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Welcome to our pages of Autumn 2010, Summer 2010, Spring 2010, Winter 2010, and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com

SOME LATE SUMMER/FALL 2010 BOOK READINGS


August 26, 2010: Alexandra Lebenthal reads from The Recessionistas. A romp on wealth power and maybe muni bonds, Books and Books, Westhampton Beach NY
September 8, 2010: For Erev Rosh Hashana, Jonathan Franzen reads from Freedom, B&N NYC Union Square
September 8, 2010: Erev Rosh Hashana
September 9-10, 2010: Rosh Hashana
September 12, 2010: Brooklyn Book Festival
September 14, 2010: Tao Lin reads from Richard Yates, B&N, Edina MN
September 14, 2010: Alexandra Lebenthal reads from The Recessionistas, B&N NYC UES 86th
September 15, 2010: Rachel Shukert reads from Everything Is Going To Be Great. Le Poisson Rouge, NYC 730PM
September 15, 2010: Readings from Old Jews Telling Jokes. Housing Works NYC 7PM
September 15, 2010: Nobelist Eric Kandel speaks and reads from In Search of Memory. Museum of Jewish Heritage. NYC 630PM
September 16, 2010: David Gelernter reads from Judaism: A Way of Being. Museum of Jewish Heritage. NYC 630PM
September 16, 2010: Saul Austerlitz reads from ANOTHER FINE MESS. Green Apple Books, SF, CA. 7PM
September 17, 2010: Yom Kippur begins in the evening
September 20-22, 2010: London Jewish Literary Festival - Hampstead & Highgate Literary Festival featuring Martin Amis, Yotam Ottolenghi, Tracy Chevalier & Lionel Shriver, Harry Mount, Howard Jacobson, Jane Rusbridge, Simon Callow, Giles Coren, Andrew Graham Dixon, Zaiba Malik, Steven Berkoff and many more
September 21, 2010: David Rakoff reads from Half Empty. B&N NYC Union Square
September 21, 2010: Meghan McCain reads from her memoir. B&N, Huntington Beach CA
? September 21, 2010: Saul Austerlitz reads from ANOTHER FINE MESS. Penn Bookstore, Philadelphia PA. 7PM
September 25, 2010: National Book Fair in Washington DC
September 27, 2010: Gal Beckerman reads from When They Come For Us, We'll Be Gone, B&N, NYC 82nd and Bway
September 27, 2010: Former President Jimmy Carter, lover of all things Jewish.... reads from his latest memoir, White House Diary, B&N, NYC, Fifth Avenue
September 28, 2010: Thanassis Cambanis reads from A Privilege To Die, about Hamas and Al Qaeda. B&N NYC 82nd/Bway
October 05, 2010: Saul Austerlitz reads from ANOTHER FINE MESS. Word Brooklyn. 7:30 PM
October 2010: The Memorial of the Shoah (Paris, France) exhibit on IRENE NEMiROVSKY, author of Suite Francaise, opens. MemorialDeLaShoah.ORG 17 Rue Geoffroy l'asnier 75004 Paris
October 07, 2010: John Jackson reads from Small Acts of Resistance. B&N NYC Tribeca Warren St
October 13, 2010: The Wisdom of Jewish Folktales with Penninah Schram, Skirball NYC
October 13, 2010: Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages, with Dr.David Kraemer, Skirball NYC
October 16, 2010: Texas Book Festival
October 17, 2010: Laurel Snyder reads from “Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher” at the DC JCC Literary Festival. Washington DC
October 18, 2010: Israeli author Michal Govrin reads from Hold on to the Sun, Library of Congress Washington DC. African and Middle Eastern Division Reading Room. Live webcast on Loc.gov
October 19, 2010: Ruth Franklin of The New Republic speaks on “A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction” on Holocaust memoirs that turn out to be fictions. DC JCC Washington DC $11.
October 19, 2010: Judah Friedlander reads from How to Beat Up Anybody. B&N NYC Union Square.
October 19, 2010. Auction of 260,000 copies of 1500 books valued at $4.5 Million retail, plus fixtures and bookcases. 35 Love Lane Netcong NJ. 11AM ajwAuctions.com
October 20, 2010: David Levinson reads from Everyone Helps, Everyone Wins. B&N Farmers Market LA, CA
October 20, 2010: Nathan Rabin reads from his memoir of growing up in a Jewish orphanage and starting the ONION in My Year of Flops. B&N Chicago
October 20, 2010: Miryam Kabakov, editor of “Keep Your Wives Away from Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires” Washington DC JCC
October 21, 2010: Counter Intelligence. Author Jonathan Gold discusses Jews and Food. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. 4PM Faculty Ctr
October 21, 2010: Samuel Heilman reads from The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Bernard Wexler Lecture on Jewish History. Co sponsored by Kesher Israel in Georgetown. Washington DC JCC Literary Festival
October 21, 2010:Dr. Daniel Gordis speaks on the Year 2048 and Israel. Mishkan Tefila, Chestnut Hill. TheDavidProject.org
October 22, 2010: Judith Freidenberg speaks on The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho: Villa Clara and the Construction of Argentine Identity, at the Embassy of Argentina, Washington DC. The Helen and Milton Covensky Fund and DC JCC Literary Festival
October 23, 2010: Sean Wilentz reads from his book, “Bob Dylan in America.” DC JCC Literary Festival
October 24, 2010: Joel Chasnoff reads from The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah – A Memoir. DC JCC Literary Festival
October 24, 2010: Allegra Goodman reads from The Cookbook Collector: A Novel. Washington DC JCC
October 24, 2010: Leonard Fein honored by Mazon on its 25th anniversary. Central Synagogue NYC 12:30PM
October 25, 2010: Jerry Muller reads from Capitalism and the Jews. DC JCC Literary Festival, Washington DC
October 26, 2010: Jessica Jiji reads from Sweet Dates in Basra, part of the Chaim Kempner Author Series. DC JCC Washington DC
October 27, 2010: Rebecca Newberger Goldstein reads from 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction, a Gerald L. Bernstein Memorial Lecture for closing night of the DC JCC Literary Festival
October 27, 2010: Alan Riding reads from And The Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi Occupied Paris. B&N NYC UWS
October 28, 2010 Professor Yona Sabar discusses the fascinating etymologies of some Hebrew Words. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, Bunche Hall, 12 Noon
October 31, 2010: A study of Melchizedek and Jethro, the rpiests who aided Abraham and Moses, with Judy Klitsner, Skirball NYC

November 01, 2010: Judith Viorst reads from Unexpectedly 80 at JCC of Rochester NY
November 04, 2010: Cynthia Ozick reads from Foreign Bodies, B&N, NYC UWS 82nd/Bway
November 04, 2010: Nancy Brinker reads from Promise Me, B&N, Baltimore MD
November 04, 2010: Judith Viorst reads from Unexpectedly 80 at JCC of Atlantic City in Margate NJ
November 08, 2010: Francine Prose reads from ANNE FRANK, B&N NYC UES 86th
November 09, 2010: Abraham H, Foxman reads from Jews and Money. The Story of Anti Semitism, B&N, NYC 82nd and Bway, 130 blocks from Ground Zero!
November 09, 2010: Judith Viorst reads from Unexpectedly 80 at JCC of Houston TX
November 11, 2010: Judith Viorst reads from Unexpectedly 80 at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA
November 15, 2010: Judith Viorst reads from Unexpectedly 80 at JCC of Atlanta GA in Dunwoody GA
November 16, 2010: Susan Derwin (UCSB) speaks on Imre Kertesz's Art of Healing. UCLA Center of Jewish Studies. Bunche Hall. 12 Noon
November 17, 2010: Moshe Idel (Hebrew U) speaks on Kabbalah in Italy. Fabrizio Lelli (Salento). UCLA Center of Jewish Studies. Bunche Hall. 12 Noon

December 02, 2010: Vincent Brook discusses Jewish Emigre Directors: Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Max Ophuls, and Robert Siodmak, the Jewishness and the Rise of Film Noir. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Bunche Hall, Los Angeles CA

January 23-25, 2011: 2011 Family Philanthropy Conference. NYC. Cof.org
January 24, 2011: David Stern (Penn) discusses Reading The Whole Jewish Book. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Royce Hall, Los Angeles CA
January 27, 2011: Ari Kelman discusses Fiddler on the Roof and the Politics of Sentimentality, Film, Photography, and Philanthropy. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Bunche Hall, Los Angeles CA
February 10, 2011: Author Mimi Sheraton discusses Not By Bialys Alone. Iconic Jewish Foods. UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Los Angeles CA
February 20-25, 2011: 25th Jerusalem International Books Fair. JerusalemBookFair.com









[book] Yoo Hoo Mrs Goldberg
DVD. Directed by Aviva Kempner
2009, DVD Release August 2010
Long before Roots, All in the Family, and Tyler Perry, there was Mrs. Goldberg. Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg is a documentary that explores the wonderful cultural significance of a creative, energetic Jewish woman, Gertrude Berg, and how her vision and drive broke cultural boundaries in the 1930s and beyond. Berg created a character, Mrs. Goldberg, a lovable and loving Jewish mother, shaped in the immigrant neighborhoods of New York City, who became a national heroine and one of the first true pop culture icons of the 20th century. Directed by Aviva Kempner, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg traces the story of young Tillie Edelstein, granddaughter of Jewish refugees, who was born in 1898 in East Harlem. Young Tillie was inquisitive and formed her love for theater at her father's hotel in the Catskills. Later, upon returning to Manhattan, Tillie married and continued to write, supported by her loving husband. Eventually she changed her name to Gertrude and used her married last name, Berg, and became an early radio star in a series based on her insular Jewish neighborhood. The radio show eventually became a TV series--and giant national hit--earning Berg the first Best Actress Emmy. But the power of Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg lies in Kempner's meticulous, captivating storytelling. There are interviews with fans from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to NPR's Susan Stamberg--who relates the possibly apocryphal quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt that it wasn't he who led America out of the Great Depression, "it was Mrs. Goldberg" and the nurturing popularity of the radio series that bore her name. This boxed set is a rich exploration of the America of the 20th century, of the bridging of ethnic worlds, and of the vision and energy of one talented lady who captivated America and helped pave the way for the multicultural America that would lie ahead. The disc includes a great commentary by Kempner, several episodes of the original TV series, and interviews with Edward R. Morrow and others about Berg, who freely admits she "spends more time as Mrs. Goldberg than as myself." Fans of pop culture history and the evolving role of Jews in America will especially love Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg







[book] AJAMI
DVD. Directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
2009, DVD Release August 2010
One of the pleasures of Ajami, a tough and in many ways unsparing movie, is its deep immersion in the beats and melodies of everyday life in Jaffa and beyond... Some of the scenes, as they unwind slowly and take surprising turns, have the rough, surprising rhythm of a documentary. At the same time, though, the film has an ingenious and carefully worked-out structure. Dividing their story into chapters that are presented out of chronological order, the filmmakers embrace the multi-stranded, decentered narrative strategy that has become one of the prevalent conventions of contemporary world cinema. There are no coincidences, only hidden connections among apparently random events, some of which happen more than once so that the deeper patterns can be revealed. --The New York Times
This Academy Award nominated film is Shakespearian in its scope and themes - revenge, loyalty, hope and despair - AJAMI draws us into the lives of two brothers fearing assassination; a young refugee working illegally to cover his mother s medical expenses; a cop obsessed with finding his missing brother. Through this dramatic collision of different worlds, we witness cultural and religious tensions simmering beneath the surface and the tragic consequences of enemies living as neighbors. Recommended for those who enjoyed Crash or Traffic.








The Story of AIPAC’s older Arab Cousins
I said PETROdiplomacy.. not PedoDiplomacy…
[book] The Arab Lobby
The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America's Interests in the Middle East
By Mitchell Bard. PhD
Summer 2010, Harper
The point of the book is to tell American readers and opinion leaders that there is an Arab Lobby, and it is bigger and older, but much more discreet, than AIPAC. The book is being dismissed by critics since the author is a former AIPAC employee. They say it was written to counter Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s, “The Israel Lobby.” Bard is the executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, He PhD thesis at UCLA was on the limits to domestic influence on U.S. Middle East Policy.
From the cover: In this authoritative history—the first in over twenty-five years to investigate the scope and activities of the Arab Lobby—Mitchell Bard provides a timely and valuable corrective to the unbalanced view of Middle East affairs that is so widely promoted today. The so-called Israel lobby has been widely denounced and demonized in the media, but its power pales in comparison to the decades-long corruption of American interests by Arab governments. Indeed, for more than seventy years, U.S. policy in the Middle East has been shaped not by the power of a nefarious "Israel lobby" but by a misguided emphasis on pleasing and placating the Arab states. This outlook has ensured that the United States pays disproportionate attention to their demands, assisting Arab countries—all of them dictatorial regimes with abysmal human rights records—that do not share our values, and often work to subvert our interests.
Historically, the Arab lobby consisted of the oil industry, Christian missionaries, and current or former U.S. diplomats. Arabists in the State Department, many of them openly anti-Semitic, tried to prevent America from recognizing Israel in 1948, and have since waged a long bureaucratic war to undermine the alliance between America and the only true democracy in the Middle East, blocking arms and aid to Israel, while seeking larger weapons sales for their Arab friends. Many of these Arabists subsequently found lucrative jobs promoting business with Arab countries, speaking on their behalf and criticizing U.S.-Israel policy. Today the Arab states influence American policy through numerous hidden and informal channels, including former members of Congress, subsidized think tanks, paid media spokesmen, academics who hold chairs endowed by Arab money, human rights organizations, assorted UN agencies, European diplomats, and Christian groups hostile to Israel. A number of former ambassadors, university professors, and think tank experts routinely opine on Middle Eastern affairs, but never reveal these conflicts of interest. The most powerful member of the Arab lobby is Saudi Arabia, which has a nearly eighty-year relationship with the United States. From the earliest days, when American companies first discovered oil in the Arabian Peninsula, the Saudis have used a variety of tactics, including threats and bribes, to coerce U.S. policy makers to ignore their human rights abuses, support of terrorism, and opposition to American interests.
Today, Bard shows, the Arab lobby's goals include feeding America's oil addiction, obtaining more sophisticated weaponry, and weakening our alliance with a democratic Israel. It also seeks to influence public opinion through a well-funded publicity campaign, and by injecting distorted views of the Middle East into high school and college textbooks. Bard's detailed political history brings much-needed balance to a debate fraught with ignorance and propaganda.
Click the book cover to read more.






So… A Jew, A Baptist, and a Catholic walk into a bar… I mean a Capitol Rotunda… and the bartender says…
[book] Young Guns
A New Generation of Conservative Leaders MBR> By Rep. Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy
Summer 2010, Threshold Editions (Simon and Schuster)
From the book imprint that gave you Glenn Beck’s and Karl Rove’s comes a book by Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy -- proud Republicans. But they believe the party had lost sight of the ideals it believes in, like economic freedom, limited government, the sanctity of life, and putting families first. This isn’t your grandfather’s Republican party. These Young Guns of the House GOP—Cantor (the leader), Ryan (the thinker), and McCarthy (the strategist)—are ready to take their belief in the principles that have made America great and translate it into solutions that will make the future even better, solutions that will create private sector jobs, maximize individual freedom, and establish a better world for our children. This groundbreaking book is a call to action that sets forth a plan for growth, opportunity, and commitment that will propel this country to prosperity once again. Together, the Young Guns are changing the face of the Republican party and giving us a new road map back to the American dream.
Click the book cover to read more.










Still a best seller after half a year:
[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.






THE BUZZ ON THIS IS ASTOUNDING
[book] RICH BOY
A NOVEL
BY SHARON POMERANTZ
August 2010, Twelve
Ten years in the making, Rich Boy is a well crafted novel of desire, money, grace, love, and class. It spans 4 decades, from the Sixties to the Nineties in the life of a young man, Robert Vishniak, who wants to escape his past. It is a story of rich and poor, and rich and wealthy.
Booklist writes: “*Starred Review* Pomerantz’s compelling, finely crafted debut novel chronicles one man’s journey from the blue-collar suburbs of 1950s Philadelphia to the high-society of 1980s New York. Robert Vishniak grows up in a working-class Jewish neighborhood, often at odds with his frugal, distant mother. Blessed with good looks and possessing an uncompromising ambition, Robert learns at an early age to use his physical appearance to his advantage. Eager to leave behind his humble upbringing, Robert is accepted to Tufts University, where he quickly falls in with a group of privileged students led by the enigmatic Tracey, Robert’s roommate and subsequent lifelong friend. Moving forward in time, Pomerantz chronicles Robert’s varied adventures as he copes with the panoramic complexities and rewards of rebellion, self-renewal, and heartache. Over the course of four decades, Robert becomes entrenched in the upper echelon of Manhattan’s elite, ultimately succeeding as a real-estate lawyer and marrying into a family of old money. He is finally enjoying the success he so desired as a young man, until a random encounter with a woman from his hometown begins to erode Robert’s carefully crafted persona. Pomerantz’s sweeping tale captures the intimate truths and hypocrisies of class, identity, and one man’s quintessential American experience.
Click the book cover to read more.










[book] BURNT BOOKS
RABBI NAChMAN of BRaTZLAV AND FRANZ KAFKA
BY RODGER KAMENETZ
August 2010, Jewish Encounters – Schocken Nextbook
A dual biography of the venerated Hasidic storyteller Rabbi Nachman and the iconic modern master Franz Kafka that uncovers surprising parallels between two tragically abbreviated lives, both spent in search of spiritual meaning.
Rodger Kamenetz, acclaimed author of The Jew in the Lotus, has long been engaged in the study and practice of Jewish spirituality. And he has for many years taught a course in Prague on Franz Kafka. The more he learned about the life and work of Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav (great-grandson of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism), the more aware he became of unexpected connections between the lives and works of Kafka, a secular artist fascinated by Jewish mysticism, and Rabbi Nachman, a religious mystic who reached out to secular Jews. Both men died young of tuberculosis. Both invented new forms of storytelling that explore the search for meaning in an illogical, unjust world. Both gained prominence with the posthumous publication of their writing. And most intriguing of all, both left strict instructions that their unpublished writings were to be burned after they died.
Kamenetz uses these episodes as points of departure on a journey into the spiritual quests of these two troubled and beloved figures. He concludes with an analysis of their major works that illuminates the remarkable similarities between them. In their attempts to understand the existence of a Supreme Being in an imperfect world, both men teach us a great deal about the role of imagination in the Jewish spiritual experience.
Click the book cover to read more.









[book] THE KOSHER BAKER
OVER 160 DAIRY FREE RECIPES FROM TRADITIONAL TO TRENDY
BY PAULA SHOYER
August 2010, Brandeis UPNE.com
The Kosher Baker is a fascinating look into the world of Jewish baking. While an incredible resource for those who eat kosher, it’s equally compelling for anyone interested in a tempting array of sweets and breads, from fast-and-easy to elegant party fare. Two thumbs up!
It is organized like a tutorial. Chapters includes (1) Quick and Elegant Desserts (15 minutes prep time) (2) Two Step Desserts (15-30 minute prep times) (3) Multiple Step Desserts and Breads (More than 30 minutes prep time) inclding Challah, mouses, tarts and puddings (4) Passover and No-Sugar and Other Special Diets
Highlights include basics, such as amaretto cookies, orange tea cake, and apple pastry. Next you graduate on to Chocolate Babka. As an expert, the book is also filled with tip on thawing and freezing , tips and techniques, and the point that if you boil caramel, don’t worry if the caramel forms into globs. Judy Lerner’s Apple Upside Down Cake; Pistachio Financiers (based on European almond gold bar shaped financiers); and Challah Beer Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce (based on a Brioche based dessert she once had, but she substitutes a challah
Paula is the owner of Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School in Washington DC. She was the editor of Susie Fishbein’s Kosher by Design cookbooks. She received her pastry degree from Ritz Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise in Paris in 1996. Click the book cover to read more.









[book] JEWISH CHOICES, JEWISH VOICES
SOCIAL JUSTICE
Edited by Elliot N. Dorff, Danya Ruttenberg, and Louis E. Newman
August 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
How do we expand health care coverage to more Americans? Are hate crimes legislation and affirmative action fair? What sacrifices must we make to protect the environment? Is the death penalty morally acceptable? Contributors include Jill Jacobs, of Jewish Funds for Justice; Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center; and TV commentator and UCLA law professor Laurie Levenson.
Each volume in this series presents hypothetical cases on specific topics, followed by traditional and contemporary sources. Supplementing these are brief essays, written by contributors of various ages, backgrounds, and viewpoints to provoke lively thought and discussion. These voices from Jewish tradition and today's Jewish community present us with new questions and perspectives, encouraging us to consider our own moral choices in a new light.
Danya Ruttenberg, Rabbi (Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University), is the author of Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion (Beacon Press, 2008), and editor of The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism (NYU Press, 2009) and Yentl's Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism (Seal Press, 2001). Elliot N. Dorff, Rabbi (Jewish Theological Seminary), PhD (Columbia University), is rector and Sol and Anne Dorff Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism) in Los Angeles.
Click the book cover to read more.










[book] JEWISH CHOICES, JEWISH VOICES
WAR AND NATIONAL SECURITY
Edited by Elliot N. Dorff, Danya Ruttenberg, and Louis E. Newman
August 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
Is it morally acceptable to use surveillance and profiling to protect national security? Should war only be used in self-defense? Is torture in times of war morally acceptable? Contributors include scholar Noam Chomsky, Lt. Col. Seth Milstein, and political philosopher Michael Walzer. Each volume in this series presents hypothetical cases on specific topics, followed by traditional and contemporary sources. Supplementing these are brief essays, written by contributors of various ages, backgrounds, and viewpoints to provoke lively thought and discussion. These voices from Jewish tradition and today's Jewish community present us with new questions and perspectives, encouraging us to consider our own moral choices in a new light.
Click the book cover to read more.
See also:
Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices on these topics
Sex and Intimacy
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SOME SEPTEMBER 2010 BOOKS


[book] A PRIVILEGE TO DIE
HEZBOLLAH‘S LEGIONS AND THEIR ENDLESS WAR AGAINST ISRAEL
BY THANASSIS CAMBANIS
September 2010, Free Press
Is it a political party, or a standing army?
It is both. Plus it is a theological movement. It makes no apologies or compromises to its goal to remake the Middle East map and to destroy Israel.
Who are the people willing to die for this group? While Hamas and al Qaeda are dangerous, it is Hezbollah’s foot soldiers who are sowrn to the apocalyptic belief of “The Party of God.“ This is an urgent exploration of militancy in the Middle East. Leslie Gelb called the book “Frightening.”
Cambanis, a past reporter for the New York Times and The Boston Globe, and current teacher at Columbia University’s SIPA, questions how Hezbollah has won two wars with Israel and managed to maintain a powerful position in the Islamic world, and grow in followers. Even the middle class and nursing professionals support the movement. How have the appealed to so many economic classes and religious sects? What is the apocalyptic beliefs of this Party Of God? The author introduces us to these answers as well as the “soccer moms” of the movement who are on ground, recruiting and promoting. And creating devotion.
By the way, Hezbollah is currently awash in money. Leaders are building mini mansions and driving nice cars. Maybe it causes a little animosity, but hezb. provides a lot of social services. They also give many of their parliamentary seats to other parties to create linkages and loyalty. They built a popular theme park glorifying past and future wars. Even if there was no Israel, Hezbollah would still seek wars. It is part of the philosophy; they are pro Islam and pro total war. There needs to be continuous total war. It is peculiar that they have been lately recruiting street thugs and lower class people who they shunned before. Corruption might grow. They also have thousands of missiles ready to shoot at Israel should they get the go ahead from Iran (although they did not shoot any during the Gaza fighting). Of course they want Israel destroyed, but this can be a long term goal. Of course they hate Israel, but most Lebanese hate Israel. It is a natural state of the nation. Many of their members are dual citizens with America. They love America, but hate American policy. Quite an interesting read.
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[book] SABRA ZOO
A THRILLER A NOVEL
BY MISCHA HILLER
August 2010, Telegram Books
Hiller grew up in Beirut, Dar es Sallam, and Europe. It's 1982 and teenager Ivan remains in Beirut while his parents are evacuated with the PLO during the Israeli siege of the city. Their departure leaves Ivan free to try and befriend Eli, a Norwegian physiotherapist. To get close to her, he agrees to help with the belligerent Youssef, a Sabra refugee camp orphan, disabled by a cluster bomb. Ivan also couriers fake documents around Beirut for the PLO. But when the Christian president-elect is assassinated and the Israelis enter Beirut, events take a nasty turn. Ivan, caught up in the horror that makes international headlines, tries to salvage some good from the resulting chaos.
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[book] The Violin of Auschwitz
A Novel
By Maria Àngels Anglada, Translated by Martha Tennent
August 2010, Bantam
An international sensation now available in English for the first time, The Violin of Auschwitz is the unforgettable story of one man’s refusal to surrender his dignity in the face of history’s greatest atrocity. In the winter of 1991, at a concert in Krakow, an older woman with a marvelously pitched violin meets a fellow musician who is instantly captivated by her instrument. When he asks her how she obtained it, she reveals the remarkable story behind its origin. Imprisoned at Auschwitz, the notorious concentration camp, Daniel feels his humanity slipping away. Treasured memories of the young woman he loved and the prayers that once lingered on his lips become hazier with each passing day. Then a visit from a mysterious stranger changes everything, as Daniel’s former identity as a crafter of fine violins is revealed to all. The camp’s two most dangerous men use this information to make a cruel wager: If Daniel can build a successful violin within a certain number of days, the Kommandant wins a case of the finest burgundy. If not, the camp doctor, a torturer, gets hold of Daniel. And so, battling exhaustion, Daniel tries to recapture his lost art, knowing all too well the likely cost of failure. Written with lyrical simplicity and haunting beauty—and interspersed with chilling, actual Nazi documentation—The Violin of Auschwitz is more than just a novel: It is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of beauty, art, and hope to triumph over the darkest adversity.
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[book] Simon Wiesenthal
The Life and Legends
By Tom Segev
September 2010, Doubleday Press
From esteemed Israeli journalist and historian Tom Segev, the first fully documented biography of Simon Wiesenthal, revealing the fascinating truth behind this simultaneously admired, despised, and feared hunter of Nazis. Simon Wiesenthal was the legendary “Nazi hunter” played by Ben Kingsley and Laurence Olivier on film, a Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to the punishment of Nazi criminals. A hero in the eyes of many, he was also attacked for his unrelenting pursuit of the past, when others preferred to forget. For this definitive biography, Tom Segev has obtained access to Wiesenthal’s hundreds of thousands of private papers and to sixteen archives, including records of the U.S., Israeli, Polish, and East German secret services. Segev is able to reveal the intriguing secrets of Wiesenthal’s life, including his stunning role in the capture of Adolf Eichmann, his controversial investigative techniques, his unlikely friendships with Kurt Wald heim and Albert Speer, and the nature of his RIVALRY WITH ELIE WIESEL. Tom Segev has written a brilliant character study of the “hunter” who was driven by his own memories to ensure that the destruction of European Jewry never be forgotten
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[book] I LIVE IN THE FUTURE AND HERE’S HOW IT WORKS
HOW NEW MEDIA IS CREATIVELY DISRUPTING YOUR WORLD, WORK, AND BRAIN
BY NICK BILTON
September 2010, Crown
The Medium is the message?
Nick Bilton is the Marshall McLuhan of the Internet Media age
The internet is creating a new type of consumer, the consumerivore. Immediacy trumps quality. How will they influence product development, the mar, and content and how it is created and delivered. Brains are changing based on the new media narratives. Is it a coincidence that ADHD ADD is increasing? Does anyone have patience? Can anyone concentrate? Does anyone have a real conversation that does not involve texting? A must read.
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[book] GLOBE TREKKER – THE HOLY LAND
DVD.
2009, DVD Release Summer 2010
Holy Lands: Part One - Jerusalem and the West Bank
Globe Trekker Zay Harding visits the ancient city of Jerusalem, ventures into the Palestinian West Bank and explores one of the world's natural wonders, the Dead Sea. Zay's travels begin in Jerusalem with visits to the iconic Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Western Wall. He takes a historical walk along the Old City ramparts and fills up on visions of the End of Days at the Mount of Olives. Zay crosses the military check points into the Palestinian West Bank on his way to Ramallah. In the West Bank, he visits the tomb of Yasser Arafat and checks out the extraordinaty graffiti along the separation wall, before ending his journey with a therapeutic dip in the Dead Sea.
Holy Lands : Part Two - Israel
Zay Harding walks in the footsteps of Jesus, discovers the mysteries of Kabbalah, explores the crusader tunnels of Akko, lives it up in modern Tel Aviv and treks the mighty Negev Desert. Zay's journey starts in Nazareth, where he embarks on a two day hike along the Jesus Trail to the Sea of Galilee. He visits the tiny hilltop town of Tsfat, famous as the birthplace of Kabbalah and the medieval town of Akko to explore the ruins of an underground Crusader city. Traveling down the coast, Zay stops for a few days of R&R in Tel Aviv that includes a visits to Tel Aviv's Pride Festival. His visits end in the Negev Desert, where he visits Ben Gurion University and sets out on a breathtaking mountain biking trip to Mitzpe Ramon.
Includes Globe Trekker Extra- Behind the Scenes Holy Lands Part Two: Israel








OH MY GOD: MAZEL TOV to David Katznelson, Roger Bennett, Josh Kun and Courtney Holt of The Idelsohn Society, who have produced a new CD:
The IDELSOHN SOCIETY HIGH HOLIDAY DAYS OF AWE FREE MIX TAPE LOCATED AT: CLICK HERE It features Barbra Streisand with Aveenu Malkeinu, Lewis Black on Yom Kippur, Brenda Lee, Leonard Cohen on Who By Fire, Who By Water and Shall I Say is Calling, Richard Tucker, The Platters, The Electric Prunes and more.

[book] Black Sabbath
The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations
Various Artists
Audio CD. Idelsohn Society for Music Preservation
September 14, 2010
Johnny Mathis sings Kol Nidre>BR> Lena Horne sings to Hava Nagila
Nina Simone sings Eretz Tzvat Halav
The 4 members of the Idelsohn Society's latest CD. The first attempt to gather the US history of African-American & Jewish relations into a selective pop musical guide moves from early performers like Slim Galliard singing about bagels and Cab Calloway mixing Yiddish into his hepcat dictionary of jive, to Sonny Berman making '40s bebop he called `'Beautiful Jewish Music," Johnny Mathis singing "Kol Nidre," and Aretha Franklin doing a '60s take on "Swanee."
Features many well-known artists singing rarely heard songs--Billie Holiday, Eartha Kitt, Cannonball Adderley, Lena Horne, Nina Simone, The Temptations, and more.
See also:
Our Way – The Barry Sisters
JewFace (Eddie Cantor, Irving Berlin and more
Folk Songs for Far Out Folk



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[book] SARAH
THE LIFE OF SARAH BERNHARDT
BY ROBERT GOTTLIEB
Part of the Yale University Press Jewish Lives Series of Books
September 21, 2010, Yale University Press
Everything about Sarah Bernhardt is fascinating, from her obscure birth to her glorious career—redefining the very nature of her art—to her amazing (and highly public) romantic life to her indomitable spirit. Well into her seventies, after the amputation of her leg, she was performing under bombardment for soldiers during World War I, as well as crisscrossing America on her ninth American tour. Her family was also a source of curiosity: the mother she adored and who scorned her; her two half-sisters, who died young after lives of dissipation; and most of all, her son, Maurice, whom she worshiped and raised as an aristocrat, in the style appropriate to his presumed father, the Belgian Prince de Ligne. Only once did they quarrel—over the Dreyfus Affair. Maurice was a right-wing snob; Sarah, always proud of her Jewish heritage, was a passionate Dreyfusard and Zolaist.
Though the Bernhardt literature is vast, Gottlieb’s Sarah is the first English-language biography to appear in decades. Brilliantly, it tracks the trajectory through which an illegitimate—and scandalous—daughter of a courtesan transformed herself into the most famous actress who ever lived, and into a national icon, a symbol of France.
Click the book cover to read more.









[book] WHY THE DREYFUS AFFAIR MATTERS
BY LOUIS BEGLEY, Esq.
NOW IN Paperback
September 2010, Yale University Press
This brilliant book by a retired atty from Debevoise and Plimpton and literary award winner is now in paperback. It grabs you from the first page as you imagine Dreyfus languishing on Devil's Island even though he is innocent. Do you let one person rot away if it protects the establishment?
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.
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.
Click the book cover to read more.









[book] LET SWORDS ENCIRCLE ME
Iran--A Journey Behind the Headlines
By Scott Peterson
September 2010, Simon and Schuster
This is a must read for anyone who plans to open their mouth about Iran
Iran is portrayed as a nuclear threat, a terrorist nation, a charter member of the Axis of Evil bent on the destruction of Israel. But behind those headlines — and the fierce rhetoric of Iran’s most hard-line leaders — is a proud nation with a 2,500-year history of Persian poetry, art, and passion.
Based on more than thirty extended reporting trips to Iran, including the turbulent aftermath of the disputed June 2009 election, Scott Peterson’s portrait is the definitive guide to this enigmatic nation, from the roots of its incendiary internal struggles to the rise and slide of Iran’s earthshaking 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iran, a country where an educated and young population is restlessly eager to take its place in the world; where martyrs of the "sacred" Iran-Iraq War are still mourned with tears of devotion; where the cultural and religious forces of light and darkness are locked in battle, is a place that Peterson brings alive. Let the Swords Encircle Me gives voice to Iranians themselves—the clerics and the reformers, the filmmakers and the journalists, the True Believers and their Westernized and profane brethren—to understand the complexities of Iran today.
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[book] A Time to Betray
The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran
By Reza Kahlili (a pseudonym)
2010, Simon and Schuster
A allegedly true story as exhilarating as a great spy thriller, as turbulent as today’s headlines from the Middle East, A Time to Betray reveals what no other previous CIA operative’s memoir possibly could: the inner workings of the notorious Revolutionary Guards of Iran, as witnessed by an Iranian man inside their ranks who spied for the American government. It is a human story, a chronicle of family and friendships torn apart by a terror-mongering regime, and how the adult choices of three childhood mates during the Islamic Republic yielded divisive and tragic fates. And it is the stunningly courageous account of one man’s decades-long commitment to lead a shocking double life informing on the beloved country of his birth, a place that once offered the promise of freedom and enlightenment—but instead ruled by murderous violence and spirit-crushing oppression. Reza Kahlili grew up in Tehran surrounded by his close-knit family and two spirited boyhood friends. The Iran of his youth allowed Reza to think and act freely, and even indulge a penchant for rebellious pranks in the face of the local mullahs. His political and personal freedoms flourished while he studied computer science at the University of Southern California in the 1970s. But his carefree time in America was cut short with the sudden death of his father, and Reza returned home to find a country on the cusp of change. The revolution of 1979 plunged Iran into a dark age of religious fundamentalism under the Ayatollah Khomeini, and Reza, clinging to the hope of a Persian Renaissance, joined the Revolutionary Guards, an elite force at the beck and call of the Ayatollah. But as Khomeini’s tyrannies unfolded, as his fellow countrymen turned on each other, and after the horror he witnessed inside Evin Prison, a shattered and disillusioned Reza returned to America to dangerously become “Wally,” a spy for the CIA. Now resigned from his secretive life, Reza Kahlili documents scenes from history with heart-wrenching clarity, as he supplies vital information from the Iran-Iraq War, the Marine barracks bombings in Beirut, the catastrophes of Pan Am Flight 103, the scandal of the Iran-Contra affair, and more . . .
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[book] THE INVISIBLE HARRY GOLD
The Man Who Gave The Soviets The Atom Bomb
By Allen M Hornblum
September 2010, Yale University Press
In the history of Soviet espionage in America, few people figure more crucially than Harry Gold. A Russian Jewish immigrant who spied for the Soviets from 1935 until 1950, Gold was an accomplished industrial and military espionage agent. He was assigned to be physicist Klaus Fuchs’s “handler” and ultimately conveyed sheaves of stolen information about the Manhattan Project from Los Alamos to Russian agents. He is literally the man who gave the USSR the plans for the atom bomb. The subject of the most intensive public manhunt in the history of the FBI, Gold was arrested in May 1950. His confession revealed scores of contacts, and his testimony in the trial of the Rosenbergs proved pivotal. Yet among his co-workers, fellow prisoners at Lewisburg Penitentiary, and even those in the FBI, Gold earned respect, admiration, and affection. In The Invisible Harry Gold, journalist and historian Allen Hornblum paints a surprising portrait of this notorious yet unknown figure. Through interviews with many individuals who knew Gold and years of research into primary documents, Hornblum has produced a gripping account of how a fundamentally decent and well-intentioned man helped commit the greatest scientific theft of the twentieth century.
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[book] HOW TO CURE A FANATIC
BY AMOS OZ

