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Welcome to our pages of Fall 2009 and Summer 2009 and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com

SOME LATE SUMMER AND FALL 2009 BOOK READINGS


Aug 19-20, 2009. Tanglewood. Michael Tilson Thomas performs The Thomashefskys, a Yiddish piece in honor of his grandparents, the famous Yiddish impresarios.
Aug 29 - Sep 27: DCJCC presents Zero Hour. Washington DC
Sep 01, 2009: WALLACE SHAWN reads from ESSAYS. B&N Lincoln Center NYC
Sep 04, 2009: Film “Tickling Leo” opens in select cities
Sep 04, 2009: Film “Amreeka” opens in select cities
Sep 09, 2009: AMY SOHN reads from PROSPECT PARK WEST. B&N TriBeCa NYC
Sep 09, 2009: DANIEL LEVIN reads from THE LAST EMBER. JCC Manhattan NYC
Sep 09, 2009: JUDY SHEPARD reads from THE MEANING OF MATTHEW. B&N Union Sq NYC
Sep 10, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. B’nai Israel. Northampton MA
Sep 13, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. JCC Manhattan NYC
Sep 13, 2009: Drisha Institute (Drisha.org) lecture on Sephardic Cadences of the Akeida. NYC
Sep 14, 2009: Conference on U.S.-Israel Relations in the Era of Obama and Netanyahu. www.Yu.Edu/cis/usisrael
Sep 15, 2009: NICHOLAS MEYER reads from THE VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE/STAR TREK. B&N UES NYC
Sep 16, 2009: PAUL RUDNICK reads from I SHUDDER. B&N Lincoln Tri NYC
Sep 17, 2009: Luxury Redefined CEO Forum. WWD. NYC
Sep 18, 2009: Rosh Hashana, Starts Friday evening at sundown
Sep 19, 2009: Rosh Hashana, Day 1
Sep 20, 2009: Rosh Hashana, Day 2
Sep 21, 2009: Oliver Sacks reads about HALLUCINATION, NY Public Library 7PM
Sep 21, 2009: A J JACOBS reads from MY LIFE AS A GUINEAU PIG. B&N UWS St NYC
Sep 22, 2009: FRANK BRUNI reads from BORN ROUND. B&N Lincoln Tri NYC
Sep 24, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. Book Launch. The Tower Beverly Hills, Los Angeles CA
Sep 25, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. Beth Abraham. Oakland CA
Sep 25, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. Book Launch. JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St
Sep 27, 2009: Kol Nidre - Sundown, worldwide
Sep 28, 2009: Yom Kippur
Sep 28, 2009: Madeleine Albright reads from READ MY PINS. B&N EAST 86th St NYC
Sep 29. 2009: Jonathan Lethem, John Podhoretz, J.J. Goldberg, Darin Strauss and Rich Cohen Discuss the Real Israel and the Obsessive Quest to Understand it and its people. 92nd Street Y, NYC $27
Sep 30, 2009 MELVIN UROFSKY reads from LOUIS D. BANDEIS: A LIFE. Tenement Museum NYC
Sep 30, 2009: Erik Butler on “Der Nister’s Compliant Defiance”. Columbia University IIJS, NYC 8PM

Oct 01, 2009: Francine Prose speaks on her new book on Anne Frank, Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC
Oct 02, 2009: Sukkot, Starts Friday evening at sundown
Oct 03, 2009: Sukkot, Day 1.
Oct 07, 2009: Michael Chabon reads from MANHOOD FOR AMATEURS. B&N Union Square NYC
Oct 08, 2009 Joseph Litvak on “Bringing Down The House. The Bway Muscial in the Age of the Hollywood Blacklist” English Dept. UCLA, Los Angeles CA
Oct 08, 2009 Hillel of UCLA sponsors David Wolpe, Michael Berenbaum and David Myers on “Reflection on Between Jew and Arab. The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz”. UCLA, Los Angeles CA
Oct 10, 2009: Simchat Torah, begins this evening.
Oct 12, 2009: Performances across world of an epilogue to Moises Kaufman’s Tectonic Theater’s “The Laramie Project.” on the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard
Oct 14, 2009 Betty Bernardo Fuks on “Freud and the Invention of Jewishness” UCLA, Los Angeles CA
Oct 14, 2009 Charles London reads from FAR FROM ZION 06:00 PM BARNES & NOBLE 77 Broadway New Haven
Oct 14, 2009 Francine Prose on her newest book on ANNE FRANK. B&N Lincoln Sq, NYC
Oct 15, 2009: Yeshiva University Cardozo Law school hosts a panel on Yair Lorberbaum’s book, “Subordinated King; Kingship in Classical Jewish Literature. How does Jewish law imagine the role of human political authority within a theological system in which God is the ultimate authority?
Oct 15, 2009 07:00 Charles London reads from FAR FROM ZION BROOKLINE BOOKSMITH Brookline, MA
Oct 18, 2009: Sunday rematch between NY KNICKS and MACCABI ELECTRA TEL AVIV. NYC Madison Square Garden 1 PM see MigdakOhrUSA.org
Oct 18, 2009 Charles London reads from FAR FROM ZION 10:30 AM PELHAM JEWISH CENTER
Oct 18, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. Opening Night. An evening OF Philip Roth $25. Washington DC
Oct 18, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. Book Launch. JCC of East Bay, Berkeley CA
Oct 19, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. Adam Resurrected screening. Washington DC
Oct 20, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. Robin Gerber reads from BARBIE AND RUTH. Washington DC
Oct 20, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. Zoe Heller reads from THE BELIEVERS. Washington DC
Oct 20, 2009 UCLA Center for Jewish Studies hosts Raymond Scheindlin (JTS) on Judah Halevi, Pilgrim and Poet, LA CA
Oct 21, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. Morris Dickstein reads from DANCING IN THE DARK. Washington DC
Oct 21, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. Shana Lieban reads from SEX DRUGS AND GEFILTE FISH: THE HEEB STORYTELLING COLLECTION. (for 21-35 yr olds) Washington DC Chief Ike‘s Mambo Room
Oct 22, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. New Jewish Fiction: Binnie Kirshenbaum reads from THE SCENIS ROUTE, JONATHON KEATS reads from THE BOOK OF THE UNKNOWN, and NORAH LABINER reads from GERMAN FOR TRAVELERS. Washington DC
Oct 22, 2009 UCLA Center for Jewish Studies hosts Richard Kalmin and Jason Mokhtarian on “The Talmud in its Iranian Setting” LA CA
Oct 25, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. Neal Bascomb reads from HUNTING EICHMANN (a community read). Washington DC
Oct 25-26, 2009 UCLA Center for Jewish Studies conference on “The Myth of Silence? Who Spoke about the Holocaust and When” featuring Eric Sundquist, Monica Osborne, Michael Berenbaum, Alan Rosen, David Cesarani, Mark Smith, John Roth, Lawrence Baron, Aaron Hass, Michael Staub, Hasia Diner, Alvin Rosenfeld, and more Los Angeles CA
Oct 26, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. MELVIN UROFSKY reads from LOUIS D. BrANDEIS: A LIFE. The Bernard Wexler Lecture on Jewish History. Washington DC
Oct 26, 2009: ABIGAIL POGREBIN reads from ONE AND THE SAME. JCC Manhattan NYC
Oct 27, 2009: Ilan Stavans, Gary Shteyngart and Jhumoa Lahrir at Columbia University IIJS, NYC 8PM
Oct 27, 2009: YU Wurzweiler School of Social Work conference on “Anxiety, Depression and Loss: Spiritual and Therapeutic Approaches in Times of Crisis.
Oct 27, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. DARA HORN read from ALL OTHER NIGHTS. A NextBook event. Washington DC
Oct 28, 2009 WashingtonDCJCC.org Literary Fest. HOWARD SACHER on Current Israeli Muths and Realities. Washington DC
Oct 30, 2009: Tulane University. JewishSouth.org Weekend conference on New Orleans and Jewish southern history, including lectures on Jews in the Antebellum South, Jews in the civil rights movement, Alsatian Jews (Franco Germans) along the Mississippi, etc. New Orleans and Metarie LA
Oct 30, 2009: http://www.circle.org/files/Immersion_Weekend.pdf Yiddish Immersion Weekend with Rebel Tongue and the Circle.org
Nov 03, 2009 UCLA Center for Jewish Studies hosts Ariel Sabar, author of MY FATHER’S PARADISE speaking on Paradise Lost and Found. Yona Sabar will also be present. LA CA
Nov 04, 2009 Charles London reads from FAR FROM ZION 06:45 PM DETROIT JEWISH BOOK FAIR West Bloomfield
Nov 05, 2009 UCLA Center for Jewish Studies hosts Saul Friedlander on “Pius XII and the Holocaust: Further Reflections” LA CA
Nov 08, 2009 UCLA Center for Jewish Studies hosts a symposium on Sholom Aleichem at 150, LA CA
Nov 09, 2009 Charles London reads from FAR FROM ZION SAN DIEGO JEWISH BOOK FAIR
Nov 09, 2009: David N. Myers (UCLA) on “Simon Rawidowicz”. Columbia University IIJS, NYC 8PM
Nov 10, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. JCC of Denver CO
Nov 10, 2009 Charles London reads from FAR FROM ZION 06:30 PM JCC OF GREATER WASHINGTON 40th Annual Book Festival in Rockville
Nov 11, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. JCC of Cherry Hill NJ 7:30 AM!
Nov 12, 2009 UCLA Center for Jewish Studies hosts Laurel Leff on “How American Universities Selected Faculty Fleeing Nazi-Era Europe” LA CA
Nov 15, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. Brookline BookSmith Brookline MA 10AM
Nov 16, 2009: MEIR SHALEV on “The State of Israeli Literature” Columbia University IIJS, NYC 8PM
Nov 22, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. JCC of Gtr Boston, Newton MA

Nov 22, 2009: 11th Annual Jewish Children‘s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference. 92ndSt Y, NYC $135
See http://www.92y.org/content/pdf/BookConferenceApplication.pdf

Dec 01, 2009 Merrill Perlman speaks on Copy Editing NYPL Mid Manhattan Branch 6:30 PM
Dec 02, 2009 UCLA Center for Jewish Studies hosts Paul Dry on “The Parnas (by my fave author Silvano Arieti).. A scene from the Holocaust in Italy, LA CA
Dec 02, 2009: Andrea Most on “Life Upon the Wicked Stage. Jews and Popular Entertainment in America”. Columbia University IIJS, NYC 8PM
Dec 05, 2009: NOAH ALPER reads from BUSINESS MENSCH. Jewish Book Festival of Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. Pasadena CA
Dec 11, 2009: First night of Hanukkah
Dec 12, 2009: Menorah Horah featuring electro-gypsy-JAP Southpaw Bar, Brooklyn
Dec 12-19, 2009: Sephardic Music Festival, SephardicMusicFestival.com NYC
Dec 12, 2009: Chanukkah Party - Berlin Germany - Jewdyssee.com
Dec 12, 2009: Super 8 Hanukkah Festival - San Francisco TheCJM.org
Dec 13, 2009: Hanukkah on the Ellipse, Washington DC. NationalMenorah.org
Dec 13, 2009: Lights Latkes and Laughs, Rockville MD/Washington DC. JccGW.org
Dec 13, 2009: Hanukkah Feast in Concert. Silver Spring MD. HungryForMusic.org
Dec 15, 2009; Chanukah Milonga. Yiddish Tango party. Classic ARGENTINE, Yiddish and Hebrew tangos and live Yiddish and Ladino Cortinas with Lexa and der Arbeter Ring Choir. Special performance by Itsik un Shpitsik Glick the dancing Chasidishe Brothers will treat us with a Yiddish Swing! Chinese Latkes and Chinese buffet $15. Heavenly Bamboo Pavilion 10 East 39th St NYC
Dec 16, 2009: White House Chanukah Party, Washington DC. By Invitation Only. No Crashers.
Dec 16, 2009: UJA Wall Street Division Dinner and Reception with Ace Greenberg’s calling of the cards, an award to Paulson, and a speech by NYT’s David Brooks, NYC couvert $350
Dec 16, 2009: Screening of Inglorious Basterds with Chancellor Eisen, Professor Kalmanofsky, Lawrence Bender (Producer), and more. JTSA.edu NYC.
Dec 17, 2009” Radical Hanukkah at the All Asia Café, proceeds benefits Worksmen’s Circle, CircleBoston.org. Boston MA
Dec 19, 2009: The Ninth Night of Hanukkah Sephardic Celebration - Los Angeles CircleSoCal.org
Dec 22: 2009: Rabbi Steve Greenberg, author of “Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition” speaks as part of a panel at Yeshiva University’s Tolernace Club on “being Gay in the Modern Orthodox World.” Moderated by Rabbi Yosef Blau, YU’s mashgiach ruchani. YU’s Belfer Commons, NYC
Dec 23-29, 2009: 25th Anniversary of KlezKamp. KlazKamp 25. LivingTraditions.org Kerhonkson, NY
Dec 24, 2009: Matzo Ball - various locations - MatzoBall.org
Dec 24, 2009: Heebonism - Jet Hotel, Denver





SEPTEMBER 2009

NOW IN PAPERBACK
[book] WHY FAITH MATTERS
BY RABBI DAVID WOLPE
September 2009, HarperOne
This is a book on Wolpe’s own personal journey. He was born in Harrisburg, Pa., where his father, Gerald Wolpe, was a local rabbi. The family moved to Philadelphia‘s Main Line burbs when Wolpe's father became the rabbi of Har Zion, a large Conservative synagogue in Philly. Wolpe’s brother is also a rabbi. Wolpe, a former teacher at JTS, and Penn grad, was named one of the top pulpit rabbis in the USA. He is also the author of over 6 books and recently recovered from a major illness. As a teen, Wolpe was atheistic, especially after seeing “Night and Fog.“ But today, he feels Atheism is for those who lack imagination
PW writes: Rabbi Wolpe joins the throngs of authors responding to the new atheists with defenses of faith. Yet rather than tense up about atheism, its defenders and their dismissive attitudes about people of faith, Wolpe answers these challenges with such kindness and thoughtfulness that even the heart of Christopher Hitchens might find itself warmed. Wolpe does not make his case for faith by hiding the darkest moments of Western traditions. Rather, he shines a light on religion's deepest scars—for instance spending a good deal of time discussing the relationship between religion and violence—while at the same time showing how religions have also (almost) always been a force of good in the world. (Take Christianity's extraordinary response to the tsunami in Indonesia, Wolpe explains.) With gentle, wonderfully engaging prose, Wolpe scrolls through history and shows how faith traditions don't offer easy, simplistic answers for the intellectually weak, as the New Atheists imply. More often than not, religion sparks believers to ask even more difficult questions, while at the same time building a platform on which to live under a canopy of hope.









Tom Teicholz, reviewing the book in the LA Jewish Journal, wrote, “"Why Faith Matters" is not a book that will convince anyone who doesn't already believe in God -- nor is it meant to. Yet believer and nonbeliever alike should find "Why Faith Matters" thought-provoking and challenging. What the book does well, in short, succinct chapters, is address some of the more popularly held charges leveled against religion, such as "religion causes violence" or "science and religion are at odds." And it does so in a readable and erudite way, quoting from sources as diverse as Tacitus, Heinrich Heine, Nietzsche and Rabbi Hayyim of Zans. More importantly, it makes the case for the seldom-acknowledged benefits of faith, such as community and charity, and elucidates how religion and religious practice can enhance the lives even of those who don't and will never believe in God. Wolpe also hopes the book will give comfort to those who have faith. "It's not only written for those who doubt," Wolpe said recently, "but to settle the souls of people who believe….. Wolpe’s wife is a cancer survivor, and Wolpe himself has had neurosurgery for a benign brain tumor, as well as chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. …On the day he finished chemotherapy … he decided to write "Why Faith Matters…. In "Why Faith Matters" he does not suggest that faith can provide specific answers to our existential questions, so much as that it offers ways for us to look at those questions and the universe differently -- and that doing so provides each of us with ways to address those questions….”
He continues, “…What Wolpe feels is lost in the discussion of religion by "the new atheists" is the positive benefits of religion, such as community, a sense of social responsibility, a commitment to charity and charitable acts and of believing that there is something larger than oneself, having boundaries, submitting to a "higher power." By contrast, faith, Wolpe said, can also make a "disturbance" of life, making life more difficult. As Wolpe put it, the sense that you are put on this earth for a reason carries with it responsibilities and challenges to meet a higher standard. Speaking with Wolpe, you get a sense that this is particularly true for him; that he is a person who is always pushing himself. “
Click the book cover to read more.






Speaking of Faith:
[book] THE FUTURE OF FAITH
BY HARVEY COX
September 2009, HarperOne
I was not familiar with this book until I read a piece in the Boston Globe by Professor Cox on the history of fundamentalism. Did you know that Protestant Fundamentalism began in America in 1910, with the publishing of certain fundamental beliefs, like the virgin birth, that Christians needed to believe in. At the same time, Catholics under Pius IX began a fundamentalist movement, Moslems had the growth in more stringent Koranic beliefs, and even Jews saw a move among some segments to the right in the 20th Century. To read his article, visit:
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/11/08/why_fundamentalism_will_fail/

And now for this book,
Publishers Weekly gave it a Star and write, “What shape will the Christian faith take in the 21st century? In the midst of fast-paced global changes and in the face of an apparent resurgence of fundamentalism, can Christianity survive as a living and vital faith? With his typical brilliance and lively insight, Cox explores these and other questions in a dazzling blend of memoir, church history and theological commentary. He divides Christian history into three periods: the Age of Faith, during the first Christian centuries, when the earliest followers of Jesus lived in his Spirit, embraced his hope and followed him in the work he had begun; the Age of Belief, from the Council of Nicaea to the late 20th century, during which the church replaced faith in Jesus with dogma about him; and the Age of the Spirit, in which we're now living, in which Christians are rediscovering the awe and wonder of faith in the tremendous mystery of God. According to Cox, the return to the Spirit that so enlivened the Age of Faith is now enlivening a global Christianity, through movements like Pentecostalism and liberation theology, yearning for the dawning of God's reign of shalom. Cox remains our most thoughtful commentator on the religious scene, and his spirited portrait of our religious landscape challenges us to think in new ways about faith.”
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] THE DEVIL'S COMPANY
A Novel
By DAVID LISS
2009, Random House
Washington Post's Book World: "The Devil's Company," a treat for lovers of historical fiction, sees the return of Benjamin Weaver in his third exciting romp through the varied and sometimes surreal landscape of 18th-century London. Weaver is an endearing protagonist, a former pugilist and investigator for hire whom we first met in David Liss's "A Conspiracy of Paper" (1999). His underlying humanity saves him from the macho posturing that ultimately undermines the moral authority of most action-adventure heroes. And he is a Jew, which imbues him with the romance of an outsider and permits Liss to show us how anti-Semitism was expressed in the relatively unfamiliar context of Hanoverian England. The story begins simply enough, when Weaver is engaged by the enigmatic Jerome Cobb to be his agent in a card game to humiliate an old adversary. Although the game is rigged, things do not go as planned, and Weaver finds himself owing Cobb a large sum of money. Weaver is forced to work as Cobb's spy and break into the fortresslike headquarters of the British East India Company to steal documents. From this point, a plot of devilish complexity begins to unfold.









Weaver is never properly informed of Cobb's ultimate purpose, and one of the pleasures of this book is a deepening sense of mystery combined with a growing awareness that the stakes are very high indeed. At the heart of events is the disappearance of a handsome but ingenious bigamist whose lost notebooks contain plans for a machine that -- if constructed -- will injure the joint interests of the East India Company and the British government. Along the way, the narrative keeps us fully engaged with phaeton and boat chases, explosions, seductions and a colorful visit to a brothel for homosexual cross-dressers. Liss's 18th-century London is one that James Bond would have felt at home in. The action is fast and full of surprises -- so many, in fact, that the suspension of disbelief is sometimes sustained by only a thread. But the narrative momentum inclines us to be indulgent -- and rightly so, because there is much to enjoy. These characters are particularly well drawn, with even the minor players given care and attention. Another virtue of "The Devil's Company" is its timely subtext, which explores the beginnings of corporate culture and globalization. Liss cleverly refers to the works of Charles Davenant and Josiah Child and their theory of free trade that "benefits all nations" -- a phrase that is echoed in the debate still raging. You'll also recognize a number of other issues that are as relevant today as they were in the 18th century. Does the promise of sharing the proceeds of economic growth justify an interim period of social inequality? At what point does international trade become a form of mercantile conquest? And should governments have a relaxed attitude toward large corporations that increase the nation's prosperity? Liss demonstrates -- with a light touch -- that the political, economic and social problems we worry about now have a venerable provenance. Moreover, the solutions chosen by those in power -- past and present -- usually favor pragmatism over justice. "Politics," says one of Liss's characters, "cannot always be about what is moral and right and good for all men and for all time. It must be about what is expedient now, and what is the lesser evil." Historical fiction is mostly smoke and mirrors. Modern writers really don't know what it was like to live in the past -- no matter how much research they do -- so the success of the enterprise depends largely on creating a convincing illusion. In this respect, the novelist's principal tool is language, which must sound authentic but never drag or test the reader's patience. Liss rises to this challenge with great skill in this accomplished, atmospheric and thoughtful novel.
Click the book cover to read more.








FIRST SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT ON THE 100 TH BIRTHDAY OF ISAIAH BERLIN
[book] ISAIAH BERLIN
A LIFE
BY MICHAEL INGATIEFF
Over the last 10 years of Isaiah Berlin's life (1909-1997), Ignatieff tape-recorded conversations with the philosopher in what he describes as "a virtuoso display of a great intelligence doing battle with loss." Because this biography is based primarily on these talks, as well as on interviews with Berlin's widow, friends, students and colleagues, the tone is informally conversational rather than pedantically authoritative. After a prosperous childhood in Latvia, Berlin's family was forced to move to London, where young Isaiah absorbed the British values of decency, the toleration of dissent and the importance of liberty over efficiency. At Oxford, he developed intellectually under the likes of Stephen Spender, W.H. Auden, R.G. Collingwood, Elizabeth Bowen and Virginia Woolf. Berlin did well at Oxford, he was elected Tutor at New College, Fellow of All Souls, but with war coming, he welcomed a chance to work for the Ministry of Information, first in the U.S., where his brilliant wartime dispatches (avidly read by Churchill) established his reputation in both Britain and America, and later as part of a Foreign Office team in Moscow (where he met Boris Pasternak) and Leningrad (where he began his transformative friendship with Anna Akhmatova).
[book] [book]Throughout the book, Ignatieff concentrates on his subject's conversation and flow of ideas. Berlin championed freedom but not dogmatically. In his view, to be true to human nature in its diversity, we have to embrace contradictory values; otherwise, we lose our humanity. Ignatieff's biography is worthy of its subject, lucidly explaining how this "Paganini of words" used philosophy to defend civilized society. Click the book cover to read more.












AND NOW THE FOOD FOR FOOD

[book] [book] SAVE THE DELI
BY DAVID SAX
In Search of Perfect Pastrami,
Crusty Rye,
and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen
Fall 2009,







As a journalist and life-long deli obsessive, David Sax was understandably alarmed by the state of Jewish delicatessen-- a cuisine that once sat at the very center of Jewish life had become endangered by assimilation, homogenization, and health food trends. He watched one beloved deli after another shut down, one institution after another shutter only to be reopened as some bland chain-restaurant laying claim to the very culture it just paved over. And so David set out on a journey across the United States and around the world in search of authentic delicatessen. Was it still possible to Save the Deli? Join David as he investigates everything deli-- its history, its diaspora, its next generation. He tells us about the food itself-how it's made, who makes it best, and where to go for particular dishes. And, ultimately, there there is for hope-- David finds deli newly and lovingly made in places like Boulder, traditions maintained in Montreal, and iconic institutions like the 2nd Avenue Deli resurrected in New York. So grab a pastrami on rye and sit down for a great read-- because Save the Deli is an energetic cultural history of Jewish food, a vibrant travelogue, and a rallying cry for a new generation of food lovers. David Sax is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in publications such as New York, GQ, Conde Nast Traveler, Rolling Stone, Wine Spectator, and The New Republic. He has written on everything from food, travel, and drink, to culture and politics. Sax has lived in Toronto, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro; he travels regularly and is always on the lookout for good deli. He lives in Brooklyn. Click the book cover to read more.








[book][book] BUSINESS MENSCH
TIMELESS WISDOM FOR TODAY'S ENTEPRENEUR
BY NOAH ALPER
FOUNDER OF NOAH'S BAGELS AND "BREAD & CIRCUS"
With Thomas Fields-Meyer
September 2009, Wolfeboro Press (Berkeley CA)
In the Hebrew year of 5769 we heard a lot about Jewish lead businesses. They were not mensches. Bear Stearns, AIG, Madoff, .. You know the list. But as we enter 5770, here is a book by a mensch, and not the anti-mentsch. Here is a man, the son of a man who worked for workers’ rights, who started a kosher business that was customer service focused, community friendly and profitable. Here is a man who was a entrepreneur as well as a social entreprenuer, and who after selling his business, took a year to study in Jerusalem, and then returned to SF to help start the city’s first Jewish high school.
I enjoyed Noah's Bagel's back when it started. I owned and outgrew (I still have them) several Noah's Bagels t-shirts from various towns in California (SF, LA, Studio City). I think I even bought stock in the company before losing a ton of dollars. Mr. Alper started Noah’s Bagels in 1989 and 6.5 years later, sold the company for $100 million in cash. The stockholders of the combined Einstein-Noah company did not make out as well. But from experience comes wisdom, so let’s check out the wisdom:
Noah Alper, in this book, teaches you lessons from his 35 years as a entrepreneur. Four of his six major ventures succeeded, and in this business, that is great. Noah's Bagel leveraged his distinctly Jewish roots, as does this book. Maurice Kanbar, the founder of Skyy Vodka, said it is filled with insights. And who am I to argue? Alper sold Noah's for $100 million to Einstein Bros. after just 6.5 years of founding and growing it from a single bagel shop in Berkeley. It was his perma-shpilkes that kept him a perpetual state of making new businesses. Also, a natural foods store in Brookline MA that he started and sold, Bread & Circus, was later grown and sold to Whole Foods. Just like the Torah, there are Noahide Laws Alper has seven Noahide laws, or Noah's 7 principles. They are: [book](1) Have a Little Chutzpah: How a former mental patient ended up as an entrepreneur. At age 22, he was manic and placed into McLean Hospital for 9 months. He left the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He had transferred there from NYU. The draft was one, and he just lost it. At the hospital, there were bars on the windows. Yet it taught him important life skills, and a little over two decades later, he had built a family, businesses, made millions and was sitting in the Friday night service at Yakar in Jerusalem. How did he transcend it? And how did he keep business and personal integrated instead of separated. I do not think you will read a more honest book this year. He talks about how much he learned at McLean that he uses to this day. He tells how he was young and sarcastic with a rabbi at the birth of his first son. Until he realized how to integrate business and love and Judaism. Essentially, only those who risk it can be rewarded.
(2) Discover Yourself: Stop living for somebody else's plan. Discover your own unique passion and gift and have a purpose in your life.
(3) Go Forth - Be ready willing and able to move at opportunity
(4) It Takes a Shtetl - where do u find advice, how do you rely on your employees, how do you work with partners
(5) The Power of a Mensch - you don't have to be mad men, cold, and nasty to succeed.
(6) Come Back Stronger - nearly ALL new businesses fail. Learn to springboard from it
And
(7) Remember the Sabbath - take time for yourself. 24/6 instead of 24/7. Hard work is vital, but so is a day off, or even at least a scheduled power walk for 30 minutes.













[book] DAY AFTER NIGHT
A NOVEL
BY ANITA DIAMANT
September 2009, Scribner
From the author of THE RED TENT, a new novel. PW: “Diamant's bestseller, The Red Tent, explored the lives of biblical women ignored by the male-centric narrative. In her compulsively readable latest, she sketches the intertwined fates of several young women refugees at Atlit, a British-run internment camp set up in Palestine after WWII. There's Tedi, a Dutch girl who hid in a barn for years before being turned in and narrowly escaping Bergen-Belsen; Leonie, a beautiful French girl whose wartime years in Paris are cloaked with shame; Shayndel, a heroine of the Polish partisan movement whose cheerful facade hides a tortured soul; and Zorah, a concentration camp survivor who is filled with an understandable nihilism. The dynamic of suffering and renewed hope through friendship is the book's primary draw, but an eventual escape attempt adds a dash of suspense to the astutely imagined story of life at the camp: the wary relationship between the Palestinian Jews and the survivors, the intense flirtation between the young people that marks a return to life. Diamant opens a window into a time of sadness, confusion and optimism that has resonance for so much that's both triumphant and troubling in modern Jewish history.” Click the book cover to read more.






Note to File: Wallace Shawn is a signatory to a statement at the Toronto Film Festival (September 2009) which criticizes the festival for celebrating Israeli films and being complicit with Israel’s occupation. Great. And now for his book:
[book] ESSAYS
By
WALLACE SHAWN
September 2009, Haymarket
Shawn writes that the human community is made up of individuals and he is one, like it or not, and he has his own point of view and since he has more free time that the average individual, he writes his opinions and views down. He wrote his first play at the age of ten. That was 55 years ago. People know him as his characters from films and plays, and few know his real opinions. And maybe it would have been better had we not known his real opinions. These essays are him. His parents were assimilated (or as he writes, some would say “excessively assimilated“) Jews in Manhattan. His grandparents were from Sweden, England, Germany and maybe Canada, but probably they were all of Russian and Eastern European Jewish heritage, and sort of just stayed in those places on the way to America. His mother was a Jewish Athiest; her real religion was to mail UNICEF greeting cards. The essays I most enjoyed were "The Quest for Superiority (2008)" and "Interview with Noam Chomsky (2004)." The Chomsky interview is probably the most lucid and understandable conversations with Chomsky that I have ever read. Although I do not agree with Chomsky, I now understand his opinions better. Their conversation touched upon Heidegger, German Jewry, and pre-state Israel, among other topics. "Israel Attacks Gaza (2008)" first appeared in December 2008 in The Nation, and focuses on Israelis, Palestinians, memories of oppression, sophistry, and more. Shawn thinks that Israel's actions are simply stoking and fueling the fires of hatred against it by the world population who were born after 1945 and know or care little of modern Jewish history. He is right, but he is also infantile in his knowledge of Middle East history or the reasons for the actions in Gaza. If you liked "My Dinner With Andre" you will like consuming this man's thoughts.

Of course, you might not agree with his thoughts, but they are enjoyable to read. Okay, wait, not enjoyable, but enjoyable in a challenging way.

The cover blurb: In these beautiful essays, Wallace Shawn takes us on a revelatory journey in which the personal and political become one. Whether writing about the genesis of his plays, such as Aunt Dan and Lemon; discussing how the privileged world of arts and letters takes for granted the work of the "unobtrusives," the people who serve our food and deliver our mail; or describing his upbringing in the sheltered world of Manhattan's cultural elite, Shawn reveals a unique ability to step back from the appearance of things to explore their deeper social meanings. He grasps contradictions, even when unpleasant, and challenges us to look, as he does, at our own behavior in a more honest light. He also finds the pathos in the political and personal challenges of everyday life. With a sharp wit, remarkable attention to detail, and the same acumen as a writer of prose as he is a playwright, Shawn invites us to look at the world with new eyes, the better to understand-and change it.
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] PROSPECT PARK WEST
A Novel By
AMY SOHN
September 2009, Simon & Schuster
Former New York magazine Mating columnist Sohn zeroes in on the more-fertile-than-thou crowd in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood in her vinegary latest (after My Old Man). Like a Grand Hotel for the yuppie set, the lives of moody, angry, dissatisfied mommies intersect on the playgrounds and co-ops of their overpriced hood. Among them, Lizzie, whose lesbian proclivities mask her loneliness; Rebecca, whose libidoless spouse prefers his role as dad over husband; Karen Shapiro, a social-climbing conniver; and Melora, a former Manhattanite whose psychiatric maladies are as pathetic as they are numerous. The gals in this comedy of bad manners are burned out, bitchy and beyond salvation as they maneuver to be noticed and loved. Meanwhile, there's more name-dropping than in an edition of Page Six, and while Sohn is obviously intent on skewering the annoying urban mommy stereotype, 400 pages is a stretch for material that's been blogged to death. There are moments of brutal honesty, but they're far too few to allow readers to muster an ounce of sympathy for a crew of caricatures so broadly drawn and sadly conceived. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] THE ART OF HARVEY KURTZman
The MAD Genius of Comics
By Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle , with Intro by Harry Shearer
2009, Abrams
Harvey Kurtzman discovered Robert Crumb and gave Gloria Steinem her first job in publishing when he hired her as his assistant. Terry Gilliam also started at his side, met an unknown John Cleese in the process, and the genesis of Monty Python was formed. Art Spiegelman has stated on record that he owes his career to him. And he's one of Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner's favorite artists. Harvey Kurtzman had a Midas touch for talent, but was himself an astonishingly talented and influential artist, writer, editor, and satirist. The creator of MAD and Playboy's "Little Annie Fanny" was called, "One of the most important figures in postwar America" by the New York Times. Kurtzman's groundbreaking "realistic" war comics of the early '50s and various satirical publications (MAD, Trump, Humbug, and Help!) had an immense impact on popular culture, inspiring a generation of underground cartoonists. Without Kurtzman, it's unlikely we'd have had Airplane, SNL, or National Lampoon. He was once offered 10% ownership in MAD magazine but turned it down to start Trump, which failed after three issues. The Art of Harvey Kurtzman is the first and only authorized celebration of this "Master of American Comics." This definitive book includes hundreds of never-before-seen illustrations, paintings, pencil sketches, newly discovered lost E.C. Comics layouts, color compositions, illustrated correspondence, and vintage photos from the rich Kurtzman archives
Kurtzman was born into a Yiddish speaking household in Brooklyn. When his father died when Harvey was 4, he and his brother were sent to an orphanage briefly. When his mother remarried, he joined his new family in the Bronx. His stepfather was a active trade unionist organizer and printer, and the family, like many Jews between 1910 and 1950, were staunchly anti-religion. A graduate of the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, Harvey became a comic book art director after WWII…
Click the book cover to read more.






[book] PRISON CHEERLEADER
How A Nice Jewish Girl Went Wrong Doing Right
by Arlene Peck
2009, xlibris
Arlene Peck is an syndicated columnist and television talk show hostess. Arlene writes that her syndicated column is read weekly by millions and her television show ("Wow! It's Arlene Peck!") can be seen throughout Southern California every Monday night. She writes that her book, Prison Cheerleader, was written in 1976, when she had a Jewish Discussion Group at the Atlanta Federal Prison. At the time, she writes, she was unaware of the Muslim plan for world domination. These days she watches in disgust as President Barak Hussein Obama bows to the Saudi King; she writes that Obama is also making sure that the USA keeps sending money to Saudi Arabia for our oil supply. That money is being used to fund the Islamic schools madrassas that teach Wahabism, which is Islamic radicalism. She goes on… Click the book cover to read more.






[book] I SHUDDER
AND OTHER REACTIONS TO LIFE, DEATH, AND NEW JERSEY
BY PAUL RUDNICK
September 2009, Harper
From the man who just eats candy in small mealettes, a hilariously funny, touching, and revelatory book from one of America's preeminent humorists
I feel as if I know his late Aunt Lil, as well as his mother and other aunt. The first chapter is priceless, and the rest are gems as well. Forget the Sisters Rozenzweig. There should be a play just on his mother and her two sisters.
In his plays, his screenplays, and his writing for the New Yorker and Premiere, Paul Rudnick has established himself as a comic master whose talents transcend genre. Now, in I Shudder, he trains his wickedly perceptive eye on everything from his New Jersey family to Hollywood to demented alcoholic Broadway stars waving swords. At his Uncle Rudy's funeral, Rudnick's beloved Aunt Lil put one hand on her husband's coffin and her other hand on Rudnick's shoulder and said, "Your Uncle Rudy always loved you. He never understood why, in your writing, you had to use that kind of language, but he loved you." Charming and touching, I Shudder is rendered in Rudnick's gorgeous, zinger-laden prose and reminds us of the need to keep our tongues sharp in the midst of life's many obstacles and absurdities. His plays include I Hate Hamlet, Jeffrey, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and Valhalla, and he wrote the screenplays for the movies In & Out and Addams Family Values. He also write under the name of Libby Gelman-Waxner. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] WHY ARE JEWS LIBERALS? BY NORMAN PODHORETZ
September 2009, Doubleday
The book jacket says this book is by the “author of World War IV”… is he the author of it or the future cause of it?
Oh, I jest.
Leon Wieseltier writes: “… “Why Are Jews Liberals?” is a document of [Podhoretz’s] bewilderment; and there is a Henry Higgins­like poignancy to his discovery that his brethren are not more like himself. But the refusal of others to assent to his beliefs is portrayed by Podhoretz not as a principled disagreement that is worthy of respect, but as a human failing. Jews are liberals, he concludes, as a consequence of “willful blindness and denial.” He has a philosophy. They have a psychology….
Podhoretz is one of the fathers of the Neo-Con movement of neoconservatives
Publishers Weekly writes, “Eminent neoconservative Podhoretz surveys the centuries of atrocities that, he says, have pushed most Jews to the Left, notably the persecutions by medieval Christendom, from blood libels to expulsion to ghettoization, and in modern times the Dreyfus affair and Nazism. Immigrant American Jews were attracted to the Democratic Party, says Podhoretz, because it was the closest counterpart to the European leftists who had favored Jewish emancipation. Phenomena like conservative opposition to fighting Hitler and Truman's recognition of Israel in 1948 kept Jews faithful to the 'Torah' of liberalism. But Podhoretz calls on Jews to shift their allegiance, maintaining that Democratic attitudes toward Israel range from unsympathetic to passionately hostile while the Republicans, with some exceptions, have been solidly to fervently supportive since the end of the 1967 Six-Day War. Podhoretz writes scathingly about what he views as the Nation magazine's naked anti-Semitism, taking particular aim at a 1986 piece by Gore Vidal, but, refreshingly, also excoriates conservatives like Pat Buchanan and right-wing publications like Chronicles magazine for their anti-Semitism. Although preaching to the converted and at times rambling, Podhoretz is an astute and joyously provocative and partisan observer of the political landscape.
Writing in The New York Times, Leon WieselTier wrote, “…Judaism is not liberal and it is not conservative; it is Jewish. But this is the beginning of the matter, not the end. For Judaism is immense and various: it holds within itself an oceanic plenitude of opinions and tendencies, developed over 2,000 years of philosophical and legal deliberation, and they do not all go together. To say that a view is Jewish is to claim a provenance more than an essence. It is precisely a provenance that many American Jewish intellectuals seek. Deceived by the contemporary ideology of identity into the simplifying aspiration that all their parts may be unified into a seamless and shining whole, they rummage through the Jewish tradition to find prooftexts for social and economic and political views that they have already established on other grounds. It is not enough that their views be true; they must also be authentic. The spectacle of all this tendentiousness is sometimes comic. In his new book, Norman Podhoretz has some fine exasperated fun with the wildness of interpretation on the Jewish left, and of course spares the Jewish right any culpability for the same sin. So it is worth recalling that a few years ago he published a book about the prophets in which they emerged as the neoconservatives of ancient Israel. Their castigations of the sacrifice of children prompted a reflection on the “pagan practice” of the entry of women into the work force. Norman Podhoretz loves his people and loves his country, and I salute him for it, since I love the same people and the same country. But this is a dreary book….

William Kristol (Weekly Standard) making a completely obscure reference (since few American readers know that the 2nd Century theologian Tertullian was an apologist or that he wrote that people should abstain from the polluted ideas of those they do not agree with) said of this book, “I particularly liked his comparison of today’s Jewish liberals to the Church Father Tertullian—one likely to offend both liberals and Tertullianites!”
Henry Kissinger wrote, “Podhoretz takes on a provocative subject, rejects conventional wisdom, and delivers a book that is important, original, and thought-provoking.” Let me throw in one more Wieseltier quote from nytimes.com, “No Democratic candidate in all those elections . . . has attracted less than 60 percent of the vote, and the overall average since 1928 is a stunning 75 percent.” This steadfast allegiance to the Democratic Party, Podhoretz insists, now flies in the face of Jewish interests. It is more in the name of Jewish interests than of Jewish ideas that Podhoretz makes his complaint about the Jewish rejection of the Republicans. But nowhere in his book does he explain precisely how the interests of Jews are served by the Republican positions on government, health care, tax policy, gun control, abortion, gay rights, the environment, and so on. Affirmative action is a genuinely excruciating question, and the ideal of color-blindness has been treated too harshly and too sloppily in recent decades; but surely this is a matter about which good people may disagree…”
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang
by Mordecai Richler and Dusan Petricic (Illustrator)
September 2009, Tundra
Ages 9 - 12
Poor Jacob Two-Two, only two plus two plus two years old and already a prisoner of The Hooded Fang. What had he done to deserve such terrible punishment? Why, the worst crime of all - insulting a grown-up. Not only must he say everything twice just to be heard over his four brothers and sisters, but he finds himself the prisoner of the dreaded Hooded Fang. What had he done to deserve such a punishment? The worst crime of all? Insulting a grown-up! Although he is small, Jacob is not helpless, especially when The Infamous Two come to his aid. Click the book cover to read more.



