Kim Chee Skewers, Merquez Sausage on Whole Wheat Couscous, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lebanese Salad, Mexican Citrus Salad, Thai Chicken Soup, Moroccan Spiced Vegetables, a Greek Frittata Ring, and Tangy Mediterranean Vegetables. With 21 different desserts, such as Baklava Bites and a Frozen Pumpkin Pie, Lightens Up proves that sweet and healthy can be complementary adjectives. Fishbein advises, "Most people find that if eating healthier involves a drastic change - the dreaded diet syndrome - they will not stick with it long-term. My concept is simple. Take small steps." Her own positive experience comes through in Lightens Up as she admits, "I have noticed that as I eat more whole grains and cut back on fats, sugars, and oils, I've developed new taste buds! The new flavors are refreshingly pure and satisfying." Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Crafting Jewish
Fun holiday crafts and party ideas for the whole family
by Rivky Koenig
November 2008, Mesorah
Crafting Jewish is a unique and beautiful book. It has been designed both for experienced crafters looking for creative and unusual ideas and For beginners just starting to discover the joys of crafts. This book has it all! Over 120 holiday and everyday projects, each with step-by-step instructions Stunning full-color photos of every craft Distinctive ideas for holiday get-togethers - many with delicious recipes Pictorial reference guide of crafting tools and product buying guide Full-size templates and comprehensive index
The entire family will love creating these marvelous, homemade crafts - and the warm and loving family traditions that you create at the same time, as you enjoy Crafting Jewish. Rivky Koenig is passionate about three things: family life, crafting, and preserving Jewish traditions. Not surprisingly, the upstate New York teacher, wife, and mother of five found a creative way to weave her enthusiasm into a single focus - Crafting Jewish: Fun holiday crafts and party ideas for the whole family. A delightful and visually appealing volume, Koenig's book appeals to novice and experienced crafters alike, offering more than 130 projects themed around Jewish holidays. A teacher of Literature, Language-Arts, and Social Studies, Koenig gained recognition for her tactile, hands-on approach to pedagogy, reinforcing subject matter through artistic and creative tasks. "It's well known that people learn more by doing than by hearing," she reflects.
Her foray into Jewish crafting began with a stint as director of a series of crafting workshops for a popular teens' summer camp in the Catskill Mountains. "I saw kids get turned on by the idea of handmade traditional crafts they could make at home with family and friends. As we created, we'd discuss the significance of the project to Jewish values and practices. These lessons stay with them for life." Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean
How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire
in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom
--and Revenge
by Edward Kritzler
November 2008, Doubleday
At the end of the fifteenth century, the Spanish Inquisition forced many Jews to flee the country. The most adventurous among them took to the high seas as freewheeling outlaws. In ships bearing names such as the Prophet Samuel, Queen Esther, and Shield of Abraham, they attacked and plundered the Spanish fleet while forming alliances with other European powers to ensure the safety of Jews living in hiding. JEWISH PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN is the entertaining saga of a hidden chapter in Jewish history and of the cruelty, terror, and greed that flourished during the Age of Discovery. Readers will meet such daring figures as "the Great Jewish Pirate" Sinan, Barbarossa's second-in-command; the pirate rabbi Samuel Palache, who founded Holland's Jewish community; Abraham Cohen Henriques, an arms dealer who used his cunning and economic muscle to find safe havens for other Jews; and his pirate brother Moses, who is credited with the capture of the Spanish silver fleet in 1628--the largest heist in pirate history. Filled with high-sea adventures-including encounters with Captain Morgan and other legendary pirates-and detailed portraits of cities stacked high with plunder, such as Port Royal, Jamaica, JEWISH PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN captures a gritty and glorious era of history from an unusual and eye-opening perspective. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Passing Game
Benny Friedman and the Transformation of Football
by Murray Greenberg
November 2008, Publicaffairs
Benny Friedman, the son of working class immigrants in Cleveland's Jewish ghetto, arrived at the University of Michigan and transformed the game of football forever. At the time, in the 1920s, football was a dull, grinding running game, and the forward pass was a desperation measure. Benny would change all of that. In Ann Arbor, the rookie quarterback's passing abilities so eclipsed those of other players that legendary coach Fielding Yost came back from retirement to coach him. The other college teams had no answer for Friedman's passing attack. He then went pro-an unpopular decision at a time when the NFL was the poor stepchild to college football-and was equally sensational, eventually signing with the New York Giants for an unprecedented $10,000, bringing fans and attention to the fledgling NFL. Passing Game rediscovers this little-known sports hero and tells the story of Friedman's evolution from upstart to American celebrity, in a vivid narrative that will delight and enlighten football fans of all ages.
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[book] Hebrew Writers on Writing
Edited by Peter Cole
Edward Hirsch, Series Editor
November 2008, Trinity
Hebrew Writers on Writing offers a fresh look at well-known figures such as Haim Nahman Bialik and Yehuda Amichai, while also introducing a host of fascinating yet little- or never-before translated writers. Drawing from essays, letters, notebooks, poems, interviews, and other sources, it begins in early 20th-century Warsaw, wanders through the formative years of Hebrew modernism in Europe and Palestine, and explores the charged complexity of contemporary Israel. In the process, it probes, as no English-language volume has before, the shifting cultural and political landscape Hebrew emerged from, providing readers with an intimate vision of a startlingly rich and diverse body of work. These selections from 49 writers have been rendered by a group of some of the finest English translators in the field, and each piece is introduced by editor, noted poet, and MacArthur fellow Peter Cole. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Shtick Shift
Jewish Humor in the 21st Century
by Simcha Weinstein
November 2008, Barricade
Today's Jewish comics are being themselves, and the understated Jewish flavor of Seinfeld has been replaced by a matter-of-factness that would make earlier Jewish comics cringe. Author Simcha Weinstein calls this new comic sensibility the shtick shift. These comedians offer fresh perspectives on familiar themes in Jewish humor: money, family, faith, politics, and bigotry. Shtick Shift aims to be a primer to the ever-changing face of Jewish comedy in the twenty-first century. Rabbi Simcha Weinstein is an internationally known, best-selling author. His first book Up, Up and Oy Vey! How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped t e Comic Book Superhero, received the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award for the best religion book of 2007. He's appeared on CNN Showbiz Tonight and NPR, and been profiled in leading publications, including The New York Times, The Miami Herald and The London Guardian. Rabbi Simcha Weinstein chairs the Religious Affair's Committee at the renowned New York art school, Pratt Institute, and is the founder of the downtown Brooklyn Jewish Student Foundation.
"Simcha Weinstein is one of the freshest, boldest, and funniest voices writing about American Judaism today." -- Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Abraham "A Wikipedic collection of humorous solutions, Bill Moyers, Charlie Rose, Brian Lamb and C-Span take note." -- Actor, Jerry Stiller "One of the most intelligent, ground-breaking books on Jewish comedy I've ever read." -- Jonathan Kesselman, director/writer of The Hebrew Hammer . Click the book cover to read more.