September 2010, Princeton University Press
Now in paperback
Oz, one of Israel's foremost novelists and also a leader in the peace movement, sets up opposite poles—pragmatism and fanaticism—in the two essays in this thin (both in size and content) volume. Pragmatism is Oz's path to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Writing in ardent, articulate and informal prose (the essays originated as lectures), Oz (A Tale of Love and Darkness) writes that this conflict is a straightforward, though intense, battle over real estate in which both sides have legitimate claims to one tiny piece of land. And the necessary compromise—in the form of two states, "divided roughly according to demographic realities"—will be deeply painful for both, the loss of land a kind of amputation, in Oz's words. Also crucial to peace, in Oz's view, is providing homes and jobs for the residents of the squalid Palestinian refugee camps. But how to convince the anti-compromise fanatics on both sides? On this score, Oz is less satisfying, suggesting the remedial value of humor and imagination (i.e., learning to really see the other). The book's third part, an interview with Princeton University Press's Brigitta van Rheinberg, is largely redundant, leaving this feeling more like a padded pamphlet than a book, despite the virtues of Oz's perspective.
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[book] A Shepherd's Journey
The Story of Israel's First Bedouin Diplomat
By Ishmael Khaldi
2010
A Shepherd's Journey is Ishmael Khaldi's, 39, unique story of transformation from his modest village roots to his triumph as Israel's first Bedouin diplomat. Born into a traditional Bedouin family in a poor Bedouin village in northern Israel, Ishmael Khaldi's road has not been an easy one. From his early days as a sheepherder to his schoolboy "fights," his terrifying first forays into the mysterious New York subway system, and later, his remarkable friendships with Jews and Muslims, religious and secular, on two continents, Ishmael Khaldi's life has been full of adventure and love, humor and pathos. this is a story that will inspire, educate and charm, told with authenticity and passion, as only he can tell it. He was Deputy Consul General in San Francisco from 2006 – 2009, and currently serves as an assistant to MK Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Foreign Minister.
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[book] AUGUSTINE AND THE JEWS
A CHRISTIAN DEFENSE OF JEWS AND JUDAiSM
BY PAULA FREDRIKSEN
September 2010, Yale University Press, paperback
A recognized scholar of the historical Jesus, Fredriksen (Aurelio Professor of Scripture, Boston Univ.; From Jesus to Christ) explores Augustine of Hippo's journey into his own particular understanding of Scripture and of the place of Judaism in the Christian world. She particularly focuses on Augustine's commentaries on Paul's letters, the Psalms, and recorded disputations with the Manicheans whom he had once embraced. Over time, Augustine (354–430) arrived at his ideas of a just God and of human freedom, which in turn led to his teaching that Jews, divinely chosen, were necessary witnesses in the development of Christianity. The author draws especially on Augustine's Confessions and City of God and also references writings of contemporaries such as Ambrose and Jerome. She points out that despite the early development of anti-Judaism in the rhetoric of the day, the populations of urban Mediterranean cities intermingled socially, with Jews practicing their religious traditions, holding civil office, etc. Featuring textual analysis of a very high caliber and an extensive bibliography, this worthy contribution to the literature on Augustine is recommended for scholarly and religion collections.
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[book] LENIN‘S JEWISH QUESTION
BY YOHANAN PETOVSKY-SHTERN
September 2010, Yale University Press
In this first examination of Lenin’s genealogical and political connections to East European Jews, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern reveals the broad cultural meanings of indisputable evidence that Lenin’s maternal grandfather was a Jew. He examines why and how Lenin’s Jewish relatives converted to Christianity, explains how Lenin’s vision of Russian Marxism shaped his identity, and explores Lenin’s treatment of party colleagues of Jewish origin and the Jewish Question in Europe. Petrovsky-Shtern also uncovers the continuous efforts of the Soviet communists to suppress Lenin’s Jewishness and the no less persistent attempts of Russian extremists to portray Lenin as a Jew. In this fascinating book, Petrovsky-Shtern expands our understanding not only of Lenin, but also of Russian and Soviet handling of the Jewish Question.
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[book] THE GLATSTEIN CHRONICLES
JACOB GLATSTEIN
EDITED BY RUTH WISSE
September 2010, Yale University Press
In 1934, with World War II on the horizon, writer Jacob Glatstein (1896-1971) travelled from his home in America to his native Poland to visit his dying mother. One of the foremost Yiddish poets of the day, he used his journey as the basis for two highly autobiographical novellas (translated as "The Glatstein Chronicles") in which he intertwines childhood memories with observations of growing anti-Semitism in Europe. Glatstein's accounts 'stretch like a tightrope across a chasm', writes preeminent Yiddish scholar Ruth Wisse in the Introduction. In Book One, "Homeward Bound", the narrator, Yash, recounts his voyage to his birthplace in Poland and the array of international travellers he meets along the way. Book Two, "Homecoming at Twilight", resumes after his mother's funeral and ends with Yash's impending return to the United States, a Jew with an American passport who recognizes the ominous history he is traversing. "The Glatstein Chronicles" is at once insightful reportage of the year after Hitler came to power, reflection by a leading intellectual on contemporary culture and events, and the closest thing we have to a memoir by the boy from Lublin, Poland, who became one of the finest poets of the twentieth century.
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AFTER THE FLOTILLA, FAUX TILLA, THE SHORTENED LEGS OF THE CHAIR… this is a must read to understand present day Turkey
[book] TURKEY, ISLAM, NATIONALISM, AND MODERNITY
A HISTORY
BY CARTER FINDLEY (Ohio State)
September 2010, Yale University Press
Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity reveals the historical dynamics propelling two centuries of Ottoman and Turkish history. As mounting threats to imperial survival necessitated dynamic responses, ethnolinguistic and religious identities inspired alternative strategies for engaging with modernity. A radical, secularizing current of change competed with a conservative, Islamically committed current. Crises sharpened the differentiation of the two currents, forcing choices between them.
The radical current began with the formation of reformist governmental elites and expanded with the advent of “print capitalism,” symbolized by the privately owned, Ottoman-language newspapers. The radicals engineered the 1908 Young Turk revolution, ruled empire and republic until 1950, made secularism a lasting “belief system,” and still retain powerful positions. The conservative current gained impetus from three history-making Islamic renewal movements, those of Mevlana Halid, Said Nursi, and Fethullah Gülen. Powerful under the empire, Islamic conservatives did not regain control of government until the 1980s. By then they, too, had their own influential media. Findley's reassessment of political, economic, social, and cultural history reveals the dialectical interaction between radical and conservative currents of change, which alternately clashed and converged to shape late Ottoman and republican Turkish history.
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[book] APART
ALIENATED AND ENGAGED MUSLIMS IN THE WEST
BY JUSTIN GEST
September 2010, Columbia University Press
Through a novel conceptual framework and probing interviews, Justin Gest gets to the heart of why so many Western Muslims are disaffected by their social and political situations and why they undermine the very political systems that remain their means of inclusion. He also considers why so many other Western Muslims feel differently and why they choose to be engaged. Based on research conducted in London's East End and Madrid's Lavapiés district, and drawing on over one hundred interviews with community elders, imams, extremists, politicians, gangsters, and ordinary people just trying to get by, Gest maps the daily experiences of young Muslim men. Confronting conventional explanations that point to inequality, discrimination, and religion, he builds a new theory that distinguishes alienated and engaged political behavior not by structural factors but by social agents and their interpretation of shared realities. Filled with counterintuitive conclusions, Apart sounds an unambiguous warning to Western policymakers, presaging an imminent American experience with the same challenges. The way in which governments and people discipline their fear and understand their Muslim fellows, it claims, may shape the course of democratic social life in the foreseeable future.
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[book] THE SHIFT
ISRAEL PALESTINE FROM BORDER STRUGGLE TO ETHNIC CONFLICT
By MENACHEM KLEIN, Bar Ilan University
September 2010, Columbia University Press
Since 2000, the Israeli army has increased the size and strength of its operations in occupied territories. These activities, matched with an unprecedented rise in the construction of Jewish settlements, have irrevocably changed the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis. As Menachem Klein sees it, what was once a border conflict has now become an ethnic struggle, with Jewish Israel establishing an ethno-security regime that stretches from Jordan to the Mediterranean, facilitated and accelerated by the recent results of elections in Israel, the United States, and the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority. In a bold challenge to those who claim Israel has done nothing more than pursue a framework of "occupation," Klein identifies a radical shift that has put ethnicity at the center of its security initiatives. Even Israeli citizens of Palestinian origin are at risk of becoming targets. Klein closely reads the legal and political apparatus now cocooning Israel's shrinking Jewish majority. Within this system, Palestinians have been divided into several categories with different privileges: Israel's Palestinian citizens; the residents of Jerusalem; the two groups that occupy the West Bank, separated by the Separation Barrier; and those who live under siege in the Gaza Strip. Grounding his work in primary sources and hard-to-find statistics, Klein completes a groundbreaking, unflinchingly study that portrays the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He ultimately argues that a single, nonethnic state is not the best solution. Instead he supports a two-state compromise, as difficult as it may be, since it is the only viable way to peace.
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[book][book] THE WORST-KEPT SECRET
ISRAEL‘S BARGAIN WITH THE BOMB
BY AVNER COHEN, GWU
September 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& mdash;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] The Chosen Peoples
America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election
By Todd Gitlin and Liel Leibovitz
September 2010, Simon and Schuster
The origins, consequences, and attendant burdens of a belief central to the identities of Americans and Israelis--that they are God's favored people.
Americans and Israelis have often thought that their nations were chosen, in perpetuity, to do God’s work. This belief in divine election is a potent, living force, one that has guided and shaped both peoples and nations throughout their history and continues to do so to this day. Through great adversity and despite serious challenges, Americans and Jews, leaders and followers, have repeatedly faced the world fortified by a sense that their nation has a providential destiny. As Todd Gitlin and Liel Leibovitz argue in this original and provocative book, what unites the two allies in a “special friendship” is less common strategic interests than this deep-seated and lasting theological belief that they were chosen by God. The United States and Israel each has understood itself as a nation placed on earth to deliver a singular message of enlightenment to a benighted world. Each has stumbled through history wrestling with this strange concept of chosenness, trying both to grasp the meaning of divine election and to bear the burden it placed them under. It was this idea that provided an indispensable justification when the Americans made a revolution against Britain, went to war with and expelled the Indians, expanded westward, built an overseas empire, and most recently waged war in Iraq. The equivalent idea gave rise to the Jewish people in the first place, sustained them in exodus and exile, and later animated the Zionist movement, inspiring the Israelis to vanquish their enemies and conquer the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Everywhere you look in American and Israeli history, the idea of chosenness is there. The Chosen Peoples delivers a bold new take on both nations’ histories. It shows how deeply the idea of chosenness has affected not only their enthusiasts but also their antagonists. It digs deeply beneath the superficialities of headlines, the details of negotiations, the excuses and justifications that keep cropping up for both nations’ successes and failures. It shows how deeply ingrained is the idea of a chosen people in both nations’ histories—and yet how complicated that idea really is. And it offers interpretations of chosenness that both nations dearly need in confronting their present-day quandaries. Weaving together history, theology, and politics, The Chosen Peoples vividly retells the dramatic story of two nations bound together by a wild and sacred idea, takes unorthodox perspectives on some of our time’s most searing conflicts, and offers an unexpected conclusion: only by taking the idea of chosenness seriously, wrestling with its meaning, and assuming its responsibilities can both nations thrive.
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[book] David Susskind
A Televised Life
By Stephen Battaglio
September 2010, St.Martins Press
A flamboyant impresario who began his career as an agent, David Susskind helped define a fledgling television industry. He was a provocateur who fought to bring high-toned literary works to TV. His series East Side/West Side and N.Y.P.D. broke the color barrier in casting and brought gritty, urban realism to prime time. He indulged his passion for issues and ideas with his long running discussion program, first called Open End and then The David Susskind Show, where guests could come from The White House one week and a whore house the next. The groundbreaking program made news year in and year out. His legendary live interview with Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War inflamed both the political and media establishments. Susskind was an enfant terrible whose life—both on and off the screen—makes fascinating reading. His rough edges, appetite for women, and scorn for the business side of his profession often left his own career hanging by a thread. Through extensive original reporting and deep access to David Susskind’s personal papers, family members and former associates, Stephen Battaglio creates a vivid portrait of a go-go era in American media. David Susskind is as much a biography of an expansive and glamorous time in the television business as it is the life of one of its most colorful and important players.
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[book] PATTI LuPONE
A MEMOIR
BY PATTI LUPONE
September 2010, Twelve
A no holds barred honest insightful memoir by Broadway star Patti Lupone. From growing up and scrap booking, to attending Julliard in its first drama class (they hated her there). He work for the Acting Company and her first Broadway roles and major starring roles. The inside story from London. And Sunset Boulevard, and Gypsy and all the other major roles. The failures and the successes. She discusses the ’x’ factor of sex appeal and charisma and magnetism, and why American Idol stars who come to star on Broadway don’t have it. But then of course, show business, is a business. Click the book cover to read more.










[book] WALKING ISRAEL
A PERSONAL SEARCH FOR THE SOUL OF A NATION
BY MARTIN FLETCHER
September 2010, St. Martins Press Thomas Dunne
Fletcher is one of the most respected television journalists. He received five Emmys and a duPont. For the past 30 years he was NBC News‘ Bureau Chief in Tel Aviv. He is the author of BREAKING NEWS. Last year, he strolled along Israel‘s entire coast, from Lebanon to Gaza. He observed the facets of the country that are ignored by print and tv news. His stories seek to tell a truer, different, more nuanced story of the people and country. It is filled with insights, humor, history, emotion, and great storytelling.
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[book] PEACE IN THE MAKING
THE MENACHEM BEGIN - ANWAR SADAT PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE
EDITED BY HARRY HURWITZ
September 2010, Gefen
The intimate correspondence between Israel’s PM Begin and Egypt’s President Sadat. The letters, transcripts from their speeches, press conferences, interviews, official documents reveal the personal relationship between these two political leaders. How did this relate to thetreaty they eventually signed. The personaliities, the principled issues, the maneuverings, the clashes, the compromises, and agreements that were, at the time, hidden in the background, are unveiled in this books It spans June 1977 to Sadat’s murder in October 1981.
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[book] WHEN THEY COME FOR US
WE’LL BE GONE
THE EPIC STRUGGLE TO SAVE SOVIET JEWRY
By Gal Beckerman
September 2010, HMH Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
At the end of World War II, nearly three million Jews were trapped inside the Soviet Union. They lived a paradox—unwanted by a repressive Stalinist state, yet forbidden to leave. When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone is the astonishing and inspiring story of their rescue. Journalist Gal Beckerman draws on newly released Soviet government documents as well as hundreds of oral interviews with refuseniks, activists, Zionist “hooligans,” and Congressional staffers. He shows not only how the movement led to a mass exodus in 1989, but also how it shaped the American Jewish community, giving it a renewed sense of spiritual purpose and teaching it to flex its political muscle. He also makes a convincing case that the movement put human rights at the center of American foreign policy for the very first time, helping to end the Cold War. In cinematic detail, the book introduces us to all the major players, from the flamboyant Meir Kahane, head of the paramilitary Jewish Defense League, to Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky, who labored in a Siberian prison camp for over a decade, to Lynn Singer, the small, fiery Long Island housewife who went from organizing local rallies to strong-arming Soviet diplomats. This multi-generational saga, filled with suspense and packed with revelations, provides an essential missing piece of Cold War and Jewish history.
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TO BE REISSUED FOR SEPTEMBER 2010:
[book] MATZOH BALL GUMBO
CULINARY TALES OF THE JEWISH SOUTH
BY MARCIE COHEN FERRIS
September 2010 reissue UNC Press North Carolina
From Publishers Weekly Many traditional Southern foods—pulled-pork barbecue, crab cakes, fried oyster po' boys, to name a few—violate traditional Jewish dietary laws, which forbid the consumption of pork and shellfish. What's a Southern Jew to do? Anthropological historian Ferris (UNC–Chapel Hill) answers that question in a gustatory tour of the Jewish South. She uncovers many dishes that blend Jewish and Southern foodways (recipes included for such tasties as Temple Israel Brisket and Cornmeal-Fried Fish Fillets with Sephardic Vinagre Sauce). Ferris sees food as a symbol that encompasses the problem of how Jews live in a region dominated by Christians: "The most tangible way to understand Jewish history and culture in the South is at the dinner table." Cynics will wonder if a Jewish kugel (noodle casserole) prepared in the South is really any different from kugel in Chicago. Ferris's answer is an emphatic yes—because Jews in the South face different challenges than those in Chicago. Southern Jews must be more intentional about cooking that kugel and passing the recipe down from generation to generation. If this book were a restaurant, Michelin would award it two out of three stars: not absolutely first-rate, but "excellent cooking, worth a detour
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[book] PROMISE ME
How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer
By Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker and Joni Rodgers
September 2010, Broadway
Suzy and Nancy Newman Goodman were more than sisters. They were best friends, confidantes, and partners in the grand adventure of life. For three decades, nothing could separate them. Not college (UIUC), not marriage (Leitstein, Koman), not miles. Then Suzy got sick. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977; three agonizing years later, at thirty-six, she died.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The Goodman girls were raised in postwar Peoria, Illinois, by parents who believed that small acts of charity could change the world. Suzy was the big sister—the homecoming queen with an infectious enthusiasm and a generous heart. Nancy was the little sister—the tomboy with an outsized sense of justice who wanted to right all wrongs. The sisters shared makeup tips, dating secrets, plans for glamorous fantasy careers. They spent one memorable summer in Europe discovering a big world far from Peoria. They imagined a long life together—one in which they’d grow old together surrounded by children and grandchildren. Suzy’s diagnosis shattered that dream.
In 1977, breast cancer was still shrouded in stigma and shame. Nobody talked about early detection and mammograms. Nobody could even say the words “breast” and “cancer” together in polite company, let alone on television news broadcasts. With Nancy at her side, Suzy endured the many indignities of cancer treatment, from the grim, soul-killing waiting rooms to the mistakes of well-meaning but misinformed doctors. That’s when Suzy began to ask Nancy to promise. To promise to end the silence. To promise to raise money for scientific research. To promise to one day cure breast cancer for good. Big, shoot-for-the-moon promises that Nancy never dreamed she could fulfill. But she promised because this was her beloved sister.
I promise, Suzy. . . . Even if it takes the rest of my life.
Suzy’s death—both shocking and senseless—created a deep pain in Nancy that never fully went away. But she soon found a useful outlet for her grief and outrage. Armed only with a shoebox filled with the names of potential donors, Nancy put her formidable fund-raising talents to work and quickly discovered a groundswell of grassroots support. She was aided in her mission by the loving tutelage of her husband, restaurant magnate Norman Brinker (Brinker International), whose dynamic approach to entrepreneurship became Nancy’s model for running her foundation. Her account of how she and Norman met, fell in love, and managed to achieve the elusive “true marriage of equals” is one of the great grown-up love stories among recent memoirs.
Nancy’s mission to change the way the world talked about and treated breast cancer took on added urgency when she was herself diagnosed with the disease in 1984, a terrifying chapter in her life that she had long feared. Unlike her sister, Nancy survived and went on to make Susan G. Komen for the Cure into the most influential health charity in the country and arguably the world. A pioneering force in cause-related marketing, SGK turned the pink ribbon into a symbol of hope everywhere. Each year, millions of people worldwide take part in SGK Race for the Cure events. And thanks to the more than $1.5 billion spent by SGK for cutting-edge research and community programs, a breast cancer diagnosis today is no longer a death sentence. In fact, in the time since Suzy’s death, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer has risen from 74 percent to 98 percent.
Promise Me is a deeply moving story of family and sisterhood, the dramatic “30,000-foot view” of the democratization of a disease, and a soaring affirmative to the question: Can one person truly make a difference?
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SEE ALSO “Life, Faith, and Cancer: Jewish Journeys through Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery” by Rabbi Douglas Kohn. Click HERE




[book] PREVIVORS
Facing the Breast Cancer Gene and Making Life-Changing Decisions
By Dina Roth Port
Fall 2010, Avery
The first guide to all surgical and nonsurgical options for women with a high risk for breast cancer. Advances in genetic testing and risk assessment have changed the face of medicine, but with them has come a Pandora's box of dilemmas. Imagine discovering you had a significant risk for developing breast cancer. What would you do?
Through the incredible true stories of five young friends, as well as interviews with more than seventy top breast cancer experts, health writer Dina Roth Port addresses the universal questions of women everywhere who have watched family members suffer from the disease and wondered, "Am I next?" Full of practical information, Previvors is the first comprehensive book to guide women through the difficult process of determining their risk, weighing the options, and coping with the emotions of deciding to undergo surgery. Readers will learn: The pros and cons of getting tested for the BRCA gene; How to decide between surgical or nonsurgical options; The latest research in breast cancer surveillance; The advanced new world of breast reconstruction; How to overcome body image and sex issues post-surgery, and more
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SO NU? AND WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT SHAMMAI??
New For 2010...2 Thousand years after the passing of Rabbi Hillel (assumed to be in 10 CE)
[book] HILLEL
IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
By RABBI JOSEPH TELUSHKIN
(and Edited by Jonathan Rosen, Editor Extraordinaire)
Jewish Encounters Series
September 2010, Schocken
From the best-selling author of Jewish Literacy, a provocative biography of one of the greatest rabbis of the Talmudic era and a figure of prophetic importance to today’s world.
“What is hateful to you, do not do unto others. That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary.” This is the most famous teaching of Hillel. What makes this teaching so extraordinary is that it was offered to a Gentile seeking an on-the-spot conversion. Teachings, stories, and legal rulings of Hillel can be found throughout the Talmud; what many of them share is his emphasis on ethical and moral living as an essential element in Jewish religious practice. After offering that concise summation of the Torah’s contents, Hillel adds the injunction to “now go and study,” and then converts the seeker to Judaism.
For Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, this is not a metaphor, but a model. Faced with unprecedented levels of intermarriage and assimilation, and with the interest of so many unchurched non-Jews in Jewish teachings, Judaism today is in need of the sort of openness that Hillel championed 2,000 years ago.
The most prominent religious leader in the Land of Israel during the reign of Herod, Hillel may well have influenced Jesus, his junior by several decades. In a provocative analysis of the evolution of both Christianity and Judaism, Telushkin reveals why, over the ensuing centuries, Hillel’s teachings began to be ignored in favor of the stricter and less inclusive teachings of his rabbinic adversary, Shammai. This bold new look at an iconic religious leader—the first to cite the ethical concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) as a basis for making modifications to Jewish law—is certain to generate passionate discussion and debate.

Some extra background…. Rabbi Telushkin met a friend, another rabbi. The friend recounted the story of a young couple, one Jewish, the other not, who came 6 weeks prior to their marriage for a conversion. The rabbi told them it was not possible in 6 weeks and maybe not 6 months. The non Jewish partner said that Judaism had something to teach about how to be a good person. The rabbi told Telushkin, had the person said they wanted to keep kisher and keep Shabbat, he would have something to work with, but this couple gave him nothing to work with… This encounter heightened Telushkin‘s resolve to write a book about Hillel. Hillel is one of the greatest sages, and maybe the most inclusive. Hillel also give equal or greater weight to ethical behavior, along with adherence to ritual laws. While the rabbi above could not convert someone in 6 weeks or 6 months, Hillel was able to help a Roman convert while standing on one foot.
Part 1 The Unique Teachings of Hillel; Part 2 Hillel versus Shammai; Part 3: Hillel and Jesus, The Jewish Sage and the Christian Messiah; Part 4 Lessons from the First Century for the 21st Century and Beyond , with chapters on outreach, why the impatient cannot teach, why the bashful who cannot question cannot learn, the eternal challenge to make time to do things, passionate moderation; and the appendices on Hillel’s 7 middot, his teachings in the Pirkei Avot, and additional teachings.
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[book] HOPE WILL FIND YOU
MY SEARCH FOR THE WISDOM TO STOP WAITING AND START LIVING
BY Rabbi Naomi Levy
September 2010, Doubleday Religion
Rabbi Levy is the author of TO BEGIN AGAIN, and TALKING TO GOD. They are two of my favorite books. She leads Nashuva in LA. I have never visited that spiritual community, but watched thei live Kol Nidre webcast on JewishJournal.com. In her first book, she told the story of her father's murder and her road to the rabbinate. In her second, she told of the joys and pains of congregants and developed prayers for many many life cycle milestone and events. In this book she asks how can she get her life off hold? When will her life really begin?
We all ask ourselves the same questions when we are struggling to move forward. As a rabbi, Naomi Levy frequently offered spiritual guidance to people seeking the answers. The say, my life will start when I get a new job, when I quit my job, when I get married, when I get divorced, when the kids got to college, when we have kids, and on and on, and they feel as if life is always about to start, but never does. She counseled them. But when a doctor told her that her young daughter, Noa, had a fatal degenerative disease, Rabbi Levy’s own insights could not prevent her whole life from unraveling. She felt she could do nothing. She could not function in any of her roles. It was all on HOLD until Noa could recover. She is in deep despair.
In Hope Will Find You, Naomi Levy shares her journey and the wisdom she gained. She describes with humor and honesty how she came through a time of uncertainty and fear and learned how to stop waiting for life to begin. A natural and engaging storyteller, Levy has written a book filled with invaluable lessons for living in the present and for opening the door to an extraordinary future.
Hope Will Find You is a book that will be passed to friends when life gets confusing, a book that will rest on our bedside tables when we are searching for hope and direction. One must allow HOPE to find oneself and welcome it in.
Noa, who was diagnosed at 5 and is now 14, had insights of her own to teach her mother. Life isn't fair. One must embrace and recognize their disabilities (just as Moses did). Click the book cover to read more.














[book] HALF A LIFE
BY DARIN STAUSS
Fall 2010, McSweeney's
Half a Life a Go, Darin killed a girl. He was 18, he started the essay at 36. Darin Strauss was driving one Summer day to play mini golf. He was driving in the left lane in a four lane highway. He was 18 and about to graduate HS. A girl, a classsmate, swerved on her bike across lanes, and was killed by Strauss' car. He dealt with grief and guilt, although he was not guilty. The police and many witnesses said there was nothing he could have done to avoid her. College was like a witness protection program where no one knew the incident. The girl's mother told Darin that he ws not living for two people. At age 36, he looked over the events again. His essay was broadcast on This American Life, and now it is a book. Does time heal all wounds? Not fully, but he can live with it.
This is the true story of how the accident changed his life. We follow Strauss as he explores his startling past—collision, funeral, the queasy drama of a high-stakes court case—and what starts as a personal tale of a tragic event opens into the story of how to live with a very hard fact: we can try our human best in the crucial moment, and it might not be good enough. Half a Life is a nakedly honest, ultimately hopeful examination of guilt, responsibility, and living with the past.
Note: His first book was Cheng and Eng on conjoined twins (hmmm... twins joined in life). His other book was about someone hiding a secret; and another book was about an imposter. (hmmm)
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[book] THE POSSIBILITY OF EVERYTHING
BY HOPE EDELMAN
2010, Ballantine Random House
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Edelman (Motherless Daughters) returns with a charming memoir full of self-deprecating honesty that defies easy categorization. Edelman is forced to seek a solution to the sudden appearance of her three-year-old daughter Maya's violent imaginary friend, Dodo. Edelman, who believes in the possibility of everything, but can't place her trust in anything without visible proof, clashes with her alternatively minded husband and the New Age modes of thinking in her new Los Angeles suburb when seeking an answer. She grieves that her own mother, who died when she was 16, is not there to advise her on matters of parenting. But when Maya's behavior becomes severe, Edelman surprisingly agrees to let her daughter see a shaman in Belize. The journey, which is full of remarkable events, cracks open the foundation of her skepticism just shy of a transformation. The largest stretch of the narrative—the Belize journey— is gripping and vividly detailed, and Edelman occasionally detours into Mayan culture and history. The book is equal parts a meditation on the trials of motherhood and marriage, a travelogue and an exploration of faith, which she braids together into a highly readable, insight-laden narrative
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[book] THROUGH THE LANGUAGE GLASS
Why The World Looks Different in Other Languages
by Guy Deutscher
Summer 2010, Metropolitan
A masterpiece of linguistics scholarship, at once erudite and entertaining, confronts the thorny question of how—and whether—culture shapes language and language, culture Linguistics has long shied away from claiming any link between a language and the culture of its speakers: too much simplistic (even bigoted) chatter about the romance of Italian and the goose-stepping orderliness of German has made serious thinkers wary of the entire subject. But now, acclaimed linguist Guy Deutscher has dared to reopen the issue. Can culture influence language—and vice versa? Can different languages lead their speakers to different thoughts? Could our experience of the world depend on whether our language has a word for "blue"? Challenging the consensus that the fundaments of language are hard-wired in our genes and thus universal, Deutscher argues that the answer to all these questions is—yes. In thrilling fashion, he takes us from Homer to Darwin, from Yale to the Amazon, from how to name the rainbow to why Russian water—a "she"—becomes a "he" once you dip a tea bag into her, demonstrating that language does in fact reflect culture in ways that are anything but trivial. Audacious, delightful, and field-changing, Through the Language Glass is a classic of intellectual discovery.
AmandaKatz.com writes about this Oxford based Israeli professor's book, “Does a person who grows up speaking Tamil or Occitan or Quechua see the world differently than a native English speaker? Or, as linguist Guy Deutscher puts it: “Does our mother tongue influence the way we think?” Among those who study language, this question has generated centuries of debate. Aristotle, for one, believed we all share concepts — say, the color blue — whose names change according to culture. But, as Deutscher notes in “Through the Language Glass,’’ linguists have observed that concepts and categories do vary by language; for example, ancient Japanese used one word, ao, to cover the blue-green spectrum, while English employs two. So do we all see the same colors? More broadly, do distinctive languages reflect distinctive cognition rather than overlying universal ways of thinking? Some linguists, like Deutscher, have gone even further, asking whether language not only reflects its speakers’ thinking but helps create it — an idea known as linguistic relativity. In 1936, Benjamin Lee Whorf famously claimed that the Hopi lack words for time, and therefore could not possibly understand it “as a smooth flowing continuum” as English speakers do. (Scholars have subsequently questioned Whorf’s knowledge of Hopi, which others have observed to have plenty of words denoting time.) Eventually, Eurocentric linguists moved past both xenophobic assumptions that the “grunts” of aboriginal people indicated primitive thinking and the more romantic idea that foreign languages reflected exotic modes of thought. Today, armed with better research on far-flung languages and Noam Chomsky’s theory of universal grammar, scholars generally agree that human cognition is strikingly similar worldwide. In “The Language Instinct,’’ Steven Pinker declared flatly, “There is no scientific evidence that languages dramatically shape their speakers’ ways of thinking.”..... Detcher... shows nerve in wading back into the debate. He bills his book as a provocation, written “against the fashionable academic view.” In reality, “Through the Language Glass’’ is cautious and even-handed, more prone to digression than bombast. After 100 pages on the history of ideas about how culture, language, and cognition intersect, Deutscher finally proposes three relatively minor examples of how language affects thought. Does language influence how we think? Pinker would say “Not much.” Deutscher has written a whole book to say, in effect, “Well, a little.”....
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[book] The Tenth Parallel
Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam
By Eliza Griswold
Summer 2010, FS&G
If only they had a better cover... sales would double...
A riveting investigation of the jagged fault line between the Christian and Muslim worlds. The tenth parallel—the line of latitude seven hundred miles north of the equator—is a geographical and ideological front line where Christianity and Islam collide. More than half of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims live along the tenth parallel; so do sixty percent of the world’s 2 billion Christians. Here, in the buzzing megacities and swarming jungles of Africa and Asia, is where the two religions meet; their encounter is shaping the future of each faith, and of whole societies as well. Eliza Griswold has spent the past seven years traveling between the equator and the tenth parallel: in Nigeria, the Sudan, and Somalia, and in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The stories she tells in The Tenth Parallel show us that religious conflicts are also conflicts about land, water, oil, and other natural resources, and that local and tribal issues are often shaped by religious ideas. Above all, she makes clear that, for the people she writes about, one’s sense of God is shaped by one’s place on earth; along the tenth parallel, faith is geographic and demographic. An urgent examination of the relationship between faith and worldly power, The Tenth Parallel is an essential work about the conflicts over religion, nationhood and natural resources that will remake the world in the years to come
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[book] A CURABLE ROMANTIC
A NOVEL
By Joseph Skibell
September 2010, Algonquin
Set mostly in early 20th century Vienna, the novel chronicles the life and times and loves of Dr. Jakov Sammelsohn-from his early expulsion from his Hasidic family (for his crime of reading secular books) when he was twelve, into a friendship with Sigmund Freud (circa 1894), into the early Esperanto movement (1895-1907), and finally through WWI and into the Warsaw ghetto.
PW Starred Review. “Skibell's fat, cheeky, and sweeping latest begins in early 1895 Austria when his endearing protagonist, young Dr. Jakob Sammelsohn, comes face-to-face with Sigmund Freud in a room full of mirrors that create an ironic "unending trail of Freuds." Eventually, the story follows Sammelsohn through the shadow of Freud, the arms of several lovers, and eventually to the Warsaw ghetto, providing a grand portrait of Eastern Europe, but it is the initial setup of Sammelsohn as a naiÌêve crucible for Freud's vicarious obsessions that makes Skibell (A Blessing on the Moon) more of a social satirist than a straightforward portraitist. In the figure of Sammelsohn, we see the timid makings of the modern psychoanalytic man: the young doctor is, at heart, a lonely romantic led into a bungle of overanalysis in a world "glittering with the usual accoutrements of late-century masquerade," sporting the foolish instrumentation of "monocles, lorgnettes, pince-nez, stickpins, watchfobs" and an "assortment of impractical hats." Skibell's delicious juxtaposition of Sammelsohn against the cocaine-snorting Freud, and Sammelsohn's infatuation with the "cruel, vindictive, haughty, caustic, dismissive, even murderous" character of Emma Eckstein, one of Freud's patients, make for a magnetic collection of personalities.”
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[book] YOU‘RE GROUNDED FOREVER…
BUT FIRST, LET‘S GO SHOPPING
THE CHALLENGES MOTHERS FACE WITH THEIR DAUGHTERS AND TEN TIMELY SOLUTIONS
BY SUSAN SHAPIRO BARASH
September 2010, SMP
From the author of TOXIC FRIENDS, Marymount Manhattan College instructor, Susan Shapiro Barash, examines the relationships between mothers and daughters. Chapters include
What color would you like that Prada bag in? (material indulgence)
Do you need to be eating that? (fixations with food and diet)
Of course you can drink when you are home with me (loose boundaries and rules)
I know she‘s your friend, but… (underestimating female friendships)
I‘ll just say you are not feeling well (making excuses)
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[book] Engineer Ari and the Sukkah Express
By Deborah Bodin Cohen and Shahar Kober
Summer 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 5 - 9
As Engineer Ari drives his train to Yerushalayim, he stops as friends along the way help him to gather branches and fruit for his backyard sukkah. When the Sukkot holiday begins, he is sad that those friends are not with him to join the celebration. But wait. His pals Jessie and Nathaniel have a surprise for him at the train station
See also the Engineer Ari Rosh Hashana book
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[book] TASHLICH AT TURTLE ROCK
By Susan Schnur and Anna Schnur-Fishman and Alex Steele-Morgan
Summer 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 5 - 9
Annie is excited about the Tashlich ceremony on the afternoon of Rosh haShanah. She and her family will walk to Turtle Rock Creek and throw crumbs into the flowing water. As Annie leads her mishpacha through the woods, they think about the good and the not so good things that happened during the past year and they make plans for a sweeter new year. Susan Schnur is a rabbi, and Anna Schnur-Fishman is her daughter, a Brown student.
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[book] SHARING OUR HOMELAND
PALESTINIAN AND JEWISH CHILDREN AT SUMMER PEACE CAMP
BY TRISH MARX
Summer 2010, Lee and Low
Ages 6 - 11
Well… look at the cover pic. Not all the kids are smiling. One isn’t flashing a peace sign. I have to give credit to the authors for not selecting a cover picture in which all the kids get along and are smiling and happy.
Alya, a Palestinian Israeli girl from a Muslim family; she wears a hijab; and Yuval, a Jewish Israeli boy from a moshav community, live a short distance from each other in Israel, yet they have totally different and separate lives. Then one summer they have a chance to meet when they attend Peace Camp, a day camp operated by Givat Haviva, an educational organization that works toward Jewish-Arab peace. At Peace Camp, the Jewish and Palestinian children experience two weeks of fun in close contact with each other. They participate in sports, arts and crafts projects, field trips, and other camp activities. They begin to understand what their shared ancient homeland means to the "other side." Most of all, they learn not to be afraid of each other. Maybe they even become friends. This eye-opening story offers hope for breaking down the distrust and violence that define the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The children's experiences at Peace Camp may well help their generation build a foundation for living together peacefully in one homeland.
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[book] SAMMY SPIDER’S FIRST SIMCHAT TORAH
BY SYLVIA A. ROUSS
AND KATHERINE JANUS KAHN
Summer 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 3- 8
Sammy Spider returns with a new Holiday. He crawls down to inspect the candy apple that Josh has attached to his Simchat Torah flag. Josh leaves for the synagogue for the Simchat Torah parade, and he doesn’t realize that sammy the spider is stuck to the candy apple. Sammy therefore joins the parade and dances with the TorahRoah parade.
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[book] MIRIAM IN THE DESERT
BY JACQUELINE JULES
AND NATASCIA UGLIANO
Summer 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 5-9
The Israelites have been freed from slavery and led by Moses. Miriam helps them through hunger and thirst. Her grandson Bezalel draws pictures in the sand. Then Bezalel learns that he has been chosen to craft the holy ark.
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[book] MACCABEE !
THE STORY OF HANUKKAH
BY TILDA BALSLEY AND DAVID HARRINGTON
Summer 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 3 - 8
The story of the Maccabees. Judah and his army fright to free Jerusalem
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[book] ZISHE THE STRONGMAN
BY ROBERT RUBINSTEIN AND WOODY MILLER
Summer 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 3 - 8
At the age of three, Zishe was lifting a nine pound hammer in his father’s blacksmith shop. By the age of eleven, there was not a bar he could not ben or a chain he could not snap. This is the unusual story of Zishe, a poor Polish Jewish man who became a featured strongman in circuses throughout the world. This story is based on thetrue story of Zishe of Lodz
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[book] SAY HELLO, LILY
BY DEBORAH LAKRITZ (MSW) AND MARTHA AVILES
September 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 3 - 8
On Lily’s first visit to the Shalom House for the Aged, she clings closely to her mother, overwhelmed by all the new faces of the senior citizens who live there. But slowly Lily joins the activities, makes new friends, and celebrates a birthday to remember!
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[book] ANNIE SHAPIRO AND THE CLOTHING WORKERS STRIKE
BY MARKENE TARG BRILL AND JAMEL AKIB
October 2010, Kar-Ben and Millbrook Press
Ages 7-10 Grades 2-4
In September 1910, one hundred years ago, 18 year old Hannah “Annie” Shapiro had the job of sewing pockets at the Hart, Shaffner and Marx clothing factory in Chicago, Illinois. She was a Jewish immigrant from Russia, and she had been working in the garment industry for five years, since the age of 13. The foreman reduced the wages of the workers. The wages were already considered low by the workers and others, and so Annie took a stand. She helped to lead the historic strike that eventually involved 40,000 workers in the Chicago metropolitan area.
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[book] HAPPY HANUKKAH LIGHTS
BY JACQUELINE JULES AND MICHELLE SHAPIRO
Summer 2010, Kar-Ben
Ages 1- 4
A happy family celebrates the 8 nights of Hanukkah by lighting and eating and playing, candles, latkes, and dreidels, respectively. Also helps learn to count.
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[book] TO THE END OF THE LAND
A NOVEL
BY DAVID GROSSMAN
Translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
September 2010, Knopf
From one of Israel’s most acclaimed writers comes a novel of extraordinary power about family life—the greatest human drama—and the cost of war. Ora, a middle-aged Israeli mother, is on the verge of celebrating her son Ofer’s release from army service when he returns to the front for a major offensive. In a fit of preemptive grief and magical thinking, she sets out for a hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the “notifiers” who might darken her door with the worst possible news. Recently estranged from her husband, Ilan, she drags along an unlikely companion: their former best friend and her former lover Avram, once a brilliant artistic spirit. Avram served in the army alongside Ilan when they were young, but their lives were forever changed one weekend when the two jokingly had Ora draw lots to see which of them would get the few days’ leave being offered by their commander—a chance act that sent Avram into Egpyt and the Yom Kippur War, where he was brutally tortured as POW. In the aftermath, a virtual hermit, he refused to keep in touch with the family and has never met the boy. Now, as Ora and Avram sleep out in the hills, ford rivers, and cross valleys, avoiding all news from the front, she gives him the gift of Ofer, word by word; she supplies the whole story of her motherhood, a retelling that keeps Ofer very much alive for Ora and for the reader, and opens Avram to human bonds undreamed of in his broken world. Their walk has a “war and peace” rhythm, as their conversation places the most hideous trials of war next to the joys and anguish of raising children. Never have we seen so clearly the reality and surreality of daily life in Israel, the currents of ambivalence about war within one household, and the burdens that fall on each generation anew. Grossman’s rich imagining of a family in love and crisis makes for one of the great antiwar novels of our time.
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[book] HUSH
A young adult novel
BY EISHES CHAYIL
September 14, 2010, Bloomsbury USA Walker Yong Adult
Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last detail—and abuse has never been a part of it. But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe. A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past, and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.
Obviously, due to the theme of this story and the nature of the Boro Park community, EISHES CHAYIL is a nom de plume and pseudonym for the actual author. She was raised in a world of Chassidic schools, synagogues, and summer camps and is a direct descendant of the major founders and leaders in the Chassidic world. She holds a masters degree in creative writing and has worked as a journalist for several Orthodox Jewish newspapers.
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Dom, Cricket, Micah, Autumn, Ingrid, Brianne…
[book] THE KID TABLE
A young adult novel
BY ANDREA SEIGEL
September 14, 2010, Bloomsbury USA Walker Yong Adult
Stuck at the kid table? It might be the best seat in the house. Ingrid Bell and her five teenage cousins are such a close-knit group that they do not mind sitting at the kids’ table. Although they share it with a four year old. But the Brianne, the oldest cousin, is promoted to the adult table, leaving her younger cousins shocked and confused. How does one graduate from kids table to adults table? Over the course of five family events, Ingrid chronicles their adventures and her generational shift. There is the adult man who must play Baby New Year at a party, and the family members who play xmas music at a bar mitzvah. Is the right generation at the kid table? Maybe the teens are more mature than the adults? Ingrid must question how she fits into the family and what it means to grow up. Is the kids table actually the best place to be?
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[book] Half Empty
By David Rakoff
September 21 2010, Random House Doubleday
The inimitably witty David Rakoff, New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Get Too Comfortable, defends the commonsensical notion that you should always assume the worst, because you’ll never be disappointed. In this deeply funny (and, no kidding, wise and poignant) book, Rakoff examines the realities of our sunny, gosh everyone-can-be-a-star contemporary culture and finds that, pretty much as a universal rule, the best is not yet to come, adversity will triumph, justice will not be served, and your dreams won’t come true. The book ranges from the personal to the universal, combining stories from Rakoff’s reporting and accounts of his own experiences: the moment when being a tiny child no longer meant adults found him charming but instead meant other children found him a fun target; the perfect late evening in Manhattan when he was young and the city seemed to brim with such possibility that the street shimmered in the moonlight—as he drew closer he realized the streets actually flickered with rats in a feeding frenzy. He also weaves in his usual brand Oscar Wilde–worthy cultural criticism (the tragedy of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, for instance). Whether he’s lacerating the musical Rent for its cutesy depiction of AIDS or dealing with personal tragedy, his sharp observations and humorist’s flair for the absurd will have you positively reveling in the power of negativity
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[book] COLONIAL NEW ENGLAND ON 5 SHILLINGS A DAY
BY BILL SCHELLER
September 2010, Thames and Hudson
(There were 20 shillings in a pound… and a pound would be about $82 dollars in 2009)
A truly informative and entertaining travel and history book. How hard or easy was it to get to Boston or New England. Where did you stay once you arrived. What did you eat, how much was lodging, how were the roads, and how many dresses do you to pack? The trip was so long, you usually stayed for two seasons. SO you had to dress accordingly. In America, you could just powder your hair instead of bringing your own wigs, although there were plenty of wigmakers to buy from. Jews? There are two pages of information on the Jewish community in Newport, Rhode Island.
Navigate the dangerous shoals of Cape Cod, talk politics with John Adams, sample the porridge known as “Indian pudding”—how to get around and enjoy Colonial New England’s towns and scenery. It’s 1765, and you’ve just arrived in New England. Once you’ve had a chance to freshen up and powder your wig, you’ll want to know where to find a room for the night (and how many other travelers might be sharing your bed), which tavern serves a good rum flip, and what you might expect to pay silversmith Paul Revere for a teapot or a set of spoons. Colonial New England on 5 Shillings a Day answers these questions and many more, as it takes you on a time-traveler’s tour of Yankeedom’s cities and hamlets, highways and byways, customs and quirks in the decade before the American Revolution. What time does the stagecoach leave Boston for Portsmouth, New Hampshire? Should you travel from Providence to Newport by land or sea? Who serves the best fried clams on the Connecticut coast? When you settle into the chimney corner in a Hartford tavern, what newspaper will you likely read? This lively, carefully researched guide will be an invaluable resource as you roam the post roads and village streets of a world nearly 250 years distant from our own, vastly different yet somehow as familiar as a sharp-steepled meetinghouse on a village green, a hearty greeting at a country inn, or a bowl of clam chowder. So count your shillings (take a few extra if you’re stopping in at Mr. Revere’s), prepare to embark by ship or via the King’s Highway, and set your course for the eighteenth century.
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[book] THE POPE’S MAESTRO
By SIR GILBERT LEVINE
Sep 2010, Jossey Bass
The story of the friendship between a Jewish-American conductor and Pope John Paul II. This book offers the inspirational story of an unlikely friendship and the two men who collaborated in an extraordinary way to begin to help heal centuries-old wounds. For two decades Sir Gilbert Levine and Pope John Paul II collaborated on symbolic acts of reconciliation: a series of internationally broadcast concerts designed to bring together people from all religious backgrounds under the auspices of the Vatican. These concerts broke new ground and demonstrated the Vatican's desire for rapprochement and even atonement in its relationships with Jews around the world. And it resulted in Sir Gilbert recovering his own Jewish faith in a deeper and more meaningful way. Details the extraordinary collaboration between a world-renowned musical maestro and an innovative Pope; Shows how music can act as a bridge between people of different faiths; A moving, inspirational, and personal story that appeals to music lovers and to people of all faith traditions
This is a compelling tale of faith, friendship, and the healing power of music to bring people together.
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[book] JEWISH IDENTITY AND CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICA
BY KENNETH L. MARCUS (CUNY)
September 2010, Cambridge
What does it mean to be Jewish? This ancient question has become a pressing civil rights controversy. Despite a recent resurgence of anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses, the U.S. Department of Education's powerful Office for Civil Rights has been unable to protect Jewish students. This failure has been a problem not of execution but of conceptualization. The OCR has been unable to address anti-Jewish harassment because it lacks a coherent conception of either Jewish identity or anti-Jewish hatred. Given jurisdiction over race and national origin but not religion, federal agents have had to determine whether Jewish Americans constitute a race or national origin group. They have been unable to do so. This has led to enforcement paralysis, as well as explosive internal confrontations and recriminations within the federal government. This book examines the legal and policy issues behind the ambiguity involved with civil rights protections for Jewish students. Written by a former senior government official, this book reveals the extent of this problem and presents a workable legal solution.
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[book] HOW TO MAKE PEACE
IN THE MIDDLE EAST
IN SIX MONTHS OR LESS
WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR APARTMENT
BY GREGORY LEVEY
September 2010, Free Press
You loved his SHUT UP, I’M TALKING, his story of working for the Israeli Foreign Ministry and UN delegation, and now he has returned with this.
In this funny and insightful story, Levey attempts to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict himself in six months. Levy was the English speechwriters for two Israeli Prime Ministers. When he returned to the US for a book tour, he was deluged with suggestions on how to solve the problems in the Middle East. These well meaning book buyers said that if only they had the resources and half a year, they could bring about peace. So Levey decided to do it himself, from his home, in just 6 months. This book explores why so many people who live in North America are so eager to bring about peace. Using his contacts in the White House, Zionist groups, pro-Israel big wigs, the military, the PLO, the Palestinian Authority, Jewish grandmothers, and the Palestinian grocer on his street corner, Levey attempts to bring about peace.
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N O W IN P A P E R B A C K [book] A LUCKY CHILD
A MEMOIR OF SURVIVING AUSCHWITZ AS A YOUNG BOY
BY THOMAS BUERGENTHAL
September 2010, Back Bay Books paperback edition
You think you’ve heard it all: the roundups, deportations, transports, selections, hard labor, death camps (“That was the last time I saw my father”), crematoriums, and the rare miracle of survival. But this one is different. The clear, nonhectoring prose makes Buergenthal’s personal story––and the enduring ethical questions it prompts––the stuff of a fast, gripping read. Five years old in Czechoslovakia at the start of World War II, Buergenthal remembers being crowded into the ghetto and then, in 1944, feeling “lucky” to escape the gas chambers and get into Auschwitz, where he witnessed daily hangings and beatings, but with the help of a few adults, managed to survive. In a postwar orphanage, he learned to read and write but never received any mail, until in a heartrending climax, his mother finds him. In 1952, he immigrated to the U.S., and now, as human-rights lawyer, professor, and international judge, his childhood’s moral issues are rooted in his daily life, his tattooed number a reminder not so much of the past as of his obligation, as witness and survivor, to fight bigotry today
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[book] C STREET
THE FUNDAMENTALIST THREAT TO AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
BY JEFF SHARTLET
September 2010, Little Brown
We are FAM-I-LY…… all my brothers sisters and me… no,no…. this is a different FAMILY.
The secretive Christian fundamentalist group known as "The Family" is leading a new crusade for a "God-led government." Jeff Sharlet, author of the New York Times bestseller The Family, is the only journalist to have reported from within the organization, garnering intense media coverage when it was revealed that their townhouse on Washington DC's C Street was central to three Republican politicians' sex scandals in the summer of 2009.
In C STREET, Sharlet shows how the Family, steeped in the influence and corruption one usually associates with the notorious lobbying industry, fuels and funds political fundamentalism from within our government. His exclusive access to sources and explosive documents show the true implications of fundamentalism in American politics--now, leading up to the next election, and beyond.
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[book] LOST LIVES, LOST ART
JEWISH COLLECTORS, NAZI ART THEFT, AND THE QUEST FOR JUSTICE
BY MELISSA MULLER AND MONIKA TATZKOW
September 2010, Vendome
The legendary names include Rothschild, Mendelssohn, Bloch-Bauer—distinguished bankers, industrialists, diplomats, and art collectors. Their diverse taste ranged from manuscripts and musical instruments to paintings by Old Masters and the avant-garde. But their stigma as Jews in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe doomed them to exile or death in Hitler’s concentration camps. Here, after years of meticulous research, Melissa Müller (Anne Frank: The Biography) and Monika Tatzkow (Nazi Looted Art) present the tragic, compelling stories of 15 Jewish collectors, the dispersal of their extraordinary collections through forced sale and/or confiscation, and the ongoing efforts of their heirs to recover their inheritance. For every victory in the effort to return these works to their rightful heirs, there are daunting defeats and long court battles. This real-life legal thriller follows works by Rembrandt, Klimt, Pissarro, Kandinsky, and others.
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[book] MANAGEMENT?
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK
BY HENRY MINTZBERG
September 2010, AMACOM
A lot of things have been said about management over the years: that it’s an art, not a science; that it’s a science, filled with “best practices” and systematic steps anyone can use to get great results; that it’s the fuel that powers successful organizations. Only one thing is for sure: there is no one, easy definition of whatever it is that managers do! Henry Mintzberg, one of today’s most respected and controversial thinkers on management, has joined forces with other leading business figures to provide a provocative and unusual mix of writing on management. Management? It’s Not What You Think! gets readers thinking as they never have before about the practice of management. Readers will find differing perspectives—and plenty of food for thought—on topics including management terminology and buzz words; myths and maxims; MBAs; management fads; leadership; strategy; and much more. Presenting articles, book and journal excerpts, letters, web selections, and musings, these pieces will have readers pondering, laughing, and sometimes even crying (for poor old management itself!). This irreverent, highly relevant, and insightful book will inspire managers of all types, spark debate, and renew their passion and interest in doing what they do best… managing.
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[book] Encyclopedia of Jewish Food
By Gil Marks
September 2010, Wiley
672 pages
A comprehensive, A-to-Z guide to Jewish foods, recipes, and culinary traditions. Food is more than just sustenance. It's a reflection of a community's history, culture, and values. From India to Israel to the United States and everywhere in between, Jewish food appears in many different forms and variations, but all related in its fulfillment of kosher laws, Jewish rituals, and holiday traditions. The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food explores both unique cultural culinary traditions as well as those that unite the Jewish people. Alphabetical entries—from Afikomen and Almond to Yom Kippur and Za’atar—cover ingredients, dishes, holidays, and food traditions that are significant to Jewish communities around the world; This easy-to-use reference includes more than 650 entries, 300 recipes, plus illustrations and maps throughout; Both a comprehensive resource and fascinating reading, this book is perfect for Jewish cooks, food enthusiasts, historians, and anyone interested in Jewish history or food.
The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food is an informative and eye-opening guide to the culinary heart and soul of the Jewish people. Food is more than just sustenance. It's a reflection of a community's history, culture, and values—and this is especially true for the Jewish people—a community that spans the globe. From Brooklyn to India and everywhere in between, Jewish food is represented by a fascinating array of dishes, rituals, and traditions.
Jewish cuisine is truly international. In every location where Jews settled, they brought culinary traditions with them and also adopted local dishes, modifying them to fit their dietary laws, lifestyle, and tastes. Unique traditions and dishes developed within the cuisines of North Africa, Europe, Persia, Asia, and the Mediterranean, but all are recognizably Jewish.
The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food explores the foods and culinary traditions of individual communities, such as the honey-nut sfratto cookies beloved by Italian Jews in Tuscany, as well as those that unite Jews everywhere, like the key elements of the Passover Seder plate. Alphabetical book entries—from Afikomen and Almond to Yom Kippur and Za'atar—present recipes, ingredients, and holidays that are significant to the story of Jewish food, spanning three thousand years.
Even those with a well-developed knowledge of Jewish food will find plenty of new and compelling information here—dishes and ingredients they've never heard of, surprising and delicious variations on favorite traditional recipes, and plenty of historical and cultural tidbits that explore how, when, and why Jewish foods developed into what they are today.
For anyone interested in Jewish cooking, culture, or history, the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food is an enlightening and engaging tour through the culinary heart and soul of a people.
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[book] IT’S A JUNGLE IN THERE
INSPIRING LESSONS, HARD-WON INSIGHTS
AND OTHER ACTS OF ENTEPRENEURIAL DARING
BY STEVEN SCHUSSLER
September 2010, Union Square
As a burgeoning businessman in the 1980s, Steven Schussler stopped at nothing to make his dream of a tropical-themed restaurant come true, even turning his home into a rainforest-complete with indoor waterfall, life-size replica of an elephant and 40 tropical birds-in order to have a prototype to show potential investors. Drawing from his own life and business triumphs, Schussler offers would-be entrepreneurs a new way of utilizing creativity to achieve their dreams.
Schussler distills his principles for entrepreneurs on a budget, and also reveals the ways in which his lessons-from self-branding to developing strategic partnerships to giving recognition where recognition is due-can work in larger corporations. Just like his famous themed restaurants, Schussler's insights provide entertainment, education, and ample food for thought for all business people aspiring to their next level of success. Steven Schussler is founder and CEO of Schussler Creative, Inc., a company that creates theatrical environments for attractions, restaurants and retail stores worldwide. He founded the Rainforest Cafe, which holds the record as the top-grossing concept restaurant in the US.
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[book] PRELUDE TO CATASTROPHE
FDR’S JEWS AND THE MENACE OF NAZISM
BY ROBER SHOGAN
September 2010, Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Grp
The Jews who so deeply admired Roosevelt made up the richest, most influential Jewish community in the world, leaders in government, commerce, and the arts. Yet by the time Franklin Roosevelt died in office, six million European Jews had been murdered by the Nazis while neither FDR nor American Jews lifted much more than a finger to help them. How did the president, the nation he led, and American Jewry allow this to happen? There is no simple answer, but Robert Shogan seeks a partial explanation by examining the behavior of a handful of Jews, so close to Roosevelt and supposedly so influential that they could be considered the president's Jews.
There was Frankfurter and Brandeis. There was Sam Rosenman, FDR’s chief speechwriter. Henry Morgenthau at Treasury and Dutchess County neighbor. Benjamin Cohen created much of the early New Deal financial reforms. Their actions and, at times, the inactions, illuminate, in this book, their strengths and limitations, and the limits of interest group politics that FDR nurtured, and which dominated American politics in the last half of the 20th Century. The book highlights the conflict between conscience and self-interest, principles and expediency.
Shogan, who currently teaches at Johns Hopkins, read an article about one of the first protests by American Jews against Hitler. It was organized by the Jewish War Veterans (of WW1). It was held in March of 1933, three weeks after FDR was sworn in for his first of four terms. FDR was their hero. Why couldn’t they persuade him to help. The Jewish leaders thought that the “President’s Jews” could get FDR to lift immigration quotas so that German Jews could escape to America, But the top three Jews were actually buffers. They shielded FDR from the Jewish community’s pleas. They did not want to stir the pot of resentment and give fuel to Jew haters in the media, cities, and towns. Brandeis was more interested in creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine and promoting New Deal policies. Frankfurter wanted a seat on the Supreme Court and did not want to screw up his ambition by bringing up Jewish issues as the Great Depression raged. And Rosenman obstructed the cause of Jewish refugees and advised FDR to avoid the issue. It would, he felt, cause too many political problems for the President, whom he wanted to please. Benjamin Cohen however, was different. He knew that talking to FDR would be worthless. So Cohen focused on getting support to Britain, giving them 50 destroyers with which to fight Hitler, destroy the Nazis and save the Jews. Morgenthau also was not timid. He got in the face of FDR and the State Department and got them to set up the War Refuge Board which saved 200,000 lives. According to the author, Rabbi Stephen Wise was enamored by FDR and became the President’s Rabbi. He ingratiated himself to the President. It helped his ego, but didn’t accomplish much.
Asked whether the Jews learned from their experiences, the author said that by Truman’s presidency, the Jewish leadership knew how to exert its political clout and power. David Niles, Truman’s aide, can be credited with getting Truman to recognize Israel in 1948. Click the book cover to read more.