SEE ALSO:
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[book] THE POSSIBILITY OF EVERYTHING
A MEMOIR
BY HOPE EDELMAN
September 2009, Ballantine
In the autumn of 2000, best-selling author Hope Edelman was a woman adrift in a marriage heading slowly but steadily for trouble. Into her stagnant routine dropped Dodo, the increasingly aggressive, disruptive imaginary friend of her three-year-old daughter, Maya. Forced to confront the possibility that her family's history of mental illness may be back to haunt them, they sought mainstream psychological advice. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] LOUIS D. BRANDEIS
A LIFE
MELVIN UROFSKY
September 2009, PANTHEON
This is 914 pages
I hurt my arm lugging it around. Hehe
But it is worth it.
I met the author in Washington DC; he worked a lifetime on this book.
If you are going to be American and be involved in political life and the law, you really need to read this. This is the first full-scale biography in 25 years of one of the most important members of the U.S. Supreme Court. It reveals Louis D. Brandeis as a reformer, lawyer, and jurist, filled with complexity, passion, and wit. Louis Dembitz Brandeis had at least four “careers.” As a lawyer in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he pioneered how modern law is practiced. He, and others, developed the modern law firm, in which specialists manage different areas of the law. He was the author of the right to privacy; led the way in creating the role of the lawyer as counselor; and pioneered the idea of “pro bono publico” work by attorneys. As late as 1916, when Brandeis was nominated to the Supreme Court, the idea of pro bono service still struck many old-time attorneys as somewhat radical. Between 1895 and 1916, when Woodrow Wilson named Brandeis to the Supreme Court, he ranked as one of the nation’s leading progressive reformers. Brandeis invented savings bank life insurance in Massachusetts (he considered it his most important contribution to the public weal) and was a driving force in the development of the Federal Reserve Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, and the law establishing the Federal Trade Commission.
Brandeis as an economist and moralist warned in 1914 that banking and stock brokering must be separate, and twenty years later, during the New Deal, his recommendation was finally enacted into law (the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933) but was undone by Ronald Reagan, which led to the savings-and-loan crisis in the 1980s and the world financial collapse of 2008.
Brandeis came from a family of reformers and intellectuals who fled Europe and settled in Louisville Kentucky. Yes, Louisville and not Manhattan or Waltham. Brandeis went to Harvard Law School and convinced the school to admit him even though he was underage. In 1908, he defended an Oregon law that established maximum hours for female workers, and in so doing created an entirely new form of appellate brief that had only a few pages of legal citation and consisted mostly of factual references. Brandeis witnessed and suffered from the anti-Semitism rampant in the early twentieth century and, though not an observant Jew, with the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, became at age fifty-eight head of the American Zionist movement. During the next seven years, Brandeis transformed it from a marginal activity into a powerful force in American Jewish affairs.
You think Satomayer had it rough?? After Wilson named Brandeis to the SCOTUS, there was a SIX MONTH six-month confirmation battlein 1916. He was attacked as a “a striver,” “self-advertiser,” “a disturbing element in any gentleman’s club.” And you know what that is a CODE WORD for?? Even the president of Harvard, the school from which Brandeis graduated, A. Lawrence Lowell, signed a petition accusing Brandeis of lacking “judicial temperament.” And we see, finally, how, during his twenty-three years on the court, this giant of a man and an intellect developed the modern jurisprudence of free speech, the doctrine of a constitutionally protected right to privacy, and suggested what became known as the doctrine of incorporation, by which the Bill of Rights came to apply to the states.
Brandeis often said, “My faith in time is great.” Eventually the Supreme Court adopted every one of his dissents as the correct constitutional interpretation.
Your arm will get sore, but your brain and heart will thank you
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] TALES OF THE TEN LOST TRIBES
A COLLECTION
BY TAMAR YELLIN
September 2009, St Martin's Griffin
Readers will know Yellin from her "Kafka in Bronteland" and "TheGenizah at the House of Shepher." I think you will notice that the stories are in the birth order of the lost brothers, but do not relate to the nature of the brothers, but generally to displacement or loneliness.
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.








[book] STARDUST
A NOVEL
BY JOSEPH KANON
September 2009, Atria Books
It is 1945 and set in Hollywood. Ben Collier has arrived in California from the war in Europe and finds that is brother, Daniel, is dead, and the circumstances are mysterious. Did Daniel kill himself? Why would he? He was a hero, with a great career and wife. It is the time of the growing Cold War and the blacklist. Ben enters the studio system and tries to find out the truth behind the gloss of Hollywood. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] RELIGION OR ETHNICITY
JEWISH IDENTITIES IN EVOLUTION
Edited By Zvi Gitelman
2009, Rutgers
Can someone be considered Jewish if he or she never goes to synagogue, doesn't keep kosher, and for whom the only connection to his or her ancestral past is attending an annual Passover seder? In Religion or Ethnicity? fifteen leading scholars trace the evolution of Jewish identity. The book examines Judaism from the Greco-Roman age, through medieval times, modern western and eastern Europe, to today. Jewish identity has been defined as an ethnicity, a nation, a culture, and even a race. Religion or Ethnicity? questions what it means to be Jewish. The contributors show how the Jewish people have evolved over time in different ethnic, religious, and political movements. In his closing essay, Gitelman questions the viability of secular Jewishness outside Israel but suggests that the continued interest in exploring the relationship between Judaism's secular and religious forms will keep the heritage alive for generations to come
Click the book cover to read more.








[book] MAJOR FARRAN'S HAT
THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE STRUGGLE TO ESTABLISH THE JEWISH STATE
BY DAVID CESARANI
September 2009, Da Capo
In May 1947 a sixteen-year-old Jewish activist named Alexander Rubowitz was abducted in broad daylight from the streets of Jerusalem. At the abduction scene, a gray hat was found, purportedly belonging to Major Roy Farran, a decorated World War II officer who was in charge of British counterterrorism in Palestine. As evidence mounted against Farran, the Zionist underground swore vengeance. The episode precipitated a series of nail-biting twists and turns that had far-reaching consequences. An engaging mix of true crime and polemical narrative history, peopled by a cast of luminaries including Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, Menachem Begin, and Golda Meir, Major Farran's Hat investigates shady violence, scandalous cover-ups, and political expediency. It also explores why Britain lost Palestine, as well as how its counterinsurgency and diplomatic strategies collided so disastrously. By exposing Britain's legacy in the Middle East, this historical thriller echoes today's war on terror and pointedly illustrates the circumstances surrounding the birth of the State of Israel.
Click the book cover to read more.








NOT A JEWISH BOOK... BUT OF JEWISH INTEREST AND AN INTERESTING READ:
[book] Read My Pins
Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box
by Madeleine Albright
September 2009, Harper
Before long, and without intending it, I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal. Former president George H. W. Bush had been known for saying "Read my lips." I began urging colleagues and reporters to "Read my pins." It would never have happened if not for Saddam Hussein. When U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright criticized the dictator, his poet in residence responded by calling her "an unparalleled serpent." Shortly thereafter, while preparing to meet with Iraqi officials, Albright pondered: What to wear? She decided to make a diplomatic statement by choosing a snake pin. Although her method of communication was new, her message was as old as the American Revolution-Don't Tread on Me. From that day forward, pins became part of Albright's diplomatic signature. International leaders were pleased to see her with a shimmering sun on her jacket or a cheerful ladybug; less so with a crab or a menacing wasp. Albright used pins to emphasize the importance of a negotiation, signify high hopes, protest the absence of progress, and show pride in representing America, among other purposes. Part illustrated memoir, part social history, Read My Pins provides an intimate look at Albright's life through the brooches she wore. Her collection is both international and democratic-dime-store pins share pride of place with designer creations and family heirlooms. Included are the antique eagle purchased to celebrate Albright's appointment as secretary of state, the zebra pin she wore when meeting Nelson Mandela, and the Valentine's Day heart forged by Albright's five-year-old daughter. Read My Pins features more than 200 photographs, along with compelling and often humorous stories about jewelry, global politics, and the life of one of America's most accomplished and fascinating diplomats. Click the book cover to read more.








NOW IN P A P E R B A C K
[book] BEAT THE REAPER
A NOVEL
BY JOSH BAZELL
September 2009, Ballantine
From Publishers Weekly: Making a hit man turned medical intern a sympathetic figure would be a tall order for most authors, but first-time novelist Bazell makes it look easy in this breezy and darkly comic suspense novel. The Locanos, a mob family, take in 14-year-old Pietro Brwna (pronounced Browna) after a couple of thugs gun down the grandparents who raised him in their New Jersey home. Bent on revenge, Pietro pursues the killers and executes them a year later. Impressed by Pietros performance, David Locano recruits Pietro as a hit man. After more traumas, Pietro tries to make a break from his past by entering the witness protection program. Now known as Peter Brown, he eventually lands a position as a doctor at a decrepit Manhattan hospital, where by chance a former Mafia associate turns up as a patient and threatens to rat him out. The hero's wry narrative voice, coupled with Bazells artful use of flashbacks to sustain tension and fill in Pietro's past, are a winning combination. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] YiDDiSH YOGA
By Lisa Grunberger, PhD
2009, Newmarket Press
From the cover: A poignant and funny tale written in the voice of Ruthie, a recently widowed New York City Jewish grandmother, who accepts her granddaughter's gift of a year's worth of yoga lessons with surprising results. A Jewish Bubby like Ruthie doesn't necessarily come to yoga with the most open of minds. But when her granddaughter Stephanie gives Ruthie a year of yoga classes soon after she is widowed, she doesn't want to risk offending her. Ruthie is skeptical of yoga and its promise of renewal, healing, and transformation. She can't resist poking fun at some of the new words and rituals, often translating the foreign language of Yogic philosophy into the familiar idiom of her native Yiddish culture. As her journey progresses from week to week, subtle transformations occur. In spite of herself, Ruthie forges new paths, new postures, and unexpected friendships, slowly overcoming her grief. Written as a monologue, Yiddish Yoga is a poignant, witty, and human story of love in its many expressions-between granddaughter and grandmother, between an older woman and her younger yoga teacher, between a widow and her husband of fifty years. As Ruthie learns to let go of the past without forgetting, she shows us how to embrace the present with new vigor, strength, and courage, and above all, makes us laugh. This small-format gift hardcover features original illustrations, and glossaries of Yiddish and yoga terms. Lisa Grunberger's poems have been published in numerous literary journals, and she often performs original poetry and performance pieces in NYC and Philadelphia. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School and has been teaching yoga classes for many years..

Okay, let me add some comments of my owns. The page format is similar to that of “Haikus for Jews,” with a few short paragraphs per page or two, and then on to the next topic. The author takes yoga concepts and translates them into the fictional mind of a Jewish widowed woman who is 72. It is a well meaning slim book and includes a glossary of Yiddish terms followed by a glossary of yoga terms. The author is the daughter of an Israeli mother and Austrian Jewish father and she grew up on Long Island. Her character, Ruthie, was red haried, big bosomed and svelte. She is recently widowed and feisty and depressed. Her granddaughter has purchased a year of yoga classes for her. Will Ruthie use it to overcome grief and learn to embrace the present? With each new yoga lesson and concert, Ruthie translates it into a Jewish idea. But, I must admit, at first, I found the chapters and writing forced and unnatural. It is as if someone throws the word matzo ball and kvetch into a sentence and thinks it will be funny and Jewish. Maybe it is generational? Maybe it is my gender or lack of yoga education, but it just did not connect with me. For example, after her first yoga class, Ruthie says that she hasn’t moved like that since she LOIFED to a Loehmann’s 50% off red tag sale. After sitten zazen Indian style with crossed legs she wishes of a Percodan. Um.. I think if you did not grow up watching comics in the Catskills, the jokes are not gonna work for you. Her teacher is a nudnik samed Sat Yam, formerly Sam Lupinsky. Instead of wearing a yoga thong, she wears a blue and white velour sweat suit from Macy’s that she and her late husband bought for their trip to Israel. Ruthie remembers Kapala (skull) cuz it sounds like keppeleh (little head). She joins her index finger and thumb (or ego and Brahmin unity) and tries to be humble. Yet she is not so humble when a substitute yoga teacher arrives 20 minutes late, and instead of apologizing, the sub teacher merely says it is a test of student patience. She relates asana to yahrzeit candles, and a vriksasana tree to an apple tree in the Fall of the Jewish holidays. During camel pose ustrasana she thinks of the Negev. For Garudasana, she things of a twisted braided challah. As the year progresses, we wonder if she will accept her husband’s death, empty his closet, open herself to meeting other men for friendships, or even make peace with her estranged sister.
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[book] THE LOWER EAST SiDE REMEMBERED AND REVISITED
A HISTORY AND GUIDE TO A LEGENDARY NEW YORK NEIGHBORHOOD
(Updated and Revised)
BY JOYCE MENDELSOHN
September 2009, Columbia University Press
The Lower East Side has been home to some of the city's most iconic restaurants, shopping venues, and architecture. The neighborhood has also welcomed generations of immigrants, from newly arrived Italians and Jews to today's Latino and Asian newcomers. This history has become somewhat obscured, however, as the Lower East Side can appear more hip than historic, with wealth and gentrification changing the character of the neighborhood. Chronicling these developments, along with the hidden gems that still speak of a vibrant immigrant identity, Joyce Mendelsohn provides a complete guide to the Lower East Side of then and now. After an extensive history that stretches back to Manhattan's first settlers, Mendelsohn offers 5 self-guided walking tours, including a new passage through the Bowery, that take the reader to more than 150 sites and highlight the dynamics of a community of contrasts: aged tenements nestled among luxury apartment towers abut historic churches and synagogues. With updated and revised maps, historical data, and an entirely new community to explore, Mendelsohn writes a brand-new chapter in an old New York story.
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BLACK SUIT, WORN ONCE $45
TRUE STORIES
BY MICHAEL GREENBERG
September 2009, Other Press
From the author of HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE, a collection of true stories that are hilarious, complex, bittersweet, and always close to the bone.
Greenberg's trenchant columns appear in the UK Times Literary Supplement every two weeks. This book is a memoir in installments. It is a memoir of re-qriting awful film scripts, writing about golf even though he has never played, and other behaviors that are necessary to get by as a writer in NYC. Starring in this autobiography are his elegant mother, his father and his sfather's scrap metal business, his wife, whom he met in Greenwich Village, and their son, Aaron, as well as many other odd real characters. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE BIZARRE TRUTH
HOW I WALKED OUT THE DOOR MOUTH FIRST
AND CAME BACK SHAKING MY HEAD
BY ANDREW ZIMMERN (Travek Channel)
September 2009, Broadway Books
Andrew Zimmern, the host of The Travel Channel's hit series Bizarre Foods, grew up in a Jewish home (page 147), and ate Jewish foods. Not too bizarre. Actually his first memory of eating Chinese, as all Jews do, was with his father after seeing a film in Manhattan's Ziegfield Theater on West 54th St. and then taking a cab to Bobo's in Chinatown
He has an extraordinarily well-earned reputation for traveling far and wide to seek out and sample anything and everything that's consumed as food globally, from cow vein stew in Bolivia and giant flying ants in Uganda to raw camel kidneys in Ethiopia, putrefied shark in blood pudding in Iceland and Wolfgang Puck's Hunan style rooster balls in Los Angeles. For Zimmern, local cuisine - bizarre, gross or downright stomach turning as it may be to us -- is not simply what's served at mealtime. It is a primary avenue to discovering what is most authentic - the bizarre truth - about cultures everywhere. Having eaten his way around the world over the course of four seasons of Bizarre Foods, Zimmern has now launched Bizarre Worlds, a new series on the Travel Channel, and this, his first book, a chronicle of his journeys as he not only tastes the "taboo treats" of the world, but delves deep into the cultures and lifestyles of far-flung locales and seeks the most prized of the modern traveler's goals: The Authentic Experience. Written in the smart, often hilarious voice he uses to narrate his TV shows, Zimmern uses his adventures in "culinary anthropology" to illustrate such themes as: why visiting local markets can reveal more about destinations than museums; the importance of going to "the last stop on the subway" - the most remote area of a place where its essence is most often revealed; the need to seek out and catalog "the last bottle of coca-cola in the desert," i.e. disappearing foods and cultures; the profound differences between dining and eating; and the pleasures of snout to tail, local, fresh and organic food. Zimmern takes readers into the back of a souk in Morocco where locals are eating a whole roasted lamb; along with a conch fisherman in Tobago, who may be the last of his kind; to Mississippi, where he dines on raccoon and possum. There, he writes, "People said, 'That's roadkill!' 'No it's not,' I said. 'It's a cultural story.'" Whether it's a session with an Incan witch doctor in Ecuador who blows fire on him, spits on him, thrashes him with poisonous branches and beats him with a live guinea pig or drinking blood in Uganda and cow urine tonic in India or eating roasted bats on an uninhabited island in Samoa, Zimmern cheerfully celebrates the undiscovered destinations and weird wonders still remaining in our increasingly globalized world.
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[book] THE MATH BOOK
From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension,
250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics
BY CLIFFORD A. PICKOVER
September 2009, Sterling
Math’s infinite mysteries and beauty unfold in this follow-up to the best-selling The Science Book. Beginning millions of years ago with ancient “ant odometers” and moving through time to our modern-day quest for new dimensions, it covers 250 milestones in mathematical history. Among the numerous delights readers will learn about as they dip into this inviting anthology: cicada-generated prime numbers, magic squares from centuries ago, the discovery of pi and calculus, and the butterfly effect. Each topic gets a lavishly illustrated spread with stunning color art, along with formulas and concepts, fascinating facts about scientists’ lives, and real-world applications of the theorems.
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[book] I SOLD ANDY WARHOL (TOO SOON)
BY RICHARD POLSKY
September 2009, Other Press
In early 2005, Richard Polsky decided to put his much-loved, hard-won Warhol, "Fright Wig," up for auction at Christie's; the market for contemporary art was robust and he was hoping to turn a profit. His instinct seemed to be on target: his picture sold for $375,000. But if only Polsky had waited . . . Over the next two years, the art market soared to unimaginable heights with multimillion-dollar sales that became the norm and not the exception. Buyers and sellers were baffled, art dealers were being bypassed for auction houses, and benchmark prices were on a sharp ascent. Had the art market lost all reason? In I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon), Polsky leads the way through this tumultuous time in the art world when the market took off to meteoric proportions, when "a day late, a dollar short" were the words on everyone's lips. He delves into the behind-the-scenes politics of auctions, the shift in power away from dealers and galleries, and the search for affordable art in a rich man's market. Unlike most in the art world, Polsky is not afraid to tell it like it is as he negotiates deals for clients in New York, London, and San Francisco and seeks out a replacement for his lost "Fright Wig." This compelling backdoor tell-all about the strange and fickle world of art collecting will leave you nostalgic for the days when SoHo was an art mecca, interested in contemporary artists making their mark today, and knowledgeable about auction house strategies and the current market stakes. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] SOME MEASURE OF JUSTICE
THE HOLOCAUST ERA RESTITUTION CAMPAIGN OF THE 1990s
BY MICHAEL R. MARRUS (University of Toronto)
FOREWORD BY WILLIAM A. SCHABAS
Fall 2009, University of Wisconsin
Can there ever be justice for the Holocaust? During the 1990s-triggered by lawsuits in the United States against Swiss banks, German corporations, insurance companies, and owners of valuable works of art-claimants and their lawyers sought to rectify terrible wrongs committed more than a half century earlier. Some Measure of Justice explores this most recent wave of justice-seeking for the Holocaust: what it has been, why it emerged when it did, how it fits with earlier reparation to the Jewish people, its significance for the historical representation of the Holocaust, and its implications for justice-seeking in our time. Writings on the subject of Holocaust reparations have largely come from participants, lawyers, philosophers, journalists, and social scientists specializing in restitution. In Some Measure of Justice Michael Marrus takes up the issue as a historian deeply involved with legal issues. He engages with larger questions about historical understanding and historical interpretation as they enter the legal arena. Ultimately this book asks, What constitutes justice for a great historic wrong? And, Is such justice possible?
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[book] HOW TO BE A MENTSH
AND NOT A SHMUCK
BY MICHAEL WEX
September 2009, Harper
As the say in Yiddish, it is never to late to die or to marry.
What is the difference between a mentsh and a shmuck? Selfishness
In a world where people want people to act with "common decency," comes a book that explores how to achieve this
This is a guide on how people should cooperate. Wise and hilarious, this is a book about happiness, your own and that of others. The principles outlined here will work for anyone, Jewish or not, who makes the effort to put them into practice. Drawing on the "wisdom of the ages," bestselling author Michael Wex shows readers how to figure out the right thing to do in any situation. First he describes the two words "mentsh" and "shmuck." The former refers most often to an adult who has learned to think of others first; the latter refers to someone who thinks he or she is someone special.
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[book] INSIDE LARRY AND SERGEY'S BRAIN
BY RICHARD L. BRANDT
September 2009, Portfolio
You've used their products. You've heard about their skyrocketing wealth and "don't be evil" business motto. But how much do you really know about Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin? Inside Larry and Sergey's Brain skips past the general Google story and focuses on what really drives these men and where they will take Google in the future. Richard L. Brandt shows the company as the brainchild of two brilliant but individual men and looks at Google's business decisions in light of its founders' ambitions and beliefs. Larry is the main strategist, with business acumen and practical drive, while Sergey is the primary technologist and idealist, with brilliant ideas and strong moral positions. But they work closely together, almost like complementary halves of a single brain. Larry is more socially awkward and rarely volunteers to answer questions. Sergey is more poised but is also shy with outsiders. Through interviews with current and former employees, competitors, partners, and senior Google management, plus conversations with the founders themselves, Brandt demystifies the secret society that is Google, as well as clarifying a number of misconceptions. For instance, it may seem more and more that Google wants to be something other than a search company as it expands into e-mail, cell phones, Web browsers, wiki information sites, social networks, and photo editing. But actually, Larry and Sergey just define search a little differently from everyone else. They also like to act as catalysts for change in industries (such as telecommunications) that affect their business. Theoretically, any of half a dozen competitors could have gotten where Google is today. But in reality, none of them could have been Google, because they didn't have Larry and Sergey. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] THE BIG KAHN
A GRAPHIC NOVEL
BY NEIL KLEID AND NICOLAS CONQUEGRANI
September 2009, NBM
Rabbi David Kahn has lived a forty-year lie: he is not, nor has he ever been, Jewish. When at his funeral, the rabbi s grifter brother reveals the truth, it forces the Kahn family to struggle with grief and betrayal as their congregation examines their every move and question their very faith. His son, Rabbi Avi Kahn, the heir apparent, spirals down in an affair with his rebellious sister Lea s non-Jewish roommate. Lea rethinks the religion she s run from, strong enough to alter her father s life, while Eli the youngest Kahn inherits his father s long-forgotten legacy. Somehow, with the help of the uncle he never knew and his slowly re-awakening sister, he attempts to return faith and order to his family and community and reinstate his father s good name. Neil Kleid, Xeric Award winning author of Ninety Candles and NBM s Brownsville, and illustrator Nicolas Cinquegrani offer a drama about loss, lies, belief and renewal in this dramatic graphic exploration of a family secret so well-hidden, it questions the very nature of faith. Click the book cover to read more.








N O W IN P A P E R B A C K
[book] BEAT THE REAPER
A NOVEL
BY JOSH BAZELL
September 2009, BeatTheReaper.com Back Bay
From Publishers Weekly: Making a hit man turned medical intern a sympathetic figure would be a tall order for most authors, but first-time novelist Bazell makes it look easy in this breezy and darkly comic suspense novel. The Locanos, a mob family, take in 14-year-old Pietro Brwna (pronounced Browna) after a couple of thugs gun down the grandparents who raised him in their New Jersey home. Bent on revenge, Pietro pursues the killers and executes them a year later. Impressed by Pietros performance, David Locano recruits Pietro as a hit man. After more traumas, Pietro tries to make a break from his past by entering the witness protection program. Now known as Peter Brown, he eventually lands a position as a doctor at a decrepit Manhattan hospital, where by chance a former Mafia associate turns up as a patient and threatens to rat him out. The hero's wry narrative voice, coupled with Bazells artful use of flashbacks to sustain tension and fill in Pietro's past, are a winning combination.
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[book] Design-It-Yourself Clothes
Patternmaking Simplified
by Cal Patch
September 2009
If you've ever watched Project Runway and wished you were a contestant, or you're simply ready to take your sewing to a new level, Design-It-Yourself Clothes teaches you the fundamentals of modern patternmaking so that you, too, can create your own inspired clothing. Until now, the aspiring DIY fashionista has been hard-pressed to find self-teaching tools other than dry textbooks or books with outdated looks. Finally, in Design-It-Yourself Clothes, former Urban Outfitters designer Cal Patch brings her youthful aesthetic to a how-to book. If you want to wear something you can't find on store racks and make clothes that express your individual style, or if you've reached a sewing plateau and want to add pattern drafting to your repertoire, Design-It-Yourself Clothes is the book you have been waiting for. In five key projects (each with four variations)-a perfect-fitting dress, T-shirt, button-down shirt, A-line skirt, and pants-Patch shares the art of patternmaking. At its core, it's much simpler than you think. Patch covers everything an intermediate sewer needs to know in order to become a fabulous fashion designer, from designing the patterns, taking your own measurements, and choosing fabrics to actually sewing the clothing. You will also learn how to stylize patterns by using darts, waistbands, patch pockets, and ruffles. Patch offers tips, explanations, options, and exercises throughout that will make the design process that much easier. But besides showing you how to create clothing from scratch, she also teaches you how to rub off patterns from existing clothing-so if you have a pair of pants that you love but are worn out, or you have your eye on a piece in the store with a prohibitive price tag, you can figure out how to get the looks you want by using your own two hands. CAL PATCH was a clothing designer for Urban Outfitters and Free People before creating her own label, Hodge Podge. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] LAYLA'S HEAD SCARF
by Miriam Cohen, Ronald Himler (Illustrator)
September 2009, Star Bright
Ages 4 - 8
Miriam Cohen s timely story highlights a challenge that many children face in today s multicultural environment. Layla, a new girl in first grade, wears a headscarf but it does not take long for the others to welcome her. Ronald Himler s watercolor illustrations give the first graders distinct characteristics and provide a realistic portrayal of a first grade classroom. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] MAIMONIDES
TORAH AND PHILOSOPHICAL QUEST
EXPANDED EDITION
BY RABBI DAVID HARTMAN
September 2009, JPS
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in a new edition. Product Description In his 1976 Maimonides: Torah and Philosophical Quest, David Hartman departs from traditional scholarly views about Maimonides by offering a new way of understanding the great man and his work. This expanded edition contains Hartman's new postscript. A 12th-century rabbi, scholar, physician, and philosopher, Moses Maimonides is best known for his two great works on Judaism: Mishneh Torah and Guide to the Perplexed. They have often been viewed by scholars as having different audiences and different messages, together reflecting the two sides of the author himself: Maimonides the halakhist, who focused on piety through obedience to Jewish law; and Maimonides the philosopher, who advocated closeness with God through reflection and knowledge of nature. Hartman argues that while many scholars look at one aspect of Maimonides to the exclusion or dismissal of the other, the way to really understand him is to see both adherence to the law and philosophical pursuits as two essential aspects of Judaism. Hartman's 2009 postscript sheds new light on his argument and indeed on Judaism as Maimonides interpreted it. In it Hartman explains that while Maimonides never envisioned the integration of halakhah with philosophy, he did view them as existing in a symbiotic relationship. While the focus of the Mishneh Torah was halakha and obedience to Jewish law, Guide to the Perplexed spoke to individuals whose love of God grew through their passion, devotion and yearning to understand God's wisdom and power in nature. Both modes of spiritual orientation lived in the thought of Maimonides. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Conceiving Israel
The Fetus in Rabbinic Narratives
(Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion)
by Gwynn Kessler
2009, University of PENNsylvania PRESS
In Conceiving Israel, Gwynn Kessler examines the peculiar fascination of the rabbis of late antiquity with fetuses—their generation, development, nurturance, and even prenatal study habits—as expressed in narrative texts preserved in the Palestinian Talmud and those portions of the Babylonian Talmud attributed to Palestinian sages. For Kessler, this rabbinic speculation on the fetus served to articulate new understandings of Jewishness, gender, and God. Drawing on biblical, Christian, and Greco-Roman traditions, she argues, the rabbis developed views distinctive to late ancient Judaism.
Kessler shows how the rabbis of the third through sixth centuries turned to non-Jewish writings on embryology and procreation to explicate the biblical insistence on the primacy of God's role in procreation at the expense of the biological parents (and of the mother in particular). She examines rabbinic views regarding God's care of the fetus, as well as God's part in determining fetal sex. Turning to the fetus as a site for the construction of Jewish identity, she explicates the rabbis' reading of "famous fetuses," or biblical heroes-to-be. If, as they argue, these males were born already circumcised, Jewishness and the covenantal relation of Israel to its God begin in the womb, and the womb becomes the site of the ongoing reenactment of divine creation, exodus, and deliverance. Rabbinic Jewish identity is thus vividly internalized by an emphasis on the prenatal inscription of Jewishness; it is not, and can never be, merely a matter of external practice.
Gwynn Kessler received her Ph.D. in Rabbinics, with a specialization in Midrash from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001. Her thesis concerned “The God Of Small Things: The Fetus and Its Development in Palestinian Aggadic Literature” She teaches at the University of Florida and her current research uses feminist and queer theories to interpret (and critique) rabbinic constructions of gender and the body. She also teaches a course on GLBTQ Jews and Judaism and a course on biblical and rabbinic constructions of God's gender.
Read excerpts here: http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/toc/14611.html
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[book] THE CAKE MIX DOCTOR RETURNS
BY ANNE BYRN
September 2009, Workman
What could be better than a phenomenon? The return of a phenomenon. Ten years ago Anne Byrn's The Cake Mix Doctor began its extraordinary run as one of the most popular baking books of all time. Now Anne Byrn is back with the all-new Cake Mix Doctor Returns! From the beloved author who showed home bakers how adding a touch of sweet butter or a dusting of cocoa powder, a dollop of vanilla yogurt or flurry of grated lemon zest could transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Here are 160 brand-new recipes-that's right, 160 amazing cake mix recipes-for luscious layer cakes, sheet cakes, brownies, bars, cookies, and more. And the book is needed more than ever. Today 90 percent of home cooks use prepackaged mixes, while the economy is creating a perfect excuse to let them eat cake-cake equals happiness. And what cakes! 40 layer cakes, from Tiramisu Cake to The Best Red Velvet Cake, Strawberry Refrigerator Cake to Chocolate Swirled Cannoli Cake. 35 sheet cakes. 38 bundt and pound cakes. 16 cupcakes and muffins, plus the cult classic Whoopie Pie. And brownies, bars, and cookies, including Spice Drop Cookies, Angel Food Macaroons, and Chocolate Espresso Biscotti. There's even a wedding cake, a frequent request from the author's passionate online community. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking
By Marcy Goldman (Paperback)
September 2009, Midpoint
PW writes, “Goldman's cheerful cookbook provides recipes for all sorts of baked goods, from traditional Jewish fare (Delicatessen-Style Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake) and treats for specific holidays (an Etrog Cake for Sukkot) to others that are just plain good (New Wave Chocolate Tunnel Cake). A chapter on breads contains recipes for both New York-Style Water Bagels and Montreal Bagels, as well as Pumpernickel Cranberry Rolls. This book will satisfy any challah devotee: a chapter on Shabbat offers Traditional Friday Night Challah and "This Tastes Like Cake" Fresh Yeast Sabbath Challah (Goldman likes wordy, exclamatory names). A chapter on Rosh Hashanah boasts cunning New Year's Sweet Challah Miniatures and a New Year's Apple Challah. Many desserts, like a Blitz Cherry Cake, are easy and fast. Others, like Pomegranate and Sour Cherry Mandelbrot, incorporate unusual ingredients without getting too wacky. The true test of the Jewish baker, of course, is Passover, and Goldman provides a wealth of the flour-free inventions, notably My Trademark, Most Requested, Absolutely Magnificent Caramel Matzoh Crunch, Passover Rich Chocolate Genoise and Buttercream Roll, and Mock Chestnut Torte.”
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[book] Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes
By Laura Frankel
September 2009, Wiley
An inspiring collection of kosher recipes-from the simple to the sublime-all created with the slow cooker.
In Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes, the encore to her classic book, Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, Laura Frankel, a respected kosher chef and mother of three teenagers, shares more than 120 easy, delicious recipes for everyday and holiday meals-- all conveniently prepared in the slow cooker-a staple of Sabbath cooking which Frankel affectionately calls her "Shabbat miracle machine." In this delicious collection, you'll find: a wonderful range of dishes, from the traditional Sabbath Cholent (a hearty beef and potato stew) and Dafina (the savory Moroccan answer to cholent), as well as Falling-Off-the-Bone Short Ribs, Vegetarian Chili, Spicy Chicken Meatballs, Olive Oil Poached Halibut, Garlicky Pot Roast, Cassoulet, Maple-Pecan Bread Pudding, and Key Lime Cheesecake Frankel's signature blending of flavor, convenience, and world-spanning influences; A tantalizing collection of mouth-watering recipes that you can make for any meal, from appetizers and soups to main dishes, sides, and even desserts and breakfast. Taking familiar favorites, international specialties, and holiday classics to a whole new level, Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes is for every home cook-kosher or not-longing for time-saving, family-pleasing slow cooker meals using the freshest, high-quality ingredients available in your local supermarket and food community.
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[book] JEWISH COOKING BOOT CAMP
The Modern Girl's Guide to Cooking Like a Jewish Grandmother
by Andrea Marks Carneiro and Roz Marks
http://www.jewishcookingbootcamp.com/
2009, Three forks
Whatever tribe readers may belong to, they're sure to find a few new favorites (and an auxiliary Jewish grandma) in this terrific collection, which has the feel of a conversation with a caring relative. Authors Marks and Carneiro state up front that they aren't "keeping kosher or following rules" in their compilation of menus, organized by holiday (complete with wine pairings), though they do include a wealth of thoughtful tips for those who prefer to stick by tradition. Yes, brisket, latkes, kugel and flourless Passover Brownies make the mix, but so does a kosher caipirinha (utilizing kosher cachaca). The emphasis is on flavorful home cooking: chicken noodle soup, Swiss steak, mashed potatoes, and a simple ice cream pie will appeal to cooks of any faith. Anecdotes, quirky suggestions (like a list of Chanukah-appropriate hip-hop), and tips for buying and presentation jostle with recipes like a busy, satisfying family dinner, providing new cooks and those intimidated by Jewish cuisine a comforting, familial vibe.
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[book] THE JEWISH MAMA‘S KITCHEN
BY DENISE PHILLIPS
September 2009, Spruce
THE JEWISH MAMA'S KITCHEN presents 90 favorite everyday and special occasion recipes that have been tried and passed down to mother to daughter, generation to generation. Enjoy Friday night with a warming Sabbath casserole and dumplings, celebrate Rosh Hashanah with delicious honey cake and tzimmes, or enjoy hearty lentil soup and baklava anytime. Incorporating recipes from the Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Israeli traditions, this welcoming volume is presented is Mama's unique user-friendly scrapbook style. Denise Phillips is a leading name in modern Jewish Cooking. She is author of several cookbooks and writes columns for international Jewish newspapers and has made numerous television appearances. She runs Denise's Kitchen Cooking School in London, and leads courses at the Institute of Culinary Education and the Jewish Community Center in New York.
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[book] The Jewish Princess
Feasts and Festivals
By Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn
2009
The Princesses are back in the kitchen and ready to COOK! So raise a glass, say Lechayim, and get ready. Georgie Tarn and Tracey Fine, authors of the delightful Jewish Princess Cookbook, bring their culinary wisdom and irrepressible good spirits to a new enterprise. This time, they’re cooking up memorable feasts for family and friends—and readers are invited to indulge in wonderful recipes for Purim, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Chanukkah, and many other special holidays where food is central to the festivities. And there’s more: Tarn and Fine share great ideas for a Bris Brunch, Bar and Bat Mitvahs, weddings, and cozy, casual dinners that combine traditional Jewish dishes with nouveau recipes destined to become new “classics.” A heady concoction of wit, humor, charm, personal stories, and delicious recipes, this book finishes up with a must-see list of amusing Yiddishisms. And the colorful retro art used throughout is the icing on the (Melting Nutty Raspberry Meringue) cake!
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See also
[book] The Jewish Princess Cookbook
Having Your Cake and Eating It…
By Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn
2008
Ideal for [those] who enjoy life, but not cooking, yet they still want to nurture their families (Tarn and Fine's definition of the Jewish Princess), this attractive book offers quick, accessible recipes and kitchen tips. The flavors are global, with chicken curry alongside chicken schnitzel, though everything is kosher; Jewish classics (latkes, cholent, honey cake) appear throughout and star in a section on the ultimate Friday night dinner. The stream of tongue-in-cheek Jewish Princess jokes keeps things bubbly and encouraging for inexperienced cooks facing a brisket or springform pan for the first time
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“Apple Pie is Good, but I still like applesauce best. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I grow up. Maybe not.”
[book] [book] APPLESAUCE SEASON
BY EDEN ROSS LIPSON
Illustrated by Mordecai Gerstein
September 2009, Roaring Brook Press
Ages 4 - 8
From the late Eden Ross Lipson, the Children’s Book review editor for the New York Times, leader in children’s book development, and volunteer at PS 111. And Gerstein is a winner of the Caldecott Medal. It is Fall (and dare I say it is Rosh Hashana season)
When the first apples of the season--Ida Red and Paula Red, Twenty Ounce, McIntosh, Macoun, Winesap, Northern Spy, Cortland, and Ginger Gold--show up in the city markets, it's time to take out the big pot and make applesauce. Eden Lispon's lovingly recounted description of a family's applesauce-making ritual describes the buying, peeling, cooking and stirring; the wait for the sauce to cool and the first taste. Mordicai Gerstein's paintings are full of the colors and flavors of the season: red apples, orange leaves, blue skies. Here's a lovely picture book celebrating an American family tradition. Includes a recipe in the back.
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[book] Funny Business
Conversations with Writers of Comedy
Edited by Leonard S. Marcus
Fall 2009, Candlewick
Ages 9 - 12
DO YOU EVER MAKE YOURSELF LAUGH WHILE YOU ARE WRITING? "A joke isn’t a joke if you need to explain it," notes Leonard S. Marcus. "Even so, the hidden clockwork of comedy . . . has long been considered one of the great riddles of life." There are many kinds of humor, but capturing their essence on paper is a remarkably difficult (and often undervalued) skill. So how do authors create books that not only stand the tests of time but also make us laugh? In thirteen fascinating interviews, well-loved writers of humorous books for children discuss an array of topics, from their sources of inspiration to the ways they began writing, from their revision processes to childhood anecdotes to the value they place on comedy in their work and lives. Beautifully designed and thoughtfully edited, this collection is bound to tickle the fancy of children and adults alike.
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[book] THE TEN LOST TRIBES
A WORLD HISTORY
BY ZVI BEN-DOR BENITE
September 2009, Oxford University Press
The legendary story of the ten lost tribes of Israel has resonated among both Jews and Christians down through the centuries: the compelling idea that some core group of humanity was "lost" and exiled to a secret place, perhaps someday to return triumphant. In this fascinating book, Zvi Ben-Dor Benite shows for the first time the extent to which the search for the lost tribes of Israel became, over two millennia, an engine for global exploration and a key mechanism for understanding the world. As the book reveals, the quest for the missing tribes and the fervent belief that their restitution marked a necessary step toward global redemption have been threaded through countless historical moments--from the formation of the first "world" empires to the age of discovery, and from the spread of European imperialism to the rise of modern-day evangelical apocalypticism. Drawing on a wealth of sources and presenting a vast array of historical players--explorers, politicians, scientists, geographers, and theologians--the author traces the myth from its biblical formation up through the present day. We see how the lost tribes, long thought to lurk at the world's "edges," became a means for expanding those edges: as new oceans, islands, or continents were discovered, the ten tribes were used as an interpretive device that made the unknown seem known and the new, old. Thus, virtually every spot on earth, whether Argentina or Zululand, the American Southwest or Southeast Asia, has at some point been claimed as the true home of the missing peoples. More than a historical survey of an enduring myth, The Ten Lost Tribes offers a unique prism through which to view the many facets of encounters between cultures, the processes of colonization, and the growth of geographical knowledge. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] MIKE BLOOMBERG
MONEY, POWER, POLITICS
THE MOGUL AND THE MAYOR
BY JOYCE PURNICK (NYTIMES)
September 2009, PublicAffairs
Michael Bloomberg is not only New York City’s 108th mayor; he is a business genius and self-made billionaire. He has run the toughest city in America with an independence and show of ego that first brought him great success—and eventually threatened it. Yet while Bloomberg is internationally known and admired, few people know the man behind the carefully crafted public persona. In Mike Bloomberg, Joyce Purnick explores Mr. Bloomberg’s life from his childhood in the suburbs of Boston, to his rise on Wall Street and the creation of Bloomberg L.P., to his mayoral record and controversial gamble on a third term. Drawing on her deep knowledge of New York City politics, and interviews with Bloomberg’s friends, family, colleagues, and the mayor himself, she creates a textured portrait of one of the more complex men of our era.
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[book] RUSSIA AND THE ARABS
BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE MIDDLE EAST FROM THE COLD WAR TO THE PRESENT
BY YEVGENY PRIMAKOV (Ret. General, KGB)
September 2009, Basic Books
Part memoir, part history, Russia and the Arabs reveals the past half-century in the Middle East from a viewpoint seldom seen by Westerners. Yevgeny Primakov, formerly the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Foreign Minister, and Prime Minister of Russia, exposes how key political events unfolded through the personal interactions and rivalries among notable leaders from Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin to Anwar Sadat and Saddam Hussein, whom he knew personally. He shows how the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars developed, exposes Russia’s previously unknown role in the 1991 Gulf War, and assesses Russia’s Middle East policies alongside those of other foreign players, including the United States. The author’s first-hand accounts of behind-the-scenes encounters and his insights into what really drove the region’s key events make Russia and the Arabs an essential read for everyone interested in world affairs.
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[book] JACOB‘S CANE
A JEWISH FAMILY‘S JOURNEY FROM THE FOUR LANDS OF LITHUANIA TO THE PORTS OF LONDON AND BALTIMORE
A MEMOIR IN FIVE GENERATIONS
BY ELISA NEW (Harvard University)
September 2009, Basic Books
Drawn to an image of her great-grandfather’s ornately carved cane, scholar Elisa New embarked on a journey to discover the origins of her precious family heirloom. Treading back across the paths of her ancestors, she travels from Baltimore to the Baltic to London in order to find and understand an immigrant world profoundly affected by modern German culture, from the Enlightenment through the Holocaust. Deeply ambitious in its narrative sweep, Jacob’s Cane captures the rich texture of life on several continents as New’s family searches to establish itself in the tobacco trade. A fascinating history of one family’s story of progress, innovation, and struggle, Jacob’s Cane will change the way we think about the Jewish American experience. Professor New is married to Larry Summers, former President of Harvard and economist, and son or nephew of Professors Summers, Arrow and Samuelson
Louis Menand compared it to Andre Aciman’s Out of Egypt and Rich Cohen’s Sweet and Low; Edward Serotta (Centropa.org) called it a wsie study; Stephen J. Whitfield (Brandeis) said it is “not only an historical detective story, but is also novelistic in its evocation of character and circumstance…”; Steven J. Zipperstein (The Jews of Odessa) said, “…New describes places, possessions, even the rhythms of business with vividness, even sensuality.”; and more blurbs from Susan Mizruchi (The Science of Sacrifice); Suzanne Wasserman (CUNY); Henry Dostoevsky (Professor Emeritus, Harvard University); Walter Isaacson (author of Einstein and Benjamin Franklin; CEO of the Aspen Institute); Rabbi David Saperstein; Meryl Gordon; Stephen Greenblatt (Harvard); Andrea Mitchell; and more.
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[book] THE SHIKSA SYNDROME< BR> A NOVEL
BY LAURIE GRAFF
September 2009, Now in paperback
From Booklist: So does it really take a shiksa to get a Jewish man? Jewish Aimee Albert inadvertently finds out for herself. After she breaks up with her non-Jewish boyfriend, her family arranges for a makeover. Gone is the curly dark hair and glasses; in comes sleek, straight red hair and green contacts. When Aimee meets her non-Jewish friend Krista at a kosher wine tasting for Jewish singles, she meets handsome Josh Hirsch. Josh is under the impression that Aimee is not Jewish, so Aimee encourages this misconception, pretending to be a Protestant from Scranton instead of a native Jewish New Yorker. The lie begins to consume her as she removes every Jewish element from her apartment and her life. She knows this is wrong, but she is approaching 40 and must have a Jewish husband. But is it worth abandoning her Jewish roots to attain him? Graff's latest is by turns funny and poignant as she explores religious identity and modern relationships and finds that sometimes Mr. Wrong may be more right than Mr. Right. Click the cover to read more.