November 2008,
From Publishers Weekly: Gladwell (The Tipping Point, Blink) once again proves masterful in a genre he essentially pioneered-the book that illuminates secret patterns behind everyday phenomena. His gift for spotting an intriguing mystery, luring the reader in, then gradually revealing his lessons in lucid prose, is on vivid display. Outliers begins with a provocative look at why certain five-year-old boys enjoy an advantage in ice hockey, and how these advantages accumulate over time. We learn what Bill Gates, the Beatles and Mozart had in common: along with talent and ambition, each enjoyed an unusual opportunity to intensively cultivate a skill that allowed them to rise above their peers. A detailed investigation of the unique culture and skills of Eastern European Jewish immigrants persuasively explains their rise in 20th-century New York, first in the garment trade and then in the legal profession. Through case studies ranging from Canadian junior hockey champions to the robber barons of the Gilded Age, from Asian math whizzes to software entrepreneurs to the rise of his own family in Jamaica, Gladwell tears down the myth of individual merit to explore how culture, circumstance, timing, birth and luck account for success-and how historical legacies can hold others back despite ample individual gifts. ... Click the book cover to read more.

November 2008, Mira
From Publishers Weekly: Goldreich's latest wide-ranging novel, rooted in suburban New York, skillfully delineates contemporary and conservative Jewish life, but with a less-than-compelling story. Goldreich's protagonist, ceramic artist Elaine Gordon, is neither warm nor particularly sympathetic. Putting her husband first and art second, she's effectively shut out her four children. But after her husband dies, those grown children, each of whom has a successful life outside New York City, convene and convince Elaine to visit, hoping she'll choose to live near one of them. First stop is Sandy (now Sarah) in Jerusalem, then Peter in California, both of whom have children Elaine gets to bond with. Next, she travels to Russia with Lisa, an unmarried professional who wants to adopt a child. Finally, she arrives in New Mexico where her gay son, Denis, lives with his partner; Elaine's always been uncomfortable with Denis's homosexuality, and Goldreich (Leah's Journey) doesn't let us forget it. Unfortunately, Elaine's sudden emotional turnarounds never ring true, making last-act reconciliations feel like too little too late. Click the book cover to read more.

November 2008, Collins
Meet the men and women whose deeply personal philanthropy is dramatically changing the way we think about giving There are 8.6 million millionaires in the United States, and these numbers are set to rise in what will be the biggest intergenerational wealth transfer in history. As $41 trillion dollars (or over three times the national GDP) moves from the World War II generation to their baby- boomer children over the next couple of decades, it will become imperative that the beneficiaries of this wealth-even those not joining the ranks of the superrich-begin thinking about philanthropy, perhaps for the first time in their adult lives. Here they will find the personal journeys of the most successful givers of their generation. This new generation of wealth has already begun to change the face of philanthropy and to reshape the entire nonprofit sector. In Be the Change, bestselling author Lisa Endlich presents eleven compelling profiles of this twenty-first century generosity. Through candid, revealing, and often surprising interviews, readers will venture into the hearts and minds of the top names in philanthropy today-men and women who have chosen to use their immense riches and influence to meaningfully improve the lives of others in the most dramatic ways. These intimate conversations include in-depth interviews with: Melinda Gates, one of the driving forces behind the largest philanthropic organization the world has ever seen; Bob and Suzanne Wright, he's the former vice chairman of GE and longtime head of NBC Universal and their Autism Speaks has brought awareness of autism onto the national and international stage; Paul Tudor Jones, founder of Tudor Investments and the Robin Hood Foundation; Peter Bloom, founding chairman of the groundbreaking
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BY A. B. YEHOSHUA. Transl by Stuart Schoffman
November 2008 Harcourt
A couple, long married, are spending an unaccustomed week apart. Amotz, an engineer, is busy juggling the day-to-day needs of his elderly father, his children, and his grandchildren. His wife, Daniella, flies from Tel Aviv to East Africa to mourn the death of her older sister. There she confronts her anguished seventy-year-old brother-in-law, Yirmiyahu, whose soldier son was killed six years earlier in the West Bank by "friendly fire." Yirmiyahu is now managing a team of African researchers digging for the bones of man's primate ancestors as he desperately strives to detach himself from every shred of his identity, Jewish and Israeli. With great artistry, A. B. Yehoshua has once again written a rich, compassionate, rewarding novel in which sharply rendered details of modern Israeli life and age-old mysteries of human existence echo one another in complex and surprising ways.
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[book] Defiance
The Bielski Partisans
The Story of the Largest Armed Rescue of Jews by Jews During World War II
by Nechama Tec
November 2008, Oxford
From Kirkus Reviews - Powerful account by Holocaust survivor Tec (Sociology/Univ. of Connecticut; In the Lion's Den, 1989, etc.) of the operations of a Jewish partisan group in WW II Belorussia. Seeking to counteract the widespread conception of European Jews as victims who went meekly to their deaths, Tec researched the extraordinary story of the three Bielski brothers and their partisan group, using interviews with group survivors in Israel, the US, and elsewhere. Led by the oldest brother, Tuvia, the partisan group had grown to more than 1,200 Jews by the time Russian forces liberated them in 1944. The Bielski brothers, Tec explains, determined early on to save not only themselves and their families but every Jew who would join them. Resisting efforts to limit their group only to fighters, Tuvia accepted any Jew until more than 70% of the group was comprised of women, children, and middle-aged and elderly men. A charismatic leader of limited education but great intelligence and diplomatic ability, Tuvia maintained good relations with a variety of other partisan groups, some initially hostile. Putting his emphasis on saving lives rather than on killing Germans, he nonetheless acted ruthlessly against those collaborating with the Nazis, and in so doing saved many Jewish lives. At the end of the war, with Stalin's control of Belorussia becoming more oppressive, Tuvia and his brothers escaped to Romania, traveling on to Palestine and then the US--although Tuvia never again gained the recognition or prominence that his leadership qualities might have justified. A remarkable story of a great leader, as well as of a neglected aspect of WW II. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Towers of Gold
How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California
by Frances Dinkelspiel
November 2008, St Martins
Isaias Hellman, a Jewish immigrant, arrived in California in 1859 with very little money in his pocket and his brother Herman by his side. By the time he died, he had effectively transformed Los Angeles into the modern metropolis we see today. In Frances Dinkelspiel's groundbreaking history, the early days of California are seen through the life of a man who started out as a simple store owner only to become California's premier money-man of the late 19th and early 20th century. Growing up as a young immigrant, Hellman quickly learned the use to which "capital" could be put, founding LA's Farmers and Merchants Bank, that city's first successful bank, and transforming Wells Fargo into one of the West's biggest financial institutions. He invested money with Henry Huntington to build trolley lines, lent Edward Doheney the funds that led him to discover California's huge oil reserves, and assisted Harrison Gary Otis in acquiring full ownership of the Los Angeles Times. Hellman led the building of Los Angeles' first synagogue, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, helped start the University of Southern California and served as Regent of the University of California. His influence, however, was not limited to Los Angeles. He controlled the California wine industry for almost twenty years and, after San Francisco's devastating 1906 earthquake and fire, calmed the financial markets there in order to help that great city rise from the ashes. With all of these accomplishments, Isaias Hellman almost single-handedly brought California into modernity. Ripe with great historical events that filled the early days of California such as the Gold Rush and the San Francisco earthquake, Towers of Gold brings to life the transformation of California from a frontier society whose economy was driven by the barter of hides and exchange of gold dust into a vibrant state with the strongest economy in the nation. Click the book cover to read more.