[book] The Jewish Odyssey
An Illustrated History
By Marek Halter
September 2010, dist by Rizzoli
The far-reaching story of a people that, despite facing perpetual struggle, has shaped modern civilization. In The Jewish Odyssey, best-selling author Marek Halter charts the course of Judaism from its origins in Mesopotamia to its place in the world today. Predating all Western culture, its early development of the written word enabled it to lay the foundations of modern civilization. Richly illustrated, the book addresses the extent of Jewish suffering over the years, as well as the lasting contributions of Jews in fields such as science, politics, philosophy, and the arts—from Gutenberg to Einstein, Freud to Trotsky, and Kafka to Dylan. Halter explains the delicate state of interdependence that exists between the significant Jewish Diaspora communities worldwide and the Israeli nation, taking into account the Zionist notion of the Jewish "promised land." With his expertise, international status, and political insight, Halter offers a unique and compelling view on contemporary issues ranging from anti-Semitism to the emergence of multi-faith families. This engaging illustrated tribute to the Jewish story culminates in a message of hope for the universal freedom of all mankind
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[book] HONEYBEE DEMOCRACY
BY THOMAS D. SEELEY
September 2010 Princeton
Honeybees make decisions collectively--and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problem of choosing and traveling to a new home, honeybees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building. In fact, as world-renowned animal behaviorist Thomas Seeley reveals, these incredible insects have much to teach us when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision making. A remarkable and richly illustrated account of scientific discovery, Honeybee Democracy brings together, for the first time, decades of Seeley's pioneering research to tell the amazing story of house hunting and democratic debate among the honeybees. In the late spring and early summer, as a bee colony becomes overcrowded, a third of the hive stays behind and rears a new queen, while a swarm of thousands departs with the old queen to produce a daughter colony. Seeley describes how these bees evaluate potential nest sites, advertise their discoveries to one another, engage in open deliberation, choose a final site, and navigate together--as a swirling cloud of bees--to their new home. Seeley investigates how evolution has honed the decision-making methods of honeybees over millions of years, and he considers similarities between the ways that bee swarms and primate brains process information. He concludes that what works well for bees can also work well for people: any decision-making group should consist of individuals with shared interests and mutual respect, a leader's influence should be minimized, debate should be relied upon, diverse solutions should be sought, and the majority should be counted on for a dependable resolution. An impressive exploration of animal behavior, Honeybee Democracy shows that decision-making groups, whether honeybee or human, can be smarter than even the smartest individuals in them.
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[book] Visitation
A novel by Jenny Erpenbeck
Translated by Susan Bernofsky
September 2010 New Directions
A bestseller in Germany, Visitation has established Jenny Erpenbeck as one of Europe’s most significant contemporary authors. A house on the forested bank of a Brandenburg lake outside Berlin (once belonging to Erpenbeck’s grandparents) is the focus of this compact, beautiful novel. Encompassing over one hundred years of German history, from the nineteenth century to the Weimar Republic, from World War II to the Socialist German Democratic Republic, and finally reunification and its aftermath, Visitation offers the life stories of twelve individuals who seek to make their home in this one magical little house. The novel breaks into the everyday life of the house and shimmers through it, while relating the passions and fates of its inhabitants. Elegant and poetic, Visitation forms a literary mosaic of the last century, tearing open wounds and offering moments of reconciliation, with its drama and its exquisite evocation of a landscape no political upheaval can truly change.
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[book] ARE YOU MY GURU
HOW MEDICINE, MEDITATION, AND MADONNA SAVED MY LIFE
BY WENDY SHANKER
September 2010 NAL
From the author of The Fat Girl's Guide to Life--an insightful and humorous memoir of one woman's quest to navigate the world of alternative healing. At age 33, Wendy Shanker was on the verge of Have It All-itis: a Midwestern girl living in Manhattan, writing for television, mingling with celebrities, and publishing her first book. Plus, she had a fierce haircut. Life was good. Then suddenly, it wasn't. Diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, Wendy knew she was in for it- at the very least a cocktail of chemo and steroids (certain to challenge her body image), a bustling career put on hold, and a major hurdle to her dating life. When she ran out of medical options, Wendy found herself exploring everything from acupuncture, colonics, and energy healing to detox retreats, tarot card readers, and an intuitive therapist who wanted her to talk to her liver. Surely there must be a guru somewhere who can fix everything-right?
Wendy Shanker is the author of The Fat Girl's Guide to Life and a contributor to The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt. She's also performed stand-up and two acclaimed one-woman shows
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A HIGHLY ANTICIPATED FOLLOWUP TO SARAH’S KEY
[book] A SECRET KEPT
A NOVEL
BY TATIANA de ROSNAY
September 2010 ST MARTIN’S PRESS
This stunning new novel from Tatiana de Rosnay, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Sarah’s Key, plumbs the depths of complex family relationships and the power of a past secret to change everything in the present. It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood. Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island—over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.
Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash. Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death. Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse.
Trapped in the wake of a shocking family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children. How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself? Suddenly fragile on all fronts as a son, a husband, a brother and a father, Antoine Rey will learn the truth about his family and himself the hard way. By turns thrilling, seductive and destructive, with a lingering effect that is bittersweet and redeeming, A Secret Kept is the story of a modern family, the invisible ties that hold it together, and the impact it has throughout life.
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If you want to read an excerpt, click the book cover and read the reviews. There is an excerpt there filled with jokes.
[book] OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES
5000 YEAS OF FUNNY BITS AND NOT SO KOSHER LAUGHS
BY SAM HOFFMAN AND ERIC SPEIGELMAN
September 7, 2010 Random House OldJewsTellingJokes.com
A grasshopper walked into a bar and ordered a drink.
The bartender looked at him and said, “You know we have a drink named after you?”
The grasshopper replied, “You have a drink named Stanley?”

Schtick happens.
For five thousand years, God’s chosen people have cornered the market on knee-slappers, zingers, and knock-knock jokes. Now Old Jews Telling Jokes mines mothers, fathers, bubbies, and zaydes for comic gelt. What we get are jokes that are funnier than a pie in the punim: Abie and Becky jokes; hilarious rabbi, doctor, and mohel tales; and those bits just for Mom (Q: What’s the difference between a Jewish mother and a Rottweiler? A: Eventually a Rottweiler will let go!).
Some are just naughty and some are downright bawdy—but either way you’ll laugh till you plotz. With Borscht Belt gags from Brooklyn to Bel Air to Boca, Old Jews Telling Jokes is like chicken soup for your funny bone.
I mean, would it kill you to laugh a little?
Sam Hoffman has Produced, Directed or Assistant Directed numerous films, shorts, second units and commercials including: The Royal Tenenbaums, School of Rock, The Producers Musical, Donnie Brasco, Dead Man Walking and Groundhog Day. Hoffman is a Penn grad. So you better buy the book. Eric Spiegelman of Silverlake (I guess since his mother wasn’t Jewish he can’t live on Fairfax)/ Los Angeles is a lawyer. So don’t screw with them. Don’t try to email all the jokes without buying the book, like some people did to Haikus for Jews.
Knock Knock
"Who's there?"
"Oedipus."
"Oedipus who?"
"Oedipus shmedipus, as long as he loves his mother."

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[book] EFFORTLESS ENEPRENEUR
WORK SMART, PLAY HARD, MAKE MILLIONS
Founders of College Hunks Hauling Junk
By Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman with DD Schwartz
Foreword by Michael Gerber
September 2010 Three Rivers Press Random House
Nick and Omar met in high school. They got poor grades. They justify the poor grades saying they were just good entrepreneurs. They were better at leading and networking. Like the time Nick led the senior class to break the rules and run onto a football field, or when Omar never bought the calculator for the math class he was failing since it was old technology. In college, they mostly partied and played. The name of the game is to have a system so you can play most of the time. Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman started the multimillion-dollar franchise College Hunks Hauling Junk when they were just twenty two, and they’ve been having the time of their lives ever since. What’s their secret? That's just it--there isn't one. There's no fancy software or complicated business schemes. No outside investors or quirky market niche. They just followed 10 common-sense commandments to building a straightforward, fun, and successful business that does a simple job well. Anyone can understand it, and anyone can do it. They started hauling junk one summer after borrowing Omar’s mother’s delivery van and putting up flyers. College Hunks Hauling Junk has grown into a multimillion-dollar franchise and has been mentioned in the New York Times and the Washington Post. They were on Shark Tank and Millionaire Matchmaker. They have 35 franchised locations. Nick and Omar have been named among the top Under 30 Entrepreneurs in America by Inc.
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[book] Al Jaffee's Mad Life
A Biography
By Mary-lou Weisman and Al Jaffee (Illustrator)
September 2010 IT Books
Jaffee’s inventive work has enlivened the pages of MAD since 1955. To date he has pickled three generations of American kids in the brine of satire, and continues to bring millions of childhoods to untimely ends with the knowledge that parents are hypocrites, teachers are dummies, politicians are liars, and life isn’t fair.
Jaffee’s work for MAD has made him a cultural icon, but the compelling and at times bizarre story of his life has yet to be told. A synopsis of Jaffee’s formative years alone reads like a comic strip of traumatic cliff-hangers with cartoons by Jaffee and captions by Freud. Six-year-old Jaffee was separated from his father, uprooted from his home in Savannah, Georgia, and transplanted by his mother to a shtetl in Lithuania, a nineteenth-century world of kerosene lamps, outhouses, physical abuse, and near starvation. He would be rescued by his father, returned to America, taken yet again by his mother back to the shtetl, and once again rescued by his father, even as Hitler was on the march. When he finally settled back in America as a twelve-year-old wearing cobbled shoes and speaking his native English with a Yiddish accent, schoolmates called him “greenhorn.” He struggled with challenges at least as great as those he had met in Europe. His luck changed, however, when he was chosen to be a member of the first class to attend New York City’s High School of Music and Art. There his artistic ability saved him.
He would go on to forge relationships with Stan Lee, Harvey Kurtzman, and Will Elder, launching a career that would bring him to MAD magazine. There he found himself at the forefront of a movement that would change the face of humor and cartooning in America. A cliff-hanger of a life deserves a page-turner of a biography, and that is what Mary-Lou Weisman and Al Jaffee have delivered.
By the way, in 1984, Mr Jaffee started to help out a magazine published by Chabad Lubavitch, Moshiach Times. He was approached by then 23 year old Rabbi Masinter who had read Mad growing up in South Africa.
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[book] Another Fine Mess
A History of American Film Comedy
By Saul Austerlitz saulausterlitz.com
September 2010 Chicago Review Press
Charlie Chaplin. Buster Keaton. The Marx Brothers. Billy Wilder. Woody Allen. The Coen brothers. Where would the American film be without them? Yet the cinematic genre these artists represent--comedy--has perennially received short shrift from critics, film buffs, and the Academy Awards.  Saul Austerlitz’s Another Fine Mess is an attempt to right that wrong. Running the gamut of film history from City Lights to Knocked Up, Another Fine Mess retells the story of American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother--the comedy. In 30 long chapters and 100 shorter entries, each devoted primarily to a single performer or director, Another Fine Mess retraces the steps of the American comedy film, filling in the gaps and following the connections that link Mae West to Doris Day, or W. C. Fields to Will Ferrell. The first book of its kind in more than a generation, Another Fine Mess is an eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour of the American comedy, encompassing the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between













[book] MORE MONEY THAN GOD
HEDGE FUNDS AND THE MAKING OF A NEW ELITE
BY SEBASTIAN MALLABY
2010 Penguin
From Publishers Weekly: Journalist Mallaby gives unusually lucid explanations of hedge funds and their balancing of long and short positions with complex derivatives, but what really entrances him is their freedom from regulation, high leverage, and outsized performance incentives. In his telling, they empower a heroic breed of fund managers whose inspired stock picking, currency trading, and futures contracting outsmart the efficient market. In engrossing accounts of epic trades like George Soros's 1993 shorting of the pound sterling and John Paulson's shorting of subprime mortgages, the author celebrates hedge titans' charisma, contrarianism, and market insights. Mallaby contends that hedge funds benefit the economy by correcting market anomalies; because they put managers' money on the line and are small enough to fail, they are more prudent and less disruptive than heavily regulated banks. Mallaby's enthusiasm for an old-school capitalism of unfettered risk taking isn't always persuasive, but he does offer a penetrating look into a shadowy corner of high finance
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[book] THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES
THE FOUNDING OF FACEBOOK
A TALE OF SEX, MONEY, GENIUS AND BETRAYAL
BY VEN MEZRICH
NOW IN PAPERBACK
September 2010 Anchor
PW writes: Mezrich forsakes the technical and business aspects surrounding the creation of Facebook and instead opts for juicier stories of "hot girls," all-night celebrity parties, and sex. Much to the chagrin of critics, even these lurid details were not enough to entertain them. They also criticized the author's forays into fiction: it's no secret that Mezrich plays fast and loose with the truth -- he says as much in an author's note -- but reviewers complained that his plot embellishments were laughable. Mezrich's inability to obtain an interview with Zuckerberg and his reliance on Zuckerberg's bitter ex-business partners for information necessitated some conjecture, but even with invented dialogue and imagined motives, Zuckerberg fails to come to life. Facebook addicts may rejoice....
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[book] THE BOOKSELLER'S SONNETS
A NOVEL
BY ANDI ROSENTHAL
September 2010 O Books
A mysterious package from an anonymous artifact donor arrives on the desk of Jill Levin, the senior curator at a Holocaust museum: a secret diary, written by the eldest daughter of St. Thomas More, legal advisor to and close friend of Henry VIII. As Jill and her colleagues work to authenticate this rare find, letters arrive to convey the manuscript?s history and the donor?s unimaginable story of survival. At the same time, representatives from the Archdiocese of New York arrive to stake their claim to this controversial document, hoping to send it to a Vatican archive before its explosive content becomes public. As the process of authentication hovers between find and fraud, and as the battle for provenance plays out between religious institutions, Jill struggles with her own family history, and her involvement in a relationship she fears will disrupt and disappoint her family.
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BELVA PLAIN PASSED AWAY IN OCTOBER 2010 AT THE AGE of 95. HER FIRST NOVEL, EVERGREEN, SPENT 61 WEEKS AS A BEST SELLER IN THE LATE 1970s. IT WAS MADE INTO A MINISERIES ON NBC IN 1985. She once said, “I got sick of reading the same old story, told by Jewish writers, of the same old stereotypes – the possessive mothers, the worn-out fathers, all the rest of the neurotic rebellious unhappy self-hating tribe... I wanted to write a different novel, about Jews – and a truer one.”
[book] EVERGREEN
A NOVEL
BY BELVA PLAIN
1978, Dell
The towering modern classic of passion and ambition that forever changed the way we see the courageous immigrants who came to America's shores -- the story of Anna Friedman transfixes us with the turbulent emotions of a woman and her family touched by war, tragedy, and the devastating secrets of one forbidden love... bittersweet and evergreen.
The story continues in three additional books
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[book] I’M GOD, YOU’RE NOT
OBSERVATIONS ON ORGANIZED RELIGION AND OTHER DISGUISES OF THE EGO
BY RABBI LAWRENCE KUSHNER
September 2010 Jewish Lights
Kushner, of SF Temple Emanu-EL, and teacher at HUC JIR, looks at and offers insights on Congregational life, Laughter, Judaism, Family, Mysticism, and Holiness.
From Publishers Weekly: In a breezy, accessible, and colloquial style, Kushner brings together excerpts from stories, reviews, essays, and speeches written during his 28 years as a congregational rabbi and his current tenure as scholar-in-residence at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco. He has grouped the material into six categories: rabbi, Judaism, family, world, mysticism, and holiness. Although Kushner was educated as a Reform rabbi, he cites Orthodox and Conservative sources as well as a number of other traditional authorities. His interest in Jewish mysticism is a further indication of his deviation from the customary intellectual and spiritual sources of a Reform rabbi. Disguising the profundity of his thoughts by lighthearted presentation, Kushner tackles such complicated issues as the role of the rabbi, intermarriage, observance of the Jewish dietary laws, parent-child relationships, Jewish-Gentile differences, Kabbalah, prayer, and death. In each instance, his wisdom, his realism, and the sources he calls upon demonstrate the depth and perceptiveness of his approach to difficult problems. One essence of genius is to make complex issues simple. Kushner superbly passes this test.
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[book] Hey Waiter...There's God in My Soup!
Learning Kabbalah Through Humor
By Sam "Simcha" Krause and Terry Krause
Fall 2010
Arthur Kurzweil, author of On The Road with Rabbi Adin Steinsalt, and Kabbalah for Dummies, writes, “Simcha Krause is a master teacher of Kabbalah and the wisdom of the Chasidic masters. He is an extraordinary public speaker and teacher, a gentle man with a passion for life and for learning. His profound grasp of spiritual and philosophical issues is deep and dazzling. I enjoyed reading 'Hey Waiter...' so much, I gave it to my father, who is very particular about what he reads. (By the way, he loved it.)"
Kabbalah is the hot hip field of Jewish study made famous in pop culture by Madonna and Ashton Kutcher. But authentic Kabbalah is an field of study that is a deeply esoteric, mystical part of Judaism; its purpose is to give profound inner meaning to written Scriptures and Torah and attempt to describe the transcendent nature of a formless, infinite God as God relates to the finite creations. You might ask, "What's a nice, serious subject like Kabbalah doing in a book like this?" The answer lies in Kabbalah itself. Laughter is an involuntary reflex that transcends reason and lifts us above our physical state, allowing for an unselfconscious connection with something beyond the self - God, for example. A joyful person is open, available and willing to entertain concepts that don't necessarily fit a logical paradigm. So jokes can become vehicles through which we can contemplate the divine. If this sounds intriguing, have I got a joke book for you!

The NJ Jewish News wrote, “In a Torah discussion group one Shabbat afternoon, Sam “Simcha” Krause whispered a joke to the guy sitting next to him about the ideas the rabbi was expounding. It was not meant as a sign of distraction, but Krause’s levity earned him a sharp rebuke. His response was true to form. He went home and wrote 20 pages of jokes about Kabala. And then he put them aside and forgot about them.” These 20 pages became the basis of this book. ..Krause believes he is the first person to take a comedic approach to Kabala. A stand-up comedian from “way back,” he sees no reason to keep it separate from the spiritual teachings he reveres.... Krause underwent a heart transplant in 2004. It inspired his first book, Visits to My Hospital Bed, and reaffirmed his spiritual commitment. It also inspired him to continue studying Kabala
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[book] THE LAMPSHADE
A HOLOCAUST DETECTIVE STORY
FROM BUCHENWALD TO NEW ORLEANS
BY MARK JACOBSON
September 2010 Simon & Schuster
From Publishers Weekly: A lampshade possibly made from the skin of a concentration camp prisoner fitfully depicts the limits of human brutality in this beguiling but unfocused odyssey. When DNA tests proved a lampshade, found in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, to be made of human skin, New York magazine contributing editor Jacobson (12,000 Miles in the Nick of Time) set out to establish its provenance and meaning. Both prove elusive: evidence linking it to famous allegations that Nazis made lampshades from concentration camp victims is scanty, and Holocaust museum curators dismiss such claims. But as Jacobson's investigation takes him to places with legacies of racial hatred and mass killing--Buchenwald, Dresden, Israel, and the West Bank--he ponders the lampshade's mythic resonance as both a "particularist" emblem of Jewish victimization and a "universalist" token of human suffering. The author excels at sketching haunted locales and oddball characters, especially in atmospheric New Orleans, but his project is gimmicky--he calls in psychics and dubs the lampshade "Ziggy"--and his habit of seeing shades of the Holocaust everywhere feels forced. Jacobson's reportage is intriguing, but it doesn't pierce the darkness.
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[book] Operation Dark Heart
Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan
-- and the Path to Victory
By Anthony Shaffer, Lt. Colonel.
September 2010 Thomas Dunne Books
This is the redacted version of the book.
Whether real or not, it reads like an adventure. The U.S. Department of Defense spent $47,000 in Summer 2010 to destroy the 9,500 copies in the first printing of this book, since it asserted that it contained classified information that could harm ongoing sources and operations.
This is a nonfiction book that frequently reads like an adventure novel, this account of the author’s intelligence operations in post-9/11 Afghanistan should definitely strike a chord with readers. Shaffer was an intelligence operative from an early age, joining army counterintelligence in the early 1980s at the age of 19. By 1991, he was running HUMINT, the army’s clandestine human-intelligence program. Prior to 2001, he was working on an operation called Able Danger, which, according Shaffer, uncovered some of the 9/11 terrorists a full year before the attacks, although — again, according to Shaffer — the government blocked attempts to act upon the information.
He writes that he saw the same sort of thing happen again in Afghanistan, when red tape and inept policies hindered efforts to fight the Taliban. This is almost two books in one: a rousing chronicle of the author’s experiences on foreign soil and an examination of a bloated bureaucracy that he believes is in desperate need of retooling.
Shaffer adopts a mostly objective tone, although there are moments when his personal views sneak through (the phrase “Bush administration lunacy,” for example). Although no coauthor is listed, the book reads like it was transcribed from taped interviews (see the occasional oddly constructed paragraph where it looks like someone stuck in parenthetical explanations of things the author was saying). All in all, a fascinating, eye-opening book
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[book] MAKING OUR DEMOCRACY WORK
A JUDGE'S VIEW
BY STEPHEN BREYER Justice U.S. Supreme Court
September 2010, Knopf
Booklist review: “Justice Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1994 (and, of course, he serves for life, as mandated by the Constitution). His book partners well with Jeffrey Toobin’s well-received The Nine (2007), which is an account of the politics and personalities of the current Supreme Court. Breyer projects a larger context, supplying both historical and judicial background to give the nonspecialist a generalized picture of how the Supreme Court works. He explains the Court’s role in ensuring a workable democracy, in guaranteeing that the Constitution works in practice and in the real world. Certainly an interesting aspect of this greatly informative book is Breyer’s look back over the history of the republic to see how the public—and even the U.S. president—has accepted Court decisions. (It is not readily imaginable, to be sure, but, nevertheless, it is dramatically illustrated here that such acceptance was a principle that was not easy to plant within social and political consciousnesses.) Breyer is emphatic that “at the end of the day, the public’s confidence is what permits the Court to ensure a Constitution that is more than words on paper.” A book for all citizens”
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In October 2010, the CIA filed a lawsuit against the author of this book for publishing it without completing the CIA review process. And for breaking the occier's secrecy agreement.
[book] The Human Factor
Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture
By Ishmael Jones (nom de plume)
2010 Encounter Books
From Publishers Weekly: What's wrong with the CIA? A number of authors have tackled this question lately, and the pseudonymous Jones brings what could be a unique vantage point: a career operative, Jones claims he was "America's number one producer of intelligence reports on terrorism." Unfortunately, the book is more memoir than expose, privileging personal complaints (Jones is frequently underutilized and underappreciated) over actual accounts of the intelligence community's accomplishments and setbacks. Even as he hops the globe, Jones revels in woefully familiar aggravations: the Agency fails to reimburse his expenses in a timely fashion, wastes his time in team-building exercises, etc. He convincingly labels headquarters a haven for burnt-out, risk-averse pension-seekers, but he spends just as much time getting in digs at difficult landlords, surly cab drivers and airplane travel. Though Jones levels many serious charges against those running the CIA, he doesn't follow through and offers just a few pages of suggestions; his self-concern and attention to mundane details make this more suitable for those considering a career at the Agency than those wishing to understand it.
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SOME OCTOBER 2010 BOOKS