With Mattel and Hasbro both having Jewish roots…
[book] CLASSIC TOYS OF THE NATIONAL TOY HALL OF FAME
By Scott Eberle and the Stong National Museum of Play of Rochester NY
September 2009, Running Press
From the yo-yo to the hula hoop to the Frisbee®, Slinky®, Barbie®, and so many more, the classic toys honored in the National Toy Hall of Fame bridge all generations with the most basic of joyous endeavors: play! Regardless of one’s age, this book will hold a special place in everyone’s heart, as the toys inside not only bring back happy memories for the older generations, but they are still being enjoyed today. This deluxe package is a vibrant celebration of America’s favorite playthings, brimming with exciting color photography and delightful text that capture the essence and evolution of our country’s most beloved toys. Scott G. Eberle is Vice President for Interpretation at Strong National Museum of Play. He has developed numerous exhibitions on toys and play, and has written extensively on these topics. He holds a doctorate in Cultural History from the University at Buffalo, and is also the author of several works on American cultural history. Click the cover to read more.








[book] THE ART OF INTIMACY
CHRISTIANS, JEWS, AND MUSLIMS N THE MAKING OF CASTILLIAN CULTURE
BY JERRILYNN D. DODDS and MARIA ROSA MENOCAL and ABIGAIL KRASNER BALBALE
September 2009, 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 cover to read more.








[book] MARRYING GEORGE CLOONEY
CONFESSIONS FROM A MIDLIFE CRISIS
BY AMY FERRIS
September 2009, Seal Press
While wide awake in the middle of the night (welcome to menopause!), (MID(dle of the Night)LIFE CRISIS) Amy Ferris began chronicling every one of her funny, sad, hysterical, down and dirty, and raw to the bones stories. Along with fantasizing about marrying George Clooney, Ferris is faced with a plethora of other insomnia-induced thoughts and activities. From googling old boyfriends to researching obscure and fatal diseases on the web; from scouting five-star spa destinations to having angry, bitter, e-mail exchanges with her brother. She worries endlessly about her husband, relies heavily on Ambien, and tries to arrange care via the Internet for her Jweish mother (who has both severe dementia and a massive love-bubble crush on Jesus Christ)—all while refraining from lighting up just one more cigarette. Marrying George Clooney explores a range of emotions experienced through this life-altering period. In this candid look at "the change," Ferris offers a humorous spin on a not-so-funny topic.
http://www.marryinggeorgeclooney.com/blog/
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[book] How Many Licks?
Or, How to Estimate Damn Near Anything
by Aaron Santos
September 2009, Running Press
How many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop? How many people are having sex at this moment? How long would it take a monkey on a typewriter to produce the plays of Shakespeare? For all those questions that keep you up at night, here’s the way to answer them. And the beauty of it is that it’s all approximate! Using Enrico Fermi’s theory of approximation, Santos brings the world of numbers into perspective. For puzzle junkies and trivia fanatics, these 70 word puzzles will show the reader how to take a bit of information, add what they already know, and extrapolate an answer. Santos has done the impossible: make math and the multiple possibilities of numbers fun and informative. Can you really cry a river? Is it possible to dig your way out of jail with just a teaspoon and before your life sentence is up? Taking an academic subject and using it as the prism to view everyday off-the-wall questions as math problems to be solved is a natural step for the lovers of sudoku, cryptograms, word puzzles, and other thought-provoking games.
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[book] The Michael Jackson Tapes
A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation
by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (Primary Contributor) and (Unknown)
September 25, 2009, Vanguard Press
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, 42, who calls himself “America’s Rabbi,“ and has written many books on sex, family, and relationships, befriended the late pop singer, Michael Jackson, and decided to hang out with him and record their conversations, in 2000 and 2001, over the course of 10 months. Rabbi Boteach recorded what turned out to be very intimate and revealing conversations of Jackson’s life. Boteach writes that Jackson’s wish was to bare his soul and unburden himself to a public that he knew was deeply suspicious of him. Boteach says that he is not taking advantage of Jackson’s trust, and that Jackson wanted these tapes and transcripts published and always asked the rabbi when they would be published. Boteach planned to publish the results nearly 6 years ago, but chelved the idea after Jackson’s legal troubles in 2003. The 30 hours of conversations are the basis of The Michael Jackson Tapes.
Boteach, a resident of Englewood NJ, received his rabbinic ordination from the Lubavitch movement in 1988 at the age of 22 and became a Chabad emissary to Oxford where he gained fame hosting celebrity lectures and promoting and energizing the school’s Jewish community (and himself). In 2000, he left Oxford and returned to the USA. This is when the recordings began. Note: Boteach is not a licensed psychologist or therapist, so if he says that Jackson exhibited ideas of misogyny or other behavior, it is just the opinion of a rabbi and not a trained practitioner of psychology. A second book will be released with additional transcripts of interviews in 2010. There is an afterword by Boteach which mentions the rabbi’s own issue with his need for attention. Click the cover to read more.








[book] Lift Every Voice
The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement
by Patricia Sullivan
Summer 2009, New Press
Ten years in the making, Lift Every Voice is the first major history of America's oldest civil rights organization and destined to be a classic in the field. Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) got its start as an elite organization dominated by white reformers at a time when segregation had triumphed in the South and the color line was tightening its hold in the North. By the end of World War I, the NAACP had become a mass-black membership organization reaching from Boston to Los Angeles and into the Mississippi Delta; after World War II, it had become synonymous with the freedom movement itself. Historian Patricia Sullivan unearths the little-known early decades of the NAACP's activism, telling startling stories of personal bravery, legal brilliance, and political maneuvering by the likes of W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, Walter White, Charles Houston, Ella Baker, Thurgood Marshall, and Roy Wilkins. The book then moves into the critical postwar era, when, with a string of legal victories culminating in Brown v. Board, the NAACP knocked out the legal underpinnings of the segregation system and set the stage for the final assault on Jim Crow. An epic narrative of struggle against injustice, Lift Every Voice lays a new foundation for understanding the modern civil rights movement.
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[book] Anne Frank
The Book, The Life, The Afterlife
By Francine Prose
September 2009, Harper
From Publishers Weekly In considering the iconic diary of Anne Frank, prolific novelist and critic Prose (Reading Like a Writer), praises the young writer's fresh narrative voice, characterizations, sense of pacing and ear for dialogue. Prose calls her a literary genius whose diary was a consciously crafted work of literature rather than the spontaneous outpourings of a teenager, and offers evidence that Frank scrupulously revised her work shortly before her arrest and intended to publish it after the war. Fans of literary gossip will savor how writer Meyer Levin, a close friend of Anne's father, Otto Frank, famously gave the Diary a front-page rave in the New York Times and later sued Otto when his script for a play based on it was rejected. Some may conclude that Prose contributes to a queasy-making idolization and commodification of Anne Frank, and that she lets Otto Frank off the hook too easily for minimizing the Jewish essence of the Holocaust, yet the author lucidly collates material from a wide range of sources, and her work would be valuable as a teaching guide for middle school, high school and college students
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[book] The Second City Unscripted
Revolution and Revelation at the World-Famous Comedy Theater
by Mike Thomas
September 2009, Villard
In 1959, a group of like-minded Chicagoans joined forces to open a hip new venue dedicated to coffee, cigarettes, conversation, and comedy. The result, a nightly cabaret featuring a troupe of inventive young actors skewering everything from politics to popular culture in witty, rapid-fire, improvised scenes, not only made delighted audiences laugh–it made history. Copping its iconic name from a New York journalist’s disparaging remark, Chicago’s Second City theater brashly defied the role of runner-up and single-handedly made the Windy City North America’s cradle of comedic brilliance from which generations of household names would spring. Now, in The Second City Unscripted, a Who’s Who of the celebrated comedy camp’s alumni–including Alan Arkin, David Steinberg, Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy, Dan Aykroyd, Amy Sedaris, and Stephen Colbert–tell it like it was in the house that hilarity built. Here are candid tales of John Belushi’s raw ambition and chemical experimentation, Bill Murray’s heckler-pummeling and lady-killing, superstar Mel Gibson’s roof-raising appearance in Braveheart regalia, and legendary director Del Close’s shuttling between the comedic asylum he ruled over and the real one he rehabbed in. In this unvarnished, unexpurgated, and unprecedented account, what happened onstage, backstage, and offstage at Second City isn’t staying there anymore. From the smash hits and near misses to the love affairs and the bitter feuds, from the showbiz politics and pitfalls to the inspired tomfoolery and heartbreaking tragedy, The Second City Unscripted is part memoir of a cherished era, part time capsule from a comedic renaissance, and part valentine to the exquisite art of being funny. It captures like never before the history of the men and women who caught lightning–and laughter–in a bottle.
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[book] Barney Frank
The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman
by Stuart Weisberg
September 2009, University of Massachusetts Press
mainstay in the House of Representatives since 1981, he has come to be known for his talent as a legislator, his zeal for verbal combat, his imposing intellect, and a quick wit that both disarms and entertains other lawmakers. Most recently, as chair of the Financial Services Committee, he was instrumental in crafting a compromise bill to stem the tide of home mortgage foreclosures, as well as the subsequent $700 billion rescue plan. Based on interviews with over 150 people, including more than twenty-five hours with Frank himself, this biography reconstructs for the first time his life and career, from his working-class childhood in Bayonne, New Jersey, to his years at Harvard and in Boston politics, through his rise to national prominence. Stuart Weisberg captures Frank in all his quirkiness, irreverence, and complexity. He also examines his less appealing side his gruff exterior, his legendary impatience, his aversion to wasting time. Weisberg reveals the pressure Frank has felt as the most prominent openly gay politician in the United States, one whose career was nearly derailed by a highly publicized sex scandal involving a male prostitute.
Above all, this book shows Frank to be a superb legislator a pragmatic politician who has dedicated his career to pursuing an unabashedly liberal agenda and whose depth of intellect and sense of humor have made him one of the most influential and colorful figures in Washington.
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[book] Under a Mushroom Cloud
Europe, Iran and the Bomb
by Emanuele Ottolenghi
September 2009
Back Cover: Six years ago in Washington, the National Council of the Resistance in Iran (NCRI) revealed to a stunned world how advanced Iran's nuclear programme was. In just a few years, Tehran could have a nuclear arsenal. But the international community is divided on this threat. Russia and China view Iran as a tool to counter US influence. The USA is wary of engaging Iran. Sunni Arab governments fear Iran, but are powerless to keep it in check. And Israel, fearing that the bomb will be used against them, might decide on a pre-emptive strike, with drastic consequences for the region. Preventing Iran from building a nuclear arsenal is a European priority. But Europe's strategic and economic interests collide: the EU is Iran's biggest commercial partner; its energy policy tilts towards Iran, yet its interests in the region clash with Iran's policies. "Under a Mushroom Cloud" offers a clear and compelling answer. Drawing on extensive research, including interviews with senior officials, security and intelligence personnel of many countries, it provides a comprehensive account of a serious strategic threat to Europe, and offers a list of practical recommendations.
Ottolenghi was born in Bologna, Italy. A Political Science graduate of the University of Bologna, he obtained his Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and taught Israel Studies at Oxford from 1999 to 2006. Since 2006, he has been the director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute. Click the cover to read more.








[book] Why Israel Can't Wait
The Coming War Between Israel and Iran
by Jerome R Corsi
September 2009
From the author of a book on John Kerry and the Swift Boats, and a book that predicted that oil prices would increase, comes a book on the coming war between Israel and Iran. Cover blurb: The new Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly declared that a primary foreign policy objective is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability. Israel is a "one-bomb state," such that one atomic weapon, even a relatively low-yield bomb of the type the United States dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki in World War II, would destroy it. …The international community has expressed doubt that the Iranian government will make any serious concessions on their atomic program. …At the end of the Bush administration, the international press credibly reported that the Olmert government in Israel was denied fly-over rights in Iran in order to launch a military strike on Iran. Known as the "Sampson Option," an Israeli first-strike on Iran's nuclear facilities becomes increasingly likely to the extent Israel feels isolated from the world community and concludes there is no chance the Obama administration will ever be able to induce Iran to stop enriching uranium, regardless how seriously the president intends to push direct negotiations as a strategy. There have been two wars launched by Israel against terrorist surrogates financed and supported by Iran: the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and the 2008 war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Now, a war between Israel and Iran is on the near horizon, possibly fated to occur before the end of 2009.








[book] Subordinated King
Kingship in Classical Literature (in Hebrew)
By Yair Lorberbaum
September 2009, Magnes Press
Subordinated King (Melekh Evyon, [Hebrew]) studies the conception of kingship, and its status, powers and authority in Talmudic literature. The book deals with the conception of Kingship against the background of the different approaches to kingship both in Biblical literature and in the political views prevalent in the Roman Empire. In the bible one finds three (exclusive) approaches to kingship: rejection of the king as a legitimate political institution - since God is the (political) king; a version of royal theology according to which the king is divine (or sacral); and a view that God is not a political king yet the king has no divine or sacral dimension. The king is flesh and blood; hence his authority and power are limited. He is a Subordinated King. While the first conception in its day to day realization is close to anarchy, according to the second conception the king holds all the powers in foreign and domestic affairs, in the law, economy, administration, army, and especially in the religious and the ceremonial realms. In contrast, the third conception subscribes to the principle of separation of powers: between the King, and the high court (Sanhedrin, bet ha-din ha-gadol), the priests and the prophets. The sages of the Mishnah and Talmud were well aware of these three conceptions. In the legal-halakhic parts of the Talmudic literature (Mishnah, Tosefta, parts of the halakhic midrash, and the halakhic discussions in the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds) the Sages followed the third conception of kingship, restructuring it according to their theological and socio-political views. When compared to the theological-political views common in the ancient near east and in late antiquity the political model designed by the Talmudic sages is a genuine innovation. Nonetheless, there are in the aggadic (non-halakhic) parts of the Talmudic literature echoes of the other two biblical conceptions of kingship, which undermine the conception that constitutes the halakhic sources.








[book] Have a Little Faith
A True Story
By Mitch Albom
September 2009, Hyperion
First some background from the book. Mitch Albom was on track for Jewish scholarship. He studied Hebrew and Aramaic, Rashi and the RaMBaM. He knew Jewish texts and history. He went to Brandeis University and led Jewish youth groups. After graduation, his sports writing career began to blossom and he had a lack of need for Jewish study and practice. Then came marriage, and other events and he left his religious spirituality tucked away in a corner.
And now for the book
What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together? In “Have a Little Faith,” Mitch Albom offers a story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds--two men, two faiths, two communities. The book opens with an unusual request: an 82 year old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof. Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat. As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds--and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.
In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi's last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself. The book is about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story. Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.






[book] Boulevard of Dreams
Heady Times, Heartbreak, and Hope along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx
Constance Rosenblum
2009,
PW: “The Bronx's Grand Concourse, with its Art Deco structures, is one of New York City's architectural delights, and its political and social history is the worthy subject of this new book by New York Times staffer Rosenblum, who edited the paper's now-defunct City section and now writes a column for its Sunday real estate section. Stretching over four-and-a-half miles, the thoroughfare designed by Louis Aloys Risse, an Alsatian immigrant, and modeled after Paris's Champs Elysées—was completed in 1909 and saw the arrival of upwardly mobile Jews in the first five decades of the 20th century, followed by waves of Irish and Italian immigrants seeking to pursue their culture and careers in a safe environment. While Rosenblum explores various aspects of Jewish communal life near the boulevard, she also dissects the rivalry between West Bronx affluence and the working-class East Bronx, and the racial tensions that led to white suburban flight and the decline and neglect of the area. The author also draws attention to the many noteworthy characters who lived on or near the Concourse such as Edgar Allan Poe and fallen NBA star Jacob Louis Molinas. A seminal recounting of the rise, fall and current revival of a major landmark, this book, with many archival photos and drawings, is a must for those interested in the cultural history..”








[book] Drawing in the Dust
A mystery novel
By Zoe Klein, Sr. Rabbi at Temple Isaiah LA
2009 pocket
Insight into the world of biblical excavation in Israel raises Rabbi Klein's debut novel from a Jewish Da Vinci Code to an emotionally rich story of personal and historical discovery. After a dozen years digging in Megiddo, American archeologist Page Brookstone longs for something new. When an Arab couple propose that Page investigate the haunted ruins under their home, she ignores colleagues' misgivings and heads to Anatot, just outside Jerusalem. There, the couple, along with Page and her team, uncover murals, artifacts and remains suggesting they have come upon the grave of the prophet Jeremiah, buried with the woman he loved, Anatiya, who also has left a manuscript that parallels the Book of Jeremiah. The discovery ignites an international uproar and violent attacks while Page, affected by the ancient spirits, is attracted to Orthodox Israeli Mortichai Master, despite his connections to an organization opposing her efforts. Rabbi Klein's most vivid passages depict the meditative tedium of digging, the exultation of discovery and the intricate processes of authentication and preservation, while love stories past and present—and a balanced, compassionate view of both Israeli and Arab traditions—add to the book's pleasures








[book] THE GIRLS OF ROOM 28
Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienstadt
By Hannelore Brenner Translated bv John E. Woods and Shelley Frisch
2009 Schocken
PW: “Brenner, a Berlin-based journalist, focuses on 10 former child survivors, women in their late 70s, who went through the Theresienstadt concentration camp during the Holocaust. She notes that 12,000 children entered the camp from 1942 to 1944, but only a few hundred survived to war's end, and a handful of women of Room 28 in the camp's Girls' Home, now scattered around the world, reunited for the first time in 1991. The insights of the survivors and stories of the camp's victims are unforgettable and full of poignant humanity, conveyed through letters, photos, diaries and remembrances. Forced into exile and almost certain death under the Nazi regime, the children confronted hunger, cold, terror and the soul's endurance as many of the girls of Room 28 were slowly eliminated; the small band of survivors is committed to keeping their memory alive. Well-detailed and inspiring, Brenner's book, especially her heartfelt epilogue, pays glowing tribute to these heroic survivors.”








[book] JEWCENTRICITY
Why the Jews Are Praised, Blamed, and Used to Explain Just About Everything
BY Adam Garfinkle
September 2009, Wiley
A wise and wide-ranging explanation of never-ending exaggeration-by both philo-Semites and anti-Semites-about the Jews. Hamas blames the financial crisis on Jews. Mel Gibson blamed all the wars on Jews. Jews win a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes. Dishy Danish citizen Scarlett Johansson is Jewish, Madonna is into Jewish mysticism, and some claim that Abe Lincoln was Jewish. Who cares? Nearly everyone, it seems. If it's about Jews, it's news. Adam Garfinkle looks deeply into the world's obsession with Jews, positive as well as negative, to find answers about where it comes from and where it might be going. He identifies four categories of exaggeration about Jews: positive bias by Jews and non-Jews, and negative bias by Jews and non-Jews. Combining insights from history, sociology, religion, and international politics, he explains how a misunderstanding of strategies that have kept the Jewish Diaspora going for millennia have led to distortions about Jewish influence, intelligence, and success-and to charges of chauvinism, financial manipulation, and conspiratorial lever-pulling. Adam Garfinkle is the founding editor of the American Interest, a bimonthly magazine on politics and public affairs. Formerly a speechwriter for both Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, Garfinkle has taught international relations at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Tel Aviv University
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[book] The Challenge of the Soul
A Guide for the Spiritual Warrior
BY Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein
September 2009, Trumpeter
In times of upheaval, many of us seek guidance from a spiritual mentor, someone who has confronted challenges and become a stronger person as a result. Here Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein draws from his own hard-won insights and personal experiences as a congregational rabbi, martial artist, FBI chaplain, and limit-pusher and interweaves them with the teachings of sages, biblical figures, and thinkers of all stripes to help us get beyond our own perceived limitations and face life’s challenges with fearlessness and fortitude. Goldstein identifies eight essential qualities that he believes we must cultivate to live a life of self-empowerment and then uses a programmatic approach to explore these qualities and the ways we can develop them in ourselves. Rabbi Goldstein is known for challenging himself physically, mentally, and spiritually. He counseled law enforcement officers at Ground Zero, has traveled to numerous remote and inhospitable places to learn and teach, and has sought out difficult experiences to rigorously test himself and the meaning of his faith. Click the book cover to read more.










In moments of national panic, civil conduct and civic standards get thrown away….
[book] WHY THE DREYFUS AFFAIR MATTERS
BY LOUIS BEGLEY
September 2009, Yale University Press
In December 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a brilliant French artillery officer and a Jew of Alsatian descent, was court-martialed for selling secrets to the German military attaché in Paris based on perjured testimony and trumped-up evidence. The sentence was military degradation and life imprisonment on Devil’s Island, a hellhole off the coast of French Guiana. Five years later, the case was overturned, and eventually Dreyfus was completely exonerated. Meanwhile, the Dreyfus Affair tore France apart, pitting Dreyfusards—committed to restoring freedom and honor to an innocent man convicted of a crime committed by another—against nationalists, anti-Semites, and militarists who preferred having an innocent man rot to exposing the crimes committed by ministers of war and the army’s top brass in order to secure Dreyfus’s conviction. Was the Dreyfus Affair merely another instance of the rise in France of a virulent form of anti-Semitism? In Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters, the acclaimed novelist draws upon his legal expertise to create a riveting account of the famously complex case, and to remind us of the interest each one of us has in the faithful execution of laws as the safeguard of our liberties and honor.
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[book] SOTAH
A NOVEL
BY NAOMI RAGEN
September 2009, St, Martin‘s Press
Now in Paperback
In Ragen's latest look at the women of Israel's Orthodox communities (after Jephte's Daughter), a rabbi's daughters deal with love and the fallout of adultery. The story begins as three sisters reach marrying age with limited options due to family finances and the inherited disgrace of an adulterous ancestor. The eldest at 20, Dvorah dutifully accepts the hand of a man who is short and overweight and slurps his soup. Meanwhile, independent-minded youngest sister Chaya Leah meets secretly with a Hasid (improper marriage material) about to enter the Israeli army. The saddest of the three, middle child Dina, must give up her first love and marry instead a laconic woodcarver. Eventually, unfulfilled emotional needs and a lecherous neighbor drive her to sin; after the Morals Patrol catches up with her, she's exiled to New York. Detailed descriptions of weddings and sexual politics offer much insight, showing both the strength and limits of the Orthodox code of conduct. The pleasures of Ragen's book arise not so much from her characters or plot but from thought-provoking comparisons of Israeli Orthodox and American Jewish life.
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[book] Forces of Fortune
The Rise of the New Muslim Middle Class and
What It Will Mean for Our World
By Vali Nasr
September 2009, Free Press
PW: “Nasr (The Shia Revival) offers a fresh look at the future of religious extremism in the Middle East, suggesting that the great battle... for the soul of the region will be fought not over religion, but over business and capitalism. He posits that a rising middle class—seen most dramatically in Dubai, but a force across the whole Muslim world—is far more interested in economic success than in fervent religiosity, even as many bring a distinctly Muslim approach to the business they do. He points out that while the Reformation created the modern world, it wasn't that era's intolerant faith that made the transformation but rather trade and commerce, adding that values gain currency when they serve the economic and social interests of people. His in-depth analysis of the failures of various governments to provide for their people, as well as special focus on what is working in Turkey, and what is crippling Pakistan, helps drive his thesis home. Nasr's analysis can't help being somewhat hobbled by the fact that it depends heavily on the shifting sands of history-in-the-making, but his approach is sensible, well-argued and deserves close attention.”
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[book] AMERICAN MOSES
A NOVEL
BY STEPHEN WITT
2009 BR> Author Stephen Witt brings a fresh, new voice to contemporary fiction with his new, offbeat novel American Moses. After an upstate New York town’s only synagogue is burned down, devastated members of the small congregation stand in the smoldering ashes wondering what’s next. The Rabbi vows to rebuild, but Southie Lewis, a secular Jew of very modest means, offers to lead whoever is willing to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas—the county’s most rapidly growing metropolis—a new Promised Land. To his surprise, a rag-tag bunch of fellow Jews sign on for the trip. So begins this interracial love story between Southie, a lifelong drifter, and Zippy, his Jamaican-American wife, who along with their two children, Coree and Billy, come up against the daunting mosaic of contemporary America, while struggling with their own lives. Written with bittersweet humor and a touch of tragedy, American Moses will make you laugh and cry while entertaining you every step of the way.
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OCTOBER 2009 BOOKS

[book] GRATITUDE
A Novel
By Joseph Kertes
October 2009, Thomas Dunne
This new novel by the Canadian author is the winner of the National Jewish Book Award which will be presented in march 2010 by the Jewish Book Council
From Publishers Weekly: Kertes digs into the experiences of a family of wealthy Hungarian Jews in the darkest moments of WWII in his proficient latest. An ensemble piece, the novel's main character is Paul Beck, a lawyer stripped of his profession who takes great risks to protect his family, including posing as a Swedish diplomat to stop a train taking his family to a concentration camp. His politician father is executed, his dentist brother hides for several months in his assistant's home, and his sister mourns the disappearance of her lover. Eventually, the tide begins to turn as the Russians arrive, though the Russian presence presents a new set of problems. Kertes leavens the grim material with a few lighter scenes of the Becks trying to make the most of a horrible situation, which goes a long way to making them an endearing and memorable group, while the author's straightforward style moves the story along at a healthy clip
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[book] SEX, DRUGS, & GEFILTE FISH
The HEEB Storytelling Collection
Edited by Shana Liebman
Foreword by A. J. Jacobs
October 2009, Grand Central Publishing
Some fine Heeb refreshing. Other think it is merely a parody looking to shock readers, and without the shock value, it is worthless.
In this book, the best of Heeb is collected and edited
Scoring weed for your uncle...Hanging out with porn stars on Christmas Eve...Eating nachos with the Mossad...Observing the Dyke Days of Awe...Getting held up at a Weight Watcher's meeting...Spying on your naked Hebrew School teacher.
From Heeb magazine--the definitive voice of a proud, searching, and irreverent new generation of American Jews--this first-of-a-kind fast and fun showcase spotlights the hilarious and heartful raconteurial gifts of many of today's leading writers, comedians, actors, artists, and musicians. Laura Silverman, Michael Showalter, Andy Borowitz, Joel Stein, Ben Greenman, Darrin Strauss, and others navigate sex, drugs, work, youth, family, and, on the lighter side, body and soul. You'll never bleach your arm hair again.
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[book] HAYDN’S JEWS Representation and Reception on the Operatic Stage
By Caryl Clark
October 2009, Cambridge
In time for the 200th anniversary of the death of Haydn…
This fascinating study of ethnic theatrical representation provides new perspectives on the cultural milieu, compositional strategies, and operatic legacy of Joseph Haydn.
The portrayal of Jews changed markedly during the composer's lifetime. Before the Enlightenment, when Jews were treated as a people apart, physical infirmities and other markers of 'difference' were frequently caricatured on the comedic stage. However, when society began to debate the 'Jewish Question' - understood in the later eighteenth-century as how best to integrate Jews into society as productive citizens - theatrical representations became more sympathetic.
As Caryl Clark describes, Haydn had many opportunities to observe Jews in his working environments in Vienna and Eisenstadt (where he worked at the Eszterhazy family palace, which was next door to the Jewish ghetto), and incorporated Jewish stereotypes in two early works. An understanding of Haydn's evolving approach to ethnic representation on the stage provides deeper insight into the composer's iconic wit and humanity, and to the development of opera as a cultural art form across the centuries. She also postulates that his 1768 comic opera, The Apothecary (Los Speziale), has the apothecary, Sempronio, with many subliminal crypto-Jewish stage caricature traits. (Gustav Mahler then restaged this work as Der Apotheker). Also in the 1775 mass he wrote for the Brothers Hospitallers (their founder, St John of God was a converso Jew), Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo, he omitted the line “Lord Jesus Christ, only son of God” perhaps to make the church more hospitable to Jewish converts.
Clark came up with the idea for this book after she had a eureka moment in Eisenstadt. She took notice of how close the palace and Jewish ghetto were, and realized that Haydn must have observed the Jews behind the gates, and incorporated them into his works. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
by SHLOMO SAND
October 2009, Verso
The Invention of the Jewish People is an indispensable challenge and a very complex intellectual exercise…a more secure society [than Israel] would include the book in the core curriculum of its school system. - Avraham Burg, former Chairman of the Jewish Agency
Haaretz called it “One of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time.”
Cover: An Israeli historian shatters the national myth of the Jewish exodus from the promised land. “The Invention of the Jewish People” questions whether there really was a forced exile in the first century, at the hands of the Romans? Should we regard the Jewish people, throughout two millennia, as both a distinct ethnic group and a putative nation—returned at last to its Biblical homeland? Shlomo Sand argues that most Jews actually descend from converts, whose native lands were scattered far across the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The formation of a Jewish people and then a Jewish nation out of these disparate groups could only take place under the sway of a new historiography, developing in response to the rise of nationalism throughout Europe. Beneath the biblical back fill of the nineteenth-century historians, and the twentieth-century intellectuals who replaced rabbis as the architects of Jewish identity, The Invention of the Jewish People presents a new narrative of Israel’s formation, and proposes a bold analysis of nationalism that accounts for the old myths.
After a long stay on Israel’s bestseller list, and winning the coveted Aujourd’hui Award in France, “The Invention of the Jewish People” is now available in English. In this iconoclastic work of history, Shlomo Sand provides the intellectual foundations for a new vision of Israel’s future.
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[book] The Veselka Cookbook
Recipes and Stories from the Landmark Restaurant in New York's East Village
by Tom Birchard and Natalie Danford
October 2009, Thomas Dunne
For more than fifty years, customers have crowded into Veselka, a cozy Ukrainian coffee shop in New York City's East Village, to enjoy pierogi, borscht, goulash, and many other unpretentious favorites. Veselka (rainbow in Ukrainian) has grown from a simple newsstand serving soup and sandwiches into a twenty-four-hour gathering place, without ever leaving its original location on the corner of East Ninth Street and Second Avenue. Veselka is, quite simply, an institution. The Veselka Cookbook contains more than 150 recipes, covering everything from Ukrainian classics (potato pierogi, five kinds of borscht, grilled kielbasa, and poppy seed cake) to dozens of different sandwiches, to breakfast fare (including Veselka's renowned pancakes), to the many elements of a traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve feast. Veselka owner Tom Birchard shares stories about Veselka's celebrity customers, the local artists who have adopted it as a second home, and the restaurant's other lesser-known, but no less important, longtime fans, and he offers a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to serve five thousand gallons of borscht a year and to craft three thousand pierogi daily---all by hand. The Veselka Cookbook will delight anyone with an interest in Ukrainian culture, New York City's vibrant downtown, and the pleasures of simple, good food. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] ENTRÉE TO JUDAISM
A CULINARY EXPLORATION OF THE JEWISH DIASPORA
by TINA WASSERMAN
October 2009, URJbooksandmusic.com
From the food columnist for "Reform Judaism" magazine, a book about the foods that tell us so much about who we are. Do you like you rmatzah sweet or savory? Do you eat chicken soup with a matzo ball or in mulligatawny style? Do you eat tofu salad or a cheese torta? Jews have adapted their meals to the cultures they lived in. The menu is rich in diversity and style, but oh so Jewish Wasserman takes us from Spain to India, from Russia to Israel to Italy and other places and provides a history of the Diaspora and foods. Includes over 275 recipes, and cooking tidbits
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[book] The Zohar
Pritzker Edition, Volume Five
Edited by Daniel Matt
October 2009, Stanford University Press
Sefer ha-Zohar (The Book of Radiance) has amazed and overwhelmed readers ever since it emerged mysteriously in medieval Spain toward the end of the thirteenth century. Written in a unique, lyrical Aramaic, this masterpiece of Kabbalah exceeds the dimensions of a normal book; it is virtually a body of literature, comprising over twenty discrete sections. The bulk of the Zohar consists of a running commentary on the Torah, from Genesis through Deuteronomy.
This fifth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition opens in the middle of Exodus immediately following the revelation at Mount Sinai. The first chapter features a famous narrative about two rabbis and an old donkey-driver they encounter on the road. This old man seems like a complete ignoramus and pesters them with nonsensical riddles, but he turns out to be a sage and explains to them one of the most tightly guarded secrets of Kabbalah: the reincarnation of the soul. In the course of his exposition, the old man enthralls his two listeners with a romantic account of Torah as a maiden who reveals herself only to one who pursues her lovingly.
The rest of this volume consists mainly of the Zohar's commentary on the biblical description of the mishkan, the Dwelling (or Tabernacle) in the desert. The mishkan symbolizes Shekhinah, the feminine presence of God who "dwells" on earth. Since the Dwelling was the center of worship, the Zohar explores here the theme of prayer. The volume concludes with one of the shortest yet most important sections of the Zohar—Sifra di-Tsni'uta (The Book of Concealment). This enigmatic and poetic composition contains a veiled description of God's body, focusing on the beard. Its few pages convey the central teachings of Kabbalah, including the balance between male and female energies, and how divine breath animates all that exists.
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See also the other volumes
Volume 4
Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1







[book] The Art of Giving
Where the Soul Meets a Business Plan
by Charles Bronfman and Jeffrey R. Solomon
October 26, 2009, Jossey-Bass
An honest assessment for how to determine your individual relationship with charitable giving in today's world. From world-renowned philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Jeffrey Solomon of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies comes a comprehensive guide on how to be a canny, street-smart, effective philanthropist, regardless of your income level. It is also a perfect companion for nonprofit program and development executives who would like to introduce donors to their work and their organizations. Despite their critical importance to philanthropy, donors have few resources for solid information about making their gifts-deciding what type of gift to give, how to structure it, the tax implications, what level of follow-up and transparency they should ask for and expect, and countless other complexities. This book fills that vacuum and helps you gain a special understanding of philanthropy as a business undertaking as well as a deeply personal, reflective process.
Drawing on decades of experience, the authors offer a fresh, enlivening approach to the nonprofit enterprise that, too often, is undervalued and thought of as the province of the burnt-out and the overwhelmed. Along with its many candid insights and memorable anecdotes, The Art of Giving also offers instruction on how to create a business plan for giving that works for you.
With candid, clear advice, this book fills that vacuum and helps anyone gain a special understanding of philanthropy as a business undertaking as well as a soulful process. It also shows nonprofits how to open a dialogue with the donors they serve to make smart, meaningful choices with their funds to create change. Comprised of three key sections—The Donor, The Partners, and The Gift—The Art of Giving offers reflective questions, logistical answers, and endless resources to create a business plan for giving that works for you, regardless of income level. By exploring the differences between charity and philanthropy, the complexities of nonprofits, and the tools for making a thoughtful donation—as well as your own passions, concerns, and timeline—you will be better informed, able to confidently articulate your own interests, passions, and giving needs, and know the right questions to ask.
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[book] EVEN HIGHER
A ROSH HASHANAH STORY BY I. L. PERETZ
ADAPTED BY ERIC A. KIMMEL
August 2009, Holiday House
Grades 1 - 3.
Every year, just before Rosh Hashanah, the rabbi of Nemirov disappears. The villagers are certain their rabbi flies up to heaven to speak with God before the fate of every soul is decided for the coming year. But a skeptical Litvak scoffs at the villagers, claiming miracles cannot happen, and secretly follows the rabbi early one morning. What he witnesses--an enormous act of human compassion--changes his heart. Readers will be taken to a higher place in this celebration of the power of miracles.
Prolific children's author, Kimmel, scores another winner with this story that is based on a story by I. L. Peretz (1852-1915), titled "Oyb Nit Nogh Hekher", or "If Not Higher." In the original story, the miracle is that there are no miracles. You can save the world simply by being kind to others. In Kimmel's retelling of the story, we find ourselves in the colorful, simple country village of Nemirov. No one could find the rabbi, not among the hens, the homes, the pushcarts, or the shul before Rosh Hashanah. The villagers are convinced that their rabbi goes to heaven. It is Rosh Hashanh when God open the Book of Life. Obviously, the rabbi goes to heaven to plead the case of forgiveness for the villagers before God. Well, it so happens that a Litvak came to town. A religious man, of course, but a skeptic, since he was a Litvak. (note: Litvaks are from Lithuania. Nemirov is in the Ukraine today, and was the birthplace of Reb Noson the disciple of Nahman and Bratslav, and at one time, part of the Austro Hungarian empire, but i digress) He will prove the villagers wrong. He will follow the rabbi in secret and see where he disappears to. He follows the rabbi. The rabbi dresses as a peasant and heads to the forest. He cuts a load of wood and heads to the village to give it to an old, sickly woman. He poses as Vasilly the wood cutter. He gets this sickly woman to live life. Ah ha... the Litvak realized, the rabbi did go to heaven,... or maybe even higher
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[book] NEW YEAR AT THE PIER
A ROSH HASHANAH STORY
By April Halprin Wayland with Stephane Jorisch
2009, Dial
Ages 4 - 8
April Halprin Wayland has run a marathon, traveled Europe via backpack, worked on a kibbutz, managed a walnut farm, student at UC Davis, played the fiddle, been a corporate exec and even been a nanny to a celebrity. She has had a lot of experiences, and one of them is to see Tashlich in Manhattan Beach in Southern California. Here is a story based on this experience. The story open with Izzy's mother and sister making a list of things for which they are sorry. Izzy, with carrot colored hair thinks of 3 things. Now he must approach those three or four that he has wronged and ask for forgiveness. He asks his sister to forgive him for drawing on her face as she slept. No prob. He asks his mother to forgive him for losing her ring. Both mom and sis are also sorry for ignoring him or calling him a Big Snot. As the story continues, the family arrives at the pier with a guitarist and Rabbi Neil It is time for Tashlich, a time to symbolically dispose of past errors in moving water. They blow a shofar, sing, and throw bread crumbs into the Pacific. Izzy, the fish and the seagulls all love Tashlich. But wait. It isn't over. Izzy must approach his friend Ben and ask for forgiveness for error number 4...
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You will never look at your condom the same way again?
[book] FROMMS
HOW JULIUS FROMM'S CONDOM EMPIRE FELL TO THE NAZIS
BY GOTZ ALY AND MICHAEL SONTHEIMER
Translated from the German by Shelley Frisch
October 2009, Other Press
A fascinating story of sex, business and family that contributes a chapter to the history if German Jews under the Nazis.
If you wanted to buy a top-quality condom in prewar Germany, you bought Fromms Act, the first brand name condom and still a leading brand in the German market. The man behind this "pure German quality product" was Julius Fromm, a Jewish entrepreneur who had immigrated from Russia as a child. Fromm was in the right place at the right time: he patented Fromms Act in 1916, when the combination of changing sexual mores, awareness of sexual health, and the lack of reliable prophylactics meant a market primed for his product. In 1922 he began mass production and opened international branches. Sixteen years later, after building the brand into a best seller and the company into a model business, he was forced to sell Fromms Act for a fraction of its worth to a German baroness. In 1939 he emigrated to London. Aly and Sontheimer trace Fromm's rise and fall, illuminating the ways Jewish businesses like his were Aryanized under the Nazis. The authors also recount the Fromm family's quest for reparations, one that came to an end only in 2006. Through the biography of this businessman and the story of his unusual and fabulously successful company, we learn the fascinating history of the first branded condoms in Germany and the sexual culture that allowed them to thrive, the heretofore undocumented machinations by which the Nazis robbed German-Jewish families of their businesses, and the tragedy of a man whose great love for the adopted country that first allowed him to succeed was betrayed by its government and his fellow citizens. This captivating account offers a wealth of detail and a fresh array of photographic documentation, and adds a striking new dimension to our understanding of this dark period in German history. Click the book cover to read more.