November 2008, Oxford
Do you believe that Ring Around the Rosie refers to the Black Death? Or that Eskimos have 50 (or 500) words for "snow"? Or that "Posh" is an acronym for "Port Out, Starboard Home"? If so, you badly need this book. In Word Myths, David Wilton debunks some of the most spectacularly wrong word histories in common usage, giving us the real stories behind many linguistic urban legends. Readers will discover the true history behind such popular words and expressions such as "rule of thumb," "the whole nine yards," "hot dog," "raining cats and dogs," "chew the fat," "AWOL," "under the weather," "in like Flynn," "Dixie," "son of a gun," "tinker's damn," and many more. We learn that SOS was not originally an acronym for "Save Our Ship" or "Save Our Souls," but was chosen because the morse code signal (3 dots, 3 dashes, 3 dots) was easy to send and recognize. Also, "let the cat out of the bag" does not refer to the whip (the "cat") used to punish sailors aboard ship. The term "upset" (to defeat unexpectedly) does not date from the horse race when the heavily favored Man O' War was beaten by a nag named Upset (Upset was the only horse ever to defeat Man O' War, but the word predates the race by half a century). And Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet, nor do the words "crap" or "crapper" derive from his name. Click the book cover to read more.

November 2008, Simon and Schuster
Rickles doesn't hold back, and offers missives and memories. Along with collected letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Jefferson and Wendell Willkie, Rickles' Letters illustrates the power of eloquent correspondence and offers universal wisdom for the ages. For example: RICKLES TO MRS. LINCOLN: "Sorry you had problems at Ford's Theatre last night, but could you get me a couple of aisle tickets for the Saturday matinee?" RICKLES TO ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: "Lose the cigar. It's hard enough to understand you without it." RICKLES TO CLINT EASTWOOD: "How many guys could do a movie about Iwo Jima from the Japanese point of view? I got nervous; I thought you were going to let them win!" RICKLES TO PRESIDENT CARTER: "Forget your hammers and nails and Habitat House and read my book." RICKLES TO MAYOR BLOOMBERG: "What do I have to do to get a cab around here?" Click the book cover to read more.

November 2008, HarlequinBR> Gala opera evenings. Sudden wealth and fame. Dangerous undercover missions into the heart of Nazi Germany. Standing up to the perils of the Blitz. No one would have predicted such glamorous and daring lives for Ida and Louise Cook-two decidedly ordinary Englishwomen who came of age between the wars and seemed destined never to stray from their quiet London suburb and comfortable civil service jobs. But in 1923 a chance hearing of an aria from Madame Butterfly sparked a passion in the sisters that became a vehicle for both their greatest happiness and the rescue of dozens of Jews facing persecution and death. Safe Passage is one of the most unusual and inspiring accounts to come out of the cataclysm of World War II. First published in 1950, Ida's memoir of the adventures she and Louise shared remains as fresh, vital and entertaining as the woman who wrote it. The Cook sisters' zest for life and genuine "goodness" shines through every page and explains why the leading opera singers of their day befriended and loved them. Even when Ida began to earn thousands as a successful romance novelist, the sisters never departed from their homespun virtues of thrift, hard work, self-sacrifice and unwavering moral conviction. They sewed their own clothes, traveled third class, bought the cheapest tickets during opera season and directed every spare resource, as well as their own considerable courage and ingenuity, toward saving as many people as they could from Hitler's death camps. Uplifting and utterly charming, Safe Passage is moving testimony to all that can be achieved when conscience and compassion are applied to a collapsing world.
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[book] Fleeing Hitler
France 1940 (Now in Paperback)
by Hanna Diamond
November 2008, Oxford
From Publishers Weekly - In France, it is called l'exode, or "exodus": the flight from their homes of up to seven million residents before and during the German invasion of the country in May and June 1940 (events described in the bestselling novel Suite Française). Diamond, who specializes in modern French history at the University of Bath, combed dozens of memoirs and diaries about the flight for this first major study in English. She notes a number of reasons for the mass internal migration, including a belief in the "atrocity propaganda" about Germany from WWI; fears that the Germans would bomb Paris and other cities; a desire to avoid working for the Nazi war machine; and the flight of the French government itself from Paris. She captures how an initial "holiday spirit" gave way to a sense of displacement, loss and impoverishment for some and separation of families. Diamond also shows how the host communities, predominantly in France's south and west, often were overwhelmed by a doubling or tripling of their populations virtually overnight. Perhaps most important and interesting is her exploration of how Marshall Pétain exploited the exodus to discredit the government of the Third Republic. While Diamond's treatment of some topics, like fatalities during the exodus, is cursory, this is a solid work on a socially convulsive episode of WWII. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] As They Say in Zanzibar
Proverbial Wisdom From Around the World
by David Crystal
Fall 2008, Oxford
In this captivating tour of humanity's received wisdom, one of Britain's best-known and best-selling authorities on language, David Crystal, brings together more than 2,000 delightful proverbs from 110 countries--the first new book of world proverbs to appear in nearly eighty years. Here readers will find proverbs they have known all their lives--such as "Everything comes to those who wait" and "Once a crook, always as crook"--alongside such lesser known gems as "One generation plants the tree, another gets the shade" (China) or "When two elephants tussle, it's the grass that suffers" (Zanzibar). Indeed, one of the great virtues of this volume is that Crystal serves up proverbs almost certain to be unknown to the reader, providing many fresh and wonderful surprises. Readers will find shrewd and incisive sayings from virtually every continent, ranging from Finland ("Even a small star shines in the darkness") to Ethiopia ("The smaller the lizard, the greater its hope of becoming a crocodile") to Japan ("Too much courtesy is discourtesy"). Loosely following the method of Roget's Thesaurus, which groups words with similar meanings, Crystal has gathered these proverbs in 468 fields such as sameness and difference, small amount and large amount, thus placing similar and antithetical proverbs in close proximity. In addition, there are more than thirty side panels on special topics, such as proverbs in Shakespeare ("Brevity is the soul of wit"), biblical proverbs ("Pride goeth before destruction"), and much more. Proverbs are fascinating in what they tell us about another culture's view of life. Each proverb in this book adds a tiny bit more to our understanding of the world's cultural diversity, and thus helps us grasp more fully what it means to be human. Some items: A coconut shell full of water is a sea to an ant (Zanzibar); Don't call the alligator a big-mouth till you have crossed the river (Belize); A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses (China); They dread a moth, who have been stung by a wasp (Albania); God heals and the doctor gets the money (Belgium) The nail suffers as much as the hole (Netherlands); When you sweep the stairs, you start at the top (Germany). Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Farewell Shanghai
by Angel Wagenstein Translated by Elizabeth Frank and Deliana Simeonova.
November 2008, Other Press
From Publishers Weekly: Moving effortlessly from Paris to Dresden to Shanghai, Wagenstein (Isaac's Torah) masterfully chronicles the lives of European émigrés and refugees in WWII Shanghai. The cast of this ensemble novel is large. Elisabeth and Theodore Weissberg, a German mezzo-soprano and her German-Jewish virtuoso violinist husband, flee Dresden to eke out an existence in Shanghai's burgeoning Jewish ghetto, which ends up 30,000 strong as the Shoah begins. Hilde Braun, a German-Jewish actress, is living illegally in Paris aided by a mysterious Slav named Vladek, until events force them, separately, to Shanghai. Istvan Keleti, a homosexual Hungarian musician and drug-user, and Gertrude von Dammbach, a former call-girl-turned-baroness, are also among the persecuted and displaced, some of whom work with the Resistance to undermine Hitler. Wagenstein is impressive in his ability to move from the small details of individual displaced lives to a larger panorama of international intrigue: there's a telling subplot about tensions between the Japanese, who occupy Shanghai, and the Germans, with whom they've formed an uneasy alliance; another revealing thread concerns the loyalties of Chinese Catholic nuns. Wagenstein brings to life a largely unknown chapter of Nazi persecution.. Click the book cover to read more.