[book] Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings
Cooking for the next generation
By Susie Fishbein
October 2010, Mesorah
You're young, busy, don't have a lot of time, but like to cook - or would like to learn. Here is a cookbook designed for you. Susie Fishbein knows fun cooking; her best-selling Kosher by Design series has revolutionized kosher cuisine. Susie also listens; so when teens and young adults asked for a cookbook that fits their lifestyle - fun food that's delicious and quick to prepare - she responded. Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings is just for them - just for you. Want to make amazing food at home instead of ordering another takeout meal? Thinking about surprising your mother with a superb full course dinner, but need help? Need creative ideas to plan a great party at home - even on short notice? Looking for simple-to-do recipes that don't require fancy kitchen gadgets? You're in luck! Here are 100 uncommonly delicious alternatives to common fast food. 100 easy-to-prepare brand new recipes with large color photos featured with every recipe. Icons to indicate vegetarian, nut-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free recipes. Party ideas for a bash, game night., mitzvah night (hehe, just kidding) and more
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[book] Quick & Kosher
Quick and Kosher
Meals in Minutes
By Jamie Geller
Fall 2010, Feldheim
The "bride who knew nothing" is back! Five years after her wedding, Jamie Geller is juggling a career and running a busy household - and she still has no time to cook! As her family and career rapidly grew, Jamie set out to learn how to cook with children around, how to cook meals that kids would eat (while not boring adult family and guests) and how to do it all without losing her cool. Along the way, she did some thinking about food, children, and why we have both - and she's ready to share. Jamie will help you achieve a "Total Mommy Kitchen" (even if you happen to be a Daddy) by filling your Tool Box with the necessary items and creating a Comfort Zone that will make your kitchen the magnet room in your house. Jamie's homemaking ideas and hilarious anecdotes will enhance your home and lighten your heart. This innovative cookbook features over 215 new quick recipes, new fast takes on traditional holiday dishes, and expert interviews about wine and cheese. Best of all, the recipes in this book tell you how much total time to allow for "PCS" - that's to Prep, Cook & Serve - the full meal. You'll find out how much you can do in just 20, 40, or 60 minutes, and there's a special holiday chapter too! What's more, all the recipes are combined into full, balanced menus, so you'll know that you're serving your family and guests meals that are nourishing, as well as scrumptious and enticing.
Jamie's fabulously creative food pairings and exotic interpretations of traditional fare make this cookbook a must-have for your busy kitchen!
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[book] Black and Bulletproof
An African American Warrior in the Israeli Army
By Marcus Hardie
Fall 2010, New Horizons Press
For centuries, the Middle East has been at the center of international conflict and violence. But to Marcus Hardie, a man who grew up in the gang-infested streets of urban California, the hostility and violence of that distant land were no worse than his everyday struggle. Though the threat of attacks and bombings daily might frighten the average person, Hardie was ready for anything. In Black and Bulletproof, Marcus Hardie tells his journey from his dangerous childhood in the outskirts of Los Angeles to war-torn Israel. He explains the importance of faith in his life and how it led him to enlist in Israel’s elite anti-terrorism unit the Sayeret Golani in the 7th Brigade of the Armored Division. Hardie’s exploration his life of violence, courage, and redemption is a tale no reader should miss.
Standing at a checkpoint in Israel with his assault rifle pointed over the heads of Palestinian Arabs, Marcus Hardie reminds himself, I am the good guy. Hardie was born and raised by his grandmother in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Los Angeles. This is his tale from Thug life to soldier life. Hardie graduated from University of California at Riverside and the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. He writes that he showed promise in California’s political scene, rising to the position of Special Assistant to Governor Pete Wilson of California. After a family tragedy, he adopted the Jewish faith which inspired him to move to Israel. There he worked for Ehud Olmert as an intern. There he saw the country’s need for protection from its enemies, driving him to enlist in the army. He served during the Second Intifada
Marcus is also a graduate of Tulane University's Cardozo Legal Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law.
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[book] NEMESIS
A NOVEL
BY PHILIP ROTH
October 12, 2010, HMH Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Narrated by Arnie Mesnikoff
In the "stifling heat of equatorial Newark," a terrifying epidemic is raging, threatening the children of the New Jersey city with maiming, paralysis, life-long disability, iron lungs, and even death. This is the startling and surprising theme of Roth's new book: a wartime polio epidemic in the summer of 1944 and the effect it has on a closely knit, family-oriented Newark Jewish community and its children.
At the center of NEMESIS is a vigorous, dutiful, twenty-three year old playground director, Bucky Cantor, a javelin thrower and weightlifter, a college grad and Phys Ed teacher who is severely devoted to his young charges and disappointed with himself because his weak eyes have excluded him from serving in the war during WWII alongside his contemporaries and best friends. They are serving overseas and seeing action; he has the body to fight, but is stuck in Newark
Cantor was raised by his maternal grandparents; his young beautiful mother died in childbirth and his father was jailed for theft and disappeared forever. He helped his grandfather in the store growing up, and was trained to be dedicated and service oriented. He gets the job done.
Cantor is a strong hero; he single handedly faces down a gang of Italian punks who have come to his playground to spread disease and fear using spit and intimidation. He is dating the daughter of the local esteemed Jewish doctor; she is also a school teacher, but away at a summer camp in the Poconos. Roth focuses on Cantor's dilemmas as polio begins to ravage his playground--and on the everyday realities he faces--Roth leads us through every inch of emotion such a pestilence can breed: the fear, the panic, the anger, the bewilderment, the suffering, and the pain.
Nearly at the end of the entire novel, in 1971, nearly 30 years after the war, Arnie runs into Bucky, who is now a shambles. He is no longer the handsome solid confident strongman. Arnie was one of the kids in the playground when polio started to spread.
Moving between the smoldering, malodorous streets of besieged Newark and Indian Hill, a pristine children's summer camp high in the Poconos --whose "mountain air was purified of all contaminants"--Roth depicts a decent, energetic man with the best intentions struggling in his own private war against the epidemic.
Roth is tenderly exact at every point about Cantor's passage into personal disaster and no less exact about the condition of childhood.
Through this story runs the dark question that haunts all four of Roth's late short novels,
EVERYMAN,
INDIGNATION,
THE HUMBLING, and now,
NEMESIS:
what kind of accidental choices fatally shape a life? How powerless is each of us when confronted with the force of circumstance?
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[book] THE TRIALS OF ZION
A NOVEL
BY ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
Moved to Fall 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, Emma, takes a position on the defense team of a Palestinian who stands accused of terrorism. Her father, Abe Ringel (a stand in for Dershowitz, perhaps) 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, which shows the differences between the American and Israeli systems of jurisprudence. Dershowitz adds a compelling, thrilling plot and unique, memorable characters against a panoramic backdrop that will cry out for a movie deal.
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[book] Cut Throat Dog
A Melville Mysteries Paperback
By Joshua Sobol, Translated from Hebrew by Dalya Bilu
October 2010. Melville House
This is the story of a fromer Mossad agent who is either cracking up or cracking the case of a bungled assignment from long ago – one the left his partner and best friend dead, and left himself in an agony of despair. His only comfort is the knowledge that the murderer is dead. Or so he as told. But now, years later, he spots the murderer on the streets of New York, or does he? It is a taut spy thriller with literary allusions, wordplay, and gunfire. Sobol is best known for his plays, and “Ghetto,” his most controversial stage play. The Jerusalem Post write that this book allows you to leave the macho realm of bars and agents and whores and relive the harrowing experiences of an entire generation
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[book] Kosher Nation
Why More and More of America's Food Answers to a Higher Authority
By Sue Fishkoff
October 2010, Schocken
Fishkoff, a resident of Oakland, author of THE REBBE’S ARMY, and a longtime reporter for JTA.ORG and JPOST.com, has written an enlightening look at the history and the current practice of producing and consuming kosher food is America.
Kosher? That means the rabbi blessed it, right? Not exactly. In this captivating account of a Bible-based practice that has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry, journalist Sue Fishkoff travels throughout America and to Shanghai, China, to find out who eats kosher food, who produces it, who is responsible for its certification, and how this fascinating world continues to evolve. She explains why 85 percent of the 11.2 million Americans who regularly buy kosher food are not observant Jews—they are Muslims, Seventh-Day Adventists, vegetarians, people with food allergies, and consumers who pay top dollar for food they believe “answers to a Higher Authority.” She interviews food manufacturers, rabbinic supervisors, and ritual slaughterers; meets with eco-kosher adherents who go beyond traditional requirements to produce organic chicken and pasture-raised beef; sips boutique kosher wine in Napa Valley; talks to shoppers at an upscale kosher supermarket in Brooklyn; and marches with unemployed workers at the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant. She talks to Reform Jews who are rediscovering the spiritual benefits of kashrut and to Conservative and Orthodox Jews who are demanding that kosher food production adhere to ethical and environmental values. And she chronicles the corruption, price-fixing, and strong-arm tactics of early-twentieth-century kosher meat production, against which contemporary kashrut scandals pale by comparison. A revelatory look at the current state of kashrut in America, this book will appeal to anyone interested in food, religion, Jewish identity, and big business.
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[book] A Complicated Man
The Life of Bill Clinton
As Told By Those Who Know Him
By Michael Takiff
October 2010. Yale University Press
You think you know him? You think you know what drives him? You think you know what went on behind the scenes. Find out first and second hand. Though Bill Clinton has been out of office since 2001, public fascination with him continues unabated. Many books about Clinton have been published in recent years, but shockingly, no single-volume biography covers the full scope of Clinton’s life from the cradle to the present day, not even Clinton’s own account, My Life. More troubling still, books on Clinton have tended to be highly polarized, casting the former president in an overly positive or negative light. In this, the first complete oral history of Clinton’s life, historian Michael Takiff presents the first truly balanced book on one of our nation’s most controversial and fascinating presidents. Through more than 150 chronologically arranged interviews with key figures including Bob Dole, James Carville, and Tom Brokaw, among many others, A Complicated Man goes far beyond the well-worn party-line territory to capture the larger-than-life essence of Clinton the man. With the tremendous attention given to the Lewinsky scandal, it is easy to overlook the president’s humble upbringing, as well as his many achievements at home and abroad: the longest economic boom in American history, a balanced budget, successful intervention in the Balkans, and a series of landmark, if controversial, free-trade agreements. Through the candid recollections of Takiff’s many subjects, A Complicated Man leaves no area unexplored, revealing the most complete and unexpected portrait of our forty-second president published to date.
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[book] the marriage artist
a novel
by andrew winer
October 2010, Henry Holt
When the wife of renowned art critic Daniel Lichtmann plunges to her death, she is not alone. Lying next to her broken body is the body of her suspected lover, Benjamin Wind, a celebrated artist who, ironically, owes his success to Daniel, who made him a star. Daniel is left to grapple with the emotional pain of his double loss and double betrayal. Decades earlier in a Vienna on the verge of World War II, a child artist prodigy emerges from a most unlikely place, the son of Jews who've turned their back on their religion only to have their son fall in love with his new-found ability to create some of the most beautiful ketubot—traditional Jewish marriage contracts—the world has ever seen. As the young ketubah artist navigates between the survival of his body and of his soul, his choices will shape not only his life, but the lives of those born many miles—and many years—away. The result is a lyrical and unflinchingly honest story that strips away notions of passion and fidelity to reveal an essential truth: there is a love greater than the words that bind it, one that cannot be described, but only illuminated.
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[book] TREASURES FROM THE ATTIC
THE EXTRAORDINIARY STORY IF ANNE FRANK‘S FAMILY
BY MIRJAM PRESSLER
October 2010, Doubleday
A lost treasure trove (6,000 documents) from her grandmother’s attic about Anne Frank and her family, now woven into a chronicle. An old lady dies in Basel, Switzerland. Her devoted daughter-in-law, Gertrude, steels herself to do what all families must in the aftermath of death—she heads upstairs to the attic to sort through the effects. But Helene Elias wasn’t just any old lady, and none could put a price on what she left as an inheritance. Helene Elias was born Helene Frank, sister to Otto Frank, and thus Anne Frank’s aunt. Alice Frank, the matriarch and grandmother of the family, left Germany for Switzerland in the 1930s, and though her family had scattered across Europe, she remained at the hub of their lives. They wrote voluminously, sent photos, visited for summer holidays and reunions, and of course wrote about them when they returned home. Alice kept every bit she could. It all sat upstairs in the house, which was eventually passed down to Alice’s grandson, Buddy Elias, Anne Frank’s childhood playmate, and his wife, Gertrude. What Gertrude found has become an utterly engaging, endearing, and convincing account of a family that tells us who shaped Anne Frank, made her who she was. They believed themselves to be ordinary members of Germany’s bourgeoisie. That they were wrong is part of history—one that we celebrate here. About the Author. Pressler is one of Germany’s most beloved authors. She was the German translator of Anne Frank’s diary.
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[book] ANNEXED
A NOVEL
BY SHARON DOGAR
October 4, 2010, Houghton Mifflin
COVER BLURB: Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her? In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting. As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them? Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.
I HAVE NOT READ IT YET… MY COMMENTS. Sharon Dogar is a psychologist. Her daughter was reading the Diary of Anne Frank. Dogar pondered the story from the POV of Peter Van Pels, the teenage boy known as the Van Daans in the original diaries. Did she exploit Anne Frank for her own gain as a novelist? In June 2010, The Times of London said the novel includes scenes in which Peter yearns for Anne, intimately. Ms. Dogar says the novel does not emphasize the sexuality of Anne. Some take issue with Dogar’s fictionalization of Anne Frank. I personally have two copies of the novel as I type this, but I have not read it yet. The Guardian in the UK wrote, that the co-founder and executive director of the Anne Frank Trust, Gillian Walnes, reacted angrily to her first sight of Sharon Dogar's novel Annexed, saying that her re-imagining of the relationship between Anne and a boy who hid from the Nazis in the same Amsterdam building, Peter van Pels, was "not fair on someone who was a living person. I really don't understand why we have to fictionalise the Anne Frank story, when young people engage with it anyway. To me it seems like exploitation. If this woman writer is such a good novelist, why doesn't she create characters from scratch?" Dogar says that the idea of this book plagued her for nearly 2 decades. She wasn't sure it was legitimate, she didn't believe she had the talent to portray the horror of the Holocaust. But then she decided to write it anyway.
The novel opens with Peter on the point of death, is told as a series of diary entries interspersed with the thoughts of the dying boy, charting the story of the time he spent hiding with the Franks in the Annex at 263 Prinsengracht, his discovery, his imprisonment in the Mauthausen death camp. But it is the small part of the book that concerns Peter's teenage sexuality that has angered many. They have accused Dogar of "putting 21st-century mores on to young people" from a different era. Dogar has rejected the accusation of anachronism, countering that there is nowhere in the book where they come close to breaking the taboo around sex, and that "in the book the reality of just one truly intimate touch was enough to stop them". Although Peter does worry in the novel that he "will never make love to a girl", and there is a scene in which Anne and Peter kiss, the editors reject the accusation that the book is mainly concerned with sex. Maybe it is secretly being hyped to sell the book??
Dogar added, "The sexual awakening of Anne plays more of a major part in her diary than this book," citing moments in the diary where Anne discusses her menstrual periods. Anne’s diaries were first published in the face of some opposition from relatives and acquaintances in 1947, in a version edited by Anne's father Otto which did not include these passages. "Otto Frank remarked, upon reading Anne's diary, that he did not recognise his daughter as she described herself," she continued, "and that 'from this' he could only conclude that 'as parents we do not really know our children'. Historical novelists are, in a sense, in loco parentis to their characters, and like parents, they have a duty to try and understand their subjects."
Well… as the fictionalised character Peter says to Anne in a discussion about her diary towards the end of the novel, "It's on a page where it looks like the truth – even if it isn't."
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[book] THE WITNESS HOUSE
Nazis and Holocaust Survivors Sharing a Villa during the Nuremberg Trials
By Christiane Kohl
October 2010, Other Press
Autumn 1945 saw the start of the Nuremberg trials, in which high ranking representatives of the Nazi government were called to account for their war crimes. In a curious yet fascinating twist, witnesses for the prosecution and the defense were housed together in a villa on the outskirts of town. In this so-called Witness House, perpetrators and victims confronted each other in a microcosm that reflected the events of the high court. Presiding over the affair was the beautiful Countess Ingeborg Kálnoky (a woman so blond and enticing that she was described as a Jean Harlowe look-alike) who took great pride in her ability to keep the household civil and the communal dinners pleasant. A comedy of manners arose among the guests as the urge to continue battle was checked by a sudden and uncomfortable return to civilized life. The trial atmosphere extends to the small group in the villa. Agitated victims confront and avoid perpetrators and sympathizers, and high-ranking officers in the German armed forces struggle to keep their composure. This highly explosive mixture is seasoned with vivid, often humorous, anecdotes of those who had basked in the glory of the inner circles of power. Christiane Kohl focuses on the guilty, the sympathizers, the undecided, and those who always manage to make themselves fit in. The Witness House reveals the social structures that allowed a cruel and unjust regime to flourish and serves as a symbol of the blurred boundaries between accuser and accused that would come to form the basis of postwar Germany.
Christiane Kohl has worked as a correspondent to the Cologne Express, a press officer for the Environment Ministry in Hessen, and, from 1988 to 1998, an editor with Der Spiegel.
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[book] WAR & LOVE
LOVE & WAR
NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
BY AHARON SHABTAI. Translated from Hebrew by Peter Cole
Fall 2010, New Directions
From Publishers Weekly A household name in Israel, Shabtai is the author of the PEN Translation Award–winning J'Accuse, 18 volumes of verse, and of numerous translations from Greek to Hebrew. One finds in this selection, spanning the period 1986–2008, a voice mostly elided from American mappings of the Israel/Palestine question: acute, unblinking, unafraid to question, and aware of the stakes. The selection begins matter-of-factly:
"These creatures in helmets and khakis,/
I say to myself, aren't Jews,/
in the truest sense of the word. A Jew/
doesn't dress himself up with weapons like jewelry/
doesn't believe in the barrel of a gun aimed at a target,/
but in the thumb of the child who was shot at--."
But to reduce the book to that would be to miss the complexity of "Love," an excerpted long poem that recalls Creeley's For Love even as it moves into an erotic anguish all its own, and the twinkling humor of poems like "Tanya Was Gorgeous"--itself situated in an uncategorizable elegy: part kaddish for a person, part for a marriage. Cole does a remarkable job bringing lightness and immediacy to Shabtai's quotidian observations and depth to his spiritual delvings, making this an excellent introduction to a vast and varied oeuvre.
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[book] ANNE FRANK
THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE AUTHORIZED GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY
BY SID JACOBSON and ERNIE COLON
Fall 2010, Hill and Wang
Drawing on the unique historical sites, archives, expertise, and unquestioned authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, New York Times bestselling authors Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón have created the first authorized and exhaustive graphic biography of Anne Frank. Their account is complete, covering the lives of Anne’s parents, Edith and Otto; Anne's first years in Frankfurt; the rise of Nazism; the Franks' immigration to Amsterdam; war and occupation; Anne's years in the Secret Annex; betrayal and arrest; her deportation and tragic death in Bergen-Belsen; the survival of Anne's father; and his recovery and publication of her astounding diary
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[book] Till I End My Song
A Gathering of Last Poems
Edited by Harold Bloom
October 2010, Harper
Harold Bloom, 80, who The Forward characterized as a master of the weary insomniac, is the Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University. He has published more than thirty books, has been the editor of a myriad of others, and has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism. In this book, he collects poems, some of them by the Jewish poets Isaac Rosenberg, Samuel Greenberg, Delmore Schwartz, Kenneth Koch, and Anthony Hecht.
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For Every time, there is a season… a season to read a book
[book] The Wisdom Books
Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes
A Translation with Commentary By
Robert Alter
October 2010, WW Norton
http://jewishstudies.berkeley.edu/courses/index.html
A magnificent new volume in Robert Alter’s award-winning, landmark translation of and commentary on the Hebrew Bible.
Here, in Robert Alter’s bold new translation, are some of the most magnificent works in world literature. The astounding poetry in the Book of Job is restored to its powerful ancient meanings and rhythms. The account of creation in its Voice from the Whirlwind is beautiful and incendiary—an unforgettable challenge to the place of man in the universe. The serene fatalism that construes life as ephemeral and without purpose suffuses Ecclesiastes with a quiet beauty. The pithy maxims of Proverbs impart a worldly wisdom that is still sound and satirically shrewd.
Each of these books conveys and undermines the universal wisdom that the righteous thrive and the wicked suffer in a rational moral order; together they are essential to the ancient canon that is the Hebrew Bible. In Alter’s translation they regain the energy and force of the original, enhancing their ongoing relevance to the lives of modern readers.
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[book] MY YEAR OF FLOPS
ONE MAN'S JOURNEY DEEP INTO THE HEART OF CINEMATIC FAILuRE
BY NATHAN RABIN
October 2010, Scribner
In 2007, Nathan Rabin set out to provide a revisionist look at the history of cinematic failure on a weekly basis. What began as a solitary ramble through the nooks and crannies of pop culture evolved into a way of life. My Year Of Flops collects dozens of the best-loved entries from the A.V. Club column along with bonus interviews and fifteen brand-new entries covering everything from notorious flops like The Cable Guy and Last Action Hero to bizarre obscurities like Glory Road, Johnny Cash’s poignantly homemade tribute to Jesus. Driven by a unique combination of sympathy and Schadenfreude, My Year Of Flops is an unforgettable tribute to cinematic losers, beautiful and otherwise.
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[book] DISINTEGRATION
THE SPLINTERING OF BLACK AMERICA
BY EUGENE ROBINSON
October 2010, Doubleday
From Publishers Weekly: In this clear-eyed and compassionate study, Robinson (Coal to Cream), Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist for the Washington Post, marshals persuasive evidence that the African-American population has splintered into four distinct and increasingly disconnected entities: a small elite with enormous influence, a mainstream middle-class majority, a newly emergent group of recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, and an abandoned minority "with less hope of escaping poverty than at any time since Reconstruction's end." Drawing on census records, polling data, sociological studies, and his own experiences growing up in a segregated South Carolina college town during the 1950s, Robinson explores 140 years of black history in America, focusing on how the civil rights movement, desegregation, and affirmative action contributed to the fragmentation. Of particular interest is the discussion of how immigrants from Africa, the "best-educated group coming to live in the United States," are changing what being black means. Robinson notes that despite the enormous strides African-Americans have made in the past 40 years, the problems of poor blacks remain more intractable than ever, though his solution--"a domestic Marshall Plan aimed at black America"--seems implausible in this era of cash-strapped state and local governments.
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[book] CHRISTIANS AND JEWS
FAITH TO FAITH
TRAGIC HISTORY, PROMISING PRESENT, FRAGILE FUTURE
BY RABBI JAMES RUDIN
October 30, 2010 Jewish Lights
For two thousand years, Christians and Jews have coexisted in an uneasy state of tension, mutual suspicion, and often hatred and violence. But in recent years, courageous Christian and Jewish leaders have together confronted the past with laserlike intensity and commenced the urgent task of building bridges of solidarity, mutual knowledge and respect. This extraordinary effort, coming after two millennia that were frequently filled with intolerance and distrust, reverses a tragic history and creates a new and constructive relationship between Christians and Jews. But it has not been easy. How did this happen? How was it possible to begin the process of overcoming centuries of stereotypes, caricatures and bigotry? And does the development of constructive Christian-Jewish relations, albeit still fragile, offer a successful model to resolve other intergroup conflicts? This probing examination of Christian-Jewish relations looks at the major issues facing both faith traditions to guarantee that the recent hard-earned gains and achievements will not be lost or weakened in the difficult years ahead.. Click the book cover to read more.








You should read this before you give to the Red Cross, the AJWS, the JJDC, or any other aid group. Not that THEY do anything wrong, but it is good to enter with the knowledge of the aid industry and the current aid environment
[book] THE CRISIS CARAVAN
WHAT‘S WRONG WITH HUMANITARIAN AID?
BY LINDA POLMAN
October 2010, Metropolitan
Linda Polna, the Dutch journalist based in Amsterdam, is the author of WE DID NOTHING and WAR GAMES; THE STORY OF AID AND WAR. In this book, she does not hold back. This is an expose on the profiteering and ambiguous ethics that pervade the world of humanitarian aid.
A vast industry has grown up around humanitarian aid: a cavalcade of organizations—some 37,000—compete for a share of the $160 billion annual prize, with "fact-inflation" sometimes ramping up disaster coverage to draw in more funds.
Insurgents and warring governments, meanwhile, have made aid a permanent feature of military strategy: refugee camps serve as base camps for genocidaires, and aid supplies are diverted to feed the troops. Even as humanitarian groups continue to assert the holy principle of impartiality, they have increasingly become participants in aid's abuses.
In a narrative that is impassioned, gripping, and even darkly absurd, journalist Linda Polman takes us to war zones around the globe—from the NGO-dense operations in "Afghaniscam" to the floating clinics of Texas Mercy Ships proselytizing off the shores of West Africa—to show the often compromised results of aid workers' best intentions. It is time, Polman argues, to impose ethical boundaries, to question whether doing something is always better than doing nothing, and to hold humanitarians responsible for the consequences of their deeds. Here is a quick glance at an aid project: SERIOUSLY, this is not made up
$150 million is allocated to a province in Afghanistan for house-building
An aid agency in Geneva Switzerland take 20% as a fee, or $30 million. They send $120 million to a second group, which takes a fee, and then subcontracts the project to a 3rd group, which takes a fee of 20%
$90 million is left after fee.
The purchase wood for the homes, but pay a shipping fee that is five times the normal commercial rate
The wood arrive in the province and villages, but is the wrong type and is used as kindling.

Don’t believe it? Look at the South African charity that raised millions worldwide for water pumps in Africa that were part of children’s playgrounds. The game pumped water into tanks as the children played. Eighty percent of the tanks were non functioning 6 months after the installation.
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[book] THE JEWS OF SAN NICANDRO
JOHN A. DAVIS
October 2010, Yale University Press
Not many people know of the utterly extraordinary events that took place in a humble southern Italian town in the first half of the twentieth century—and those who do have struggled to explain them. In the late 1920s, a crippled shoemaker had a vision where God called upon him to bring the Jewish faith to this “dark corner” in the Catholic heartlands, despite his having had no prior contact with Judaism itself. By 1938, about a dozen families had converted at one of the most troubled times for Italy’s Jews. The peasant community came under the watchful eyes of Mussolini’s regime and the Catholic Church, but persisted in their new belief, eventually securing approval of their conversion from the rabbinical authorities, and emigrating to the newly founded State of Israel, where a community still exists today. In this first fully documented examination of the San Nicandro story, John A. Davis explains how and why these incredible events unfolded as they did. Using the converts’ own accounts and a wide range of hitherto unknown sources, Davis uncovers the everyday trials and tribulations within this community, and shows how they intersected with many key contemporary issues, including national identity and popular devotional cults, Fascist and Catholic persecution, Zionist networks and postwar Jewish refugees, and the mass exodus that would being the Mediterranean peasant world to an end. Vivid and poignant, this book draws fresh and intriguing links between the astonishing San Nicandro affair and the wider transformation of twentieth-century Europe.
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[book] Running the Books
The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
By Avi Steinberg
October 2010, Doubleday
Avi Steinberg is stumped.
After leaving his yeshiva, he went to Harvard. He wrote his senior thesis on Bugs Bunny. His friends and classmates are advancing in the world with professional degrees and success and jobs. Yet he is stuck. He feels that he is unable or unwilling to meets the expectations of his Orthodox Jewish family (dude… did you ever think of therapy?)
He is working as a freelance writer of obituaries. It just is not cutting it.
He needs direction; he needs health insurance.
So he takes a job as a librarian in a Boston prison. A tough prison (since when are prisons not tough?) The inmates seek out the library for books and a connection. Some will use the books as a weapon. One inmate on parole will rob him. A pimp needs help writing a memoir. A gangster hopes to read and one day have his own TV show called THUG SIZZLE. (sounds like a horrible title. I would have made up a title based on the GALLOPING GOURMET, like the Marauding Gourmet, or Plundering Gourmet)… (There’s a gangsta sub-culture in Hasidic Judaism??)
Is Steinberg naïve? Doesn’t he know to check rap sheets?
A stripper asks Steinberg to arrange a reunion between her and her estranged son, who is an inmate. A community of outcasts lives among the bookshelves, and he recounts his experiences in this book.
Will Steinberg find his place? Or will he get fired?
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[book] Golden Bracelets, Common Threads
A novel
By Steven A. Vajda
2010
Golden Bracelets, Common Threads is the fictional story of the Ramón family whose quest for religious freedom leads to the New World. In 1485, King Ferdinand's Inquisitor is assassinated spurring a brutal massacre of the Jewish community. Young Moisés escapes. His exodus, guided by Fate, leads him to Portugal with two golden bracelets, mementos of love and remembrance, which he slips from the wrists of his dead mother. He takes a voyage of discovery to Brazil, Africa, and India. He settles in northeast Brazil. Generations later, when the merciless Portuguese Inquisitors arrive, Moisés' descendant must flee. His exodus to New Amsterdam in 1654 fulfills his family's Destiny. Six generations are linked by the common threads of tradition and by the two golden bracelets, symbols of the family's historic journey. Skillfully written and richly detailed, Golden Bracelets, Common Threads is an entertaining and entirely believable historical fiction novel about Fate, Family, and Destiny.
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[book] SHARDS OF WAR
FLEEING TO AND FROM UZBEKISTAN
A memoir
By Michael G. Kesler, PhD
2010
On June 24, 1941, Michael, 16, and his sister, 19, leave their home in Dubno in Ukraine, just ahead of the advancing German armies. Fleeing by foot and train, deep into Ukraine and beyond, the teens spend a brutal winter in a town near Stalingrad, where they nearly perish from hunger and cold. In July of 1942, they escape again ahead of the Germans' onslaught. The siblings' saga of loss, courage, and endurance is interlaced with accounts of critical events of the war and of the annihilation of the Jews in Ukraine, offering an important historical narrative of the challenges wartime refugees faced in the Soviet Union. "It's very well-written and tells an extraordinary story with much passion, empathy and skill." - Omer Bartov, professor of history, Brown University "Michael portrays in shattering detail the improbable survival of most Polish Jews who eluded the Holocaust by fleeing to the Soviet Union. The memoir offers a novel, absolutely essential perspective on the catastrophic events of World War II." - Atina Grossmann, professor of history, Cooper Union, New York "This unbelievable, yet true, unique story will help teachers meet the NJ mandate that all students must learn about bias, prejudice and bigotry through the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide." - Dr. Paul B. Winkler, Executive Director, NJ Commission on Holocaust Education Michael Kesler, a Ph.D. chemical engineer and a graduate of MIT and NYU, has, since retirement, edited and published his late wife's book, Grit, by Regina Kesler, M.D. He is completing a novel, Hurdles, that looks at the lives of family members whose mother and wife falls ill and succumbs to cancer. Publisher's Website:
http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/ShardsOfWar.html
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[book] BLACK FACES IN WHITE PLACES
BY RANDAL PINKETT AND JEFFREY ROBINSON, with Philena Patterson
October 2010, AMACOM BOOKS
Advance praise on this book from Mayor Cory Booker (Newark, NJ); Cornel West (Princeton NJ); Bill Cosby, PhD; Stephen and Sean Covey; BJ Jealous (Naacp); Kevin Powell (activist); Skip Mason (Alpha Phi Alpha); Zack Lemelle, Darrul Cobb; Rev Otis Moss III; Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole (Spelman); Alfred Edmond Jr. and more.
In his latest book, says that for generations, African-Americans have been told that to succeed, they need to work twice as hard as everyone else. But sometimes hard work is not enough. For example, Pinkett was on the TV reality show called The Apprentice, and won he won, he was asked to share his prize. He refused.
This book is about “the game.” It offers 10 strategies for playing, mastering, and changing “the game.” It is not only about shattering the old “glass ceiling,” but also about examining the four dimensions of the contemporary black experience: identity, society, meritocracy, and opportunity. Ultimately, it is about changing the very concept of success itself. Based on the authors’ considerable experiences in business, in the public eye, and in the minority, the book shows how African-American professionals can think and act both Entrepreneurially and “Intrapreneurially,” combine their collective strengths with the wisdom of others, and plant the seeds of a positive and lasting legacy.
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The Worldwide Bestseller is now in paperback [book] OUTLIERS
THE STORY OF SUCCESS
By MALCOLM GLADWELL
October 2010, Back Bay
Why on my Jewish list??
Because several chapters discuss why so many Nobel Prize recipients are Jewish, why Jewish law firms succeeded in the 1970/80s in New York City, and many other hypotheses on Jewish success.

PW writes, “Gladwell (The Tipping Point) once again proves masterful in a genre he essentially pioneered—the book that illuminates secret patterns behind everyday phenomena. His gift for spotting an intriguing mystery, luring the reader in, then gradually revealing his lessons in lucid prose, is on vivid display. Outliers begins with a provocative look at why certain five-year-old boys enjoy an advantage in ice hockey, and how these advantages accumulate over time. We learn what Bill Gates, the Beatles and Mozart had in common: along with talent and ambition, each enjoyed an unusual opportunity to intensively cultivate a skill that allowed them to rise above their peers. A detailed investigation of the unique culture and skills of Eastern European Jewish immigrants persuasively explains their rise in 20th-century New York, first in the garment trade and then in the legal profession. Through case studies ranging from Canadian junior hockey champions to the robber barons of the Gilded Age, from Asian math whizzes to software entrepreneurs to the rise of his own family in Jamaica, Gladwell tears down the myth of individual merit to explore how culture, circumstance, timing, birth and luck account for success—and how historical legacies can hold others back despite ample individual gifts. Even as we know how many of these stories end, Gladwell restores the suspense and serendipity to these narratives that make them fresh and surprising.One hazard of this genre is glibness. In seeking to understand why Asian children score higher on math tests, Gladwell explores the persistence and painstaking labor required to cultivate rice as it has been done in East Asia for thousands of years; though fascinating in its details, the study does not prove that a rice-growing heritage explains math prowess, as Gladwell asserts. Another pitfall is the urge to state the obvious: No one, Gladwell concludes in a chapter comparing a high-IQ failure named Chris Langan with the brilliantly successful J. Robert Oppenheimer, not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires and not even geniuses—ever makes it alone. But who in this day and age believes that a high intelligence quotient in itself promises success? In structuring his book against that assumption, Gladwell has set up a decidedly flimsy straw man. In the end it is the seemingly airtight nature of Gladwell's arguments that works against him. His conclusions are built almost exclusively on the findings of others—sociologists, psychologists, economists, historians—yet he rarely delves into the methodology behind those studies. And he is free to cherry-pick those cases that best illustrate his points; one is always left wondering about the data he evaluated and rejected because it did not support his argument, or perhaps contradicted it altogether. Real life is seldom as neat as it appears in a Malcolm Gladwell book.“
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[book] GOD AND SEX
WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS
BY MICHAEL COOGAN
October 2010, 12 Twelve
For several decades, Michael Coogan's introductory course on the Old Testament has been a perennial favorite among students at Harvard University. In God and Sex, Coogan examines one of the most controversial aspects of the Hebrew Scripture: What the Old Testament really says about sex, and how contemporary understanding of those writings is frequently misunderstood or misrepresented. In the engaging and witty voice generations of students have appreciated, Coogan explores the language and social world of the Bible, showing how much innuendo and euphemism is at play, and illuminating the sexuality of biblical figures as well as God. By doing so, Coogan reveals the immense gap between popular use of Scripture and its original context. God and Sex is certain to provoke, entertain, and enlighten readers.
Michael Coogan is Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum and Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College. For several decades, he has taught an introductory course on the Hebrew Scriptures at Harvard University, as well as at Wellesley College, Boston College, and Stonehill College.
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[book] The Envoy’s Briefcase
The Envoy
The Epic Rescue of the Last Jews of Europe in the Desperate Closing Months of World War II
By Alex Kershaw
October 2010, de Capo
December 1944. Soviet and German troops fight from house to house in the shattered, corpse-strewn suburbs of Budapest. Crazed Hungarian fascists join with die-hard Nazis to slaughter Jews day and night, turning the Danube blood-red. In less than six months, thirty-eight-year-old SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann has sent over half a million Hungarians to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Now all that prevents him from liquidating Europe’s last Jewish ghetto is an unarmed Swedish diplomatic envoy named Raoul Wallenberg. The Envoy is the stirring tale of how one man made the greatest difference in the face of untold evil. The legendary Oscar Schindler saved hundreds, but Raoul Wallenberg did what no other individual or nation managed to do: He saved more than 100,000 Jewish men, women, and children from extermination. Written with Alex Kershaw’s customary narrative verve, The Envoy is a fast-paced, nonfiction thriller that brings to life one of the darkest and yet most inspiring chapters of twentieth century history. It is an epic for the ages.
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[book] HANUKKAH - an animation book
Illustrated by Kate Ohry
October 2010, Accord
Hanukkah employs Accord's New York Times best-selling AniMotion(tm) technology to celebrate the Festival of Lights. This sparkly tribute reveals an entertaining way to introduce youngsters to the traditions associated with the holiday. Animated windows feature flickering menorahs, spinning dreidels, and flipping latkes to celebrate important Jewish traditions associated with Hanukkah. In addition to the book's entertaining narrative and sparkling, full-color illustrations, a collection of Hanukkah facts can be found in the back of the book, providing further opportunity for children to learn about--and celebrate--the rich traditions around the Festival of Lights.
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[book] MY TWO HOLIDAYS
A HANUKKAH AND CHRISTMAS STORY
BY DANIELLE NOVACK with PHYLLIS HARRIS
October 2010, Scholastic Cartwheel
Ages 3 - 5
When Sammy's classmates take turns talking about which holiday they celebrate, Sammy becomes very nervous. Some people celebrate Christmas and some people celebrate Hanukkah. But Sammy celebrates both!
Written by a Kansas City based clinical psychologist, MY TWO HOLIDAYS offers comforting explanations that shine a light on how special it can be to celebrate two treasured holidays instead of one.
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[book] THE HANUKKAH TRIKE
BY MICHELLE EdwARDS and KATHRYN MILLER
October 2010, Albert Whitman
Ages 3-8
Gabi (Greenberg) celebrates the first night of Hanukkah with her parents and receives a new tricycle as a gift. When she falls off her trike (which she's named “Hanukkah”), her mother convinces her to be brave like the Maccabees by getting back on and trying again. The first half of the book is a simple, traditional look at a young family lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, eating latkes, and recounting the Hanukkah story. Unfortunately, the second half involving Gabi and her tricycle feels a bit forced. Still, young children will enjoy her success when she and “Hanukkah” finally take off down the block. Acrylic illustrations are straightforward and pleasant, featuring large blocks of modest colors and generally subdued action. – Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
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[book] EIGHT WINTER NIGHTS
A FAMILY HANUKKAH BOOK
BY LAURA KRAUSS MELMED and Elisabeth Schlossberg
2010, Chronicle
Ages 3-8
family's preparations for and celebration of Hanukkah are described in short, informal verse, from the two-line “Third Night” (“At our window we will show/How warmly our three candles glow) to the bouncy, eight-line poem celebrating a favorite latke go-with (“Applesauce, applesauce on your nose./Applesauce, applesauce on your toes…”). Pencil and pastel cartoon-style illustrations depict a smiling extended family talking, eating, and playing together amid warm glowing colors and the symbols of the holiday. A short description and history of Hanukkah are appended.
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[book] USA‘S BEST TRIPS 99 THEMED ITINERARIES
From Lonely Planet
October 2010, Lonely Planet
99 of the Country’s Best Trips! Whether you’re a local looking for a long weekend escape, or a visitor looking to explore, Lonely Planet’s Trips series offers the best itineraries – and makes it easy to plan the perfect trip time and again. Includes the Mid-Atlantic, New England, the South, Florida, the Great Lakes, the Great Plains, Texas, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, California and the Pacific Northwest. Easy-to-use maps for every trip, plus driving times and directions. Explore the country with trips ranging from two days to two weeks. Theme icons make finding the perfect trip simple – no matter what your interest. Local experts share their favorite trip ideas, including a food-lovers’ tour of Northern California from Alice Waters and a musician’s tour of the Midwest music scene. Tune in on the road with our regional music play lists. Family-friendly and pet-friendly listings throughout Green index lists the most environmentally friendly options across the country
My faves were the following themes. Route 66; Massachusetts to Miami; New Jersey Diners; Civil War Sites; Md Crab Quest (I don’t eat crab, but a good tripi for friends); Heriateg Music Trail; Ivy League Schools; Literary New England (not just the Belle of Amherst); Maine Lobster Tour (for friends); 60 Lighthouses in 60 hours; Twain Tour; The Beef Tour; Texas Odd Art and Aliens; Offbeat Idaho: Hot Potatoes and Hot L; Alice Water;s Culinary California; and California’s Other Wine Countries.
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[book] AMERICAN GRACE
How Religion Divides and Unites Us
By Robert D. Putnam and David E Campbell
October 2010, Simon and Schuster Si
Unique among nations, America is deeply religious, religiously diverse, and remarkably tolerant. But in recent decades the nation’s religious landscape has been reshaped. America has experienced three seismic shocks, say Robert Putnam and David Campbell. In the 1960s, religious observance plummeted. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, a conservative reaction produced the rise of evangelicalism and the Religious Right. Since the 1990s, however, young people, turned off by that linkage between faith and conservative politics, have abandoned organized religion. The result has been a growing polarization—the ranks of religious conservatives and secular liberals have swelled, leaving a dwindling group of religious moderates in between. At the same time, personal interfaith ties are strengthening. Interfaith marriage has increased while religious identities have become more fluid. Putnam and Campbell show how this denser web of personal ties brings surprising interfaith tolerance, notwithstanding the so-called culture wars. American Grace is based on two of the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on religion and public life in America. It includes a dozen in-depth profiles of diverse congregations across the country, which illuminate how the trends described by Putnam and Campbell affect the lives of real Americans.
Between one-third and one-half of all American marriages are interfaith; Roughly one-third of Americans have switched religions at some point in their lives; Young people are more opposed to abortion than their parents but more accepting of gay marriage; Even fervently religious Americans believe that people of other faiths can go to heaven; Religious Americans are better neighbors than secular Americans: more generous with their time and treasure even for secular causes—but the explanation has less to do with faith than with their communities of faith; Jews are the most broadly popular religious group in America today. And more
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[book] WHY MAHLER
HOW ONE MAN AND TEN SYMPHONIES CHANGED OUR WORLD
BY NORMAN LEBRECHT
October 2010, Pantheon
Norman Lebrecht—noted British music critic, novelist, and author of the classic Mahler Remembered—explains why Gustav Mahler, relatively obscure in his own time, has become the most popular symphonist of ours. Although he was well regarded as a conductor, when Gustav Mahler died in 1911 his compositions were considered “incomprehensible” and “unlistenable.” In the 1960s, with Leonard Bernstein’s passionate advocacy, Mahler’s star began to rise. And in 2009, superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel chose a Mahler symphony for his first concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mahler had famously remarked that his “time will come.” Why Mahler? explores how we have come to find ourselves in Mahler’s time. Norman Lebrecht approaches the question from an unusual and personal angle, discussing how the composer’s music has affected his own life as well as the cultural life of the twentieth century. He travels to Mahler’s birth- and resting places; speaks with surviving members of his family; and delves into why, for many fans, Mahler is not just a composer but a religion, and why, even for less-ardent listeners, Mahler’s popularity has eclipsed that of Haydn or Beethoven. Equal parts biography, memoir, and appreciation, this is a book that will allow us a fuller understanding than we have ever had of Gustav Mahler and of his abiding place in our musical sensibilities.
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TIMED TO COINCIDE WITH THE EXHIBIT AT THE NY JEWISH MUSEUM
[book] HOUDINI
ART AND MAGIC
By Brooke Kamin Rapaport with Alan Brinkley, Gabriel de Guzman, Hasia R. Diner, and Kenneth Silverman
October 2010, Yale University Press
Born Ehrich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary, Harry Houdini (1874–1926) was a rabbi’s son who became one of the 20th century’s most famous performers. His gripping theatrical presentations and heart-stopping outdoor spectacles attracted unprecedented crowds, and his talent for self-promotion and provocation captured headlines on both sides of the Atlantic.
Though Houdini’s work has earned him a place in the cultural pantheon, the details of his personal life and public persona are subjects of equal fascination. His success was both cause for celebration in the Jewish community and testament to his powers of self-reinvention. In Houdini: Art and Magic, essays on the artist’s life and work are accompanied by interviews with novelist E. L. Doctorow, magician Teller (of Penn and Teller), and contemporary artists including Raymond Pettibon and Matthew Barney, documenting Houdini’s evolution and influence from the late 19th century to the present. Beautifully illustrated with a range of visual material, including Houdini’s own diaries, iconic handcuffs, and straitjacket, alongside rare period posters, prints, and photographs, this book brings Houdini—both the myth and the man—back to life.
Brooke Kamin Rapaport is a curator and writer. Alan Brinkley is the Allan Nevins Professor of History at Columbia University. Gabriel de Guzman is Neubauer Family Foundation Curatorial Assistant at The Jewish Museum. Hasia R. Diner is Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University. Kenneth Silverman is professor emeritus at New York University
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[book] GREAT HOUSE
A NOVEL
BY NICOLE KRAUSS
October 2010, WW Norton
A powerful, soaring novel about a stolen desk that contains the secrets, and becomes the obsession, of the lives it passes through. For twenty-five years, a solitary American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young poet who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet's secret police; one day a girl claiming to be his daughter arrives to take it away, sending her life reeling. Across the ocean in London, a man discovers a terrifying secret about his wife of almost fifty years. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer is slowly reassembling his father's Budapest study, plundered by the Nazis in 1944. These worlds are anchored by a desk of enormous dimension and many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or give it away. In the minds of those it has belonged to, the desk comes to stand for all that has disappeared in the chaos of the world-children, parents, whole peoples and civilizations. Nicole Krauss has written a hauntingly powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss
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WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE IN OCTOBER 2010. THE GUARDIAN SAYS JACOBSON IS THE GREATEST CURRENT NOVELIST IN THE UK WHO WRITES WITH JEWISH HUMOR
[book] THE FINKLER QUESTION
A NOVEL
BY HOWARD JACOBSON
October 2010. Bloomsbury USA
Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick, a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results. Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor's grand, central London apartment. It's a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you had less to mourn? Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends' losses.
And it's that very evening, at exactly 11:30pm, as Treslove hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country as he walks home, that he is attacked. After this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.
The Finkler Question is a scorching story of exclusion and belonging, justice and love, aging, wisdom and humanity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best.
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[book] THE WISDOM BOOKS
JOB, PROVERBS, AND ECCKESIASTES
A TRANSLATION WITH COMMENTARY
By ROBERT ALTER (Berkeley)
October 2010, WW Norton
A magnificent new volume in Robert Alter’s award-winning, landmark translation of and commentary on the Hebrew Bible. Here, in Robert Alter’s bold new translation, are some of the most magnificent works in world literature. The astounding poetry in the Book of Job is restored to its powerful ancient meanings and rhythms. The account of creation in its Voice from the Whirlwind is beautiful and incendiary—an unforgettable challenge to the place of man in the universe. The serene fatalism that construes life as ephemeral and without purpose suffuses Ecclesiastes with a quiet beauty. The pithy maxims of Proverbs impart a worldly wisdom that is still sound and satirically shrewd. Each of these books conveys and undermines the universal wisdom that the righteous thrive and the wicked suffer in a rational moral order; together they are essential to the ancient canon that is the Hebrew Bible. In Alter’s translation they regain the energy and force of the original, enhancing their ongoing relevance to the lives of modern readers
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[book] THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF LEONARD COHEN
BY ANTHONY REYNOLDS
October 2010, OmnibusPresUsa.com
Anthony Reynolds' fascinating and detailed biography draws on scores of new interviews conducted with Cohen's band members past and present, his business associates, editors, friends, fans, producers, colleagues, enemies and peers. As well as their revealing accounts, the author has gained access to hours of previously unpublished interviews with Cohen as well as video archive recordings from several decades. The book also includes an authoritative summary of every Cohen album, with insights and recollections supplied from the musicians who appeared on the recordings. Gradually, despite Cohen's own good-natured evasiveness over the past 40 years, a surprisingly frank portrait begins to emerge of the legendary figure who commands unparalleled loyalty from his fans and followers, young and old. From the distant days of his penniless beginnings as a much-praised poet in Montreal, through the travels, affairs, religious crisis and drama of his latest tours. Cohen's extraordinary life and body of work is examined as never before
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[book] BLOOD COUNT
A mystery novel
An Artie Cohen Mystery
By Regie Nadelson
October 2010, Walker Books Bloomsbury
It is the winter before Obama’s inauguration. He has won the election, and Wall Street is imploding. It is cold and winter has set in in Manhattan. Artie Cohen gets a call from his ex girlfriend. She worked for Obama’s in the election, and she lives in Harlem at the Louis Armstrong. There has been a murder at her Sugar Hill residence and she is scared. There are more deaths to come, and Artie Cohen is on the case. Can he win back his ex? Can he figure out the mystery? Click the book cover to read more.