Move over Condom Empire
And make way for Maison Blanche

[book] WE WERE MERCHANTS
The Sternberg Family and the Story of Goudchaux's and Maison Blanche Department Stores
BY HANS J. STERNBERG and JAMES E SHELLEDY
October 2009, LSU Louisiana State University Press
The words "Goudchaux's/Maison Blanche" conjure up a wealth of fond memories for local Southern shoppers. At this landmark Louisiana department store, clerks greeted you by name; children received a nickel to buy a Coke and for every report-card A; families anticipated the holiday arrival of the beloved puppet Mr. Bingle almost as much as Santa; teenagers applied for their first job; and customers enjoyed interest-free charge accounts and personal assistance selecting attire and gifts for the most significant occasions in life--baptisms, funerals, and everything in between.
While most former patrons have a favorite story to tell about Goudchaux's/Maison Blanche, not many know the personal tale behind this beloved institution. In "We Were Merchants," Hans Sternberg provides a captivating account of how his parents, Erich and Lea, fled from Nazi Germany to the United States, embraced their new home, and together with their children built Goudchaux's into a Baton Rouge legend that eventually became Goudchaux's/Maison Blanche--an independent retail force during the golden era of the department store and, by 1989, the largest family-owned department store in America.
With a mercantile line extending back five generations to a small shop in eighteenth-century Germany, the Sternbergs were born to be shopkeepers. In 1936, as Nazi harassment of Jews intensified, Erich smuggled $24,000 out of Germany and settled in Baton Rouge. His wife and three children joined him a year later, and in 1939, Erich bought Goudchaux's and set about transforming it from a nondescript apparel shop into a true department store. He made buying trips to New York for quality fashions and furs, introduced imaginative sales promotions, and coached his staff in impeccable customer service, while also training his children to follow in his footsteps. Hans details the manifold challenges of operating the store--from planning financial strategies and creating marketing campaigns to implementing desegregation and accommodating the repeal of blue laws. Through many transforming events--Erich's death in 1965, expansion into suburban shopping malls, the purchase in the 1980s of New Orleans retail icon Maison Blanche--the Sternbergs successfully maintained the company's core values: quality merchandise, employee loyalty, and superior customer service. At its height, Goudchaux's/Maison Blanche operated twenty-four stores in Louisiana and Florida and employed more than 8,000 people. With the economic downturn of the early 1990s, Hans made the difficult decision to sell the business, thus bringing to an end the Sternbergs' centuries-long mercantile tradition.
. Note to file: so, the reason that classmate Erich was spelled "Erich" with an "H" is cuz he was named for his grandfather and homage was paid to their German Jewish past.
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[book] JEWS IN NAZI BERLIN
FROM KRISTALLNACHT TO LIBERATION
By Beatte Meyer, Hermann Simon, and Charles Schutz
Fall 2009, University of Chicago Press
Though many of the details of Jewish life under Hitler are familiar, historical accounts rarely afford us a real sense of what it was like for Jews and their families to live in the shadow of Nazi Germany's oppressive racial laws and growing violence. With Jews in Nazi Berlin, those individual lives-and the constant struggle they required-come fully into focus, and the result is an unprecedented and deeply moving portrait of a people. Drawing on a remarkably rich archive that includes photographs, objects, official documents, and personal papers, the editors of Jews in Nazi Berlin have assembled a multifaceted picture of Jewish daily life in the Nazi capital during the height of the regime's power. The book's essays and images are divided into thematic sections, each representing a different aspect of the experience of Jews in Berlin, covering such topics as emigration, the yellow star, Zionism, deportation, betrayal, survival, and more. To supplement-and, importantly, to humanize-the comprehensive documentary evidence, the editors draw on an extensive series of interviews with survivors of the Nazi persecution, who present gripping first-person accounts of the innovation, subterfuge, resilience, and luck required to negotiate the increasing brutality of the regime. A stunning reconstruction of a storied community as it faced destruction, Jews in Nazi Berlin renders that loss with a startling immediacy that will make it an essential part of our continuing attempts to understand World War II and the Holocaust.
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[book] The Transfer Agreement
25th Anniversary Edition
The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine
By Edwin Black
2009, Dialog
Black began uncovering was a tangled account of an anguished moment in history, one that he at the center had to piece together from...forgotten archives, pre-WWII newspapers, and government records. Black poses the controversial question: 'Was it madness or was it genius?' The Transfer Agreement is Edwin Black's compelling, award-winning story of a negotiated arrangement in 1933 between Zionist organizations and the Nazis to transfer some 50,000 Jews, and $100 million of their assets, to Jewish Palestine in exchange for stopping the worldwide Jewish-led boycott threatening to topple the Hitler regime in its first year.
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[book] SUBVERSIVE SEQUELS IN THE BIBLE
HOW BIBLICAL STORIES MINE AND UNDERMINE EACH OTHER
BY JUDY KLITSNER, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
October 2009, JPS Jewish Publication Society
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD
A fresh look at familiar stories, by a master Bible teacher Judy Klitsner pairs biblical stories to show how a later text will often comment on, or even subvert, an earlier one. The author draws on her fluent command of Hebrew commentary and her broad reading of ancient and modern exegesis, and creates a rare dialogue between feminist and traditional Bible commentary. Using the method of parshanut (interpretation) and her own unique approach to literary biblical criticism, Klitsner draws bold, surprising parallels between biblical passages, revealing previously unexcavated layers of meaning. The result is a series of fresh and original readings of familiar narratives, accessible to both novice and experienced readers of the Bible. In each chapter, Klitsner's unique methodology illustrates the changing and often progressive nature of biblical attitudes on issues of ongoing relevance to the modern human experience: the individual's relationship to God, gender relations, and the notion of the self.
Praise: “In this ground-breaking book, Judy Klitsner presides over a conversation between pairs, or sequences, of biblical narratives… Her alert ear and vigorous writing style reveal new intertextual structures, within which later narratives reconsider earlier ones, revising and often redeeming them. …A moral and religious passion animates this innovative study.”  -- Avivah Zornberg, Torah scholar and author
Praise: “Klitsner brings a new and gripping approach to the pivotal narrative of biblical women. Of the many surprises revealed… one of the most compelling is the ways in which a chronicle of exclusion and inequality has the potential to evolve into one of inclusion and unexpected empowerment. A must for the professional and lay reader of the Bible." -- Rabbi Daniel Landes, Director, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem
Compare the stories of Noah and story of Jonah. Is Jonah a subversive sequel to Noah? Both deal with rampant injustice (hamas). In Noah, a dove (yonah) is prominent. In Jonah, the dove is Yonah. Both stories reside in Nineveh and Tarshish. Noah self medicate into a drunken slumber. Jonah sleeps as well to avoid the situation. Both deal with the number 40. Both use ships/boats. In Noah, the people do not repent and are destroyed. In Jonah, the people repent and live. In Noah, Noah stays on the ship and is saved. In Jonah, Jonah is thrown from the ship by the repenting people and falls into the sea. YOU GET THE IDEA? Read more. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] TORAH QUEERIES
Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bibl
With Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, David Shneer, Judith Plaskow
2009, NYU Press
“Gives engaged, pertinent, GLBT-focused meaning to the Tanach. The analyses offered here work to break boundaries, queer-ing, celebrating, and re-creating our Jewish texts and traditions in meaningful ways. These acts of reading become the radical movement of making a space for GLBT Jews that is clever, humorous, loving, and thought-provoking.” - Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York
In the Jewish tradition, reading of the Torah follows a calendar cycle, with a specific portion assigned each week. These weekly portions, read aloud in synagogues around the world, have been subject to interpretation and commentary for centuries. Following on this ancient tradition, Torah Queeries brings together some of the world’s leading rabbis, scholars, and writers to interpret the Torah through a "bent lens". With commentaries on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and six major Jewish holidays, the concise yet substantive writings collected here open up stimulating new insights and highlight previously neglected perspectives. This incredibly rich collection unites the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight-allied writers, including some of the most central figures in contemporary American Judaism. All bring to the table unique methods of reading and interpreting that allow the Torah to speak to modern concerns of sexuality, identity, gender, and LGBT life. Torah Queeries offers cultural critique, social commentary, and a vision of community transformation, all done through biblical interpretation. Written to engage readers, draw them in, and, at times, provoke them, Torah Queeries examines topics as divergent as the Levitical sexual prohibitions, the experience of the Exodus, the rape of Dinah, the life of Joseph, and the ritual practices of the ancient Israelites. Most powerfully, the commentaries here chart a future of inclusion and social justice deeply rooted in the Jewish textual tradition. A labor of intellectual rigor, social justice, and personal passions, Torah Queeries is an exciting and important contribution to the project of democratizing Jewish communities, and an essential guide to understanding the intersection of queerness and Jewishness.
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[book] Photographing the Jewish Nation: Pictures from S. Ansky's Ethnographic Expeditions
Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry Series
Edited by Eugene M. Avrutin, Valerii Dymshits, Alexander Ivanov , Alexander Lvov, Harriet Murav, and Alla Sokolova
2009 Brandeis University Press
David Roskies writes, “"Here, recovered and recorded at the last conceivable moment, is the living shtetl, those market towns large and small that were once home to the majority of Jews in the world: a bucolic landscape amidst the poverty and mud; school children posing with their nattily dressed teachers; mug shots of potential nannies; Jews of every age engaged in all manner of trade; a huge outdoor wedding; beautiful synagogue interiors, complete with chandeliers and signs of the zodiac; ritual objects and sacred graves; the Rabbi's house and the local church. Here, also, is the story of the intrepid explorers, children of the shtetl themselves, who tried to salvage this Yiddish-speaking civilization for future generations. No less miraculous are their spiritual offspring, who authored this superb collection of essays and discovered these remarkable photographs.”








[book] NEGOTIATING WITH IRAN
WRESTLING THE GHOSTS OF HISTORY
BY JOHN W. LIMBERT
2009 U.S. Institute of Peace Press
As the United States weighs a change of approach toward the Iranian government after thirty years of confrontation, John Limbert steps up with a pragmatic yet positive assessment of how to engage Iran. Through four detailed case studies of past successes and failures, he draws lessons for today s negotiators, and he challenges both Americans and Iranians to end decades of mutually hostile mythmaking. While he acknowledges that any progress at best will be measured in baby steps, Limbert provides clear reasons for renewing dialogue and outlines 14 principles to guide the American who finds himself in a negotiation commercial, political, or other with an Iranian counterpart. John Limbert writes from a personal and professional perspective, combining a deep appreciation and knowledge of Iranian culture and history, first-hand diplomatic experience, and an understanding of what it means to negotiate for the lives of Americans. Anyone interested in understanding U.S.-Iranian history and relations will find this volume invaluable.








The Bible Book above has many stories of siblings. Here is a more modern story:
[book] ONE AND THE SAME
My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular
by Abigail Pogrebin
October 2009, Doubleday
The author of Stars of David and a twin herself, journalist Abigail Pogrebin offers a poignant and personal look at what it's really like to live with your mirror image and tells the story of many twins who struggle to balance intimacy and individuality. Writer. Mother. Wife. New Yorker. Abigail Pogrebin is many things, but the one that has defined her most profoundly is "identical twin." Pogrebin's relationship with her sister, both as children, when they were inseparable, and today, when she longs for that uncomplicated intimacy, inspired her to examine the phenomenon of twinship-to learn how other identical pairs regard their doubleness and what experts are learning about how DNA impacts our sense of identity and shapes our lives. In One and the Same, Pogrebin presents a tapestry of twinship, weaving science reporting and personal memoir with the revelatory stories of other twins, such as two sisters who stopped speaking for three years; football stars Tiki and Ronde Barber, who admit their twinship comes before their marriages; a pair of bawdy, self-proclaimed "twin ambassadors" who have created a media empire around their twinness; and brothers whose shared genetic anomaly wrought unspeakable tragedy. [book]In this stirring account,
Pogrebin shows how living identical is both a celebration of sameness and a struggle for singularity that defines us all.
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[book] 11 DAYS IN DECEMBER
CHRISTMAS AT THE BULGE, 1944
BY STANLEY WEINTRAUB
October 2009, NAL paperback reissue
From Booklist: By December 1944, Nazi Germany seemed on the brink of disintegration. The Russians were rapidly advancing in the east, while the Americans and British, after a brief pause, were primed to thrust into Germany from the west. So the German counterattack through the Ardennes was a complete surprise and, initially, a great success. Ultimately, however, the Germans failed to split the Allied armies and drive to the sea. Still, Weintraub has written a compact, fast-moving account of those critical days that largely glosses over the military technicalities to focus upon the individual experiences of ordinary soldiers. At the center of the narrative is George Patton, hardly an ordinary soldier. As one would expect, Weintraub shows Patton as brash, brilliant, and profane. Patton's part prayer, part challenge to God to provide clear weather for Allied air attacks is recounted memorably here. But Weintraub's use of the letters and diaries of "lesser" soldiers enlivens his account and makes this a particularly poignant saga of men in war. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] KABBALAH FOR INNER PEACE
IMAGERY AND INSIGHTS TO GUIDE YOU THROUGH YOUR DAY
BY GERALD EPSTEIN, MD
October 2009, Acmi paperback
We rarely post "Kabbalah" books here, which has become an unseamly indistry. But this book is different
The AMA estimated that perhaps 70-90% of illnessses are caused, or amplified, by stress. Dr. Epsetin sees that among friends and patients, the theme is to find balance. Since 1989, when he published HEALING VISUALIZATIONS, the idea of using imagery has gained greater acceptance. That book focused on just applying imagery. Since that time, more studies have been completed on the use or effectiveness of using prayer, beliefs, and imagery. This book now combines the use of imagery, with a deep connection to Spirit, and an interaction of Spirit and everyday life.
Dr. Epstein discusses why GOALS should be abandoned and replaced with "aims and intentions." Rather than being in love with the future and the past, he teaches how to refocus our love on the Present. He writes of about 60 imagery exercises that he believes will help people resolve their daily problems, including health issues. Kabbalah For Inner Peace offers a contemporary approach to "Visionary Kabbalah." This practice weaves the wisdom of Kabbalah with short mental imagery exercises. Through this path, we discover new perspectives, create change, and open ourselves to Spirit. With more than 60 exercises, the book takes us though a typical day and addresses the challenges that we frequently face, from centering ourselves in the morning to alleviating insomnia at night. In between, Dr. Gerald Epstein teaches us to conquer the inner terrorist of anxiety, indecisiveness, regret, and self-doubt (habitual attitudes, beliefs and feelings that enslave people), master our financial worries, cope with physical pain, and deal with past trauma. Dr. Gerald Epstein, MD is a pioneer in the use of mental imagery for treating physical and emotional difficulties. With more than 33 years in training of the mind, he is a leading proponent of the Western spiritual tradition and its application to healing and therapeutics. Dr. Epstein maintains a private practice in New York City and is a clinical professor of Psychiatry at New York's Mt. Sinai Medical Center. He has lectured and taught worldwide and is the director of the American Institute for Mental Imagery (AIMI), a post-graduate training center for licensed mental health professionals. He has been a recipient of a National Institutes of Health Grant in Alternative Medicine to research the effects of mental imagery in the treatment of asthma. Dr. Epstein is the author of the best selling classic, Healing Visualizations: Creating Health Through Imagery.
Note: The roots of this is in Markavah or Chariot mysticism, which takes its name from the Book of Ezekiel. In the last century, Colette Aboulker Muscat of Israel wrote about these concets, specifically the "Waking Dream." She wrote 15,000 mental imagery healing exercises to achieve transcendance and mystical union and to create healing for daily problems. 19 of her imageries are in this book. In 2003, shortly before her death, she completed a book on cancer healing, which will be released by Simcha Ben Yosef in 2010.
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OKAY ... OK... YOU KNOW I HAVE TO SAY THIS... His next book might be "I AM NOT A WRITER!" haha


[book] I AM NOT A PSYCHIC
A NOVEL
BY RICHARD BELZER
Fall 2009, Simon and Schuster
Richard Belzer's sequel to his debut mystery finds him uncovering the conspiracy behind the untimely death of a Hollywood starlet. Library Jrnl says, "What's in a name? For many browsers, the probable answer is "a lot." Belzer is the equine-faced actor who has fashioned a career portraying wisecracking yet lovable Detective John Munch on TV's popular Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A former stand-up comic and current conspiracy theorist, Belzer adds another string to his bow here as a detective novelist. With that level of name recognition, the fact that the book delivers the goods is almost superfluous. In the story, Belzer is busy filming the series. He's played a cop so long that maybe he thinks he is one; he's taking self-defense classes just in case. A good friend, a Russian Ã(c)migrÃ(c) and New York medical examiner, gives Belz a ticket to a fight, just before they are attacked by Ukrainian-spouting thugs. After Rudi mysteriously disappears, Belz receives a letter that includes four alphanumeric entries plus a cryptic message, and he's off on a chase that involves the Russkies, the blood diamond trade, and some similes that will make Raymond Chandler fans crack a smile as big as the Ritz. Deft comic timing, the gruff persona, and a lively, if predictable, story will satisfy fans and maybe even create some." Click the book cover to read more.












[book] I AM NOT A COP
A NOVEL
BY RICHARD BELZER
Paperback September 2009,
From School Library Journal: What's in a name? For many browsers, the probable answer is "a lot." Belzer is the equine-faced actor who has fashioned a career portraying wisecracking yet lovable Detective John Munch on TV's popular Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A former stand-up comic and current conspiracy theorist, Belzer adds another string to his bow here as a detective novelist. With that level of name recognition, the fact that the book delivers the goods is almost superfluous. In the story, Belzer is busy filming the series. He's played a cop so long that maybe he thinks he is one; he's taking self-defense classes just in case. A good friend, a Russian émigré and New York medical examiner, gives Belz a ticket to a fight, just before they are attacked by Ukrainian-spouting thugs. After Rudi mysteriously disappears, Belz receives a letter that includes four alphanumeric entries plus a cryptic message, and he's off on a chase that involves the Russkies, the blood diamond trade, and some similes that will make Raymond Chandler fans crack a smile as big as the Ritz. Deft comic timing, the gruff persona, and a lively, if predictable, story will satisfy fans and maybe even create some. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] BOOK OF MERCY
POEMS
BY LEONARD COHEN
Fall 2009 25th anniversary reissue
Leonard Cohen was born in Montreal in 1934. While attending McGill University, he formed a country-and-western trio called The Buckskin Boys and published his first book of poetry. His career spans more than forty years, during which he has produced an impressive body of work: he has published nine books of poetry and two novels, and has made eleven records, including Various Positions, I'm Your Man, and, most recently, The Future. The soundtrack for Robert Altman's film McCabe and Mrs. Miller comprised several of Leonard Cohen's songs, featuring "Sisters of Mercy." Cohen wrote, directed, and scored the 1984 video I Am a Hotel and wrote the lyrics for the Juno-Award-winning musical Night Magic. In 1991, Leonard Cohen was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has received three Juno Awards, and was one of six recipients of the 1993 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards for lifetime achievement. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] SUPERFREAKONOMICS:
Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
By Professor Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
October 2009, Morrow
The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling over four million copies in thirty-five languages and changing the way we look at the world. Now, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with SuperFreakonomics, and fans and newcomers alike will find that the freakquel is even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first. Four years in the making, SuperFreakonomics asks not only the tough questions, but the unexpected ones: What's more dangerous, driving drunk or walking drunk? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it's so ineffective? Can a sex change boost your salary? SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as: How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa? What is the night of greatest revenue for a Chicago prostitute? (Saturday, since men request more expensive tricks) Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands? How much good do car seats do? What's the best way to catch a terrorist? Did TV cause a rise in crime? What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common? Are people hard-wired for altruism or selfishness? Can eating kangaroo save the planet? Which adds more value: a pimp or a Realtor? By examining how people respond to incentives, they show the world for what it really is – good, bad, ugly, and, in the final analysis, super freaky.
More… You land in an emergency room with a serious condition and your fate lies in the hands of the doctor you draw. Which characteristic doesn’t seem to matter in terms of doctor skill? (A) Attended a top-ranked medical school and served a residency at a prestigious hospital, (B) Is female, C. Gets high ratings from peers, (D) Spends more money on treatment…. ; Half of the decline in deaths from heart disease is mainly attributable to: A. Inexpensive drugs B. Angioplasty C. Grafts D. Stents……; In the 19th century, one of the gravest threats of childbearing was puerperal fever, which was often fatal to mother and child. Its cause was finally determined to be: A. Tight bindings of petticoats early in the pregnancy B. Foul air in the delivery wards C. Doctors not taking sanitary precautions D. The mother rising too soon in the delivery room…..; An after effect of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks on September 11, 2001: was it caused people to cut back on their consumption of alcohol, which led to a decrease in traffic accidents.
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[book] A Country Called Amreeka
Arab Roots, American Stories
by Alia Malek
October 2009, Free Press
If you're not an Arab American, then it's really imperative for you to read this fascinating book. You couldn't ask for a more informative, engaging, and provocative introduction to millions of our fellow citizens. From football star to soldier, from gay activist to union leader, cheerleader, minister, Democrat, Republican, Christian, Muslim -- Alia Malek brings the entire spectrum of Arab America to vivid, threedimensional life." -- Samuel G. Freedman, author of Jew Vs. Jew
Alia Malek is a Syrian-American civil rights lawyer who has worked in both the US and the Middle East. As a writer and speaker, her work has focused on issues relating to Arab-America, the Middle East, as well as race and ethnicity in the US. Her work has appeared in The Columbia Journalism Review, Salon.com, The New York Times, and she has been featured on National Public Radio and MSNBC. In 2006, she completed a Masters in Journalism from Columbia University where she won a writing grant for this proposal from Sam Freedman's book writing seminar.
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[book] THE OPPOSITE FIELD
A MEMOIR
BY JESSE KATZ
October 2009, Random House Crown
Faced with the collapse of his son's Little League program, Jesse becomes the commissioner of the La Loma Parl baseball program. With a Muslim at his side, and being looked at as weird by his Mexican American neighbors, he is like a Don Qixoti of Little League. They wonder what this "jewish gringo" is up to. Alonmg the way he married and divorces his Central American wife, and tries to bring her family over the Rio Grande (as a coyote). Did I mention that his mother, a famous political leader in Oregon, gets diagnosed with cancer
"A 'Little League Dad' book like no other. Jesse Katz¹s The Opposite Field is set not in the usual Waspy suburb but in a community on the edge of Los Angeles with a majority Asian and Hispanic population. In addition to evoking surprising cross-cultural discoveries and conflicts, Katz portrays everything from his legendary mother¹s flight from the Nazis to the shooting of his stepson -- and critiques not only his failings as a baseball manager but as a parent." -Greg Mitchell, author of Joy in Mudville
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[book] OPEN SECRET
Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menahem Mendel Schneerson
By Elliot Wolfson
Fall 2009, Columbia University Press
Menahem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994) was the seventh and seemingly last Rebbe of the Habad-Lubavitch dynasty. Marked by conflicting tendencies, Schneerson was a radical messianic visionary who promoted a conservative political agenda, a reclusive contemplative who built a hasidic sect into an international movement, and a man dedicated to the exposition of mysteries who nevertheless harbored many secrets. Schneerson astutely masked views that might be deemed heterodox by the canons of orthodoxy while engineering a fundamentalist ideology that could subvert traditional gender hierarchy, the halakhic distinction between permissible and forbidden, and the social-anthropological division between Jew and Gentile. While most literature on the Rebbe focuses on whether or not he identified with the role of Messiah, Elliot R. Wolfson, a leading scholar of Jewish mysticism and the phenomenology of religious experience, concentrates instead on Schneerson's apocalyptic sensibility and his promotion of a mystical consciousness that undermines all discrimination. For Schneerson, the ploy of secrecy is crucial to the dissemination of the messianic secret. To be enlightened messianically is to be delivered from all conceptual limitations, even the very notion of becoming emancipated from limitation. The ultimate liberation, or true and complete redemption, fuses the believer into an infinite essence beyond all duality, even the duality of being emancipated and not emancipated - an emancipation, in other words, that emancipates one from the bind of emancipation. At its deepest level, Schneerson's eschatological orientation discerned that a spiritual master, if he be true, must dispose of the mask of mastery. Situating Habad's thought within the evolution of kabbalistic mysticism, the history of Western philosophy, and Mahayana Buddhism, Wolfson articulates Schneerson's rich theology and profound philosophy, concentrating on the nature of apophatic embodiment, semiotic materiality, hypernomian transvaluation, nondifferentiated alterity, and atemporal temporality.
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[book] ISRAEL VS UTOPIA
BY JOEL SHALIT
October 2009, Akashic
Phila City paper said, “If the title doesn't get armchair Zionists' blood boiling, Israel vs. Utopia's flora-and-barbed-wire cover art will. And that's a shame, because they'd find valuable revelations in Joel Schalit's clear-eyed vision of Israel. The former managing editor of Tikkun, was born in Israel, came of age in America and is now based in Italy, which gives him the intimate knowledge and necessary distance to focus on the gap between perceptions of Israel and its reality. Israel vs. Utopia examines the facts on the ground to explain how Israel and the U.S. have become ever more entwined over the past four decades. It's a codependent relationship, Schalit argues, and one Israel will have to work out before it can forge healthy bonds with other potential partners in the region and beyond. The book's denser than it looks, and it occasionally gets bogged down by details that will only derail its intended audience. But by exploring what it is outsiders want to see, perhaps Schalit can open eyes to what is actually there.”
Employing a combination of personal observation, political commentary, and cultural analysis, Joel Schalit examines the instability of Israel’s public image around the world, and America's troubled love for it. Joel Schalit is the author of “Jerusalem Calling” and the editor of “The Anti-Capitalism Reader.”He is the culture editor of the “Zeek” and lives in Milan, Italy
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[book] KLEZMER AMERICA
Jewishness, Ethnicity, Modernity
By Jonathan Freedman (Michigan)
October 2009, Columbia University Press
http://www.cupblog.org/?p=134
Klezmer is a continually evolving musical tradition that grows out of Eastern European Jewish culture, and its changes reflect Jews' interaction with other groups as well as their shifting relations to their own history. But what happens when, in the klezmer spirit, the performances that go into the making of Jewishness come into contact with those that build different forms of cultural identity? Jonathan Freedman argues that terms central to the Jewish experience in America, notions like "the immigrant," the "ethnic," and even the "model minority," have worked and continue to intertwine the Jewish-American with the experiences, histories, and imaginative productions of Latinos, Asians, African Americans, and gays and lesbians, among others. He traces these relationships in a number of arenas: the crossover between jazz and klezmer and its consequences in Philip Roth's The Human Stain; the relationship between Jewishness and queer identity in Tony Kushner's Angels in America; fictions concerning crypto-Jews in Cuba and the Mexican-American borderland; the connection between Jews and Christian apocalyptic narratives; stories of "new immigrants" spun by Bharathi Mukherjee, Gish Jen, Lan Samantha Chang, and Gary Shteyngart; and the revisionary relation of these authors to classic Jewish American immigrant narratives by Henry Roth, Bernard Malamud, and Saul Bellow. By interrogating the fraught and multidimensional uses of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness in shaping identity and experience, Freedman deepens our understanding of ethnoracial complexities.
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[book] The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America
by Marc Lee Raphael (Editor)
October 2009, Columbia University Press
This is the first anthology in more than half a century to offer fresh insight into the history of Jews and Judaism in America. Beginning with six chronological survey essays, the collection builds with twelve topical essays focusing on a variety of important themes in the American Jewish and Judaic experience.The volume opens with early Jewish settlers (1654-1820), the expansion of Jewish life in America (1820-1901), the great wave of eastern European Jewish immigrants (1880-1924), the character of American Judaism between the two world wars, American Jewish life from the end of World War II to the Six-Day War, and the growth of Jews' influence and affluence. The second half of the book includes essays on the community of Orthodox Jews, the history of Jewish education in America, the rise of Jewish social clubs at the turn of the century, the history of southern and western Jewry, Jewish responses to Nazism and the Holocaust; feminism's confrontation with Judaism, and the eternal question of what defines American Jewish culture. The contributions of distinguished scholars seamlessly integrate recent scholarship. Endnotes provide the reader with access to the authors' research and sources. Comprehensive, original, and elegantly crafted, The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America not only introduces the student to this thrilling history but also provides new perspectives for the scholar.Contributors: Dianne Ashton (Rowan University), Mark K. Bauman (Atlanta Metropolitan College), Kimmy Caplan (Bar-Ilan University, Israel), Eli Faber (City University of New York), Eric L. Goldstein (University of Michigan), Jeffrey S. Gurock (Yeshiva University), Jenna Weissman Joselit (Princeton University), Melissa Klapper (Rowan University), Alan T. Levenson (Siegal College of Judaic Studies), Rafael Medoff (David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies), Pamela S. Nadell (American University), Riv-Ellen Prell (University of Minnesota), Linda S. Raphael (George Washington University), Jeffrey Shandler (Rutgers University), Michael E. Staub (City University of New York), William Toll (University of Oregon), Beth S. Wenger (University of Pennsylvania), Stephen J. Whitfield (Brandeis University)
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[book] LOVE JUNKIE
A MEMOIR
BY RACHEL RESNICK
October 2009, Bloomsbury
From Publishers Weekly: In her raw account of love gone wrong, L.A. journalist Resnick (Go West Young F*cked-Up Chick) describes her descent into self-debasement. Resnick's lifelong attraction to unsuitable men—unavailable, abusive and emotionally damaged—hit a perilous stage by the time she reached her early 40s and her last boyfriend, Spencer, who had seemed the perfect victim to make [her] dreams come true, broke into her house and wrecked her computer. Alternating with her litany of awful relationships—from the scarily egotistical ex-con painter Eddie to the various men who refused to have a baby with her—Resnick delineates her appalling, loveless childhood and the neglect by her hard-drinking mother, who lost custody of her and her younger brother when Resnick was 12. Subsequently, the teenager bounced around foster homes because she was not welcome in the new household of her father, remarried to an Orthodox Jew with four new children of his own. Resnick's memoir is a desperate, self-excoriating attempt to break the victim cycle first taught to her expertly by her mother, the original love junkie; engender a tenderness for her rather indifferent father; and mend the estrangement from her brother. Most important in terms of survival in this painfully honest memoir, Resnick found the wherewithal through a support group to heal and reground herself.
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[book] BAYSIDE HIGH CONFIDENTIAL
BEHIND THE BELL
LIFE ON THE SET OF SAVED BY THE BELL
A MEMOIR
BY DUSTIN DIAMOND
October 2009, Transit
The actor, Dustin Diamond, is the most notorious former child star from this teen and tween Saturday morning live action tv series. The man who played "screech", the Jewish nerd character, is now grown up and dishes crap about the partying and sex on the set and off the set. Gross.
Official blurb: Hollywood might represent another side of the American Dream, but to many it often embodies a true nightmare, especially for young actors. Dustin Diamond is best known for his character Samuel Screech Powers in the late '80s and '90s on the long-running American TV teen sitcom Saved by the Bell (SBTB). Diamond's new book gives readers the disheartening story of an ex-child star. Dustin faced serious challenges moving his career beyond his comic role as the smart, funny, and endearing nerd of Bayside High School on the show that made him an audience favorite. Through his eyes, we uncover Hollywood's myths and see what happens when the lights go out and career expectations are shattered. Dustin also reveals how working as a child actor on SBTB created emotional turmoil that hurt his life at home and his future. For the first-time, Diamond presents the inside story of the young cast from Saved by the Bell that the viewing public thought were so lucky.
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[book] AMERICAN NERD
A STORY OF MY PEOPLE
BY BENJAMIN NUGENT
2009, Scribner
PW: “In his charming and disarmingly serious study of the history of the nerd in popular culture and throughout modern history, Nugent (Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing) succeeds in crafting a nuanced discussion without resorting to smugness or excessive cleverness. His prose is straightforward, but the writing is never dry, as Nugent maintains a brisk pace by chasing an entertaining series of tangents across short chapters. Discrete pockets of nerd-dom are carefully observed and analyzed, with an eye for connections that lead to unusual places. While there are engaging sections about more obvious nerd subjects like the rise of online gaming and the history of American science-fiction clubs, Nugent takes his book in surprising directions, such as the ethnic implications of the nerd categorization, particularly in regard to Jewish and Asian stereotypes. In one chapter, Nugent finds correspondence between nerdiness and people with Asperger's syndrome, astutely drawing comparisons between the socializing problems experienced by both groups and positing that many of those considered nerds historically might in fact be on the autism spectrum. Another unexpected detour, this one into the intense subculture of high school and college debaters, turns into an extraordinarily poignant meditation on the friendships engendered by shared passions. Swinging ably from personal anecdotes to historical perspective, Nugent's exploration of outcasts is a triumph.”BR> ** Also includes comments and a chapter on the “Jew” in British and American popular culture and the effeminate Jews as nerd.
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[book] The Winter's Journey of My Youth
A Memoir
by Helen Studley
2009
Possibly the most important task a survivor of the Nazi horrors can face is also the hardest: To write a memoir that causes later generations not to look away but to know and feel the truth of what happened to one person. Helen Studley has done all that. Her memoir is transfixing." -Peter Hellman
I read The Winter's Journey of My Youth with great personal and professional interest. I found it to be a gripping, yet ultimately uplifting and inspiring account of survival by an adolescent girl caught in the maelstrom of the Holocaust. The narrative about the ordeals of hiding in Berlin and then, after having been denounced, the unimaginable horrors encountered in Auschwitz and other camps demonstrates once again the strength of the human spirit against all odds. Randolph L. Braham, Distinguished Professor/Emeritus The Graduate Center/CUNY The Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies
Helen Studley's journey takes her and her father from their home in a small rural town in German to a rooming house in Berlin occupied by some remarkable people. Not being able to leave Germany, she and her father were forced to work in an ammunition factory which, for a while, protected them from the ever increasing deportation of Jews to concentration camps. Thanks to the offer of a devout Christian couple, she and her father went into hiding. While all of this was difficult for a teenager to cope with, nothing compared to the eight months she spent at various concentration camps after she was caught. Studley's book does not dwell on the horrors of the camps; rather, she hints at those horrors through selective flashbacks and a finely-nuanced, "less is more" kind of storytelling. Though there is much tragedy in the book, her voice echoes the insight, clarity, and humor that helped her survive.
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Speaking of memoirs:
[book] FROM COUSCOUS TO KASHA
A Memoir
by Seymour Epstein
2009, Urim
From Couscous to Kasha is a memoir by Dr. Seymour Epstein (Epi), who, during his eighteen years of service in the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (Joint), worked with Jewish communities all over the world. After his service as a pedagogic consultant for the Joint in Morocco and serving for three years as a regional director in Paris, he went on to work in the former Soviet Union as the Iron Curtain began to lift. He eventually ended his career at the Joint as its world director of Jewish education and a country director for the various time zones of Siberia. This humorous and often moving account of Epi's international adventures deals with the role of community in late-twentieth century Jewish life. It explores the disintegration of North Africa's rich Jewish past alongside the spontaneous development of new Jewish communities in Russia. These stories contain profound lessons that, it is hoped, can be applied to Jewish community life worldwide.
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[book] DRAWING IN THE DUST
A Novel
by Zoe Klein
2009, Pocket Books
From PW: Insight into the world of biblical excavation in Israel raises Rabbi Klein's debut novel from a Jewish Da Vinci Code to an emotionally rich story of personal and historical discovery. After a dozen years digging in Megiddo, American archeologist Page Brookstone longs for something new. When an Arab couple propose that Page investigate the haunted ruins under their home, she ignores colleagues' misgivings and heads to Anatot, just outside Jerusalem. There, the couple, along with Page and her team, uncover murals, artifacts and remains suggesting they have come upon the grave of the prophet Jeremiah, buried with the woman he loved, Anatiya, who also has left a manuscript that parallels the Book of Jeremiah. The discovery ignites an international uproar and violent attacks while Page, affected by the ancient spirits, is attracted to Orthodox Israeli Mortichai Master, despite his connections to an organization opposing her efforts. Rabbi Klein's most vivid passages depict the meditative tedium of digging, the exultation of discovery and the intricate processes of authentication and preservation, while love stories past and present—and a balanced, compassionate view of both Israeli and Arab traditions—add to the book's pleasures
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[book] GOD'S GYM
A novel BY LEON de WINTER
Translated from the Dutch
October 2009, Toby Press
December 22, 2000 is a day of dramatic confluence in the life of Joop Koopman, a Dutchman living in California. It is the day he celebrates his daughter Miriam's seventeenth birthday, meets his old friend Philip, with whom he has been out of touch for eighteen years and who now works for the Israel Ministry of Defense, and crosses paths with Errol Washington, aka Godzilla, the owner of God's Gym, a Venice health club Miriam frequents. Philip has sought out Joop for reasons that are more than personal, and Joop, in turn, has no choice but to let himself be carried along by political developments that he has previously tried to avoid, but that now inescapably control his life. Click the book cover to read more.