November 2008, Penguin
From Booklist: Lieutenant Dan Reles (rhymes with trellis) doesn't fit in on the Austin, Texas, police force. He's from New York, he's Jewish, and his estranged father's ties to the Mob have limited his opportunities for career advancement. In his fourth appearance (the last was Little Faith, 2006), Reles' past catches up with him in a hurry when his father, Ben, shows up one night with a Russian prostitute in tow-and fearsome Mob boss Sam Zelig in hot pursuit. Simon usually explores social inequity, and while race, religion, and class still inform the action (and Reles' dismal home life provides plenty of pathos), this time he's written more of a straight thriller with the requisite larger-than-life villain. It's fast, furious, and more anarchic than usual. Procedural fans might query a few points, and the bombastic ending might be less creative than Simon's capable of, but never mind. We keep comparing Simon to L.A. Quartet-era James Ellroy, and the comparison is still apt; fans tired of the latter's telegrammatic tics will read this very strong series with a sigh of relief.. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Obama's Challenge
America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency
by Robert Kuttner
2008, Chelsea Green
Barack Obama approaches the Presidency at a critical moment in American history, facing simultaneous crises of war, the environment, health care, but most especially in the economy. If he is able to rise to the moment, he could join the ranks of a small handful of previous presidents who have been truly transformative, succeeding in fundamentally changing our economy, society, and democracy for the better. But this will require imaginative and decisive action as Obama takes office, action bolder than he has promised during his campaign, and will be all the more difficult given the undertow of conventional wisdom in Washington and on Wall Street that resists fundamental change. Decades of regressive politics and political gridlock have left America in its most precarious situation since the onset of the Great Depression. The collapse of the housing bubble continues, as does the financial meltdown it triggered; a revival of 1970s style stagflation threatens; incomes continue to lag behind inflation; our household and international debts pile higher; disastrous climate change looms; energy and food prices continue their escalation; and the ranks of un- and under-insured Americans grow, the clearest, and most heartless, example of America's destructive inequalities. Solutions to our multiple challenges do exist, but they won't be found in overly cautious or expedient quick fixes. With his exceptional skill at appealing to our better angels, Barack Obama could be the right leader at the right time to re-awaken America to the renewed promise of shared prosperity coupled with responsibility towards future generations and the international community with whom we share the Earth. Invoking America's greatest leaders, Robert Kuttner explains how Obama must be a transformative president-or a failed one. . Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Isaac's Torah
Concerning The Life of Isaac Jacob Blumenfeld Through Two World Wars, Three Concetration Camps, and Five Motherlands
by Angel Wagenstein Translated by Elizabeth Frank and Deliana Simeonova.
November 2008, Other Press
The Bulgarian author and filmmaker, recipient of the German National Prize, a Sorbonne prize, and the Jean Monet literary prize, spent time in a death camp himself. He was born in 1922 in Plovdiv (Bulgaria), and grew up among Jews, Gypsises, Armenians, Turks, Albanians, and Bulgarians. The family moved to France, where they were treated as miserable immigrants. They returned to Bulgaria as WW2 began, and shipped away. Wagenstein fled, was betrayed, imprisoned and sentenced to death. He was saved when the Soviets entered Bulgaria. This however is a novel. This is the account of the funny Isaac Jacob Blumenfeld of Kolodetz (near Lvov). He survives and endures in this lifetime of loss and terror, beauty and friendship, understanding and truth. Filled with events and Jewish jokes and fables, they become essential to his story and heritage. Click the book cover to read more.