[book] In Ishmael's House
A History of Jews in Muslim Lands
By Sir Martin Gilbert, PhD
Fall 2010, Yale
The relationship between Jews and Muslims has been a flashpoint that affects stability in the Middle East and has consequences around the globe. In this absorbing and eloquent book Martin Gilbert challenges the standard media portrayal and presents a fascinating account of hope, opportunity, fear, and terror that have characterized these two peoples through the 1,400 years of their intertwined history. Harking back to the Biblical story of Ishmael and Isaac, Gilbert takes the reader from the origins of the fraught relationship—the refusal of Medina’s Jews to accept Mohammed as a prophet—through the ages of the Crusader reconquest of the Holy Land and the great Muslim sultanates to the present day. He explores the impact of Zionism in the first half of the twentieth century, the clash of nationalisms during the Second World War, the mass expulsions and exodus of 800,000 Jews from Muslim lands following the birth of Israel, the Six-Day War and its aftermath, and the political sensitivities of the current Middle East.
In Ishmael’s House sheds light on a time of prosperity and opportunity for Jews in Muslim lands stretching from Morocco to Afghanistan, with many instances of Muslim openness, support, and courage. Drawing on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sources, Gilbert uses archived material, poems, letters, memoirs, and personal testimony to uncover the human voice of this centuries-old conflict. Ultimately Gilbert’s moving account of mutual tolerance between Muslims and Jews provides a perspective on current events and a template for the future.
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[book] A COUNTRY CALLED AMREEKA
ARAB ROOTS, AMERICAN STORIES
By ALIA MALEK, ESQ.
October 2010, Free Press
PW writes, “Starred Review. The U.S. has long lauded itself as a nation of immigrants, but some communities have had considerable difficulty weaving themselves into the American tapestry, notably, Arab-Americans. In this superb snapshot of the Americans of Arab-speaking descent, individuals with roots in Jordan, Yemen, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon share their stories and demonstrate the extent to which, even as they play football, work assembly lines and hold public office, they remain shut out of the national narrative. With a remarkable ability to capture her subjects' voices, Malek, a Syrian-American civil rights lawyer, sketches illuminating responses to her question: What does American history look and feel like in the eyes and skin of Arab Americans? There's the Lebanese-American, too dark for 1960s Birmingham; the Palestinian-American surrounded by anti-Arab violence during the Iranian hostage crisis; the Yemeni-American deployed to Iraq with the Marine Corps. In her effort to demonstrate the impact of foreign affairs on American soil, Malek focuses too heavily on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, giving short shrift to other important stories of upheaval, but this is an excellent book, one certain to put right some of the wrongs it catalogues.”
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[book] Finishing the Hat
Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments,
Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes
By Stephen Sondheim
October 2010, Knopf
The winner of seven Tonys, seven Grammys, an Oscar, and a Pulitzer Prize, Stephen Sondheim has become synonymous with the best in musical theater. Now, in Finishing the Hat, he has not only collected his lyrics for the first time, he’s given readers a rare, personal look into his extraordinary shows and life. Along with the lyrics for all of his productions from 1954 to 1981—including West Side Story, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, and Sweeney Todd—Sondheim discusses his relationship with his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II, and his collaborations with legends Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Ethel Merman, Richard Rodgers, Angela Lansbury, Hal Prince, and countless others. The anecdotes—rich with history, personal insights, and intimate details—transport us back to a time when theater was a major pillar of American culture. And throughout the book, Sondheim analyzes his work and dissects his own songs as well as those of others, offering unparalleled insight into songwriting that will be studied for years to come. Brilliant, poignant, scathing, and funny, Finishing the Hat is the newest production Sondheim can add to his list of classic works.
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[book] Bloodlands
Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
By Timothy Snyder (Yale University)
October 2010, Basic
This book will come out in Fall 2010. Here is a part of a lecture Snyder gave in Vilnius in 2009.
Though Europe thrives, its writers and politicians are preoccupied with death. The mass killings of European civilians during the 1930s and 1940s are the reference of today's confused discussions of memory, and the touchstone of whatever common ethics Europeans may share. The bureaucracies of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union turned individual lives into mass death, particular humans into quotas of those to be killed. The Soviets hid their mass shootings in dark woods and falsified the records of regions in which they had starved people to death; the Germans had slave laborers dig up the bodies of their Jewish victims and burn them on giant grates. Historians must, as best they can, cast light into these shadows and account for these people. Auschwitz, generally taken to be an adequate or even a final symbol of the evil of mass killing, is in fact only the beginning of knowledge, a hint of the true reckoning with the past still to come. The very reasons that we know something about Auschwitz warp our understanding of the Holocaust: we know about Auschwitz because there were survivors, and there were survivors because Auschwitz was a labor camp as well as a death factory. These survivors were largely West European Jews, because Auschwitz is where West European Jews were usually sent. After World War II, West European Jewish survivors were free to write and publish as they liked, whereas East European Jewish survivors, if caught behind the iron curtain, could not. In the West, memoirs of the Holocaust could (although very slowly) enter into historical writing and public consciousness.
This form of survivors' history, of which the works of Primo Levi are the most famous example, only inadequately captures the reality of the mass killing. The Diary of Anne Frank concerns assimilated European Jewish communities, the Dutch and German, whose tragedy, though horrible, was a very small part of the Holocaust. By 1943 and 1944, when most of the killing of West European Jews took place, the Holocaust was in considerable measure complete. Two thirds of the Jews who would be killed during the war were already dead by the end of 1942. The main victims, the Polish and Soviet Jews, had been killed by bullets fired over death pits or by carbon monoxide from internal combustion engines pumped into gas chambers at Treblinka, Be zec, and Sobibor in occupied Poland. Auschwitz as symbol of the Holocaust excludes those who were at the center of the historical event. The largest group of Holocaust victims—religiously Orthodox and Yiddish-speaking Jews of Poland, or, in the slightly contemptuous German term, Ostjuden —were culturally alien from West Europeans, including West European Jews. To some degree, they continue to be marginalized from the memory of the Holocaust. The death facility Auschwitz-Birkenau was constructed on territories that are today in Poland, although at the time they were part of the German Reich. Auschwitz is thus associated with today's Poland by anyone who visits, yet relatively few Polish Jews and almost no Soviet Jews died there. The two largest groups of victims are nearly missing from the memorial symbol.
An adequate vision of the Holocaust would place Operation Reinhardt, the murder of the Polish Jews in 1942, at the center of its history. Polish Jews were the largest Jewish community in the world, Warsaw the most important Jewish city. This community was exterminated at Treblinka, Be zec, and Sobibor. Some 1.5 million Jews were killed at those three facilities, about 780,863 at Treblinka alone. Only a few dozen people survived these three death facilities. Be zec, though the third most important killing site of the Holocaust, after Auschwitz and Treblinka, is hardly known. Some 434,508 Jews perished at that death factory, and only two or three survived. About a million more Polish Jews were killed in other ways, some at Chelmno, Majdanek, or Auschwitz, many more shot in actions in the eastern half of the country
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[book] AMEN, AMEN, AMEN
MEMOIR OF A GIRL WHO WOULDN’T STOP PRAYING (AMONG OTHER THINGS)
BY ABBY SHER
October 2010, Scribners Paperback
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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[book] PIRKE AVOT
TIMELESS WISDOM FOR MODERN LIFE
BY WILLIAM BERKSON
October 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
The great Jewish ethical tradition through a contemporary lens. In this new edition of the well-known Jewish classic, Berkson helps us see that Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) is more than just a fundamental religious text; it is also a compelling, contemporary ethical guide.
Berkson looks at the individual sayings, or mishnayot, through the interpretations of the great Jewish commentators and also within the broader context of Western thought--through views found in the Bible, the ancient Greeks, the Enlightenment, Buddhism, Confucianism, and American culture today. The book's most important and innovative feature is its exploration of the relationship between the beliefs of the ancient Sages and modern psychology, particularly the key to good relationships: ethical conduct. The result is a book that goes far beyond the plain meaning of the sayings to explore their ethical, psychological, and religious significance for us today. Included are an extensive index, historical chart, glossary, and the full text of Pirke Avot in English and Hebrew on facing pages.
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[book] BEST JEWISH BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS
A JPS GUIDE
BY LINDA P. SILVER
October 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
So many books, so little time! Where do you start? With this book: Linda Silver's guide to the most notable books for young readers. Here are a top librarian's picks of the best in writing, illustration, reader appeal, and authentically Jewish content in picture books, fiction and non-fiction, for early childhood through the high school years. You'll find the classics like K'tonton and the All-of-a-Kind Family books, right on to Terrible Things, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, and today's bestsellers, along with hundreds of others. Chapters are organized by subject and entries within each include a succinct description of the book and author, and Silver's own insights on what makes it worth reading. There are title, subject, author, and illustrator indexes, title-grouping by reading level, and lists of award winners. A wonderful reference for parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians--and, of course, the kids so dear to them. Linda is co-editor of the newsletter of the AJL (Association of Jewish Librarians)
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[book] MESILLAT YESHARIM
THE PATH OF THE UPRIGHT
BY MOSES HAYYIM LUZZATTO
October 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
Connecting the wisdom of tradition with contemporary spirituality. Mesillat Yesharim is a classic of Jewish ethical literature. Written by one of the leading kabbalists of the late Middle Ages, it is also a window into the kabbalist's understanding of the connection between ethics and mystical vision. Luzzatto, one of the great Hebrew stylists of his time, is acknowledged by some as the first writer of modern Hebrew; thus Mesillat Yesharim is also important for its place in Hebrew literature. This translation, published originally in 1936 by JPS, is a landmark in Jewish publishing. It made this Hebrew text finally available to English readers, and it gave us insights into the groundbreaking work that Kaplan did in orienting American Jews to the deep connection between ethical living and religious belief. It is no wonder that this book has become the centerpiece of the modern-day Mussar Movement, which inspires so many on their spiritual path. Rabbi Ira Stone, consummate teacher and stirring speaker, is a major force in the resurgence of the Mussar Movement. In his introduction, he presents Luzzatto and Mesillat Yesharim in their historical context, and gives us new insights into Kaplan's emerging theology. Stone also explains the principles of reading that he uses in his commentary and teaching to make this medieval text so inspiring to readers today.
This volume contains the original Kaplan translation, as well as those sections of the text that Kaplan omitted, along with Stone's new commentary. The original Hebrew text is in the back of the book.
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[book] THE BLESSING OF A B MINUS
USING JEWISH TEACHINGS TO RAISE RESILIENT TEENS
October 2010, Scribners
Dr Mogel is a clinical psychologist, parent educator, and keynote speaker for educational and religious organizations and schools. You loved her earlier work, “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee” on the topic of raising younger children with Jewish wisdom, not being overprotective, or overscheduled. Now comes her book on raising teens, giving them space, giving the limits, understanding puberty and the changes that occur and the desire to form individual personalities. If Genesis was early childhood, this is Exodus, in which the parent Moses has to guide his complaining teenaged Israelites.
Dr. Mogel has two daughters, and when they were teens, she thought she could calmly and logically deal with them, their one word answers, their inability to clean their rooms, go to bed on time, wake up on time, do chores, participate in family activities. If only she could bake a challah and have Friday night Shabbat dinner and they would run downstairs and be good obedient young women. Nope. Didn’t happen. How do you pick your battles when everything is a battle?
How do you raise a teen in a culture that expects material and academic success and perfection? Mogel, using mussar and other wisdom teachings, shows other parents how not to be overindulgent and how not to pressure kids. How do you develop sound judgement. How do you maintain composure, detachment, acceptance, integrity, moderation, delight, and even parental authority. Parents will uncover an appreciative and reflective relationship with their children, and set an example for them.
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[book] THE TENTH SONG
A NOVEL
BY NAOMI RAGEN
October 2010, SMP
When the unimaginable happens without warning, a mother and daughter must find a new path to happiness in this poignant novel. Abigail Samuels has no reason to feel anything but joy on the morning her life falls apart. The epitome of the successful Jewish American woman, she is married to a well-known and respected accountant and is in the middle of planning the wedding of her daughter, Kayla. Kayla is a Harvard law student who has never questioned her life or path. Things fall apart and Kayla runs away to a desert commune. Her mother rushes to save her…
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[book] LEON URIS
LIFE AS A BEST SELLER
(Jewish History, Life and Culture series)
BY IRA NADEL
October 2010, University of Texas Press
As the best-selling author of Exodus, Mila 18, QB VII, and Trinity, Leon Uris blazed a path to celebrity with books that readers could not put down. Uris's thirteen novels sold millions of copies, spent months on the best-seller lists, appeared in fifty languages, and have been adapted into equally popular movies and TV miniseries. Few other writers equaled Uris's fame in the mid-twentieth century. His success fueled the rise of mass-market paperbacks, movie tie-ins, and celebrity author tours. Beloved by the public, Uris was, not surprisingly, dismissed by literary critics. Until now, his own life and work--as full of drama as his fiction--have never been the subject of a book.
In Leon Uris: Life of a Best Seller, Ira Nadel traces Uris from his disruptive youth to his life-changing experiences as a marine in World War II. These experiences, coupled with Uris's embrace of his Judaism and desire to write, led to his unprecedented success and the lavish excesses of a career as a best-selling author. Nadel reveals that Uris lived the adventures he described, including his war experiences in the Pacific (Battle Cry), life-threatening travels in Israel (Exodus), visit to Communist Poland (Mila 18), libel trial in Britain (QB VII), and dangerous sojourn in fractious Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic (Trinity). Nadel also demonstrates that Uris's talent for writing action-packed, yet thoroughly researched, novels meshed perfectly with the public's desire to revisit and understand the tumultuous events of recent history. This made him far more popular (and wealthy) than more literary authors, while paving the way for writers such as Irving Wallace and Tom Clancy.
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[book] OUR EXODUS
LEON URIS AND THE AMERICANIZATION
OF ISRAEL'S FOUNDING STORY
BY M M SILVER
September 2010, Wayne State University
Jonathan Sarna says it links Israel's founding with American Westerns
Despite the dramatic circumstances of its founding, Israel did not inspire sustained, impassioned public discussion among Jews and non-Jews in the United States until Leon Uris’s popular novel Exodus was released in 1958. Uris’s novel popularized the complicated story of Israel’s founding and, in the process, boosted the morale of post–Holocaust Jewry and disseminated in popular culture positive images of Jewish heroism. Our Exodus: Leon Uris and the Americanization of Israel’s Founding Story examines the phenomenon of Exodus and its largely unrecognized influence on post-World War II understandings of Israel’s beginnings in America and around the world.
Author M. M. Silver’s extensive archival research helps clarify the relevance of Uris’s own biography in the creation of Exodus. He situates the novel’s enormous popularity in the context of postwar America, and particularly Jewish American culture of the 1950s and early 1960s. In telling the story of the making of and the response to Exodus, first as a book and then as a film, Silver shows how the representation of historical events in Exodus reflected needs, expectations, and aspirations of Jewish identity and culture in the post-Holocaust world. He argues that while Uris’s novel simplified some facts and distorted others, it provided an astonishingly ample amount of information about Jewish history and popularized a persuasive and cogent (though debatable) Zionist interpretation of modern Jewish history.
Silver also argues that Exodus is at the core of an evolving argument about the essential compatibility between the Jewish state and American democracy that continues to this day. Readers interested in Israel studies, Jewish history, and American popular culture will appreciate Silver’s unique analysis.
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[book] The Dangerous Otto Katz
The Many Lives of a Soviet Spy
By Jonathan Miles
October 2010, Bloomsbury
The FBI's file on the Soviet spy Otto Katz (1893-1952) called him "an extremely dangerous man." This label doesn't even begin to tell the story. Katz, a daring and treacherous Soviet spy, seemed perpetually to beat the center of crucial historical moments. A deft writer and littérateur, he talked Arthur Koestler out of a life-threatening but ultimately useless mission in the Spanish Civil War, and persuaded Hollywood's gentry to donate to the Hollywood Anti Nazi League, a cover organization that fed money into Soviet coffers. He traveled to Weimar Berlin, Moscow, Mexico City, Prague, New York, and London, and may even have married the film star Marlene Dietrich. His best-known alter ego, a debonair character known as Rudolf Brea, was the inspiration for numerous film heroes, including Casablanca's Victor Laszlo. In the hands of the hugely talented Jonathan Miles, this story is more than a biography; we also see this tumultuous period through Katz's unflinching eyes. His activities take us from the Spanish Civil War to Stalin's secret meetings, from Trotsky's murder to the hidden lives of major Western celebrities. He takes us to the precipice of war and, more than a few times, over it. Through Katz's quests for fame, fortune, glory, and power, Miles uncovers the shadowy side of a critical period in world history
His story takes us from Bohemian Prague to Weimar Berlin, from the Reichstag Fire to the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, from Paris to London and New York. We see behind the curtain of Communist espionage in America and Britain - with the man who was the inspiration for the character of Victor Lazlo in Casablanca and who the FBI described as 'an extremely dangerous man'. Along the way he encountered major historical figures including Franz Kafka, Marlene Dietrich, the Cambridge Spies, Hitler, Stalin, Noel Coward, Dashiell Hammett, and Trotsky.
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[book] DYLAN’S CANDY BAR
UNWRAP YOUR SWEET LIFE
BY DYLAN LAUREN
October 2010, Crown Clarkson Potter
You have been to her store(s), now read the book.
Includes a chapter or well.. a page.. for Hanukkah, with a candy menorah
Filled with candy recipes and craft ideas that will appeal to all. Also filled with candy trivia and history
With a lifelong passion for candy and an artist’s eye, Dylan Lauren shows you how to live la dolce vita. Just like stepping into Dylan’s Candy Bar stores—a modern-day Willy Wonka–like escape—opening this book reveals a surprise on every page. Whether you’re a candy fanatic or you just want to relive your childhood memories, the Candy Queen has gobs of creative ideas for celebrating, cooking, and decorating with candy on holidays—and every day.
Dylan Lauren—keeper of the world’s largest candy collection—shares her candy memories and much more. “Unwrap” gorgeous photographs and savor innovative ideas for transforming candy into memorable and stylish tabletops, decorations, and gifts. Gobble up one of Dylan’s fifteen dishes for delicious candy treats and cocktails, such as peanut butter hot chocolate and fondue. Devour candy fun facts and quizzes, such as the color psychology behind candies; read up on the history of iconic holiday candy and classics like jelly beans and candy corn; enjoy lists of celebrities’ favorite candies; and take quizzes that reveal if two people are candy compatible. For your sweet pleasure, whip up one of fifteen inventive, easy-to-follow candy craft ideas for chic, thematic, and delectable party favors, including Christmas gift baskets, birthday centerpieces, and wedding topiaries. But, also, look a little deeper: Find all the ways that sweets can inspire you, uplift you, and make you feel like a kid in a candy store. From candy craft ideas and recipes to trivia and history, Dylan’s Candy Bar gives you the inspiration for living the sweet life every day. DYLAN LAUREN is the founder and CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar and a graduate of Duke University. She is the daughter of Ralph and Ricky Lauren.
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[book] The Instructions
A Novel
By Adam Levin
Fall 2010, McSweeney’s
Beginning with a chance encounter with the beautiful Eliza June Watermark and ending, four days and 900 pages later, with the Events of November 17, this is the story of Gurion Maccabee, age ten: a lover, a fighter, a scholar, and a truly spectacular talker. Expelled from three Jewish day-schools for acts of violence and messianic tendencies, Gurion ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases of Aptakisic Junior High. Separated from his scholarly followers, Gurion becomes a leader of a very different sort, with righteous aims building to a revolution of troubling intensity. The Instructions is an absolutely singular work of fiction by an important new talent. Combining the crackling voice of Philip Roth with the encyclopedic mind of David Foster Wallace, Adam Levin has shaped a world driven equally by moral fervor and slapstick comedy—a novel that is muscular and exuberant, troubling and empathetic, monumental, breakneck, romantic, and unforgettable.








[book] The Last Jewish VIRGIN
A Novel of Fate
By Janice Eidus
Fall 2010, Red Hen
Lilith Zeremba, a young woman rebelling against her intellectually complex, feminist Jewish mother (who of course named her Lilith), is The Last Jewish Virgin. In this playful and provocative, sensual and suspenseful novel, Janice Eidus merges the timeless, romantic myth of the vampire with contemporary life in volatile New York City — and beyond. Determined to make her own way —on her own terms —as a successful Jewish woman in the world of fashion, Lilith finds herself in a place where mythology and sexuality collide. Of course she is reading The Yellow Wallpaper by Gilman. Lilith meets two men to whom she is drawn in ways that feel dangerous and yet inevitable: the much older, wildly mercurial and mesmerizing Baron Rock, and Colin Abel, a young, radiant artist determined to make the world a better place, one socially progressive painting at a time. The Last Jewish Virgin, an innovative and universal tale of longing and redemption, refreshes and reinvents the classic vampire myth for a contemporary world in which love, compassion, faith, and politics are forever evolving and intersecting in surprising and original ways.








[book] THE MAGICIAN OF LUBLIN
A NOVEL
BY I. B. SINGER>BR> Translated from Yiddish by Elaine Gottlieb and Joseph Singer
50th Anniversary Reissue October 2010, FS&G
The fiftieth anniversary of a lost classic — a deceptively sophisticated tale of sexual compulsion and one man’s flight from love.
Yasha Mazur is a Houdini-like performer whose skill has made him famous throughout eastern Poland. Half Jewish, half Gentile, a freethinker who slips easily between worlds, Yasha has an observant Jewish wife, a Gentile assistant who travels with him, and a mistress in every town. For Yasha is an escape artist not only onstage but in life, a man who lives under the spell of his own hypnotic effect on women. Now, though, his exploits are catching up with him, and he is tempted to make one final escape—from his wife and his homeland and the last tendrils of his father’s religion.
Set in Warsaw and the shtetls of the 1870s—but first published in 1960—Isaac Bashevis Singer’s second novel hides a haunting psychological portrait inside a beguiling parable. At its heart, this is a book about the burden of sexual freedom. As such, it belongs on a small shelf with such mid-century classics as Rabbit, Run; The Adventures of Augie March; and The Moviegoer. As Milton Hindus wrote in The New York Times Book Review, “The pathos of the ending may move the reader to tears, but they are not sentimental tears . . . [Singer] is a writer of far greater than ordinary powers.”







[book] FOLKTALES OF THE JEWS
TALES FROM THE LANDS OF ISLAM
EDITED BY DAN BEN-AMOS
DOV NOY - CONSULTING EDITOR
November 2010, JPS Jewish Publication Society
Tales from North Africa, Yemen, Iraq. An important collection. The third volume in the series in the tradition of Louis Ginzberg‘s magnum opus
Tales from Arab Lands presents tales from North Africa, Yemen,and Iraq in the most important collection of Jewish folktales ever published. It is the third volume in Folktales of the Jews, the multi-volume series in the tradition of Louis Ginzberg’s timeless classic, Legends of the Jews. The tales here and the others in this series have been selected from the Israel Folktale Archives, Named in Honor of Dov Noy, The University of Haifa (IFA), a treasure house of Jewish lore that has remained largely unavailable to the entire world until now.
Since the creation of the State of Israel, the IFA has collected more than 20,000 tales from newly arrived immigrants, long-lost stories shared by their families from around the world. The tales come from the major ethno-linguistic communities of the Jewish world and are representative of a wide variety of subjects and motifs, especially rich in Jewish content and context.
Each of the tales is accompanied by in-depth commentary that explains the tale's cultural, historical, and literary background and its similarity to other tales in the IFA collection, and extensive scholarly notes. There is also an introduction that describes the Sephardic culture and its folk narrative tradition, a world map of the areas covered, illustrations, biographies of the collectors and narrators, tale type and motif indexes, a subject index, and a comprehensive bibliography.
Until the establishment of the IFA, we had had only limited access to the wide range of Jewish folk narratives. Even in Israel, the gathering place of the most wide-ranging cross-section of world Jewry, these folktales have remained largely unknown. Many of the communities no longer exist as cohesive societies in their representative lands; the Holocaust, migration, and changes in living styles have made the continuation of these tales impossible. This volume and the others to come will be monuments to a rich but vanishing oral tradition.
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See Also: [book] [book]




















[book] WHY ARE JEWS LIBERALS?
BY NORMAL PODHORETZ
October 2010, now in paperback. Vinatge
Washington Post (Justin Moyer): Launching an ideological artillery shell sure to spoil innumerable Passover seders, former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz juxtaposes political autobiography with a history of anti-Semitism to pose a controversial question: Why are Jews liberals? "Liberalism has become the religion of American Jews," he writes, "even though it conflicts in substance with the Torah . . . [and] the most basic of all Jewish interests -- the survival of the Jewish people." A Jewish neoconservative who has taken up his pen to battle communism, McGovernism, affirmative action and terrorism, Podhoretz ably explains why Jews seeking respect and equality embraced Enlightenment philosophy, Marxism and FDR's New Deal, even when those institutions demanded that they "justify the space they take up on this earth." But, like so many other authors on the right and the left, Podhoretz stumbles when equating Judaism -- a millennia-old, multifaceted religion and culture -- with the cause of Israel, a secular state created by U.N. fiat in 1948. "Anti-Semitism was now disguising itself as anti-Zionism," he complains, dismissing worthwhile debate about the Arab-Israeli conflict while wondering why Jews can't reconcile with pro-Israel evangelical Christians and why Jews overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama ("the stealth candidate . . . for the anti-Israel Left"). According to Podhoretz, "we Jews have an obligation to join with the defenders of [America]" -- i.e., Republicans -- "against those who are blind or indifferent or antagonistic." A better question than the one asked by his book's title: How can Norman Podhoretz pretend to speak for every Jew?
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[book] THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL
BY ANNE FRANK
Edited by Otto Frank and Mirjam Pressler, Translated by Susan Massotty
October 2010. Everymans
PW: This startling new edition of Dutch Jewish teenager Anne Frank's classic diary written in an Amsterdam warehouse, where for two years she hid from the Nazis with her family and friends contains approximately 30% more material than the original 1947 edition. It completely revises our understanding of one of the most moving and eloquent documents of the Holocaust. The Anne we meet here is much more sarcastic, rebellious and vulnerable than the sensitive diarist beloved by millions. She rages at her mother, Edith, smolders with jealous resentment toward her sister, Margot, and unleashes acid comments at her roommates. Expanded entries provide a fuller picture of the tensions and quarrels among the eight people in hiding. Anne, who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, three months before her 16th birthday, candidly discusses her awakening sexuality in entries that were omitted from the 1947 edition by her father, Otto, the only one of the eight to survive the death camps. He died in 1980. This crisp, stunning translation provides an unvarnished picture of life in the "secret annex." In the end, Anne's teen angst pales beside her profound insights, her self-discovery and her unbroken faith in good triumphing over evil.
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[book] MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
BY THE DALI LAMA
October 2010. HarperOne
His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He is the author of two memoirs and numerous books on Buddhism, including The Way to Freedom and Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart--the first two volumes of the landmark Library of Tibet series
At the age of two, little Tenzin Gyatso was identified as the fourteenth reincarnation of the first Dalai Lama. From then on, his life has been on a trajectory few can imagine. Some see him as a living Buddha and moral authority, others identify him as a “god-king,” while still others see him in political terms as either a hero or a counterrevolutionary. In My Spiritual Journey, we see the personal struggles, the courage, the laughter, and the compassion that have defined the remarkable life of one of our world’s greatest living legends.
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WITH SO MANY ISRAELIS VISITING INDIA AND MANY JEWS DOING YOGA, LET’S UNDERSTAND THE CLASSIC INDIAN TEXT:
[book] The Difficulty of Being Good
On the Subtle Art of Dharma
By Gurcharan Das
October 2010. Oxford
Gurcharan Das.. why does that name ring a bell? Oh, maybe because he was the star of three famous Harvard Business School HBS Case Studies. Das was born in what is now Pakistan and riased in India. He finsihed high school in Washington DC when his father was transferred there for work, and studied at Princeton, Harvard, and Harvard Business School. He led P&G in India and South Asia for decades and then retired. He writes columns for many Indian papers. He studied under John Rawls (Theory of Justice) at Harvard.
In this book, he has a conversation with the Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata, which deals with just wars, human relations, families, leadership, obligations, and so much more. Using this classic story, this epic poem, he seeks to to answer the question, ‘why be good?’ He discovers that the epic’s world of moral haziness and uncertainty is closer to our experience as ordinary human beings rather than the narrow and rigid positions that define most debate and discussion.
The Mahabharata is obsessed with the elusive notion of dharma — in essence, doing the right thing. He doesn’t define it, since even the characters aer searching to understand it. When a hero does something wrong in a Greek epic, he gets on with it; when a hero falters in the Mahabharata, the action stops and everyone weighs in with a different and contradictory take on dharma. It is like the rabbis discussing an issue in the Talmud. The epic’s characters are flawed; they stumble. Sousins fight; a father forget to teach his son to exit, only teaching him to enter, and this leads to death. Their incoherent experiences illuminate envy, revenge, remorse, status anxiety, compassion, courage, duty and other moral qualities. As the Mahabharata’s story unfolds in each chapter (and the author lets the epic speak as far as possible), the focus moves to a single character and his or her ethical problem–and its significance for our lives.
The classical Indian life has four aims. Gurcharan Das’ earlier book, India Unbound, examined the aim of artha, material well being. This one dwells on the goal of dharma, moral well being. It addresses the central problem of how to live our lives in an examined way–holding a mirror to us and forcing us to confront the many ways in which we deceive ourselves; how we are false to others; and how we oppress fellow human beings. Its premise is that ordinary human life does not have to be so cruel and humiliating.
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[book] THE BOY
A HOLOCAUST STORY
BY DAN PORAT, Hebrew University
October 2010. Hill and Wang
A gravel road.
A sunny day. A soldier.
A gun. A child, arms high in the air.
A moment captured on film. But what is the history behind arguably the most recognizable photograph of the Holocaust? In The Boy: A Holocaust Story, the historian Dan A. Porat unpacks this split second that was immortalized on film and unravels the stories of the individuals—both Jews and Nazis—associated with it. The Boy presents the story of three Nazi criminals, ranging in status from SS sergeant to low-ranking SS officer to SS general. It is also the story of two Jewish victims, a teenage girl and a young boy, who encounter these Nazis in Warsaw in the spring of 1943. The book is remarkable in its scope, picking up the lives of these participants in the years preceding World War I and following them to their deaths. One of the Nazis managed to stay at large for twenty-two years. One of the survivors lived long enough to lose a son in the Yom Kippur War. The sixty-two photographs dispersed throughout help narrate these five lives. And, in keeping with the emotional immediacy of those photographs, Porat has deliberately used a narrative style that, drawing upon extensive research, experience, and oral interviews, places the reader in the middle of unfolding events.
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[book] BLOOD COUNT
AN ARTIE COHEN MYSTERY NOVEL
BY REGGIE NADELSON
October 2010. Walker
Mid-December 2008. Barack Obama has just been elected; all New York is ecstatic, especially Harlem. On a freezing night a few weeks later, detective Artie Cohen gets a late call from his ex girlfriend, Lily Hanes, begging for his help. Lily has been living at the Louis Armstrong Apartments, one of Harlem's great buildings, while working on Obama's campaign; now her Russian neighbor, Marianna Simonova, has died, and Lily fears she's at fault and needs Artie's Russian connections. Over a weekend when the city is locked in by snow and cold, with the financial markets tanking, one after another people at the Armstrong die. Artie, out of his element, a white detective in a black world, is drawn inexorably into the realm of Sugar Hill and the Armstrong, where almost everybody except for the real estate developers seems locked in the past. Working to solve the murders, Artie tries desperately to win Lily back. Blood Count is a murder mystery, a love story, and a tale about New York, race, real estate, money, and music, with an ending one could never predict.
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[book] PINK RiBBON BLUES
How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health
By Gayle Sulik
October 2010, Oxford
Pink ribbon paraphernalia saturate shopping malls, billboards, magazines, television, and other venues, all in the name of breast cancer awareness. In this compelling and provocative work, Gayle Sulik shows that though this "pink ribbon culture" has brought breast cancer advocacy much attention, it has not had the desired effect of improving women's health. It may, in fact, have done the opposite. Based on eight years of research, analysis of advertisements and breast cancer awareness campaigns, and hundreds of interviews with those affected by the disease, Pink Ribbon Blues highlights the hidden costs of the pink ribbon as an industry, one in which breast cancer has become merely a brand name with a pink logo. Indeed, while survivors and supporters walk, run, and purchase ribbons for a cure, cancer rates rise, the cancer industry thrives, corporations claim responsible citizenship while profiting from the disease, and breast cancer is stigmatized anew for those who reject the pink ribbon model. But Sulik also outlines alternative organizations that make a real difference, highlights what they do differently, and presents a new agenda for the future.
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[book] THE SADDEST MUSIC EVER WRITTEN
THE STORY OF SAMUEL BARBER'S ADAGIO FOR STRINGS
BY THOMAS LARSON
Fall 2010, Pegasus
An exploration of the cultural impact of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” the Pieta? of music, and its enigmatic composer—in celebration of the centenary of his birth. "Whenever the American dream suffers a catastrophic setback, Barber’s Adagio plays on the radio.”—Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise
In the first book ever to explore Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, music and literary critic Thomas Larson tells the story of the prodigal composer and his seminal masterpiece: from its composition in 1936, when Barber was just twenty-six, to its orchestral premiere two years later, led by the great Arturo Toscanini, and its fascinating history as America’s secular hymn for grieving our dead. Older Americans know Adagio from the funerals and memorials for Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy, Albert Einstein, and Grace Kelly. Younger Americans recall the work as the antiwar theme of the movie Platoon. Still others treasure the piece in its choral version under the name Agnus Dei. More recently, mourners heard Adagio played as a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Barber’s Adagio is truly the saddest music ever written, enrapturing listeners with its lyric beauty as few laments have.
The Adagio’s sonorous intensity also speaks of the turbulent inner life of its composer, Samuel Barber (1910-1981), a melancholic who, in later years, descended into alcoholism and severe depression. Part biography, part cultural history, part memoir, The Saddest Music ever Written captures the deep emotion Barber’s great elegy has stirred throughout the world during its seventy-five-year history, becoming an icon of our national soul.
As for what is Jewish about this? Keep in mind that Barber was competing and collaborating with many others, but Thomas Larson, the author, blends in his own father into the story of the Adagio
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[book] AT HOME AND ANDRE AND SIMONE WEIL
BY SYLVIE WEIL
October 2010, Northwestern University
Translated from the French by Benjamin Ivry Simone Weil was one of the twentieth century’s most original philosopher-critics, and as a result her legacy has been claimed by many. This memoir by Weil’s niece (and a daighter of famed mathematician) is strong-willed and incisive and as close as we are likely to get to the real Simone Weil. Born into a freethinking Jewish family, Weil contributed many articles to Socialist and Communist journals and was active in the Spanish Civil War until her health failed. In 1940 Simone became strongly attracted to Roman Catholicism and the Passion of Christ. Most of her works, published posthumously, continue to inform debates in ethics, philosophy, and spirituality surrounding questions of sacrifice, asceticism, and the virtues of manual labor.
Massively influential, Weil’s writings were widely praised by such readers as Albert Camus, T. S. Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, Pope John XXIII, Czeslaw Milosz, and Susan Sontag. Sylvie Weil recovers the deeply Jewish nature of Simone’s thinking and details how her preoccupations with charity and justice were fully in the tradition of tzedakah, the Jewish religious obligation toward these actions. Using previously unpublished family correspondence and conversations, Sylvie Weil offers a more authentically personal portrait of her aunt than previous biographers have provided. At Home with André and Simone Weil illuminates Simone’s relationship to her family, especially to her brother, the great Princeton mathematician André Weil. A clear-eyed and uncompromising memoir of her family, At Home with André and Simone Weil is a fresh look at the noted French philosopher, mystic, and social activist.
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[book] Food Justice
By Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi
October 2010, MIT Press
In today's food system, farm workers face difficult and hazardous conditions, low-income neighborhoods lack supermarkets but abound in fast-food restaurants and liquor stores, food products emphasize convenience rather than wholesomeness, and the international reach of American fast-food franchises has been a major contributor to an epidemic of "globesity." To combat these inequities and excesses, a movement for food justice has emerged in recent years seeking to transform the food system from seed to table. In Food Justice, Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi tell the story of this emerging movement. A food justice framework ensures that the benefits and risks of how food is grown and processed, transported, distributed, and consumed are shared equitably. Gottlieb and Joshi recount the history of food injustices and describe current efforts to change the system, including community gardens and farmer training in Holyoke, Massachusetts, youth empowerment through the Rethinkers in New Orleans, farm-to-school programs across the country, and the Los Angeles school system's elimination of sugary soft drinks from its cafeterias. And they tell how food activism has succeeded at the highest level: advocates waged a grassroots campaign that convinced the Obama White House to plant a vegetable garden. The first comprehensive inquiry into this emerging movement, Food Justice addresses the increasing disconnect between food and culture that has resulted from our highly industrialized food system. Robert Gottlieb is Professor of Urban & Environmental Policy at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
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[book] THE NEW SHOAH
The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism
Giulio Meotti
October 2010, Encounter
According to the author, every day in Israel, memorials are held for people killed simply because they were Jews--condemned by the fury of Islamic fundamentalism. A New Shoah is devoted to telling the story of these Israeli terror victims. It centers on a previously unheard oral history of the Middle Eastern conflict from the viewpoint of the Jewish victims and their families. Ten years ago, Palestinian terrorist groups launched their Second Intifada, resulting in an Israeli "Ground Zero" with 1,500 civilian victims. Israel is a tiny country, and this number would be proportionally equivalent to about 54,000 terror victims in the United States. The hundreds of attacks in Israel, day after day, amount to a sort of "new Shoah," as Roger Scruton explains in his foreword. Giulio Meotti spoke to many of the Israeli families that have been destroyed by terror attacks on all the ordinary places of everyday life: on buses, kibbutzim, religious places, cafés and restaurants. Many of the survivors told their heartbreaking stories of loss for the first time. In these human fragments lie the raison d'être for the State of Israel, the first country in the world to experience suicide bombings on a massive scale, the fruit of jihadi nihilism
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SOME NOVEMBER 2010 BOOKS