Why would anyone wake up one day and decide to slaughter other human beings by the thousands or more? People he or she has never met.
[book] WORSE THAN WAR
GENOCIDE, ELIMINATION, AND THE ONGOING ASSAULT ON HUMANITY
October 2009, PublicAffairs
Formerly of Harvard University, Goldhagen is now devoted to research and writing. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s books are events. They stir passionate public debate among political and civic leaders, scholars, and the general public because they compel people to rethink the most powerful conventional wisdoms and stubborn moral problems of the day. Worse Than War gets to the heart of the phenomenon, genocide, that has caused more deaths in the modern world than military conflict. In doing so, it challenges fundamental things we thought we knew about human beings, society, and politics. Drawing on extensive field work and research from around the world, Goldhagen explores the anatomy of genocide—explaining why genocides begin, are sustained, and end; why societies support them, why they happen so frequently and how the international community should and can successfully stop them. As a great book should, Worse than War seeks to change the way we think and to offer new possibilities for a better world. It tells us how we might at last begin to eradicate this greatest scourge of humankind. Click the book cover to read more.








THE FIRST ARAB NOVEL TO CONFRONT THE HOLOCAUST
[book] THE GERMAN MUJAHID
BY BOUSALEM SANSAI
Translated from French
October 2009, Penguin / Europa
Based on a true story and inspired by the work of Primo Levi, The German Mujahid is a heartfelt reflection on guilt and the harsh imperatives of history. The two brothers Schiller, Rachel and Malrich, couldn't be more dissimilar. They were born in a small village in Algeria to a German father and an Algerian mother, and raised by an elderly uncle in one of the toughest ghettos in France. But there the similarities end. Rachel is a model immigrantÂ-hard working, upstanding, law-abiding. Malrich has drifted. Increasingly alienated and angry, his future seems certain: incarceration at best. Then Islamic fundamentalists murder the young menÂ's parents in Algeria and the event transforms the destinies of both brothers in unexpected ways. Rachel discovers the shocking truth about his family and buckles under the weight of the sins of his father, a former SS officer. Now Malrich, the outcast, will have to face that same awful truth alone. Banned in the author's native Algeria for of the frankness with which it confronts several explosive themes, The German Mujahid is a truly groundbreaking novel. For the first time, an Arab author directly addresses the moral implications of the Shoah. But this richly plotted novel also leaves its author room enough to address other equally controversial issues - Islamic fundamentalism and Algeria's "dirty war" of the early 1990s, for example; or the emergence of grim Muslim ghettos in France's low-income housing projects. In this gripping novel, Boualem Sansal confronts these and other explosive questions with unprecedented sincerity and courage. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] POSTVILLE USA
Surviving Diversity in Small Town America
By Mark A Grey, Michele Devlin, Aaron Goldsmith
October 2009
Postville Iowa is an obscure meatpacking town in the northeast corner of Iowa that is home to the largest kosher chicken processor, Agriprocessors. Here, in the most unlikely of places, unparalleled diversity drew international media. Now people declare the towns experiment in multiculturalism dead. It was not native Iowans, or the newly-arrived Orthodox Jews, or the immigrant workers who made Postville fail. Postville was stopped in its tracks by a massive raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 12th 2008. 20% of the population was arrested, forcing the closure of the towns kosher meatpacking plant. The raid exposed the disastrous enforcement of immigration policy, the exploitation of Postville by activists, and disturbing questions about the packing house's operators.
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[book][book] Doubting the Devout
Nostalgia and Nerves
The Ultra-Orthodox in the Jewish American Imagination
by Nora L Rubel (Rochester)
November 2009, Columbia University Press
Before 1985, depictions of ultra-Orthodox Jews in popular American culture were rare, and if they did appear, in films such as Fiddler on the Roof or within the novels of Chaim Potok, they evoked a nostalgic vision of Old World tradition. Yet the ordination of women into positions of religious leadership and other controversial issues have sparked an increasingly visible and voluble culture war between America's ultra-Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews, one that has found a particularly creative voice in literature, media, and film. Unpacking the work of Allegra Goodman, Tova Mirvis, Pearl Abraham, Erich Segal, Anne Roiphe, and others, as well as television shows and films such as A Price Above Rubies, Nora L. Rubel investigates the choices non-haredi Jews have made as they represent the character and characters of ultra-Orthodox Jews. In these artistic and aesthetic acts, Rubel recasts the war over gender and family and the anxieties over acculturation, Americanization, and continuity. More than just a study of Jewishness and Jewish self-consciousness, Doubting the Devout will speak to any reader who has struggled to balance religion, family, and culture.
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[book] YOM KIPPUR IN AMSTERDAM
STORIES
BY MAXIM SHRAYER
October 2009, Syracuse University Press
Eight stories of accomplished Russians who settle in America. Their settlements have their problems. In two of the stories, the Russian Jewish character deals with the breakup with a non Jewish woman. In “The Disappearance of Zalman,” Mark loses his girlfriend to his yeshiva tutor. In the title story`, a businessman in Amsterdam tells his fiancee that he wants a Jewish wife. He must find Atonement in Amsterdam, a city of anything-goes moral codes. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] GOOD FOR THE JEWS
A NOVEL
BY DEBRA SPARK
October 2009, University of Michigan Press
Good for the Jews is loosely based on the biblical book of Esther. Like Esther, Debra Spark's characters deal with anti-Semitism and the way that powerful men---and the women who love them---negotiate bureaucracies. At the core of the story of right and wrong are young, attractive Ellen Hirschorn and her older cousin Mose, a high school teacher who thinks he knows, in fact, what is "good for the jews"---and for Ellen, too. Their stories intertwine with those of the school superintendent, his ex-wife and son, and a new principal. Workplace treachery, the bonds of family, coming of age, and romantic relationships all take center stage as the characters negotiate the fallout from a puzzling fire. Spark's evocative writing style and sharp, understanding treatment of her diverse characters draw the reader into this surprising page-turner. Debra Spark is the author of two previous novels, The Ghost of Bridgetown and Coconuts for the Saint, as well as Curious Attractions: Essays on Fiction Writing. She's been a fellow at Radcliffe College's Bunting Institute and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications including Food and Wine, Esquire, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yankee. She is a professor at Colby College in Maine. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] IS IT GOOD FOR THE JEWS?
MORE STORIES FROM THE OLD COUNTRY AND THE NEW
BY ADAM BIRO
2009, Chicago
“Jewish stories,” writes Adam Biro, “resemble every people’s stories.” Yet at the same time there is no better way to understand the soul, history, millennial suffering, or, crucially, the joys of the Jewish people than through such tales—“There’s nothing,” writes Biro, “more revelatory of the Jewish being.” With Is It Good for the Jews? Biro offers a sequel to his acclaimed collection of stories Two Jews on a Train. Through twenty-nine tales—some new, some old, but all finely wrought and rich in humor—Biro spins stories of characters coping with the vicissitudes and reverses of daily life, while simultaneously painting a poignant portrait of a world of unassimilated Jewish life that has largely been lost to the years. From rabbis competing to see who is the most humble, to the father who uses suicide threats to pressure his children into visiting, to three men berated by the Almighty himself for playing poker, Biro populates his stories with memorable characters and absurd—yet familiar—situations, all related with a dry wit and spry prose style redolent of the long tradition of Jewish storytelling. A collection simultaneously of foibles and fables, adversity and affection, Is It Good for the Jews? reminds us that if in the beginning was the word, then we can surely be forgiven for expecting a punch line to follow one of these days.
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[book] JEWISH POET AND INTELLECTUAL IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY VENICE
THE WORKS OF SARRA COPIA SULAM IN VERSE AND PROSE ALONG WITH WRITINGS OF HER CONTEMPORARIES IN HER PRAISE, CONDEMNATION, OR DEFENSE
BY SARRA COPIA SULAM
2009, Chicago
The first Jewish woman to leave her mark as a writer and intellectual, Sarra Copia Sulam (1600?–41) was doubly tainted in the eyes of early modern society by her religion and her gender. This remarkable woman, who until now has been relatively neglected by modern scholarship, was a unique figure in Italian cultural life, opening her home, in the Venetian ghetto, to Jews and Christians alike as a literary salon. For this bilingual edition, Don Harrán has collected all of Sulam’s previously scattered writings—letters, sonnets, a Manifesto—into a single volume. Harrán has also assembled all extant correspondence and poetry that was addressed to Sulam, as well as all known contemporary references to her, making them available to Anglophone readers for the first time. Featuring rich biographical and historical notes that place Sulam in her cultural context, this volume will provide readers with insight into the thought and creativity of a woman who dared to express herself in the male-dominated, overwhelmingly Catholic Venice of her time.
Translated by Don Harrán, the Artur Rubinstein Professor Emeritus of Musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of many books, including Salamone Rossi, Jewish Musician in Late Renaissance Mantua.
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[book] EVERYTHING IS GOD
THE RADICAL PATH OF NONDUAL JUDAISM
BY JAY MICHAELSON
October 2009, Trumpeter
Michaelson is a founding editor of Zeek.net
Read this essay adapted from the book: http://www.zeek.net/802jay/
We usually think of God as an entity entirely separate from us. Hasidic Jews and Kabbalists (along with practitioners of some other spiritual traditions) have long asserted that God is not separate from us at all.
In this nondual view, everyone and everything manifests God. Once considered a radical, mystical idea, the concept and spiritual practice of nondual Judaism is increasingly influencing mainstream Judaism—in sermons, seminars, prayer books, and meditation practices. Judaic scholar Jay Michaelson presents a wide-ranging and compelling explanation of nondual Judaism: what it is, its traditional and contemporary sources, its historical roots and philosophical significance, how it compares to nondualism in other religions, and its impact on the practice of Judaism today. He explains what this mystical nondual view means in our daily ego-centered lives, for our communities, and for the future of Judaism. Michaelson is an erudite guide who is able to take this provocative concept and convey it in a way that will be of interest to contemporary spiritual seekers .
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[book] MINDING THE STORE
GREAT WRITING ABOUT BUSINESS, FROM TOLSTOY TO NOW
EDITED BY ROBERT COLES AND ALBERT LaFARGE
Fall 2009, The New Press
In a course he taught at Harvard Business School and elsewhere for many years, esteemed psychiatrist Robert Coles asked future money market managers and risk arbitrageurs to pause for a semester and reflect on the ethical dimensions of their chosen profession. Now, for corporate professionals, armchair entrepreneurs, and other students of commerce, Coles has gathered a generous and stimulating collection of classic literary reflections on the ethical and spiritual predicaments of the business world. From John Cheever's descriptions of a businessman who endures a moral crisis after stealing a neighbor's wallet and Gwendolyn Parker's "Uppity Buppie," in which an African American woman ascends to the upper ranks of corporate America, to Death of a Salesman and Tolstoy's "Master and Man," Minding the Store offers a richly human vision of the business world. [book]With selections by, among others, John Updike, Flannery O'Connor, William Carlos Williams, Edith Wharton, and Vladimir Nabokov, Coles gives us the essential literary gems that illuminate the human predicaments of commerce and the moral quandaries of the marketplace.
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[book] The Enemy I Knew
German Jews in the Allied Military in World War II
by Steven Karras
Foreword by Michael Berenbaum
October 2009, Zenith Press
When I first saw this book, I thought, “THIS WILL MAKE A GREAT DOCUMENTARY FILM.” Then I read the back flap about the author and saw that this book is based ON THE DOCUMENTARY film he already made on these men and women.
Even Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize winning survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, struggles with the question: Why didn’t the Jews fight back? And finally, in view of the circumstances--even now, who would believe what was happening?--he concludes that the question is “not why all the Jews did NOT fight, but how do many of them DID. Tormented, beaten, starved, where did they find the strength--spiritual and physical--to resist?” In fact, over 10,000 German Jews - 34 percent of the refugee population between the ages of eighteen and forty - fought in the allied armies of World War II. This book honors those European-born Jewish combat veterans of World War II--refugees from the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria who faced their persecutors by joining the Allied Forces in a fight against the country of their birth. These twenty-seven interviews take readers into the unique and harrowing experience of German and Austrian Jews who served as Allied soldiers in North Africa and Europe--brave men and one woman whose service restored a sense of dignity and allowed them to rise above their former victimization at the hands of Nazi oppressors. All burned with anger at the Germans who had subjected them, often as young children, to cruelty in everyday life in their hometowns, and to ridicule in the national media. As soldiers who knew the language and psychology of the enemy better than any of their comrades, they struck back with new-found pride against the rampant injustice that had annihilated their families, destroyed their prospects, and subjected many of them to the worst forms of physical abuse, both random and terrifying. In The Enemy I Knew they tell their stories, and the world is richer for their heroic acts, and for their testimony.

Karras interviewed 200 veterans for the film, but chose these few to represent everyone. One of the most exciting events in the creation of this book is when Karras interviewed Henry Kissinger for the book in his Park Avenue office. It was the same week the Christopher Hitchens wrote a scathing attack against Kissinger. And you see how America allowed these refugees to rebuild their lives.

Profiled verterans include Siegmund Spiegel (1st Infantry); Jerry Behhofer (938 FAB); Ms Adelyn Bonin (502 Mechanized Ambulance Corps ATS); Eric Hamberg (84th CMB); Bernard Friedberg (8th Air Force); Fritz Weinstein (293rd JSAC); Peter (Tischler) Terry (3 Troop 10 Commando in Normandy); William Hartenstein (505 Parachute, 82nd Airborne); Karl (Goldschmidt) Goldsmith (142nd Interrogation of POW group); Henry Kissinger (335th Infantry regiment, 84th Inf Div, G2 Intelligence); John Stern (100th Inf); Ralph (Rudolph) Baer (Intelligence); Bernard Baum (66th Inf), and 14 others.







[book] JAPAN Took the J.A.P. Out Of Me
The True Story of a Domesticated Princess
A Memoir by Lisa Fineberg Cook
October 2009, Downtown Press
Six days after an InStyle-worthy wedding in Los Angeles, Lisa Fineberg Cook left behind her little red Jetta, her manicurist of ten years, and her very best friend for the land of the rising sun. When her husband accepted a job teaching English in Nagoya, Japan, she imagined exotic weekend getaways, fine sushi dinners, and sake sojourns with glamorous expatriate friends. Instead, she's the only Jewish girl on public transportation, and everyone is staring. Lisa longs for regular mani/pedis, valet parking, and gimlets with her girlfriends, but for the next year, she learns to cook, clean, commute, and shop like the Japanese, all the while adjusting to another foreign concept -- marriage. Loneliness and frustration give way to new and unexpected friendships, the evolution of old ones, and a fresh understanding of what it means to feel different -- until finally a world she never thought she'd fit into begins to feel home-like, if not exactly like home.








[book] We‘ll Be Here For The Rest of Our Lives
A Swingin‘ Show-biz Saga
By Paul Shaffer
October 2009, Flying Dolphin Press
Born in Thunder Bay Ontario Canada on Lake Superior at 517 Selkirk, Paul Shaffer grew into an accomplished musician, comic actor, sidekick, and musical director after being hired for a Canadian production of Godspell, and then being hired by SNL and then the David Letterman Show.
This is a candid, endearing, hilarious, and star-studded memoir of a life in-and love of-show business. How did he make it from a small town to Broadway and Sixth Avenue? Why did John Belushi fire him fro the Blues Brothers. How did he land and maintain his GIG on Letterman? This book is Paul Shaffer's answer to that question. From playing seedy strip joints in Toronto, to his first legitimate job out of college-which found him working with future stars (and friends) Gilda Radner, Martin Short, and Eugene Levy-to being first musical director of the nascent Saturday Night Live and helping to form the Blues Brothers, to being onstage every night with Dave and playing with the greatest musicians of our time, Shaffer has lived the ultimate showbiz life.
Now, in this hilarious, entertaining, and candid memoir-in which he dishes on everyone from John Belushi and Jerry Lewis to Mel Gibson and Britney Spears-Paul gives us the full behind-the-scenes story of his life, from banging out pop tunes on the piano at the age of twelve to leading the band every night at the Sullivan Theater.








[book] Further Adventures
A Novel by Jon Stephen Fink
October 2009, reprinted by Harper
Kirkus writes: “A freewheeling, high-energy tour de force from British-based TV writer Fink - this one featuring a former star player in a short-lived 1930's radio serial, who emerges from a lifetime of seclusion in the persona of his radio role to battle for justice, only to find reality more than a match for him. Ray Green, aka Reuven Agranovsky, once provided the voice of the Green Ray for eight years (1938-46) while a young man, throwing himself into the part so vigorously that he could no longer separate his life from the weekly episodes. Now, silenced by the sponsor's decision to cancel the show, he's spent 40 quiet years in New Mexico - until one day a chance street encounter with thugs trying to abduct a woman gives him the chance to relive his former glory. He jumps into the fray and sets Amelia free, putting in motion a bizarre sequence of events in which the two join forces to elude the grasp of a wetback-smuggling, drug-running FBI agent, formerly Amelia's lover and the father of her daughter Dolores. Ray is duped by both sides, and Agent Newberry almost convinces him to betray her, but his new-found love for her triumphs. They cross into Mexico to her home in order to find her child and live in peace, only to have their domestic bliss last less than a week when Amelia is brutally murdered and Dolores is kidnapped by Newberry's goons, leaving Ray to return to the US with vengeance in his heart. Easily captured and brought to Newberry, unwittingly implicated in the drug trade by being forced to take part in a deadly ambush, he escapes with a plan to get Dolores away from her evil father, but that fails too. Breathtaking in its juxtaposition of wisecracks and tragedy, with a veritable Don Quixote running loose in the American Southwest: a distinctive debut.







[book] CODERS AT WORK
BY PETER SIEBEL
October 2009
Peter Seibel interviews 15 of the most interesting computer programmers alive today in Coders at Work, offering a brand-new companion volume to Apress’s highly acclaimed best-seller Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston. As the words “at work” suggest, Peter Seibel focuses on how his interviewees tackle the day-to-day work of programming, while revealing much more, like how they became great programmers, how they recognize programming talent in others, and what kinds of problems they find most interesting. Hundreds of people have suggested names of programmers to interview on the Coders at Work web site: www.codersatwork.com. The complete list was 284 names. Having digested everyone’s feedback, we selected 15 folks who’ve been kind enough to agree to be interviewed: Frances Allen: Pioneer in optimizing compilers, first woman to win the Turing Award (2006) and first female IBM fellow; Joe Armstrong: Inventor of Erlang; Joshua Bloch: Author of the Java collections framework, now at Google; Bernie Cosell: One of the main software guys behind the original ARPANET IMPs and a master debugger; Douglas Crockford: JSON founder, JavaScript architect at Yahoo!; L. Peter Deutsch: Author of Ghostscript, implementer of Smalltalk-80 at Xerox PARC and Lisp 1.5 on PDP-1; Brendan Eich: Inventor of JavaScript, CTO of the Mozilla Corporation; Brad Fitzpatrick: Writer of LiveJournal, OpenID, memcached, and Perlbal; Dan Ingalls: Smalltalk implementor and designer; Simon Peyton Jones: Coinventor of Haskell and lead designer of Glasgow Haskell Compiler; Donald Knuth: Author of The Art of Computer Programming and creator of TeX; Peter Norvig: Director of Research at Google and author of the standard text on AI; Guy Steele: Coinventor of Scheme and part of the Common Lisp Gang of Five, currently working on Fortress; Ken Thompson: Inventor of UNIX; Jamie Zawinski: Author of XEmacs and early Netscape/Mozilla hacker.







[book] Founders at Work
Stories of Startups' Early Days
by Jessica Livingston
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days is a collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies about what happened in the very earliest days. These people are celebrities now. What was it like when they were just a couple friends with an idea? Founders like Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail) tell you in their own words about their surprising and often very funny discoveries as they learned how to build a company. Where did they get the ideas that made them rich? How did they convince investors to back them? What went wrong, and how did they recover? Nearly all technical people have thought of one day starting or working for a startup. For them, this book is the closest you can come to being a fly on the wall at a successful startup, to learn how it's done.







When you read MyJewishBooks.com, you find out about upcoming Jewish books before lots of your friends and others. Case in point… this book is hot in Sweden, and will not be in the US, UK, or Israel for another year.
De fattiga i Lodz
The Destitutes of Lodz
By Steve Sem-Sandberg
2009, Albert Bonniers Förlag
In Swedish, not in USA yet. To be published by Farrar Strauss & Giraux
The Destitutes of Lodz is a novel about the Jewish ghetto that was established by the Nazis in the Polish city of Lodz. It is the story of Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, the Nazi-appointed Jewish leader of this camp, and his ambiguous and shady role in the annihilation of the Polish Jews. The author expertly weaves his story around this power-hungry and self-absorbed man who had an especially complicated relationship to the children of the ghetto. Although he claimed, throughout his whole life, that there was nothing dearer to him than those children, he did not bat an eyelid when the order came to have them all deported. In the summer of 1944, Himmler gives orders to “liquidate” the ghetto. As transportation to the Nazi death camps increases, so does the ghettos inhabitants’ knowledge of them. Slowly but surely the Lodz ghetto, with its 250 000 people, is emptied of all citizens and Rumkowski is finally forced to leave his safe haven. In August 1944, shortly after leaving the ghetto, he is killed in Auschwitz, alongside his entire family.
Sem-Sandberg’s novel describes the life in the sealed off town district. It speaks of the imposing German cadaver discipline, the gruesome slave labour, the starvation, and the futile escape attempts. Paradoxically, in the emergence of the collective and craftily subversive Ghetto Chronicles - the author’s main source for this novel - the reader is also shown the art of survival, and man’s remarkable will to live.
In The Destitutes of Lodz, Steve Sem-Sandberg takes his reader on a powerfully moving journey into the cold realities of the Holocaust.
Perhaps the very first holocaust account that dares to step away from the black and white perspective. In the hands of Sweden's foremost European storyteller, the truth is not always what it seems. - Daniel Sjölin, Babel
This is real literature. A great work of fiction. Steve Sem-Sandberg steps forward as a worthy and completed successor to, shall we say, a PO Enquist – with whom he shares not only the ability to make poem out of prose but also a fascination for treachery’s and betrayal’s lowest sediment. - Per Svensson, Dagens Nyheter
Steve Sem-Sandberg’s latest novel “The Destitutes of ?ód?” – massive in size but polished to a light conciseness in every last detail – is also a majestic portrayal where documented facts create the foundation for fictions insight into historical fate. - Mikael van Ries, Svenska Dagbladet








N O W IN P A P E R B A C K
[book] INDIGNATION
A NOVEL
BY PHILIP ROTH
October 2009, Vintage
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Roth's brilliant and disconcerting new novel plumbs the depths of the early Cold War–era male libido, burdened as it is with sexual myths and a consciousness overloaded with vivid images of impending death, either by the bomb or in Korea. At least this is the way things appear to narrator Marcus Messner, the 19-year-old son of a Newark kosher butcher. Perhaps because Marcus's dad saw his two brothers' only sons die in WWII, he becomes an overprotective paranoid when Marcus turns 18, prompting Marcus to flee to Winesburg College in Ohio. Though the distance helps, Marcus, too, is haunted by the idea that flunking out of college means going to Korea. His first date in Winesburg is with doctor's daughter Olivia Hutton, who would appear to embody the beautiful normality Marcus seeks, but, instead, she destroys Marcus's sense of normal by surprising him after dinner with her carnal prowess. Slightly unhinged by this stroke of fortune, he at first shuns her, then pesters her with letters and finally has a brief but nonpenetrative affair with her. Olivia, he discovers, is psychologically fragile and bears scars from a suicide attempt—a mark Marcus's mother zeroes in on when she meets the girl for the first and last time. Between promising his mother to drop her and longing for her, Marcus goes through a common enough existential crisis, exacerbated by run-ins with the school administration over trivial matters that quickly become more serious.... The terrible sadness of Marcus's life is rendered palpable by Roth's fierce grasp on the psychology of this butcher's boy, down to his bought-for-Winesburg wardrobe. It's a melancholy triumph and a cogent reflection on society in a time of war.








[book] The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb
by R. Crumb
October 2009, W. W. Norton & Co.
Envisioning the first book of the bible like no one before him, R. Crumb, the legendary illustrator, reveals here the story of Genesis in a profoundly honest and deeply moving way. Originally thinking that we would do a take off of Adam and Eve, Crumb became so fascinated by the Bible’s language, “a text so great and so strange that it lends itself readily to graphic depictions,” that he decided instead to do a literal interpretation using the text word for word in a version primarily assembled from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James bible. Now, readers of every persuasion—Crumb fans, comic book lovers, and believers—can gain astonishing new insights from these harrowing, tragic, and even juicy stories. Crumb’s Book of Genesis reintroduces us to the bountiful tree lined garden of Adam and Eve, the massive ark of Noah with beasts of every kind, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by brimstone and fire that rained from the heavens, and the Egypt of the Pharaoh, where Joseph’s embalmed body is carried in a coffin, in a scene as elegiac as any in Genesis. Using clues from the text and peeling away the theological and scholarly interpretation that have often obscured the Bible’s most dramatic stories, Crumb fleshes out a parade of Biblical originals: from the serpent in Eden, the humanoid reptile appearing like an alien out of a science fiction movie, to Jacob, a “kind’ve depressed guy who doesn’t strike you as physically courageous,” and his bother, Esau, “a rough and kick ass guy,” to Abraham’s wife Sarah, more fetching than most woman at 90, to God himself, “a standard Charlton Heston-like figure with long white hair and a flowing beard.”
As Crumb writes in his introduction, “the stories of these people, the Hebrews, were something more than just stories. They were the foundation, the source, in writing of religious and political power, handed down by God himself.” Crumb’s Book of Genesis, the culmination of 5 years of painstaking work, is a tapestry of masterly detail and storytelling which celebrates the astonishing diversity of the one of our greatest artistic geniuses.
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[book] CHRONIC CITY
A NOVEL
by Jonathan Lethem
October 2009, Doubleday
The acclaimed author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude returns with a roar with this gorgeous, searing portrayal of Manhattanites wrapped in their own delusions, desires, and lies. Chase Insteadman, a handsome, inoffensive fixture on Manhattan's social scene, lives off residuals earned as a child star on a beloved sitcom called Martyr & Pesty. Chase owes his current social cachet to an ongoing tragedy much covered in the tabloids: His teenage sweetheart and fiancée, Janice Trumbull, is trapped by a layer of low-orbit mines on the International Space Station, from which she sends him rapturous and heartbreaking love letters. Like Janice, Chase is adrift, she in Earth's stratosphere, he in a vague routine punctuated by Upper East Side dinner parties. Into Chase's cloistered city enters Perkus Tooth, a wall-eyed free-range pop critic whose soaring conspiratorial riffs are fueled by high-grade marijuana, mammoth cheeseburgers, and a desperate ache for meaning. Perkus's countercultural savvy and voracious paranoia draw Chase into another Manhattan, where questions of what is real, what is fake, and who is complicit take on a life-shattering urgency. Along with Oona Laszlo, a self-loathing ghostwriter, and Richard Abneg, a hero of the Tompkins Square Park riot now working as a fixer for the billionaire mayor, Chase and Perkus attempt to unearth the answers to several mysteries that seem to offer that rarest of artifacts on an island where everything can be bought: Truth. Like Manhattan itself, Jonathan Lethem's masterpiece is beautiful and tawdry, tragic and forgiving, devastating and antic, a stand-in for the whole world and a place utterly unique.
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[book] Manhood for Amateurs
The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son
by Michael Chabon
October 2009, Harper
YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=monkS-BUI_k
First of all. He is not anti circumcision.
A shy manifesto, an impractical handbook, the true story of a fabulist, an entire life in parts and pieces, “Manhood for Amateurs” is the first sustained work of personal writing from Michael Chabon. In these insightful, provocative, slyly interlinked essays, one of our most brilliant and humane writers presents his autobiography and his vision of life in the way so many of us experience our own lives: as a series of reflections, regrets, and reexaminations, each sparked by an encounter, in the present, that holds some legacy of the past. What does it mean to be a man today? Chabon invokes and interprets and struggles to reinvent for us, with characteristic warmth and lyric wit, the personal and family history that haunts him even as—simply because—it goes on being written every day. As a devoted son, as a passionate husband, and above all as the father of four young Americans, Chabon presents his memories of childhood, of his parents' marriage and divorce, of moments of painful adolescent comedy and giddy encounters with the popular art and literature of his own youth, as a theme played—on different instruments, with a fresh tempo and in a new key—by the mad quartet of which he now finds himself co-conductor. At once dazzling, hilarious, and moving, Manhood for Amateurs is destined to become a classic.
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[book] Amen, Amen, Amen
Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn't Stop Praying
(Among Other Things)
By Abby Sher
October 2009, Scribner
Until the age of ten, Abby Sher was a happy child in a fun-loving, musical family. But when her father and favorite aunt pass away, Abby fills the void of her loss with rituals: kissing her father's picture over and over each night, washing her hands, counting her steps, and collecting sharp objects that she thinks could harm innocent pedestrians. Then she begins to pray. At first she repeats the few phrases she remem-bers from synagogue, but by the time she is in high school, Abby is spending hours locked in her closet, urgently reciting a series of incantations and pleas. If she doesn't, she is sure someone else will die, too. The patterns from which she cannot deviate become her shelter and her obsession. In college Abby is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and while she accepts this as an explanation for the counting and kissing and collecting, she resists labeling her fiercest obsession, certain that her prayers and her relationship with G-d are not an illness but the cure. She also discovers a new passion: performing comedy. She is never happier than when she dons a wig and makes people laugh. Offstage, however, she remains unable to confront the fears that drive her. She descends into darker compulsions, starving and cutting herself, measuring every calorie and incision. It is only when her earliest, deepest fear is realized that Abby is forced to examine and redefine the terms of her faith and her future. Amen, Amen, Amen is an elegy honoring a mother, father, and beloved aunt who filled a child with music and their own blend of neuroticism. It is an adventure, full of fast cars, unsolved crimes, and close calls. It is part detective story, part love story, about Abby's hunt for answers and someone to guide her to them. It is a young woman's radiant and heartbreaking account of struggling to recognize the bounds and boundlessness of obsession and devotion.
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STOP!
You see the name Anne Rice below, and you think vampires and you skip over it
That is what I would do
But wait. Her newest novel is about Jews in England, in the 13th century, before 1290.
Like vampires, they are outcasts in the world of their times, and they tell their tale to Toby (sort of like “Interview with the Jew?”)
Read more below…
[book] ANGEL TIME
The Songs of the Seraphim
by ANNE RICE
October 2009, Knopf
Anne Rice returns to the mesmerizing storytelling that has captivated readers for more than three decades in a tale of unceasing suspense set in time past—a metaphysical thriller about angels and assassins. The novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O’Dare—a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. A soulless soul, a dead man walking, he lives under a series of aliases—just now: Lucky the Fox—and takes his orders from “The Right Man.”
Into O’Dare’s nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, an angel, Malchiah, who offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives.
O’Dare, who as a youth was a talented player of the lute and who long ago dreamt of being a priest (but had to give it all up when his drunken mother killed his two siblings) but instead is a violent murderer seizes his chance.
Can this be his redemption? Can he aid the Jews at a time “when the Christmas pageants have ended and a time of troubles for the Jewry has begun.”
He is carried back through the ages of time to thirteenth-century England, to Norwich, to dark realms where accusations of ritual murder have been made against Jews, where children suddenly die or disappear . . . In this primitive setting, O’Dare begins his perilous quest for salvation, a journey of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love.
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You can SHRUG while you read the one below:
[book] AYN RAND AND THE WORLD SHE MADE
BY ANNE C. HELLER
November 2009, Doubleday Talese
Booklist writes: Famous for her credo of individualism and unbridled capitalism, novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand never talked about her life as Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, an awkward and offbeat Russian Jewish girl of startling intelligence. Yet Heller believes that Rand's adamant self-regard and vehement protest against any form of collectivism or social conscience are rooted in her family's suffering in early-twentieth-century Russia, where Jews were violently persecuted and personal freedom was abolished.
Heller is the first to fully investigate and vigorously chronicle Rand's willful life and phenomenal and controversial achievements, from her sense of destiny (by age 11 she had already written four novels) to her arrival in America at age 21 in 1926, her work in Hollywood, and her reign in New York as a cult figurehead. Heller also offers arresting analysis of “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” Rand's critically condemned yet perpetually popular and enormously influential novels of erotic melodrama and self-aggrandizing ideology. But the heart of the book is the wrenching story of Rand's marriage to long-suffering Frank O'Connor and her affair with the much younger man who packaged and peddled her beliefs as Objectivism. The champion of individuality who insisted on obedience and conformity from her followers (including Alan Greenspan), Rand emerges from Heller's superbly vivid, enlightening, and affecting biography in all her paradoxical power.”
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After reading the book, you sort of want to go out and start collecting menus. I wonder if anyone has a collection of old menus from kosher and Jewish style restaurants and delis?
[book] APPETITE CITY
A CULINARY HISTORY OF NEW YORK
BY WILLIAM GRIMES
October 2009, North Point Press
Return to the Belle Epoque. Return to the restaurants that Diamond Jim Brady ate at, or where Dolly ate at in HELLO DOLLY. Gone now are the automats, cafeterias, Child’s lunchroom. Remember a time before electric refrigeration, and a time when oysters were the main fare. Did you know that there was no such thing as a restaurant review before WWI? New York is the greatest restaurant city the world has ever seen. In Appetite City, the former New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes leads us on a grand historical tour of New York’s dining culture. Beginning with the era when simple chophouses and oyster bars dominated the culinary scene, he charts the city’s transformation into the world restaurant capital it is today. Appetite City takes us on a unique and delectable journey, from the days when oysters and turtle were the most popular ingredients in New York cuisine, through the era of the fifty-cent French and Italian table d’hôtes beloved of American “Bohemians,” to the birth of Times Square—where food and entertainment formed a partnership that has survived to this day. Enhancing his tale with more than one hundred photographs, rare menus, menu cards, and other curios and illustrations (many never before seen), Mr. Grimes vividly describes the dining styles, dishes, and restaurants succeeding one another in an unfolding historical panorama: the deluxe ice cream parlors of the 1850s, the boisterous beef-and-beans joints along Newspaper Row in the 1890s, the assembly-line experiment of the Automat, the daring international restaurants of the 1939 World’s Fair, and the surging multicultural city of today. By encompassing renowned establishments such as Delmonico’s (an interesting story of how it started plain and the grew into a chain of upscale dining establishments) and Le Pavillon as well as the Bowery restaurants where a meal cost a penny, he reveals the ways in which the restaurant scene mirrored the larger forces shaping New York, giving us a deliciously original account of the history of America’s greatest city.
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[book] ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE
MY FAMILY‘S JOURNEY TO AMERICA
BY KATI MARTON
October 2009, Simon and Schuster
"You are opening a Pandora's box," Marton was warned when she filed for her family's secret police files in Budapest. But her family history -- during both the Nazi and the Communist periods -- was too full of shadows. The files revealed terrifying truths: secret love affairs, betrayals inside the family circle, torture and brutalities alongside acts of stunning courage -- and, above all, deep family love. In this true-life thriller, Kati Marton, an accomplished journalist, exposes the cruel mechanics of the Communist Terror State, using the secret police files on her journalist parents as well as dozens of interviews that reveal how her family was spied on and betrayed by friends and colleagues, and even their children's babysitter. In this moving and brave memoir, Marton searches for and finds her parents, and love. Marton relates her eyewitness account of her mother's and father's arrests in Cold War Budapest and the terrible separation that followed. She describes the pain her parents endured in prison -- isolated from each other and their children. She reveals the secret war between Washington and Moscow, in which Marton and her family were pawns in a much larger game.
Kati Marton, an award-winning former NPR and ABC News correspondent, is the author of Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History; as well as Wallenberg; The Polk Conspiracy; A Death in Jerusalem; and a novel, An American Woman. She is married to Richard Holbrooke.
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[book] MY FATHER‘S BONUS MARCH
BY ADAM LANGER
October 2009, Random House
Novelist Adam Langer (Ellington Boulevard) remembers his late father, a disabled Chicago radiologist, as brilliant and driven, but also distant and contradictory. For more than 30 years, his father talked about writing a history of the “Bonus March,” which Langer describes as a pivotal but now mostly forgotten event, when some 20,000 WWI veterans marched on Washington for two months during The Great Depression, demanding advance payment of bonuses due in 1945, until a bloody confrontation with the U.S. Cavalry left two protesters dead.
The Bonus March comes to represent for Langer a key to my dad's inner life, so he decides to research the event and his father's relationship to it, along the way pondering whether his grandfather, possibly a WWI vet, participated in the march and whether it had particular resonance for a man who had difficulty walking.
Langer's interviews range from his father's old friends and relatives to notables like Norman Podhoretz and John Kerry, who modeled his Vietnam protests on the march.
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FINALIST FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2009
[book] THE GLASS ROOM
A NOVEL
BY SIMON MAWER
Fall 2009, Other Press
Honeymooners Viktor and Liesel Landauer are filled with the optimism and cultural vibrancy of central Europe of the 1920s when they meet modernist architect Rainer von Abt. He builds for them a home to embody their exuberant faith in the future, and the Landauer House becomes an instant masterpiece. Viktor and Liesel, a rich Jewish mogul married to a thoughtful, modern gentile, pour all of their hopes for their marriage and budding family into their stunning new home, filling it with children, friends, and a generation of artists and thinkers eager to abandon old-world European style in favor of the new and the avant-garde. But as life intervenes, their new home also brings out their most passionate desires and darkest secrets. As Viktor searches for a warmer, less challenging comfort in the arms of another woman, and Liesel turns to her wild, mischievous friend Hana for excitement, the marriage begins to show signs of strain. The radiant honesty and idealism of 1930 quickly evaporate beneath the storm clouds of World War II. As Nazi troops enter the country, the family must leave their old life behind and attempt to escape to America before Viktor's Jewish roots draw Nazi attention, and before the family itself dissolves.
As the Landauers struggle for survival abroad, their home slips from hand to hand, from Czech to Nazi to Soviet possession and finally back to the Czechoslovak state, with new inhabitants always falling under the fervent and unrelenting influence of the Glass Room. Its crystalline perfection exerts a gravitational pull on those who know it, inspiring them, freeing them, calling them back, until the Landauers themselves are finally drawn home to where their story began. Brimming with barely contained passion and cruelty, the precision of science, the wild variance of lust, the catharsis of confession, and the fear of failure - the Glass Room contains it all.
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[book] The Fourth Star
Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army
by Greg Jaffe and David Cloud (Author)
October 2009, Crown
Although this is not a Jewish book per se, it is an amazing study and story, and draws you in from the first page. And would it hurt for you to know something about the inner lives of our countries military leaders and future leaders?
In the first chapters we meet four exceptional soldiers whose lives at times intersect. They are post Vietnam soldiers. And as we follow them and learn about their formative years, we realize that they are our current leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is most angering is to read how the army trained in 2003 in California at the National Training Center and fought as if they were fighting the Soviet Army. Wouldn’t you think that someone in command would at least realize that they should be training for middle eastern combat, or at least lessons from the first Iraq War. Can you believe that training in guerilla warfare were banned after Vietnam? Is this what happens when you leave the military to an all volunteer force and a stratified segment of the country?
Collectively, their lives tell the story of the Army over the last 40 years. Theirs is a story of successes and failures, of ambitions achieved and thwarted, of the responsibilities and perils of command. They are:
Gen. John Abizaid. The grandson of Lebanese immigrants. he is fluent in Arabic, and a Middle East expert, but this background made him skeptical of the war he found himself leading.
Gen. George Casey Jr., the son of the highest-ranking (2 star) general to be killed in the Vietnam War. (a sad story in the first chapter) Casey had grown up in the Army and won praise for his common touch and skill as a soldier. He was determined not to repeat the mistakes of Vietnam but would take much of the blame as Iraq collapsed around him.
Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the teacher, the common man solider, who drove the military rethink the occupation plans–yet rarely achieved the results he sought.
Gen. David Petraeus, the soldier-scholar, with a PhD in military history from Princeton (hint hint…. Counter insurgency tactics that could save armies), is determined to reach the Army's summit almost since the day he entered West Point’s USMA in 1970 (where he would stay up later than others and compete with anyone for anything). He has sometimes alienated his peers with his ambition and competitiveness. When he finally got his chance in Iraq, he–more than anyone–changed the Army's conception of what was possible.
John Whiteclay Chambers II (Rutgers University) writing in the Washington Post wrote, “Cloud and Jaffe have produced a worthwhile and fascinating account packed with many insights about officership, promotion and command in the army and civil-military relations. However, the authors note only in passing the larger political framework behind the military questions. The Bush administration made the decision to go to war in Iraq with a limited number of troops despite significant dissent within the army. The subsequent insurgency and civil war killed or wounded more than 30,000 American servicemen and women as the administration and Gens. Casey and Abizaid continued a failed policy. But changing political conditions can also affect generalship. By 2007 with the Democrats taking control of both houses of Congress, Bush was so weakened politically that Petraeus, the savvy new commander in Iraq, could significantly change policy in ways that his predecessors could not for lack of insight, will or political ability.”
As you read this book, it is like playing a game. You know the four generals and their histories. And you wonder who will succeed and who will fail as the military gets reorganized and “transformed” in the frying pan of Iraq.
My one caveat emptor to reading this book… you might fall in love with the Army and want to join (but avoid the politics and ambition).
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NOVEMBER 2009 BOOKS

[book] The Humbling
A novel
BY Philip Roth
November 2009, Houghton Mifflin
Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth's startling new book, his 30th. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can't persuade him to make a comeback.
Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day's journey into night, told with Roth's inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life's performances-talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation-are stripped off.
NOTE: If reading about a green dildo sex toy will gross you out, then please avoid this novel.
NOTE 2: This book is devoid of a Jewish character and plot, overtly Jewish at least. Is Axler Jewish? Who knows? Of course, his agent probably is. Aren’t all agents? But whether Axler is Jewish or not, and whether his farmhouse shotgun is circumcised or not, makes no diff. It is still a Roth novel
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[book] A CD:
Cantors, Klezmorim and Crooners 1905-1953
Box Set - Original Recording Remastered
By Various Artists
November 2009, JSP and Living Traditions
3 Cds
This is but a fingernail from the body of the collection which will one day be available through a university or public center of music and audio history. You know… Norman Lear has as his ringtone the commerical from one of these earlier CD’s, maybe he would fund the preservation of this collection….
How can you live another day without this CD? Don’t you want to hear Sholem Aleichem read his own story? Or listen to a recording of Kol Nidre, the first ever made? I do. I bought it. You should, too.
Tablet Magazine wrote: “Alongside the expected tracks by klezmer legends like clarinetist Naftule Brandwein and Kandel’s Orchestra and Jewish pop stars such as Sophie Tucker and the Barry Sisters, we find gems like a 1915 pressing of Sholom Aleichem reading from “If I Were Rothschild”; the first recording of Kol Nidre from 1924; and a cut from 1912 featuring Joe Hayman doing his “Cohen on the Telephone” routine, a surprisingly gentle bit of dialect humor in which a Yiddish speaker with a heavy accent has his first English phone conversation. The cantorial performances trace a clear arc from traditional Orthodox practice through modern Reform stylings, but they also include a couple of sui generis outliers like a recording of “Mi Sheoso Nisim” by Cantor Berele Chagy from 1919, which had me marveling, open-mouthed, at his melismatic ululations and eerie falsetto.” Click the book cover to read more.