November 2008, Random House
In this ambitious and challenging rediscovery, originally published in 1962, Adler (1910-1988) relates the tragic tale of the Lustig family-doctor Leopold; his wife, Caroline; their children, Zerlina and Paul; and Caroline's sister, Ida-who are sent to the walled city of Ruhenthal after authorities label them forbidden. Taking place during an unspecified period of war and genocide, the story is based on Adler's experiences at Theresienstadt, a labor camp where he was imprisoned for two and a half years during WWII. An unidentified narrator reports the Lustigs' struggles in a stream-of-consciousness style, diverging frequently into the lives of others, among them Johann, a street sweeper, and Balthazar, a reporter. Attempting to reproduce authentically the characters' nightmarish disorientation, Adler's narrative style is aggressively abstract-constantly shifting subjects and setting in a convoluted sense of time and sequence. It's a difficult, admirable undertaking, for fans of experimental fiction, but many readers will find its structure frustrating and inaccessible. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Literature and War
Conversations With Israeli and Palestinian Writers
by Runo Isaksen / Kari Dickson (Translator)
November 2008, Olive Branch
Novelist and journalist Runo Isaksen undertook these interviews with preeminent Israeli and Palestinian writers with one key question: Can literature play a role in helping one side to see the other? To answer this, he sought out acclaimed Israeli writers Amos Oz and David Grossman, Palestinian poet laureate Mahmoud Darwish, feminist writer Sahar Khalifeh, and others. In the conversations that resulted, the region's most original voices reflect on the relationship between literature and war: their discussions transcend national boundaries and the narrow language of conflict, and allow us a new insight into the human side of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. These dialogues-urgent, humorous, despairing, and hopeful-are themselves a first step toward peace.
Etgar Keret writes, "Runo Isaksen's book is unique in its ability to make us understand without judging, to connect emotionally without patronizing, and to make some sharp and lucid sense from one of the most obscure and strange regions in the world. His book should be on the reading list of any person who wants to transcend clichés and seeks to find the real people who live and ache in the Middle East."
Authors interviewed include: Etgar Keret , David Grossman, Yoram Kaniuk, Amos Oz, Meir Shalev, Orly Castel-Bloom, Dorit Rabinyan, Mahmoud Shuqair, Ghassan Zaqtan, Liana Badr, Zakariyya Muhammad, Yahya Yakhlif, Sahar Khalifeh, Mahmoud Darwish, Izzat Ghazzawi, and Salman Natour. (guess which ones are the Jewish ones)
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November 2008, Crown
This is the tale of two men in search of their past and how they found an unexpected narrative through the faded liner notes and technologically passe medium of vinyl records. It took them eight years of eBay, garage sales, generous seniors and friends, to compile all the treasures of Jewish vinyl. Here is Johnny Mathis singing Kol Nidre, Charlton Heston reads the Old Testament, Fiddler on the Roof goes Latin, Theodore Bikel is Silent No More. Here is Neil Sedaka, the Barry Sisters, Barry Manilow, and Barbra. Nat King Cole and Cantors galore. Eydie Gorme (nee Sephardic born Gormezano). The Brothers Zim and Topol, Jewish mambo, Jewish Catskills, Belle Barth, Totie Fields, and Pearl Williams.
YOU WILL DIE when you see the record album covers. I owned so many! Such as Silent No More, David Ben Gurion, Never Again. I had them all. Sammy Davis Junior sings Jewish; Folksy Nina and yiddish favorites, NoWstalgia, Fred Katz and his Jammers, Si Zentner, Larry Best, Batman and Rubin, Max Asnas recorded live at the Stage Deli, Dave Tarras, Haifa Hi Fi, El Al promotional albums, the Malavsky Family Passover, Orchestra Harlow. And all along the way, we glean what it meant to be Jewish in the age of vinyl in America, with guest commentaries from Anna Powers, Oliver Wang, Norman Lear, Aimee Bender, Michael Wex, Lamont Dozier and even Sandra Bernhard. Click the book cover to read more.

by Rosie Atkins
November 2008, Running Press
What do you expect from an author raised on NanTucket?
Smelt it, dealt it; denied it, supplied it." "Milk, milk, lemonade, around the corner fudge is made." Who doesn't know "Milk, milk, lemonade..."? Every adult who ever rode a school bus, or sat on a jungle gym, has heard at least a few of these "classic" gems. The collection of verse in Pottymouth rides the nostalgic wave, covering everything from underwear poems to the ultimate taunts, silly songs to the basest bathroom humor. Readers from any part of the country will recognize at least a few of these dirty little rhymes. But with the variety of material here, the reader is bound to learn a new one! (Resist the urge to skip rope!) Broken into categories from the classics ("Miss Lucy") to Anatomy, The Joy of Swearing, Toilet Talk, Underwear, Limericks, and Taunts, this volume is the perfect gift to remind someone of just how old they are! The author confesses "I grew up on Nantucket with four older sisters and two foul-mouthed neighbors who showed me the ropes of swearing and mockery at an early age. My father, a head chef, would recite bawdy navy poems during slow periods and could string together expletives that might have shocked Gordon Ramsey when things went awry. A few years ago, my younger brother and I took our nephew out for his 13th birthday and were shocked to learn that he couldn't swear or recite any dirty poems. We taught him a few choice poems and how to play liar's poker. He's now a lawyer and sport fishing captain and thanks us for his good start." Click the book cover to read more.

[book] THE BAGEL
December 2008, Yale
A modern history of the bagel. Click the book cover to read more.

A Must read to anyone who majored in Folkways Studies at Penn:
A book for sole searchers?
EDITED BY EDNA NAHSHON, Associate Professor of Hebrew (JTS)
2008, Berg
The wandering Jew used a lot of pairs of shoes. If you are in Iraq and disagree with the President of the USA, you throw your shoe at him. If you hate Saddam, you hit his statue with your shoe. Rabbi Heschel said that when he marched with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that he was praying with his feet [shoes]. In order to get out of a Levirate marriage, a childless widow uses her shoes. When Moses approached the buch that was burning but not consumed by the fire, he was told to remove his shoes. Thus, shoes are important in Jewish and other cultures, which brings us to this unique book.
'This highly original volume makes itself indispensable as much through the extraordinary range of perspectives as through the lucidity and insights of the individual papers. It highlights how an appreciation of biblical roots and later religious commentary gives us an understanding of later folklore, theatrical and literary creativity, and ultimately contemporary politics.' Rickie Burman, Director, The Jewish Museum, London 'Moving with ease from the sacred to the profane, from canonical works to the realm of public culture, from social to cultural history, Jews and Shoes invests great significance to what might seem at first blush to be utterly ordinary. No one, after reading this book, will however think of shoes as just "being there." Nahshon's Jewish shoes shows how everything has a history worth analyzing and reading about.' Hasia R. Diner, Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, New York University 'Jews and Shoes is a remarkable and wonderful offbeat collection of pieces on shoes (or the lack of them) from Moses' refusal to wear them to Ernst Lubitsch's evocation of WWI Berlin's Jewish world of shoe selling. A wild mix of cultural history (Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimlett and her father Mayer's images of shoe making), anthropology (Rivka Parciack on Jewish tombstones in the shape of shoes), and literary study (Andrew Ingall on Bruno Schulz), this is a great book of everyone who wears shoes, is Jewish or is Jewish and wears shoes.' Sander L. Gilman, author of The Jew's Body "From ancient biblical references, to contemporary Jewish law, the book takes the reader on a journey that highlights the religious, social and political significance of footwear in Jewish life." Footwear News Click the book cover to read more.