[book] FOREIGN BODIES
A NOVEL
BY CYNTHIA OZICK
November 1, 2010, Houghton Mifflin
From Booklist *Starred Review* Ozick’s heady fiction springs from her deep critical involvement in literature, especially her fascination with Henry James, which emboldened her to lift the plot of his masterpiece, The Ambassadors, and recast it in a taut and flaying novel that is utterly her own. It’s 1952, and Bea has lived alone for decades after a fleeting marriage, teaching English to street-tough Bronx boys she much admires even as she covers their compositions with red ink. Haunted by her ex, a composer who decamped to Hollywood and made a fortune writing movie scores, Bea is also long estranged from her wealthy brother, Marvin. Yet he asks her to fly to Paris to search for his missing son, Julian, whom he surmises is besotted with the city’s fabled charms. Instead, Julian’s Paris is a dark and merciless place of lost souls because he is in love with a Romanian refugee whose family perished in the Holocaust. Operating in a fugue state brought on by the sudden eruption of deeply buried pain and rage, Bea manages to make bad situations truly disastrous. Ozick’s dramatic inquiry into the malignance of betrayal; exile literal and emotional; the many tentacles of anti-Semitism; and the balm and aberrance of artistic obsession is brilliantly nuanced and profoundly disquieting.
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[book] UNEXPECTEDLY EIGHTY
AND OTHER ADAPTATIONS
BY JUDITH VIORST
Fall 2010, Free Press
From the author of Suddenly 60, and I'm Too Young to Be 70...
Ms. Viorst will be visiting a dozen JCC's in Fall 2010
What does it mean to be eighty? In her wise and playful poems, Judith Viorst discusses marriage, friendship, grand parenthood, and all the particular marvels— and otherwise—of this extraordinary decade. She describes the wonder of seeing the world with new eyes—not because of revelation but because of a successful cataract operation. She promises not to gently fade away, and not to drive after daylight’s faded away either. She explains how she’s gotten to be a "three-desserts" grandmother ("Just don’t tell your mom!"), shares how memory failure can keep you married, and enumerates her hopes for the afterlife (which she doesn’t believe in, but if it does exist, her sister-in-law better not be there with her). As Viorst gleefully attests, eighty is not too old to dream, to flirt, to drink, and to dance. It’s also not too late to give up being cheap or to take up with a younger man of seventy-eight. Zesty, hopeful, and full of the pleasures of living, Viorst’s poems speak to her legions of readers, who recognize themselves in her knowing observations, in her touching reflections, and in her joyful affirmations. Funny, moving, inspirational, and true—the newest in Judith Viorst’s beloved "decades" series extols the virtues, victories, frustrations, and joys of life.
Hmm.. her poem on great sex... well... I hope her husband Milton Viorst doesnt read it. hehe
Be sure to see her in Rochester, Atlantic city, Houston, San Diego, LA, Atlanta St Louis, Buffalo, Miami, and elsewhere in November 2010.
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[book] TERROR COP
THE NYPD JEWISH COP WHO TRAVELED THE WORLD TO STOP TERRORISTS
BY MORDECAI DZIKANSKY AND ROBERT SLATER
Fall 2010, Barricade
Blurb: “Terrorist Cop” is a colorful, haunting, and highly graphic tale of New York City homicide detective Morty Dzikansky. Dzikansky's career began with a yarmulke on his head, patrolling Brooklyn's streets, and going undercover to catch a band of Torah thieves. Post 9/11, the NYPD sent Dzikansky to Israel to monitor suicide bombings as part of Commissioner Ray Kelly's plan to protect New York from further terror which led to him becoming an expert on suicide bombings. The result also led to Dzikansky's own private descent into hell as a post-traumatic stress disorder victim.
PW says: “A policeman from 1982, a time when "only two Orthodox Jews were members of the NYPD," until 2008, Dzikansky, in his first book, outlines his 25 years on the force. Despite wearing a yarmulke on the job and not being able to work from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, Dzikansky never let his religion hamper his position on the force. Instead, thanks to his knowledge of Hebrew and dedicated work on the well-publicized Torah theft cases in the early '90s, Dzikansky quickly moved up the NYPD's ranks and earned the complimentary nickname the "Jewish Detective" from his peers. It isn't till almost 100 pages into the book that readers get a true glimpse at the officer as he describes his reaction to 9/11 as a cop. And it is this tragic event that leads to Dzikansky's most dramatic role, learning firsthand about terror attacks and how to prevent them as an NYPD operative working and living in Israel. While Dzikansky's storytelling skills don't live up to the danger and importance of his mission, his time abroad, which included trips to investigate terror attacks in Spain, Egypt, Russia, and Turkey, certainly paid dues for New York City. The last two chapters--in which Dzikansky outlines lessons he hopes will "help curb terror," explaining how to identify and handle a terrorist attack--are compelling reading and a testament to Dzikansky's skill as a terrorist cop.”
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[book] What a Difference a Dog Makes
Big Lessons on Life, Love and Healing from a Small Pooch
By Mr. Dana Jennings (New York Times)
Nov 2010,
Jennings' son was fighting liver disease.
Jennings, turning 50, had a routine exam, not a very high PSA, but an aggressive case of prostate cancer.
And then there was their Jewish dog, or as Dana writes it, their D-G
Jennings offers an adoring look at the wisdom and healing powers of his prized miniature poodle, Bijou.
Jennings and his son, Owen, both find solace in the companionship of their "canine Zen master" (whose succinct life lessons are peppered throughout the book). Jennings's wry sense of humor shines through (especially while describing reproducing lizards and Bijou achieving nirvana thanks to spilled Cheerios) and he pays valiant tribute to his beloved pet and friend. It's the rare reader who won't take some pleasure in Jennings's strength (and how smitten he is with the noble Bijou).
(And yes, Jennings is Jewish... I can attest to it since I have seen the Jewish Star of David he wears around his neck.)
And yes, after reading the book, I went out to get a PSA test
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[book] DEALINGS
A POLITICAL AND FINANCIAL LIFE
BY FELIX ROHATYN
November 2010 Simon & Schuster
The book opens with a young Felix and his family in a traffic jam in France, trying to escape the Nazis and make their way to Spain. Rohatyn is an investment banker who saved New York City during its 1970s fiscal crisis. His book tells the classic rags to riches story. Rohatyn, who was born in Poland and lived in Paris (he was a tutor to Edith Piaf in America) before WWII is the Chairman and CEO of Lazard Ltd. He served during the Korean War, worked for Lazard Frères, and served on the indicted or investigated board of ITT. For 18 years he was chairman of New York City's Municipal Assistance Corporation, and later he was made a U.S. ambassador to France. A tad dry, but what do you want from a professional, discreet banker.
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[book] WILL EISNER
A DREAMERS LIFE IN COMICS
BY MICHAEL SCHUMACHER
Nov 2010, Bloomsbury
In Will Eisner: A Dreamer's Life in Comics, Michael Schumacher delves beneath Eisner's public persona to draw connections between his life and his art. Eisner's career spanned a remarkable eight decades, from his scrappy survival at the dawn of comics' Golden Age in the late 1930s to the beginning of the twenty-first century, when Pulitzers began going to graphic novels (a term Eisner is widely credited with creating). Schumacher's extensive research and interviews with Eisner's family, friends, and colleagues, as well as other comics creators who have built upon his work, create a detailed portrait of Eisner the man and Eisner the artist.
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Be sure to ask Rabbi Glickman if the Cairo Genizah had a Starbuck’s inside of it
[book] Sacred Treasure, the Cairo Genizah
The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History in an Egyptian Synagogue Attic
By Rabbi Mark Glickman
November 2010 Jewish Lights
In 1897, Rabbi Solomon Schechter of Cambridge University stepped into the attic of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, and there found the largest treasure trove of medieval and early manuscripts ever discovered. He had entered the synagogue's genizah-- its repository for damaged and destroyed Jewish texts--which held nearly 300,000 individual documents, many of which were over 1,000 years old. Considered among the most important discoveries in modern religious history, its contents contained early copies of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, early manuscripts of the Bible, and other sacred literature. The importance of the Genizah's contents rivals that of the Rosetta Stone, and by virtue of its sheer mass alone, it will continue to command our attention indefinitely. Sacred Treasure--The Cairo Genizah is the first accessible, comprehensive account of this astounding treasure trove of documents and their discovery. It will delight readers with its fascinating adventure story--why this enormous collection was amassed, how it was discovered and the many lessons to be found in its contents. And it will show readers how Schechter's find, though still being "unpacked" today, forever transformed our knowledge of the Jewish past, Muslim history and much more.
Rabbi Mark Glickman is rabbi of Congregations Kol Ami in Woodinville, Washington, and Kol Shalom on Bainbridge Island, WA.
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Rwanda, Israel, Africa, The Gulf Wars, conflicts, education, memory, conscience, illness, god, and more
[book] An Ethical Compass
Coming of Age in the 21st Century
Preface by Elie Wiesel, Foreword by Thomas L. Friedman
Edited by The Ethics Prize Essay coordinators
Nov 2010,
In 1986, Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his victory over “the powers of death and degradation, and to support the struggle of good against evil in the world.” Soon after, he and his wife, Marion, created the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. A project at the heart of the Foundation’s mission is its Ethics Prize—a remarkable essay-writing contest through which thousands of students from colleges across the country are encouraged to confront ethical issues of personal significance. The Ethics Prize has grown exponentially over the past twenty years. “Of all the projects our Foundation has been involved in, none has been more exciting than this opportunity to inspire young students to examine the ethical aspect of what they have learned in their personal lives and from their teachers in the classroom,” writes Elie Wiesel. Readers will find essays on Bosnia, the genocide in Rwanda, sweatshops and globalization, and the political obligations of the mothers of Argentina’s Disappeared. Other essays tell of a white student who joins a black gospel choir, a young woman who learns to share in Ladakh, and the outsize implications of reporting on something as small as a cracked windshield. Readers will be fascinated by the ways in which essays on conflict, conscience, memory, illness (Rachel Maddow’s essay on AIDS appears), and God overlap and resonate with one another. These essays reflect those who are “sensitive to the sufferings and defects that confront a society yearning for guidance and eager to hear ethical voices,” writes Elie Wiesel. “And they are a beacon for what our schools must realize as an essential component of a true education.”Click the book cover to read more.










[book] Aftermath
Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World
By Nir Rosen, (Fellow, NYU Ctr on Law and Security)
November 2010, Nation Books
Nir Rosen’s Aftermath, an extraordinary feat of reporting, follows the contagious spread of radicalism and sectarian violence that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ensuing civil war have unleashed in the Muslim world.
Rosen—who the Weekly Standard once bitterly complained has “great access to the Baathists and jihadists who make up the Iraqi insurgency”— has spent nearly a decade among warriors and militants who have been challenging American power in the Muslim world. In Aftermath, he tells their story, showing the other side of the U.S. war on terror, traveling from the battle-scarred streets of Baghdad to the alleys, villages, refugee camps, mosques, and killing grounds of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and finally Afghanistan, where Rosen has a terrifying encounter with the Taliban as their “guest,” and witnesses the new Obama surge fizzling in southern Afghanistan.
Rosen was one of the few Westerners to venture inside the mosques of Baghdad to witness the first stirrings of sectarian hatred in the months after the U.S. invasion. He shows how weapons, tactics, and sectarian ideas from the civil war in Iraq penetrated neighboring countries and threatened their stability, especially Lebanon and Jordan, where new jihadist groups mushroomed. Moreover, he shows that the spread of violence at the street level is often the consequence of specific policies hatched in Washington, D.C. Rosen offers a seminal and provocative account of the surge, told from the perspective of U.S. troops on the ground, the Iraqi security forces, Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents that were both allies and adversaries. He also tells the story of what happened to these militias once they outlived their usefulness to the Americans. Aftermath is both a unique personal history and an unsparing account of what America has wrought in Iraq and the region. The result is a hair- raising, 360-degree view of the modern battlefield its consequent humanitarian catastrophe, and the reality of counterinsurgency.
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[book] THE OTHER SCHINDLERS
WHAT MADE PEOPLE SAVE JEWS FROM THE HOLOCAUST
BY AGNES GRUNWALD-SPIER, with MARTIN GILBERT
November 2010, History
The inspiring stories of courageous non-Jews who risked their own lives to save Jews from the Holocaust. Thanks to Thomas Keneally’s book Schindler’s Ark, and the film based on it, Schindler’s List, people have become more aware of the fact that, in the midst of Hitler’s extermination of the Jews, courage and humanity could still overcome evil. While six million Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime, some were saved through the actions of non-Jews whose consciences would not allow them to pass by on the other side, and many are honored by Israel's official memorial to Jewish Holocaust victims, Yad Vashem, as "Righteous among the Nations" for their actions. As a baby, Agnes Grunwald-Spier was herself saved from the horrors of Auschwitz by an unknown official, and is now a trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. She has collected the stories of 30 individuals who rescued Jews, providing a new insight into why these people were prepared to risk so much for their fellow men and women. With a foreword by one of the leading experts on the subject, this is an ultimately uplifting account of how some good deeds really do shine in a weary world.
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[book] CRESCENT AND DOVE
PeaCE and CoNFLICT RESoLUTION in ISLAM
Edited by Qamar-ul Huda
Preface by His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi buin Muhammad bin Talal
Fall 2010, United States Institute of Peace Press
This book grew out of a 3 day conference on Islamic peacemaking and focuses on what place nonviolence and peacebuilding have in Islam and the challenges to mitigate violence in Muslim communities. What do Muslim community and religious leaders need in order to reform the debate towards nonviolence
In the face of overwhelming attention to extremist movements and the fundamentalist Islam they often espouse, exploration of peacemaking and conflict resolution in Muslim communities is especially timely. Crescent and Dove looks at the relationship between contemporary Islam and peacemaking by tackling the diverse interpretations, concepts, and problems in the field of Islamic peacemaking. Although Islamic law requires followers to preserve and protect life, and peacemaking efforts arise in Muslim communities everywhere, those who advocate for Islamic principles of nonviolence and peacebuilding, as well as traditional methods of conflict resolution, face serious challenges.
Writing from their perspective as Muslim scholars and peacebuilding practitioners, the contributors offer critical perspectives on what works, what opportunities exist, and what areas are fertile for effective peacebuilding efforts. Their experience and analysis demonstrate that fostering a culture of peace in Muslim communities and building effective conflict resolution practices must occur within an Islamic framework and must engage Muslim leaders. Crescent and Dove addresses both theory and practice by delving into the intellectual heritage of Islam to discuss historical examples of addressing conflict in Islam and exploring the practical challenges of contemporary peacemaking in Arab countries, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Indonesia. These groundbreaking essays offer possibilities for nonviolent interventions, peacemaking, the implementation of human rights, the reinterpretation of texts, peace education instruction, and employing successful mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills in an Islamic context.
Qamar-ul Huda is a senior program officer in the Religion and Peacemaking Program and a scholar of Islam at United States Institute of Peace. His area of expertise is Islamic theology, comparative ethics, the language of violence, interfaith studies, conflict resolution and nonviolence in contemporary Islam. He is an adjunct faculty member of Georgetown University's Conflict Resolution Program and has taught at Boston College, Brandeis University, and the College of Holy Cross.
Part 1 focuses on Sources of Peace, Islamic Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding, including Ibrahim Kalin on a survey of the sources of peace in the Islamic tradition; Asma Afsaruddin on recovering the early semantic purview of JIHAD and martyrdom: challenging statist-military perspectives (Meccan period, Medinan period, etc); Waleed El-Ansary on revisiting the Qur'anic Basis for the Use of War Language; and Mohammed Abi-Nimer on an Islamic Model of Conflict Resolution
Part 2 is on peace education, nonviolent action, human rights, and peacemaking training, including Zeki Saritoprak on Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's paradigm of Islamic Nonviolence; Reza Eslami-Somea on human rights and Islamic reform and An-Na'im's reform methodology; and Asna Husin on changing hearts and minds with Islamic peace education.
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[book] A Fistful of Rice
My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability
By Vikram Akula
November 2010, Harvard Business Press
Around the globe, poverty has held too many people in its grip for too long. While microfinance - small loans to impoverished individuals - initially attracted attention in the press, it didn't achieve the scale, scope, and profitability necessary to substantially combat poverty. All that changed with Vikram Akula's creation of SKS Microfinance. In this highly personal narrative, A Fistful of Rice, Akula reveals how he pieced together the best of both philanthropy and (to his surprise) capitalism to help millions of India's poor transition from paupers to customers to business owners. As thoughtful as Barack Obama's personal journey in Dreams from My Father, as harrowing as Paul Farmer's battle against infectious disease in Mountains Beyond Mountains, and as gripping as Greg Mortensen's fight for education in Three Cups of Tea, Akula's story shows how traditional business principles can be brought to bear on global problems in new ways.
A Fistful of Rice offers not only inspiration but also lessons for anyone seeking to transform tenacity, creativity, and innovation into potent tools for fighting even the most seemingly intractable human burdens. Vikram Akula is the founder and chair of SKS Microfinance. In 2006, Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people. He has received several awards, including the World Economic Young Global Leader (2008), the Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year in India (2006), and the Ernst & Young Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year in India (2006).








[book] MONSOON
THE INDIAN OCEAN AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN POWER
BY ROBERT D. KAPLAN
Fall 2010, Random House
PW: “Kaplan, correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, inculcates a paradigm shift when he suggests that the site of 21st-century geopolitical significance will be the Indian Ocean, not the northern Atlantic. The major powers of the future--India and China--fringe the ocean along with a host of other players--'the emerging and volatile democracies of East Africa,' Indonesia, Oman, 'anarchic' Somalia, placid Singapore, and Burma. These sea trade routes have historically borne commerce, colonialism, and faith, and Kaplan examines the nexuses of power, goods, and ideologies making their way across those waters today. Even if the writing on culture--especially India's--can devolve into cliche, the book's political and economic focus and forecasts are smart and brim with aperasus on the intersection of power, politics, and resource consumption (especially water), and give full weight to the impact of colonialism. An ambitious and prescient study equally at ease analyzing the work of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, the finer points of the Indian state of Gujarat's flirtation with fascism, and the economic impact of the Asian tsunami on Indonesia.”
Booklist writes: An inveterate traveler and author, Kaplan recently toured the rim of the Indian Ocean to inspect its geopolitics. Perspectives on the balance of power vary from country to country and speaker to speaker, but most agree that India and China are the ascending powers in the region. As Kaplan’s passages about Indian Ocean history reflect, the two countries can refer to tradition (to the fifteenth-century fleets of Zheng He, in China’s case) for their contemporary activities in the Indian Ocean, but the plain fact is they are busy for one reason: access to resources. As Kaplan journeys from Oman to Pakistan to Burma and Indonesia, the specific raw material comes into focus, as does the geopolitical angle of safely shipping it to the interested country. Touching on what could threaten maritime traffic, such as piracy, ethnic conflicts, or hostile control of choke points like the Strait of Malacca, Kaplan is guardedly optimistic that interested powers, including the U.S., can benignly manage their Indian Ocean affairs. A better-informed world-affairs reader will be the result of Kaplan’s latest title








[book] OF LOVE AND EVIL
THE SONGS OF THE SERAPHIM
A NOVEL
BY ANNE RICE
November 2010, Knopf
From Booklist Toby O’Dare, the assassin who started on the path to redemption in Angel Time (2009), continues his quest for salvation. He has just learned that he’s the father of a 10-year-old boy and is nervously awaiting the arrival of his former lover, Liona, and their son at the Mission Inn in California. He longs to be a part of the boy’s life and to rekindle his relationship with Liona, but he is summoned on another time-traveling errand of mercy by the angel Malchiah. This time Toby is transported to fifteenth-century Rome to respond to the prayer of a Jewish physician named Vitale, whose best friend and patient, Niccolò, has clearly been poisoned. Given the city’s virulent anti-Semitism, Vitale is at risk if the real culprit isn’t discovered. In addition to helping Vitale save Niccolò, Toby must discover the origins of an angry spirit that is haunting the house Vitale lives in. Toby is surprised by the dangers he faces in a story shaped by Catholic doctrine. Readers who enjoy Rice’s larger-than-life tales and elegant writing will find much to appreciate here, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave fans eager for the next installment. -- BOOKLIST