[book] EATING ANIMALS
BY JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER
November 2009, Little Brown
Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood-facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child's behalf-his casual questioning took on an urgency His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong. Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told-and the stories we now need to tell.
Foer explores the issues of the book through the attitudes of his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor.
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[book] Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1933-1946
Volume I, 1933-1938
by Jyrgen Matthsus / Jurgen Matthaus and Mark Roseman
2009, Altamira Press and US Holocaust Museum
“For many years, the bulk of the research that has been done on the Holocaust focused on the actions of the perpetrators: what did they do and how did they do it? In recent years scholars have begun to redress this imbalance. Now their efforts will have a critically important resource on which to draw: the five volume series Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1933-1946. Drawing on diaries, letters, organizational archives and a host of other sources it gives the victims a voice that, in too many other works, has been denied to them. While this first volume stands on its own as a book well worth reading, it also promises to become an invaluable aide to scholars, teachers, students, and all others who want to know more about 'the six million.' It is long overdue."—Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies, Emory University
Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1933-1946 offers a new perspective on Holocaust history by presenting documentation that describes the manifestations and meanings of Nazi Germany's "final solution" from the Jewish perspective. This first volume, taking us from Hitler's rise to power through the aftermath of Kristallnacht, vividly reveals the increasing devastation and confusion wrought in Jewish communities in and beyond Germany at the time. Numerous period photos, documents, and annotations make this unique series an invaluable research and teaching tool.
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[book] ROCK HER WORLD
THE SEX GUIDE FOR THE MODERN MAN
BY ADAM GLASSER (Seymore Butts)
November 2009, Gotham
Such Nachas he brings to his mishpacha.
Adam Glasser is a single father in LA and has directed and produced over 100 adult films.
He also was in Showtime's reality tv series, Family Business. From pick-up secrets to mind-blowing sex, the king of the climax nails the finer points of giving and receiving perfect pleasure. One of the most recognizable names in porn, Adam Glasser has slept with more than six hundred women, on and off camera. In his first book, this professional Casanova reveals the naked truth about getting laid, addressing the nittygritty questions that amateur sexperts never even thought to ask. Rock Her World features three sections (About You, About Her, About Sex) that cover everything a man needs to know, including how to keep the male equipment in top shape, "sexercises" for improved performance, the truth about erectile dysfunction, and other fundamental topics. Next, Glasser tours every crevice of the female anatomy, with eye-opening explanations of a woman's orgasm- including female ejaculation-and surprising findings about what women really want in bed. From foreplay and oral sex to intercourse, all aspects of sex are demystified. The details of contraception, sex toys, anal sex, spanking, and the art of seduction are hammered home alongside hilarious anecdotes from Glasser's career (including one peculiar costar's climax-control technique). Fleshed out with illustrations (both instructional and comic), Rock Her World gives every man a chance to learn the art of world-class lovemaking from a legendary insider.
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[book] Jews in Nazi Berlin
From Kristallnacht to Liberation
(Studies in German Jewish Cultural History & Literature)
Edited by Beate Meyer, Hermann Simon, Chana Schutz
November 2009, University of Chicago Press
Though many of the details of Jewish life under Hitler are familiar, historical accounts rarely afford us a real sense of what it was like for Jews and their families to live in the shadow of Nazi Germany's oppressive racial laws and growing violence. With Jews in Nazi Berlin, those individual lives-and the constant struggle they required-come fully into focus, and the result is an unprecedented and deeply moving portrait of a people. Drawing on a remarkably rich archive that includes photographs, objects, official documents, and personal papers, the editors of Jews in Nazi Berlin have assembled a multifaceted picture of Jewish daily life in the Nazi capital during the height of the regime's power. The book's essays and images are divided into thematic sections, each representing a different aspect of the experience of Jews in Berlin, covering such topics as emigration, the yellow star, Zionism, deportation, betrayal, survival, and more. To supplement-and, importantly, to humanize-the comprehensive documentary evidence, the editors draw on an extensive series of interviews with survivors of the Nazi persecution, who present gripping first-person accounts of the innovation, subterfuge, resilience, and luck required to negotiate the increasing brutality of the regime. A stunning reconstruction of a storied community as it faced destruction, Jews in Nazi Berlin renders that loss with a startling immediacy that will make it an essential part of our continuing attempts to understand World War II and the Holocaust. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] START-UP NATION
THE STORY OF ISRAEL'S ECONOMIC MIRACLE
BY DAN SENOR AND SAUL SINGER
A Council of Foreign Relations Book
November 2009, Twelve
Breathless Boosterism
The book is a paean to the Israeli mind, and sometimes reads that way. Take the phrase "economic miracle." Even discounting the possibility that the authors truly had divine intervention in mind, the use of this phrase suggests that Senor and Singer are not unbiased.
START-UP NATION addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel-- a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources-- produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK? With the savvy of foreign policy insiders, Senor and Singer examine the lessons of the country's adversity-driven culture, which flattens hierarchy and elevates informality-- all backed up by government policies focused on innovation. In a world where economies as diverse as Ireland, Singapore and Dubai have tried to re-create the "Israel effect", there are entrepreneurial lessons well worth noting. As America reboots its own economy and can-do spirit, there's never been a better time to look at this remarkable and resilient nation for some impressive, surprising clues.
Dan Senor, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, has been on the front lines of policy, politics, and business in the Middle East. As a senior foreign policy advisor to the U.S. Government , he was one of the longest-serving civilian officials in Iraq. He has also served in Qatar and studied in Israel. A foreign affairs analyst for Fox News, Senor's pieces are frequently published by The Wall Street Journal. Saul Singer is the editorial editor of The Jerusalem Post, for which he writes a weekly column, and the author of Confronting Jihad: Israel's Struggle and the World after 9/11. For ten years, he served as a foreign policy advisor on Capitol Hill
Haaretz wrote: “…The writing turns positively evocative in describing how low-ranking soldiers overcame the threat of Egypt's Sagger anti-tank missile attacks during the Yom Kippur War through innovation in the field. The account would move a stone to tears. Israel was unprepared for war in general, and Col. Amnon Reshef and his men in the tank forces were flummoxed by a mysterious weapon the Egyptians were using. "At first he thought the tanks were being hit by rocket-propelled grenades," the authors relate. The battalion pulled out of RPG range, to no avail. "As the battle raged, a clue emerged. The tank operators who survived a missile hit reported to the others that they'd seen nothing, but those next to them mentioned having seen a red light moving towards the targeted tanks ... The commanders had discovered Egypt's secret weapon." It was a wire-guided missile with a 3,000-meter range that could be fired by individual enemy soldiers, against which the Israeli tanks had no ready answer. And they couldn't just contact headquarters for solutions. There were none. Being Israeli soldiers trained to think for themselves, though, they weren't paralyzed by the absence of orders from above. Having analyzed what the problem was, the men had to forge a solution in the field. "In the heat of battle," write Dan Senor and Saul Singer, they worked out the weapon's weaknesses. "The Saggers ... depended on the shooter retaining eye contact with the Israeli tank. So the Israelis devised a new doctrine: when any tank saw a red light, all would begin moving randomly while firing in the direction of the unseen shooter." The moving tanks kicked up dust that obscured the target for the shooter. It worked…….. True, Israel was never a desert wasteland. The "miracle" didn't start from scratch. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, for instance, today the biggest generic drug manufacturer in the world, has been around since 1901, though then it was called Salomon, Levin and Elstein and was a wholesale distributor. Food manufacturer Osem was founded in 1942, as a marketing company, six years before the State of Israel. There was legal infrastructure in place, inherited from the previous masters of the region -- Turkey and England. Still, these facts do not detract from the remarkable nature of Israel's "fiftyfold economic growth within sixty years," and its rise to technology powerdom.”
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[book] THE IMPERIAL CRUISE
A SECRET HISTORY IF EMPIRE AND WAR
BY JAMES BRADLEY
November 2009, Little, Brown & Company
In 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Howard Taft (later President) on the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in history to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea on the cruise line named Machuria. Roosevelt's glamorous twenty-one year old daughter Alice served as mistress of the cruise, which included senators and congressmen. Alice was no wilting flower, either, she was as tough as her father. On this trip, Taft concluded secret agreements in Roosevelt's name. But what few historians have written about, although they were well aware of it, was TR’s vile racist statements and attitudes, like how he wanted Cubans to be wiped out, or hoped that Japan would colonize Korea (which was Corea, but imperial Japan changed to Korea). In 2005, 100 years after the cruise, the author, James Bradley (he wrote “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Flyboys”. The fact that he wrote Flags of Our Fathers about American servicemen dying at Iwo Jima make this book poignant since it, in his opeinion, led to the war in the Pacific) traveled in to Asia and reports on what had transpired in Honolulu, Tokyo, Manila, Beijing and Seoul since 1905. In 1905, America made secret deals with Japan that few ever talk about. Did this light the fuse that led to colonization and WW2? And how did American racism of the time and inability to understand Pacific nationalism lead to the world situation in the 21st century.
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[book] Heather Has Two Mommies
20th Anniversary Edition
by Leslea Newman
2009, Alyson Books
TWENTY YEARS?R> Twenty years ago, Leslea’ Newman, the poet of Northampton Mass, published this book. It wasn’t her idea. She wrote it response to a woman who asked why she could not find a book that portrayed her family of two mothers and one daughter. Ms. Newman understood her plight. Ms Newman was raised Jewish in Brooklyn and grew up reading books about Easter Egg hunts, and Santa and Christmas, and not about curly haired young girls with a bubbe and Friday night Shabbat dinners. When the book came out in 1989, some parents thought that reading it to their children would turn them gay.
Times have changed ?
Herein is the story of Heather, a preschooler with two moms who discovers that some of her friends have very different sorts of families. Juan, for example, has a mommy and a daddy and a big brother named Carlos. Miriam has a mommy and a baby sister. And Joshua has a mommy, a daddy, and a stepdaddy. Their teacher Molly encourages the children to draw pictures of their families, and reassures them that "each family is special" and that "the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other."
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[book] Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism
by John Calvert
November 2009, Columbia University Press
Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) was an influential Egyptian ideologue credited with establishing the theoretical basis for radical Islamism in the postcolonial Sunni Muslim world. Lacking a pure understanding of the leader's life and work, the popular media has conflated Qutb's moral purpose with the aims of bin Laden and al-Qaeda. He is often portrayed as a terrorist, Islamo-Fascist, and advocate of murder. An expert on social protest and political resistance, John Calvert rescues Qutb from misrepresentation, following the evolution of his thought within the context of his time. Calvert recounts Qutb's life from the small village in which he was raised to his execution at the behest of Abd al-Nasser's regime. His study remains sensitive to the cultural, political, social, and economic circumstances that shaped Qutb's thought& mdash;major developments that composed one of the most eventful periods in Egyptian history. These years witnessed the full flush of Britain's tutelary regime, the advent of Egyptian nationalism, and the political hegemony of the Free Officers. Qutb rubbed shoulders with Taha Husayn, Naguib Mahfouz, and Abd al-Nasser himself, though his Islamism originally had little to do with religion. Only in response to his harrowing experience in prison did Qutb come to regard Islam and kufr (infidelity) as oppositional, antithetical, and therefore mutually exclusive. Calvert shows how Qutb repackaged and reformulated the Islamic heritage to challenge authority, including those who claimed (falsely, he believed) to be Muslim. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE AUDACITY TO WIN
THE INSIDE STORT AND LESSONS OF BARACK OBAMA'S HISTORIC VICTORY
BY DAVID PLOUFFE
CAMPAIGN MANAGER OF OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN
November 2009, Penguin Viking
This is the official story of the primary and general election campaigns. For two years, Plouffe worked side by side with Obama, creating the strategy and tactics and the course of the campaigns. The story starts with the decision to run, the epic primary battles with Clinton, and the campaign against McCain. Along the way, Plouffe tells of their gamesmanship, the drama and the intrigue. Also, it details the use of the internet and grassroots organizing. Also available on CD. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Cosmopolitans
A Social and Cultural History of the Jews of the San Francisco Bay Area
By Fred Rosenbaum
November 2009, California
Levi Strauss, A.L. Gump, Yehudi Menuhin, Gertrude Stein, Adolph Sutro, Congresswoman Florence Prag Kahn--Jewish people have been so enmeshed in life in and around San Francisco that their story is a chronicle of the metropolis itself. Since the Gold Rush, Bay Area Jews have countered stereotypes, working as farmers and miners, boxers and mountaineers. They were Gold Rush pioneers, Gilded Age tycoons, and Progressive Era reformers. Told through an astonishing range of characters and events, Cosmopolitans illuminates many aspects of Jewish life in the area: the high profile of Jewish women, extraordinary achievements in the business world, the cultural creativity of the second generation, the bitter debate about the proper response to the Holocaust and Zionism, and much more. Focusing in rich detail on the first hundred years after the Gold Rush, the book also takes the story up to the present day, demonstrating how unusually strong affinities for the arts and for the struggle for social justice have characterized this community even as it has changed over time. Cosmopolitans, set in the uncommonly diverse Bay Area, is a truly unique chapter of the Jewish experience in America.
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[book] Judaism:
A Way of Being
By David Hillel Gelernter
November 2009, Yale
Written for observant and non-observant Jews and anyone interested in religion, this book by the distinguished scholar David Gelernter who seeks to answer the deceptively simple question: What is Judaism really about?
Gelernter views Judaism as one of humanity’s most profound and sublimely beautiful achievements. But because Judaism is a way of life rather than a formal system of thought, it has been difficult for anyone but a practicing Jew to understand its unique intellectual and spiritual structure. Gelernter explores compelling questions, such as:
How does Judaism’s obsession with life on earth versus the world-to-come separate it fundamentally from Christianity and Islam? Why do Jews believe in God, and how can they after the Holocaust? What makes Classical Judaism the most important intellectual development in Western history? Why does Judaism teach that, in the course of the Jewish people’s coming-of-age, God moved out of history and into the human mind, abandoning all power but the capacity to talk to each person from inside and thereby to influence events only indirectly?
In discussing these and other questions, Gelernter seeks to lay out Jewish beliefs on four basic topics—the sanctity of everyday life; man and God; the meaning of sexuality and family; good, evil, and the nature of God’s justice in a cruel world—and to convey a profound and stirring sense of what it means to be Jewish
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[book] EMANCIPATION
HOW LIBERATING EUROPE'S JEWS FROM THE GHETTO LED TO REVOLUTION AND RENAISSANCE
BY MICHAEL GOLDFARB
November 2009, SImon and Schuster
A popular and easily readable history of the Jews of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. For almost 5 centuries, the Jews of Europe were forced into specific professions and locked each night behind walls and gates. The word "ghetto" itself came from the Venetian island where the Jews were forced to live. And then Napoleon swept threw Europe and the jews were freed. Napoleon LITERALLY tore down the ghetto gates and doors. Jews no longer had to wear badges, and within 100 years, we had Marx, Dreyfus, Herzl, Heine, Freud, Mahler, Schoenberg, Proust, Pisarro, Kafka, Einstein, and so many more. The Emancipation changed Europe and knowledge, and it changed Judaism, or the practice of Judaism, as well. It also led to the Zionist Congress. This is the story.
BLURB: Emancipation tells the story of how this isolated minority emerged from the ghetto and against terrible odds very quickly established themselves as shapers of history, as writers, revolutionaries, social thinkers and artists. Their struggle to create a place for themselves in Western European life led to revolutions and nothing less than a second renaissance in western culture. The book spans the era from the French Revolution to the beginning of the twentieth century. The story is told through the lives of the people who lived through this momentous change. Some are well-known: Marx, Freud, Mahler, Proust and Einstein; many more have been forgotten. Michael Goldfarb brings them all to life.
This is an epic story and Goldfarb tells it with the skill and eye for detail of a novelist. He brings the empathy and understanding that has marked his two decades as a journalist covering conflicts from Northern Ireland to Bosnia to Iraq to making the characters come alive. It is a tale full of hope, struggle, triumph and waiting at the end, a great tragedy. This is a book that will have meaning for anyone interested in the struggle of immigrants and minorities to succeed. We live in a world where vast numbers are on the move, where religions and races are grinding against each other in new combinations; Emancipation is a book of history for our time.
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[book][book] FAR FROM ZION
IN SEARCH OF A GLOBAL JEWISH COMMUNITY
BY CHARLES LONDON
October 2009, Morrow
After the State of Israel was born in 1948, Jews left their far flung communities and returned to Zion. But many, or most, stayed in other countries, either in Arkansas, Tehran, or Uganda and Bosnia. London writes about his own religious journey against a backdrop of exploring various Jewish communities around the world.. Charles London is a former research associate with Refugees International. His work has appeared in National Geographic, the Baltimore Times, New Voices, and ReliefWeb. In 1999 he was the recipient of the Rolling Stone College Journalism Award. He works with young adults for the New York Public Library in Harlem, and he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

“Are you Jewish?" It was a question Charles London heard everywhere he went. Raised in a nonreligious Jewish family in suburban Baltimore, London knew his heritage but had no strong desire to experience it personally. He cried the first time he had to go to Baltimore Hebrew for bar mitzvah lessons. It wasn’t until after his grandmother died, and he was given access to her books and artwork, that he realized how much of a deep religious thinker she was. She was actually raised in an observant Jewish household among the Litvaks of suburban Norfolk Virginia. But she put that all behind her when she moved to Baltimore. Or so he thought. London, who had a WASPy name and lived a WASPy life, spent much of his teen years pretending NOT to be Jewish. He writes, “No matter what my complicated postmodern multicultural; queer theory saturated hyper nuanced identity told me I was, there seemed to be a biological or historical fact of my Jewishness…”
In the summer of 2004, while doing relief work with children in Bosnia, he stumbled upon a community the likes of which he had not seen before-where Jews worked alongside Muslims and Christians to rebuild a city ravaged by war. London liked this idea of a non Zionist centered, humanitarian Judaism, and though he didn't realize it at the time, this encounter gave him the idea for a journey that would take him around the world and back to his roots.
The book opens with Mr. London in Burma, in search of the shul for high holiday services. It is monsoon weather; he is wet; there is civil unrest; and there are only two others present for Kol Nidre. In Burma, he meets Sammy, a 20-something heir to the community. London sees that the Torah portion in the shul links him to Sammy, separated as they were by a gulf of culture and geography. He wonders how the community survived, and sees it in action, or inaction, during some political unrest during his visit. He then moves on to Bentonville, Arkansas, home of Wal-Mart; New Orleans after Katrina, post war Bosnia; Uganda, Cuba, Iran…. Zion and then he finds a city in the closing chapter where London finds a the Jewish community he longs for, where Jews of all skin tones, genders, identities, backgrounds, origins, and education levels show up for high holiday services.

The Jews' frequent flights from persecution have seen the establishment of communities in some of the most surprising places, and despite efforts by Israel to bring these scattered people home to Zion, many have chosen to remain in the land of their birth. From a shopkeeper selling Jewish trinkets in Iran, to a Hanukkah celebration in an Arkansas bowling alley; from Rangoon, where a fifty-seven-year-old chain-smoking caretaker keeps watch over an all-but-forgotten synagogue, to an engineering professor in Cuba proud of his Jewish heritage, yet even prouder of his Communist ideals, pockets of the Diaspora endure, despite intense pressure to flee. Their decision to stay put offers hope that peace may lie not in congregating behind borders but in the promise of a global community of neighbors.
See him read at: October 14, 2009 06:00 PM BARNES & NOBLE 77 Broadway New Haven
October 15, 2009 07:00 PM BROOKLINE BOOKSMITH Brookline, MA
October 18, 2009 10:30 AM PELHAM JEWISH CENTER
November 04, 2009 06:45 PM DETROIT JEWISH BOOK FAIR West Bloomfield
November 09, 2009 SAN DIEGO JEWISH BOOK FAIR
November 10, 2009 06:30 PM JCC OF GREATER WASHINGTON 40th Annual Book Festival in Rockville
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[book] PALESTINIAN IDENTITY
THE CONSTrUCTION OF MODERN NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS
Newly updated and revised
By Rashid Khalidi
November 2009, Columbia University Press
Impressive and thoughtful as always, from the author of “under Siege: PLO Decisionmaking During the 1982 War.”
"I believe that discussions of whether a one-state or a two-state solution to this conflict is preferable have a slightly surreal quality in the current critical environment. What has to be done is not to debate how many states can dance on the head of a pin, but rather to devise how to reverse - very rapidly - the powerful current dynamic and get the Palestinian people out of the state they are in. The highly inequitable de facto one-state 'solution' now in effect looks more and more entrenched, but, paradoxically, I predict it will become more and more untenable and more violently unstable as time goes on."-From the new introduction
The foundational text on everyone's reading list, Palestinian Identity now features a new introduction by the author that reflecting on the significance of his work over the past decade and its relationship to the struggle for Palestinian nationhood. Khalidi also considers the future, expressing cautious optimism toward Israel's recognition of a Palestinian political entity yet wondering whether such acknowledgement will lead to Palestinian statehood and independence.
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[book] A Fine Romance
Jewish Songwriters, American Songs
(Jewish Encounters)
by David Lehman
October 2009, Schocken Nextbook
In A Fine Romance, David Lehman looks at the formation of the American songbook--the timeless numbers that became jazz standards, iconic love songs, and sound tracks to famous movies--and explores the extraordinary fact that this songbook was written almost exclusively by Jews. An acclaimed poet, editor, and cultural critic, David Lehman hears America singing--with a Yiddish accent. He guides us through America in the golden age of song, when "Embraceable You," "White Christmas," "Easter Parade," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "My Romance," "Cheek to Cheek," "Stormy Weather," and countless others became nothing less than the American sound track. The stories behind these songs, the shows from which many of them came, and the shows from which many of them came, and the composers and lyricists who wrote them give voice to a specifically American saga of love, longing, assimilation, and transformation. Lehman's analytical skills, wit, and exuberance infuse this book with an energy and a tone like no other: at once sharply observant, personally searching, and attuned to the songs that all of us love. He helps us understand how natural it should be that Wizard of Oz composer Harold Arlen was the son of a cantor who incorporated "Over the Rainbow" into his Sabbath liturgy, and why Cole Porter--the rare non-Jew in this pantheon of musicians who wrote these classic songs shaped America even as America was shaping them.
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[book] THEY DARED RETURN
THE UNTOLD STORY OF JEWISH SPIES BEHIND THE LINES IN NAZI GERMANY
BY PATICK O’DONNELL
October 2009, Basic Books
Having barely escaped Germany, several Jewish friends are determined to strike back at the Third Reich while their families languish in concentration camps. After months of training with the U.S. Army, a small group of spies is formed, including several former German soldiers now willing to betray their Führer for the greater good of Germany. The mission’s commander is a Jewish sergeant who only months earlier was plucked from the streets of Brooklyn. The men are sent on a covert operation deep into the heavily fortified area of Austria’s “Alpine Redoubt,” where Hitler planned to make his last stand. Capture meant almost certain death; success, a swift end to the war. Using recently declassified files, private documents, and personal interviews, military historian Patrick K. O’Donnell has written another cinematic World War II drama, filled with an unforgettable cast of characters and packed with action, suspense, and intrigue.
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[book] Beg Borrow Steal
A Writer's Life
By Michael Greenberg
Other Press, Fall 2009
To the literary elite, Michael Greenberg has always been known for his trenchant and moving columns that appear biweekly in the Times Literary Supplement. But when critics hailed his memoir Hurry Down Sunshine as a classic, Greenberg became a household name. Beg, Borrow, Steal is an autobiography in installments, set in NewYork, where the author depicts the life of a writer of little means trying to practice his craft, or simply stay alive. He finds himself writing about golf, a game that he never played; doctoring doomed movie scripts; driving trucks and taxis; selling cosmetics from an ironing board in front of a women's department store; and botching his debut as a waiter in a coveted five-star restaurant. Central characters include the City of All Cities; Michael's father, whose scrap metal business looms large; his elegant mother; his first wife, Robin, whom he met in a Greenwich Village high school; their son, Aaron, who grew up on the Lower East Side; a repentant communist who fought in the Spanish Civil War; a Chilean filmmaker in search of his past; rats who behave like humans; beggars who are poets; a man who becomes a woman; and a woman who prefers to live underground. Greenberg creates a world where the familial, the incongruous, the literary, the humorous, the tragic, and the prosaic not only speak to each other, but deeply enjoy the exchange. Praising Greenberg and his column in the New York Times, Rachel Donadio wrote: "Imagine The Talk of the Town as if written by Dostoyevsky." This is an entirely original book, whose writing is magical and whose insights are deceptively profound. Click the book cover to read more.






[book] A NEW HISTORY OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY
BY CHARLES FREEMAN
OCTOBER 2009, Yale
The relevance of Christianity is as hotly contested today as it has ever been. A New History of Early Christianity shows how our current debates are rooted in the many controversies surrounding the birth of the religion and the earliest attempts to resolve them. Charles Freeman's meticulous historical account of Christianity from its birth in Judaea in the first century A.D. to the emergence of Western and Eastern churches by A.D. 600 reveals that it was a distinctive, vibrant, and incredibly diverse movement brought into order at the cost of intellectual and spiritual vitality. Against the conventional narrative of the inevitable "triumph" of a single distinct Christianity, Freeman shows that there was a host of competing Christianities, many of which had as much claim to authenticity as those that eventually dominated. Looking with fresh eyes at the historical record, Freeman explores the ambiguities and contradictions that underlay Christian theology and the unavoidable compromises enforced in the name of doctrine. Tracing the astonishing transformation that the early Christian church underwent-from sporadic niches of Christian communities surviving in the wake of a horrific crucifixion to sanctioned alliance with the state-Charles Freeman shows how freedom of thought was curtailed by the development of the concept of faith. The imposition of "correct belief," religious uniformity, and an institutional framework that enforced orthodoxy were both consolidating and stifling. Uncovering the difficulties in establishing the Christian church, he examines its relationship with Judaism, Gnosticism, Greek philosophy and Greco-Roman society, and he offers dramatic new accounts of Paul, the resurrection, and the church fathers and emperors. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] THE COMMENTATOR'S BIBLE
THE JPS MIORA'OT GEDOLOT: LEVITICUS
Translated and Annotated by Michael Carasik
October 2009, JPS
The second volume of the acclaimed English edition of Miqra'ot Gedolot First published 500 years ago as the "Rabbinic Bible," the biblical commentaries known as Miqra'ot Gedolot have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers. With this edition, the voices of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nahmanides, Rashbam, and other medieval Bible commentators come alive once more, speaking in a contemporary English translation annotated and explicated for lay readers. Each page of this second volume in The Commentators' Bible series contains several verses from the Book of Leviticus, surrounded by both the 1917 and 1985 JPS translations, and by new contemporary English translations of the major commentators. The book also includes an introduction, a glossary of terms, a list of names used in the text, notes on source texts, a special topics list, and resources for further study. This large-format volume is beautifully designed for easy navigation among the many elements on each page, including explanatory notes and selected additional comments from the works of Bekhor Shor, Hizkuni, Abarbanel, Sforno, Gersonides, and others.
See also: [book]