BY ANNIE POLLARD. Foreword by Bill Moyers
December 2008, Yale
New York City's magnificent Eldridge Street Synagogue was built in 1887 in response to the great wave of Jewish immigrants who fled persecution in eastern Europe. Finding their way to the Lower East Side, the new arrivals formed a vibrant Jewish community that flourished from the 1850s until the 1940s. Their synagogue served not only as a place of worship but also as a singularly important center in the development of American Judaism. A near ruin in the 1980s that was recently reopened after a massive twenty-year restoration, the Eldridge Street Synagogue has been named a National Historic Landmark. But as Bill Moyers tells us in his foreword, the synagogue is also "a landmark of the spirit, . . . the spirit of a new nation committed to the old idea of liberty." Annie Polland uses elements of the building's architecture-the façade, the benches, the grooves worn into the sanctuary floor-as points of departure to discuss themes, people, and trends at various moments in the synagogue's history, particularly during its heyday from 1887 until the 1930s. Exploring the synagogue's rich archives, the author shines new light on the religious life of immigrant Jews, introduces various rabbis, cantors and congregants, and analyzes the significance of this special building in the context of the larger American-Jewish experience.
For more information, go to:
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[book] JOBNIK!
An American Girl's Experiences in the Israeli Army
December 2008
Miriam Libicki, an American Jewish girl from a religious home, enlists in the Israeli Army one summer against everyone's better judgment. Many qualities seem to make her unsuited for IDF life: her Hebrew isn't great, she is shy and passive, and she has a tendency to fall in love with anything that moves. If that weren't enough, the Al Aqsa uprising, a.k.a the second Palestinian Intifada, erupts a few weeks after she is stationed as a secretary in a remote Negev base. Will Miriam survive threats of terrorism, the rough IDF culture, and not least, her horrible taste in men?
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Evangelicals and Israel
The Story of Christian Zionism
by Stephen Spector, Stony Brook University
December 2008, Impact Oxford
This is a study of Christian Zionism and the ways that religion and politics converge in American evangelicals' love and support for Israel and the Jewish people. Because of evangelicals' influence on the Middle East policies of George W. Bush, this is a topic of immense current importance. It bears on some of the most difficult and dangerous global issues -- not only the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but also the relationship between the West and the Islamic world. Christian Zionism is often said to stem from the belief that the Jews must return to their ancestral home in the Holy Land as a precondition for Christ's return. Observers also point to the evangelicals' frequent citation of Genesis 12:3, in which God promises that He will bless those who bless Abraham and his descendants, and curse those who curse them. Spector shows, however, that conservative Christians' motives for supporting the Jewish state are much more complex and diverse than previous studies have noted. Among these motives are gratitude to the Jews for contributing the theological foundations of Christianity, and for being the source of the prophets and Jesus; remorse for the Church's history of anti-Semitism; and fear that God will judge the nations at the end of time on the basis of how they treated the Jewish people. Moreover, Israel is for evangelicals God's prophetic clock, irrefutable proof that prophecy is true and is coming to pass in our lifetime. Some are also motivated by theologically based enmity towards Islam, seeing Arabs and other Muslims as Satan's agents in disrupting God's plan for the salvation of all humankind. Spector draws on information from Christian Zionist websites and publications, journalistic and academic sources, and a hundred original interviews. He has spoken with evangelicals in Jerusalem and across the U.S., and with Israeli and American officials, including current and former White House advisers. He has also talked with people who studied the Bible with Bush in Midland, Texas. Spector's conclusions will correct much speculation about the president's personal faith, and about evangelical influence on American policy in the Middle East, all the while providing the fullest and most nuanced account of the theology behind Christian Zionism to date.
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December 2008, Walker and Company - Macmillan
"There is a class split," writes Rachel Shabi, "that runs on ethnic lines"-specifically, between Jews of European origin and those whose ancestral homes were Arab countries. Middle Eastern Jews from Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Yemen, and other Arab lands make up nearly half of Israel's population. Yet European or "Ashkenazi" Jews have historically disparaged them because the emigrants looked Arab, spoke Arabic, and brought with them what was viewed as a "backward" Middle Eastern culture. David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, called them "human dust with no Jewish or human culture." Such opinions permeated Israeli society. Middle Eastern or "Mizrahi" emigrants were kept in transit camp longer than Ashkenazi Jews and had poorer housing, educational, and occupational opportunities. Shabi returned to Israel for a year to investigate the tense relations that still exist between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews in Israel. She traces the history of this split, starting with the centuries-old story of the Jewish Diaspora, then discussing how Mizrahi figured in the founding and building of Israel, protests by the Mizrahi Black Panther Party in 1971-"the first clash of Jew against Jew in Israel"-and a successful campaign in the 1990s to get the Israeli Ministry of Education to remove negative stereotyping of Yemenites in a textbook. Internalizing such stereotypes led a Moroccan Israeli university professor to begin passing for Ashkenazi when she was only eight years old, even though it meant "destroying, down to the roots, the identity that my parents gave me...rejecting everything: their past, their language, their values." Israel's striving to be a European country and demeaning the culture of its Mizrahi citizens has dislocated those citizens from their own Judeo-Arab identities, and has helped make Israel a misfit state in the Middle East. Shabi combines historical research with intimate oral interviews to shed light on ethnic injustice within Israel, past and present. Her passionate, personal connection and the heartfelt stories told by other Mizrahis make "We Looked Like the Enemy" a stunning, unforgettable book.
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2008, Bloomsbury
Rachel Resnick hits her forties single, broke, depressed, childless-a train wreck. After an ex-boyfriend breaks into her home and vandalizes it, Resnick takes the time to look back over her romantic and sexual history to ask the question: What is wrong with me? Her addiction to sex and love has cost her in damaging ways throughout the course of her life. At the root of her issues: a Dickensian childhood (given up at age 12, a series of foster homes) and a haunting experience she must finally confront. Written with raw humor and unflinching honesty, Love Junkie charts Rachel Resnick's harrowing emotional journey from destructive love to intimacy, from despair to hope. By peeling back one painful layer after another, she discovers a glaring pattern: She is addicted to the fantasy of romantic bliss, marriage, and children. Although her story is an extreme one, what we realize over the course of Resnick's journey is how many people experience aspects of this addiction and the self-destruction that comes with it-all fed by a culture where romantic obsession is stoked by the stories we read, the movies we see, and the dreams we're fed. This unique memoir cracks open one of the more elusive and pervasive modern-day compulsions-and holds a mirror up to each of us. Note: when her father remarried an Orthodox Jewish woman with four children of her own, she was not welcome into the new family. Oy. Click the book cover to read more.