They say that Jewish teens get nose jobs, and this man is a plastic srugeon on Long Island at Long Island Jewish Hospital and other medical centers. So, before getting work done, read the guide
[book] THE SAFE AND SANE GUIDE TO
TEENAGE PLASTIC SURGERY
BY FREDERICK N. LUKASH, MD FASC FAAP
Nov 2010, Benbella
The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery, by Dr. Frederick N. Lukash, is a guide to this ever-expanding phenomenon. Written by the American Society of Plastic Surgery‘s acknowledged expert and official media spokesperson on pediatric and adolescent plastic surgery, this book answers those tough questions parents of potential teenage plastic surgery candidates have: Will surgery increase their child’s self-esteem and help them fit in better? Or is it a dangerously easy solution to deeper issues? When is surgery right, and when is it not. Interviewed in The New York Times and featured on Discovery Health among many other media outlets, Lukash guides families through every step of the process, from finding the perfect-fit doctor and applying for medical insurance to surgery and finally to recovery and a changed life. A virtual, free consultation with a renowned expert in the field, the book doesn’t just offer easy solutions to teen’s body-image problems but helps parents understand the emotional, psychological and social dilemmas involved. Complete with action plans, real-life stories and pictures, The Safe and San Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery offers advice on what can, can’t and shouldn’t be done—and on how to spot the doctors who will exploit a teen’s fragile sense of self-esteem as well as his or her parent’s pocketbook. Most important, Lukash provides a useful red light/yellow light/green light guide for considering teen plastic surgery..
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[book] DESIGN IT!
THE ORDINARY THINGS WE USE EVERYDAY
AND THE NOT-so-ORDINARY WAYS THEY CAME TO BE
BY RONA ARATO
Nov 2010, Tundra
Ages 9 - 12
Behind the toaster, the toilet, the tub, the microwave, the camera, and countless other features of our everyday lives are smart ideas from smart people who executed them.
A bright idea of a book, Design It! is a great introduction to lots of satisfying careers from architecture to model making, to the pioneers - thank you, Mr. Cummings for the modern-day toilet! - and to the principles of good design that make life more pleasant. Rona Arato introduces young readers to the world of industrial design by focusing on our homes and by presenting the basics. She asks readers to be the judge: Does it do what it's supposed to (function)? Is it big enough, small enough, or light enough for the person who'll be using it (usability)? Is it safe and comfortable to use (ergonomics)? Does it look great (aesthetics)? And, is it eco-friendly? Equal parts fascinating history and eye-opening facts, Design It! makes for great reading and is a useful resource for those who are beginning to think about careers.
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[book] The Long Divergence
How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East
Timur Kuran
Nov 2010, Princeton
In the year 1000, the economy of the Middle East was at least as advanced as that of Europe. But by 1800, the region had fallen dramatically behind--in living standards, technology, and economic institutions. In short, the Middle East had failed to modernize economically as the West surged ahead. What caused this long divergence? And why does the Middle East remain drastically underdeveloped compared to the West? In The Long Divergence, one of the world's leading experts on Islamic economic institutions and the economy of the Middle East provides a new answer to these long-debated questions. Timur Kuran argues that what slowed the economic development of the Middle East was not colonialism or geography, still less Muslim attitudes or some incompatibility between Islam and capitalism. Rather, starting around the tenth century, Islamic legal institutions, which had benefitted the Middle Eastern economy in the early centuries of Islam, began to act as a drag on development by slowing or blocking the emergence of central features of modern economic life--including private capital accumulation, corporations, large-scale production, and impersonal exchange. By the nineteenth century, modern economic institutions began to be transplanted to the Middle East, but its economy has not caught up. And there is no quick fix today. Low trust, rampant corruption, and weak civil societies--all characteristic of the region's economies today and all legacies of its economic history--will take generations to overcome. The Long Divergence opens up a frank and honest debate on a crucial issue that even some of the most ardent secularists in the Muslim world have hesitated to discuss.
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[book] With All Thine Heart
Love and the Bible
by Ilan Stavans and Mordecai Drache
Nov 2010, Rutgers
In With All Thine Heart distinguished cultural critic Ilan Stavans speaks to freelance writer Mordecai Drache about love in the Bible. Organized chronologically from Genesis to Exodus and followed by insightful meditations on the Song of Songs and the Book of Job, this book is presented in an engaging, conversational format and touched with striking artwork. The textured dialogue is meant to show how the Bible is a multidimensional text and one that, when considered over the course of history, still has the power to shape our world.
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[book] BARTIMAEUS
THE RING OF SOLOMON
BY JONATHAN STROUD
Ages 10 and up
Nov 2010, Disney Hyperion
Bartimaeus, everyone’s favorite (wise-cracking) djinni, is back in book four of this best-selling series. As alluded to in the footnotes throughout the series, Bartimaeus has served hundreds of magicians during his 5,010 year career. Now, for the first time, fans will go back in time with the djinni, to Jerusalem and the court of King Solomon in 950s BC. Only in this adventure, it seems the great Bartimaeus has finally met his match. He’ll have to contend with an unpleasant master and his sinister servant, and runs into just a “spot” of trouble with King Solomon’s magic ring…
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[book] CAKES AND MIRACLES
A PURIMTALE
BY BARBARA DIAMOND GOLDIN and Jaime Zollars
Nov 2010, Cavendish
Ages 5 – 8
Rachel Kamin in the School Library Journal writes, “Hershel was the only blind boy in his village. But his blindness did not keep him from going to school, or shaking pears from the neighbor's trees, or catching frogs in the river.” And, he is still able to help his mother by fetching, carrying, and cleaning. He wishes he could help her more, especially when she bakes three-corned cakes, called hamantashen to sell in the marketplace at Purim time. When an angel appears in his dream and encourages him to make what he sees when he closes his eyes, Hershel sneaks into the kitchen and forms his mother's cookie dough into beautiful shapes. His mother's hamantashen and his special cookies sell out quickly and Hershel earns the praise of the town baker. Edited significantly from the 1991 edition, the new text is more accessible to a younger audience and works better as a read-aloud. Rich, full-spread illustrations in collage and acrylic paint warmly depict the Eastern European shtetl setting with expression and dimension. Fans of the original will be thrilled to see this title back in print; the shortened text and new art will introduce this wonderful holiday story of courage and imagination to a new generation of readers.”
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ORGINALLY TITLED THE DYBBUK BY ANNE RICE (not the An-sky novel)
[book] Of Love and Evil
Songs of the Seraphim
A novel by Anne Rice
Nov 2010, Knopf
Anne Rice's magnificent Songs of the Seraphim series continues with a lyrical and haunting new novel of angels and assassins set in dark and dangerous worlds — in our time and in centuries past. Toby O'Dare, former government assassin, is summoned by the angel Malchiah to fifteenth-century Rome — the city of Michelangelo and Raphael, of Leo X and the Holy Inquisition — to solve a terrible crime of poisoning and to uncover the secrets of an earthbound restless spirit, a diabolical dybbuk. Toby is plunged into this rich age as a lutist sent to charm and calm this troublesome spirit. In the fullness of the high Italian Renaissance, Toby soon discovers himself in the midst of dark plots and counterplots, surrounded by a still darker and more dangerous threat as the veil of ecclesiastical terror closes in around him. And as he once again embarks on a powerful journey of atonement, he is reconnected with his own past, with matters light and dark, fierce and tender, with the promise of salvation and with a deeper and richer vision of love.
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[book] HOW TO UNDERSTAND
ISRAEL
IN 60 DAYS OR LESS
BY SARAH GLIDDEN
Fall 2010, DC Vertigo
When Sarah Glidden took a “Birthright Israel” tour, she thought she knew what she was getting herself into. But when she got to Israel, she found that things weren’t quite so simple. HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL is Sarah’s memoir not only of her Israeli trip through Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Masada and other famous locations, but of the emotional journey she never expected to take while she was there.
She is a neurotic progressive American Jew with issues about the current Israeli government’s policies in the Middle East. Her experiences clash with her preconceived notions again and again, particularly when she tries to take a non-chaperoned trip into the West Bank.
Sarah is forced to question first her political beliefs and, ultimately, her own sense of identity, until she finds that to understand Israel she first must come to understand herself.
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[book] SAL MINEO
A BIOGRPAHY
BY MICHAEL GREGH MICHAUD
Fall 2010, Crown
He wasn’t Jewish. But he played a Jewish young man in Exodus and many a Jewish girl swooned for him in his many film roles.
Sal Mineo is probably most well-known for his unforgettable, Academy Award–nominated turn opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and his tragic murder at the age of thirty-seven. This riveting new biography filled with exclusive, candid interviews with both Mineo’s closest female and male lovers and never-before-published photographs, Michael Gregg Michaud tells the full story of this remarkable young actor’s life, charting his meteoric rise to fame and turbulent career and private life.
Mineo grew up as the son of Sicilian immigrants, a casket maker, in a humble Bronx flat. A tough kid, he started to take acting and dancing classes and by age 11, he appeared on Broadway in Tennessee Williams’s The Rose Tattoo, and then as Prince Chulalongkorn in the original Broadway production of The King and I starring Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence. A male ingénue of sorts appeared on the cover of every major magazine, thousands of star-struck fans attended his premieres, and millions bought his records, which included several top-ten hits. His life offstage was just as exhilarating: full of sports cars, motor boats, famous friends, and some of the most beautiful young actresses in Hollywood. But it was fourteen-year-old Jill Haworth, his costar in Exodus — the film that delivered one of the greatest acting roles of his life and earned him another Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe win — with whom he fell in love and moved to the West Coast.
But by the 1960s, a series of professional missteps and an increasingly tumultuous private life reversed his fortunes. By the late sixties and early seventies, grappling with the repercussions of publicly admitting his homosexuality and struggling to reinvent himself from an aging teen idol, Mineo turned toward increasingly self-destructive sexual and other behavior. Yet his creative impulses never foundered. He began directing and producing controversial off-Broadway plays that explored social and sexual taboos. He also found personal happiness in a relationship with male actor Courtney Burr. Tragically, on the cusp of turning a new page in his life, Mineo’s life was cut short in a botched robbery.
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[book] THE SIXTH CRISIS
IRAN, ISRAEL, AMERICA, AND THE RUMORS OF WAR
By Dana Allin and Steven Simon
November 2010 Oxford University Press
There have been five central crises in America's post World War II encounter with the Middle East, and the Obama administration now faces a sixth. Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapons capability, and the prospect of Israel launching air strikes to stop it, are ingredients for a conflict that could ruin any residual hopes for fostering peace in the region.
The Sixth Crisis explores the fraught linkages between the Iranian nuclear challenge, the increasing likelihood of an Israeli preventive strike, the continuing Israel-Palestine tragedy, and President Barack Obama's efforts to recast America's relations with the world's Muslims. It is the first full account of the situation since Obama took office. The authors, a former senior official on President Clinton's National Security Council Staff and a leading authority on international politics, lay out in clear and accessible detail the technical and political dimensions of Iran's nuclear program, and the ongoing diplomacy to stop it. They show how Israel's panic about Iran's nuclear threat--combined with its policy toward the Palestinians--is undermining Jerusalem's alliance with America. Tehran, meanwhile, is exploiting tensions between Arab regimes fearful of a nuclear Iran and an Arab public that is both angry about the plight of the Palestinians and resentful of Israel's nuclear monopoly in the region. The Sixth Crisis brilliantly illuminates this fateful juncture. The status quo is on an incline to disaster, and the hopes that President Obama has inspired are threatened by the toxic mixture of Israeli-Palestinian stalemate and Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The time bomb of Iran's defiance and Israel's panic has the potential to spark a firestorm that would imperil US interests in the Middle East and engulf Obama's presidency. With the outcome of this unfolding crisis far from certain, The Sixth Crisis is required reading not only for policymakers, but also for anyone interested in world politics
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[book] TRUTHS DESIRED BY GOD
AN EXCURSION IN TO THE WEEKLY HAFTORAH
BY DR. MEIR TAMARi
November 2010, Gefen
With the mounting interest in traditional Jewish texts, classes abound in Chumash, Talmud, Tehillim, and the Megillot. Yet the books of Nevi im through which a major part of Judaism s special message is transmitted have been largely overlooked. Using the weekly haftarah as his entry, renowned author Dr. Meir Tamari tackles this challenge, offering original insights and bringing together commentators from the span of Jewish history. Dr. Meir Tamari s thirty-year Bank of Israel career culminated as Chief Economist. He pioneered the study of economic behavior and Jewish ethics at Bar-Ilan University. He has written extensively on Chassidut, Tanach, and Jewish thought.
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[book] QUMRAN AND JERUSALEM
Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of Judaism
By Lawrence H.Schiffman, NYU
2010.Eerdmans
With the full publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls come major changes in our understanding of these fascinating texts and their significance for the study of the history of Judaism and Christianity. One of the most significant changes — that one cannot study Qumran without Jerusalem nor Jerusalem without Qumran — is explored in this important volume. / Although the Scrolls preserve the peculiar ideology of the Qumran sect, much of the material also represents the common beliefs and practices of the Judaism of the time. Here Lawrence Schiffman mines these incredible documents to reveal their significance for the reconstruction of the history of Judaism. His investigation brings to life a period of immense significance for the history of the Western world. Lawrence H. Schiffman is Ethel and Irvin A. Edelman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Chairman of the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. His previous books include Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls and From Text to Tradition: A History of Judaism in Second Temple and Rabbinic Times.
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[book] DAVID BEN-GURION AND THE JEWISH RENAISSANCE
BY SHLOMO ARONSON (Hebrew University)
November 2010, Cambridge
This book offers a reappraisal of David Ben-Gurion's role in Jewish-Israeli history from the perspective of the twenty-first century, in the larger context of the Zionist "renaissance," of which he was a major and unique exponent. Some have described Ben-Gurion's Zionism as a dream that has gone sour, or a utopia doomed to be unfulfilled. Now - after the dust surrounding Israel's founding father has settled, archives have been opened, and perspective has been gained since Ben-Gurion's downfall - this book presents a fresh look at this statesman-intellectual and his success and tragic failures during a unique period of time that he and his peers described as the "Jewish renaissance." The resulting reappraisal offers a new analysis of Ben-Gurion's actual role as a major player in Israeli, Middle Eastern, and global politics.
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[book] OPERATION EXODUS
FROM THE NAZI DEATH CAMPS TO THE PROMISED LAND
A PERILOUS JOURNEY THAT SHAPED ISRAEL‘S FUTURE
BY GORDON THOMAS
November 2010, Thomas Dunne
The riveting chronicle of Jewish war survivors and their flight on the dramatic voyage of Exodus 1947, the international incident that gained sympathy for the formation of Israel. The underground Jewish group Haganah arranged for the purchase of a small American steamer as part of an ambitious and daring mission: to serve as lifeboat for more than four thousand survivors of Nazi rule and transport them to Palestine. Renamed Exodus 1947, the ship and its young crew left France en route to the future state of Israel. The Holocaust survivors aboard Exodus endured even more hardships when the Royal Navy stopped the ship in international waters, used force in boarding (killing two passengers and one crewmember) and eventually deported its human cargo to internment camps in Germany. The death of the ship’s captain in late 2009 generated headlines throughout the world. Enriched with new survivors’ testimonies and previously unpublished documentation, Operation Exodus is the deeply moving saga of a people who risked all in search for a home
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[book] JEWS, MONEY, AND ANTISEMITISM
THE STORY OF A STEREOTYPE
BY ABRAHAM H. FOXMAN, ADL
November 2010, palgrave
In the wake of Bernie Madoff’s ruinous investment schemes, Abe Foxman takes a cultural and political look at the many variations throughout history of the assumptions made about Jews and money. These include Jews as greedy global capitalists; Jews as wealthy secret communists; Jews as cheapskates; and Jews controlling the media with their money to unduly influence society. Foxman makes the case that these stereotypes have permeated cultures globally and argues that these beliefs are rooted in deep-seated and pervasive anti-Semitism. As with all forms of bigotry, society at large needs to respond to the persistence of stereotypes by educating the young, denouncing hate speech, and by encouraging Jews, like all groups, to express pride in their ethnic and religious heritage.
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[book] Two Cents Plain
My Brooklyn Boyhood
By Martin Lemelman
Nov 2010, Bloomsbury
A graphic memoir set in the aisles of a local candy store. Lemelman, the son of Holocaust survivors who met in a DP camp, grew up in the back of his family‘s Brownsville Brooklyn candy store in the postwar 1950s and 1960s. It is nostalgic for candy, sodas, egg creams, comic books, toys and the voices of the neighborhood, but shows how Brownsville was declining and violence and white flight was beginning. The fish monger, deli man and fruit salesman come to vivid life in these pages. The climax comes in 1968 with the riots. Would it be a new Holocaust?
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A NEW BOOK
FROM AMERICA'S FOREMOST CRITIC OF ISRAEL
AND THE MAN WHO SAYS ISRAEL ETHNICLY CLEANSES...
[book] Gaza In Crisis
Reflection on Israel's War on the Palestinians
By Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe
Nov 2010, Haymarket
Described by a UN fact-finding mission as "a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate, and terrorize a civilian population," Israel's Operation Cast Lead thrust the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip into the center of the debate about the Israel/Palestine conflict. In Gaza in Crisis, Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé survey what they see is the fallout from Israel's conduct in Gaza
Pappe calls for an academic boycott of Israel. Chomsky does not
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[book] Israel and the Palestinian nightmare
By Ze'ev Shemer
Nov 2010
From the cover: Israel and the Palestinian nightmare is not only a reliable reference book; it is a captivating description and review of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It offers an honest account of where Israel went wrong, covers facts relating to the origins of the nation of Israel and the profound effect that history has had upon contemporary events. The Arab-Israeli conflict is not a conflict over land nor is it rooted in ancient claims of two peoples to the same small piece of real estate in the Middle East; but rather it is a battle between Judaism and Islam. A battle the Christian world has been touched by but so far timidly involved with.
If we understand how the conflict developed, we'll be better prepared to deal with events to come.
The claim that a group of people, foreign to the land, wanted to impose their sovereignty through expropriation on another group of people that inhabited that land is nothing but a modern day invention of those who seek to destroy the young Jewish state. Millions of young adults are exposed to the heckling of modern day anti-Semites in almost every college campus and in many 'intellectual' circles; and the obvious bias and Israel-loathing is echoed by most of the international media outlets, rarely encountering opposition. Winston Churchill once said, "the truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is."
Plenty of historical and archeological evidence proves Israel's historic roots and disproves every Arab claim to the land; and still most public and academic outlets claim that Israel's situation is a simple case of occupation of a foreign land. Ironically they are right. There is an unfair and unnecessary occupation of land but not by the Jews that returned to their homeland, but on the part of the Arab multitude who assumed a fake identity with the sole purpose of destroying the Jewish dream of the rebirth of Israel.
Israel and the Palestinian nightmare answers some of the toughest questions regarding Israel and the Palestinian people. It takes the reader through an historical timeline that puts many issues into proper perspective. The author has tough words for both Israelis and the Arab world, and the book contains inspiring articles and commentaries by Middle East experts such as Yoram Ettinger, Phyllis Chesler, Paul Eidelberg; as well as thought-provoking observations written by Larry Miller, David Wilder and Shifra Hoffman among others. This book will clarify many of the misconceptions that exist regarding this conflict and it is essential reading for both Jew and gentile alike.
Ze'ev Shemer teaches English and Social Studies in a multi-cultural environment; his students are Jewish, Druze, Christian and Muslim. A resident of the Galilee, he has published some articles on the Middle East that have appeared in periodicals
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[book] THE PUNISHMENT OF GAZA
BY GIDEON LEVY (HAARETZ)
Spring 2010, Verso
If you want to see something interesting, Check C-SPAN online and find Levy's lecture that he gave at Columbia University on 9/28/2010.
Noam Chomsky wrote that, “... Gideon Levy’s passionate and revealing account is an eloquent, even desperate, call to bring this shocking tragedy to an end, as can easily be done.”
The story behind Israel’s assault on Gaza, by acclaimed Ha’aretz journalist. Israel’s 2009 invasion of Gaza was an act of aggression that killed over a thousand Palestinians and devastated the infrastructure of an already impoverished enclave. The Punishment of Gaza shows how the ground was prepared for the assault and documents its continuing effects. From 2005—the year of Gaza’s “liberation”—through to 2009, Levy tracks the development of Israel policy, which has abandoned the pretense of diplomacy in favor of raw military power, the ultimate aim of which is to deny Palestinians any chance of forming their own independent state. Punished by Israel and the Quartet of international powers for the democratic election of Hamas, Gaza has been transformed into the world’s largest open-air prison. From Gazan families struggling to cope with the random violence of Israel’s blockade and its “targeted” assassinations, to the machinations of legal experts and the continued connivance of the international community, every aspect of this ongoing tragedy is eloquently recorded and forensically analyzed. Levy’s powerful journalism shows how the brutality at the heart of Israel’s occupation of Palestine has found its most complete expression to date in the collective punishment of Gaza's residents.
Levy is described by Le Monde as a “thorn in Israel’s flank”. For over twenty years he has covered the Israel–Palestine conflict, in particular the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz in his column “Twilight Zone.”
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[book] From Jerusalem to Beverly Hills
Memoir of a Palestinian Jew
By Eitan Gonen
Nov 2010,
This is a riveting story of the author's journey for survival as a war refugee and overcoming poverty. The story begins in Jerusalem as the British Empire crumbles and World War II ends. The ensuing turmoil in Palestine lead to Israel's War of Independence and the Arab siege of Jerusalem that shaped Eitan's childhood and the journey he travelled as a construction laborer, shepherd in a kibbutz, "Top Gun" fighter pilot in Israel Air Force, engineer for the Space Shuttle and a businessman in Beverly Hills. On his quest for independence and justice he endured family displacement, hunger, personal loss, and a government corruption scandal that nearly unraveled all he had worked to create. This compelling story, however, is ultimately one of triumph.
Jerusalem, at once provincial and cosmopolitan, where lives of Christians, Jews and Arabs intermingle, is the colorful ground for a true story of a boy growing up during the tumultuous waning years of the British rule. The author describes scenes from the Arab-Israeli war, from a rare vantage point of a little boy, turned refugee in the ravaged city.
As a teenager, he becomes a member of a socialist youth movement and joins his friends to establish a kibbutz. Toiling as a shepherd in the hills of Judea, and disappointed by the communal system, he leaves to join the Israel Air Force and becomes a fighter pilot. At the age of 22, he takes Dina, his wife, to Africa to create the newly independent Ghana Air Force.
Fulfilling his lifelong dream, the author goes to America, but tragedy drives his young family back to Israel for eleven years. Following the Yom Kippur War, his keen sense of justice compels him to expose government corruption that inevitably teaches him that "no good deed goes unpunished," but at the end of the day makes him victorious.
A memorable scene aboard an El Al flight provides an emotional end.
Visit jerusalemtobeverlyhills.com
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[book] THE JEW IS NOT MY ENEMY
Unveiling The Myths That Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism
By Tarek Fatah
Fall 2010, McClelland and Stewart
A liberal Muslim and critically acclaimed author explores the historical, political, and theological basis for centuries of Muslim animosity towards Jews, debunking long-held myths and tracing a history of hate and its impact today.
More than nine years after 9/11 and 60 years after the creation of the state of Israel, the world is no closer to solving, let alone understanding, the psychological and political divide between Jews and Muslims. While countless books have been written on the subject of terrorism, political Islam, and jihad, barely a handful address the theological and historical basis of the Jew—Muslim divide. Following the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 2008, in which Pakistani jihadis sought out and murdered the members of a local Jewish centre, Tarek Fatah began an in-depth investigation of the historical basis for the crime.
In this provocative new book, Fatah uses extensive research to trace how literature from as early as the seventh century has fueled the hatred of Jews by Muslims. Fatah debunks the anti-Jewish writings of the Hadith literature, takes apart the Arab supremacist doctrines that lend fuel to the fire, and reinterprets supposed anti-Jewish passages in the Quran. In doing so he argues that hating Jews is against the essence of the Islamic spirit and suggests what needs to be done to eliminate the agonizing friction between the two communities.
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[book] BEYOND AMERICA'S GRASP
A CENTURY OF FAILED DIPLOMACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
BY STEPHEN P. COHEN
October 2010, Picador
"In what should become required reading for those interested in the Middle East, Cohen, director of the Institute of Middle East Peace and Development, provides a richly detailed history of diplomacy in the region and its implications for current relations. The book begins with Woodrow Wilson’s idealistic initiatives, which germinated into a 'confused legacy [that] continues to be at the heart of the problem between the United States and the Middle East.' Cohen takes a tour of major players and key events, including Egypt and its nationalist movement, Iran under British imperialism, the roots of a Saudi-U.S. alliance and the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Cohen provides broad suggestions for contemporary diplomacy, generally emphasizing the importance of avoiding a 'one-size-fits-all' policy. He discusses policies in the region of both Bush administrations, and remains timely in presaging the new administration’s diplomatic message. When Cohen concludes, 'To overcome despair over these relationships, which is now so common, requires the elaboration in our imagination of a best-case scenario,' he sounds prescient, and the rigorously researched history he provides make his words ring true." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“A big-picture overview of the long-teetering relationship between America and the Arab nations . . . Cohen makes a magnificent case for the ‘emotional impact’ of Arab defeat in the face of Israeli force, while at the same time scolding those nations for persistence in ‘self-definition by negation of the other.’ Both hectoring and wise, this historical blueprint makes a powerful argument for building mutual respect in the region.” —Kirkus Reviews
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[book] QUICHES, KUGELS, AND COUSCOUS
MY SEARCH FOR JEWISH COOKING IN FRANCE
BY JOAN NATHAN
November 2010, Knopf
What is Jewish cooking in France? In a journey that was a labor of love, Joan Nathan traveled the country to discover the answer and, along the way, unearthed a treasure trove of recipes and the often moving stories behind them. Nathan takes us into kitchens in Paris, Alsace, and the Loire Valley; she visits the bustling Belleville market in Little Tunis in Paris; she breaks bread with Jewish families around the observation of the Sabbath and the celebration of special holidays. All across France, she finds that Jewish cooking is more alive than ever: traditional dishes are honored, yet have acquired a certain French finesse. And completing the circle of influences: following Algerian independence, there has been a huge wave of Jewish immigrants from North Africa, whose stuffed brik and couscous, eggplant dishes and tagines—as well as their hot flavors and Sephardic elegance—have infiltrated contemporary French cooking. All that Joan Nathan has tasted and absorbed is here in this extraordinary book, rich in a history that dates back 2,000 years and alive with the personal stories of Jewish people in France today.
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[book] EDEN
A NOVEL
BY YAEL HEDAYA
Translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
November 2010, Metropolitan
From the head writer of the original In Treatment, an exquisite novel of the maturation of a girl, a family, and an entire community. Eden is no paradise: it is the stifling, rural community in which upscale urban escapees, Alona and Mark, drift apart and divorce under the resentful scrutiny of Roni, Mark's needy adolescent daughter. Against a rich panorama of Eden's oldtimers and newcomers, Mark, an emotionally detached architect, begins an involvement with his ex-wife's best friend, Dafna, who is desperately trying to conceive through the torments of technology, while sixteen-year-old Roni pursues the attention of older men by readily dispensing sexual favors. Over the course of one month, Roni's self-dramatizing turns to tragedy, her parents are jolted out of their absorbing concerns, and a new family structure begins to form out of an unlikely set of characters. Through a portrait of family entanglements, disappearing countryside, and disappointed expectations, Yael Hedaya, a determinedly plainspoken novelist, has brilliantly mapped the social and emotional ecology of midlife and achieved miracles of insight and understanding.
Yael Hedaya is the head writer for In Treatment, the acclaimed Israeli TV series adapted for HBO. The author of Housebroken and Accidents, which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in 2006, Hedaya teaches creative writing at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
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[book] KIND OF BLUE
A MYSTERY NOVEL
BY MILES CORWIN
November 2010, Oceanview
From Publishers Weekly: Former L.A. Times crime reporter Corwin (Homicide Special: A Year with the LAPD's Elite Detective Unit) introduces an engaging Jewish police detective in his first novel, a grittily realistic story of murder, stupidity, and redemption. Ash Levine, the LAPD's top detective, resigns after his suspension for failing to prevent the death of a key witness he was supposed to protect. A year later, Ash's former boss invites him to lead the investigation into an ex-cop's murder. Levine returns to the force, hoping to reopen the case that cost him his job, though not everyone in the department is thrilled to see him back. A jazz lover (hence the Miles Davis–inspired title), the son of a concentration camp survivor, and a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, Ash battles through departmental interference, corruption, and misdirection. Given his strong debut, Ash should be back on the job for further assignments.
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[book] Promised Lands
New Jewish American Fiction on Longing and Belonging
(Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture and Life & HBI Series on Jewish Women)
Edited by Derek Rubin
November 2010. Brandeis
This vibrant anthology showcases new, unpublished short stories by a rapidly growing crop of highly talented young Jewish American fiction writers. Cohering around the core Jewish theme of the Promised Land, all the stories were written especially for this volume. With the kind of depth and imagination that only fiction allows, they offer striking variations on the multivalent theme of the Promised Land and how it continues to shape the collective consciousness of contemporary American Jews. This anthology provides a rich reading experience and a unique window onto Jewish American life and culture at the beginning of the twenty-first century. A scholarly introduction by Derek Rubin provides literary context, discusses the organization of the volume, and illuminates expected and unexpected connections among the stories. Promised Lands features 23 stories by Elisa Albert, Melvin Jules Bukiet, Janice Eidus, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Lauren Grodstein, Aaron Hamburger, Dara Horn, Rachel Kadish, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Joan Leegant, Yael Goldstein Love, Rivka Lovett, Tova Mirvis, Lev Raphael, Nessa Rapoport, Jonathan Rosen, Thane Rosenbaum, Joey Rubin, Edward Schwarzschild, Steve Stern, Lara Vapnyar, Adam Wilson, and Jonathan Wilson
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[book] Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life
Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections
Edited by Lawrence Fine, Eitan Fishbane, and Or N. Rose
Fall 2010. Jewish Lights
Why have so many spiritual seekers turned to the teachings of Jewish mysticism in recent years? What is it about Kabbalah and Hasidism that has so captured the imagination of unprecedented numbers of Jewish and non-Jewish readers and practitioners? In this unique volume, leading scholars and teachers of the Jewish mystical tradition share their favorite texts--some available in English for the first time-- and explore why they think these materials are meaningful and relevant to contemporary life.
The rich combination of classical texts and contemporary reflections provides both the newcomer and the seasoned reader with a beautiful array of inspirational and thought-provoking materials for contemplation, discussion and action. Organized thematically, each section of the book focuses on a different dimension of the spiritual life, including prayer and meditation, interpersonal relations, Torah study and ritual observance.
This is an invitation to enter into the esoteric worlds of past Jewish thinkers and to engage with today's best interpreters in exploring how these sources might help us in our quest for meaning here and now.
CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE: Sharon Cohen Anisfeld * Mimi Feigelson * Edward Feld * Michael Fishbane * Nancy Flam * Everett Gendler * Joel Hecker * Shai Held * Melila Hellner-Eshed * Barry Holtz * Jeremy Kalmanofsky * Judith Kates * Lawrence Kushner * Ebn Leader * Shaul Magid * Ron Margolin * Daniel C. Matt * Haviva Pedaya * Nehemia Polen * Neal Rose * Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi * Jonathan Slater * Gordon Tucker * Sheila Peltz Weinberg * Chava Weissler
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[book] THERA
A NOVEL
BY ZERUYA SHALEV. Translated from the Hebrew
November 2010, TOBY
From Publishers Weekly: Acclaimed Israeli author Shalev (Husband and Wife) comes close to exhausting archeology as metaphor in this bleak excavation of a family's breakup. Set in Jerusalem, the novel opens just after archeologist Ella Miller asks her husband, her former mentor, to leave. When her decision is met with condemnation by friends and family, she plunges into depression and anxiety over how their six-year-old son will cope. With dense, beautiful prose, Shalev chips away at Ella's past, digging up resentments and disappointments, and presenting them sliver by sliver. Although Ella observes her son with touching detail, her focus is ultimately inward, making her a hard character to like. When she becomes involved with a lover, for instance, her self-absorption keeps her from recognizing the patterns she's repeating. Ella is known for drawing unsubstantiated parallels between the Israelites' exodus from Egypt and the flight from a major volcanic eruption on the Greek island of Thera (now Santorini); she believes societies glorify their histories, creating art and myth from disaster, leaving the reader to hope that this lovely, troubled woman will someday be able to do the same for herself
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[book] SEWING SCHOOL
HAND SEWING PROJECTS KIDS WILL LOVE TO MAKE
BY AMIE PLUMLEY AND ANDRIA LISLE
November 2010, Storey Publishing
Kids everywhere are in stitches...sewing stitches, that is. They are discovering the wonder and joy found in simple needle and thread. And while sewing offers an array of benefits for children -- it nurtures creativity, fosters cognitive abilities, refines motor coordination, boosts confidence, and gives them a skill they'll use wheir whole lives -- kids know that it's just plain fun. Sewing School authors Amie Plumley and Andria Lisle teach a sewing camp in Memphis, Tennessee, which has earned accolades from delighted children and parents. When families clamored for more, Plumley and Lisle launched a blog, sewingschool.blogspot.com, to rave reviews. Now, they've channeled the best of their children's sewing projects into this lively, how-to-sew book for ages five and up. Featuring 21 inspired projects for young sewers, Sewing School allows kids to create fabric masterpieces with minimal adult supervision. All projects have been kid-tested, most can be made using simple hand stitches, and all can be embellished with a personal touch, making them a terrific outlet for kids' natural creativity. To further inspire young needle-crafters, the book is peppered with photos and quotes from real boys and girls who have participated in the authors' sewing camp. Projects include items that children can hug (pillows, doll, blanket), hold (wallet, tote, draw string pouch), and wear (sleep mask, hat, cuffs, doll skirt). Each project features step-by-step instructions written at a second-grade comprehension level, along with a close-up photo of every step and a photo of the finished project. The book also offers full-sized cut-out patterns in a front pocket and special instructions for how teachers and grownups can help. There are only a few sewing books written specifically for children, and none have the fresh look, fun voice, and contemporary feel of Sewing School. This book is sure to be a hit in homes everywhere as children discover that they can make enchanting, useful items using nothing but simple needle and thread!
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[book] MOSES MENDELSSOHN
BY SHMUEL FEINER, Bar Ilan University
TRANSLATED BY ANTHONY BERRIS
Part of the Jewish Lives series from Yale University Press
October 2010, Yale University Press
The “German Socrates,” Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) was the most influential Jewish thinker of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A Berlin celebrity and a major figure in the Enlightenment, revered by Immanuel Kant, Mendelssohn suffered the indignities common to Jews of his time while formulating the philosophical foundations of a modern Judaism suited for a new age. His most influential books included the groundbreaking Jerusalem and a translation of the Bible into German that paved the way for generations of Jews to master the language of the larger culture.
Feiner’s book is the first that offers a full, human portrait of this fascinating man—uncommonly modest, acutely aware of his task as an intellectual pioneer, shrewd, traditionally Jewish, yet thoroughly conversant with the world around him—providing a vivid sense of Mendelssohn’s daily life as well as of his philosophical endeavors. Feiner, a leading scholar of Jewish intellectual history, examines Mendelssohn as father and husband, as a friend (Mendelssohn’s long-standing friendship with the German dramatist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was seen as a model for Jews and non-Jews worldwide), as a tireless advocate for his people, and as an equally indefatigable spokesman for the paramount importance of intellectual independence. Shmuel Feiner is professor of Modern Jewish History at Bar Ilan University and holds the Samuel Braun Chair for the History of the Jews in Prussia.
See also Moses Mendelssohn: Ein judischer Denker in der Zeit der Aufklarung. Mit einem Vorwort von Dan Diner. Aus dem Hebraischen von Inge Yassur (German Edition)
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THE SUPREME COURT IS NINE SCORPIONS IN A BOTTLE
[book] SCORPIONS
THE BATTLES AND TRIUMPHS OF FDR’s GREAT SUPREME COURT JUSTICES
BY NoAH FELDMAN
November 2010, TWELVE
A tiny, ebullient Jew who started as America's leading liberal and ended as its most famous judicial conservative. A Klansman who became an absolutist advocate of free speech and civil rights. A backcountry lawyer who started off trying cases about cows and went on to conduct the most important international trial ever. A self-invented, tall-tale Westerner who narrowly missed the presidency but expanded individual freedom beyond what anyone before had dreamed.
Four more different men could hardly be imagined. Yet they had certain things in common. Each was a self-made man who came from humble beginnings on the edge of poverty. Each had driving ambition and a will to succeed. Each was, in his own way, a genius. They began as close allies and friends of FDR, but the quest to shape a new Constitution led them to competition and sometimes outright warfare. SCORPIONS tells the story of these four great justices: their relationship with Roosevelt, with each other, and with the turbulent world of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. It also serves as a history of the modern Constitution itself.
But wait… another story is told as well. A story of their battles, victories, and defeats. These four reinvented the Constitution along four divergent paths. It is a story of competition and controversy
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[book] MAKING OUR DEMOCRACY WORK
A JUDGE'S VIEW
BY STEPHEN BREYER Justice U.S. Supreme Court
September 2010, Knopf
Booklist review: “Justice Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1994 (and, of course, he serves for life, as mandated by the Constitution). His book partners well with Jeffrey Toobin’s well-received The Nine (2007), which is an account of the politics and personalities of the current Supreme Court. Breyer projects a larger context, supplying both historical and judicial background to give the nonspecialist a generalized picture of how the Supreme Court works. He explains the Court’s role in ensuring a workable democracy, in guaranteeing that the Constitution works in practice and in the real world. Certainly an interesting aspect of this greatly informative book is Breyer’s look back over the history of the republic to see how the public—and even the U.S. president—has accepted Court decisions. (It is not readily imaginable, to be sure, but, nevertheless, it is dramatically illustrated here that such acceptance was a principle that was not easy to plant within social and political consciousnesses.) Breyer is emphatic that “at the end of the day, the public’s confidence is what permits the Court to ensure a Constitution that is more than words on paper.” A book for all citizens”
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[book] JUSTICE BRENNAN
LIBERAL CHAMPION
BY SETH STERN AND STEPHEN WERMIEL
Fall 2010, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
From Publishers Weekly PW: Starred Review. Congressional Quarterly reporter Stern and Wermiel, who teaches constitutional law at American University, have produced what will likely be the definitive biography of Supreme Court Justice William Brennan (1906–1997), arguably the most influential liberal justice in history. During 34 years on the court, he was instrumental in forming alliances with other justices resulting in majority opinions in such seminal cases as Roe v. Wade and Baker v. Carr (the one man–one vote case that changed America's political landscape). The book's strength is Wermiel's access to Brennan's private case notes (which are closed to the public until 2017) and dozens of interviews with Brennan himself. The case notes provide a detailed and fascinating account of how the Supreme Court functioned during Brennan's long tenure (from 1956 to 1990) that easily outshines recent high-profile books purporting to break the Court's seal of secrecy. Nowhere will readers find a better explanation of how the mix of personality and political philosophy drove, and presumably still drives, the Court. Both legal scholars and general readers will be delighted with this well-written, superbly documented biography, which may make liberals nostalgic for Brennan's court. 16 pages of b&w photos. BR> Click the book cover to read more.










[book] Crossing over Sea and Land
Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period
Michael F. Bird
2010
Were there Jewish missionaries during Jesus' time? Second Temple Judaism was not a typical missionary religion with decisive and intentional plans for converting those outside the faith. However, Jewish attitudes and actions toward the Gentile world were diverse in the scattered communities across Palestine, resulting in differing strategies for recruiting new adherents and useful sympathizers. Bird examines the extent and nature of Jewish proselytizing activity among non-Jews in Palestine and the Greco-Roman Diaspora leading up to and during the beginnings of the Christian era. He enters the debate by interacting with other works on the topic (Scott McKnight, Martin Goodman, John Dickson, Rodney Stark, John Barclay) and offers reasons why some researchers prefer one perspective over another. Based on evidence from forced conversions during the Maccabean period, Qumran, the Gospels, Palestinian inscriptions, and rabbinic literature, Bird asserts that no significant proselytizing activity occurred in Second Temple Palestine. He further examines the New Testament; Josephus and Philo; and Apologetic-Propagandistic, early Christian, Greek, and Latin literature and concludes that Jewish missionary activity during the Diaspora occurred only as isolated incidents. Those teaching and doing research in the area of ancient Judaism and the beginnings of Christianity will appreciate Bird's well-documented study. The inclusion of short extracts of primary sources with English translations makes the material more accessible to college and seminary students.
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[book] Kay Thompson
From Funny Face to Eloise
By Sam Irvin
November 2010, Simon & Schuster
Kay Thompson’s (Catherine “Kitty” Fink – as in Think Fink, a play on Think Pink from Funny Face, was a daughter of Leo George Fink of Vienna and WASPy Harriet Tetrick) larger-than-life story is an effervescent toast to show business with a shot of Auntie Mame and a twist of The Devil Wears Prada. An entertainer and a eccentric, Kay Thompson was the mentor/best friend of Judy Garland, the vocal guru for Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne, and the godmother of Liza Minnelli (who recreated Thompson’s nightclub act in her 2009 Tony Award–winning event, Liza’s at the Palace). Kay Thompson went to school with Tennessee Williams, auditioned for Henry Ford, got her first big break from Bing Crosby, trained Marilyn Monroe, channeled Elvis Presley, rejected Andy Warhol, rebuffed Federico Fellini, got fired by Howard Hughes, and SNUBBED Donald Trump. She coached Bette Davis and Eleanor Roosevelt; she created nightclub acts for Marlene Dietrich and Ginger Rogers; and when Lucille Ball had to sing on Broadway, Kay helped. Danny Kaye masqueraded in drag as her; Noël Coward and Cole Porter wrote musicals for her; and The Beatles wanted to hold her hand. She was a charter member of the Rat Pack, and directed John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Gala. She revolutionized the greatest film musicals with her audacious arrangements. In the 1950s, she became the highest-paid cabaret attraction in the world with her groundbreaking act "Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers," featuring her secret lover — Andy Williams. In 1955, she published her story of Eloise, the 6 year old at The Plaza hotel in Manhattan. She stole the show in Funny Face from Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. And here is her story.
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BUT WAS HE GOOD FOR THE JEWS? WHAT WAS SO NASTY THAT THEY WAITED 150 YEARS TO PUBLISH IT?
[book] Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1
By Mark Twain (Samuel Clements)
Edited by Harriet E. Smith, Benjamin Griffin, Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Sharon K. Goetz, Leslie Diane Myrick and others
November 2010, Univ of California Press, Glatfelter paper,
From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Mark Twain is his own greatest character in this brilliant self-portrait, the first of three volumes collected by the Mark Twain Project on the centenary of the author's death. It is published complete and unexpurgated for the first time. (Twain wanted his more scalding opinions suppressed until long after his death.) Eschewing chronology and organization, Twain simply meanders from observation to anecdote and between past and present. There are gorgeous reminiscences from his youth of landscapes, rural idylls, and Tom Sawyeresque japes; acid-etched profiles of friends and enemies, from his "fiendish" Florentine landlady to the fatuous and "grotesque" Rockefellers; a searing polemic on a 1906 American massacre of Filipino insurgents; a hilarious screed against a hapless editor who dared tweak his prose; and countless tales of the author's own bamboozlement, unto bankruptcy, by publishers, business partners, doctors, miscellaneous moochers; he was even outsmarted by a wild turkey. Laced with Twain's unique blend of humor and vitriol, the haphazard narrative is engrossing, hugely funny, and deeply revealing of its author's mind. His is a world where every piety conceals fraud and every arcadia a trace of violence; he relishes the human comedy and reveres true nobility, yet as he tolls the bell for friends and family--most tenderly in an elegy for his daughter Susy, who died in her early 20s of meningitis--he feels that life is a pointless charade. Twain's memoirs are a pointillist masterpiece from which his vision of America--half paradise, half swindle--emerges with indelible force.
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[book] DECISION POINTS
By GEORGE W. BUSH
43rd President of the United States of America
November 2010, Crown
President George W. Bush describes the critical decisions that shaped his 8 years as President and his personal life. Decision Points brings readers inside the Texas governor's mansion on the night of the 2000 election, aboard Air Force One during the harrowing hours after the attacks of September 11, 2001, into the Situation Room moments before the start of the war in Iraq, and behind the scenes at the White House for many other historic presidential decisions. For the first time, we learn President Bush's perspective and insights on:
His decision to quit drinking and the journey that led him to his Christian faith
The selection of the vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, Supreme Court justices, and other key officials
His relationships with his wife, daughters, and parents, including heartfelt letters between the president and his father on the eve of the Iraq War
His administration's counterterrorism programs, including the CIA's enhanced interrogations and the Terrorist Surveillance Program
Why the worst moment of the presidency was hearing accusations that race played a role in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and a critical assessment of what he would have done differently during the crisis
His deep concern that Iraq could turn into a defeat costlier than Vietnam, and how he decided to defy public opinion by ordering the troop surge
His legislative achievements, including tax cuts and reforming education and Medicare, as well as his setbacks, including Social Security and immigration reform
The relationships he forged with other world leaders, including an honest assessment of those he did and didn’t trust
Why the failure to bring Osama bin Laden to justice ranks as his biggest disappointment and why his success in denying the terrorists their fondest wish—attacking America again—is among his proudest achievements
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[book] LIFE
By KEITH RICHARDS, with James Fox
Musician, Member of The Rolling Stones.
Fall 2010, Little Brown
The New York Times reviewer wrote: "…By turns earnest and wicked, sweet and sarcastic and unsparing, Mr. Richards, now 66, writes with uncommon candor and immediacy....He gives us an indelible, time-capsule feel for the madness that was life on the road with the Stones in the years before and after Altamont; harrowing accounts of his many close shaves and narrow escapes (from the police, prison time, drug hell); and a heap of sharp-edged snapshots of friends and colleagues...But Life...is way more than a revealing showbiz memoir. It is also a high-def, high-velocity portrait of the era when rock 'n' roll came of age, a raw report from deep inside the counterculture maelstrom of how that music swept like a tsunami over Britain and the United States. It's an eye-opening all-nighter in the studio with a master craftsman disclosing the alchemical secrets of his art. And it's the intimate and moving story of one man's long strange trip over the decades, told in dead-on, visceral prose without any of the pretense, caution or self-consciousness that usually attend great artists sitting for their self-portraits....Mr. Richards has found a way to channel to the reader his own avidity, his own deep soul hunger for music and to make us feel the connections that bind one generation of musicians to another. Along the way he even manages to communicate something of that magic, electromagnetic experience of playing on stage with his mates, be it in a little club or a huge stadium."
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[book] DECODED
BY JAY-Z
AKA SHAWN EZEKIEL CARTER
Fall 2010, Spiegel and Grau
rich nyggas,
black bar-mitzvahs,
Mazel Tov it’s a celebration bitches,
L'Chayim I wish for you a hundred years of success but it's my time cheers, toast to crime number one d-boy damn he could rhyme
Jay-Z writes: Decoded is first and foremost, a book of rhymes, which is ironic because I don't actually write my rhymes--they come to me in my head and I record them. The book is packed with the stories from my life that are the foundation of my lyrics--stories about coming up in the streets of Brooklyn in the 80's and 90's, stories about becoming an artist and entrepreneur and discovering worlds that I never dreamed existed when I was a kid. But it always comes back to the rhymes. There's poetry in hip-hop lyrics--not just mine, but in the work of all the great hip-hop artists, from KRS-One and Rakim to Biggie and Pac to a hundred emcees on a hundred corners all over the world that you've never heard of. The magic of rap is in the way it can take the most specific experience, from individual lives in unlikely places, and turn them into art that can be embraced by the whole world. Decoded is a book about one of those specific lives--mine--and will show you how the things I've experienced and observed have made their way into the art I've created. It's also about how my work is sometimes not about my life at all, but about pushing the boundaries of what I can express through the poetry of rap--trying to use words to find fresh angles into emotions that we all share, which is the hidden mission in even the hardest hip-hop. Decoded is a book about some of my favorite songs--songs that I unpack and explain and surround with narratives about what inspired them--but behind the rhymes is the truest story of my life.
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[book] MY PASSION FOR DESIGN
BY BARBRA STREISAND
Fall 2010, VIkING
A lavishly illustrated personal tour of the great star's homes and collections. For nearly 50 years, Barbra Streisand has been a star in America. From the cabaret to the Broadway stage, from television and film stardom to her acclaimed work as a director, from the recording studio to the concert hall, she has demonstrated that the extraordinary voice that launched her career was only one of her remarkable gifts. Now, in her first book, Barbra Streisand reveals another aspect of her talent: the taste and style that have inspired her beautiful homes and collections. My Passion for Design focuses on the architecture and construction of her newest homes, the dream refuge that she has longed for since the days when she shared a small Brooklyn apartment with her mother, brother, and grandparents. A culmination and reflection of Streisand's love of American architecture and design between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, the book contains many of her own photographs of the rooms she has decorated, the furniture and art she has collected, and the ravishing gardens she has planted on her land on the California coast. In addition to glimpses of her homes, Barbra shares memories of her childhood, the development of her sense of style, and what collecting has come to mean to her. My Passion for Design is a rare and intimate private tour into the world of one of our most beloved stars. It will be welcomed by her many fans and all lovers of the great achievements of American design.
Streisand has an Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Directors Guild of America award, Golden Globe, NEA award, and a Peabody, as well as the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honors.
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Best chapter is perhaps the half page one CHICKEN SOUP. Or maybe her admission that she went to Washington DC for the 1967 March on Washington and the Pentagon, but spent the day in the hotel having sex with her lawyer boyfriend of the time. Or how Lillian Hellman's furnishing's were “Jewish” but there was no Ben Shahn, and how she practiced the Manhattan Jewish practice of trading compliments with you only if you had one for her (T.L., Trade Last).
[book] I REMEMBER NOTHING AND OTHER REFLECTIONS
BY NORA EPHRON
Fall 2010, Knopf
From Publishers Weekly: Reading these succinct, razor-sharp essays by veteran humorist (I Feel Bad About My Neck), novelist, and screenwriter-director Ephron is to be reminded that she cut her teeth as a New York Post writer in the 1960s, as she recounts in the most substantial selection here, "Journalism: A Love Story." Forthright, frequently wickedly backhanded, these essays cover the gamut of later-life observations (she is 69), from the dourly hilarious title essay about losing her memory, which asserts that her ubiquitous senior moment has now become the requisite Google moment, to several flimsy lists, such as "Twenty-five Things People Have a Shocking Capacity to Be Surprised by Over and Over Again," e.g., "Movies have no political effect whatsoever." Shorts such as the several "I Just Want to Say" pieces feature Ephron's trademark prickly contrariness and are stylistically digestible for the tabloids. Other essays delve into memories of fascinating people she knew, such as the Lillian Hellman of Pentimento, whom she adored until the older woman's egomania rubbed her the wrong way. Most winning, however, are her priceless reflections on her early life, such as growing up in Beverly Hills with her movie-people parents, and how being divorced shaped the bulk of her life, in "The D Word." There's an elegiac quality to many of these pieces, handled with wit and tenderness
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[book] Frank
The Voice
By James Kaplan
November 2010, Doubleday
From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. In this riveting and fast-paced biography, Kaplan, coauthor with Jerry Lewis of Dean and Me, chronicles Sinatra's somewhat unlikely meteoric ascent to success, his failures, and his rebirth as a star of song and screen. With exhaustive, and sometimes exhausting, detail, Kaplan engagingly re-creates the young Sinatra's childhood in Hoboken, N.J., where young Frank was born, in 1915. By the time he was 12, Sinatra was singing for quarters on top of the piano in the bar in his father's tavern. At 21, Frankie joined a group that became known as the Hoboken Four, and everyone soon recognized Sinatra's great vocal gift. Kaplan expertly conducts us on a journey through Sinatra's early years with Tommy Dorsey and his long solo career; Sinatra's first marriage to Nancy Barbato and his more famous marriage to Ava Gardner; and through Sinatra's movie career and his rebirth in the early 1950s. Although Sinatra's career often faltered in the late 1940s, his partnership with Nelson Riddle and the release of the song "Young at Heart" in 1953 began Sinatra's comeback. Kaplan's enthralling tale of an American icon serves as an introduction of "old blue eyes" to a new generation of listeners while winning the hearts of Sinatra's diehard fans.
From The Los Angeles Times review of the book: “Some of the most compelling material involves Sinatra's doomed marriage to Ava Gardner, who became not only the dark muse of the singer's best vocal work but also the prime mover in obtaining the role in "From Here to Eternity" that made him once again a star. Most people think they know the story of how Sinatra (whose connections to the mob were complicated) got the part because they've seen Mario Puzo's unforgettable fictional gloss on the episode in " The Godfather." As Kaplan compellingly recounts it, the real story is far more fascinating. Sinatra's career was at its nadir when he married Gardner, the film industry's reigning beauty. They were too much alike ever to stay married — both were easily bored, drank like fish (vodka for her, Jack Daniel's for him), had terrible tempers, couldn't stand to be alone and fell into bed with whomever happened to be close. When it became apparent to Gardner how perfect the part of Maggio would be for Sinatra, she approached their mutual friend Harry Cohn, who was making the film, and offered to do a picture for him for free if he would give Sinatra a screen test. The call for that came while the singer was in Africa with Gardner on the set of "Mogambo" — the portrait of her relationship with director John Ford is one of the book's best — and she lent Sinatra the money to fly back to film the test. Unlike Puzo's fictional mogul, Jack Woltz, Cohn was genuinely fond of Sinatra and once had flown to New York to nurse him through a serious illness. Ultimately, though, in Kaplan's version, he chose him for the role for two reasons — Cohn thought the other finalist, Eli Wallach, looked too Jewish for the part, and the movie already was over budget and Sinatra was willing to work for just $1,000 a week.”
From Slate: “…One of the key incidents in Sinatra's life came in 1939, when Harry James asked the young singer to adopt a stage alias. (James' suggestion: "Frankie Satin.") Anthony Benedetto changed his name to Tony Bennett; Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan. But Sinatra refused, threatening to walk away from the biggest break of his career: "You want the singer, take the name." He bore that name with haughty dignity; unlike his friend Dean Martin (né Dino Paul Crocetti), he never dipped into the dialect songbook, playing his ethnicity for cheap laughs—no "Mambo Italiano," no "That's Amore." Sinatra "reclaimed the power of his Italianness" every time he strode onstage to sing American popular songs with his Old World surname blazing on the marquee. “
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MAYBE YOU SAW HIM AT YOUR JCC, OR ON THE CBS SUNDAY MORNING SHOW…
[book] A t IFT
How One Man's Kindness
--and a Trove of Letters--
Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression
BY Ted Gup
Fall 2010, Penguin
From Publishers Weekly: “In a book grown out of a New York Times op-ed piece that drew a huge response, Gup (The Book of Honor) explores an unusual act of generosity by his grandfather, Sam Stone, during the Great Depression and other mysteries of Stone's life. Discovering a trunk full of old letters addressed to "Mr. B. Virdot," (B VIR DOT… an amalgam of Sam Stone’s daughters’ names) Gup soon learned that the letters were responses to a newspaper ad Stone ran before Christmas 1933, anonymously promising to 75 of Canton, Ohio's neediest families if they wrote letters describing their hardships. But Gup soon learns that Stone had other secrets: the jovial, wealthy businessman had escaped a horrific childhood as a Romanian Jew, immigrating to America and reinventing himself to fit into all-American Canton, Ohio. (He had told his family that he was from Pittsburgh. He told no one that he was actually from Romania)
Gup also tracked down families who benefited from Stone's gift to discover the impact it had on their lives. Gup paints sobering pictures of "the Hard Times" and the gift made by a successful man who hadn't forgotten his own hard times.”
From the blurb: “… Gup has re-created the impact that Mr B. Virdot's gift had on each family. Many people yearned for bread, coal, or other necessities, but many others received money from B. Virdot for more fanciful items-a toy horse, say, or a set of encyclopedias. As Gup's investigations revealed, all these things had the power to turn people's lives around- even to save them. But as he uncovered the suffering and triumphs of dozens of strangers, Gup also learned that Sam Stone was far more complex than the lovable- retiree persona he'd always shown his grandson. Gup unearths deeply buried details about Sam's life-from his impoverished, abusive upbringing to felonious efforts to hide his immigrant origins from U.S. officials-that help explain why he felt such a strong affinity to strangers in need….”
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You mean he wasn’t just the old guy who brought pandas to the San Diego zoo??
[book] Brute
The Life of Victor Krulak
U.S. Marine
BY Robert Coram
Nov 10, 2010, Little, Brown
From Publishers Weekly: Coram clearly admires Krulak (1913–2008), a contentious Marine leader, and most readers will agree. Son of Jewish immigrants (a fact he suppressed), he attended Annapolis to obtain a free education. After observing Japanese naval operations as a young officer in 1937, he worked tirelessly to promote his design for what later became the Higgins boat, which proved essential for WWII amphibious operations. A decade later, he fought for acceptance of the helicopter. Krulak won numerous decorations for courage and rose to high command, where, Coram claims, his Marines enjoyed greater success than the army in Vietnam, although bitter quarrels with superiors and President Johnson over the war's conduct denied him his dream of becoming Marine Corps commandant. Despite Coram's high regard for Krulak and worshipful view of the Marines, he reveals innumerable details that Krulak suppressed, distorted, or invented in oral histories. Coram portrays a driven, fiercely outspoken. but creative warrior who probably deserves his legendary status.
Coram relates that if Victor "Brute" Krulak hadn't lied about his Jewish roots and obsessively covered up his background in order to gain entry to the traditionally intolerant military circles of the past, would the outcome of World War II — and indeed many of the key turns of the last century — have been very different? It's a central question. Brute Krulak, was a war hero, liar, bureaucratic conniver and self-sacrificing patriot. He was also, Coram writes, the greatest Marine who ever lived.
Little known outside the Marine Corps, Krulak surely ranks as one of the most important people you've never heard of. As a newly commissioned officer in 1930s Shanghai China, he “borrowed” a tugboat and sailed among a Japanese invasion force, gaining crucial Japanese design details that would allow Americans to construct the hardy amphibious landing craft boats that would later ferry troops ashore in the Pacific and in Normandy. After WWII, he was the driving force in a secret Marine Corps effort to stop an Army-backed military reorganization scheme (They wanted to be like Germany’s General Staff; whereas krulak wanted civilian control and not direct Presidential control). Krulak introduced helicopters into Marine combat, as well as essentially write the book on counterinsurgency and play a key role in America's growing involvement in Vietnam. Sensing the war going the wrong way, he bluntly confronted President Lyndon Johnson. It was one fight he wouldn't win, and it ended his career. LBJ let him dangle. Even though he wrote many books, Krulak refused to open up about his Jewish background. He died in 2008. His grandparents on both sides were Jews. He grew up quite secular in Colorado and Wyoming. When he went to Annapolis, he told people he had grown up Episcopalian. He walled off his past at the Naval Academy. It left him with no grounding — he had no roots essentially — and so he created his own life and identity. But he never changed his name or volunteered to be baptized. Remember… Jews in the Marines at that time got no further than captain and were usually just driven out
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[book] The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism
Edited by John J. Collins and Daniel C. Harlow
October 15, 2010, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
The Dictionary of Early Judaism is the first reference work devoted exclusively to Second Temple Judaism (fourth century b.c.e. through second century c.e.). The first section of this substantive and incredible work contains thirteen major essays that attempt to synthesize major aspects of Judaism in the period between Alexander and Hadrian. The second — and significantly longer — section offers 520 entries arranged alphabetically. Many of these entries have cross-references and all have select bibliographies. Equal attention is given to literary and nonliterary (i.e. archaeological and epigraphic) evidence and New Testament writings are included as evidence for Judaism in the first century c.e. Several entries also give pertinent information on the Hebrew Bible. The Dictionary of Early Judaism is intended to not only meet the needs of scholars and students — at which it succeeds admirably — but also to provide accessible information for the general reader. It is ecumenical and international in character, bringing together nearly 270 authors from as many as twenty countries and including Jews, Christians, and scholars of no religious affiliation.
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[book] HEROES
WHAT THEY DO AND WHY WE NEED THEM
BY SCOTT T. ALLISON AND GEOGE R. GOETHAL
November 2010, Oxford
Abraham Lincoln, Princess Diana, Rick in Casablanca--why do we perceive certain people as heroes? What qualities do we see in them? What must they do to win our admiration? In Heroes, Scott T. Allison and George R. Goethals offer a stimulating tour of the psychology of heroism, shedding light on what heroism and villainy mean to most people and why heroes--both real people and fictional characters--are so vital to our lives. The book discusses a broad range of heroes, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino, Senator Ted Kennedy, and explorer Ernest Shackleton, plus villains such as Shakespeare's Iago. The authors highlight the Great Eight traits of heroes (smart, strong, selfless, caring, charismatic, resilient, reliable, and inspiring) and outline the mental models that we have of how people become heroes, from the underdog who defies great odds (David vs. Goliath) to the heroes who redeem themselves or who overcome adversity. Brimming with psychological insight, Heroes provides an illuminating look at heroes--and into our own minds as well.
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SELECTED DECEMBER 2010 BOOKS