[book] EICHMANN's MEN
BY HANS SAFRIAN, (University if Vienna)
November 2009, Cambridge
More than sixty years after the advent of the National Socialist genocides, the question still remains: how could a state-sponsored terror that took the lives of millions of men, women, and children, persecuted as Jews or Gypsies, happen? Now available in English, Hans Safrian's path-breaking work on Adolf Eichmann and his Nazi helpers chronicles the escalation of Nazi anti-Semitic policies beginning in 1933 and during World War II to the "final solution." This book examines a central group of National Socialist perpetrators who expelled German, Austrian, and Czech Jews from their homelands and deported massive numbers of them to the ghettos, concentration camps, and killing centers of occupied Eastern Europe. Safrian reconstructs the "careers" of Eichmann and his men in connection with the implementation of racial policies, particularly the gradual marginalization of their victims and the escalation from stigmatization, divestment, and segregation to deportation, forced labor, and, finally, mass murder.
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[book] America's Prophet
Moses and the American Story
by Bruce Feiler
October 2009, Harper
See him on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di-O1jDxAFs
The exodus story is America's story. Moses is our real founding father. The pilgrims quoted his story. Franklin and Jefferson proposed he appear on the U.S. seal. Washington and Lincoln were called his incarnations. The Statue of Liberty and Superman were molded in his image. Martin Luther King, Jr., invoked him the night before he died. Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama cited him as inspiration. For four hundred years, one figure inspired more Americans than any other. His name is Moses. In this groundbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler travels through touchstones in American history and traces the biblical prophet's influence from the Mayflower through today. He visits the island where the pilgrims spent their first Sabbath, climbs the bell tower where the Liberty Bell was inscribed with a quote from Moses, retraces the Underground Railroad where "Go Down, Moses" was the national anthem of slaves, and dons the robe Charlton Heston wore in The Ten Commandments. "Even a cursory review of American history indicates that Moses has emboldened leaders of all stripes," Feiler writes, "patriot and loyalist, slave and master, Jew and Christian. Could the persistence of his story serve as a reminder of our shared national values? Could he serve as a unifying force in a disunifying time? If Moses could split the Red Sea, could he unsplit America?"
One part adventure story, one part literary detective story, one part exploration of faith in contemporary life, America's Prophet takes readers through the landmarks of America's narrative—from Gettysburg to Selma, the Silver Screen to the Oval Office—to understand how Moses has shaped the nation's character. Meticulously researched and highly readable, America's Prophet is a thrilling, original work of history that will forever change how we view America, our faith, and our future.
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[book] MRS. GREENBERG'S MESSY HANUKKAH
By LINDA GLASER
Albert Whitman
From Booklist: Ages 5 - 7. What's the first night of Hanukkah without latkes? But Rachel's parents are too busy to think about cooking, so Rachel pays a visit to elderly Mrs. Greenberg, whose sparkling kitchen begs to be invaded by an energetic little girl with potato pancakes on her mind. Pretty soon potatoes, flour, and eggs coat the floor, and an exhausted Mrs. Greenberg has collapsed in a chair. When Rachel's parents arrive, they focus on the mess, and a tearful Rachel apologizes. Then Mrs. Greenberg comes to the rescue, declaring firmly, "My house hasn't felt this lived in in years." Pattern and bright color abound in Cote's lighthearted, cartoonlike pictures, which channel the glow of the menorah on the table right onto the happy faces of the characters as they sit down to eat Rachel's latkes. A recipe, at the front of the book, completes this lively package, suggested for children who are already familiar with the holiday.
BLURB: Though it's the first night of Hanukkah, Rachel's family won't really be celebrating until next week. But Rachel wants to celebrate now, so she comes up wtih a good idea: while her parents do errands, she'll visit her neighbor, Mrs. Greenberg, and they can make latkes together. The two head into Mrs. Greenberg's shiny, tidy kitchen and begin grating the potatoes. But Rachel's gratings slide off the table and onto the floor. Before long, Rachel has dropped an egg, spilled the flour, and dribbled the oil. Mrs. Greenberg is exhausted, Rachel's mom and dad are horrified, and Rachel is afraid she's ruined a friendship by making this terrible mess. She is relieved and delighted to find that Mrs. Greenberg thinks it's a wonderful mess--her house hasn't felt so lived-in in years
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[book] Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy
A Board book
by Don Freeman with Lisa McCue (Illustrator)
2009, Viking
Ages 0 – 2
Celebrate the festival of lights with Corduroy. Corduroy’s having a Hanukkah party for all of his friends. First they light the menorah, then they eat yummy potato pancakes. After they open presents, there’s time for a game of dreidel. Introduce little boys and girls to all of the Hanukkah traditions with Corduroy, one of the most beloved children’s books characters for over forty years.
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[book] A Chanukah Present For Me!
A Board book
by Scholastic
2009, Scholastic
Ages up to 3
It looks like a wrapped gift
A great miracle happened...and now it is time for a great celebration. DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHANUKAH is a playful holiday format that mimics a wrapped gift box. With glitter flocking and an embossed "bow," this simple story highlights the most popular Chanukah icons and traditions as family members share their favorite parts of the holiday, like doughnuts. From the menorah to latkes to chocolate gelt, DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHANUKAH is the gift that keeps on giving.
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[book] Hanukkah Lights
A Board book
by David Martin
2009, Candlewick
Ages 1 – 3
Candles on the menorah, ready to light! At Hanukkah, there are many much-anticipated rituals — latkes to eat, dreidels to spin, presents to give and receive, and shiny gold treats. Add some free-form fun, from shadow puppetry to singing and dancing, and you have a warm, truly child-friendly celebration.
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[book] HOPPY HANUKKAH!
BY LINDA GLASER
2009, Whitman
Ages 2 – 5
Violet and Simon, two small bunnies, are excited about Hanukkah. Simon is ready to light all the candles and then blow them right out! But Mama and Papa explain how to celebrate Hanukkah by lighting one candle each night at sunset and placing the menorah in the window for all to see. Grandma and Grandpa come over, too, and there are latkes and presents and a dreidel game. Linda Glaser's simple, cozy story is just right for children first learning about this holiday. Daniel Howarth's charming paintings show a happy family passing on their tradition.
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[book] MY CHANUKAH PLAYBOOK
BY SALINA YOON
2009, Little Simon
Ages 3 – 5
Chanukah is coming and it's time to learn about the celebration of lights and light the candles on the menorah! With 8 foiled board play pieces and interactive notches on every spread, children can learn about learn the meaning of celebrating Chanukah and some of the delicious foods, festive games, and songs that are shared during the holiday. The final spread features a full length menorah with bold candles and a slots above each candle where the play pieces slip in to bring foiled light to each candle.
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[book] MENORAH UNDER THE SEA
BY ESTHER SUSAN HELLER
2009, Kar-Ben
Ages 5 - 9
Diving for sea urchins at the bottom of the frigid sea, marine biologist David Ginsburg brings Hanukkah to Antarctica with a most unusual holiday celebration. The book contains pictures of his trip. He dives down and makes a menorah of urchins (no candles), and then on the surface lights his travel menorah with his other Jewish scientists stationed at the South Pole.
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[book] WHEN I GROW UP, I WILL WIN THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
BY ISABEL PIN
Translated from German by Nancy Seitz
Ages 4 - 8
The boy in this book is having trouble admitting - much less closing - the large gap between his aspirations and his everyday actions. This boy knows that when he's older he will love his neighbor, but for now he's all too happy to pick on his sister. This boy even knows that one day he will be given the Nobel Peace Prize: for standing up to bullies, helping the poor, protecting animals and the environment - for all his good deeds. But with his bold claims continually contrasted by pictures that tell a very different story, even this boy eventually has to admit it's time to stop boasting and take the first step. With cheeky artwork that offers a great big reality check to the high-minded protagonist, this book uses humor to underscore the importance - and the difficulty - of trying to live up to our own ideals.
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[book] Can I Have a Cell Phone For Hanukkah?
The Essential Scoop on Raising Modern Jewish Kids
By Sharon Duke Estroff
Broadway Books
How do you help your child choose between mandatory baseball practice and Hebrew school? How can you plan a birthday party (not to mention bar or bat mitzvah party!) for your child without sacrificing your values, sanity, and pocketbook? How can you keep peace on the homework homefront? And how do you deal with Santa envy-let alone the entire month of December? What if your child is invited a party on Shabbat? How do handle Santa envy? As any modern Jewish parent knows, balancing family traditions and the realities of contemporary culture can be incredibly challenging. Answering questions both old and new, Jewish and secular, internationally syndicated parenting columnist and award-winning Jewish educator and mother of four, Sharon Duke Estroff illuminates the ways that Jewish tradition can be used to form a lasting, emotional safety net for modern families. Can I Have a Cell Phone for Hanukkah? is an instant classic. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] BEYOND AMERICA'S GRASP
A Century of Failed Diplomacy in the Middle East
By Stephen P. Cohen
November 2009, Farrar Straus & Giroux
AN INCISIVE "WHITE PAPER" ON THE UNITED STATES'S STRUGGLE TO FRAME A COHERENT MIDDLE EAST POLICY. In this book, the Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen traces U.S. policy in the region back to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, when the Great Powers failed to take crucial steps to secure peace there. He sees in that early diplomatic failure a pattern shaping the conflicts since then-and America's role in them. A century ago, there emerged two dominant views regarding the uses of America's newfound power. Woodrow Wilson urged America to promote national freedom and self-determination through the League of Nations-in stark contrast to his predecessor Theodore Roosevelt, who had advocated a vigorous foreign policy based on national self-interest.
Cohen argues that this running conflict has hobbled American dealings in the Middle East ever since. In concise, pointed chapters, Cohen shows how different Middle East countries have struggled to define themselves in the face of America's stated idealism and its actual realpolitik. This conflict came to a head in the confused, clumsy Middle East policy of George W. Bush-but Cohen suggests the ways a greater awareness of our history in the region might enable our present leaders to act more sensibly.
Cohen is the Director of the Institute of Middle East Peace and Development. The Institute for Middle East Peace and Development was established by Dr. Stephen P. Cohen in 1979 at CUNY, and is now an independent organization. It convened the first secret official negotiations between Israel and the PLO, supervised by Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres. Today it organizes confidential discussions with the Syrian leadership. It inaugurated a new institutional focus by convening an interfaith meeting of high-level Arab-Muslim religious leaders with their counterparts from the US.
It advocates that Jerusalem is a dignified city, and have been undaunted by political pressure in advancing a vision of the city of peace.
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[book] JEWISH TERRORISM IN ISRAEL
by Ami Pedahzur (Texas) and Arie Perliger (Stony Brook)
November 2009, Columbia University Press
Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger, world experts on the study of terror and security, propose a theory of violence that contextualizes not only recent acts of terror but also instances of terrorism that stretch back centuries. Beginning with ancient Palestine and its encounters with Jewish terrorism, the authors analyze the social, political, and cultural factors that sponsor extreme violence, proving religious terrorism is not the fault of one faith, but flourishes within any counterculture that adheres to a totalistic ideology. When a totalistic community perceives an external threat, the connectivity of the group and the rhetoric of its leaders bolster the collective mindset of members, who respond with violence. In ancient times, the Jewish sicarii of Judea carried out stealth assassinations against their Roman occupiers. In the mid-twentieth century, to facilitate their independence, Jewish groups committed acts of terror against British soldiers and the Arab population in Palestine. More recently, Yigal Amir, a member of a Jewish terrorist cell, assassinated Yitzhak Rabin to express his opposition to the Oslo Peace Accords. Conducting interviews with former Jewish terrorists, political and spiritual leaders, and law-enforcement officials, and culling information from rare documents and surveys of terrorist networks, Pedahzur and Perliger construct an extensive portrait of terrorist aggression, while also describing the conditions behind the modern rise of zealotry.
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[book] Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust
Three Essays on Denial, Forgetting, and the Delegitimation of Israel
by Elhanan Yakira (Hebrew Univ) and Michael Swirsky (Translator)
November 2009, Cambridge
This book contains three independent essays, available in English for the first time, as well as a post-scriptum written for the English edition. The common theme of the three essays is the uses and abuses of the Holocaust as an ideological arm in the anti-Zionist campaigns. The first essay examines the French group of left-wing Holocaust deniers. The second essay deals with a number of Israeli academics and intellectuals, the so-called post-Zionists, and tries to follow their use of the Holocaust in their different attempts to demonize and delegitimize Israel. The third deals with Hannah Arendt and her relations with Zionism and the State of Israel as reflected in her general work and in Eichmann in Jerusalem; the views that she formulates are used systematically and extensively by anti- and post-Zionists. Elhanan Yakira argues that each of these is a particular expression of an outrage: anti-Zionism and a wholesale delegitimation of Israel.
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[book] FREE FOR ALL
JOE PAPP, THE PUBLIC, and the GREATEST THEATER STORY EVER TOLD
BY KENNETH TURAN and the late JOSEPH PAPP
November 2009, Doubleday
Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan takes you behind the scenes at the Public Theater and tells the amazing story of how Joe Papp made American theatrical and cultural history.
Free for All is the irresistible oral history of the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater-two institutions that under the inspired leadership of Joseph Papp have been a premier source of revolutionary and enduring American theater. To tell this fascinating story, Kenneth Turan interviewed some 160 luminaries-including George C. Scott, Meryl Streep, Mike Nichols, Kevin Kline, James Earl Jones, David Rabe, Jerry Stiller, Tommy Lee Jones, and Wallace Shawn-and masterfully weaves their voices into a dizzyingly rich tale of creativity, conflict, and achievement. And at the center of this incredibly engrossing account of artistic daring and excellence the larger-than-life figure of Joseph Papp reigns supreme. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] BYZANTINE SLAVERY AND THE MEDITERRANEAN WORLD
BY YOUVAL ROTMAN
November 2009, Harvard University Press
As a former slave (in Egypt with Moses...) I am attracted to books on slavery...
Slavery may no longer exist as a legal institution, but we still find many forms of non-freedom in contemporary societies. It is a troubling paradox, and one this book addresses by considering a period in which the definition of slavery and freedom proved considerably flexible. Between more familiar forms of slavery-those of antiquity and of the Americas-the institution as it was practiced and theorized in the Byzantine Mediterranean was of a different nature. Looking at the Byzantine concept of slavery within the context of law, the labor market, medieval politics, and religion, Youval Rotman illustrates how these contexts both reshaped and sustained the slave market. By focusing on a period of great change, his historical analysis brings a new perspective to concepts of slavery and freedom. In this period, when Byzantium had to come to terms with the rising power of the Islamic state, and to fight numerous wars over territory and economic interests, Rotman traces a shift in the cultural perception of slaves as individuals: they began to be seen as human beings instead of private property. His book analyzes slavery as a historical process against the background of the political, social, and religious transformation of the Mediterranean world, and demonstrates the flexible and adaptable character of this institution. Arguing against the use of the term "slavery" for any extreme form of social dependency, Rotman shows instead that slavery and freedom are unrelated concepts. His work offers a radical new understanding of the geopolitical and religious dynamics that have defined and redefined slavery and freedom, in the past and in our own time.
Youval Rotman, received his Ph.D. from Paris X-Nanterre and Tel Aviv Universities in 2002, is a historian of Byzantium. He is an Assistant Professor at Yale and is currently working on Arab-Byzantine relationships. If you like this book, read his other one: Les esclaves et l'esclavage. De la Méditerranée antique à la Méditerranée médiévale, VIe - XIe siècles. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution
By Kenneth Moss
Fall 2009, Harvard University Press
Between 1917 and 1921, as revolution convulsed Russia, Jewish intellectuals and writers across the crumbling empire threw themselves into the pursuit of a “Jewish renaissance.” At the heart of their program lay a radically new vision of Jewish culture predicated not on religion but on art and secular individuality, national in scope yet cosmopolitan in content, framed by a fierce devotion to Hebrew or Yiddish yet obsessed with importing and participating in the shared culture of Europe and the world. These cultural warriors sought to recast themselves and other Jews not only as a modern nation but as a nation of moderns. Kenneth Moss offers the first comprehensive look at this fascinating moment in Jewish and Russian history. He examines what these numerous would-be cultural revolutionaries, such as El Lissitzky and Haim Nahman Bialik, meant by a new Jewish culture, and details their fierce disagreements but also their shared assumptions about what culture was and why it was so important. In close readings of Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian texts, he traces how they sought to realize their ideals in practice as writers, artists, and thinkers in the burgeoning cultural centers of Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. And he reveals what happened to them and their ideals as the Bolsheviks consolidated their hold over cultural life. Here is a brilliant, revisionist argument about the nature of cultural nationalism, the relationship between nationalism and socialism as ideological systems, and culture itself, the axis around which the encounter between Jews and European modernity has pivoted over the past century.
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[book] EVENING'S EMPIRE
BY ZACHARY LAZAR
November 2009, Little, Brown & Company
On February 21st, l975, Edward Lazar was shot dead in a Phoenix, Arizona parking garage. Lazar's son, Zachary, was seven years old--too young to know his loving, mild-mannered father very well. Evening's Empire is his attempt to reconstruct the sequence of events that led to Ed Lazar's murder, as well as a personal investigation of the man, his time and place, and his motivations. Why did Ed Lazar, a superficially fun-loving but basically quiet, intense, and precise accountant, take illicit risks in his business dealings? Why would he endanger his livelihood, reputation, and family's future? His son has written what he calls a "conjuration" of his father to answer those questions. On the summer night of the first moon landing, l969, Ed Lazar announced to his wife that he had "grabbed the brass ring."--he had gotten his real estate licence and would be going into the land business with his former boss and new partner, Ned Warren. That night Walter Cronkite was shouting "Go, baby, go" at liftoff; six years later, also on the CBS Evening News, Cronkite would be reporting the "gangland-style murder" of Edward Lazar. Ned Warren had become widely known in Arizona as "the Godfather of land fraud," and his former partner, Ed Lazar, was killed the day before he was scheduled to testify against him. Only the hit men were prosecuted--fined but not jailed. Based on extensive archival research and interviews with Ed Lazar's friends, business associates, and family members, and clarified by scenes imagined in the context of this evidence, Zachary Lazar has written a piercing and singular story of the consequences of careless ambition.
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[book] THE ARABS
A HISTORY
BY EUGENE ROGAN (Oxford)
November 2009, Basic Books
To American observers, the Arab world often seems little more than a distant battleground characterized by religious zealotry and political chaos. Years of tone-deaf US policies have left the region powerless to control its own destiny—playing into a longstanding sense of shame and impotence for a once-mighty people. In this definitive account, preeminent historian Eugene Rogan traces five centuries of Arab history, from the Ottoman conquests through the British and French colonial periods and up to the present age of unipolar American hegemony. The Arab world is now more acutely aware than ever of its own vulnerability, and this sense of subjection carries with it vast geopolitical consequences. Drawing from Arab sources little known to Western readers, Rogan’s The Arabs will transform our understanding of the past, present, and future of one of the world’s most tumultuous regions.
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NOW IN PAPERBACK
[book] The Shtetl
New Evaluations
(Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies Series)
By Steven Katz
November 2009, NYU Press NY University Pressa
Dating from the sixteenth century, there were hundreds of shtetls—Jewish settlements—in Eastern Europe that were home to a large and compact population that differed from their gentile, mostly peasant neighbors in religion, occupation, language, and culture. The shtetls were different in important respects from previous types of Jewish settlements in the Diaspora in that Jews had rarely formed a majority in the towns in which they lived. This was not true of the shtetl, where Jews sometimes comprised 80% or more of the population. While the shtetl began to decline during the course of the nineteenth century, it was the Holocaust which finally destroyed it. During the last thirty years the shtetl has attracted a growing amount of scholarly attention, though gross generalizations and romanticized nostalgia continue to affect how the topic is treated. This volume takes a new look at this most important facet of East European Jewish life. It helps to correct the notion that the shtetl was an entirely Jewish world and shows the ways in which the Jews of the shtetl interacted both with their co-religionists and with their gentile neighbors. The volume includes chapters on the history of the shtetl, its myths and realities, politics, gender dynamics, how the shtetl has been (mis)represented in literature, and the changes brought about by World War I and the Holocaust, among others.
Contributors: Samuel Kassow, Gershon David Hundert, Immanuel Etkes, Nehemia Polen, Henry Abramson, Konrad Zielinski, Jeremy Dauber, Israel Bartel, Naomi Seidman, Mikhail Krutikov, Arnold J. Band, Katarzyna Wieclawska, Yehunda Bauer, and Elie Wiesel.
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[book] BIRTH
When the Spiritual and the Material Come Together
BY SHARI ARISON (Israel’s Wealthiest Woman)
November 2009, Phoenix
Shari Arison is one of the most influential women in the world. She is the leader of a successful business empire and one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in Israel. From growing up with her father, Ted Arison, the founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, to her acquisition of the chairmanship position of the Arison Group, Arison possesses a unique perspective on both business and spiritual growth.
In Birth: When The Spiritual and The Material Come Together, Arison provides her vision for creating a new reality for the future, generated from a marriage of the spiritual and the material. She currently sees the world collapsing into a mess of personal and corporate greed - a world rampant with financial corruption, environmental negligence and decaying social values. In Birth, she presents a compelling message that every person in the world is capable of contributing to change. Arison's account chronicles her own journeys, both spiritually and in business, that led to the repositioning of the Arison Group as an enterprise focused on balancing profit with a strong commitment to sustainability and philanthropy. She passionately advocates mutual responsibility, intimately outlining how one must first turn within him or herself and attain inner peace to work toward the larger picture of world accord. With Arison's plan for the future, every person can convert crisis into opportunity.
PW Writes: “Just in time to replace the now-defunct (or at least diminished) greed-is-good ethos on Wall Street, Israel’s wealthiest daughter, Carnival Cruise Lines CEO and major philanthropist, Arison, presents a spiritual approach to successfully running a vast business and effectively giving back. Raised in Israel and Miami, Fla., the thrice-married mother of four and head of the Arison Group (with controlling interests in Israel’s largest bank, among other investments) has an experienced, authoritative voice that benefits from her candid bravura, unafraid to divulge the messages she claims to have received from “up above” through dreams and the wishes of others. In simple language, she also recalls many painful and difficult chapters in her life, as well as lessons from her study of the world’s religions. Her journey has left her with a rather secular devotion to self-knowledge and authenticity, what she believes are the keys to maintaining order and principle among chaos. Arison’s proposal is that business should be driven by core values—integrity, purity, vision, and vitality—rather than financial gain. Though her own enterprises are given an outsized role, Arison proves that new age ideas and generosity can exist harmoniously with pragmatic leadership strategies.” Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Family Meals
Coming Together to Care for an Aging Parent
by Michael Tucker
November 2009, Atlantic Monthly Press
Michael would like to sit in a café, drink wine, be a scholarly Jewish writer and reader, and warm himself under the Italian sun.
You know them from LA LAW and other television dramas and films. Actors Michael Tucker and his wife, Jill Eikenberry, were enjoying the early years of retirement in their dream house, a beautiful 350-year-old stone farmhouse in the central Italian province of Umbria, when life reared its ugly head on their summer plans.
Jill's mother's second husband, Ralph, has passed away, and Michael and Jill must leave the respite of the Italian countryside and travel westward to console Lora, Jill's mother, and help her plan her future. Thus begins "Family Meals," a beautifully told memoir that explores the meaning of family and examines the sacrifices we make for those we love. After Ralph's death, Lora begins a rapid decline into dementia, and Jill wrestles with the decision to move her from Santa Barbara to New York City. The Tuckers initially attempt to place Lora in a senior residence in New York, but when an apartment becomes vacant right across the hall from them, they grab it for Lora. Michael and Jill's children, Alison and Max-much to their parents' happiness-decide not only to relocate to Manhattan but also move in together. Their family, which had been a loose network of individual strands, has become, remarkably, a unit. It's all very "Italian."
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[book] Is Diss a System?
A Milt Gross Comic Reader
Goldsteingoren Series in America
Ari Kelman
2009, NYU Press
Milt Gross (1895-1953), a Bronx-born cartoonist and animator, first found fame in the late 1920s, writing comic strips and newspaper columns in the unmistakable accent of Jewish immigrants. By the end of the 1920s, Gross had become one of the most famous humorists in the United States, his work drawing praise from writers like H. L. Mencken and Constance Roarke, even while some of his Jewish colleagues found Gross’ extreme renderings of Jewish accents to be more crass than comical. Working during the decline of vaudeville and the rise of the newspaper cartoon strip, Gross captured American humor in transition. Gross adapted the sounds of ethnic humor from the stage to the page and developed both a sound and a sensibility that grew out of an intimate knowledge of immigrant life. His parodies of beloved poetry sounded like reading primers set loose on the Lower East Side, while his accounts of Jewish tenement residents echoed with the mistakes and malapropisms born of the immigrant experience. Introduced by an historical essay, Is Diss a System? presents some of the most outstanding and hilarious examples of Jewish dialect humor drawn from the five books Gross published between 1926 and 1928—Nize Baby, De Night in de Front from Chreesmas, Hiawatta, Dunt Esk, and Famous Fimmales—providing a fresh opportunity to look, read, and laugh at this nearly forgotten forefather of American Jewish humor.
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[book] Women and Judaism
New Insights and Scholarship
Jewish Studies in the 21st Century
Edited by Frederick Greenspahn
2009, NYU Press
Although women constitute half of the Jewish population and have always played essential roles in ensuring Jewish continuity and the preservation of Jewish beliefs and values, only recently have their contributions and achievements received sustained scholarly attention. Scholars have begun to investigate Jewish women’s domestic, economic, intellectual, spiritual, and creative roles in Jewish life from biblical times to the present. Yet little of this important work has filtered down beyond specialists in their respective academic fields. Women and Judaism brings the broad new insights they have uncovered to the world. Women and Judaism communicates this research to a wider public of students and educated readers outside of the academy by presenting accessible and engaging chapters written by key senior scholars that introduce the reader to different aspects of women and Judaism. The contributors discuss feminist approaches to Jewish law and Torah study, the spirituality of Eastern European Jewish women, Jewish women in American literature, and many other issues. Contributors: Nehama Aschkenasy, Judith R. Baskin, Sylvia Barack Fishman, Harriet Pass Freidenreich, Esther Fuchs, Judith Hauptman, Sara R. Horowitz, Renée Levine, Pamela S. Nadell, and Dvora Weisberg
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[book] Dominion From Sea to Sea
Pacific Ascendancy and American Power
By Bruce Cumings
2009, Yale University Press
America is the first world power to inhabit an immense land mass open at both ends to the world’s two largest oceans—the Atlantic and the Pacific. This gives America a great competitive advantage often overlooked by Atlanticists, whose focus remains overwhelmingly fixed on America’s relationship with Europe. Bruce Cumings challenges the Atlanticist perspective in this innovative new history, arguing that relations with Asia influenced our history greatly. Cumings chronicles how the movement westward, from the Middle West to the Pacific, has shaped America’s industrial, technological, military, and global rise to power. He unites domestic and international history, international relations, and political economy to demonstrate how technological change and sharp economic growth have created a truly bicoastal national economy that has led the world for more than a century. Cumings emphasizes the importance of American encounters with Mexico, the Philippines, and the nations of East Asia. The result is a wonderfully integrative history that advances a strong argument for a dual approach to American history incorporating both Atlanticist and Pacificist perspectives.
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[book] A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY
A NOVEL
BY LAUREN GRODSTEIN
November 2009, Algonquin Press
PW: “In her wonderful second novel, Grodstein (Reproduction Is the Flaw of Love) traces a suburban crisis and gives especially perceptive attention to the father-son bond. Pete Dizinoff has it pretty good—an internist with a successful practice, loving wife, nice house in a safe New Jersey suburb and his best friend living close by—but there's some nasty muck beneath the surface. Some years back, Laura, the daughter of Pete's best friend, Joe, was suspected of murdering her baby upon birth. Now in her early 30s, Laura's returned to town after several years of leisurely work and travel and is seducing Pete's college dropout son, Alec, who is also back in town, pursuing the life of a painter in his parents' garage. Laura does not fit into Pete's idea of what's best for his son, but when Pete intervenes, things spin wildly out of control. Add to this a malpractice case, and Pete senses his life is falling apart. An astute dissector of male aspiration, Grodstein brings great insight into a father's protective urge for his son in this gripping portrait of an American family in crisis.”
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[book] THE GREATEST TRADE EVER
THE BEHIND THE SCENES STORY OF HOW JOHN PAULSON DEFIED WALL STREET AND MADE FINANICAL HISTORY
BY GREGORY ZUCKERMAN
November 2009, Broadway
It was only at age 12 that John Alfred Paulson learned that his father wasn’t born Jewish. His father Alfred was from the West coast and of Norwegian stock and met Jacqueline Boklan at UCLA. She was a Jewish Upper West Side Manhattanite, studying Psych. She was opinionated, Alfred was a peacemaker. The married and raised a family in Queens; she worked as a child psychologist, and he was the CFO for Ruder Finn (the PR firm headed by Finn). Their son John A. Paulson, when given a pack of charm candies by his Jewish grandfather at the age of 5, broke up the pack and sold the pieces to his classmates. Enterprising and mathematical at the age of 5, his grandfather took him to the store, where he bought more Charms candies, and sold them to his classmates for a profit. John Paulson grew up and received his bachelor's degree in finance from NYU and an MBA from HBS. He graduated Harvard B School in the class’ top 5%, nd was therefore named a Baker Scholar. While an older sister moved to Israel, John went to work for BCG and then worked for Leon Levy at Odyssey, and then Ace Greenberg at Bear Stearns. In 1994, he founded his own hedge fund with $2 million and an assistant). In December 2009, he received an honor from the Wall Street division of NYC’s UJA Campaign.
In 2006, hedge fund manager John Paulson realized something few others suspected--that the housing market and the value of sub-prime mortgages were grossly inflated and headed for a major fall.
Paulson's background was in mergers and acquisitions, however, and he knew little about real estate or how to wager against housing. He had spent a career as an also-ran on Wall Street. But Paulson was convinced this was his chance to make his mark. He just wasn't sure how to do it. Colleagues at investment banks scoffed at him and investors dismissed him. Even pros skeptical about housing shied away from the complicated derivative investments that Paulson was just learning about. But Paulson and a handful of renegade investors such as Jeffrey Greene and Michael Burry began to bet heavily against risky mortgages and precarious financial companies. Timing is everything, though. Initially, Paulson and the others lost tens of millions of dollars as real estate and stocks continued to soar. Rather than back down, however, Paulson redoubled his bets, putting his hedge fund and his reputation on the line.
In the summer of 2007, the markets began to implode, bringing Paulson early profits, but also sparking efforts to rescue real estate and derail him. By year's end, though, John Paulson had pulled off the greatest trade in financial history, earning more than $15 billion for his firm--a figure that dwarfed George Soros's billion-dollar currency trade in 1992. Paulson made billions more in 2008 by transforming his gutsy move. Some of the underdog investors who attempted the daring trade also reaped fortunes. But others who got the timing wrong met devastating failure, discovering that being early and right wasn't nearly enough.
Written by the prizewinning reporter who broke the story in The Wall Street Journal, The Greatest Trade Ever is a superbly written, fast-paced, behind-the-scenes narrative of how a contrarian foresaw an escalating financial crisis--that outwitted Chuck Prince, Stanley O'Neal, Richard Fuld, and Wall Street's titans--to make financial history.
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[book] DYING FOR HEAVEN
HOLY PLEASURE AND SUICIDE BOMBERS
HOE THE BEST QUALITIES OF RELIGION ARE ALSO ITS MOST DANGEROUS
BY ARIEL GLUCKLICH
November 2009, HarperOne
Why do terrorists do what they do? Not only are religiously motivated terrorists willing to self-destruct to achieve their goals, but neither threats nor incentives consistently prevent their devastating acts. Compounding this is the fact that soon extremist nations and terrorist groups in the Middle East and Asia will have nuclear weapons and may be driven by religion to use them. Is nuclear terror inevitable or can it be prevented? Ariel Glucklich, Georgetown professor of religion and advisor to the U.S. defense community, reveals the fallacy of our country's three major assumptions about the motivations that lie behind terrorism: that religious terrorists are acting out of hatred for us; that belief in paradise is the chief factor in their willingness to die for their cause, and that religious extremism is always irrational.
The astonishing reality Glucklich reveals is that these radicals sincerely believe they are motivated by love; actually are attempting to fight internal enemies or “heretics” within their own societies; and desire fame and honor in the here and now, rather than a promised afterlife in heaven.
Dying for Heaven offers a groundbreaking theory of religion and religious destructiveness; the book examines the motivations fueling those who perpetrate religious violence around the globe—from Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists to violent Hindu nationalists, from Jewish-Zionist fundamentalists in Israel to leaders in Iran's race for nuclear weapons, and to Christian messianic defenders of American power. The continuing rise of religion as a global force and the proliferation of nuclear weapons create a unique challenge for policy advisors, who now must understand how far religious extremists will go toward nuclear annihilation. Dying for Heaven provides the key for understanding the religious drive to self-destruct and offers ways to combat the culture of suicide terrorism.
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[book] WHEN CHINA RULES THE WORLD
The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order
BY MARTIN JACQUES
November 2009, Penguin
Over a century ago, the Jews moved to America and benefited from America’s ascendancy in the new world order. Should we be moving to China?
PW writes, “Starred Review. A convincing economic, political and cultural analysis of waning Western dominance and the rise of China and a new paradigm of modernity. Jacques (The Politics of Thatcherism) takes the pulse of the nation poised to become, by virtue of its scale and staggering rate of growth, the biggest market in the world. Jacques points to the decline of American hegemony and outlines specific elements of China's rising global power and how these are likely to influence international relations in the future. He imagines a world where China's distinct brand of modernity, rooted firmly in its ancient culture and traditions, will have a profound influence on attitudes toward work, family and even politics that will become a counterbalance to and eventually reverse the one-way flow of Westernization. He suggests that while China's economic prosperity may not necessarily translate into democracy, China's increased self-confidence is allowing it to project its political and cultural identity ever more widely as time goes on. As comprehensive as it is compelling, this brilliant book is crucial reading for anyone interested in understanding where the we are and where we are going.”
Seth Faison in The Washington Post wrote it is a, “compelling and thought-provoking analysis of global trends that defies the common Western assumption that, to be fully modern, a nation must become democratic, financially transparent and legally accountable. Jacques argues persuasively that China is on track to take over as the world's dominant power and that, when it does, it will make the rules, on its own terms, with little regard for what came before. China is growing at a tremendous rate. Yet it refuses to follow the Western model of establishing genuine elections, an independent judiciary and a freely convertible currency. In fact, its restrictive currency rules have made China the world's leading creditor, while the United States sinks ever deeper into debt. And while the United States sacrifices the lives of its soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Chinese make money in both countries without losing a drop of blood…. [but]…. His theories about the significance of a Chinese "civilization" over a Chinese "nation" seem silly and misplaced. Books about the future never get it right. But this one offers tasty meat to chew on. Its prime achievement is to identify and then annihilate what may be the greatest flaw in Western thinking today: the assumption that economic and political progress must follow the Western model. Like the Brits and the Romans before us, we Americans may be unable to see the end of empire until it is too late. Personally, I felt humbled by Jacques's insights. As a journalist who lived and breathed China for years, I felt sure that the Communist Party, following its loss of credibility at Tiananmen, would fall to ashes. During the boom of the 1990s, I knew that economic modernization would force Chinese institutions to become accountable and democratic. I was wrong again and again. My assumptions were out of date….”
Note: This book is dedicated to the author’s late wife, an Indian Malaysian who died in a Hong Kong hospital due to an illness and the neglect that came from the racism of Chinese medical workers against a dark skinned Indian. The author, left a widower with a one year old son, used the passion of this needless loss to write this book which honors her memory and her advice for him to look at China with new, non Western, eyes.
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[book] THE BLACK BOOK
35TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Edited by Middleton A. Harris, Ernest Smith, Morris Levitt, and Roger Furman
November 2009, Random House
PW: “As fresh as the day it was born, 35 years ago, this category-smashing book is scrapbook, photo album, treasure chest and time capsule. An undated history of black life and culture in America emerges from the abundant photographs and contemporaneous reportage along with bountiful facsimiles of highly diverse articles (e.g., commercial advertisements, public notices, patent applications, sheet music and obituaries). Resonant scraps, photos and facts pepper the pages—The land on which Madison Square Garden in New York now rests once belonged to a black woman, Annie d'Angola; a photograph of Leo Pinckney, the first draftee of World War I; a list of black jockeys who've won the Kentucky Derby. Subjects occasionally cluster, among them black resistance to slavery, slave art (e.g., quilts, clothing, tools and furniture) and voodoo. Toni Morrison's quiet editorial hand is subtly acknowledged by her preface, which, in 1974, appeared without attribution as back jacket copy. Given the celebrated status of this book, which remains as valuable and fresh as when newly made, and the unlikelihood of another edition, an index would have been useful and welcome.”
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[book] A GAMBLING MAN
CHARLES II‘s RESTORATION GAME
BY JENNY UGLOW
November 2009, FS&G
Not a Jewish book
BUT
Here is the story of a young man who became the king of the British Empire
He was young, he came to power after popular disapproval of his predecessor (his executed father), he was darker skinned than other Englishmen, he was hailed as great by cheering crowds in London, but later people were not so hot for him and cooled to his monarchy, the theater parodied him, his ministers (Arlington, Buckingham, Clarendon) tried to undermine him; and Charles had to try to unite the nation after his popularity began to fade. The called him the “Black boy.” And then there was the plague which killed thousands a week and emptied London, and the Great Fire. Is this a tale for our times??
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DECEMBER 2009 BOOKS

This book got a lot of attention when it was mentioned in a column by David Brooks in the New York Times Op-Ed page (Titled, The Tel Aviv Cluster)
[book] The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement
The Compendium of a Culture, a People, and Their Stunning Performance
By Steven L. Pease
December 2009
Kirkus wrote -- An exhaustive examination of Jewish achievement over the past 200 years. Pease, who is not Jewish, explains that from a young age he has had an interest in and empathy for the Jewish people, and that many of his friends and colleagues are Jewish. However, simple curiosity led him to ask how such a tiny group of people could have such a major impact upon culture and society. The more the author researched the role of Jews in the modern world, the more impressed he became. Pease explains that in a room filled with a thousand people representing the diversity of the globe, only two would be Jewish. Nevertheless, Jewish achievements belie those statistics. From the number of Nobel Prize winners, to the percent of students on Ivy League campuses, to the notables on various Greatest 100 lists of historical figures, Jews have a consistently strong showing despite their otherwise small world presence. Though the author discusses Jews throughout history, his real focus is on the period since the Jewish Emancipation dating back to the age of Napoleon. At this point, Pease argues, Jews began to have greater opportunities to contribute to national and global cultures. The bulk of the book is dedicated to documenting individual and collective Jewish achievements, from Milton Friedman to Barbra Streisand and from the Six-Day War to real estate development. The author finally provides an analysis of this data, concluding that Jewish culture, above any other factor, has contributed to such high achievement. Cultural focuses on family, education, autonomy, moderation and charity have all contributed. Readers may wish Pease had delved deeper into what it means to be a Jew, both culturally and religiously, and the manner and extent to which some people profiled in his book actually considered themselves Jewish. Still, this is an impressive tome. An intriguing look at the modern history of an outstanding people
Pease, who resides in the Sonoma Valley of California, was born and raised Presbyterian in Spokane, Washington. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Washington with a master’s degree from Harvard Business School. He currently serves as co-chairman of the U.S. Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law, and Chairman of The U.S. Russia Investment Fund. Both are nonprofit entities; organized by the United States government to work with Russians, encourage entrepreneurship, civil society, and the rule of law, while also improving the U.S. - Russia relationship.
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[book] And a second book on the same theme
[book] The Jewish Phenomenon
Revised Edition
Seven Keys to the Enduring Wealth of a People
By Steven Silbiger
December 2009, Evans
Why have Jews risen to the top of the business and professional world in numbers staggeringly out of proportion to their percentage of the American population? Steven Silbiger has the answer. Based his synthesis of wide reading and research, Silbiger sets forth seven principles that form the bedrock of Jewish financial success. With startling statistics, a wealth of anecdotes, good humor, Silbiger shares fascinating details behind some of America's biggest business success stories
Steven Silbiger, CPA, works in marketing and graduated from Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. He lives in Philly. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] Rogov's Guide to Israeli Wines 2010
6th Annual Edition
By Daniel Rogov
Fall 2009, Toby
Rogov's Guide to Israeli Wines is the definitive guide to the wines of Israel, one of the worlds fastest growing wine regions. Rogov's Guide has been compiled annually since 2005 by Daniel Rogov, Israel's preeminent wine critic. The 2010 edition the most comprehensive to date describes, sorts, and ranks nearly 2,000 wines from 150 wineries. It includes a discussion of the history of winemaking in Israel, an introduction to and detailed map of Israel's varied growing regions, a glossary of wine terminology, and contact information for all the wineries mentioned. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] IRVING THALBERG
BOY WONDER TO PRODUCER PRINCE
BY MARK VIEIRA
Fall 2009, University of California Press
Hollywood in the 1920s sparkled with talent, confidence, and opportunity. Enter Irving Thalberg of Brooklyn, who survived childhood illness to run Universal Pictures at twenty; co-found Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at twenty-four; and make stars of Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, and Jean Harlow. Known as Hollywood's "Boy Wonder," Thalberg created classics such as Ben-Hur, Tarzan the Ape Man, Grand Hotel, Freaks, Mutiny on the Bounty, and The Good Earth, but died tragically at thirty-seven. His place in the pantheon should have been assured, yet his films were not reissued for thirty years, spurring critics to question his legend and diminish his achievements. In this definitive biography, illustrated with rare photographs, Mark A. Vieira sets the record straight, using unpublished production files, financial records, and correspondence to confirm the genius of Thalberg's methods. In addition, this is the first Thalberg biography to utilize both his recorded conversations and the unpublished memoirs of his wife, Norma Shearer. Irving Thalberg is a compelling narrative of power and idealism, revealing for the first time the human being behind the legend.
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[book] Right Here on Our Stage Tonight
Ed Sullivan's America
By Gerald Nachman
December 2009, University of California Press
Before the advent of cable and its hundreds of channels, before iPods and the Internet, three television networks ruled America's evenings. And for twenty-three years, Ed Sullivan, the Broadway gossip columnist turned awkward emcee, ruled Sunday nights. Sullivan in his suit looked like a stiff conservative. But he was actually liberal, a Catholic, married to a Jewish woman.
It was Sullivan's genius to take a worn-out stage genre-vaudeville-and transform it into the TV variety show, a format that was to dominate for decades. Right Here on Our Stage Tonight! tells the complete saga of The Ed Sullivan Show and, through the voices of some 60 stars interviewed for the book, brings to life the most beloved, diverse, multi-cultural, and influential variety hour ever to air. Gerald Nachman takes us through those years, from the earliest dog acts and jugglers to Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and beyond. Sullivan was the first TV impresario to feature black performers on a regular basis-including Nat King Cole, Pearl Bailey, James Brown, and Richard Pryor-challenging his conservative audience and his own traditional tastes, and changing the face of American popular culture along the way. He also had a marionette mouse. No other TV show ever cut such a broad swath through our national life or cast such a long shadow, nor has there ever been another show like it. Nachman's compulsively readable history, illustrated with classic photographs and chocked with colorful anecdotes, reanimates The Ed Sullivan Show for a new generation.
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[book] BOB DYLAN
Prophet, Mystic, Poet
By Seth Rogovoy
December 2009, Scribners
“Even after almost fifty years, the language of Bob Dylan's songs remains full of uncharted territory. Seth Rogovoy is uniquely qualified to examine the connections between Dylan's songwriting and the Jewish liturgy, and Prophet, Mystic, Poet helps fill in one more piece of an endless and endlessly fascinating puzzle." -- Alan Light, former senior writer at Rolling Stone
Bob Dylan and his artistic accomplishments have been explored, examined, and dissected year in and year out for decades, and through almost every lens. Yet rarely has anyone delved extensively into Dylan's Jewish heritage and the influence of Judaism in his work. In Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet, Seth Rogovoy, an award-winning critic and expert on Jewish music, rectifies that oversight, presenting a fascinating new look at one of the most celebrated musicians of all time. Rogovoy unearths the various strands of Judaism that appear throughout Bob Dylan's songs, revealing the ways in which Dylan walks in the footsteps of the Jewish Prophets. Rogovoy explains the profound depth of Jewish content -- drawn from the Bible, the Talmud, and the Kabbalah -- at the heart of Dylan's music, anddemonstrates how his songs can only be fully appreciated in light of Dylan's relationship to Judaism and the Jewish themes that inform them.
From his childhood growing up the son of Abe and Beatty Zimmerman, who were at the center of the small Jewish community in his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, to his frequent visits to Israel and involvement with the Orthodox Jewish outreach movement Chabad, Judaism has permeated Dylan's everyday life and work. Early songs like "Blowin' in the Wind" derive central imagery from passages in the books of Ezekiel and Isaiah; mid-career numbers like "Forever Young" are infused with themes from the Bible, Jewish liturgy, and Kabbalah; while late-period efforts have revealed a mind shaped by Jewish concepts of Creation and redemption. In this context, even Dylan's so-called born-again period is seen as a logical, almost inevitable development in his growth as a man and artist wrestling with the burden and inheritance of the Jewish prophetic tradition.
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[book] 1938
HITLER’S GAMBLE
BY GILES MACDONOGH
December 2009, Basic Books
In this masterful narrative, acclaimed historian Giles MacDonogh chronicles Adolf Hitler’s consolidation of power over the course of one year. Until 1938, Hitler could be dismissed as a ruthless but efficient dictator, a problem to Germany alone; after 1938 he was clearly a threat to the entire world. It was in 1938 that Third Reich came of age. The Führer brought Germany into line with Nazi ideology and revealed his plans to take back those parts of Europe lost to “Greater Germany” after the First World War. From the purging of the army in January through the Anschluss in March, from the Munich Conference in September to the ravages of Kristallnacht in November, MacDonogh offers a gripping account of the year Adolf Hitler came into his own and set the world inexorably on track to a cataclysmic war.
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[book] The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho
Villa Clara and the Construction of Argentine Identity
Jewish History, Life, and Culture
By Judith Noemí Freidenberg
December 2009, University of Texas
By the mid-twentieth century, Eastern European Jews had become one of Argentina's largest minorities. Some represented a wave of immigration begun two generations before; many settled in the province of Entre Ríos and founded an agricultural colony. Taking its title from the resulting hybrid of acculturation, The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho examines the lives of these settlers, who represented a merger between native cowboy identities and homeland memories. The arrival of these immigrants in what would be the village of Villa Clara coincided with the nation's new sense of liberated nationhood. In a meticulous rendition of Villa Clara's social history, Judith Freidenberg interweaves ethnographic and historical information to understand the saga of European immigrants drawn by Argentine open-door policies in the nineteenth century and its impact on the current transformation of immigration into multicultural discourses in the twenty-first century. Using Villa Clara as a case study, Freidenberg demonstrates the broad power of political processes in the construction of ethnic, class, and national identities. The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho draws on life histories, archives, material culture, and performances of heritage to enhance our understanding of a singular population--and to transform our approach to social memory itself.
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[book] EXILED IN THE HOMELAND
ZIONISM AND THE RETURN TO MANDATE PALESTINE
By Donna Robinson Devine
2009, University of Texas
A major contribution to the field [that] asks fresh questions. This is the first book of which I am aware that looks at the internal tensions within the early Jewish community in British Mandatory Palestine, deconstructing the notion that there was ever a single Zionist narrative
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[book] Leaving Home, Going Home, Returning Home
A Hebrew American's Sojourn in the Land of Israel
BY Jason Alster
December 2009
The author was raised in Hartford and made aliyah to Israel as an adult, where he works in Zichron Yaakov and works in the field of biofeedback.
Flap: Whether you dream of moving across the country or to another continent, or you are returning home after a prolonged absence, Jason Alster’s Leaving Home, Going Home, Returning Home is an illuminating and inspiring read. Alster paints a picture of his move to Israel, his palette of words reflecting the tones and hues of this Mediterranean nation, but the message he conveys could be applied to any move, to any change from one place to another. Why? Because this book is about the courage to change, to take risks, and to trust oneself regarding that place we wish to call home. How does one adjust to a new language, to a culture decidedly different from the one left behind? What new lessons must we learn? Is there a sense of isolation and longing, or is it possible to become part of that new place and create a sense of community and belonging? According to the author, the answer is a definite yes! Page after page, readers will discover the keys—and occasionally the secrets—to fitting in.
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SEE ALSO:
[book] SETTLING For More
Leaving Jersey for Judea
BY Zehava Englard
Winter 2009-2010, Devorah Publishing
Flap: Leaving behind a daughter in college and a comfortable suburban life in Teaneck, New Jersey, Zahava Englard packed up her husband, two teenage sons, and ten-year-old daughter to move to the Judean hills in the midst of the 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli war. Armed with wit and humor, she passionately conveys a candid account of the family's drastically altered world. Zahava's wide-ranging anecdotes of her initial years in Israel evolve unexpectedly into a strong and spiritually infused argument for aliyah.
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SEE ALSO:

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[book] HERE’S THE DEAL
DON’T TOUCH ME
By Howie Mandel with Josh Young
December 2009, Bantam
Cover: A frank, funny, no-holds-barred memoir that reveals the Deal or No Deal host’s ongoing struggle with OCD and ADHD–and how it has shaped his life and career. With a career that spans three decades and many different show-business platforms–he’s a renowned stand-up comedian who continues to perform more than 150 sold-out shows a year, he created the award-winning TV show Bobby’s World, he’s starred in feature films and the hit TV series St. Elsewhere, and he’s also hosted his own daytime talk show–he is versatile. But here are some of his other issues. He has “germophobia.” He has adult ADHD. Here is how he struggles with his mental illnesses. He catalogs his numerous fears and neuroses and shares entertaining stories about how he has tried to integrate them into his act. Mandel writes about his rise through the show-business ranks. There are tales from his early days as a teenage carpet salesman and aspiring stand-up comic to his stint opening for Diana Ross, his six years on St. Elsewhere, and beyond. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Terry, and their three children.
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[book] ECONOMICS FOR THE REST OF US
DEBUNKING THE SCIENCE THAT MAKES LIFE DISMAL
BY MOSHE ADLER (Columbia University)
December 2009, New Press
Why do contemporary economists consider food subsidies in starving countries, rent control in rich cities, and health insurance everywhere "inefficient"? Why do they feel that corporate executives deserve no less than their multimillion-dollar "compensation" packages and workers no more than their meager wages? Here is a lively and accessible debunking of the two elements that make economics the "science" of the rich: the definition of what is efficient and the theory of how wages are determined. The first is used to justify the cruelest policies, the second grand larceny. Filled with lively examples--from food riots in Indonesia to eminent domain in Connecticut and everyone from Adam Smith to Jeremy Bentham to Larry Summers--Economics for the Rest of Us shows how today's dominant economic theories evolved, how they explicitly favor the rich over the poor, and why they're not the only or best options. Written for anyone with an interest in understanding contemporary economic thinking--and why it is dead wrong--Economics for the Rest of Us offers a foundation for a fundamentally more just economic system. Click the book cover to read more.