Leaving Mother Teresa, Losing Faith, and My Ongoing Search for Meaning
By Colette Livermore
December 2008, Free Press
Not a Jewish Book.. but what a title... She worked for Mother Teresa, perhaps a Catholic Saint.. .but was disillusioned. Click the book cover to read more.

[book] A DAY APART
How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath
by Christopher D. Ringwald
December 2008, Oxford
From Booklist *Starred Review* Ringwald acknowledges his debt to Josef Pieper, whose landmark study Leisure: The Basis of Culture (1948) reminded harried readers of the contemplative meaning of the Christian Sabbath. But Ringwald has done Pieper two better, by reclaiming the Sabbath in its Jewish, Muslim, and Christian manifestations. Honored by the ancient Jews to memorialize God's holy repose after the Creation, the Sabbath helped forge the collective identity of a long-persecuted people. But Jews finding weekly renewal in their Shabbat look recognizably similar to Christians in their Sunday worship and to Muslims praying each Friday during Juma. Indeed, Ringwald has himself witnessed the blessings of the Sabbath up close in all three faiths, having joined Jewish and Muslim families in as many Sabbath practices as his own Catholic convictions would permit. Careful scholarship permits Ringwald to explain the customs of Sabbath observance--and the modern controversies surrounding them. Readers thus learn, for instance, why some Christians cherish the Sabbath, while others dismiss it. They learn, too, why Jews debate Sabbath transportation, while some Muslims ponder the gender dynamics of Juma. But regardless of contemporary controversies, Ringwald prizes the Sabbath for its power to confirm timeless faiths and refresh modern psyches. A valuable contribution to interfaith studies. Click the book cover to read more.

Fall 2008 Doubleday
This provocative book traces the social and intellectual forces that led to the development of Christian anti-Judaism and shows how and why Augustine challenged this toxic tradition. In Augustine and the Jews, Paula Fredriksen draws us into the life, times, and thought of Augustine of Hippo (396-430). Focusing on the period of astounding creativity that led to his new understanding of Paul and to his great classic The Confessions, Fredriksen shows how Augustine's struggle to read the Bible led him to a new theological vision, one that countered the anti-Judaism not only of his Manichaean opponents but also of his own church. The Christian empire, Augustine held, was right to ban paganism and to coerce heretics. But the source of ancient Jewish scripture and current Jewish practice, he argued, was the very same as that of the New Testament and of the church-namely, God himself. Accordingly, he urged, the Jews were to be left alone. Conceived as a vividly original way to defend Christian ideas about Jesus and about the Old Testament, Augustine's theological innovation survived the demise of the western Roman Empire, and it ultimately served to protect Jewish lives against the brutality of the medieval crusades. Augustine and the Jewssheds new light on the origins of anti-Semitism and, through Augustine, opens a path toward better understanding between two of the world's great religions. . Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Jewish Approach to Repairing the World
(Tikkun Olam)
A Brief Introduction for Christians
by Elliot N. Dorff with Cory Willson
Fall 2008 Jewish Lights
The story of helping the poor, avoiding gossip, avoiding curses, visiting the ill, not lying, celebrating marriages and comforting mourners. . Click the book cover to read more.

December 2008, Three Rivers
Leyner, a writer, and Goldberg, a Bellevue and NYU Medical Center healer, have teamed up to teach you to act and sound like a doctor. Why go to med School when you can easily just read this book and get the same results at parties. Click the book cover to read more.

A Woman's Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery
by Joan Rivers and Valerie Frankel
December 2008,
Joan Rivers and her daughter are allegedly addicted to plastic surgery. SO who better than to write a guide to enhancements, the benefits and pitfalls. Click the book cover to read more.

January 2009, Penguin
A Jewish best seller, and a national bestseller for 11 weeks, and with over 250,000 hard cover copies floating around, Brooks comes out with the paperback edition of the book. Late one night in the city of Sydney, Hanna Heath, a rare book conservator, gets a phone call. The Sarajevo Haggadah, which disappeared during the siege in 1992, has been found, and Hanna has been invited by the U.N. to report on its condition. Missing documents and art works (as Dan Brown and Lev Grossman, among others, have demonstrated) are endlessly appealing, and from this inviting premise Brooks spins her story in two directions. In the present, we follow the resolutely independent Hanna through her thrilling first encounter with the beautifully illustrated codex and her discovery of the tiny signs-a white hair, an insect wing, missing clasps, a drop of salt, a wine stain-that will help her to discover its provenance. Along with the book she also meets its savior, a Muslim librarian named Karaman. Their romance offers both predictable pleasures and genuine surprises, as does the other main relationship in Hanna's life: her fraught connection with her mother. In the other strand of the narrative we learn, moving backward through time, how the codex came to be lost and found, and made. From the opening section, set in Sarajevo in 1940, to the final section, set in Seville in 1480, these narratives show Brooks writing at her very best. With equal authority she depicts the struggles of a young girl to escape the Nazis, a duel of wits between an inquisitor and a rabbi living in the Venice ghetto, and a girl's passionate relationship with her mistress in a harem. Like the illustrations in the Haggadah, each of these sections transports the reader to a fully realized, vividly peopled world. And each gives a glimpse of both the long history of anti-Semitism and of the struggle of women toward the independence that Hanna, despite her mother's lectures, tends to take for granted. Brooks is too good a novelist to belabor her political messages, but her depiction of the Haggadah bringing together Jews, Christians and Muslims could not be more timely. Her gift for storytelling, happily, is timeless. Click the book cover to read more.

January 2009, Norton Pegasus
One family's extraordinary history-from their heroic feats on the battlefields of WWI to the rise of Hitler and the tragic culmination at Treblinka. Nancy's father was not like the other fathers in their northern English town. Elegantly dressed after the Eastern European fashion, an impeccable violin player, and never without a rose in his lapel, her father's entire essence alluded to a hidden and haunting past. Delving into the endless boxes of letters and diaries her father carried with him when he fled Czechoslovakia in 1939, her father's past finally comes to life. There are times of joy-her grandparent's finding sanctuary in 1918 in a small town between Prague and the German border; their eldest son returning from the trenches of Verdune and Somme; the birth of their first grandchild; a growing family business. But there was also fear, as instability and danger was the permanent backdrop of their lives, and when Nazi Storm Troopers marched into Podersam, Nancy witness the disintegration of the family through their increasingly desperate letters.Some escape to England, others resort to suicide, while others make poignantly clear that this will be their last letter as they are marched toward Treblinka, in this intimate, heartbreaking, yet ultimately uplifting window into one family's heartache and legacy. Click the book cover to read more.