[book] KADDISH AND OTHER POEMS
1958 - 1960
BY ALLEN GINSBERG
50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Number Fourteen
December 2010, City Lights Publishers
Allen Ginsberg's "Kaddish," a poem about the death of his mother, Naomi, is one of his major works. This special fiftieth anniversary edition of Kaddish and Other Poems features an illuminating afterword by Ginsberg biographer Bill Morgan, along with previously unpublished photographs, documents, and letters relating to the composition of the poem. Allen Ginsberg, founding father of the Beat Generation, inspired the American counterculture of the second half of the twentieth century with his groundbreaking poems. Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), founding father of the Beat Generation, inspired the American counterculture of the second half of the twentieth century with his grounbreaking poems. His books include Howl & Other Poems, Kaddish & Other Poems, Reality Sandwiches, Planet News, Fall of American, Mind Breaths, and Plutonian Ode, all published by City Lights.
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[book] LIFE IN MINIATURE
A NOVEL
BY LINDA SCHLOSSBERG
December 2010, Kensington
Adie has always known she was different. There's her size, for one thing. Born three months premature, Adie is the smallest of her peers. Then there's Adie's Jewish mother, who at first glance seems like so many other 1980s mums - clipping coupons and attending Feel the Burn aerobics classes. But beneath the surface is something erratic and unpredictable, something that makes her drag Adie and her older sister, Miriam, from one rental apartment to the next - until Miriam runs away. Adie is left behind with her mother, who is convinced their lives are in real danger and takes Adie on a crazy run across northern California. Now Adie faces a stark choice: submit to this increasingly surreal adventure, or grow up in ways she never imagined
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Or click here to read an excerpt on google: Click here









[book] God of Our Understanding
Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction
By Rabbi Shais Taub
2010, KTAV
Addiction and Spirituality are frequently used terms. Unfortunately, their real meaning is often misunderstood, resulting in much confusion and resistance to recovery.
Every now and again I run across a book that just grabs me. Rabbi Taub has written such a book. His understanding of the disease of addiction is refreshing. Instead of focusing on the pathology that causes addiction, he understands our problem from a unique perspective -- that addiction happens because of what is right about us. It is obvious that this book is written by a man who has integrated his understanding of spirituality into his personal experience with recovery. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of the interface between spirituality, addiction and recovery. --Dr. Allen Berger, Ph.D., author of 12 Stupid Things that Mess Up Recovery and 12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs are Gone
In G-d of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality & Recovery from Addiction, Rabbi Taub has masterfully elucidated these concepts. This is book which should be read by all clergy, therapists, people in recovery -- people who should be in recovery -- and their family members. --Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D., Founder, Medical Director Emeritus, Gateway Rehabilitation Center







[book] BROOKLYN STORY
A NOVEL
BY SUZANNE CORSO
December 2010, S&S
From Publishers Weekly: Tony Manero wouldn't be out of place in this competent coming-of-age debut set in 1978 Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, where Samantha Bonti longs to make it in the big time across the East River. With her Smith-Corona, ambition, good looks, and little else--Sam's Jewish mom's a bitter, drunken mess on welfare, her Italian dad's long gone--the 15-year-old negotiates the shady world of the "Brooklyn Boys" and what it means to be the girlfriend of mob acolyte Tony Kroon. "All ya need is me," he ominously insists. Corso gets the Brooklyn dialect pitch-perfect and keeps the pace brisk, and though the narration too often reads like stage notes, the universal story of longing, loyalty, and growing up rings true
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[book] THE SECRET LIFE OF MS FINKLEMAN
BY BEN H. WINTERS
2010, Harper
Ages 8 - 12
Ms. Finkleman is just our boring old music teacher. Or is she? It all starts with a Special Project in Mr. Melville's Social Studies class: Solve a mystery in your own life. For seventh grader Bethesda Fielding, one mystery is too tempting to ignore: Ms. Finkleman. Bethesda is convinced that her mousy Music Fundamentals teacher is hiding a secret life, and she’s determined to find out what it is. But no one is prepared for what she learns. Ms. Finkleman used to be . . . a rock star? Soon the whole school goes rock crazy, and a giant concert is in the works with none other than timid Ms. Finkleman at the helm! But the case isn’t quite closed, and the questions continue to swirl for Bethesda. Could there be even more to the secret life of Ms. Finkleman than she already revealed? With the help of her rock-obsessed classmate Tenny Boyer, Bethesda won’t stop until she solves the real mystery of Ms. Finkleman once and for all! .
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[book] STONE UPON STONE
By Wieslaw Mysliwski
Translated from Polish
December 2010, Archipelago
Mysliwski's grand epic in the rural tradition — a profound and irreverent stream of memory cutting through the rich and varied terrain of one man’s connection to the land, to his family and community, to women, to tradition, to God, to death, and to what it means to be alive. Wise and impetuous, plain-spoken and compassionate Szymek, recalls his youth in their village, his time as a guerrilla soldier, as a wedding official, barber, policeman, lover, drinker, and caretaker for his invalid brother. Filled with interwoven stories and voices, by turns hilarious and moving, Szymek’s narrative exudes the profound wisdom of one who has suffered, yet who loves life to the very core. Like a more agrarian Beckett, a less gothic Faulkner, a slightly warmer Laxness, Mysliwski masterfully renders in Johnston's gorgeous translation (Mysliwski's first into English) life in a Polish farming village before and after WWII. . . . Richly textured and wonderfully evocative, the novel renders Szymus as a distinctly memorable character, whose humor and hard-earned wisdom lend beauty to a bleak vision of a land destroyed by war and ravaged by history, and whose voice--sometimes warm, sometimes ornery, always elegiac--is undeniably original, his digressions and ruminations forming a story that reminds us that 'words are a great grace. When it comes down to it, what are you given other than words?'
"Stone upon Stone is the first masterpiece in Slavic literature, perhaps even in European literature, in which the fate of the peasant attains the standing of human fate in all its tragic vastness." —Anna Tatarkiewicz
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SELECTED JANUARY 2011 BOOKS


[book] Cinderella Ate My Daughter
Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
By Peggy Orenstein
January 2011, Harper
When Peggy Orenstein published a story in The New York Times Magazine about princess sulture, she received a firestorm of comments and mail. “what’s Wrong with Cinderella?” was the most emailed article. Afterwards, she set out to investigate the issue more. Chapter 7 on Wholesome or Whoresome, about cultural pricesses (Miley) all grown up, sets the tone. The Girl Power Index, a measurement of shopping mall profitability based on girl spending is informative as well. Her look at studies on what makes tomboys and girly girls, and whether mixed sex play is actually mixing or just a boy and a girl playing NEXT to each other is fascinating as well.
Pink and pretty, or predatory and hardened; sexualized girlhoods influence our daughters' lives from infancy onward, telling them that their image is more important than their essence and looks matter. The pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as a source of female empowerment. And commercialization—officially-licensed tiaras, pink soccer balls, "bootylicious" fashion dolls, steamy music videos—has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages. But, realistically, how many times can a parent say no when her daughter begs for a pink tulle princess dress, a makeover birthday party, or the latest Hannah Montana CD? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anyway—especially given girls' successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all. It's adorable watching them pretend to be Snow White or Ariel, innocent and pure, safe from the dangers of the grown-up world. And eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from early sexualization—or prime them for it? Is today's little princess going to be tomorrow's sexting teen? And what if she is? Does that make her in charge of her sexuality—or an unwitting captive to it? And what are parents supposed to do to avoid all this, move to Sweden, where marketing to children under 12 is illegal? Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, investigates. She visited Disneyland trolled American Girl Place and Pottery Barn Kids, met the parents of preschoolers tricked out like Las Vegas showgirls at beauty pageants and watched Miley Cyrus prance across a concert stage.
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[book] THE TRUTH ABOUT GRIEF
THE MYTH OF ITS FIVE STAGES AND THE NEW SCIENCE OF LOSS
By Ruth Davis Konigsberg
January 2011, Simon and Schuster
In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published ON DEATH AND DYING, in which she discussed the several stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Konigsberg was barely 1 year old, when this hypothesis became a truism and accepted fact. Konigsberg, a fashion magazine editor, deconstructs this and reports that it is false. She finds that most people are resilient and can get over grief on their own with their families, without the need to for psychologists and therapists and books. She reports that grief is not a PROCESS, either. Chapters include: The American Way of Grief; Is Widowhood Forever; The Grief Counseling Industry; Grief for Export; and Grief and the Sexes.
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[book] I Shall Not Hate
A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity
Izzeldin Abuelaish
January 2011, Walker
PW: “Born in a refugee camp in 1955, Palestinian physician Abuelaish suffers a catastrophic loss when three of his daughters are killed in their home by Israeli fire in 2009. An Israeli television journalist's live broadcast of his call for help captures Israeli public and world press attention. "Most of the world has heard of the Gaza Strip," as Abuelaish says, "[b]ut few know what it's like to live here, blockaded, impoverished, year after year, decade after decade." Abuelaish portrays everyday life in Gaza and tells the remarkable story of how he came to be "the first Palestinian doctor to be on staff at an Israeli hospital." The "tortured politics of Palestine, Israel, and the Middle East" are rendered graphic by his personal accounts of "the humiliation, the fear, the physical difficulty" of border checkpoints and bulldozed homes. Abuelaish tells of the "satisfying, even wonderful" moments, "the good chapter of a bad story," as well; an infertility specialist, he is as "thoroughly smitten" with his research as he is appalled that "Gaza hospitals are rundown and can't be repaired because of an embargo [that] is preposterous." Abuelaish knows anger, but in this impassioned, committed attempt to show the reader life on the sliver of land that is Gaza, he demonstrates that "[a]nger is not the same as hate."”
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[book] THE BEST LAID PLANS
A NOVEL
BY LYNN SCHNURNBERGER
January 2011, Ballantine
From Lynn Schnurnberger, bestselling co-author of Mine Are Spectacular! and The Botox Diaries, comes a novel of big secrets, family ties, and a reminder that sometimes The Best Laid Plans can lead to delightful surprises. Tru Newman is one of the Upper East Side “M&Ms”—the wealthy stay-at-home moms who are into personal Maintenance and Mothering. Having been raised by a beauty queen mother who constantly picked on her, Tru loves looking after her investment banker husband, Peter, and their twin teen daughters. But her perfect world spins off its axis the night Tru throws a charity benefit and discovers that Peter’s been out of work for three months. Even worse, the family’s been living on a house of cards—specifically, Visa and Amex—that’s about to collapse.
Suze Orman tells Tru to “Get a job!” But doing what? When Tru’s best friend, Sienna Post, loses her position as an anchor on the local nightly news, the two hatch a profitable if illegal plan: They’ll open an escort service with “working girls” all over the age of forty. Modeling themselves on Carla Bruni (“after she married the president of France, not before, when she was dating Mick Jagger”), their smart, sexy, seasoned escorts become a big hit with a roster of thirty-year-old clients. If only Tru’s legit life could fall so easily into place: Her husband’s new job has him working side by side with a flirtatious neighbor, her fourteen-year-old twins are competing over a two-timing, Clearasil-using Casanova, and after suffering a heart attack in her bodybuilding class, Tru’s hypercritical mother moves in with her. Not to mention that the gossip columns get wind that Tru and Sienna’s “temp agency” isn’t on the up-and-up—and the DA is on their case. But for the savvy and spirited Tru, these new obstacles bring unexpected benefits—from Geisha facials, to massage toys that are “better than chocolate,” to the realization that at midlife, she’s more comfortable than ever before in her own skin and more grateful for all that she has. By turns touching and laugh-out-loud funny, this is a must-read for every woman who knows it’s never too late to make a fresh start
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[book] A STRANGER ON THE PLANET
BY ADAM SCHWARTZ
January 2011, SoHo Press
In the summer of 1969, twelve-year-old Seth lives with his unstable mother, Ruth, and his brother and sister in a two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey. His father lives with his new wife in a ten-room house and has no interest in Seth and his siblings. Seth is dying to escape from his mother’s craziness and suffocating love, her marriage to a man she’s known for two weeks, and his father’s cold disregard.
Over the next four decades, Seth becomes the keeper of his family’s memories and secrets. At the same time, he emotionally isolates himself from all those who love him, especially his mother. But Ruth is also Seth’s muse, and this enables him to ultimately find redemption, for both himself and his family.
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[book] Cocaine's Son
A Memoir
By Dave Itzkoff
January 2011, Villard
With sharp wit, self-deprecating humor, and penetrating honesty, New York Times journalist Dave Itzkoff turns a keen eye on his life with the mysterious, maddening, much-loved man of whom he writes, “for the first eight years of my life I seem to have believed he was the product of my imagination.”
Itzkoff’s father was the man who lumbered home at night and spent hours murmuring to his small son about his dreams and hopes for the boy’s future, and the fears and failures of his own past. He was the hard-nosed New York fur merchant with an unexpectedly emotional soul; a purveyor of well-worn anecdotes and bittersweet life lessons; a trusted ally in childhood revolts against motherly discipline and Hebrew school drudgery; a friend, advisor, and confidant. He was also a junkie. In Cocaine’s Son, Itzkoff chronicles his coming of age in the disjointed shadow of his father’s double life—struggling to reconcile his love for the garrulous protector and provider, and his loathing for the pitiful addict.
Through his adolescent and teen years Itzkoff is haunted by the spectacle of his father’s drug-fueled depressions and disappearances. In college, Itzkoff plunges into his own seemingly fated bout with substance abuse. And later, an emotional therapy session ends in the intense certainty that he will never overcome the same demons that have driven the older man. But when his father finally gets clean, a long “morning after” begins for them both. And on a road trip across the country and back into memory, in search of clues and revelations, together they discover that there may be more binding them than ever separated them. Unsparing and heartbreaking, mordantly funny and powerfully felt, Cocaine’s Son clears a place for Dave Itzkoff in the forefront of contemporary memoirists.
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[book] UGLY BEAUTY
Our Man in Tehran
The Truth Behind the Secret Mission to Save
Six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis
and the Ambassador Who Worked with the CIA to Bring Them Home
By Robert Wright
January 2011, Other Press
The world watched with fear in November 1979, when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. The Americans were caught entirely by surprise, and what began as a swift and seemingly short-lived takeover evolved into a crisis that would see fifty four embassy personnel held hostage, most for 444 days. As Tehran exploded in a fury of revolution, six American diplomats secretly escaped. For three months, Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran—along with his wife and embassy staffers—concealed the Americans in their homes, always with the prospect that the revolutionary government of Ayatollah Khomeini would exact deadly consequences. The United States found itself handcuffed by a fractured, fundamentalist government it could not understand and had completely underestimated. With limited intelligence resources available on the ground and anti-American sentiment growing, President Carter turned to Taylor to work with the CIA in developing their exfiltration plans. Until now, the true story behind Taylor’s involvement in the escape of the six diplomats and the Eagle Claw commando raid has remained classified.
In Our Man in Tehran, Robert Wright takes us back to a major historical flashpoint and unfolds a story of cloak-and-dagger intrigue that brings a new understanding of the strained relationship between the Unites States and Iran. With the world once again focused on these two countries, this book is the stuff of John le Carré and Daniel Silva made real.
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[book] THE GOLDSTONE REPORT
THE LEGACY OF THE LANDMARK
INVESTIGATION OF THE GAZA CONFLICT
EDITED BY ADAM HOROWITZ
LIZZY RATNER, AND PHILIP WEISS
January 2011, Nation books
From the publishers of “the nation”, that “lover” of Zion... (not)
COVER BLURB: This is the controversial - and vital - report on the truth behind Israel's incursion into Gaza and the atrocities committed by both sides. "The Goldstone Report" is one of the most controversial UN reports ever published. It alleges that both Israel and Hamas committed atrocities when Israel invaded Gaza in January 2009 as a part of Operation Cast Lead. Justice Richard Goldstone, a celebrated South African and Jewish human rights lawyer, oversaw the UN fact-finding mission after the invasion. What Goldstone found, and later published, caused a maelstrom within Israel and the international community at large. Goldstone was demonized by many who claimed bias, intimating the report unfairly vilified Israel. Though the findings are of enormous historical, political and moral significance, few have actually read the document in its entirety - thus the furious political debate that mushroomed in the wake of its publication has supplanted any true understanding of the report's discoveries. "The Goldstone Report: The Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict of 2008-2009" will change this. Edited by three progressive American Jews, Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner and Philip Weiss, "The Goldstone Report" is an edited and annotated edition of the report that contains analysis, original essays and a context for the debate.
Philip Weiss has written for The New York Observer, The Nation, The American Conservative, National Review, Washington Monthly, New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Harper's and Jewish World Review. He writes mainly from a progressive Jewish perspective. Adam Horowitz lives in New York City; he is the former Director of the Israel/Palestine Programme for the Quaker led American Friends Service Committee. Lizzy Ratner has written for The Nation and The New York Observer.
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[book] I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED THE HOLY TONGUE
ISAAC CASAUBON, THE JEWS, AND A FORGOTTEN
CHAPTER IN RENAISSANCE SCHOLARSHIP
By Anthony Grafton and Joanne Weinberg
January 2011, Harvard
Fusing high scholarship with high drama, Anthony Grafton and Joanna Weinberg uncover a secret and extraordinary aspect of a legendary Renaissance scholar’s already celebrated achievement. The French Protestant Isaac Casaubon (1559–1614) is known to us through his pedantic namesake in George Eliot’s Middlemarch. But in this book, the real Casaubon emerges as a genuine literary hero, an intrepid explorer in the world of books. With a flair for storytelling reminiscent of Umberto Eco, Grafton and Weinberg follow Casaubon as he unearths the lost continent of Hebrew learning—and adds this ancient lore to the well-known Renaissance revival of Latin and Greek.
The mystery begins with Mark Pattison’s nineteenth-century biography of Casaubon. Here we encounter the Protestant Casaubon embroiled in intellectual quarrels with the Italian and Catholic orator Cesare Baronio. Setting out to understand the nature of this imbroglio, Grafton and Weinberg discover Casaubon’s knowledge of Hebrew. Close reading and sedulous inquiry were Casaubon’s tools in recapturing the lost learning of the ancients—and these are the tools that serve Grafton and Weinberg as they pore through pre-1600 books in Hebrew, and through Casaubon’s own manuscript notebooks. Their search takes them from Oxford to Cambridge, from Dublin to Cambridge, Massachusetts, as they reveal how the scholar discovered the learning of the Hebrews—and at what cost.
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75,000 COPIES ARE BEING PRINTED… SHOULD BE HUGE
[book] THE LAST JEW OF TREBLINKA
A Memoir
By Chil Rajchman with a Preface by Elie Wiesel
February 2011, Pegasus
Why do some live while so many others perish? Tiny children, old men, beautiful girls. In the gas chambers of Treblinka, all are equal. The Nazis kept the fires of Treblinka burning night and day, a central cog in the wheel of the Final Solution. There was no pretense of work here like in Auschwitz or Birkenau. Only a train platform and a road covered with sand. A road that led only to death. But not for Chil Rajchman, a young man who survived working as a “barber” and “dentist,” heartsick with witnessing atrocity after atrocity. Yet he managed to survive so that somehow he could tell the world what he had seen. How he found the dress of his little sister abandoned in the woods. How he was forced to extract gold teeth from the corpses. How every night he had to cover the body-pits with sand. How ever morning the blood of thousands still rose to the surface. Many have courageously told their stories, and in the tradition of Elie Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’s Survival at Auschwitz and The Drowned and the Saved, Rajchman provides the only survivors’ record of Treblinka. Originally written in Yiddish in 1945 without hope or agenda other than to bear witness, Rajchman’s tale shows that sometimes the bravest and most painful act of all is to remember.
Chil Rajchman was born in Lodz, Poland, where he was an active member of the Jewish community. He survived for a year in the notorious Treblinka death camp and was part of the Treblinka workers’ revolt. Rajchman was also a key witness in the prosecution of a Treblinka guard known as “Ivan the Terrible” during a war-crime tribunal in Germany. He emigrated to Uruguay, where passed away in 2004.
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[book] In the Valley of the Shadow
On the Foundations of Religious Belief
BY James L. Kugel
February 2011, Free Press
TEN YEARS AGO, Harvard professor James Kugel was diagnosed with an aggressive, likely fatal, form of cancer. “I was, of course, disturbed and worried. But the main change in my state of mind was that the background music had suddenly stopped—the music of daily life that’s constantly going, the music of infinite time and possibilities. Now suddenly it was gone, replaced by nothing, just silence. There you are, one little person, sitting in the late summer sun, with only a few things left to do.”
Despite his illness, Kugel was intrigued by this new state of mind and especially the uncanny feeling of human smallness that came with it. There seemed to be something overwhelmingly true about it—and its starkness reminded him of certain themes and motifs he had encountered in his years of studying ancient religions. “This, I remember thinking, was something I should really look into further—if ever I got the chance.”
In the Valley of the Shadow is the result of that search. In this wide-ranging exploration of different aspects of religion—interspersed with his personal reflections on the course of his own illness—Kugel seeks to uncover what he calls “the starting point of religious consciousness,” an ancient “sense of self” and a way of fitting into the world that is quite at odds with the usual one. He tracks these down in accounts written long ago of human meetings with gods and angels, anthropologists’ descriptions of the lives of hunter-gatherers, the role of witchcraft in African societies, first-person narratives of religious conversions, as well as the experimental data assembled by contemporary neuroscientists and evolutionary biologists.
Though this different sense of how we fit into the world has largely disappeared from our own societies, it can still come back to us as a fleeting state of mind, “when you are just sitting on some park bench somewhere; or at a wedding, while everyone else is dancing and jumping around; or else one day standing in your backyard, as the sun streams down through the trees . . . ” Experienced in its fullness, this different way of seeing opens onto a stark, new landscape ordinarily hidden from human eyes.
Kugel’s look at the whole phenomenon of religious beliefs is a rigorously honest, sometimes skeptical, but ultimately deeply moving affirmation of faith in God. One of our generation’s leading biblical scholars has created a powerful meditation on humanity’s place in the world and all that matters most in our lives. Believers and doubters alike will be struck by its combination of objective scholarship and poetic insight, which makes for a single, beautifully crafted consideration of life’s greatest mystery.
Kugel, the Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University, explores the history of religious doubts and the idea of SMALLNESS and so many interesting topics. It is a depply moving affirmation of faith in God. He will do readings in Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, SF, DC, and Philly.
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[book] REVOLUTION
THE YEAR I FELL IN LOVE
And Went to Join The War
By Deb Olin Unferth
February 2011, Henry Holt and Company
A new twist on the coming-of-age memoir in this eccentric and captivating story of the summer the author ran away from college to join the Sandinista revolutionaries in Nicaragua. "1987 is the year I did nothing. The year I fought in no war, contributed to no cause, didn't get shot, jailed, or injured . . . The only thing that changed as a result of our presence was us." Some people go to the Tibetan Himalayas to find themselves; some to Italy's great temples of art. Not Deb Olin Unferth. A freshman at a large state university, she grew up Jewish. Then Unferth fell in love with a Christian idealist, converted, and followed him to Central America in search of a revolution. Despite their earnest commitment to revolutionary causes — all revolutionary causes — and to each other, the couple find themselves unwanted, unhelpful, and unprepared as they bop around looking for "revolution jobs."
As the months wear on, cracks begin to form in the foundation of their relationship. They get fired, they get sick, they run out of money and grow disillusioned with the revolution and each other. With an unflinching and unique comic sensibility, Unferth reflects on the youthful search for meaning and on what happens to a country and its people after the revolution is over.
Unferth prior work received a NYT Book Review Critics Choice, and the 2009 Cabell award.
PS: Before your run off and join a revolution, you should
Figure out if you have an applicable skill: healthcare, jeep repair, food production?<
Know your limits: Are you a pacifist. Can you kill someone? Do you like to debate and argue and get into fights?
Are you good at childcare? There is an astonishing high need for childcare during revolutions
Can you relocate?
Do you like to join things? Can you shout at rallie?
And bring a roll of toilet paper
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[book] ORPHEUS IN MANHATTAN
WILLIAM SCHUMAN AND THE SHAPING OF AMERICA'S MUSICAL LIFE
BY STEVE SWAYNE, Dartmouth
February 2011, Oxford University Press
The son of Samuel Schuman, a businessman, and Rachel "Ray" (Heilbrunn) Schuman, William Howard Schuman was named after President William Howard Taft. He was born in New York City on April 4, 1910, and grew up in a household that typified American life in the early decades of the 20th century. His parents, both born in New York City and of German Jewish descent, shared with many Americans a sense of pragmatic idealism about their country, a pragmatic outlook on life, and a respect for the value of education.
The musical landscape of New York City and the United States of America would look quite different had it not been for William Schuman. Orpheus in Manhattan, a fully objective and comprehensive biography of Schuman, portrays a man who had a profound influence upon the artistic and political institutions of his day and beyond. Steve Swayne draws heavily upon Schuman's letters, writings, and manuscripts as well as unprecedented access to archival recordings and previously unknown correspondence. The winner of the first Pulitzer Prize in Music, Schuman composed music that is rhythmically febrile, harmonically pungent, melodically long-breathed, and timbrally brilliant, and Swayne offers an astute analysis of his work, including many unpublished music scores. Swayne also describes Schuman's role as president of the Juilliard School of Music and of Lincoln Center, tracing how he both expanded the boundaries of music education and championed the performing arts. Filled with new discoveries and revisions of the received historical narrative, Orpheus in Manhattan confirms Schuman as a major figure in America's musical life.
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[book] ENDGAME
THE SPECTACULAR RISE AND FALL OF BOBBY FISCHER
from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness
BY FRANK BRADY
February 2011, Crown
Bobby Fischer died in Iceland having had his U.S. passport revoked. He was the greatest chess player at the age of fifteen. He was a genius yet he also was MAD. He made anti American statements and anti Semitic comments, even though he was raised Jewish in Brooklyn. He was paranoid and an egotist. He was a prodigy and a madman. Here is the definitive biography.
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[book] LIFE ON SANDPAPER
BY YORAM KANIUK
Translated from Hebrew
February 2011, Dalkey Archive
Susan Sontag writes: “Of the novelists I have discovered in translation . . . the three for whom I have the greatest admiration are Gabriel Garci?a Ma?rquez, Peter Handke, and Yoram Kaniuk.“ A whirlwind of art, music, and lust, Life on Sandpaper is Yoram Kaniuk’s overwhelming autobiographical novel detailing his years as a young painter in the New York of the ‘50s. Wounded and alienated, a war veteran at the age of nineteen, Kaniuk arrives in Greenwich Village at its peak period of artistic creativity, and finds his way among such giants as Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Willem de Kooning, and Frank Sinatra. In terse prose, inspired by the associative and breathless drive of bebop, Kaniuk’s memories race between the ecstatic devotion of his beloved Harlem jazz clubs, through the ideological spats of the dying Yiddish world of the Lower East Side, to the volcanic gush of passion, pain, art, dance, alcohol, and drugs that was Greenwich Village. Kaniuk’s stories roll and tumble here with hypnotic urgency, as if this were his last opportunity to remember, and tell, before all is obliterated.
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[book] UGLY BEAUTY
HELENA RUBENSTEIN, L'OREAL AND THE BLEMISHED HISTORY OF LOOKING GOOD
BY RUTH BRANDON
February 2011, Harper
The story of Helena Rubenstein (1870-1965) a poor Polish Jewish girl who opened a salon in Australia and became a self made tycoon in the beauty business.
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[book] Journal of a UFO Investigator
A Novel
By David Halperin
February 2011, Viking
Against the backdrop of the troubled 1960s, this coming-of-age novel weaves together a compelling psychological drama and vivid outer-space fantasy. Danny Shapiro is an isolated teenager, living with a dying mother and a hostile father and without friends. To cope with these circumstances, Danny forges a reality of his own, which includes the sinister "Three Men in Black", mysterious lake creatures with insectlike carapaces, a beautiful young seductress and thief with whom Danny falls in love, and an alien/human love child who-if only Danny can keep her alive-will redeem the planet. Danny's fictional world blends so seamlessly with his day-to-day life that profound questions about what is real and what is not, what is possible and what is imagined begin to arise. As the hero in his alien landscape, he finds the strength to deal with his own life and to stand up to demons both real and imagined. Told with heart and intellect, Journal of a UFO Investigator will remind readers of the works of Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem.
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[book] What Is a Palestinian State Worth?
By Sari Nusseibeh
February 2011, Harvard University Press
Hey Harvard Press... nice voer....
Can a devout Jew be a devout Jew and ignore the rebuilding of the Temple?
Can a devout Muslim be a devout Muslim and drop the belief in the sacredness of the Rock?
Can one right (the right of return) be given up for another (the right to live in peace)? Can one claim Palestinian identity and still retain Israeli citizenship? What is a Palestinian state worth? For over sixty years, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been subjected to many solutions and offered many answers by diverse parties. Yet, answers are only as good as the questions that beget them. It is with this simple idea of asking the basic questions anew, that Palestinian activist Sari Nusseibeh begins his book. What Is a Palestinian State Worth? poses questions about the history, meaning, future, and resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Deeply informed by political philosophy and based on decades of personal involvement with politics and social activism, Nusseibeh’s points the reader toward a future which, as George Lamming once put it, is colonized by our acts in this moment, but which must always remain open. Sari Nusseibeh is the president of Al-Quds University
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[book] FORTUNATE SONS
The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized an Ancient Civilization
By Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller
February 14, 2011, WW Norton and Company, Inc.
I began to read this book, not knowing anything about the story or the book’s structure. I could not put it down (though I had to between commutes). As each chapter unfolded, I wondered why there was no statue for Yung Wing? Does every Yale student know his story? Is there a club named for him? My questions were unending. This book needs to be required reading at a time when modern China is growing in power and wealth each week. Not only does it tell a gripping story of a quest for education, but it recreates the environment in which the Chinese lived in America.
Does anyone ever learn in the schools about how many thousands of Chinese built the railroads, and were then trashed after its completion? Who learns about the taxes that were imposed only on Asians, or the riots and lynchings against the Chinese in California? The Chinese Exclusionary Act and other ugly acts are unknown to most Americans. This is simply an amazing story that must be experienced.
The reader learns history through the adventures of these students, who one would have assumed would be anonymous players in the events of the world. My assumption was wrong. Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Herbert Hoover, China, Japan, the emperors, the Great Western powers, and more all play a role in the book and are influenced by the students. Through a handful or two of these 120 students we are present at the most important points of Chinese history from 1840 to WWII.
The book opens in America prior to the U.S. Civil War. Yung Wing has been sent, in his scholar’s robes and long queue pony tail to New England for prep school and college. It is he, the Chinese student, who scores a touchdown at Yale to win the game for the freshmen against the sophomores. An unheard of victory. For the next 100 pages we follow the life of Yung Wing as he studies and excels at Yale, returns to China on a very slow boat, deals with Mandarins and revolutionaries, and faces off with colonial Brits, Scots, Americans and other non Chinese. His courage and tenacity are without end. When he convinces governors and ultimately the Emperor to allow 120 Chinese boys to go to New England for decades of school and work, the story continues as we follow Yung Wing and his charges in New Haven. (HAS THIS BEEN OPTIONED FOR A FILM?) The story continues as these student acclimate to America and excel. The next two thirds of the book focus on the students as they return to China and contribute to its wars, changes, revolutions, and modernization.
You will not look at the Mao's revolution, Taiwn, Japan, Korea, Tibet, England or America in the same way again. Definitely my favorite read of the past 12 months.

From the inside cover: The epic story of the American-educated boys who changed China forever. At the twilight of the nineteenth century, China sent a detachment of boys to America in order to learn the ways of the West, modernize the antiquated empire, and defend it from foreigners invading its shores. After spending a decade in New England’s finest schools, the boys re-turned home, driven by a pioneering spirit of progress and reform. Their lives in America influenced not only their thinking but also their nation’s endeavor to become a contemporary world power, an endeavor that resonates powerfully today. Drawing on diaries, letters, and other first-person accounts, Fortunate Sons tells a remarkable tale, weaving together the dramas of personal lives with the momentous thrust of a nation reborn. Shedding light on a crucial yet largely unknown period in China’s history, Fortunate Sons provides insight into the issues concerning that nation today, from its struggle toward economic supremacy to its fraught relationship with the United States.
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[book] THE OTHER LIFE
A NOVEL
BY ELLEN MEISTER
February 2011, Putnam
Happily married with a young son and another child on the way, Quinn Braverman has the perfect life. She also has an ominous secret. Every time she makes a major life decision, she knows an alternative reality exists in which she made the opposite choice-not only that, she knows how to cross over. But even in her darkest moments-like her mother's suicide-Quinn hasn't been tempted to visit . . . until she receives shattering news about the baby she's carrying. Desperate to escape her grief, Quinn slips through the portal that leads to her other life: the life in which she stayed with her exciting but neurotic ex- boyfriend, and is childless. The life in which-as she is amazed to discover-her mother is still very much alive. Quinn is soon forced to make an impossible choice. Will she stay with the family she loves and face the painful challenges that lie ahead? Or will a more carefree life-and the primal lure of being with her mother-pull her into her other life for good? This gripping emotional journey is both shocking and poignant . . . as the bonds of love are put to the ultimate test.
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[book] QUANTUM MAN
RICHARD FEYNMAN'S LIFE IN SCIENCE
BY LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS
March 2011, WW Norton and Company, Inc.
The author of The Physics of Star Trek focuses in the genius of our times, the late physicist Dr. Richard Feynman. This is a gripping new scientific biography of the revered Nobel Prize–winning physicist (and curious character). Perhaps the greatest physicist of the second half of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman changed the way we think about quantum mechanics, the most perplexing of all physical theories. Here Lawrence M. Krauss, himself a theoretical physicist and best-selling author, offers a unique scientific biography: a rollicking narrative coupled with clear and novel expositions of science at the limits. An immensely colorful persona in and out of the office, Feynman revolutionized our understanding of nature amid a turbulent life. Krauss presents that life—from the death of Feynman’s childhood sweetheart during the Manhattan Project to his reluctant rise as a scientific icon—as seen through the science, providing a new understanding of the legacy of a man who has fascinated millions. An accessible reflection on the issues that drive physics today, Quantum Man captures the story of a man who was willing to break all the rules to tame a theory that broke all the rules.
So put some cream in your lemon tea... and
(Surely I was joking
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THE CRISIS OF LIBERAL ZIONISM
BY PETER BEINART
TIMES BOOKS, Forthcoming late 2011
Based on Beinart's famed piece in June 10 issue of The NY Review of Books, the book will examine the growing gap between liberal American Jews and the State of Israel. The book will lay bare the fissures in the American Jewish community, trace the history of this divide with Israel, and how it will manifest itself in American as well as Israeli politics. TBA
Mystery crime novel
By Linda Fairstein
Forthcoming 2011
She is fascinated by the religious institutions within NYC, and a little bit about their history. So the first dead body is found in the opening scene, on the steps of an elegant, old Baptist church in Harlem, right on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and 114th Street. So it’s the heart of Harlem in New York City, and the cops don’t realize, and none of us realized when we got there, is that the building was built as a synagogue 100 years ago. It was a point in time when Harlem was home to many, many wealthy Jews and so a lot of the Baptist churches there were once synagogues. And as clear as day, when someone points this out to you – in stained-glass windows, or Old Testaments with Hebrew writing in them, and the pediment of the building, instead of saying 1920, has the Hebrew years – the killings have a motive that ties to religion and it allows her to explore how these institutions developed in the city …






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