[book] MAIMONIDES, SPINOZA, AND US
TOWARD AN INTELLECTUALLY VIBRANT JUDAISM
By MARC D. ANGEL, RABBI
December 2009, Jewish Lights
A challenging look at two great Jewish philosophers, and what their thinking means to our understanding of God, truth, revelation and reason. Moses Maimonides (1138-1204) is Jewish history's greatest exponent of a rational, philosophically sound Judaism. He strove to reconcile the teachings of the Bible and rabbinic tradition with the principles of Aristotelian philosophy, arguing that religion and philosophy ultimately must arrive at the same truth. Baruch Spinoza (1632-77) is Jewish history's most illustrious "heretic." He believed that truth could be attained through reason alone, and that philosophy and religion were separate domains that could not be reconciled. His critique of the Bible and its teachings caused an intellectual and spiritual upheaval whose effects are still felt today. Rabbi Marc D. Angel discusses major themes in the writings of Maimonides and Spinoza to show us how modern people can deal with religion in an intellectually honest and meaningful way. From Maimonides, we gain insight on how to harmonize traditional religious belief with the dictates of reason. From Spinoza, we gain insight into the intellectual challenges which must be met by modern believers.
Discover how Jewish theology became what it is today--and how it can affect the Jewish future. The views of Moses Maimonides and Baruch Spinoza, both foundation stones of Jewish theology and philosophy, may differ more than they coincide. But by revisiting their philosophical arguments, in vigorous debate with each other, we can come to a deeper appreciation of the role of reason--and of revelation--in Judaism. Theologian Rabbi Marc D. Angel, PhD, explores how these two great thinkers came to formulate what we know as Jewish theology and philosophy today, incorporating the influences of Torah, rabbinic sages, Greek philosophy, and pre-modern and modern science. He breaks down their philosophical arguments with relevant historical detail, making them more accessible to a wide audience. His analysis touches on many provocative but vital questions of enduring importance, including: * Can the revealed truth of religion and the empirical truth of science be reconciled? What is the nature of God? Can it be described? Is Torah really the perfect, errorless word of God? Does God play an active role in human affairs? What is the ultimate source of Truth? How important is it to observe ritual? Can Judaism be fully embraced by non-Jews?
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[book] Escape, Evasion and Revenge
The True Story of a German-Jewish RAF Pilot Who Bombed Berlin and Became a PoW
By Marc H. Stevens
2009, Pen and Sword
Marc H. Stevens, details the incredible story of a young German Jew, who grew up to fight the Nazis and became one of the most ardent POW escapers of WWII. Georg Hein was sent to safety in England by his widowed mother in 1934, when he was 14 years old. He learned English and completed his high school education in London, only to graduate into trouble with the law for petty theft. Branded an undesirable alien, Hein was sentenced to three months in prison, but was released after serving only half that time. Once released, on Sept 3, 1939 (two days after the declaration of war), Hein committed identity theft and enlisted in the RAF as an Englishman and joined a combat squadron in April 1941. He went on to fly 22 bombing missions, all the while being the object of a British Police manhunt as an enemy alien. Unfortunately, he was taken as a POW by the Nazis ? Hein became one of the most ardent (and infamous) escapers of the war. Marc Stevens’ book details a hitherto unknown story of the only German Jew to fight the Nazis as a bomber pilot, and who was a POW under their noses for three years and eight months, the whole time without protection from the Geneva Convention. He was a selfish conflicted boy, who reaches an epiphany in his life and chooses the moral high ground. It is at once a sad yet uplifting tale of thankless and unheralded heroism. It is the truth. After the war he moved to Canada, raised a family, and told no one of his eploits. The author is an executive at a Canadian food processing company. He began research for the book in the late 1980’s, and was successful in obtaining access to a British government file that was sealed until the year 2051. Why research it? He is the son of the subject. He is the son of Georg Hein, and only discovered in 1996 that his father was Jewish..








[book] Shakespeare and Modern Culture
By Marjorie Garber, Harvard
December 2009, Anchor
This is not about Shakespeare in modern culture. It is a wide-ranging foray into Shakespeare and into modern culture. Shakespeare, Garber argues, makes modern culture, while modern remakings of Shakespeare, in turn, remake the Bard, and not only through the theater. Therapists use Freudian understandings of Shakespeare to help clients navigate their lives. Politicians compare their careers to those of Will’s imagined kings. Ad writers play with language from the plays (who can resist This is the winter of our discount tents?). A less-eloquent writer might make a tangle of factoids and theories out of all the threads—in one chapter, prison theater, postcolonialism, evolution, magic, and more—Garber masterfully weaves together. Yet the thrills she affords mostly lie in the details: The Merchant of Venice was performed in New York with Shylock’s lines in Yiddish. Karl Marx knew Shakespeare almost as well as Freud did. New York once rioted over the best acting in Macbeth. Laura Bush assigned George W. a list of plays he should read.
A very interesting chapter also on how pictures of Shakespeare made him look too Jewish and were critized by British pundits of his time.
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[book] Koestler
The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic
By Michael Scammell
December 2009, Random House
From award-winning author Michael Scammell comes a monumental achievement: the first authorized biography of Arthur Koestler, one of the most influential and controversial intellectuals of the twentieth century. Over a decade in the making, and based on new research and full access to its subject’s papers, Koestler is the definitive account of this fascinating and polarizing figure. Though best known as the creator of the classic anti-Communist novel Darkness at Noon, Koestler is here revealed as much more–a man whose personal life was as astonishing as his literary accomplishments. Koestler portrays the anguished youth of a boy raised in Budapest by a possessive and mercurial mother and an erratic father, marked for life by a forced operation performed without anesthesia when he was five, growing up feeling unloved and unprotected. Here is the young man whose experience of anti-Semitism and devotion to Zionism provoked him to move to Palestine; the foreign correspondent who risked his life from the North Pole to Franco’s Spain, where he was imprisoned and sentenced to death; the committed Communist for whom the brutal truth of Stalin’s show trials inspired the superb and angry novel that became an instant classic in 1940. Scammell also provides new details of Koestler’s amazing World War II adventures, including his escape from occupied France by joining the Foreign Legion and his bluffing his way illegally to England, where his controversial novel Arrival and Departure, published in 1943, was the first to portray Hitler’s Final Solution.
The author writes that Koestler was irritated by his fellow Zionists in his youth, since they were not as cultured in the true Bildung sense of the word. His hero was Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky offered Koestler the image of the string active Jew,and not the intellectual, weak, powerless European Jew
Without sentimentality, Scammell explores Koestler’s turbulent private life: his drug use, his manic depression, the frenetic womanizing that doomed his three marriages and led to an accusation of rape that posthumously tainted his reputation, and his startling suicide while fatally ill in 1983–an act shared by his healthy third wife, Cynthia–rendered unforgettably as part of his dark and disturbing legacy. Featuring cameos of famous friends and colleagues including Langston Hughes, George Orwell, and Albert Camus, Koestler gives a full account of the author’s voluminous writings, making the case that the autobiographies and essays are fit to stand beside Darkness at Noon as works of lasting literary value. Koestler adds up to an indelible portrait of this brilliant, unpredictable, and talented writer, once memorably described as “one third blackguard, one third lunatic, and one third genius.”
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[book] RICH BROTHER RICH SISTER
TWO DIFFERENT PATHS TO GOD, MONEY, AND HAPPINESS
BY ROBERT KIYOSAKI AND EMI KIYOSAKI
December 2009, New Press
From the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, a new book
Robert grew up in Hawaii, served in Vietnam, worked in sales for Xerox, started his own business selling those Velcro wallets, then started an education company, and retired at 47. Then he wrote the best selling rich dad poor dad book. His sister, Barbara Emi Kiyosaki, took a different path. She studied Buddhism and was ordained by his Holiness, the Dalai Lama in 1985, taking the name, Bhikshuni Tenzin Kasho. She is a teacher, works in a hospice, and was the chaplain at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Together they explore how to find purpose, how to take action, and how to overcome obstacle. (They should call it Kung PAO, Purpose Action Overcome)
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[book] MONEY TALKS, BULLSH-T WALKS
INSIDE THE CONTRARIAN MIND OF BILLIONAIRE MOGUL SAM ZELL
BY BEN JOHNSON
December 2009, Portfolio
The challenge is, how do we get somebody 126 years old to get it up?" This was Sam Zell's unique way of saying hello to a large gathering at the Los Angeles Times shortly after taking charge of Tribune Company. "I'm your Viagra, OK?"
Even for Sam Zell, one of the greatest contrarian investors, buying Tribune Company was a risky and controversial move. Many saw the purchase of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times by a man who had made his fortune in cargo containers, real estate, fertilizer, and plumbing to be a sign of the coming media apocalypse. Maybe they were frightened by Zell's nickname, "the Grave Dancer." The move didn't seem to make sense for Zell either. Why would an epithet-slinging, motorcycle-riding scrapper-who had started with nothing and worked his way up to a $5 billion real estate fortune-be interested in a declining media company (it would have been another story if Zell had taken over Playboy, issues of which Zell had bought and resold for profit to friends around town when he was a teenager)? Ben Johnson has the answers in this fascinating biography of a uniquely colorful mogul, who is fond of blunt declarations and bold business moves. Johnson also tells the real story of Zell's adventure at the Tribune, that feverish year between his purchase of the ailing company and its declaration of bankruptcy.
Between the story of Zell's rise to astounding riches and previously untold details of his conflicts with his employees and investors, Money Talks, Bullsh*t Walks will keep readers alternately laughing and on the edge of their seats.
The Quotable Sam Zell: "If you're the biggest kid on the block, you can throw your weight around. Of course, I never was the big kid, but I've made up for it over the years."
"The true test of an entrepreneur is someone who spends his life constantly testing his limits. The definition of an idiot is someone who has reached their goals."
"I don't do business with anybody who's not afraid, and I won't hire anybody who is confident to the point where fear is not very close to the surface. I've often said that fear and courage are cousins and very closely related."
"Extremism in the pursuit of opportunity is not a vice. If you've seen me step over the edge, it's only to get you to take a few steps toward the line."
"The eleventh commandment is Thou shalt not take oneself seriously."
"The best thing to have in the world is a monopoly, and if you can't have a monopoly, you want an oligopoly. I'm more than willing to leave all the rest of the highly competitive world to everybody else."
"To create an enormously successful corporation that provides both opportunity and sustenance for employers today and a future for them tomorrow, that's the challenge. That's what everybody should be talking about. Not my f*cking language because it doesn't matter."
"I think it was Confucius who said that 'Money talks and bullshit walks."
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Woooo…. Professor Wedel, a social Anthropologist, writes that we need to beware those elites in DC who are manipulating and SNAKING their way through policy development. Those transnationals who flout relationships and rules. You know… people like Richard PERLE, Larry SUMMERS, Timothy GEITHNER, Paul WOLFOWITZ, Elliott ABRAMS, roommie Steven KELMAN, William KRISTOL, and people from Goldman Sachs (“Government Sachs“)… They are not lobbyists or interest group leaders, they are “flexians” with “coincidences of interests.” They are in organizations but not OF organizations. They serve as advisors, pundits, but also consultants, and perhaps have their own consulting companies. They are influencers with DUAL or MULTIPLE loyalties. The old boy network Flexains personalize the bureaucracy (the operate in and across official structures based on their personal relationships, with allegiances to themselves, which is anathema to Max Weber‘s view on modern state bureaucracies); they “privatize information” and brand it, gate keeping access to it and the framework in which it is pondered; they “juggle roles and representations”; and the “relax rules” through finesse and circumvention and reorganize the relations amonth official and private institutions.
[book] Shadow Elite
How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market
By Janine R. Wedel
December 2009, Basic
Cover: Many people today feel that they’re swimming in a sea of corruption. Who is really in charge? Why do the same people reappear under various professional identities, pressing a suspect agenda in one influential venue after another? According to award-winning public policy expert Janine Wedel, these are the “shadow elite,” and they are both powerful and dangerous. In Shadow Elite, Wedel teaches us to recognize and understand how this new group blurs and erases the boundaries between government, private, and nonprofit organizations—all to their own benefit. The shadow elite ultimately answer only to each other. They can be found lurking behind the scenes of Iran-Contra, Blackwater, and the scandal of Harvard economists in post-Soviet Russia—and they are steadily gaining power. Profoundly original, Shadow Elite gives us the tools that we need to fight this disturbing, destructive, and antidemocratic trend.
PW writes: “Using her expertise in Eastern European communist governments, author and public policy professor Wedel has pulled together a shocking expose of those dismantling U.S. democracy from the inside. Labeling the new breed of U.S. political operators “flexions,” she finds individual roles as lobbyists, government insiders or elected officials converging into a single network “snak[ing] through official and private organizations, creating a loop that is closed to democratic processes.” Wedel shows how a core group of flexions (neo-conservative cold-warrior Richard Perle, retired four-star army general Barry R. McCaffrey, Obama financial advisor Larry Summers, etc.) have risen to power on an unprecedented confluence of four transformational 20th and 21st century developments: government outsourcing and deregulation, the end of the Cold War, the growth of information technologies, and “the embrace of ‘truthiness.’” By wearing several hats simultaneously (think tanker, retired military or government official, corporate representative, “objective” expert), Wedel shows how a flexion can gain extraordinary insider knowledge and influence in order to custom-tailor a version of the “truth” benefitting the highest bidder. In this way, they not only “co-opt public policy agendas” but “craft policy with their [benefactors’] purposes in mind.” This fascinating, authoritative wake-up call should satisfy any American who wants a handle on the republic’s most successful agents of corruption.”
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[book] HELL’S CARTEL
IG FARBEN AND THE MAKING OF HITLER’S WAR MACHINE
BY DIARMUID JEFFREYS
January 2010, Holt Paperbacks
PW writes: “British journalist Jeffreys presents 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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[book] THE POLITICAL FIX
CHANGING THE GAME OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
FROM THE GRASSROOTS TO THE WHITE HOUSE
By DOUGLAS E. SCHOEN, D. Phil.
January 2010, Times Books
Schoen, a political advisor to Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Evan Bayh, Michael Bloomberg, Cecil Andrus, Paul Patton, Bob Miller (Nevada), John Breaux, the late New York Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, John D. Rockefeller, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and Ehud Barak, and countless more; a former candidate himself; and the author of several books on politics and politicians, dissects the failures of modern politics and unveils tha practical-minded, citizen-powered solutions that can revive American democracy. Schoen not only explains the problems as so many pundits do, but he goes further and provides solutions and an action plan that can actually be done. Why not rotate the primaries in Presidential politics? Why must debates be moderated? Are Americans to weak to deal with unstructured debates? Do debates in the oval office have moderators? Should the Attorney General be a member of the cabinet? Schoen wants the AG to be separate from the cabinet. In NYC, residents can call the single 311 number for government customer service. Should this be a nationwide program? With the power of the web, why can’t all states post their checkbook online, as Alaska does. Schoen argues that the focus on capping the influence of large donors has cut off true, genuine election reform. Of course, he recommends a tax credit for small donors who controbute to political campaigns (which would help the coffers of political consultants and pollsters, but let’s not mention that)Click the book cover to read more.








[book] JEWISH FEMINISTS
COMPLEX IDENTITIES AND ACTIVIST LIVES
By DINA PINSKY
December 2009, University of Illinois
Studying American Jewish feminism from the 1960s and '70s, Jewish Feminists examines how second-wave feminist activists retrospectively construct their identities as Jews and how these constructions have changed throughout their lives. Dina Pinsky argues that these Jewish feminists experience a sense of ambivalence as both feminists and Jews as they ask how being Jewish makes them different from other women (or feminist men). Drawing from interviews with more than two dozen second-wave feminist Jews, of which five are men, Pinsky describes how these identities sometimes coincide or contrast. The book demonstrates that Jews share a unique relationship to gender, influenced by their experiences and perspectives as Jews. Pinsky adds to the feminist dialogue about cultural difference and intersectionality by exploring the narratives of a group that has long been absent from this discussion.
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[book] The Invention of Hebrew
By Seth L. Sanders
December 2009, University of Illinois
The Invention of Hebrew is the first book to approach the Bible in light of recent findings on the use of the Hebrew alphabet as a deliberate and meaningful choice. Seth L. Sanders connects the Bible's distinctive linguistic form--writing down a local spoken language--to a cultural desire to speak directly to people, summoning them to join a new community that the text itself helped call into being. Addressing the people of Israel through a vernacular literature, Hebrew texts gained the ability to address their audience as a public. By comparing Biblical documents with related ancient texts in Hebrew, Ugaritic, and Babylonian, this book details distinct ways in which Hebrew was a powerfully self-conscious political language. Revealing the enduring political stakes of Biblical writing, The Invention of Hebrew demonstrates how Hebrew assumed and promoted a source of power previously unknown in written literature: "the people" as the protagonist of religion and politics.
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[book] New Directions in Jewish Philosophy
Edited by Aaron Hughes (SUNY Buffalo) and Elliot Wolfson (NYU)
December 2009, Indiana University
Breaking with strictly historical or textual perspectives, this book explores Jewish philosophy as philosophy. Often regarded as too technical for Judaic studies and too religious for philosophy departments, Jewish philosophy has had an ambiguous position in the academy. These provocative essays propose new models for the study of Jewish philosophy that embrace wider intellectual arenas -- including linguistics, poetics, aesthetics, and visual culture -- as a path toward understanding the particular philosophic concerns of Judaism. As they reread classic Jewish texts, the essays articulate a new set of questions and demonstrate the vitality and originality of Jewish philosophy.
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[book] The Making of a Reform Jewish Cantor
Musical Authority, Cultural Investment
(A Helen B. Schwartz Book in Jewish Studies)
By Judah M. Cohen
Fall 2009, Indiana University
The Making of a Reform Jewish Cantor provides an unprecedented look into the meaning of attaining musical authority among American Reform Jews at the turn of the 21st century. How do aspiring cantors adapt traditional musical forms to the practices of contemporary American congregations? What is the cantor's role in American Jewish religious life today? Cohen follows cantorial students at the School of Sacred Music, Hebrew Union College, over the course of their training, as they prepare to become modern Jewish musical leaders. Opening a window on the practical, social, and cultural aspects of aspiring to musical authority, this book provides unusual insights into issues of musical tradition, identity, gender, community, and high and low musical culture.
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[book] When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win
Reflections on Looking in the Mirror
by Carol Leifer
January 2010, now in paperback Villard
Booklist writes: Leifer uses her background in stand-up comedy to good effect in her collection of easy-to-read, column-length pieces that range from her finding her lesbian sexual identity at 40 (“If I don’t sleep with a woman soon, I think I’ll kill myself”) to her childhood disappointment at her dad’s “bargain” gift of a cheap Babblin’ Barbara doll instead of the A-list Chatty Cathy she yearned for. Babblin’ Babs was “a train wreck reeking of cheap Taiwanese sweatshop child-labor plastic . . . a speech-impaired whore . . . you didn’t want to play with as much as rush her to the emergency room.” Along the way she offers breezy observations on Jews celebrating Gentile holidays à la Jews for Jesus—“like vegans for Burger King”—and her heartfelt conversion to animal adoption that led to her current household of seven dogs, all rescues that have changed everything: “My life without loving animals is unimaginable to me now. It’s like living without air, without music.” All in all, Leifer presents a charming mix of outrageous fun shot through with poignant affirmation.
“These essays have stirred in me a foreign, disgusting and heretofore dormant urge to hug someone, in this case the author. If I become human as a result of reading this, so help me God I will sue her for every dollar she makes from this profound, insightful, and hilarious book.”—Larry David
“I discovered Carol Leifer at an open mike night in the late 70's on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It didn't take me two seconds to realize how special her talent is. (Two seconds, that's how good I am, by the way). But she really has one of the most uniquely hilarious minds of anyone I've ever met. We have worked together on countless projects. If you have never heard how she thinks, this book is the perfect introduction.”—Jerry Seinfeld
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[book] My Before and After Life
A Novel
by Risa Miller
January 2010, St. Martin’s Press
Miller (Welcome to Heavenly Heights) focuses on an unrelentingly introspective attorney and her struggle with spirituality in the wake of her father’s sudden religious awakening. Honey Black and her sister, Susan, travel to Israel with the intention of bringing back their father, newly inducted into Orthodox Judaism, whose extended vacation they believe has plunged him into “temporary madness.” After they return home, without their father, Honey continues to brood over her time in Israel, specifically her experience praying in the caves of the countryside. Meanwhile, she’s taken on a case defending her predominantly Jewish (not necessarily Orthodox) neighborhood against the expansion of the Orthodox Brookline Hebrew Day School, bringing to light questions of spirituality as well as community division and religious prejudice. Though Honey is a satisfyingly complex character, her father, husband and sister never quite come to life. Still, Miller is extremely skilled in her exploration of religion as a personal decision, a profound experience and a source of surprise and wonder.
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[book] GOOD ARABS
The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948–1967
By Hillel Cohen, trans. from the Hebrew by Haim Watzman.
January 2010, University of California
PW writes: Israeli writer Cohen (Army of Shadows) makes extensive use of the thousands of recently declassified Israeli government and police files to argue that Israel has attempted, from its earliest days, to control and co-opt the lives of its Palestinian citizens (roughly 20% of the population) and has utilized classic tools of social control—informants, censorship, offers of reward and threats of punishment—to neutralize a potentially “seditious” faction and to turn the community “from members of the imagined Palestinian community/nation... into members of Israeli civil society.” He explores how deeply Israel infiltrated Palestinian communities, political groups and refugee camps to secure informants and create a veritable “collaborator class” to “ensure a maximal control over the political and social behavior of Israel’s Arab population.” Stressing that the behavior of both sides is typical of national majority-minority relationships everywhere, he shows the extent to which Israel has treated its Arab citizens as one-dimensional characters open to manipulation, and shrewdly observes that the irony for Israel is that because the state couldn’t offer non-Jewish citizens “a real path to participation... the state actually reinforced Arab identity among its Arab citizens.”
From the Inside Flap
“ascinating story. . . . With the publication of this book, we can abandon several accepted clichés."--Ha'aretz
“While many Israelis--Jews and Palestinians alike--already had a sense that these shadowplays were part of the state's history, Aravim Tovim (Good Arabs) supplies the evidence. Case after case is summoned to illustrate how collaboration permeated all aspects of Palestinian society."--The Nation
"The impressive achievement of this timely book is its equal and honest treatment of the explosive issues involved in spite of an often agonizing conflict of interests--and its articulation of the author's findings with empathy, boldness and fairness."--Jerusalem Post
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[book] Paper Fortunes
Modern Wall Street;
Where It's Been and Where It's Going
By Roy C. Smith
January 2010, St. Martins
Paper Fortunes is the richly-detailed story of Wall Street from post-war heyday to present woes, from a player whose experiences, profiles of the colorful personalities involved and learned observations of the forces shaping the business make it insightful and timely. Smith, a long-time Goldman Sachs banker and now a distinguished NYU professor of finance, enables anyone working on the Street, investing with it, or just appalled by its worst shenanigans to understand how the industry has grown, changed and evolved, and what its future prospects are. From various Goldmans, Sachses, and Lehmans through to Richard Fuld, Henry Paulson and Tim Geithner, Andre Meyer at Lazard, Michael Bloomberg, Sidney Weinberg, and more Paper Fortunes tells the ongoing story of the shifting U.S. market economy through the actions of the people who've shaped it for the last 60 years and will shape it for the next 60 years.
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[book] Remembering Survival
Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp
By Christopher R. Browning
February 2010, Norton
A remarkable story of survival for almost three hundred Jews who live to recount the brutalities of a Nazi work camp. In 1972 the Hamburg State Court acquitted Walter Becker, the German chief of police in the Polish city of Starachowice, of war crimes committed against Jews. Thirty years before, Becker had been responsible for liquidating the nearby Jewish ghetto, sending nearly 4,000 Jews to their deaths at Treblinka and 1,600 to slave-labor factories. The shocking acquittal, delivered despite the incriminating eyewitness testimony of survivors, drives this author’s inquiry. Drawing on the rich testimony of survivors of the Starachowice slave-labor camps, Christopher R. Browning examines the experiences and survival strategies of the Jewish prisoners and the policies and personnel of the Nazi guard. From the killings in the market square in 1942 through the succession of brutal camp regimes, there are stories of heroism, of corruption and retribution, of desperate choices forced on husbands and wives, parents and children. In the end, the ties of family and neighbor are the sinews of survival. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina.
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[book] The Forty Years War
The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama
By Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman.
January 2010, Harper
PW writes: Neoconservative ideologues battle pragmatists by fair means and foul in this scattershot history of American foreign policy. Colodny (Silent Coup) and Shachtman (Decade) hang their study on the figure of Fritz Kraemer, an obscure Pentagon analyst, whose championing of a militarized, moralistic foreign policy allegedly inspired two generations of neoconservatives. The book’s first half follows the departure of Richard Nixon and erstwhile Kraemer-ite Henry Kissinger from conservative orthodoxy in seeking a rapprochement with Communist powers. In a voluminous rehash of Watergate, the authors insinuate that White House chief of staff and Kraemer protégé Alexander Haig, abetted by reporter Bob Woodward (a sinister “mouthpiece”), undermined the Nixon presidency for this apostasy. The second half treats ensuing decades as a seesaw struggle in which neocon policy makers’ adventurism, from the Iran-Contra affair to the Iraq War, periodically self-destructs and generates a realist backlash. The authors’ sharp narrative of factional infighting exhausts itself in flogging the Haig-Woodward conspiracy theory. Kraemer is an ill-chosen central character, more figurehead than intellectual godfather; his sketchily elaborated ideas shed little light on this serviceable but mundane account of the conflict between hawks and doves
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[book] A WALL IN PALESTINE
BY RENE BACKMANN
Translated from the French by A. Kasier
February 2010, Picador
Rene Backman is the Editor in Chief of Le Nouvel Observateur‘s foreign desk, and received the Prix Mumm. Backmann writes that the barrier wall will be completed in 2010. It may redraw the property lines between Israel and the West Back of the Jordan for years to come. Backmann writes that Israel refers to it is the security wall, and Palestinians refer to it as the apartheid wall. Backmann has interviewed Israeli policy makers, politicians and military officers, as well as local Palestinians living in the West Bank of the Jordan. He then draws conclusions on it effectiveness, purpose and possible consequences. Is is an endgame and will it occlude the possibility of peace for generations to come?
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[book] ISRAEL’S BARGAIN WITH THE BOMB
DEMOCRACY, SECRECY, AND TABOO
By AVNER COHEN (GWU)
February 2010, Columbia University Press
Israel has made a unique contribution to the nuclear age& mdash;it has created (with the tacit support of the United States) a special "bargain" with its bomb. Israel is the only nuclear-armed state that keeps its bomb invisible, unacknowledged, opaque. It will only say that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East. The bomb is Israel's collective ineffable - the nation's last taboo. This bargain has a name: in Hebrew, it is called amimut, or opacity. By adhering to the bargain, which was born in a secret deal between Richard Nixon and Golda Meir, Israel creates a code of nuclear conduct that encompasses both governmental policy and societal behavior. The bargain lowers the salience of Israel's nuclear weapons, yet it also remains incompatible with the norms and values of liberal democracy. It relies on secrecy and opacity. It infringes on the public right to know and negates the notion of public accountability and oversight, among other offenses. Author of the critically acclaimed Israel and the Bomb, Avner Cohen offers a bold and original study of this politically explosive subject. Along with a fair appraisal of the bargain's strategic merits, Cohen provides a critique of its antidemocratic faults. Arguing that the bargain has become increasingly anachronistic, he calls for a reform in line with domestic democratic values as well as current international nuclear norms. Most important, he believes the old methods will prove inadequate in dealing with a nuclear Iran. Cohen concludes with fresh perspectives on Iran, Israel, and the effort toward global disarmament
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[book] MAKING TOAST
A FAMILY STORY
BY ROGER ROSENBLATT
February 2010, Ecco
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Rosenblatt made toast the way he constructs a sentence. With great strength. His daughter Amy Rosenblatt Solomon, a gifted physician in Chevy Chase, died suddenly at the age of 38. So Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, Left Quogue and took over her duties to help to raise her three young children along with Amy’s now widowed husband and their son in law, Dr. Harrison Solomon. With the wit, heart, precision, and depth of understanding that has characterized his work, Roger Rosenblatt peels back the layers on this most personal of losses to create both a tribute to his late daughter and a testament to familial love. He learns more about parenting with his grandkids than he did with his own three kids. The day Amy died, Harris told Virginia and Roger, “It’s impossible.” Rosenblatt’s story tells how a family makes the possible out of the impossible. Roger Rosenblatt's contributions to Time and PBS have won two George Polk Awards, a Peabody, and an Emmy. He is the author of six Off-Broadway plays and twelve books, including Lapham Rising.







[book] THE FOURTH ASSASSIN
A MYSTERY NOVEL
BY MATT BEYNON REES
February 2010, SoHo House
From the former Jerusalem Bureau Chief of Time Magazine. Arriving to visit his youngest son, Ala, in a heavily Palestinian area of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Omar Yussef discovers the beheaded body of one of the boy's roommates. Initially he thinks the dead boy is his son. When when Ala refuses to give an alibi, he is arrested as a suspect. Omar Yussef must prove his son's innocence, and the clues lead to the Assassins, a club Ala had in high school which took its name from the the medieval Shiite sect of murderers. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] DEVOTION
A MEMOIR
BY DANI SHAPIRO
February 2010, Harper. DaniShapiro.Com
How many women write a memoir? And how many live enough to write two memoirs before they are 50? Dani Shapiro is one of these writers. She grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. But it was more about tradition than belief, and she felt an emptiness that she filled with many things… That was her first memoir. Now she is breaking forty, and she has a marriage and a child and is in Litchfield CT. This is not the burbs, but the country. She lives a few hours from Manhattan, but it might as well be a five hour flight. She settles into being a Mommy (and perhaps a mom), a wife, and a daughter and a neighbor. She is finally coming of age. This book is her reckoning of what she has learned the hard way and what she believes. WHAT DOES SHE BELIEVE? This keeps her awake at night. Is there a plan, an order, some wisdom? Is it chaos? Is life just a jumble of events? This book took two years of introspection to create. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] YEHUDA HALEVI
By HILLEL HALKIN
March 2010, Schocken
A masterful biography of Yehuda Halevi, poet laureate of the Jewish people and a shining example of the synthesis of religion and culture that defined the golden age of Spanish Jewry. Like Maimonides, with whom he is often contrasted, Yehuda Halevi spanned multiple worlds. Poet, physician, and philosopher, Halevi is as well known today for poetry that is taught to schoolchildren and has become part of the Jewish liturgy, as he is for The Kuzari, one of the most important works of Jewish philosophy ever published. Hillel Halkin brilliantly evokes the fascinating world of eleventh- and twelfth-century Andalusian Spain and discusses the tangle of religious and cultural influences–Christian, Muslim, and Jewish–that formed Halevi. And he pieces together the mysterious fragments of Halevi’s last days and his final, fateful voyage to Palestine. An acclaimed writer and translator, Halkin intersperses his account of Halevi’s life and tragic death with excerpts from his poems and a magnificent analysis of them. He also places Halevi’s philosophic writings within the larger context of Jewish thought, analyzes his rediscovery by Heinrich Heine and other members of the nineteenth-century German-Jewish intelligentsia, and provides a comprehensive overview of the ongoing debate over Halevi’s legacy as a Zionist visionary.
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[book] Mornings in Jenin
A Novel
By Susan Abulhawa
February 2010, Bloomsbury
COVER BLURB: heart-wrenching, powerfully written novel that could do for Palestine what The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan. Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart, his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story, told as never before, through four generations of a single family.
The very precariousness of existence in the camps quickens life itself. Amal, the patriarch's bright granddaughter, feels this with certainty when she discovers the joys of young friendship and first love and especially when she loses her adored father, who read to her daily as a young girl in the quiet of the early dawn. Through Amal we get the stories of her twin brothers, one who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish; the other who sacrifices everything for the Palestinian cause. Amal’s own dramatic story threads between the major Palestinian-Israeli clashes of three decades; it is one of love and loss, of childhood, marriage, and parenthood, and finally of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.
Previously published in a hardcover edition with a limited run under the title The Scar of David, this powerful novel is now available in a fully revised, newly titled paperback edition. The deep and moving humanity of Mornings in Jenin forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining political conflicts of our lifetimes.
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[book] BLOOMS OF DARKNESS
A NOVEL
BY AHARON APPELFELD. Translated from Hebrew by Jeffrey M. Green
March 2010, Schocken
A new novel from the award-winning, internationally acclaimed Israeli writer (“One of the greatest writers of the age”–The Guardian), a haunting, heartbreaking story of love and loss. The ghetto in which the Jews have been confined is being liquidated by the Nazis, and eleven-year-old Hugo is brought by his mother to the local brothel, where one of the prostitutes has agreed to hide him. Mariana is a bitterly unhappy woman who hates what she has done to her life, and night after night Hugo sits in her closet and listens uncomprehendingly as she battles with the Nazi soldiers who come and go. When she’s not mired in self-loathing, Mariana is fiercely protective of the bewildered, painfully polite young boy. And Hugo becomes protective of Mariana, too, trying to make her laugh when she is depressed, soothing her physical and mental agony with cold compresses. As the memories of his family and friends grow dim, Hugo falls in love with Mariana. And as her life spirals downward, Mariana reaches out for consolation to the adoring boy who is on the cusp of manhood. The arrival of the Russian army sends the prostitutes fleeing. But Mariana is too well known, and she is arrested as a Nazi collaborator for having slept with the Germans. As the novel moves toward its heartrending conclusion, Aharon Appelfeld once again crafts out of the depths of unfathomable tragedy a renewal of life and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] THE SABBATH WORLD
GLIMPSES OF A DIFFERENT ORDER OF TIME
BY JUDITH SHULEVITZ
March 2010, Random House
Perhaps not since Heschel's The Sabbath, has an author presented a simple deeply informative narrative on the meaning of rest and the Sabbath. Click the book cover to read more.












[book] The Liberators
America's Witnesses to the Holocaust
by Michael Hirsh
March 2010, Bantam
Hirsh interviewed over 150 soldiers and six military nurses who happened upon Nazi death camps in the final weeks before WW2 ended. This is the story of these witnesses to the atrocities. In early Aprul 1945, the American 4th Armored Division was on the attack when a platoon found Ohrdruf, a slave labor sub-camp of Buchenwald. The the continuing weeks, more platoons found more camps. This book brings together their stories. Will be published on Holocaust Remembrance Day
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[book] An Exclusive Love
Eine Exklusive Liebe
von Johanna Adorjan
Luchterhand LiteraturVerlag
In German
Will be translated and released by Norton in the USA in 2011
The story of the author’s paternal grandparents, who survived the Holocaust in Hungary, but recently committed suicide together in 1991 in Denmark. The author is a famous social commentator in modern Germany. They killed each other after learning that István (Pista) had terminal cancer. The early part of their relationship is dominated by the Nazi invasion of Hungary in March 1944, during which two-thirds of Hungary’s Jewish population were killed, many of them gunned down in mass shootings on the banks of the Danube. Pista, a surgeon, was deported to Muthausen concentration camp, and remained silent afterwards on what he may have been forced to do there. Then came their postwar lives in Communist-dominated Hungary. Adorjan considers the role her grandparents played in shaping her own identity, particularly in relation to questions of Jewishness and her own mixed German, Hungarian and Danish heritage. She remarks on how meticulously her grandparents planned their own deaths, and observes how many other victims of the camps also committed suicide. A powerful, reflective and thought-provoking work. Johanna Adorján, born in 1971 in Stockholm Sweden, now lives in Berlin Germany where she is a social commentator, playwright, and opera director. Since 2001 she has been the culture section editor of the Sunday Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
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[book] DINING WITH AL-QaEDA
THREE DECADES EXPLORING THE MANY WORLDS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
BY HUGH POPE
March 2010, Thomas Dunne
The former WSJ reporter based in The Middle East reflects on the region’s history, the murder of Daniel Pearl, attitudes and mores, poetry and religion and food.
Of course he criticizes American support of Israel.
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[book] The Reluctant Spy
My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror
by John Kiriakou and Michael Ruby
March 2010, Bantam
The story of a 20 year career with the CIA, detailing operations, including the capture of Abu Zubaydah, and many cases of torture or “pressure.” A brutally honest accounts of waterboarding, as well as the unsung stranegths and successes of the CIA. Also stories of the agents he recruited in Greece to work in Arab countries
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[book] American Taliban
A Novel
By Pearl Abraham
April 2010, Random House
From the author of The Seventh Beggar and The Romance Reader, comes a novel about an ordinary young American drawn to the edges of terror Click the book cover to read more.












[book] LEO AND HIS CIRCLE
THE LIFE OF LEO CASTELLI
BY ANNIE COHEN-SOLAL
March 2010, Alfred Knopf
Leo Castelli, born Leo Krauss, reigned for decades as America’s most influential art dealer. Leo and His Circle is the story of his astonishing life and career. Arriving in New York in 1941, Castelli would not open a gallery until fifteen years later, at the age of fifty. But being first to exhibit the unknown Jasper Johns, Castelli emerged a tastemaker overnight and fast came to champion a virtual Who’s Who of twentieth-century masters: Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Twombly, among them. The secret of Leo’s success? Personal devotion to his “heroes”: putting young talents on stipend and cultivating careers by finding the ideal collection for each work rather than the top bidder, he transformed the way business was done. But Castelli had another secret too: his life as an Italian Jew. Annie Cohen-Solal traces a family whose fortunes rose and fell for centuries before the Castellis fled European fascism. Never hidden but never expressed, this experience would form the core of a guarded but magnetic character possessed of unfailing old-world charm and a refusal to look backward—traits that ensured Castelli’s visionary precedence in every major new movement from Pop to Conceptual and by which he fostered the worldwide enthusiasm for American contemporary art that is his greatest legacy.
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[book] FUTURE TENSE
JEWS, JUDAISM, AND ISRAEL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTurY
BY RABBI JONATHAN SACKS
April 2010, Alfred Knopf Schocken
One of the most admired religious thinkers of our time issues a call for world Jewry to reject the self-fulfilling image of “a people alone in the world, surrounded by enemies” and to reclaim Judaism’s original sense of purpose: as a partner with God and with those of other faiths in the never-ending struggle for freedom and social justice for all. We are in danger, says Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of forgetting what Judaism’s place is within the global project of humankind. During the last two thousand years, Jews have lived through persecutions that would have spelled the end of most nations, but they did not see anti-Semitism written into the fabric of the universe. They knew they existed for a purpose, and it was not for themselves alone. Rabbi Sacks believes that the Jewish people have lost their way, that they need to recommit themselves to the task of creating a just world in which the divine presence can dwell among us. Without compromising one iota of Jewish faith, Rabbi Sacks declares, Jews must stand alongside their friends–Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and secular humanist–in defense of freedom against the enemies of freedom, in affirmation of life against those who desecrate life. And they should do this not to win friends or the admiration of others, but because it is what a people of God is supposed to do. Rabbi Sacks’s powerful message of tikkun olam–of using Judaism as a blueprint for repairing an imperfect world–will resonate with people of all faiths. Sir Jonathan Sacks is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
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[book] THE TRIALS OF ZION
A NOVEL
BY ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
March 2010. Grand Central
When Harvard Law School Professor Dershowitz is not busy teaching, defending, parenting, defending rights, America, Israel or patrilineal descent, he has been hard at work on a thriller that may become as classic as Leon Uris' Mila 18 and Exodus. There has been a SHOCKING act of terrorism which focuses the world's attention and brings the Middle East to a point of conflagration. A young Jewish American lawyer takes a position on the defense team of a Palestinian who stands accused of terrorism. Her father is a famed criminal defense attorney, who must accept the case to save his family. In order to win the case for the accused Palestinian, he must take into the history of the Middle East and what is termed by many, the Holy Land. There is action on the streets as well as the courtroom in this book. Dershowitz adds a compelling, thrilling plot and unique, memorable characters against a panoramic backdrop that will cry out for a movie deal. east Click the book cover to read more.








The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire,
James Loeffler
2010
[book] DREYFUS
POLITICS, EMOTION, AND THE SCANDAL OF THE CENTURY
BY RUTH HARRIS
April 2010, Metropolitan Books
What might be the definitive history of the infamous scandal that shook a nation and stunned the world
In 1894, Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was wrongfully convicted of spying for Germany and imprisoned on Devil’s Island. Over the next few years, France was torn apart as attempts to correct the injustice broke up families, set off anti-Semitic riots, and came close to triggering a coup d’etat against France‘s ruling government.
Drawing upon thousands of previously unconsidered sources, Ruth Harris goes beyond the conventional narrative of truth-loving left-wing democrats mobilizing against right-wing proto-Fascists to explain how violently reactionary forces could overtake a country that viewed itself as the flagship of progressive enlightenment.
She shows how complex emotions and interlocking influences—the tension between the military and the intellectuals, the clashing demands of justice and nationalism, and a tangled web of personal connections—shaped both the coalitions working to free Dreyfus and the alliances seeking to protect the army that had convicted him. Sweeping and engaging, Dreyfus offers a new understanding of one of the most contested and consequential moments in modern history.
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