[book][book] THE JEWISH BODY
January 2009, Schocken
From a well-known doctor and anthropologist, a history of the Jewish people from bris to burial, from "muscle Jews" to nose jobs. From birth to death, Melvin Konner takes the measure of the "Jewish body," stopping along the way to contemplate sex, circumcision, menstruation, and even those most elusive and controversial of microscopic markers--Jewish genes. But Konner, a distinguished anthropologist as well as a medical doctor, has written a far more ambitious book than a mere examination of the human body seen through the prism of Jewish culture. He looks as well at the views of Jewish physiology held by non-Jews and the way those views seeped into Jewish thought.
[book] [book] [book] He describes in detail the origins of the first nose job, and he writes about the Nazi ideology that saw Jews literally as a public health menace on par with rats or germs. A work of grand historical and philosophical sweep, he writes about the subtle relationship between the Jewish conception of the body and the Jewish conception of a bodiless God, about the relationship between a land--Israel--and the bodily sense not merely of individuals but of a people. And he writes about the revival of a concept of physical strength that helped generate, and that followed in the wake of, the creation of a Jewish homeland. With deep insight and great originality, Konner has written nothing less than an anatomical history of the Jewish People.
[book] [book] [book] Click the book cover to read more.

January 2009 Knopf
A revelatory account from a Washington insider of how modern presidents have succeeded-and failed-in making foreign policy. An important contribution in the wake of recent American experiences abroad, and an essential book for the new administration, here is a fascinating, in-depth look at what actually happens in the Oval Office from a respected expert who has held high-level positions in several governments. Illuminating the qualities of personal leadership-character, focus, determination, persuasiveness, and consistency-that determine a president's ability to guide his staff, Peter W. Rodman makes clear how these qualities shape policy and determine how this policy is implemented. With telling anecdotes and trenchant analysis, he reminds us of the importance of a president's vision for the world and of his ability to make this vision a reality. Rodman's tour through the past forty years recounts both high points and dismal lows. He shows how Nixon's deep knowledge of the world combined with his personal paranoia to produce great victories (China) and deep failures (the demoralization of State and other departments). He demonstrates how Carter suffered from his own indecisiveness, and how Reagan's determined focus in dealing with the Soviets contrasted with his lack of attention to the Middle East, which helped lead to the disastrous events in Beirut. And, finally, he illustrates how George W. Bush put too much stock in bureaucratic consensus and, until the surge, failed to push hard enough for new strategies in Iraq. Rodman offers an original and telling survey of modern presidential policy-making, challenging many conventional accounts of events as well as many standard remedies. This is a vivid story of larger-than-life Washington personalities in action, an invaluable guide for our new president, and a deeply insightful primer on executive leadership. Click the book cover to read more.

BY ELIE WIESEL, Nobel Prize Winner
February 2009, Knopf
Wiesel, novelist, memoirist, witness, human rights leader, and more must have seen The Mad Dancers by Yehuda Hyman, since the book's title makes me think of that acclaimed play. But nevertheless, here is a new novel by the author of NIGHT. DoriEl is an orphan living in NY. He has a profound sense of loss which he carries like baggage through his life. His mother was a WW2 resistance leader. She survived the war, but died afterwards with his father in a car crash. Doriel was just a child and remembers only what he has seen in newsreels from that period. He cannot be consoled and is haunted by memories and loss. For comfort he studies and practices Judaism intensely. He realizes that he is possessed by a dybbuk, and with the help of a therapist, he learns about a deeply buried truth about his mother and his birth. And that is that..... oh wait. You better read it find out more. Click the book cover to read more.

February 2009, Simon and Schuster
Miep Gies is turning 100 years old. She reflects on the war years in this reissued anniversary edition of Anne Frank Remembered..... She recalls how during WW II she, her husband and some of her coworkers sheltered her boss Otto Frank, his family and several other Jews in a secret annex of their Amsterdam office building. Unfortunately, California freelance writer Gold's lackluster rendition contrasts sharply with the spirited, penetrating journal kept by Anne Frank, which Gies secreted from the Nazis and which later was published as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. In Gold's disappointing retelling, Gies proves to be an intensely private person and frugal with words, many of whose observations are hindsights ("I knew that . . . Anne's diary had become her life") or dwell on externals like Anne's blossoming figure. Nevertheless, Gies's sincerity, humility and courage emerge from this simple testimony and will not fail to inspire readers Click the book cover to read more.

[book] The Book of the Unknown
Tales of the Thirty-six
by Jonathon Keats
February 2009, Random House
23 years ago, Keats (or shall we say Katz) was in grad school when the remains of a local synagogue were found in a small German town. The landowner gave students one week, during which construction was stopped on a new apartment building, to descend on the spot and save what they could. They found a genizah of documents. Keats wrote his dissertation and became successful, and academically famous. His mother passed away in 1998 and then his father, who was superstitious and filled with stories of demons and amulets, passed away in 2004. Keats had held onto one document from the genizah, one that was to frightening to publish. The names of the 36, upon whom the world exists. Yes, the documents was from Yaakov ben Eliezer who figured out how to pronounce Hebrew with the real vowels and sounds, and not the ones we know of today. These are the tales of 12 of the 36...
(by the way, the author's foreword and afterword are.. um.. fictional (there was no thesis or found document, or was there?) Keats is a grad of Yaddo and MacDowell among other retreats
Click the book cover to read more.

[book] Sima's Undergarmets for Women
by Ilana Stranger-Ross
February 2009, Overlook
There is a bra shop in an Orthodox Jewish area of Brooklyn. It is located below street level, underground. A 40 year secret is about to be revealed. It is here were women get together, quietly, in every shape and belief, to share their desires for a bra that does not leave marks, as well as their experiences with loss, love, and laughter. They search for a perfect fit, if not a perfect life. Sima Goldner teaches the women to appreciate their bodies. But then an Israeli seamstress arrives at the store. Timna is young and buxom. Sima finds herself awakened to love and possibilities.
* Stanger-Ross, a Barnard and Temple grad, is studying to be a midwife. Her work has appeared in Lilith, The Globe and Mail, and many other places. Click the book cover to read more.

February 2009, Bell Tower
Amazing.. simply a must read. I first became curious when I saw that the book was dedicated to the late Zalman (Sanford C) Bernstein, at whose firm everyone received a free lunch. ... Written in a numbered style of Yosef Caro's Shulhan Aruch.. Written for everyone... I had a good chuckle when I was sitting in a subway station waiting for atrain with a copy of this book, and the author walked by me. (He didn't notice that I was reading his book, but hopefully the whole UWS will be reading it) Click the book cover to read more.


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